Tag: wellness

  • How to Support the Mental Health of Your Employees During COVID-19

    May 25, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. People have experienced financial hardship, additional challenges with childcare and school cancellations, job loss, reduced hours, sickness, and grief. The future is uncertain, and the present is extra stressful. And to make matters worse, many of the networks and practices that people use to support their mental health are currently unavailable due to social distancing.

    In this environment, where people are increasingly anxious and may be socially isolated, it’s even more important that managers support the mental health of their team members — both those who are coming into the workplace and those working from home. High stress can quickly destroy trust, inhibit empathy, and break down teams — each of which makes it more difficult for people to do their jobs. Fortunately, employers can provide some support. Here are some things employers can do to help employees manage stress and tend to their mental health:

    When possible, give employees a little extra time to slow down and rest
    Employees may need a moment to breathe or a day to regain their peace of mind, and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for time to take care of themselves. The ability to occasionally function at a medium (or even slow) pace should be built into performance expectations so that employees can avoid burnout or breakdown.

    Offer PTO, mental health benefits, and flexible schedules if appropriate
    In some cases, employees who want to get the mental health care they need can’t afford it. Losing pay from a missed work shift might be too great a hardship, and effective treatments might be financially out of reach. These financial hindrances can exacerbate conditions like anxiety and depression. In other cases, employees can afford the time off and the treatments, but they can’t make regular appointments work with their schedules. If you can offer paid time off, health insurance benefits, or flexible schedules, these can help employees get the care they need.

    Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    An EAP gives employees access to expert, confidential assistance for substance abuse issues, relationship troubles, financial problems, and mental health conditions. These services are offered through an outside provider that connects employees with the appropriate resources and professionals. These programs enable you to provide professional assistance to employees while allowing them confidentiality at work. EAPs are also inexpensive, costing between just 75 cents and 2 dollars per employee per month.

    Make reasonable accommodations when possible
    If an employee informs you that they have anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition, and they request an accommodation, you should begin the interactive process to determine what reasonable accommodation(s) you can provide in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA applies when an employer has 15 or more employees, but many states have similar laws that require employers to make accommodations at an even lower employee count. You can learn more about the ADA on the HR Support Center.

    Create digital spaces for friendships to grow
    Loneliness in the workplace can be a serious issue, with significant negative effects on both employees and the workplace. Right now, with many employees working from home, it’s harder to spot signs of it. Employers can facilitate friendships and connections between employees by setting up virtual chat programs and video conferencing apps.

    Employees also need to be reassured that it’s fine for them to take a little time during the workday to reach out to others about non-work matters and participate in virtual games and other fun group activities. Managers can set the tone by participating in fun chats and activities and encouraging employees to join in. Helping employees foster friendships is not only the right thing to do, it can also reduce turnover and increase engagement.

    Promote good mental (and physical) health in the workplace
    Healthy habits are important for everyone to practice. Consider setting time aside during the week or month for employees to participate in activities like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness that develop and strengthen these habits. If you aren’t familiar with these practices, solicit the help of your employees. One or more of them may know a lot about these activities and be able to assist you in setting up a workplace program or modifying a program for employees currently working from home.

    Make use of additional resources
    During this time, employees might benefit from this three-page list of several virtual recovery resources from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and this COVID-19 resource and information guide from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    By Kyle Cupp
    Originally posted on thinkhr.com

  • CBD: Fact or Fiction?

    April 27, 2020

    Tags: , , ,

    The cannabidiol (CBD) market in the United States has taken off like a rocket. Some projections have this market reaching $16 billion by 2025. After years of singing its praises for treating, albeit illegally, a myriad of health issues, supporters of cannabis have seen an uptick of mainstream support in the last 2 years with the legalization of this herb in many states. The exact truth about its benefits is still under review. Let’s dive a little deeper into this trending topic.

