Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that makes breathing difficult. It causes inflammation or swelling, and a narrowing of the airways making it more difficult to breathe. During normal breathing, air flows freely in and out of the lungs. However, during an asthma attack or episode, swelling of the airway’s lining increases, muscles surrounding the airways tighten, and thick mucus clogs the tiny airways making it difficult to breathe.

Who gets asthma? Asthma affects people of all ages and while it can start in adulthood, it most often starts during childhood. Young children who wheeze a lot and have frequent respiratory infections that continue beyond 6 years old are at greater risk. Genetics can also play a role in developing asthma. Having a family history of eczema, allergies, or having parents or siblings that have asthma increases risk. We aren’t exactly sure what causes asthma, but we do know exposure to certain things can trigger an asthma attack.

Asthma symptoms

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person and can flare up anytime – day or night. Symptoms may include:
Wheezing – Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe out.
Coughing – Coughing from asthma is often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep. Sometimes coughing can be the only symptom.
Shortness of breath – Some people feel like they can’t catch their breath or feel breathless, as if they can’t get air out of their lungs.
Chest tightness or pain – This can feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.

Asthma symptoms vary from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week and over months and can vary from mild to life threatening. Having symptoms may mean your asthma is not well controlled.

See your health care provider if:

  • You have symptoms or are using your quick-relief inhaler (rescue) more than two times a week.
  • You have symptoms that wake you up two or more times a month.
  • You refill your rescue up anytime – day or night. Symptoms may include: inhaler prescription more than two times per year.
  • Your asthma is getting in the way of your usual activities like going to school or work.

Don’t ignore asthma symptoms.

Symptoms that are not easily relieved by using a rescue inhaler or that reoccur should be evaluated by your health care provider, or you should go to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. TAKE ASTHMA SERIOUSLY.

Don’t fall for some of the latest misleading ads

by Jolene Mafnas

As long as there’s Madison Avenue, companies will twist the truth to pitch their products as healthy, real, essential, or name-your-buzz-word-du-jour. So they play up nuts or protein rather than sugar, “energy” to get you going, veggies no matter how minimal, and more. Here’s a handful of some current misleading ad claims. You don’t have to look too far to find plenty of others.

“Looking for lower carb feasting?”

asks the ad for the Cauliflower Crust on California Pizza Kitchen’s YouTube account. “No problem…Cauliflower crust (oh so deliciously) plays well with carbconscious connoisseurs.” Yes, CPK’s Cauliflower crust is about a third lower in carbs than its Hand-Tossed Original crust. But with 85 grams of carbs in each (individual) crust, it’s anything but low. And the Cauliflower crust’s 560 calories is just a smidge lower than the Original’s 580. That’s because CPK adds rice flour, tapioca starch, and cheese. Of course, it’s “no problem” if those carb-conscious connoisseurs think it’s just cauliflower.

“You bring the egg,”

says the TV ad for Ore-Ida Just Crack an Egg. “We bring the Ore-Ida potatoes, chopped veggies, melty cheese, and hearty meat for a hot scramble ready in less than two minutes.” Yup, you bring the egg (carefully, if you’re heading to work). Ore-Ida goes to the trouble of filling a plastic cup with three tiny plastic bags—with 2 or 3 tablespoons each of ham, cheese, and diced potatoes, green peppers, and onions. All that plastic, just so you can add something to an egg, which you microwave in the plastic cup? Surely, people can microwave an egg in a glass bowl or Pyrex cookware with their own chopped veggies (or fresh salsa). Who needs the processed meat and white potatoes?

“The honey sweet, clustery, crunchy taste of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds now has more almonds…25% more almonds,”

boasts the TV ad. Yes, but the cereal still has more sugar than almonds…or honey, for that matter. And it’s got more corn than oats or anything else, despite the name. “Sugary Bunches of Corn” just doesn’t have the same ring. You call that essential?

