Showing posts from 2019

Managing Medications

Prescribed medications come in several forms and are taken in different ways. Even though they are meant to improve health, taking medications the wrong way can be dangerous. It is important to use medications as directed by your health care provider.

Here are six ways to help you better manage your medicine(s).
Make sure your doctor knows all the medications you’re taking and if you have any allergies.Tell your doctor if you are taking vitamins and/or herbal supplements.Read the label on each medication you are taking to learn the side effects and how to properly administer the medication.Have a routine for taking your medications. Consider using a weekly pill box to help you stay on track.If you have trouble opening your medications, talk to your pharmacist about bottles that are easier to open.Keep all your medications in a safe and secure place. 

Reducing Your Risk of Memory Loss

Forgetting things from time to time is normal, but unusual forgetfulness that gets worse over time can be a more serious matter. Memory loss can be caused by medications, emotional disorders, injury or illness. If you’re experiencing memory loss, see your health care provider to determine a cause. 
In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of developing memory problems: Lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Don’t smoke or abuse alcohol.Get regular exercise. Physical activity at a moderate-intensity may help maintain blood flow to the brain and improve memory.Maintain healthy eating habits. Eating more green leafy vegetables and less saturated fats has been shown to help brain function. A serving of vegetables is considered a cup of raw vegetables or two cups of leafy greens.Reduce stress by maintaining social interactions.Keep your brain active. Challenge your brain with activities like reading, writing or learning a new skill.

Eating for a Healthy Heart

It may be tough to change your eating habits, but your life could depend on it! A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins can lower your risk for developing heart disease. Dump foods with added sugar, calories and unhealthy fats.

Try these simple guidelines when preparing heart-healthy meals:
Control portion sizes using a smaller plate or bowl.Eat at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day, including a variety of dark-green, red, and orange vegetables, beans and peas.Eat seafood (including oily fish) in place of some meat and poultry.Eat whole grains—the equivalent of at least three, 1-ounce servings a day.Use oils to replace solid fats.Use fat-free or low-fat versions of dairy products.

Stay at Your Peak!

Taking care of your health should be a priority at any age, but as we get older, maintaining health and function can be a challenge. Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill or quick fix to healthy aging. Lifestyle is key! No matter what your age, you can stay at your peak by following these tips!

1. Get moving. Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body and brain. Try taking a walk with a friend, going to a zumba class or go on a bike ride to stay active.

2. Stay social! Take a class, volunteer, play games, see old friends and make new ones. Find new interests or try something that you’ve always wanted to do!

3. Add some spice to your life! Add herbs and spices to your meals if medications dull your taste buds. Seasoning can make a huge difference in how you enjoy your meals.

4. Stay balanced. Practice yoga or tai chi regularly to improve agility and prevent falls. Talk to your doctor about good stretches and exercises for you to do daily for balance.

5. Don’t forget! If you’re havin…

Bounce Back from Emotional Exhaustion

Sometimes exhaustion isn't about being physically tired or in need of an emotional pick-me-up. You might experience times when you are just done for a minute. Coping with emotional exhaustion is a combination of recognizing it as natural and looking for specific ways to ease these feelings so you can eventually shift out of them.
Increase your self-care. Has your self-care routine been off lately? Lean into it now and practice healthy discipline. Even if you don't think it will help, go through the motions—because it will help! Take your supplements, eat cleaner, do some light exercise. Connect with your body, that sacred container for your soul. Temporarily take some responsibilities off your plate. What would make you feel better right now, and is something simple and actionable? Can you take a mental health day from work and go sit in the park? Ask someone else to watch your toddler for the afternoon and write at your favorite bookstore cafe? Put off a household chore unti…

Caring for Caregivers

Caregivers typically provide assistance to someone who has a chronic illness or disabling condition. Whether a family member with special needs is a child or an adult, combining personal, caregiving and everyday needs can be challenging. Use these tips to help you find a way to manage caregiving on a daily basis.
Be informed. Take time to learn about your family member’s condition and special needs requirements. Talk to health care providers and other professionals who work with families with special needs. Understand the needs of you and your family, and work together to make good choices about housing, schools, health services and more.Get support. It’s important to remember that even when you feel isolated, you are not alone. Join a local or online support group. Search for local and national groups that provide services, recreation and information for families with special needs. Find out about local, state, federal or other programs that may be available.Be an advocate. Ask quest…

