Focus On Health - August 18, 2022

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FOCUS ON HEALTH INSIDE: How to manage stress 8 reasons diets fail Simple tips for mindful eating Make the most out of outdoor workouts and much more! A SUPPLEMENT TO TIMES BEACON RECORD NEWS MEDIA • AUGUST 18, 2022


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Four tips to get the most out of your outdoor workouts


hether your outdoor activity of choice involves walking, running, cycling or playing games with friends and family, getting outside to move the body comes with many benefits. From a boost of Vitamin D from the sun and breathing in the fresh air, to enjoying the sights and sounds that can only be experienced out of the house — there are many reasons to Melissa Stockwell incorporate the outdoors into your daily activity. Before lacing up and heading out, threetime World Champion and Paralympic bronze medalist Melissa Stockwell draws from her years of experience training for paratriathlons and her former life as a U.S. Army officer to offer tips for protecting yourself from the elements while getting your sweat on outside. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You've probably heard this before, but it bears repeating. Working out means perspiring, which takes moisture from your body, and working out when it's hot

outdoors makes staying hydrated even more important. "Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. Before heading out drink some water then make sure to keep a bottle (or two!) on you for during and after your workout," says Stockwell. "Staying hydrated helps your body regulate its temperature, keeps your joints lubricated and energy levels up, as well as helps prevent more serious health issues arising from being in the heat." Pile on the SPF Even on days when it is cloudy, the skin needs protection from the sun. "I usually opt for a sweat- or waterresistant sunscreen and wear a hat or clothing made out of sun-protective fabric to help protect my skin," advises Stockwell. "Further, instead of exercising mid-day, aim to get your workout in during the morning or evening hours when the sun's rays aren't as strong." The delicate skin on the lips is also especially vulnerable to damage from sun exposure, as well as from elements like the wind, heat or cold during any season of the year. Stockwell recommends keeping some form of lip protection on hand like ChapStick lip balm.

Warm up, cool down To help safeguard against pain or injury, warm up your muscles and start slowly. Try to mimic the exercises you will be doing at a slow, low-intensity. "If I am running, my warm-up includes a walk that gradually builds up to a jog. If I am cycling, I'll slowly cycle around the block a few times to get my muscles and joints ready to go. This helps my body get ready for higher intensity movements." Stockwell says. To cool down, incorporate static stretches after a workout to help gradually cool the body and muscles. Stretches like touching your toes or laying on your back and gently bringing your knee to your chest help tired muscles relax, increase flexibility and decrease the risk of injury post-workout. Buddy up Training outdoors can be hazardous, especially if you're running, hiking or

cycling in an unfamiliar area or on a new path. To stay safer, arrange to exercise with a friend or two so you are accountable for each other. "Training with someone else means you know you'll have a backup in case of the unexpected," Stockwell adds. "Plus, it's more fun — and motivating — to have company!"◆

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indful eating doesn’t have to be restrictive and you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. “Simply incorporating more foods that are crafted with integrity and align with your values into your day-to-day eating can go a long way toward helping you feel your best,” says Kara Lydon, a registered dietitian nutritionist. As an intuitive eating counselor, Lydon advises people to stop looking at food as “good” or “bad” and instead, listen to their bodies and eat what feels best in the moment. With those principles in mind, here are a few simple choices you can make to nourish your body and enjoy your food. Snacking can keep you satiated between meals and help you regulate your blood sugar and energy levels. It can also be an opportunity to take in essential vitamins and nutrients. Common processed snack foods are often loaded with sodium, added sugars and trans fats. Try these wholesome alternatives: Greek yogurt with raw honey, hummus with carrot and celery sticks, apple slices with peanut butter, edamame, egg and cheese bites, nuts or fruit salad. Choose grass-fed dairy In conversations about healthy eating, dairy products sometimes unfairly get a bad rap. But dairy actually has essential nutrients that can be incorporated into a well-rounded daily diet. Lydon says that it’s helpful to be intentional with your choices. The next time you visit the dairy aisle, take a closer look at the labels and search for the term “grass-fed.” “Grass-fed cows produce dairy with significantly higher concentrations of beta-carotene and certain fatty acids,

