Review Category : English

11 Health Perks You Didn’t Know You Can Get for Free

Free health services in every community

Equipment in a doctors officeXiXinXing/ShutterstockIf you can’t afford a health plan and don’t qualify for coverage (either through Medicaid or otherwise), you can still get low-cost health care at a nearby community health center. Try the government’s Health Resources and Services Administration’s site. How much you’ll be asked to pay will depend on your income. Health services provided by community health centers include prenatal care, child vaccinations, general primary care, and referrals for specialized care.

This is exactly how much health care costs in every state.

Free skin cancer screenings

Dermatologist examines a birthmark of patient, close upAfrica Studio/ShutterstockAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 76,665 people were diagnosed with some form of melanoma in 2014. Because early detection saves lives, the American Academy of Dermatology offers free skin cancer screenings at locations around the country as part of its “SPOTme” program (here’s how to find a location near you). In addition, please be sure to examine your own skin on a regular basis. Here are the warning signs you need to watch out for. If you see anything, you can make an appointment at one of the participating SPOTme centers.

Free dental care

Male dentist and female patient in a dentist office. Taking a closer lookRomanSo/ShutterstockIf cost is keeping you from cleanings and care, check out the free and low-cost dental care programs in every state. The programs include checkups, cleanings, fluoride treatments, caps, dentures, braces, fillings, dental implants, and extractions. You can learn more from And to take better care of your teeth, please note these 30 everyday mistakes that dentists want you to avoid making.

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Free mammograms

Woman Standing In Front Of Mammography MachineTyler Olson/ShutterstockWhile there’s some controversy about the effectiveness of mammograms, they can help to reduce breast cancer-related deaths in women ages 40 to 74, and especially over age 50 according to the National Cancer Institute. The National Breast Cancer Foundation partners with medical facilities across the country to provide free mammograms and follow-up treatment for those in need.

Here are six simple changes you can make to prevent breast cancer.

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Free advice on medication

Female pharmacist holding medicine bottle giving advice to customer in chemist shop or pharmacyAtstock Productions/ShutterstockYour pharmacist can provide insight about whatever prescription drugs you may be taking, including potential interactions with other prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications as well. Here are the other reasons you should seek health advice from your pharmacist (who might know more about your prescriptions than your doctor!).

Free nutritional counseling

Nutritionists are health care plan for the patient.create jobs 51/ShutterstockMedicare and most insurance plans have waived all patient responsibility—no copay/no deductibles for nutrition counseling, reports Today’s Dietician. Are you making use of these free services? Medicare estimates that less than one percent of all Medicare beneficiaries who are eligible are taking advantage of this benefit.

Here are 50 of the best healthy eating tips of all time.

Free prescription drugs

intake of tablets.Alexander Weickart/ShutterstockPrescription drugs can cost a small fortune, but some stores, including Publix, according to the Harvard Health Letter, offer free generic versions of certain prescription drugs, including antibiotics, allergy medication, high blood pressure medication, and diabetes medication. Be sure to ask your pharmacist if a drug you’re taking might be available in a free, generic form.


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You can now drive around in Google Maps as Mario

You can now drive around in Google Maps as Mario

Today is Mario Day (Mar 10, get it?), and to celebrate this day, Google and Nintendo have worked together to bring Mario Kart to Google Maps.

While you can’t exactly race in the Google Maps app, from now till 17 March, you will be able to select an option to transform the standard arrow chevron in Navigation Mode into Mario in his go-kart, thus letting you navigate around the roads of Singapore as the iconic video game character.


  1. Update your Google Maps app (from Google Play store or Apple App Store).
  2. Open the app and click on the yellow “?” icon found on the bottom right.
  3. You should then see a prompt to enable Mario Time!

Let’s-a go!

Source: Google.

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Ways to Keep Your Heart Valves Healthy

What do your heart valves do? 

3d renderings of human heart3drenderings/ShutterstockYou may think you know everything about your heart but you may be missing an important piece of the puzzle. Your ticker is equipped with four heart valves, with the main one being the aortic valve. “It’s the valve that controls blood flow coming out of your heart into the rest of your body. It’s under the greatest stress,” says Elizabeth Klodas, MD, founder of Preventive Cardiology Consultants in Edina, Minnesota. After all, it’s working overtime for you. “It’s amazing that our valves don’t give out when we’re five. The aortic valve opens and closes like a door 60 times a minute 24/7. It’s a resilient, almost miraculous design that can keep going for 100 years-plus,” she adds. Take this quiz to see how much you know about your heart.

