Wednesday, November 26, 2014

12 Health Tips to Light Up Your Holidays

Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority.

Photo: Christmas ornamentsFollow 12 recommended tips for self-care this season. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy—and ready to enjoy the holidays.
  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the possibility of spreading germs and getting sick. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, mittens, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots.
  3. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out. Find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
  4. Don't drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger.
  5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. It's common knowledge that smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke, also referred to as secondhand smoke.
  6. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Use seat belts on every trip, no matter how short the trip.
  7. Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history.
  8. Get your vaccinations, which help prevent various diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk for complications from flu, and for people who live with or care for someone who is at high risk.
  9. Monitor the children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of children's reach. Dress your children warmly for outdoor activities. Develop family rules on safe behavior—on using electronic media, for instance.
  10. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don't leave fireplaces, space heaters, stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
  11. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, and cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate them promptly.
  12. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables, which pack plenty of nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Eating Right Means Drinking Right

The human body is made up of 50 to 75 percent water, or about 10 to 12 gallons, so replenishing your body’s water supply is crucial for proper function.
Staying well-hydrated may seem like a simple task, but you actually may not be consuming enough fluid. At minimum, the average adult female should consume 9 (8 oz) glasses of water or water-based beverages every day. Men need about 13 glasses. The actual amount you should consume may be higher based on your physical activity level, body muscle mass and exterior temperature.

According to the American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, the average adult loses about 2½ quarts or about 10 cups of water daily. To maintain your body fluid balance, you need to replace it each day.

Some great ways to make sure you're drinking enough each day are to take a water break instead of a coffee break, keep a cup or bottle of water handy at your desk, take a drink whenever you walk by a water fountain and keep a bottle of water in your backpack or tote bag. All fluids like juice, tea, soup and even coffee count, so drink up.

“Although there are many theories about the amount to drink, a safe bet is to drink at least eight cups of water each day to make sure you are properly hydrated,” says registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokesperson Dee Sandquist. “If you’re working out regularly, you should ideally drink even more than eight cups.”

Sandquist notes that many foods have a high water content, too, so it would be wise to include them in our diet:


Monday, November 3, 2014

Dairy Tips

Use lower fat milk and yogurt.

  • If you do OK with milk, drink some each day. Work your way down from whole or 2% milk to 1% or skim (nonfat).

  • Buttermilk has no butter—it can also be a healthy choice.

  • Cook with whole milk or 2% milk instead of cream. Then try 1%.

  • Mix whole fruit (sliced banana, strawberries, or peaches) into plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt for a healthy snack.

  • Avoid creamers in coffee. Instead, choose reduced fat milk or try evaporated skim milk for a creamy taste without saturated fat.

  • Go easy on high fat cheeses.

    • Try sharp cheeses like sharp cheddar or Parmesan—you get more taste with smaller amounts. Slice it thin or grate it.

    • For snacks, cut a small piece of cheese and put the rest away. It’s easy to eat too much!

    • Don’t add a lot of cheese to meat sandwiches—regular cheese is high in saturated fat and adds extra salt (sodium).

    • Ask for pizza with half the cheese and more vegetables.

    • Go easy on the cream cheese toppings for sandwiches and bagels.

    • Make lasagna and casseroles with cottage cheese or mozzarella.

    • Choose cheeses that are low in salt (low sodium).