Thursday, June 28, 2018

Maintain a Healthy Weight

It is important to look for savory substitutes to help against obesity and the problems that come with it.  Traditionally, nutritious snacks couldn’t compare to junk food when someone had a sweet tooth or craving.  However, eating fruits and veggies can be just as satisfying for everyone looking to maintain a healthy weight.
Here are six ways eating fruits and vegetables can help keep your weight in shape:
  1. Most fruits and veggies have low amounts of calories compared to the same volume of other foods.  This means you can snack on these healthy foods throughout the day without overindulging.
  2. Fruits and veggies consist of large water and fiber quantities.  Eating foods with these qualities will keep you full and delay hunger.  End those constant cravings with these healthy alternatives.
  3. Raw or steamed veggies are chewy and require a bit more work to get down.  This is a good thing.  Slowing down the pace of eating limits the amount of overall food intake.  Take your time and enjoy the moment as you munch.
  4. Remember, fruits and veggies are not high in fat or sugar.  You can replace the usual chips or candies with healthy snacks that won’t lead to future health problems.
  5. Cookies and candy can calm a sweet tooth craving, but fruits do the job even better.  Fruit can be a new sweet treat that features healthy qualities, too. 
  6. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can provide the energy you need to exercise and perform daily tasks. These foods are packed with the different kinds of vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy diet.   

Summertime Family Fun

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside with your family for some fun and physical activity in the sun. Experts recommend adults participate in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day for five days a week. Children and teens should get at least an hour of moderate to vigorous activity each day.

Are you out of ideas on how you can motivate your family to get moving? Grab the sunscreen and some water to keep everyone hydrated and check out these suggestions for summer adventures your whole family will love! 
  1. Plan a hike, bicycle ride, canoe trip or walk to check out the sights and sounds of nature. Search to browse trails by the outdoor activity you love and find a path near you. 
  2. Going to the beach? Make sure to include a family walk or jog across the sand. Don’t forget to bring a Frisbee for a quick game in between dips in the ocean.
  3. Enjoy amusement and water parks? Along with being fun for all ages, these parks get everyone on their feet and moving throughout the day.
  4. Sign the family up for memberships at the local “Y” or health club, especially one with a pool.
  5. Create a summer walk or jogging challenge with your family to cover the distance across your state or to a favorite destination. Make sure everyone keeps track of their steps each day and post the progress for motivation. (Remember, 2,000 steps equal one mile.)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Stand Up and Burn Calories!

Did you know that sitting at your desk all day can be just as bad for your health as smoking? According to Harvard Medical School, even if you exercise regularly, a desk job minimizes the health benefits of your workouts.

Compared to sitting, standing burns slightly more calories — about 0.15 calories per minute. But that tiny difference adds up: a person who weighs 143 pounds could burn an extra 54 calories per day by standing instead of sitting for six hours, as researchers report in the Jan. 1, 2018, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Assuming that person kept eating the same number of calories per day, that translates to 5.5 pounds of weight loss after one year. The estimate comes from data pooled from 46 different studies.
A separate study of more than 2,600 people ages 60 and older looked at how sedentary habits affect heart disease risk. Participants reported how long they sat (on one weekday and one weekend day) at the start of the study and again two years later. The follow-up lasted an average of just over nine years. Researchers found that older adults who sat for an average of just under about three hours a day were 33% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than people who sat for an average of about seven hours a day. The study was published in the March 2018 American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Men and Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. While both men and women suffer from depression, their willingness to talk about their feelings may be very different. Research shows that men are less likely than women to recognize, talk about, and seek treatment for depression. More than 6 million men in the U.S. suffer from depression each year. 
Traditional signs of depression (sadness, worthlessness, excessive guilt) may not represent a man’s bout with depression. Instead, men may express their depression through increased fatigue, irritability and anger, loss of interest in work or hobbies, and sleep disturbances. The three most commonly overlooked signs of depression in men are:
Physical pain. Sometimes depression in men shows up as physical symptoms—such as backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, or digestive disorders—that don’t respond to normal treatment.
Anger. This could range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism, or a loss of your sense of humor to road rage, a short temper, or even violence. Some men become abusive or controlling.
Reckless behavior. A man suffering from depression may exhibit escapist or risky behavior such as pursuing dangerous sports or driving recklessly. They may also drink too much, abuse drugs, or gamble compulsively.

The most important thing to know about depression is that you don’t have to tough it out on your own. There are treatment options that offer healthy coping skills that may include:
Goals. Set realistic goals and prioritize tasks.
Support. Seek out emotional support from a partner or family or friends.
Coping. Learn ways to manage stress, such as meditation and mindfulness, and develop problem-solving skills.
Decisions. Delay making important decisions, such as changing jobs, until your depression symptoms improve.
Activities. Engage in activities you enjoy, such as ball games, fishing or a hobby.
Health. Live a healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating and regular physical activity, to help promote better mental health.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Watermelon, Blueberry, and Mint Fruit Salad

Want a light and colorful treat your family will love? Enjoy the fruit of the season with a fresh watermelon, blueberry, and mint fruit salad. Makes 6 one cup servings.

