5 Tips to Enhance Your Happiness and Improve Your Health

senior couple beach sunset sunrise

Ah, happiness. Even simply thinking about being truly happy can bring a smile to a person’s face and the feeling of pure joy. Some say happiness is learned while others believe happiness is innate. I venture to think happiness is a fundamental part of who we are — just consider an infant squealing with delight while reaching for a brightly colored toy. Within that young human being is the ability to experience happiness in its purest form, a happiness quotient off the scale.


5 Tips to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Autumn leaves falling to the ground in city park.

Written by Anthea Noel, RN

As fall is officially underway, the days will continue becoming shorter and colder causing many Americans to experience increased sadness and depression, a condition known as Seasonal Affective disorder.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) also referred to as the “Winter Blues” is a phenomenon related to changes in seasons. According to the American Mental Health Association (AMHA), approximately five percent of the United States Population experiences S.A.D and four out of five people who experience S.A.D are women.

S.A.D is a form of depression that is recurrent usually during the winter months and is characterized by increased sleep, fatigue, weight gain, increased food intake, loss of libido, and feelings of hopelessness. These symptoms may lead to a decrease in productivity and affect professional and personal relationships.

During the winter months when there is less sunlight, the body produces less serotonin the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being.  Your brain produces the hormone Melatonin when it dark which aids in sleep. Sunlight then triggers the brain to cease the production of melatonin.

1. Find the Sun

Days are shorter during the colder months so take advantage of every hour the sun is shining.  Sun rays increase vitamin D intake and also improves your overall mood.  Artificial phototherapy including the use of fluorescent light suppresses the brain’s secretion of melatonin.

2. Stay Active 

Exercising causes the release of the endorphins which trigger positive feelings.  You will feel good emotionally while improving your cardiac and overall health.

3. Talk to Someone 

Verbal communication encourages the exploration of thoughts and feelings.  Seek a counselor, friend, colleague or someone you feel comfortable expressing your feelings to.  Get an accountability partner who will check up on you and vice versa.

4. Find Your Happy Place

Happiness is subjective.  What makes you happy may not make another person happy.  Find your happy place.  Ask yourself, “What makes me happy?”  Do you love to dance? Are you a pet lover? Does reading a good book put a smile on your face?  Find your happy place; it is a beautiful place to live.

5. Eat a Healthy Diet

Eat a balanced diet filled with fruit and vegetables.  Although you may lean towards food high in sugar during episodes of depression, opt for more complex carbohydrates like whole grains.

The colder months are filled with fun new activities.  Incorporate the tips listed above to your routine and enjoy the cooler months.

Anthea “Nurse Noel” Noel RN, BSN, MS, SANE, has comforted and placed smiles on the faces of her patients and their families for over 20 years as a professional Registered Nurse. As a writer for over 22 years in the entertainment industry, she has successfully entertained through television, music, and the big screen. Anthea merged her two loves of Health and Entertainment coining the phrase “Health Entertainment” after a friend encouraged her to do so after the death of her fiancé’ and Nurse Noel was born. In her journey through the health entertainment world, Nurse Noel was able to serve as a writer for various magazines as well as bringing health to television with style and flair as an on-air and Red carpet Health expert. Nurse Noel recently penned a book ‘Help Me to Help You While I Help Myself in the Process’ where she continues to spread the message of health and wellness to the masses. She is the senior staff writer for Heart and Soul magazine, Fit Box, Cassiuslife, O Magazine, Contributor for the Dr. Oz, and Health Corps. Nurse Noel continues to work as a Registered Nurse specialist in the fast-paced high-intensity department of the intensive care unit at the Level 1 trauma center UMDNJ Hospital in Newark NJ. Noel also works for the District attorney for Essex County as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner assisting in forensic nursing for Sexual assault survivors. She may also be seen on various media outlets weighing in on various health topics. Nurse Noel is determined to help those in need with a goal of making this world Healthier and Happier one person at a time.

In a Fitness Rut? Here’s How to Get Moving

Athlete running road silhouette

Written by Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Raise your hand if you feel like you’re in a fitness rut. If you are, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, lace up and get moving.

We all know that with regular exercise comes great health benefits. Regular exercise can improve the quality of your life, lower your risk of certain cancers, strengthen your muscles and bones, and improve your mental health and mood. Overall, it’s great for your wellbeing.


The Benefits of Colostrum for a Healthy Gut

Sponsored by DiaResQ

man grabbing stomach

Written by Dr. Mark Grabowsky

Colostrum has been edging its way into the world of health and nutrition lately, and for a good reason. This substance is packed full of antibodies, nutrients, and immune factors that can support a healthy gut, along with many other impressive benefits.

