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What to Look for When Buying Whole Grains

What to Look for When Buying Whole Grains

When you’re at a grocery store, looking at all the food and their labels can be overwhelming. You want to eat better, but how can you keep track of all the different names for nutritious aspects of food. There are a few quick and easy tips when it comes to buying whole grains.

What to Look for When Buying Whole Grains

What to Look for When Buying Whole Grains

 

Experts recommend that adults should eat 48 grams, or three servings, of whole grain a day. Why? Whole grains are high in fiber and other nutrients. Fiber is essential to have regular bowel movements. No one wants to be constipated.

It also helps lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other health issues.

How can you add whole grains to your diet? Some common examples include using a slice of 100 percent whole grain bread, a half cup of oatmeal, or a half cup of cooked brown rice with different meals.

Sadly, you can’t find whole grain servings listed on the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged foods. There are ways to identity whole grain foods.

Look for food with a whole grain stamp, which was created by the Oldways Whole Grains Council. It’s a consumer advocacy group. The stamp is yellow and has perforated edges that looks like a stamp you’d use on mail.

It comes in three forms, showing different levels of whole grains.

There’s 100 percent whole grain, which means it is completely whole grain. It should have a minimum of sixteen grams a serving.

50 percent plus whole grain means that of the grain in the product, at least half is whole grain. It has to have at least eight grams a serving.

If a package just states whole grain, then it will have eight grams of whole grains a serving, though it might contain more refined grain than whole.

Fun fact, The Whole Grains Council has used the stamp on over 13,000 products in 61 countries.

Another way to look for whole grain is to see if it’s the first or second ingredient listed. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight.

Whole grains are made of three main components, the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran and the germ are the most nutritious parts.

What Labels to Ignore When Buying Whole Grains

  • Multigrain- It means a mix of whole grains, refined grains, or some amount of each.
  • Made with whole grain- Not specific enough, it could be made with just a little whole grain and still able to say this.
  • Stone-ground- This doesn’t tell you anything about whether the grains are whole or refined. This label is talking about a type of mill that used to make the flour.
  • Organic-The label applies to farming and production practices and doesn’t tell you if there are whole grains in the product.

Read more here.

Why You Should Never Retire According to a Neuroscientist

Why You Should Never Retire According to a Neuroscientist

Finding the right time to retire is an all too familiar struggle for people. Whether the decision is due to money or lack thereof,  or just simply wanting to keep working, it’s a personal choice. Though according to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, you should never retire.

Why You Should Never Retire According to a Neuroscientist

Why You Should Never Retire According to a Neuroscientist

 

According to Levitin, even if you are physically impaired, you should keep working in a job or as a volunteer.

Too much time spent with no purpose is connected to unhappiness. This doesn’t mean doing busywork. It means finding meaningful activities. Between 25 and 40 percent of people who retire, go back into the workforce.

Levitin interviewed people between the ages of seventy and one hundred to understand better how not retiring increases life satisfaction. A seventy-one and eighty-year-old actually increased their workload. A ninety-nine and eighty-four-year-old changed their schedules to accommodate any age-related slowing.

Some older adults shifted their priorities so that they can work and get things done. One woman, age seventy-eight, rejects many of the tests her doctor orders because she doesn’t want to waste time on something that could add a few weeks more to her life.

You can go back to school to learn something new, start a book club, or create other events that allow for interactions with others.

American Workforces Need to Be More Flexible

 

Of course, for a lot of people, not retiring means working. Most employers will allow older adults to modify their schedules so they can continue working. Employers are required (in the US) to make reasonable accommodations like start and end times, break rooms, or even a cot to lie down on for a nap.

Overall though, corporate America has an ageism problem. Many older adults struggle to find a job or get promoted. It’s not uncommon to see age-based discrimination despite it being illegal.

What businesses should understand is that multigenerational teams tend to be more productive. Deutsche Bank noticed this and paired up older and younger adults. They say fewer mistakes were made, and there is more positive feedback from employees.

If You Can’t Work, Volunteer

 

If you either can’t continue doing your job or aren’t able to find a job, there are still ways to do meaningful work. Become a volunteer for a cause that you believe in or that uses your skills. Some people have read to underprivileged children, others have tutored children, some people make blankets and hats for premature babies.

There are infinite possibilities.

In a study, volunteers felt a greater sense of accomplishment and showed an increase in their brain volume for the hippocampus and cortex. The study showed that it could even reverse signs of aging in men.

