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Posts Tagged ‘healthy living’

Is Cottage Cheese or Greek Yogurt a Healthier High-Protein Snack?

March 26, 2015

Picking healthy snacks at the grocery store can feel pretty confusing. There are thousands of foods, many touted as beneficial or nutritional, to choose from. We put two popular high-protein snacks—cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt—head-to-head to find out. Which is healthier: this or that?

Winner: Greek yogurt. But when it comes to high-protein snacks, it’s close to a draw!

Greek yogurt, with fewer calories and sodium, and more calcium and probiotics, ultimately takes the win

Protein-Rich Snacks: They’re both rich in lean protein, with cottage cheese having slightly more. Nonfat cottage cheese has 24 g of protein per cup, while Greek yogurt comes in just under at 20 grams. Both the yogurt and cottage cheese are available in low-fat and fat-free versions.

Calcium: But Greek yogurt has a slight edge in calcium—a mineral most people need more of. A cup has 150 mg, while a cup of cottage cheese only has 125 mg.

Lower in Calories: Greek yogurt contains fewer calories—120 per cup, vs. 160 for cottage cheese. It’s also more likely to contain probiotics (live active cultures of gut-friendly bacteria).

But one clear distinction steers the choice: Cottage cheese can be loaded with sodium. Just 1 cup of cottage cheese can deliver more than 5 times the sodium found in Greek yogurt.

Some cottage cheese brands have 700 mg of sodium in 1 cup, which is almost one third of the recommended daily limit of 2,300 mg.

The same amount of Greek yogurt delivers just 85 mg. That’s a game-changer for us.

With fewer calories and sodium, more calcium and probiotics, Greek yogurt takes the win. Look for plain low-fat and nonfat varieties, though, as flavored Greek yogurt can contain a lot of added sugar.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


What Does Belly Fat Say About Your Health?

March 10, 2015

Belly fat doesn’t just sit idly at your waistline. Researchers describe it as an active “organ” in your body – one that churns out hormones and inflammatory substances.

Abdominal fat is believed to break down into fatty acids, which flow directly into the liver and muscle. When these fatty acids drain into the liver, they trigger a chain reaction which increases the production of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides. When this happens, insulin can become less effective in controlling blood sugar, so insulin resistance can set it.

So Why Is Belly Fat Harmful to your Health? 

When blood sugars get out of balance, and fats and clots enter into the bloodstream it sets the stage for diabetes, heart disease and more research also shows that abdominal fat triggers changes in angiotensin, a hormone that controls the constriction of blood vessels, which can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. 

How do You Solve the Belly Fat Problem? 

While your genes can somewhat dictate your body shape, the story doesn’t end there. Most belly fat is related to lifestyle choices including physical inactivity and or poor nutrition.

Exercise is one contributor to losing belly fat. Walking, running and biking are a few activities that can help if done on a regular basis. Make a goal to exercise at least 30-60 minutes most days of the week.

While exercise is always important, the nutrition that you give your body plays an equal (and sometimes greater) role. Be sure to pay attention to your portion sizes, and make sure your meals include complex carbs ex. fruits, vegetables and whole grains. When you can, opt for lean proteins instead of some that are higher in fat. Stay away from white bead, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Also, be careful to watch where the fat in your food comes from, replacing saturated and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats may help rid some of your belly fat.

Here are some other simple tips to follow:

Avoid Processed Foods

Ingredients in packaged foods and snacks can be heavy in trans fats, added sugar, and sodium – which are three things that can make it difficult to lose weight.

Read Your Food Labels

Compare and contrast brands for the foods that you purchase. Ex. some yogurts advertise that they are low in fat, but they are higher in carbs and added sugars than others. Salad dressings can also contain high amounts fat and calories.

Work on an Eating Plan instead of a Diet

Pick habits and make a plan that works for you, and something that you can stick to. 

Look into Health Screenings 

If you have a significant amount of belly fat, it can be impacting your health negatively and putting you at risk for serious diseases.

Health Screenings for heart disease are extremely helpful when it comes to early detection. We believe that the power of prevention is essential to a long and healthy life. Here is a list of what our screening entails:

Life Line Screening utilizes state-of-the-art Doppler color flow ultrasound technology. You can count on this equipment for accurate, reliable images for:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • Carotid artery disease screening
  • Ankle-brachial index screening (for peripheral arterial disease)
  • Bone mineral density screening (for osteoporosis risk)
  • Full Blood Panel to check for cholesterol and diabetes risk
  • Electrocardiograph (EKG) to detect irregular heartbeat

Do you know if you have risk factors for Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, or other health diseases that could be linked to belly fat?  Take our ONLINE HEALTH ASSESSMENT to find out if you have risk factors and what health screening could be right for you.

