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Live Well! Health • Fitness • Lifestyle

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Exercise Your Brain

Exploring the effects of exercise on your brain

Making Time How to find time for fitness

Smart Snacking

Snacks that pack an energetic punch

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR KIDNEYS Choice Medical Group offers helpful advice to help prevent kidney disease.

HEALTHY MIND, HEALTHY ME

Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group suggests using the power of your mind to improve your life.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

Take a step in the right direction. Desert Valley Medical Group’s 2014 Block Walk on April 11.

Go Online to view this section!

www.vvdailypress.com/specialsections A SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO

MARCH 27, 2014


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LIVE WELL 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

Friday, April 11th 2014, Registration: 9am

BLOCK WALK

It’s Fun and best of all it’s good for your health!

To register or for more information call 760-241-8000 Ext. 8568 The Block Walk is the perfect place to ‘Join the Movement’ with Desert Valley Medical Group and it’s open to all levels. So lace up those walking shoes and come on out and enjoy a nice walk! Block Walk fees are FREE for First Class SPC members, DVMG & Inter Valley Health Plan members as well as DVH & DVMG employees. $5 to non-members of the groups listed. The first 200 to pre-register by April 4 receive a FREE T-shirt while supplies last. Health education provided.

The walk begins at Desert Valley Charitable Foundation, 16716 Bear Valley Road in Victorville.

16850 Bear Valley Road, Victorville, CA 92395 760-241-8000 www.dvmc.com


LIVE WELL 2014

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Inside

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How to find time for fitness Exercise benefits the brain, too The basics of boosting metabolism Can human growth hormone cheat aging? Get on the road to recovery by identifying depression What to do when beginning an exercise regimen Tips for yoga beginners Core exercises becoming more popular Healthy ways to banish belly fat Improving heart health need not be difficult What you may not know about your kidneys Technology aiming to reduce sports-related head injuries Join the movement and Walk the Block Get the facts on stomach bugs to feel better fast Healthy mind, healthy me Caution necessary when using saunas These snacks pack an energetic punch Healthy habits Clean produce properly to avoid contaminants The nutritive power of apples The growing problem of peanut allergies

Live Well! Health s Fitness s Lifestyle

is published and copyrighted 2014 by the Daily Press, 13891 Park Ave., Victorville, Calif. 92392 and the Desert Dispatch, 130 Coolwater Lane, Barstow, Calif. 92311 Publisher: Al Frattura Advertising Director: Angie Callahan Project Coordinator: Ray Marien Editor and Page Layout: Micki Brown, Special Sections Editor For Daily Press advertising information, call 1-760-951-6288 For Daily Press subscription information, call 1-760-241-7755 For Desert Dispatch advertising information, call 1-760-256-2257 For Desert Dispatch subscription information, call 1-760-256-8589

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How to find time for fitness F inding time to exercise is no small feat for many men and women. Obligations at home and at the office can make it hard to fit in a workout, a familiar quandary for men and women with multiple commitments. Though it’s not always easy to fit in a workout when juggling multiple responsibilities, men and women must consider the responsibility they have with regard to maintaining their physical and mental health. The United States Department of Health and Human Services advises that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, and that such activity should be spread out over the course of the week. In addition, the DHHS also advises that healthy adults include strength training exercises in their workout regimens at least twice a week. Such a workout schedule can improve both physical and mental health, making it easier for men and women to handle their hectic schedules. While such recommendations may seem manageable, many men and women still feel as if there’s just not enough time in the day for them to incorporate a daily exercise regimen. The following are a few ways such men and women can find time for fitness.

• Take a walking lunch. Many professionals have heard of a “working lunch,” but those strapped for time to exercise might want to take a walking lunch instead. Rather than sitting at your desk or in your favorite booth at a nearby restaurant on your lunch hour each day, consider squeezing in some time to walk during those 30-60 minutes you normally spend eating or catching up on office gossip with coworkers. Invite a few coworkers along, walking to and from your favorite restaurant or finding a nearby park and going for a quick walk. This is an easy way to squeeze in the recommended 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each day, and you will no doubt feel more energized after lunch than if you had simply eaten without exercising. • Exercise in the morning. Research has shown that men and women who exercise in the mornings exercise on a more consistent basis than those who exercise later in the day, including after leaving the office at the end of the workday. When exercising in the early morning hours, men and women are less likely to encounter scheduling conflicts, as coworkers, colleagues and even the kids will likely still be asleep. That means fewer interrupted or SEE FIND TIME • PAGE 27