    HISTORY & STATISTICS

    The first use of cannabis can be traced back as far as 500 BC as a Chinese pharmacopeia. Made from the hemp plant, CBD does not produce the hallucinogenic aftereffects of its popular cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) derived from the same plant. In fact, CBD must contain less than 0.3% THC. In 2018, President Trump signed the Farm Bill which allowed farmers to legally grow hemp. Since this victory, the CBD market has definitely been amped up and its use has become so commonplace in our society that you can find a CBD store (or two or ten) in every city.

    • More than 60% of users claim CBD is being used to treat their anxiety.
    • Other widespread uses for CBD are for depression, sleep disorders, and PTSD.
    • In 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD product, called Epidiolex, to treat those with rare seizure disorders Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

    FACTS

    Users of CBD speak to its benefits in treating anxiety issues. With its widespread availability, consumers can find it in lotions, baked goods, and even makeup.  Because of this prevalence in the marketplace, the FDA and FTC are quick to squash claims that are unfounded in trials. Here are the facts:

    • CBD can come in varying methods of delivery.
      • Tinctures: concentrated herbal extracts suspended in alcohol or vinegar
      • Ointments
      • Vaping oils
      • Oil: extracts from seeds or flowers or stems of hemp put in a base oil to aid absorption
    • The exact amount that can safely be used in a day is unknown.
    • Side-effects include: drowsiness, digestive issues such as diarrhea, and irritability

    FICTION

    There is only one FDA approved use of CBD and that is for rare cases of epilepsy. So, when you see health claims for other than that use, they can be false.

    • NOT proven to be a treatment for cancer
    • NOT without consequences. Serious side-effects can cause serious damage to your health.
    • NOT proven to battle COVID-19.

    The use of CBD definitely has its supporters and detractors. When making a decision about its use, it is helpful to weigh the pros and cons and seek the truth. One thing is for sure—CBD is a swiftly growing market with high demand.

  • Dental Health Benefits You Can’t Afford to Lose

    March 16, 2020

    Tags: ,

    Did you know that a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene can actually reduce your likelihood of other serious diseases? Your mouth is more than just a gateway to enjoying delicious food. Your mouth is an indicator of your overall health. Let’s chew on the facts about dental health and what it can mean for the rest of your body.

    Gum Disease = Warning Sign

    Decayed teeth and gum disease are more than just unattractive–they are a report card on how the rest of your body is doing. Inflammation of your gums can first show up as bad breath. From there, this warning sign can point to more serious cardiovascular problems like blocked blood vessels and even elevated stroke risk. Think your diabetes is under control? Think again if you have the warning sign of gum disease. Check with your doctor if you feel like you just can’t get your swollen and bleeding gums to heal. Uncontrolled diabetes is linked directly to the inability to fight infections like those gum issues. Finally, the warning sign of gum disease has also been tied to higher risk for arthritis and even cognitive issues like slower verbal recall and slower ability to perform subtraction problems.

    Oral Bacteria = Major Health Risk

    Bacteria buildup in your mouth leads your body towards major health issues. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and can be traced back to oral bacteria that is left unchecked and enters the bloodstream. These same bacteria, left unchecked, can start major heart issues as coronary disease, clogged arteries, and stroke. Pneumonia has been caused by bacteria from your mouth being pulled into your lungs. And premature birth and low birth weight can be the result of periodontitis in the birth mother.

    Tips to a Healthy Mouth

    While the end result of poor oral health can lead to disease, the way to avoid this scary pathway is by practicing these good dental habits.
    • Brush your teeth twice a day. If you are unable to brush, chew sugar-free gum or use on-the-go toothbrushes like the Colgate Wisp.
    • Make sure you use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen weak spots and exposed roots.
    • After brushing, use mouthwash to rinse away any leftover food particles.
    • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Frayed bristles are not strong enough to remove food from between teeth.
    • Schedule regular dental visits for both cleanings and exams.
    • Adhere to a healthy diet that is low in sugar.
    • Avoid tobacco.

