Get Prune Power!

Prunes, also known as dried plums, do more than stimulate the digestive system – they may help slow osteoporosis.

Prunes, also known as dried plums, have long been known for their ability to, er, get things moving. But dark, sweet, chewy prunes may also help contribute to bone health by slowing osteoporosis, which is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density. In addition to managing bone health by taking vitamin D and calcium, getting regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol, here are some delicious ways to enjoy the power of prunes:

  • Put prunes in oatmeal for a heart-healthy, high-fiber breakfast.
  • Combine with unsalted nuts, raisins and cranberries for a homemade trail mix.
  • Sprinkle chopped prunes on salads to add sweetness, texture and fiber.
  • Pair prunes with baked chicken for a sweet and savory entrée.

Please consult your doctor or nutritionist to create your own nutritional plan.

Get walnuts out of the holiday nut bowl and into your pantry, as they may provide many wonderful benefits to your body.

Walnuts, often a crunchy addition to holiday festivities, are a great option in your diet year-round. They may help your body to better use its stored fat, reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or „bad cholesterol,“ and slow osteoporosis.

Add crunch to your lunch-or any meal-by putting walnuts in the mix.

Chop, Chop: Add finely chopped walnuts to pumpkin bread for more texture and taste.

Mix It Up: Fold coarsely chopped walnuts into the filling of your favorite butternut squash ravioli recipe.

Let It Rain: Sprinkle walnuts on your Waldorf salad for a timeless treat. Switch out the full-fat mayo for a low-fat version!

Make It Sweet: If chocolate chip cookies are your favorite „once-in-a-while“ treat, mix in finely chopped walnuts for a mouth-watering bonus.

If your child has asthma, help avoid serious complications by making sure he or she gets a flu shot.

If your child has asthma, be sure he or she gets a flu shot.

A flu shot?

Yes. That’s because the flu can cause complications like pneumonia, which can send a child to the emergency room. Add asthma to the mix and the health-risk meter jumps even higher. If the infection is severe, it can be life-threatening. About 17 million Americans have asthma. More than 7 million are under age 18. Each year, influenza sends 200,000 people, including young children, to the hospital.

Late fall, early winter
The flu roars into millions of American homes around December and January. The best time to get a shot is before it peaks, starting in September. Many doctors offer flu shots before and during the flu season. So do some grocery stores, drug stores, and local health departments.

In addition:

  • If someone in the family has asthma, all family members should get a flu shot to help reduce the chance of spreading the flu virus to the person with asthma.
  • Last year’s flu shot will not protect you from this year’s virus. Each year’s vaccine is based on strains of the virus predicted to be prevalent in the upcoming season. The vaccine changes every year to match those strains, so a yearly flu shot is needed.
  • Since influenza peaks from January through March, a flu shot may still be helpful in December and even later in the season. High-risk groups should be vaccinated in September or as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

Remember, the flu is just one of many possible triggers for asthma attacks. There are also allergens like animal dander, dust mites, and cigarette smoke that can cause problems year round. But by eliminating as many triggers as possible, your child has a better chance of staying healthy.

Financial Problems? Talking to Kids About Cutting Back

Times are hard and you’re feeling the economic crunch. You may even lose your job. Here’s how to talk to your kids about cutting back.

Your company is facing layoffs and you could be the next to go. Money is already tight, and you worry whether you’ll be able to make ends meet.

So how do you explain to your kids that it’s time to cut back – without scaring them?

Talking to your kids
Younger children need a basic explanation. For example, „We don’t have as much money to go to the movies or out to dinner as we used to, but we’ll always have the things we need.“

It’s OK to give older children more information. Reassure them that although they’ll have to tighten their belts, you’ll always be there to take care of them.

Avoid saying things your children might overhear and misinterpret. If you say you may be „out on the street“ if you don’t make the next mortgage payment, your kids may take this literally and fear the worst.

If you notice signs of depression or anxiety in your child, such as slipping grades, nightmares or changes in appetite, talk to your child’s pediatrician.

