Tips For Reducing Wildfire Risk

Landowners can reduce wildfire risks to houses, cabins and outbuildings by creating defensible spaces around them, according to wildfire experts.

Information about how to create defensible spaces and reduce wildfire risks to property is at

 “With this spring’s unusually dry conditions, we are asking people to be especially careful with all types of fires around their property, and we urge them to implement defensible space practices around their homes and outbuildings," says Bill Crapser, state forester with the Wyoming State Forestry Division (WSFD).

The website is part of Barnyards & Backyards, Rural Living in Wyoming by the Small Acreage Issue Team, which is a collaborative effort of the University of Wyoming (UW) Extension, WSFD and other land resource organizations in Wyoming.

The subjects in how-to articles and videos include creating defensible space around a house, cabin or outbuilding; fire-wise plants that can be used in landscapes; and other steps to prepare for wildfire. There is also information about what to do after a wildfire, such as rehabilitating the fire line, burned and stressed tree danger, whether to salvage fire-damaged trees, and water quality and erosion following fires.

“The Barnyards & Backyards website is one of the best sites out there for practical information of interest to rural residents in our state,” says Jennifer Thompson, small-acreage outreach coordinator with UW Extension. “Visitors can find information on a whole host of subjects including vegetable gardening, weed control, water-wise landscaping, tree care, windbreaks, pine beetle management, grazing management and more. The rich and useful content is the result of the efforts of resource professionals across the state.”

Tips to Reverse Diabetes Using Social Medicine

Diabetes is on the rise, but it is also preventable by a healthy lifestyle change. Making small changes in the way people eat, adding in a little more exercise, and losing even a modest amount of weight can improve diabetes. The diabetes community found on, supports diabetics and their lifestyle., a health-based social networking site, helps people suffering from a variety of health conditions, like diabetes, to globally connect, help and share information with others in similar situations, by focusing on bridging the gap of patient-to-patient communication, and patient-to-practitioner, with all the social networking features and functionality expected in today’s society. focuses on community support, where real people in similar situations come together, to circumvent negative feelings like disconnection and loneliness, and focus on improving self-esteem, understanding, communication, relationships, and peer support.

Diabetics have more control over their health than they think. The most important thing people can do for their health is to lose weight. The biggest risk factor for developing diabetes is being overweight. Your risk is higher if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen. Experts say that losing just 5% to 10% of your total weight can help diabetics lower blood sugar considerably, as well as lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Changing your lifestyle doesn’t mean living in deprivation. Diabetics can continue to eat and enjoy their favorite foods, and best of all, don’t have to give up sweets or resign to carbohydrate counting. But you’ll probably need to learn some better eating habits. But what does eating right for diabetes mean? A diabetes diet is simply a healthy eating plan that is high in nutrients, low in fat, and moderate in calories.

The glycemic index (GI) shows how quickly a food turns into sugar. High GI foods tend to spike blood sugar levels. These foods include white rice, white pasta, white bread, potatoes, sweets, chips, and many processed foods. They should be limited in your diet. Low GI foods include nuts, seeds, lean meats, seafood, whole grains, beans, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and whole-wheat pasta. Diabetics should be eating a lot of non-starchy vegetables, beans and fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, and berries. Even tropical fruits like bananas, mangoes, and papayas.

Diabetics should always monitor blood glucose, particularly when alcohol is consumed. Alcohol can interfere with medication and insulin. Beer and wine contain calories and carbs, while cocktails are loaded with sugar. Men and women should drink in moderation, with women one drink per day and men two drinks per day.

If diabetics crave something sweet, they should limit intake of bread, rice or pasta during your main meal. Eating sweets adds extra carbohydrates; it is best to cut back on other carbohydrates where possible. Make your indulgence count by eating slowly and paying attention to the flavors and textures. Think about cutting down on sweets by reducing soda and juice drinks, reducing the amount of sugar in recipes by 1/4, and instead of ice cream, blend up frozen bananas, or a small piece of dark chocolate. Diabetics should also begin to replace your daily dessert with fruit.

There are various fats to consider when having a meal. Some fats are unhealthy, while other fats have high health benefits. The two most damaging fats are saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products such as red meat, whole milk dairy products, and eggs. Trans fats are fats that are less likely to spoil. The best fats are unsaturated fats, which come from plant and fish sources. Good sources include olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados, salmon, tuna, and flaxseeds, which fight inflammation and support brain and heart health.

When it comes to preventing, controlling, or reversing diabetes, consider exercising. Regular exercise maintains your weight and can improve your insulin sensitivity. One of the easiest moderate-intensity activities is walking for 30 minutes five or more times a week, swimming or riding a bike.

Vital Signs: Women's heart health

While fewer Americans overall are dying from heart disease, the death rate from heart disease for women younger than 55 is increasing. One in every two U.S. women will die from heart disease or stroke.

As National Heart Month gets under way this month, here are some of the top unanswered questions about how heart disease affects women – and some steps women can take right now to improve their heart health.

Seeking answers

A recent report from the Society for Women’s Health Research and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease outlined some of the key questions researchers are working to answer.

These questions include:

» Why does heart disease affects men and women differently, and why do women have worse outcomes from heart disease?

» What are the best ways to assess a woman’s risk for heart disease?

» What are the best ways to deal with those risk factors to reduce a woman’s risk for heart disease?

Researchers here at the University of Virginia Health System are seeking answers to many of these questions. For instance, I am involved in a study that uses a small ultrasound device to examine the arteries of 100 women and 100 men who had heart attacks to learn if the arteries of men and women are different. This could lead to different and better treatments for women.