    Understanding that good dental health leads to good overall health is key. Conversely, poor dental habits have been shown to lead to everything from minor infections to major diseases. When you take care of your teeth and gums the benefits to your overall health are innumerable. Follow the tips outlined here for good dental health and your body will reap the benefits for years to come.

    Want to educate others on the benefits to good dental health? Check out these resources:
    World Oral Health Day—March 20
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    American Dental Association—Printables and Activities for Children

  • Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart

    February 10, 2020

    Tags: ,

    Each February we focus on ways to improve our heart health in honor of American Heart Month. This year we want to help you by turning your attention to the foods you eat and how to make smart choices with our “This or That” challenge!

    Below you will see two foods to choose between. Your goal is to choose the food that is the healthier option. Answers can be found at the end of the challenge.

     

     

    Diet Soda vs Carbonated Water

    Skip the drink with the high levels of artificial sweeteners and choose carbonated water! Diet drinks have been linked to symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Some symptoms of this include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and lower than normal HDL cholesterol levels. Pour yourself a glass of carbonated water and put a slice of fruit in your glass instead!

     

    Butter vs Olive Oil

    Pour on the olive oil to maintain good heart health. Butter is full of high amounts of saturated fat. Butter is also known to raise the bad cholesterol levels in your blood. Olive oil and even canola and sunflower oils contain heart healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

     

    Sweet Potato Fries vs French Fries

    Warm up your new Air Fryer and start cooking sweet potato fries with a little olive oil. French fries are full of fat and salt and a study linked eating 2-3 servings of fries a week to a higher chance of an early death.

     

    1 oz Salted Nuts vs 1 oz Potato Chips

    Pass the pecans, please! When you choose nuts over chips, you are also choosing your health. Regular nut snackers are 14% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 20% less likely to develop coronary heart disease.

     

    1.5 oz Dark Chocolate vs 2 Chocolate Chip Cookies

    No matter how much you love Grandma’s cookie recipe, your heart needs you to choose the dark chocolate. A study has found that those people who eat dark chocolate 3 times a week reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke by 11%.

     

    T-bone Steak vs Grilled Salmon Fillet

    Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Salmon is chock full of omega 3 fatty acids which reduce fat in your blood and reduces clogged arteries. Steak is famous for high levels of saturated fat and LDL cholesterol.

     

    Coca-Cola vs Red Wine

    Pop the cork, not the soda tab. Carbonated sodas are full of artificial ingredients and sugar. Red wine has been shown to increase your good cholesterol levels and has many antioxidants that can help protect the lining of the blood vessels in your heart.

     

    You are now a “This or That” Food Challenge winner! Go celebrate with a grilled salmon dinner, a glass of red wine, and a handful of dark chocolate!

     

    Sources:

    https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/ss/slideshow-foods-bad-heart

    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-hearthealthy-food-swaps

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281

  • The Importance of Sleep

    January 29, 2020

    Tags: , , , ,

    Everyone knows that eating healthy, getting exercise, limiting alcohol intake, and not smoking leads to a healthy lifestyle. Did you know that sleep is also an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle? With 1/3 of our lifetime being spent sleeping, this part of our life must take importance. Let’s delve into why sleep is important and what you can do to improve this area of your life.

     

    No Snooze, You Lose

    At different stages in our life, we require different amounts of sleep. From birth to 4-years old, toddlers need about 11-14 hours of sleep. They are growing and learning both cognitively and emotionally and this takes lots of energy. To restore that energy that is expended during these active toddler years, they require lots of sleep! School-age children are some of the most active humans on the planet. Being at school from 8-3 everyday really wears their little bodies out. Because of their activity, these children need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep each night. As they grow into their teen years, kids need 8-10 hours. And, as adults, we need 7-9 solid hours of sleep a night.

     

    Why?

