Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Have you ever noticed how many different types of apples there are? I was in a Whole Foods Market the other day and counted 10 different kinds of apples on display. One of the produce workers in the store told me that there are more than 7,000 varieties of apples in the world. Thatís incredible! He went on to say that most stores typically offer the most popular Ė and the ones that are the most economical to sell and the ones easiest to acquire.
If you like apples the way that I do, you could easily eat an apple a day Ė or several of them a day. But do they really keep the doctor away like that old popular phrase indicated? Of course not; however, apples really are a building block for long-term good health because they are low in calories, high in fiber, and full of antioxidants. In addition, I did some research and discovered that there are several other great benefits apples can offer to your health. Here are a few of them:
Nutrients in apples can help protect the lungs news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/610068.s
Nutrients in apples can help to lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/6
Nutrients in apples can help protect against forms of dementia, such as Alzheimerís www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9
Nutrients in apples (as well as apple cider vinegar) can help treat acid reflux disease www.associatedcontent.com/article/7
Nutrients in apples can help prevent against certain types of cancers www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20041018/
These are just a sampling of the many benefits of eating apples. But apples are also very tasty and versatile and can be used to make many great things. So, what are you waiting for. Go get some apples. They may indeed help to keep the doctor away.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
We're halfway through National Cholesterol Education Month, a time to bring attention to one of the biggest indicators of heart disease. It kills more than half a million people every year. I thought Iíd highlight this topic pointing some important factoidsl for you to think about.
So, what is cholesterol? According to the National Institutes of Health (the Diseases and Conditions Index), cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance produced naturally in your body and is also found in some of the foods you eat. Over time, excessive amounts of it can build up on the walls of your arteries preventing adequate amounts of blood from reaching your heart. This can lead to chest pains, a stroke, or even a heart attack. Some people may experience shortness of breath or may be come light headed. Thatís what happened to my grandmother quite often. She would get light headed and dizzy if she over exerted herself too much or if she became excited.
The important thing to note about cholesterol is that sometimes, there are no visible signs that you may have a problem. Just like with blood pressure or with glucose levels, you canít always know unless you get tested. It is another one of those ďsilent killersĒ that is responsible for many deaths. While diet, weight, and physical activity Ė things you can control Ė are the biggest factors impacting cholesterol, it can also be impacted by age and heredity Ė things beyond your control. Even though age and heredity are beyond your control, you can counteract them through lifestyle changes. Even some people who maintain a healthy lifestyle still have a cholesterol problem, indicative of the many cholesterol drugs on the market. Therefore, you need to have it checked to be sure.
If you havenít had your cholesterol checked or if it has been a while, make plans to have it checked soon. It just might save your life.
Disease and Conditions Index, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Cholesterol Education Month
Friday, September 11, 2009
Sometimes, our friends and relatives can be an important part of our weight loss journey. Thatís one of the premises of Sparkpeople.com Ė people supporting each other (ďsparkingĒ each other) to achieve their goals. Thatís why you should let everyone know that youíre striving to shed some pounds. Nobody really needs to know how much youíre trying to lose. Whether you need to lose 50 or 10 or 80 or 15 pounds Ė or whatever Ė is really a private matter. But the fact that you need to lose definitely should be shared.
Letís say you and your sister or a good friend are out at the mall and you pass by Cinnabon. The aroma draws you in, and before you know it, you have put down about 800 calories for the regular Classic Cinnabon. If you get the Caramel Pecan Cinnabon, youíre looking at 1000 calories, and thatís just for one. Even the small Cinnabon Bites will rack up 500 calories a piece; however, I donít want to beat up on Cinnabon. You can choose any number of food court restaurants. Most of them will likely make it difficult for you to maintain your diet. Same thing for times when youíre hanging out at home snacking too much, and after youíre done eating, you probably start feeling guilty. This happens all the time. It has happened to me a few times.
Having a buddy who can nudge us (and we can nudge them) when we're about to slip is just an extra layer of security, especially in the early stages of your dieting. Obviously nobody can control what we put into our mouths but us; however, a little encouragement from a buddy could be just the thing to keep from falling off that wagon. So, go ahead and keep sharing your goals. It might be the secret ingredient to your long-term success.
Friday, August 28, 2009
With the Swine Flu going around Ė or the H1N1 virus as it is referred to by some Ė as well as the many other strains of the flu that are circulating, people are lining up for their flu shots. This year more than ever, advocates are recommending the shot, especially for people in high risk groups, such as (1) the elderly, (2) children, (3) persons with a chronic medical condition, and (4) people working in the health care field including public safety rescue workers; however, I know of several people who donít fit into these categories who get their shots every year. Is it paranoia or preventive medicine? I have never had one. I have always been in pretty good health, and knowing that there is sometimes a shortage of the influenza vaccine, I figure that plenty of people are more in need of a shot than I am.
Lately, I have been wondering whether I ought to get a shot. The few times over the years when I got the flu, my bodyís immune system kicked into gear and I was back to normal without much wear and tear. One time when my doctor told me I had the flu virus, I didnít feel any more sick than when I had a run-of-the mill cold.
I guess like anything else that can impact the body, the flu affects people differently. Do you ever get a flu shot? I think Iíll pass again this year. Until my body really needs it, Iíll let someone get my shot who may have a greater need for it. There'll probably be another shortage again this year.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I was thinking last night about how hard it can be to do more physical activity when you work in an office environment. That can make it hard to get any exercise. If youíre like me and sit behind a desk all day, the only exercise you may get is walking down the hall to the bathroom. Thatís not good, especially if you have as a goal to get in at least 10,000 steps. So, here are five easy things that I use to help get me more mobile in the workplace.
First, if you have to go down the hall to another office or to another floor, donít take the quickest route. Take the longest route, and if possible take the stairs rather than the elevator. That is great to get the blood flowing and your heart rate up.
Second, get an exercise stress ball to keep at your desk. They can vary in their dimensions, however, most are about the size of a plum. Squeezing them can help relieve stress. They can also be good to relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel. The flexibility of your hands as well as improved grip is also a benefit of a stress ball. They are relatively inexpensive. The one I bought cost $4.99, but I have seen them for as much as $6 or as little as $2, depending on where you get it and any sales or discounts stores may offer.
Third, try marching in place. If you have a letter, e-mail, or report to read, simulate a forward march from your chair. Simply lift your legs, one after the other, at your own pace. This movement will help strengthen your calf muscles and tighten your abs.
Fourth, stand up and stretch. Extend your arms straight up in the air, as if youíre trying to grab the ceiling. Stop for 15-20 seconds then reach down, with your knees only slightly bent, stretch your arms down toward the floor. Stretching is good to help increase your flexibility and balance.
Fifth and last,raise your heels resting all of your weight on your toes and hold for 5 seconds before going back down again. Do this several times for a 1-2 minute period. This can help stimulate the muscles in your legs and ankles. If necessary, use your desk, wall, or file cabinet to help you maintain your balance; however you should strive to do this without any help.
These are simply things you can do not only at work, but also at home. With a little creativity, you can devise many of your own exercises. Every little movement burns some measure of calories. The more you do, the more calories you burn.
Letís Get Physical!
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