Managing Asthma with Your Diet

Did you know that eating a more balanced diet can do more than just slim your waistline? It could help you breathe better, too. If you have asthma, research has shown that certain foods can open restricted airways and reduce inflammation.

Here’s a list of foods that could help you manage your asthma:

Follow a Mediterranean Diet

You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts. Absent from this list are red meat, margarine and processed foods, according to EatingWell, as they contain the saturated fat that interferes with blood flow.

Items in the Mediterranean diet also have anti-inflammatory properties, which is important for those suffering from asthma since it’s a disease of lung inflammation. Look for freshly grown vegetables and fruits from your local farmers’ market this fall, such as beets, carrots, kale and apples.

Get Vitamins with Fruits and Vegetables

By eating a range of fruits and vegetables, you’ll get an ample amount of vitamins. Mayo Clinic suggests those who receive higher servings of vitamin C, Vitamin D, beta-carotene and vitamin E have fewer symptoms of asthma.

For Vitamin D, local eggs and milk are good sources as well. Of course, you can also consider omega-3 fatty acids, too, which Reader’s Digest says you can find in many kinds of fish in your area: Lake trout contains a high concentration of them, whereas catfish and bass also have it to a lesser extent.

Learn more about managing health conditions.*

Add Ginger

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, ginger may also work as an herbal medication to help manage common asthma symptoms. It’s believed that ginger can help decrease lung inflammation due to the high levels of antioxidants in this plant. Add it as an ingredient to the fresh foods you’re already making, or boil it with water to make tea.

Consider Flaxseeds

These small seeds pack a big nutritional punch. Flaxseeds not only contain protein, fiber and Omega-3 essential fatty acids but also magnesium, which has been shown to relax the muscles of the airway.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.

How to Simplify Camping for the Whole Family

It might seem overwhelming to plan a camping trip for the whole family, but a group outing doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of tricks to make your trip easier.

Here’s how to simplify camping for even the youngest new adventurer:

What to Bring

Of course, the most important thing you’ll need is a tent. Keep in mind you don’t have to buy your own; try borrowing from a friend or renting from an outdoor goods store. Sleeping bags are important as well, but you can use pads and blankets for milder weather. A cooler of ice should also be on your list if you’re bringing perishable foods. Not all campsites sell or provide ice, so be sure to pack enough to last the weekend.

What to Eat

Plan your meals ahead of time; it’s a lot harder to make a quick run to the grocery store for a forgotten ingredient when you’re in the wilderness. If you are cooking, bring pots, pans and cooking utensils you’re willing to use outside.

Don’t forget your own dishes and silverware, too — disposable or outdoor dishware is your best bet. A few large jugs of water come in handy for cooking and washing, but bring enough to drink as well. Paper towels help with cleaning and can act as napkins. And you’ll need flashlights or lanterns for cooking at night.

What to Leave at Home

It’s easy to fill the car to capacity when camping, but try to pare down to just the necessities. Leave the pillow at home and pack just a pillowcase; you can stuff it with a sweater or extra clothes when you’re going to bed, meaning one less bulky item to pack.

Plan on everything getting dirty, though, and leave your nicer clothes and shoes at home. Pack toiletries with an eye to the basics. Leave the hairdryer and curling iron as well as the makeup in the bathroom.

What Keeps in the Cooler

Having fresh food while camping is not impossible. Some campgrounds, like Smoky’s Frontcountry, have ice available nearby. If not, pack your own coolers with ice, burying the most perishable items deeply. If you bring meat, consider cooking it the first night to make sure it’s at its best.

Cheese and other dairy products will also be fine when covered in ice, so pack the bread for sandwiches you can eat while hiking. Stow chocolate for making s’mores in the cooler as well. You don’t want it to melt in the heat of the sun before that night’s campfire.

What Can You Cook Over a Campfire?