“Not having a good breakfast can make you feel like your day never started. Get going with Carnation Breakfast Essentials High Protein Drink,” says the TV ad. “It has 21 vitamins and minerals, with 15 grams of protein to help you be your best.”

Yes, get going with a 220-calorie bottle of water, corn syrup, sugar, milk protein concentrate, vegetable oil, cocoa, calcium and sodium caseinates, soy protein isolate, gums, salt, artificial flavor, and more. You call those “essentials”? Want 15 grams of protein? Try a non-fat plain greek yogurt instead. It’s only 80 calories, so you can add fruit and still come out ahead.

“When your battery is running low, grab a sugar-free, vitamin-packed 5-Hour Energy,”

urges the TV ad. “It’ll get you back to 100 percent fast.” First of all, those vitamins are there just to give your caffeine shot a health halo. They won’t “get you back to 100 percent.” And there’s no way to read the tiny disclosures at the bottom of the screen: “Not proven to improve physical performance, dexterity or endurance. Limit caffeine products to avoid nervousness, sleeplessness and occasional rapid heartbeat.”

Find this article interesting and useful? Read the full article here: www.nutritionaction.com/daily/what-not-to-eat/dont-fall-for-some-of-the-latest-misleading-ads/ Nutrition Action Healthletter subscribers regularly get sound, timely information about staying healthy with diet and exercise, delicious recipes, and detailed analyses of the healthy and unhealthy foods in supermarkets and restaurants.

Why Exercising Is a Higher Priority Than My Career

FEB 15, 2017 1:25 PM EST Time Magazine

Below are excerpts from an article written by entrepreneur Joshua Steimle. While he speaks as a business owner, this can apply to anyone who finds exercise losing out on importance when life gets busy. It is a good reminder that your health has to come first and regular exercise is necessary component for good health.

“On any given day there are easily 100 important things I should be doing for my business, 50 of which are also urgent, but there is no way I can get more than 10 things done. Exercise must come first, or it’s unlikely to happen at all; as soon as I start pushing workouts off, I’ll start missing workouts, and once I start missing workouts, I’m close to stopping workouts altogether.

If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.

For a long time, I was fooled into thinking that if my business wasn’t the top priority, then that meant I wasn’t doing all I could do to make it successful. This is an understandable way of thinking, but it’s completely wrong. The trick is to figure out which ordering of priorities provides the maximum overall benefit. For example, when I exercise, that makes me better in every role I have, whether it’s as a husband, father, friend or entrepreneur. If I were to stop exercising because I felt that being a good business owner was a higher priority, then ironically I would end up a worse business owner than I was when it when it was a lower priority. Putting exercise first creates a win-win.”

Makes sense, but how do you start? Go to “6 Ways to Make Exercise a Priority” for ideas to get you started. https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/6-ways-to-make-exercise-a-priority?page=2

What Happens To Your Body When You Start Doing Yoga

For decades, aerobic exercise—the type that raises your heart and breathing rates, such as running or cycling—has been touted by scientists as the gold standard in terms of the number of health benefits it brings. More energy, improved mood, lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers, better sleep, better thinking, better sex, and on and on. But as it turns out, there may be another form of exercise that does even more for you: yoga. And weight control may be at the top of its long list of yoga benefits.
In 2010, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Nursing published a comparative analysis of 81 studies that examined yoga’s health benefits and the health benefits of aerobic exercise. The researchers found yoga to be especially effective at reducing stress. This may not be news to those who practice yoga, but even die-hard enthusiasts will be surprised at the number of other health benefits yoga can confer—often to a larger degree than aerobic exercise. The researchers found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength, pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms, daily energy level, and social and occupation functioning, among other health parameters.

It’s Not Either Or.
You don’t have to choose yoga or aerobic exercise—by no means does this research suggest that you toss out your walking or running shoes for a yoga mat. Aerobic exercise remains a fun, simple, inexpensive, highly effective form of exercise that confers all sorts of important benefits. And it’s important that we all be active every day if we can, taking breaks to move around so we don’t spend all our time sitting.

