It’s not only about hitting the gym. A recent study suggests adequate sleep is…

It’s not only about hitting the gym. A recent study suggests adequate sleep is a vital proponent to losing weight. greatist.com/… Source by MoniqueMonCoeur

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Study Suggests that Saturated Fat Might Be Healthy After All | Food & Wine…

Study Suggests that Saturated Fat Might Be Healthy After All | Food & Wine Source by wayne6410

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7 Ways to Stop Being So Clumsy

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You knock over a glass of wine. You tumble trying to put on leggings. You trip up the stairs. Sound familiar? You probably have a clumsy streak. (Jennifer Lawrence, we’re looking at you.) But the good news is you don’t have to resign yourself to a life full of of bruises and stains.

Clumsiness is related to a few different factors, including your reaction time, processing speed, and level of concentration, explains Charles “Buz” Swanik, PhD, director of biomechanics and movement science at the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences. When life gets in the way of those functions—think too little sleep and too much stress, for starters—it can throw you off balance, literally. 

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make yourself less prone to mishaps: “We have enough evidence within psychology, neuroscience, and biomechanics research to know that people can definitely make changes and prevent accidents before they happen,” Swanik says. Below, he suggests seven ways control your inner klutz.

Know when to take a breather

A little bit of stress can be a good thing, Swanik says. “It does help you concentrate, and focus, and increase your situational awareness.” But excessive amounts of stress can slow down your processing, and even affect your peripheral vision. “You don’t know where to look, or what to attend to that may be unsafe,” he says. “You may over-focus on whatever is stressing you out and avoid seeing potential danger.”

The catch-22? Your favorite way to clear your mind may actually set you up for an accident, Swanik says. If you de-stress by going for a run, for example, consider doing a few minutes of meditation or deep breathing first—so by the time you hit the pavement you're more alert, and don't risk getting hurt.

"It's funny, because the tradition is to get athletes all psyched up before a big game, but that's actually probably the last thing we should be doing," Swanik says. "We should be trying to keep them calm and anxiety-free. They probably would think much better and be smarter on their feet."

RELATED: 19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Train your brain

Swanik's research has suggested that people with not-so-great memories, and slower reaction times and processing speeds tend to have more coordination problems than folks with more efficient cognitive functioning. Fortunately, there are apps for that: Swanik recommends doing a Google or app search for "brain games." You'll find many options designed to improve memory and reaction time, he says. "[These apps] can help people foster some change."

Build up your core

Several studies on collegiate athletes have found that having less core control may increase the risk of lower extremity strains and sprains, says Swanik. And research on older adults suggests core strength can help prevent injuries: “When you put senior citizens on a core strengthening program, they usually have fewer falls," he says. "Your core is the center of everything." Try adding plank variations and moves like superman and bird-dog to your regular exercise routine.

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Think ahead

“YouTube is full of videos of people who have really not weighed the consequences and the risks of a situation before attempting to do something,” Swanik says. “Thinking ahead about what’s about to happen next, as basic as it sounds, is probably the best advice we can give people.”

That’s because accidents happen fast. Like, really fast. “We probably only have a quarter or a tenth of a second where a person makes a mental mistake and has some kind of injury,” he explains.

If you're feeling especially clumsy, make an effort to be extra-aware of your actions: Standing up from your seat? Check to see if there's anything you might knock over on your way up. About to climb stairs in high heels? Slow your pace and watch your footing. “Even if it’s just crossing the street, you should be actively thinking, Is this a good time to send a text message?” Swanik says.

Monotask

Do one thing at a time, simple as that. "Once you start to multitask, you get into a more dynamic and complex environment," he explains, "and it’s increasingly difficult to be deliberate [over] any one thing that you’re doing."

RELATED: 7 Exercises to Fix Muscle Imbalances

Be patient when you're trying something new

You know those stories about amazing athletes who join a game of beach volleyball, or start fooling around on a skateboard, and end up blowing out an ankle or knee? Clumsiness is often the result of diving into a brand new activity too quickly, Swanik says. "From a motor control standpoint, if you plan to try something that requires a new set of skills, you really need to be extremely patient," he says. "Think of it as a novel environment, an unfamiliar situation where you need to really slow down and assess how your skills parallel whatever it is you're doing.”

Swanik has seen this in research on collegiate athletes who are starting a cross-training regimen. "Some athletes will be unable to negotiate the new task physically and mentally, and they have coordination problems, and boom, injury."

The takeaway: If you're a a die-hard runner about to hop on a spin bike for the first time, ease your way into the new workout, and recognize that the movements may not be what your body is used to.

