RCFE #100400070 | PCOA #319

Zen with Ren every Monday at 3:30

By 19th August, 2020 Blog Comments Off

zen with ren

The Benefits of Exercise

By 16th June, 2020 Blog, Health and Wellness Comments Off

Over the years, it is easy to forget about exercise when it’s not routine. A recent study suggested that about 67 percent of older adults are sedentary for at least 8.5 hours each day. Making exercise fun as part of your routine can help in the long term, and there are numerous benefits you receive!

  1. Arthritis: Exercise is one of the most crucial options for arthritis management. Regular activity helps lubricate the joints and can help reduce overall pain and stiffness that is often present among individuals with arthritis. Moreover, obesity is a risk factor for the disease, and increasing physical activity levels can help better manage the debilitating symptoms of arthritis.
  2. Heart disease: Heart disease is one of the biggest causes of death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that about one in every four deaths is attributed to heart disease. More people exercising later in life can help reduce the number of individuals with heart disease through the management of blood pressure and blood glucose, and decreasing LDL cholesterol.
  3. Metabolic Dysfunction (type II diabetes and obesity): Type II diabetes and obesity are two closely related diseases in which the body is in metabolic dysfunction. Exercise can help maintain proper body weight and help regulate blood glucose and insulin levels to make the body more efficient.
  4. Cancer: Exercise has been shown to help improve overall cancer risk among a variety of different forms of cancer. Studies have shown a 30 to 40 percent reduction in breast cancer risk among women who perform moderate to regular exercise.
  5. Hypertension: Exercise can help lower systolic blood pressure significantly through moderate-intensity physical activity. Try breaking up exercise into three bouts throughout the day lasting for at least 10 minutes each to receive blood pressure–lowering effects.
  6. Depression: Exercise can have a beneficial effect on personal mood. Studies suggest that group exercise classes among older adults can help reduce symptoms of depression by 30 percent or more in exercising older adults. The modest improvement in depressive symptoms can help maintain an overall greater vitality later in life and help prevent negative feelings or thoughts that are common with aging.
  7. Dementia: Dementia is a disabling condition affecting many older adults. With a wide range of mental disorders categorized as dementia, there is a great need to understand how to prevent the condition. Exercise is one prevention strategy that can help slow the mental decline. A recent study showed a 37 percent reduced risk and a 66 percent reduction in risk of dementia when older adults performed moderate-intensity exercise, suggesting every adult ought to exercise to help lower the risk of mental decline and to help prevent mental disability later in life.
  8. Quality of life: Maintaining functional independence is something many older adults want. A regular exercise inclusive of strength and balance training can help accomplish this. Aim to be physically active for 30 minutes every day and to strength train at least two non-consecutive days per week.
  9. Insomnia: Certain medications and life events can prevent the body from proper sleep. Higher levels of physical activity can help exhaust the body enough to place it in a position for restful and lasting sleep. Avoid strenuous exercise two hours before bed to obtain these benefits, and aim to meet the daily activity recommendations.
  10. All-cause mortality: Exercise is known to reduce death from all causes. In fact, a recent study showed a 30 to 80 percent reduction in all-cause mortality when individuals exercised at an intensity level greater than 4 METS, suggesting that exercise can help delay premature death from various causes.

Iced Tea Benefits

By 9th June, 2020 Blog Comments Off

From soothing stress to providing weird minerals you didn’t know you need, iced tea provides more than just a refreshing boost.

After water, tea is the most frequently consumed beverage in the world. Which makes sense; tea goes hand in hand with images of Asia, the United Kingdom, India, Russia. But how about here in the old United States of America? It might not seem like we have a booming tea culture, but the fact is that on any given day, more than half of the American population drinks tea. But here’s the twist: 85 percent of that tea is served on the rocks.

While heavily sweetened iced tea can’t really be considered a health food, iced tea, in general, is a super salubrious quaff. Regardless of the temperature, it is served at, tea is chock full of good things. There has been much research done, and compelling conclusions that tea can reduce the risk of heart disease, and possibly even help prevent a number of others. In warmer weather, having your tea iced is a great way to reap the benefits all year.