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Exercise benefits the brain, too

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egular exercise can benefit the body in many ways, helping men and women maintain healthier weights and lower their risks for developing potentially deadly diseases. Though many people are quick to associate exercise with its physical benefits, those hours spent on the treadmill also can boost brain power. According to Dr. Barry Gordon, professor of neurology and cognitive science at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and coauthor of “Intelligent Memory: Improve the Memory That Makes You Smarter,” exercise has a direct impact on the brain. That’s because exercise works directly on brain tissue, improving the connections between nerve cells, creating new synapses, growing new neurons and blood vessels, and improving cell energy efficiency. So while many people may begin an exercise regimen with a goal of trimming their waistlines or toning their bodies, they might be happy to know that those physical benefits are accompanied by several cognitive benefits as well. As the American Psychological Association acknowledges, the connection between exercise and mental health is hard to ignore, and the APA notes that the following are just a few of the mental benefits men and women might reap from regular exercise.

Improved mood Many people feel great after exercising, especially if that exercise comes at the end of a particularly stressful day. However, those extra laps on the track or those hours spent on the treadmill don’t just pay short-term dividends. In a controlled trial overseen by Duke University researcher and clinical psychologist James Blumenthal, sedentary adults with major depressive disorder were assigned into one of four groups: supervised exercise, home-based exercise, antidepressant therapy, or a placebo pill. Those in the exercise and antidepressant groups had higher rates of remission than those in the placebo group, and Blumenthal concluded that exercise was generally comparable to antidepressants for men and women with major depressive disorder. In addition, in following up with patients a year later, Blumenthal found that those who continued to exercise had lower depression scores than those participants who were less active. Blumenthal’s study was not the only one to conclude that exercise can have a positive impact on mood. In a review of 11 studies that examined the effects of exercise on mental health, Boston University professor of psychology Michael Otto and his colleagues found that exercise could be a powerful tool when

treating clinical depression, and even recommended clinicians include exercise as part of their treatment plans for depressed patients. Antidote to anxiety Some researchers, Otto included, have begun to examine the effects of exercise on treating and possibly preventing anxiety. The body’s nervous system responds quickly when people feel frightened or threatened, often causing the body’s heart rate to increase and sweating and dizziness to occur. Those people who are especially sensitive to anxiety respond to these feelings with fear, and that makes them more

likely to develop panic disorders. But Otto and fellow researcher Jasper Smits of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University studied the effects that regular workouts might have on people prone to anxiety. Since exercise produces many of the same physical reactions, such as sweating and an elevated heart rate, the body produces when responding to fear or threats, Otto and Smits wanted to determine if exercise might help people prone to anxiety become less likely to panic when experiencing fear or threats. In SEE EXERCISE • PAGE 27


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WARD WINNING HEALTHCARE

EAR YEAR YYEAR AFTER

FOR THE 6TH YEAR IN A ROW HERITAGE VICTOR VALLEY MEDICAL GROUP HAS RECEIVED THE PRESTIGIOUS ELITE STATUS From California Association of Physicians Groups (CAPG) Standards of Excellence Survey:

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Our thanks go out to each of our primary care physicians and specialists who give their best every day to provide the highest quality healthcare!

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The basics of boosting metabolism M en and women looking to shed a few pounds and keep those pounds off often look for ways to boost their metabolisms. Some may not know just what metabolism means, and though it is a complicated combination of processes, metabolism is perhaps best explained as the sum of those processes, each of which is instituted to convert food into energy. So it’s no surprise that so many people, especially men and women whose metabolisms have begun to slow down, want to boost their metabolism and turn that food into energy more quickly. Though metabolism is a collection of complicated processes, boosting metabolism can be rather easy. The following are a handful of ways to do so, which can help men and women reach their fitness goals. • Eat the right foods and eat more often. Many adults have been turned on to the concept of grazing, an approach to diet wherein adherents eat small portions of food every two to three hours instead of the more traditional three square meals per day. But grazing is only effective when men and women eat the right foods. Each small meal should still have nutritional value just as if it were a large meal. When eating smaller meals, include healthy sources of protein and fiber. Vegetables tend to be especially beneficial because they are high in fiber, a nondigestible carbohydrate that is hard for the body to

