Disasters such as hurricanes, floods, fires and other emergency situations are all too common these days and can impact nearly everyone, making it important to have a plan. This is particularly true for older people and people with disabilities.
Preparing an Emergency Plan for Your Unique Needs
(Family Features) Disasters such as hurricanes, floods, fires and other emergency situations are all too common these days. In fact, about 4 out of 5 Americans live in counties hit by weather events since 2007, according to disaster declaration data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That illustrates how these events can impact nearly everyone and the importance of having a plan.
This is particularly true for older people and people with disabilities. Health issues, mobility concerns and use of assistive devices can create additional challenges during emergencies. However, there are simple steps everyone can take to prepare now for what may come later.
Learn more about preparedness at acl.gov/programs/emergency-preparedness.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Administration for Community Living
Behind the label: Decoding certifications in the shopping aisle
(BPT) - When we visit the grocery store, we’ve become accustomed to a dizzying array of options. There are labels touting everything from food safety to environmental and ethical standards. Making the best decision for your family, your health and the good of the planet is important, but how can you possibly keep track of what all these labels really mean?
Voting with your wallet
Today’s wired world allows us to be more conscious of the impacts of our choices than ever before. Shopping isn’t just about putting food on the table. It’s a daily opportunity to support the kind of world we want to live in. Our actions and what we choose to buy can impact not only the planet’s future, but our social economy as well.
A 2017 study by Cone Communications reported that 60 percent of Americans believe businesses can be key drivers for social and environmental change. Whether it’s phasing out plastic bags and straws or carrying more ethically traded products, businesses are showing consumers that they are listening.
Businesses aren’t doing this just because you asked; they’re doing it because it’s the right thing. Many of them are putting their values on full display in the form of labels that make it easier for you to navigate the shopping aisle.
“As shoppers we are often in a hurry, so much so that we might not even be aware of how quickly we make a decision. That’s where clear labeling can help,” said Rebecca Walker Reczek, professor of marketing at Ohio State University. “Without it you’d need to research each product and the time can add up.”
The truth behind the labels
So what gives? Are organic and natural the same thing? Does a green label mean it’s better for the environment? What does "fair trade" really mean? These are just some of the questions many consumers are asking when they make their way down the grocery aisle.
Most of us are aware of those little labels on our food, but we often don’t understand what they mean. Like any choice, the key is education. To shop in accordance with our values, we must understand what the label stands for and how it’s been verified. And yes — verification matters.
Marketing savvy and great design can create convincing packaging and badges that represent a company’s promise, but often they aren’t based on rigorous standards.
On the other hand, certification labels mean that an independent organization has audited and checked that a company is following a standard set of rules — whether it’s fair trade, responsible fishing, GMO avoidance or better treatment of workers.
For example, the USDA organic label means that an independent organization has audited the farmer to make sure they abide by national organic standards. On the other hand, the term ‘natural’ has no set definition or standards. Neither the FDA nor the USDA has set rules for this term. Pure, natural, green, direct trade — all these terms conjure an image, but are not audited and don’t refer to any established standard. Essentially, they are just words.
A guide to the goods
Everyone has a right to know what is in their food and where it comes from. Look to these certifications to guide your next shopping trip:
* Fairtrade — The Fairtrade certification ensures safe and fair working conditions, prohibits child labor and provides farmers and workers with a fairer price or better wages. Fairtrade products originate in developing and least developed countries where farmers and workers are often marginalized.
Where found: Coffee, chocolate, bananas, sugar, avocados, tea and more
* MSC Certified — By choosing seafood with the MSC blue fish label you are supporting independently certified sustainable fisheries. Their good management practices help ensure fish stocks and habitats are healthy and fishing community livelihoods are secure.
Where found: Wild caught fish and seafood, fish oil supplements, pet food
* Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured — The EFI-certified label indicates that the workers who harvested your food are treated with respect, compensated fairly and engaged to identify problems that impact the safety of your food.
Where found: Fresh fruits and vegetables
* Non-GMO Project Verified — The Non-GMO Project Standard is North America’s most rigorous and reliable standard for GMO avoidance, set apart by its transparency, trustworthiness, ongoing testing and third-party status. The best way to avoid consuming GMOs is to look for the butterfly.
Where found: Dairy and meat products, fruit and vegetables, snack foods, vitamins and supplements, oils and more
Food is a basic necessity, but it is also a conscious choice shaped by our values and our lifestyle. Shop your values on your next shopping trip. To learn more about these certifications and continue the conversation, visit www.fairtr.de/TruthBehindLabels.
From finances and health concerns to lengthy to-do lists, there are numerous sources of strain in the lives of most people. However, today there is a surprisingly simple way to relieve stress: flowers.
A Surprising Solution for Stress Relief
(Family Features) From finances and health concerns to lengthy to-do lists, there are numerous sources of strain in the lives of most people.
