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Women: Life-changing tips for better health and energy

  • Written by ARA

Moms, career women, singles enjoying life with close friends and family, and even women approaching their retirement years – women at every life stage can benefit from adding simple activities to improve their happiness and health. Activities can range from enjoying a delicious breakfast to incorporating a cardiovascular workout to limbering up and stretching those muscles.

In honor of National Women’s Health Week, May 13 to 19, consider incorporating a new element to your day to enrich your lifestyle, improve your digestive health and give you energy to tackle the rest of your day. Need some ideas? Try one of these options:

• Flexible body –Healthy stretching can improve flexibility, and help reduce joint or muscle pain. Target core muscles in the legs – such as hips, thighs and calves – and in the upper torso including the lower back, neck and shoulders. While stretching, don’t bounce, or push the stretch past the point of pain. Gently hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.

• Fun workouts – Exercise can be a very negative word for some women, but there are several ways to enjoy a physical workout. Like to dance? Sign up for an adult jazz, ballroom dance or even Zumba class. Don’t like to sweat? Take your workout to the pool with some water aerobics. Bored? Bring a friend or family member with you for some exercise like a bike ride, inline skating, a walk or maybe even a yoga class.

• Breakfast treats – What you consume at the beginning of the day can determine how the rest of your day goes. Getting good amounts of fiber and protein through fruits and dairy products is a great way to target heart health, and maintain high energy levels throughout the day. Enjoy a fruit smoothie at the start of your day, and add some Sunsweet Prune Juice, a good source of six vitamins and minerals naturally found in California-grown prunes. This all natural, high quality juice is a great way to introduce more fiber, potassium and magnesium into your diet. Try this smoothie recipe to kick start your day:


Sweet and Sassy Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plain or vanilla low fat yogurt

1/2 cup Sunsweet Prune Juice

1 teaspoon honey

1 medium banana, peeled

• For an extra boost of protein, add 1/4 egg substitute or 2 tablespoons protein powder

3 ice cubes

Directions:

In a blender container, combine all ingredients except the ice cubes. Cover and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes, cover and blend until ice is chopped.

• Me time – The constant on-the-go of children, careers, spouses and thousands of activities can wear a woman down. Add a little “me time” into the daily schedule. Try setting the alarm 10 minutes earlier for stretching before tackling the day. Over the lunch hour, take a walk to a local park in nice weather, or call your best friend for a quick catch-up. Or take the time before bedtime to paint your toenails or read a novel. Consider adding a half-hour of uninterrupted time for an at-home spa treatment. This “me time” is very important for a female’s mental and emotional well-being, and should cater to her specific indulgences.

Adding a new healthy living event on a daily basis should be a goal for every woman to boost her health, her energy levels and even emotions. For additional general health tips, recipes and information from dietitians, purchase two Sunsweet Juice products and receive a free Healthy Mornings Guide. Visit www.facebook.com/SunsweetJuice to learn more.

The buzz on battling flying, stinging summer bugs

  • Written by ARA

Summer picnic season is upon us, and that means it is time to grab the sunglasses, cooler and sunscreen, and head outdoors. But people are not the only ones who want to enjoy the warm weather. Flying, stinging insects like bees and wasps are abuzz, and make their presence known when collecting pollen and nectar as the weather warms.

“In the proper environment, bees, wasps and yellow jackets can be very beneficial,” says Ron Harrison, entomologist and Orkin technical services director. “In addition to pollinating flowers and plants, they eat grubs, flies and other harmful pests. It is when they are aggravated or feel threatened that they can be a bigger problem.”

There are more than 20,000 known bee species around the world. Their stings can be painful and may cause allergic reactions. About 2 million Americans are allergic to insect stings, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and many of them are at risk of life-threatening reactions.

Carpenter bees are fairly large and are often mistaken for bumble bees. They can cause significant damage to decks, siding, landscape timbers and even lawn furniture, but males – even though they are aggressive – do not have stingers, and the females rarely sting. Females bore holes in wood to deposit their eggs.

Yellow jackets can sting multiple times and aggressively protect their colonies, but otherwise, are not quick to sting. They commonly nest on or near the ground under porches or steps, in sidewalk cracks, around railroad ties, or at the base of trees. Yellow jackets are also scavengers, so they can be found near garbage cans and picnics.

Paper wasps look similar to yellow jackets in that they are narrow and dark brown with black wings and yellow markings. Paper wasp nests are made from small wood or plant fibers combined with saliva and appear to be made from paper. Their nests – frequently found in sheltered areas like tree branches and eaves of houses – include numerous compartments where they lay their eggs and rear their young.

Be sure to contact a pest professional like Orkin before attempting to address a bee infestation or hive. Harrison offers the following tips to help avoid flying and stinging pests:

• Use a weed trimmer to thin vegetation near your home, as thick vegetation provides a place for both bees and wasps to nest.

• Don’t leave food or drink containers uncovered for long periods of time. Pests are attracted to human food sources and stinging pests can often enter cans unseen, so it is best to pour your drink into a glass.

• Fit screens and tighten seals properly on doors and windows to prevent pests from entering into your home.

• For those at risk of an allergic reaction, apply an EPA-registered insect repellent on clothing and exposed skin to deter bites and stings.

Hand-Me-Down Genes

  • Written by Submitted by Alex Kraft, ND Lac, Health Moves, Woodinville

Let’s start with a question: Which of the following are true?

