(BPT) - There’s an existing nutrient that is incredibly important to your eye health. However, odds are you’ve probably never heard of it.
The nutrient is called zeaxanthin (pronounced Zee-ah-zan-thun). The antioxidant, along with lutein, is found in the back of the eye as a component of the macular pigment. Light enters through the front of the eye, or pupil, and projects onto the retina, a light-sensitive wall of cells at the back of the eye. The retina has millions of photoreceptor cells known as rods and cones, which are responsible for central and peripheral vision.
The macula, located in the center of the retina, is responsible for discerning color and fine detail. This area mostly includes cones. The cones in the fovea are smaller and more densely packed. They are not obscured by a layer of nerve cells or blood vessels. This accounts for the sharp vision associated with them. This is where zeaxanthin is deposited by the body in the highest concentrations.
Zeaxanthin and lutein are antioxidants that protect against light-induced oxidative stress, functioning like “internal sunglasses” to protect the photoreceptors and provide visual performance benefits. In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight, especially from high-energy light rays called blue light.
Increasing zeaxanthin intake helps maintain visual performance over the long term.
Certain benefits to ensuring an optimal supply of zeaxanthin to one’s diet includes:
* Enhanced visual acuity — improved vision in fine detail situations like needlepoint or reading in low light situations.
* Reduced glare recovery time — faster recovery from temporary “blindness” caused by high intensity lighting, such as automobile or stadium lights.
* Improved contrast sensitivity — ability to discern objects from their background, e.g., seeing a white golf ball or baseball clearly against a light blue sky.
* Diminished light sensitivity and visual discomfort — less visual discomfort in sunlight or when exposed to bright light.
* Increased visual processing speed — seeing an object more clearly, enabling improved processing speed and reaction time.
There are more than 600 carotenoids in nature. Fifty are found in the food chain. About 12 are measured in the human bloodstream. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only two naturally occurring carotenoids found in the macula. The body does not make zeaxanthin or lutein. Although zeaxanthin is found in foods, like paprika and goji berries, available data indicates the foods containing these nutrients are not abundantly consumed by the average American.
A study published in American Journal of Epidemiology, found higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet are associated with a lower incidence of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD destroys central vision and is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over the age of 55. There is no current cure for AMD and the effects are irreversible.
While there are certain non-modifiable risk factors, there are also risk factors than can be modified. Quitting smoking, incorporating a healthy diet and having a healthy body mass index are ways to reduce the risk. Incorporating a supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin, like EyePromise, can also help protect as well as preserve vision.
(BPT) - There’s no denying proper nutrition and a balanced diet are essential for good health. Yet with research on diet and lifestyle recommendations constantly evolving, it can be difficult to make sense of the varying news reports and seemingly endless barrage of information.
Fortunately, when it comes to omega-3s the fundamental science is clear: Omega-3s, which are considered essential fatty acids, are necessary for human health. Since the body can't make them on its own, it’s critical to obtain this important nutrient through your daily intake of omega-rich foods, primarily oily fish, or supplements.
Let’s take a deeper look at the science behind omega-3s.
With a number of gold-standard studies to point to, experts believe EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid), the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The rate of research on omega-3s seems to be accelerating as scientists find consistent evidence of the beneficial effects of this essential nutrient. In fact, of more than 30,000 scientific papers on omega-3s published on PubMed, there are roughly 3,200 clinical trials examining the impact of omega-3s on heart health, specifically. Here are a few research highlights:
* In the last 10 years, every meta-analytical review that considered the whole body of human clinical evidence for cardiac or coronary death consistently found a significant benefit to omega-3 consumption.
* Since 2004, there have been 13 meta-analyses linking omega-3s and the decreased risk of cardiac and coronary death.
* Results show fish oil consumption reduces cardiac death risk between approximately 10-30 percent.
* A recent meta-analysis on EPA and DHA’s impact on blood pressure found fish oil can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and even benefit people who don’t have high blood pressure.
The totality of evidence consistently shows EPA and DHA omega-3s reduce the risk of cardiac and coronary death, keep triglycerides in check and help maintain healthy blood pressure. However, it’s important to understand there is not a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to health and disease prevention.
Beyond a healthy and balanced diet, an individual’s age, health status and history, and lifestyle are important considerations when it comes to deciding if supplements may help fill a specific nutrient gap that cannot or is not otherwise being met.
