Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Protect Your Heart With These Easy Meal Add-ins

These foods can give your heart a better chance 

(BPT) - What's the biggest threat to our health? It isn't cancer or even accidents, but heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, one in four deaths in the U.S. is caused by heart disease, which includes heart attack and stroke. This statistic is scary, but the good news is, there is something powerful we can do to prevent us from becoming a victim to this disease.

Even if you are one of the 47 percent of Americans living with a major risk factor, there are preventive measures you can take for a healthier heart, says registered dietitian nutritionist, Dawn Jackson Blatner. All you have to do is embrace some simple lifestyle changes starting with your diet.

"Food is quite literally one of the best medicines out there when it comes to improving our health," says Blatner. "Studies show us repeatedly that a balanced diet including heart-healthy unsaturated fats, along with multiple servings of fruit and vegetables can give you additional protection against heart attack and stroke."

Here are five of Blatner's go-to foods you can easily incorporate into your diet for a daily dose of heart-healthy compounds.

1. Fish: Salmon and other fatty fish such as sardines are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which lower the risk of irregular heartbeat and help decrease plaque buildup in the arteries. If fish isn't already in your meal rotation, it's time to start. Preparation and cooking time for fish entrees is much shorter than that of chicken, beef and pork, making it a perfect weeknight meal.

2. Greens: Leafy greens contain nitrates, healthy compounds that not only reduce the risk of heart attack, but can boost survival rates after a heart attack. Plus, spinach, kale and other dark green vegetables have carotenoids, which work to keep blood vessels healthy. So aim to have at least one cup of leafy greens each day, such as scrambled in your morning eggs, a green juice as a snack or a leafy salad with lunch or dinner.

3. Nuts: They contain protein, fiber and healthy fat, which work together to keep us feeling full and satisfied. Though high in fat, studies show people who consume nuts on a daily basis are leaner than those who don't, and staying lean is, of course, heart-healthy. So go ahead and keep almonds, walnuts or pistachios on hand for snacking, and choose those that are minimally processed, avoiding candied or highly salted nuts.

4. Dark chocolate: Good news: Eating dark chocolate every day can reduce heart attack and stroke for high-risk patients. The magic compound here is flavonoids, which are beneficial for blood pressure and clotting while also reducing inflammation. If you're on-board with making chocolate your after dinner indulgence, opt for brands with 60-70 percent cocoa and that don't contain milk fat in the ingredient list.

5. Eggs: Contrary to earlier belief, eating one egg a day has no negative effect on coronary health and can actually reduce the risk of stroke by 12 percent, according to a recent review of 30 years' worth of scientific study cited on nutraingredients.com. But all eggs are not created equal. Eggland's Best eggs, for example, offer the benefit of 25 percent less saturated fat, five times more Vitamin D, more than twice the omega-3s and three times more Vitamin B12 than ordinary eggs. Eggland's Best's superior nutritional profile is due to its proprietary, all-vegetarian diet. So get cracking and experiment with recipes featuring poached, baked and even hard-boiled Eggland's Best eggs to serve up heart-healthy meals.

Very Vegetable Frittata

Ingredients

4 Eggland's Best Eggs (large)

1/3 cup Eggland's Best Liquid Egg Whites

1 cup non-fat milk

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 cup chopped broccoli

1 cup chopped cauliflower

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup halved cherry or pear tomatoes

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

arugula, for serving (optional)

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk and Dijon mustard; set aside.

In a 10 to 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet, spray with cooking spray and heat to medium-high.

Saute onion until softened - about 2 minutes.

Add the mushroom, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini to the skillet. Saute until slightly softened - another 3 to 4 minutes.

Whisk the egg mixture again, then pour over the vegetables.

Sprinkle tomatoes and feta cheese on top.

Place a lid on the skillet, reduce heat to medium and cook until the bottom and sides of the frittata are firm - 8 to 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven broiler.

Place the skillet under the broiler and broil until the frittata is cooked through (no longer jiggly) and slightly browned on top - about 5 minutes (watch closely).

