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Cyber Monday for Safety

Cyber Monday for Safety

Today, November 30th, is Cyber Monday! Cyber Monday is celebrated the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. Established in 2005, Cyber Monday is the Internet’s answer to brick-and-mortar holiday shopping. Unlike Black Friday, Cyber Monday gives you the chance to shop those amazing Black Friday deals from the comfort of your couch or office. In recent years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals tend to run together. Some start as early as the week of Thanksgiving and run right through the holiday season. But don’t neglect online deals. There may still be savings to be had. 

This year, Cyber Monday is especially appealing because of COVID. Doing your holiday shopping from home is much safer than venturing out to crowded malls where germs can be spread. The CDC still recommends avoiding indoor spaces where there are a lot of people, especially now that cold and flu season is here. This year, retailers are offering Cyber Monday holiday deals that are just as good as Black Friday sales and some of those sales have been extended. Cyber Monday is also less stressful, because you don’t have to drive to the mall, deal with traffic, try to find a parking space, trapeze your way through the crowd, fight for the items on your wish list, negotiate the checkout line, and so forth. Even reading that sentence sounds stressful! Cyber Monday also allows for easier returns because you can send it back in the same box it came in. You can still support small and local businesses on Cyber Monday by ordering artisan gifts from websites like etsy.com. This year in particular, Cyber Monday makes most sense for your health and well being. With the simple click of a mouse, you can finish your holiday shopping for loved ones, hassle-free. Now that is a good deal. 

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November is National Peanut Butter Month

Smooth or crunchy, savory or sweet, there is no doubt that peanut butter is a very versatile and beloved spread. Peanut butter is a pantry staple, and is found in the homes of about 94% of Americans. It is a firm favorite among children and adults alike, in foods such as peanut butter sandwiches, smoothies, ice cream, or spread on carrots or celery. Americans eat three pounds of peanut butter per person per year, enough to cover the floor of the Grand Canyon. Peanut butter is a favorite for many people, and peanut butter is packed with nutrition; 25 percent of a peanut is protein and peanuts are rich in niacin, folate, and dietary fiber. In addition, peanut butter contains resveratrol, renowned for its anti-cancer properties.

Peanut butter is comprised of about 25% protein, making it an excellent plant-based protein source. Pure peanut butter contains only 20% carbs, making it suitable for a low-carb diet. It also causes a very low rise in blood sugar and is a perfect option for people with type 2 diabetes. It has been found to be beneficial to heart health, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, gallstones, and diabetes. Peanut butter is rich in antioxidants, including p-coumarin and resveratrol. Lab studies have indicated that these compounds may reduce arthritis, and lower risk of heart disease. Of course, peanut butter is also filled with healthy fats as nuts are top 5 cleanest sources of plant-based fats. One of the main fats in peanut butter is oleic acid. When substituted for other fats in your diet, oleic acid is shown to help maintain good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Managing these levels in your body can lower the risk of heart disease. The high amounts of phosphorus and copper found in peanuts can support bone health and may help prevent osteoporosis.

Depending on how people use peanut butter in their diet, it can help them lose weight, or put on pounds during weight training or bodybuilding. However, peanut butter is high in calories and fat, so people should enjoy it in moderation. A standard portion of peanut butter is about two tablespoons, which has 207 calories, 9 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fiber. It is also important to be mindful of what is in your peanut butter. Often food producers add sugar and oil to peanut butter, which reduces nutritional benefits to the point where it may no longer be considered a health food. Instead, look for peanut butter that is just plain pure roasted peanuts that have been ground into a paste, organic is even better.

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November is Sweet Potato Month

November is Sweet Potato Month

November is National Sweet Potato Month! Sweet potatoes are not only delicious, but very healthy as well. In fact, they are considered superfoods, because they are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Sweet potatoes are especially popular around the Thanksgiving table, either mashed, roasted, or in a pie. When sprinkled with cinnamon, they make for a perfect, cozy wintertime food.

One cup (200 grams) of baked sweet potato with skin provides

Calories: 180

Carbs: 41.4 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Fat: 0.3 grams

Fiber: 6.6 grams

Vitamin A: 769% of the

Daily Value (DV)

Vitamin C: 65% of the DV

Manganese: 50% of the DV

Vitamin B6: 29% of the DV

Potassium: 27% of the DV

Pantothenic acid: 18% of the DV

Copper: 16% of the DV

Niacin: 15% of the DV

In addition, sweet potatoes — especially the orange and purple varieties — are rich in antioxidants that protect your body from free radicals. Natural compounds called carotenoids give sweet potatoes their rich color. Carotenoids are also antioxidants, which means they have the power to protect your cells from day-to-day damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage DNA and trigger inflammation. Free radical damage has been linked to chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and aging. Therefore, eating antioxidant-rich foods is good for your health. This is especially so for brain health, because antioxidants play a role in protecting brain cells when aging.

