Support Your Immune System in 5 Simple Ways
(Family Features) Catching a cold or getting the flu can happen any time of year, but the height of cold and flu season requires extra precaution. Flu activity often increases in the fall and peaks between December and January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Staying completely healthy throughout cold and flu season can’t be guaranteed, but, along with following guidance from your health care provider, dietary and lifestyle changes can help optimize your immune system and well-being.
Eating a healthy diet is essential for optimizing your immune system. Many experts recommend consuming whole foods and plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes as well as whole grains. These foods contain beneficial plant compounds linked to health benefits in humans. Consider one prime example, fresh grapes, and how they may support immune health.
- At the most basic level, healthy cells are the foundation of good health. Natural grape compounds, including antioxidants and other polyphenols, help protect the health and function of the body’s cells.
- Studies suggest some grape compounds – resveratrol and certain flavonoids – may positively influence immune function.
- Additional studies show adding heart-healthy grapes to your daily diet can help support brain, colon and skin health. Maintaining healthy bodily systems is essential to defending against illnesses.
- Grapes are a good source of vitamin K, which may help support lung health.
An easy way to incorporate healthy foods into your diet is with simple recipes like this Immune-Boosting Green Grape Smoothie that contains additional nutritious ingredients that support immune health like spinach, walnuts and Greek yogurt.
Drinking plenty of water is important for staying hydrated, which helps your immune system by keeping the body’s defenses functioning properly. In addition to water, you can increase hydration by eating foods with high water content like Grapes from California, which contain about 82% water.
Getting your blood pumping with a little exercise can help improve immune response and reduce inflammation, according to a scientific review from the “Journal of Sport and Health Science.” Look toward aerobic activities like moderate-intensity walking, jogging and biking to increase the heart rate and encourage circulation of immune cells.
Practice Good Hygiene
You can protect yourself and others at the same time by taking preventive measures, like practicing good hygiene, to avoid spreading germs. At the most basic level, limit contact with others who are sick, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue while coughing or sneezing and wash your hands using soap and water.
Stress can have a negative impact on many aspects of your health and wellness, including limiting your body’s ability to fight off infection. You can lower stress by practicing deep breathing or meditation and developing good habits like eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep. For late night snacking urges, choose foods such as grapes that are a natural source of melatonin, a compound which helps regulate sleep cycles. Talking with someone you trust, whether it’s a friend, family member or mental health professional, can help relieve stress as well.
Find more immunity-boosting recipes by visiting GrapesFromCalifornia.com.
Immune-Boosting Green Grape Smoothie
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1 cup green Grapes from California, chilled
- 2 1/2 ounces baby spinach
- 1/3 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cube (1/2 inch) peeled fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons prepared minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon walnut pieces
- In blender, blend grapes, spinach, yogurt, orange juice, ginger and walnuts until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
Nutritional information per serving: 280 calories; 12 g protein; 46 g carbohydrates; 7 g fat (23% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (5% calories from saturated fat); 10 mg cholesterol; 110 mg sodium; 4 g fiber.
California Table Grape Commission
7 smart home solutions that enhance convenience and security
(Family Features) Devices that allow you to stay connected to your home from virtually anywhere are all the rage. If you’re looking to seamlessly integrate innovative solutions into your home for added convenience, security and peace of mind, you’ll need smart tech with the right features.
The experts at Masonite, a global industry leader in interior and exterior doors and door systems, share these seven smart home solutions.
Leave behind that nagging feeling that you forgot to shut the garage door when you’re a block away from home. Smart garage door openers that connect to an app on your phone mean you can always check on the status of your door to ensure it’s closed when it should be. It provides the added benefit of keeping track of who’s coming or going while allowing you to remotely open the door for friends, family, neighbors and others who may need access when you’re away.
Take your front door to the next level with a high-performance model incorporated with top tech like the Masonite M-Pwr Smart Door, the first residential front door to fully connect to your home’s electrical system and wireless internet network. Homeowners can create a customized welcome-home experience with the door’s motion-activated LED welcome lights and a smart lock that recognizes your arrival and automatically unlocks. Whether at home or away, homeowners can use the door’s smartphone app to program the lighting, confirm if the door is open or closed with a door state sensor or monitor the entryway with a built-in video doorbell.
