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FEBRUARY 2013

health

& body

mind

A SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO

Healthy Staples | Workplace Fatique Prevention | Exercising | Improving Memory Sleep Apnea | Metabolism Seasonal Allergies


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health, mind & body February 2013

THE BLACK HILLS PIONEER / WEEKLY PROSPECTOR

Stock your pantry with healthy staples

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hen hunger pangs arrive and you head to the kitchen to prepare a meal or a snack, it helps to have healthy foods on hand so that you can fill up without filling out your clothes. Sugary or fattening foods may be popular snacks, but consuming too many of these items can cause health implications, including weight gain, that could last for years. Although health experts tout certain "super foods" that are essential for the body, there are run-of-the-mill foods that are far less glamorous but pack their own healthy punch and are much more readily available. When making your next shopping list, be sure to add these items. • Rice: Starchy rice is a versatile food that can accompany many meals. Whether served as a side dish or on its own or with some broth in a soup, rice can help satisfy hunger and keep the stomach feeling full. Brown rice is a healthier option than processed white rice. Rice is also gentle on the stomach for people who need to consume bland diets due to any gastrointestinal ailments. Another advantage to rice is that it stores well and will not go bad, so you can stock up. • Low-fat yogurt: Yogurt can be enjoyed as a snack any time of the day. Rich in calcium and healthy probiotics, yogurt can even replace certain ingredients in recipes, including creams and sour cream. As a dessert, yogurt is a better option than more fattening puddings or ice cream. Thicker varieties of yogurt can help you feel fuller, longer. • Unsalted nuts: An excellent protein-rich snack, nuts can be the go-to food when you need a nutritional pickme-up. Although they tend to be high in fat, much of the fat content is unsaturated fat that is rich in omega acids necessary for cardiovascular

and neurological health. Nuts can be sprinkled on salads or served with cheeses to make meals more satisfying. • Canned or dried fruits: Fruits that are packed in natural fruit juices are just as healthy as fresh produce. However, they can be stored for longer periods of time without spoiling. Many people do not consume the recommended servings of fruit, and having canned or individually packaged fruit cups available makes it easy to include fruit in your diet. Fruits are full of required vitamins and are a natural fiber source to keep

digestion in check. Dried fruits can be added to nuts to make a healthy trail mix. Raisins, for example, are a great source of iron, which helps the blood transport oxygen. • Beans and legumes: These foods are high in protein as well as fiber, generally in a low-calorie package. Beans and legumes can replace meats as a protein source in many meals when the goal is to reduce caloric and fat intake. Beans can be used to thicken sauces or make foods more hearty, helping to stretch them further. • Vegetables: Whether fresh or frozen, vegetables are a must-have

staple. Vegetables are ripe with vitamins and minerals, and pack a lot of punch with very low calories and fat. People need not worry about filling up on vegetables, and they're one of the snacks that can be eaten in abundance without worry of racking up a lot of calories. Aim to have half of your plate filled with vegetables at every meal, which will keep you full. • Lean protein sources: Fish, poultry and lean cuts of meat are often the basis for meals. They can be kept and enjoyed in moderation. Rich cuts of pork and beef may be flavorful but are high in saturated fats. • Lemons or lemon juice: Rather than seasoning foods with salt and butter, lemon juice is a tasty flavoring that lends itself well to many types of foods. Lemons and limes contain limonene, furocoumarins and vitamin C, all of which help reduce your risk of cancer. • Cranberry juice: In addition to being an antioxidant, 100 percent cranberry juice helps fight bladder infections by preventing harmful bacteria from growing. The juice can be consumed on its own or diluted to add a splash of flavor to water. • Figs: Many people underestimate the nutritional value of figs. Figs can be eaten fresh off of the tree. Think about adding mashed figs to batters for healthier breads or even desserts. A good source of potassium and fiber, figs also contain vitamin B6, which produces moodboosting serotonin, lowering cholesterol and preventing water retention. There are many healthy and versatile foods that can be stored in the pantry without spoiling. They make for quick snacks and help keep you feeling fuller, longer.


