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.

 

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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

New ‘Fake Meat’ Smells, Tastes And Feels Like Meat, But Is Actually Made Entirely From Plants!

What would your reaction be if someone told you that the delicious steak you were gorging on was actually made of plants? No, I’m not talking about cheap (read: horrendous) substitutes like tofu, or those godforsaken nutri nuggets. This is actually ‘fake meat’.

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Ethan Brown is the mind behind this. Founder and CEO of the startup ‘Beyond Meat’, Brown wants to manufacture fake meat by using patented technology, and plant products, eliminating animal slaughter, along with any other negatives that meat brings to the table.

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He realised that meat is nothing more than just a combination of amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, trace minerals and water. Convinced that he would only do epic stuff in life, and nothing else, he took the exact same nutrients from the plants and combined them to match the taste, texture and nutrition of real meat. Boss!

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1. But why avoid something as delicious as real meat? It’s the greatest ever, right?

Because it requires huge efforts and resources to get meat, he says. “Raising livestock is an incredibly inefficient way of producing protein. It takes a lot of land, a lot of energy, and a lot of water just to generate one pound of meat from an animal. About 30% of the animal is meat we eat; the rest is not useful.”

2. Manufacturing meat can solve a bunch of other issues like global warming, animal welfare, natural resources, and the alarming effects processed meat has on the health of humans.

3. Not to forget, it also addresses the concerns of people who have been fighting against the slaughter of animals.

While the company’s main plant is located in Missouri, it’s headquartered in El Segundo, California.

 

 

3. Not to forget, it also addresses the concerns of people who have been fighting against the slaughter of animals.
While the company’s main plant is located in Missouri, it’s headquartered in El Segundo, California.

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In fact it worked so well at blind tastings that people really could not tell the difference. Even people like Bill Gates and the founders of Twitter got up and took notice of Beyond Meat. Bill Gates even went out to call it the future of food for humans. Writing a blog post describing his experience of having a Chicken Taco made from plants at Beyond Meat, he said – “Like most people, I don’t think I can be easily fooled. But that’s just what happened when I was asked to taste a chicken taco and tell whether the meat inside was real or fake. The meat certainly had the look and the smell of chicken. I took a bite and it had the taste and texture of real chicken, too. But I was surprised to learn that there wasn’t an ounce of real chicken in it. The ‘meat’ was made entirely of plants. And yet, I couldn’t tell the difference.”

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This is something really cool, but none of us would actually believe how authentic it feels until we test it out on ourselves. Anyhoo, if this technology does work out, it will totally change the way the food industry functions.   Keeping our fingers crossed.

Children’s Eye Health Month

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month promoting education and awareness about getting children’s eyes checked before they return to school.
Most children have healthy eyes, however there are certain conditions that can threaten good vision. Because it’s difficult to determine if the child is having any vision problems it’s important to bring them to their pediatrician regularly. Vision testing should typically start around the age of three.

Funny kid girl in glasses reading books

Funny kid girl in glasses reading books

Signs that may indicate a child has vision problems:

  • Wandering  or crossed eyes
  • Family history of vision problems
  • Disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects
  • Squinting or turning head in an unusual manner while watching television

More than 12 million children suffer from vision impairment in the United States while the leading cause of vision loss is due to eye injury.

There are an estimated 42,000 sports-related eye injuries every year and most are in adolescents.

Take some time this month to talk to others about the importance of regular eye exams for our youth.

Healthy Summer Snack for Kids!

Zu-Canoe Ingredients

  • 2 medium 2 inch wide zucchini
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 1/2 TSP freshly ground pepper
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP minced shallot
  • 1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 cup chopped celery
Make Zu-Canoes for you and your family! 

Trim both ends off zucchini; cut in half lengthwise. Cut a thin slice off the backs so each half sits flat. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch shell. Finely chop the pulp; set aside.
Place the zucchini halves in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with 1/4TSP each salt and pepper. Cover and microwave on high until tender-crisp, 3-4 minutes.
Whisk oil, vinegar, shallot and the remaining 1⁄4 TSP each salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Add tomatoes, cheese, basil and the reserved zucchini pulp; toss to combine. Divide the filling among the zu-canoes.Nutrition per serving: 87 calories; 4g fat (1g sat, 3g mono); 3mg cholesterol; 7g carbohydrates, 0g added sugars; 7g protein; 2g fiber; 408 mg sodium; 545mg potassium. Bonus: Vitamin C (48% DV), Vitamin A (19% DV), Zinc (30% DV), Calcium (16% DV)
Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1/2 starch, 1/2 high-fat meat

Maintaining a conscious diet of the foods you love, with healthy portions and thoughtful consumption times, is the best way to stay on track and love what you eat! See more recipes here

 

 

Men’s Health Month

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As started by the congressional health education program, Men’s Health Month is celebrated across the country in June. The goal of this national observance is to increase awareness about the preventable health problems in men and promote early detection and treatment of disease among boys and men.
This month gives healthcare providers, friends, family, and the media a chance to encourage men to seek regular medical advice for disease and screenings. See what activities are going on in your community that relate to this month and don’t forget to wear blue on the Friday before Father’s day to support the cause! Check out the list of standard exams:

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Physical Exam. Needed every year or more often if recommended by your provider. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should get an exam.

Testicular Exam. As the number one cancer for men between 15-35 years of age it is important to check yourself frequently and discuss an exam with your doctor during your physical exam.

Blood Pressure Screenings. Needed every 2 years unless it is elevated, then it may need to be checked more frequently. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be screened.

Cholesterol Screenings. Needed every 5 years unless it is elevated, then it may need to be checked more frequently. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should be screened.

Diabetes Screenings. Needed if your blood pressure is above 135/80, you have a BMI of over 25 in addition to other risk factors, or you have an out of range glucose or A1C reading.