They naturally wear down

Vein with ValveGiovanni Cancemi/ShutterstockWith all that opening and closing, they’re bound to see wear and tear eventually. “As people get older, it’s not unusual to see a thickening of the heart valves or a bit of an accumulation of calcium on them on a heart ultrasound,” says Dr. Klodas. A potentially life-threatening condition is called aortic stenosis, a severe thickening that begins to interfere with blood flow out of the heart. “Untreated, this has a worse outcome than metastatic cancer,” she says. A heart valve replacement is one possible treatment.

Eat real food

Assortment of fresh fruits and vegetablesAlexander Raths/ShutterstockHeart smart moves take care of your ticker as a whole, including your heart valves. And that means managing your cholesterol. “People who have high cholesterol have more accelerated narrowing of their aortic valve,” says Dr. Klodas, who’s also the co-founder of Step One Foods. (Also be sure to avoid these foods that harm your heart.) Rather than jump to medications, she suggests looking at the quality of your diet, especially when it comes to carbohydrates. “The more processed and farther away the food is from its original form, the more likely you are to have high cholesterol,” she says. Insulin spikes from refined carbs drive LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, she explains. Focus your diet on minimally processed beans, greens, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, and grains.

Watch your blood pressure

Close up photo of blood pressure measurementOcskay Bence/ShutterstockIn the past, a blood pressure reading above 140/90 was considered high blood pressure. New guidelines, however, have lowered those numbers. The cut off is now 130/80. “High blood pressure is the second most preventable cause of heart disease,” says Ravi Dave, MD, the director of interventional cardiology at UCLA Health. (Smoking is number one, he adds.) The update now allows “more patients to get diagnosed with high blood pressure early on to prevent problems down the line.”

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Keep them healthy how-to: Stop smoking

Close up man hand smoking cigarette.iamporpla/ShutterstockYou can blame lighting up for one of every three deaths of heart disease, according to the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. It accelerates plaque buildup in arteries, leads to clot formation, and can raise blood pressure. Quitting is not only smart for your heart as a whole, but will also have a positive impact on the working parts inside. The only answer is to quit, says Dr. Klodas. The good news is that stopping the smokes confers a multitude of benefits, some of which are immediate.

Save on salt

grilled salmon with spring vegetables on white plate, soft focusGaak/ShutterstockWhile sodium guidelines have become controversial lately if you have high blood pressure or are at an increased risk for heart disease, you should cut back. Aim for no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, says Dr. Klodas. It can be really difficult to do, but cooking more fresh foods at home will go a long way in reducing your intake. After all, 70 percent of the sodium in the average person’s diet comes from packaged or restaurant food. Avoid these 13 foods that have alot of sodium.


See your doctor

Doctor (gynecologist or psychiatrist) consulting and diagnostic examining woman patient's health in medical clinic or hospital healthcare service centerChinnapong/ShutterstockThough Dr. Dave says that there is little that can be done to target heart valves specifically outside of choices that lower cardiovascular disease risk, you can stay on top of your health to know if you have a problem. Heart valve issues may stem from congenital heart defects—here’s where you can learn more about congenital heart defects. One sign that something is awry? You have a heart murmur. “It’s a red flag for valve disease,” he says, adding that you’d need to visit your doctor on a regular basis to monitor it.

Know your risk

Dentist cleaning perfect teeth of a beautiful mouth femalePop Paul-Catalin/ShutterstockIf you have a known valve deformity, there are additional things you need to be on the lookout for. For example: dental cleanings. Something as minor as that can dislodge bacteria into your bloodstream, infecting a valve. “Bacteria can stick on them and create more havoc,” says Dr. Dave. The damage can cause a leaky heart valve, which can be dangerous; you may want to discuss potential preventive options—like antibiotics—with your doctor. It’s yet another reason to be informed about your health and work closely with your healthcare provider.