1. You inherit genes from your parents that predispose you to certain traits.

2. The expression or activation of genes in your DNA is influenced by your diet and lifestyle factors.

As with most questions of this sort, the answer is of course both. Darwin began the modern thought that genes from parents are passed on to their offspring in part through random genetic variation.

But the new field of epigenetics takes this a step further by showing the influence one’s lifestyle and genetic background has on our gene expression or activation.

Why is that?

The DNA which exists in each of us contains packets of directions (genes) for what our cells and hence our bodies should do. But unlike the directions for operating your dishwasher, gene directions can change based on their environment. The most obvious example of this is that every cell in our body has the exact same genetic material, the exact same instructions as to what to do, but some cells become part of the heart while others become part of a finger.

These cells have a different fate because the signals from the cells around them are different.

They are in a different environment. In addition to this, it seems that which genes are turned on or off are also influenced by which genes were active in our parents!

What the modern field of epigenetics is starting to see is that our nutrition and our exposure to chemicals are having an impact on whether or not we develop disease.  And even more interesting is that science is starting to show that what happens with our genes not only determines what happens to us, but can influence what happens to our kids!

Johns Hopkins University now even has a department of epigenetics which is looking into how this influences the chances for developing autism and bipolar disorder.

In one of the most well-known examples of epigenetics, Francis Pottenger conducted an experiment in the 1940s in which he fed cats a diet of either cooked animal products and meat, or the same foods in their raw form (more ideal for cats).

What Dr. Pottenger found was that the cats fed the raw food diet were typical cats with some developing disease later in life, but the cats fed the cooked foods were not as healthy. OK, interesting.

But he also found that the offspring of the cats fed the cooked meats and processed foods developed disease earlier and earlier in subsequent generations.

That is, the same illnesses that occurred later in life in the “grandparents” consuming cooked foods developed earlier in their children with the same diet, and even earlier in their children (the grandchildren).

Finally, he found that by the third generation (the grandchildren), these cats were essentially infertile or did not survive to reproductive age. (Just to be clear, he did not propose that the ideal diet for humans would be raw meat scraps.)

So, as always, what do we do about this? If one has children or expects to have children, one’s obvious course of action is to eat a healthy, whole-foods-based diet and limit the amount of chemical exposure you have, knowing that this will have a positive influence on you and your future children/grandchildren.

Perhaps this is further motivation to eat well and live a more “organic” life.  And, modern nutritional science has found yet another reason to eat your broccoli, cauliflower and kale. In particular, while everyone has heard that broccoli and other “cruciferous” vegetables are healthy, it seems that these groups of plants contain nutrients (sulforaphanes) which actually turn on genes in our cells to help prevent cancer and increase our overall antioxidant ability.  And these genes continue to function for three days.  And these genes help our liver function better and improve our cholesterol — just from eating broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale!  And not only that, if you want to be a real hippie, you can eat broccoli sprouts or take supplements containing sulforaphanes and get WAY more of these amazingly protective chemicals. This is short term epigenetics in action.

The concept of epigenetics is reminiscent of the Native American belief that we need to think of our actions not only for us personally, but also for seven generations forward.

This seems to play out in terms of our environmental stewardship, but also apparently that how we eat actually influences the DNA of subsequent generations.

Finding Kind

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Woodinville Fire Benevolent Fund is sponsoring a viewing of “Finding Kind” at Overlake Christian Church, 9900 Willows Road NE, Redmond. The viewing is May 10, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. The show is free to the public. The movie addresses girl-on-girl bullying. Due to the nature of the subject and some strong language used intermittently throughout the film, it is recommended for age 10 and over. More information about the film can be found at findingkind.indieflix.com.

Whiplash & Massage

  • Written by Kirk Bradley, LMP
You probably have heard the term “whiplash” used to describe a type of injury to the neck caused by an automobile collision. And if you have ever had a whiplash injury, you know how painful it can be and how it can adversely affect your quality of life.

In an auto collision, your head is suddenly and violently moved backward and forward (similar to the motion made with the wrist when someone cracks a whip.) This sudden and  violent movement damages the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) in the neck by over-stretching or tearing them.

Common symptoms of whiplash may include:

Neck pain

Neck stiffness

Headaches

Back pain (between shoulder blades and/or low-back)

Fatigue

Dizziness

Difficulty concentrating and/or remembering

Irritability

Sleep disturbances

Blurred vision

Effective treatment of whiplash initially consists of reducing the pain and swelling of acute inflammation. Ice or cold packs, applied to the neck for 15-20 minutes several times per day, is a must.

Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications may also be prescribed by your doctor. After at least 48 hours have passed from the time of the injury, light and gentle massage techniques should be performed to help decrease pain and inflammation and increase circulation in the traumatized tissues, thus speeding-up the healing process.

As healing progresses, slightly more aggressive massage techniques are vital for breaking up and realigning scar tissue in the neck muscles in order to prevent adhesions (adjoining tissues which have become “stuck together” by scar tissue, causing tightness and decreased flexibility). Without therapeutic massage treatment, the pain, tightness and loss of flexibility will likely become chronic and may go on for years or decades. If you have been in an auto accident and have any of the symptoms of  whiplash injury, it is vital that you get massage therapy as a part of your full treatment plan in order to restore your muscles’ full health and function. If you have personal injury protection as part of your auto insurance policy, we can usually bill your insurance, with no out-of-pocket expense to you.

Harmony Massage

www.HarmonyMassageBothell.com