Get more sleep

Though never easy, clocking more shut-eye is a no-brainer: “We know that even losing a few hours of sleep is almost like drinking alcohol," Swanik says. "The effects are so profound and fast and deleterious that I would really caution people to make sure they’re getting enough sleep to avoid any sort of accident, whether it’s just being groggy while sipping coffee and spilling it, or something much worse.”

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Sugary Drinks and 'Bad' Carbs May Increase Risk of These Types of Cancer

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By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — People who consume a lot of processed carbohydrates—think snack foods and sweets—and sugary drinks may face heightened risks of breast and prostate cancers, a new study suggests.

Researchers said the study, reported Tuesday at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in San Diego, does not prove that “bad” carbs cause cancer.

But given that breast and prostate cancers are two of the most common cancers in the United States, the connection gives more reason for people to cut processed foods from their diets, said lead researcher Nour Makarem.

“The carbohydrate quality of your diet matters for a number of reasons,” said Makarem, a Ph.D. candidate in nutrition at New York University.

In general, health experts already recommend limiting sugary drinks and processed carbohydrates, and eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, fiber-rich whole grains, and “good” unsaturated fats.

So the new findings—considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal—add more weight to that advice, Makarem said.

She pointed, in particular, to the link her team found between sugar-sweetened drinks (both soda and fruit juice) and prostate cancer risk. Compared with men who never drank sugary beverages, those who had them a few times a week showed more than triple the risk of developing prostate cancer.

And that was with other factors—including obesity, smoking, and other diet habits—taken into account, Makarem said.

Still, it is difficult to weed out the effects of particular diet habits on cancer risk, said Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society.

“Few dietary factors apart from alcohol and/or obesity have been consistently related to postmenopausal breast cancer and prostate cancer,” McCullough said.

The question of whether carbohydrate quality affects cancer risk—independent of obesity—is important, according to McCullough. But it’s also a “challenging” one to answer, she said.

The new findings are based on nearly 3,200 U.S. adults whose diet habits and cancer rates were tracked for more than 20 years. During that time, 565 people were diagnosed with cancer.

At first glance, higher carb intake was tied to a lower risk of breast cancer. But the picture changed when carb quality was considered, Makarem noted.

She said that women whose diets emphasized healthy carbs—vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes—were 67 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared to women who favored refined carbs. Refined carbs include many baked goods, white bread and white potatoes.

When it came to prostate cancer risk, men who regularly drank sugary juices or soda were more than three times as likely to develop disease versus men who steered clear of those drinks, the findings showed.

That does not prove sweet drinks directly contribute to prostate cancer, Makarem acknowledged. Still, she said, many studies have implicated the beverages in the risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes—so there are other reasons to cut back.

“Plus,” Makarem said, “it’s an easy change to make in your diet.”

The American Beverage Association took issue with the findings.

“The authors of this study abstract acknowledge their findings do not show that beverages cause any disease,” the group said in a statement. “Moreover, the study was limited to one demographic group that is not reflective of the population of the United States.” (Most study participants were white.)

The beverage association also said that the American Cancer Society cites multiple potential risk factors for breast, prostate and colon cancer, so singling out diet is difficult. The group also said that because the study hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, “very few study details are available” and it’s therefore tough to draw firm conclusions.

Sugary drinks weren’t the only diet factor that mattered, though, according to the researchers. Prostate cancer risk was also heightened among men whose diets were generally high in “glycemic load”—which, Makarem said, basically means they ate a lot of refined carbs.

The study also implicated “processed lunch foods,” including pizza, deli meats, and burgers. Men who ate those foods four or more times a week were twice as likely to develop prostate cancer, compared to men who had them no more than once a week, the researchers found.

According to McCullough, it’s hard to know whether certain foods, per se, contribute to breast or prostate cancers—or whether, for example, it’s overall calorie intake and weight gain that are the true culprits.

But the bottom line, Makarem said, is that whole, “high-quality” foods are a generally healthier choice than processed ones.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on diet and cancer risk.


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Even Optimists Tend to Expect the Worst

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Even if you consider yourself to be pretty upbeat, it’s easy to get caught up in feelings of dread as you wait to hear about uncertain news. As the moment of truth draws nearer, people often find themselves increasingly convinced that bad results are ahead.

These emotions may feel stressful and unhealthy, but a new study suggests they’re totally normal. In fact, this instinct to brace for the worst can actually be protective and serve as a buffer against potentially bad news, say researchers from the University of California Riverside.