According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research, 68 percent of people feel stress on a weekly basis and 32 percent are stressed every day. Women, in particular, are impacted, as 25 percent surveyed reported experiencing stress multiple times a day. However, today there is a surprisingly simple way to relieve stress: flowers.
New research from the University of North Florida’s Department of Public Health shows that living with flowers can significantly alleviate daily stress. These findings follow decades of behavioral research studies conducted by researchers at universities including Harvard, Rutgers and Texas A&M that demonstrate flowers’ ability to make people happy, strengthen feelings of compassion, foster creativity and even provide boosts of energy.
The study, titled The Impact of Flowers on Perceived Stress Among Women, concludes that adding flowers to indoor environments results in a statistically significant and meaningful reduction in stress.
“There is a growing body of research that illustrates how environmental design positively impacts health,” said lead researcher Erin Largo-Wight, Ph.D., associate professor of the University of North Florida’s Department of Public Health. “Now it is both intuitive and scientifically known that adding elements of nature, like flowers, to interiors promotes well-being.”
The specific results include:
“Our findings are important from a public health perspective because adding flowers to reduce stress does not require tremendous effort to generate a meaningful effect,” Largo-Wight said. “When life seems to be in a constant state of frenzy, flowers can provide a much-needed moment of calm.”
For more information about the study, along with tips on relieving stress, visit aboutflowers.com/stressless.SOURCE:
Society of American Florists
With the health of the oceans closely tied to the health of the environment, marine life and humans, making choices that help reduce ocean pollution is one way to make an impact. These tips are a few ways you can help protect the environment.
5 Tips to Help Reduce Litter and Protect the Oceans
(Family Features) The tide of environmental studies showing the harmful effects of litter and mismanaged waste on oceans are seemingly everywhere. For example, 8 million metric tons of plastics wind up in streams, rivers and waterways each year, according to research published in “Science.”
According to the Ocean Conservancy, plastic product consumption is predicted to double over the next 10 years. With the health of the oceans closely tied to the health of the environment, marine life and humans, making choices that help reduce ocean pollution is one way to make an impact. In fact, research from the Plastic Free July Foundation shows that more than six in 10 people refuse plastic shopping bags, avoid pre-packed fruit and vegetables, pick up litter and avoid buying water in plastic bottles.
“Mismanaged packaging waste is a threat to our oceans and the overall health of our planet,” said Lynn Bragg, president of the Glass Packaging Institute. “We can all make a difference by changing the type of food and beverage packaging we buy, opting for reusable and refillable containers, following local recycling guidelines and helping keep beaches and waterways clean.”
These tips from the Glass Packaging Institute are just a few ways to contribute:
Find out more about the benefits of choosing and reusing glass packaging to help reduce ocean pollution at upgradetoglass.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Glass Packaging Institute
There are several simple ways to tune up your nutrition and lifestyle habits so you can feel better than ever. A great place to start is with your diet.
(BPT) - Just about everyone feels like they could use a little extra pep in their day, that surge of energy to get things done and enjoy their favorite activities. This is especially true as we age.
However, very few people actually feel as if they have the energy they need. The stress of modern life, poor sleep habits, consuming processed foods and less than optimal digestion are triggering a perfect storm for a human energy crisis.
There are several simple ways to tune up your nutrition and lifestyle habits so you can feel better than ever. A great place to start is with your diet.
“A healthy diet that is rich in plant foods, whole grains and lean proteins is always the starting point in reaching optimal health,” says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum+, an author and internist. “At the same time, as we get older, it’s important to understand how our bodies change, and what we need to do to help our bodies get what they need to keep our systems running well.
“However, despite our best efforts,” Teitelbaum explains, “it is very difficult for us to get all of the nutrients we need from food alone. Sometimes nutritional supplements may be needed to fill nutrient gaps.”
In addition to movement and a healthy diet, Teitelbaum shares things people in their 50s and 60s need to know to optimize their health and feel good.‡
1. Your digestive system changes as you age, so make sure it's getting support.
A healthy digestive tract is crucial for overall health. As we age, our digestive systems often need more support in order to properly break down food and absorb the nutrients our bodies need to function optimally, according to a study published in Oncotarget.
To get the most nutrition from the food you eat, Dr. Teitelbaum recommends talking to your doctor about adding a plant-based enzyme supplement to your regimen to support your digestive health. GI Digest, for example, is a comprehensive digestive enzyme formula designed to assist in the proper digestion of proteins, fats, starch, dairy and gluten.‡
2. Small things can make a big difference for heart health.
Getting an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids along with vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, may support cardiovascular health.‡ Because vitamin D is best absorbed in the body when taken with a fat source, Dr. Teitelbaum suggests talking to your doctor about a supplement that has a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, like QÜELL Fish Oil EPA/DHA Plus D.‡ Also, be sure to talk to your doctor about other heart-healthy habits you can incorporate into your life, because things like daily walks, reducing stress and increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can all support heart health.‡
3. Is your energy lagging? It may be a simple deficiency.
As we age, we tend to accept at face value that having less energy just comes with the territory. Sometimes the solution is a simple matter of meeting our bodies’ nutritional needs. For example, one mineral that helps the body convert nutrients into energy is magnesium. When levels get low, it can interfere with your body’s ability to access its energy stores, causing the body to work harder, as shown in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
To support your body’s metabolic function, a supplement like Magnesium Glycinate contains 100 mg of magnesium in an easy-to-swallow tablet.