including conjugated linoleic acids and a more optimal omega-3/omega-6 ratio,” says Lydon. “These nutrients play key roles in disease prevention, mood regulation, cognitive function and more.” Grass-fed dairy not only tastes better and is healthier for you versus grain-fed dairy, it’s often more humanely produced. Check out brands committed to farming practices that are good for people, animals and the planet, like Truly Grass Fed. The premium brand of Irish dairy products makes cheese and butter that is always nonGMO, growth hormone rBST-free, and antibiotic free. Its cows live their best lives outside grazing on green grass maintained using regenerative farming practices. To learn more and find wholesome recipes, visit Grow a garden at home If you have the space, consider starting a small garden in your yard or even indoors on your kitchen counter. Growing your own food is sustainable and can help you connect more deeply to what you feed your family. What’s more, being able to harvest produce at its peak means more nutritional value and flavor per bite. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of growing plants from seeds, start by buying a few pots of herbs, such as basil, chives and mint. These can be found at many grocery stores. They’re relatively easy to maintain, and can instantly add zest to salads, soups and other meals. Better eating should never feel like a sacrifice or leave you feeling hungry. The good news is that wholesome, healthierfor-you choices that nourish the body and soul abound today.◆


Tips to manage your cholesterol


holesterol is a complex topic that can be difficult to understand. Cholesterol is present in the body and it also can be found in food. That can make it hard for people to understand why cholesterol is often seen in such a negative light. Any confusion surrounding cholesterol can serve as the perfect springboard to learn more about it.

What is cholesterol?

A waxy, chemical compound, cholesterol often gets a bad rap. However, the American Heart Association says it is actually needed to build cells. The liver makes all the cholesterol a person needs. Additional cholesterol comes from diet. There are two types of cholesterol carried through the blood. Low-density liproprotein (LDL) transports cholesterol particles throughout the body. This is considered “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of the arteries. High-density liproprotein (HDL) picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver, which is why it is considered “good” cholesterol. In terms of measuring cholesterol, a total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL is desirable. High HDL numbers are best, and any amount less than 40 mg/dL is a red flag. In regard to LDL, less than 100 mg/dL is optimal.

When present in the right amounts, cholesterol is instrumental in building healthy cells. When there is too much bad cholesterol in the blood, that can pose a problem. That’s because it can increase risk for heart disease, warns the Mayo Clinic. In high amounts, LDL cholesterol can deposit fatty residue in the blood vessels. These deposits will grow over time and harden, blocking off the flow of blood through the arteries and making vessels less flexible, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Sometimes cholesterol deposits break off suddenly from the walls of blood vessels and then form a clot that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. In addition to cholesterol, doctors will measure triglycerides during lipid profiles. The Mayo Clinic says triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. Having high triglyceride levels also can increase risk for heart disease.

Managing cholesterol levels

High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease, though it is controllable. By making some changes and being cognizant of cholesterol numbers, individuals can improve their overall health significantly. It is important that individuals know the baseline numbers in their lipid profile, including HDL, LDL and triglyceride levels.

Doctors may differ in their interpretations of how cholesterol levels factor into the bigger picture of a person’s lifestyle and overall health. But people can still do their best to keep bad cholesterol levels down. • Make changes to a diet to reduce consumption of foods high in saturated fats, trans fats and animal proteins.