    During our restful time of sleep, our bodies are hard at work restoring, rejuvenating, growing muscle, repairing tissue, and synthesizing hormones. To say the least, our bodies are never at rest. When we are awake and moving, we are busy processing stimuli, converting calories to energy, and growing, to name a few basic functions.  When we sleep, these processes continue but our body also does the intricate work of strengthening our immune system, fighting disease and infection, and processing the day’s emotions through dreams. Scientists say the benefits of good sleep include:

    • Sharper brain
    • Healthier heart
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Weight control
    • Mood boosters
    • Steadier blood sugar

     

    Rhythm Section

    To get the optimized benefits of sleep you have to get your body in the correct circadian rhythm.  According to the National Institutes of Health, “Circadian rhythms direct a wide variety of functions from daily fluctuations in wakefulness to body temperature, metabolism, and the release of hormones.  They control your timing of sleep and cause you to be sleepy at night and your tendency to wake in the morning without an alarm.  Your body’s biological clock, which is based on a roughly 24-hour day, controls most circadian rhythms.  Circadian rhythms synchronize with environmental cues (light, temperature) about the actual time of day, but they continue even in the absence of cues.” Stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and even external lights can interfere with this rhythm and therefore have a negative impact on your overall health.

     

    How?

    To get the best sleep and the right amount of sleep, you need to optimize that circadian rhythm. Here are some tips:

    1. Stick to a consistent schedule of both bedtime AND waketime
    2. Go for a morning walk—getting your body up and moving when it wakes up from overnight sleep helps reset your rhythm.
    3. Limit evening technology
      1. bright lights confuse the brain into believing it’s still daytime
      2. blue lights—specifically in laptops and cellphones—should be turned off within 2 hours of bedtime

     

    Understanding the importance of and the benefits from a good night’s sleep will help you prioritize this task each day. Start doing the basic work of setting a consistent bedtime and build up to turning off that cellphone game early.  You can’t afford to skimp on sleep—your body depends on it!

  • How to Support the Mental Health of Your Employees During COVID-19

    May 25, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. People have experienced financial hardship, additional challenges with childcare and school cancellations, job loss, reduced hours, sickness, and grief. The future is uncertain, and the present is extra stressful. And to make matters worse, many of the networks and practices that people use to support their mental health are currently unavailable due to social distancing.

    In this environment, where people are increasingly anxious and may be socially isolated, it’s even more important that managers support the mental health of their team members — both those who are coming into the workplace and those working from home. High stress can quickly destroy trust, inhibit empathy, and break down teams — each of which makes it more difficult for people to do their jobs. Fortunately, employers can provide some support. Here are some things employers can do to help employees manage stress and tend to their mental health:

    When possible, give employees a little extra time to slow down and rest
    Employees may need a moment to breathe or a day to regain their peace of mind, and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for time to take care of themselves. The ability to occasionally function at a medium (or even slow) pace should be built into performance expectations so that employees can avoid burnout or breakdown.

    Offer PTO, mental health benefits, and flexible schedules if appropriate
    In some cases, employees who want to get the mental health care they need can’t afford it. Losing pay from a missed work shift might be too great a hardship, and effective treatments might be financially out of reach. These financial hindrances can exacerbate conditions like anxiety and depression. In other cases, employees can afford the time off and the treatments, but they can’t make regular appointments work with their schedules. If you can offer paid time off, health insurance benefits, or flexible schedules, these can help employees get the care they need.

    Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    An EAP gives employees access to expert, confidential assistance for substance abuse issues, relationship troubles, financial problems, and mental health conditions. These services are offered through an outside provider that connects employees with the appropriate resources and professionals. These programs enable you to provide professional assistance to employees while allowing them confidentiality at work. EAPs are also inexpensive, costing between just 75 cents and 2 dollars per employee per month.