Yoga Is Exercise.
What is clear from this analysis is that yoga should no longer be seen as something even remotely “fringey,” or even as something that’s only good for improving flexibility. Rather, this research makes it clear that yoga deserves a permanent place at the health and fitness table, alongside other forms of exercise that may be more familiar to most people.

Yoga and Weight loss. Researchers see an especially intriguing role for yoga in the area of weight control, with the key mechanism being yoga’s stress-reducing power. “Evidence suggests that chronic stress leads to changes in food-seeking behavior, including increased consumption of foods high in sugar and fat, which may eventually lead to obesity,” says lead researcher Alyson Ross. “As yoga provides many of the benefits typically associated with exercise, and is also so effective at reducing stress,” she continues, “it’s possible that yoga might be a particularly useful weapon in the arsenal against obesity.”

Beginners Should Find A Teacher. If you’re considering giving yoga a try, rest assured that you don’t have to be a contortionist to do it. But it’s best to find a class with a teacher, as starting on your own with a video can be tough. It’s important to learn how to do the poses correctly, at which point you can supplement your class time by doing yoga at home.

By Adam Bean
www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/yoga-benefits

20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits & Vegetables

Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. All this is packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.

Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.

  • Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.
  • Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.
  • Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.
  • Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
  • Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.
  • Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.*
  • Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes.
  • Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the-run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.
  • Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.
  • Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.
  • “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato as fillings.

  • Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
  • Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat cheese.
  • Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.
  • Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach and carrots to lasagna, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce and rice dishes.
  • Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.
  • Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.
  • Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.*
  • Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
  • Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.

Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists.

Change happens one step at a time!

If you are able, take the stairs.

Did you know that getting more physical activity and limiting the amount of time that you spend sitting can reduce health risks? Scientific evidence shows it is everyday activities like walking and stair climbing that are most closely associated with improved health. Below are benefits seen by adding the use of stairs to your day.

No special equipment is needed.

Stair climbing can be accumulated across the course of the day, making a significant contribution to the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
There is a significantly lower risk of mortality when climbing more than 55 flights per week.
Stair climbing requires about 8 – 11kcal of energy per minute, which is high compared to other moderate level physical activities.

Active stair climbers are more fit and have a higher aerobic capacity.

Even two flights of stairs climbed per day can lead to 6 lbs of weight loss over one year.

There is a strong association between stair climbing and bone density in post-menopausal women.

Climbing stairs can improve the amount of “good cholesterol” in the blood.

Stair climbing can help you build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.

Finally, stairs are eco-friendly. When in motion, an elevator can use as much as 250 60 watt bulbs. So, if you can, burn calories, not electricity.
We know that fitting physical activity into a busy lifestyle isn’t always easy. Taking the stairs is just one way to add some physical activity into your work day while delivering healthy benefits.

(1) https://hr.duke.edu/wellness/exercise-fitness/take-stairs/benefits-taking-stairs
(2) Categories in the spotlight

5 Simple Ways To Help Keep Your Spine Healthy

The tips covered here along with additional links provide simple ways to help support your spine and overall back health.

  • Let your spine really rest while sleeping. While you’re lying down, all the structures in your spine that have worked hard all day finally have an opportunity to relax and be rejuvenated in a supported and comfortable way. Your choice of mattress and pillow is largely based on personal preference, your preferred sleep positions, and your specific back or neck problem. Visit: www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/choosing-best-mattress-lower-back-pain
  • Exercise your core to strengthen abs and back muscles. Your core muscles (lower back and abdominal muscles) need to be strong and supple to support your spine and take pressure off your lower back. Unfortunately, for most of us our core muscles are rarely used during everyday activities; they need to be toned through specific, targeted exercises. These exercises are simple and can be performed as part of a daily routine. Visit: www.spine-health.com/treatment/physical-therapy/core-body-strength-exercises
  • Your shoes need to support your spine. Whether you’re walking for exercise or just to get where you’re going, the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back. Good shoes provide a supportive base that helps the spine and body remain in alignment. Also, consider using shoe orthotics or inserts if you need further balance or support. Visit: www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/guidelines-buying-walking-shoes
  • Enjoy a massage. Did you know that massage has a number of therapeutic benefits in addition to stress relief? A good massage will help increase endorphins—the body’s natural painkiller—in your bloodstream, which in turn may allow you cut back on pain medication. Massage can also encourage blood flow, which brings healing nutrients to the affected area and can speed healing.
  • The discs in your lower spine are loaded 3 times more while sitting than standing, so long periods of sitting can create or aggravate a back condition. Moreover, when sitting at a desk and/or looking at a computer screen, our natural tendency is to slouch and lean forward, stressing our lumbar discs even more. Get up to stretch and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes, try working at a standup desk for part of the day, or get up and pace around when talking on the phone. The spine is meant to move to stay healthy, and movement fuels the spine with healthy nutrients.