• Reduce weight to have a body mass index lower than 30. • Increase exercise, which will help boost HDL naturally. • Quit smoking, which can lower levels of HDL. • Consume alcohol in moderation as it tends to increase total cholesterol levels.◆

Top six foods to avoid before going to bed


ou can probably count all the reasons you didn’t get a good night of sleep on both hands — Your partner’s snoring; stress from your workday; too much light coming through your window; or looking at blue light from your screens. But there’s another key reason why you might not be sleeping as well as you deserve to — the foods you eat before bedtime. While there’s nothing wrong with a small bedtime snack for most people, the foods you choose can affect your sleep. But there’s another key reason why you might not be sleeping as well as you deserve to — the foods you eat before bedtime. While there’s nothing wrong with a small bedtime snack for most people, the foods you choose can affect your sleep. You already know to stay away from coffee late at night, but that’s not the only culprit when it comes to sleep issues and food. Here are the top six worst foods to eat before bed. 1. Ice cream: Dairy can cause an upset stomach. Even if dairy doesn't bother you,

ice cream isn't the best choice for a latenight bite. It's heavy, fatty, and may sit in your stomach like a brick, keeping you up. 2. Tomatoes: If you ever experience acid reflux or heartburn, you probably already know tomatoes are not good prebedtime. Once you lie down, gravity no longer keeps the acidity from the tomatoes from crawling up your esophagus and making your night miserable. Yes, that means no pizza before bed. 3. Chocolate: That cup of hot chocolate may feel so soothing, and that warm chocolate chip cookie may feel like the perfect thing to wrap up your day, but they’re not doing you any favors when it comes to your sleep schedule. Chocolate contains caffeine, which keeps your body from the deep sleep it needs. 4. High-Fat Foods: That late-night burger and fries are definitely hurting your sleep, thanks to their fat content. Fatty foods take longer and are harder to digest, so you end up trying to put your brain to sleep while your digestive system is still

churning away. The bloating that can come with high-fat foods doesn’t help, either. So say no to those prebedtime nachos — and, yes, once again, most versions of pizza are also on the list here. 5. High-Sugar Cereal: Plenty of people like a bowl of cereal as a bedtime snack — but try to stick with healthier, whole-grain choices with fewer than 5 grams of sugar per serving if you want to sleep well. Fun cereals, such as Lucky Charms or Cap’n Crunch, are loaded with sugar. If you eat those before bedtime, your blood sugar will soar upwards — and soon after, it’ll crash. The overall result of these wildly fluctuating glucose levels is a poor night’s sleep 6. Alcohol: This one may come as a surprise. After all, you may feel relaxed and even drowsy after a glass of wine or a mixed drink, right? Actually, any type of alcohol affects your sleep in a negative way. Alcohol metabolizes fairly quickly, so you end up waking up as it wears off.

Studies show that pre-bedtime alcohol reduces nighttime sleep and increases nighttime wakefulness. As an added negative, it also makes snoring worse, so avoid that nightcap for your partner, as well as for yourself. Other foods to avoid before bed include energy drinks, chips, donuts, dried fruit, citrus fruit, onions and spicy foods. Opt for healthy, sleep-friendly snacks instead. like chicken noodle soup, warm milk, chamomile tea, and fruit, such as bananas, kiwis and cherries, all of which can give you that comfortable feeling without disturbing your sleep.◆



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Exercise plays a key role in cancer prevention


he effects of cancer on the body are profound, which is why so many people want to implement as many measures as they can to reduce their risk of developing the disease. One of the vital steps to take is to increase physical activity. A recent study from researchers at the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute links exercise to a lower risk of specific types of cancer. People understand that exercise is important to health, but they may not know just how integral physical activity can be to cancer prevention and even recovery. Physical activity includes walking, dancing, running, biking, swimming, engaging in sports activities, and performing household chores. The National Cancer Institute says higher levels of physical activity lower cancer risk in bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer and gastric (stomach) cancer. There also is some evidence that suggests physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer.