When deciding how to increase your daily intake of omega-3s, it’s important to take an individualized approach. Talk to your doctor about your personal deficiencies and requirements, and be realistic and truthful about your diet and daily intake of omega-3s and other important nutrients. If you decide supplementation is right for you, take the time to do you research and invest in high quality omega-3 supplements. Your health is worth it.
(BPT) - More than half of all Americans exercise regularly, according to a 2015 Gallup poll, but there's still room for most people to improve their fitness. Even if you're exercising a few times a week, that may not meet recommended activity levels. If you're looking for a type of physical activity that fits easily into your lifestyle, delivers physical and mental health benefits, yet is gentle enough to be done every day, yoga may be what you're looking for.
"Yoga delivers countless health benefits, including stress reduction, improved blood circulation, flexibility and strength," says Ashley Kohler, manager of Yoga on the Lake, part of Destination Kohler, the five-star, five-diamond resort in Kohler, Wisconsin. "Doing yoga just three times a week can help you sleep better and reduce symptoms of many chronic diseases like arthritis, diabetes and thyroid disorders."
If you've never considered yoga, or have thought of it but weren't sure whether it's for you, Kohler offers some insights into how yoga works and the benefits it offers:
* Any age is right - Yoga is good for people of every age, from children to senior citizens. In fact, many studios offer classes for new moms and their infants to help mother's post-childbirth recovery and facilitate bonding between Mom and baby. Its benefits for older demographics are also widely recognized, from helping improve balance and flexibility, to gently improving muscle tone and strength.
* You can jump right in - While many people will enjoy a one-on-one experience with a certified yoga instructor, it's not necessary to take private lessons before joining a class. Studios like Yoga on the Lake offer a variety of beginner-friendly classes, as well as individual lessons for those who want a more private setting for learning the basics, or who want to work on specific personal goals.
* Yoga is great for varying levels of physical ability - You should always consult your doctor before beginning any new fitness routine, especially if you have existing health conditions. That said, yoga is accessible to people of virtually all fitness levels, from those who are starting out sedentary to people who are very physically active. You don't have to be particularly flexible to get started, either; yoga gives you flexibility. And for yoga enthusiasts, yoga sculpt formatted classes provide a high-intensity yoga option.
* It's about more than just improving flexibility - Better flexibility is probably one of the best-known benefits of yoga but it's far from the only one. Ultimately, yoga aims to bring together the mind, body and spirit in healthful physical activity.
* Fast a few hours before class - Attempting yoga on a full stomach could lead to discomfort and cramps, so try to avoid eating an hour or two before class begins.
* Start from a place of love - "You'll go farther, faster if you take a loving attitude toward yourself and work from where you are, not from where you think you should be," Kohler advises. Don't feel pressured to perform as well as anyone else in the class. Do as much as you're able without straining or injuring yourself.
* Leave distractions outside the studio - Leave cell phones and pagers in the locker room or your car; never bring them to your yoga mat. Yoga studios are also typically quiet environments in order to foster relaxation and peace, so try to leave socializing and business outside.
* Yoga can be a vacation from the everyday - "Many people who practice yoga regularly view it as their 'me time,'" Kohler says. "It's a break from the demands of the everyday." Resorts like Destination Kohler offer active travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves in a truly soothing, spiritually renewing environment with a spa, yoga studio and other relaxing amenities such as golf and nature trails. To learn more about Yoga on the Lake and its Yoga Alliance certified staff and Destination Kohler, visit www.destinationkohler.com.
Manage Diabetic Pets at Home
(Family Features) Chances are good that you know someone who has diabetes. However, you may not realize this disease that commonly affects humans is on the rise among dogs and cats. Like humans, a diagnosis of diabetes requires lifestyle changes and heightened health monitoring, yet with proper care, your pet can live a full and active life.
During a recent four-year study, Banfield hospitals have seen a 32 percent jump in cases of canine diabetes and a 16 percent increase in feline diabetes.1 Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot process glucose (sugar) into cells, resulting in too much glucose in the blood and not enough glucose in the cells for energy.
Untreated, diabetes can be fatal in dogs and cats, but veterinary care and at-home blood glucose monitoring can help you manage the disease in your four-legged friends.
The first step is identifying warning signs of diabetes in your pet. Certain risk factors may increase the chances of your pet getting diabetes. In both dogs and cats, these include age, obesity and breeds with a genetic predisposition.
