Physical and Mental Benefits of Being Kind

By Jessica Heintz, DO

In a world focused on getting ahead and moving faster, perhaps the solution to many problems is to simply slow down and be nice to someone – including ourselves! Kindness is a trait that everyone is capable of but far fewer demonstrate. At the same time, people stop and take notice when they see a truly kind act demonstrated by another. Described as a “habit of giving,” kindness can produce physical, social, and psychological benefits. It puts a smile on our faces while at the same time making the world a better, brighter place. Learn about the “why” and “how” of practicing kindness in our everyday lives.

 “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” 

Mr. Rogers

The physical and mental benefits of kindness are tangible. Kind actions signal our brains to release the natural chemicals of serotonin and dopamine. Essentially, these are the “feel good” hormones. When they are low, people can experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Helping increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine by practicing kindness can help lessen these feelings and create a “helper’s high”. Positive emotions can subsequently help reduce stress. Depending on the action, kindness can even encourage physical activity. Raking your neighbor’s leaves will not only make your neighbor smile, but it will also help you burn a few extra calories!

Kindness produces psychological benefits as well. Practicing kindness often provides perspective on life and distracts us from our own problems. It helps foster gratitude, empathy, and compassion in our minds and hearts. Kindness helps form a positive and supportive environment as well as bonds with others, thus reducing isolation and loneliness. For those struggling with mental health, as many of us do, this is an invaluable part of any mental health recovery journey. Finally, kindness allows us to engage in meaningful activities, and it can provide a sense of purpose and context in the world.

How can you start to develop this habit of giving in in your own life? It is easy. Start with yourself, then move on to others. We cannot give of ourselves if there is no excess to draw from. Always begin with self care and being kind to yourself. Do something you enjoy and learn to set limits in your life. Keep a gratitude journal, take a bubble bath, practice your golf game, watch the sunset, exercise, enjoy a glass of good wine, sleep in late (or at the very least, go to bed early). Then, try to be kind to others. The opportunities are endless. You can volunteer, mentor, or become involved in supporting a charitable cause. Practice random acts of kindness by holding a door for someone, buying a stranger’s coffee, or even simply making eye contact with another person and smiling as they walk by.

These sorts of actions may seem trickier to do in our current COVID world, but I challenge you to get creative. Write a letter to a friend, call a grandparent, leave snacks out for delivery drivers, or cook a meal for a neighbor in need to drop off at the door. Kindness to animals counts too – consider taking your dog for an extra walk. Remember, it is the intention behind an action that matters rather than the size of the gesture. When the world slowly emerges from COVID quarantine, refocusing on the value of connection to and interaction with our fellow man through kindness cannot be understated- even if it is from 6 feet apart! It feels good to do good. Now, go out and be kind!

Oh Baby! Celebrating Breastfeeding Month

By Nicole Vaudrin, RDN, Stephanie Olzinski, RDN and Katelyn Millinor, LPC

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding until 6 months old.”

Around 60% of mothers do not breastfeed as long as they intend to due to various factors such as issues with lactation and latching, concerns about taking medications while breastfeeding, un-supportive work policies, cultural norms, and lack of family support.

Breastfeeding can help give babies a healthy start and build their immune systems, and may protect against obesity, diabetes, ear infections, asthma, digestive issues, and more. However, breastfeeding is not always easy and mothers often need extra support. 

Tips for mother and baby that will help with both nutrition and emotional well-being.

  • Worried baby isn’t getting enough? Milk quantity is a common stressor for most moms. If you’re worried about milk supply, be sure to maintain frequent feedings throughout the day. This is also a place to review your own nutrition. Most mothers need 400-500 extra calories per day while breastfeeding to provide the needed nutrition and energy to produce milk. As you are continuing your nutrition post-partum, try to focus on including whole grains (more fiber is better!), lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, fatty fish).
  • It hurts! Soreness is to be expected at first, but breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. Two of the most common issues are latching and engorgement. Mothers may need assistance from a lactation consultant to problem solve. Lactation consultants in the hospital are very beneficial to help a mother learn how to breastfeed, identify barriers, and work to remedy those barriers. Breastfeeding is a skill that both baby and mother must learn. If pain continues to be a concern, there are local breast feeding support groups to help mothers navigate through various difficulties.
  • It’s a lot of work! The pressure to breastfeed is high for new mothers. The mention of it starts in the prenatal period and it is often discussed as if there will be little to no issues. These messages are impactful and can be stressful. Often there is guilt or shame if a mother is unable to produce milk to feed her infant or if she chooses not to breast feed or pump. A lot of time can go into pumping, storing, and producing milk.
  • Going back to work or school? Pumping can be a great option to continue providing your baby with breastmilk. However some moms may experience lack of privacy or supportive work policies, and may struggle with the time needed throughout the day to pump and store.
  • You may experience increased stress. Some stressors of breastfeeding may include irritability, pain, concerns about privacy, lacking confidence, criticism, milk supply, or feeling unsupported or trapped. There are various ways to cope with breastfeeding stressors such as taking breaks (when it is safe to do so), deep breaths, exercise, talking to someone you trust, or joining a support group. Breastfeeding is natural but it doesn’t always come naturally. Remember, fed is best.

