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Mom was right, you should eat more veggies - here’s how you do it

  • Written by Mom was right, you should eat more veggies - here’s how you do it

The majority of Americans say they’ve been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables over the past year, according to a poll by the International Food Information Council Foundation. And, with good reason; eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure and prevent some types of cancer, according to Harvard School of Public Health.

How many servings of vegetables do we need to eat? The USDA recommends between two to three cups for most adults (more if you exercise more than 30 minutes per day) and between one to two and a half cups for kids. It may seem overwhelming to try to pack that many veggies into everyone’s daily meals, but there are actually a lot of fun, easy and delicious ways for the whole family to eat more vegetables.

Let’s start with breakfast. Veggies may not be top of mind at this time of day, but it’s easy to sneak some into your first meal and get lots of nutrients to kick start your day. If you are a warm breakfast type of person, try adding spinach, peppers and tomatoes to your eggs in the morning, or make it easy and flavorful by adding salsa into a serving of scrambled eggs or on top of an omelet. If you’re a breakfast on the go type, throw some kale, spinach, celery or cucumber, along with fruits like berries and bananas, into a smoothie and take it with you.

For snacks, cut carrots and celery into sticks ahead of time and store them in the fridge for easy munching. Then, when you get hungry pour a few tablespoons of a delicious ranch dressing, like OPA by Litehouse Greek-style yogurt dressing, which is light on the calories and fat, has zero sugar, and is gluten-free, into a small bowl and dip the carrot and celery sticks, or even tomatoes on toothpicks. You can also try baking kale or sliced beets mixed with olive oil and spices on cooking sheets until they are crispy for a tasty and healthy take on traditional chips.

For lunch or dinner, beat the cold by pureeing butternut squash, cauliflower or broccoli for a warm soup. Or, make a mason jar salad that tastes as good as it looks, with this recipe:

Mason Jar Salad

Layer each ingredient in a mason jar in this order:

Bottom layer: 2 tablespoons OPA by Litehouse Greek-style yogurt dressing in Feta Dill

Layer 2: Mix of any of the following – beans, diced cucumber, shredded carrots, diced bell peppers, sliced radishes, edemame, chickpeas, green beans

Layer 3: Mix of any of the following – diced tomatoes, diced red onion, corn, peas, sliced mushrooms, diced broccoli, quinoa, walnuts

Layer 4: Greens such as spinach, mixed greens, kale, arugula

Tips:

• Always make sure the dressing is on the bottom and the greens are on top, so they stay fresh and crisp

• Use a variety of colorful vegetables and make it fun for the kids to help

• Make several for the week and label the top. – Everyone can grab their own for lunch on the go.

For more salad ideas, visit www.litehousefoods.com.

With a little preparation and experimentation, it’s easy to find delicious ways to incorporate more vegetables into your family’s diet every day.

International Study Links Tanning Beds to Melanoma

  • Written by Source: www.skincancer.org

Many teens and twenty-somethings want that bronzed glow all year ’round, and when they can’t tan outdoors, millions use sunbeds to get it. Every year, nearly 2.3 million American teenagers visit tanning salons.

The dangerous consequence is a significantly increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, according to an international study (IARC, "The Association of Use of Sunbeds with Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers: A Systematic Review," International Journal of Cancer 120, no. 5(2006): 1116 - 1122).

Reviewing all available worldwide data – 19 international studies – a Working Group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, a branch of the World Health Organization) found a strong association between tanning bed use and melanoma risk. Across all age groups, males and females who have ever used tanning beds have a 15 percent higher risk of developing melanoma.

More alarming still, based on seven worldwide studies, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.

The IARC’s findings also reinforce previous research showing that tanning bed use increases the risk for squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common skin cancer.

False claims by tanning proprietors

Finally, the study disputes tanning salon owners’ and operators’ frequent claims that sunbeds offer health benefits because they provide a "base tan" that helps avoid sunburn. "The evidence does not support a protective effect of the use of sunbeds against damage to the skin from subsequent sun exposure. There is no such thing as a safe tan," declares Dr. Beatrice Secretan, coordinator of the IARC Working Group. "Young adults should be discouraged from using indoor tanning equipment, and restricted access to sunbeds by minors should be strongly considered."



We Are Not Alone:

  • Written by Dr. Tom Klos

This is true when we consider the astronomical number of microbes that live in our gastro-intestinal system. Some estimates put the gut microbiota count at around 60-100 trillion.