A Day in the Life of a Successful Dieter

January 21, 2015

I’m often asked for tips on boosting weight-loss success. While there’s no single answer that works for everyone, focusing on your diet and tuning up your exercise are two key elements for weight loss. Another? Having a plan. Start out the week by planning what healthy meals and exercise you can fit in during the upcoming days. There are also some things you can eat and do at certain times throughout the day to maximize your weight-loss success. Here’s a sample day in the life of a successful dieter:

8 a.m. Eat a Bowl of Oatmeal With Banana and Walnuts.

Science shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner and that dieters are more successful at losing weight—and keeping it off—when they eat breakfast. But choosing the right breakfast can give an extra boost to your weight loss. Eating “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, three hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition. Here’s why: slow-release carbohydrates didn’t spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat.

10 a.m. Grab a Small Nonfat Latte and an Apple.

If having a snack between meals helps to tide you over, make your choices count. Snacks are a great place to fill nutritional gaps. Choose foods that provide calcium and fiber—two nutrients that people often skimp on. The latte and apple do the trick.

11 a.m. Take a Brisk 40-Minute Walk.

Although the recommendation is to get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who exercised an extra 10 minutes five days a week were more successful at warding off weight gain as they moved from their twenties and thirties into middle age.

1 p.m. Eat a Big Veggie Salad Topped With Grilled Chicken and a Slice of Whole-Grain Bread.

The formula for a get-skinny lunch that will power you through the afternoon (and banish the need for extra munching) is simple: vegetables, whole-grain bread and lean protein (like chicken, fish, tofu or beans). Why does it work? Making veggies the biggest portion of your lunch will give you a satisfying dose of fiber, the stay-full nutrient, while delivering healthy phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. The whole grains also add fiber and may help bust belly fat, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition. The lean protein helps keep you feeling full throughout the afternoon–gram for gram, protein will keep you feeling fuller longer compared to carbohydrates and fat.

4 p.m. Snack On Fresh-Cut Veggies With Hummus…Or Not.

Before having a mid-afternoon snack, take a minute to see if you’re really hungry. If not, forgo the extra calories and wait until dinner. If you are, follow the fiber-plus-protein combo for a snack that will really kick your hunger. Carrots and hummus are a classic combo.

6 p.m. Start Your Meal With a Soup or Salad.

Filling up on fiber- and water-rich foods first can help prevent you from overdoing high-calorie fare later. Research out of Penn State shows that eating a first-course salad can reduce overall calorie intake at a meal by up to 12 percent. And in a study in Appetite, people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup. Try these Soups and Salads to Help You Lose Weight. Whatever you choose for your main meal, try eating it off a smaller plate—it may help you to eat less while not feeling deprived.

8 p.m. Indulge in a Few Squares of Dark Chocolate.

Believe it or not, giving yourself little treats may be the secret to losing weight—for good. Aiming to be “too good” sets you up to fail. Chocolate is a good choice (if you like it!) because chocolate delivers extra health benefits—it contains antioxidants called flavanols that are good for your heart.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission

11 Anti-Aging Drinks

January 14, 2015

Getting older, while we may not always enjoy it, is inevitable. Sadly. And there are many variables involved in how long you live. But you can also add years to your life by making smarter food choices. Keep your mind razor-sharp and body finely honed with these 11 anti-aging drinks.

Pink Grapefruit Juice

Pink grapefruit gets its pink-red hue from lycopene, a carotenoid that’ll keep your skin smooth according to a study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. Researchers found that of the 20 individuals studied, those who had higher skin concentrations of lycopene had smoother skin.


Moderation here is the key. Alcohol may ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As we age, brain cells die, leading to gaps that slow nerve transmission within the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body. Moderate drinking appears to somehow prevent these “potholes.”


Cocoa is unusually rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.

Beet Juice

Beets are rich in naturally occurring nitrates, which—unlike unhealthy artificial nitrates found in processed meat—may be beneficial. In a 2011 study in the journal Nitric Oxide, older adults who ate a nitrate-rich diet got a boost in blood flow to the frontal lobe of their brains—an area commonly associated with dementia. Poor blood flow contributes to age-related cognitive decline. Scientists think that the nitrates’ nitric oxide, a compound that keeps blood vessels supple, helps increase brain blood flow

Green Tea

Green tea is full of potent antioxidants that help quell inflammation. (Chronic inflammation plays a significant role—as either a cause or effect—in many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases and the three top killers in the United States: heart disease, cancer and stroke.)


