Tip of the Month
Is it really worth taking the time out of your busy day to go exercise?
At some point in your life you have probably heard that exercise is good for you, but is it necessary? Researchers are continuing to discover the importance of exercise in a person’s daily life. Take a look at some of the benefits of exercise and decide for yourself if exercise is worth it.
According to an article in Harvard Health Letter, exercise is not only good for you, exercise is considered to be a necessary daily medicine. According to research, “exercise is often as effective as drugs at preventing death from the most common killer diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” Harvard scientist have found that exercise stimulates your muscles to release a natural substance that will relax blood vessel walls, decrease blood pressure, move glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells, lower insulin levels, decrease LDL cholesterol, and decrease inflammation. Dr. I-Min Lee, a Harvard Medical School professor suggest that exercise is just as important as wearing a seat belt or brushing your teeth. (Exercise)
In addition to being one of the best forms of medicine, exercise also boosts your brain. The British Journal of Sports Medicine found that aerobic activity increased the size of the hippocampus, a part of the inner brain involved in memory storage. Research from this study says, “The hippocampus is sensitive to aging effects and significant hippocampus atrophy is a hallmark of [Alzheimer’s disease]. Thus, understanding the effect of exercise on the hippocampus will increase our appreciation of the role exercise may play in dementia prevention.” (Aerobic)
Preventing disease and increasing your brain function are two great reasons to exercise. Another reason you might find exercise important in your daily life is to improve your mood. Daily stresses can really take a toll on a person mood. Dr. Miller suggest, “Exercise is healthful right down to the cellular level. It improves circulation and nerve function, it helps to regulate mood, and it makes you feel better about yourself.” (Fast)
If you have decided that exercise is worth the time, Dr. Lee gives the following prescription: “Aim for half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week. If that seems daunting, start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount you exercise by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goals. (Exercise)
"Is Exercise Really Medicine?" Harvard Health Letter 39.10 (2014): 1+. Print.
"Aerobic Activity Helps Build Bigger Brains." Health & Nutrition Letter 32.6 (2014): 1+. Print.”
"4 Fast Mood Boosters." Harvard Health Letter 39.8 (2014): 3. Print.
Do you find it difficult to get enough vegetables in your diet? Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals along with fiber and are a crucial part of the daily diet but are often the hardest to include. Whether you are a veggie lover or a veggie hater, here are some tips to get more veggies onto your dinner table.
Add veggies you like to dishes you love. Throw some veggies into your favorite pasta dish or try adding them to an omelet. As you get use to the flavor you can always start increasing the amount of veggies.
Double the Veggies. Most recipes call for a certain number of vegetables. Salads, soups, pastas and sandwiches’ will all still taste great with the extra dose of veggies and you will be getting double the health benefits.
Try something new. Trying new things, especially vegetables can be scary. Decide for yourself what works for you. Whether it’s once a month or once a week. Make an effort to try a new vegetable or a new vegetable packed recipe. Trying new veggies can help expand your taste buds and get more vegetables onto your table.
Sneak some veggies into a smoothie. A smoothie can be a quick and easy way to load up on vegetables. Pare your vegetables with fruit and some low-fat milk, fruit juice, soy or almond milk and blend. In just a few minutes you can have a healthy breakfast or snack. Try blending: Spinach, kale, carrots or cucumbers.
Plan on one salad a day. Make it a part of your daily meal plan to have at least one salad a day. This can be at lunch, dinner or even breakfast. Just make it happen. Starting a meal with a salad will help you get an extra dose of veggies and you will likely eat fewer calories.
Buy veggies pre-prepped. Sometimes there just isn’t time to prep your fresh veggies. If time is what is holding you back from eating more vegetables then try buying them prepackaged. Buy them pre-chopped, pre-peeled or a premade salad. Also, keep frozen vegetables on hand. This is another quick and easy way to get some veggies on your dinner table.