  • 4 cups diced watermelon
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lime juice and mint. Pour over watermelon and blueberries and gently toss to coat fruit. Serve chilled.

Nutritional Information
Calories 103
Total Fat 0.3g
Sodium 3mg
Carbohydrates 26.9g

Eat Right, Affordably!

When money is tight and time is short, it may seem difficult to maintain a healthy diet. But mealtime doesn’t have to be costly, complicated, or unhealthy – eating right can be affordable, convenient and nutritious with a small amount of advanced planning. Simple concepts like portion control, choosing frozen or canned produce, and safely handling and storing leftovers can stretch any food budget. As food prices continue to rise, shoppers are challenged to find more economical ways to buy groceries and prepare healthy meals.

Here are 10 tips for stretching your food dollar.

Plan Menus and Make a List
A sure way to overspend is by wandering aimlessly through the aisles and tossing whatever looks good in your cart. Instead, plan a menu and write a shopping list that corresponds to the store aisles.

Use Coupons and Rewards Cards
Did you know the Sunday inserts in your local paper have anywhere from $50 to $75 worth of coupons in them? Clipping coupons or printing them from websites can save you 10-15% on your grocery bill. Also consider joining your supermarket’s shopper’s club. Not only will you enjoy price specials, but you may receive additional coupons for items you regularly purchase at check-out or by email.

Buy Store Brand
The Food Marketing Institute reports 60 percent of shoppers say they are economizing by buying store brand products. These private label brands are often 15 to 20 percent less expensive than their national brand counterparts.

Buy on Sale and In Bulk
Cruising the aisle for sales on products you use regularly is a great way to save money. However, buy larger quantities only if you have proper storage space and will use the food before it spoils.

Compare Unit Price
Use the “unit price” (price per pound, ounce or pint) to compare national brands with store brands, or bulk and economy-sizes with single-serve or regular-size packages. Many stores show the unit price on the shelf tag.

Read Food Labels
Compare nutrients using the % Daily Value in the Nutrition Facts panel. Five percent or less is low – try to aim low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Twenty percent or more is high – try to aim high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Shop the Perimeter
Fresh produce, meats, dairy and breads tend to be on the outer perimeter of supermarkets, so start there before hitting the inner aisles for other necessities.

Shop Seasonally
Fresh produce often costs less when it’s in season. Visit a local farmer’s market or join a produce club to take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables. For produce not in season, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables with little or no added salt or sugar are a nutritious option.

Keep Foods Safe and Prevent Food Waste
Use dating information (“sell by” and “best used by”) to help select the freshest foods at the market. Put cold and frozen foods in your shopping cart last and store them right away in the refrigerator and freezer. Once you’re home, store foods so those with the oldest “sell by” dates will be used first.

Pay Attention at the Check-Out
Make sure prices ring up as advertised or as indicated on the shelf label, especially for sale items. Some stores will even give you the item free if they make a mistake on the price.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Easing the Pain

Pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints are all symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic inflammatory disorder that can also affect other body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.

Staying active can help relieve the symptoms of RA by strengthening your joints, improving your range of motion, and giving you the opportunity to take part in the activities you enjoy.

It’s best to take a cautious and strategic approach when starting an exercise program. Harvard Medical School suggests an individualized program — ideally developed with the help of a physical therapist — to help you protect vulnerable joints while strengthening surrounding muscles.

Aerobic conditioning. Exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing rate has many benefits, including lowering your chances of developing conditions such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. It's especially important for people with rheumatoid arthritis because they are more prone to developing heart disease than people without RA. When choosing aerobic activities, people with rheumatoid arthritis should consider low-impact exercises such as swimming, bicycle riding, and walking.

Resistance training. Weak muscles, whether due to inactivity or to the side effects of medications like steroids, can diminish your stamina and leave joints less stable. Isometric exercises — exercises that involve muscle contractions with no movement, such as clasping your hands and pressing your arms together — can be a great way to start resistance training. When pain is under control, free weights or weight machines are good options for building muscle and increasing strength.

Stretching and flexibility exercises. Joints damaged by rheumatoid arthritis don't move with the same ease or to the same degree (also called range of motion) as healthy joints. That makes activities that lengthen and strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints, such as stretching exercises, tai chi, and yoga, especially important for people with RA.

Balance exercises. Having rheumatoid arthritis can cause problems with gait and balance, leaving you more vulnerable to stumbles and falls. A physical therapist can recommend individualized balance-training exercises. These may include practicing standing on one leg or exercises to strengthen core muscles.

Source: Harvard Medical School

Managing Medications

Prescribed medications come in several forms and are taken in different ways. Even though they are meant to improve health, taking medicat...