California Chicken Flatbread with Chipotle Ranch Sauce

Prep time      Cook time        Total time      Serves

15 mins          15 mins             30 mins            4

Ingredients

  • 1 large flatbread or naan, or 2 small (I used Stonefire brand- my favorite!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or any other favorite cheese such as monterey jack or pepperjack for a spicier version)
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded to ½ inch thickness + salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • ½ avocado, sliced or diced
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¼ cup ranch dressing
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle seasoning (see note)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Cook in a pan or skillet on the stove over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Dice chicken and set aside.
  2. Brush flatbread with olive oil. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Top with chicken, red peppers, and bacon. Place on a lightly greased sheet of foil and bake on the oven rack for 10-15 minutes until cheese is completely melted.
  3. While flatbread is baking, whisk together ranch dressing and chipotle seasoning. When flatbread is finished baked, top with avocado, cilantro, and crushed red pepper flakes. Drizzle with chipotle ranch dressing and serve immediately.

Notes

*This recipe is written as an appetizer that will feed four. If you want to use this recipe for a main dish, double the recipe!!

*For the sauce, you can use any brand of store bought chipotle seasoning or a homemade version. If you have neither, you can drizzle the ranch dressing straight up!

Free Skin Cancer Screenings

A Mobile exam room will visit 16 states this summer.

Men are more likely than women to get skin cancer, but everyone should get checked.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, in an effort to educate people about skin cancer, the Skin Cancer Foundation is going on the road. Destination: Healthy Skin is traveling across the United States with 50 stops in 22 cities this summer. The group is educating people about skin cancer, ways to protect your body with sunscreen, and will offer free skin cancer screenings.

Monthly self-exams are recommended but it’s also very important for a doctor to examine your skin annually. According to the most recent data available from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013, 71,942 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin. This is the deadliest form of skin cancer. When looking at the statistics, men are more likely to get melanoma than women. In 2013, 42,30 men were diagnosed and 29,513 women were diagnosed. It’s estimated that the cases of melanoma will increase by 14 percent between 2016 and 2015.

Detecting skin cancer early is key. Skin cancer found and removed early are almost always curable, according the the Skin Cancer Foundation. In 2013, despite this somewhat promising fact, 9,394 people died of melanoma but the fatality rate for men was nearly doubt that of a women (CDC).

Health experts and the CDC explained why skin cancer might be more common in men:

  • Men tend to wear their hair shorter than women, and it also thins earlier, exposing their scalp.
  • Men spend more time outside over their lifetimes than women.
  • Women’s personal care products, such as moisturizer and makeup, often contain sunscreen, while many products for men don’t.

The Skin Cancer Foundation selected its cities to stop by based on various lifestyles and include beach communities, mountain towns and urban, suburban and rural areas. The free screenings, which will be conducted in private exam rooms in a specially equipped RV, will take approximately 10 minutes. Doctors will screen your full body, including areas people commonly miss on self-screenings, such as behind your ears or the back of your neck, which can be hard to check in a mirror.

The RV tour kicked off June 5 in Cambridge, Mass., and continued to New York later that week.  Additional dates and locations include:

  • Morristown, N.J. – June 11
  • Philadelphia – June 13
  • Washington – June 15-16
  • Marietta, Ga. – June 20-21
  • Jacksonville, Fla. – June 24-25
  • Tomball, Texas – June 28-29
  • Magnolia, Texas – July 1
  • Waller, Texas – July 2
  • Phoenix, Ariz. – July 7-8
  • San Diego – July 11-12
  • Los Angeles – July 14-16
  • Sonoma/Napa, Calif. – July 19-21
  • Portland, Ore. – July 25-27
  • Seattle – July 29-30
  • Boulder, Colo. – Aug. 5
  • Denver – Aug. 6
  • Bentonville, Ark. – Aug. 11-12
  • Kansas City, Mo. – Aug. 17-18, Aug. 20
  • Evanston, Ill. – Aug. 22-23
  • Indianapolis – Aug. 26-27

Visit Destination: Healthy Skin for more information on screening locations.

Dermatologists recommend that you get a skin screening annually, but if you are at greater risk for skin cancer you should be checked every six months. And if you notice a change in a mole, see a dermatologist immediately.

By Kristina Mancino

Fiber May Lower Risk of Osteoarthritis

Millions of people, worldwide and across the United States are affected by Osteoarthritis. The latest research showed that diets rich in fiber may lower the risk of developing painful knee osteoarthritis.  

What is osteoarthritis? It’s known as the most common arthritis also named the “wear and tear,” arthritis, over 30 million U.S. adults are affected by it. Almost 10 percent of men and 18 percent of women aged 60 and over love with symptomatic OA, worldwide. Women over the age of 50 are more likely to develop the condition compared to men.

Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases recently published new research that investigated the link between having a diet rich in fiber and the risk of developing knee OA. The study consisted of a meta-analysis examining two long-term studies on the benefits of a fiber-rich diet. The collaborative study was conducted by researchers from Tufts University in Boston MA and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Dr. Zhaoli Dai, of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University was the first author of the study.

For years, studies have concluded that diets rich in fiber provided a variety of health benefits like lowered blood pressure, lower weight, reduced inflammation and even improved blood sugar levels. Fiber sources include nuts, legumes, fruits, whole grains, and non-starchy vegetables.

Studying the link between OA and fiber intake

The new studies included 4,795 participants – Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) and 1,267 participants – Framingham Offspring Osteoarthritis Study. Fiber intake was determined by researchers before beginning the study using a food frequency questionnaire. They also assessed incident radiographic OA and symptomatic OA – that is, they used X-ray to determine OA and recorded OA symptoms, the most common of which include knee pain, stiffness, and swelling.

During the study OAI participants were clinically followed ever year for 48 months, and they were evaluated after 9 years as part of the Framingham study. Data was also collected by researcher that may have influenced results like a knee injury, medication, lifestyle, alcohol consumption, and physical exercise.

Low Fiber Intake

During the study, on average, patients consumed 15 grams of fiber daily in the OAI study and 19 grams of fiber daily for the Framingham study.

By the end of the 4 year period – OAI study – a total of 869 participants had OA knee symptoms, 152 showed signs of OA on the X-ray, and 1,964 participants said their knee pain got worse.

At the end of the 9-year period – Framingham study – 143 participants had OA symptoms, and 175 saw signs of OA in their X-rays.

The statistical analysis indicated that higher intake of fiber correlated with a lower risk of OA. Participants were broken up into fourths or quartiles, with the top quartile being compared the the lowest in terms of fiber intake.

Participants who consumed the most fiber had a 30 percent lower risk of OA in the OAI study, and 61 percent lower risk of OA in the Framingham study compared with those who consumed the least amount of fiber.

Furthermore, the study revealed that consuming more fiber in general, as well as more cereal fiber in particular, significantly reduced the risk of the knee pain getting worse. However, as the study is observational, it cannot establish causality.

“Findings from two longitudinal studies consistently showed that higher total fiber intake was related to a lower risk of [symptomatic OA], while the relation to [incident radiographic OA] was unclear.” – Dr. Zhaoli Dai

By Kristina Mancino

Pecan-Chocolate Chip Whole-Grain Blondies

 

Makes                      Active Time         Total Time

24Servings                20Minutes              2:40Hours

This whole-grain chocolate chip blondie recipe has half the amount of brown sugar and butter as a traditional recipe and is made with 100% whole-wheat flour. The results: scrumptious toffee-flavored treats with fewer calories and less added sugars per serving.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour (see Tips)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans (see Tips), chopped, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, divided

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, allowing it to slightly overhang opposite edges. Coat with cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling often, until fragrant and starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk in brown sugar; let cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Whisk eggs and vanilla into the cooled butter mixture until well combined. Add the flour mixture in two additions, gently folding until just combined. Reserve 2 tablespoons each pecans and chocolate chips; fold the remaining pecans and chocolate into the batter. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the reserved nuts and chocolate on top.
  5. Bake the blondies until light brown around the edges, 18 to 22 minutes. They will appear slightly underbaked in the center; but will firm up as they cool. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. To cut, grab the overhanging parchment or foil and transfer the whole batch to a cutting board, then cut into 24 bars.

To Make Ahead

Cover and store airtight for up to 3 days; freeze for up to 3 months.

Tips

  1. Try white whole-wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour in baked goods. It’s made from hard white wheat berries, which makes it lighter in color and flavor than regular whole-wheat flour, but with the same nutritional properties. Look for it near other whole-grain flours. For the best flavor, store it airtight in the freezer.
  2. For the best flavor, toast nuts before using in a recipe. To toast whole nuts, spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes.
  3. To Cut Perfect Bars: Grab the overhanging parchment or foil and transfer the whole batch to a cutting board, then cut into bars.
Formatted by Kristina Mancino

Grilled Chicken and Avocado Street Tacos

Grilled Chicken and Avocado Street Tacos

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs trimmed boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For serving

  • (About) 22 – 24 mini corn taco shells, warmed*
  • 1 large avocado, cored and sliced
  • 1 small red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • Mexican hot sauce

