Beta-glucan is abundant in oats and barley and has been shown “quite unequivocally” to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, @American_Heart










American Heart Association

@American_Heart
·





Oats and oatmeal have powers you probably didn’t know about — like nutrients to help lower cholesterol and enough fiber to help you feel fuller longer. They just might be quiet heroes of #BetterBreakfastMonth.

(Arx0nt/Moment via Getty Images)

By Michael Merschel, American Heart Association News

Let’s admit it: Oatmeal is a total nerd. It lacks fashion sense – the color they named after it is somewhere on the drab side of beige. It’s often seen with Sesame Street’s Bert, who also loves bottle caps, paper clips and pigeons.

But when it comes to healthy eating, oatmeal and the oats it comes from can definitely hang with the cool kids at the breakfast table.

“It has many, many good qualities,” said Candida Rebello, director of the nutrition and chronic disease research program at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

Extensive studies have associated oats and oatmeal with plenty of heart-healthy benefits, such as lowering cholesterol (both total and “bad” LDL cholesterol) and helping with weight control.

Oatmeal has a host of vitamins and minerals. Two examples: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a one-cup serving of cooked oatmeal has about 1.8 milligrams of vitamin B1, or thiamin. That’s close to 15% of what an adult needs each day. It also has 1.36 mg of manganese, which is 59% of the daily recommendation for men and 76% for women. Manganese has roles in immunity, blood clotting and the way cholesterol and blood sugar are metabolized.

But that’s not what makes oats stand out, Rebello said. That same cup of cooked oatmeal has just 166 calories and nearly 4 grams of dietary fiber.

And the type of fiber is where oats start to distinguish themselves. It’s called beta-glucan. Put that in the conversation, and it’s like the scene in a movie where oatmeal takes off its glasses and everyone realizes just how beautiful it is.

Not literally. It’s a soluble fiber, which means it dissolves in hot water, where it thickens. “When you eat oatmeal, the kind of sliminess that you see – that comes from this viscosity that beta-glucan generates,” Rebello said.

That helps you feel full longer, she said. And it helps undigested food travel farther down your digestive tract, where it feeds the friendly bacteria living there.

Beta-glucan is abundant in oats and barley and has been shown “quite unequivocally” to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, Rebello said.

Oats also are rich phytonutrients – plant-derived substances that may boost health. One class of such phytonutrients is avenanthramides, which are found only in oats. Avenanthramides may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, although Rebello said their possible benefits are not as well-researched as those for beta-glucans.

Oats have been linked to heart-health benefits since the 1960s and come in many forms. The differences involve levels of processing.

Oats grow in an inedible casing called a hull. Inside the hull is a seedlike groat. That groat is encased in bran. “In other whole grains, like in wheat, you can remove that bran layer,” Rebello said. “But in oats, this groat is very soft, so that bran layer cannot really be removed.”

That means oats are almost always a whole-grain food, and those are a key part of a healthy eating pattern.

If oats are labeled “steel cut,” it simply means they were processed with a steel cutter, Rebello said. Rolled oats are steamed first, then pressed with a roller. “If the roller crushes it into thinner flake, then you get quick-cooking oats,” she said. “If it is then rolled into an even thinner flake, you get your instant oats.”

Rebello said that nutritionally, there is little difference between steel cut and rolled oats. Instant oats, however, have a higher glycemic index, meaning they raise your blood sugar faster.

When oats are ground to flour, the coarser portion is extracted and called oat bran. The beta-glucans will be concentrated in the flour rather than the bran, she said.

Oat milk is derived from oats and water, but processing may add ingredients such as sugar, salt, oil and more. Oat milk has some dietary fiber, Rebello said – commonly 2 grams per cup – but the amount of beta-glucan is rather small.

Unfortunately, Rebello ruled out sugar-filled oatmeal cookies as a healthy food (although she’s not averse to having one as a treat now and then).

How, then, to embrace oats? “Just eat regular oatmeal,” she said. Half a cup of rolled oats cooks up quickly and will keep you full a long time.