What can you do to learn more and support breastfeeding?

Support your local La Leche League: LLL is an international non-profit that supports and advocates for breastfeeding, including establishing human milk banks. LLL also has information on everything breastfeeding including pumping, reflux, biting, and more!\

HonorHealth Centers for Breast Feeding Support:
Shea Medical Center
Call: 480-323-3638
Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center
Call: 480-882-4827

How to Celebrate Honey Bees Today by The Nutrition Experts

Honey bees are oftentimes overlooked and feared, but these lovely creatures play a crucial role in our ecosystem? Honey bees are responsible for pollinating or transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. Pollination is essential to the production of approximately 90 crops¸ including many fruits and vegetables that we eat every day.

Honey bees are the most common pollinator. About one-third of the food eaten by Americans comes from crops pollinated by honey bees, including apples, melons, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and almonds, to name just a few (1).

How to Celebrate

  • Buy local honey! Often times commercially produced honey provides cruel treatment to the bees, like clipping the queen’s wings and taking too much of their honey that they need for food.
  • Flavors of honey vary depending on the variety of flowers and nectar available to the bees. Wildflower, clover, alfalfa, lavender, orange, and chestnut are just a few to choose from. 
  • Use honey in cooking, baking, making hot beverages, and more! Find some great recipes to use or substitute honey.
  • Collect and spread local wildflower seeds in your yard/garden to help promote honey bee pollination.
  • Replace your usual sweetener with local honey. Not only are you supporting your community by buying local, but you’re supporting reaping all the benefits honey has to offer which is much better than consumer processed sugars.
  • Give the gift of honey by purchasing jars from your local honey business and add a cute ribbon and card to them. Maybe even use them in a gift basket and give to neighbors, family and friends.

Alternative to Honey

If unable to find honey from a local famer or famers market, choosing options such as maple syrup or agave are great alternatives. Remember to be mindful of using all of these as they may have added sugars and could have an impact on your blood sugar.

Infants and honey. Honey may contain small amounts of botulism, a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, that may affect infants under 1 year of age. It’s best to not give infants honey or even any processed products, like crackers or cereal, made with honey.

Be Kind to Humankind: The Benefits of Kindness

By Katelyn Millinor, LPC

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Mark Twain

Have you ever had a stranger pay for your coffee or hold the door for you? Experiencing an act of kindness can bring a smile to your face and improve your mood. Being kind can be shown as a supportive smile, a helpful hand, or heartfelt words. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle these gestures can be increasingly meaningful. It benefits both the giver and the receiver.

Being kind to others is known to have lasting effects on our mental and physical health. Kindness lights up the pleasure center of the brain and releases serotonin and oxytocin. The release of the hormone oxytocin is associated with decreasing blood pressure and reducing inflammation. This is why kindness feels good. Further, it is valued across cultures and religions, and is an innate part of our being.

Benefits of kindness include:

  • Improve relationships with others.
  • Increase overall happiness.
  • Improve feelings of self-worth or self-esteem.
  • Decrease anxiety and depression.
  • Reduce stress.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of kindness is developing connections. The more we connect with others the greater empathy and understanding we display. Go ahead—do that volunteer activity or smile at a stranger. If you are looking for ideas of ways to share random acts of kindness with others, check out these 50 fun ideas.

Some you can try today include:

  • Smile at 5 strangers
  • Send a gratitude email to a deserving coworker
  • Tell a manager how wonderful their employee was at helping you
  • Compliment 3 people you meet today
  • Send a positive text message to people in your life

Be kind to Humankind.

Talk with someone on NOAH’s behavioral health team to discuss any questions or challenges you or a loved one has with moods, emotions, and so much more.

Food Safety Tips by Nicole Vaudrin, RDN

Whether you have a healthy, balanced diet or not, food can make you sick! Foodborne illness is estimated to affect 48 million or 1 in 6 Americans each year. Below are tips to help you and your family prepare and store foods safely.

  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before preparing food or eating and after every time you touch your face.
  • Wash your produce. Gently wash produce in running water before peeling or cutting, so dirt and germs aren’t transferred from the knife into the fruit or vegetable. This includes winter squash and melons, which are often left unwashed before slicing.
  • Organize your refrigerator. Keep raw meat separate from other foods, preferably on the bottom shelf to avoid cross-contamination, particularly with already prepared foods or those eaten raw.
  • Defrost foods properly. See the USDA Safe Defrosting Methods tip sheet.
  • Cook foods thoroughly. Cook foods to the recommended internal temperature, including leftovers. An inexpensive meat thermometer is an important kitchen tool.
  • Store foods properly. Refrigerate cooked and perishable foods within 2 hours.

For more information, visit

healthy snacks

Back-to-School Healthy Eating Tips

Back to school is upon us and that means it’s time to get back into the routine of classes, homework, and snack time. Snacks can be a simple way to add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins throughout the day. Here are some tips for making healthy eating quick and easy.

