- Create a budget and stick to it! No matter how much your children tell you what they want, money does not buy love or happiness. Set a monetary limit and be creative.Try to give experiences instead of things.
- Keep your routine as much as possible.Try to exercise at your usual time, go to meetings that you normally go to, drink extra water, get some sunshine, and stick to as normal a diet as you possibly can.
- Think moderation.While it may be easy to drink and eat too much at holiday parties, try to not overindulge with food or alcohol and avoid the five-pound weight gain.
- Be realistic and try not to expect the “ideal” holiday.So many of us have distorted versions of what the holidays should be like and are disappointed year after year.Remember, no one has a perfect holiday tree or a perfect family, so try to be flexible.
- Stay connected.Spend time with friends and family who you are comfortable with.Call loved ones on the telephone, send written Christmas letters, share photos on social media, and ask for support if you need it.
- Don’t be alone on purpose.If you are alone, attend a church service or volunteer at a soup kitchen.Help out at a special needs children’s home or at a nursing home.Take a walk with a neighbor or play cards or board games to pass the time.
- Focus on today.You are a grown up now, so you don’t need to revert back to childhood spats or be angry about what happened 20 years ago.Each day we are alive is a gift!
- Start a new routine.Children grow up, they go to college, move away, get married and family members age. If the old family rituals aren't what they used to be, create some new traditions this year!
- Ask for help.During the holidays, adults attempt to take on too many tasks and get overwhelmed.It’s okay to ask for help from your spouse, family, friends and neighbors.Maybe they could help you bake cookies, decorate, shop, wrap gifts or transport you to church or a concert.
- Learn to just say no.It’s honestly okay to say no to some invitations.This is your holiday too!
The holiday season can bring a mixed bag of emotions for people of all ages. For some, it’s their favorite time of year. For others, it brings up feelings of loneliness and sadness. Feeling anxious or depressed is not unusual during the holiday season. The extra miles traveling, shopping, baking, decorating, additional house guests, family dinners, work parties, school concerts and other church events may cause a great deal of stress. These feelings may be even worse for individuals who have experienced divorce, had a death in the family, lost a job or are living hundreds of miles away from family. Here are some tips to beat the holiday blues this year:
It’s the end of November, and that means the holidays are just around the corner! For most people, the holidays are an exciting time of year. But between all the parties, shopping, wrapping, traveling, concerts, church programs and baked goods, it's also a time when people tend to gain weight. Did you know that most people gain a couple of pounds in just six weeks’ time? This may not seem like a lot, but it sure makes it harder to fit into that holiday dress or pants!
The good news is that weight gain during the holidays is preventable. Here are some tips to help you avoid gaining excess pounds:
Most people try to exercise on the same days of the week. Maybe they pack a gym bag the night before and put it in their vehicle for an after work fitness class or workout. Maybe they meet up with a friend to walk, jog or attend a weekly group fitness class together. Maybe they pay for a fitness center membership six or twelve months out so they feel really committed to fitness and wellness.
But did you ever think about planning ahead to eat healthy? Studies confirm that it is impossible to “out-exercise” a bad diet, so eating healthy foods, watching calories and portion sizes really do go hand in hand with a regular exercise regime. Here are some easy ways to plan ahead to eat healthy during the week when you are busy with work, school, family and church commitments:
Ever hear someone in your small town say, “someone else will do it, why should I care?” This is exactly what makes the Mayor, City Council members and City Clerk cringe inside. Part of living in a small community means that we have to do a little more, and being a great volunteer is to love what you are doing. Find something that you're passionate about or something that inspires you, and then find a need in your community. There are dozens of reasons why men, women, teenagers, retirees, and children should volunteer. You just need to find the one that feels right. Here are some great reasons to volunteer:
Walking is an easy and affordable way to maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage health conditions, and improve your mood. Best of all, it can be done just about anywhere and anytime, and all ages and genders can walk together! Whether you are just starting a physical activity routine, or needing an excuse to get moving again, this is the opportunity for you!
How does it work?