UVa researchers, including Dr. Christopher Kramer, are examining whether MRI is a better tool to diagnose heart disease in women. Women are more likely than men to have abnormalities in the small vessels of their heart, which can be diagnosed more easily using MRI.

Taking charge of heart health

As researchers look for better ways to detect, treat and prevent heart disease in women, there are several proactive steps you can take now to protect your heart health.

The first step is knowing your risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking. Discuss your risk factors and family history with your doctor.

Good health begins with lifelong, maintainable changes to your lifestyle. Some of the most important changes you can make include:

» Get regular exercise. You should get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days, if not every day.

» Maintain a healthy weight. Aim to keep your body mass index (BMI) below 25.

» Eat fresh foods, and avoid processed foods whenever possible.

» Find time to take care of yourself and reduce your stress level. Helping other people begins with helping yourself.

Health tips for Rainy days

1. Stay active indoors
Take advantage of the less than ideal monsoon weather and tackle a spring cleaning project. Soon your sweat glands will be working overtime and detoxing seems an easy task.

2. Get creative with your exercise routine
During a TV commercial break, exploit the couch and perform bench dips and a set of lunges. Begin with 10 of each and increase it by two more at the next commercial break.

3. Bake for health sake
Grab hold of healthy recipes from the internet, cookbooks or newspaper and start baking. Or simply experiment with substituting regular flour with whole wheat variety for favourite breads and muffins recipes.


Tips for low cholesterol cooking

A diet makeover is an effective way to cut down bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein). By avoiding certain foods high in trans and saturated fats, you can lower your cholesterol level drastically.

But, the secret to a balanced heart-friendly diet doesn't here. Lowering bad cholesterol must start from your very kitchen with the help of healthy cooking methods. By practicing easy-to-follow cooking tips, you can deal with high cholesterol woes while making sure that all essential nutrients remain intact. Here are 8 important tips for low cholesterol cooking...

Employ low-fat cooking methods: Try low-fat cooking methods like broiling, grilling, stir-fry, braising and steaming. These methods are much better than batter coating and deep frying as they help retain all the essential nutrients and flavours of the ingredients. Fried foods, on the other hand, should be strictly avoided because most of them contain high levels of saturated and trans-fats. Moreover, when oil is heated to very high temperatures, a toxic compound called acrylamide is formed which is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Hence, to maintain heart health and lower bad cholesterol, use these health cooking methods.

Use lean cuts of meat: Another healthy cooking method is using more of lean cuts of meat and poultry as they are lower in fats. Lean cuts of pork include loin chops and tenderloin while that of beef includes chuck, sirloin and round. Also, while cooking chicken meat, use boneless breast pieces or trim the excess fat with the help of kitchen scissors.

Remove visible meat fats before cooking: While cooking meat and poultry, trim all visible fats from the pieces. This includes oils, butter and fats on the meat. The skin also harbours a lot of fat and calories and hence, it is advisable to always remove it. You may leave the skin on while cooking but remove it prior to eating.

Use pure vegetable oils instead of fats: Use more of olive oil, sunflower oil and canola oil for cooking instead of opting for lard or butter. These cooking oils are a very good source of unsaturated fatty acids required for maintaining a healthy heart. While olive oil is a good source of mono-unsaturates, pure vegetable oils like sunflower oil are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Avoid fatty favouring additives: For a low cholesterol diet, try more of organic spices like basil, cilantro and oregano rather than fatty additives for flavouring. Instead of leaning more towards sour cream and butter to liven your dish, you can reach for these spices to remain healthy and fat-free.

Cook meat dishes in advance: While cooking stews, soups and boiled meat, try and cook a day in advance and then keep it inside the refrigerator. This is because as the dish chills, the fat present in it hardens at the top. This can be removed easily and the remaining low-fat dish can be used.

Remove or drain fat after cooking: Another cooking recommendation that will help lower the cholesterol content is by draining the fat after cooking. Once the meat or poultry pieces are cooked properly, you can remove the excess oil in the pan and then rinse the pieces in hot water. Following this, you can remove the water from the cooked meat with the help of a paper towel.

Eat foods with high fibre content: For cooking low-cholesterol foods, opt for ingredients that have high fibre levels. Fibre foods can be categorized under two distinct sectors - soluble and insoluble fibre foods. Insoluble fibre foods include green leafy vegetables, nuts and grains while soluble fibres are found in bananas and oatmeal.

Some tips to beat the heat wave

"Cool it!"

That's the advice going out Wednesday night from the Broome County Health Department, especially to the elderly, and parents of infants and toddlers.

That's because they're the ones most likely to suffer from a heat-related illness over the next few days.

The guys rebuilding Johnson Avenue on Binghamton's West Side are on a tight schedule.

No waiting for cooler weather.

But they're not taking chances in this heat.

They are taking this advice from Dr. Chris Ryan, Medical Director of the Broome County Health Department.

"You should drink lots of water." advises Dr. Ryan.

Sports drinks are o.k. too, as long as they don't have too much sugar or caffeine.

What else?

"Try to spend time in cool, air conditioned environments." said Dr. Ryan

Not an option for the construction crew.

But it's exactly what the Loyal D. Greenmun Senior Center is offering, weekdays 10 to 4.

"Even several hours each day spent in a cool, air conditioned environment is a good idea, is protective." said Dr. Ryan

For the duration of the heat wave, the center's welcoming even non members.

"You don't have to be a member to come in and sit. And it's nice and cool in here so I'd advise it, if somebody wanted to get out of the heat to come in. " said Mitz White

And, you don't have to just sit.

"We have crafts here. We have pool downstairs. We have 4 pool tables. We have shuffleboard here. We have the Wii game, we can get things going here, activities for people." said White

Of course this is the activity most people think of when the temperature hovers around 90.

