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June 24th, 2019
Healthy Lifestyles

canfoodThe affordability of canned foods  entices many people to stock up on the essentials. However, there are some people who still harbor concerns about the safety of canned foods. Getting to the truth about canned foods can assuage some of those concerns and help those on the fence stock up on these budget-friendly staples.

Myth #1: Canned foods are not as healthy as fresh foods.

Fresh foods, once harvested, have a finite shelf life. Plus, once fruit or vegetables are picked, their vitamin and mineral content decreases each day that they are not consumed. Many canned foods are picked and processed on the same day, helping to retain nutrients at their peak and lock them in for many months. Also, according to the Hy-Vee supermarket chain, sometimes canned foods are packed with additional nutrients, such as increased lycopene in canned tomatoes.

Myth #2: Canned foods are full of preservatives.

The perception that canned foods are “processed” foods often leads people to believe they’re full of unsavory ingredients. The term processing is used to describe any food that has been changed from its natural form. So removing corn from a cob counts as processing, as is baking or boiling potatoes. Canned foods are preserved by heating the items and sealing them under pressure. No other preservatives are needed to keep them fresh.

Myth #3: Can linings are dangerous.

There has been controversy concerning BPA-containing plastics for many years. Even though the Food and Drug Administration, as well as other international food safety agencies, has evaluated the extensive body of science and continue to affirm BPA’s safety in food packaging, some manufacturers are voluntarily moving away from it. Consumers can find many foods packed in cans with non-BPA linings. However, even foods packaged in BPA are considered safe for consumption.

Myth #4: Canned foods are full of sodium.

Some canned foods will contain salt as an added ingredient to improve taste and act as a freshness preservative. But canned foods do not rank among the biggest offenders in regard to excessive amounts of sodium. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study that identified the top 10 food categories that contribute to high sodium diets. Pizza, cured meats, cold cuts, and rolls made the list, while canned foods did not.

Myth #5: Canned foods do not taste good.

Because foods are canned when they are at peak freshness and ripeness after harvest, they retain full flavor if properly stored.

Myth #6: All dented cans are unsafe.

Cans can become dented in transit. Drop a can and it will dent. But that doesn’t necessarily mean foods inside dented cans are unsafe to eat. If a can is bulging or if the top or bottom of the can moves or makes a popping sound, the seal has probably been broken or compromised by bacteria and should be thrown out.

Canned foods are safe and can make for valuable additions to any pantry.

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health insuranceThe world of healthcare can be confusing to navigate. Before the prevalence of health maintenance organizations and various other health and wellness insurance groups, obtaining medical assistance involved going to the doctor and then paying the bill. But today people must navigate copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and savings plans, which can make it difficult to understand what’s going on with your insurance company. 

Healthcare is standardized in some areas of the world and publicly financed with little to no out-of-pocket costs for participating citizens. Elsewhere, access to health insurance is provided through employers or government assistance programs or individually purchased.

Understanding some health insurance-related jargon is a great way to better educate oneself about the industry.

  • • Benefit period: The benefit period refers to the duration of time services are covered under your plan. It is usually a calendar year from the point of start to end. It may begin each year on an anniversary date when you first received coverage.
  • • Coinsurance: This is a percentage of the cost of services rendered in specific areas outlined by the health plan that you are responsible for after a deductible is met. For example, a plan may cover 85 percent of costs, with patients responsible for the remaining 15.
  • • Copayment (copay): A copayment refers to the flat rate you pay to a provider at the time you receive services. Some plans do not have copays.
  • • Deductible: The amount you pay for health services before the insurance company pays. You must meet a set limit, which varies by plan and provider, before insurance will kick in and cover the remaining costs during the benefit period. Many plans have a $2,000 per person deductible. This deductible renews with each calendar year.
  • • HMO: A health maintenance organization offers services only with specific HMO providers. Referrals from a primary care doctor often are needed to see specialists.
  • • HSA: A health savings account enables you to set aside pre-tax income up to a certain limit for certain medical expenses.
  • • Long-term care insurance: A specific healthcare plan that can be used for in-home nursing care or to pay for the medical services and room and board for assisted living/nursing home facilities.
  • • Network provider: This is a healthcare provider who is part of a plan’s network. Many insurance companies negotiate set rates with providers to keep costs low. They will only pay out a greater percentage to network providers.
  • • Non-network provider: A healthcare provider who is not part of a plan’s network. Costs may be higher if you visit a non-network provider or if you are not covered at all.
  • • PPO: A preferred provider organization is a type of insurance plan that offers more extensive coverage for in-network services, but offer additional coverage for out-of-network services.

Navigating health insurance is easier when policy holders understand some common industry jargon. 

 

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visionVisual impairment affects people of all ages and all walks of life. The American Foundation for the Blind defines visual impairment, often referred to as “low vision,” as any vision problem that is severe enough to affect an individual’s ability to carry out the tasks of everyday living. Millions of people have some degree of visual impairment that requires corrective lenses, and some still struggle even while wearing glasses or contact lenses. 

People with low vision can experience difficulty performing daily activities, such as cooking, shopping, reading, watching television, and more. Some practical solutions can help people address changes in their vision.

  • • Use more light. After about age 60, many people require additional light to perform most indoor tasks as well as outdoor activities. After age 60, the pupil no longer opens as widely as it once did, which affects the amount of light that reaches the retina, where vision processing occurs. Brighten areas of the kitchen, garage, crafting table, and other areas where fine details are examined.
  • • Rely on darker contrasts. Contrasting colors can make it easier to see edges and lines of demarcation. For example, use a dark tablecloth and white dishes to see table settings and food more clearly.
  • • Label items. Bold-colored labels or those of different shapes can help set items apart when reading containers or boxes becomes challenging.
  • • Use filters and shields. Certain devices, such as lens filters and shields, can reduce glare and improve vision. Individuals also can invest in shields for their computers or tablet screens to reduce glare.
  • • Choose “large print” formats. At local booksellers, seek books that are available in large print. This makes it easier to enjoy reading.
  • • Switch bulbs at home. The eye care resource All About Vision suggests swapping fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs with warm-toned LED bulbs. These bulbs emit less blue light and can be more comforting with reduced glare.
  • • Invest in adaptive devices. Large-button phones with speed dial, large-print calendars, watches that speak the time, and digital home assistant devices also can help men and women overcome vision loss.

Low vision impacts daily living, but there are ways to counter the effects of impaired vision. 

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