Ham & Chard Stuffed Shells

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Ham & Chard Stuffed Shells Recipe
Ham & Chard Stuffed Shells
In this healthy stuffed shells recipe, tons of dark leafy chard replaces some of the cheese. Kale and/or collards are good substitutes for the chard as well. Serve with a salad with Italian vinaigrette.

Orange-Tomato Couscous with Chicken

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Orange-Tomato Couscous with Chicken Recipe
Orange-Tomato Couscous with Chicken
This cinnamon- and cumin-spiked couscous with chicken takes its inspiration from Morocco. It’s made mostly with pantry staples—all you have to pick up is some chicken thighs, a bunch of cilantro and an orange. The orange slices become tender after cooking—you can eat them skin and all. For a variation, substitute diced, boneless leg of lamb for the chicken. Serve with steamed green beans or a spinach salad.

8 Things to Know Before You Get Lasik

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You’ve worn glasses or contacts forever, and frankly, you’re tired of the hassle. You want to see clearly from the second you wake up in the morning till the moment you drift to sleep at night. But if you're considering Lasik, you probably have some questions like, "Will I be laid up for days?" "Will it hurt?" And: "What are the odds it'll work?" Before you go under the laser, here are a few things you should know. 

How is Lasik done?

After your eye surgeon applies numbing drops, she makes an incision in the cornea and lifts a thin flap. Then a laser reshapes the corneal tissue underneath, and the flap is replaced. "The patient can see very quickly," says Wilmington, Delaware-based ophthalmologist Robert Abel, Jr., MD, author of The Eye Care Revolution. "You get off the table and think, 'Wow.'" 

Who can get the procedure?

Lasik is used to treat the common vision problems nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. To find out if you’re a good candidate for the surgery, see an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. “You need to make sure your cornea is uniform, you don’t have severe dry eye or other eye conditions, and your prescription is stable,” explains Dr. Abel.

Lasik can also be used to fix presbyopia—that maddening effect of aging that makes it harder to focus close-up—but you need to have one eye corrected for near vision and the other for distance. This technique, called Monovision Lasik, affects depth perception and sharpness, so you may still require glasses for visually demanding activities like driving at night, or reading fine print for long periods of time. (The FDA recommends doing a trial with monovision contact lenses first.)

Also know that as you get older, your vision may continue to get worse, so you may need another Lasik procedure or glasses down the road, says Dr. Abel.

What's the success rate?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 90% of Lasik patients end up with vision somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40. 

There's chance you will still need to use corrective lenses sometimes: A 2013 survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that more than 50% of people who get Lasik or other laser vision-correction surgery wear glasses or contacts at least occasionally. Still, 80% of the survey respondents reported feeling "completely" or "very satisfied" with their procedure.

According to the FDA, results are usually not as good in people who have very large refractive errors. Make sure you discuss your expectations with your ophthalmologist to see if they're realistic.

RELATED: The Surprising Effect of Pregnancy and Nursing on Eyesight

What are the risks?

While the thought of a laser boring into your eye may seem, well, terrifying, the procedure is overwhelmingly safe, Dr. Abel says, noting that the risk of problems is about 1%.

That said, it's important to weigh the risks against the benefits, as the potential complications can be debilitating. The FDA has a list on its site, including severe dry eye syndrome, and a loss in vision that cannot be fixed with eyewear or surgery. Some patients develop symptoms like glare, halos, and double vision that make it especially tough to see at night or in fog. 

There are also temporary effects to consider. According to the Consumer Reports survey, many respondents experienced side effects—including dry eyes, halos, and blurry vision—that lasted six months or longer.

One thing you don’t have to worry about: Flinching or blinking during the procedure. A device will keep your eyelids open, while a suction ring prevents your eye from moving.

How long will I be out of commission?

You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure, but you can go back to work the very next day. 

How much will this cost?

According to Lasik.com, the cost can range from $299 per eye to more than $4,000 per eye. Geography, technology, and the surgical experience of the doctor all factor into the price. Insurance companies don't typically cover the surgery, but you can use tax-free funds from your FSA, HSA, or HRA account to pay for it.

RELATED: 5 Foods for Healthy Eyes

Is Lasik the only option?

Epi-LASIK is a similar laser procedure, but it's done without making a surgical incision, says Dr. Abel. “The risk of complications is even lower than traditional Lasik, and that’s why a lot of people are opting to get Epi-Lasik." The catch: The recovery takes longer. You’ll need to wait 4 days before you can drive, he says, and 11 days to see really well.

How can I find a good doctor?

With nearly every daily deal site offering discounts on laser eye surgery, it can be tempting to choose the cheapest doc. But it’s important you see someone with a wealth of experience, says Dr. Abel. After all, these are your eyes we’re talking about. Dr. Abel suggests calling your local university hospital and asking an administrative assistant or nurse where they refer their Lasik patients. “You want to go to someone with good follow-up care and an extended warranty or guarantee of at least three years in case you need a correction later in life,” says Dr. Abel.