A way better option than huddling inside around a fan.

"If it's less than 95 and you feel better with a fan blowing, that's great but don't count on that to be protective against heat-related illness." tells Dr. Ryan

When the fan stopped making a difference at the Lindsley's home, Mom, Dad, and 19 month-old Mason headed for the nearest public pool.

"Yes, yes, it's too hot at home. The fans aren't even working. No air conditioning, so we came here." said Ashley Lindsley

And with no letup for a few days, they'll probably be back.

Tips for staying healthy in hot temperatures

With the arrival of summer and hot weather upon us, Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, is encouraging California residents to follow these top-10 helpful tips to stay safe this summer:

• Reduce exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest, and keep physical activities to a minimum during that time. When working outside, drink plenty of water or juice even if you are not thirsty, and take rest breaks in the shade.

• Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover the face and neck, and wear loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and to protect your skin from the sun and mosquitoes.

• Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts, which left untreated, can lead to blindness.

• Liberally apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15)

15 minutes before venturing outdoors and re-apply at least every two hours — sunscreen prevents skin cancer, the number one cancer affecting Californians and prevents premature aging.

• Never, EVER leave infants, children or frail elderly unattended in a parked car. It can take as little as 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise to levels that can kill.

• To prevent overheating, use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths — if you or someone experiences a rapid, strong pulse, feels delirious, becomes unconscious or has a body temperature above 102, call 911 immediately.

• Prevent children from drowning by providing adult supervision at all times and having a safety barrier that surrounds a pool or spa. Drowning is the leading cause of injury deaths for children under five.

• Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Some mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus, which can mimic influenza symptoms such as fever, body aches and eye pain.

The virus can cause serious health complications and in rare cases, death.

• Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions.

Mosquitoes usually bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear repellent during those times.

• Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls — mosquitoes breed and lay eggs in standing water.

For more tips on staying cool in the summer sun, go online to

Stroke prevention and getting enough sleep

Health tips for Wednesday include a healthy diet to prevent stroke, and getting ample sleep for both adults and children!

Strokes are probably one of the more debilitating and disabling health downturns we could have, if we survive one at all.

Healthy weight and healthy eating lower our risk, but now, one thing we can have in our diet could protect us from stroke, that comes from an encouraging report to be published tomorrow in the Journal of Neurology.

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy way to eat and very beneficial for our hearts.

It comprises of fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and includes olive oil. In this study of over 7 thousand people who reported they used lots of olive oil, the researchers also found a 41 percent lower risk of stroke when compared to the people who used no olive oil.

So olive oil might be the protector against that awful attack to our brain vessels that's called a stroke.

So what I tell people is that olive consumption is good but to keep in mind that we don't know how much you should take and that olive oil is a fat. However it is a good fat so we encourage people to substitute bad fats with good fats

In another story, we have more information on women's sleep out today from sleep experts.

Many of us, both men and women, use weekends to try to catch up the snooze we didn't get enough of during the week. And while we may feel more rested, sometimes it's not enough, because our brain functions don't recover totally.

But one study reported today finds that women don't suffer the effects of sleep deprivation as much as men do.

The researchers think that is because women, when they do sleep, get "deeper" sleep and that is what protects them more when they're deprived of sleep.

That's one for the women.

And another sleep study reported today looked at pre-schoolers and what happens when they don't get enough sleep. The study involves about 6,860 children with analyses controlled for gender, ethnicity and family income

While most moms can probably tell you what happens, this scientific research found this: Kids not getting enough sleep at home might make them more likely to be hyperactive and inattentive in Kindergarten.

"ADHD is usually diagnosed during the school age years, but the onset of hyperactivity and impulsivity starts much earlier", said the researcher.

Doctor's recommendation: toddlers to age 3 should get 12 to 14 hours of sleep , and preschoolers and kindergarteners need to get 11 to 13 hours. So doctor's orders: see that those little ones get their sleep.

Health tips for pregnant women dealing with diabetes

We all know that the condition of pregnancy can be difficult for any women but it can be more challenging if the woman has Diabetes. So if any of you is about to get pregnant then there are many precautions that you need to take care of and bad habits like smoking or drinking should be avoided. Here are certain health tips that help you out in dealing with pregnancy and diabetes at the same time:

Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can help you in avoiding injuries and keeping a check on the blood sugar level. It is very easy to maintain a healthy weight by performing routine exercise designed for pregnant women. Loosing excess weight and taking prenatal vitamins can assist in keeping blood sugar under control.

Women who are dealing with diabetes type 2 are more at risk for PCOS, which is also known as polycystic ovary syndrome. In this complex situation, it is very difficult for a woman to get pregnant. However, there are certain medications that can assist in stimulating the ovulation like Clomid and Serophene.

Constant checkups

Woman dealing with pregnancy and diabetes at the same time deal with complex problems quite often, that is why it is very important for her to undergo regular checkups with her doctor. Regular monitoring, blood sugar level checkups and ultrasounds with the doctor can be of great help in detecting any sort of problems earlier on before it gets late. It is very important to keep the blood sugar under control by regular blood glucose monitoring so that your diabetes does not create problems in pregnancy stages.

Tips on how to reduce exposure to cell phone radiation

How do you cope with the fact that the cell phone, the means of communication by which million of people communicate, may cause brain cancer?

News that exposure to the phones' radio frequency and electromagnetic fields may put consumers at an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, will likely have panicked users reaching for their land lines.

While there no direct evidence that cell phones will give you cancer, there are proven way to help you reduce your risk:

If you're going to talk on your cell phone, go hands free.

These devices emit far less radiation than the actual phone, according to the Environmental Working Group. If you're alone, you could also use the phone's speaker mode.