Make Mealtimes Meaningful

Eating dinner together as a family is not just about the food; it’s about the connection. Spending time together builds healthy families and healthy kids. Here are a few tips for making mealtime memorable!
Keep a question jar. Place a container on the dinner table with blank slips of paper, and whenever you think of a cool question, write it down and toss it in. “What’s something you can do better than your parents?” “If there were a holiday named after you, how would people celebrate it?” Once a week, use some of the questions in the basket to spark conversations at dinner.Shake it up. Every so often, have a wacky family dinner night. Eat with the big serving utensils or use serving platters instead of plates! You could even serve dinner as a picnic, outside on a blanket or have an indoor picnic in the living room or playroom.Have a reading dinner. Choose a book and read aloud while you eat. If your kids are old enough, they can take a turn.Enjoy special food outings. Have a regular,…

Family Fitness Tips

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans say that kids and pre-teens need a total of 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Raking in these 60 minutes everyday can be fun, too! Use this as a time to get the whole family up and moving. Here are a few quick ways to do just that.
Walk the walk. Instead of watching TV after dinner, take a walk with your family. It doesn’t have to be far or long, but make sure you get outside and let your meal digest while you stroll. If it makes life fun, bring bikes, scooters, roller skates and the dog, too -- anything that brings a smile to your party on the go.Strike a pose. Try yoga to improve your family’s flexibility. There are family-friendly instruction cards with adorably illustrated yoga poses, illustrated books for kids and DVDs on yoga for families designed to guide your group through Tree Pose and Warrior Pose. Don't get hung up on whether the kids are doing the moves right, or even doing all of them at all. Let them imitate you …

Creating a Family Routine

With school quickly approaching, the schedule-free summer days are almost over. For many families, the switch from the summer schedule to the school day routine can be stressful. But, things go more smoothly when both you and your child know what to expect. Here are some tips to creating structure and rules to make your back-to-school transition easier than ever!
Establish a routine and stick with it. A routine is a set of steps or to do items that you do the same way each time, making the day’s activities predictable. Morning and bedtime routines are crucial to creating structure in your child’s life.Give your child choices whenever possible. Asking them, “Do you want A or B?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth or take a bath first?” allows your child to learn to be more independent and feel like they have some control in daily tasks. Plus they get valuable practice in making good choices.Be predictable. Children crave structure, and they feel safe and know how to behave when they h…

A Brief Guide to Going Plant-Based

Veganism has been around since 1944, but it’s still a relatively new concept to many people. The idea of cutting out all animal products to eat a more plant-based diet can be daunting. Most people are hesitant to go vegan because they believe the shift has to occur overnight, and a lot of people don’t want to give up their favorite dessert or snack item. This brief guide will give you tips and tricks to embracing a plant-based lifestyle at your own pace — no sacrifices required.
Try crowding in, not cutting out. Instead of trying to cut animal products out of your diet, crowd them out by putting emphasis on constantly seeking out new plant-based foods. You won’t miss your scrambled eggs in the morning if you are enjoying a delicious and refreshing smoothie bowl.Cultivate the habit of trying new foods at every opportunity. Try starting with sampling at least five new plant-based foods each week. When looking at recipes, find those with ingredients you have never tried or even heard of.…

Effects of Yoga

You don’t have to be able to do a handstand to enjoy the benefits of yoga! According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 82% of adults who practice yoga said it improved their overall health and made them feel better. As an increasing number of studies are showing, yoga may help with several aspects of wellness including stress management, balance, healthy eating and physical activity habits. Here are a few ways yoga can help your wellbeing:
Yoga may help relieve some symptoms of chronic pain conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.Yoga-based interventions can help individuals create healthy eating and physical activity habits.Yoga may be helpful for anxiety or depressive symptoms associated with difficult life situations.Yoga may help manage sleep problems because it can help ease stress and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. You can read a detailed report of the benefits of yoga here.

Source: Nati…

Five Ideas to Maximize Family Time

Finding quality time with your family can be a challenge, but it is an important investment in your overall wellbeing. This summer take time to inspire each other to live better and make new family traditions that encourage healthier lifestyles. The sooner in life we build healthy habits, the easier it is to keep them.