Read more here.

Did You Know Your Brain has an Immune System?

Did You Know Your Brain has an Immune System?

Not only does your brain have an immune system, but you can also boost it. Behavioral scientists say that this type of immune system connects to your self-esteem, self-worth, and self-concept. But how do you boost your brain’s immune system?

Did You Know Your Brain has an Immune System?

Did You Know Your Brain has an Immune System?

 

The term “psychological immune system” was created by psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Timothy D. Wilson. It’s the idea that the brain protects the self, or self-image, from whatever threatens it like an immune system would.

So what do you do when your self-image or self-worth is being attacked?

Positive Self Talk

Just like you would point out all the wonderful things about your friends, do the same for yourself. Remind yourself that you are loved and are valuable.

Make sure to keep a line between being positive but not arrogant.

Don’t Use Bad Coping Mechanisms

It’s easy to slip into bad habits when times get tough. Bad coping mechanisms are like binge-watching Netflix to avoid your problems. Maybe drinking three glasses of alcohol instead of the one you planned.

Avoidance is your brain’s immune system’s tactic, even if it’s not good in the long run. It’s always good to go with the long term solution instead of the immediate one.

Exercise

Exercise is known to reduce stress and anxiety, and many people experience a better mood when they finish—even taking a short walk counts.

Read more here.

A New and Better Way to Do MRIs

A New and Better Way to Do MRIs

While we have gotten far with technology, there’s still so much we don’t know about what happens in our bodies. The brain, in particular, is an enigma that scientists have been trying to solve for decades. Now, a better way to do MRIs have been discovered and could help unlock the secrets of natural aging and how it affects the brain.

A New and Better Way to Do MRIs

A New and Better Way to Do MRIs

 

The standard MRIs allow us to look at the brain in a non-invasive manner. It can produce images that guess the volume of the brain, but it can’t measure what changes happen in the molecular composition of it. MRIs can’t show the difference between regular changes that happen with age and the devastation caused by Alzheimer’s or other cognitive diseases.

The researchers at the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem created a new and better way to do MRIs. They say they changed it from a “camera of the brain” to a measuring device that can quantify and characterize changes in the brain tissue.

It’s called quantitive MRI.

Instead of creating images of the brain, they use biophysical models. Biophysical models focus on creating models using mathematical theories. This type of model can show changes in the water content, and the molecular composition of the brain, like blood tests analyzes a patient’s blood.

Using this type of MRI allows doctors to compare different scans of the same person or between a healthy and unhealthy brain. It can predict the concentrations of various lipids and also the ratio of proteins to lipids in the brain. What this means is that now we have more less invasive ways to study the brain.

Read more here.

Older Americans are Taking Too Many Antibiotics

Usually antibiotics are a good thing, but right now older Americans are being prescribed too many antibiotics. People over 65 have the highest rate of outpatient prescribing out of any other age group. This is a huge problem.

Usually, antibiotics are a good thing, but right now, older Americans are being prescribed too many of them. People over 65 have the highest rate of outpatient prescribing out of any other age group. This is a huge problem.

Older Americans are Taking Too Many Antibiotics

Older Americans are Taking Too Many Antibiotics

 

Why are people taking so many antibiotics a problem? Overusing them can cause a severe public health threat because they create drug resistance. Infectious bacteria adapt to medications and make drugs lose their power. This means that people have to use harder, less potent, and more expensive options.

Two million Americans get antibiotic-resistant infections annually, and 23,000 die from them.

They can also interact poorly with other medications, specifically ones that older people take. Examples include statins, blood thinners, kidney, and heart medications.

A specific type of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones has serious side effects. Yet, it’s one of the most common types that is prescribed. It can increase the risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy and can lead to low blood sugar.

In 2016, it was suggested that fluoroquinolones’ side effects outweigh it’s use when it comes to different common infections. It’s been connected to the difficult to cure C. difficile along with an earlier antibiotic, Clindamycin. This painful infection typically happens in older people.

Upper respiratory infections like colds, sinus infections, and bronchitis are often prescribed antibiotics when it’s not needed because they’re viral, not bacterial. Yet, doctors keep overprescribing antibiotics to older people.

Read more here.

8 Ways to Keep Loved Ones Active During Covid-19

8 Ways to Keep Loved Ones Active During Covid-19

Younger people aren’t the only ones that are getting bored and stir-crazy; it’s happening to older adults too. Senior centers and other programs geared toward older adults have closed. While it’s good that seniors are following social distancing rules, the changes in routines and lacking activities can cause problems. Here’s how you can keep loved ones active during Covid-19.

