Eating Late, Then Heading to Bed, may not be a Good Idea

June 24th, 2020

Woman standing in front of open fridge with plate of foodIf you eat dinner late in the evening and then head to bed you may gain weight while you sleep, a new study suggests.

Timing Makes a Difference

The weight gain is likely because your metabolism slows, boosting blood sugar and other chemicals that contribute to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes, researchers say.

For the study, the research team asked 20 healthy volunteers to eat the same dinner at 6 p.m. or 10 p.m.  Both groups went to bed at 11 p.m. and got up at 7 a.m.

Before the study, participants wore activity trackers. During the study, blood samples were taken hourly and sleep studies were conducted. The volunteers also had scans of body fats and ate foods containing compounds that allowed researchers to track fat burning.

What researchers found was that late diners had higher blood sugars and burned less fat. On average, their peak blood sugar level after a late dinner was about 18 percent higher, and the amount of fat burned about 10 percent lower compared with eating earlier.

The effects might be even greater for people who are obese or have diabetes.

What is not clear is whether it’s the interval between eating time and bedtime that accounts for the difference. The effects of eating and sleeping might differ for each person based on their personal metabolism or body clock.

The findings were published online on June 11 in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.”

Win the Battle Over Snacks

Heading towards the kitchen late at night? Before you do, try these tips:

  1. Calm down: When your insula (a deep part of the temporal lobe) alerts you that something is off, realize that maybe you are not hungry; maybe you’re stressed. Food can often be a calming influence. But there are other ways to deal with stress other than eating.
  2. Distract yourself: Maybe you’re not hungry; maybe you’re bored. The brain needs to focus on something. Sometimes, when you think eating is the answer, some other activity might take its place.
  3. Suck it up: You unconscious is sneaky. Sometimes it tells you you’re hungry because it wants to procrastinate. Often, we eat to avoid doing what we need to do.
  4. Avoiding temptation is easier than resisting it: It’s much easier to avoid temptation than to resist it. Don’t buy food you don’t want to eat. If you avoid it at the supermarket, then it won’t be calling to you from your pantry.
  5. Don’t get mad at yourself: If you start to crave something, or even if you start to snack, don’t get mad at yourself. It doesn’t help. Being mad at yourself is an added source of stress that will potentially lead you back to the fridge.
  6. Maybe you’re thirsty: Drink some water. The water in your stomach may communicate to your brain a greater feeling of fullness and reduce your desire to eat.
  7. Oral occupation: Your brain wants you to do habitual movements, like put something in your mouth and chew. It doesn’t always care what the thing is. It is mostly satisfied by whatever is closest and easiest so it doesn’t have to think about it. So if you feel like snacking, do something else with your mouth like chew gum.

Think before you open up the refrigerator door!

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America knows that everyone gets the munchies, but it is important to listen to what your body is really saying. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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Wearing Facemasks can Help Slow Down Virus

June 17th, 2020

Row of different colored facemasksFacemasks combined with other preventative measures, such as frequent hand washing and social distancing, can help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

New Research

 Population-wide facemask use could push COVID-19 transmission down to controllable levels and could prevent further waves of the pandemic disease when combined with lockdowns, according to a new study published on June 10.

Research led by scientists at Britain’s Cambridge and Greenwich Universities, suggests lockdowns alone will not stop the spread of coronavirus, but even homemade masks can reduce transmission rates if enough people wear them in public.

In the study, researchers linked the dynamics of spread between people with population-level models to assess the effect on the disease’s reproduction rate, of different scenarios of mask adoption combined with periods of lockdown.

The reproduction rate measures the average number of people that one infected person can pass the disease onto. Any number above one can lead to exponential growth.

The study found that if people wear masks whenever they are in public, it is twice as effective at reducing the number than if masks are worn only after symptoms appear. 

The study’s findings were published in the “Proceedings of the Regal Society A” scientific journal.

Putting on and off Facemasks

Not sure the best way to handle putting on and off your facemask? Try the following tips:

  1. Put your mask over your mouth and nose
  2. Don’t touch your mask while wearing it
  3. If you inadvertently touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands
  4. Regularly wash your mask with soap and water in the washing machine
  5. Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it is snug
  6. Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face
  7. Wash your hands immediately after removing the mask

Asking everyone to wear a cloth mask can help reduce the spread of coronavirus by people who have it and don’t realize it.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants to keep you up-to-date on the world of health. Stay tuned to this blog to learn more. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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June is Headache and Migraine Awareness Month

June 10th, 2020

Woman with headacheDid you know that there are different types of headaches or that migraines have different stages? In support of Headache and Migraine Awareness Month, take the time to learn about these conditions.