Exercise affects various biological factors, which is why it may help prevent cancer. For example, exercise can prevent high blood levels of insulin, which have been linked to breast and colon cancer progression. Furthermore,

exercise can lower sex hormones like estrogen, which has been associated with cancer development and progression. Since overweight and obesity are major risk factors for cancer development, exercising can reduce overall weight and

belly fat, which improves the odds of cancer avoidance. Chronic inflammation is associated with the development of cancer, and exercise helps lower this harmful type of inflammation, too, says Partner MD. In addition, physical activity helps boost the immune system, which may help prevent cancer or assist in recovery. The ACS says adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week. For those who haven’t exercised in a while, it is best to start exercising slowly and build up gradually. Examples of moderateintensity exercise include brisk walking, dancing, softball, and doubles tennis. Vigorous activities include swimming, aerobic dance, running, or jogging. Exercise also is great for cancer survivors, as it can improve sleep quality and energy levels. It also helps the body repair itself, and may improve bone strength. In addition to healthy eating, exercise is one of the key steps people can take to reduce cancer risk.◆

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eople will do anything for their dogs. But, they may not always know how to best care for them. When it comes to furry family members, nothing is higher on the priority list than building a happy and healthy lifestyle. From finding ways to bond, to ensuring your dogs have proper grooming, exercise and social routines, pet parents have the important responsibility of helping Fido thrive. Here are six ways to help your dog live a happier, healthier life. Regular visits to the vet Routine veterinary visits help your pet live a long, healthy, and happy life. Annual or biannual exams nip emerging health problems in the bud and are key to extending your pet’s time by your side. Early detection and intervention allows your vet to treat a disease in the beginning stages, and then manage the condition with medication or simple lifestyle changes. Your veterinarian also can give you pointers that will help your pet live her healthiest life and stave off potential medical conditions. Teach your dog new tricks Dogs thrive on structure. Ensuring your dog understands basic commands is necessary to keep you, your dog and other dogs and people safe. Beyond that, new tricks are a great way to continue to teach your pup engagement and challenge them to keep their minds active. Once you've mastered "sit" and "stay," try weaving in tougher tricks like fetching, exercise courses and the ever-challenging "stop, drop and roll." Grooming and maintenance Whether your dog has a long shiny coat, cute curls, short hair or no fur at all, grooming your dog keeps them healthy — and can feel like a day at the spa. Regular brushing, nail trimming and proper grooming should be implemented, especially as the seasons change and

your dog's needs change, too. Not only is grooming and maintenance an important part of your dog's overall beauty routine, but it is also a great way to bond with your pet as you continue to build a loving and trusting relationship. Take your pup on vacation Dogs need a vacation too! Instead of boarding or leaving your dog with a sitter, keep your whole family together and take Fido along for the ride. Whether you're testing out van life in the great outdoors or opting for the pet-friendly options for your next bucket list destination, your pet will love the uninterrupted quality time that they get to spend with you as you explore the world together. Help your dog meet new friends While you may be your dog's best friend, it's important that they are exposed to new people, places, dogs and experiences on an ongoing basis to ensure they are properly socialized. To encourage your dog to be more social, head to your local dog park and meet new dogs for your pet to play with, or bring them along to a pet-friendly patio for happy hour with human friends. As always, remember to exercise caution and proper leashing protocols, and follow your pup's cues when it comes to new situations. And, to make sure your pup is the most popular at the park, stock up on treats to share and to give your dog when they make a positive interaction. Don't forget exercise Whether it's a nice stroll around the neighborhood or a walk through your local park, getting exercise is important for your health and your pup's health, too. A daily exercise routine is necessary for your dog's overall health and wellness, as well as maintaining a healthy weight, and provides a great way to bond and incorporate your dog into your daily life.◆


