Debunking Medical Myths

Debunking Medical Myths

Nearly every day, there are news stories about “breakthroughs,” “scientific findings” and “promising research.” There are also countless online medical resources, including many that publish unproven medical myths. With so much information out there of varying degrees of quality and accuracy, it can be very difficult to decipher the facts from fiction when it comes to women’s health and wellness. So, what’s the best way to determine the truth in medical headlines and online medical information? Here are a few tips to help guide you to the truth.

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

With increasing health-related headlines and news, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. What was once reported to be healthy can quickly be debunked and deemed downright risky. Before you make medical decisions based on a specific study or website, it’s important to consider that not all online medical information is significant or even valid.

Learn What Makes a Study Trustworthy

Not sure how to determine the validity or importance of a study? You will want to look at two key factors that can determine its reliability. First, it should be a randomized controlled trial. And, the study results should be published in an established journal such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association or Lancet.

Rely on Reliable Health Information Websites

The Northwell Health site is a valuable source of accurate healthcare information. As well, the National Institutes of Health website is a trustworthy source for health information. Be leery of websites that are primarily testimonials or personal stories. Not everyone experiences health-related issues the same way. In other words, one person’s experience is not as compelling as clinical research.

Talk to Your Doctor

Most importantly, discuss any health or wellness issues with your healthcare provider. Don’t stop medication or treatment just because you saw a compelling report on a news channel. It’s important to talk to your doctor to determine if the study does apply to you and if it is reliable.

Do you have medical or healthcare questions? At Katz Institute for Women’s Health, we’re here with the latest information and facts. Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.

Integrative Medicine: A Holistic Approach to Healthcare

Integrative Medicine: A Holistic Approach to Healthcare

What Are the Benefits of Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine is about teaching healthier habits and treating the whole person and not just specific symptoms. The benefits are often far-reaching and long-lasting for patients. Integrative medicine can be an excellent tool for sustaining good health, as well as for treating chronic issues and painful or debilitating diseases and injuries.

Key Principles of Integrative Medicine

Unlike alternative medicine which refers to an approach to healing that is used in place of conventional medical therapies, integrative medicine uses all appropriate therapeutic approaches to achieve optimal health and healing. The following are some of the key principles of integrative medicine:

  • A strong partnership between patient and physician
  • Use of both conventional and alternative medicines and modalities
  • A focus on non-invasive treatments when possible
  • A clear emphasis on promoting health and illness prevention through ongoing healthy living

Combining Therapies

Over the last several decades, the popularity of combining conventional treatments with complementary therapies has grown tremendously. Patients and healthcare providers who were once skeptical of alternative treatments have become believers in the benefits of an integrative approach.

Increasingly, healthcare professionals who specialize in modern medicine are incorporating integrative medicine to promote health and wellness. By combining these approaches with conventional therapies, integrative practitioners can partner with patients and their primary healthcare providers to help relieve pain, reduce stress and support overall well-being.

And, many healthcare providers themselves use integrative approaches for their own personal healthcare because of the distinct health and wellness benefits.

“All medicine is integrative,” says Lucy P. Gade, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Center for Wellness and Integrative Medicine, Northwell Health. “By shifting from being disease-oriented to health-oriented, we can identify risks and minimize them as part of a whole person approach to healthcare. This can enable individuals to live healthier and happier lives.”

Common Integrative Health Approaches Used in Integrative Medicine

  • Deep breathing
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi or qi gong
  • Meditation
  • Massage
  • Functional nutrition
  • Homeopathy
  • Guided imagery

Want to learn more about integrative medicine? At Katz Institute for Women’s Health, we’re here to answer your questions. Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.


Simple Tips for Everyday Healthy Eating

While it’s a given that we all need balanced nutrition for good health, it can sometimes be challenging to put this into daily practice. For many women, the hectic daily routine of work and family means that optimal food choices are put on the back burner. It can be overwhelming to think about making sweeping changes to your diet. The reality is that even small improvements can make a big difference. It’s also true that changes that turn into healthy eating habits are developed over time.

March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is Put Your Best Fork Forward – a reminder that every bite counts. With every meal or snack, you can choose a nutritious option. The following are some simple ideas that can help you eat better each day.

Choose a color a day for fruits and vegetables

With many healthy eating options to select from, one way to narrow down your choices is to focus on one color of produce for each day. For example, on Monday, choose from the bounty of red options, including peppers, apples, berries and potatoes. When you begin to make choices based on the amazing spectrum of colorful fruits and vegetables, you can enjoy old favorites and experiment with new options, too.