Oatmeal with your favorite fruit can be a sweet way to start the day. Cook it in low-fat milk for creaminess and add unsalted nuts to bolster its heart-health value. If you’re time-pressed in the morning, try a healthy version of overnight oats, which can be prepared the night before.

It’s important to remember that no single food, even oats, can do it all, Rebello said, noting that if you eat a nutritious breakfast but then load up on sugar and fat the rest of the day, “that’s really not going to help you much.”

But you should go ahead and invite oatmeal into your breakfast club, Rebello said. “I definitely recommend eating oats.”

If you have questions or comments about this American Heart Association News story, please email editor@heart.org.

6 Ways To Help Your Baby Self-Soothe and Find Calm

Cleveland Clinic

@ClevelandClinic

·

A baby who can self-soothe will fall asleep on their own and play calmly without your intervention. It’s a process, and a skill, that will help throughout their lives. Follow these tips to get started.

It’s naptime — thank goodness. But your baby isn’t having it. They cry. They fuss. So, you bounce them, rock them or even drive around town until they fall asleep.

It’s the question on the top of your mind (and you’re not alone): When — and how — will my baby learn to self-soothe and calm down without so much effort?

Pediatrician Matthew Badgett, MD, answers this important question, and shares ways to help your baby learn to self-soothe. 

Why is self-soothing important? 

When your baby self-soothes, they can calm down on their own and they:  

  • Fall asleep without your help. 
  • Fall back asleep if they wake up in the middle of a nap or during the night. 
  • Sit or play calmly by themselves.  

But self-soothing isn’t just for little ones. It’s an important skill throughout your life. Whether you realize it or not, you use your own self-soothing methods to feel better when you’re stressed or anxious. 

“Self-soothing is a way of regulating your emotions,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Babies might suck their thumb or hold a stuffed animal. Adults might listen to music, take a walk or do yoga. The type of self-soothing you use changes throughout your life, but it’s a key part of your emotional health.” 

When can my baby learn to self-soothe? 

Every exhausted parent wants to know: When will my baby lie in their crib and drift off to sleep without my help? Or When can I put them in their bouncy seat for five minutes without screams of protest? 

“In general, don’t try to teach your baby to self-soothe before they are 3 months old,” advises Dr. Badgett. “Newborns need you to help soothe them because they don’t have the ability to control their emotions. Learning emotional control is a process that takes years, so don’t expect too much from an infant or toddler.”  

And self-soothing is a gradual process — not a switch you can flip. “Self-soothing is really co-soothing because the parent is still involved,” says Dr. Badgett. “Your baby plays a more active role in soothing, but you set them up for success. You figure out how your baby can calm down with less of your help.” 

Self-soothing tips and techniques 

If your baby is past the newborn stage but still cries relentlessly when you put them down, there is hope. These tips can help your baby gain self-soothing skills: 

1. Meet your baby’s needs first 

Before you assume that your baby is just cranky, review their list of needs. Your baby won’t be able to self-soothe if: 

  • Their diaper is wet or soiled. 
  • Their clothing is too hot or too cold for the environment. 
  • There are too many distractions in the room, like a noisy TV or other children. 
  • They have gas or need to be burped. 
  • They’re hungry or thirsty. 
  • They’re overtired.  

After you’ve ruled out those issues, move on to the next steps.

2. Set a schedule 

Babies love routine. Try to put your baby to bed at the same time every day. Don’t skip naps or keep your baby up late. A schedule keeps them from becoming overtired — that’s when any hope of self-soothing goes out the window.  

“If your baby goes to bed at the same times each day, their body clock will get used to it,” Dr. Badgett notes. “Then, they will start to feel sleepy right at naptime or bedtime. Babies that are drowsy, but not exhausted, are better able to fall asleep on their own.” 

