Tips for a Healthy Halloween Halloween is just around the corner, and while kids love to dress in costumes and cause mischief, parents may not feel as excited about Halloween celebrations. Halloween is actually a great time of year to begin practicing balance and mindfulness when it comes to eating, since it's the official kick-off of the holiday season. Remember, it's alright to indulge in treats, just don't forget to practice moderation. Here are a few important tips for keeping you and your children extra healthy this year. Wait to buy Halloween candy. Purchase Halloween candy the day of, to avoid temptation. Buy less than what you think you will need to avoid leftovers and, if you really don't want to indulge at all, purchase candies that you do not like. If you still have leftovers, place them out of sight. If you really have a hard time with temptation choose to pass out non-candy treats such as bouncy balls, spider rings, pencils, erasers, bubbles or stickers. Eat before you trick or treat. Serve a healthy family dinner before the fun begins, so the kids will not be tempted to eat candy along the way. After trick or treating, offer a cup of warm, low-fat milk with just one treat to ensure that blood sugar is stable before bedtime. Be aware of calories. Weight management is always a challenge but more so during most holidays. The secret to success is calorie intake, which means choosing appropriate portions and remembering that extra bites add up. It takes only 100 calories a day more than what you need to lead to an extra 10-pound weight gain at the end of the year. Stick to your diet and limit your calorie consumption during Halloween. Stay active. Halloween is surprisingly based around a great physical activity for you and your kids: walking. Take a long walk around your neighborhood while trick or treating and enjoy all the creative decorations and costumes. Practice portion control. After trick or treating, sort the candy and set boundaries on an amount to be eaten over the next week. Keep in mind that there are many low-calorie candies that can satisfy a sweet tooth. Always choose fun size candy bars based on the least amount of fat and calories per serving and try and choose healthier dark chocolate versions. Bargain. If you're left with an overwhelming amount of candy, bargain with your kids and ask them to trade some of their stash for a favorite nonfood "item," such as a chance to stay up just a little later on a school night. Keep it in perspective. Let your kids enjoy themselves, with a few small rules of course, and you will be back to healthy, nutritious meals before you know it. Keep it healthy. Have a safe and happy halloween.
Bone and Joint health: Steps to ensure strong, healthy bones and joints. It's important to make sure you're on track for good health. As you get older, bone and joint problems can occur for both men and women. Simple wear and tear can lead to osteoarthritis, and the weight gain that often comes with age puts even more stress on joints. For women, though, the story is more complicated. To begin with, a woman's bone mass is generally lower than a man's. And the decrease in estrogen that comes with menopause brings a higher risk for weak bones from osteoporosis. Additionally, mechanical differences in the way women's thigh, hip and butt muscles are engaged — in combination with the angle between the hip and knee — puts them at a higher risk for injuries than men, especially injuries to the knee cap and anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. In midlife, women are also at higher risk than men for overuse injuries, such as stress fractures and tendonitis. Tips for better bone and joint health: Keep moving. Exercise is key. A well-designed exercise program including aerobic exercise, stretching and lifting weights can help you avoid injuries. Weight-bearing activities, such as walking, jogging and dancing, can help keep bones healthy. The secret is to begin slowly with an easy activity, such as walking, and build up to more strenuous exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity — either all at once or 10 minutes at a time — on most days of the week. But if it's been a while since you’ve been active, talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise program to ensure you don't have any health problems that might make exercising risky. Eat a bone-healthy diet. Calcium is the most important nutrient for bones, and vitamin D helps the body absorb it. In addition to finding both in dairy products and fish, some foods and beverages, such as orange juice, are fortified with calcium, and it’s in some green vegetables. The amount of calcium and vitamin D you need varies with age, so make sure you’re getting enough — but not too much — at each stage of your life. Taking a proactive approach to prevention Have a baseline bone density test, or DEXA scan, for all women at age 65, or earlier if you are at high risk for developing osteoporosis. This allows you to start treatment as soon as necessary. Have additional questions about bone and joint health? Talk to your doctor about how they can help.