Before getting into the specific benefits of colostrum for a healthy gut, let’s make sure we understand what colostrum is. Read more  »

Your Gut Bacteria Gets Jet Lag, Too

Sponsored by DiaResQ


Written by Dr. Alan Greene, MD

Many processes in our bodies are orchestrated on a 24-hour schedule called the circadian rhythm.

When we travel between time zones faster than our internal clock can adjust, we experience jet lag – which means our internal clock is out of sync with local time. We notice this with difficulty being alert during the day and trouble sleeping at night. We might not notice it, but our physical and mental performance may be impaired as well.

Fellow Travelers

We carry within our gut about 100 trillion bacteria, each with their own internal clock. The composition and function of our gut bacteria changes predictably over the course of the day. Normally, these bacteria, our immune system, and our internal clock all communicate with each other and sync up.

When we travel rapidly between time zones, our bacterial schedule can be in disarray – just like the rest of us. Read more  »


How to Find the Right Supplement For You

man hand holding his nutritional supplemets, healthy lifestyle background.

Sponsored by USANA Health Sciences

You’ve probably taken a trip down aisles of your favorite supermarket and seen the horde of nutritional supplements fighting tooth and nail for your attention. Some come in fun shapes and some are tasty and gummy (and probably spiked with sugar). Some promise all the nutrients you need in one tablet and others might include probiotics or natural herbs. They’re all different in some ways and the same in others. But one thing is certain—not all supplements are created equal.

So how do you find the right multivitamin for you? In this sea of endless options, there are ways to find those that rise above the rest. It might take a decent amount of research on your part, but your health is worth it. You’ll want to know:

  • What nutrients the supplement claims to provide and what form they are in.
  • How the supplement was manufactured.
  • What others say about the supplement.

But before you consider these topics, you’ll want to consult with your physician about what supplements are right for you. Your current diet and health status help determine what nutrients you should focus on adding to your regimen.

Zooming in on the Ingredients

Every bottle of multivitamins should have a lengthy label detailing exactly what nutrients and ingredients you get per serving. These labels can be downright confusing to read and understand, but the more you read them, the more informed you will be. Do your research to find supplements you can trust.

Learn more here about how to read supplement labels.

You’ll first want to look at the amounts of key nutrients the supplement provides. Often, it’s good to go with one that provides higher levels of many of these nutrients— with some even higher than the daily recommended value. You see, nutritional authorities established the daily recommended nutrient levels based on what it takes to avoid deficiency. But these amounts aren’t at levels more recent research shows can help make a difference in your long-term health. Sometimes you need a supplement that provides higher levels.

That’s not all. Another consideration when you compare supplements is the ratio of nutrients used together. It can be tempting to pick and choose your nutrients. But those nutrients might be affected by others. For instance, calcium and vitamin D work better together. You need enough of one for the other to be used correctly in the body. The relationships between nutrients can be complex. A well-designed multivitamin and mineral supplement is made with these complexities in mind. It provides you with the right balance of nutrients. 

As you can see, finding a supplement with the perfect blend of nutrients is not simple. But with time and a bit of reading, you will be able to see through the fog and take charge of your health. And there are some excellent resources out there to help you further your search—like the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Center and NIH Dietary Supplements.

How the Supplement Is Made

When finding the right supplement for you, it’s important to take a close look at what the supplement is made of. But it’s just as important to learn how the supplement was made.

When you’ve found a supplement that looks promising, search online and find out who manufactures it. Some supplement vendors don’t make the supplements they sell themselves, but contract an outside manufacturer to do the job. Once you’ve found out the manufacturer, research their website and see what information they provide on their manufacturing process.

You’ll also want to make sure the manufacturer relies on an in-house laboratory and scientific team to thoroughly test the raw materials they use. This ensures the ingredients contained in their supplements are potent, pure, and free of any harmful contaminants.

If you have trouble finding this kind of information about a supplement manufacturer or vendor on their official online resources, then it might be wise to rule them out. A manufacturer that isn’t transparent with this information is often a bad sign. So look for companies that proudly display how they manufacture their supplements.

Your Health Is Worth the Journey

A supplement provider can go on all day about how good their product is, but they could just be telling you what you want to hear. To find the right supplement for you, you’ll need to research what others have to say.

Reading through customer reviews on a blog or website can give you a good idea of what everyday people like yourself really think about the supplement. You also might want to check out ConsumerLab.com—a website that independently tests and reviews hundreds of multivitamins and nutritional supplements.

Finding the right supplement for you may take time, but it’s more than worth the work. Taking high-quality supplements with a varied diet can help you build a foundation to support vibrant long-term health. In fact, research shows that doing so can increase circulating blood levels of many nutrients known to be beneficial for health.

If you want to learn more about the health benefits of taking nutritional supplements, then Ask the Scientists.

Health is the greatest gift we’ve been given. That is why you deserve to find the right multivitamin or nutritional supplement for you.