Over the course of six weeks, teams (2-10 people) engage in an active competition tracking the number of steps they accumulate. Through an online dashboard, or mobile app, members report their step count in an effort to move their team up the challenge leaderboard.
The challenge runs from September 10th thru October 19th, and registration opens August 13. Cost is $10 per participant.
Teams of 2 to 10 Iowans will compete in a web-based competition tracking the number of "steps" achieved each week. Each week, the team members will report their step count in effort to move their team up the challenge leaderboard.
For just $10, each participant receives:
• Live Healthy Iowa pedometer (if desired)
• Personal online dashboard with the ability to sync apps and devices
• Weekly email with encouragement, healthy resources, and tips to get you moving
• Access to online tools and resources
• Opportunities to win team and individual prizes
It's easy to join and track your steps with other Ida Alive members! Just gather a few friends, family members, co-workers, or neighbors and get signed up today! Here is the link to register: https://www.livehealthyiowa.org/lightenup/challenge&challengeId=24.
Area fitness centers in Ida County will be registering teams, so feel free to reach out to participating fitness centers in Galva, Holstein and Ida Grove. Let’s make those steps count!
Do you know a teen or young adult? Are you familiar with the terms: vapes, hookahs, E.N.D.S., JUUL, PODS, MOD, and 710? While tobacco use among teens is on the decrease, e-cigarettes, hookahs and JUUL use are on the rise. Teens and young adults who say they would never smoke a cigarette will still use these devices. However, all these devices deliver Nicotine, an addicting drug.
Recently, Joy Gonnerman, Prevention Specialist from Jackson Recovery educated members of the Ida County Medical Reserve Corps and staff at Horn Memorial Hospital on vaping with an emphasis on the use of JUUL. When the group was asked, ‘have you heard the term JUULing?’ not one person raised their hand.
We are all familiar with e-cigarettes. They are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine in an aerosol form. They were designed to mimic the experience of smoking cigarettes. Vaping is the umbrella term for using e-cigarettes, vaping devices, JUULs and personal hookas. Vapes are NOT a fad. From 2011 to 2015, use by high school students increased eight fold. As of early 2014, there were 466 brands of e-cigs and almost 8,000 unique flavors of liquid nicotine on the market, with no labeling or testing requirements.
But in a constantly evolving market, as technology has evolved so has the appearance of these devices. Newest on the market is JUUL, a high tech, easily hidden vaping device. So what’s so different about JUUL and why be concerned? Its vapor production is negligible, making its use undetectable. Its slick, steel color blends with other devices. It is charged in any computer. And it is being marketed to youth.
Why is JUULing particularly popular with youth? Youth are naturally curious and inclined to try new technology. The flavors are marketed to youth like: bubble gum and fruit medley. They are perceived as healthier/safer than cigarettes. They are easy to hide and use in public.
JUUL also has its own labs that use nicotine salts instead of the free-based nicotine of other vaping liquids. This means there is more nicotine in a smaller “low profile” package and the addiction to nicotine is much faster. One pod of JUUL contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
If adults know what to look for, what to listen for and the facts about a JUUL device, we may be able to slow down its advancement in the youth market and keep kids nicotine free, while their adolescent brains are still developing. Adult awareness can go a long way toward protecting our youth.
Quick! When was the last time you added up how many grams of fiber you get in your daily diet? Everyone is talking about carbohydrates and fats and sugars, but who thinks about fiber? Fiber has all kinds of health benefits to men, women, teenagers and children. It lowers your cholesterol, prevents heart disease, it keeps your blood sugar stable and can help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Not enough? It also lowers the risk for certain types of cancers and promotes healthier gut bacteria.
No one wants to talk about this taboo subject, but constipation is the number one gastrointestinal complaint in the United States and fiber can reduce that. What’s more, fiber helps fill you up faster at meal time and keeps you satisfied longer which can help individuals lose weight and keep it off. It is recommended that women get 25 grams of fiber a day and men be in the 38 gram per day range. Most Americans only get about 15 grams of fiber in a day, so we have work to do.
