Healthy living for the new year It’s a new year, help be a healthier you. Here are some simple rules for getting back on track. Eat Your Fruit and Veggies! What does this mean? Avoid processed foods and eat foods in their natural state. Vegetables and fruits are filled with antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. These are the items you need to support a healthy body. Eating a wide variety of different-colored fruits and veggies is always a healthy choice. When you look at your plate make sure 80% is fresh or lightly cooked vegetables. Minimize Processed Food Intake. Foods that are processed usually come in a box or bag and have a long shelf life. These include things like crackers, chips, cookies, cereals, and cake mixes, and they have little to no water content. Processed foods can contain unhealthy fats (see next). Eat Healthy Fats. Avocado, coconut oil, olives, nuts, seeds, unheated olive and flax oil, clean salmon, and nuts are all items that include healthy fats. Healthy fats are important for providing energy, healthy cell membranes, and hormone balance. Stay away from margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods, and anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil listed in the ingredients. Make Your Meals with Love. Sharing meals and making them with love will not only allow you to take time to connect offline, with those you love, but also allows you to see exactly what you are eating/cooking. Create community and connection with your family and friends by getting creative with healthy recipes that inspire conversation and nourish those you care about. Drink Water! Drink 8 glasses of filtered water a day. Our body is about 60% water; drinking enough water maintains fluid balance, which transports nutrients, regulates body temperature and digests food. Dehydration lowers energy levels and brain function. Proper hydration also promotes healthy bowel movements, keeps our skin clear and flushes toxins. You can infuse your water with fresh herbs, fruit, or a dash of honey for sweetness. Eat with the Seasons. Buying produce from farmers markets is a great way to see what’s fresh and seasonal in your area. In the cooler months, eat more warming foods like soups, hot teas, and warming spices like cinnamon, pepper, and garlic. In the warmer months, eat more cooling foods like fresh green juices, salads and ingredients like lettuce, cucumbers, watermelon and cooling spices like peppermint, fennel, and cilantro. Do Not Overeat. Overeating can result in symptoms such as fatigue, slow metabolism, water retention, loose stool and a feeling of heaviness. Try not to overload your plate with large portions. Make sure vegetables take up the largest percentage when possible. Have a happy, healthy New Year!
Women’s Health: Cervical Cancer Screenings Have you been screened for cervical cancer? No matter what your age, you should consult with your doctor on whether you are due for a cervical cancer screening. Two Types of Cervical Cancer Screenings Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early:
- The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for pre-cancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
- The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes.
- If you are getting a Pap test, the cells will be checked to see if they look normal.
- If you are getting an HPV test, the cells will be tested for HPV.
- If you are 21 to 29 years old, You should start getting Pap tests at age 21. If your Pap test result is normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait three years until your next Pap test.
- If you are 30 to 65 years old, talk to your doctor about which testing option is right for you:
- A Pap test only. If your result is normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait three years until your next Pap test.
- An HPV test only. This is called primary HPV testing. If your result is normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait five years until your next screening test.
- An HPV test along with the Pap test. This is called co-testing. If both of your results are normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait five years until your next screening test.
- If you are older than 65, your doctor may tell you that you don’t need to be screened anymore if,
- You have had normal screening test results for several years, or
- You have had your cervix removed as part of a total hysterectomy for non-cancerous conditions, like fibroids.
Natural winter mood boosters We love winter here in Colorado, but after long stints of cold weather at times you may long for winter to turn to summer. Here are a few ideas to boost your mood and keep you mentally healthy, and happy during this winter season. Revel in the sunshine. Luckily, we’re here in a state that gets approximately 300 days of sunshine per year. Getting enough sunshine is a simple and natural way to boost your mood. During the day, leave your curtains and blinds open as long as possible. If you can, take a walk while it’s still bright out, preferably in the morning. Sunshine may increase levels of serotonin—a natural antidepressant—in the brain. Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Sleep is crucial to feeling your best. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep (7–9 hours for most adults) and maintain a consistent bedtime. Good sleep will help you improve your mood and overall mental health Pet your pooch. A fun way to beat the winter blues is spending time with your furry friend. Petting your dog for just 15 minutes has been shown to release a flurry of mood-boosting hormones including oxytocin. Sweat it out. In the long term, exercise can help lessen the severity of depression symptoms. But it can have an immediate effect on your health too. Research has found that exercise can lift your spirits immediately following a sweat session, thanks to feel-good endorphins released during a workout, often referred to as a “runner’s high.” Opt for nutritious foods. Wintertime can make you crave unhealthy comfort foods, but good nutrition is paramount to feeling your best. Opt for a balanced mix of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Omega-3 fatty acids, like the kind found in fish, have been proven to be especially mood-boosting. Relieve stress. Leave enough time in your schedule for self-care. Pour yourself a warm bubble bath, curl up with a good novel, treat yourself to a pedicure, or work on learning a new skill, such as knitting or painting. Go to yoga! Start a gratitude journal. Every night before bed, write down three things you’re grateful for. Studies show that people who regularly practice gratitude are happier in general. Still finding it hard to beat the winter blues? Come see us, we can help.