have a significant impact on metabolism thanks to EGCG, a compound found in the tea that has been proven to elevate metabolism. However, the impact of EGCG on boosting metabolism is negligible, and therefore won’t make much of an impact on a person’s weight. The same can be said about capsaicin, an active component found in chili peppers that some feel boosts metabolism enough to promote weight loss. Though capsaicin can boost metabolism slightly, studies have shown that influence is not significant enough to affect a person’s weight. Metro Creative • Don’t get too comfortStrength training to build lean muscle is one way men able. Modern technology and women can boost their metabolisms. may be a reason why waist sizes are getting bigger. break down. As the body metabolism, so a workout Heating and cooling systems works hard to break down dominated by cardiovascular may be must-have items, but fiber, it’s burning energy exercise won’t have as posiwhen the body is too comand boosting its metabolism tive an impact on metabolism fortable, it burns less energy along the way. Fish is another as one that includes a comto stay warm in the winter potentially beneficial food bination of weight training or comfortably cool in the for those looking to boost and aerobic exercise. When summer. A study from the their metabolisms, as studies muscles are worked hard, National Institute of Health have shown that the omega-3 the body needs to work hard Clinical Center found that fatty acids found in fish oils to recover and rebuild those people who slept in a room increase the levels of fatmuscles, burning more calokept at 66 F burned 7 percent burning enzymes in the body ries and boosting metabolism more calories than those who while decreasing the body’s as a result. slept in a room at 75 F. Sleeplevel of fat-storage enzymes. • Don’t believe everything ing in a cooler room may just Eating more often benefits you read or hear. Suggesbe the easiest way for men the body because doing so tions abound as to ways and women to boost their stimulates metabolism, reas- to significantly improve metabolisms. suring the body that food will metabolism. Unfortunately, Boosting metabolism and be coming on a regular basis. many of these suggestions shedding extra pounds is a When meals are skipped or boost metabolism but not goal for many men and womthere are long intervals beenough to help people lose en. But while metabolism is a tween meals, the body reacts weight, which is the ultimate complex set of processes, the as if it might run out of food goal of many people looking various ways to effectively and begins to store fat. to boost their metabolisms. boost that metabolism can be • Add some lean muscle. For example, green tea has quite simple. Lean muscle can boost its proponents who feel it can — Metro


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Can human growth hormone cheat aging?

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uman growth hormone performs a number of biological functions and is in abundance when children and adolescents are growing. But HGH has recently become a coveted cosmetic supplement designed to improve metabolism, fend off weight gain and restore the vigor of youth. The off-label use of HGH has resulted in a multi-billion dollar industry but not without significant controversy. HGH, also known as somatotropin or somatropin, is a natural substance excreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. It

stimulates growth and cell reproduction and regeneration. As a person ages, his or her HGH levels decrease. In certain instances, doctors will prescribe HGH to treat children’s growth disorders or deficiencies in adults. However, some patients seek it for improved vitality or as an anabolic agent to improve athletic performance. Many people view HGH as the fountain of youth because it can help diminish wrinkles and the physical signs of aging while improving energy levels and helping fight depression. But while HGH has its upside, there is still much to be

Metro Creative

Several people use human growth hormone to lose weight and prevent the physical effects off aging. learned about this complicated hormone. Several small clinical studies have looked at HGH in the injectable form. Many tout the efficacy of the hormone in growing muscles and bone, improving skin, ramping up

sexual drive, and helping with weight loss. According to Stuart Weinerman, M.D., Division of Endocrinology at North Shore/Long Island Jewish Hospital, and SEE HORMONE • PAGE 27

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Get on the road to recovery by

identifying depression

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early everyone feels down at one point or another. But when feelings of sadness stretch on and are accompanied by other symptoms, normal sadness might have given way to depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate depression affects one in 10 American adults at different levels, while Statistics Canada says around 5 percent of Canadians have reported symptoms that meet the criteria for a mood disorder, including depression. Many sufferers of depression believe it is a personal weakness and something they should be able to control, but mood disorders are

recognized mental illnesses that say nothing about a person’s strength of character. Often brought on unexpectedly, mood disorders like depression cannot be traced to a single root cause. Many within the medical community believe depression is genetic, and oftentimes doctors treating patients for depression discover a history of depression among their patients’ immediate family members. Many different genes may act in combination to cause a mood disorder. In 2011, a British team isolated a gene that appears to be prevalent in families in which multiple members suffer from depression. The chromosome, 3p2526, was found in more than