3. Use white noise 

The sound of a fan or a white noise machine can be music to your baby’s ears. “Many babies prefer a steady sound over a perfectly quiet room,” Dr. Badgett says. “It helps drown out other sounds that could startle them, and it has a calming effect.” 

Turn on the white noise machine when it’s bedtime. This can serve as a cue for your baby to learn when it’s time for dreamland. 

4. Stay close without picking them up 

After you place your baby in their crib or seat, don’t leave right away.  

“If you give your baby some attention without holding them, they learn that being put down isn’t a bad thing,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Talk to them, or gently put your hand on their belly. After a few minutes, calmly leave the room.” 

5. Try a pacifier  

Pacifiers are a useful tool for babies under the age of 1. But use caution. It can be hard to take the paci away from a baby who can’t calm down without it.  

“Pacifiers help young babies learn to self-soothe before they learn other techniques,” Dr. Badgett says. “But limit pacifier use to naptime and bedtime. Use them with other methods, like white noise and a consistent routine. That way, your baby won’t learn to rely on the pacifier alone.” 

6. Wean them off feeding to sleep 

It’s normal for young babies to fall asleep at the bottle or breast. But as your baby grows, they need to learn other ways to drift off. 

“Don’t feed your older baby right at naptime with the sole purpose of getting them to sleep,” Dr. Badgett suggests. “They might end up overeating or relying on the nipple even when they’re already full.”  

You can avoid the feed-to-sleep method if you: 

  • Stop feeding if you see your baby getting sleepy. 
  • Gently burp your baby to wake them up a little if they fell asleep feeding. Then, use the other self-soothing techniques to help them calm back down. 

With a little persistence, perseverance and patience on your end, your little one could be self-soothing to sleep in no time.

6 Ways To Help Your Baby Self-Soothe and Find Calm

Cleveland Clinic

@ClevelandClinic

·

A baby who can self-soothe will fall asleep on their own and play calmly without your intervention. It’s a process, and a skill, that will help throughout their lives. Follow these tips to get started.

It’s naptime — thank goodness. But your baby isn’t having it. They cry. They fuss. So, you bounce them, rock them or even drive around town until they fall asleep.

It’s the question on the top of your mind (and you’re not alone): When — and how — will my baby learn to self-soothe and calm down without so much effort?

Pediatrician Matthew Badgett, MD, answers this important question, and shares ways to help your baby learn to self-soothe. 

Why is self-soothing important? 

When your baby self-soothes, they can calm down on their own and they:  

  • Fall asleep without your help. 
  • Fall back asleep if they wake up in the middle of a nap or during the night. 
  • Sit or play calmly by themselves.  

But self-soothing isn’t just for little ones. It’s an important skill throughout your life. Whether you realize it or not, you use your own self-soothing methods to feel better when you’re stressed or anxious. 

“Self-soothing is a way of regulating your emotions,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Babies might suck their thumb or hold a stuffed animal. Adults might listen to music, take a walk or do yoga. The type of self-soothing you use changes throughout your life, but it’s a key part of your emotional health.” 

When can my baby learn to self-soothe? 

Every exhausted parent wants to know: When will my baby lie in their crib and drift off to sleep without my help? Or When can I put them in their bouncy seat for five minutes without screams of protest? 

“In general, don’t try to teach your baby to self-soothe before they are 3 months old,” advises Dr. Badgett. “Newborns need you to help soothe them because they don’t have the ability to control their emotions. Learning emotional control is a process that takes years, so don’t expect too much from an infant or toddler.”  

And self-soothing is a gradual process — not a switch you can flip. “Self-soothing is really co-soothing because the parent is still involved,” says Dr. Badgett. “Your baby plays a more active role in soothing, but you set them up for success. You figure out how your baby can calm down with less of your help.” 

Self-soothing tips and techniques 

If your baby is past the newborn stage but still cries relentlessly when you put them down, there is hope. These tips can help your baby gain self-soothing skills: 

1. Meet your baby’s needs first 

Before you assume that your baby is just cranky, review their list of needs. Your baby won’t be able to self-soothe if: 

  • Their diaper is wet or soiled. 
  • Their clothing is too hot or too cold for the environment. 
  • There are too many distractions in the room, like a noisy TV or other children. 
  • They have gas or need to be burped. 
  • They’re hungry or thirsty. 
  • They’re overtired.  