In previous studies, it’s been recognized that, as individuals wait for their respective results, students become increasingly convinced they’ve failed an exam, patients become increasingly convinced they have a terrible disease, and voters become increasingly convinced that their candidate will lose an election.

RELATED: Optimism Can Help You Live Longer

Kate Sweeny, Ph.D., a psychology professor at UC Riverside, wanted to see if this was true of optimists and pessimists alike. “Intuition might suggest that some people are more likely to brace than others,” Sweeny said in a press release. “In particular, happy-go-lucky optimists would seem immune to the anxiety and second-guessing that typically arise as the decisive moment draws near.”

So she and her co-author performed nine different experiments in their lab and in real-life settings. Some involved college students anticipating rankings of their attractiveness from peers, for example, while others involved law-school graduates awaiting the results of their bar exams. All participants answered questions beforehand to determine their natural disposition.

The researchers’ findings, published in the Journal of Personality, were “counter to intuition,” Sweeny said. “Optimists were not immune to feeling a rise in pessimism at the moment of truth. In fact, not a single study showed a difference between optimists and pessimists in their tendency to brace for the worst.”

RELATED: Happy People Make Their Spouses Happier

There was a difference, unsurprisingly, in overall predictions: Optimists started out with more positive expectations than pessimists. But everyone in the study tended to shift those expectations downward over time.

This may be because not getting one’s hopes up can be a natural defense. “If you expect the worst, you can lessen feelings of shock and disappointment if things don’t go as you hoped,” Sweeny told RealSimple.com, “and you’ll be pleasantly surprised if they do.”

So if you feel down right before a big announcement, Sweeny says you shouldn’t necessarily fight those feelings. Rather, she says, we should all try to be more like the optimists in this study, and save our pessimism for these strategic moments.

“It’s generally good to be optimistic about the future,” she says. “Optimists are happier and healthier in lots of different ways, and it’s true that worrying too much or for too long can lead to anxiety and rumination. But in these final moments before you get big news, optimism can be really treacherous.”

In other words, she says, making sure you’ve done everything you can to ensure your chances of success—and then putting off your worries until those final moments—may be the best balance you can strike. And if you do feel like the world’s about to end while you wait, take heart in knowing that that’s normal, too.

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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The benefits of plyometric exercises

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Plyometrics are great for cardio, toning and fat loss here, we take a look at how the humble plyometric box can be a killer workout session.

“The plyo box has been popular among athletes and hard-core fitness enthusiasts for a while now, but has become more mainstream since the introduction of CrossFit,” says elite trainer of over 15 years Matthew Strickland.

“They are great for cardio-based and high-intensity training, but can also be used for rehabilitative purposes and for evening out physique imbalances.”

Plyometric boxes and aerobic steps come in a range of heights and sizes to adhere to varying fitness levels and exercise goals. While fixed-height boxes are available and usually come in sets of three to four, try opting for a sturdy, adjustable step if you are tight on space. And if you aren’t confident in the jumps, we say go for foam rather than metal or wood versions: a lot less chance of skinned shins.

For cardio/fat loss: Plyometric training involves using explosive bodyweight movements to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time – making them the perfect fat-burning tool. Explosive movements also mean power and strength, especially in the lower body, can be achieved. Again, keep rest periods short and repetitions as high as possible – although given their taxing nature, sessions shouldn’t go much longer then 30 to 45 minutes. Tip: “When performing box jumps, start in a quarter squat and hinge from the hips to engage the hamstrings and glutes,” says Strickland. “Landings on the box should be soft to help avoid injury.” 

For toning: While plyometric training is renowned for explosive bodyweight movements, Strickland says that there are a range of toning exercises that can be performed simultaneously. “Think anything from single-leg step-ups to incline push-ups using the box,” he says. “The varied range will target muscles you never even knew you had.”

“With proper technique, kettlebells can be used to train your entire body for both toning and fat-burning goals,” says Strickland. “I run a half-hour class and never repeat the same exercise, so boredom is never an issue.”

Compound movements such as the kettlebell swing, in which the centre of gravity shifts, work the entire body while moves native to dumbbell workouts often isolate one or two muscle groups.

“Kettlebells, in my experience, allow people to get deeper into the movements than say a dumbbell,” says Strickland.

