With longer days comes a little more time, a bit more energy and, often, a lot more “oomph,” propelling you off of the couch and onto the workout bandwagon to get back in shape. No doubt about it: Starting a workout (after talking with your doctor first), along with cutting back on the foods you may have overindulged in over the winter months, can jump-start you back on the road to good health, both physically and mentally. In addition to building up your stamina and helping you burn calories to lose weight, exercise also elevates your mood and lowers blood pressure and stress, not to mention boosting your immune system to help prevent you from getting sick.
If you’re a parent, you may find yourself in a tug of war with your kids about food. That includes what you’d like them to try, and what they’ll actually eat. This battle of wills can be frustrating, especially when you’ve exhausted all methods of persuasion.
Bribing picky eaters with dessert isn’t the way to go, either. Treats are okay once in a while, but the idea is to get them used to eating healthier food overall. Having them try healthier choices (many made in a way that they’ve never had before, and might like) is the goal.
You may already know that the American Cancer Society (ACS) changed its former colonoscopy screening guidelines from age 50 to age 45 for those of average risk and no family history. But you may not know why.
The disease has seen a marked increase among young adults in the U.S. under age 55 at a rate of two percent each year since the mid-1990s. A study by the American Cancer Society, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that millennials* born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer, compared to people born near 1950.
Research is ongoing, but studies have pointed to “gut health” as impacting not only the digestive system, but the immune system as well. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that consuming different strains of probiotics over an eight-week period could reduce body weight and BMI, which are two caution areas related to diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Studies at Johns Hopkins have revealed an altering of blood pressure when different gut bacteria are produced in mice, rats, and people. Good gut bacteria have also been known to help reduce allergy symptoms, inflammation, and skin issues, like acne. Experts have been looking at the effects of probiotics on mood and stress, too.
High cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and weight gain can all play significant roles when it comes to heart disease and stroke. PAD — also called Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) — is another concerning condition to be aware of and avoid, because it’s often overlooked and undiagnosed.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world, and the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing over 366,800 Americans a year (about one every 43 seconds). It’s the number one killer of women in the U.S., taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Heart issues in women can be more subtle. That’s dangerous, because women often misread the trouble signs while having an actual heart attack for things like acid reflux or flu. In fact, 64 percent of women who die from coronary heart disease (a narrowing of the arteries or blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart) had no previous symptoms. And heart disease is also the number one killer of men. (It doesn’t discriminate.)
Obesity brings with it a roster of related health conditions, from cancer, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, to gallbladder disease, mental illness, osteoarthritis, and type 2 diabetes — to name just a few. So it makes sense to try and maintain a healthy weight by eating right and exercising often. For adults, that means working up to working out five days a week for 30 minutes each; kids need 60 minutes of exercise daily.
Packaged foods often make life easier, when there’s little time or energy to cook. But while you may be beating the clock with getting food on the table at home (or in your cube for lunch at work), you’re likely side-stepping healthier eating. According to the American Heart Association, almost 70 percent of the typical American diet comes from processed and restaurant foods.
The beginning of a new year is when most of us start thinking about fresh starts, and push the re-set button on food and fitness. The idea of ridding the body of poisons via a “cleanse” that promises to burn fat or lose weight may be tempting. But think twice: Starving yourself by excluding solid food for a week and chugging some low-cal/low-protein miracle drink doesn’t work for healthy weight
Did you know that a cough or a sneeze can spread the flu up to six feet away? Besides catching the flu months before the winter really hits, you can also catch it even later into the spring (a time not normally associated with flu season). Flu season is at its worst in January and February, and since the vaccine takes a couple of weeks to begin working in the body, the sooner you get vaccinated, the better.