That’s right, trillion, as in 12 zeros. There may be 10 times more bacterial cells in our bodies as human cells, therefore it could be said, YOU are only 10% human.

Fortunately, these bugs are our friends. We, in essence, feed them and in return they help feed us. They do this by assisting our intestines in breaking down the food we consume.

These friendly flora also keep the cells that line our intestines (enterocytes) happy. This is key because the intestinal lining is the very site where absorption occurs; meaning this is where we really take in the nutrients of the food we eat. These good bugs out compete pathologic organisms, keeping us healthy and preventing gas and bloating by inhibiting the more gas producing bacteria.

There is also emerging research that these microbiota are involved in helping a person maintain a healthy weight and can even affect our moods.

Where did these microbes come from and how do they get in us? Some entered our body in the birth canal and some from breastfeeding, but the real story lies in the food we eat. Most of us have noticed labels on foods, such as yogurt, list bacteria like acidophilus or lactobacillus as part of the beneficial flora living in the food.

This is true but we also ingest billions of good microorganisms when we eat food from the gardens where living plants grow in the soil.

No garden you ask? The food you eat doesn’t appear to have come from the soil where all of these beneficial bugs live? This is a real concern! Much of the food we eat is heated, canned, pasteurized, irradiated or otherwise dead.

Does this mean you are alone? No not really, but it could mean you are having subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) health effects from an imbalance of the micro-flora, something naturopaths frequently refer to as "dysbiosis."

Now here is where it gets interesting and a cautionary tale arises. You see, a long line of biological history has been considerably altered. With the modern food focus largely being long shelf life and the ability to last or stay fresh-looking while traveling long distances, it generally means much of our food lacks the beneficial microbes that contribute to our health.

This is a radical departure from what we humans have always done, namely eat real food. Food substitutes may provide calories, but they are a poor and incomplete replacement source.

Short of planting our own garden what can we do to ensure a health promoting balance of micro-flora? Buying and eating produce is clearly a great habit for two reasons:

By eating plants, we supply food for our gut bacteria to eat & thrive and the plants themselves are teeming with microorganisms like lactobacillus to maintain our gut ecosystem. Kefer, kombucha, yogurt and other fermented foods also can be a delicious way to supplement a protective arsenal of friendly and healthy bacteria as well as quality farm fresh food. It’s also a great way to support our local businesses and farmers.

For a more detailed plan, you may schedule with a Health Moves doctor and receive quality guidance.

Dr. Tom Klos is a Naturopathic Doctor. He may be reached at: Health Moves, 17311 135th Ave NE Ste. C-800, Woodinville, WA 98072. Phone: 425.402.9999 or www.HealthMoves.org Most insurances accepted.

 

Five surprising solutions to help you stop snoring

  • Written by BPT

Snoring not only keeps you and your bed partner up at night – it can be dangerous to your health.

Typically, as you sleep, air passes through the nose and past the back of the throat without any trouble. But as muscles relax during sleep, the upper airway can become partially blocked, causing the soft tissue in the throat to vibrate and creating the cumbersome noise that is snoring.

Loud and frequent snoring is a common warning sign for obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep illness. Over time, sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, depression, diabetes, heart disease and more.

"Your mind, body and overall health suffer from poor quality sleep, so it’s important to determine the cause of your snoring and take action," says Dr. B. Gail Demko, a dentist who has practiced dental sleep medicine for more than 20 years and is president of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine - the only non-profit national professional society dedicated exclusively to the practice of dental sleep medicine.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recommends these surprising remedies to help you stop snoring and sleep more soundly:

1. Change position – When you lie on your back, you’re more prone to snore. By sleeping on your side or raising the head of your bed 4 to 8 inches, you can help keep your airway open and prevent snoring. A trick to keep from rolling onto your back is to surround yourself with pillows or wear a rolled up hand towel in a fanny pack.

2. Avoid alcohol – When it comes to snoring, a nightcap is a misnomer. Alcohol increases muscle relaxation, and relaxed throat muscles can make snoring worse. Come home from happy hour at least three to four hours before bedtime to minimize your tendency to snore.

3. Work it out – Throat exercises can reduce snoring and the severity of sleep apnea by toning muscles around the airway, which helps prevent it from collapsing during sleep. There are several exercises you can do that involve swallowing, chewing and contracting the back of the throat. Strengthen your muscles by setting aside time each day for a throat workout.