For toning:  Kettlebells of varying weights can be used to load isolated muscle groups. When setting up your home gym, opt for a set of light, medium and heavy kettlebells to ensure everything from shoulders to legs can be worked. Strickland’s favourite for a killer lower-body toning session? “I often work some of my favourite kettlebell exercises into a circuit to ensure the muscles are exhausted while also providing a killer cardio and fat-burning workout,” he says. “Try a burpee to kettlebell deadlift to kettlebell upright row. Say no more, this will push your whole body to its limits, and then some.”

For fat loss/cardio: Fat loss and cardio fitness are best achieved through circuit-style training, with limited rest and higher repetitions to ensure the heart rate is elevated for long periods. Strickland suggests high-intensity interval work, with exercises performed for 45 seconds at max reps followed by a short 15-second rest. Sessions should last for about 20 to 30 minutes all up. “Work from the larger muscle to smallest, allowing you to achieve a wider variety of movements. It also means the most taxing, compound movements are completed first,” says Strickland.

NEXT: Looking for more fat loss tips? Check out Alexa Towersey’s here.

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Hepatitis C Now Kills More Americans Than Any Other Infectious Disease

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Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

WEDNESDAY, May 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The number of hepatitis C-linked deaths in the United States reached a record high in 2014, and the virus now kills more Americans than any other infectious disease, health officials report.

There were 19,659 hepatitis C-related deaths in 2014, according to preliminary data from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those tragically high numbers aren’t necessary, one CDC expert said.

“Why are so many Americans dying of this preventable, curable disease? Once hepatitis C testing and treatment are as routine as they are for high cholesterol and colon cancer, we will see people living the long, healthy lives they deserve,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin said in an agency news release.

He directs the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

If not diagnosed and treated, people with hepatitis C are at increased risk for liver cancer and other life-threatening diseases. They may also unknowingly infect others.

The new CDC study found that the number of hepatitis C-related deaths in 2013 exceeded the combined number of deaths from 60 other infectious diseases, including HIV and tuberculosis.

The numbers might even be higher, the agency said. That’s because the new statistics are based on data from death certificates, which often underreport hepatitis C.

Most cases of hepatitis C are among baby boomers—those born between 1945 and 1965. According to the CDC, many were infected during medical procedures such as injections and blood transfusions when these procedures were not as safe as they are now. Many hepatitis C-infected “boomers” may even have lived with the disease for many years without knowing it, the CDC said.

The preliminary data also suggests a new wave of hepatitis C infections among injection drug users. These “acute” cases of hepatitis C infection more than doubled since 2010, increasing to 2,194 reported cases in 2014, the CDC found.

The new cases were mainly among young whites with a history of injection drug use who are living in rural and suburban areas of the Midwest and Eastern United States.

“Because hepatitis C often has few noticeable symptoms, the number of new cases is likely much higher than what is reported. Due to limited screening and underreporting, we estimate the number of new infections is closer to 30,000 per year,” said Dr. John Ward, director of CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis.

“We must act now to diagnose and treat hidden infections before they become deadly and to prevent new infections,” he added.

About 3.5 million Americans have hepatitis C and about half are unaware of their infection. One-time hepatitis C testing is recommended for everyone born from 1945 to 1965 and regular testing is suggested for others at high risk, according to the CDC and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Luckily, curative drugs have advanced the treatment of hepatitis C infection over recent years. For people diagnosed with the virus, these new and highly effective treatments can cure the vast majority of infections in two to three months, the CDC said.

The new report was published online May 4 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on hepatitis C.


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Why The Biggest Loser Contestants Gain Back the Weight

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It’s an unfortunate truth that many people who lose a significant amount of weight will gain it back. But a new study of contestants of the popular reality show The Biggest Loser suggests that a slowed metabolism—not a lack of willpower—is largely to blame.

In new research to be published in the journal Obesity, researchers followed contestants from The Biggest Loser season 8 for six years to see what happened to them after they lost so much weight, the New York Times reports. Led by Kevin Hall, a scientist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the researchers found that people’s resting metabolism—how many calories they burn when they’re at rest—changes dramatically after weight loss.

The men and women had normal metabolisms for their weight when they were obese, the Times reports. However, once they dropped a massive amount of weight, their resting metabolisms slowed so significantly that they were not burning enough calories to maintain their new size. This is a normal reaction to weight loss; what was surprising was that as time passed and the people gained back weight, their metabolisms continued to slow, making the process harder.

The winner of season 8, Danny Cahill, lost nearly 240 pounds in less than a year. Since then, he’s gained back 100 pounds, the Times reports. But the findings may also apply to people who lose less.