800 families with recurrent depression. External factors also can play a role in the onset of depression. According to the CDC, certain groups are more likely to meet criteria for depression than others. These include women, people ages 45-64, African-Americans, Hispanics, and people with less than a high school education. There are unique symptoms associated with depression. Not every person with this mood disorder will exhibit each and every symptom, but the following symptoms appearing together is often an indicator of depression: • feelings of sadness and loss • feelings of irritability • loss of pleasure in usually

enjoyed activities • changes in sleeping patterns, such as insomnia or sleeping too much • difficulty concentrating • frequent headaches • noticeable lack of motivation • anxiety and panic attacks • withdrawal from friends and family • inability to make decisions • recurring thoughts of suicide or self-harm People exhibiting symptoms of depression should first reach out to their primary care physicians, who can begin a preliminary diagnosis and look for symptoms indicative of depression. A doctor also can perform blood work to rule out other conditions that may


Thursday, March 27, 2014 be contributing to problems with mood, such as hormonal changes or illnesses. Some doctors may refer patients to a mental health professional who is much more qualified to treat mood disorders. A mental health professional will likely conduct an interview with the patient and pay considerable attention to the patient’s medical history. Gaining a stronger grasp of a patient’s symptoms enables doctors to prescribe the most effective courses of treatment. Treatments range from medication to talk therapy to cognitive-behavioral therapy. Those who do not respond to more conventional treatments can discuss further options with their doctors. Patients who are prescribed an antidepressant

LIVE WELL 2014 medication should expect several weeks to pass before the medication is fully effective. Antidepressants are not universally effective, and people being treated for depression or another mood disorder should not grow discouraged if one course of treatment is ineffective. Many treatment options are available to people with mood disorders. Those who think they may be suffering from depression should first remember that they are not alone. Millions of people have depression at points in their lives or may experience recurrences of the condition. Visiting a doctor promptly can help sufferers of mood disorders address their conditions more quickly. — Metro

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Did you know? A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that 30 minutes of daily exercise was just as effective at helping overweight adults lose weight as 60 minutes of daily exercise. For the study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen studied 60 moderately overweight men who wanted to lose weight. Men were randomly assigned to one of two groups, a moderate aerobic exercise group or a high aerobic exercise group. The high-exercise group had to exercise hard enough to produce a sweat for 60 minutes a day, while the moderate group only had to exercise hard enough to produce a sweat for 30 minutes per day. The study was conducted for 13 weeks, and, by the end of the 13th week, the men who exercised for 30 minutes per day had experienced similar, if not better, results than those who exercised for 60 minutes per day. In fact, the men who exercised for 30 minutes lost an average of two pounds more body weight than those who exercised for a full hour. Researchers suggest that the men in the moderate group might have benefitted from having more energy throughout the rest of the day, while those in the 60-minute group had little energy for the rest of the day and were less inclined to be physically active post-workout.

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What to do

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Metro Creative

A personal trainer can help men and women acclimate themselves to a new exercise regimen.

when beginning an exercise regimen

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t the dawn of a new calendar year, many people decide it’s time to turn over a new leaf and shed those extra pounds that accumulated over the previous 12 months. The resolve to lose weight is perhaps never stronger than at the beginning of a calendar year, when the holiday season has passed but those added inches on the waistline remain. Though it’s noble to want to lose weight and improve health, regardless of what time of year it is, there are precautions men and women should take before beginning a new exercise regimen. • Visit your physician. It’s best to get a full physical before beginning an exercise regimen. A full physical can reveal if you have any health problems that might limit what you should and shouldn’t be doing at the gym. If anything turns up, your physician can develop a plan of attack for you to address the issue. If nothing turns up, then your doctor will probably give you the green light to go forward with few, if any, limitations. • Conduct a self-assessment. Once you’ve visited the doctor and received the

go-ahead to start working out, do an honest self-assessment to see where you are in terms of fitness. Walk a mile and time yourself. Do as many push-ups and sit-ups as possible, but be careful to stretch and not push yourself. This self-assessment should not be demanding. Instead, the goal is to gauge where you are and how your body feels when doing some simple exercises. • Establish your goals. The goal of most people beginning a new exercise regimen is to lose weight. However, there are other incentives as well. For example, some people might be starting to train for a marathon or another sporting

event. Whatever the reason, know why you’re getting started, as such goals can help you monitor your progress as the year goes on. • Start slowly. Caution should reign supreme when beginning an exercise regimen. Diving into the deep end at the onset increases the risk of injury, which could limit activity for months to come. First get your body acclimated to exercise, then gradually challenge yourself as you see fit. • Leave time to recover. Though it might feel rejuvenating to get back to exercising, it’s important for everyone, but especially those who are just starting, to allow

themselves some time to recover. Allow your muscles and joints to recover between workout sessions. Frequency of sessions can increase as your body gets acclimated, but at first allow a day or two between sessions so your body can recover. • Listen to your body. Exercising after a long hiatus from routine exercise won’t be easy, and your body is likely going to tell you that through certain aches and pains, if not nausea, dizziness or shortness of breath. If any of these symptoms appear, take a break. This could be your body telling you that you’re asking too much and you need