Learning how to simplify camping takes you to task when cooking over a campfire. Therefore, prep most of your food at home! There are plenty of easy meals you can make in your kitchen that transport well to the campsite for open-fire cooking.

Try kebobs, fish filets, sloppy joes, chili and fajitas. Of course, prepackaged burgers and sausages are easy and popular as well. Vegetarians will enjoy veggie burgers, pasta, grilled vegetables, baked potatoes and quesadillas with various fillings — all of which cook quickly.

Keeping the Kids Entertained Without Electronics

Kids may be nervous about spending time outdoors without their electronics or Wi-Fi, but they might be pleasantly surprised by how much fun they can have offline. Bring a Frisbee, football and other outdoor games you don’t get around to playing with during the week.

If you have the space, bikes are fun to ride around smoother campsites and through the flattest dirt trails. Books are great for downtime, as are cards and board games. If it’s windy or raining, however, game time in the tent is always a relaxing option.

Four Methods for Keeping Kids Safe When They’re Out With Friends

As the seasons change, so do your kids. They grow older and crave more independence, whether that means going to a school football game (without you) or staying out late with friends. Keeping kids safe is important, but so is giving them some independence.

Even though you’re letting kids explore more on their own, they still need boundaries and rules. Setting expectations and making sure they know how to react in various situations will set them up for success later on — and you’ll worry less, too. Here are six ways to look out for your kids while cutting them some slack.

Set Rules

Although some kids may not want to follow your rules, they’ll secretly find them useful. Things like curfews, for example, give them an out if the group wants to do something or go somewhere that doesn’t interest them. Your son or daughter can also use these rules as an excuse to get out of doing something that seems dangerous or uncomfortable. And of course, setting some ground rules helps your child know what’s expected of them.

Keep in Contact

Set expectations that your child should check in with you throughout the night. The old-fashioned phone call is a good way to know where your kids are when they are going somewhere else. For some parents, it’s helpful to let children know that if they don’t stay in touch with you while they’re out, they lose the privilege of leaving the house without their folks.

Simulate Problems

When your child starts going out more on his or her own, talk through the situations he or she may encounter and come up with a game plan for how to approach them. What if someone they don’t know wants to give them a ride? What happens if they don’t want to do what the group is doing? Role playing potentially difficult situations will help your child know what to do before a problem happens.

Give Them a Code Word

Part of keeping kids safe is making sure they’re comfortable contacting you for help when in a difficult situation. You won’t argue with or judge them — and they should know that — but you will pick them up immediately if they need help. Decide on a code word or phrase they can use if they don’t want to ask you to pick them up in front of their friends.

By setting some guidelines for what’s expected when your kids leave the house, you’ll set a pattern that keeps them safe each time they’re out with friends. They’ll appreciate the trust, and you’ll like knowing that they’re making good decisions.

How to Start Volunteering

When you get the itch to volunteer, Tennessee has you covered. Hundreds of charitable organizations close to home allow you to participate in national organizations and help the people in your own county.

Benefits of Volunteering

The most important reason to volunteer your time is helping others, but you may experience several other benefits along the way. Choosing to volunteer with friends or family allows you to spending quality with one another. You also get to meet new people and possibly form new friendships. You may be surprised how much you enrich your own life by being involved with a charity.

Getting Involved

Although you may not have a lot of time to donate, many organizations can use volunteers just a few hours per week or month. When looking for a place to volunteer, know how much time you can put aside and when you’ll be available during the day.

To give you an idea of your volunteering options, check out these causes below:

Lend a Paw

Who doesn’t enjoy working with animals? Your local branch of The Humane Society is a great option that’s always looking for volunteers. Most counties have a facility — Summer, Jefferson, Washington, Dickson, the Tennessee Valley and all major cities — so a quick search will find you the one that’s closest to you.

Volunteer to help with animal care, running the reception desk or helping with pet adoptions. Another great organization is the Freedom Farm Animal Sanctuary, which takes in abused and abandoned animals in Middle Tennessee.