Whether black, green, white, or oolong – all of which come from the same plant, just processed differently – all teas do a body good. Here are a few of the ways in which they do so (with the caveat that you aren’t drinking tea swimming in sugar).

1. Keeps You Hydrated

Dehydration sucks, so to speak. Hydration is good. The Harvard School of Public Health lists tea as a great source of hydration. Despite the common myth that caffeine dehydrates the body, there is ample evidence that such is not the case.

2. Boosts Your Antioxidants

Everything is all about the antioxidants these days, we can’t seem to escape the heaping of accolades on these plant compounds that fight cell-damaging free radicals in the body. But if they really prove to be as beneficial as science seems to think they are, then we should be scarfing them down as frequently as possible. And on that note, by some accounts, tea has about eight to 10 times the polyphenol antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables.

3. Offers a Superior Swap for Sugary Soda

A 12-ounce can of regular cola contains 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9 1/2 teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories. Twelve ounces of unsweetened iced tea has 0 teaspoons of sugar and 2 calories.

4. May Help Your Teeth

Some research has shown that drinking tea may help prevent tooth loss; tea changes the pH in your mouth, which may prevent cavities. At the very least, it appears not to harm tooth enamel like some beverages do.

5. Could Fight Cancer

The Tea Association of the USA explains that more than 3,000 published research studies exist that evaluate the role tea and tea compounds, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may play in cancers of various sites. The effects apply to a number of different cancers and are linked to varying degrees of significant success.

6. Provides a Surprising Source of Manganese

OK so maybe you don’t go around wondering how you can get more manganese in your diet, but hey, it can’t hurt. An 8-ounce glass of brewed black iced tea provides 520 micrograms of manganese, which is 35 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 23 percent for men. According to SF Gate, manganese promotes healthy wound healing, helps maintain the strength of your bones and supports your metabolism.

7. Chills the Nerves

A British study found that people who drank tea were able to de-stress more quickly than those who didn’t. As well, during the study the tea drinkers – who drank black tea four times a day for six weeks – had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood after a stressful event, compared with a control group who drank a placebo.

8. Helps Your Heart

“There’s a lot of literature out there on tea and heart health,” says Anna Ardine, clinical nutrition manager at Magee-Women’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “This is a health effect for which there is the strongest evidence.”

In fact, reports Today.com, a comprehensive review study found a nearly 20 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack and a 35 percent reduced risk of stroke among those who drank one to three cups of green tea daily. “Those who drank four or more cups of green tea daily had a 32 percent reduction in the risk of having a heart attack and lower levels of LDL cholesterol.”

You can make iced tea by brewing tea traditionally and then adding ice or allowing it to cool, or you can make sun tea. You can use any type of true tea – or herb tea. You can toss in citrus, fruits, herbs, or spices when you steep it for additional flavor. Go crazy! Mix things up; add lemon, mint, and ginger to black tea; peaches and lime to white tea; raspberries and orange slices go beautifully with Earl Gray. Have a tea free-for-all, have fun … and reap the many benefits along the way.

Article courtesy of https://www.treehugger.com/health/8-health-benefits-iced-tea.html 

New Top 10 Superfoods List!

By 25th February, 2020 Blog, Health and Wellness Comments Off

Add classic deliciousness to your diet!

Many nutritionists will tell you that “superfood” is a loaded term—and, sometimes, the health halo associated with so-called superfoods isn’t totally earned or deserved. But when asked to list the best superfoods right now, many nutritionists chose staples that aren’t exactly “new”, but rather a healthy part of any diet—fresh produce.

A new annual survey published by Today’s Dietitian and Pollock Communications asked 1,342 registered dietitians which foods they believe are the healthiest for 2019—or, the superfoods they believe consumers will go bananas over. In the past, Cooking Light has asked our lead nutritionist, Carolyn Williams, PHD, RD, to investigate ingredients like turmeric, matcha, and alkaline water that many on the internet had lauded as “superfoods,” but it seems that nutritionists are now considering more routine items to have a better reputation overall.

