Healthy Living

From losing weight to looking younger to feeling fit, there are many reasons people focus on their health. Choosing the right way to maintain a healthy lifestyle can be a daunting task; however, Southwest Orlando Bulletin’s Healthy Living provides a plethora of advice from local experts to help readers achieve and maintain their varied health goals.

Do You Know What Healthy Food Is?

by Lauren Popeck, RD, LD/N

Orlando Health Physician Group


Quick, answer this question: What’s the difference between “healthy,” “low fat” and “good source of” on a nutrition label?

If you’re scratching your head trying to come up with a response, you’re not alone. It turns out most Americans need clarity on these categories, too.

This is why the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently launched an effort to define what “healthy” actually means.

In a statement, the agency said that “redefining ‘healthy’ is part of an overall plan to provide consumers with information and tools to enable them to easily and quickly make food choices consistent with public health recommendations and to encourage the development of healthier foods by the industry.”

The FDA has made an ongoing effort to help Americans make healthier food choices. This year it changed the labels on packaged goods to reflect how the public actually eats and to highlight added sugar in these products. The font size on the labeling also is larger, and there is additional nutrient information, such as the amount of vitamin D, potassium and calcium.

At this time, the FDA offers a guidance document for manufacturers with a definition of the “healthy” claim used on food labels. There are two criteria:

  1. The food is not low in total fat but has a fat profile makeup of predominately mono and polyunsaturated fat.
  2. The food contains at least 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of potassium or vitamin D.

As part of this process, the FDA is asking the public for input on what “healthy” should mean from a nutritional standpoint, what their current interpretation of “healthy” is on food labels, and how this may affect their purchasing decisions. While the FDA works to redefine “healthy” on food labels, manufacturers can still use this term on their products as long as they meet current regulatory requirements.

The reality is that the American diet is filled with processed foods, added sugar, salt and saturated fat, so making changes to how we define and label proper nutrition is necessary. However, a tried-and-true approach to healthier eating is a diet filled with lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, which will help consumers avoid the issue of food labels in the first place.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to foods that maintain their quality and freshness for about a week in your refrigerator — and not those with expiration dates in the next decade.

Long-Term Care Insurance

by Andy Phillips, Agent

State Farm Insurance


Long-term care refers to the services you need when you’re certified chronically ill, not able to function independently, and need assistance performing at least two to three Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), resulting from a prolonged physical illness or severe cognitive impairment.

  • Seventy percent of people age 65-older need long-term care at some point in their lives.
  • The average cost of a nursing home stay is $87,600 per year.
  • In addition, 65 percent of care workers have missed time from work to care for another person.

The purchase of long-term care insurance can help pay for care at home, adult day care, care at an assisted living facility, or care at a long-term care facility.

Long-term care can help you keep the assets that you have spent your lifetime building and still maintain your current standard of living.

An insurance agent can provide you with more details about this important coverage.

A Place for the Mind & Body

by Erin Sullivan, Public Relations Administrator

Orange County Library System


Everybody knows that libraries are healthy for your mind — reading enriches your life, connects you to new worlds, and opens doors to new opportunities. But did you know that today’s libraries also contribute to a healthy lifestyle in other ways?

While libraries still lend books, they also host programs, events and classes that can help you improve your body inside and out. Yoga, tai chi, meditation, healthy cooking, parenting and art events are just a few of the offerings you can find at your local library. Libraries can help you try new things, discover new hobbies that can help melt away the stress in your life, or introduce you to activities that can contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

And, of course, libraries contribute to better literacy in the community. While reading won’t tone your abs, it can contribute to your overall health. According to Science Daily, strong reading skills are tied to a healthier life. Studies show that reading helps reduce stress and can help fight off cognitive decline.

So, next time you’re thinking about developing healthier habits, think about visiting a library — a place where you can keep both your body and mind in shape.

Early Detection of Breast Cancer Saves Lives

by Douglas Gearity, M.D., FACOG

The Women’s Center


Early detection is the way to save lives when it comes to breast cancer. Through accessible mammography screenings, it can be done in every community. The most common cancer among women worldwide and the second most common cancer overall is breast cancer. In 2014, an estimated 232,030 cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. alone.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer can include the following: nipple changes; a breast lump or thickening that feels different from surrounding tissue; bloody discharge from the nipple; a change in the size or shape of the breasts, including changes in the skin over the breasts, such as dimpling; an inverted nipple; peeling, scaling or flaking of the nipple or breast skin; sores on the chest wall that won’t go away; redness or pitting of the skin over the breast that may resemble an orange peel; persistent pain or tenderness in a specific location of the breast; a lump or thickening of the tissue under the arm or collarbone; or breast swelling.

No symptoms? You should screen anyway. No matter who you are or where you live, understanding breast cancer is important. But the most important thing to know is a diagnosis is not a death sentence. Breast cancer can be treated, but early detection is important.