Choose more whole grains

Eating grains, particularly whole grains, is an important part of healthy eating. Grains provide important nutrients, including fiber, several B vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium and selenium. By swapping out white bread, biscuits, and pasta for whole grain alternatives, you may also help reduce blood cholesterol levels and your chance of developing heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Include low-fat dairy products or dairy alternatives

When possible, choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. For those who are lactose intolerant, there are lactose-free products available, as well as calcium-fortified, plant-based milk substitutes. Other beneficial sources of calcium to consider include sardines, leafy greens, and some types of beans.

Watch your portions

How much we eat is as important as what we eat. Americans are eating larger portions than ever, and this is a big contributor to the growing epidemic of obesity in the United States. Not sure how many calories you’re taking in each day? Check out the USDA’s SuperTracker. This tool can help you evaluate the foods you eat and compare them to your nutrition targets.

Keep healthy snacks on hand

You’ll reduce your risk of grabbing for a candy bar or other less-than-healthy snack if you have more nutritious options available. Easy options include nuts, protein bars and plain yogurt.

Find activities you enjoy

You don’t have to be training for a marathon to get sufficient physical activity. The key is finding activities that you like to do on a regular basis. A simple walk each day is a great place to start. Consider partnering with a buddy who can keep you “on track.”

Avoid fast weight loss diets

Fad diets may help you take off a few pounds, but it’s unlikely that the weight loss will last.

“Fad diets just don’t work,” says Marissa Licata, MS, RD, CDN, Registered Dietitian, Katz Institute for Women’s Health. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Choose a weight loss plan that teaches you how to make long-term positive changes. Changes to behavior and the type of food you choose is where you’ll find long-term success.”

Get Expert Advice and Guidance

A licensed dietitian can help you improve your health and manage diseases. By working with you to create personalized meal planning, you gain the tools you need to make sound nutritional choices.

Want to learn more about resources to support your nutritional needs? At the Katz Institute for Women’s Health, we’re here to answer your questions. Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.

Get Heart Healthy in 2017

Take Charge of Your Heart Health

When it comes to women’s health, it’s a fact that breast cancer gets far more attention than heart disease. Yet, five times as many women die from heart disease as breast cancer each year. Because heart disease has historically been considered a “man’s disease,” many women lack an awareness of their potential risk.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, kills approximately 500,000 women in the United States each year. This number exceeds the next seven causes of death combined, including all cancers. Although these statistics are alarming, there is some good news, too. The death rate from heart disease has decreased by 30 percent in the United States since 1998. This drop is due in large part to greater awareness and healthcare providers’ increasing focus on cardiac screening as part of primary care for women.

What Can You Do?

Although 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor for developing heart disease, 80 percent of current cases are preventable. There are many ways you can lower your risk. And, by doing so, you can improve your overall health and feel great, too! The following are a few simple strategies to help you proactively lower your risk of a cardiac event.

Move More

While going to the gym or participating in a regular exercise class is a great way to lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke, there are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. It can be as simple as taking a brisk walk, dancing or riding your bike. The key is to aim for some amount of physical activity 30 minutes per day.

Manage Your Stress

Heart disease is more common in women who experience chronic stress. Although it’s impossible to remove all sources of daily stress, there are ways to manage your stress, including limiting exposure to triggers that bring on stressful feelings. For example, if you’re feeling short on time, you may want to re-prioritize your schedule. Seeking the support of a trusted friend, family member or counselor can provide comfort if you’re anxious about a relationship or situation. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of changing your perspective to better cope with daily stressful events.

In addition, there are good ways to relieve your stress. Exercise and yoga are natural remedies for anxiety and stress that release powerful endorphins in the brain which reduce pain and lift your mood. Making time to connect with people around you and spending time outside can also offer significant mood-boosting benefits.

Find the Right Doctor

Your primary healthcare provider should be someone you trust and can talk to without embarrassment or anxiety. When it comes to your heart, your doctor can be a primary source of information and support to ensure you’re doing all you can to protect your health.

“I recommend choosing a doctor who you can relate to like a trusted confidant or friend,” says Dr. Stacey Rosen, Vice President, Women’s Health, Katz Institute for Women’s Health. “By developing a rapport, you can gain the insights and motivation you need to lower your risk of developing heart disease.”

Know your Numbers

Hypertension, high cholesterol and elevated blood sugar are all easy to diagnose but can often get overlooked in women who don’t obtain regular checkups. Learning your numbers is the first step in controlling heart disease before symptoms develop.

Do you want to learn more about women’s heart health prevention? At Katz Institute for Women’s Health, we’re here to answer your questions. Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.