Just one sweet potato gives you 400% of the vitamin A you need each day. This helps keep your eyes healthy as well as your immune system, your body’s defense against germs. Also, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and anthocyanins, antioxidants that may help prevent vision loss and improve eye health. In fact, the large amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin A, which are in sweet potatoes, can lower your chances of developing macular degeneration eye disease, which is the most common cause of vision loss. Sweet potatoes are also beneficial for those with diabetes, because the compounds found in them can help control blood sugar. When boiled, sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index (GI), which means they won’t raise your blood sugar as quickly as high-GI foods.

In addition, sweet potatoes promote gut health due to their high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber as well as antioxidants. Studies have found that fiber-rich diets containing 20–33 grams per day have been linked to a lower risk of colon cancer and more regular digestion. Antioxidants in purple sweet potatoes promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, including certain Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species. Greater amounts of these types of bacteria within the intestines are associated with better gut health and a lower risk of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and infectious diarrhea. The high levels of Vitamin A in sweet potatoes contribute to a healthy immune system. Vitamin A is also key for maintaining healthy mucous membranes, especially in the lining of your gut. The gut is where your body is exposed to many potential disease-causing pathogens. Therefore, a healthy gut is an important part of a healthy immune system. The gut of course is responsible for digestion, but also plays a critical role in immunity, and sweet potatoes act as a superfood in that they support both of those functions.

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Post-Thanksgiving Food Hangover

Post-Thanksgiving Food Hangover

You had a fabulous Thanksgiving with loved ones – turkey was eaten, cranberry sauce was consumed, the mashed potatoes were like a dream, your family is stuffed with stuffing, and the warm, inviting pumpkin pie delivered on it’s promise. Your Thanksgiving stretchy pants served you well this year. It is the day after Thanksgiving and the trash is taken out, leftovers are in the fridge, and the kitchen is cleaned. But, you feel off – really off. What is happening?

The next day ‘food hangover’ is real (so worth it though!). We have all had a food hangover – bloating, lethargy, maybe a little nausea or stomach upset, and fatigue. And you know the cause: not drinking too much but eating too much—overindulging in food that’s too fatty, salty, spicy, sugary, caffeinated, or simply too much food for your body to cope with the day after. After a Thanksgiving feast, your body simply is not prepared to handle such a large amount of fatty food. It’s going to take a little while for your digestive tract to get up to speed and build up the necessary enzymes to process it, causing you that heavy, bloated feeling you’re suffering through, possibly along with indigestion or heartburn.

When people overeat, their bodies have the tendency to chemically change, including metabolic shifts. There are also electrolyte imbalances due to the process of digestion that occur once the massive amounts of food have been deposited into the body. This can also cause a feeling of depression, emotional attachment to food, fatigue, and also boredom. This is thought to be partially due to dopamine and endorphin release after food consumption High amounts of salt consumed at Thanksgiving are responsible in part for the ‘food hangover’ feeling. Drinking extra water the day after can help flush out the excess sodium in your system and facilitate the digestion process. Then there is the sugar – like salt, sugar is quickly absorbed and not something you’re likely to feel the effects of the next day, even if you consumed a mountain of cookies, candy, and sweets. Instead, your hangover is more immediate—you probably feel a rush of energy soon after you eat, followed by a so-called sugar crash shortly afterward (picture kids 30 minutes after cake is served at a birthday party).

By nature, our bodies crave sugar and salt, and once indulged, it still wants more. That is why you will be hankering for sweet and salty foods the day after Thanksgiving, but your best bet is to refrain. Ride through the food hangover by taking good care of yourself by resting, hydrating regularly, going for walks, eating healthy meals full of fruits and veggies, and staying away from caffeine and alcohol. Herbal teas like peppermint or ginger are great for aiding digestion and helping with the post-Thanksgiving food hangover. If you need, take some pepto or antacids. Most importantly, sit back and enjoy another Thanksgiving well spent with delicious food, loved ones, and filled with gratitude. Feasting for one day will not make you gain weight if you nurse your food hangover and take care of yourself in the days after. Now that is something that we can all be grateful for!