Got a weak signal?  While it seems counterintuitive, that's the time when radiation is the strongest. The fewer bars you have, the more important it is to wear that headset.

Like to talk on your cell phone while you drive? Be aware that your iPhone may be more dangerous while you're in the car.  The reason?  While your phone is searching hard for a signal, it's emitting more radiation.

We've all become used to having our phones within a moment's grasp. But think twice before you keep it in your pocket or on your belt, right next to your body while you're chatting, advises the environmental group.

Little kids shouldn't talk on cell phones for more a few minutes – their brains absorb more radiation.  Tell Grandma to call on the land line.

Some phones cause more radiation to be absorbed by the human body.  Here are a few to consider avoiding, according to the group.

1. Motorola Bravo (MB520) AT&T 1.59 W/kg
2. Motorola Droid 2 GlobalVerizon Wireless *1.58 W/kg
3. Palm PixiSprint1.56 W/kg
4. Motorola Boost i335Boost Mobile 1.55 W/kg
5. Blackberry Bold 9700AT&T, T-Mobile1.55 W/kg
6.Motorola i335Sprint 1.55 W/kg
7. HTC Magic (T-Mobile myTouch 3G)T-Mobile 1.55 W/kg

10 Tips for a 10 minutes healthy shopping spree

For all the moms, hostelites, working professionals, freelancers or for that matter single men and women out there, life doesn't fit into neat little routine blocks, does it?

After all, time saved is time earned! And who wants to spend hours and hours doing mundane chores at home and then heading to the supermarket to shop for the coming week. But, when it comes to shopping for healthy food items one does not need to compromise on quality. So we thought, why don't we put together our top 10 tips which will help you shop in 10 minutes or less, without compromising on the nutritious front. Game? Read on!

Prepare a grocery list for one entire week's meals. This will save you from making multiple trips to the grocery store and will also help you in making sure you buy only what you need.

Stick to your grocery list. With new health items hitting the market every second day, you could be in that store for a long time. Keep a list handy, tick items as you buy them, and you're out in a jiffy.

In order to stock healthy fast food at home, compartmentalise your shopping list in a way that all the food items are written under a separate column focusing on the perimeter of the store. Based on your neighbourhood supermarket's isles system, divide your shopping list.

Once a month, when you have ample time for food shopping in your hands, go for bulk shopping, if possible. Basic stapes such as tomato ketchup, flour, chilli sauces, oregano, rice, pasta and so on should be bought in bulk.

Avoid depending on 2-minute processed snacks. Instead opt for a variety of sauces, herbs (both fresh and dry), and fruits (both fresh and dry). Replace buying too much of tinned, processed foods with fresh homemade pastes and whole wheat products.

Stock your kitchen with easy-to-find healthy food items in order to maximize health benefits. Go for cheeses labelled as fat-free or reduced-fat, products with zero gram trans fat and whole grain stamp items. Fat free milk or low fat milk and products which say 'low in saturated fat and cholesterol' are good choices.

Avoid shopping right after work as busy evenings mean crowded stores. Try shopping over weekends.

Do eat a protein rich snack such as almonds or peanuts or a whole fruit before shopping. This way you'll avoid mindless bingeing while shopping.

Get your choices right. Select wisely when you are shopping and don't give in to the temptation. Choose a burger which is made of 100% whole grain bread instead of the white bread option. Go for low-fat dressings or better still just take ingredients such as lemon, parsley, honey, chilli flakes, mixed herbs, vinegar, soya sauce and prepare your own homemade hygienic dressing.

Tell your friend who shares your fitness routine or weight loss goal to accompany you. This will help you stick to your healthy weight management goals without getting distracted or tempted.

10 tips to feeling happier now

Are you happy? It’s such an important question that British Prime Minister David Cameron recently created a national happiness index to check on how Brits feel. Even Facebook is measuring the Gross National Happiness of its members.

We’re asking because happiness has a huge impact on your health, from your arteries to your heart, from the glow in your skin to the pep in your step.

Happy feelings influence your brain and body chemistry in ways that make you better able to cope with pain and stress, and to fend off colds, flu, heart disease, even cancer. The effects of happiness on your health can be even bigger than the effect of quitting smoking. If you’re happy, you’ll likely live longer and definitely live younger!

And here’s the thing: Being happy isn’t just luck. You can make yourself happier, day in, day out. Here are 10 ways to get started:

1. Listen to music. Whether you love Bach or the Beastie Boys, music that makes you feel good increases your heart and breathing rates, and makes your brain release dopamine, a lovely feel-good neurotransmitter.

2. Hang out with upbeat friends. Your chances of happiness increase by 15 per cent if someone in your immediate social circle is happy.

3. Take a joy break. Don’t worry if you’re among the 80 per cent who say their job doesn’t thrill them. Even a few minutes of doing something you love (singing, hiking, watching a sunset) can reduce anxiety and improve your mood.

4. Talk nice to yourself. Is your inner voice quick to snap out things like: “How could you forget that, you idiot?” Trade put-downs for encouraging words; you can do this. They set you up for success.

5. Connect. Talk, really talk, to people you care about; connecting is good for you both. Get physical, too: Hugs stimulate oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” giving you a feel-good boost. Lovemaking does, too, in steady relationships (those couples report the highest happiness levels).

6. Keep a gratitude journal. Simply writing down what you’re thankful for makes you healthier and more optimistic.

7. Don’t sit around. Physical activity is a significant happiness booster. Get moving for 30 minutes a day.

8. Meditate. We do. It eases stress, improves sleep, strengthens immunity and measurably increases happiness (in one study, by 20 points on a scale of 100).

9. Help others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, hospital or shelter. Giving back adds more meaning, which is essential to happiness in your life.