The Importance of Straight, Healthy Teeth

by Lauris Johnson, D.M.D.

My Family Orthodontics


Let’s face it, we live in a society where first impressions matter, and the quality of our smiles tells our individual stories before we say our first hello. Not only does having straight, healthy teeth improve a person’s quality of life by boosting self-esteem and helping to build positive social relationships, it also improves overall health and adds a few years to one’s life.

Research has shown that having straight teeth makes oral hygiene methods like brushing and flossing easier, which directly reduces cavities and gum disease. Straighter teeth also help prevent systemic health issues, such as diabetes and coronary heart disease. Medical science has found that the same bacteria that infects the gums and causes gingivitis and periodontitis can enter the bloodstream and cause cardiovascular disease. The link between diabetes and poor oral health is devastating. If it gets severe enough in a diabetic person, it can further increase blood sugar levels, which could cause diabetic complications. Having straight, healthy teeth impacts a person’s smile and total well-being.

Dry Eye Syndrome

by Keshini Parbhu, M.D., ASOPRS

Parbhu Oculofacial Plastic Surgery


Redness, stinging, burning, scratchiness, sensitivity to light and contact lens intolerance are common complaints ophthalmologists hear every day. What these complaints have in common is that they are common symptoms of the same diagnosis — dry eye syndrome. This condition is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Physicians are only now discovering the complexity of dry eyes and its multifactorial causes. It is emerging as a new area of interest in the eye care industry, because people are experiencing dry eyes at a younger age. This comes as we rely more on our vision and eyes than ever before because of technological advances.

There are a number of new treatments and diagnostic indicators that can help diagnose and treat dry eyes in more sophisticated and effective ways than just over-the-counter artificial tears. Good starting points for the self-treatment of dry eye syndrome include taking omega-3 fish oil supplements, practicing good lid hygiene, using warm compresses, the discontinuation of ceiling fans, and the use of humidifiers. Artificial tears can help provide symptomatic relief in some patients but may just serve as a Band-Aid while not treating the root cause. This can sometimes be ultimately detrimental; therefore, doctors recommend having an evaluation to find out the type or types of dry eye a patient has and directing treatment specifically.

Age-Fighting Skin Treatments for Men

by Janet Beres, PA-C, Master Trained Injector, and Suzanna Suto, Aesthetician

Spa Blue


More than ever, men are seeking skin treatments that can help them look younger, more relaxed and less tired, especially when treating the under-eye area. For most men, it’s not about looking younger, it’s about looking well-rested.

Botox Cosmetic tops the list of male cosmetic procedures, but the latest revolutionary treatment is platelet-rich plasma. PRP, also known as the Vampire Facial, is being used in many aspects of medicine, including skin rejuvenation, thinning/balding hair, sexual rejuvenation, joints, urology, gastrointestinal and dentistry. PRP is a great choice for rejuvenating the skin in men, because there is no downtime with this procedure. PRP is all-natural, using the patient’s own serum so there is no risk for side effects. The improvement in the skin tone and wrinkles is gradual over a few weeks, and males love the fact that they look younger, rested and refreshed. Focus can be placed on the under-eye area and crow’s-feet region, which helps clients look rested instead of exhausted for Friday’s happy hour. PRP for hair loss helps to regrow hair and slow the progression of hair loss. There is a lot of success with this nonsurgical one-hour procedure, and it is currently undergoing clinical trials.

Healthy Living for Children

by Bindu Parekattil, M.D., FAAP

Ocoee Pediatrics


The most important healthy living guidelines for children involve nutrition, sleep and exercise. These three components are key to decreasing the risk of developing chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, which today are developing more often in children.

Nutrition should focus on them getting four to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Parents should discourage sugary beverages by starting off in infancy with water instead of juice. They should also try to avoid products with added sugar as part of their regular

The goal for children is 60 minutes of exercise per day. This can be broken up into segments. For example, 20 minutes walking to a bus stop, 20 minutes in a gym, and 20 minutes riding their bikes after school. Limit screen time, and encourage kids to get up and move!

Sleep is something that is often not thought of as important for disease prevention, but research is showing the value of good sleep. Encourage your children to develop good sleep hygiene such as regular bedtimes. The recommended amount of sleep varies: Preschoolers need 10-13 hours, school-aged children need nine-12 hours, and teens need eight-10 hours. Getting adequate, good-quality sleep leads to better school performance, decreased mental health issues, and better physical health.

The Mental & Physical Health Benefits of Theater

by Elina Moon, Marketing Intern

Orlando Repertory Theatre


When people think about what it means to be healthy, things that come to mind might be eating a balanced diet, brushing their teeth and exercising every day. But, did you know that theater can be a big part of your healthy lifestyle, as well?

Participating in theater — whether by attending a show, performing or working backstage — is a great way to enrich your life and the lives of those in your family. Engaging in this art form is not only good entertainment but also has both mental and physical health benefits. People who attend performing arts events have been shown to be significantly healthier, have lower anxiety and be less likely to suffer from depression and loneliness.