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Keep moving

Two pretty legs in pink shoes walking to cameraonixxino/ShutterstockYes, you hear enough about how you need to exercise, but don’t let that intimidate you if you’re more of a couch potato now. All you need to do is move a little, a habit that will help you live longer. “What most people want to achieve is healthy longevity. It’s not a cholesterol number. It’s not a healthy valve. It’s being aware, active, and vital into your 90s, and being free of debilitating disease,” says Dr. Klodas. People who achieve that stay active in their day-to-day lives, she says. It’s not a spinning class or a triathlon, but simple movement doing the things you love, like hiking on the weekends, walking with your dog, or taking a stroll to grab lunch.

Stay mindful

Close-up of hands of sporty young beautiful woman in white clothes meditating indoors, focus on arms in Namaste gesturefizkes/ShutterstockFinding short periods during the day to focus on the present moment can go a long way in protecting your heart. People who score the highest in measures of mindfulness had an 83 percent higher prevalence of good heart health compared to those who rank low in it, according to research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Making time for these meditative moments was associated with a lower likelihood of smoking, more physical activity, and a healthier BMI and fasting glucose level, all of which fine-tune your ticker.

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13 Snoring Remedies You Probably Haven’t Tried Yet

Change your sleeping position

Good dreams make your day better If you sleep on your back, chances are, you’re snoring. Benjamin Smarr, PhD, and Reverie sleep expert says sleep position is key. He explains, “One of the easiest things to do if you snore is to try and sleep on your side and to make sure you have good neck support. Both help keep your neck from bending too much and cutting off your airways as you sleep. The more open your airways are, the more freely air can flow, and the less turbulent air causes the noise we call snoring.” Here are 22 ways you’re probably sleeping wrong.

The post 13 Snoring Remedies You Probably Haven’t Tried Yet appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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Conversation Starters That Make You More Interesting

10 Things Naturally Optimistic People Do Every Day

Ask for a helping hand iStock/Minerva Studio “Helping questions are great conversation starters because when a person helps you it forms natural bonds. When you help another person to figure what an item is on the buffet or locate the restroom, it lowers your defenses. For example, if you’re at the grocery store, ask ‘Do […]

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9 Incredible Women You Didn’t Learn About in History Class

Murasaki Shikibu

Murasaki Shikibu

We’re willing to bet your high school English classes featured lots of novels by male writers, from Twain to Dickens to Hemingway. But their craft may not even have existed if it hadn’t been for Murasaki Shikibu, a Japanese woman widely considered to be the world’s first novelist. Shikibu was a noblewoman living in Japan around the year 1000 AD. She wrote a two-part novel called The Tale of Genji, which tells a riches-to-rags story about the son of a Japanese emperor forced to live life as a commoner. In addition to The Tale of Genji, widely considered to be a masterpiece of Japanese literature, Shikibu also wrote a book of poetry. A statue in Kyoto, Japan, commemorates this pioneering writer. Check out these other incredible female firsts, from Ancient Egypt to the 21st century.

The post 9 Incredible Women You Didn’t Learn About in History Class appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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Smart Ways to 
Save at the Supermarket

We spend too much on groceries

money walletNATTHAPONG SUNTORNDECH/ShutterstockEven when nobody feels like cooking, everybody feels like eating. So it’s no wonder that more than 25 percent of the average family food budget now goes to easy-prep meals and grab-and-go foods, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). But it’s not just prepared-food prices that are nibbling at our wallets. Over the past 30 years, grocery prices have risen more than the prices of other items we buy. Americans now spend almost $700 billion a year at the supermarket. Make sure you don’t fall for these supermarket tricks.

Choose the right cart

grocery-shoppingnd3000/ShutterstockIt’s the first thing you do at the store—and the first way to help yourself save. Unless you’re doing a week’s worth of shopping, grab a small 
grocery cart. In an experiment by a cart manufacturer, shoppers bought 
40 percent more stuff when given a cart double the size they usually used.

But don’t grab a basket

grocery-shoppingDragon Images/ShutterstockIt may sound counterintuitive, but carrying a small handheld basket also can lead shoppers to temptation. There’s something about the action of flexing your arm muscles to hold the basket that subconsciously leads you to reach for treats such as candy, according to a behavioral study in the Journal of Marketing Research. Watch out for these things your grocer won’t tell you.