Thursday, March 27, 2014 to take your foot off the gas pedal for a little while. • Consider hiring a personal trainer. Many people are overwhelmed when entering a gym after a long time away. If you find yourself intimidated or simply don’t know where to begin, hire a personal trainer. Many charge by-the-session, so you can learn which machines to use and how to use them after a session or two and then continue working out on your own. If joining a gym as a new member, the gym might offer a couple of complementary personal training sessions. If so, take full advantage of this offer. When beginning a new exercise regimen, don’t forget to let caution reign until your body has adjusted to this healthy lifestyle. — Metro

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Did you know? A review published in a 2010 issue of the medical journal Pediatrics found that children benefited from weight training. In the review, researchers from the Institute of Training Science and Sports Informatics in Cologne, Germany, analyzed studies that focused on children and weightlifting. The review looked at studies going as far back as 60 years, finding that children and adolescents who lifted weights grew stronger. Those who participated in strength training twice per week gained more strength than those who participated just once per week. These findings contradict a longstanding belief that children do not actually get stronger. But while children and adolescents may be getting stronger, researchers found that they do not add as much bulk or obvious muscle mass as adults. Instead, researchers feel the strength changes in children and adolescents stem more from neurological changes that make their nervous systems and muscles interact more efficiently. Though parents have long worried that strength training will stunt their children’s growth, researchers now feel that properly supervised strength training will not stunt growth or lead to growth-plate injuries and will perhaps even reduce their risk of injury as opposed to increasing that risk. — Metro

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Tips for yoga beginners individual’s treatment plan, it’s still necessary that men and women with medical conditions rely on their health care providers for treatment. For example, doctors may recommend yoga to individuals dealing with elevated stress levels, but doctors also may want their patients to take certain medications in order to lower those stress levels. Yoga on its own may be effective, but men and women should still seek professional medical treatment when dealing with health problems. It’s also important that men and women beginning a yoga regimen not take it lightly. Though the atmosphere in a typical yoga studio tends to be serene, yoga is a physically demanding discipline, and those unprepared to deal with such demands often find hough it might once have been considered a trend, yoga has long themselves suffering from injuries. According to the American Academy of since moved on from trendy Orthopaedic Surgeons, injuries to the territory to become a more widely neck, shoulders, spine, legs, and knees accepted discipline that is practiced by are possible when practitioners of yoga millions for its positive impact on do not exercise proper technique and mental and physical health. Though yoga is an ancient practice, only recently caution. So it pays for beginners to heed has it become so popular in the western the following warnings when beginning a yoga regimen. hemisphere, where Sports Marketing • Work with a professional. No Surveys found that roughly 20 million matter how long your neighbor insists Americans over the age of 18 practiced he or she has practiced yoga, it’s still yoga in 2012. That’s a considerable best that you learn the discipline from increase from just four years earlier, a certified instructor. Your neighbor when just under 16 million Americans might know all of the poses, but an inadmitted to practicing yoga. structor with credentials can help men The growing popularity of yoga likely and women with preexisting medical comes as no surprise to its many conditions avoid poses that can practitioners, who often credit yoga exacerbate such conditions. Novices with relieving stress and improving might not know that certain poses can overall fitness. In addition, yoga can increase injury risk for sufferers of also help alleviate chronic pain and, osteoporosis, spinal problems and high according to the Mayo Clinic, reduce risk factors for chronic conditions such or low blood pressure. When trying yoga for the first time, always work with as heart disease and high blood a professional, making sure to discuss pressure. While yoga is beneficial in many ways, any preexisting medical conditions before your initial session. it’s important that men and women • Take things slowly. Its reputanot mistake yoga for medical treattion as a calming discipline often gives ment. Though yoga may be part of an