February 2013 health, mind & body

THE BLACK HILLS PIONEER / WEEKLY PROSPECTOR

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Fend off workplace fatigue

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atigue can prove a formidable foe to anyone. Exercise enthusiasts and couch potatoes alike periodically can suffer from fatigue, which can affect performance at work and one’s relationships with friends and family. Fatigue can be temporary or chronic, and while quick fixes like an energy drink might work for a little while, such solutions may only mask fatigue for a brief period before it returns once the stimulant wears off. Many times fending off fatigue involves making some lifestyle changes that can boost your energy over the long haul and make fatigue a distant memory. • Eat breakfast no matter what. According to a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, a high-fiber, highcarbohydrate breakfast can increase alertness between breakfast and lunch, a period of time during which many professionals begin to feel fatigue settling in. Whole-wheat toast or a bowl of high-fiber cereal can pack

an energetic punch that lasts all the way to lunchtime. • Choose high-energy snacks. One of the problems many people have when dealing with fatigue is how they choose to combat their feelings of sluggishness. Eating a candy bar from the office snack machine might seem like the ideal energy booster, but a sugar boost does not last very long. Chances are your feelings of fatigue will return sooner rather than later. • Give yourself a break. Burning the midnight oil might be necessary, but failing to take breaks throughout the day will likely exasperate any feelings of fatigue. That’s because taking periodic breaks throughout the workday has been proven to be very effective at combating fatigue. A study conducted at Louisiana State University compared a trio of different work schedules for workers who used a computer. Those who took brief, frequent breaks were better at fighting fatigue and more productive at work than those who did not. A short break of 5 to 10 minutes can be enough to

provide an immediate energy boost and fend off feelings of fatigue. • Hit the road, Jack. Another way to effectively fight fatigue is to get walking. A decades-old study conducted by a researcher at California State University, Long Beach, found that walking briskly for 10 minutes provides people with more energy than eating a candy bar. Though the candy bar led to an initial energy boost, that boost died down within an hour, whereas the boost provided by a brisk walk increased energy levels for roughly two hours. Get up and walk around the office or take a brisk walk around the block or the parking lot of your office complex. You’ll come back to your desk refreshed and ready to resume your workday. Fatigue is no laughing matter for many men and women. But a few tried and tested fatigue-fighting methods can increase your energy and productivity.

Leaving the office to take a brief, yet brisk, walk is one way to combat fatigue during the workday.

Vitamins and cancer prevention

P

eople take daily vitamin supplements for a variety of reasons. Many believe that vitamins will serve as an insurance policy of sorts should they not be consuming the necessary vitamins and minerals through their diets. Others believe that vitamin supplements will ease certain ailments or help prevent diseases, such as cancer. Beliefs such as these have helped the dietary supplements business become a billion-dollar industry. There have been many clinical studies conducted to look into the correlation between vitamin supplements and the prevention of certain types of cancer. Understanding the results can be confusing. There is no magic formula for consuming a broad-spectrum vitamin supplement to serve as a blanket remedy for preventing cancer. However, there have been some

studies that show certain vitamins may help lower risk for specific cancers. For example, a study published in 2010 found women who had high levels of vitamin A and C in their bodies, whether from diet or supplement use, had fewer cases of cervical cancer compared to women with lower levels of these vitamins. Vitamin B6 has been known to have various benefits, including reducing a person’s risk of developing lung, breast and colon cancer. Those with high blood levels of B6 have a lower risk, but there is no proof that taking B6 supplements will have the same benefits. Some studies indicate that vitamin E supplements may reduce men’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Studies in the 1970s suggested that high doses of vitamin C could be an alternative cancer treatment, says The Mayo Clinic. These findings were debunked when it

was discovered the research methods used to reach the conclusions were flawed. Subsequent studies did not corroborate the 1970s results. However, more attention is now being paid to administering vitamin C intravenously, which has different effects than when the vitamin is taken orally. Until clinical trials are completed, researchers cannot say for sure if intravenous vitamin C will be the new all-natural cancer cure. It is important to note that taking vitamin supplements at the suggested levels recommended should be relatively safe for most people. Individuals should not super-dose vitamins in an effort to achieve better health results. Also, people should discuss any vitamin supplement use with doctors, as some supplements may cause potentially harmful interactions with certain medications.