Fry, Sidney, MS. RD. "12 Ways to Eat More Vegetables and Fruit." Cooking Light. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
Magee, Elaine, MPH, RD. "Eat Your Vegetables: 15 Tips for Veggie Haters."WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.
During the Fall 2014 Employee Wellness Health Assessment the data indicated a significant elevation of high blood pressure (HBP). Uncontrolled HBP is something that is important to address, although HBP has no apparent symptoms, the consequences can be significant. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Know your numbers!
Normal BP: 119/79 or lower
Prehypertension: 120/80 to 139/89
High BP (Hypertension): 140/90 or higher
Ways to control your blood pressure:
- Eat a better diet, which may include reducing salt - Eat a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and avoid saturated fat and cholesterol. can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.
- Enjoy regular physical activity. At least 30 to 60 minutes a day can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). If you haven't been active, increasing your exercise level can lower your blood pressure within just a few weeks.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure.
- Manage stress. Stress or anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure. Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed. Once you know what's causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.
- Avoid tobacco smoke On top of all the other dangers of smoking, the nicotine in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure by 10 mm Hg or more for up to an hour after you smoke. Smoking throughout the day means your blood pressure may remain constantly high.
- Comply with medication prescriptions. It is important to follow your doctor’s orders and take any medication prescribed to you while working to lower blood pressure and eventually come off of medication with a doctor’s order.
- If you drink, limit alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications.
- Be cautious with caffeine. Drinking caffeinated beverages can temporarily cause a spike in your blood pressure, but it's unclear whether the effect is temporary or long lasting. To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage you regularly drink. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure-raising effects of caffeine.
Possible health consequences that can happen over time when high blood pressure is left untreated include:
- Damage to the heart and coronary arteries, including heart attack, heart disease, congestive heart failure, aortic dissection and atherosclerosis (fatty buildups in the arteries that cause them to harden)
- Kidney damage
- Vision loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Memory loss
- Fluid in the lungs
- Peripheral artery disease
*Use this risk calculator to learn your likelihood of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease.
"High Blood Pressure or Hypertension." High Blood Pressure or Hypertension. American Heart Association, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
"High Blood Pressure (hypertension)." 10 Ways to Control High Blood Pressure without Medication. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2014.
Personal debt has become normal for most Americans. But, it does not have to be normal
for you. If you have a desire to avoid debt or get out of debt and stay out of debt
here are some simple things you can do. With Christmas coming and spending at its
peak, be sure to be extra cautious about your spending if getting out of debt it your
1. Know the difference between good and bad debt. CNN Money explains the difference. “Good debt includes anything you need but can't afford to pay for up front without wiping out cash reserves or liquidating all your investments. In cases where debt makes sense, only take loans for which you can afford the monthly payments. Bad debt includes debt you've taken on for things you don't need and can't afford. The worst form of debt is credit-card debt, since it usually carries the highest interest rates.”
2. Put some thought into your spending.
Without realizing it, people spend thousands of dollars on things they don’t even need. Sit down and take a good look at where all your money is going. Make a list of everything you can cut out of your monthly spending. If you can’t cut something out completely ask yourself if there a way you can reduce the amount you are spending. Look at what will work for you and how you personally can consolidate your spending.
3. Pay down those high-interest credit cards first.
High-interest credit cards take priority. Until you can get a handle on these credit cards pay the minimum on your other credit cards. Take all the extra money that you have coming in from the items you cut out in tip number two and put it towards these cards. If you have any extra money coming in, put it towards these cards. After you pay off the highest, move to the next highest and so on.
4. Realize that paying the minimum isn’t getting you anywhere.
If you are only paying the minimum on your credit card and nothing down on the principal it will take you years to pay off your card. In addition to this, it is likely that you will pay thousands more than the original amount.
5. Be prepared.
Have a solid emergency savings fund that can cover three to six months of living expenses. When life happens, be prepared to handle the situation without having to create more debt.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Money management can be a difficult task. If you are in over your head don’t be afraid to find a reputable debt counselor that can help you get a handle on your finances.