Did you know seeing live theater can actually make you smarter? Studies by neuroscientists show that both the left and right sides of the brain need to be used in order for the brain to reach its full potential. This means it is not only important for children to use their brains for math and science but also for creative-thinking activities like art and theater. Seeing plays is also a good way to learn new vocabulary. Where else can people learn fun words like “scrumdiddlyumptious” and “fantasmagorical?”

Theater also encourages greater tolerance and empathy toward others. Through theater, audiences are introduced to characters from all walks of life. Live shows teach children how to comprehend and empathize with other people’s feelings and views, especially those that may be different from their own.

Seeing comedies and musicals is especially good for one’s physical health. It is said that laughter is the best medicine, and studies have proven this to be true. Officials of the Mayo Clinic say laughter is a great way to relieve stress and stimulate organs. It boosts people’s endorphins and delivers extra oxygen to their muscles, lungs and hearts, which can help strengthen their immune system.

The Importance of Hormones as People Age

by John C. Carrozzella, M.D.,


Florida Center for Hormones and Wellness


Many of us already know that hormones such as estrogen and testosterone decline with age, and along with that decline comes a significant reduction in sex drive and physical intimacy. What is not commonly known is that hormonal decline is also associated with a number of diseases of aging.

After menopause, women see a dramatic rise in the incidences of heart disease, dementia, osteoporosis and breast cancer. These diseases are associated with very high death rates. Similarly, men, whose testosterone levels fall every year after the age of 25, also see similar increases in age-related diseases. The secret that so many traditional doctors either do not know or are unwilling to accept is that restoring hormone levels to those that are common and normal in younger women and men can promote healthy aging and reduce death rates.

Many medical journal articles have correctly condemned the use of synthetic hormones as dangerous. However, the literature on the use of bioidentical hormones has been conclusive about the fact that bioidentical hormone therapy is safe and effective at reducing disease and improving health and longevity in those who are properly treated.

If you are looking to maintain your health and vitality well into your senior years, bioidentical hormone therapy is an essential treatment that will help you do so. It may also help you have a little more intimate “fun” along the way.

Fun & Fitness Through Youth Sports

by Mike Schmelzle, Board Secretary

West Orange Bobcats

Today, one in five children are obese, defined as excess body fat. Children with a body mass index above the 85th percentile are overweight, and children above the 95th percentile have obesity.

Low self-esteem in children is part of the root cause of obesity. Telling children that they need to lose weight can give them low self-esteem. Advocating healthy living is the key to

Eating healthy and exercising are tough to implement for many people unless they can make it fun. Youth sports make exercising fun, and they build up self-esteem as children master new skills. The joy of winning a game as a team gives children confidence and creates long-lasting friendships with their teammates. The sorrow of losing a game gives them the tenacity to work harder together to reach their goals. Playing sports will become their exercise while having fun.

Consider a youth sports organization that is affiliated with a national organization. This will offer better managerial structure with a focus on safety, and, most importantly, proper training for the coaches.

Cheerleading and football programs are signing up now for their fall season, with conditioning starting this month. Most organizations will not require any experience, and some will not have any weight restrictions.

Tips for Living a Healthier Life

by Ann Varkey, Realtor

Re/Max Properties S.W. Inc.


Get up early. Pray to God, and read and meditate the Bible. Then plan for a good day. Drink a cup of warm water, exercise, stretch and walk briskly carrying a light weight for 30 minutes. Eat 100 to 200 calories prior to exercising. Have a good breakfast with protein. Eggs are good, and saffron is good for health. Eat plenty of vegetables during the day, or take vitamins made from vegetables if needed. Try to eat dinner before 7 p.m. and cut down on carbs. Get plenty of sleep.

Keeping Skin, Hair & Nails Healthy

by Michael Steppie, M.D., President and Medical Director

Associates in Dermatology 800-827-7546

The practice of dermatology involves improving and maintaining not only the appearance but also the health of your skin, hair and nails.

The skin barrier, which serves as a physical protection and an immune defense, can become disrupted. In order to restore its functions, it is important to use mild cleansers and avoid overuse of harsh scrubs. While cleansing, water should be lukewarm to prevent stripping the skin of its natural fats and oils that provide it with moisture. Immediately after bathing, the skin should be patted dry, and a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer should be applied.

It is also common to experience a dry, itchy scalp. This condition is most commonly caused by seborrheic dermatitis and is characterized by red and flaky patches on the scalp, which may resemble dandruff.

Your nails can become dry, brittle and split. It is essential to avoid using harsh soaps when washing hands, as this will remove the protective natural oils found in your nails. Then, apply a moisturizer and be sure to rub it into the cuticles and nails to restore their strength.

It is important to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to receive specific recommendations on the best skin care routine for you. ♥

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