How to Break a Bad Habit in 3 Steps

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You're a nail biter. Spend too much time on the couch watching TV. A chip fiend and chronic late-night snacker. But here's some good news if you have a weakness you just can't seem to shake: Research is shedding light on the most effective ways to break a habit for good. Here, three simple tactics to help you quit once and for all.

Tune in to the urge

One study of smokers found that mindfulness training was twice as effective at helping people quit as a more standard, behavior-based cessation program. The researchers believe mindfulness can work for any type of pattern you're trying to fix. Plugging into the feelings associated with a craving helps you become less in thrall to it, so you can learn to let it go. 

RELATED: Women Feel Better About Their Bodies Than They Used To

Change your environment 

Your surroundings can encourage a bad habit or facilitate a good one. Practical pointers: To stave off autopilot snacking on sweets, for example, swap the cookie jar with a fruit bowl. Or, if you need to stop checking your phone at red lights, move it from the cup holder to your zipped handbag. 

Replace that habit with a healthier one

Bad habits tend to have triggers (like stress) that prompt you to engage in them. So come up with a plan ahead of time for how you will respond to those cues: If you, say, chew your nails when you get frazzled at work, start practicing deep breathing each time you feel overwhelmed. 

How to fast-track fat loss

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Want to know the key to fat loss? Master trainer Daniel Tramontana shares his tips for guaranteed fat loss.

 

To fast-track coveted progress such as greater fat loss, Tramontana says you need to get back to basics.

Cardio is not ‘hardio’

With a combination of higher intensity interval training (HIIT), low-intensity steady state (LISS) training, body weight training sessions and a nutritious diet, Tramontana ensures his clients are given the best formula for their body.

“My cardiovascular programming is based around a 75/25 split of LISS and HIIT. So based on the available amount of time for a client to add in cardio on top of resistance training would determine the amount of each they conducted,” he says.

Here’s what your cardio program could look like:

2 hours per week for cardio training = 30 minutes of HIIT over two to three days + 90 minutes of LISS over one to two sessions.

Be wary, if HIIT was all you did, you may encounter the downside of too much stress on your body, which can ironically turn HIIT into a fat retention tactic.

So what about weight training?

“For fat loss, I structure everything around two to three full bodyweight training sessions – two sessions based on linear periodisation macro cycle of 16-to-24 week programming, altered every four to six weeks,” he explains.

Translation? A program that begins by incorporating high-volume and low intensity weight training, and progressively moves into phases when the volume decreases and intensity increases.  Tramontana is a strong advocate for women to hit up the weights rack, “I find a lot of women are lifting nowhere near their capacity. Don’t be shy to lift heavy weights and test your ability regularly.”

The importance of rest

All this talk of intensity may have you thinking full pelt should be the only gear you work in, but without adequate recovery, you may be undermining your fat loss chances at the dumbbells. Both injury and overt fatigue can see you performing at less than 100 per cent over multiple sessions.

“Recovery begins with the post-workout meal. I advise at least 25 to 50 per cent of overall carbohydrates be included in this meal – either using complex carbohydrate sources or a combination of simple and complex carbs,” says Tramontana. “I also recommend at least one body therapy session per week.”

Think physiotherapy, massage, sauna, steam, floating, dry needling, sleep in, meditation, yoga, grounding – or something as simple as reading a book.

How to fuel your body with the right food

For Tramontana, eating for fat loss should focus on controlling hunger, which translates to better portion control and craving management.

“I ask that protein be included in every meal upon waking, generally an even or slightly escalating amount each meal depending again on habits and hunger patterns,” he says.

“For fat loss, I personally urge the exclusion of high-energy carbs even post workout – with the exception of competitors in the later stage of preparation.”

Supplementation may also give you an edge in the health and results stakes. Depending on your goals and needs, Tramontana advises the use of creatine, glutamine, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, fish oils, whey protein, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and a good-quality greens supplement to aid recovery, general wellbeing and lean muscle growth.

Read the full article in the August 2016 edition by journalist Katelyn Swallow. 

NEXT > Discover ways to boost your metabolism.

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Unhappy at Work in Your 20s? You May Be Unhealthy in Your 40s

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MONDAY, Aug. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Millennials, take heed: Job dissatisfaction in your 20s or 30s can undermine your health by mid-life, new research suggests.

But really rewarding work may pay health dividends.

“Those who are, on average, very satisfied versus satisfied tend to have better health in their 40s,” said study lead author Jonathan Dirlam. He is a doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at Ohio State University.

By their 40s, disenchanted workers had worse mental health. They were more likely to suffer from routine sleep trouble and anxiety compared with satisfied or increasingly satisfied participants, the study found.

Seth Kaplan, an associate professor in industrial/organizational psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., said, “We know that there are some major job-related factors that contribute to poor psychological health.”

According to Kaplan, who wasn’t involved in the study, “Having an abusive supervisor, not having control over one’s work, and having to worry about losing one’s job—and the corresponding financial repercussions—are among the big ones.”