Plus, the integrated connection to the home’s power means there’s no need to charge or replace device batteries, providing peace of mind that you’re always connected and protected. Available at The Home Depot, homeowners can select from a range of designs, colors and glass styles all made with the Masonite Performance Door System. The system is designed to protect your home from the elements and provide superior weather resistance, energy efficiency and comfort with premium fiberglass construction, a rot-resistant frame and a 4-Point Performance Seal so there’s no need to sacrifice style for enhanced performance.
Hectic mornings may never completely be a thing of the past, but you can smooth out the start to your day with a smart mirror that displays important information like weather, news updates and your schedule. Many interactive displays allow you to check notifications and play music for a sleek, stylish addition to the bathroom that helps you stay on track and on time.
Smart refrigerators are often inherently newer models, meaning they’re typically more energy efficient to save money on electric bills. With built-in features like cameras and sensors that aid in keeping track of grocery lists, they can help reduce food waste by reminding you to consume perishables before they spoil. Some models even include an interactive display that lets you watch recipe videos so you can test your skills with a virtual assistant.
Wi-Fi connectivity is the key feature of smart ovens, improving the cooking experience with increased control. By using an app on your smartphone, you can remotely preheat the oven and set timers. You can even cook like a pro with models that allow you to import recipes for automatic temperature control.
Similar to smart appliances like refrigerators and ovens, smart dishwashers bring added convenience to your day along with improved function and efficiency. Connection to Wi-Fi and remote accessibility via smartphone app allow you to start wash cycles and check cycle status while away, receive notifications when detergent is low and more.
Washer and Dryer
If laundry feels like a chore, you can make it less of a hassle with smart washers and dryers that connect to your home Wi-Fi network. These smart appliances allow you to remotely start and stop washing and drying cycles from your smartphone and can send notifications when cycles are finished. Built-in diagnostics send alerts to your phone when there’s a malfunction or it’s time for required maintenance. Plus, they can help you maximize energy efficiency by automatically starting a cycle during off-peak hours.
Visit Masonite.com/MPWR-Smart-Doors to find more innovative solutions.
3 health reasons men’s travel plans take a back seat
(Family Features) Taking a road trip is an enjoyable pastime for many. However, if you are making too many pit stops along the way, it might be time to talk to a doctor.
Men over the age of 45 who frequently experience urinary symptoms may be facing challenges that extend beyond the restroom.
Urinary symptoms such as a frequent or urgent need to urinate may be indicators of an enlarged prostate, commonly known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).1,2 BPH symptoms can contribute to interrupted sleep, reduced productivity and feelings of depression.3 BPH affects 42 million men in the United States,4 including more than 40% of men in their 50s.
Delaying travel due to restroom access may be more common than you think. In fact, Teleflex, maker of the UroLift™ System, conducted a survey of approximately 1,000 men in the United States ages 45 and older, all of whom have experienced at least one urinary symptom associated with BPH.5
Consider these findings:
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Men are bothered by having to stop while traveling. Among respondents, 41% reported they have to stop to urinate more than they would like during road trips, and 15% shared they can only travel for an hour or less before having to stop to urinate.
The frequent need to urinate impacts enjoyment of road trips. Among the men surveyed, 33% strongly agreed or agreed they “used to enjoy road trips, but the frequent need to urinate makes them less enjoyable.”
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Some men choose routes based on public restroom availability. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of men responded they “usually” or “always” choose certain routes on road trips due to more or better bathroom facilities.
Men experiencing urinary symptoms should consider contacting a urologist. If left untreated, BPH can lead to permanent bladder damage.6 Medications are often prescribed for BPH, but they may cause unwanted side effects.7-8
Consider the UroLift™ System, a unique treatment for an enlarged prostate with more than 450,000 men treated worldwide.9 The minimally invasive procedure lifts and holds enlarged prostate tissue out of the way to unblock the urethra. It does not require heating, cutting or destruction of prostate tissue, and it provides rapid symptom relief and recovery.10-11 It has a low rate of complications12 and is the only leading BPH procedure shown not to cause sexual dysfunction.13-15
To learn more about treatment options, contact your doctor and visit UroLift.com.