Here are some fiber-rich foods to incorporate into your diet slowly:
Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango
Vegetables: broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, carrots, beets, beans, peas, collard greens and artichokes, avocados, sweet potatoes
Whole grain breads, wheat pasta, nuts and seeds, popcorn, oatmeal, quinoa
Water, fiber fortified orange juice, yogurts
Fiber is something the body needs but never actually digests. For the next 30 days, try to increase your fiber intake and see if you feel better!
Spring is the perfect time to start moving around more and eating better! Maybe you want to drop five or ten pounds before summer arrives. Maybe you want to look better in shorts, capris or a swim suit at the pool, beach or on the boat. Or maybe you are just ready to brighten your mood and feel less fatigued with the extra hour of daylight we received last weekend with Daylight Savings Time.
Whatever your goals include for 2018, a one-week “reboot” type plan could be just what the doctor ordered for you to start feeling better!
Trade in refined sugars, white flours and other processed foods for just one week. Try to go without fast foods or deep fat fried foods for seven consecutive days to reboot your digestive system and see if you feel better. Ditch the foods that make you tired and leave you hungry such as breads, pastas and crackers. Steer clear of added sugars and salt to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and blood sugar levels and see if you feel better by the end of March. Drink a full glass of water at each meal for a week. Add more fresh fruits, green vegetables and lean proteins to your plate at every meal for the next seven days and see if your family catches on to support your better habits.
Everything you do today is an investment in your health for tomorrow, next month and five years down the road. Spring is just around the corner, and the robins are back in northwest Iowa, so today is the perfect time to start energizing your diet and exercising more. Now is the time to plant seeds for a healthier future. Get started today on a one week “reboot” plan, and ask your family to join you!
Snow shoveling isn't fun, but it's often unavoidable in the Midwest. How much snow have you shoveled the past ten days? A lot of us in northwest Iowa woke up to six, eight, ten or more inches of snow last weekend. Shoveling can be fun for little kids, relaxing for some adults, and a complete pain in the butt to others. Some individuals enjoy an occasional snow storm, while others dread and detest moving snow.
Shoveling a long sidewalk or large driveway involves moving hundreds and thousands of pounds of snow. Done the wrong way, snow shoveling can lead to back injuries and more serious heart attacks. Here are a couple simple reminders to reduce back strain and prevent injuries:
When you turn on the news or pick up the paper, information about the current flu season is everywhere. What’s keeping the flu in the headlines? According to the CDC, to date, this influenza season is notable for the sheer volume of flu that most of the United States is seeing at the same time. The vast majority of this activity has been caused by influenza A H3N2, associated with severe illness in young children and people 65 years and older. CDC continues to recommend the flu vaccine even though we know most flu vaccines have low effectiveness against H3N2 viruses. The vaccine effectiveness against other flu viruses is better, and there is more than one flu virus circulating this season. The vaccine may also reduce the severity of symptoms if someone catches the flu in spite of being vaccinated. It is not too late to get the vaccine.
The flu is a contagious illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and feeling very tired. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults. It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Good health habits can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. .Avoid close contact with people who are sick and when you are sick, keep your distance from others. Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
The CDC still recommends the first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. It is not too late to get the flu shot this year. Check with Horn Physician’s Clinic, Horn Community Health and pharmacies.
As a species we are called 'human beings', but in our daily lives we spend far more time doing than being. Ultimately this can lead to stress, disease, and a sense that time is something there's never enough of. Ask yourself: When was the last time I experienced an inner stillness?
The quest for internal peace and quiet has been the focus of many contemplative techniques, and yoga is certainly one of them. Most people associate yoga with physical postures and stretching to the point of contortion, but the physical practice we know today is actually pretty new (only about 100 years old). Traditionally, yoga has been about moving into stillness, and the postures were preparations for meditation.
One of the common misconceptions regarding meditation is that it is about "clearing the mind", but as long as we are alive our mind will produce thoughts- that is what the mind does. The practice is not about eliminating thoughts and feelings, but cultivating non-judgmental awareness. The Acoustic Ecologist Gordon Hempton defines silence not as an absence of sound, but an absence of noise. He's talking about natural sound, but he might as well have been referring to our mind.
