American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. The good news is that 80% of heart disease can be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health.  Read below about healthy strategies that can help prevent heart disease.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure. Keep your blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg.

Get Active. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or 10,000 steps/day to maintain a healthy heart.

Eat Heart Healthy. Eat a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats such as fish, avocado, and nuts. Limit sodium intake to 2,300mg/day or 1,500mg/day if you are at risk for a heart condition. Limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats as well as added sugars.

Maintain a Healthy Weight. Target a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 or make sure that your muscle to fat ratio is within a healthy range.

Live Smoke Free. Smoking can put you at risk for cardiovascular disease. Contact ASHLine today for help quitting.

Watch Your Cholesterol. Keep your daily cholesterol under 200mg/dL per day and cut out Trans fats. You can find cholesterol in meat, cheese, and eggs.

Control Your Blood Sugar. Aim for a fasting blood glucose of less than 100mg/dL per day.

 

11 Sneaky Reasons Why You’re Always Tired

 

Are you consistently exhausted — even when you’re getting enough sleep? If so, there might be a few not-so-obvious reasons you’re so sluggish. Lucky for you, there are also a few pretty easy fixes!

1. YOU’RE NOT WAKING UP EARLY ENOUGH.

Take your hand away from the snooze-button. While it may seem counter-intuitive, sleeping until the last possible second might actually be harming you more than helping you! “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy and wise” isn’t just a cute rhyme. You really do need to get up and take some time for yourself to de-stress before heading out for the day. Don’t believe us? A 2008 Harvard study showed that morning people better anticipate problems than night owls and are more proactive, which is linked to better job (and life) performance and success.

 2. YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY TOXIC PEOPLE.

Complaining coworkers and whining pals can actually make you tired. “People you allow into your life not only have the power to affect you emotionally, but can also take a toll on you physically,” explains Vicky Vlachonis, osteopath and author of The Body Doesn’t Lie. “If people that are cynical and tend to complain surround you, they can be draining your energy.” So how do you fix it? Vlachonis suggests getting “rid of time-wasters and move forward with feelings of positivity and gratitude — feelings of happiness bring your body lots of energy!”

3. YOUR SEX LIFE IS A SNOOZE.

Most people complain about being too tired to have sex, but guess what? Intimacy can actually help you get a better night’s rest. This is because an orgasm releases prolactin, which is naturally higher when we sleep. And if a morning quickie is more your style, there’s good news: Highly active sex can actually make you feel more energized than sleepy. So maybe stick to a more subdued session at night — or get frisky when you wake up!

4. YOU’RE MAGNESIUM-DEFICIENT.

Yes, it sounds weird, but think of magnesium “as the relaxation mineral,” explains Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. Why? It helps improves how effective your sleep is, how long it takes you to fall asleep, and how long you’re out, according to the National Institutes of Health. To make sure you’re getting a healthy dose, Jaclyn London, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, suggests foods like nuts, seeds, beans, avocados, and leafy greens. (Note: Just remember that this magical mineral can sometimes have a laxative effect!)

5. YOU HATE YOUR JOB.

Let’s be honest: Waking up day in and day out for work already can take a toll, but that’s exacerbated when you hate what you do or are surrounded by challenging coworkers. If you’re always feeling sluggish, it may be that you need a change of office scenery. Need proof? Multiple studies have shown that people who hate their jobs have trouble falling asleep or sleeping deeply, mostly because of stress.

6. YOU’RE SKIPPING THE GYM.

If you’re in a slump, you may want to get moving. Regular physical activity can “reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It doesn’t take much: Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can make you 65% less tired during the day!

7. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SUNLIGHT.

It’s all about the circadian rhythm. “When people are exposed to sunlight or very bright artificial light in the morning, their nocturnal melatonin production occurs sooner, and they enter into sleep more easily at night,” wrote M. Nathaniel Mead in an article in Environmental Health Perspectives. (This is also why you should shut off screens long before bed.) And while too much unprotected exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer, you should definitely aim to get an hour or two of sunlight each day. Bonus: Sunshine also offers a free dose of Vitamin D, which helps fight against diseases — and nothing brings your energy down like getting sick.