What you need to know about life-saving COVID-19 treatments


hile stopping the spread of COVID-19 is the goal, the reality is that every day, more people contract the disease. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of available treatment options. The Treating COVID-19 Campaign, which was developed independently by the American Lung Association, with grant support from Regeneron and GSK, is sharing some important insights into outpatient treatment options: Know your risk. It’s important to know if you’re at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as this can determine what treatments are available to you. There are many factors that may put you in the “high risk” category, including if you’re 65 and older, you smoke cigarettes, you have a chronic lung disease, are immunocompromised, or are living with certain medical conditions, including chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Individuals who are overweight or pregnant also fall in the high-risk category. You can see a full list at Test, and then treat, at onset of symptoms. Experiencing symptoms that may be COVID19? Get tested right away. If you test positive

and are high risk, speak with your healthcare provider promptly about treatment options that may help prevent severe illness and reduce the risk of hospitalization. Currently available treatments include antivirals or monoclonal antibody treatments (mAbs). Your healthcare provider can help you determine the best course of treatment for you, which needs to start as soon as possible to help prevent possible progression of severe illness.

Get informed. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized certain antiviral medications and monoclonal antibodies. Antivirals and monoclonal antibodies can help your immune system fight off the coronavirus infection, with a goal of preventing you from becoming seriously ill. Antivirals target certain parts of the virus to stop it from replicating, while monoclonal antibodies help the immune

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system better recognize and stop the infection. In both cases, medications need to be prescribed by a healthcare provider and started as soon as possible after diagnosis to be effective. Be your own advocate. Many patients have discovered firsthand that persistence can be necessary when it comes to getting treatment for COVID-19. When Jill Hein’s 83-year-old father tested positive, his primary care provider told him he wasn’t very sick and to go home and call if he got any sicker. “When this information was relayed back to me, I objected and asked that Dad follow up with his pulmonologist immediately. He didn’t want to, insisting that his primary care provider said he was doing okay. It wasn’t until I told Mom, ‘This can kill him,’ that I got through to them and she called his pulmonologist for a second opinion. Within four hours of having the infusion, Dad felt himself getting better. Over the next couple days, he continued to improve at home. Thankfully, he fully recovered,” says Hein. For more information about treatment options, as well as COVID-19 care tips, visit◆

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The Center for Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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Gadi Avshalomov M.D. Suffolk County now has a new weapon in the ongoing war against everything from pollen and dust mites to fatal reactions to peanuts, thanks to Dr. Gadi Avshalomov. The board-certified specialist in adult and pediatric allergies, asthma and clinical immunology opened his new Center for Allergy and Immunology at 120 North Country Road in Port Jefferson.“It has always been our plan to have a full-service center for those who suffer allergy and immunology conditions,” Dr. Avshalomov explained. “The center is really going to help a community that lacks these important services. I don’t know of any real center in Suffolk that dedicates itself wholly to allergy sufferers and asthmatics.” The new center couldn’t have come at a more pivotal time. Suffolk, as well as the rest of the world, is in the middle of an “allergy and asthma epidemic, and post Covid-19 there is a desperately growing need for immunology services” Dr. Avshalomov explained. With each passing day, more and more people are diagnosed with allergies or have heard of someone who could have a fatal reaction to something as common as a peanut. Many others suffer from immune driven conditions. Dr. Avshalomov says that, according to recent Dr. Avshalomov performs several studies, 20 percent of the population suffers from regular allergies. Upwards of four percent of the population allergy tests on Valentina as her dad Phil have allergic reactions to the proteins in peanuts and and brother Ricardo look on tree nuts. “Allergies like this are becoming a bigger and bigger problem in our communities,” he said. “People are developing allergies to relatively banal products that anyone said. Modern medicine has also helped prolong and propagate the problem. “Once upon a time, people with asthma used to can find in their home or workplace.” Dr. Avshalomov blames what he die,” he said. “Now, thank God, they’re living full lives with their calls the hygiene hypothesis for the condition, but at the same time they’re passing the problem epidemic. Basically, 21st century down to the next generation.” Today these genetic curses can be thwarted at Dr. Avahsloresidents are living in ultra-sterile homes. This lifestyle reduces mov’s Center and his three-step approach to battling most allerthe frequency of infectious ill- gies. First, the patient comes in for an appointment where their ness. They can go their entire symptoms are scrutinized and analyzed with the utmost care lives without being exposed to and attention. Since he started practicing in 2000, Dr. Avshalothe germs, oils and proteins they mov has seen it all, from runny noses to rash-raw skin. Patients could have an allergic reaction to. have come to him with eczema and dermatitis, sinus and pulmoAs a result, the immune system nary problems all the way to having their throats swollen closed. finds other things to develop, such “It’s fascinating how tiny invisible things can affect us to such a as allergies. When they are finally ex- degree,” he explained. “These allergens don’t actually harm us, posed, the reactions are far greater, he it’s just that our immune system perceives that it’s going to do us

