Health Tips

May 2019 – Try a New Food

Everyday Mediterranean You may not be able to relax on the beaches of Crete or watch the sunset in Oía, but you can enjoy the delicious benefits of the Mediterranean right here at home. The Mediterranean diet has been ranked as 2019’s overall best diet by health experts after years of research into its health benefits. The landmark PREDIMED (Prevention with Mediterranean diet) clinical trials reported that a Mediterranean-style eating pattern may lower incidence of major cardiovascular events, like heart attacks, stroke, and death from heart disease by thirty-percent. A 30% risk reduction is as effective as some prescription statin medications! These findings were further strengthened following corrections to participant randomization protocols in 2018. Mediterranean-style eating has also been linked to lower peripheral artery disease risk, healthier body weight and blood sugars, decreased Alzheimer’s disease risk, and decreased risk for [...]

May 2019 – Results Recap

Blood Pressure Break Down One in two American adults has high blood pressure according to guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. If you don’t currently have high blood pressure, that’s great! However, ninety-percent of adults in the United States go on to develop high blood pressure, increasing their risk for stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and dementia. But is high blood pressure inevitable? No! Eating the right diet, losing weight, and exercising regularly can help you take control of your blood pressure. Blood pressure is a measure of the cardiac cycle, or the contraction (squeezing) and relaxation (refilling) of the heart’s chambers. Blood exerts pressure on the walls of your arteries, just like water pushes against the walls of a garden hose. The force exerted by blood on the walls of blood vessels during [...]

April 2019 – Try a New Food

Beans for Dessert When it comes to dessert, fruit is always your best option as it’s naturally sweet and offers a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is also well established that fruit consumption is linked to lower risk of chronic disease. If you want to stay on track with your healthy diet, improve your biometric screening results and you’re bored with having fruit for dessert, try Dessert Hummus! You’re likely familiar with hummus, the traditional middle eastern chickpea dip that pairs perfectly with crunchy carrots, cucumbers, and celery. Its main ingredient, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), has grown in popularity so much that the United States Department of Agriculture expects crop plantings to reach record highs in 2019. This trend reflects our newfound love for all things chickpea! Put off by the idea of beans for dessert? We [...]

April 2019 – Stress Less

National Volunteer Month April is National Volunteer Month, but volunteer work any time of year is important for the health of both you and your community! Nearly one in three American adults (77 million!) volunteer each year, contributing a collective 6.9 billion hours of service at an estimated value of $167 billion. But did you know that helping others could help you too? Helping your community is what matters most, but when performed altruistically, volunteering has mental and physical health benefits for volunteers themselves. Research has shown positive associations between volunteering and improved health in older age demonstrated by longer lifespan, higher cognitive function, and lower rates of depression. It’s hypothesized that knowing your actions make a lasting impact on those you serve helps you feel better about yourself, thus reducing stress. Volunteering can also offer a new sense of [...]

April 2019 – Try a New Move

Lunging Around The best strength training exercises make daily activities like walking and climbing stairs feel easier. It’s even better if they don’t require added weight or lots of floor space. Bodyweight lunges fit the bill perfectly! The classic forward lunge closely mimics the movements used when walking, making them a smart option for walkers looking to include more strength training in their routine. Strength training each muscle group (arms, shoulders, chest, trunk, back, and legs) at least twice per week helps preserve lean muscle mass, strengthen bones, and prevent cognitive decline. Standard lunges fire-up two of your major muscle groups – legs and core. Abdominal and lower back muscles assist in stabilization throughout the movement. If you’re traveling, can’t make it to the gym, or need to wake-up your legs and core after sitting at your desk for too [...]

April 2019 – Exercise Your Brain

MIND Diet Did you know someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 65 seconds? Nearly 6 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, but this number is projected to grow to nearly 14 million by 2050 as our population over age 65 surges. As the sixth leading cause of death with no known cure, it is wise to take action to lower your risk by protecting your brain. There are many Alzheimer’s warning signs, but the most common symptom is memory loss that disrupts daily activity, especially forgetting recently learned dates, names, and events. Other warning signs include difficulty developing or following tasks involving numbers; losing track of the passage of time; having trouble following conversation; misplacing and losing items in odd places; and making poor decisions regularly. Keep in mind that forgetting, but later remembering, new [...]

March 2019 – Try a New Move

“Snack” on Exercise One of the most commonly cited reasons for not keeping physically active is just not having time. If this doesn’t apply to you, congrats! You’ve beaten one massive hurdle to regular physical activity. If it does, scientists have thoroughly investigated a style of exercise called high-intensity interval training, or H.I.I.T. (pronounced “hit”), which involves short intervals of all-out, maximum effort exercise flanked by longer bouts of lower intensity exercise. For example, a H.I.I.T workout could be repeated intervals of cycling as fast and as powerfully as possible for 20 seconds, then cycling at a slow, relaxed pace for 60 seconds until you’ve cycled for a total of 15-20 minutes. These workouts come in many forms (find free full H.I.I.T. workouts here) and can last minutes to hours, but if you truly give your all during the high-intensity [...]

March 2019 – Stress Less

Train Your Self-Esteem “Without it, you can do little. With it, you can do anything.” No, we aren’t talking about money. We’re talking about self-esteem, a trait often understood as something you either have or you don’t.  Individuals who report high levels of self-esteem claim to be more likable and attractive, have better relationships and make better impressions on others than individuals who report low levels (though, objective measures show these assumptions aren't valid). The good news is that self-esteem isn’t a fixed state as it may wax and wane through the lifespan. We also know it’s a lot like a muscle that can be trained to grow stronger. How can you start training your self-esteem?   Start by completing this reflective exercise. Take a few minutes to write a short description of yourself. Use adjectives to describe your mood, [...]

March 2019 – Try a New Food

Munch Through March Madness If you’re one of the 97+ million U.S. viewers of NCAA’s March Madness, you’re bound to be tempted by typical gameday snacks. Wing orders alone increase by 24% during the tournament, and if your favorite team loses, you’re more likely to indulge in a variety of gameday treats.  Pizza and dessert orders also increase by 19% and 9%, respectively, following losses versus wins. But what about the beer? Three and a half million extra cases of it are produced in March to keep up with demand. It’s already easy to overeat traditional gameday foods (pizza, wings, chips, dips, and desserts) that are notoriously high in salt, sugar, and fat. It's a combination that fires-up our brain’s reward center and steers us towards overeating and unintended weight gain. Add distracted eating to the mix during March Madness, [...]

March 2019 – Exercise Your Brain

Embrace Learning We talk a lot about healthy aging concerning our body, but what about our mind? Our current knowledge of strategies for promoting brain health is limited. However, research suggests two beneficial actions can help: 1) achieve at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity throughout the week to delay the onset of cognitive decline; and 2) eat five one-cup equivalent servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. But beyond exercise and balanced eating, what else can you do? Embrace learning! Your brain has what’s known as plasticity, or the ability to learn and grow as you age. The process of learning new information can stimulate the growth of new brain cells and help prevent cognitive decline over time. Learning new complex skills strengthens connections between parts of your brain. We know that brain exercises like puzzles and word [...]

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