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health, mind & body February 2013

THE BLACK HILLS PIONEER / WEEKLY PROSPECTOR

Exercising outside of the box Simple ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine

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xercise is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. When coupled with a healthy diet, exercise puts men and women on a path toward optimal health while reducing risk for a host of ailments, some of which can be deadly. But many people find they simply don’t have the time to exercise regularly. Commitments to career and family can be demanding and time-consuming, and exercise is often a casualty of a hectic schedule. Though getting to the gym every day or even making use of exercise equipment at home on a daily basis may not be feasible, that doesn’t mean people still can’t find ways to incorporate a little exercise into their daily routines. The following are a few simple ways to fit more exercise into your day no matter how busy you may be. • Avoid the elevator, and attack the stairs. The elevator may be inviting, but it’s also somewhat of an enabler. Instead of taking the elevator up to your office each day, take the stairs, and take them with more gusto than you’re used to. Rather than taking one step at a time, take the stairs two by two, lifting your legs high as you scale each pair of steps. This helps build your leg muscles and makes the daily climb up the staircase a little more strenuous. • Turn TV time into treadmill time. Watching a little television at night is how many people

relax and unwind, but it can be a great time to squeeze in some daily exercise as well. Opinions as to what’s the best time of day to exercise vary, and no definitive study exists to suggest one time of day is better than another. People who like to relax with a little television time at night should make the most of that time by hitting the treadmill, elliptical machine or exercise bike instead of just plopping down on the couch. Add a television to your home’s exercise room or purchase a gym membership where the cardiovascular machines are connected to televisions. You will still get to enjoy your favorite shows while simultaneously getting the benefit of exercise. • Say “bon voyage” to the conference room. Professionals who spend lots of time in meetings can add a simple twist that incorporates exercise into a typical business meeting. Rather than conducting the meeting in a conference room, propose a walking meeting when possible. A walking meeting is the same as a standard business meeting, but it’s conducted on foot outside of the office. Walking meetings can provide some much-needed energy for you and your fellow staff members, who may appreciate the chance to get out from behind their desks and stretch their legs while still getting work done. Take your smartphones or tablets along to jot down important ideas, just like you would in a more traditional meeting. And make the most of your walk by

Coping with seasonal allergies

T

he season of allergy-induced sniffles and other complications is right around the corner. If you are one of the millions of people affected by seasonal allergies that lead to nasal swelling, sneezing, watery eyes, and a scratchy throat, you may not be eagerly anticipating the warmer weather as much as others. Allergy research is ongoing, and in the future doctors may be able to prevent allergic reactions from occurring rather than treating the symptoms that ensue. Until then, you will have to work with the remedies that currently exist. These remedies include antihistamines, which can cause dangerous interactions with other medications and may cause drowsiness. These side effects can be dangerous for use in seniors. Consider these other options instead. • Drink plenty of fluids. Although liquids can’t wash the allergens out of your system, water, juice and clear broths can help loosen congestion. Hot liquids can soothe inflamed membranes in the nose and throat.

• Avoid allergens as much as possible. Check weather reports for the levels of particulates in the air and stay indoors if they are high. Keep away from tall grasses and places with a lot of foliage. • Use the air conditioning. Rather than keeping the windows wide open, use an air conditioner and dehumidifier to filter the air coming inside of the house and ensuring it is cool and dry.

leaving time for some light stretching before and after the meeting. Chances are you will return to your desk reenergized and glad you found a way to get some exercise despite of a busy schedule. • Park far away when shopping. It’s tempting and almost human nature to hunt for the parking spot closest to the door when shopping at the mall or even the grocery store. But for those who want to include more exercise in their daily routines, parking far away from the entrance to your favorite store is a great way to incorporate more walking into your life. Walking is a simple yet effective cardiovascular exercise, one that the Mayo Clinic notes can lower your blood pressure and manage your weight while lowering your lowdensity lipoprotein, which is commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. In fact, research has indicated that regular, brisk walking can be just as effective at lowering a person’s risk of heart attack as more vigorous exercise, including jogging. When parking far away from the entrance, just make sure you park in a well-lit area where others can easily see or hear you. Many adults find they simply don’t have the time to commit to routine exercise. But there are several simple ways to incorporate exercise into your existing routine without taking time from your already busy day.

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• Head to the beach. If you want to spend time outdoors, areas by the ocean will have pollen counts that are much lower than in mountainous areas. • Dry clothes indoors. Line-dried clothes may smell fresh, but they can bring molds and pollens indoors and exacerbate allergies. • Shower frequently. After being outdoors, take a shower to rinse off any allergens clinging to hair and skin. • Check with a doctor. Before mixing allergy medications with any prescriptions you are taking, ensure that they are safe to mix. If your doctor is unavailable, consult with a pharmacist about drug interactions.