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Gratitude and Your Health

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Gratitude is a foundation for this cozy and festive holiday. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. This year at the Thanksgiving dinner table, go around and state something you each feel grateful for. You can further enjoy the benefits of practicing gratitude by doing this year round.  

Being thankful can have many positive health effects. Studies show practicing gratitude can lead to more intimate and connected relationships, less depression, more motivation and engagement, and better overall mental well-being.

Gratitude improves one’s outlook on life. Appreciating what you have can make you feel more optimistic and satisfied, as well as experience less frustration, envy, and regret. It also tends to result in increased self-esteem and confidence, which helps improve mood. It also has a significant impact on enhancing relationships. We are often attracted to positive people; this positivity also makes one easier to get along with and talk to, even about difficult things. Being thankful for the important people in your life is more likely to be reciprocated. Mutual appreciation for each other often results in a more satisfying relationship. When you are less envious and focused on material things that you don’t have, you in turn invest more energy in what you do have and what’s right in front of you.

In addition, gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Overall, those who practice gratitude experience less sickness. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health.  They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity. Another health benefit of gratitude is that it helps to relieve and reduce stress. Stress can cause or exacerbate illness, and being able to combat stress with gratitude enables people to enjoy improved health.

Research has proven that gratitude has a positive effect on sleep. People who practice gratitude right before bedtime, by listing those things they feel grateful for, report better sleep. This is likely because gratitude diminishes anxiety and stressful feelings, allowing for a more restful and relaxed entry to sleep. This goes hand in hand with brain health and healthy aging. When you take good care of your body by getting enough sleep, reducing stress, as well as maintaining emotional and social wellness, you increase overall well being. All of these are important factors in terms of keeping ourselves in optimal health as we age.

How do you start practicing gratitude? Listing three things for which you are grateful, big and small, on a daily basis for even two weeks can make a difference in overall mood. Keeping an ongoing gratitude journal is a great way to turn this into a habit. Sharing with your partner what about them you feel grateful for can bring the two of you closer. Writing a note to someone you feel is deserving of your thanks can shift your focus to the positive, and a recent study revealed that note will mean more than you think to its recipient. Savoring positive experiences by being fully in the moment and practicing mindfulness cultivates gratitude.

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Healthy Habits for Thanksgiving

Healthy Habits for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special holiday where we give thanks and express our gratitude for all that we have in life. It is a time of year to gather with loved ones around the table and enjoy decadent Thanksgiving dishes such as turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pie, and other festive foods. This holiday is centered around food, and it can be easy to overeat to an unhealthy extent. While it is ok to enjoy Thanksgiving indulgences, it is important to be mindful of what and especially how you are eating. When we overload on calories, our blood sugar spikes and then drops, which results in feeling tired and sluggish. By design, our bodies crave food for energy when we are feeling fatigued. High amounts of salt, sugar and saturated fats can make us bloated and uncomfortable. All of these effects carry over into the next day, and contribute to weight gain.

Eating healthy at Thanksgiving does not at all mean opting out of your favorite foods! Private Home Health Care always encourages striving for balance, and though Thanksgiving is a day of indulgence, it is possible to find a middle ground. The key to doing Thanksgiving right is mindfulness and having a strategy. By mindfulness we mean focusing on how you are eating and celebrating the holiday. Here are some strategies for Thanksgiving:

-Do not skip breakfast. We repeat – do not skip breakfast or any meals! When you miss a meal, you are more likely to overeat later. By eating a nice, healthy breakfast with plenty of protein and fiber, blood sugar is stable, and the metabolism keeps running at a normal speed. The metabolism slows when you skip meals and does not burn calories as effectively. We recommend a plant based breakfast that is light but filling, such as oatmeal with nuts, a JuicePlus smoothie or tofu scramble.

-Stay hydrated! It can be easy to forget to drink water throughout the busy day, but it is so important for healthy digestion, energy levels, and overall well being. This is especially so when consuming alcohol, try to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. When we are dehydrated, we are more likely to overeat because the body can confuse thirst with hunger.

-Slow it down: take your time when eating. Enjoy every bite, savor the flavors and textures of a delicious Thanksgiving meal. Take small bites, chew slowly and put your fork down often. Breathe deep and let yourself relish the moment. Sip water throughout the meal. You can even wear a watch to remember to pace yourself.

-Half and two quarters rule: Aim to load up half of your plate with veggies, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with carbs. Also, no matter how hungry you are, try not to fill up on bread or appetizers!