Community Service

If you want to help people with mental disabilities, community-based organizations like the Autism Foundation of Tennessee, give you a chance to help families with autistic individuals receive personal therapy and regular support.

Almost every major city in Tennessee has a Big Brothers Big Sisters organization where you can volunteer to mentor a child in need. Also consider volunteering at your local food banks like the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, which gathers and shares groceries in Hamilton County to prevent food insecurity.

Use Your Unique Talents

Can you paint? Are you a whiz when it comes to figuring out math problems? Consider your talents and skills when looking for a volunteer opportunity. Plug in your zip code into United Way’s database to see opportunities in your area.

How do you get involved in your community? Comment to tell us about your favorite volunteer opportunities.

What Parents Need to Know About Health Insurance

As a parent, you want to make sure your child gets the medical care he or she needs. A family health plan is the first step toward ensuring your children get access to quality health care providers to treat everyday illnesses or more serious conditions that require surgery or hospitalization.

Every family’s circumstance is different, but the following are the basics of what parents need to know about health insurance coverage:

Medical Family Policy

Family policies provide health insurance for children’s preventive medical care, emergency care or inpatient hospital care. That means the insurance policy will pay a portion of the costs when a child sees a doctor for a checkup, vaccinations, an accidental injury such as a broken arm, a surgical procedure, or treatment for a chronic health condition.

Dental

Health insurance also covers your child’s dental care, as long as they are 18 or younger. Benefits include preventive care twice a year, including an oral exam with an evaluation of gum health, dental X-rays, cleaning, flossing and plaque and tartar removal.

Your dentist may recommend additional treatments such as fillings for cavities or sealants to protect your child’s tooth enamel. Health insurance will cover a portion of the costs for these treatments.

Vision

If you child wears glasses, he or she will benefit from a policy that includes vision coverage. Your health plan will pay part of the cost of glasses or contacts, vision testing and visits to an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Managing Costs

Family health insurance usually covers the majority of your children’s health care costs, but you should expect to pay some yourself. These are called out-of-pocket costs, and they include your deductible, coinsurance or both.

There are some exceptions. Your health plan will generally pay all of the costs when you take your child to an in-network doctor for checkups and immunizations. Keep in mind that you will pay more in coinsurance for trips to the emergency room than for a doctor’s office visit. If your child becomes sick with a minor illness, it’s more economical to see your pediatrician. If you can’t get an appointment, an urgent care center is generally a better option than an emergency room for minor problems like runny noses and sore throats.

Health insurance can be a confusing topic, especially when you’re seeking coverage for your children. By considering what parents need to know about insurance, selecting a plan that’s right for your family becomes much easier.

How to Find a Doctor in Your Health Insurance Network

Health insurance has been a hot topic in recent years, and the more industry experts talk about choosing the right plan and how to find a doctor in your network, the more overwhelming the process can seem.

Though health insurance can be confusing for many people, understanding networks is key to saving money on medical expenses. The following are reasons why networks are important, how to find a doctor and how to choose the best plan for you:

What if you need medical care when you’re away from home? If you travel often or plan to do so in the near future, you will want a network large enough that you can find a doctor that takes your insurance, wherever you may be.

Think of Networks as Discounts

Insurance companies negotiate special rates with doctors, hospitals and other medical providers. When you visit physicians in these networks, you save yourself money.

If your doctor or hospital is not in your network, you will have to pay higher co-pays, coinsurance or deductibles, even in emergency situations.