"Controlling Your Personal Debt." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.
"Good Debt vs. Bad Debt." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.
A high calorie food that is HEALTHY!
Nuts may be high in calories, ranging from 160-204 calories per ounce, but they are packed with healthy unsaturated fats, proteins, fiber and vitamin E.
Study’s show that people who regularly eat nuts are less likely to die from heart disease, cancer and lung disease.
According to Health and Nutrition Letter, “Previous studies have linked nut consumption to improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure and blood-sugar control, among other benefits that might underlie the mortality findings.”
Looking for a mid-afternoon snack? A handful of nuts will be the perfect option. Nuts will be very satiating so you will tend to eat less than other less-nutritious options such as chips and cookies.
Nuts are a great food to always keep on hand. But keep in mind that because of their high fat content nuts can quickly go bad. To keep them fresh, store nuts in an airtight container in your refrigerator or a sealed plastic bag in your freezer.
Learn more about how to choose the healthiest nuts.
J, Gerald, and Dorothy R. "Daily Handful of Nuts Linked to Lower Mortality Risk." Health and Nutrition Letter 32.1 (2014): 1+. Print
Eat more onions!
Onions are bursting with flavor and nutrition. Adding onions to your meal not only can add a delightful taste but it can add powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. In addition, onions are also high in Vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber.
If your onion makes you cry this could be a good thing! According to the Health and Nutrition Letter, “Research at the University of Wisconsin has shown that the more pungent onions—highest in sulfur compounds—exhibit anti-platelet activity.” This means that onions could decrease your risk of atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attacks by improving blood thinning and preventing platelet aggregation.
Those with diabetes can benefit from the chromium found in onions. Chromium has a beneficial role in the regulation of insulin action.
Onions also can benefit the gastrointestinal tract by preventing gastric ulcers!
Find out more health benefits and tips on eating onions at ALL ABOUT ONIONS!
"Know Your Onions: Peeling Powerful Nutrition Benefits." Health and Nutrition Letter (2014): 6. Web.
WEIGHT WATCHERS NEWSLETTER
With spring just days away, it's time to start powering up for the warmer weather. In this issue we've included powerful strategies and recipes that will help you start off the season with new strength and resolve.
Our lead article, Power Up with Nutritional Powerhouses, provides you with a list of delicious, high-nutrition foods along with creative and easy ways to make the most of them. Then, in Danger Zones, you'll learn why it's so important to make your environment as plan-friendly as your food.
Now that spring is around the corner, why not get the whole family involved in exercise? In The Power of Play, you'll discover fun ways to create active routines that everyone can enjoy.
And finally, a recipe that's the perfect accompaniment for burgers, chicken, fish - even brunch. These Roasted Fingerling Potatoes take just minutes to prep, cook up in half an hour, and deliver a PointsPlus® value per serving of only 2!
Laura Clifford-Myers ~ Corporate Account Manager
Weight Watchers Health Solutions for the Workplace
Smile For Your Health!