Signs of diabetes in pets are often very similar to those in humans and include fatigue or weakness, increased hunger, weight loss, increased thirst and increased urination. If you observe one or more of these signs, consult with your veterinarian to determine the cause.
If your veterinarian diagnoses diabetes, they will create a management plan that addresses your pet’s dietary and dental care needs. The plan also will call for monitoring blood glucose levels and often include a prescription for insulin.
Diet and exercise
Exercise and physical activity are also important when managing diabetic pets. In general, physical activity and exercise lower blood glucose levels. This is why consistency in your pet’s daily exercise schedule is important.
At-home monitoring systems for pets are very different than at-home monitoring systems for humans and should not be used interchangeably. You actually can use the same at-home monitoring systems that your veterinarian uses, such as AlphaTRAK® 2, which is available through your veterinarian. Specifically calibrated for dogs and cats, it is easy to use and priced affordably to make at-home monitoring convenient and economical.
Once you have a prescribed plan in place, you should meet with your veterinarian three to four times a year for him/her to adjust the plan as needed to keep your pet comfortable.
Successful diabetes management is achieved through compliance with your pet’s prescribed plan, at-home blood glucose monitoring and consistent communication and follow-up appointments with your veterinarian. Visit AlphaTRAKmeter.com to learn more about diabetes management.
1 Vernon D (2011). Banfield releases major veterinary study showing spike in diabetes, dental disease and otitis externa. DVM 360. April 21, 2011. [2015 November 19] Available from: http://veterinarynews
Photo courtesy of Getty images
Make Living a Healthy Lifestyle a Priority
(Family Features) Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are many products available to help make the process easier. There is no time like the present to make your body a priority and it’s no secret that good health can have an undeniably positive impact on quality of life.
Whether you are looking for the perfect workout outfit, accessories or equipment, or revamping your kitchen appliances to accommodate a new diet, JCPenney has everything you need to refresh your diet and exercise regimen no matter your budget.
Find more products like these to aid you in your quest to live a healthier lifestyle at JCPenney and jcpenney.com.
Find Comfort in Every Situation
Unlock Hidden Nutrition in Food
Add Personality to Your Workouts
Say Goodbye to Calorie Counting
Pick Portable Training Tools
Don’t Forget About Your Feet
Keep Your Mind and Body Focused
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (women walking)
New Year Boosters for Body and Mind
(Family Features) A new year is the perfect time to commit to making personal improvements to your body and mind. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to bolster and guide you for nearly every self-improvement effort you can imagine.
If you’re seeking inspiration, these ideas will put you on track to better yourself inside and out during the coming year.
Eat well with ease. Eating better tops many New Year’s resolution lists, but the demands of a busy schedule can quickly derail your plans. Take the guesswork out of portion control and calorie counting with complete, freshly prepared meals you can pick up or have delivered to your home. Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating offers a range of calorie plans, as well as vegetarian meal options. Based in Illinois, the freshly prepared meal company conveniently serves up weekly plans consisting of three meals per day or 21 meals per week. Learn more by calling 1-800-442-3438 or visiting seattlesutton.com.
Banish stress. Find ways to ease your mind and reduce tension and anxiety like a pro. Although an ultra-connected life can be the source of your stress, it can also give you some handy tools to help keep pressure and worries from mounting. Whether you tend to journal away your aggression, need some quiet time with soothing music or want a mindless distraction while you take a break, you can find dozens of apps to help keep stress in check.
Learn a language. Keep your mind active by challenging yourself to learn a new language. With courses designed by a professional team of linguists, authors and teachers, Babbel tailors lessons to help you become conversational in as little as 10 hours. The interactive lessons are available in 14 different languages and use real vocabulary for real situations. With cloud-based content, you can seamlessly learn at your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet, whether you're at home, taking a break or on the go. Learn more at Babbel.com.
Energize your exercise. When weight loss or a more sculpted shape is the goal you’re pursuing, it can be tough to stay motivated. Keep the long-term prize in sight by celebrating short-term victories. Wearable devices help track your movement and activity, as well as numerous health indicators, so you can watch your progress on a daily and weekly basis as you work toward the finish line.
Fuel yourself. Smoothies are a popular source of vital nutrients and energy – and, luckily, you can make them part of your daily diet with just one machine. The Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ Compact System, which is available at retailers nationwide, provides nutrient and vitamin extraction with high-performance blending to take drink customization to a whole new level. But it doesn’t stop at drinks – the system also helps prepare appetizers, meals and desserts. Accessories include multiple cups, blending and prepping tools and a 30-recipe guide. Additionally, the system offers the first-ever coffee and spice grinder blender attachment (sold separately). For more information, visit ninjakitchen.com.