10. Go outside. Spending time with Mother Nature makes you feel alert, enthusiastic, full of energy and, simply, happy.

Faster Weight Loss Through Speeding Up Your Metabolism?

Tips on How to Increase your Metabolism for Better Weight Loss The internet abounds in resources on how to lose weight. Sleeping has nothing to do with weight loss. Staying awake at night is the last thing you should do if you’re trying to lose weight. Just because you’re not moving when you’re asleep, it doesn’t mean that you’re putting on weight. However, studies have shown that making sure you get a good night’s sleep every night weighed about five pounds less than those who did not. This is because staying up late at night every night or even most nights can actually slow down your metabolism. This gets in the way of your body being able to use your food for energy, so it ends up getting stored as fat.

High levels of stress can affect your thyroid gland that keeps your hormone levels where they should be.

With a slow metabolism you can gain weight and even be depressed. By relaxing and doing activities you enjoy, you will keep your weight at a healthy level. So many of us are in such a rush in the morning, that we forget to eat breakfast and many of us think that it is only extra calories anyway. A healthy breakfast will speed up your body’s system of processing food and it will also boost your much-needed energy for the day. Some people find breakfast foods unappetizing, or they’re in a hurry and skip breakfast altogether; this could be okay. An hour after waking up and not later, eat something healthy, though. This will help you to have better weight loss results and be happier as well. In your workplace, try to move around a lot if it’s possible; shake a leg, too, instead of sitting at your desk the whole day.

This will not only help you shed off some pounds, keep fresh blood pumping to your heart, but keep you in good health as well. A good practice is to take a walk on your lunch break and get up from your desk every hour or so, and stretch a few times as you take deep breaths. We feel pressured and harassed in the modern world we live in that we don’t seem to have time for taking care of ourselves. Here I have presented you with some simple tips on habits that can increase your metabolism rate in order to lose weight. These are no-sweat tips not only on how to shed off unwanted pounds but also promote a happier and healthier lifestyle for you. Always bear in mind that your weight has a lot to do with your general health.

Weight loss can be as simple as increasing your metabolism rate.

6 Tips to Improve Hospital Employee Engagement

Memorial Health System in Springfield, Ill., embarked on a journey several years ago to improve its employee engagement. In a 2004 survey of employees at Memorial Medical Center (the health system’s flagship hospital), employee engagement scored in the 30th percentile nationally. As a result, making Memorial Health System "a great to place work" was established as one of the health system’s three strategies. Over the next five years, the system steadily improved in this area, and in 2010, the hospital scored in the 94th percentile for employee satisfaction. The system has been named an "Employer of Choice" for three years, and its affiliate, Memorial Physician Services, earned the award twice before the system applied as a whole. Brad Warren, senior vice president and chief people officer, and Brian Tieman, system director, employee relations, say making engagement an organizational imperative was a key driver in the system's success. Here they share six tactics for other hospitals looking to improve their employee engagement.

1. Make engagement part of your hospital's core strategy. Employee engagement directly impacts a hospital's success, and as such, it should be part of a hospital's overall strategy — not just a task assigned to the human resources department. “Engagement is critical in any service-oriented business,” says Mr. Warren. "We believe great patient care and service is best delivered by employees who are engaged and passionate about our mission," he says.

2. Gain support from senior leadership. Senior leaders must show their commitment to improving engagement in order for improvements to take hold. "No one will believe engagement is a priority unless [the senior leadership team], takes engagement very seriously and displays that level of engagement by modeling the way," says Mr. Warren.

Buy-in from leadership throughout the health system should come naturally. "The only way for Memorial Health System to fulfill its mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve is to have the unfailing support of employees and their understanding of how their work supports our mission, vision and strategic goals,” he adds. “That level of support will require the highest levels of employee engagement."

3. Hold managers accountable. Senior leaders can best demonstrate their commitment to engagement by holding the leaders who are their direct reports accountable for improving engagement scores and encouraging those leaders to do the same for those who report to them. "Senior leaders need to be actively involved in ensuring a sense of accountability to the teams under their direction," says Mr. Warren. "Without this, we could become complacent."

At Memorial Health System, every department supervisor, manager or director across all affiliates meets with his or her leader to go over employee survey results and develop an action plan to address any deficiencies in the department. "We have made changes in staffing if results did not improve," says Mr. Warren.

4. Provide training. If hospitals plan to hold supervisors accountable for improving engagement, they should offer training to enhance supervisors' skills in this area.

Memorial Health System holds training sessions it cleverly calls "Great Place to Workshops," which are open to any supervisor within the organization. These sessions, offer supervisors training on leadership and provide management tools and techniques. The health system also holds a special workshop each year solely focused on helping mangers interpret employee survey results and develop action plans around them, says Mr. Warren.

The system also demonstrated its commitment to training by adding an organization development division within its human resources department. These specialists work one-on-one with managers of lower-scoring departments to develop action plans to improve engagement. They also staff open "survey labs" where managers can drop by for help interpreting survey results, developing action plans and tracking improvement progress.

5. Share best practices. Hospital leaders should also facilitate the sharing of best practices to improve employee engagement. Memorial Health System holds workshops that give managers the opportunity to share best practices for survey participation and engagement and has created best practice tip sheets featuring some of the most popular ideas. The system also invites managers of departments that have experienced significant improvements to speak and answer questions about their successes at the Great Place to Workshops.

"Having our own managers share their best practices is very well received," says Mr. Tieman. "Employees enjoy hearing success stories from their colleagues, not just, for example, by a best-selling author."

Examples of the best practices include rewarding departments that meet survey participation goals with a free luncheon or other activity, holding regular department themed events to encourage camaraderie and sending employees birthday cards in the mail thanking them for their hard work throughout the year.

