The link between diet and oral health

We previously did a post relating your overall health to your oral health. This will be a slight continuation on that with more focus on your personal diet. The main culprit in tooth decay is well known to be sugar. We’re going to look at which foods have sugar that you might not expect and which ones are the worst offenders.

Here are some of the names that sugars can go by when you look at a food’s ingrediants:

  • sugar
  • fructose
  • surcrose
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • fruit juice concentrate
  • corn sweeteners
  • cane juice
  • glucose
  • dextrin
  • syrup
  • honey

Here are some common sources of high sugar content:

  • soft drinks
  • sports drinks
  • energy drinks
  • fruit drinks
  • deserts such as ice cream, cake, pie
  • candy
  • cereals

The common theme in the list above is that many are empty calories and the sugar content is really big. Most of the foods above offer very little nutritonal value on top of that.

What are good food choices for dental health?

Cheese, milk, leafy greens, yogurt, tofu, and some nuts all can be beneficial based on the calcium and other nutrients they provide. Protein rich foods like meat are good sources of phosphorus. Fruits and veggies have a lot of fiber and water which can balance out the sugar and clean the teeth. These 3 nutrients all play a critical role in protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel.

Sugar substitutes can also be a good idea because they taste similar to sugar without the tooth-decaying side effect. The best option would be sugar-free foods.

That’s all for this topic today. If you want more dental tips or need some dental care for yourself, check out He is a dentist in champaign, il who focuses on family, cosmetic and preventative dentistry. Be on the look out for the next post in this series!

Burn Fat With Food

Every diet is a key component to losing weight, getting fit, and feeling better.  There are many different routes you can take to establish your diet, but there are a few key foods that can and should be added to help burn fat.  Here is a great starting list of those foods:

  • Whole grains – Your body has to work harder to burn down whole grains, especially those high in fiber.  Use these grains to burn more calories
  • Lean Meat – Just like whole grains, your body spends a lot of energy breaking them down.  The usual amount is around 30%
  • Green Tea – There are several studies that have been produced about weight loss and green tea.  There is a known compound in green tea that raises metabolism after being sipped.  Drink a few cups a day and you’ll be losing weight in no time!
  • Lentils – lentils pack a huge amount of iron and a lot of the general population are iron-deficient.  If you’re currently low on iron and start eating lentils, your metabolism will rise due to your body running more efficiently.
  • Hot Peppers and Hot Food – Hot food and spices heat up your body and cause it to burn calories.  Putting hot sauce and cayenne on eggs, meat, and other foods can add that small kick to calories.

Although these foods won’t cause you to hit that weight you’ve always been looking for, it is definitely a great start.  Burn extra calories just from what you eat!

5 Simple Tips for a Healthier You in 2014

Sometimes around this time of year, people can get overwhelmed and start struggling with their new years resolution. Many resolutions are often set on a great scale and aren’t necessarily realistic which makes them very hard to accomplish. So here are five easy tips that can promote good health without requiring much effort or dedication. By following these simple tips you will be able to increase your health and avoid trips to the doctors office.

1. Drink More Water – Staying hydrated can be one of the most important aspects of being healthier and more energized. The body can often mistake thirst for hunger and provide unwanted food cravings. By drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, a person can jumpstart their metabolism and drastically improve their energy levels.

2. Walk – Many people believe that intense running or heavy weight lifting is the only way to jump start the body’s metabolism and promote weight loss. However, just the simple act of walking 20-40 minutes a day can increase cardiovascular endurance and does not take a harsh toll on your body

3. Eat Dark Chocolate – For all of you chocolate lovers out there trying to be healthier, you are in luck. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and can be beneficial to your immune system by decreasing your risk of cancer and a variety of cardiovascular diseases. So make the change from milk chocolate to dark chocolate in order to have a healthier 2014

4. Eat Breakfast – A good and healthy breakfast is the perfect way to jumpstart your metabolism and get you energized for the day. Try to include foods rich in protein such as eggs and complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat toast.

5. Sleep – The right amount of sleep can help you live longer, perform better, and stay sharper. It also can help you achieve a healthy weight. People who sleep more are more likely to have less cravings for unhealthy food throughout the day. For the sake of your health insurance bill, try to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

I hope this gives you a good base on how easy being healthier can be. It does not take hours in the gym or some crazy dieting to be healthier. These small steps can help you achieve a healthier you and help you keep your sanity at the same time!

Benefits of Life Insurance

Although none of us plan to die anytime soon, there are big benefits to having a life insurance plan. This is especially true for those who have a family, and are the primary breadwinner. Most plans are not terribly expensive and the benefits that your family receive are often necessary.

There are several logical reasons that make sense for having a life insurance plan. Very few people are debt free. The problem with dying unexpectedly is that you do not have the chance to finish paying off debt. Without life insurance, the debt can fall onto your family. The payment from the life insurance can help cover any unpaid debt or money owed.

Related to the inability to pay off debts, any form of future earnings are gone when you die. Life insurance policies can be adjusted so that the people accessing the money have limitations. For example, a college fund for children may have been set up to receive a large sum of money to supplement those future earnings.