Getting them involved
If your children feel they’re making a contribution, they’re less likely to feel helpless. Here are some ways they can help out:

  • Choose between activities. When money is tight, most parents cut back on their own needs first. But you may need to ask your children to cut back, too. Do they take piano lessons, karate classes, ballet? Let them decide which of these activities they can go without until things get better.
  • Helping around the house. Put a younger child in charge of turning off the lights or TV when someone has left the room. Children love helping out, and they’ll feel proud of themselves for helping to save money.
  • Cut back on electricity. Explain how keeping the refrigerator shut, closing the front door when the heater or air conditioner is running and turning off appliances can help save money. Encourage kids to turn off their computers and to unplug camera and cell phone chargers when they’re not in use.
  • Monitor water usage. Your kids can help you save on your water bill by taking shorter showers, using a thinner stream of water when washing their hands and turning the water off while brushing their teeth.
  • Get a job. You may have neighbors who need a dog-walker or mother’s helper. These are ideal jobs for older children. Encourage teens to find part-time after-school jobs to help cover their own extra expenses.
  • Pack a lunch. Instead of buying lunch each day, have your children choose their favorite healthy lunches, beverages and snacks to take to school with them.
  • Go the library. Instead of buying books or renting DVDs, have your kids ride their bikes and borrow them for free from the local library.

Tough choices for parents
The time may come when you need to cut back on your child’s allowance, plan a smaller-than-usual birthday party or even move your child from a private to a public school. You may not be able to join the community pool in the summer or go on a family vacation.

These decisions may be tough for your kids. Talk to them openly and explain that their contributions can help keep the family afloat. Chances are they’ll be ready and willing to do whatever they can to help out.

Employee Assistance Programs Offer Help for Workers

Learn what employee assistance programs are and how they can help you.

Sometimes life can get in the way of work. Everyone has days once in a while when they don’t get much work done. But if you’re taking care of an elderly parent or having trouble paying your bills, it can be extremely difficult to focus on your job duties every day.

Employers know this happens to their employees. Some companies have special services to help their employees cope with their personal issues. Learn more about employee assistance programs.

What are employee assistance programs?
An employee assistance program (EAP) is a service offered by a company to help their employees deal with personal problems. EAPs can help with many issues, such as:

  • Physical and mental health
  • Family, marital and elder care
  • Financial and legal
  • Alcohol, drugs and other addictions
  • Emotional and stress

Now and then good employees have something going on at home that gets in the way of work. The employee may be absent more often than usual or be doing poor quality work. EAPs try to get employees working at their peak performance level again by helping them deal with their issues. EAP services help employees with these issues by:

  • Preventing troubles from starting
  • Identifying problems when they begin
  • Finding solutions to help solve personal problems

Benefits of employee assistance programs
Many studies have shown the benefits of EAPs for both employers and employees.

Benefits for the employee
EAPs help workers by giving them access to professional help when they need it. These services are usually free and confidential. EAP services may also be available to family members of employees. EAPs provide employees with:

  • Evaluation of the employee’s situation
  • Short-term counseling or treatment
  • Referrals to doctors or other programs that can further help

EAPs offer these services in a number of ways. The specific services are different at each company. Some examples may be a yoga class to deal with stress or counseling for someone going through a divorce.

Benefits for the employer
EAPs help employers because their workers will be more productive, and do better work more efficiently. These programs may:

  • Improve productivity
  • Decrease time away from work
  • Lower health care costs because employees need to use health care services less often
  • Improve employee retention
  • Reduce accidents at work

EAPs largely focus on helping individual employees and their families. But EAPs can also be used by company leadership to strengthen the organization as a whole. EAPs provide services for the company, such as:

  • Crisis response
  • Advice on coping with company reorganization, such as downsizing
  • Grief and loss support in the workplace
  • Services for a drug-free workplace
  • Conflict resolution
  • Disaster planning
  • Team building
  • Communication
  • Consultation on mental health and substance abuse policies

Ask your employer if they have an EAP program. Don’t be afraid to speak up and use your company’s EAP for help when you need it. Doing so may help both you and your employer.

Tips for Parents Who Smoke

Parents who smoke face unique challenges when telling their children not to. Learn strategies to help kids make smarter choices – even if y

Encouraging children to make the smart choice and say „no“ to cigarettes can be a tall order for any parent. But for smokers, the bar is set even higher. After all, won’t kids assume that it’s OK to pick up a cigarette if they see a parent doing it all the time?