Shop on Wednesdays

Calendargazanfer/shutterstockThe single best time to shop is Wednesday evening, according to the shopping news site Stores aren’t crowded, and, as a bonus, weekly specials start on Wednesday at nearly half of U.S. supermarkets. Some stores honor the previous week’s sales and coupons and the new week’s.

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And not on weekends

Calendarconejota/ShutterstockSaturday and Sunday mornings and early afternoons are the busiest, according to the annual American Time Use Survey. Stores are also crowded after work on weekdays. The average shopping trip is 47 minutes on weekends, 42 minutes on weekdays. If you want to start grocery shopping online, read these tips first.

Make fewer trips

Grocery-shoppingDean Drobot/ShutterstockEach time you hit the store, you spend money. (For the record, $136 each week for the typical household, and $204 for families with kids at home.) Americans make an average of 1.5 trips to the supermarket per week. Cut that down to one trip, and you’ll save time and money—particularly on impulse items, which we admit to grabbing 60 percent of the time.

Go it alone

Grocery-shoppingLADO/ShutterstockWhen we shop with someone else, as much as 65 percent of the things we wind up buying is unplanned, according to research from the Marketing Science Institute.

Except at the clubs

CostcoAndriy Blokhin/ShutterstockOne place where you should shop with others is the big warehouse clubs—BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club. Supermarket expert Phil Lempert suggests bringing a buddy so you can split bulk purchases. For the biggest savings, buy store brands; they’re as much as 75 percent cheaper than name brands. For example, ­Costco’s Kirkland Signature dishwasher detergent packs cost about 9 cents a load, while Cascade Complete ActionPacs cost 29 cents a load.

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But don’t get stuck 
in a warehouse rut

Canned-vegetablesSteve Cukrov/ShutterstockNot everything is a great deal at the shopping clubs. Sometimes you can do better with a sale at the supermarket. Smart buys there include canned vegetables (20 percent to 40 percent less than club prices), soda (40 percent less), toilet paper (25 percent less), and eggs (50 cents less per dozen).

Surprise! Protein is a bargain

Raw-chickenGoncharov Artem/ShutterstockLast year, grocery prices overall went down for the first time in nearly 50 years. Foods that dipped the most in price include beef, pork, poultry, and dairy. Egg prices have fallen by 52 percent in the past two years, with the average price of a dozen down to $1.41. So if you’re looking for relative bargains to plan meals around, these are the big winners. (These are the healthiest foods you can buy at the supermarket.)

Eat what’s in season

BananasSven Naser/shutterstockFresh produce grown locally is usually the best value at super­markets and farmers’ markets. For instance, strawberries are usually about 30 cents cheaper per pound in June than in May. In March, look for broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauli­flower, lettuce, and pineapple. In April, snap up these same foods, as well as asparagus, rhubarb, and peas. Year-round bargains include bananas, celery, and potatoes.

Buy water at the hardware store

Vereshchagin Dmitry/ShutterstockSometimes bargains pop up in 
un­expected places. Look for good prices on bottled water at home-­improvement stores, says Mike Catania of He found a case of 16.9-ounce bottles of Niagara water at the Home Depot for $2.97, while a nearby grocery charged $2.99 for a case of 8-ounce bottles. That’s half the water for the same money.

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Look high and low on the shelves

grocery-storeTY Lim/ShutterstockStores put the most popular—and often the most costly—items at eye level. In fact, manufacturers often pay a fee for optimal placement. To find the bargains, look up and down to the higher and lower shelves. Retail consulting company McCue advises managers to put store brands and bulk items—generally the biggest bargains—on the bottom shelves.

Chop your own 

OnionsAndrey Burkov/ShutterstockNo wonder people complain about the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables: Over the past 30 years, the inflation-adjusted price of produce has risen 40 percent, according to the USDA. But that spike occurred mostly because we’re buying for convenience—bagged salads instead of heads of lettuce, for example—not because individual items cost that much more. Save by buying whole produce and prepping it yourself. For example, ShopSmart magazine found that prechopped onions averaged $4.65 a pound versus 99 cents a pound for whole onions. Just-prepped produce is fresher too.