Lastly, the costs incurred trying to keep you alive may have been substantial. This is a very common case and often times can severely affect your families future financial situation. With a life insurance plan, your family benefits from having money available to cover these costs and the funeral costs.

From a non-financial perspective, losing someone is a terrible thing and the grieving process can take a while for some people. This often means missing work for an extended amount of time. A portion of the payout can allow your family to take as much time as they need until they readjust back to life.

These are just a few benefits to consider and good reasons to buy life insurance.

Heart and Oral Health Connected

Studies over the past few years have shown a connection with heart disease and poor oral health.  These studies have linked moderate or advanced periodontal disease with a higher likelihood of heart disease.  Although there has been a link between the two, they have not been established as causation for one another.  In other words, having gum disease won’t instantly increase your chance of heart disease.

There are a few risk factors that contribute to both diseases which may or may not be the reasoning between the linking.  These factors include:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Being male

Prevention is the best medicine in both cases.  Having great oral hygiene as well as consistent and steady workout regime and nutrition will lead to a much longer life.  Some great prevention methods for oral health include:

  • Brushing multiple times a day, don’t forget the gum line
  • Flossing daily to reach spots your toothbrush will miss
  • Using mouth rinse daily can reduce plaque up to 20%
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco, this also relates to heart health
  • Eat a healthy well rounded diet.  Nutrients are incredibly important for oral health as well as heart health.

If you have any questions on other methods to prevent heart and oral/gum disease contact your local dentist and make sure to have annual checkups.  If you live in the Central Illinois and are looking for dentists in Springfield IL, then check out Modern Dental.

Celiac Disease – Nutritional Considerations

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder passed down through families. When a person with celiac disease eats or drinks anything containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, or sometimes oats (including medications), the immune system responds by damaging the lining of the intestinal tract. This damage affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

A gluten-free diet, when followed carefully, helps prevent symptoms of the disease.

Alternative Names

Gluten-free diet; Gluten sensitive enteropathy – diet; Celiac sprue – diet

Food Sources

Staples of the gluten-free diet include:

  • Cereals made without wheat or barley malt
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat
  • Milk-based items
  • Potatoes, rice, corn, beans
  • Specialty foods (such as pasta, bread, pancakes, and pastries) made with alternative grains (rice, tapioca, potato, or corn flours and starches)

You can buy these products through local and national food companies, or you can make them from scratch using alternative flours and grains.

The gluten-free diet involves removing all foods, drinks, and medications made from gluten. This means all items made with all-purpose, white, or wheat flour are prohibited. Obvious sources of gluten include:

  • Bagels
  • Bread and breaded foods
  • Buns
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Gravy
  • Most cereals
  • Most convenience foods
  • Most soups
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Pie
  • Pizza
  • Stuffing

Less obvious foods that must be eliminated include:

  • Beer
  • Certain candies
  • Certain salad dressings
  • Communion host
  • Croutons
  • Marinades
  • Sauces such as teriyaki and soy

There is a risk of cross-contamination. Items that are naturally gluten-free may become contaminated if they are made on the same production line as, or moved together in the same setting with, foods containing gluten.

Restaurant eating and social gatherings pose another, but manageable, challenge. Calling ahead and special planning become important measures. Label reading becomes a frequent, essential task due to the widespread use of wheat and barley in foods.

Despite its challenges, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is possible with education and planning.


Once you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, it is very important that you talk to a registered dietitian who specializes in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet.

Joining a local support group is also recommended. Support groups can help people with celiac disease share practical advice on ingredients, baking, and ways to cope with this life-altering, lifelong disease.

Your doctor might prescribe a multivitamin and mineral or individual nutrient supplement to correct or prevent a deficiency.

Fresh vs Frozen or Canned

Many people wonder if frozen and canned vegetables are as nutritious as fresh vegetables. The answer to this question depends on both the time between the harvesting of the vegetable and the canning and freezing process. Generally, vegetables are canned or frozen immediately upon harvest when their nutrient content is at its peak.

The way vegetables are prepared at home can also affect the nutrient content. Vegetables of any type (fresh, frozen, or canned) that are boiled in large amounts of water for long periods of time lose much of their nutritional content compared with vegetables that are lightly steamed.

Vegetables fresh from the farm or just picked are more nutritious than their frozen or canned counterparts, but frozen and canned vegetables are an acceptable nutritional alternative. Just be mindful of the amount of salt added to canned vegetables; try to buy those without added salt. And, don’t overcook any vegetables.