However, the most successful best practice the health system uncovered seems to be one of the simplest — involving all employees, not just managers, in engagement efforts. Some departments have "green teams" — teams of employees that work throughout the year to encourage survey participation and move survey scores from the red levels that require improvement to performance that reflects attributes of an engaged workforce.

"Ultimately what has made a difference in our engagement journey is that it has been a collective effort between employees and leaders, not leaders doing it alone," says Mr. Tieman. "Yes, the manager is the leader, but every employee is part of the solution."

6. Focus on employee relationships with front-line supervisors. Memorial Health has placed extra emphasis on improving employees' relationships with their front-line supervisors in response to research suggesting this is one of the most crucial links to engagement.

Improving that relationship involves training supervisors to be more open and supportive with employees. Memorial Health System has had significant success in this area. In 2010, 83 percent of staff at Memorial said they agreed with the statement "My manager or immediate supervisor is receptive to staff suggestions," up from 41 percent in 2006.

Another key responsibility of front line supervisors is helping employees understand how their role supports the organization's mission, vision and goals. "The more information we can provide on how the work of all employees in all professions and walks in life impacts our success, the more success we'll have," says Mr. Warren.

Supervisors should not only model passion for their job but also help employees develop passion for their work through giving it meaning. "Part of the role of the supervisor is to connect our vision and mission to the work employees under their direction do every day," he says. "This is something that really can only be done through a personal relationship."

Mr. Warren adds, "’Value of employees’ is one of our seven organizational values. That tells you how critical we view employee engagement to be to our success. Buildings are important, standards are critical…but the best strategy for creating great patient experiences and delivering high-quality, patient-centered care is through the hands and hearts of engaged people."

Tips For Lowering Cholesterol Naturally

There are many tools for lowering cholesterol naturally that you may want to consider if you have high cholesterol. Many people go on crash diets or change all sorts of things about their lives, taking drastic measures to lower their cholesterol.

You do not need to do any of these things to lower your cholesterol, however. Using natural products, changing your lifestyle gradually and introducing healthier foods are some of the best ways of lowering cholesterol naturally.

Cholesterol is a type of fat made by your liver. Some of that fat comes from the food you eat, while some of it is already in your body. All of the foods that come from animals have some form of cholesterol in them, whereas plant foods do not have cholesterol in them. Foods that are high in saturated fats can raise your cholesterol level considerably, so having a balanced diet is really the best way to approach the cholesterol situation.

Not all cholesterol is bad for you, however. Some cholesterol is necessary for good health, but too much of it can raise your blood pressure and make medical problems such as heart attacks or strokes more common. When you have extra cholesterol in your blood, it causes your arteries to narrow as they become clogged. This may even lead to the artery becoming completely blocked with cholesterol.

Using Natural Products to Lower Cholesterol
Lowering cholesterol naturally using natural products is one of the best ways to accomplish your goal. Remember that herbal treatments and other natural remedies have been around a lot longer than the conventional pharmaceutical treatments you are likely to find at your drug store.

Herbal treatments come from trees, plants and other natural sources, meaning that you must be careful about what you are taking. Herbal treatments typically are not regulated, so it really is a “use at your own risk” situation.

Many natural products seem to reduce cholesterol. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates natural herbal products, but much of the investigation into the products is not completed to the same high level as conventional medicines. Therefore, it is important to be careful when you are considering herbal treatments of any kind. Always consult your doctor before trying anything new when lowering cholesterol naturally.

The following products have been recognized for their effectiveness in lowering cholesterol:

- Garlic
- B vitamins
- Soy
- Fiber
- Chromium
- Grape seed extract
- Vitamin C
- Pantothine

There are many other natural products and herbal remedies that may assist in lowering cholesterol, so consult your doctor or locate a good herbalist for more information. You want to be careful when it comes to combining cholesterol medication and natural remedies, as some of the side effects may clash.

Making Lifestyle Changes
There are many things you can do to help lower cholesterol naturally and changing the way you choose to live your life is one of them. You may have to make lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol levels and start putting yourself back on the road to health, but do not despair. Making some minor lifestyle changes is not very difficult and, in fact, many of the changes you make will benefit you in other areas of your life. With lower cholesterol, you will start feeling more energetic and you will have more vitality.

Exercise – this is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your cholesterol levels and keep them down. Try getting moderate exercise a few times a week (about 30 minutes a day for a few days a week). Ease yourself into a program and get your body moving, but take it easy. You don't need to run for miles or do thousands of weight lifting exercising in order to stave off the effects of high cholesterol. You just need to get active and start introducing your body to other forms of exercise beyond reaching for the remote control.

Quit smoking – this is arguably the second most important thing you can do. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do, quit. Smoking actually lowers the level of good cholesterol in your blood, making it a lot harder to fight off the bad cholesterol. It also creates a higher risk of heart disease and can really zap the energy in your lungs. You can bring down your cholesterol and drastically lower your risk of heart disease if you quit smoking now, so what's stopping you?

Watch what you eat – eating a proper diet is not that complicated, especially when it comes to lowering your cholesterol. You will want to maintain a healthy balance in your diet, but you should also integrate a lot more fruits and vegetables. Remember that fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, so that will help out a great deal with your goal. Also cut down on your consumption of saturated fats, as these typically are not good for your diet. Use whole grains as much as possible and eat plenty of natural fiber products.

Keep your stress down – keep a lid on your anger and other emotions that you feel physically. You will want to try to find time in your day to de-stress from work properly without turning to destructive devices like drinking or smoking. Getting proper exercise is a great way to blow off steam, so try going for a quick run next time you feel angry. Part of lowering cholesterol in a natural way includes keeping your body away from harmful reactions such as stress because stress puts a strain on your system and can contribute to heart problems.