Vegetables can easily be eaten raw with or without a topping/dip (salad dressing, bean dips, nut butters, salsa, guacamole). You can choose to cut your own (cheaper) or buy pre-cut, based on your budget and schedule.

  • Broccoli trees
  • Baby carrots
  • Celery sticks – add some nut butter
  • Cucumber slices
  • Jicama sticks
  • Peppers – red, green, or yellow
  • Snap peas
  • Snow peas
  • String beans
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchini slices

Fruits are a sweet treat without any added sugars. If you are choosing canned options, look for fruit that is labeled as in its own juice, if that is not available, try a fruit in light syrup instead of heavy syrup and rinse the fruit before eating.

  •  Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes – red, green, or purple
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines

Don’t forget whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins! After you check out the produce section for what is available, take a look at the inner aisles of the supermarket for these options:

  • Applesauce (unsweetened)
  • Canned fruit (in 100% juice or water)
  • Dried fruit
  • Frozen fruit (check the label to be sure there is just fruit and no added sugar in the bag)
  • Whole wheat English muffins, pita, or tortillas
  • Breakfast cereals – choose whole grain, low-sugar options
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Baked tortilla chips
  • Nuts or nut butter
  • Unsweetened yogurt
  • Cheese cubes or slices
  • Cottage cheese
  • Hummus
  • Roasted chickpeas

If you need additional help with meal planning, shopping on a budget, or have general nutrition questions, call 480-882-4545 to schedule an appointment with your registered dietitian.

No More Bad Breath by Jane Roots, RDH

Do you suffer from bad breath? Well, if so, you’re not alone. Every morning most people wake up with the dreaded “Morning Breath” or “Bad Breath” but for some bad breath is an everyday, all day reality.
Halitosis is chronic bad breath. It shows up every day. It’s the breath that makes you embarrassed to whisper secrets in someone’s ear and the breath that makes you avoid kisses at all cost. Typical fixes like mints, mouth sprays or mouth wash will not get rid of chronic bad breath.

“As many as 1 in 4 people have bad breath. It is one of the most common reason why people go to the dentist.”

Jane Roots, RDH

There are several reasons why some people have daily bad breath. To prevent bad breath the key factor is to determine the root cause.

Here’s a check list of things you need to know about the prevention of bad breath:

  1. Brush two times a day and floss every night – You need to brush your teeth two times a day and floss every night. Proper brushing means spending at least 2 minutes brushing all sides of your teeth, for example the fronts, backs and tops, which helps to get rid of food particles and the bacterial film (also known as dental plaque or tooth plaque) that forms on our teeth. Don’t forget about flossing. It’s very important to floss your teeth every night before you go to bed. Food particles get caught in between your teeth and if these food articles are not removed, it can buildup and form a substance call calculus or tartar which causes the gums to swell up and bleed. This can cause bad breath. You should also brush your tongue. The tongue has tiny hair like filaments that can trap food particles and bacteria and therefore not brushing your tongue can contribute to bad breath.
  2. Visit your dentist and or hygienist at least every 6 months – You should visit your dentist/ hygienist for routine cleaning and checkups every six months. The dentist/hygienist can clean your teeth by removing plaque and calculus buildup and can detect problems such as any abnormalities in and around the mouth, gum disease and cavities. Cavities are not the cause of bad breath, it is the bacteria that gets stuck in the decayed pockets of the teeth that make it difficult to keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh.
  3. Dry mouth – Keeping your mouth moist is important for fresh breath. A healthy saliva flow is one of the best defenses against bad breath. It helps to keep the mouth clean. Be sure to drink plenty of water and consult with your doctor about any contributing factors for dry mouth, such as taking certain medications and any underlying health conditions.
  4. Smoking – Smoking is also a contributing factor to bad breath and can increase your risk for gum disease. Please ask your doctor for ways to help you quit.
  5. Systemic issues – Eating healthy foods are key to a good digestive system. A bad digestive system can cause bad breath. In fact, your bad breath could stem from your gut, better known as your gastrointestinal system. Acid reflux otherwise known as heartburn is a related cause for bad breath. People who are diabetic, have liver or kidney conditions or gastrointestinal disorders should see their physician, urologist or gastroenterologist for insight on how bad breath can be reduced regarding these systemic diseases.
  6. Other Factors – Other factors that can contribute to bad breath are the use of dentures or oral appliances. Follow your dentist’s/hygienist’s recommendations for cleaning your appliances daily to prevent bad breath.

Seeing your dentist/ hygienist for routine exams and cleanings every six months can ensure that your mouth stays healthy. A professional cleaning can remove bacteria and food that your toothbrush or even flossing may miss. Your dental professional will also check for decay that may harbor bacteria. If they do detect any cavities, they can fill them to stop the cavities from getting worse. While cavities do not directly cause bad breath, you can prevent both bad breath and cavities by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist and hygienist regularly.