    Make reasonable accommodations when possible
    If an employee informs you that they have anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition, and they request an accommodation, you should begin the interactive process to determine what reasonable accommodation(s) you can provide in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA applies when an employer has 15 or more employees, but many states have similar laws that require employers to make accommodations at an even lower employee count. You can learn more about the ADA on the HR Support Center.

    Create digital spaces for friendships to grow
    Loneliness in the workplace can be a serious issue, with significant negative effects on both employees and the workplace. Right now, with many employees working from home, it’s harder to spot signs of it. Employers can facilitate friendships and connections between employees by setting up virtual chat programs and video conferencing apps.

    Employees also need to be reassured that it’s fine for them to take a little time during the workday to reach out to others about non-work matters and participate in virtual games and other fun group activities. Managers can set the tone by participating in fun chats and activities and encouraging employees to join in. Helping employees foster friendships is not only the right thing to do, it can also reduce turnover and increase engagement.

    Promote good mental (and physical) health in the workplace
    Healthy habits are important for everyone to practice. Consider setting time aside during the week or month for employees to participate in activities like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness that develop and strengthen these habits. If you aren’t familiar with these practices, solicit the help of your employees. One or more of them may know a lot about these activities and be able to assist you in setting up a workplace program or modifying a program for employees currently working from home.

    Make use of additional resources
    During this time, employees might benefit from this three-page list of several virtual recovery resources from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and this COVID-19 resource and information guide from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    By Kyle Cupp
    Originally posted on thinkhr.com

  • CBD: Fact or Fiction?

    April 27, 2020

    Tags: , , ,

    The cannabidiol (CBD) market in the United States has taken off like a rocket. Some projections have this market reaching $16 billion by 2025. After years of singing its praises for treating, albeit illegally, a myriad of health issues, supporters of cannabis have seen an uptick of mainstream support in the last 2 years with the legalization of this herb in many states. The exact truth about its benefits is still under review. Let’s dive a little deeper into this trending topic.

    HISTORY & STATISTICS

    The first use of cannabis can be traced back as far as 500 BC as a Chinese pharmacopeia. Made from the hemp plant, CBD does not produce the hallucinogenic aftereffects of its popular cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) derived from the same plant. In fact, CBD must contain less than 0.3% THC. In 2018, President Trump signed the Farm Bill which allowed farmers to legally grow hemp. Since this victory, the CBD market has definitely been amped up and its use has become so commonplace in our society that you can find a CBD store (or two or ten) in every city.

    • More than 60% of users claim CBD is being used to treat their anxiety.
    • Other widespread uses for CBD are for depression, sleep disorders, and PTSD.
    • In 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD product, called Epidiolex, to treat those with rare seizure disorders Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

    FACTS

    Users of CBD speak to its benefits in treating anxiety issues. With its widespread availability, consumers can find it in lotions, baked goods, and even makeup.  Because of this prevalence in the marketplace, the FDA and FTC are quick to squash claims that are unfounded in trials. Here are the facts:

    • CBD can come in varying methods of delivery.
      • Tinctures: concentrated herbal extracts suspended in alcohol or vinegar
      • Ointments
      • Vaping oils
      • Oil: extracts from seeds or flowers or stems of hemp put in a base oil to aid absorption
    • The exact amount that can safely be used in a day is unknown.
    • Side-effects include: drowsiness, digestive issues such as diarrhea, and irritability

    FICTION

    There is only one FDA approved use of CBD and that is for rare cases of epilepsy. So, when you see health claims for other than that use, they can be false.

    • NOT proven to be a treatment for cancer
    • NOT without consequences. Serious side-effects can cause serious damage to your health.
    • NOT proven to battle COVID-19.

    The use of CBD definitely has its supporters and detractors. When making a decision about its use, it is helpful to weigh the pros and cons and seek the truth. One thing is for sure—CBD is a swiftly growing market with high demand.

