Health and Wellness: Staying Healthy

Posted: Apr 01 in Health And Wellness by

Avoiding High Sodium

Sodium is an important part of our diet, but over consumption can lead to health problems. High sodium contributes to high blood pressure that puts you at risk of heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke. The risk is doubled in adults who are obese compared to those who are a healthy weight. The American Heart Association recommends an intake of less than 2,300mg a day.

Dining Out.If you don’t know how much sodium is in each dish it can be difficult to avoid high sodium meals. Instead of choosing a non-fast food restaurant or buffet style restaurants, go to a restaurants who cook to order. This way, you can ask to have your meal prepared without salt. Most places will accommodate your needs. To review sodium content of popular menu items check out www.healthdiningfinder.com.

Fast Food. Most fast food restaurants have their nutrition information available. Research their nutrition information online before you go, it will give you a chance to make knowledgeable lower sodium choices.

Cooking at Home. When you make your own meals, you have the most control over your sodium intake. Cook without salt and add it at the end when you are ready to eat, you will use much less. Be sure to leave the salt shaker off the table when eating and try buying less prepackaged and process foods. If you don’t feel like cooking a meal, you don’t have to go out or order out, enjoy a Chocolate or Vanilla Pudding Shake; it’s delicious, easy to make and low in sodium.

Sources: www.health.com, www.surgeongeneral.gov, www.americanheart.org

Know Your Numbers

You know high cholesterol spells trouble for your heart. But do you really know your own cholesterol counts and how they compare to healthy levels? According to the American Heart Association, healthy cholesterol levels look like this:

Total Less than 200 mg/dL
LDL Less than 100 mg/dL
Less than 130 mg/dL
Less than 160 mg/dL
HDL 50 mg/dL or higher
Triglycerides Less than 150 mg/dL

If your cholesterol counts don’t fall in the healthy range, you need to change your lifestyle and get your numbers under control before they control you.

No More Tossing and Turning

You’ve upgraded your mattress and even splurged on those satin pjs that you were sure would help you fall asleep, but you still find yourself wide awake and frustrated at night. Fortunately, there are some simple adjustments you can make in order to get a restful sleep.

  1. Try to establish a regular sleep schedule. Napping on the weekends or in the early evening can interrupt your routine and do more harm than good.
  2. Give your bedroom a makeover. Eliminate any bright lights or disturbing sounds. Decorate your bedroom in soothing shades of green and blue. Bright colors of red, orange and yellow can be over stimulating.
  3. Eat a starchy snack. A low-fat, low-calorie carbohydrate snack can trigger sleep by boosting levels of serotonin and tryptophan in the brain, according to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A cup of dry cereal, English muffin, or instant oatmeal about four hours before bed should help without adding too many calories.
  4. Exercise in the late afternoon can increase the amount of deep sleep that you will experience at night. However, do not engage in exercise in the evening; it will get your adrenaline pumping and keep you awake.
  5. Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine before bedtime. While alcohol helps you relax and fall asleep, once the alcohol wears off, it has the opposite effect, causing you to wake up and have fragmented sleep for the remainder of the night, according to Rochelle Zak, M.D. from New York Presbyterian Hospital. Cigarettes will make you more alert and thus, you’ll have a harder time falling asleep. And as we all know, caffeine simulates the brain; so steer clear of caffeine within four to six hours of bedtime.

Try to incorporate these strategies consistently each night in order to develop a healthy sleep pattern. If you’re still experiencing a lack of sleep, we suggest that you consult your physician.

Common Activities that Cut Your Risk of Disease and Help You Live Longer

We all know that aerobic activities, like running, skiing, swimming, and tennis increase your heart rate and burn off calories. But did you know that you could also lose weight and boost your energy without ever leaving your house? If you ever feel winded by moving furniture or scrubbing your kitchen floor then you’re exercising hard enough to enjoy real health benefits—in numerical terms, burning 4.5 or more calories a minute if you weight about 130 pounds or 6 calories a minute if you weigh about 180. (The heavier you are, the more calories an activity burns).

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you’re taking in. To lose one pound of fat, you need to burn off 3,500 calories. That means if you burn about 200 calories a day beyond your normal output by doing common activities like washing a car or pushing a lawn mower, you’ll lose a pound of fat in less than 3 weeks. Now add this calorie burning to a healthy diet and you’ll cut your risk of disease and live longer without ever walking into the gym.

Common Activities That Burn Calories Calories* (Per 10 min)
Walking Fast 60
Painting 60
Weeding 60
Washing a car 60
Playing tag with a child 65
Cleaning gutters 65
Pushing a lawn mower 70
Scrubbing floors 70
Biking to work 75
Moving furniture 75
Walking up stairs 85
Carrying a two-year-old upstairs 95

*Based on a 180-pound individual.

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