Add Constipation to Postpartum List of Problems

New moms are often surprised when they experience a bout of constipation after giving birth, unaware that this is actually a very common postpartum complaint.

Many women may experience constipation following childbirth, due to the slowdown of the digestive system and temporary loss of muscle tone in the abdomen. But there are other explanations. Factors that may contribute to constipation include: medications administered for postpartum pain, prenatal vitamins continued while breast feeding and anesthesia administered during labor.

A fear of pushing can also cause a cycle of constipation. New moms may be hesitant to strain themselves because of post-childbirth tenderness, fear of tearing a stitch or pain from hemorrhoids. C-sections can also contribute.

Fresh Mussels Make 2012 Wellness Goals Taste Great

Every January, our focus turns to kicking off the year with a renewed commitment to healthy eating. We join gyms and invest in the latest protein powders and high-fiber shakes in pursuit of a healthier life. But did you know there’s a delicious powerhouse food that’s easy to make and won’t break your wallet just waiting to help us meet our goals?

Fresh mussels are packed with important health benefits. They are rich in nutrients without adding significant calories or fat to meals,” says registered dietitian Lois Ferguson, as he explains the benefits of fresh PEI mussels compared to other proteins like meat and poultry. “This makes them the perfect food for people who aim to live a life of fitness and health.”

Easy Ways to Give Back

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – There are people all over the world who are struggling and in need of help. One could be right next door. While it’s not always possible to help out financially, or donate a large amount of time to a cause, there are easy ways to perform simple acts of kindness every day. Not only does the person performing the good deed feel great, but these small gestures add up to make a big difference.
Contribute to the community with these simple deeds:
* Gather gently used books. Contact schools, libraries and other institutions, such as hospitals and senior centers, to see if books are needed. Involve a book club or other community organization to increase the donation.
* Call area schools and ask about volunteering. Many schools are looking for mentors and tutors. Depending on each school’s policy, sometimes volunteers need to attend a short training session before starting. For parents, lending time to chaperone a field trip is both fun and rewarding.
* Consider donating blood through an American Red Cross blood drive. The need for blood is constant as approximately every two seconds a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Just one donation can save up to three lives. After each donation, Red Cross donors are treated to Keebler cookies, beverages and other snacks as a way to say “Thank you” for their act of kindness. To learn more about the “Be a Good Cookie. Get a Good Cookie.” campaign and for blood donation eligibility, visit www.redcrossblood.org.
* Head to the local park for a clean-up. Get friends to chip in to help the community as well. Separate trash from recyclable items and dispose of each appropriately. See efforts materialize in a clean green space.
* Organize a clothing drive with co-workers or friends. Schedule home pick-ups for a specific day, and donate gently used clothing to local charitable organizations. You’ll be helping others, and you’ll have more room in your closets.
* Collect those canned fruits and vegetables, and take them to the local food bank. Check with them to see if they have a “wish list” of items that they need. Some of those things, shelf-stable or non-perishable, may already be sitting around your house. It’s also great way organize your pantry.
There are so many ways to give back. Simple acts of kindness are often the most valuable to those in need, and they are the easiest to perform. Whether saving a life, feeding a family or mentoring a student, every kind gesture brings a smile to more than one face.

Follow These 5 Easy Tips to Keep Your Heart Happy and Healthy

Experts have found that good nutrition and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables continues to be one of the best ways to safeguard our health. Unfortunately, this time-tested advice proves more easily said than done, and heart disease remains one of the top killers of Americans.

Every 25 seconds someone experiences an episode of coronary distress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and about one person will die from a coronary event every minute. These are striking statistics that should be taken to heart as part of a commitment to making small changes that will lead to big health results.

Fight Summer Brain Drain

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The National Center for Summer Learning states, “Most students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over summer months.” Therefore, even the best students forget lessons they have learned during the school year.

Sylvan Learning, the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels, offers tips to make summer learning fun:

* Writing. Encourage your child to start a diary or write letters to a friend. If you are traveling on a vacation, ask your child to keep a journal recording where you stayed and what you did. Each day, talk through the activities with your child and help with the journal. It not only improves writing skills, but also creates great family memories.

* Math. Everyday, ordinary activities are packed with opportunities to develop and sharpen math skills. Grocery shopping involves weighing fruits and vegetables, comparing prices and making change. Cooking provides practice with organization, planning and following a recipe. Help children select recipes, create an ingredients list, shop and prepare a family meal together.

* Reading. You can’t start too early. You can’t read too much. Reading to young children nurtures an interest in language, words and communication. For older kids, reading together can be fun and interesting. Librarians can recommend books appropriate for a child’s reading level and interests, and many libraries offer free children’s programs and clubs.