10 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

There are hundreds of diets, workouts, and ideas floating around on how to prevent heart disease.  Switching from an unhealthy lifestyle is tough, but adding years onto your life could be well worth the turmoil you go through.  Here are 10 tested and proven methods to preventing heart disease:

  1. Eat more vegetables and fruit: vegetables and fruits have a lot of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and are low in calories.  Switching out high fat foods for vegetables and fruits will increase your health as well as making you feel full longer.
  2. Whole Grains: whole grain is a great source of fiber which makes you feel fuller when you eat.  Whole grains is the easiest substitution in a heart-healthy diet.  There are some great whole-grain products like bread, flour, cereal, rice, and pasta.
  3. Limit Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a major cause of heart disease.  Fatty deposits within your arteries reduce the flow of blood and oxygen that your heart needs to survive.  Limiting your cholesterol intake is a big key to preventing heart disease.
  4. Reduce Sodium Intake: Eating a lot of sodium is a key contributor to high blood pressure.  Reducing sodium is a vital step in improving heart health.
  5. Exercise: An inactive lifestyle is a top risk factor for heart disease.  Regular exercise can strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system, improve heart failure symptoms, lower blood pressure, strengthen bones and much more!
  6. Manage Stress: There is a strong correlation between high amounts of stress and heart disease.  Stress can make your heart work harder, causing problems.  Breathing techniques, working out, and yoga are great starting points.
  7. Don’t Smoke/Use Tobacco: Smoking or using tobacco products greatly increases your risk of developing heart disease.  Chemicals found in these products can damage your heart and narrow your arteries.
  8. Consume Omega-3 acids: Usually found in fish, omega-3 acids lower inflammation in the body and can lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, and boost immunity.  If you aren’t a fan of fish try out fish oil pills, I recommend the chewables!
  9. Limit Sugary Drinks: Soda and sugary drinks are usually on-par with an addiction like cigarettes.  Daily sodas, energy drinks, and juice can be a significant health risk.
  10. Increase Your Fiber Intake: Studies have shown that a high-fiber diet contribute to a lower risk of heart disease.  Opting for whole grains is a great start, other options are oats, beans, and citrus fruits.

5 Reasons You Should Visit a Dermatologist

Dermatologists are commonly mistaken as skin doctors, when they’re actually specialized in skin, hair, nails all diseases related to them. Dermatologists are unique as the therapies offered can be cosmetic, medical, or even surgical. Here are some of the most common reasons to visit a dermatologist:

  1.  Acne: Many people try to diagnose acne themselves and treat it with over-the-counter products. Acne can cause horrible scarring if not treated correctly and a dermatologist can be the perfect option before it gets out of control or if usual treatments stop working.
  2. Skin Cancer: Early detection of skin cancer is incredibly important and can prevent a lot of unnecessary problems. Some common symptoms for skin cancer are reddish patch of dry skin that won’t heal, pimple that won’t clear, flesh-colored lumps, sore that bleeds, moles that are growing or bleed, dark spot on the skin that looks like a mole but grows quickly. If any of these symptoms arise please visit a dermatologist!
  3. Treatment of skin conditions: There are multiple skin conditions that dermatologists can work on surgically or medically. Some of these skin conditions include cysts, acne, hives, eczema, skin cancer, and rashes.
  4. Cosmetic Services: Dermatologists can perform surgical or medical procedures that help with one’s appearance. Make sure your insurance covers these procedures or have a plan to pay as most providers do not cover these. Some examples are botox, laser treatments, mini-facials, spider vein treatment, spray tanning, juvederm, and disport.
  5. Advice: Like many doctors and other specialists, dermatologists can you help you prepare for future problems, help understand your skin type, and give you information on how to best treat your hair, skin, and nails.

Although this is only 5 reasons to visit a dermatologist there are many other procedures that can be done at your local office. Skin care is very important and some of the most advanced procedures are available to treat or prevent damage to your skin, nails and hair. For a highly rated dermatologist in the Bloomington, IL area visit Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute.

Types of Life Insurance and Why It’s Important to You

Life insurance has become a big topic of conversation in the months leading up to the New Year. With the Affordable Care Act going into effect, enrollment must be done by December 23rd to receive coverage starting as soon as January 1st. This brings up a lot of indecision and questions from the general public on what life insurance brings and how it affects your life. Different plans meet different needs, and everyone may be different. Here is a small list of options:

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s) and Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPO’s):

According to, HMOs and EPOs limit coverage to providers inside their networks. Generally, HMO members select a primary care physician and must get referrals to use a specialist. One of the fall backs for an HMO plan is if you use a doctor that isn’t located in the HMO network you may have to pay full price for any services. The main benefit for an HMO plan is out of pocket costs are usually reduced.

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO’s) and Point-of-Service plans (POS):

PPO and POS plans are very flexible, you receive the choice of receiving care within or outside of the network provided. If you choose to use an out of network provider or facility, you will have to pay more than if you used an in-network one. Also, with a PPO plan, you can visit any doctor without a referral. Some benefits are that you do not need to select a primary care physician and the freedom to choose any doctor.

High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP):

Typically, these plans offer lower premiums and higher deductibles. If you have an HDHP, you can use a health savings account to help pay for out-of-pocket costs. This can lower taxes that you owe over the year. You are most likely going to benefit from this plan if you are in good health or have a very high prescription drug cost. With less doctor visits yearly, you will be paying less premiums and less out-of-pocket costs.

If you have further questions about life insurance or the Affordable Care Act contact Miller Insurance Agency in Bloomington, IL. They will be able to walk you through the changes, give you options that fit your lifestyle, and best yet save you money.