8. YOU’RE A BALL OF STRESS.

Everyone knows that anxiety isn’t good — especially because it causes ulcers, gray hair, and exhaustion. Stress is also the top cause of insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic. And it’s a vicious cycle: The lack of sleep leaves you more irritable and anxious, making problems loom larger and it more difficult to sleep the next night. So take some time for you to de-stress, and try to put problems in perspective.

9. YOU MAY HAVE AN AUTO-IMMUNE DISORDER.

Yes, they are known to cause fatigue and tiredness, the U.S. Department of Health of Human Services reveals. And since women are three times more likely than men to suffer from one, be sure to speak to your doctor if you’re always tired. There may be a much deeper health issue that you’re not paying attention to.

10. YOUR BEDROOM IS A DISASTER.

If it’s a mess of clothes, shoes, and piles of papers, you’re not doing yourself or the quality of your sleep any favors. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your bedroom should be clean, comfortable, and conducive to rest. So, burn some scented candles (lavender will do!), use some dim lights, tidy up, and create your own calming sanctuary. Your brain will thank you.

11. YOU EAT TOO MUCH PROCESSED FOOD.

We’re talking about high-carb foods like burgers and fries, white rice, pasta, and bread, which usually cause a not-so-fun energy crash. Instead, you want to load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein, “which can boost energy by giving you the vitamins and minerals — not to mention antioxidants! — you need,” says London. “And since fruits and veggies are mostly water, the hydration may help give you a boost as well.”

From: Good Housekeeping

February Workout Challeng

American Heart Month
February Daily Workout Challenge
10 burpees
50 squats
100 jumping jacks
50 lunges
10 push-ups
100 high knees
50 mountain climbers
10 star jumps
100 butt kickers
50 crunches
10 burpees

Kermit the Frog Yoga

15 Stretches

10 – Neck stretch

12 – Child pose

13 – Lunges

14 – Quad stretch

15 – Calf stretch

Cervical Health Awareness Month

 

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Take time this month to raise awareness about cervical health and how women can protect themselves from HPV and cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus that spreads through sexual activity and is one of the major causes of cervical cancer to date.
Over 79 million Americans have HPV and many don’t know that they are carrying the virus. Currently, there are more than 12,000 women in the United States that have been diagnosed with cervical cancer and one-third will die as the result.

Cervical cancer can be prevented with regular screenings and can also catch abnormal cells early before they turn into cancer. Most deaths from cervical cancer can be prevented by regular screenings and follow-up care. HPV vaccines are also available.

Remind the women around you to get their annual well woman visit and remember that wellness exams are covered 100% by most insurance plans.

January Health Resolutions

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January marks a change for many things.

A New Year, new commitments, and new start! Make 2017 your year with whatever you decide you want to do in your life. Here are some tips to stay motivated and achieve your New Year’s Resolutions!

Be Realistic. Deciding on a New Year’s resolution that is realistic for you and your life is the first step towards being successful. For example, if you tell yourself you’re going to stay completely away from sweets but you have a huge sweet tooth and you know you’re bound to encounter some holiday treats somewhere, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, challenge yourself to limit sweets to a couple times a week.

Start Small. Setting smaller goals more frequently can lead to a higher chance of overall success than setting one large goal. If we use our sweet tooth example above, we start by saying limit our sweets to once a week.  From there we can move to a three times a week and go from there. Being successful is the most motivating factor in keeping a New Year’s resolution. Also, the smaller the goal, the easier it is to stick to it. We can’t start training for a marathon by running 26.2 miles, but we can start with a 1 mile walk.

Reward Success. Positive reinforcement works for not just our kids and dogs, but adults too! Make sure to reward yourself for your accomplishments as long as it’s not counterproductive to your overall goal.  For example, if you are starting to train for a 5k and you were able to run for a full mile without stopping, go get a pedicure or take a day off from training and spend a day with your family. Doing these activities are especially rewarding because they have been earned through YOUR hard work.

Friends. Invite a friend or co-workers to join you in your New Year’s resolution. We find that people are almost 50% more successful when they have someone to hold them accountable. Help each other stay on track and stay healthy.