Dietary Changes
As we touched upon briefly, making some dietary changes is a good idea when it comes to lowering cholesterol naturally. You will want to achieve the balance of lowering high cholesterol foods and increasing the level of low cholesterol foods you eat. High fiber products and foods low in saturated fats are important in a low cholesterol diet, of course, but you will also want to integrate fruits and vegetables.

There are a number of dietary options for low cholesterol out there and several hundred diet books and websites that promise to lower your cholesterol. The truth is that there is no one single plan that can help you lower your cholesterol. Instead, you will need to work with your family and your doctor to find a dietary plan that best works with your lifestyle. Here are a few pointers:

-Eat more fruits and vegetables

-Avoid trans fats and saturated fats

-Use whole grains and whole wheat products instead of standard white products, such as flour or rice

-Stay away from high levels of carbohydrates

-Use low-fat dairy products, especially skim milk, instead of conventional dairy products

-Use lean meats, such as turkey, chicken or fish, instead of red meat

-Use olive and canola oils when cooking

-Attempt to use low-fat alternatives for dips and sauces

There are a number of other dietary secrets that you can use, but these are some basics. Try to find your own way to eat healthy and keep your cholesterol levels down. If you work with your diet, you will start to find that some of the solutions to your problems are right in front of you. Making a dietary change is not that difficult, after all.

Lowering cholesterol naturally can seem like a daunting and complicated task that will transform your whole life and have you eating unbuttered whole wheat bread and water for every meal while you run laps around your block. The truth is that there are some lifestyle changes you can make to help lower your cholesterol, but the effort is worth it. Try using some natural products, make some subtle lifestyle changes and try adding some healthy foods to your diet. You will find that lowering your cholesterol does not have to be an impossible goal and that it really isn't all that hard to do!

Always Consult Your Physician First
Although it is helpful to get health information by reading and talking with friends, make sure you consult your doctor first before trying any new treatment or changing your diet. Remember that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate the strength, purity or safety of herbs and supplements. Be sure to always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, speak with your doctor before taking medical action or changing your health routine. This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. LifeScript disclaims any liability for the decisions made by its readers based on the information provided.

Simple Tips for Relieving Common Digestive Problems

Although many television viewers are bombarded with advertisements for medications that claim to relieve or prevent digestive discomfort, some recommendations from Fox News may help people control these conditions without medical intervention.

Individuals who experience uncomfortable sensations in their chest and throat after they eat may suffer from heartburn. The news organization suggested that people who have these symptoms should avoid eating in large quantities, along with fried foods and carbonated drinks.

Those who suffer from disruptive bowel activity may benefit from increasing their fiber intake. However, the news source noted that individuals who have irritable bowel syndrome should only consume fiber from natural foods, not dietary supplements. Apples, beans and citrus fruits are all healthy sources of fiber.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 70 million Americans have digestive diseases.

Certain foods and medications may exacerbate symptoms of these disorders, so keeping track of which products cause discomfort may help people avoid future complications or identify potential allergies.

The NIH added that overweight individuals are more likely to suffer from digestive problems, but participating in regular exercise may help reduce occurrences of heartburn or bowel troubles.

10 Health Benefits of Eggs

Some of you may have eaten eggs over the Easter weekend so I thought I'd post ten health benefits of eggs (and it doesn't count if they were chocolate eggs!)

1. Eggs are great for the eyes. According to one study, an egg a day may prevent macular degeneraton due to the carotenoid content, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. Both nutrients are more readily available to our bodies from eggs than from other sources.

2. In another study, researchers found that people who eat eggs every day lower their risk of developing cataracts, also because of the lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs.

3. One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.

4. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.

5. They are a good source of choline. One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.

6. They contain the right kind of fat. One egg contains just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.

7. New research shows that, contrary to previous belief, moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. In fact, recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person's lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it. Research suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.

8. Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

9. Eggs may prevent breast cancer. In one study, women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%.

10. Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. Many people find their hair growing faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.

Advantages of Eating Fish Foods / Fish Food-Advantages of Eating

Regular consumption of fish can reduce the risk of various diseases and disorders. Selected research findings indicate the following:

Asthma - children who eat fish may be less likely to develop asthma.

Brain and eyes - fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids can contribute to the health of brain tissue and the retina (the light sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye).

Cancer - the omega 3 fatty acids in fish may reduce the risk of many types of cancers by 30 to 50 per cent, especially of the oral cavity, oesophagus, colon, breast, ovary and prostate.

Cardiovascular disease - eating fish every week reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing blood clots and inflammation, improving blood vessel elasticity, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood fats and boosting 'good' cholesterol

Dementia - elderly people who eat fish or seafood at least once a week may have a lower risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

Depression - people who regularly eat fish have a lower incidence of depression (depression is linked to low levels of omega 3 fatty acids in the brain).

Diabetes - fish may help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.

Eyesight - breastfed babies of mothers who eat fish have better eyesight, perhaps due to the omega 3 fatty acids transmitted in breast milk.

Inflammatory conditions - regular fish consumption may relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and autoimmune disease.

Prematurity - eating fish during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of delivering a premature baby.

A Few Natural Tips for Women

Between premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and female endocrine disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), women can have it tough. But thank goodness the natural products industry in constantly evolving with new research, new discoveries and new ways to help aggravate, thwart and prevent women’s health woes. listed a few natural supplements that are good for women with PCOS’s many symptoms. The list included chaste berry for fertility, buckwheat and omega-3s for polycystic ovaries, saw palmetto for testosterone reduction, ginseng for menstrual irregularities, and biotin (a B vitamin) for improved glucose tolerance and management of insulin resistance.