Kaplan added, “If at all possible, try to avoid jobs with those characteristics.”

For the study, Dirlam’s team analyzed survey responses from more than 6,400 men and women participating in a long-running study that began in 1979. Between the ages of 25 and 39, these adults were asked annually whether they liked or disliked their jobs.

Answers were correlated with mental and physical health outcomes when participants entered their 40s.

Roughly 45 percent consistently expressed “low” job satisfaction. On average, Dirlam said, this reflected relative dissatisfaction, rather than outright dislike for their work.

By contrast, 15 percent of respondents consistently noted they were “happy” with their jobs.

In addition, nearly one-quarter indicated that their satisfaction with work got worse over time, while 17 percent said they became more satisfied, the findings showed.

Once the participants reached their 40s, mental health status was gauged in terms of depression, sleep trouble and anxiety.

Overall physical health was also ranked, along with incidence of high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, heart disease, chronic lung disease, back and leg trouble, stomach and liver complications, and anemia.

The researchers found that physical health appeared to suffer among those who consistently expressed low satisfaction with work or whose satisfaction fell over time.

These people reported more difficulty with certain issues, such as back pain and cold frequency. However, the researchers saw no impact on their overall ability to function physically, or in their risk for serious illnesses such as diabetes or cancer.

Nor was consistently low job satisfaction or falling satisfaction linked with a greater likelihood for developing depression.

However, these dissatisfied workers were more likely to be in poorer mental health overall, the findings showed.

The research team theorized that mental health difficulties could actually trigger more physical health complications as participants’ age.

But no negative impact on physical or mental well-being was seen among those who reported greater satisfaction with work over time, the study authors said.

Still, the investigators did not examine health status after age 49. They also acknowledged that the relationship is complex and said it’s not possible to establish cause and effect.

For example, “[early] health problems may lead to lower levels of job satisfaction rather than the reverse,” the authors said.

Dirlan noted that “those in manual labor jobs may have lower job satisfaction and increased physical health problems as a result of their jobs in later life. We are unable to rule out this possibility.”

For those desiring more satisfaction from their work, Kaplan highlighted the concept of “job crafting.” This embraces the notion “that we can, to some extent, objectively and subjectively change our jobs to make them more meaningful.”

Dirlam and his colleagues were scheduled to present their findings Monday in Seattle at a meeting of the American Sociological Association. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more about job satisfaction.

Fast Action Can Prevent Sepsis Death, CDC Says

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TUESDAY, Aug. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Many cases of life-threatening sepsis could be recognized and treated long before it causes severe illness or death, U.S. health officials report.

Sepsis, or septicemia, occurs when the body has an extreme response to an infection. Without prompt treatment, organ failure can quickly follow.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 70 percent of patients with sepsis had used health care services recently or had chronic diseases that required regular medical care.

That means there are many opportunities for health care providers to intercept sepsis along its potentially deadly course, according to the CDC report.

“When sepsis occurs, it should be treated as a medical emergency,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in an agency news release. “Doctors and nurses can prevent sepsis and also the devastating effects of sepsis, and patients and families can watch for sepsis and ask, ‘Could this be sepsis?'”

Infections of the lung, urinary tract, skin and gut most often lead to sepsis. In most cases, the germ that caused the sepsis-triggering infection can’t be identified. But when they are identified, the most common culprits are Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and some types of Streptococcus, the report said.

Patients with infections who are most likely to develop sepsis are aged 65 and older, less than 1 year old, people with weakened immune systems and those with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.

But even healthy children and adults can develop sepsis from an infection, the CDC said in its Aug. 23 Vital Signs report.

Signs and symptoms of sepsis include: shivering, fever, or feeling very cold; extreme pain or discomfort; clammy or sweaty skin; confusion or disorientation; shortness of breath and a high heart rate.

Health care providers play a critical role in preventing sepsis. This includes following infection control measures such as hand washing and by ensuring patients get recommended vaccines, the CDC said.

It’s also essential to educate patients and their families about the need to prevent infections, manage chronic health conditions and seek immediate medical care if an infection doesn’t improve.

The CDC had additional advice for health care providers: Know the signs and symptoms of sepsis. If sepsis is suspected, order tests to determine if an infection is present, where it is and what caused it. Start antibiotics and other recommended medical care immediately.

Also, monitor patients closely and reassess antibiotic treatment within 24 to 48 hours or sooner to determine whether the type of antibiotics, dose and duration are correct, or need to be changed.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of General Medical Sciences has more on sepsis.

Crunchy Confetti Tuna Salad

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Crunchy Confetti Tuna Salad Recipe
Crunchy Confetti Tuna Salad
The herb-infused dressing in this healthy tuna salad recipe calls for equal parts Greek yogurt and low-fat mayo to keep it light. Lots of fresh veggies, including bell pepper, carrot, radishes and celery, also give boosts of flavor, color and nutrients. Serve on lettuce leaves, over a green salad or as an open-face sandwich on whole-grain toast.