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February 2013 health, mind & body

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Easy ways to improve memory

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veryone forgets things from time to time. Periodically forgetting where you left your keys is likely not indicative of a bad memory. But some people find themselves forgetting things more frequently, a troubling development for those who can’t explain their sudden loss of memory. Memory loss is often considered to go hand-in-hand with aging. As a person ages, conventional wisdom suggests memory will begin to fade. But sometimes memory loss has nothing to do with aging, and a lot to do with a brain that isn’t sharp because of an unhealthy lifestyle. The following are a few ways men and women can improve their memory.

• Get some sleep. Men and women who aren’t getting enough sleep can almost certainly blame that lack of shut-eye for at least some of their memory loss. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain’s ability to think critically, solve problems and even be creative is compromised considerably. In addition, research has shown that memory-enhancing activities occur during the deepest stages of sleep, further highlighting the importance of getting a full night of interruption-free rest. • Hit the gym. Exercise is another activity that can improve memory. Daily physical exercise increases the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain while reducing the risk for

certain disorders, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both of which can lead to memory loss. • Manage stress effectively. Stress has a host of negative side effects, not the least of which is its impact on your memory. Chronic stress that goes untreated can destroy brain cells and damage the region of the brain that deals with the formation of new memories as well as the retrieval of older memories. Numerous studies have shown that men and women cite their career as their primary source of stress. Since quitting your job is likely not an option, find ways to manage your stress more effectively. This may mean finding a way to make the most of your time, be it working more efficiently, emphasizing planning ahead or even vowing to stop procrastinating. Other ways to manage stress include making time to relax and recognizing that you have limits while seeking the help of others. • Make some dietary changes. Diet can also have an impact on memory. What you eat is fuel for both your body and your brain, and a poor diet can have a negative impact on your memory. Be sure to include omega-3

Prioritizing a good night’s sleep is one way to improve memory.

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Foods with antioxidants, including fruits and vegetables, can also protect your brain cells from damage, which can have a positive impact on your memory. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, romaine lettuce and arugula as well as fruits like apricots, mangoes and cantaloupe are good sources of antioxidants. A diet high in saturated fat, which is found in red meat, whole milk, butter and cheese, has been found to have a negative impact on memory. Research has shown that such a diet increases a person’s risk of developing dementia while impairing an individual’s ability to concentrate and remember things. Loss of memory is often a momentary lapse, but those who find themselves becoming more and more forgetful can take steps to improve their memory and their quality of life.

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health, mind & body February 2013

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Understanding your risk for sleep apnea

S

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

leep apnea is a debilitating and life-shortening ailment that affects millions of people across the globe, many of whom do not know they have this potentially dangerous condition. Understanding sleep apnea and its symptoms and risk factors is imperative for men and women who feel they have or may someday have sleep apnea.

Individuals who may be experiencing sleep apnea may have the following symptoms, according to The Mayo Clinic: • excessive daytime sleepiness • loud snoring • awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat

What is sleep apnea? The word “apnea” is Greek and means “without breath.” Sleep apnea occurs involuntarily and unexpectedly while a person is asleep. It causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping -sometimes hundreds of times a night -- estimates the American Sleep Apnea Association. These moments of breathlessness can last a minute or longer and may not trigger a full awakening in a person. There are different types of sleep apnea. The main types are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive apnea is more common and occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax during sleep and inhibit air flow. With central sleep apnea, a person’s brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. During an episode of sleep apnea, the body may rouse itself partially to resume breathing but not enough to fully awaken the person. As a result, sleep may be very fragmented and sufferers could feel extremely tired during the day and not understand why.

• headaches in the morning • problems paying attention • difficulty staying asleep Others may notice a spouse or family member has sleep apnea by recognizing abrupt awakenings from shortness of breath or intermittent pauses in his or her breathing during sleep. Also, it is important to note that snoring may not be a sign of sleep apnea, but very often loud snoring punctuated by periods of silence is a pretty good indicator of apnea. Risk Factors Many people experience sleep apnea, though it may be more pronounced in certain groups of people. Those who are overweight may have obstructions to breathing. People with a thick neck also may have a narrower airway. Genetics also may play a role in a narrow airway in the throat or enlarged adenoids or tonsils that contribute to airway obstruction. Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea as women, and men who are older than age 60 have an increased risk over younger men. Smokers are three times more likely to have