On a separate note, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found high intake of B vitamins—specifically thiamine (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) only sourced from food—significantly lowered the risk of PMS in women (Feb. 23, 2011). Researchers conducted a case-control study nested within the Nurses’ Health Study II cohort. Participants were free of PMS at baseline (1991). After 10 years of follow up, 1,057 women were confirmed as cases and 1968 were confirmed as controls. Dietary information was collected in 1991, 1995 and 1999 by using food-frequency questionnaires.

Intakes of thiamine and riboflavin from food sources were each inversely associated with incident PMS. For example, women in the highest quintile of riboflavin intake 2 to 4 years before the diagnosis year had a 35-percent lower risk of developing PMS than did those in the lowest. No significant associations between incident PMS and dietary intakes of niacin, vitamin B-6, folate and vitamin B-12 were observed. Interestingly, intake of B vitamins from supplements was not associated with a lower risk of PMS.

Which foods are rich in thiamine and riboflavin? Thiamine is found in pork and yeast, with cereal grains an important source due to their ubiquity. Other food sources include oatmeal, flax, kale, eggs and oranges. Riboflavin can be found in milk, cheese, leafy green vegetables and almonds.

9 Tips for Saving Your Vision

If you spend two or more hours a day in front of a computer, you might suffer from computer vision syndrome (CVS). Symptoms include headache, inability to focus, burning or tired eyes, double or blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain.

Computer screens are the culprit. Our eyes don’t process screen characters as well as they do traditional print. Printed materials have well-defined edges and screen characters don’t. Our eyes work hard to remain focused on screen characters and to temporarily relieve stress, our eyes drift and then strain to refocus. The constant muscle flexing causes fatigue. Keep in mind that computer screens aren’t the only screens that matter — most of your electronic toys, such as cell phones and PDAs, also cause eyestrain.

1.Use proper lighting
Most office settings use bright, often harsh lighting. The more light the better, right? Unfortunately, that’s not true, but the solution to harsh bright lights is simple. Knowing that the bright lights are hurting you is often the bigger problem.

If you have a window, use blinds or curtains to limit the amount of sunlight beaming in. Use lower intensity bulbs and tubes inside. If you have both, turn off the indoor lights and open your blinds or curtains until you’re comfortable.

If you’re used to working in bright light, you might feel a bit out of sorts at first. Give yourself some time to adjust to the softer lighting. If you can’t control the lighting, consider wearing tinted glasses.

2. Reduce environmental glare
Glare is reflected light that bounces off surfaces such as walls and computer screens. Often, you don’t even realize you’re compensating for it, so finding glare might take a bit of effort. There are a few things that you can do to reduce the glare:
a. Paint bright walls a darker color and use paint with a matte finish
b. Install an anti-glare screen and/or a glare hood on your monitor
c. If you wear glasses, consider applying an anti-reflective coating to the lenses.

Glare screens help only part of the problem. They cut down on glare from the computer screen. Unfortunately, they won’t help your eyes focus better.

3.Use proper computer settings
One of the simplest ways to reduce eyestrain is to adjust your monitor’s brightness and contrast settings. There’s no right or wrong setting. Just experiment until you’re comfortable.

If the background gives off a lot of light, reduce the brightness. In addition, keep the contrast between the background and characters high. Generally speaking, your settings are probably too bright, but a setting that’s too dark is just as tiring.

4. Maximize comfort by adjusting text size and color
Adjusting the on-screen text’s size and color can provide relief. First, try enlarging the text. You’re probably using the smallest size you can to view more text on the screen, but that compounds the problem. Instead, enlarge the text to two to three times the smallest size you can read.

Almost all software and most browsers will let you adjust text size. When possible, use black text on a white background. And avoid busy backgrounds. Sometimes, you have no control, but do so when you can.

5. Take a break
If you work at a computer most of the day, work in a few breaks. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that computer workers take, at a minimum, four 5-minute breaks in addition to the customary two 15-minute breaks during the day. If you don’t take those two 15-minute breaks, take a five-minute break for every hour you sit at the computer. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends a 15-minute break for every two hours of computer use.

6. Clean your screen
The easiest tip of all is to clean your screen frequently. Dust, fingerprints, and other smears are distracting and make reading more difficult. Often, you don’t even see the dust; you just look right past it. Make it a habit to wipe off your screen frequently. Every morning isn’t too often and is easy to work into your routine.

7. Position copy correctly
Glancing back and forth between a printed copy and your computer screen causes eyestrain. To ease discomfort, place the printed copy as close to your monitor as possible, in addition, use a copy stand if possible to keep the copy upright.
This is the one time you might want more light. A small desk lamp will suit your needs, but position it carefully so that it sheds light on the printed page but doesn’t shine into your face or reflect off your monitor. Remember to use soft light.

8. Position yourself correctly
Keep your distance from the monitor; most people sit too close. Position your computer monitor about 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. Your screen’s center should be about 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes. This arrangement provides the best support.

If you can’t change the distance between you and the monitor, adjust the text accordingly. For instance, if you’re sitting farther away than you should, increase the text size. It’s not the best solution, but it’s better than straining to see something that’s too far away.

9. Get computer glasses
If you just can’t get relief, you might need special glasses you can wear just for working at the computer. You can’t pick these at your favorite discount store. You’ll need a prescription from an eye doctor.

Don’t depend on prescription reading glasses to negate CVS either. Reading glasses help with distances of 16 to 21 inches. In contrast, computer glasses work for distances of 18 to 28 inches. It’s unlikely that the same pair of glasses will accommodate reading printed material and working at your computer.