Healthy Lungs - Tips for keeping them strong and healthy. Staying fit and exercise are important factors in staying healthy, but did you realize that this recommendation goes well beyond achieving a healthy physique and moves into lung health? You might not think about lung cancer as a daily ritual, but maybe you should. After all, your lungs help you live the life you love every second of every day. Your lungs allow your body to take in oxygen from the air and clear carbon dioxide (a gas than can become toxic) from your body. This gas exchange is an essential part of breathing, which is a vital function of your life. When thinking about lung diseases, lung cancer is often the first thought, but there are many other diseases and conditions of the lungs that can be prevented or better managed with these lung health solutions. Some include pneumonia, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and a pulmonary embolism (PE). Here are 10 simple tips for keeping your lungs healthy and prevent lung disease.
- Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke, too.
- Be mindful of your environment’s air quality. Test for pollutants or contaminants if you are concerned and discuss it with your doctor.
- Prevent common colds and respiratory illnesses by washing your hands frequently with soap and water (or using an alcohol-based hand cleaner if not available).
- Avoid large crowds during the flu season, or when you get wind that some other respiratory illness is going around.
- Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading colds and respiratory illnesses to others.
- Get your annual flu shot and encourage others in your household to do the same.
- Get regular cardiovascular exercise to boost lung fitness and overall health.
- Practice deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, exercises.
- Stay on top of your dental health and oral hygiene to prevent harmful bacteria from traveling from your mouth to your upper airway.
- Get regular check-ups from your primary care physician and discuss any concerns about your lung health, including any symptoms of lung cancer, and family history of lung disease.
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like to highlight the men that are affected by breast cancer and provide information about male breast cancer. All people, whether male or female, are born with some breast cells and tissue. Even though males do not develop milk-producing breasts, a man’s breast cells and tissue can still develop cancer. Even so, male breast cancer is pretty rare, especially compared to the cases of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment. Breast Cancer Types in Men Of the men who develop breast cancer, the vast majority of those cases are Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), which means cells in or around the ducts begin to invade surrounding tissue. Very rarely, a man might be diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, or Paget disease of the nipple. Signs & Symptoms Male breast cancer can exhibit the same symptoms as breast cancer in women, including a lump. Anyone who notices anything unusual about their breasts, whether male or female, should contact their physician immediately. Survival rates and treatment for men with breast cancer are very similar to those for women. Early detection of breast cancer increases treatment options and often reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer. If you or your loved one thinks they may have male breast cancer, speak to your doctor right away.
What is ovarian cancer? Women are becoming more and more at risk of ovarian cancer. But many are still not sure what it even is. According to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Ovarian cancer is a disease in which, depending on the type and stage of the disease, malignant (cancerous) cells are found inside, near, or on the outer layer of the ovaries. An ovary is one of two small, almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus that store eggs, or germ cells, and produce female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Everyday Heart Health You know that exercise and a good diet can keep your heart healthy. But what else can you do to keep your ticker going strong? Incorporate these habits into your lifestyle and your heart health will be the best it can be for you.
- Eat healthy fats, NOT trans fats. We need fats in our diet, including saturated and polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats. One fat we don’t need is trans fat, which is known to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke over a lifetime. Trans fat clogs your arteries by raising your bad cholesterol levels and lowering your good cholesterol levels. By cutting them from your diet, you will improve the blood flow throughout your body. So, what are trans fats?
- Have good dental Hygiene. Practice good dental hygiene, especially flossing your teeth daily. Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Studies continue on this issue, but many have shown that bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. These changes may in turn, increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Get enough sleep. We say this all of the time, but sleep is essential. If you don’t sleep enough, you may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease no matter your age or other health habits. One study looking at 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night. Researchers believe sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.
- Stand, do not sit. Sitting too long can cause overall problems with your health. Research suggests that staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your health no matter how much exercise you do. This is bad news for the many people who sit at sedentary jobs all day. Sitting for long periods of time (especially when traveling) increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot). Exercise, exercise, exercise!
- Avoid secondhand smoke like the plague. Studies show that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25 to 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year. And nonsmokers who have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol have an even greater risk of developing heart disease when they’re exposed to secondhand smoke. This is because the chemicals emitted from cigarette smoke promote the development of plaque buildup in the arteries.