8 Ways to Keep Loved Ones Active During Covid-19

8 Ways to Keep Loved Ones Active During Covid-19

 

1. Read and Share

Start a book club with your loved one. Pick a new book or an old favorite. If your loved one is no longer able to read, you can read to them or use audiobooks. See if anyone else in your family or friends want to join.

2. Write Cards or Letters

Surprise family and friends with something fun in the mail. Or, if you want to do something to feel helpful during this tough time, write to soldiers through a variety of programs that involve becoming pen pals to those who are serving.

It’s a fun way to pass the time and spread cheer.

3. Document Life Stories

Learn more about your loved ones, and spend time learning about their history. You can write it down or record it so that you have in their own words. You may learn something new.

4. Play Games

Use board games, card games, or puzzles to pass the time. You can pick what works for your loved one’s skill level. They stimulate the brain, use motor skills, and provide enjoyment.

5. Watch Movies and TV Shows

Catch up on all the stuff you’ve been meaning to watch with your loved ones, or rewatch a series that you both love.

6. Take Advantage of Online

Many places like museums are offering virtual tours, musicians are doing concerts at home, and you can even access NASA’s online video and image library. There are also plenty of livestreams of different animals that you can tune into anytime.

7. Go Outside

Just because you can’t go to public places doesn’t mean that you can’t go outside. Walk around your neighborhood, or set up some chairs and chat in the sun. You’ll be amazed at what a little sun and fresh air will do for you.

8. Start a Project

Whether it’s cleaning or a craft project, this is a great time to start one. Try cleaning out a room, scrapbooking, sewing, painting, or create a cookbook filled with family recipes.

Read more here.

Blood Pressure Drugs Don’t Increase Covid-19 Risk

Blood Pressure Drugs Don't Increase Covid-19 Risk

Researchers reported that blood pressure drugs don’t make patients more vulnerable to the Coronavirus or to getting a worse version of it if infected. This is a sigh of relief for those taking these types of medications.

Blood Pressure Drugs Don't Increase Covid-19 Risk

Blood Pressure Drugs Don’t Increase Covid-19 Risk

 

Since the pandemic began, confusing theories were spreading about these drugs and their effect on the virus. China indicated that people with hypertension seemed to do worst than those without it when Covid-19 was just gaining traction.

There have been animal studies shown that two types of blood pressure medications could increase the levels of a protein called ACE2. This protein happens to be what the virus grabs onto as it invades cells. The theory was that having more of these cells could make you sicker. The study didn’t show if the drugs raise ACE2 in humans.

A different animal study showed the opposite. The study proposed that blood pressure drugs stop inflammation in the lungs; therefore, lower the risk of severity of Covid-19.

The New England Journal of Medicine cleared up theories by focusing on humans. The study was based on looking at patients’ records, which, while is helpful, isn’t as strong as doing a controlled clinical trial. Luckily, the University of California San Diego School of Medicine will be doing a controlled trial soon.

So, continue to take your blood pressure medications as usual and only stop if your doctor says so. Hopefully, more information will be coming out soon.

Read more here.

7 Ways to Handle Anxiety During Covid-19

7 Ways to Handle Anxiety During Covid-19

To say that right now is a stressful time would be an understatement. Most of us have never experienced something like this before. Grocery store shelves are empty, cleaning equipment is scarce, and our usual ways to blow off steam are canceled. It’s no surprise that people are reaching their breaking point. Luckily, there are ways to handle anxiety during Covid-19.

7 Ways to Handle Anxiety During Covid-19

7 Ways to Handle Anxiety During Covid-19

 

Not only does stress make you feel bad, but it also suppresses your immune system, so relaxing is helpful in more ways than one. Also, if any of these techniques don’t work, reach out to trusted loved ones or a professional.

1. Limit How Much News You Take In

While it’s good to be informed, watching or reading too much news can increase stress levels. Especially when there isn’t a lot of changes in the report. It’s just repeating the same bad news again and again.

2. Try Calming Techniques

While everyone has their own special ways to destress, there are some standard practices that you can do. Try deep breathing, taking a warm bath, or having quiet time with your pet.

3. Exercise

While exercise may seem like the last thing you want to do, it can help loosen the tension in your body. Even just walking around or stretching will do wonders.