After you’ve ruled out those issues, move on to the next steps.

2. Set a schedule 

Babies love routine. Try to put your baby to bed at the same time every day. Don’t skip naps or keep your baby up late. A schedule keeps them from becoming overtired — that’s when any hope of self-soothing goes out the window.  

“If your baby goes to bed at the same times each day, their body clock will get used to it,” Dr. Badgett notes. “Then, they will start to feel sleepy right at naptime or bedtime. Babies that are drowsy, but not exhausted, are better able to fall asleep on their own.” 

3. Use white noise 

The sound of a fan or a white noise machine can be music to your baby’s ears. “Many babies prefer a steady sound over a perfectly quiet room,” Dr. Badgett says. “It helps drown out other sounds that could startle them, and it has a calming effect.” 

Turn on the white noise machine when it’s bedtime. This can serve as a cue for your baby to learn when it’s time for dreamland. 

4. Stay close without picking them up 

After you place your baby in their crib or seat, don’t leave right away.  

“If you give your baby some attention without holding them, they learn that being put down isn’t a bad thing,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Talk to them, or gently put your hand on their belly. After a few minutes, calmly leave the room.” 

5. Try a pacifier  

Pacifiers are a useful tool for babies under the age of 1. But use caution. It can be hard to take the paci away from a baby who can’t calm down without it.  

“Pacifiers help young babies learn to self-soothe before they learn other techniques,” Dr. Badgett says. “But limit pacifier use to naptime and bedtime. Use them with other methods, like white noise and a consistent routine. That way, your baby won’t learn to rely on the pacifier alone.” 

6. Wean them off feeding to sleep 

It’s normal for young babies to fall asleep at the bottle or breast. But as your baby grows, they need to learn other ways to drift off. 

“Don’t feed your older baby right at naptime with the sole purpose of getting them to sleep,” Dr. Badgett suggests. “They might end up overeating or relying on the nipple even when they’re already full.”  

You can avoid the feed-to-sleep method if you: 

  • Stop feeding if you see your baby getting sleepy. 
  • Gently burp your baby to wake them up a little if they fell asleep feeding. Then, use the other self-soothing techniques to help them calm back down. 

With a little persistence, perseverance and patience on your end, your little one could be self-soothing to sleep in no time.

6 Ways To Help Your Baby Self-Soothe and Find Calm

Cleveland Clinic

@ClevelandClinic

·

A baby who can self-soothe will fall asleep on their own and play calmly without your intervention. It’s a process, and a skill, that will help throughout their lives. Follow these tips to get started.

It’s naptime — thank goodness. But your baby isn’t having it. They cry. They fuss. So, you bounce them, rock them or even drive around town until they fall asleep.

It’s the question on the top of your mind (and you’re not alone): When — and how — will my baby learn to self-soothe and calm down without so much effort?

Pediatrician Matthew Badgett, MD, answers this important question, and shares ways to help your baby learn to self-soothe. 

Why is self-soothing important? 

When your baby self-soothes, they can calm down on their own and they:  

  • Fall asleep without your help. 
  • Fall back asleep if they wake up in the middle of a nap or during the night. 
  • Sit or play calmly by themselves.  

But self-soothing isn’t just for little ones. It’s an important skill throughout your life. Whether you realize it or not, you use your own self-soothing methods to feel better when you’re stressed or anxious. 

“Self-soothing is a way of regulating your emotions,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Babies might suck their thumb or hold a stuffed animal. Adults might listen to music, take a walk or do yoga. The type of self-soothing you use changes throughout your life, but it’s a key part of your emotional health.” 

When can my baby learn to self-soothe? 

