United Preference Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness tailored for the consumer


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Maintaining Healthy Vitamin D Levels During Winter

vitamind

Did you know Vitamin D helps the intestine absorb nutrients, including calcium and phosphorus. This ensures strong bones and a strong immune system.  Vitamin D provides calcium balance in the body that prevents osteoporosis and arthritis.  It regulates blood pressure, reduces stress, relieves body aches by reducing muscle spasms, reduces respiratory infections, helps in differentiation of the cells, helps fight depression and improves overall skin health.  On top of that it is believed to help fight several diseases!  These are just a fraction of the health benefits, but the focus of this post is on how to obtain healthy levels of Vitamin D during the winter time when you lack exposure to the sun.

The best natural sources of Vitamin D other than sunlight being absorbed by your skin include the following:

  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna Fish
  • Sardines
  • Milk
  • Margarine
  • cereals
  • Eggs
  • Beef Liver
  • Swiss Cheese


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5 Natural Cold Weather Cures

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Prevent chapped lips and wrinkles Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold water fish such as salmon and tuna, help skin retain moisture. Berries, especially strawberries, contain vitamin C, which promotes moist, healthy skin. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating foods rich in vitamin C was associated with fewer wrinkles.

Hydrate nails and hair The human body consists of about 60% water. Indeed, water is essential to life and certainly staying hydrated is necessary to maintain good health. Drinking enough water—about eight 8-ounce glasses daily—not only helps move toxins through and out of the body quickly, it also keeps skin cells plump with moisture to prevent hair and nails from becoming dry and brittle.

Protect against sun and wind burn Eating dark chocolate can protect your skin from damage. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, dark chocolate, which is rich in flavonoids, appears to promote healthy skin and even protect against skin cancer. In the study, women who added flavonoid-rich hot cocoa to their breakfast during a three-month period had 25% less skin reddening after UV light exposure and doubled the flow of blood in the skin, raising moisture levels and reducing dryness. Beta-Carotene, found in foods such as fish liver oil, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, apricots, and peaches, can also help prevent dry, flaky skin.

Relieve dry eyes To soothe achy, puffy eyes, eat more vegetables that have natural cooling properties. Cucumbers, celery, and even sliced zucchini all have high water content, which can help moisturize eyes while reducing puffiness. Citrus fruits and berries rich in vitamin C help reduce inflammation around the eyes.

Breakout busters The mineral zinc is known to be a powerful acne fighter, as it may prevent the hormonal imbalances that lead to outbreaks. Zinc is also important for protein synthesis and the formation of collagen, which is fundamental to healthy skin and oil control. Foods rich in zinc include: Red meat, poultry, salmon, shellfish, almonds, peanuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds.


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Why avocados are one of the healthiest fruits on the planet

Avocados…

1) contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that helps lower ‘bad’ cholesterol and raise ‘good’ cholesterol.

2) are a good source of potassium, an important mineral that helps protect against high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

3) help increase the body’s absorption of carotenoids, which are  powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from free radical activity and strengthen the body’s immune system.

4) are an excellent source of iron and copper (which build red blood cells)

5) contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, K and they’re high in vitamin E (which slows aging).

6) are low in sugar, starch-free and are a good source of dietary fiber, perfect for slow burning energy without a sugar crash.

7) are a good food choice for diabetics or those with other sugar-sensitive conditions.

8)  improve your complexion because they are full of Vitamin E, which provides moisturizing assets through both consumption and topical use.


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Pedometers Promote Physical Activity


Research has shown that wearing a pedometer promotes physical activity and helps with weight loss.

“Just as a watch can’t make a person be on time, a pedometer can’t make a person active,” said Dr. Barbara Bushman, an exercise specialist and personal trainer with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). “But it’s a good tool for promoting physical activity.”

A summary of 26 different studies showed that pedometer users walked at least 2,000 more steps each day than nonusers, according to the Harvard Health Letter, produced by experts at Harvard Medical School. Also, using a pedometer helped them increase overall physical activity levels by 27 percent.

For most healthy adults, 10,000 steps per day is a reasonable goal, according to ACSM.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/12/us-fitness-pedometers-idUSBRE8AB0CZ20121112


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Study Links Well-Being To Better Job Performance


The growing trend of employee wellness programs is now being supported by a study.  Healthways claims that their new study is the first to reliably link well-being with employee performance outcomes, showing that well-being can help improve job performance.  The study proved that those with what they called “low well-being” are seven times more likely to miss work and 47 times more likely to show up while feeling ill.

The lead researcher, Dr. Yuyan Shi of the center for health research at Healthways said, “The study is relevant to any entity concerned about business outcomes, especially employers, health plans and health systems.  In addition to that she also stated that, “it is directly relevant to human resources and benefits managers who are focused on improving employees’ health and productivity.”


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United Preference Webinar

We will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, October 23 at 1 PM (Eastern Time) 10 AM (Pacific) on ROI and Incentive Based Wellness Programs.

It is clear incentives can work and can reduce or curb the rise in  health care costs.  The American Institute for Preventive Medicine reviewed more than 140 studies around wellness initiatives and found an average ROI of more than three dollars per dollar invested in the area of health care costs, absenteeism and workers compensation.

In this webinar we’ll discuss:

  • Achieving ROI with Incentives
  • The Emotional Side of Incentives
  • The Impact of Incentives on Behavior Change
  • 2012 Trends in Incentives and Rewards

We will also take a look at a few examples of successful incentive programs from well known large employers. You’ll hear about United Preference’s unique approach as well.  The webinar presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.

You can sign up here.


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Skipping Breakfast Leads to Higher Food Intake


According to a new study. Eating breakfast helps people avoid overeating and cravings for high-calorie foods.

The study revealed that the people who skipped breakfast had a variation in the pattern of activity in their orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain linked to the reward value and pleasantness of food.

The researchers concluded that fasting is not a good dieting strategy because it may cause the brain to seek out high-calorie foods.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.  These findings are scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.

Read More: http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=669644