Cut into 4 wedges and serve immediately, over a handful of arugula, if desired.

- Recipe courtesy of Eggland's Best.

For the best in natural supplements and essential oils for overall Health & Wellness, visit me at WellnessMike.com.  Or if you are just curious about Essential Oils - visit me, no obligation.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Your Family's Guide to Cold and Flu Season

Every year in the U.S., there are more colds than people. Annually, nearly 320 million Americans catch 1 billion colds, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Seven in 10 people will turn to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to help them feel better - and many of these medicines may contain acetaminophen.

In fact, acetaminophen is one of the most commonly used drug ingredients to reduce pain and fever, found in more than 600 OTC and prescription (Rx) medicines. When used as directed, it is safe and effective. However, taking more than the maximum daily dose (4,000 milligrams) is an overdose, and can lead to liver damage.

"Family members play an important role as caregivers when administering medicines safely," says Mark Gibbons, director of programs and operations at Caregiver Action Network, a member of the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC). "It's important to double check all medicine labels to be sure you're not accidentally doubling up on acetaminophen."

Each year, acetaminophen overdose causes about 26,000 hospitalizations. It's important to know the dose that is right for you and your loved ones. With the arrival of cold and flu season, the AAC's Know Your Dose campaign offers some helpful tips for preventing illness and safe medicine guidelines if you do get sick.

Preventing illness

You can do a lot to protect yourself and your family from getting sick, including:

* Get vaccinated for the flu. It's the best way to minimize the chance you'll get the flu and spread it to others. Even if you got a flu shot last year, you need to get one this year, too. Each year's shot is different, specifically designed to prevent the strain of flu expected to be most prevalent this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend anyone 6 months and older get vaccinated.

* Be diligent about washing your hands regularly. Each time you wash, scrub for at least 20 seconds - about how long it would take to run through two renditions of "Happy Birthday."

* Avoid actions that spread germs, like touching your face, especially the eyes, nose and mouth. If you do get sick, stay home from school or work to avoid spreading germs to others.

* Maintain good health habits, including getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food. All these actions help build your immune system.

Know your dose

If you or a family member does fall ill, you may decide to treat symptoms with medicine, which might contain acetaminophen. To ensure you're using acetaminophen safely, follow these steps:

* Always read the label on any medicine you take. Be sure you understand and follow the dosing instructions.

* Know if your medicine contains acetaminophen. It's important to know which of the medicines you're taking contain acetaminophen so you can ensure you're not taking too much.

* Take only one medicine that contains acetaminophen at a time. Taking more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen could put you at risk for exceeding the maximum daily dose.

If you have questions about an OTC or prescription medicine that you're taking, talk to a healthcare provider.

Please visit my site www.WellnessMike.com.  Search under Products > Wellness  for this great product "ImmunoGuard"  It provides support for a healthy immune system.

Friday, February 24, 2017

6 Small Steps to Improve Your Health in a BIG Way

You want to be healthier, right? But try as you might, it always seems like something's standing in your way. Time and money are two of the largest obstacles, and you may think it's impossible to improve your health without a significant time or financial investment.

The good news is, however, that's not true. Even the smallest changes can have a big impact on your health, and you can start improving your wellness today with these six simple steps.

1. Take a stand while so many others are having a seat. Did you know the average person sits about 13 hours a day? Whether eating, working, driving or relaxing, that's a lot of sitting. Stand up for your health by resolving to get up at least once an hour. Walk to the bathroom, the water fountain or to ask your question in person instead of via email - you'll be healthier for it.

2. Run in place....any place. Effective exercise can happen without the gym membership. Blue Cross and Blue Shield surprised customers at one candy store by asking them to pay for their sweets with physical activity. Running in place, burpees, jumping jacks and shadow boxing - you can watch customers do it all in an entertaining video. And remember that just 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can dramatically reduce your own risk of diabetes.

3. Floss for your heart. You brush your teeth twice a day, but how often do you floss? If you're like 80 percent of surveyed adults, you don't, and that can increase your risk of heart disease. A good oral hygiene habit includes flossing, so add this simple task to your regimen every day.