Every exhausted parent wants to know: When will my baby lie in their crib and drift off to sleep without my help? Or When can I put them in their bouncy seat for five minutes without screams of protest? 

“In general, don’t try to teach your baby to self-soothe before they are 3 months old,” advises Dr. Badgett. “Newborns need you to help soothe them because they don’t have the ability to control their emotions. Learning emotional control is a process that takes years, so don’t expect too much from an infant or toddler.”  

And self-soothing is a gradual process — not a switch you can flip. “Self-soothing is really co-soothing because the parent is still involved,” says Dr. Badgett. “Your baby plays a more active role in soothing, but you set them up for success. You figure out how your baby can calm down with less of your help.” 

Self-soothing tips and techniques 

If your baby is past the newborn stage but still cries relentlessly when you put them down, there is hope. These tips can help your baby gain self-soothing skills: 

1. Meet your baby’s needs first 

Before you assume that your baby is just cranky, review their list of needs. Your baby won’t be able to self-soothe if: 

  • Their diaper is wet or soiled. 
  • Their clothing is too hot or too cold for the environment. 
  • There are too many distractions in the room, like a noisy TV or other children. 
  • They have gas or need to be burped. 
  • They’re hungry or thirsty. 
  • They’re overtired.  

After you’ve ruled out those issues, move on to the next steps.

2. Set a schedule 

Babies love routine. Try to put your baby to bed at the same time every day. Don’t skip naps or keep your baby up late. A schedule keeps them from becoming overtired — that’s when any hope of self-soothing goes out the window.  

“If your baby goes to bed at the same times each day, their body clock will get used to it,” Dr. Badgett notes. “Then, they will start to feel sleepy right at naptime or bedtime. Babies that are drowsy, but not exhausted, are better able to fall asleep on their own.” 

3. Use white noise 

The sound of a fan or a white noise machine can be music to your baby’s ears. “Many babies prefer a steady sound over a perfectly quiet room,” Dr. Badgett says. “It helps drown out other sounds that could startle them, and it has a calming effect.” 

Turn on the white noise machine when it’s bedtime. This can serve as a cue for your baby to learn when it’s time for dreamland. 

4. Stay close without picking them up 

After you place your baby in their crib or seat, don’t leave right away.  

“If you give your baby some attention without holding them, they learn that being put down isn’t a bad thing,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Talk to them, or gently put your hand on their belly. After a few minutes, calmly leave the room.” 

5. Try a pacifier  

Pacifiers are a useful tool for babies under the age of 1. But use caution. It can be hard to take the paci away from a baby who can’t calm down without it.  

“Pacifiers help young babies learn to self-soothe before they learn other techniques,” Dr. Badgett says. “But limit pacifier use to naptime and bedtime. Use them with other methods, like white noise and a consistent routine. That way, your baby won’t learn to rely on the pacifier alone.” 

6. Wean them off feeding to sleep 

It’s normal for young babies to fall asleep at the bottle or breast. But as your baby grows, they need to learn other ways to drift off. 

“Don’t feed your older baby right at naptime with the sole purpose of getting them to sleep,” Dr. Badgett suggests. “They might end up overeating or relying on the nipple even when they’re already full.”  

You can avoid the feed-to-sleep method if you: 

  • Stop feeding if you see your baby getting sleepy. 
  • Gently burp your baby to wake them up a little if they fell asleep feeding. Then, use the other self-soothing techniques to help them calm back down. 

With a little persistence, perseverance and patience on your end, your little one could be self-soothing to sleep in no time.