Stages of a Migraine

 A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. Migraines can progress through four stages:

1. Prodrome: One or two days before a migraine, you might notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including:

  • Constipation
  • Food cravings
  • Frequent yawning
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Mood changes
  • Neck stiffness

2. Aura: For some people, aura might occur before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system. They’re usually visual, but can also include other disturbances. Each symptom usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts for 20 to 60 minutes. Examples of migraine aura include:

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Hearing noises or music
  • Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg
  • Uncontrollable jerking or other movements
  • Vision loss
  • Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
  • Weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body

3.  Attack: A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated. During a migraine you might have:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain that throbs or pulses
  • Pain, usually on one side of the head
  • Sensitivity to light, sound and sometimes smell and touch

4.  Post-dome: After a migraine attack, you might feel drained and washed out for up to a day. Some people report feeling elated. Sudden head movement might bring pain on again briefly.

Migraines impact over 37 million men, women and children in the United States.

Types of Headaches

There are many different types of headaches. Some of the most common types include:

  • Cluster headaches: These headaches are usually very painful and occur in “clusters,” meaning they happen daily (usually at the same time) sometimes up to several times per day for months. They are a result of dilation in the blood vessels of the brain due to a release of serotonin and histamines.
  • Sinus headaches: These headaches often strike when you are feeling congested. They’re caused by swelling in the sinus passages, resulting in pain behind the cheeks, nose and eyes.
  • Tension headaches: The pain from tension headaches tends to spread across both sides of the head. This is the most common form of headache pain. Eyestrain, stress and hunger are frequent causes of tension headaches and they can be chronic.

Lifestyle changes, such as exercising daily and improving sleep habits can help headache occurrences.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to take the time to support Headache and Migraine Awareness Month. You can begin by just sending this blog post to friends and colleagues. IAA wants you to be in the know!

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Children Diagnosed with Kawasaki-like Illness

May 27th, 2020

 Child in bed with thermometerChildren and adolescents are coming down with a rare inflammatory syndrome, potentially connected to COVID-19.

Rare Syndrome

Children are becoming ill with symptoms similar to toxic shock and Kawasaki disease. This includes inflammation of the blood vessels and potentially fatal damage to the heart.

Scientists are trying to determine whether the syndrome is linked to the new coronavirus because not all children with the syndrome tested positive for the virus.

COVID-19 cases in children are mostly mild and infrequent. Only five percent of cases nationwide were in children.

Signs and Symptoms

 Kawasaki disease is a rare inflammatory syndrome typically affecting children under the age of five. Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Swollen lymph nodes

 The exact cause of this inflammatory syndrome in children remains a mystery.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to know what is going on in the world of health. Keep up to date with IAA!

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Allowing Children to Make Food Choices can Improve Health

May 20th, 2020

Kids in the kitchen cutting veggiesEnabling children to make decisions about food and educating them about healthy choices through example—can lead to improved nutrition and healthier lifelong eating habits, experts said on May 11.

Children and Food

According to the new scientific statement in the “Journal of the American Heart Association,” an “authoritarian” approach to dietary decisions has been repeatedly linked to children eating when not hungry and eating less healthy foods, which increases the risk for obesity and eating disorders. However, an entirely “indulgent” approach in which children are allowed to eat whatever they want—does not provide enough boundaries for the development of healthy eating habits. This method also increases the risk of obesity.

Allowing children to decide what and how much they eat among healthy food options encourages them to develop and eventually take ownership of dietary decisions. That also might help them develop eating patterns linked to a healthy weight for a lifetime, reducing the risk for heart disease and diabetes as they age, the authors said.

Many children are influenced by the emotional atmosphere surrounding eating. If children feel pressure to diet, or eat certain foods, it may be harder for them to listen to internal cues that tell them when they are full, the authors noted.

As many as 14 million children and adolescents are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parental Guidance

Parents can do many things to help children develop healthy eating habits:

  1. Show by example: Eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains with meals or as snacks.
  2. Go food shopping together: Grocery shopping can teach your child about food and nutrition. Let your child make healthy choices.
  3. Get creative in the kitchen: Encourage your child to invent new snacks or name a food your child helped to make.
  4. Offer the same foods for everyone.
  5. Reward with attention, not food: Choose not to offer sweets as rewards. It lets your child think sweets or dessert foods are better than other foods.
  6. Focus on each other at the table: Try talking about fun and happy things at meal time. Try to make eating meals as stress-free as possible.
  7. Listen to your child: If your child is hungry, offer a small healthy snack—even if it is not a scheduled time to eat.
  8. Encourage physical activity: Walk, run and play with your child, instead of sitting on the sidelines.
  9. Be a good food role model: Try new foods yourself.

 Parents play a vital role in helping their children make healthy decisions.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America knows that kids can be picky eaters, but it is important to help them make healthy choices. IAA knows that you can be a great example for your children!

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here and here!