The one noticeable change in this year’s survey? Kale has fallen off the top ten list, while another non-dairy item makes its way onto it.

bowls of superfood fruits and vegetables

These are the top 10 superfoods to keep an eye on:

  1. Fermented Foods.  Yogurt is a prime example of this category, as gut health continues to be one of the most innovative aspects of nutrition today. Consumers are interested in finding foods—like these four gut-healthy ingredients—that can help them reduce inflammation and detox naturally. If you’re interested in resetting your microbiome with fermented foods, check out Cooking Light’s 3-day detox plan.
  2. Avocados. While kale isn’t on nutritionists’ radar anymore, this creamy fruit still is—and for good reason. Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, B vitamins, and folic acid, according to Jamie Vespa, MS, RD. Avocados are also chock full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber, with roughly 50 calories per 1-ounce serving.
  3. Seeds. From chia seeds to flaxseed and even hemp seeds, these small-but-mighty snacks are nutritional powerhouses. They’re loaded with dietary fiver, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These are 5 seeds you should be adding to your diet immediately.
  4. Ancient Grains. Quinoa isn’t the only wholesome grain you should be enjoying in 2019. Farro, a popular substitute for enriched pasta products, and teff, which is similar to millet, can be used to top salads, bulk up grain bowls, or in baking.
  5. Exotic Fruit. From acai to goji berries, these deliciously sweet options are solid sources of fiber, plus they’re rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy fatty acids. We love them in these healthy and delicious smoothie bowls.
  6. Blueberries. Williams says this superfood contains high levels of phytochemicals—including flavonoids, anthocyanins, and resveratrol—that help the body combat inflammation naturally. Other research has shown blueberries to cut risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as memory loss. Not bad for a little berry!
  7. Beets. Beets have been shown to help offset the risk of many chronic diseases due to their high levels of vitamin B, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
  8. Nuts. Whether you choose almonds, pine nuts, pecans, or pistachios, nuts are one of the healthiest on-the-go snack options.
  9. Coconut Products. We were a little surprised to see this item make the list. In fact, recent research has led to an all-time low demand for coconut oil, which was once one of the most high-profile superfoods. Last year, the World Health Organization released new guidelines asking people to keep their saturated fat intake to less than 10g of day—so, keep that in mind when cooking with coconut oil or other coconut byproducts.
  10. Non-dairy Milks. We’ve watched as oat milk has slowly but surely surged to popularity in America. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t sold on almond milk anymore, as it may be healthier than any other plant-based milk on the market. In fact, we’ve seen many non-dairy milks hit shelves this year, including pecan milk and macadamia milk. If you’re looking for the perfect milk for your dietary needs, consider our nutritionist’s guide.

Easy No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

By 25th February, 2020 Blog, Health and Wellness Comments Off

These no-bake peanut butter bars are such a delicious treat! So easy to make and they taste just like a Reese’s, but better because they’re homemade.

Ingredients

FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER BASE:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

—————————————-

 

FOR THE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER TOPPING:

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup peanut butter

 

YIELD:  About 18 Squares

PREP TIME:   15 Minutes

CHILL TIME:   90 Minutes

Instructions

TO MAKE THE PEANUT BUTTER BASE:
  1. Place the graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir together until combined.

  2. Press the mixture into an even layer in the bottom of a parchment-lined 9″ x 13″ pan.

     

TO MAKE THE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER TOPPING:
  1. Place the milk chocolate chips and peanut butter in a medium bowl and microwave in short, 20-second bursts, stirring until smooth.

