Health Tips

Try a New Move: Is Your Workout Hard Enough?, July 2019

Is Your Workout Hard Enough? You probably know that engaging in regular physical activity is an important step in reducing your risk for disease and early death. Keeping active can even help minimize or eliminate symptoms of chronic disease, if you live with one. But if you exercise at an intensity that’s too low for you, you’ll miss out on some important benefits. Adults need 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity or 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity throughout the week. This weekly exercise should include moderate-intensity or greater aerobic exercise and moderate-intensity or greater full body strengthening at least twice per week. As a rule of thumb, two minutes of moderate activity equals one minute of vigorous activity. People who want to lose more than 5% of their bodyweight or want to keep a significant amount of weight off might [...]

Try a New Food: Grill More Fruits and Veggies, July 2019

Grill More Fruits and Veggies This summer (and July Fourth!) we encourage you to think beyond traditional cookout favorites and make room for more grill-able vegetables and fruits. Not only are they budget-friendly and abundant in the summer (find a farmers’ market near you), but adding perfectly charred produce to your plate tastes great and can benefit your health. Diets based on minimally processed plant foods can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, help control blood glucose (sugar) levels, prevent weight gain, lower cholesterol, and more! The protection fruits and vegetables provide is in part due to the high amount of fiber and the wide array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they contain. You need a total of at least four-and-a-half cups of vegetables and fruits (2 ½ cups vegetables plus 2 cups fruit) daily to see these [...]

Stress Less: Namaste Calm, July 2019

Namaste Calm We all need a variety of strategies in our stress-busting toolkits that can effectively activate our body’s natural relaxation response. There’s no one right way to manage stress, but the techniques you use should resonate with you, fit your lifestyle, and enable you to shift your focus away from everyday thoughts. For many, yoga—a series of physical postures, breathing techniques, and mediation—does the trick. The individual components of yoga (stretching, deep breathing, and meditation) are great standalone stress reduction techniques. But together, they are bolstered. According to a national survey of U.S. adults, 86% of people who practiced yoga said it helped reduce their stress, 67% said it helped them feel better emotionally, and 59% said it improved their sleep. Others reported that it gave them the motivation to eat healthier, cope with medical problems, or use fewer [...]

Sleep Health: Melatonin, July 2019

Melatonin Do you sleep soundly every night? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 35% of U.S. adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis! If you’ve ever looked for a solution for your sleep struggle, you’ve probably heard about melatonin. It’s a hormone produced naturally in various parts of the body, but primarily in the pineal gland (located near the center of the brain). Melatonin is also a widely available and commonly used dietary supplement that may provide relief from specific sleep disorders. Here’s how melatonin works in the body. When the hypothalamus (in the brain) receives a signal from your retinas (in your eyes) that nighttime is imminent (i.e., darkness in your environment), it signals the pineal gland to release melatonin. Once melatonin enters your blood and cerebrospinal fluid, it travels to distant [...]

In the News: All About Sunscreen, June 2019

All About Sunscreen You may have seen sunscreen in the news after a government-funded study found that twelve common active ingredients may be absorbed into the bloodstream. Only six of the studied ingredients are commonly used in the United States: ensulizole, octisalate, homosalate, octocrylene, octinoxate, oxybenzone, and avobenzone. The study’s author noted that just because ingredients get absorbed doesn’t make them harmful or unsafe; we don’t know enough about these ingredients to deem them as such. All this small pilot study tells us is that these ingredients may enter the body in levels greater than previously understood. The American Academy of Dermatology commented that these ingredients have been used for several decades without any reported side effects in people, so it’s not time to ditch your sunscreen supply (unless it’s expired)! We can soon expect sunscreen manufacturers to fund research [...]

Try a New Move: Sit Less, Maximize Your Routine, June 2019

Sit Less, Maximize Your Routine Excessive sitting—coined “sitting disease”—is linked to over 30 chronic diseases and conditions. By some estimates, sitting too much can harm your health more than smoking! Over a half-dozen studies also report that prolonged sitting (and a low daily step count) can even undo the beneficial effects of exercise. There’s a simple fix that you can start doing today to protect your body from a sedentary lifestyle; find more ways to move! When you get up and move, all parts of your body benefit. Moving more increases blood flow to your brain so you release more feel-good chemicals that increase productivity, improve mood, and reduce fatigue and food cravings. You’ll also move more blood throughout your body, helping recirculate blood that may have pooled in your lower limbs while sitting. Standing will engage your core, activating [...]

Exercise Your Brain: Play Brain Games, June 2019

Play Brain Games Games like crosswords and Sudoku are increasingly gaining recognition as ways to protect your brain in older age. Although additional research is needed and a causal relationship hasn’t been established, older adults who regularly play number and word games have shown brain function up to a decade younger than their age on memory tests. Just like muscles, you can use or lose brain function! Brain exercise is an important part of a comprehensive wellness program. June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge a disease nearly six million Americans live with today. There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk. Try following the MIND Diet, an eating pattern rich in nutritious foods that can reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 53% when followed [...]

Try a New Food: Nutrient Synergy, June 2019

Nutrient Synergy As Registered Dietitians, “whole foods first” is our philosophy! When it comes to meeting your nutrient needs, eating a diet rich in whole foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds) is the best approach. Isolated nutrients, such as those found in supplements, don’t appear to have the same beneficial impacts as whole foods. Although we are unsure why whole foods have greater positive effects in the body, recent research suggests there could be a synergistic effect happening between all the nutrients found in that food. Food is a symphony, and no one nutrient plays a solo. A synergistic effect in one or more whole foods occurs when the sum of two or more nutrients creates a potential health benefit. For example, an apple contains many different components—naturally occurring sugars; complex carbohydrates; soluble and insoluble fiber; [...]

May 2019 – Try a New Move

Build to your First 5K The weather has finally warmed up enough to get back into your walking routine! How will you build on last year’s progress? One option is setting a new goal, like a 5k (or 10k!) event. Although you could always walk a 5k, learning how to run the 3.1-mile distance offers a new and exciting challenge. You may also improve your cardiovascular endurance, boost your self-esteem, and make new connections with runners in your community! Not to mention having an event on the calendar to train for provides additional motivation to stick with your exercise routine. But before getting started, check with your physician to ensure you’re cleared for exercise. When you’re ready, take these steps to build up to running your first 5k. First, pick an event. Choose one that’s about 6-8 weeks away, depending [...]

May 2019 – Stress Less

Get a Dose of Nature You likely already do things to help cut down on daily stress. Perhaps you meditate for a few minutes each day; practice self-care rituals; or choose to eat a well-balanced diet that promotes sustained energy and mental clarity. But have you ever considered what spending time outdoors can do for you? Think about it; outdoor-living was the only option for our ancestors. Over time, human brains formed an innate connection with nature, one that can be difficult to uphold with indoor-based living. This relatively recent change to living and working indoors comes with apparent advantages, i.e.,  protection from harsh weather, but our brains never abandoned the instinctual desire to connect with nature. This desire to spend time outside can be demonstrated by the mental and physical health benefits that occur when we get in touch [...]

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