  • Dental Health Benefits You Can’t Afford to Lose

    March 16, 2020

    Tags: ,

    Did you know that a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene can actually reduce your likelihood of other serious diseases? Your mouth is more than just a gateway to enjoying delicious food. Your mouth is an indicator of your overall health. Let’s chew on the facts about dental health and what it can mean for the rest of your body.

    Gum Disease = Warning Sign

    Decayed teeth and gum disease are more than just unattractive–they are a report card on how the rest of your body is doing. Inflammation of your gums can first show up as bad breath. From there, this warning sign can point to more serious cardiovascular problems like blocked blood vessels and even elevated stroke risk. Think your diabetes is under control? Think again if you have the warning sign of gum disease. Check with your doctor if you feel like you just can’t get your swollen and bleeding gums to heal. Uncontrolled diabetes is linked directly to the inability to fight infections like those gum issues. Finally, the warning sign of gum disease has also been tied to higher risk for arthritis and even cognitive issues like slower verbal recall and slower ability to perform subtraction problems.

    Oral Bacteria = Major Health Risk

    Bacteria buildup in your mouth leads your body towards major health issues. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and can be traced back to oral bacteria that is left unchecked and enters the bloodstream. These same bacteria, left unchecked, can start major heart issues as coronary disease, clogged arteries, and stroke. Pneumonia has been caused by bacteria from your mouth being pulled into your lungs. And premature birth and low birth weight can be the result of periodontitis in the birth mother.

    Tips to a Healthy Mouth

    While the end result of poor oral health can lead to disease, the way to avoid this scary pathway is by practicing these good dental habits.
    • Brush your teeth twice a day. If you are unable to brush, chew sugar-free gum or use on-the-go toothbrushes like the Colgate Wisp.
    • Make sure you use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen weak spots and exposed roots.
    • After brushing, use mouthwash to rinse away any leftover food particles.
    • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Frayed bristles are not strong enough to remove food from between teeth.
    • Schedule regular dental visits for both cleanings and exams.
    • Adhere to a healthy diet that is low in sugar.
    • Avoid tobacco.

    Understanding that good dental health leads to good overall health is key. Conversely, poor dental habits have been shown to lead to everything from minor infections to major diseases. When you take care of your teeth and gums the benefits to your overall health are innumerable. Follow the tips outlined here for good dental health and your body will reap the benefits for years to come.

    Want to educate others on the benefits to good dental health? Check out these resources:
    World Oral Health Day—March 20
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    American Dental Association—Printables and Activities for Children

  • Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart

    February 10, 2020

    Tags: ,

    Each February we focus on ways to improve our heart health in honor of American Heart Month. This year we want to help you by turning your attention to the foods you eat and how to make smart choices with our “This or That” challenge!

    Below you will see two foods to choose between. Your goal is to choose the food that is the healthier option. Answers can be found at the end of the challenge.

     

     

    Diet Soda vs Carbonated Water

    Skip the drink with the high levels of artificial sweeteners and choose carbonated water! Diet drinks have been linked to symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Some symptoms of this include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and lower than normal HDL cholesterol levels. Pour yourself a glass of carbonated water and put a slice of fruit in your glass instead!

     

    Butter vs Olive Oil

    Pour on the olive oil to maintain good heart health. Butter is full of high amounts of saturated fat. Butter is also known to raise the bad cholesterol levels in your blood. Olive oil and even canola and sunflower oils contain heart healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

     

    Sweet Potato Fries vs French Fries

    Warm up your new Air Fryer and start cooking sweet potato fries with a little olive oil. French fries are full of fat and salt and a study linked eating 2-3 servings of fries a week to a higher chance of an early death.

     

    1 oz Salted Nuts vs 1 oz Potato Chips

    Pass the pecans, please! When you choose nuts over chips, you are also choosing your health. Regular nut snackers are 14% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 20% less likely to develop coronary heart disease.