The Present of Presence – Mindfulness During the Holidays

The holidays are a time for celebration and gratitude. Too often, however, they’re the cause of stress and anxiety. For many, juggling the holiday tasks of shopping, decorating, cooking and social obligations can lead to feeling downright overwhelmed. However, before you’re tempted to call off the holidays altogether, you may want to try a 5,000-year-old practice that can help you get through the season and beyond. It’s mindfulness, and the power of simply being in the present moment, even for a brief period of time, can be restorative and beneficial for the body, mind and spirit.

“The everyday pressures of family and work can become even greater during the holidays,” says Dr. Lisa Langer, clinical assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. “The ability to be present in the moment is not only a gift to others, but also to ourselves.”

Mindfulness can be as simple as just taking a few minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on breathing. This simple activity enables us to reconnect with the right here, right now and to gain clarity and focus. This is a particularly helpful tool to use when feeling overwhelmed and anxious. There are even easy-to-use apps, like Insight Timer and Calm that can help you incorporate greater mindfulness into your day-to-day life.

Make Time for Moments for Yourself and Others

Through mindfulness, many experience greater clarity of what is truly important during the holidays. And, what’s important might not be battling it out in the mall to get the latest gadget or toy. You may find that carving out quality time for family, travel or just reading a book is more important than getting the latest and greatest gift or attending a holiday party. It can be beneficial to write down your holiday intentions or share them with a friend or family member. This can help you stay on track and avoid feelings of guilt. And yes, you may need to decline an invite or say no to a family member or friend to set your limits.

“In this hyper-connected age, media can also be a big contributor to stress, especially during the holidays,” says Dr. Langer. “It can be helpful to limit time on social media and 24/7 news channels which can both increase stress and anxiety. Taking a break can help you refocus on being present for yourself and others.”

Finally, many who begin to incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives also discover the benefits of being grateful for what they have. It’s not always about having the most decorated house on the block or buying that expensive gift. Rather, it’s about being in the present moment and recognizing all that there is to be grateful for. At Katz Institute for Women’s Health, we’re grateful for the opportunity to be your healthcare provider.

The Katz Institute for Women’s Health is here to answer your questions about stress and anxiety, mindfulness and other integrative health services. For more information, call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.

holiday eating

Smart Holiday Eating Strategies

Favorite childhood memories often involve enjoying the sweets and treats of the holidays. While they’re still just as delicious when we indulge in them as adults, they can lead to unwanted, post-holiday weight gain. Navigating the dinners, desserts, parties and drinks that often go hand-in-hand with holiday celebrations can be challenging for even the most disciplined eaters. This is why many gain post-holiday pounds. One way to maintain a healthy weight throughout the year is to have smart holiday eating strategies for keeping calories in check throughout the holiday season.

“Often it’s a matter of doing simple things like not going to a party hungry that can help you avoid over-indulging during the holidays,” says Marissa Licata, MS, RD, CDN, nutritionist with the Katz Institute for Women’s Health. “While it’s always good to substitute healthier foods for richer holiday fare, making strategic decisions about how and when you eat during the holidays can make a big difference.” Licata suggests a variety of strategies for managing calorie consumption throughout the holidays. These include:

Don’t Skip Meals

We can all get busy decking the halls, shopping for gifts and getting together with friends and family. Yet, we still require the same level of nutrients during the holidays as we do the rest of the year. By ensuring we eat balanced breakfasts and lunches, we can greatly reduce our desire to overeat during a holiday event or meal.

Eat before a Party

It can be tempting to avoid eating during the day because you know they’ll be plenty of good food at a party. The reality is arriving at a celebration with an empty stomach is a surefire way to excessively snack (and be negatively impacted by the effects of alcohol). Before the party, eat a small healthy snack that will keep your appetite in check and you on track for eating right.

Bring Something Healthy to a Potluck

Making something for a potluck event is a wonderful way to showcase your culinary skills. This year, make it a point to whip up something healthy and flavorful. Not only will other party attendees appreciate your efforts, you’ll have a healthy option if your only other choices are cheese-laden spinach dip and pigs in a blanket.

Stand Away from the Buffet Table

It can be tempting to grab a handful of nuts or reach for that last canape, but you know they amount to empty calories that you don’t need. Don’t increase your temptation by standing close to the buffet. Instead, make a single trip through the line and eat only the items on your plate.

Carefully Select Your Buffet Offerings

Don’t make a seven-layer dip of everything on the buffet line. Choose only the items that you really enjoy and savor each bite. Loading a slab of prime rib on top of a collection of mini quiches, cocktail shrimp and chicken skewers will leave you feeling full and may keep you up all night with heartburn. Moderation is your friend!

Be Careful of Calorie-Laden Beverages

For many, holiday cheer involves a beverage or two. Yet, it’s very easy to consume hundreds of empty calories without even being aware of it. If you’re trying to keep weight in check throughout the season, you will want to avoid high calorie beverages like egg nog and high fat coffee drinks. Smarter options include wine spritzers, light beers, herbal teas, or even mineral water with a twist of lemon.