Click here for information about USANA CellSentials™.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

What You Need to Know About the New Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines

Doctor consulting with a patient.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has just updated its guidelines for colon cancer screening, calling on American’s to get tested five years earlier than before. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death but catching this slow-growing cancer early can lead to prevention. The new guidelines recommend that adults with normal risk start getting tested at age 45 and up until age 75, rather than the society’s previous recommendation of age 50. The ACS recommends people between 75 and 85 should have a conversation about the risks and benefits of screening with their doctors and because the cancer is so slow-growing people over 85 should not have the test.

Why the change? Well, while over the last ten years the rates of colon cancer have been declining for people over the age of 50 (largely due to screening), for younger American’s, cases have actually been on the rise. In fact, according to a recent study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute colorectal cancer diagnosis has been increasing 0.5 to 3 percent per year for people under the age of 50. According to the ACS, that means that for those born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to those born in the 1950s. The Cancer Society hopes that earlier testing will help reverse this trend.

No one knows exactly why we’ve seen an increase in colon cancer in people under 50, but we think the reason for this is lifestyle: diet, obesity, inactivity, and the overuse of antibiotics. Another reason is that people often write off the symptoms, especially young people. The main symptoms of colon cancer are:

  • change in frequency, size, and color of stool,
  • rectal bleeding
  • persistent abdominal discomfort like gas, bloating, or cramping
  • weakness or fatigue
  • unexplained weight loss

If you or someone you know have these symptoms no matter what your age you should take them seriously.

People at higher risk may need earlier screening. This includes people with a strong family or personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps. As well as people with a history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) or of radiation to the belly or pelvis to treat a prior cancer.

If you are a candidate for screening you have a number of options and you should definitely choose one. The gold standard is a colonoscopy every ten years. If you can’t or won’t get one, there is now a CT colonoscopy. This is a good test, but the disadvantages over a colonoscopy are that it may be hard to read if you have had prior surgery or diverticuli. As a result, it’s recommended every five years. You still have to go through the bowel prep to get a CT colonoscopy, so unless your doctor says you can’t have it, you might as well get the real thing. There are also less invasive tests that measure blood or DNA in your stool. These tests can be done at home but are again not as good as a colonoscopy and need to be done every year.

It’s important to note that the ACS is just one organization that makes recommendations about when to get cancer screening tests. The US Preventive Services Task Force and the American Society of Gastroenterology still recommend that screening begins at 50 for average-risk adults, so we will have to see if the new data leads to changes in their positions as well.

No matter what your risk or your age, the best way to prevent colon cancer is with lifestyle. Some of the most important changes you can make are:

  • Have smaller portion sizes. Portion sizes have grown over time which contributes to overeating and being overweight.
  • Eat more fiber. Fiber is associated with nourishing healthy gut bacteria and can help you lose weight. Some epidemiological suggests that fiber can help prevent colon cancer (but the jury is still out because some studies find no relationship).
  • Eat less processed meat. That’s things like sausages and bacon. According to the WHO processed meat can increase the risk of colon cancer about 18%.
  • Get your calcium. We know that calcium is good for bones, but a number of studies also suggest it can reduce the risk of colon cancer. Both Dr. Oz and I like to get our calcium from Greek yogurt, but leafy greens are also a good source.
  • If your doctor recommends aspirin for your heart, take it. According to the USPSTF aspirin is not only good for your heart, but in people taking it for cardiovascular protection it also may reduce the risk of colon cancer.


Why Cancer Is a Work-Related Illness for Firefighters

Firefighter in uniform spraying water against smoke at night.

Written by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF)

The firefighting occupation is constantly changing and so are the associated health concerns. Firefighters dying from occupational-related cancers now account for more than half of the line-of-duty deaths each year, where the number of traditional line-of-duty deaths such as structural collapse, asphyxiation, and burns- have decreased drastically. Unlike other industries or occupations, firefighting takes place in a chaotic and constantly changing environment. Many home products are now made of synthetic materials.  Additionally, furniture and its fabrics are synthetic based, instead of natural fibers, and are treated with flame retardants. The shift has changed the ways fires burn and the fire products of combustion. Fires now burn hotter and faster, and the combustion products are highly toxic. This has resulted in cancer becoming the largest health‐related issue facing the firefighting profession.


Why Wearing High Heels May Harm Your Feet


Written by Anthea Noel, RN

Emergency rooms are flooded with women of all ages experiencing injuries due to the long-term and short-term use of high heels. Throughout the years, women’s shoes have taken on different shapes and styles that date back to the 1400’s. Presently the styles of high heels or “heels” as they are now commonly referred to as are dependent on the season’s fashion forecast. No matter the seasonal trend, there is just something about high heels that make some women feel sexier and invincible. But it’s not without its risks.