Practicing non-judgmental awareness, whether it’s done formally through yoga and/or meditation or informally through present moment attention, can have a powerful positive effect on your health and wellbeing. This is primarily due to the fact that it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (the body's natural relaxation response), lowering the heart and breath rate, decreasing the secretion of stress hormones, and supporting healthy digestion. With practice meditation helps you dive into deeper realms of consciousness where there is simply an absence of noise, which is deeply nourishing for your whole-self.
Here is a great exercise to practice 'being' that can be done anywhere and anytime. Start by stopping. Still your body, either sitting or standing, close your eyes if that is comfortable to you, and shift your awareness to your senses. What is your body touching? What sounds do you hear? Are there any smells or tastes you can perceive? Then bring your attention to the feeling of your breath. Follow your breath where you feel it the most in your body, and let it flow freely. Breathe in, knowing that you are breathing in, breathe out, knowing that you are breathing out. Continue for a few minutes, and when you are ready to finish, deepen your breath and open your eyes if they are closed.
As an experiment, do this once a day for a week, and see what happens. You might gradually feel a visceral slowing down, even for just a moment. That is being.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and even blindness. About 3 million Americans have glaucoma. It is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, results in increased eye pressure. There are often no early symptoms, which is why 50% of people with glaucoma don’t know they have the disease. However, with early detection and treatment, individuals can often protect their eyes against serious vision loss.
Vision loss from glaucoma usually affects peripheral vision (what you can see on the side of your head when looking ahead) first. It’s like looking through a tunnel. Later, it will affect central vision, which is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks like reading and driving. Over time, straight-ahead (central) vision may decrease until no vision remains. Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes.
Anyone can get glaucoma, but certain groups are at higher risk. These groups include all people over age 60, people with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over age 40, and people who have diabetes. African Americans are six to eight times more likely to get glaucoma than whites. People with diabetes are two times more likely to get glaucoma than people without diabetes.
Not every person with increased eye pressure will develop glaucoma. Some people can tolerate higher levels of eye pressure better than others. Also, a certain level of eye pressure may be high for one person but normal for another. Whether a person develops glaucoma depends on the level of pressure their optic nerve can tolerate without being damaged. This level is different for each person. That’s why a comprehensive dilated eye exam is very important.
Glaucoma is treated with eye drops, oral medicine, or surgery (or a combination of treatments) to reduce pressure in the eye and prevent permanent vision loss. If you are diagnosed with Glaucoma, take medicine as prescribed, and tell your eye care specialist about any side effects. You and your doctor are a team. If laser or surgical procedures are recommended to reduce the pressure in your eye, make sure to schedule regular follow-up visits to continue to monitor eye pressure.
There is no cure (yet) for glaucoma, but if it’s caught early, you can preserve your vision and prevent vision loss. Taking action to preserve your vision health is key.
We are already two weeks into 2018! Have you spent your $100 at the grocery store this week like millions of other Americans? Have you thrown away the holiday candies so that you are not tempted to eat them? If not, throw them away and really think about your next shopping trip. Here are five categories of food that should NOT be in your grocery cart:
What do you and your children hear about on TV, see on Facebook, and read in magazines? Take this pill and you will lose weight. Drink this shake and you’ll never be hungry. Eat this supplement and have more energy than a two-year old. Get hypnotized and solve your over-eating issues instantly. Cut your stomach in half and lose 100 pounds with no further effort required by you. Buy this, buy that. Marketing 101 at its best, right? Wrong.
At any given moment today, over 97 million people are on a ‘diet’. About 80% of these active dieters are trying to lose weight by themselves, and the total U.S. weight loss market is estimated to be $66.3 billion. In 2016, over 201,000 weight loss surgeries were performed in the U.S. to the tune of $25,000 for a typical surgery. How’s that for staggering numbers?
