Gray background with two pink hearts side by side

February is not only the shortest month of the year but is also considered the month of love by many. Whether you express that love by fostering relationships with family and friends or focusing on self-care, being kind to yourself and others has far-reaching benefits.

Prevent falls, eat less salt image, person salting driveway, person shoveling snow, people walking in snow boots on ice, citrus fruit and apple cider, healthy holiday meal with asparagus

Winter signals the changing of yet another season. As the temperatures drop and snow blankets the landscape, snow and cold weather lovers embrace all that winter has to offer. Whether you love winter or find yourself longing for the warm summer sun, one thing is for certain, we must all pay close attention to our health and the needs of our bodies, especially as we head outdoors.

Image of chalkboard with the word Diabetes. Surrounding the chalkboard are the items: dumbbell, stethoscope, scale, medication, fruit, oatmeal, diabetic measuring device

More than 37 million people in the United States have diabetes. If we put that number into a more understandable figure, just over 1 in 10 individuals have diabetes. If you find that statistic surprising, then learning that more than 1 in 3 U.S. adults have prediabetes may leave you shocked! I know it shocked me. However, what really surprised me is more than 80% of those with prediabetes do not realize they have it.

Image of family eating together and image of heart healthy foods, fruit, whole grain foods, oatmeal, waffles. Image of building wooden blocks with wellness images of blood, stethoscope, first aid, bandage. University of Illinois Extension branding and logo

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Most of us know someone who has been touched, in some way, by heart disease. Sound a bit scary? It doesn’t have to be because heart disease can often be prevented by adopting simple lifestyle changes. First, we have to understand what puts a person at risk for developing heart disease.

"Diet and skincare tips for a healthy microbiome" with images of little microbes and a magnifying glass.

Winter can be a shock to the system. Yes, it’s true, some of us live for the frigid temperatures and the snow and ice outside. But for the rest of us, we’d rather hunker down and wait for the Spring thaw. Whichever you prefer, though, the dramatic shift outdoors can have an impact on your body, including the micro-environments that your countless friendly microbes call home. That’s right, we’re talking about your microbiome(s).

A bunch of citrus fruit cut in half

Avoiding illness has been on our minds lately, especially over the last 18 months. A healthy immune system helps protect us from becoming ill, but the question is: Can we strengthen our own immune system? The short answer is yes. However, it’s important to note that no single food or healthy lifestyle behavior can prevent illness. Rather you can only support your immune system by engaging in a variety of healthy lifestyle behaviors.

How our immune system works

person eating apple

Extension educator Kristin Bogdonas says mindfulness is usually associated with meditation and stress relief, but it can also be a powerful tool when choosing what we eat, how we're eating, and how our choices affect our health. She suggests we take a closer look at how we can apply mindfulness to our everyday eating behaviors.