Get the most for your organics dollar

PotatoesMaria Sbytova/ShutterstockAccording to Consumer Reports, certified organics (which the grower guarantees were grown in better-quality soil and without potentially harmful pesticides) cost nearly 50 percent more than their conventional counterparts. But the potential health benefits vary. Spend the extra money on foods whose skin you eat, such as apples, peaches, strawberries, grapes, peppers, celery, and potatoes. (Try these other simple ways to save big at the supermarket.)

Watch out for water weight

Producesantypan/Shutterstock“So many stores have misters for produce,” says Lempert. Shake the moisture out of lettuce, herbs, and the like before bagging, he suggests. Otherwise, you’ll wind up paying for water weight.

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Compare apples to apples

ApplesPixza Studio/ShutterstockWhen you’re buying bags of apples or potatoes, don’t just buy the first bag you grab. Make sure to pick a heavy one. In a price comparison, a Consumer Reports reporter found that “3-pound” bags of apples ranged in weight from 3.06 to 3.36 pounds—that’s 10 percent more apples for the same price.

Cut the crap

CandyZuzha/ShutterstockWe spend nearly 25 percent of our grocery dollars on processed foods and sweets, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Soda is the most purchased item, racking up $12 billion in sales a year, per figures from So if you’re buying certain treats just out of habit, try sticking to only a few favorites and see whether you can save some easy money. (These secrets will help you shop healthier at the grocery store.)

Hit the sales every week

EggsSergey Ryzhov/ShutterstockBuying staples when they’re on sale is Grocery Shopping 101. You’ll usually find the best deals front and center in the sales circulars, and you can browse those before you leave home. There’s a handy website called ­ that posts dozens of circulars from stores around the country. Money expert Clark Howard says you can save 30 percent or more on your weekly bill if you shop the sales consistently.

Make a shopping list

Shopping-listconejota/ShutterstockYes, you need one, because people who shop with a list spend far less time in the store and also make fewer impulse buys. If you’re not good at remembering a paper list, keep one on your phone. You can use one of many free apps (simple ones include Buy Me a Pie, Grocery IQ, and Out of Milk; all work on Android and iOS) or just keep your list in your phone’s built‑in Notes app.

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Consider one of the grocery apps

Grocery-shoppingGeorgejmclittle/ShutterstockSmart-shopping expert Trae Bodge says using a full-service grocery app can be worth it. She likes Flipp (free for Android and iOS) because it automates everything: It matches items on your list with store specials, coupons, or rebates; it has an easy list creator that you can customize by store; and it will even scan and upload your handwritten list, then sort it by aisle so you can find what you need.

Max out on coupons

CouponsBillion Photos/ShutterstockCherie Lowe, who calls herself the Queen of Free, scouts the sales at If she sees some juicy offers, she buys extra copies of the newspaper at the dollar store, which sells a weekend edition for a buck. You can snap up downloadable coupons at her website,, and other sites, including, ­, and

Snag store exclusives

Grocery-shoppingGeorgejmclittle/ShutterstockIf you have a couple of stores you shop at regularly, get familiar with their websites and see whether they have apps. That’s where you’ll find retailers’ best offers, says Catania, citing Kroger’s and Target’s Cartwheel as two good sources of exclusive coupons, promo codes, and rebates. (Yes, men and women do grocery shop differently—here’s how.)

Don’t be a brand snob

SupermarketAdisa/ShutterstockStore brands typically cost 15 percent to 30 percent less than name brands—and are sometimes made by the same companies. Three-quarters of shoppers view them as “just as good,” the latest IRI Consumer Connect survey shows, and Consumer Reports taste testers preferred them in 33 of 57 tests. Besides Costco, Target and Trader Joe’s are also known for high-quality private-label brands.

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Shop like a German

aldiShutterstockIf you don’t have an Aldi nearby, you likely will soon. The German discount chain plans to have 2,500 stores in the United States by 2022 (only Walmart and Kroger have more), reports Super­market News. Inside, you’ll find mostly store brands and perhaps not everything on your list—stores are smaller than the typical American grocery. But you can save about 35 percent on meat and produce and 45 percent overall, according to a comparison with Giant and Safeway by Washington Consumers’ Checkbook. Another German chain, Lidl, opened 20 stores in the United States last year, and retail analysts say it could expand to 630 locations by 2023. Lidl claims its prices are up to 50 percent less than competitors’.