* Research. Through the Web site www.BookAdventure.com, children (grades K-8) create personalized book lists from more than 7,500 recommended titles, take comprehension quizzes, and earn points towards small prizes. It is designed to motivate students to read more often, for longer periods of time and with greater understanding.

* Summer Programs. There are many enrichment activities available for children when school is out of session. Sylvan Learning offers engaging programs that keep the interest and fun in learning alive through the summer and into the school year. Visit www.SylvanLearning.com for additional information.

Summer is a great time for families to work and play together using interactive activities.

Sylvan Learning offers a free “Summer Fun & Learning Guide for Parents” — fun, grade-specific activities that nurture reading,

writing and math skills. Visit the “Parent Resources” area of www.SylvanLearning.com to download a copy.

To learn more about academic opportunities for children in grades pre-K through 12, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS.

Protect Your Child’s Sweet Smile

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – It’s hard to turn on the television without hearing about sodas in schools and unhealthy school lunches contributing to rising childhood obesity. But a sugar-heavy diet does more than expand waistlines. Even children at healthy weights can experience tooth decay.

When children eat sugar, they’re not the only ones to get a meal. Sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth. As the bacteria consume the sugar, they produce an acid that causes cavities. And while some sugary culprits prove easy to identify — soda and candy, for example — children may also consume sugar when they eat burgers, orange juice or pizza.

The bacteria in the mouth do not distinguish between refined table sugar and the naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and vegetables, so forbidding all sugary foods would deprive children of important nutrients. That said, parents can take steps to minimize the damage caused by their children’s diets by following these tips:

* Brush children’s teeth after every meal and snack. Immediately removing sugar from the mouth gives it less time to feed bacteria. If you can’t brush your children’s teeth right away, ask them to drink water to flush away some of the sugar.

* Use probiotics. The mouth is supposed to contain certain bacteria, but a sugary diet helps bad bacteria overtake the mouth. Children can restore healthy levels of good bacteria with an oral care probiotic, such as EvoraKids (www.MyEvoraKids.com) probiotic chews. High numbers of good bacteria will give bad bacteria less surface area to grow. Even if a child eats sugar, there won’t be enough bad bacteria to use that sugar to create an acid challenge for teeth.

* Serve sweets with meals. Slowly sipping on a soda throughout the day does far more damage than a soda consumed all at once and with a meal. Continually drinking or snacking on sugary foods gives teeth a constant sugar bath.

* Choose sweets carefully. Not all sweet foods cause the same amount of damage. Foods that stick to the teeth, like taffy, caramel and raisins, feed bad bacteria longer than sweets that quickly leave the mouth. And while fruits like apples and pears do contain sugar, they also stimulate cleansing saliva, so eating these fruits helps protect teeth.

Green Smoothies Help Kids Eat Fruits, Veggies

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans simply aren’t eating their fruits and vegetables, and that spells poor health for the next generation.

The government recommends that adults eat a minimum of four fruit and five vegetable servings every day. And yet, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 32.6 percent of adults eat enough fruits and only 27.2 percent consume enough vegetables. And because parents aren’t eating fruits and vegetables, neither are their children.

The really bad news? Fruits and vegetables have proven health benefits. The less you eat, the more likely you are to develop obesity, diabetes and cancer. If American children eat donuts and french fries instead of apples and spinach, they will likely develop health problems. Even now, more children are becoming obese, which sets them up for asthma, sleep apnea and type-2 diabetes.

Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but few want to sit down to a plate of raw greens. The solution? Make meals that are delicious and easy — and that just happen to contain fruits and vegetables.

Take green smoothies, which blend fruit and green vegetables like lettuce, kale, parsley, collards, spinach or chard. The smoothies, while bright green in color, taste light and sweet — the fruit completely masks the vegetables’ taste. For best results, make smoothies about 60 percent fruit and 40 percent greens. If a smoothie tastes too bitter, simply add more fruit.

Green smoothies are best when completely smooth, so choose the top blender available to pulverize completely. The Vita-Mix 5200, for example, uses a two-plus peak horsepower motor and stainless steel blades to break down whole foods, including skins, peels and seeds, giving smoothies extra fiber and antioxidants. Vita-Mix provides the following recipe for a delicious, healthy green smoothie:

Green Smoothie

Serves 3-4

1 cup green grapes

1/2 cup pineapple

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup cold water

1 cup ice

Place all ingredients in Vita-Mix container in order listed. Secure two-part lid. Select variable, speed No. 1. Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to No. 10; then to high. Run for one minute or until smooth. In another type of blender, add all ingredients in the order listed, then blend on the highest setting. Serve immediately.

For more information, visit www.vitamix.com.