"One of the things i have enjoyed ever since I was a teenager was looking at the faces of people and observing their expressions. It's always neat to see a smile or some expression that reflects a pleasant disposition. Not so sweet is the look of anger or an expression of discontent. The facial expression says a lot about the inner health of an individual, revealing his or her outlook, mind-set, and attitude. We often limit our understanding of health to our physical well-being. However, our emotional health factors in as most significant element of our overall health condition. While it is true that physical pain may make it difficult for someone to maintain a constant simile on their face, the choice to be pleasant or happy can radically impact one's physical health. Medical science has clearly demonstrated that the mind can have a powerful effect on the physical condition of an individual. Just as deliberate choices of our diet will affect the physical state of the body, so deliberate choices of thought will affect one's emotional state of being. Notice this inspired commentary on the subject. 'It is the duty of everyone to cultivate cheerfulness instead of brooding over sorrow and troubles. Many not only make themselves wretched in this way, but they sacrifice health and happiness to a morbid imagination. There are things in their surroundings that are not agreeable, and their countenances wear a continual frown that, more plainly than words, expresses discontent. These depressing emotions are a great injury to them healthwise...but cheerfulness and hope, while they brighten the pathway of others, "are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh,"' (The Adventist Home, p. 430). There is a soothing, and yes, healing quality to a smile! Not just for the one who smiles, but for everyone who is a recipient of that smile. 'One smile of pleasure, one peaceful, approving word spoken in the spirit of meekness, would be a power to soothe, to comfort, and to bless,' (Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 348). All of us much more prefer being in the company of someone who carries a cheerful disposition rather than one who is grumpy and can seemingly never find a good in anything. So for health's sake, smile! It is good medicine for you, and for those, around you!"
-Stephen Orian, President Southwestern Union
Article: "Smile For Your Health!" Record August 2013 Issue
Effects of Alcohol, Sleep, and TV Watching
"A meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Chapman et al. 2012) looked at the impact of certain lifestyle choices--television viewing, sleep deprivation and alcohol intake--on food intake. The analysis included only studies conducted in controlled laboratories with healthy people. Of these three lifestyle factors, alcohol had the largest, most significant effect, followed by sleep deprivation and then television viewing. 'This study provides support for other studies that show the importance of lifestyle, not just calories, to weight,' says Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, CSSD, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. Encouraging people to be more mindful abut their food and beverages choices when they're watching television, if they're suffering from sleep deprivation, and after they consume alcohol may have an impact on total calories consumed during those times--which may in turn affect weight and overall health. Diekman recommends the following: 'Consider what and when you eat, develop healthier options for TV snacking. Find ways to insert sleep into your schedule, so that it's a part of what you do and the lack of sleep doesn't trigger overeating. A daily schedule can ensure steps--downtime, activity time and a plan for eating--that help you avoid mindless eating.'"
Article: "Effects of Alcohol, Sleep, and TV Watching" Idea Food November-December 2015 Issue
Should You Rethink High Blood Pressure Treatment?
"Initial results of a large national clinical trial suggest that being more aggressive in treating high blood pressure may save lives. Results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) aren't yet published, so we don't know all of the details. But from information released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in September, it appears that aiming for a systolic (top) blood pressure reading of less than 120 mm Hg may reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure by almost a third, and reduce the overall death rest by 25%. Researchers came to this conclusion after the following more than 9,000 middle-aged and older adults with high blood pressure for several years. Half of the participants took an average of two medications and set a target systolic blood pressure of less than 140 mm Hg, the current recommended number. The other half took an average of three medications and aimed for a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg. The results in the lower-target group were so impressive that NIH stopped the study early to share the news. Does this mean you should add more pills to your blood pressure treatment? 'Not necessarily, because there may be more drug side effects. But if you're aiming for a lower number, I think it will be critical to rely on lifestyle modification, such as stress reduction, diet, salt restriction, and exercise, in addition to medication to lower blood pressure,' says Dr. Randall Zusman, a cardiologist and Harvard Medical School associate professor."
Article: "Should You Rethink High Blood Pressure Treatment?" Harvard Health Letter Volume 41 December 2015 Issue
Whether you send an old-school greeting card, a photo card, or a year-end recap letter, you want to leave your recipient with a warm-and-fuzzy parting few words with your signature, but what?
Here are a few:
- "Hoping you're surrounded by love and warmth this holiday season."
- "Wishing you health, comfort, and richness this holiday season."
- "May your home be filled with the joy of family and friends this holiday season."
- "Hope the holidays bring you many reasons to smile."
- "Wishing you good times, good cheer, and a Happy New Year!"
- "May the peace and beauty of the season remain with you throughout the coming year."