4. Don't underestimate the importance of a good nap. Getting a good night's sleep helps you function better during the day, but it can also reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. But what do you do on those days when getting a good night's sleep isn't possible? Take a nap - even a 30-minute nap can leave you feeling rested and ultimately support your health.

5. Smallersize your plates. Over the last 20 years the average portion size has doubled and, not surprisingly, 65 percent of Americans are now classified as obese. Reversing this trend starts with reversing the portion size. To take smaller portions, start using smaller plates. Your brain will feel as though you have still taken a full plate of food but you'll consume fewer calories.

6. Show the world your most confident pose. Stress is often a part of daily life. Whether it's stress caused by work, home or financial reasons, this stress can also have a negative impact on your health by raising your blood pressure and weakening your immune system. Combat stress by power posing to grow your confidence. Just two minutes of this technique can increase your confidence by 20 percent.

Managing your health takes commitment, but the job isn't too big for anyone. It starts with making smart, healthy decisions every single day, including the tips above.

Please visit and share my site www.WellnessMike.com.  There are numerous nutrition products on this site that will help you live a Healthy Lifestyle.  I endorse these products because I believe in them and use them myself!


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How Much Exercise Do Adults Really Need?

I know it is sometimes confusing to figure out how much exercise we, as adults, really need.  So I pulled some good information from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) that I thought would be good to share.

Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve your health–aerobic and muscle-strengthening.

For Important Health Benefits

Adults need at least:
walking2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and
weight trainingmuscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
OR
jogging 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week and
icon of a person lifting weights muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
OR
icon of a person walking icon of a person jogging An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and 
icon of a person lifting weights muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

10 minutes at a time is fine

We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it's not. That's 2 hours and 30 minutes, about the same amount of time you might spend watching a movie. The good news is that you can spread your activity out during the week, so you don't have to do it all at once. You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. It's about what works best for you, as long as you're doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.
If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, please visit my site www.WellnessMike.com.  I am an Independent Distributor for AdvoCare nutrition products.  Please share my site.  I do believe in these products and particularly use the AdvoGreens and Spark Energy.  Take the 24-Day Challenge.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Phytonutrients - Plant Based Nutrition

Plants contain more than 100,000 phytonutrients, one of the reasons nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day are recommended. Some phytonutrients are fat soluble and, thus, need fat to be properly absorbed. Certain phytonutrients are also better absorbed from cooked, rather than raw, food. Phytonutrients may in part account for the benefits of whole plant foods in cancer prevention.

These nutrients are an important part of the diet, particularly because they cannot be made by the body or obtained from animal products. Phytonutrients are often distinct from other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

One of the few, well-documented instances that points to the health benefits of phytonutrients is the cancer reducing properties of some fruits and vegetables. Extensive research indicates that those with diets rich in fruits and vegetables have a significantly lower incidence of multiple types of cancers. In fact, the link between phytonutrients and the reduction of cancer is so strong that scientists are now looking to phytonutrients in search of a cure.

Another example of how phytonutrients benefit the body is the lowering of the incidence of heart disease. Research shows that the phytonutrients in certain foods can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, significantly reducing the risk of serious heart diseases, such as atherosclerosis or for having a heart attack or stroke. For this reason, those who are at risk for or diagnosed with heart disease are put on a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats such as chicken or fish.

If you are interested in a Plant Based Supplement, please go to my site www.WellnessMike.com.  I am an Independent AdvoCare Distributor.  I personally enjoy the AdvoGreens supplement.  I add the powder daily to my water bottle. 




How Much Water Should We Drink?

Much of the following facts are from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 

Daily fluid intake (total water) is defined as the amount of water consumed from foods, plain drinking water, and other beverages. Daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status.

  • Although there is no recommendation for how much plain water adults and youth should drink daily, there are recommendations for daily total water intake that can be obtained from a variety of beverages and foods.  
  • Although daily fluid intake can come from food and beverages, plain drinking water is one good way of getting fluids as it has zero calories.
 