4. Kick a bad habit –Cigarette smoking irritates and inflames your upper airway, increasing the likelihood that you’ll snore and raising your risk of developing sleep apnea. Learn about the available options, such as support groups and nicotine replacement therapy, to help you quit smoking and put sleep problems to bed.

5. Visit a dentist – Did you know there are thousands of dentists trained to help treat and manage your snoring and sleep apnea? Dentists experienced in dental sleep medicine can provide an effective, custom-fitted oral appliance that you wear during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway.

Oral appliance therapy is a comfortable alternative to the traditionally-prescribed CPAP machine and mask, and many patients prefer it as a solution for living with sleep apnea. If you’re losing shuteye to snoring or sleep apnea, visit www.LocalSleepDentist.com to find a dentist near you who offers oral appliance therapy.

"AADSM recommends oral appliance therapy for people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea or those who can’t comply with CPAP," says Demko. "Once you’ve been diagnosed with primary snoring or sleep apnea by a board-certified sleep physician, a trip to a dentist for a custom-fitted oral appliance can be your key to better sleep and better health."

Small changes can help you live a healthier lifestyle

  • Written by BPT

A new year often brings with it the desire to make improvements in your life, and kick old habits to the curb in the pursuit of healthiness. But for most Americans, resolutions fail within the first few months because goals are too ambitious, intimidating or unrealistic in nature. If you’ve resolved to be healthier this year, the good news is that successful, positive change – whether it be spending more time with friends and family, being more physically active, or choosing healthier foods – is more achievable than you think. It’s important to think positively, stay focused and take baby steps versus one giant leap towards a lofty goal.

Many goal-setters achieve their desired health goal by starting with small changes. In fact, more than half the respondents to the Aetna "what’s your healthy?" survey like to do small things such as taking the stairs instead of using the elevator each day to be more physically active.

The approach to healthiness is a personal one and is not a "one size fits all" solution. To help inspire you to achieve your health goals this year, Alison Sweeney, an actress, author, television host and mother of two, offers her tips on simple changes you can make to your day-to-day life to ensure happiness and healthiness year-long:

• 100-calorie snacks. Thirty-three percent of respondents to the Aetna "what’s your healthy?" survey say they could, in an instant, drop eating large portions in order to become healthier. While it can be difficult to just start eating less than you are used to, you can set yourself up for success with 100-calorie snacks. A handful of almonds, homemade ranch dip with vegetables, or six cups of fresh-popped popcorn are all great low-calorie options to take on the go.

• Run your first race. Determined to run your first race in 2014? Here’s a secret to getting started: run walks. Alternating between running and walking quickly builds up your endurance and confidence – a great way to train and get fit. Start with 20 minutes a day, three times a week. During the cold winter months when you can’t get outside, try walking or running wherever you can – whether it is on a treadmill, taking the stairs more, or even parking further away when you are shopping. Increasing your physical activity in any way possible will definitely help toward your fitness goal.

• Strike a child’s pose. Many people take yoga classes to help them decompress and get in some exercise. You can also try it at home with the kids. This allows everyone to release extra energy, handle frustration or just relax, which is especially good right before bed. Deep breathing is the key. Try a child’s pose, which is a resting pose in the fetal position. The family gets to cool down together, making bedtime calmer for everyone.

• Eating clean. Many people probably included "eat clean" on their list of New Year’s resolutions. Ready to make the change, but not sure where to start? When you’re at the market, avoid the middle aisles where you’ll find most of the processed, packaged foods with artificial ingredients. Instead, shop the perimeter of the store for fresh foods like seasonal produce and lean meats.

• Get your exergame on. It’s often hard to squeeze in both "me time" and "family time" when you have a busy day, and especially when you want to stay fit to boot – 18 percent of respondents to Aetna’s "what’s your healthy?" survey cite family demands as a reason for not having time to be physically active. "Exergaming" (short for exercise gaming) is a great way to work out alone or with your kids. Grab the kids’ game console and get moving. You can dance, play tennis, and even golf – and get your entire body into it.

Setting health goals does not have to be intimidating. Set yourself up for realistic success with small, fun changes to your lifestyle that will lead to big results. For healthy inspiration and resources to help you achieve your health goals, visit www.WhatsYourHealthy.com.