  2. Pour the mixture over the peanut butter base and smooth into an even layer with a spatula.

  3. Chill for 60 – 90 minutes until set, before cutting into bars.

No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes

By 20th December, 2019 Blog Comments Off

No Bake Cheesecake Bites are always a favorite and making them without an oven or stovetop is a snap! Layer graham cracker crust with a smooth, cheesecake layer. Leave plain or top with fruit, lemon curd, or chopped candies. You can easily make them gluten free by using gluten free graham crackers for the crust. The rest of the ingredients are naturally gluten free.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces graham crackers (gluten free or traditional)
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions

Pulse the graham crackers, melted butter, and brown sugar in a food processor.

Fill mini muffin pans with mini baking cups. Press one teaspoon of graham cracker mixture into each mini baking cup. Press firmly. Put the mini muffin tray in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Make the cheesecake filling: Use a hand held mixer to beat the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until smooth. Top each chilled crust with the cheesecake filling.

Add any toppings you wish (or leave plain) then place in the freezer for an hour to set.

Remove and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

YIELD:  24 mini cheesecakes

PREP TIME:   20 Minutes

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

By 20th December, 2019 Blog Comments Off

As we age, maintaining our vision becomes a higher priority. Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD is the leading cause of vision loss among seniors. While there’s no cure for the disease, there are simple things you can do to help prevent or slow the progression of the disease.

Step 1: Stop smoking

Probably the number one way to prevent AMD is to stop smoking or not smoke in the first place. Consider findings from these studies. If you are a smoker, stop now. Smoking is a major risk factor for developing macular degeneration.

  • Smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to have macular degeneration, public health experts at the University of Manchester said in a British Medical Journal report. In Great Britain, an estimated 53,900 people older than 69 have AMD attributed to smoking. Of that number, 17,900 are legally blind.
  • Another study from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary showed that current and past smokers had a 1.9- and 1.7-fold greater risk, respectively, of AMD compared with non-smokers.

Step 2: Eat plenty of greens

Eating plenty of dark, leafy greens may help with macular degeneration prevention. A study published by researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary reported that people who consumed the most vegetables rich in carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) had a 43 percent lower risk of AMD than those who ate these foods the least. Carotenoid-rich vegetables include dark, leafy greens, especially raw spinach, kale and collard greens.

“In particular, a higher frequency of intake of spinach or collard greens was associated with a substantially lower risk for AMD,” the researchers said.

The authors concluded that “consumption of foods rich in certain carotenoids, in particular dark green, leafy vegetables, may decrease the risk of developing advanced or exudative (‘wet’) AMD, the most visually disabling form of macular degeneration among older people.”

Step 3: Take a daily multivitamin supplement

Taking vitamins and minerals from a trusted source may be a good idea for many reasons, including general eye health. Particularly for an older person, it may be difficult to obtain all the nutrients you need from diet alone. Ask your doctor for advice about which supplements might work best for you based on your specific health needs.

Step 4: Consider an AREDS nutritional supplement

Two large clinical trials sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI) have suggested certain nutritional supplements can slow the progression of AMD among people with early and intermediate stages of macular degeneration.

AREDS1. The antioxidant vitamin formula used in the first AREDS study contained the following ingredients:

The results of AREDS1, published in 2001, revealed patients at high risk of progressive AMD who took the daily antioxidant and zinc supplement had up to a 25 percent reduced risk of their macular degeneration progressing to an advanced stage (depending on the degree of AMD present at the start of the trial), compared to matched participants who took a daily placebo pill.

Popular AREDS-formula eye vitamins include I-Caps (Alcon), Ocuvite PreserVision (Bausch + Lomb) and MacularProtect Complete (ScienceBased Health). Variations of these products and eye vitamins from other manufacturers also may contain lutein and zeaxanthin and/or omega-3 fatty acids.

Step 5: Eat more fish

Research also has shown the benefits of eating fish for macular degeneration prevention: Some studies show that eating fish regularly can help prevent macular degeneration.