8 Vitamins & Minerals You Need for a Healthy Immune System @ClevelandClinic

Who doesn’t want a healthy immune system? (Raise your hand. No one?) But did you know the role your diet plays in keeping it in top shape to protect you from toxins and infections?
Sadly, too many of us don’t eat enough of the fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods we need to keep ourselves healthy year-round. Healthy foods provide many substances including vitamins and minerals to keep us strong and healthy. You can’t just eat an orange or grapefruit or pop a vitamin pill and expect one quick burst of vitamin C to prevent a cold and to boost your immune system.
“A truly healthy immune system depends on a balanced healthy diet over time,” says registered dietitian Maxine Smith. “It’s like training for a battle and preparing your body ahead of time so it can through a good punch when attacked by viruses, bacteria and toxins. Other lifestyle practices such as regular exercise and good sleep will better prepare you for the battle.” 
With some exceptions, it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from your food rather than in pill form. Smith shares some tips for some of the top vitamins and minerals your immune system needs to perform:
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C may help prevent infections or shorten their stay. Citrus fruits are a standout, but did you know there are other good sources? It’s true! Smith recommends the following:
Spinach.
Kale.
Bell peppers.
Brussels sprouts.
Strawberries.
Papaya. 
Fun fact: vitamin C is in so many foods that most people may not need to take supplements unless a doctor advises it. Consult with your doctor before taking any vitamin C supplements.
2. Vitamin E
Like vitamin C, vitamin E can be a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection. This important vitamin — part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in your body — is critical in how your immune system functions. To get your vitamin E, think high-fat plant foods such as:
Almonds.
Peanuts/peanut butter.
Sunflower seeds. 
Oils such as sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil.
Hazelnuts.
3. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an infection-fighter and comes in two forms: preformed such as in animal foods such as fish, meat and dairy or from plant carotenoids. Tuna is a great source of preformed vitamin A. When it comes to carotenoids, go colorful
Carrots.
Sweet potatoes.
Pumpkin.
Butternut squash.
Cantaloupe.
Dark green leafy vegetables.
4. Vitamin D
Known as the sunshine vitamin, it’s one of the most important and powerful nutrients for supporting the immune system. Food sources are limited but include:  
Salmon. 
Mackerel.
Tuna.
Sardines.
Vitamin D fortified like milk, orange juice and cereals. 
In general, it’s best to get most of your vitamins from food, but vitamin D may be the exception to that rule. Talk with your doctor to find out if you need a supplement. 
5. Folate/folic acid
Folate is the natural form and folic acid is the synthetic form, often added to foods because of its health benefits. To get more folate, add more beans and lentils to your plate on a regular basis, as well as leafy green vegetables. Avocado is another tasty source. You can also get folic acid in fortified foods (check the label first).
Enriched pasta.
Enriched bread.
Enriched rice.
6. Iron
Iron, which helps your body carry oxygen to cells, plays a part in many of the immune system processes. It comes in different forms. Your body can more easily absorb heme iron (aka iron from animal products), which is abundant in:
Red meat (limit to smaller amounts and less often).
Chicken.
Turkey.
Canned sardines.
Oysters.
Clams.
Mussels.
Canned light tuna.
If you’re a vegetarian, have no fear. You can still find iron in:
Beans.
Broccoli.
Kale.
Iron-fortified cereals.
7. Selenium
Selenium seems to have a powerful effect on the immune system being important for preventing infections. Animal foods are the best sources, with the exception of Brazil nuts, that offer a whopping greater than 100% daily value in one nut. However, too much can be a problem, so keep to no more than one to two of these in a day. Look for selenium in: 
Seafood (tuna, halibut, sardines).
Meat and liver.
Poultry.
Cottage cheese.
8. Zinc
Zinc is needed for the production of new immune system cells. It’s found primarily in animal foods but can be also found in some vegetarian food like.  
Oysters.
Crab.
Lean meats and poultry.
Baked beans.
Yogurt.
Chickpeas.
Choose frozen when you can’t get fresh
Depending on where you live and what time of year it is, you can’t always get your hands on high-quality fresh produce. Keep in mind that buying frozen is a good option and can be quite convenient in our time-crunched world. Frozen food can still boost your immune system. 
“Manufacturers freeze frozen fruits and veggies at ‘peak’ ripeness, which means they’ll pack a similar nutritional value as their fresh counterparts,” she says. “Just choose plain frozen foods rather than those with added sugars or sodium.”​


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