Beware of sneaky labels

Grocery-shoppingAleksandar Karanov/ShutterstockShoppers tend to assume that healthier foods cost more, reports the Journal of Consumer Research, which is why some products marketed as “healthy” come with higher price tags. Don’t get suckered. When you see a catchy claim, look for comparable lower-priced products without buzzwords.

Buy the right size

Grocery-shoppingBodnar Taras/ShutterstockWhile the smallest packages 
are often the worst deals, the biggest size isn’t necessarily the biggest value. The key is to look for a unit price below the item on the shelf—the price per ounce or liter or whatever. In some cases, the medium-sized package might be your winner.

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Claim your group discount

Grocery-shoppingwavebreakmedia/ShutterstockIf you’re over a certain age, you may be eligible for a senior discount—typically 5 percent—if you shop on the right days. Stores with this policy include Harris Teeter and some Publix stores, as well as Fred Meyer, where you’ll save 10 percent. Also, veterans who join one of the big three warehouse clubs get special discounts and perks.

Ugly can be beautiful

Produce_rich people secretsAfrica Studio/ShutterstockCheck the produce section for markdowns on oddly shaped but still tasty “misfits.” In fact, Misfits is what supermarket chains Hanna­ford, Hy-Vee, and Meijer call their lines of imperfect fruits and veggies. Whatever they’re called, not only are these oddballs a bargain—prices average 30 percent cheaper than “perfect” produce—but buying them also helps cut down on food waste.

And so can dents

CansSebastian Crocker/ShutterstockRaid your supermarket’s “scratch and dent” sale rack, if it has one. You can find products at clearance prices because the packaging is damaged or has been redesigned. Example: a slightly smashed box of Special K Red Berries cereal marked down 50 percent, from $5.49 to $2.74. For safety reasons, make sure any 
inner packaging is sealed, and don’t buy deeply dented cans, because a damaged seal can let bacteria in. (­Minor dents shouldn’t be a danger.)

Bargain shop at 
Whole Foods

Whole-foodsRoman Tiraspolsky/ShutterstockIf you still think of this store by the nickname Whole Paycheck, take another look. Since Amazon took over last August, it has lowered prices on hundreds of items, including avocados (from $2.99 to $1.79 each), organic bananas (from 99 cents per pound to 69 cents), fresh Atlantic salmon (from $14.99 per pound to $9.99), and rotisserie chickens (from $8.99 to $7.99).

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Bring the store to you

grocery-deliveryAtstock Productions/ShutterstockOrdering groceries and having them delivered isn’t as big a splurge as you might think. You might have to pay a fee, though some stores (such as Costco, which just started delivering in some areas) will do it for free if you spend over a certain amount. Online delivery services not only offer their own sales but also dangle hefty discounts to get you try them: For example, when you sign up for Fresh Direct, you get $50 back on your first two grocery orders totaling $99.

Buy staples online websites promising low prices can be smart sources for certain staples. These three offer great deals on everyday items:

  • sells brand-name items starting at $1. Example: Hampton Creek Just Mayo mayonnaise, 30 ounces, $3.99. At the ShopRite in White Plains, New York, the same mayo was the same price—only it was the 12-ounce size. Shipping is free if you spend $25 or more; otherwise, it’s $5.95 per order.
  • offers an eclectic selection of no-name organics: maple syrup, tortilla shells, shampoo, and more. Everything costs $3. Shipping is a flat $5 per order or free for members of its rewards club.
  • ships bulk items at low prices. Example: Lysol Disinfectant Spray is $16.99 for four 19-ounce bottles, while Costco’s everyday price is $17.99. Shipping is free for orders of $49 or more or $6.99 per order.

Try Walmart’s produce again

WallmartKen Wolter/ShutterstockIf you’ve avoided fresh fruits and vegetables at Walmart, you might want to reconsider. Greg Foran, Walmart’s U.S. president and CEO, says the company has worked hard to cut down the number of days it takes produce to land in stores—by two to three days for most, four for strawberries.

When is that cooked chicken a bargain?

ChickenLisyl/ShutterstockDespite some reports that buying a rotisserie chicken is cheaper than roasting your own, that’s not always true. A comparison by found that you’ll typically pay about a dollar more per pound for the cooked bird. (One exception is Costco, which sells its $4.99 rotisserie chickens at a loss to get you in the store.) On the other hand, if you don’t have much time, a $7 precooked supermarket chicken still costs less than Boston Market’s, where you’ll pay about $10.