Stick to Your Exercise Schedule

Your calendar is booked, and you still have gifts to buy and trees to trim. During the holiday season, we’re all pressed for time, and scheduling exercise can seem next to impossible. Yet, exercise is not only necessary for keeping weight in check, it’s also a great stress reliever during this hectic time of year.

Katz Institute for Women’s Health is here to answer your questions about nutrition and healthy eating. For more information or to schedule an appointment with our nutritionist, call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.

Health Tips, October 2015

1: Make Breast Self-Exam a Monthly Habit: Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump. Getting in the habit of a monthly self-exam is very important for women of all ages. While mammograms can help detect cancer before you can feel a lump, you can also be proactive by alerting your doctor if you notice any changes.

2: Get Outside and Enjoy the Season: The glorious colors of fall are all around. Before the cold winter weather strikes, take time for a daily stroll to appreciate the changing of the seasons. Along with burning calories, strengthening muscles and improving circulation, regular walking can help improve your mood, slow mental decline and even lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

3: Avoid the Temptation of Halloween Candy – Who isn’t tempted by Halloween candy that seems to be nearly everywhere throughout the month of October? Yet, before you reach for the candy corn or a peanut butter cup, it’s important to remember that the impact of these bite-sized treats can really add up. Just because they’re small in size doesn’t mean that they’re not loaded with calories. Avoid fall weight gain by opting for healthier options like a crisp apple or a handful of nuts.

5 Healthy Habits to Look and Feel Your Best at Any Age

Feeling confident about your looks is about much more than having a great hair day and a fresh manicure. Looking and feeling your best actually starts from within. And, with a few healthy lifestyle habits, you can bring out your unique natural beauty while also reaping the benefits of having more energy and vitality.

While the following habits may seem simple or obvious, they’re worth repeating because they are so beneficial for boosting overall well-being.

#1 – Hydrate
Water is essential for supporting every major organ in your body. It’s also necessary for keeping your skin glowing and your eyes bright. According to the Institute of Medicine, the average woman needs at least 2.7 liters (nine cups) of water per day to stay hydrated. This includes fluid from food, which means that you’ll actually eat approximately 20 percent of your daily water intake!

And the more active you are, the more water you need. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends pre-hydrating with about 16 ounces of water four hours before exercising. You should also sip water throughout the day. Getting in the habit of carrying a refillable water bottle is a quick and convenient way to ensure you have water available when you need it. Don’t forget – eating water-packed foods, including watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, and even salmon, can also help you stay hydrated.

#2 – Eat Bright Colored Foods
No, we’re not suggesting that you reach for that bag of rainbow-hued candy, even though it might be tempting. Rather, fruits and veggies that are rich in color can be some of the best food options available for maintaining both your looks and your long-term health.

Leafy greens like spinach and kale, vibrant peppers, sweet potatoes, eggplant, blueberries, tomatoes and more all offer substantial amounts of nutrients that are necessary for maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy weight. Because brightly-colored produce also contains high quantities of vitamin C, E and selenium, they may even be able to reverse some discolorations and wrinkles caused by aging and sun damage.

#3 – Count Your Steps
Although a gym workout can be a great way to stay in shape, regular walking can also improve your overall well-being. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that women engage in 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, such as brisk walking. This can be accomplished by taking an energy-boosting walk of 7,000 to 8,000 steps five times per week. Other ways to add steps into each day include choosing the stairs over the elevator and parking further away from stores or work entrances.

As for beauty, regular exercise gives you an instant glow while boosting collagen production to keep skin firmer and more elastic. The improved blood flow also helps to keep hair stronger and healthier.

#4 – Get Sufficient Shut-Eye
Skipping out on sleep can seriously affect both your health and beauty. To get ample restorative rest, it’s wise to go to bed at the same time each evening and rise at the same time each morning. Don’t eat or drink within an hour of trying to sleep and avoid electronic screens for 30 minutes before closing your eyes for the night.

#5 – Sip Some Tea
Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, tea may just be one of your most powerful beauty and health staples. Green and black tea, along with white and oolong varieties, offer a wealth of health and beauty benefits from fighting skin-aging free radicals to helping to keep your waist circumference and BMI (body mass index) in check.

With a few minor modifications to your daily routine, you can look forward to discovering the optimal version of yourself. It starts with plenty of water, a healthy diet, staying active and getting enough sleep. By taking care of yourself inside and out, you’ll see health and beauty benefits that can last a lifetime.

Have questions related to women’s health? Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-KIWH (5494) to speak with a women’s health specialist.