Don’t Quit. It’s almost unavoidable that you may have a slip up. Our lives and routines are always subject to change which can get in the way of your new routine and goals. Don’t quit! Change is hard and it won’t happen all at once. Stay positive and remind yourself why you set your goals and why they are important to keep up!

YOU can do this.

Check out these local runs and walks to get started on those resolutions! RUSA, SIERRA

Five Easy Ways to Eat More Spinach (Your Muscles Will Thank You, Says Science)

by Siobhan O’Connor

Siobhan O’Connor is a natural beauty and health expert and the co-author, with Alexandra Spunt, of the blog No More Dirty Looks.

It turns out that Popeye was onto something: Besides providing the body with protein, iron, powerful antioxidants, and a natural glow, spinach may also benefit muscle building. So much for the puny-vegetarian stereotype!

And since it’s such a health superstar, we’re going to tell you how to incorporate it into your diet without having to think too much about it. Here’s why.

The Daily is reporting on a new(ish) study published in Cell Metabolism which showed that eating spinach may help muscles work more efficiently during exercise. Apparently the inorganic nitrate found in spinach does this by fueling mitochondria—the little engines in our cells that could—with more energy on less oxygen. The lead scientist on the study, Dr. Eddie Weitzberg, compared it to being able to run a car on less fuel but at the same speed.

Whether or not you’re taking the GOOD 30-day challenge or did our own Vegan For a Week Challenge (and have been following ourMeatless Monday recipe series), eating more spinach is a great idea. Its mild flavor makes it one of the most versatile super foods, and it pairs easily with (or hidden in) just about anything. Because you can buy it frozen it’s also convenient and affordable.

Here are a few no-brainer ways to add it to a meal:

Hidden in smoothies: You can load a smoothie with spinach and still have it taste like vanilla ice cream—it’s truly an incredible trick for anyone who thinks they hate veggies (if you’re dealing with a finicky kid—or as I was, a finicky man—just add blueberries to hide the color). Smoothies are also a happy home for spinach because the iron is more readily absorbed with vitamin C, which is found abundantly in fruits. Go for strawberries right now—they have a ton of C and they’re in season (at least in California).

In omelettes: Whether you want to power up at breakfast, or make a lazy dinner, adding spinach to an omelette will take it to the next level. I like doing a Greek-inspired fast frittata with olive oil, onion, and feta. Just saute the onions in a pan that can go in the oven, then add the spinach and let it cook down for a minute. Then pour in your eggs and let that sit until it looks like the bottom half is cooked; then sprinkle it with feta, salt, and pepper and throw it in the oven under the broiler. When the eggs brown at the edges and the feta bubbles you’re done. Takes ten minutes, tastes gourmet.

With pasta or on pizza: It really doesn’t matter whether you like a red sauce, a cream sauce, or a simple olive oil drizzle on your pasta or pizza—spinach pairs with all. You can easily add it to something store-bought but a recent taste triumph at my house involved frozen peas and spinach sauteed in olive oil and garlic in a pan. To that I added the brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s (cooked of course), some red chili flakes, lemon juice, and lots of salt and pepper. If you’re vegan you’re done (or you can add some nutritional yeast to taste). If you like cheese, throw in some parmesan. If you want meat in there, prosciutto works great.

As a side: This is basically the same as above but without the pasta. Put about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan with some chopped garlic and saute your spinach for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste along with a squeeze of lemon juice (for both flavor and some vitamin C).

In a salad: Spinach can be added to just about any salad—from a caesar to a chopped to a simple olive oil and vinegar variety. I like making a good vegan caesar dressing with the following: 1 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs vegenaise, 1 tsp dijon, juice of a lemon, 1 tbs of capers (if you like them), 1 tsp of nutritional yeast (if you have it/like it), and salt and pepper to taste. (Note: if you use the capers you may not need the salt, taste it first.) Do a romaine and fresh spinach mix and add anything you like to it: You can go traditional with croutons and parmesan, or make it more of a mixed vegetable salad with artichoke hearts, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Ok, your turn! What’s your favorite way to use this muscle-building age-fighter?

Photo (cc) from Flickr user srqpix