-Bite-sized is best: With so many delicious options, it can be easy to overload your plate. For those who have eyes bigger than our stomachs, serve yourself a two-bite sized portion of everything. If you really enjoy it, have another two-bite sized serving. 

-Second (or third) is not always best: Additional helpings leads to overeating. If you are tempted, wait at least 20 minutes before refilling your plate because that is the amount of time it takes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full. 

-Walk it out: Try your best not to pass out on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner, but rather to go for a light walk. This helps with digestion, gives you a break from eating, and distracts in case you are tempted to overeat. It can be a good idea to even get two walks in on Thanksgiving day – one in the morning to give you a break from cooking and prepping, and one after.

-Tea party: With so many delicious options, it is not hard to go overboard on dessert. Make yourself a hot cup of tea right before beginning the dessert course. It can help both with pacing yourself while you indulge in pies, cookies and cakes, as well as aid with digestion. Peppermint or ginger tea are great options.

-No pressure: do not let anyone pressure you to have another serving, a bigger serving, or eat more than you are comfortable with. Some homes and cultures emphasize finishing your entire plate, but that is where mindfulness comes in – start with a two-bite serving of everything, that way no one is offended that you did not eat. Another strategy to try if there are comments made is to change the subject and politely offer to refill drinks – everyone will take you up on that. If Aunt Carol keeps insisting that you try her (questionable) hot dog jello salad, kindly say that you will try it in a little while because you are so full, after some time passes she will most likely forget. 

-Leave it for leftovers: If you really loved something but are full, save it for later. There are always plenty of Thanksgiving leftovers and they are just as tasty the day after!

-Keeping drinking: Sip water throughout the entire day, especially in the hours following the meal. Continue to hydrate the day after for healthy digestion and to keep your system fresh. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout both days, but more is better.  

-Stay smiling: You tried not to, but ended up overeating this year at Thanksgiving, and that is ok! Do not beat yourself up or feel guilty about it, this happens to everyone occasionally. Stay smiling, remember gratitude in that you were able to enjoy such a delicious feast, and move on! During the next day or two, make extra effort to hydrate, get plenty of rest, and go for light walks.

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National Epilepsy Awareness Month

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, which brings attention to a condition affecting more than 1 million in the United States. Currently this condition has no cure, and continued research is needed. That is Epilepsy Awareness Month continues to make a difference in November and all year long. Since epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological disease, it impacts everyone. The condition does not discriminate. While anyone of any age and any population develop epilepsy, it is more common in children and the elderly. Epilepsy can last from a few years to a lifetime condition. Private Home Health Care supports National Epilepsy Awareness Month because epilepsy should not be a barrier to living a high quality life.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures (or after one seizure with a high risk for more) that were not caused by some known medical condition. Seizures seen in epilepsy are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury, genetics, immune, brain structure or metabolic cause, but most of the time the cause is unknown.

Most types of epilepsy can be controlled with medication, men, and women with epilepsy work and live healthy productive lives when they maintain treatment. However, they may face discrimination due to their condition. Throughout the month, the goal is to eliminate the stigma and fear surrounding epilepsy. The National Epilepsy Foundation encourages people to start talking about epilepsy because with more voices together, a greater change can be created. The foundation also maintains that more people need to know Seizure First Aid. Knowing the three words “Stay. Safe. Side.” and what they mean can help save lives. Additionally, seizures can affect the quality of life and one third of epilepsy patients experience uncontrolled seizures. Increased awareness can support raising funds for epilepsy research which can help improve treatments and one day find a cure.

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National Seatbelt Day

November 14th 2020 was the second annual National Seat Belt Day. Most newer cars have a special seat belt safety feature – that annoying beep when you start your car that does not stop until you buckle your seatbelt or a blinking light. With one simple click of a seat belt, lives can be saved and serious injuries can be prevented. The date, Nov. 14, coincides with the 60th anniversary of Volvo’s creation of the three-point seat belt, a major safety innovation that’s been credited with saving millions of lives. The Swedish carmaker created the three-point seat-belt system in 1959 and it has since become the global standard.

Seat belts have been common in America for decades, though widespread use is a more recent occurrence. Seat belt laws vary from state to state, so be sure to be familiar with your state’s laws, as well as the laws of any state you’re visiting. According to the GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association) , reported seat belt use has skyrocketed in recent years, increasing from 58% in 1994 to 90% in 2018. Meanwhile, refusing to wear a seat belt remains incredibly dangerous, with 47% of passenger fatalities occurring to individuals not wearing seatbelt. The importance of seatbelts cannot be understated. If you are driving in a car with someone who is not wearing a seatbelt, do not be afraid to speak up, and they will thank you for reminding them. According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those ages 1-54 in the U.S, and buckling up reduces that risk by half. The bottom line is that seat belts are undeniably helpful for increasing the safety of drivers and passengers.