In addition, vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps your body convert food into energy; however, as we age, our bodies can begin to have trouble absorbing enough B12. To support your body’s energy needs, ask your doctor about taking Methyl B12 Plus, a great-tasting lozenge that rapidly dissolves in the mouth.
If your energy levels are lagging, Dr. Teitelbaum says, it’s important to talk to your doctor, so together, you can uncover the root causes, and he or she can make recommendations.‡
4. Feed your body with real, whole foods.
Food processing destroys most of the vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients the body needs to function optimally. Dr. Teitelbaum says the best thing you can do is cut the sugar from your diet and slowly add whole foods. Though most adults should be eating at least 1.5 cups of fruit and two cups of vegetables per day, a mere 9 percent actually meet that target, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It may sound like a tall order to work all those fruit and veggie servings into your diet, but break down the daily goal into smaller parts and it may feel more attainable. For example, just take the simple step of adding one extra serving of fruits and veggies to each meal. Slice some banana on your morning cereal, opt for the steamed veggies with your entree, snack on veggies and hummus, and close the meal with fresh berries. Supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin can also help fill the gaps in your diet. Dr. Teitelbaum recommends Ultra Preventive X as a daily multivitamin that can help provide the nutrients you need in their most usable forms for the body.‡
To address your needs and support your health, always talk to your healthcare practitioner about adding nutritional supplements to your daily routine. To discover new ways to use nutrition to tune up your health, visit the Douglas Labs website and watch the videos at www.douglaslabs.com/tune-up-teitelbaum/.
+Dr. Teitelbaum has been retained as a medical consultant in advising Douglas Laboratories.
‡These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Most of us know lifestyle changes can improve our overall health. Exercising more, eating more vegetables and not smoking all have an effect on blood flow in the body, which can affect our overall health. These can impact the health of your eyes as well.
(BPT) - Most of us know lifestyle changes can improve our overall health. Exercising more, eating more vegetables and not smoking all have an effect on blood flow in the body, which can affect our overall health.
What many don’t realize is that when blood flow is blocked or slows down, the health of our eyes can also be affected. That means that wearing neckties too tight or doing certain yoga poses, such as the downward dog, can increase pressure in the eyes, which can lead to an eye disease called glaucoma. Glaucoma has few warning signs, and is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60. Being overweight or having high blood pressure can increase a person’s risk for another common eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.
Vision loss — or even worse, blindness — can negatively impact the quality of life, independence and the ability to do daily things such as driving, reading or seeing grandchildren.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that individuals 65 and older get an annual medical eye exam with an ophthalmologist, which is a medical doctor who specializes in medical and surgical eye care. Through comprehensive eye exams, ophthalmologists can check a person’s eyes for hidden signs of eye disease, which may have no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Once diagnosed, ophthalmologists can provide treatments to help prevent vision loss.
For those concerned about the cost of an exam, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program may be able to help. More than 5,500 dedicated volunteer ophthalmologists provide eye exams and care, often at no out-of-pocket cost to eligible patients. Since 1985, the program has helped nearly 2 million people in need.
EyeCare America serves U.S. citizens or legal residents who do not belong to an HMO.
To be eligible for the EyeCare America seniors program, an individual:
* Must be age 65 or older, and
* Have not had an eye exam by an ophthalmologist in three or more years.
To be eligible for the EyeCare America glaucoma program, an individual:
* Must not have had an eye exam within the last year, and must be at an increased glaucoma risk due to age, race and/or family history.
Many sight-stealing conditions can be prevented or slowed down with proper care and making simple lifestyle adjustments such as:
1. Avoid inverted postures in yoga. Studies show head-down positions can increase eye pressure and are not recommended for glaucoma patients. There are plenty of yoga exercises that don’t have this effect.
2. Avoid tight neckties. Researchers say that a too-tight necktie may increase the risk of glaucoma by increasing blood pressure inside the eyes.
3. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially green, leafy ones. One study showed that people who ate more leafy vegetables have a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Why? Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the eye.
4. Exercise regularly. According to the National Eye Institute, eating a healthy diet and getting exercise have been shown in earlier studies to protect against AMD. A recent study showed that people who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity appear to have a 73 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. This is because blood flow and pressure inside the eye may change with exercise.
For more information about EyeCare America or to see if you or others are eligible to be matched with one of its volunteer ophthalmologists, visit www.aao.org/eyecareamerica.
EyeCare America is cosponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc., with additional support from Alcon and Regeneron.
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