Isoflavones in soymilk may help to preserve skin-firming collagen. 


Studies show that we lose 1/2 to 1 percent of our lean muscle mass each year, starting as early as our thirties. Muscle strength also declines by 12 to 15 percent per decade. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of muscle—and one amino acid, called leucine, is particularly good at turning on your body’s muscle-building machinery. Milk contains whey protein, which is an excellent source of leucine.

Carrot Juice

Carrots contain luteolin, a flavonoid believed to reduce inflammation that can lead to cognitive decline. A 2010 study found that those who ate a diet that included luteolin had better spacial memory and less inflammation than those who did not get any.


Drinking a single cup of coffee daily may lower your risk of developing skin cancer. In one study of more than 93,000 women, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, those who drank 1 cup of caffeinated coffee a day reduced their risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer by about 10 percent. And the more they drank—up to about 6 cups or so per day—the lower their risk. Decaf didn’t seem to offer the same protection.


This may sound like a no brainer, but water keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from feeling dry. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste—and can even promote cavities.

Orange Juice

Studies show that people with low levels of antioxidants are more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than those with higher levels. Vitamin C—which is abundant in orange juice—is one antioxidant that seems to be especially protective against the disease. 



8 Secret Weapon Foods for Weight Loss

January 7, 2015

Want to boost your efforts to lose weight? Of course the foundation for successful weight loss is eating well and exercising, but if you want to power up your efforts, check out this diet cheat sheet of foods that do a little of the work for you. Research shows that these 8 secret-weapon foods can help you lose weight. Find out what they are and how they can help you shed pounds.

1. Mushrooms

Research reports that when people ate mushroom-based entrees, they felt just as satisfied as when they’d eaten those same dishes made with beef—though they’d taken in a fraction of the calories and fat. Swap mushrooms for meat in a Portobello “Philly Cheese Steak” Sandwich and more marvelous mushroom recipes.

2. Eggs

In one study, dieters who ate eggs for breakfast felt full for longer and lost more than twice as much weight as those who got the same amount of calories from a bagel for breakfast. Think beyond breakfast, too: eggs boost a salad’s staying power and make for a satisfying snack. Here are two dozen easy recipe ideas for eggs.

3. Apples

For a mere 95 calories, a medium apple contains 4 grams of fiber. And recent research, published in theJournal of Nutrition, suggests that boosting your fiber intake may help you to prevent weight gain—or even encourage weight loss. Find 15 fiber-rich recipes to lose weight here.

4. Low-Calorie Desserts

OK, so this isn’t exactly a “health food,” but we welcome the news that it may be easier to stick to your diet if it includes a little sweet treat. According to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, banning sugary foods could lead to overeating. One reason may be that removing access to sweet foods stimulates the release of a molecule in your brain called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), produced when you’re afraid, anxious or stressed, says Pietro Cottone, Ph.D., lead study author. And increased stress levels may lower your motivation to eat more nutritious foods, making it more likely that you’ll binge on junk food. (Indulge a little with these 100-calorie sweet treats.)

5. Soup

Research published in the journal Appetite has shown that people who start a meal with vegetable soup eat 20 percent fewer calories over the course of their meal. Here are 7 recipes to start your meal with and help you lose weight.

6. Oatmeal

Eating a breakfast made with “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, three hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition. Here’s why: in the study, eating “slow-release” carbohydrates didn’t spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat. Want options beyond oatmeal? Here are 10 breakfast recipes to help you fight fat.

7. Hot Chile Peppers

In one study, consuming a little hot pepper (in tomato juice or in capsules) 30 minutes before a meal helped study participants feel less hungry and eat about 10 percent less. Turn up the heat with these spicy recipes.

8. Almonds

Chew more to curb hunger. That’s what researchers concluded in a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which they asked participants to chew a 2-ounce serving of almonds 10, 25 or 40 times. Participants got maximum satisfaction—they felt fuller longer—from the nuts when they chewed 40 times. Chewing more may cause a greater release of fat from the almonds, which triggers hormones that curb hunger, speculates Rick Mattes, Ph.D., R.D., professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, study author and an EatingWell advisor. (Find more energy-packed snacks here.)

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission


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