     

    1.5 oz Dark Chocolate vs 2 Chocolate Chip Cookies

    No matter how much you love Grandma’s cookie recipe, your heart needs you to choose the dark chocolate. A study has found that those people who eat dark chocolate 3 times a week reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke by 11%.

     

    T-bone Steak vs Grilled Salmon Fillet

    Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Salmon is chock full of omega 3 fatty acids which reduce fat in your blood and reduces clogged arteries. Steak is famous for high levels of saturated fat and LDL cholesterol.

     

    Coca-Cola vs Red Wine

    Pop the cork, not the soda tab. Carbonated sodas are full of artificial ingredients and sugar. Red wine has been shown to increase your good cholesterol levels and has many antioxidants that can help protect the lining of the blood vessels in your heart.

     

    You are now a “This or That” Food Challenge winner! Go celebrate with a grilled salmon dinner, a glass of red wine, and a handful of dark chocolate!

     

    Sources:

    https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/ss/slideshow-foods-bad-heart

    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-hearthealthy-food-swaps

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281

  • The Importance of Sleep

    January 29, 2020

    Tags: , , , ,

    Everyone knows that eating healthy, getting exercise, limiting alcohol intake, and not smoking leads to a healthy lifestyle. Did you know that sleep is also an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle? With 1/3 of our lifetime being spent sleeping, this part of our life must take importance. Let’s delve into why sleep is important and what you can do to improve this area of your life.

     

    No Snooze, You Lose

    At different stages in our life, we require different amounts of sleep. From birth to 4-years old, toddlers need about 11-14 hours of sleep. They are growing and learning both cognitively and emotionally and this takes lots of energy. To restore that energy that is expended during these active toddler years, they require lots of sleep! School-age children are some of the most active humans on the planet. Being at school from 8-3 everyday really wears their little bodies out. Because of their activity, these children need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep each night. As they grow into their teen years, kids need 8-10 hours. And, as adults, we need 7-9 solid hours of sleep a night.

     

    Why?

    During our restful time of sleep, our bodies are hard at work restoring, rejuvenating, growing muscle, repairing tissue, and synthesizing hormones. To say the least, our bodies are never at rest. When we are awake and moving, we are busy processing stimuli, converting calories to energy, and growing, to name a few basic functions.  When we sleep, these processes continue but our body also does the intricate work of strengthening our immune system, fighting disease and infection, and processing the day’s emotions through dreams. Scientists say the benefits of good sleep include:

    • Sharper brain
    • Healthier heart
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Weight control
    • Mood boosters
    • Steadier blood sugar

     

    Rhythm Section

    To get the optimized benefits of sleep you have to get your body in the correct circadian rhythm.  According to the National Institutes of Health, “Circadian rhythms direct a wide variety of functions from daily fluctuations in wakefulness to body temperature, metabolism, and the release of hormones.  They control your timing of sleep and cause you to be sleepy at night and your tendency to wake in the morning without an alarm.  Your body’s biological clock, which is based on a roughly 24-hour day, controls most circadian rhythms.  Circadian rhythms synchronize with environmental cues (light, temperature) about the actual time of day, but they continue even in the absence of cues.” Stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and even external lights can interfere with this rhythm and therefore have a negative impact on your overall health.

     

    How?

    To get the best sleep and the right amount of sleep, you need to optimize that circadian rhythm. Here are some tips:

    1. Stick to a consistent schedule of both bedtime AND waketime
    2. Go for a morning walk—getting your body up and moving when it wakes up from overnight sleep helps reset your rhythm.
    3. Limit evening technology
      1. bright lights confuse the brain into believing it’s still daytime
      2. blue lights—specifically in laptops and cellphones—should be turned off within 2 hours of bedtime

     

    Understanding the importance of and the benefits from a good night’s sleep will help you prioritize this task each day. Start doing the basic work of setting a consistent bedtime and build up to turning off that cellphone game early.  You can’t afford to skimp on sleep—your body depends on it!

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