Out-of-network providers can also bill you the difference between their usual fees and the amount your insurance company agrees to pay, which is known as balance billing. Balance billing by out-of-network providers can leave you owing hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

How to Find the Right Network

When you select your health plan, you also select a network. This is why it is important to choose wisely based on both your current needs and future plans. Consider the following before you sign up:

  • Proximity: Will you be able to find a doctor within a reasonable driving distance and who takes your insurance? What about your local hospital or specialists you might need to see? If a plan doesn’t offer a large network in your area, it probably isn’t the best fit.
  • Loyalty: What about the doctors you already know and trust? Will you have to find new ones and start over? Having history and a good relationship with your physicians — especially your primary care provider — can be hugely beneficial to your health. If you would rather not leave your doctors, make sure they are in the network you’re considering.
  • Reach: What if you need medical care when you’re away from home? If you travel often or plan to do so in the near future, you will want a network large enough that you can find a doctor that takes your insurance, wherever you may be.

Most health insurance companies publish provider directories you can review before you choose your network, but it’s always a good idea to check with your doctors’ offices to ensure they are in network

Learn more about how networks help you save.

Turkey Trots in Tennessee: Eight Thanksgiving Day Races in 2015

Get some fresh air and earn your calories with a road race on Thanksgiving morning. So, where are the turkey trots in Tennessee this year?

Memphis Turkey Trot

With a gorgeous setting at the Memphis Botanic Gardens, you can choose between a four-mile run (or walk) and the Turkey Leg Relay at the Memphis Turkey Trot. What makes this race even sweeter? A slice of pumpkin pie is waiting for you at the finish line! Events start at 9 a.m.

Johnson City Turkey Trot

One of the classic 5K (3.1 miles) turkey trots in Tennessee is this 10th annual race hosted by The Goose Chase in Johnson City. Sign up if you’re a competitive runner, a recreational walker, a wheelchair racer or even if you want to bring your stroller or dog. The event draws in at least 5,000 participants, and starts at 8:30 a.m.

Knoxville’s Regal Entertainment Group Autumnfest 5K and Little Gobbler Run

Organized by the Knoxville Track Club, this Thanksgiving morning race offers both a 5K and a one-mile kids’ run. The Little Gobbler Kids’ Run starts at 8 a.m., whereas the 5K closely follows at 8:30 a.m.

Boulevard Bolt in Nashville

This five-mile run/walk lets serious runners race the clock and recreational walkers get some fun exercise at the same time. You’ll join more than 8,500 participants on a course coordinated by multiple interfaith churches in the area, with proceeds benefiting Nashville’s homeless community. The race starts at 8 a.m.

Turkey Trot 5K in Franklin

You can trot or walk this 5K race. Kids nine and under get their own fun run, starting an hour later. The turkey trot typically draws in 2,800 participants and benefits GraceWorks Ministries. Festivities kick off at 8 a.m.

Thanksgiving Day Indian Lake Loop in Hendersonville

Spend the morning running or walking along beautiful Indian Lake. Runners can compete in the five-mile race, and families can sign up for the fun run. This year’s race benefits the local school district. The fun starts at 8 a.m.

Give ‘N Gobble 5K in Dickson

Choose from the 5K, one-mile fun run or the Turkey Chase Fun Run (for kids eight and under) — all of which welcome strollers. Each race benefits the Dickson County Help Center. The Turkey Chase Fun Run starts at 8 a.m. with the 5K and kids’ one-mile starting at 8:30.

Grateful Gobbler Walk in Chattanooga

Now in its 16th year, the Grateful Gobbler Walk kicks off in downtown Chattanooga with a route that has runners and walkers crossing the city’s famous Walnut Street Bridge. This year’s event benefits the Maclellan Shelter for Families and starts at 8 a.m.

Seven Great Things Tennessee State Parks Have to Offer

You don’t have to go far for a weekend vacation in Tennessee’s great outdoors. The Volunteer State offers a variety of activities for all interests — not surprising, as there are 56 Tennessee state parks in total. Here are some things you can do:

Biking

Cyclers have their choice of trails in Tennessee state parks, whether it’s paved, gravel or soft and hilly (perfect for mountain-biking). All have beginner to advanced ratings between them, and you can look for specific bike trails across 19 parks. Their distances range from Natchez State Park, with a 50-mile multipurpose fire trail; to Tim’s Ford, with a seven-mile paved trail connecting the property.