In our fast-paced, overweight, food addicted, little-to-no-exercise society … obesity and losing weight have hit epidemic proportions. However, there are simple and inexpensive things individuals can do each day to maintain healthy weights. Cook meals at home, reduce portion sizes, read nutrition labels, up your intake of fruits and vegetables, decrease carbs and trans fats, drink eight glasses of water a day, limit alcohol and sugar, get annual checkups, reduce stress, find some form of exercise that you like, get some sunshine, take a fitness class, and commit to lifestyle changes that you can see yourself doing ten years from now. You have to move more than you sit, and you have to burn off more calories than you consume.
If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about your body, what would it be? Maybe a smaller waistline? Thinner butt and hips? Toned up arms, or more muscular legs? What did God give you that you don’t like oh so much? Everyone knows there is no such thing as a magic wand or magic diet pill, so find someone to buddy up with to help you work on your wellness goals. Try to slow down long enough to focus on your body and your family’s health in the New Year.
Enjoy the holiday season and Merry Christmas from all of us at Ida Alive!
When you get up in the morning, what box of cereal do you grab out of the cupboard? When you are tired or in a hurry, it is easy to consume an entire day’s worth of sugar in just one sitting if you choose the wrong cereal.
Parents think they are keeping their kids healthier by saying no to candy and cookies during the day, but what about breakfast? Many cereals contain boat loads of sugar, even more so than some desserts. Here is a quick list of some high sugar cereals you might recognize from TV commercials. Avoid putting them in your grocery cart and keep your kids out of the cereal aisle at the store.
What else can you do? Make sure you look at what a serving size actually is and measure a cup out. Don't be fooled by clever marketing or colorful packaging. Claims of ‘being healthy’, ‘high vitamins and minerals’, ‘all-natural’, and ‘packed with energy’ can often distract from excessive sugar content. Surprisingly some of the cereals which claim to be the healthiest have the most sugar, so be careful of cereals that contain ingredients such as granola, bran flakes, chocolate, marshmallows, Cinnabon anything or dried fruits.
By planning ahead and reviewing the nutritional panel on the side of the box, you can make smarter cereal choices and cut down on hidden sugars which will benefit your waistline and your children’s long-term health. The higher the fiber content and lower the net carbs in a serving, the better!
Every day it seems a new diet is ready to make weight loss faster and easier than ever before. Most fad diets take a few foods or drinks, give them magic power, and show a plan to convince people that eating or drinking these items will promote weight loss. Fad diets might spur short-term weight loss, but many are expensive, hard to follow and will not lead to lifelong wellness. We have all heard of the diets, Atkins, cabbage, grapefruit, HCG, Mediterranean, Paleo, Raw Food, Weight Watchers, and Zone. From A to Z, the diets are out there if you want to try them.
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill for weight loss and no magic shake to drop 20 pounds overnight. There are no magic fairies that are going to show up and force you to eat better. A healthy diet means eating less, making smarter food choices, drinking water, getting off the couch, and moving your feet long enough to break into a sweat. Fad diets that sound too good to be true, are just that. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars a month on the latest craze, why not just get rid of all the junk foods in your cupboards? Why not go for a brisk walk each day after school or work? Why not drink water instead of those 4 or 5 sodas a day? Here are a couple simple tips to lose weight and keep those pounds off:
When is the last time you saw your dad, brother or husband exercise? Did he get a sweat on? Does he have difficulty keeping up with your kids or grandkids at the park or ball field? Does he wheeze after going up or down a flight of stairs or carrying suitcases to the car? Has his doctor suggested that he drop some pounds to get his blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels down into safer ranges? Or is he “too busy” to exercise like millions of American males?
Most men need a gentle (and persistent) nudge to add exercise to their daily routines. Here are some ways to help your dad, brother or husband manage stress, be healthier and add some cardio to his life:
Approximately one out of three people in America will develop shingles during their lifetime and nearly one million Americans experience the condition each year. As you get older, you are more likely to get the disease. Nearly half of all shingles cases occur in people age 60 years or older, but even children can get shingles. Typically, people develop shingles only once in their lifetime. However, a person can have a second or even a third episode.
Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays inactive in the body. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later and cause shingles.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, causes a painful skin rash. It develops on one side of the face or body and forms blisters that typically scab over in seven to ten days and clears up within two to four weeks. Before the rash develops, people often have pain, itching, or tingling in the area where the rash will develop. This may happen anywhere from one to five days before the rash appears. Most commonly, the rash occurs in a single stripe around either the left or the right side of the body. In other cases, the rash occurs on one side of the face; and in rare cases, the rash may be more widespread and look similar to a chickenpox rash. Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills, and upset stomach and in some cases shingles can affect the eye and cause loss of vision.
People have described pain from shingles as excruciating, aching, burning, stabbing, and shock-like. For some people, the pain can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. This pain is called postherpetic neuralgia. It is the most common complication of shingles. This pain may also lead to depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Shingles can interfere with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, eating, cooking, shopping, and travel.
Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. However, the virus that causes shingles can be spread from a person with active shingles to another person who has never had chickenpox nor ever been vaccinated against chickenpox. In such cases, the person exposed to the virus might develop chickenpox, but they would not develop shingles. The virus is spread through direct contact with fluid from the rash blisters caused by shingles. A person is not infectious before the blisters appear or once the rash has developed crusts. Shingles is less contagious than chickenpox and the risk of a person with shingles spreading the virus is minimal if the rash is covered.
Vaccination is the only way to reduce your risk of shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. The CDC recommends adults age 60 years or older receive a single dose of shingles vaccine. They should get the vaccine whether or not they recall having had chickenpox. There is no maximum age for getting shingles vaccine.
Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time you must wait after having shingles before receiving shingles vaccine, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated.
Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about the shingles vaccine.
It’s the middle of July! Have you taken any days off work this summer? Has your family gone on a special vacation yet? Scheduled a couple sanity days just for your mental health yet?
Summer means hot temperatures, baseball and softball games, snow cones and cotton candy, hot dogs around the fire pit, sweet corn, BBQ’s, county fairs, swimming, biking and boating. It also can include lots of miles traveling to different states, sitting in airports waiting for flights, stopping at convenience stores, and staying in hotels for days on end.
These scenarios are not always the best for staying on track with your diet and might pose a threat to your physical health as they add hundreds of hours of inactivity sitting. In addition, there are thousands of fast food options that are greasy, calorie laden, and nutritionally dreadful in restaurants and gas stations, so read the menu carefully and help your kids stay away from adjectives like “crispy”, “smothered”, and “rich”.
With a little smart planning and thinking ahead, you can still eat well while you travel. Pack a cooler with some healthy meals and snacks in a cooler and try to make healthy food choices on summer vacation. Some easy things to pack in a cooler or grab on vacation include: apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, dried fruit, trail mix, cashews or walnuts, air popped popcorn, fresh garden salads, pre-cut veggies, mozzarella sticks, and yogurt cups or Go-Gurts. Other easy and healthy options include: grilled chicken bites, homemade protein fruit smoothies, whole grain peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or tortilla wraps. Choose bottled water over soda to help stay hydrated.
Pack the cooler, slather on some sunscreen, remember to buckle up your seat belt, drink extra cold water when it is humid out, walk 30 minutes each day, and have a great summer vacation before school starts again. Oh, and don’t text and drive!
Millions of Americans take supplements every day for one reason or the other. Some want to feel better, relieve joint pain or fight the effects of aging. Many of those same Americans also take prescription medicines and over-the-counter medications which can lead to serious side effects. In fact, more than 67 percent of older Americans are taking five or more medications or supplements according to the JAMA internal Medicine dated April of 2016. According to the CDC and FDA, supplements are responsible for 23,000 emergency room visits every year.
Dietary supplements contain vitamins, minerals and amino acids which can be really effective, if taken correctly. However, supplement labeling does not always take into consideration what other medicines people consume. Recall that the word “natural” does not always mean “safe” when combined with prescription and over-the-counter medications. Combining dietary supplements, prescriptions and OTC medications can lead to dangerous side effects because the combination changes their potency. Here are a couple dietary supplements that can change the way medications are absorbed and metabolized:
Warfarin is a common blood thinner. Use extra care when using supplements such as Omega-3 fish oils, ginkgo biloba and Vitamin E as these combinations can increase the potential for internal bleeding or strokes.