Reprinted: www.spine-health.com/blog/five-ways-keep-your-spine-healthy-and-happy

High blood pressure: What it is, and what you can do about it

High blood pressure — also called hypertension — is a serious condition that can cause some serious risks to your overall health. In fact, high blood pressure is ominously called “the silent killer” because one in six people don’t even realize they have it. This is because it often has no obvious symptoms.

High blood pressure usually develops over time. Having high blood pressure puts you at greater risk for:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Vision loss

Are you at risk?

It’s important to be aware of the risk factors of developing high blood pressure. Some of these include:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Being overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Not exercising

While there is no cure for high blood pressure, there are steps you can take to manage it and possibly improve it:

  • Eat a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, fish and poultry, nuts).
  • Be physically active.
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages.
  • Lower your sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Take any medications your doctor prescribes for you (taking the steps listed above may make these medicines more effective).

Get healthy, stay healthy.

It’s important to keep track of your blood pressure. Have regular checkups with your doctor. If you monitor your blood pressure at home, write down your readings and share them with your doctor.

Take care of yourself. Manage your blood pressure for a healthier you.

The Benefits of Water and the 100 Ounce Challenge

What if there was a magic pill that could make your skin look clearer, ease your aching joints and muscle cramps, and help you lose weight? That’s enough to entice you, right? But it gets even better. What if the pill was free? Here’s the thing…this “magic pill” does exist, only it’s not actually a pill. It’s a liquid, it’s abundant, and it’s practically free. We’re talking about water and the benefits it provides is utterly amazing. Read some of the benefits of water below:


Aids in weight loss: Want to shed a few pound the easy way? Drink a glass of water before each meal. The H2O helps to fill you up so you don’t consume as many calories. You’re also not consuming the empty calories you would if you were drinking a soda instead.

Increases productivity & decreases fatigue Feeling the afternoon slump coming on? Grab a glass of water to give you the boost you need. One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is feeling fatigued. Water can help with concentration and staying alert, too.

No more pain: Keeping your body hydrated can keep your joints and cartilage lubricated and give your muscles more elasticity which will relieve aching joints, muscle cramps, and strains. Water is also a natural headache remedy and it can even help people who suffer from back pain and migraines because these issues are commonly caused by dehydration.

Aids in digestion: Not feeling regular? Ample amounts of water help your colon, which in turn, keeps things moving smoothly.

The Benefits of Water and the 100 Ounce Challenge

We challenge you to drink 100 ounces of water each day for the next 30 days and see if you feel any different at the end of the month. It’s really not that difficult, we promise. Grab a refillable water container and keep it at your desk, drink it with your meals, have a glass first thing when you get up in the morning and before you know it you’ll have reached your 100 ounce goal. We encourage you to take a photo of yourself at the beginning of the month and then again at the end. Does your skin look different? Have the dark circles under your eyes gotten any lighter? Do you look healthier overall?