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Fill up for less

Gas-stationDejanns/ShutterstockStop & Shop customers can save 10 cents to $1.50 per gallon on gas, based on their grocery spending. Other stores with gas-back programs include Giant, Safeway, and Vons. Get details at store websites or ask at the customer service counter.

Don’t buy so much!

Grocery-shoppingSunKids/ShutterstockIf you’re like most Americans, you threw away more than $2,000 worth of food last year. That’s about one-fourth of the food and drinks we buy, reports the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). A smart way to cut down on waste is to plan your meals for the week, starting with dishes that use up anything you already have and need to eat quickly. Then buy only any remaining ingredients. Dana Gunders, a scientist at the NRDC, has compiled more tips in the book Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money by Wasting Less Food. Learn more and buy the book at ­ (These are the 50 unhealthiest foods you can buy at the supermarket.)

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These Latest Heart Health Findings Could Just Save Your Life

The clock is ticking


Since the 1950s, heart disease deaths have declined by a whopping 70 percent. That’s good news, but heart disease is still the number one killer in the United States, and the steady decline in deaths tapered off starting in 2011, says Nakela Cook, MD, MPH, chief of staff at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in Bethesda, MD, at an NHLBI-sponsored media conference in New York City.

Rates of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other risks are on the rise and becoming more prevalent in children, and that threatens to reverse all of our hard-won gains. Are you at risk? Check out these little-known heart disease risk factors that may have a big effect on your health.

Heart disease prevention? There’s an app for that

Girl-on-phoneJacob Lund/shutterstock Activity tracking and calorie counting apps can help turn the tables on heart disease risk factors like obesity. (So can an old-school pedometer—here’s how.) Technology is also changing the way that people with heart disease communicate with their doctors, and this interaction may save the lives of countless others. Apps such as Omron Wellness allow users to transfer data from their blood pressure monitor to their smartphone, and they can review a month’s worth of readings with their doctor to get a much better picture of their progress over time. Other trials such as CONNECT-HF are harnessing technology to develop specific strategies that will make it easier to recover from heart failure. The trial, which will include 8,000 heart patients and their post-hospital wellness, involves regular check-ins by phone or text to see what interventions help and what doesn’t.

And ultimately this type of data may have even bigger applications, says Dr. Cook. “Medicine will be more like Google and Amazon, and we will be able to take the data we have collected from individuals to guide community health.”

Everything old is new again

MedicationAir Images/Shutterstock

Some heart medications that have been around for decades are incredibly effective at lowering risk for heart disease. Taking a daily baby aspirin is one of the ways to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke (here are 30 more ways to further reduce your risk, too). Another oldie but goody, Enalapril, is used alone or with other drugs to treat high blood pressure; combined with other medications, it can also treat heart failure, says Ileana L. Pina, MD, MPH, a professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Population Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and an Associate Chief for Academic Affairs at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “It’s a superb drug and it is cheap. Newer isn’t necessarily better,” she says. “We can reverse your heart disease and reverse the chance of heart failure by 50 percent with available medications,” says Dr. Pina. Prevention and early detection also make a big difference.

Knowing how to catch symptoms of heart failure promptly can literally save your life.

Earlier screening


We need the equivalent of breast cancer screening for the early detection of heart disease, says David C. Goff Jr, MD, PhD, NHLBI’s director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences. For a while, heart experts pinned their hopes on coronary calcium scans that use x-rays to identify calcium deposits in the arteries. Calcium deposits are an early sign of heart disease, but newer tests may spot heart disease even before calcification sets in. While not ready for prime time yet, computed tomography angiography (also called CT angiography or CTA) can detect narrowing of the arteries—one of the earliest signs of future blockages. “Right now this is being used to screen high-risk individuals, but we are trying to get the dose of radiation and cost down so it has a wider application,” he says. Here are some other tests for heart disease you never knew you needed.