The new study adds to a growing body of research aimed at understanding why it’s so difficult for people to lose weight, and why some are more successful than others. Other recent studies have suggested that people’s bodies respond dramatically differently to the same foods. In the future, weight loss advice may need to be more personalized, some experts suggest.

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

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Everything You Need to Know About Baking With Coconut Oil

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Uses for coconut oil are popping up everywhere these days, like in the kitchen for high-heat searing but also as a beauty aid for smoothing split ends. Hey, why not? Just one whiff of the stuff whisks you away to a tropical beach — piña colada in hand. But why on earth would anyone want to use coconut oil for baking? Here’s a short list:

It’s vegan.
It’s a lot healthier for your heart than butter, shortening, and many other oils.
Its flavor and mouthfeel are melt-in-your-mouth magical — after all, isn’t that the point of indulging in baked goods in the first place?

Ready to bake with it? Read on for answers to all your questions about baking with coconut oil.

Can I really substitute coconut oil for butter?
You bet. “Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature (it melts at 74 degrees), it is the closest oil there is to butter in terms of how it works in a recipe,” said Vegetarian Times food editor Mary Margaret Chappell.

Should I substitute coconut oil for butter or other oils at a 1:1 ratio?
Yes. If you are subbing for butter or shortening, use it as a solid at room temperature. If you are subbing for oil, simply melt it on the stovetop or in a microwave. Note: it melts super fast!

Which baked goods work best with coconut oil — and why?
Coconut oil works wonderfully in cakes, brownies, cookies, pie crusts, breads, crumbles, and frosting — especially those with tropical, chocolaty, or fresh and citrusy flavors. “I reach for coconut oil mainly when I’m making pie crusts and frostings,” said Chappell. “You can cream coconut oil with sugar at the start of a cake recipe and beat it into frostings.” Her absolute favorite use: in homemade chocolates! “A little coconut oil gives them a shine and a firmer texture than straight chocolate.”

How does it affect the flavor of baked goods?
“Unrefined coconut oil has a definite coconut flavor, which can come through in baked goods,” said Chappell. While that can be a very good thing, if that’s not the flavor you’re looking for, Chappell suggests choosing refined coconut oil.

Is coconut oil healthier than other fats?
While coconut oil is a saturated fat, we like to think of it as a “good fat.” Why? Unlike the typical saturated fat found in animal products (long-chain fatty acids), the plant-based saturated fat in coconut oil (medium-chain fatty acids) is more readily burned as energy rather than stored as fat. Plus, it’s free of the scary trans fat found in most shortenings and margarines, and it’s super high in lauric acid, which is both antiviral and immunity-boosting.

Does it work for greasing the pan instead of nonstick cooking spray?
Yup. You can either use a pastry brush or a clean paper towel to grease the pan with coconut oil, or give coconut oil nonstick cooking spray a try. We heart Spectrum Naturals Coconut Spray Oil or Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray.

Are there any helpful cookbooks to help me get started baking with coconut oil?
We love these two:
BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes From New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery
The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions

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Have Scientists Discovered a Possible Way to Stop Zika Virus in Its Tracks?

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FRIDAY, June 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Scientists say they’ve identified a potential way to prevent Zika and similar viruses from spreading in the body.

They pinpointed a gene pathway that is vital for Zika and related viruses to spread infection between cells. The researchers found that shutting down a single gene in this pathway prevents these viruses from leaving an infected cell.

“We wanted to find out if we could identify genes present in the host cells that are absolutely required by the virus for infection,” said study senior author Dr. Michael Diamond, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The discovery suggests a potential target for new drugs to fight Zika and other flaviviruses such as dengue and West Nile, according to the researchers.

“Out of about 19,000 genes that we looked at, we only found nine key genes that the virus relies on for infection or to spread,” Diamond said in a university news release.

“All of [the nine] are associated with an important part of the cell that processes viral particles, which is essential to spreading the infection,” he said.

Of those nine genes, disabling one called SPCS1 reduced viral infection but appeared to have no harmful effects on human cells, he added.

“Flaviviruses appear to be uniquely dependent on this particular gene to release the viral particle,” Diamond said.

“In these viruses, this gene sets off a domino effect that is required to assemble and release the viral particle,” he said. “Without it, the chain reaction doesn’t happen and the virus can’t spread. So we are interested in this gene as a potential drug target because it disrupts the virus and does not disrupt the host.”

The research was supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The study was published June 17 in the journal Nature.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on the Zika virus.

This Q&A will tell you what you need to know about Zika.

To see the CDC list of sites where Zika virus is active and may pose a threat to pregnant women, click here.


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