Dental Exam. Needed 1-2 times per year. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should get an exam.

Eye Exam. Needed every 2 years or more often if recommended by your provider.

Other. Immunizations, infectious disease. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine how often you should get an exam.

How to Increase Dopamine Naturally

Low dopamine levels can lead to lack of motivation, fatigue, addictive behavior, mood swings and memory loss. Learn how to increase dopamine naturally.

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There are about 86 billion neurons in the human brain.

They communicate with each other via brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s a key contributor to motivation, productivity, and focus.

Let’s take a closer look at dopamine — what it does, the symptoms of deficiency, and how to increase it naturally.

What Does Dopamine Do?

Dopamine has been called our “motivation molecule.”

It boosts our drive, focus, and concentration.

It enables us to plan ahead and resist impulses so we can achieve our goals.

It gives us that “I did it!” lift when we accomplish what we set out to do.

It makes us competitive and provides the thrill of the chase in all aspects of life — business, sports, and love.

Dopamine is in charge of our pleasure-reward system. (1)

It allows us to have feelings of enjoyment, bliss, and even euphoria.

But too little dopamine can leave you unfocused, unmotivated, lethargic, and even depressed.

Dopamine Deficiency Symptoms

People low in dopamine lack a zest for life.

They exhibit low energy and motivation, and often rely on caffeine, sugar, or other stimulants to get through the day.

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Many common symptoms of dopamine deficiency are similar to those of depression:

  • lack of motivation
  • fatigue
  • apathy
  • procrastination
  • inability to feel pleasure
  • low libido
  • sleep problems
  • mood swings
  • hopelessness
  • memory loss
  • inability to concentrate

Dopamine-deficient lab mice become so apathetic and lethargic they lack motivation to eat and starve to death. (2)

Conversely, some people who are low in dopamine compensate with self-destructive behaviors to get their dopamine boost.

This can include use and abuse of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, drugs, shopping, sex, video games, online porn, power, gambling, or excessive internet use.

How to Increase Dopamine Naturally

There are plenty of unhealthy ways to raise dopamine.

But you don’t have to resort to “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” to boost your dopamine levels.

Here are some healthy, proven ways to increase dopamine levels naturally.

Dopamine Boosting Foods

Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine.

Eating a diet high in tyrosine will ensure you’ve got the basic building blocks needed for dopamine production.

Here’s a list of foods that increase dopamine: (3456)

  • all animal products
  • almonds
  • apples
  • avocado
  • bananas
  • beets
  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • fava beans
  • green leafy vegetables
  • green tea
  • lima beans
  • oatmeal
  • sea vegetables
  • sesame and pumpkin seeds
  • turmeric
  • watermelon
  • wheat germ

Foods high in natural probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, and raw sauerkraut can also increase natural dopamine production.

Oddly, the health of your intestinal flora impacts your production of neurotransmitters.

An overabundance of bad bacteria leaves toxic byproducts called lipopolysaccharides which lower levels of dopamine. (7)

Sugar has been found to boost dopamine but this is a temporary boost, more drug-like than food-like. (8)

Dopamine Supplements

There are supplements that can raise dopamine levels naturally.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric.

It’s available in an isolated form as a supplement.

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It readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and can boost levels of dopamine. (91011)

Curcumin has been found to help alleviate obsessive actions and improve associated memory loss by increasing dopamine. (1213)

Ginkgo biloba is traditionally used for a variety of brain-related problems — poor concentration,forgetfulness, headaches, fatigue, mental confusion, depression, and anxiety. (14)

One of the mechanisms by which ginkgo works is by raising dopamine. (15, 16)

L-theanine is a component found in green tea.

It increases levels of dopamine along with other neurotransmitters serotonin and GABA. (1718)

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L-theanine improves recall, learning, and positive mood. (1920)

You can get a dopamine boost by either taking theanine supplements or by drinking 3 cups of green tea per day. (21)

L-tyrosine — the precursor to dopamine — is available as a supplement.

We recommend taking acetyl-l-tyrosine — a more absorbable form that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. (22)

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Phosphatidylserine acts as your brain’s “gatekeeper,” regulating nutrients and waste in and out of your brain.

It can increase dopamine levels and improve memory, concentration, learning, and symptoms of ADHD. (23, 2425)

Read our article on dopamine supplements for more details on these and other nutrients.

Boost Dopamine with Exercise

Physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain.

It boosts production of new brain cells, slows down brain cell aging, and improves the flow of nutrients to the brain.

It can also increase your levels of dopamine and the other “feel good” neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. (26)

woman stretchingDr. John Ratey, renowned psychiatrist and author ofSpark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, has extensively studied the effects of physical exercise on the brain.

He found that exercise raises baseline levels of dopamine by promoting the growth of new brain cell receptors.

Along with natural pain-killing endorphins, dopamine is responsible in part for “runner’s high”. (27)

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But you don’t need to exercise strenuously to enhance your brain.

Taking walks, or doing gentle, no-impact exercises like yoga, tai chi, or qi gong all provide powerful mind-body benefits. (282930)

Increase Dopamine with Meditation

The benefits of meditation have been proven in over 1,000 studies. (31)

Regular meditators experience enhanced ability to learn, increased creativity, and deep relaxation.

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And there are numerous simple ways for beginners to learn meditation.

It’s been shown that meditation increases dopamine, improving focus and concentration. (32)

Creative hobbies of all kinds — knitting, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography, woodworking, and home repair — bring the brain into a meditative state.

These activities increase dopamine, ward off depression, and protect against brain aging. (33)

Listening to music can cause of release of dopamine.

Oddly, you don’t even have to hear music to get this neurotransmitter flowing — just theanticipation of listening can do that. (34)