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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.

Cookie Dough Truffles

By 28th April, 2020 Health and Wellness Comments Off

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough truffles are bite-sized deliciousness.  This no-bake, egg-less recipe makes them safe to enjoy any time, and they take just a few minutes to make. The hardest part is waiting for them to firm up in the refrigerator! Thank you to Like Mother-Like Daughter for their easy recipe!

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.

Managing Heat Stoke

By 19th July, 2019 Blog, Health and Wellness Comments Off

Too much heat is not safe for anyone. It is even riskier if you are older or have health problems. It is important to get relief from the heat quickly. If not, you might begin to feel confused or faint. Your heart could become stressed and stop beating. Being hot for too long can be a problem. It can cause several illnesses, all grouped under the name hyperthermia. Older man drinking water in a park on a hot day

  • Heat syncope is a sudden dizziness that can happen when you are active in hot weather. If you take a heart medication called a beta blocker or are not used to hot weather, you are even more likely to feel faint. Rest in a cool place, put your legs up, and drink water to make the dizzy feeling go away.
  • Heat cramps are the painful tightening of muscles in your stomach, arms, or legs. Cramps can result from hard work or exercise. Though your body temperature and pulse usually stay normal during heat cramps, your skin may feel moist and cool. Find a way to cool your body down. Rest in the shade or in a cool building. Drink plenty of fluids, but not those with alcohol or caffeine.
  • Heat edema is a swelling in your ankles and feet when you get hot. Put your legs up to help reduce swelling. If that doesn’t work fairly quickly, check with your doctor.
  • Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. You might feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, and nauseated. You may sweat a lot. Your body temperature may stay normal, but your skin may feel cold and clammy. Some people with heat exhaustion have a rapid pulse. Rest in a cool place and get plenty of fluids. If you don’t feel better soon, get medical care. Be careful—heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke.

Heat Stroke—A Medical Emergency

If you have heat stroke, you need to get medical help right away. Older people living in homes or apartments without air conditioning or fans are at most risk. People who become dehydrated or those with chronic diseases or alcoholism are also at most risk. Signs of heat stroke are:

  • Fainting (possibly the first sign) or becoming unconscious
  • A change in behavior—confusion, agitation, staggering, being grouchy, or acting strangely
  • Body temperature over 104°F (40°C)
  • Dry, flushed skin and a strong, rapid pulse or a slow, weak pulse
  • Not sweating even if it is hot

Who Is at Risk?

Each year, most people who die from hyperthermia are over 50 years old. Health problems that put you at greater risk include:

  • Heart or blood vessel problems
  • Poorly working sweat glands or changes in your skin caused by normal aging
  • Heart, lung, or kidney disease, as well as any illness that makes you feel weak all over or results in a fever
  • Conditions treated bHeay drugs, such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and some heart and high blood pressure medicines; they may make it harder for your body to cool itself
  • Taking several prescription drugs; ask your doctor if any of your medications make you more likely to become overheated.
  • Being very overweight or underweight
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages

How Can I Lower My Risk?

Things you can do to lower your risk of heat-related illness:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, such as water or fruit or vegetable juices. Stay away from drinks containing alcohol or caffeine. If your doctor has told you to limit your liquids, ask what you should do when it is very hot.
  • If you live in a home or apartment without fans or air conditioning, try to keep your house as cool as possible. Limit your use of the oven. Keep your shades, blinds, or curtains closed during the hottest part of the day. Open your windows at night.
  • If your house is hot, try to spend time during mid-day some place that has air conditioning—for example, go to the shopping mall, movies, library, senior center, or a friend’s house.
  • If you need help getting to a cool place, ask a friend or relative. Some religious groups, senior centers, and Area Agencies on Aging provide this service. If necessary, take a taxi or call for senior transportation. Don’t stand outside in the heat waiting for a bus.
  • Dress for the weather. Some people find natural fabrics, such as cotton, to be cooler than synthetic fibers.
  • Don’t try to exercise or do a lot of activities outdoors when it’s hot.
  • Avoid crowded places when it’s hot outside. Plan trips during non-rush-hour times.

What Should I Remember?

Older people can have a tough time dealing with heat and humidity. The temperature inside or outside does not have to reach 100°F (38°C) to put them at risk for a heat-related illness.

Headache, confusion, dizziness, or nausea could be a sign of a heat-related illness. Go to the doctor or an emergency room to find out if you need treatment.

To keep heat-related illnesses from becoming a dangerous heat stroke, remember to:

  • Get out of the sun and into a cool place—air-conditioning is best.
  • Drink fluids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine. Water and fruit or vegetable juices are good choices.
  • Shower, bathe, or sponge off with cool water.
  • Lie down and rest in a cool place.
  • Visit your doctor or go to an emergency room if you don’t cool down quickly

Managing Stress Workbook

By 26th June, 2019 Blog, Health and Wellness Comments Off

If you are having difficulty coping with the demands in your life, you are experiencing stress. Everyone has stress. While some challenge is healthy, too much stress creates problems in our lives and if you’re overly stressed for too long, it can put your health at risk. If you have too much stress, your body will let you know in different ways, and you may:

  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Feel worried and fearful
  • Feel “wound up”—sweaty palms, pounding heart, and tense muscles
  • Feel irritable toward others
  • Feel tired

Check out this helpful Stress Workbook from the VA for more helpful tips!

