8 Resolutions Health Experts Want You to Make

Physician John Rush sees his patients make the same mistake every year: They set New Year’s resolutions on Jan. 1 and expect to implement them the very next day. But a no-prep plan is a sure-fail one, he says. “The most meaningful goals we make in our lives take some planning, and we need to set our lives up for change and for success,” says Rush, COO of the age management medicine company Cenegenics. That’s why now’s the time to start preparing for whatever change you want to make in 2015. Buy the right equipment and clothing, find supportive friends and family, and devise a plan for when you feel like cashing in on your commitment, Rush suggests.

And if you’re stumped on what that goal will be? Steal an idea from health professionals, who shared what they’d like to see their patients and clients resolve to do in 2015.

Set a specific goal.

“Get in better shape.” “Be healthier.” “ Lose weight.” Those goals, no matter how common, are too broad, says Justin Weis, a personal trainer and owner of Summit Fitness in Richmond, Virginia. He suggests picking a specific event to prepare for instead, whether it’s something grand like climbing a mountain or something simple like running a 5K. “Having a goal that you are driving toward, rather than something like holiday pounds you are trying to get away from, makes the journey much easier,” Weis says. “It’s a change of perspective that turns it from a negative mindset to something positive, which can make all the difference.”

Commit to a ‘movement modality.’

“Don’t let exercise become another thing to check off your list,” says Angela Meyer, a yoga instructor and regional director of group exercise at the YMCA in the District of Columbia. Instead, consider adopting a “movement modality,” or a physical activity that will inspire you to be not only physically healthier, but also “mentally, emotionally and spiritually engaged and alive,” Meyer says. To find your modality, ask yourself what type of movement will allow you to express your passion and creative energy. Is it martial arts? Yoga? Dance? Rock climbing? All those activities, Meyer says, “allow you to discover something deeper about yourself, while also achieving your physical goals.”

Personalize your oral health care.

Take the typical resolution to floss regularly a step further this year by resolving to talk to your dentist about how genetics might impact your dental health, says William Giannobile, chair of the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Just like heart health, cancer risk and weight, oral health is influenced by your genes. Knowing where you stand can help guide how often you see your dentist and the type of care you get, he says. A bonus? You’ll improve your overall health, too. “Medical breakthroughs in genetics, genomics and risk factors for diseases and behaviors show how a patient’s oral health affects their total well-being,” Giannobile says.

Wear sunglasses.

If you’re seeking a resolution that’s both fashion-forward and healthy, Dennis Levi, a professor of optometry and vision science at the University of California-Berkeley, has one for you: “Wear shades when out in bright sunlight,” he says. Make sure you choose a pair that protects against ultraviolet radiation, which, in excess, can cause cataracts and lead to damage of the cornea and retina, Levi says.

Get more quality sleep – every night.

Want to make a resolution that will improve nearly all areas of your life – and looks? One word: sleep, says dermatologist Jessica Krant, founder of Art of Dermatology in New York and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. “Sleep is our best friend, and it allows everything to be better,” she says. “When we get good sleep, it improves our body’s ability to remove toxins at night, which improves our health overall and especially our skin.” Sleep also suppresses the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin, making weight loss and management easier. “It proves there really is such a thing as beauty sleep,” Krant says. To get more quality sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends going to bed the same time every night, getting daily exercise, avoiding naps and steering clear of alcohol, cigarettes and heavy meals in the evenings.

Be more mindful.

How often do you catch yourself ruminating about the past or worrying about the future? Chances are, too often, says Eric Endlich, a psychologist in Needham, Massachusetts, who works with teens, adults and couples. He suggests resolving to spend just one minute each day thinking about nothing but the present moment. “Staying mindful can alleviate stress and anxiety and help us appreciate what we have right now,” he says. Another way to improve your mental health in the new year is to recognize negative thoughts and ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation, Endlich says. “Negative thoughts are automatic and effortless, and often irrational and distorted,” he says. “By challenging them regularly, we discover how often there are other, more helpful ways to look at things.”

Give up fad diets.

If there’s one surefire way to fail at keeping your New Year’s resolution, it’s to commit to a fad diet. “They just don’t work!” says Charlotte Markey, a psychology professor at Rutgers University who studies weight management. If your goal is sustainable weight loss, you’ll be more successful if you think long-term about healthy eating, says Markey, author of the forthcoming book “Smart People Don’t Diet.” “Don’t deprive yourself of the food you love, but make logical, moderate, realistic choices concerning food,” she says.

See your doctor.

If there’s one thing health professionals want you do to in 2015, it’s to simply pay them a visit. Women especially should schedule an annual visit with an OB-GYN or a primary care doctor, says Shelly Holmstrom, an OB-GYN in Tampa, Florida, and associate professor at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine. “Although Pap tests are not necessarily needed each year, many women have gynecological issues that need to be addressed,” she says.

Copyright 2014 U.S. News & World Report

by Anna Medaris Miller

6 Foods to Slow Down Aging!

   “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” —Satchel Paige

In keeping with our healthy theme this month, we would like to feature some exciting news. Six foods that actually help to slow aging. Now that’s music to the ears of us all. We can actually eat to look younger and feel better. How old would you honestly say you were if you truly didnt know your age? Would you be one of the lucky who could confidently throw out a number much lower than reality, or would you say you feel as though you are living in a body much older than your years?

I have found myself cursing my body for hurting at times or for not performing the way it used to. But as I recall the vigorous activity and over active lifestyle it has been subject to, I realize that my complaining perhaps comes with a package of pain that is deserved. However, when I was introduced to these 6 delicious foods and the notion of a more kind and friendly moderate version of excercise to create a new, younger, healthier me, I forgot my woes and dove in.  