Directions

  • Add chicken to a gallon size resealable bag. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin chili powder, 1 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper. Pour mixture over chicken in bag then seal bag while releasing an trapped air. Rub marinade over chicken. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to marinate at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
  • Preheat a grill over medium-high heat (it should come to 425 – 450 degrees). Remove chicken from marinade. Season lightly with salt and grill until chicken has cooked through (thickest center should register from 165), turning once halfway through grilling, about 4 – 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
  • Dice grilled chicken into cubes. Layer together two tortillas per taco then add an avocado slice, diced chicken, onions and cilantro. Serve warm, spritzing each taco with lime juice and drizzling with hot sauce.
  • *If you don’t want to double up on the tortillas you’ll only need about 12.
By Kristina Mancino

‘Pink Noise’ A Deep Sleep and Memory Solution

‘Pink Noise’ A Deep Sleep and Memory Solution

It’s no surprise that as we age and get older our quality of sleep declines. As researchers look into the decline, they believe that lack of sleep can contribute to later-life memory loss. As new research emerges, a simple solution could be the answer to more restful sleep. The answer: “pink noise.”

Pink noise is defined as gentle, soothing sound whereby each octave possesses equal energy. A better explanation, pink noise is the background noise we hear in everyday life.

Researchers from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, found that while older adults slept, if they synced up pink noise to their brain waves, the sound enhanced their quality of deep sleep and improve their memory. The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, by senior author Dr. Phyllis Zee, a professor of neurology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern.

In previous studies, throughout the years, the core of numerous studies highlighted the importance of sleep for memory consolidation. Which is, the brain’s ability to convert short-term memories into long-term memories. As we age, the quality of slow-wave sleep (SWS) decreases. Slow-wave sleep is commonly known as deep sleep which is part of the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep cycle that is important for memory consolidation. Studies have shown that disruption of the NREM cycle can cause negative consequences for our memory.  

Previous research from Dr. Zee and team uncovered a link, in young adults, between acoustic stimulation of slow-wave brain activity during sleep and improved memory. For now, it’s noted that studies are lacking when it comes to using acoustic stimulation in older adults.

Acoustic simulations boost SWS, memory in later life

“To address this gap in research, Dr. Zee and colleagues enrolled 13 older adults, aged between 60 and 84 years, to their study.

All adults were subject to one night of sham stimulation and one night of acoustic stimulation, which were around 1 week apart. The acoustic stimulation incorporated pink noise that was synced to their brain waves as they slept.

For each session, the adults completed two memory recall tests – one before they went to sleep at night, and one after they woke up the following morning.

While memory recall improved under both conditions, the researchers found that the average improvement following acoustic stimulation was three times greater than with the sham stimulation.

The greater improvement in memory as a result of acoustic stimulation correlated with a greater increase in the quality of SWS, which the team says emphasizes how important deep sleep is for memory consolidation, even in later life.

Overall, the researchers believe that their findings indicate that acoustic stimulation may be an effective way to boost sleep quality and memory in older age.” – Medical News Today

“This is an innovative, simple, and safe non-medication approach that may help improve brain health. This is a potential tool for enhancing memory in older populations and attenuating normal age-related memory decline.”

Dr. Phyllis Zee

Further studies of involving a larger number of participants is needed before acoustic stimulation can be recommended.

by Kristina Mancino

AARP supports Family Caregivers Act

Caregivers photoAARP supports Family Caregivers Act

Special from PRNewsWire

WASHINGTON–AARP announced its support of the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage Family Caregivers Act that would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The legislation (S. 1028) was introduced earlier this month in the U.S. Senate by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).   

“AARP appreciates the leadership of Senators Collins and Baldwin on the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and we urge Congress to get behind this commonsense, bipartisan step to recognize and support our nation’s more than 40 million family caregivers,” said AARP Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy A. LeaMond. “Every day, these ordinary Americans take on extraordinary physical, emotional and financial challenges as they help their parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities, and other loved ones live independently at home and in their communities —and out of costly nursing homes, saving taxpayer dollars.” 

The nation’s family caregivers provide help with eating, bathing, dressing, transportation, medical tasks, managing finances, and more—unpaid care that is valued at around $470 billion annually, more than the entire Medicaid program in 2013. “The RAISE Family Caregivers Act will help elevate the contributions of these unsung heroes, and identify support to help make their big responsibilities a little bit easier,” said LeaMond.

The legislation would create an advisory council of representatives from the private and public sectors, including family caregivers, older adults and people with disabilities, health care providers, employers, state and local officials, and others to make recommendations regarding the national strategy. The advisory council meetings would be open to the public with opportunities for public input. The strategy would identify specific actions that communities, health care providers, employers, government, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers. 

By Anare Holmes

Garlic Mushroom Quinoa

Prep Time              Cook Time              Total Time    

   10 min                    25 mins                    35 min                         

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in quinoa until well combined.
  3. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan, if desired.