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obstructive sleep apnea over people who have never smoked. That’s because, according to the Mayo Clinic, inflammation and mucus retention may occur in the upper airway. People who naturally have difficulty breathing through the nose may be at a higher risk for sleep apnea. Treatments After being tested for sleep apnea, which usually involves some sort of sleep test, whether at home or a nocturnal polysonmography that measures heart, lung and brain activity is conducted at a sleep center, a doctor may refer patients to an ear, nose and throat doctor if there is a physical obstruction causing the apnea. Recommendations may include losing weight, quitting smoking and other lifestyle changes if these are thought to be the primary causes behind the apnea. Therapies for obstructive sleep apnea can include continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, which uses a machine to deliver continuous air pressure into the nose and mouth to keep air passages open. There are other air pressure devices as well. Surgery, including implants or creating a new air passageway via a tracheostomy, may be necessary in severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments. Sleep apnea is not a condition to take lightly. It affects millions of people and requires action to prevent other maladies resulting from lack of oxygen to the body.

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Healthy ways to speed up your metabolism

D

ieters are often aware of metabolism and its effect on an individual’s weight. Metabolism is a process that serves a host of important functions, including converting food and drink into energy and using energy to construct certain components of cells.

moderate-intensity workouts don’t pack the same punch as high-intensity workouts, which produce a longer increase in resting metabolic rate. Sign up for a Zumba® or spin class at your gym, both of which are the kind of high-intensity cardiovascular workout that can speed up your metabolism.

For the perpetual dieter, metabolism can be a natural-born enemy, a process that simply isn’t fast enough for dieters to lose weight. Even more frustrating, a person’s metabolism can hinge on genetics and gender. People may inherit a speedy or slow metabolism. Gender plays a large role considering men have a tendency to burn more calories than women, even while resting. Those who inherited a speedy metabolism are often the people who can seemingly eat whatever they choose without gaining a pound.

• Embrace grazing. Grazing is a dietary philosophy in which individuals eat five to six smaller meals every three to four hours instead of three large meals each day. Eating this way helps keep your metabolism going, and the result is you will burn more calories throughout the day than you would if you ate a more traditional diet. Of course, what you eat when grazing is important, too. Choose low-fat, high-nutrient

foods, and snack on fruits and vegetables instead of more popular snacks like potato chips. Grazing on unhealthy foods won’t lead to weight loss and may even cause weight gain. • Eat more protein. Protein can serve many purposes for people trying to lose weight. Protein has a tendency to make you feel full when you eat it, reducing the likelihood that you will overeat. In addition, the body burns more calories when digesting protein than it does while digesting fats or carbohydrates. Turkey, low-fat dairy products, fish, nuts and beans are great sources of protein, which should not be all you eat but can be used as a periodic replacement for other foods that may slow down your metabolism. • Stay hydrated. Your metabolism will likely slow down if you allow yourself to get dehydrated. When the body does not have enough water, several of its functions, including its ability to burn calories, slow down. Muscles are roughly 70 percent water, so if they are not fully hydrated they cannot generate energy, affecting your metabolism. In addition, the body is not as effective at using fat as fuel when it is dehydrated, further slowing your metabolism. Staying hydrated is as easy as drinking enough water throughout the day. How much water an individual needs to stay hydrated is open to debate among medical professionals, but one study found that adults who drink eight or more glasses of water per day burned more calories than those who drank four glasses of water per day.

But gaining a faster metabolism isn’t just for men or those who inherited a speedier metabolism at birth. In fact, there are several healthy ways to speed up metabolism. • Pack on some muscle. People with more muscle tend to have a higher resting metabolic rate. That’s because muscle burns more calories than fat. According to the American Council on Exercise, each pound of fat burns just two calories per day, while various estimates suggest each pound of muscle burns between 35 to 50 calories per day. Those figures might seem insignificant, but they add up over time and someone with significant muscle can burn considerably more calories than someone without. Employ resistance training to build muscle, as such training activates muscles all over the body, increasing your daily metabolic rate as a result. • Emphasize intensity. Daily exercise is great, but highintensity daily exercise will prove more effective at speeding up your metabolism. Low- or

Many people feel they were either gifted at birth with a fast metabolism or doomed from the start with a slow metabolism. But an individual’s metabolism is not set in stone, and there are a host of healthy ways men and women can speed up their metabolism. Lifting weights and staying hydrated are two ways to speed up your metabolism.

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health, mind & body February 2013

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2013 Health, Mind & Body  

In this issue you will find information on healthy staples, workplace fatigue, improving memory, metabolism and more....

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