Here are some quick facts about the history of seat belts in America:

-In 1968, car manufacturers were required to have seat belts in new cars

-New York was the first state to require primary seat belt use in 1984-35 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have primary seat belt laws

-15 states have secondary laws for adult front seat occupants-Not wearing a seat belt is a primary or secondary offense in 49 American states

-New Hampshire is the only state where adults (18 and over) do not have to wear seat belts

Remember – you are never in too much of a rush to buckle your seat belt. Seatbelts really do save lives and prevent injury. It is also key to make sure that you are wearing your seatbelt correctly so that it will provide the highest level of protection. Seatbelts are to fit snugly – not too tight, not too loose. Fasten the buckle fully and make sure that both straps are where they should be, which is across the chest and hips. Making sure that a seatbelt is in the right place makes a difference in the efficacy and level of protection.

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Antibiotic Awareness Week

This week is World Antibiotic Awareness Week. It is an annual observance that highlights the steps everyone can take to improve antibiotic prescribing and use.

Antibiotics can save lives and are critical tools for treating a number of common and more serious infections, like those that can lead to sepsis. At least 28% of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. outpatient settings are unnecessary and each year, enough prescriptions are written in outpatient settings to give five out of every six people one antibiotic prescription.

Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.

Antibiotic resistance happens when germs, like bacteria and fungi, develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. Each year in the United States, more than 2.8 million infections from bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics occur and more than 35,000 people die as a direct result. Many more die from complications from antibiotic-resistant infections.

Though antibiotics are a safe treatment that doctors have been using for decades to fight infections and disease, it is important to be mindful of their use. When we take antibiotics, it kills the bad bacteria that is causing the infection, as well as good bacteria. We need good bacteria in our systems to keep our bodies functioning optimally. Taking probiotics while on antibiotics is a smart move because it helps balance the bacteria in the body, so that there are still good bacteria in the gut. It is also important to take antibiotics exactly as prescribed to decrease the risk of developing resistance. This means taking them for the entire length prescribed, because some patients tend to stop taking their antibiotics when they start feeling better, but the infection can come back even stronger. Foods that are high in probiotics include: yogurt, kefir, kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, and cottage cheese. Probiotics can come in many forms, as supplements and powders. Always ask your doctor for advice as to what is the healthiest choice for you!

World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.One of the key objectives of the plan is to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training.

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Pro-Pickles

Tomorrow, November 14th, is National Pickle Day! In the U.S., the first thing that comes to mind for pickled foods is, well, pickles! Dill, Kosher, Polish, Gherkin, Bread and Butter, Cornichon or any other varieties of pickles are celebrated on this day! The pickles as we know them are cucumbers that are soaked in a brine of vinegar, salt, water, and spices. The term pickle comes from the Dutch word ‘pekel’, meaning brine. In the United States, the word pickle typically refers to a pickled cucumber. However, just about any fruit or vegetable can be pickled, such as cabbage, beets, or asparagus.

Did you know that pickled foods are actually very good for you? They have natural probiotics from the fermentation process. Studies show that fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi are loaded with gut health-promoting probiotics. Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that helps keep your body healthy and working well. The main job of probiotics, or good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Think of it as keeping your body in neutral. When you are sick, bad bacteria enters your body and increases in number. This knocks your body out of balance. Good bacteria works to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body, making you feel better. Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation.

Fermentation produces probiotic bacteria as a byproduct of the process, which are beneficial for diversifying gut flora and bolstering your health in numerous ways. Research suggests that probiotics may promote clearer skin, better immune function, increased gastrointestinal health, and could even reduce depression. The fermentation process ups good bacteria while getting rid of the bad, which is why it’s so prevalent in many traditional food preparation techniques stemming from a time without refrigeration.

Who knew that pickles are much more than just a crunchy snack and favorite sandwich companion?! A whole Dill pickle contains 23% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K, which helps your blood clot and keeps your bones strong, as well as 21%-24% of the daily value for vitamin A, important for your vision, immune system, and a healthy pregnancy.

In honor of National Pickle Day, crack open a jar and get snacking for your daily dose of probiotics!

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