Putting the right tools and resources in place helps ensure your New Year’s resolutions are within reach, so you can focus on working toward a better version of yourself all year long.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Friendly Advice to Fight Cold and Flu
(Family Features) Even a mild case of the flu or a powerful cold can leave you feeling run down and out of sorts for days or even weeks. While many ailments must simply run their course, there are many steps you can take to fight your way back to good health.
The first step is identifying whether you’re fighting a cold or the flu, which can be tricky because many of the symptoms are similar. However, colds tend to come on more slowly, while the flu hits rather quickly. Often cold symptoms stay limited to your head (runny nose, sneezing, sore throat), while a flu affects other areas of your body with aches, fatigue and sometimes digestive irritation such as nausea or diarrhea. Generally, flu symptoms are more intense than cold symptoms. Sometimes, but not always, the flu brings a fever or 100°F or more, along with chills and sweats.
Follow this advice to help fight cold and flu, and get you back on your feet:
Even the healthiest people encounter germs and get sick from time to time. Taking care of yourself and giving your body the chance to heal is the best treatment. Learn more about treating your cold and flu symptoms at fishermansfriend.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Purr-fect Tips to Protect Cats Year-Round
(Family Features) When cooler weather arrives, you may assume your pet is safe from parasites – especially if your cat lives mostly or exclusively indoors. To the contrary, identifying the risk for parasites, such as fleas, ear mites and heartworms, and providing true pest protection for your pets has very little to do with the seasons.
“Back when I was in veterinary school, we believed there were parasite ‘seasons,’” said Chris Adolph, DVM, MS, DACVM, a board certified parasitologist, veterinary specialist at Zoetis and former veterinary practice owner in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. “Today’s highly variable weather patterns have resulted in the possibility of parasite transmission well beyond traditionally warmer months, and in turn, increasing the likelihood of infection or infestation to your pets.”
After trashing most of Oreo’s toys and bedding, Swern’s veterinarian recommended a topical, broad-spectrum preventive. After treatment with Revolution® (selamectin), Swern’s home was again flea-free and continues that way thanks to monthly treatments she applies to her cat.
The best way to protect your furry feline friend year-round is by following a few simple tips:
Routine checkups. You may believe that once your kitten has received its vaccinations, you’re finished with veterinary visits. Actually, it’s important to continue taking your cat for annual examinations to help maintain a high quality of life. Cats tend to hide illness very well, and your veterinarian can help identify problems you may miss at home as well as guide you in areas such as dental care, nutrition and behavior.
Preventive medication. Regular use of a monthly parasite preventive, such as Revolution, can protect your cat from many common internal and external parasites. Along with fleas, broad-spectrum preventives can address risks related to heartworm disease, ear mites (Otodectes cynotis), roundworms (Toxocara cati) and hookworms (Ancylostoma tubaeforme).
Behavior monitoring. Don’t assume that a cat that begins exhibiting behavior problems is simply acting out. Most undesirable behaviors, such as suddenly refusing to use a litter box or aggression, can actually be signs of illness. Consulting a veterinarian can help you determine the best course of action.
Consider the climate. Just as extreme temperatures can affect people, excess heat and cold may impact your cat. Cozy bedding in front of a bright window may provide just the right warmth in winter, but prove too toasty in the summer. Make adjustments throughout the year to keep your kitty comfortable as temperatures change.
Ample activities. Even mellow kitties can benefit from exercise, just like humans. Provide toys to encourage cats to keep active and healthy – and offer diversions such as scratching posts from temptations like carpet or furniture. Mental stimulation is also important. Placing birdfeeders or birdbaths outside of windows and hiding small amounts of food at different levels throughout the house for your cat to find can help keep your pet entertained as well as mentally sharp.
Learn more about protecting your cat from common parasites and take The 9 Lies of Cats quiz for a chance to win a KitNipBox subscription at Revolution4Cats.com.
Important Safety Information: Do not use Revolution on sick, weak or underweight cats. Use only on cats 8 weeks and older. Side effects may include digestive upset and temporary hair loss at application site with possible inflammation. In people, Revolution may be irritating to skin and eyes. Wash hands after use. See full prescribing information.
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