St. John’s Wort can speed up the breakdown of many drugs which reduces a drug’s effectiveness. Watch out for drug interactions if you take heart disease, depression or birth control medicines.
Garlic, ginseng, Vitamin E, ephedra and fish oils can interfere with anesthesia so be sure to tell your doctor all the supplements you are taking. St. John’s Wort can also interfere with anesthesia during surgery, so mention it to your doctor before a surgical procedure.
Vitamin C and E can reduce the effectiveness of some types of cancer chemotherapy.
Write down all the medications and supplements you take on a daily basis and give this list to your doctor at each visit so that your health care provider is aware of your complete medical history. If you would learn more about dietary supplements, visit https://www.fda.gov/food/dietarysupplements/.
When trying to shop for healthy foods, buying groceries can be an overwhelming experience; but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some simple, helpful tips that will help keep you on track.
The month of May brings the last day of school, planting flowers, graduation parties and the long-awaited summer vacation! It also brings warmer temperatures and spending more time outdoors which leads to this gentle reminder that adults and children need to drink more water to prevent dehydration during the hot summer months. Water helps to keep your muscles energized, lubricate joints, regulate body temperature, and nearly all of your major body systems depend on water to work properly.
According to the old rule of thumb, you're supposed to drink eight glasses of water per day (and some experts recommend even more). That can seem like a daunting task on some days if you don’t like to drink water, but here's the catch: you don't have to drink 64 ounces of water alone. All fluids count toward your daily intake, not just plain old boring H20. Water is best, but drinking liquids like milk, tea and juice can contribute to your total.
You can also absorb water through food because many fruits and vegetables contain high water contents.
Here are some fruits to incorporate into your diet: watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches, pineapple, oranges and raspberries.
Vegetables might include cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, celery, radishes, tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli and baby carrots.
How much water do you drink a day? Can you add in some tasty fruits and vegetables this summer to get more water into your body so you feel less sluggish and tired? Set a goal this summer to up your water totals and see how much better you look and feel every day. Have a fun and safe summer!
As the old adage goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” During April in Iowa, spring cleaning commences in our homes and offices, while corn planting begins for many farmers. April is the time for preparation and renewal. This period of rejuvenation is an opportunity to focus on self-improvement and wellness; it is a chance for us to water our healthy choices and keep an eye out for any unhealthy habits we can weed out.
April is also Alcohol Awareness Month. Often, we focus on preventing underage alcohol use and promoting support and recovery for those who have developed the disease of alcoholism. These areas of focus are essential for our families and communities. However, it is important that those of us who are non-alcoholic adults also receive education about lower-risk alcohol use and are able to reflect on our drinking choices. The ability to legally purchase alcohol and the wide social acceptance of drinking may lead us to forget that there are health risks associated with excessive alcohol use, even for healthy people of the legal drinking age.
According to the National Institute of Health, there are guidelines that we can follow to ensure we are not putting ourselves at risk due to our alcohol consumption. These guidelines recommend consuming no more than four drinks in a single day and no more than 14 drinks in a single week for adult men. Adult women are recommended to consume no more than three drinks in a single day and no more than 7 drinks in a single week. For those who are under the age of 21, are taking certain medicines, or are in recovery, no amount of alcohol consumption is considered safe.
This April is the perfect time for us to evaluate our own use of alcohol. Does our own drinking fall within the low-risk guidelines? Are there some changes we would like to make to benefit our overall health and wellbeing? Would reducing or eliminating alcohol use be an appropriate choice for us? Tools and tips for “rethinking our drinking” are available at https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/. Anyone who feels that alcohol use has become a significant problem in their own life or the life of a loved one should not hesitate to contact Jackson Recovery Centers at (712) 234-2300 or online at https://www.jacksonrecovery.com/.
If our winter weather is starting to make you a little stir crazy and you are wishing for warmer weather so you can take your walk or run back outdoors, why are you waiting? Go ahead and get outside on nice, sunny days if the sidewalks and streets are clear! Just be sure to dress warm and stretch before you head outside. Here are a couple tips to remember before you brave the great outdoors in March and April: