Drinking hot beverages during the winter is a great way to beat the chill, but did you know it could also help to keep you healthy?

Of course, not every hot drink has health benefits, but some of your favorite drinks could help you fight off a seasonal cold. The next time you head to your kitchen to brew up something warm and comforting, consider the following ideas about warm beverages.

The Benefits of Hot Water

First, let’s start with the basics. Drinking plenty of water each day is a great way to maintain your health. It keeps you hydrated and aids in nearly every function of your body.

 Coffee and Cocoa

Thankfully, you won’t have to give up the delicious flavors of coffee or chocolate in your pursuit of health. Coffee has several recognized health benefits, such as aiding in the prevention of liver disease. Cocoa has a high number of antioxidants, can reduce the risk of heart disease and the signs of skin aging.

This winter is your chance to up your hot drink game! ☕️

What’s YOUR favorite winter drink?

Let us know in the comments.

At United Refuah, we see it as our goal to keep our members informed of health advances and trends. But before jumping on any trend bandwagons, make sure to look into it and make sure it will have real health benefits for you and your lifestyle.

Here are a few health trends that are expected to rise in 2020:

  1. Plant-Based Products

Plant-based foods were big in 2019, but 2020 is predicted to be even bigger in terms of products available and sales.

  1. Brain Food

We know that what we eat impacts our physical health, but the idea that food can affect mental health as well is relatively new. However, as research reveals more about gut health, it’s clear that there is a definite connection between the food we eat and our mental state.

  1. Standing vs. Sitting

People will focus on trying to move more throughout the day. Not working out, not even going for a walk, but just taking time throughout the day to stand up from a chair and move around for a few minutes. Research shows that our bodies just aren’t designed to be in one place for hours at a time.

  1. At-Home Workouts

The number of people working out at home with virtual training programs is expected to rise significantly in 2020.

  1. Running

Running’s popularity has ebbed in recent years, but it’s expected to make a comeback in 2020. So break out the sneakers and running gear!

Have any more health trends that you think will rise in 2020? Share it with us in the comments below!

It’s called the harvest season for a reason. Autumn brings an influx of ripe produce just begging to be made into healthy dishes. Load these fall foods onto your plate to take advantage of the best nutrition — and flavor — of the season. Here’ a list of ten of the healthiest foods for you to eat this fall:

1. Apples

Procyanidin, a type of antioxidant found in apples, has been found to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

2. Artichokes

Packed with prebiotic fiber, artichokes can help promote the health and growth of your body’s probiotics, the good bacteria found in your GI tract.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli contains glucosinolates that help fight against oxidative stress and present many other health benefits.

4. Butternut Squash

Squash is lower in calories and higher in fiber than other starchy vegetables, but you’ll still get that flavorful, sweet taste that really satisfies.

5. Carrots

Just one large carrot provides more than double your daily value of vitamin A, the nutrient that protects your ocular health.

6. Cranberries

Cranberries are loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants linked to reducing risk of chronic disease and improving circulation.

7. Fennel

Fennel is filled with folate, a type of B vitamin that helps with muscle and nerve function, as well as allowing you to reap the energizing benefits from the all the foods you eat.

8. Grapefruit

Grapefruits come packed with fiber, water, and immune-boosting antioxidants that help reduce your risk of chronic disease.

9. Kohlrabi

Also called German turnip, it’s a nutrient-packed relative of wild cabbage that’s super low in calories, making it an easy way to add more veggies into rice dishes.

10. Mushrooms

The diversity of edible fungi lends itself to tons of different dishes, but all of these toadstools pack in potassium and selenium, an essential nutrient that helps with DNA synthesis and hormone metabolism.

(Source: Goodhouskeeping.com)

With the more than 74,560 lab-confirmed flu cases in the U.S., according to data collected by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s very important to take preventative measures so you and your family doesn’t catch the dreaded virus.

Get a flu shot

The first line of defense against the flu is to make sure your immune system has the anti-bodies needed to fight off the virus. Although it’s best to get your shot by the end of October, before flu season peaks between November and March, according to the CDC, it’s not too late to get one now — the virus can continue to spread until May.

Stay at least three feet away from anyone who’s coughing or sneezing

The flu virus is a parasite that hangs around in respiratory secretions that travel through the air in small droplets; when projected by a cough or sneeze, they can fly about three feet before gravity takes over. So, make sure to stay far away to prevent the germs from reaching you.

Wash your hands after touching any communal surfaces.

Whether you’re in a public place or in your home, it’s smart to wash your hands after handling any commonly touched surfaces, using soap and water afterward. Lather up for at least 20 seconds, then rinse under water, and air dry or pat dry with a clean towel.

Any other ideas on how to beat the flu?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Several studies in recent years have shown that one surprising method for escalating sleep quality and improving overall health is moving from sleeping indoors to the fresh air of the outdoors.

One of the biggest reasons sleeping outside is a helpful sleep aid is the exposure to natural light. One study showed that “Increased exposure to sunlight may help to reduce the physiological, cognitive and health consequences of circadian disruption.” Or, in English, being exposed to sunlight in the morning helps your body wake up and get ready for the day.

Fresh air also boosts your immune system.

It’s easy to get a case of the sniffles, especially in the winter. Help to fight them off with the power of fresh air. It helps your immune system fight off disease more effectively due to healthier white blood cells. It also supplies your immune system with the oxygen it needs to kill and destroy bacteria, viruses and germs. Breathing in stale air will not supply your body with enough oxygen to keep your cells fueled and functioning properly.

Sleeping outside can re-energize and re-invigorate your system, with no need for coffee or energy drinks. Research shows that spending time in fresh air, surrounded by nature, increases energy in 90 percent of people. Often when we feel depleted, we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to spend more time outdoors.

Another argument for sleeping outside is the stark difference in air quality inside and out. It’s not surprising that the better quality we breathe in, the better it works. A night outside in the fresh air improves our ability to think. There were also studies done that show that sleeping outside reduces stress and other factors.

And there you have it! Sleeping in the sukkah was never so appealing. 😉

Did you know that September is National Honey Month? Honey is a real superfood, created from beginning to end in nature. Honey has been used for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians who used it to treat and heal wounds, says WebMD. Today it’s favored not only for its sweetness, but for its nutritional and medicinal properties. Honey has so many benefits, it was a struggle to pick just a few for this post. Here are the top three:

  1. Some types of honey have been found to contain antioxidants (the darker the honey the more antioxidants it typically contains), which can help fight cell damage that may increase the risk for diseases like cancer, heart disease, etc. The American Heart Association recommends that most women consume no more than 25 grams or (6 teaspoons) of total added sugar per day (that’s about 100 calories worth). 
  2. Honey can help speed up the healing process in burns and minor cuts. How? Honey is a natural antibiotic that can act both internally and externally. It can be used as a conventional treatment for wounds and burns by disinfecting them from major species of bacteria.
  3. Honey can be a health aid for sleepless nights. Similar to sugar, honey can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin — a neurotransmitter that improves mood and happiness. The body converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and the quality of sleep. Honey’s steady rise in insulin causes the tryptophan in honey to enter the brain, where it’s then converted into serotonin and then melatonin, thereby increasing the quality and length of your sleep.

The United Refuah community wishes you a sweet new year, and happy dipping! 😊

It’s back-to-school time again…. Children all over the world are heading back to classrooms and schoolyard playgrounds. While those environments are nearly impossible to regulate, there are many preventative measures a health-conscious parent can take for a healthy start to the school year:

  • Schedule a wellness visit. Child wellness visits are eligible for sharing as per the American Academy of Pediatrics well-visit recommendations. Children, ages 2 and up, are eligible for sharing once/year after the first 60 days of membership. Children under 24 months of age are eligible for more frequent visits, even during the first 60 days of membership.
  • Get vaccinated; It’s just not worth the risk. Vaccines are eligible for sharing, subject to the annual pre-share amount and co-sharing maximum after the first 60 days.  Don’t forget to ask your provider for VFC (Vaccines for Children) vaccinations, which are provided at no charge for self-pay, uninsured patients.
  • Schedule an eye appointment. Don’t let your kids strain their eyes. Make an appointment with your eye doctor TODAY.
  • Hand washing is one of the most important ways we can prevent the spread of illness in the classroom and elsewhere. By teaching your child how to wash his/her hands properly, you can help he/she reduce the risk of getting sick.
  • Boost your child’s immune system. Keeping your child’s immune system strong is an important way to stay healthy and ward off illness during the school year. Getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress, exercising, and emphasizing hand washing can help reduce your child’s risk of getting colds, the flu, and other infections.