The following recommendations come from The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine:

The Food and Nutrition Board released the sixth in a series of reports presenting dietary reference values for the intake of nutrients by Americans and Canadians. This new report establishes nutrient recommendations on water, salt and potassium to maintain health and reduce chronic disease risk. Highlights of the report include:
  • The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide. The report did not specify exact requirements for water, but set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water -- from all beverages and foods -- each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. The panel did not set an upper level for water.
  • About 80 percent of people's total water intake comes from drinking water and beverages -- including caffeinated beverages -- and the other 20 percent is derived from food.
  • Prolonged physical activity and heat exposure will increase water losses and therefore may raise daily fluid needs, although it is important to note that excessive amounts can be life-threatening.
  • Healthy 19- to 50-year-old adults should consume 1.5 grams of sodium and 2.3 grams of chloride each day -- or 3.8 grams of salt -- to replace the amount lost daily on average through sweat and to achieve a diet that provides sufficient amounts of other essential nutrients.
  • The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for salt is set at 5.8 grams per day. More than 95 percent of American men and 90 percent of Canadian men ages 31 to 50, and 75 percent of American women and 50 percent of Canadian women in this age range regularly consume salt in excess of the UL.
  • Older individuals, African Americans, and people with chronic diseases including hypertension, diabetes, and kidney disease are especially sensitive to the blood pressure-raising effects of salt and should consume less than the UL.
  • Adults should consume at least 4.7 grams of potassium per day to lower blood pressure, blunt the effects of salt, and reduce the risk of kidney stones and bone loss. However, most American women 31 to 50 years old consume no more than half of the recommended amount of potassium, and men's intake is only moderately higher. 
  • There was no evidence of chronic excess intakes of potassium in apparently health individuals and thus no upper level was established.

Please review my site www.WellnessMike.com if you are interested in Health and Wellness.

Friday, February 17, 2017

5 smart steps to preserving brain health


     Everyone knows aerobic exercise gets the heart pumping and lifting weights keeps muscles strong. But when it comes to keeping the brain healthy, most people are unsure what to do.

As you age, brain health and maintaining memory functions becomes a top concern. Turns out, these issues may begin sooner than you think.

"We tend to think about memory decline as an older person's issue, but that's not the case at all," says Dr. Aimee Gould Shunney, a licensed naturopathic doctor specializing in women's health and family medicine. "There was a study published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal that examined cognitive function in people age 45 to 70. The researchers did not expect it, but they found evidence of cognitive decline in the 45-year-old participants as well as the older participants."

She notes there are two basic pathological processes that cause degeneration of the brain: oxidative stress and inflammation. Basically, the standard American diet and lifestyle contribute to those processes. No matter your age, you can take charge of your brain health by following these five smart steps from Dr. Shunney:

Healthy eating

"A Mediterranean-type diet that focuses on whole foods, good fats and foods high in antioxidants is a great place to start," says Dr. Shunney.

She encourages her patients to focus on getting omega-3 fats from fish and monounsaturated fats from olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds. She also recommends increasing fruits (especially berries) and beans (they're packed with antioxidants). What's more, research shows a little cocoa, coffee and red wine can act as antioxidants and are beneficial in low to moderate amounts.

Supplements

In addition to a quality multivitamin, Dr. Shunney recommends an omega-3 supplement. "Getting enough omega-3s is one of the most important measures we can take," she says. "DHA is the dominant omega-3 in the brain."

She suggests Omega Memory by Nordic Naturals.

Regular sleep

Poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline. "Studies show both sleep deprivation and sleeping too much impact cognitive performance," Dr. Shunney says. "A good goal is to go to bed around the same time each night, sleep for 7-8 hours, and get up around the same time every morning."

Check www.WellnessMike.com for AdvoCare SleepWorks; a supplement that promotes better sleep. 

Thinking activities

"I recommend anything that keeps your mind working," says Dr. Shunney. "Activities that require things to be arranged or puzzles that have to be put together. Crossword puzzles, word games and board games are all great."