Men’s Health Screenings At Any Age

By 26th June, 2019 Blog, Health and Wellness Comments Off

Men need certain health screenings as they age for preventative medicine, and to be alerted to potential health risks.  Check out the infographic below to learn more.

Stay Active As You Get Older

By 26th June, 2019 Blog, Health and Wellness Comments Off

Keep Moving for Optimal Health

Physical activity is good for people of all ages. Staying active can help:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer
  • Improve your strength and balance so you can prevent injuries and stay independent
  • Improve your mood
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Improve your ability to think, learn, and make decisions

Before you start…

If you have a health problem like heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, talk to your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.

Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activities.

  • If you were not exercising before, start slowly. Begin with 10 minutes of aerobic activity and gradually build up to doing 30 minutes at a time.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days of the week.
  • Choose aerobic activities – activities that make your heart beat faster – like walking fast, dancing, swimming, or raking leaves.
  • Tell your doctor if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, or unplanned weight loss.

Do strengthening activities 2 days a week.

  • Try using exercise bands or lifting hand weights. You can also use bottles of water or cans of food as weights.
  • Breathe out as you lift the weight, and breathe in as you lower it. Don’t hold your breath – holding your breath can cause unsafe changes in your blood pressure.

Do balance activities 3 or more days a week.

  • Practice standing on one foot (hold onto a chair if you need to at first).
  • Stand up from a sitting position without using your hands.
  • Learn tai chi (“ty chee”), a Chinese mind-body exercise that involves moving the body slowly and gently.
  • Sign up for a yoga class, or try following a yoga video at home.

Heart Healthy Foods Shopping List

By 26th June, 2019 Blog, Health and Wellness Comments Off

Shop Smart & Stay Healthy

When it comes to your heart, what you eat matters. Follow these tips for heart-healthy eating:

  1. Eat less saturated fats. Cut back on fatty meats and high-fat dairy products. Limit food like pizza, burgers, and creamy sauces or gravy.
  2. Cut down on sodium (salt). Read the Nutrition Facts label and choose foods that are lower in sodium. Look for the low-sodium or “no salt added” types of canned soups, vegetables, packaged meals, snack foods, and lunch meats.
  3. Get more fiber. Eat vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains to add fiber to your diet.

Take this list with you the next time you go food shopping.

Vegetables and Fruits

Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits. Buy vegetables and fruits that are fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.

  • Fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, and carrots
  • Leafy greens for salads, like Romaine lettuce, spinach, and kale
  • Canned vegetables that are low in sodium
  • Frozen vegetables without added butter or sauces, like broccoli or cauliflower
  • Fresh fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas, pears, and peaches
  • Canned, frozen, or dried fruit without added sugars

Farmers markets are great places to buy vegetables and fruits that are in season. Search for a market near you.

Dairy

Look for fat-free or low-fat options.

  • Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
  • Fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt
  • Fat-free or low-fat cheese
  • Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese
  • Soymilk with added calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D

Breads, Cereals, and Other Grains

For products with more than 1 ingredient, make sure whole wheat or another whole grain is listed first in the ingredient list. Look for products that say 100% whole grain.

  • Whole-grain bread, bagels, English muffins, and tortillas
  • Whole-grain hot or cold breakfast cereals with no added sugar, like oatmeal or shredded wheat
  • Whole grains, like brown or wild rice, quinoa, or oats
  • Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta and couscous

Protein Foods

Choose a variety of foods with protein.

  • Seafood: fish and shellfish
  • Poultry: chicken or turkey breast without skin, lean ground chicken or turkey (at least 93% lean)
  • Pork: leg, shoulder, or tenderloin
  • Beef: round, sirloin, tenderloin, or lean ground beef (at least 93% lean)
  • Beans and peas, like kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), split peas, and lentils
  • Eggs
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Nut butters, like almond or peanut butter
  • Tofu

Fats and Oils

Cut back on saturated fat and look for products with no trans fats. Choose foods with unsaturated fats like seafood, nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils.

  • Margarine and spreads (soft, tub, or liquid) with no trans fats and less saturated fats than butter
  • Vegetable oil (canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, or sunflower)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Lower-calorie mayonnaise
  • Salad dressings that are oil based

Avoid coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils, which are all high in saturated fat.

10 Helpful Tips when Looking for Alzheimer’s at Home

By 27th May, 2019 Blog, Health and Wellness Comments Off

What do you do when you suspect Alzheimer’s?

Friends and family members can use this helpful tip sheet to start evaluating whether Alzheimer’s might be affecting a friend or loved one. If you or someone you care about is experiencing any of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s disease, please see a
doctor to find the cause. Early diagnosis gives you a chance to seek treatment and plan for your future.

 

Download the complete 2-page checklist here.

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