We want to hear about (and see) your results, so be sure to let us know how you did. Your body is going to thank you for accepting this challenge.
Reprinted from Northern Physical Therapy. Read the full article here: www.northernpts.com/2015/04/the-benefits-of-water-and-the-100-ounce-challenge/

Eat This, Not That This Holiday Season

As you head out to your annual holiday parties, don’t be worried about how you’ll avoid the tables laden with sugary sweets, processed carbs and drinks galore. We’ve got a practical list of eat this … not that, for the holiday season. Some things may surprise you!

Pickle meat roll up vs cocktail weiners.
This won’t be too much of a hardship, because pickle meat roll ups are delicious! Plus, they are a perfectly balanced snack wrapped up in one. You’ve got your protein in the form of deli meat, fat in the form of the cream cheese and carb in the form of a pickle. This perfect combo will allow you to snack throughout the party and know you’re doing your blood sugar (and subsequently your mood, waistline and control over cravings) a huge favor. On the flipside, the all too common cocktail wieners are loaded with processed meat and then doused in sugary sauce, which will only serve to produce cravings for more sugar, more carbs and more processed food.

Full-fat eggnog vs. sugar-free and/or fat-free.
Classic, full-fat nog is a healthier choice because it contains good fat from cream that helps to stabilize blood sugar and gives the body a sense of fullness. The fat-free, sugar-free eggnog is full of chemicals and additives designed to taste like real nog without the calories. Low-fat nog sacrifices nutrition for calories making you believe it is a healthier version.
Olives and nuts vs. chips and dip. Did you know that just as if you grabbed a handful of cookies, a handful of chips also turns into sugar in your body? Believe it or not, just four chips turn into a teaspoon of sugar in your body. A teaspoon! Not to mention, who has just four chips once they start mindlessly snacking, as so often happens. On top of the sugar, chips are fried in bad fats that cause our brains to not work well and result in inflammation throughout the body that make a holiday party better.

A better alternative is a diverse mix of olives and a homemade batch of our Crispy Nuts. They are guaranteed to be a crowd favorite and you can deck out the nuts in whatever sweet or savory spices you think sounds good. Plus you’ll know you have a healthy fat to choose from, as both olives and nuts are a great source of fat, which helps keeps you satisfied and less likely to keep mindlessly eating.

Butter vs. margarine. While indulging in baking should be done in moderation (one or two of Grandma’s famous cookies would be fine, but not a couple cookies at every party you attend!) or not at all, we’d highly recommend choosing a baked good made with real butter versus processed margarine.
Real butter is a rich source of vitamin A and trace minerals, such as selenium and conjugated linoleic acid, which support immune function we all need during the holidays. Many times, margarine contains trans fats in the form of hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils that lower our immune function and create inflammation in our bodies. Plus, can we all agree butter just tastes better?!

Dark chocolate vs. holiday cookies. We suggest dark chocolate with 70-85 % cocoa. Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, copper, iron, and potassium. This holiday favorite is also loaded with antioxidants that help with anti-aging. Finally, dark chocolate has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause large spikes in blood sugar levels that contribute to weight gain and overeating at the party … which cookies absolutely do. Additionally, holiday cookies are absolutely loaded with sugar, harmful fats and chemical food dyes.

Be empowered to make better choices this holiday and trust us, that as soon as you do, each healthy choice becomes easier and easier. Plus, when you bring a healthy food option you’ll know there is something healthy to choose from. And, though they might not be chatting about it, you are definitely not the only one trying to getting through the holidays without extra pounds and a sugar hangover!

By Jackie Cartier for Nutritional Weight and Wellness. https://www.weightandwellness.com/resources/articles-and-videos/eat-not-holiday-season/

CRISPY NUTS

Adapted from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Ph.D.

Makes 4 cups

4 cups of any of the following types of nuts:
Walnut halves and pieces, preferably fresh shelled
Raw peanuts, preferably skinless
Pine nuts
Almonds, preferably skinless but almonds with skins will work
Raw macadamia nuts
2 tsp. salt
Filtered water

Directions:
Mix nuts with salt and water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight.
Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp.

Store in the refrigerator, as the fats in nuts can go rancid quickly.