Socialize

"Social isolation has been linked with cognitive decline," says Dr. Shunney. "In one study, people who were lonely experienced cognitive decline at a 20 percent faster rate than people who were not lonely."

Make time to take a foreign language class, join a Toastmaster's Club, take a watercolor class - anything that connects you regularly to other people.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The truth behind 2 popular 'health' food

     Did you dance in delight the first time you heard that dark chocolate is good for you? Did you think that your favorite indulgence just became an official "health food?" Popular culture often makes too much of health benefit claims, especially when it comes to food and drink that many people consider guilty pleasures. It's important to understand it's not always the item itself, but certain components in it that have potential health benefits.

Here is the truth behind two common pop-culture myths:

Dark chocolate is good for you

Wouldn't it be great if every time you bit into your favorite chocolate treat or candy bar you were actually doing something healthful?

Unfortunately, it's not the chocolate itself that's healthy. It's the cocoa flavanols that are found in cocoa beans that are actually thought to be healthful. Numerous studies have demonstrated that cocoa flavanols help to support your health by promoting healthy blood flow.

Consuming your favorite chocolate bar may make you feel happy, but chocolate also contains a lot of things you don't need too much in your diet, like calories, fat and sugar. Plus, the traditional process of turning cocoa beans into chocolate destroys most of the cocoa flavanols, leaving chocolate tasty but without its original good stuff.

Taking a daily supplement that contains cocoa flavanols, such as CocoaVia(R) supplement, is a more sensible way to tap the potential health benefits of cocoa flavanols. The supplement comes in two forms - capsules and powdered stick packs that you can mix into the food or beverage of your choice.

The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these claims, nor is the product intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Visit Cocoavia.com to learn more.

Red wine promotes health

Red wine's claim to fame is largely tied to the presence of a powerful compound, called resveratrol, in the skin of grapes. Population studies have shown that individuals who include wine in their regular diet have better overall cardiovascular health, a benefit that may be related to wine's resveratrol content.

Red wine typically contains some resveratrol, but not much. You would have to drink a lot of wine for many years to get enough resveratrol into your system to see any benefits from it. However, red wine contains calories and alcohol, making it an occasional treat.

But luckily red wine is not the only source of resveratrol. If you would like to increase your resveratrol intake, you can more of other things that contain it, such as peanuts, pistachios, blueberries, cranberries and, yes, grapes! These foods are also rich in other beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fiber!

It's human nature to wish everything you love to eat and drink would also be healthful. And while there's no denying that a piece of chocolate or glass of red wine can be spiritually satisfying, the reality is a balanced diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean protein sources according to the USDA's dietary guidelines, will always be best for your body.

Maintain Healthy Living by visiting www.WellnessMike.com. I am an independent AdvoCare Distributor.  Try AdvoGreens Snack Shakes.

Included Ingredient Blends:

  • Plant-Based Protein (brown rice and pea protein) that provides an excellent vegetarian protein source
  • Greens and Vegetable Blend to provide a broad variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants to support overall health and well being
  • Enzyme, Prebiotic and Probiotic Blend to support digestive health
  • Fiber Blend to aid in digestion and help provide a feeling of fullness, which can help to manage appetite



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why eating breakfast supercharges your health

Want to make 2017 the year you focus on your health? Wellness goals are admirable throughout the year, but too often well-meaning people make a common mistake that sabotages their efforts: they skip breakfast.

It's a daily choice that millions of people shrug off as no big deal, but research proves breakfast is an important component in how you feel throughout the day. Fueling up solely on java may perk you up momentarily, but it doesn't do the trick long-term.

Consider these five reasons why breakfast boosts your health and should not be ignored.

Awakens your metabolism

When you eat breakfast, you "break the fast" from your sleep periods and give your metabolism a wake-up call. When you sleep, your metabolism slows and you burn fewer calories while you rest. By eating a nutritious breakfast, you are sparking your internal engine so it burns calories and gives you more energy throughout the day.

Helps you focus

Hunger can make people irritable and it's hard to focus on work when your stomach is grumbling. By eating a balanced breakfast of fat, protein and fiber, the food is processed into energy, allowing you to feel fuller longer.