Food #1: FISH

Recent research suggests that the Omega-3 fatty acids from certain fish can lead to improved mood and mental capacities. These oils have antioxidant properties, meaning they attack the cells that cause the body to decay. Omega-3s are the same acids that combat chronic inflammation, which can lead to all sorts of health complications. Finally, fish oil is great for your skin, preventing dryness and eczema, and promoting firmness and elasticity. Salmon and tuna are two of the most popular and readily available fish with high levels of Omega-3.

Food #2: WHOLE GRAINS

Avoiding all carbs makes no sense, when whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, brown rice, farro, barley and wheat berries are so rich in fiber, which keeps your digestive system regular and helps you feel full. Their low glycemic levels mean that they don’t play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Choose bread, pasta and cereals made from whole grains, and incorporate whole grains into your cooking. Whole grains have been widely accepted as a smart way to combat all types of illnesses, such as heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. Refined grains filter out the many nutrients intrinsic in natural whole grains, and therefore don’t provide the same benefits.

Food #3: CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

This powerhouse family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and Brussels sprouts. They are an effective aid to the body in fighting toxins and cancer. And they have a high concentration of antioxidants and sulfur, which provide energy and can keep your skin healthy. If you eat them raw or lightly cooked their protection properties are even more effective.

Food #4: NUTS

They are high in calories, but you don’t need to eat a lot of them to reap their benefits, which include protein, fiber and crucial minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium. They are reported to be good for your digestive and immune systems, helpful in the fight against cancer, and the oils are good for your skin. Their high Omega-3 fatty acid content also helps keep your brain and body healthy. Plus, there are so many kinds of nuts to choose from: almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios and more.

Food #5: AVOCADO

Did you know that avocado is a fruit? It is chock full of monosaturated fat, which is believed to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Avocados have a lot of potassium, which combats fluid retention and high blood pressure and the risk of stroke. And they have a high level of vitamin E, which is thought to prevent skin aging and may also be helpful in reducing hot flashes associated with menopause. Finally, they are rich in folate, which is thought to decrease the risk of heart attacks, as well as antioxidants, which help your body protect itself from free radicals, which means keeping your organs and tissues healthy.

Food #6: BERREIS!

Blueberries have gotten their fair share of health news but in fact all black and blue berries, such as blackberries, black currants and black grapes, contain antioxidants that are known to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and aging. These phytochemicals are called flavonoids, and are found in the pigment of the berries. In addition, dark berries are also thought to be of assistance in maintaining good balance, coordination and short term memory.

So do yourself a favor and head to the store annd pick up a few of these super anti-aging and health focused items. To make it easier, we have attached a recipe to get your started on your new food endeavours!

Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich with Scallion and Pickled Ginger

The pickled ginger, which comes in jars and can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket, adds a pleasantly unexpected sweet pungency to the salad. For a very special tuna salad, grill or broil 12 ounces of fresh tuna. Remove and discard the skin, break the meat up into small pieces, and use it as the base for the sandwich filler below. Tuna is a cold-water fish that has a high percentage of omega-3s. You can also substitute canned salmon for the tuna.

Yield: MAKES 4 SANDWICHES

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 can (12 ounces) solid white tuna packed in water, drained
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons eggless soy-based mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Hot red pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 8 slices whole-wheat or other whole-grain bread, toasted if you want
  • 8 dark green lettuce leaves

Directions

1. In a small bowl, break up tuna with fork. Add scallion, pickled ginger, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce if using, and mix together with fork.

2. Make four sandwiches with the bread, dividing the salad equally among them, and garnishing with lettuce, tomato, and roasted red pepper, if using.

Notes

Make-Ahead Tip: Salad can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Serving Suggestions: For a sharply flavored accompaniment, toss together Spicy Cabbage Salad with Cider Vinegar, or serve the tuna salad as is on a bed of dark leafy greens with bottled roasted red peppers as a garnish.
ENJOY!

Naps. They Do a Body Good!

March 16, 2011

Naps. We all want them, we all crave them, but not all of us allow ourselves to take them. Finding yourself in a nap midday can be one of life’s more enjoyable pleasures, but its also an indulgence we have grown to neglect. In our busy lives we find ourselves convinced that napping is not only not allowed, but frowned upon as it attacks the very core of your “super human” status in society. Well, the University of California, Berkeley, would like you to be the first to know, that the nap you have been avoiding, actually wouldnt harm your humanity at all. In fact, a nice midday siesta would indeed make you smarter, more alert, and increase your brain power for your super human day.

In a study done at the University, researchers found that adults who took a midday nap markedly outperformed those who did not on a challenging intellectual task late in the day. The adults were given a challenging task to learn at noon, all performing and learning at similiar rates. Then one group was given a 90 minute nap, while the other group was not . At 6pm, a new challenging task was given to each group and researchers saw the napping group consistently and aggressively outperform those who did not get the gift of a midday snooze. The results confirmed the researchers hypothesis that in fact as we sleep, the brain does a little housekeeping on itself, clearing out the dirt and making room for the new once we awake and continue our day.

The perfect regime? Get a good night’s rest every night. 8 hours would be nice. Include a 60 minute nap midday and you will find you and your brain in optimal health. Of course we still reccommend a balanced diet and excercise, but couple those factors with a fantastic sleep schedule and BAM! the super human you never knew existed will be running the show.

Information Courtesy of: www.aarp.com “Don’t Knock Naps – They Make You Smarter