  • A study at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary showed that senior men with the highest levels of fish consumption (more than two servings weekly) were 45 percent less likely to have AMD than those who ate the least amount of fish (less than one serving per week).
  • Brian Chua and researchers at the University of Sydney demonstrated similar findings. They evaluated 2,900 people aged 49 or older. Participants who ate fish at least once a week were 40 percent less likely to have beginning-stage AMD develop than those who reported eating fish less than once a month or not at all. Those who ate fish at least three times weekly were less likely to have late-stage AMD.

Step 6: Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight

Regular exercise reduces macular degeneration risk, according to a study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. In this study, 4,000 people ages 43 to 86 were monitored for 15 years. After considering other risk factors such as weight, cholesterol levels and age, researchers found that people who led an active lifestyle were 70 percent less likely to have AMD develop during the follow-up period. To be included in the active group, participants must have walked at least two miles a day, three times weekly, or the equivalent.

Step 7: Eat fruits and nuts daily

Eating fruits and nuts can help reduce your risk of macular degeneration:

  • A 2004 study at Harvard Medical School showed that participants who ate three or more servings of fruit daily had a substantially lower risk of “wet” or advanced AMD.
  • Another study from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary demonstrated that eating nuts helped deter progression of early or intermediate AMD to more advanced stages.

Step 8: Reduce refined carbs in your diet

Diets high in refined carbohydrates increase the risk of AMD, which was confirmed in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Highly refined foods have a high glycemic index, causing a rapid increase in blood sugar and insulin release. Examples of refined carbohydrates include white bread, white rolls, baked white potatoes, donuts and pretzels. Low glycemic index foods include most fruits, brown rice, multi-grain and whole grain breads, apple juice and carrot juice.

Be careful, though, when considering the glycemic index of foods. The glycemic index (GI) was developed in 1981 by researchers at the University of Toronto. It is a value from 1 to 100 that indicates a food’s effect on a person’s blood sugar level, with a value of 100 being equivalent to the change caused by the same amount of pure glucose. A food with a high glycemic index increased blood sugar level more severely than foods with lower GI values.

Step 9: Control your blood pressure and cholesterol

Some evidence indicates that controlling cholesterol can protect you from macular degeneration. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can build up in blood vessels, inhibiting blood flow necessary for maintaining health of eye tissue.

Also, blood pressure control may be important for macular degeneration prevention. Major investigations including the Framingham Heart and Eye Studies and Beaver Dam Eye Study indicate a significant link between high blood pressure and development of advanced, potentially blinding forms of macular degeneration.

Step 10: Wear sunglasses with UV and blue light protection

Major studies show no conclusive evidence that overexposure to the sun directly causes macular degeneration. But some findings suggest at least an association between AMD and cumulative eye damage from overexposure to both UV and high energy visible (HEV) or “blue” light.

As an example, a recent major study found that people who consumed too few antioxidants, in combination with overexposure to blue light, were four times more likely to develop advanced or “wet” AMD. For this reason, it is a good idea to wear sunglasses that protect against both UV and HEV light outdoors.

Step 11: Have regular eye exams

Last but not least, have regular eye exams. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a dilated eye exam at least every two to three years if you’re between 45 and 60 and every year after the age of 60. By following these steps, you’ll know you’ve done everything you can to prevent AMD. But if you’re strongly genetically predisposed to develop macular degeneration, it still may develop and worsen.

Regular eye exams can help your eye doctor detect AMD and monitor it so that you can receive proper AMD treatment, if appropriate, beyond these preventive measures.

Delicious Rumballs

By 22nd October, 2019 Blog Comments Off

RumballsRum balls are a sign that the holidays are finally here!  These delicious bites are no-bake and easy to make with just a microwave, and have so many options to decorate.  Just click the photo to download the recipe card!

Easy Persimmon Cookie Recipe

By 23rd September, 2019 Blog Comments Off

Click for the recipe

October is the season for tree-ripened persimmons to appear at farmer’s markets. Try this easy recipe and bake moist, delicious Persimmon Cookies in a snap!  Just click the cookie photo and print the recipe, courtesy of allrecipes.com.