Hiking

Hiking is popular for a reason, and every park in Tennessee offers hikes for different levels of difficulty. History buffs can go to David Crockett State Park, exploring six full miles of trails featuring Crockett Falls, Shoal Creek scenic views, canopied forests and of course some native animals, too. For a bigger challenge, head to Frozen Head and trek the seven-mile trail to the observation deck, where you’ll see the Great Smoky Mountains and Tennessee Valley in every direction. The park has an additional 50 miles of trails.

Birding

Park visitors are in for a treat if they’re prepared to go bird-watching. Look for the state bird, the Northern Mockingbird, as well as other beauties like the Barred Owl, White Ibis and the rare Cerulean Warbler. The Audubon Society has dubbed Frozen Head an official Important Bird Area. More than 130 bird species visit this park each year, some to breed and some as a migratory stop.

Golfing

Bring your clubs! There are nine golf courses across the dozens of Tennessee State Parks, including six traditional courses and three of the state’s five Bear Trace courses designed by Jack Nicklaus. These courses are known for their incredible scenery, and the Cumberland Mountain course is continually rated in the top 10 in America — number one in Tennessee.

Horseback Riding

Galloping these trails is a great way to explore each park’s beauty. Luckily, ten Tennessee State Parks have riding facilities. Try Big Hill Pond, with 14 miles of trails taking you on many old logging roads and gravel roads. Although Chickasaw State Park has only five miles of trails, feel free to use the property as a launching spot to ride into Chickasaw State Forest, which has hundreds more.

Zip-Lining

It’s exhilarating to fly through the woods with the wind in your face, and Tennesseans know firsthand. The Fall Creek Falls State Park ZIPStream adventure course has more than 70 aerial obstacles to complete, including rope swings, cargo nets, tree climbs, balance beams, ladders, bridge crossings and, of course, zip-lining. This is possibly the most fun you’ll have while challenging your body in new ways.

Waterfalls

Tennessee state parks have a number of beautiful waterfalls, as well. Whitewater kayakers enjoy the Caney Fork Gorge near Rock Island State Park’s impressive wide falls all the time when taking a break from a tough paddle downstream. And Fall Creek Falls has this name that for a reason: It has the highest freefalling waterfall east of the Mississippi, and you don’t have to hike far from the parking lot to see it.

Red Clay State Historic Park’s natural water feature isn’t a waterfall, but it’s a gorgeous deep pool called Blue Hole Spring, formed under an ancient limestone ledge. This fresh water source was especially important to the Cherokee Indians.

Plan a day to bike, hike, gallop, golf, zip or paddle one of 56 incredible frontiers right in Tennessee. You never know what may become a family tradition.

Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Always check the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.

How to Make Quality Family Time a Priority this School Year

The kids are back in school and fall is in full-swing, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. You can spend time together well after the first class bell rings. Here are some ideas for activities suited for getting in some quality family time.

Outdoor Adventures

Tennessee abounds with places to get outside and enjoy nature as a family. Pack a picnic and head to one of a dozen inclusive state parks, where you’ll find plenty of inspiration to go hiking, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding and even swimming.

Interpretive centers and outdoor educational opportunities — like Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge or Discovery Park of America in Union City — also offer families the chance to spend an afternoon learning about science and nature.

Historic Day Trips

It’s fairly easy to get across the state, so consider taking a weekend trip to learn about Tennessee’s rich history — after the kids finish their homework, of course.

In East Tennessee alone, you’ll find dozens of sites where you can learn about the early years of the community. The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greeneville and Davy Crockett Birthplace State Historic Park in nearby Limestone both provide a look at these famous Tennesseans’ lives.