4. Talk to People You Love

Just because you can’t be with them physically, doesn’t mean you should stop talking to them. Use available technology like video chat, messaging apps, or even calling to connect. Take advantage that everyone has extra time and just speak with one another.

5. Do Activities that Make You Happy

This may seem obvious, but some people may feel bad for doing this instead of being “productive.” Check out what is happening online, many museums are offering virtual tours, musicians are doing concerts at home, or even binge-watch that series you’ve been meaning to.

6. Little Accomplishments Count

Whether you are going back to a long lost hobby or just checking something off your to-do list, every accomplishment counts. It will make you feel productive and keeps you busy.

7. Humor Helps

Humor is a great coping mechanism. Do things that make you laugh, like watching funny movies or shows, read a funny book, or talk to the funniest friend you know.

Read more here.

How Hospice is Working During the Coronavirus

Older adults who have Covid-19 can have "atypical" symptoms. making it harder to get proper treatment. The usual symptoms are a fever, an insistent cough, and shortness of breath. Unusal Covid-19 symptoms that can appear among seniors are sleeping more than usual, stop eating, or overall seeming "off." It can get to the point where they stop speaking or even collapse. 

Hospice is an essential part of the end of life services. Offering comfort, touch, and getting rid of the feeling of being alone. All these wonderful things directly go against the recommendations that health experts have been giving during the Coronavirus. Despite that, it’s still an essential branch of medicine. Here’s how hospice is working during the Coronavirus.

How Hospice is Working During the Coronavirus

How Hospice is Working During the Coronavirus

 

Million of Americans were on hospice care before the Coronavirus was a problem. The way that hospice usually works is that someone helps visitors come around a declining loved one and focusing on the comfort of the patient. It’s in the form of pain management, comfort, and peace. It balances the physical and emotional needs of everyone.

Many hospice nurses are struggling because hospice treatment has to change, and it goes against the philosophy of hospice. Wearing gloves and masks, while keeping them safe, creates a barrier between them and the patient. That barrier is blocking the intimacy that people need when they or their loved ones are in their last days.

That’s if they are even visiting the patient in person. A lot of visits are by phone.

Workforce Stretching Too Wide

 

Any healthcare workforce is being strained with the arrival of the Coronavirus. While the focus tends to be on having enough hospital beds, hospice is asking who will care for those who are seriously ill once they either leave or hospitals get full.

Because of the limited amount of beds, many ill people are being discharged to their community or homes and still need care.

“We all think there’s this massive workforce of nurses and social workers to provide care, but the reality is there isn’t. There’s the hospice workforce, and there’s the home-health workforce, and that’s who is around. This is really going to strain serious illness and hospice resources out in the community.”– Edo Banach, president and CEO of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Between the workforce strain and the virus, many hospices are focusing more on pain management to keep workers safe. The focus is on symptom relief and pain minimization in isolation. This is frustrating for everyone.

Read more here.

How to Deal With Caregiver Guilt During the Coronavirus

How to Deal Caregiver Guilt During the Coronavirus

During this period with the Coronavirus, it’s easy to feel bad that you have to stay away from your aging loved ones. While you know you’re doing the right thing, it can be hard, especially if your loved one is showing symptoms and/or living on their own. Luckily there are ways to deal with caregiver guilt during the Coronavirus.

How to Deal Caregiver Guilt During the Coronavirus

How to Deal With Caregiver Guilt During the Coronavirus

 

The first thing you should do is remind yourself that social distancing is essential for everyone’s health, including your loved ones. This pandemic is out of your control. It’s not like you are avoiding your loved ones on purpose.

The next thing to do is to take advantage of the available technology. Use video chat options like FaceTime and Zoom; that way, you can not only talk to them but see them as well. Some care communities have been setting up computers for the residents, so check and see if that’s an option.

If it’s not, use a good old fashion telephone, it’s better than nothing.

Connecting with Other Caregivers

 

No one else is going to understand the situation you’re in like other caregivers. It’s worth finding a community of caregivers. You can find Facebook groups with ease that are full of caregivers communicating with one another. You can also pull from your circle of friends or people from your community.

Focus on What You’ve Done, Not What You Haven’t

 

It’s easy to fall into the pattern of focusing on all the things you haven’t done, but it’s important to think about all the things you have done. While you can’t be with them right now, think about all the visits you have made. Remind yourself that you’re doing your best in an uncontrollable situation.

Read more here.