Steadies the burn

When you skip breakfast, the body panics for nutrition, so come lunch you tend to overeat. This in turn overwhelms the metabolism and you end up with peaks and pits of energy throughout the day. For steady energy and efficient calorie-burning, eat a nutritious breakfast and other meals on schedule.

Encourages healthy choices

People who eat breakfast tend to make healthier choices throughout the day. According to MayoClinic.org, "People who eat breakfast tend to eat a healthier overall diet, one that is more nutritious and lower in fat. In contrast, people who skip breakfast are more likely to skip fruits and vegetables the rest of the day, too." Try starting the day with 100-calorie Thomas' Light Multi-grain English Muffins.

Sets a good example

When you eat breakfast, it sets a good example for your family. Plus, sitting down to a nutritious meal is a positive way to start the day together. You're helping your kids form healthy habits that will benefit them with increased focus and energy at school, ensuring they can do their best academically.

Try this easy 5-minute recipe to start your morning.

Greek Yogurt English Muffin

Ingredients:

1 Thomas' Light Multi-Grain English Muffin
 Plain Greek yogurt
 Sprinkle of granola
 Handful of blueberries
 Honey for drizzling

Directions:

Split and toast English muffin. Let cool slightly, then top with yogurt, granola and berries. Drizzle with honey for an added touch of sweetness.Serve with more blueberries and strawberries, if desired.

Monday, February 13, 2017

4 things you can do today to support your heart health


     On the path to good health, it pays to follow your heart - literally. A healthy heart is essential to supporting good overall health, yet many people ignore the warning signs that their heart is not as healthy as it could be.

A 2016 survey from the American Academy of Family Physicians, conducted by Harris Poll, found that nearly three in 10 men and women reported they had been diagnosed with high blood pressure. This result mirrors the findings of research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings translate to an estimated 75 million people with high blood pressure, and just slightly more than half have the condition under control.

"This finding is concerning because we know that high blood pressure and heart attacks or chronic heart failure are so closely related," said John Meigs, Jr., MD, president of the AAFP. "According to the CDC, seven out of 10 people who have a first heart attack have high blood pressure. Seven out of 10 people who develop chronic heart failure have high blood pressure. So it's important that people know what their blood pressure is."

To lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health, the American Academy of Family Physicians offers these recommendations.

* Be deliberate with your diet. Fruits and vegetables are essential, but pay special attention to their color too. Vegetables and fruits of different colors offer different nutrients, so mix them up. At the same time, avoid heavily processed foods and those high in sodium. You should also make sure you're drinking plenty of water rather than soda or energy drinks. Aim for at least eight 8-ounce glasses every single day.

* Balance your BMI. If you don't know your BMI, a quick Internet search can lead you to several easy-to-use BMI calculators. And once you do know your BMI, you can start taking steps to reduce it, if necessary. According to the American Heart Association, losing just 5-10 percent of your body weight can dramatically reduce your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. And that leads us to ...

* Jump start your heart with aerobic exercise. Your heart is a muscle, and like other muscles in your body, exercise strengthens it. So put your heart through a workout with activities like walking, biking or hiking to increase your heart rate. Exercise can also lower your risk of developing plaque in your arteries, allowing your heart to be more efficient in delivering blood and nutrients to other parts of your body.

* Stop the stress. Aside from a poor diet, there may be no larger culprit for high blood pressure than stress. Successful stress management has been proven to reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. So relax, exercise, meditate, breathe deep or just have some fun. Whatever you do to burn off stress, make it an essential part of your day. You and your heart will be better for it.

"Get your blood pressure checked," says Meigs. "If you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to treat it and lower your risk factors. That same advice applies to knowing what your blood cholesterol levels are."