Introduce “Meatless Mondays” and create a family meal with only vegetables. Set limits on screen time. This includes television and all electronic devices. Instead, declare a family game night with board games, a dance-off or an outside physical activity. Try something new as a family. Bike rides, swimming and backyard baseball are all fun ways to fit in exercise. Let every family member create their own flavored water using fruit, vegetables and herbs. Try breathing exercises or a family meditation each night to help everyone unwind to get a better night’s sleep.

Don't Forget the Sunscreen!

The summer holiday is here but spending too much time in the sun can increase the risk for skin cancer and premature skin aging. Sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer. Here are some things to consider to ensure you’re getting the most out of your sunscreen protection.

What to look for: Broad Spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, both of which cause cancer.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher to protect against sunburn.
Don’t skimp!
Slather on at least an ounce (or a shot glass-sized amount) to get full protection. Water resistant sunscreen provides protection for 40 to 80 minutes. Reapply regularly according to the package directions and after getting wet or sweating heavily.

Don’t miss any spots!
Be sure to apply sunscreen around your eyes (look for sunscreen that is safe for your face), the tip of your nose, the tops of your feet, your lips, ears and near the hairline and scalp.

Don’t stop at the beach…

Heart Disease and Depression

Depression and heart disease can happen at the same time. Additionally, depression that lasts longer than a couple of weeks can lead to certain behaviors, such as abusing alcohol or not sleeping, which can put heart health at risk. The good news is that staying mentally healthy can help your heart, and staying heart-healthy through diet, physical activity, and other behaviors can help prevent or lessen depression!

Use these tips for good mental and heart health throughout your life:
See a professional. If you have any of the symptoms of depression, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. If you have been diagnosed with a heart problem, talk to your doctor about any feelings of depression you have. Your doctor can talk to you about medicines and healthy living habits that can help both your heart and your mental health. Treating depression can help your heart health in the long term and improve your quality of life.Stay physically active. Physical activity boosts your mood…

Get it Checked

One health issue we all worry about is “the C word” —cancer. No matter your age or gender, it’s important to take an active approach to preventing cancer or identifying it early. Regular checkups and appropriate screenings can identify problems before they occur.

Use these guidelines from the American Cancer Society as a starting point and make prevention a priority!

You should consult with your healthcare provider about which screenings are right for you and your family. Ask about the benefits of earlier screenings, particularly if you fall into a high-risk group or have a family history of disease.

Nutrition for Muscle Growth

Having defined, sculpted muscles starts way before you ever hit the gym. Muscle growth requires a formula. Along with lifting weights, you must drink plenty of fluids and eat the right energy-rich foods. This formula will fuel workouts, repair muscle tissue and help you sculpt your physique. Use the power food game plan below to help you reach your fitness goals!
Fruit and vegetables are the foundation of all healthy diets, providing fiber, vitamins, minerals and fluids. Vegetables even contain small amounts of protein.Low-fat dairy provides high-quality protein, carbs and essential vitamins such as vitamin D, potassium and calcium. Some sports nutritionists recommend chocolate milk (with low-fat or skim milk) as a good workout recovery beverage. If you are lactose intolerant, you can try yogurt with active cultures.Lean meat is thought to be a trigger for muscle growth. It is more than a great source of protein. It contains iron for oxygen transport to your muscles and amino acids li…

Take Control of Your Health

June is National Men’s Health Month, a campaign started in 1992 because of the staggering facts surrounding men’s health and wellbeing. Men make half as many physician visits for prevention compared to women. This month serves as a time to raise awareness of the preventable health problems men can face and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men. Check out the tips below to take control of your health!
Find a doctor and see that doctor. Choose one you're comfortable with so you can talk openly and honestly about all aspects of your health and wellness. Unfortunately, men have a tendency to ignore key symptoms like chest pain, vision loss, and black stools. Just because you are feeling well doesn’t mean you are well, so be sure to schedule regular appointments with a physician you trust.Get informed. You want to be sure you understand your symptoms but not so informed that you are self-diagnosing a condition. Monitor any symptoms that pop up and write them down…

Get Your Energy Back

Does the summer heat have you feeling sluggish? Use these tips to help you get your energy back!
Eat small, frequent meals… but don’t overeat. If you’re having a hard time keeping your energy up, it’s better to eat small meals and snacks every few hours than three large meals a day. That’s because your brain needs a steady supply of nutrients. Some people can begin feeling tired, headachy or light-headed after just a few hours without food. But it doesn’t take much to feed your brain—a piece of fruit or a few nuts is enough.Avoid crash diets. Even if you are dieting or trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t be skipping essential nutrients or starving yourself. Calories give you energy, and poor nutrition and insufficient calorie intake can cause fatigue. Food provides your brain with a steady supply of glucose. If the brain’s glucose levels are running low, some people can feel hungry, fatigued, or both.Use caffeine to your advantage. Caffeine increases alertness for an hour or two afte…

Six Steps to a Healthier Night's Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for physical and mental health. If you’re feeling sleepy or tired during the day even after getting enough sleep or repeatedly waking up during the night, you could be sleep deprived. Additionally, you may be putting yourself at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and stroke and poor mental health.

Try these practices to get a good night’s rest:

Establish a relaxing routine.  A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is bedtime. This could include taking a warm shower or bath, reading a book or doing some light stretches.

Wind down. Give your mind and body time to shift into sleep mode about an hour before going to bed. Try to avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.

Be consistent! Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.

Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes. While a short nap can help to improve mood and perf…

Lower Your Risk of Having a Stroke

Strokes are the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. They can be caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain. The good news is that 80% of strokes are preventable and can be treated.
It’s important to know the signs of stroke to reduce the effects and save your life! Call 9-1-1 if you notice any of  these symptoms:
• Sudden confusion or difficulty understanding • Dizziness or loss of balance • Sudden numbness or weakness • Trouble speaking and/or walking • Sudden, severe headache • Changes in vision
Take charge of your health to help prevent a stroke.A healthy lifestyle and working with your health care team to control your risk of stroke could save your life.
• Treat high blood pressure, if you have it. • Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke. • Eat a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars and salt. • Control y…

Four Ways to Stay Sharp

Regular physical activity does wonders for your health and can delay the effects of aging. But did you know that exercising your brain can improve your brain health? Take these steps to activate your brain and reach your full intellectual potential!

Challenge your brain. Continuing education is associated with maintaining memory and thinking skills. Try building on your skills throughout your lifetime. Stimulate your brain by taking a cooking class, learning to sew or learning a new language.

Maintain healthy relationships. Social involvement is another way to maintain mental skills and memory. Engage in activities such as volunteering or tutoring school children. Social relationships can also provide emotional support, reducing the damaging effects that stress can have on the brain.

Keep moving. People who exercise regularly tend to stay mentally sharp. Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, so a daily 30 - minute walk or taking a dance class could improve your cognitive health.

Eat S…

Keeping Cholesterol in Check!

High cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. While medications can help improve your levels, some simple lifestyle changes can lower your chances of harmful side effects. Take these steps to keep your cholesterol in check.

Avoid Trans fats. These fats are found in fried foods, baked goods and margarine. They increase unhealthy LDL levels and lower protective HDL. Substitute with healthier unsaturated fats, which are found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils.

Go with whole grains. Whole-grain breads, pasta and cereal help prevent a blood sugar roller coaster and make you feel full longer. Many of these foods contain fiber that lowers LDL levels. Oatmeal, apples, prunes and beans are high in soluble fiber, which keeps your body from absorbing cholesterol.

Catch of the day! Try to eat heart-healthy fish two to four times a week. The omega-3 fats in fish fish can help lower your cholesterol by reducing your exposure to saturated fats. Some fish may contain…

Six Ways to Tackle Chronic Pain

Pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen are common staples in medicine cabinets. An over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever will ease occasional headaches or muscle soreness, but if you experience chronic pain, you may want to consider other alternatives.

Research suggests that because pain involves both the mind and the body, mind-body therapies may have the capacity to lessen pain by changing the way you perceive it. Try these mind-body techniques to help take your mind off the pain.

Deep Breathing. Inhale deeply, hold for a few seconds, and exhale. To help you focus, you can use a word or phrase to guide you and help maintain breathing rhythms.

Mindfulness. Pick an activity you enjoy. Be mindful of every detail of what you are doing and how your senses and emotions are responding. Practice bringing mindfulness to all aspects of your life.

Music therapy. Negative feelings like depression, anxiety, stress and anger can increase the body's sensitivity to pain. Listening to soothing…

Time for a Checkup?

April is a great time to check in with your health. Talk to your doctor about maintenance checks, screening tests and vaccinations to be sure you are up to date!

Women: See your doctor for routine “maintenance” checks at midlife and beyond. Good health is increasingly dependent on good collaborations with your doctors. Since you are likely to be making more medical visits, find a primary care physician that you feel comfortable with. Work with your doctor to devise a schedule for screening tests and clinical exams.

Men: See your doctor for routine “maintenance” checks. Men are less likely than women to get routine physical exams and screenings. A survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians found that 55% of men surveyed had not seen their doctor for a physical exam in the previous year, even though 40% of them had at least one chronic condition (high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, or cancer). Nearly one-fifth of men ages 55 and over said they had never unde…

Improve Your Balance

There are plenty of good reasons to fit in daily physical activity! One important reason is to challenge your muscles and bones. The muscles we use every day weaken over time. Putting them to work can improve and maintain balance and coordination. Try these exercises to help you build up your balance abilities along with your muscles and cardiovascular fitness. 

Heel-to-toe walk:
Position your heel just in front of the toes of the opposite foot as you walk forward for eight to 12 steps. Heel and toes should actually touch each time you take a step. If necessary, steady yourself by putting one hand on a counter as you walk at first, and then work toward doing this without support. Repeat two to four times.
Single leg stance: 
Stand on one foot for up to 30 seconds. Put your foot down and repeat on the opposite side. Perform two to four times on each leg. If this is too hard, steady yourself by holding on to the back of a chair at first, then work toward doing this without support. For an a…

Finding a Fast Food Fix

Fast food is typically higher in calories, fat, sugar & salt.  It can also be lower in key nutrients while increasing risk for obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes & heart disease.  The goal is to still enjoy the convenience of fast food while finding a better choice. 
Restaurant chains with 20+ locations are now required to post calories on menus, making it easier for consumers to be more aware of the lower-calorie options.  Follow these simple tips to help cut the calories and find a more balanced fast meal. 
Tip #1: Plan ahead before you go to determine the better choices.  Check the website for menu calories and look for an entrĂ©e under 500 calories.  
Tip #2: Watch the beverages – sweet tea, soda, lemonade, and shakes add up in calories quick!  You could save a couple hundred calories by choosing water.
Tip #3: A simple swap or hold can also save hundreds of calories.  Swap crispy for grilled.  Swap fries for fruit.  Hold the cheese.  Hold the sauce.  Hold the b…

Top 10 Ways to Get Heartburn Relief

Making small changes in your diet and lifestyle are the best ways to treat the symptoms that come with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Here are some tips to prevent those symptoms from getting in your way!
Eat small meals. A large meal remains in the stomach for several hours, increasing the chances for GERD. Distribute your food intake over multiple, small meals throughout the day.Relax when you eat. Stress increases the amount of stomach acid produced, so try to avoid eating when you feel stressed out. During your meal times, sit down and relax. Focus on chewing completely and enjoying the meal.Relax between meals. Try deep breathing, meditation, massage, tai chi, or yoga between meals or throughout the day to help with your heartburn.Sit up! For three hours after you eat, you should try to have good posture and remain upright. For example, don’t lay down or stay bent over for elongated periods of time after eating.Ditch the late night munchies. Staying away from that bedtim…

Fix Your Fatigue

Feeling fatigued and can’t seem to shake it? Most issues with being fatigued are linked to problems that can be easily fixed. Look at these five areas of your life to help explain your tiredness.
Diet. Caffeine or sugar can seem like a quick fix when you need an energy boost, but they actually make things worse. After blood sugar levels spike, they crash, making you more fatigued than you were before. A better solution is to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and lean protein and to steer clear from crash diets. Water intake. Research shows that even mild dehydration affects your mood and it makes you feel more tired. Drinking just a little less water than you normally do can cause fatigue to occur. Be sure to track your water intake to ensure you’re getting the appropriate amounts.Sleep. You should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, but millions of Americans have trouble doing this. If you’re one of them, avoid caffeine, alcohol and large meals in the hours before bedtime. …

Improve Your Cholesterol Profile

Certain health conditions, your diet, age and family history can affect your cholesterol levels. While you can’t change your age or family history, you can change your lifestyle to improve your cholesterol profile.
Focus on fats. But not the bad ones! Avoid saturated fats, which increase unhealthy LDL levels, and steer clear of trans fats, which both raise LDL and lower protective HDL. Instead, substitute these with unsaturated fats, like those found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils. Choose whole grains. Whole-grain breads, pasta and cereal help prevent a blood sugar roller coaster and make you feel full longer. Many of these foods contain fiber, which help to lower LDL levels. Make other healthy choices. Maintaining a healthy diet is always beneficial. Start small, like substituting fruits and vegetables during times when you want to reach for a bag of potato chips. Especially try to make healthier dairy substitutions, like fat-free milk instead of whole milk or low-fat yogurt instea…

Six Tips for Safe Stretches

Stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility and avoid muscle soreness after a workout. Using these tips can ensure you’re stretching safely and protecting your muscles and joints at the same time.
Warm up first. Muscles stretch more easily when they’re warm. To warm up, you can walk in place for give minutes or even dance to a few songs. Moist heat packs or a warm shower are other great ways to warm up quickly. Avoid pain. Stretch only to the point of mild tension, never to the point of pain. If a stretch hurts, stop immediately! Check the instructions and start from the beginning. Pay attention to posture and good form. Posture counts whether you’re sitting, standing, or moving. Good form while stretching can translate to good form while you’re lifting weights, which means you have a lesser chance of injury. Focus on the muscle being stretched. You’ll notice that one side of your body often is tighter than the other. Work on balancing this over time. Breathe. For most stret…

Boost Your Energy Level!

Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. It’s also a proven way to increase your energy and boost your mood! The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week (for example, half an hour, five days a week), including two to three strength training sessions per week.
Aerobic activity: The most convenient and affordable form of aerobic activity is walking. Studies have shown that brisk walking for at least half an hour, five times a week, has nearly the same health benefits as more vigorous exercise. How fast is “brisk”? Health experts say that a brisk walk is about 100 steps per minute, or about 3-4 miles per hour. Strength training: Weight lifting doesn’t have to involve heavy barbells. Lifting light weights can provide adequate resistance, but you can also use the strength training machines at the gym. Allow at least 48 hours between these muscle-building workouts to give your body …

Five Tips for Smart Shopping

Eating healthy starts before cooking or selecting a snack from your pantry. Being a savvy shopper makes smart eating choices even easier!
Start at the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where you’ll find the most healthful, freshest, least-processed options. Try to shop the produce, fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy and bread sections of the store as much as possible to avoid the temptations lurking in the aisles containing snack cakes, chips, sodas and other packaged and processed foods. Concentrate on filling your basket with healthful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Don’t shop on an empty stomach. We all know what happens when you go to the grocery store when your stomach is rumbling! Everything looks good, especially those quick, easy-to-eat snacks. Try to have a healthy snack or even a meal before going to the store. You’ll be less tempted to fill your cart with impulse items.Get organized. Make a list of foods you need before you leave the hous…

Start a Food Diary to Eat Better

A healthy diet is one of the best weapons you can use to fight against heart disease. What you eat, how much and how often can impact many controllable risk factors, like cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and being overweight. Keeping a food diary to track the quality and quantity of your food intake is a great way to pinpoint problem-eating patterns and make the changes you need to!
Don’t wait to write. To get the most accurate impression of what and how much you consume, jot down what you’ve eaten as soon as you eat it. If you wait until the end of the day, it’s likely you’ll forget some of the things you ate earlier. Strive to write down every mouthful of food—even tastes, snacks, and sips—within 15 minutes of consuming it.Do get the details. Record relevant important details, including the time of your meal or snack, where you ate, whether you were doing something else while you were eating, and the type of food you consumed—whether, for example, it was a meal from scratch or …

Four Ways to Sidestep the Pitfalls

Continuing your 2019 goals can be challenging. Reminding yourself of the bigger picture, like better heart health, is just one way to sidestep pitfalls. Use these four tips to overcome setbacks!
Always launch change with a plan. Map out the journey you’re embarking upon. It’s tempting to skip straight to the action, especially when you’re feeling inspired to make a change. By winging it, though, you may ignore important issues, such as why you do—and don’t—want to make this change. Make a commitment based on that knowledge, then plan a path of small steps that lead to your goal.Set off at a reasonable pace. Rushing rarely works. Few of us are designed to go from zero to 60. In the exercise world, going to quickly puts you on track for injuries, not success. In the diet world, you get sick of nibbling only celery sticks and raw cabbage, and head for the chocolate cake. Let small, steady changes help you achieve what you hope to do.Envision a happy outcome. Rather than telling yourself …

Understand the Risks of Heart Disease You Can't Control

There are several risk factors associated with heart disease. Some can be controlled, but you may be born with certain risk factors that cannot be changed. These include:

Increasing Age Learn moreMale gender Learn moreHeredity (including race) Learn more
Since you can’t control these risk factors, it’s even more important that you manage your risk factors that can be changed. The American Heart Association recommends focusing on heart disease prevention early in life. Begin by assessing your risk factors and working to keep them low. Take steps to lower your risk by changing factors you can control.
American Heart Association

Four Ways to Protect Your Heart

There are many factors that can increase your risk for heart disease. Some factors, like age or family history, cannot be controlled. But changing the things you can control allows you to lower your risk! Use these four tips to take control of your heart health.
Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn how to quit.Manage conditions. Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any medicines you have been prescribed. Learn more about preventing and managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.Make heart-healthy eating changes.  Eat food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium. Try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and aim for low sodium options. Learn more about how to reduce sodium.Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up …

Focus on Your Breathing!

Unsure of your ability to do something? Don’t try to go at it alone. If the problem is work, talk to a co-worker or supportive supervisor. Ask a knowledgeable friend, check reliable online sources or call the local library or an organization that can supply the information you need for support. If you need a extra help, try to write down other ways that you might get the answers or skills you need, like CDs, books or classes.

In any case, focus on breathing and center yourself.
Place your hand just beneath your navel so you can feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breathe.Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Breathe out. Pause for a count of three.Continue to take a few slow, deep breaths. Or alternatively, while sitting comfortably, take a few slow deep breaths and silently repeat to yourself “I am” as you breathe in and “at peace” as you breathe out. Repeat slowly two or three times. Then feel your entire body relax into the support of the chair.
Source: Harva…

Put Off Procrastination

How well do you manage your time? Poor planning can cause unwanted stress that can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety and agitation, moodiness, irritability or anger. These five tips can help you stay one step ahead!
Consider your priorities for the day (be sure to include time for yourself), then delegate or discard unnecessary tasks.Plan your day by setting aside time for different tasks, such as answering emails, writing memos or returning phone calls.Put your plan to action. Planning is one thing; action is another. Focus on your target goals.Put away distractions—no texts, tweets, emails or games—while you dive into tasks. If you are overly optimistic about travel time, consistently give yourself an extra 15 minutes or more to get to your destinations.Be sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise. An alert mind is a high-functioning mind and one that’s less tolerant of time-wasting activities.Source: Harvard Health

Stay Active During Winter Months

The chill in the air can make it hard to keep moving toward your exercise goals. Don’t let old man winter slow you down! Here are five ideas for staying active during winter months. Bring the fun inside! You can enjoy a brisk walk at a local shopping center or play some indoor sports. Find places in your community that offer indoor activities such as rock climbing, aerobics, volleyball or basketball.Exercise at home. Set up a workout area in your home with some inexpensive equipment like light weights and stretch bands. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends strengthening activities 2 or more days per week. This can include lifting light weights, doing full or modified push-ups or working with resistance bands.Take the stairs. Stair climbing is a great fat-burning workout that will keep your heart rate up.Keep an activity log. Hold yourself accountable by keeping an activity log. It will also help track your progress as your work toward your wellbeing goal.Spread th…

Set a SMART Goal

Kick off the new year with setting a SMART goal! Experts say efforts to change are more successful if they are SMART— that is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. So, as you’re deciding on a change, make sure it can pass the SMART test:

S Set a very specific goal. I will add one fruit serving—that’s half a cup, chopped—to my current daily diet.

M Find a way to measure progress. I will log my efforts each day on my calendar.

A Make sure it’s achievable. Be sure you’re physically capable of safely accomplishing your goal. If not, aim for a smaller goal.

R Be sure it’s realistic. It may seem counterintuitive but choosing the change you most need to make—let’s say, quitting smoking or losing weight—isn’t as successful as choosing the change you’re most confident you’ll be able to make. Focus on sure bets, such as eating an additional serving of fruit every day rather than overhauling your diet at once: if you picture a 10-point scale of confidence in achieving your g…