Indicated for the treatment of symptoms of an enlarged prostate up to 100 cubic centimeters in men 45 years or older. Most common side effects are temporary and can include discomfort when urinating, urgency, inability to control the urge, pelvic pain and some blood in the urine.1 Rare side effects, including bleeding and infection, may lead to a serious outcome and may require intervention. Speak with your doctor to determine if you may be a candidate.
1 Rosenberg, Int J Clin Pract 2007
2 Vuichoud, Can J Urol 2015
3 Speakman, BJUI 2014
4 U.S. 2022 estimates based on US Market Model 2022-24 (5-17-22 FINAL), data on file.
5 Survey conducted by Teleflex in 2023. Data on file, n=1,015.
6 Tubaro, Drugs Aging 2003
7 Lusty, J Urol 2021
8 Bortnick, Rev Urol 2019
9 Management estimate based on product sales as of September 2023. Data on file Teleflex Interventional Urology.
10 Roehrborn, J Urology 2013
11 Shore, Can J Urol 2014
12 Roehrborn, Can J Urol 2017
13 AUA BPH Guidelines 2003, 2020
14 McVary, Urology 2019
15 No instances of new, sustained erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction in the L.I.F.T. pivotal study
MAC02797-01 Rev A
Understanding the impacts of LDL cholesterol
(Family Features) About 38% of American adults have high cholesterol, which can be caused by poor lifestyle habits or genetics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Having a high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol number – considered “bad” cholesterol – can contribute to fatty buildups (plaque) and narrowing of the arteries.
LDL cholesterol is also the type of total cholesterol most closely associated with an increased risk for a heart attack or stroke. In fact, 75% of heart attack and stroke survivors reported having high cholesterol, according to a Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of the American Heart Association, yet less than half (49%) prioritize lowering their cholesterol.
“There’s a pervasive lack of public awareness and understanding around bad cholesterol and its impact on your cardiovascular health,” said Joseph C. Wu, MD, PHD, FAHA, American Heart Association volunteer president and director, Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and Simon H. Stertzer, MD, professor of medicine and radiology at Stanford School of Medicine. “As bad cholesterol usually has no symptoms, we often find that many patients are walking around without knowing they’re at risk or how to mitigate it.”
To learn about LDL cholesterol, its impact on heart health and the steps you can take to maintain a healthy number, consider this information from the Lower Your LDL Cholesterol Nowinitiative, nationally sponsored by Amgen.
Get to Know Your LDL Number
According to the survey, nearly half (47%) of heart attack and stroke survivors are unaware of their LDL numbers. While cholesterol levels can vary by race and ethnicity, with higher levels of LDL seen most often among Asian men and Hispanic women, various research studies on LDL have shown “lower is better.”
For healthy adults an LDL at or below 100 mg/dL is ideal for good health. If you have a history of heart attack or stroke and are already on a cholesterol-lowering medication, your doctor may aim for 70 mg/dL or lower. In addition to race and ethnicity, family history, age, sex, tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke, eating habits, lack of physical activity, heavy alcohol usage and obesity can impact LDL numbers.
Understand How Often to Check Your Numbers
Because high LDL does not typically cause symptoms, it’s important to have your number checked by your health care professional. Ask your doctor for the right frequency for you. Generally, healthy adults ages 20-39 should have their cholesterol checked every 4-6 years. Adults over age 40, or those who have heart disease (including prior heart attack) or other risk factors, may need their number checked more often.
Learn Risks Associated with LDL
Too much LDL cholesterol can lead to a buildup of fatty deposits inside your arteries – a condition known as atherosclerosis – which can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow. If a piece of the plaque breaks free, it might travel into the bloodstream and block a blood vessel to the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke. This narrowing also elevates the risk of peripheral artery disease.
Take Steps to Manage High LDL
Managing high cholesterol is not one size fits all. Talk with your health care professional to map out the right treatment plan for you. According to American Heart Association guidelines, lifestyle habits can help control your cholesterol, including:
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet (emphasizing fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean protein and fish)
- Staying active and aiming to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week (such as brisk walking)
- Managing stress
- Eliminating tobacco use
However, some individuals, especially heart attack and stroke survivors, should have a conversation with their doctor about cholesterol-lowering medications.
Talk to your doctor about getting your cholesterol tested and visit heart.org/LDL for more information.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock
American Heart Association
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