National Birth Defects Awareness Month - January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Not all birth defects can be prevented. But, you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and by adopting healthy behaviors before and during pregnancy. Taking care of yourself and doing what’s best for you is also best for your baby! The following tips are what the CDC recommends to decrease the chances of birth defects. Take your vitamins! Folic acid is important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. These birth defects develop very early during pregnancy when the neural tube—which forms the early brain and the spinal cord—does not close properly. You need to start taking folic acid at least one month before becoming pregnant and continue during pregnancy.In addition to eating foods with natural folate, you can:
- Take a vitamin that has folic acid in it every day.
- Most vitamins sold in the United States have the recommended amount of folic acid women need each day. Check the label on the bottle to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid, which is 400 mcg.
- Eat fortified foods.
- You can find folic acid in some breads, breakfast cereals, and corn masa flour.
- Be sure to check the nutrient facts label, and look for one that has “100%” next to folic acid.
- Flu: You can get the flu shot before or during each
- Whooping Cough: You can get the whooping cough vaccine in the last three months of each
- Alcohol: There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. Alcohol can cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy, so it’s important to stop drinking alcohol when you start trying to get pregnant.
- Tobacco: Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and other major health problems. Smoking during pregnancy can also harm the developing baby and can cause certain birth defects. Quitting smoking will help you feel better and provide a healthier environment for your baby.
- Other Drugs: Using certain drugs during pregnancy can cause health problems for a woman and her developing baby. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and can’t stop using drugs―get help! A healthcare provider can help you with counseling, treatment, and other support services.
There are benefits of Dry January to your health. Dry January is a term used for ditching alcohol in the first month of the new year. Many people celebrate as an annual tradition and mini-detox from the overindulgence during the holidays. Whatever reason you’re taking part in “Dry January” the benefits are great for your health. There's absolutely nothing wrong with abstaining from or limiting your alcohol intake. Excessive drinking and binge drinking can lead to several negative health effects, including weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and can put you at risk for other health risks. Taking one month off from drinking may not turn back the clock, but it will help you learn where your body is in relation to alcohol and can help your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re starting your Dry January alcohol hiatus, consider taking a look at how much you actually consume when not abstaining and how it can positively affect your health. If you're having several drinks a week, one of the main benefits of dry January could be a decrease in your overall calories, since a standard drink typically has around 150 calories. If you're trying to lose weight, cutting alcohol is one way to do it without compromising any of the fuel and nutrients your body needs. Alcohol contributes calories but doesn't make us feel more satisfied—it often amps up hunger. Also, since alcohol has a dehydrating effect, it can also contribute to bloating, judgement impairment,and could lead you to make poor food choices contributing to weight gain. If you’re feeling the need to clear your mind, focus and improve your sleep and digestion, avoiding alcohol can help you feel more energetic and stay motivated. It can help you get your workouts in and stick to overall healthy eating habits. And the fact that you're not going to the bar can lead to sleeping more, getting up at a decent hour and skipping fewer workouts. Your immune system can also improve with the absence of alcohol. When it comes to your immune system, positive health habits may be more influential than just abstaining from alcohol. Too much alcohol can acutely suppress immune function making you more vulnerable to pathogens, while chronic drinking can lead to inflammatory reactions throughout the body. Additionally, while there isn't data to suggest that ditching booze can protect you from the flu, it's reasonable to assume that drinking less, sleeping more and exercising more can all have a positive influence on your immune system. Dry January will give your liver a break, decreasing the metabolic stress that alcohol puts on the liver. Approximately half of all liver disease deaths are from alcoholic liver disease. As long as you don't use Dry January as an excuse to drink however much you want the other 11 months of the year, it will have positive impacts on most parts of your life and can help improve your health for months to come. Check in with yourself before your first February toast and see if you can keep the momentum for the remainder of 2019.