To learn more about how you can reduce your blood pressure and improve your heart health, have a conversation with your family doctor today. Your doctor will be able to give you an accurate assessment of your current health and offer ideas on where and how you can improve.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

5 simple steps to boost your immune system now

5 simple steps to boost your immune system now

(BPT) - Whether it's battling the rampant germs of cold and flu season or maintaining wellness throughout the year, the immune system is your main line of defense. In order to feel good as often as possible - and recover quickly when you don't - it's important to keep your immune system strong.
"The immune system is the part of the body that monitors both internal and external environments," says Dr. Chris Oswald, certified nutrition specialist and chiropractor in Hudson, Wisconsin. "It's important to understand that both too much immune response and too little immune response, including inflammation, is not good, so maintaining that happy medium is the name of the game."
To achieve that "happy medium," Dr. Oswald recommends incorporating five simple steps into your daily routine:
Support natural sleep cycles
"Sleep is the time when our bodies repair and rejuvenate, so it is something to not be taken lightly," Dr. Oswald says. "Generally speaking, the older we are the less sleep we need, but for adults 7-9 hours is usually the sweet spot."
He says a good way to know if you are sleeping well is if you fall asleep within 30 minutes of lying down and you are able to wake at approximately the same time every day without an alarm clock.
"It is also very important to maintain regular hours as our body's circadian rhythms do not like to be disrupted," he adds.
Eat fermented and unprocessed foods
Dr. Oswald says the body's microbiome health has a huge impact on the immune system. The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that inhabit the intestinal tract, creating a mini-ecosystem.
"Every bite of food we eat impacts microbiome balance, so it is important to eat foods that promote its health," he says. "I like fermented foods and foods that are minimally processed or as close to their form in nature as possible. When the wrong foods are eaten, certain microbiota are able to 'gain strength' and offset the health promoting benefits of other more beneficial organisms."
He adds that dietary fiber is also very important to maintaining the health of the microbiome. Additionally, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA help boost the immune system.
Use supplements to support digestive health
"The digestive tract is a barrier to the outside world which selectively allows molecules to pass through," says Dr. Oswald. This is why a healthy gut is a big part of overall health - it filters out the bad while keeping in the good.
Eating plenty of probiotics in foods like yogurt and kefir helps maintain digestive health, but it can be difficult for the average person to get enough to make an impact. "Supporting digestive health with a comprehensive probiotic supplement such as those I have on my website at www.HaveHealth.org. It is a great foundational health strategy for everyone,
Move your body
"Higher levels of fitness are definitely associated with improved immune function," says Dr. Oswald. He recommends high intensity interval training (HIIT), where you alternate short periods of intense exercise with brief rest periods.
"I like people to choose any activity they like and have a nice gentle 5 minute warm-up followed by up to six 100 percent work intervals for 30 seconds with 60 seconds of rest," he says. "Once complete with the circuit, a five minute cool down completes your workout in 19 minutes or less."
Embrace mindfulness and meditate
Dr. Oswald says both acute and chronic stress have an effect on the immune system, which can potentially decrease your resistance to illness. One easy way to combat stress is to try to meditate every day.
"Meditation is a very powerful option and I firmly believe that all should find some way of increasing mindfulness," he says. "It is important to remember that meditation is different for everyone."
Meditation can be sitting quietly with eyes closed, staring at a flame, walking in the woods, etc. Try something that feels right to you that allows you to relax and be mindful of the present.

Visit my site for great supplements including Sleepzyme for a more restful sleep.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

