Monthly Archives:

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.