Health in a Minute: Fall 2013

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Rethink Your Drink

The amount of calories and sugar in some of your favorite coffee-shop items may surprise you. Don’t believe us? Check the website or in-store nutrition information to get the facts. Of course, we’re not suggesting that you need to skip your morning coffee altogether. The CDC suggests getting back to basics: ordering a plain cup of coffee with fat-free milk and artificial sweetener, or drinking it black. Or, when a special coffee drink craving kicks in, use these tips to minimize your calories:

  • Request fat-free (skim) milk instead of whole milk.
  • Order the smallest size available.
  • Forgo flavor syrups—these are sugar-sweetened and add calories to your drink.
  • Skip the whip. Whipped cream on top of coffee drinks adds both calories and fat.

Source: CDC  

Use the 5/20 Rule

Want to know if a food is rich in a certain nutrient? Check out the daily value column on the far right side of the item’s nutrition label, usually abbreviated as “%DV.” Based off of a 2,000-calorie diet, percent daily value is an estimate of the total amount of each nutrient you should eat over the course a day. Nutritionists say that if the %DV is 5% or less, the food is LOW in that nutrient. If it is 20% or more, it is HIGH in that nutrient.

Source: FDA

Exercising with a Cold

If you’ve got the sniffles, should you skip your daily exercise routine? It depends. The Mayo Clinic says mild to moderate physical activity can be OK if you have a common cold and no fever. In fact, light exercise may even help you feel better by opening your nasal passages. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your symptoms are “above the neck” (e.g., runny nose, sneezing, etc.), a little low intensity exercise can be OK. But if you have a fever or below-the-neck symptoms (e.g., chest congestion, hacking cough, upset stomach), skip it. Your body needs time to recover.

Source: Mayo Clinic  

Top 6 Fitness Myths

With so much contradictory health and fitness information available via the web, TV, magazines, etc., it’s no wonder many people have the wrong idea about what it takes to get fit or lose weight. Recently, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) polled more than 1,500 ACE-certified professionals about the most pervasive myths and misconceptions they encounter related to exercise. Here were their top six responses. Don’t fall prey to one of these! Women who lift weights will get bulky muscles. Spot reducing is possible. No pain, no gain. Exercise requires a hefty time commitment. If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want.  There’s a magic bullet (quick fix) out there somewhere.

Source: The American Council on Exercise

Get Fit With Your Kids

Exercise produces endorphins, and endorphins reduce pain, stress, and produce a feeling of euphoria. People who exercise tend to be happier and promoting exercise in children will often lead to happier, healthier active lifestyles. So get fit with your kids by following these simple suggestions:

Boost Stamina. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day. Many kids, however, get less than 30 minutes of activity a day and some schools don’t have PE to help. Encourage your kids to stay active and lead by example — exercise with them!

Build Strength. Building muscle builds bones. Bones develop the quickest and easiest in children’s bodies, so it is essential to help strengthen their muscles and bones at an early age. Find kid-friendly exercises that you can enjoy and benefit from too!

Have fun! Kids love exercising, they just don’t always know it. Keep them active with fun activities. Try biking, jumping rope, playing games outside, and even skipping around the yard. Anything that will keep everyone  moving and their heart rates up will improve strength, agility, stamina, and overall health and happiness.


Breast Cancer: Know Your Risk

Most women don’t have an accurate idea of their personal risk of breast cancer, according to a new survey presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The survey polled more than 9,000 women and compared their actual risk to their estimated risk. In all, just 9% had an accurate estimation, while nearly 45% underestimated and nearly 46% overestimated. The findings showed that white women were likely to overestimate, while black, Asian, and Hispanic women were likely to underestimate. The researchers emphasized that an accurate risk estimate can help a woman know if her screening schedule is appropriate.

Source: MedlinePlus 

Set Limits for Facebook?

It might be time to set better limits when it comes to social media. A recent study published by the Public Library of Science adds to a growing body of research that shows that the more people use Facebook, the less satisfied they are with life. The study tracked 82 Facebookers for an extended period of time to see how their emotions changed. The research showed that those who used Facebook a lot were more likely to report a decline in satisfaction than those who visited the site infrequently.

Source: Public Library of Science 

Avoiding Playground Accidents

The kids are back in school, and that means recess. While active time during the day is great, playgrounds can also come with some hazards. Here are some ways to keep your kids safe:

  • Remind kids to test the temperature of slides and metal equipment before they jump on. They can get extremely hot in the sun.
  • Dress children appropriately for the playground. Avoid drawstrings, scarves, or helmets that can get caught on playground equipment.
  • Choose shoes that will help keep feet protected and provide for a better grip.
  • Teach your kids to play nice – pushing and shoving can be very dangerous.



Healthy Meals for One or Two

It’s easy to grab frozen dinners or fast food when it’s just for one or two of you, but it’s important to enjoy healthy meals. To make it as convenient and easy as possible, prepare  a weekly meal plan to  make shopping easier and prevent inconvenient or last-minute trips to the store. Buy staples (like beans, fruits, and canned vegetables) that you can easily add to many different meals. Also, be thrifty: cook in large batches and freeze meals in single portions, and use leftover ingredients in inventive ways, like your leftover rice for a casserole the next night. Better planning will make it easy for you to enjoy healthy meals, even for just for one or two!

Source: Mayo Clinic

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