Article: "Signing Off On Your Holiday Cards Without Stressing Out" Hope Health Letter Volume 53 December 2015 Issue
Every New Year we all make one or more New Years Resolution. The most common resolutions are usually working out more, eating healthier, or something else along those lines. Resolutions are great, but staying motivated long enough to complete a resolution can be hard. Here's a fun fact that might motivate one to fulfill that resolution to exercise more.
According to "Rx for Combating Chronic Conditions: Exercise", an article from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter, exercise can reduce the risk of mortality from heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. The study found that the benefits of exercise matched the same effect that prescription medicine had on patients. In other words, patients who suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and stroke that exercised had the same odds of surviving as those who were not exercising but only taking medication. So stay determined, and keep your exercise resolution, because it could very well save your life.
Article: Health & Nutrition Letter: Rx for Combating Chronic Conditions:Exercise: Tufts University, 2014. Print.
Controlling Blood Pressure
February is a happy month because love is in the air however, it is also a month of temptation due to the sugary valentine treats. So if you have trouble controlling your blood pressure here are some tips.
According to "Key minerals to help control blood pressure", from Harvard Health Letter, "a healthy balanced diet plays a major role in blood pressure control". So try not to eat many valentine sweets. The article also states, "you should consume some specific minerals on a regular basis for good blood pressure management: calcium, magnesium, and potassium".
Potassium - Normal body levels of potassium are important for muscle function, conduction of electrical signals in the nervous system and heart. Potassium is found in foods such as prunes, apricots, sweet potatoes, bananas, and lima beans.
Magnesium - Magnesium helps blood vessels relax, energy production, bone development, and transports calcium and potassium. Magnesium can be found in foods such as dark leafy green vegetables, unrefined grains, and legumes.
Calcium - Calcium helps blood vessels tighten and relax when they need to. It is crucial for healthy bones and the release of hormones and enzymes we need for body function. Calcium can be found in dairy products, fish with bones, and dark leafy green vegetables.
Article: Harvard Health Letter: Key minerals to help control blood pressure: Harvard Medical School, 2014. Print.
Everyone loves eating out, it's fun, nice, and easy to do. However, eating out can empty your pockets and hurt your health. Here are a few tips from " Restaurant meals: How to make them healthier", Harvard Health Letter, on staying healthy while eating restaurant food.
Portions - Meals are usually served in very large portions. So to avoid overeating, you can divide your entree in half and set one-half aside to go, and eat the other half there. You can also split the entree with a dinner partner, or instead of ordering an entree, order an appetizer.
Avoid fattening ingredients - Many menu items contain hidden butter and salt, so it is best to ask the server how the meal is prepared. If something is typically prepared in butter ask if it can be steamed, boiled, or baked or prepared in olive oil.
Substitutions - Don't be afraid to ask for substitutions. There is likely to be a healthier item on the menu that can take the place of the unwanted junk.
Sauce on the side - Some meals come drenched in sauce, its like your eating soup. If you ask for the sauce on the side you can choose how much you want to eat, and avoid unnecessary calories.
Plan ahead - The best thing to do when going out to eat is to research the restaurant. Check out the menu and the prices to determine the perfect meal.
Article: Harvard Health Letter: Restaurant meals: How to make them healthier: Harvard Medical School, 2014. Print.
According to Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter, cancer research has concluded that there is a correlation between diet and cancer risk. The American Institute for Cancer Research has concluded, that "diets high in whole grains and other foods containing fiber protect against colorectal cancer". You can also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by, "cutting processed meat out of the diet, and moderating red meat intake to no more than 18 ounces (cooked well done) per week". Also, that "diets high in carrots squash and other foods containing carotenoids reduce the risk of mouth, pharynx and larynx cancers". As well as "diets high in non-starchy vegetables, and high in vitamin C lower the risk and protect against esophageal cancer". "Foods high in lycopene can lower the risk of prostate cancer".
Here is a list of foods that can help reduce the risk of cancer.