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harm and responds accordingly. That’s why knowing how to master the immune system is so important.” Through a battery of tests, Dr. Avshalomov begins to root out suspects – the allergens that are causing the uncomfortable physical reactions that patients are suffering from. He notes that most patients suffer from environmental allergies – dust mites, cats and dogs, pollen or seasonal changes. Many also suffer from “benign neglect,” he said. “Many times the symptoms start out small, so they don’t seek an allergist’s help,” he said. “They fall into a trap that only leads to more severe symptoms. They then try to treat the problem with overthe- counter drugs. But after they try about 10 to 20 different pills and all the sprays, they’re still suffering because those medications are nothing more than Band-Aids. The only effective treatment is an allergy shot.” Once the tests are completed, Dr. Avshalomov goes to his new state-of-the-art lab in the center and arrests these allergic reactions with custommade sera and allergy shots. “Nothing is ever generic or ‘one size fits all,’” he said. “Everyone has a unique reaction to allergens, so everyone needs a unique treatment regimen,” he said. For patients with severe food allergies, Dr. Avshalomov carefully takes them through every step of the process. He also develops an action plan with them so both the patient and their families know how to respond when an emergency reaction – which could be quite dangerous – takes hold. “Education is the cornerstone of this practice,” he said. He also has a special respiratory lab where patients walk on treadmills and are put through a variety of exercise techniques so Dr. Avshalomov can accurately pinpoint just how activity and stress trigger their asthma. “These techniques have been around, but most patients don’t have access to them because their doctors do not have enough asthmatic patients,” he said. “We’re reaching that threshold.”


Common triggers for headaches


eadaches can be a nuisance unlike any other. When suffering from headache, it’s not uncommon for individuals to experience difficulty concentrating and many people also find it hard to sleep. Headache is a significant issue for adults across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, as much as 4 percent of the world’s adult population experiences headache on 15 or more days each month. The prevalence of headaches can make it seem as though they’re inevitable. However, many headache triggers are the byproducts of lifestyle choices individuals make. The following are some common headache triggers, many of which can be avoided by individuals who want to try to reduce the frequency with which they experience headaches.

imbalances in the brain that lead to headaches. Headaches resulting from the overconsumption of alcohol can last anywhere from hours to days. Mount Sinai recommends individuals who suffer from headaches to avoid alcohol.

ALCOHOL According to the health care experts at the Mount Sinai Health System, ethanol is the key ingredient in alcohol. Ethanol is a diuretic that causes the body to lose salt, vitamins and minerals. When consumed in excess, alcohol can contribute to dehydration and chemical

CAFFEINE Mount Sinai notes that the relationship between caffeine and headaches is complicated. Over-the-counter headache medicines commonly include caffeine because it helps the body absorb the medication more quickly, leading to faster relief. However, overstimulation

ALLERGIES The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology notes that there are occasions when allergies can contribute to headaches. For example, individuals with rhinitis, often referred to as “hay fever,” can experience headaches that may result from sinus disease in and around the nasal passages. Individuals who feel their headaches could be a byproduct of allergies can consult with an allergist for tips on how to treat their allergies and potentially reduce the frequency of their headaches.

Individuals who feel their headaches could be a byproduct of allergies should go see an allergist. from caffeine is a common headache trigger. Individuals can speak with their physicians about their caffeine consumption, including how much is too much. Limiting such consumption could reduce the frequency of headaches. SMOKING Even nonsmokers can suffer from smoking-related headaches. The Cleveland Clinic reports that nicotine, which is the primary ingredient in tobacco products, may stimulate pain-sensitive nerves as it passes through the back of the throat. That stimulation contributes to headaches in some people, including the people smoking as well as those around them who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Avoiding tobacco and urging smokers around you to quit or to avoid smoking in your presence may reduce instances of headache.

Mount Sinai notes that light sensitivity, especially high blood pressure and hormonal imbalances are some additional headache triggers. Individuals suffering from routine headaches are urged to contact their physicians.◆


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Eight reasons diets fail


ow many times in your life have you started a diet? If you're one of the 45 million Americans who try to diet each year, you will not be surprised to learn that most people only stick with a diet for 6 months or less, and then the weight returns. In fact, two out of five people on a diet quit in the first seven days. Here are five reasons why diets fail, making long-term weight loss success so challenging without a more effective solution: Diets work against the way your body naturally functions. They deprive you of food and create hunger or a feeling of starvation. When dieting, your body responds by slowing down many of its normal functions (metabolism) to conserve energy, making weight loss difficult. You burn fewer calories and the diet becomes less effective. Dieting and what you eat are not the only considerations for sustained weight loss. Sleep, physical activity, emotional well-being, and medications are just a few of the other factors that impact weight loss. For example, if you don't get enough sleep, you need more energy to function and may eat more food to gain that energy. Diets don't fit into normal, everyday life. There is no denying that eating plays a big role in our social lives. Most of us enjoy family picnics, restaurant meals, and snacks during sporting events. Trying to diet and maintain social connections is difficult when food is at the center of so

many of our daily activities. Weighing and measuring food may help you lose weight, but aren't practical as long-term strategies for most people. Diets aren't satisfying and cause stress. No one enjoys dieting. In fact, numerous studies link dieting with feelings of depression, low self-esteem, and increased stress. Dieting to lose weight may not align with nutrition needs for health issues. A low-calorie diet may dangerously impact blood sugar levels for diabetics. Plus, important nutrients like calcium are often missing from diets, leaving dieters at risk for osteoporosis or fractures/ broken bones. Diets deprive us. Many diets involve eliminating certain foods or even whole food groups. This is not only unhealthy but also unrealistic for the long term. Diets are temporary. Once they have reached their goal, most people go back to "normal" eating, so the weight comes back. Diets can be expensive. Buying special foods can rack up a big bill quickly. Diet is only half of the equation. Lifetime weight management is not just about what you eat. It requires physical activity as well. Experts recommend 60-90 minutes a day most days of the week. So, what can you do to lose weight safely and keep it off? A great first step is to talk with your health care provider. He or she can help you create a healthy eating plan or recommend a nutritionist to start a safe, healthy eating program.◆


What your breath may say about your overall health


nyone who bites into a big chunk of garlic bread knows that lessthan-fresh breath is a likely outcome of such an indulgence. But for some people, halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath, is something they regularly confront regardless of what they eat. According to functional dentist Dr. Steven Lin, around 50 million people suffer from chronic bad breath. Halitosis often is a highly preventable condition, provided an individual can discover the root of the issue, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. It’s important to note that while halitosis may be an oral condition, it also may be indicative of other health problems. That’s why it is vital to determine what’s behind bad breath. Poor oral hygiene: Bacteria reside in the mouth on the teeth, tongue, and other tissues. Failing to floss and brush regularly may lead to increased bacteria growth, resulting in bad breath. Poor oral hygiene may lead to gum diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, which also can exacerbate bad breath. Dry mouth: When dry mouth, or xerostomia, occurs, salivary glands

cannot make enough saliva to keep the mouth moist, states Harvard Health. Saliva helps flush away bacteria and food particles. Without saliva to wash them away, bacteria and debris can start to break down, leading to odor. Certain medications may cause dry mouth.

Chewing sugar-free gum and using dry mouth aids can help moisten the mouth. Food: Certain foods are linked to bad breath. Notably, garlic, onions and some spices are absorbed into the bloodstream and have the potential to affect breath until they leave the system.

Tobacco products: People who smoke normally obtain what is commonly known as smoker's breath. Smoking also leaves chemical compounds in your mouth that can mix with your saliva and cause bad breath. Smokers and oral tobacco users also are likely to have gum disease, which contributes to bad breath. Dirty dentures: False teeth, such as dentures and bridges, can collect bacteria, food and fungi if not properly cleaned and can contribute to bad breath. Sleeping with mouth open: Like other causes of dry mouth, sleeping with one’s mouth open dries out the mouth and can lead to what’s often referred to as “morning breath.” Sinus illnesses or infections: Small stones covered in bacteria can form in the tonsils and produce odor. Infections, chronic inflammation of the nose, throat or sinuses can contribute to postnasal drip, which also causes bad breath. Anyone with concerns about chronic bad breath should speak to his or her dentist about their condition. If the cause cannot be traced to oral hygiene, an individual may be referred to a general physician for a physical to rule out other issues.◆

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Five healthy habits to help reduce stress


etween work, family obligations and a constantly changing world, people in the United States are stressed. In fact, U.S. workers are among the most stressed in the world, according to a State of the Global Workplace study. While some stress is unavoidable and can be good for you, constant or chronic stress can have real consequences for your mental and physical health. Chronic stress can increase your lifetime risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also lead to unhealthy habits like overeating, physical inactivity and smoking while also increasing risk factors, including high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. However, a scientific statement from the American Heart Association shows reducing stress and cultivating a positive mindset can improve health and well-being. To help people understand the connection between stress and physical health, the American Heart Association offers these science-backed insights to help reduce chronic stress.

Stay Active

Exercise is one of the easiest ways to keep your body healthy and release stress. Take a walk, go for a bike ride or head to the gym. Physical activity is linked to lower risk of diseases, stronger bones and muscles, improved mental health and cognitive function and lower risk of depression. It can also help increase energy and improve quality of sleep. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderateintensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity or a combination.


Incorporate meditation and mindfulness practices into your day to give yourself a few minutes to create some distance from daily stress. Some studies show meditation can reduce blood pressure, improve sleep, support the immune system and increase your ability to process information.

Practice Positivity

A positive mindset can improve overall health. Studies show a positive mindset can help you live longer, and happy individuals tend to sleep better, exercise more, eat better and not smoke. Practice positive selftalk to help you stay calm. Instead of saying, “everything is going wrong,” re-frame the situation and remind yourself “I can handle this if I take it one step at a time.”

Show Gratitude

Gratitude — or thankfulness — is a powerful tool that can reduce levels of

depression and anxiety and improve sleep. Start by simply writing down three things you’re grateful for each day.

Find a Furry Friend

Having a pet may help you get more fit; lower stress, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar; and boost overall happiness and well-being. When you see, touch, hear or talk to companion animals, you may feel a sense of goodwill, joy, nurturing and happiness. At the same time, stress hormones are suppressed. Dog ownership is also associated with a lower risk of depression, according to research published by the American Heart Association.◆ Find more stress-management tips at

Stress 101

Understanding stress is an important step in managing and reducing it. Consider these things to know about stress and how it could affect your life: •Today, 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. report being worried or depressed. •Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol are linked to increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular events like heart disease and stroke. •The top sources of stress are money, work, family responsibilities and health concerns. •Work-related stress is associated with a 40% increased risk of cardiovascular disease like heart attack and stroke.

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