5 things you need to know about vaccines

No one wakes up in the morning hoping to be sick. Yet despite the angst people have about becoming ill, many forgo one of the easiest, most effective ways to protect themselves and their loved ones from common and even severe illnesses - they choose not to get vaccinated.
There are many reasons people choose not to get vaccinated. Often, the decision is caused by incorrect information one may read or hear about vaccinations. Mayo Clinic seeks to eliminate these mistruths and offer correct information about vaccinations so people can make safe, healthy choices for themselves and their families.
1. Are vaccines safe?
Safety concerns are the most common question people have regarding vaccines, and it's also the question where there is the most misinformation. The truth is vaccines are safe and people who receive them enjoy numerous health benefits, including illness prevention. Each vaccine undergoes rigorous testing before being released to the general public to ensure it not only protects against the disease it's designed to combat, but that it offers no other ill health benefits. Risks associated with vaccines are minor and may include a fever, soreness or skin irritation.
2. Which vaccinations are recommended?
Mayo Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many other health care providers recommend people receive the following vaccinations:
* Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis
* Haemophilus Influenza B
* Hepatitis A & B
* Human Papilloma Virus
* Influenza
* Meningococcal
* MMR
* Pneumococcal
* Polio
* Rotavirus
* Varicella, otherwise known as Chickenpox
3. Should vaccinations be spaced out?
The vaccinations above may seem like a large list and it's natural to wonder if all of these vaccinations should be done at once or spaced out. Sources of misinformation may lead people to believe that tackling several vaccinations at once somehow dilutes them, but there is no evidence of this. In fact, research shows people, even children, are able to take several vaccines at once without any negative effects. Spacing out the vaccines creates unnecessary delays and additional scheduling, while opening a longer window of exposure to illnesses.
4. Understand the difference between vaccination and immunization.
A vaccination is a treatment that introduces weakened or dead bacteria and/or viruses into a person's body to build up their immunity against the disease. Immunization is the process of developing that immunity. Immunization may happen through vaccination, but it could also come from contracting the bacteria or virus and recovering from the disease.
5. Vaccinations are important for everyone.
For people wondering who should get vaccinated, the short answer is nearly everyone. In particular, vaccinations are especially important for younger people. This is because children, especially young babies, are not inherently equipped to fight many diseases and without vaccinations, otherwise small problems could become serious complications and even be fatal.
Vaccinations remain an often discussed topic and it can be difficult to determine what is fact and what is misinformation. For those with questions, the first step should be to discuss vaccinations with your doctor, who will be able to provide you with the information you need. For more information about vaccinations, visit mayoclinic.org.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Insomnia !

Well in my opinion the main thing that keeps us tossing and turning at night is worrying about not going to sleep.
Sure there might be other reasons for sleeplessness; chronic pain, restless legs syndrome, partner disturbance, too much coffee...

But at the end of the day you're lying there worrying about how you're going to get through the next day if you don't get to sleep *right now!*

Worry and the stress it causes, are by far the main causes of sleeplessness, and the sad part is, the more we worry, the more wide awake we feel. But what can we do about it?

We have to empty our conscious minds of worrying and stressful thoughts (yeah right! Easier said than done!)
Stress and worry can affect your sleep quite dramatically. It can be an isolated stressful incident which keeps you awake for a few nights, or the stress and worry may be chronic. Once they becomes a habit, certain situations will then always cause you to become stressed.

Worry in particular can become a habit and like any habit, is very difficult to break (just ask us smokers, um... ex smokers out there!) But it can be done. You have to train your mind to either let go of a thought, or replace one thought with another.

If you suffer from insomnia, whether you're having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, stress could be the cause. Your sleeping problems can then cause more stress which in turn makes it even harder to sleep. How can you stop worrying and stop this vicious cycle?

The most important thing is to try and work out what you are telling yourself when you are worrying about something. We talk to ourselves all the time whether we are aware of it or not. What thoughts are going through your mind that are causing your bad feelin! gs?
For example, you may be sitting in a traffic jam thinking, "I'm going to be late for work if this stupid traffic doesn't start moving soon. Then I'll be rushing around all day trying to get everything done! Which means I probably won't have time to buy a proper lunch and I'll have to grab something quick and greasy! Well there goes the diet ..."

Enough! Why torture yourself with this rubbish? Make it a habit to stop these thoughts as soon as they start. How? Just substitute them with better thoughts! Have a list of thoughts that make you feel good and think about them instead! This will reduce stress significantly and with practice, it will get easier and easier.

If you're having trouble doing this, try doing in in two steps. When you catch yourself worrying, say "STOP!" Picture a big red stop sign right in front of you. Concentrate on this until it breaks you train of worrying thoughts.
Then you can start thinking your pleasant thoughts, a movie you enjoyed, a present from your children, whatever makes you happy!

Your mind is extremely powerful - put it to work for you and not against you!