Apples, Blueberries, Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, Cherries, Coffee, Cranberries, dark green leafy vegetables, Acai berries, Blackberries and Raspberries, Carrots, Chili peppers, Citrus fruits, Kale, Mushrooms, Nuts, Onions, Papayas, Pomegranates, Spinach, Strawberries, Sweet Potatoes, Watermelon, Dry Beans and Peas, Flaxseed, Garlic, Grapefruit, Grapes, Green Tea, Soy Foods, Squash, Tomatoes, Walnuts, and Whole Grains.
Article: Health & Nutrition Letter: Best Food Choices to Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Tufts University, 2014. Print.
Sharpen Your Brain
As we grow older we may start to have some memory loss or a slower though process. Here are five tips to help sharpen the brain from "5 simple tricks to sharpen thinking and memory skills", and article from the Harvard Health Letter.
1. Repeat - "The brain responds to novelty, so repeating something in a different way or at a different time will make the most of the novelty effect and allow you to build stronger memories," says Dr. Willment. Examples of repetition are taking notes, repeating a name after you hear it for the first time, and repeating or paraphrasing what someone says to you.
2. Organize - Keep a planner or journal to help keep track of appointments and write thoughts.
3. Visualize - Associate a word or phrase with something you can visualize to remember. "This strategy uses a technique called enhanced encoding or visualization to strengthen the association you are making between the face and the name. The more detail the better," says Dr. Willment.
4. Cue - If you are having trouble recalling a particular word or fact, you can cue yourself by giving related details or "talking around" the word, name, or fact.
5. Group - When you are trying to remember a long list of items, it can help to group the items in sets of three to five. Break the big long list into smaller parts and learn each part separately.
Article: Harvard Health Letter: 5 simple tricks to sharpen thinking and memory skills: Harvard Medical School, 2014. Print.
Summer brings delicious produce that is beneficial to your health. From the Harvard Health Letter's article "Must-haves from the produce aisle", here are the top picks of summer produce.
Blackberries- High in fiber, vitamin C and K, and contain almost no sodium. 60 calories per cup
Zucchini - High in vitamin C, are a good source of vitamin B and potassium. 20 calories per cup
Seet Red Peppers - High in vitamin C, A and B6, fiber, and folate.
Swiss Chard - Rich in sulforaphane, isocyanate, indoles, and high in vitamins A, C, and K. It is also a good source of iron, potassium, and magnesium.
Article: Harvard Health Letter: Must Haves from the produce aisle: Harvard Medical School, 2014. Print.
Peach's are very delicious and nutritious and it just so happens that peach season is at its peak in July. According to "Pick Peaches for Healthy Nutrients", by Tufts University Health and Nutrition letter, "Peaches are low in calories and in glycemic index, are a good source of vitamins, phytonutrients, and may even help fight cancer". So go peach picking they are very healthy and very yummy, and easy to get.
Here are some fun ways to eat peaches...
Tomato and peach salad
Article: Health and Nutrition Letter: Pick Peaches for Healthy Nutrients: Tufts University, 2014. Print.
The Harvard Health Letter gives three easy tips to enjoy the sunshine and stay protected.
The right sunscreen - Look at the label carefully. If the label says that the sunscreen prevents sunburns it means that it passed the sun protection factor test. The SPF test measures how much UVB radiation is blocked. When a label says the sunscreen will prevent against skin cancer it has passed the broad-spectrum test. This test shows you that the sunscreen can protect against UVA and UVB radiation.
How to use sunscreen - If you are going outside for an extended period of time it is beneficial to use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Sunscreen should be applied 1 ounce on the entire body 30 minutes before going outside. If you are going outside for a short period of time 15 SPF is okay.
A step further - Clothing with sun protection built right in is also very helpful. As well as the use of sunglasses to protect ones eyes.
Article: Harvard Health Letter: Protect your skin from the sun: Harvard Medical School, 2015. Print.