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New high blood pressure guidelines Now that nearly half of Americans qualify as having high blood pressure thanks to new hypertension American Heart Association guidelines, doctors hope to help more people avoid heart disease. High blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 mm Hg and higher for systolic pressure (the bigger number), and 80 and higher for the diastolic pressure. (The old guidelines were 140/90 and higher.) In addition, the prehypertension category is now non-existent. By casting a wider net, about 14 percent more people will be diagnosed with high blood pressure—and catching this heart disease risk factor earlier gives all of us a better shot at turning things around.

Inflammation is the new high cholesterol

InflammationDmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

Doctors now realize that inflammation can cause a number of diseases and conditions—and heart disease is on the list. The million-dollar question is whether lowering levels of inflammation will prevent heart attacks. An NHLBI study seeks to answer this pressing question. “Many medications lower inflammation levels, including an older drug called methotrexate (MTX), and the aim of this study is to see if MTX, which is taken orally and is inexpensive, can in prevent a heart attack,” Dr. Goff says. “We should have answers within four or five years,” he says. A new anti-inflammatory drug, canakinumab, slashed the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death in people who’d already had a heart attack, largely by cooling inflammation. People in the study had high levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) in their blood.

“These findings represent the end game of more than two decades of research, stemming from a critical observation that half of heart attacks occur in people who do not have high cholesterol,” says principal investigator Paul M. Ridker, MD, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, US, in a news release.

Targeted healing

Medicationfunnyangel/ShutterstockPrecision or personalized medicine is a buzz word in cardiology circles. This new way of thinking about treatment aims to eliminate some of the trial and error associated with prescribing medications by factoring in genetic characteristics. This has already changed the way many cancers are treated and is among the most groundbreaking cancer research of 2017. “If we target the people who stand to benefit the most, we will get better efficacy with fewer side effects. That’s the premise and the promise of precision medicine,” says Dr. Goff. So where are we today? Doctors know that finding the correct dose warfarin—prescribed to stave off a second heart attack—is based in part on genes that alter warfarin metabolism. And some people have genes that increase the likelihood that cholesterol-lowering statins will trigger serious muscle pain and weakness, according to research in Nature. This advance knowledge can result in smarter and safer medication use.

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This Cop Had an Extraordinary Response to a Noise Complaint

april-FOB_Heroes_US180467Courtesy Matt Pendleton Photography

A minute after 5 p.m. on 
a Friday evening, Officer Bobby White of the Gainesville, Florida, 
police department got a call from dispatch about a noise complaint—­some teens playing basketball. Officer White’s dash-cam video shows him pulling up outside a home in a down-and-out part of town. A teen stops playing as the officer walks 
toward him.

“I could tell he was like, ‘Great, 
the cops are here. How’s this gonna go?’” says White, now 48. To put him at ease, White said, “Can you believe that someone’s calling about kids playing basketball?” Then he put his hand out for the ball. The tentative teen gave it to him. White turned 
toward the basket and clanked a 
shot off the rim. As a playground courtesy, the teen tossed the ball back to White, who nailed his next shot. It was like a signal—kids began streaming out from the home of one of the boys to join in the shootaround.

The video shows White and the kids laughing and shooting for 13 minutes. They even lowered the hoop so that the five-foot-ten cop could dunk the ball. As he left, he told them to have fun and asked that they watch the noise. That was that, he thought—an officer doing his job.


But that wasn’t the end of the story. The police department’s information officer, always looking to highlight the positive things his officers do, 
put the dash-cam tape online. Within a week, it was viewed over five million times. Suddenly, businesses and individuals touched by the officer’s compassion started sending sporting equipment to the police department with a message: “Give these to Officer White.” But what caught White off guard was another comment he heard: “We need more cops like you.”

“I know this was meant as a 
compliment,” White says. “But there are tons of cops ‘like me’ who go above and beyond.” To prove his point, White created the Basketball Cop Foundation. Since its inception in 2016, the foundation has supplied sports equipment to more than 50 police departments around the country so that other officers have what they need to go out on the streets and re-create the experience White gave those kids that day.

White’s not naïve. He knows that the happy ending between a white cop and a bunch of minority kids is what made the video go viral. “Honestly, I wish the video wouldn’t have been popular,” he says. “I wish people would’ve looked at it and said, ‘That’s how I would expect that interaction to go.’” After all, he was just doing what thousands of cops do every day.

(These are other things police officers wish you knew.)

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