Who doesn’t love camping? The fresh air, the incredible views, the chance to spend time with family… But the real reason we love camping is the campfire food! Meals cooked over an open fire just taste better. Here are some simple, healthy camping-friendly recipe ideas that will get you fired up for outdoor adventures, that require minimal effort and are both healthy and delicious.

Now, our inner caveman may love campfire cooking, but the prep-work? Not so much. For the prep, we prefer to dwell back in the modern world, doing as much chopping and prepping as possible in the comfort and convenience of the home kitchen. For best results, chop the veggies, cube the chicken breasts, and so forth in advance, and pack your goodies in air- and water-tight containers in the cooler.

1. Campfire Foil Packs

All you need to do is wrap chicken, beef, and vegetables in heavy-duty foil. Add in some olive oil, and place it near or on the edge of your campfire.

2. Roasted Kebobs

Place cubed chicken, turkey, or beef interspersed with vegetables on a stick. Douse in flavored olive oil. Wrap in foil, and place over your campfire.

3. Healthy Smores

Instead of graham crackers, place marshmallows and dark chocolate between two apple slices. Roast, and enjoy!

Another idea is to place strawberries* on a stick, smear with marshmallow fluff. Then, dip into melted dark chocolate and crushed graham cracker crumbs.

Mmmmm 😉

Happy Camping!

*Make sure to check with your local Orthodox Rabbi regarding the kashrus of strawberries.

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day life. Things don’t go well, schedules get messed up, plans fall through… basically, life happens. And it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut of negativity. It’s human nature to dwell on failure and focus on all the things that don’t go right. But sometimes, it helps to take a step back and count all the blessings in your life. It’s all about perspective.

Take a minute to think about all the things you have to be grateful for. And it doesn’t have to be the big things either. Simple, everyday occurrences that we take for granted, like the fact that we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothing to wear. It’s the little things that are the most important. By focusing on the positive, you’ll be able to live a happier, contented life. Framing your thoughts positively can really have a HUGE impact on your life, and the life of those around you.

Try it! Take a minute every day and list all the positive things in your life. It takes so little time, but can have a tremendous effect.

Let us know how it helped you in the comments below.

As Shavuos draws closer, there’s one thing on all our minds. Cheesecake! There’s nothing like a good slice of cheesecake to go with a steaming cup of coffee on Shavuos morning. And there are also cheese bars, pastas, and all sorts of dairy delicacies to be made in honor of the holiday.                    But before you jump in, remember the old saying: “Everything in Moderation.” There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Yes, even cheesecake. Cheesecake is loaded with unhealthy fats and calories.

But – no worries! There are multiple low-fat and healthy cheesecake recipes out there, that are just as good, if not better, than the classic recipes. That way, you can have your cheesecake – and eat it too. [smiley emoji]

We’ve looked through lots of different recipes, and selected the ones that were the most delicious-and- good-for-you recipes we could find. And yes, as hard as it is to believe, they actually exist!

Heavenly Lemon Cheesecake

By: Jamie Geller

  • Prep Time : 15 min
  • Cook Time : 1 hour
  • Ready Time : 1 hour, 15 min

Ingredients

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages light cream cheese
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar substitute, such as Splenda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup light whipped cream topping
  • 1 to 2 lemons for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and sour cream until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar substitute and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Add lemon zest, juice, vanilla extract, and salt and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until center is almost set but still slightly jiggly. Let cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator and let set overnight.

Serve slices with a dollop of whipped topping and additional lemon zest. Enjoy!

Best Healthy Cheesecake Ever

Source: TasteOfHome.com

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 cup reduced-sugar cherry pie filling

Directions

  • In a bowl, beat cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add egg substitute; beat until smooth. Pour into a 9-in. pie plate that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until puffy and light brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine sour cream and remaining sugar and vanilla. Spread over cheesecake. Bake 15 minutes longer. Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate.
  • Before serving, top each serving with 2 tablespoons cherry pie filling.

Enjoy!

Do you have any healthy cheesecake recipes to recommend? Please share with us in the comments section below.