National Suicide Prevention Month Did you know, September is National Suicide Prevention Month? According to the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, when people and communities take action, lives can be saved. In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month (September) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16), the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization – along with hundreds of other local and national organizations – are joining together to inform the public of how simple actions, such as waiting by someone’s side until first responders arrive, can save a person’s life and generate community-wide, system-level impact. Throughout the month of September, AFSP and the Action Alliance will help spur action by changing the conversation about suicide from one of despair and inevitability to one of hope, health, and resilience. No special training is required to be there for someone in crisis, to promote stories of hope, and to change the national narrative. Combined with systems such as emergency communications, law enforcement, crisis services, and health care systems, simple actions of compassion can help to get people who are struggling or in crisis get to a place of recovery and wellness. If you, or a loved one are at risk of suicide, please call the national suicide prevention hotline immediately at 1-800-273-8255. Not suicidal, but feeling pretty down and need help, make an appointment with your doctor. We’re here to help!
Yoga and your health. So many people do yoga, and they do it because it’s so great for your mind and body. It helps to keep the whole you healthy. The benefits of yoga provide both instant gratification and lasting transformation. In the fitness world, both are extremely important. Too much time with too few results can be incredibly discouraging, and monotonous routines week after week can lead to stagnation. Yoga can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for long-term health. Yoga is for everyone. Most yoga studios and local gyms offer yoga classes that are open to all generations and fitness levels. It’s exciting to enter a room full of young teens, athletes, middle-aged moms, older gentlemen, and even fitness buffs and body builders. Everyone can feel accepted and included and, unlike other sports or classes that focus on niche clients, yoga tends to offer open arms. Whether you like to say "Om" or you can’t stand the word “yogi”; whether you are 92, 53, or even 12, yoga can help you. Yoga helps you achieve overall health and wellness. Yoga is not just about working out, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. The practice of yoga allows students to find stillness in a world consumed with chaos. Peace and tranquility achieved through focused training appeals to everyone. Yoga’s deep breathing and meditation practices help foster an inner shift from to-do lists, kids and spouse’s needs, financial concerns, and relationship struggles to something a little bit bigger than the issues you face. Yoga helps relieve stress and declutters the mind, helping you to become more focused. Yoga helps you stay strong, promotes mobility and keeps you flexible. Yoga’s focus on strength training and flexibility is an incredible benefit to your body. The postures are meant to strengthen your body from the inside out, so you don’t just look good, you feel good, too. Each of the yoga poses is built to reinforce the muscles around the spine, the very center of your body, which is the core from which everything else operates. When the core is working properly, posture is improved, thus alleviating back, shoulder, and neck pain. Yoga builds muscle. Most yoga poses are held for five full breaths versus the usual one to three breaths. Muscles are challenged as the mind and body have to work together simultaneously to hold a position without giving up. Breathing, posing, moving, and increasing flexibility happen together at one time, which unearths a new level of discipline in your mind and body. There are so many benefits to yoga, more than listed above. But if you’re in shape and you can do it, fit yoga into your regular routine.
Tips for Healthy Aging You don’t have to be over 65 to care about how you age. Healthy aging is something that we should consider life-long. Being active, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep are just a few of the things we should consider when trying to stay healthy and age gracefully. cYou should also consider the following: Maintain your brain Keep your brain active at all stages of life. One in eight older adults (aged 65+) in the United States has Alzheimer's disease, and some cognitive decline is a normal part of aging. Studies have shown that a lifestyle that includes cognitive stimulation through active learning slows cognitive decline. Cultivate your relationships Twenty-eight percent of older adults live alone, and living alone is the strongest risk factor for loneliness. Common life changes in older adulthood, such as retirement, health issues, or the loss of a spouse, may lead to social isolation. Adults who engage in meaningful community activities like volunteer work report feeling healthier and less depressed. Tips: Join a planning committee, volunteer, take a trip with friends, play cards at your local senior center, or join a book club. Remember that participating in activities should be fun, not stressful! Live an active lifestyle Regular exercise is one of the greatest keys to physical and mental wellbeing. Living an active life will help you stay fit enough to maintain your independence to go where you want to and perform your own activities. Regular exercise may prevent or even provide relief from many common chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and arthritis, to name a few. Get enough sleep Humans can go longer without food than without sleep. Older adults need just as much sleep as younger adults – seven to nine hours per night – but often get much less. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems. Reduce stress As we age, our stressors change and so does our ability to deal with stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression. Stress may also cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. In fact, it is estimated that more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress. Take charge of your health Most of our health is not controlled by the health care system but by our own actions, our environment, our genes, and social factors. In addition, physicians are not perfect; medical errors do happen. The more patients participate in their own health care, the more satisfied they tend to be with the care they receive. Keep your health in check and make sure to consider these great tips for healthy aging.