Thankfully, parents who smoke can still be effective in helping their children avoid this addictive habit. First, they need to start talking openly about the risks of smoking before their kids even have a chance to take their first puff. Why the rush? Studies have shown that the younger children are when they start smoking, the greater their risk of becoming heavy smokers before they become adults.

Talking the talk: tips for parents
To be compelling, parents have to do more than just tell their children not to smoke. They also need to set rules, monitor their kids’ behavior, know what their friends are up to and have open, honest discussions about the consequences of smoking.

Parents should also emphasize the benefits of not smoking, and outline what steps will be taken if their children are caught with cigarettes. Those who don’t take these steps may appear to be giving unspoken approval to smoking, and their kids are more likely to pick up the habit.

Here are some strategies to help you start this important dialogue:

  • Spend quality time together. Connecting with your kids in a relaxed, natural way – like over dinner – will help build trust. You can use this time to talk about smoking in a way that doesn’t seem forced or lecture-like. Also take time to be affectionate, which will help boost their confidence.
  • Be a good listener. You don’t want to come off as preachy. Take care to stop and listen to what your child has to say. You want him or her to feel comfortable approaching you about anything.
  • Use real-life examples. When talking about the bad health effects of smoking, use your own experience – or that of a family member or friend – to make your case. Talk about the obvious risks, like lung cancer, as well as the day-to-day side effects like yellow skin and nails, bad breath and foul-smelling clothing.
  • Practice saying „no.“ Come up with clever comebacks for times when your child may be offered cigarettes. Being prepared will help make him or her feel more confident when the situation actually arises.

Another way to be convincing? Try to kick the habit yourself. Enlist the help of your family to give you the support you need to say no to smoking for good. You’ll improve your own health and the health of your family by getting rid of secondhand smoke. Plus, you’ll lower the odds that your children will become smokers themselves – another priceless benefit of quitting.

The risk of the Lipitor use

Lipitor is a brand name of the medicine intended to treat increased cholesterol blood level. And it seems that nowadays there is already no one who had not seen the Lipitor advertisement at least once. These commercials informs about the possible dangers of this drug use and its side effects. However in case you are the one who hadn’t ever seen or heard any Lipitor commercial then you really must read this article.

First of all let’s define what the high cholesterol level is and why it should be monitored.

Cholesterol is nothing but a fat that appears in human arteries and that is vitally important for our life. However two types of this substance are defined – the good and the bad one. The bad cholesterol blocks our arteries. Let’s us draw an analogue: just imagine that is it a Thanksgiving day and you prepared a turkey. You drain the fat out of it into the cup and remembered about it few days later. The fat has hardened. The same thing occurs inside our bodies as well and due to it human becomes disposed to heart attacks or strokes. And the Lipitor decreases the cholesterol level accumulated inside us. On the first sight it is quite clear and transparent. However Lipitor is a drug and as with most of the drugs there are certain difficulties.

Prolonged use of the drug (and Lipitor is prescribed commonly for a long periods of time) the patient may start to experience a signs of Lou Gherig’s disease also known as ALS. It is a certain type of muscle degeneration. And several studies have proved the fact of such negative consequence of the Lipitor use against increased cholesterol.

But what is most disturbing is that it is a usual side effect for Lipitor using patients that occur quite often. Thus when side effect turns into such serious form then a question arises whether it is appropriate to use this medication at all? But here we also have to consider the fact that the cholesterol is still unproved to be as dangerous as we are informed about it. And so it appears that all the possible risks of the Lipitor use seem quite obscure.

So in case you are worried about the possible consequences of the drug use then you should only ask your doctor to find another way to decrease cholesterol blood level. For instance 2,000-3,000 units of vitamin C daily quite effectively reduce the possibility of the growth of cholesterol. And if we’ll combine it with decreased beef meat than it might be quite sufficient mean for maintaining the normal level of cholesterol.

But anyway talk to your healthcare provider at first to work out correct treatment.–6117b17b92c32100215aef11