In Northeast Tennessee, Rocky Mount Living History Museum in Piney Flats and Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton offer glimpses of the region’s first settlers. Near Knoxville, you’ll find the Museum of Appalachia and the Blount Mansion.

In Southeast Tennessee, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park commemorates the 1863 Civil War battles for Chattanooga. Expect similar historic sites in Middle and West Tennessee, including the storied home of President James K. Polk.

Sporting Events

Football season is always a great time for the family, especially in Tennessee. Don’t just enjoy watching a Tennessee Vols or Titans football game from the couch, plan an outing to Nissan and Neyland Stadiums themselves. Increase the family experience by tailgating with fun activities and healthy snacks before cheering on your favorite team.

Cooking and Canning

Garden-fresh veggies are everywhere during the fall, so take in the bounty while you can. Visit farmers markets together as a family or search for a pick-your-own farm where you can harvest your own fruits and vegetables. Then work together to either can or freeze the produce so you can enjoy them throughout the winter. Working as a team to preserve the food will make it taste even better when fully prepared!

For many households, back-to-school time means less together time, but that doesn’t have to be the case with so many fun activities that the whole family can enjoy. Spend an afternoon or a weekend with your kids and make memories to last all year long.

6 Tips for Managing Adult ADHD

When many people think of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), images of a child who struggles to pay attention at school or can’t seem to sit still at the dinner table may come to mind. But ADHD isn’t just a child’s disorder. Nearly 5 percent of adults in the United States have the condition as well.

Symptoms of ADHD differ for adults and are often more subtle than those in children. According to Health, adults with ADHD often have trouble with organization, engage in impulsive behavior and struggle to complete tasks at home and work.

ADHD in adults should always be supervised and managed by a doctor, but here are some tips to help manage the condition.

Get Yourself Organized

Attention disorders are all about organization, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fortunately for communities with so many technological devices available, leading a more organized life is just a click away.

Use digital calendar books, apps for list-making or those offering flow charts — like XMind or Popplet — to organize your thoughts. List-making can set up your plan for the day, but also break down larger tasks into smaller steps to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. If you think more efficiently through old-fashioned pen and paper, you can always use a planner or notebook for your calendar and reminders.

Make Lists

List-making can set up your plan for the day, but only if you make lists in a way that isn’t daunting. Keep to-do lists brief, no more than five items, and cross tasks off as you finish them so you can feel accomplished and less frustrated. Consider breaking down larger tasks into smaller steps to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

A Helping Hand

ADHD in adults can strain your relationships, and admitting your condition to friends and supervisors can be embarrassing. But honesty in advance can help defuse more difficult situations later. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help or confide in them during times when you feel yourself struggling with common ADHD symptoms.

If you need a little extra support outside your circle of friends and family, professional therapy can help develop skills to minimize impulsive or irrational behaviors. In addition to counseling, support groups can also help fill in the gaps between appointments. You can also approach ADD/ADHD coaches to help you hone more practical coping skills.

Impulse Control

Additude magazine offers a few pointers for exercising impulse control, particularly on checking yourself before you respond to things with poorly chosen words. Here are a few techniques to delay your reactions while you think things through:

  • Try placing your finger over your mouth to halt impulses while considering your response.
  • Paraphrase what the speaker said to you before replying.
  • Practice speaking slowly in a mirror, so you have more time to think about the words coming out.

Avoid Overstimulation

If you suffer from ADHD, drinking espresso, energy drinks or other sugar-laden foods to stay focused is probably not the best idea, according to Healthline. Not only should you avoid chemical stimulants like caffeine or excessive sugar, but chaotic situations may overload your senses as well. Big crowds in settings such as amusements parks and concerts may be a little more than you can handle.

Stress and lack of sleep can also aggravate ADHD symptoms; explore natural techniques to cope with this discomfort, such as meditation and yoga.

Living with ADHD can be a challenge. Embracing organizational techniques or support systems and avoiding overstimulation can get you on your way to a happier and more productive life.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.