Archive for October, 2015

Risks of Taking Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin Supplements?

Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin Supplements

The question is “do you really need those vitamin supplements you are taking?”

I am certainly no expert on this topic, but I do have a strong opinion based on quite a few articles I’ve read over the years.

Logic would tell us that it certainly in our best interest to acquire our daily requirements naturally through the food we eat including vegetables.

Supplements are big business. Supplement sales will likely top $20 billion this year in the U.S. alone.

Many individuals are wasting their money… and worse, harming their health.

The marketing for these pills implies that they are medical treatments… but they aren’t regulated like medicines. No one’s checking the health claims, many of which are pure marketing fiction. And worse, the supplements contain ingredients and substances that are different from what’s on the label.

In most cases, you’re far better off dumping your supplements and meeting your nutritional needs with healthy, whole foods – starting with vegetables.

Many vegetables are packed with phytochemicals – molecules that can help protect our bodies and preserve our health. Whole foods are the best way to get what you need… a supplement just can’t replace the nutrients in real food.

Much of the most recent research indicates that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will provide the most benefits, so skip those pills.

Have a discussion with your doctor and by all means have your blood work done annually to check your vitamin levels.

Review Your Medicare Coverage

Medicare Coverage

Beginning October 15, 2015 to December 7, 2015 (open enrollment) is the time to review your Medicare Supplemental coverage and monthly costs for the following year, that being 2016.

In addition to reviewing your supplemental coverage; Medicare part B may have some financial impact next year if your income is higher than $85,000 for individuals ($170,000 if filing jointly). Some may see increases of over 50 % in Part B premiums.

Part B covers 2 types of services

  1. Medically necessary services: Services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.

2.  Preventive services: Health care to prevent illness (like the flu) or detect it at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to work best.

You pay nothing for most preventive services if you get the services from a health care provider who accepts assignment.

I provided a short video explaining the benefits of Medicare Part B

There will be no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, in 2016, which will leave the benefits of nearly 65 million people no higher next year than they were this year. It’s the third time since 2010 that this has happened.

There will be no cost of living increases in social security (COLA) for 2016, therefore 70 % of Medicare participates will not see any increase in the Part B of Medicare. The zero COLA means that 70% of all Medicare beneficiaries will continue in 2016 to pay the same $104.90 monthly Part B premiums they are paying this year.

During the open enrollment period stated above, you will have the option to review your supplemental insurance coverage for Medicare and make changes if necessary. This means comparison shopping several insurance companies for coverage and cost of premiums.

Don’t forget to look into Medicare Part D (drug plans) as well; the enrollment dates apply to Part D.

Insurance companies do not reward its customers for being loyal customers, so it will be in your best interest to shop around for the best premium rates and coverage. Remember you have only until December 7, 2015 to make any changes.

10 Tips for Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging

For those of us that are nearing or in retirement, healthy aging is certainly a concern. Listed below are 10 tips to stay healthy as we age. I borrowed the tips from an article in a recent issue of WebMD.

  1. Embrace healthy thoughts – In my mind the number one tips to staying healthy is thinking happy thoughts – you are what you think about most the time. Embrace healthy thoughts to live longer.
  2. Relaxation – Take 15 to 20 minutes per day out of your busy schedule to do a bit of meditation or relaxation exercises. Deep breathing and yoga helps to minimize stress.
  3. Exercise – 20 minute walk each day will do the trick, averaging at least 6,000 to 10,000 steps per day is great exercise and will relieve stress as well. If you are younger than 50, try to set 10,000 steps as your minimum.
  4. Create – learn a new skill such as a foreign language or new hobby to keep your mind active. You are never too old to learn.
  5. Quit bad habits – If you smoke or drink to frequently, try getting down your alcohol intake and absolutely quit smoking today.
  6. Be social – Stay friendly with friends and family to maintain good mental health. Less stress when you are on friendly terms with other family members.
  7. Don’t take life so seriously – be forgiving and let go of resentment and hostilities.
  8. Avoid loud noises – protect your ears by wearing ear plugs if you cannot avoid loud noises.
  9. Avoid unprotected sunlight – avoid prolonged sun exposure with clothing and sun screen to protect your skin.
  10. Medical checkups – don’t forget to visit your doctor and get the proper medical care you need including your shots.

 

Health quote of the week – Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one that gets burned.

The Top 12 Ways to Improve Your Health This Year and Beyond- Part 2

 Improve Your Health – Part 2

Listed below are the remaining six ways to improve your health, you can find the previous six tips in an earlier post last week.

7. Massage – Massage decreases inflammation and modulates the immune system. That means less aches and pain. Massage is also a great way to relieve everyday pains and improve your mood.

8. Alcohol – Whether it’s beer, liquor, or wine, moderate drinking of al­cohol is good for you. Wine lowers blood sugar, decreases your risk of dementia, and protects your prostate. Beer is packed with B vitamins, which help maintain healthy insulin levels. Liquor has similar benefits to wine and beer, although to a lesser extent.

Remember, moderation is key… Too much disrupts your sleep cycles, increases blood pressure, and increases your risk of cancer.

9. Control Your Digital Life – People spend more than eight hours a day in front of a screen… whether that’s a computer, phone, or television. This is a hazardous habit. Pace yourself and turn off those Ipads, tablets and cell phones before going to bed.

10. Sharing – Eating and drinking from other people’s utensils and glasses is one of the quickest ways to get a cold. And not just colds… It can result in cold sores. Known as the “herpes simplex virus type 1,” cold sores are the painful blisters you get around your mouth and nose. They last for about a week and can lead to cold or flu-like symptoms. It’s also the quickest way to spread a sore throat and gut bugs.

11. Fruits – Blueberries are a true superfood. They’re packed with antioxidants (like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, fiber, and manganese), flavonoids, anthocyanins (this gives them the blue color), and other chemi­cals. They lower cholesterol, improve eyesight, and reduce inflammation.

12. Quality of Air – Polluted air is filled with various particles so small that they can get into your lung tissue and blood stream. They cause cancer, reduce the ef­fectiveness of your immune system, and damage your respiratory system. Having excessive dust, dirt, or smoke in your home can lead to chronic inflammation… leading to more colds and heart attacks. Breathing clean air is an essential part of having a healthy year. Keep an air purifier in your bedroom.

Good smells in the air around you are also important. Aromas can improve your mood, trigger positive memories, help you sleep, and improve concentration. Some – like the combination of lavender and pumpkin pie – can even increase the male libido.

Stay Healthy…….