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beginners the mistaken impression that yoga is an easy discipline to grasp. However, it’s best for beginners to take things slowly before attempting to perform difficult stretches and poses. Yoga is not a competition, so give yourself adequate time to learn proper breathing techniques and figure out ways to maintain your balance. Once you have mastered such techniques, you can then begin to try your hand at more advanced poses. • Warm up before each session. Men and women should warm up before beginning any exercise regimen, and yoga is no exception. Stiff, cold muscles can lead to serious injury whether you’re playing basketball or stretching into a yoga pose. Warm up your muscles with a few minutes of light cardiovascular exercise before beginning a yoga session to reduce your risk of muscle tears or pain when you start stretching or posing. • Dress appropriately. Flexibility is essential when practicing yoga, so make sure your clothing is not restrictive. Women can buy pants made specifically for yoga that stretch easily, making it easier to perform various poses and stretches. Men may also be able to find pants made specifically for yoga, but if not, athletic shorts or track pants can work just as well. • Stop if you feel any physical problems. It is not uncommon, especially for beginners, to experience feelings of dizziness or feel as if your body is becoming overheated during yoga. In such instances, stop immediately, as yoga is supposed to be a pain-free discipline. Ask the instructor for help the moment you start to feel faint, dizzy, overheated, or injured. Physical problems during yoga may be a byproduct of dehydration, so be sure to begin your session fully hydrated and remain so throughout your workout. — Metro


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Core exercises becoming more popular F

itness-conscious men and women have no doubt noticed the growing popularity of core exercises. Core exercises are those that focus on the body’s core muscles, or those around the trunk and pelvis. These exercises are a focus of fitness center programs and have even been integrated into the workout regimens of professional athletes in all sports. But those unfamiliar with core exercises might not understand why they have become so popular, or why they have proven so effective. The following are some of the reasons core exercises have become such a significant part of many training regimens. • Core exercises help improve balance and stability. Core exercises require the core muscles, including the abdominals, hips, lower back, and pelvis, to work together. When muscles work together, the result is improved balance and stability, which helps athletes perform better and non-athletes better cope with the physical demands of everyday life. • Core exercises improve the appearance of abdominals. While it might not be the best reason to workout, physical appearance is a significant reason many people have such a strong commitment to exercise. Core exercises strengthen and tone the underlying muscles of the abdominals. When coupled with aerobic activity that burns abdominal fat, core exercises help turn flabby abdominals into the envy of fellow fitness enthusiasts. • Core exercises impact everyday life. Another reason many people commit to working their core muscles is the impact such activity has on everyday life. Core exercises help improve posture, which can reduce, if not eliminate, lower back pain and other muscle injuries. Eliminating that pain can greatly improve quality of life. In addition, core exercises can make it easier to excel in sports such as golf, a benefit that, to golfers, is worth its weight in gold. • Core exercises are free. Core exercises can be done without any costly machinery, and men and women can do them at home without having to pay for a monthly gym membership. However, it helps to get some instruction before beginning a core exercise regimen, as the exercises are not easy and the risk of injury is high for the inexperienced who don’t have anyone to show them what to do. — Metro


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Healthy ways to banish belly fat

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elly fat is often considered more of a cosmetic issue than a health issue. But few outside of the medical or fitness communities may know that belly fat is not only unsightly but unhealthy as well. Excessive belly fat can increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer. So while many people may want to reduce their belly fat for cosmetic purposes, they can also use improving their overall health as a motivating factor when attempting to trim their waistlines. The following are a few healthy ways to reduce belly fat. • Adopt a healthy diet. Belly fat is often the first victim when men and women adopt a healthy diet and begin to lose weight. Researcher Kristen Hairston, MD, an assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine, found that people who ate 10 grams of soluble fiber per day but made no other changes to their diet built up less fat over time than others. In addition to fiber, you should include fruits, vegetables and lean proteins in your diet. These foods will help you feel more full, which will curb your hunger and, as a result, reduce your caloric intake. • Get some rest. A good night’s sleep, which is at least

seven hours of sleep each night, has been shown to reduce fat over an extended period of time. Though the exact relationship between sleep and belly fat is unknown, a lack of sleep can force men and women to look to sugary beverages or snacks to provide a boost during the day. Such drinks and snacks can cause weight gain, especially among those people who routinely fail to get a good night’s sleep. • Get off the couch and exercise. Exercise is another effective way to reduce belly fat. Numerous studies have shown the positive effect that daily, vigorous exercise can have on overall health. For example, a study conducted by researchers at Duke University found that 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, which includes jogging or working out on a cardiovascular machine, such as an elliptical or a treadmill, four times per week can reduce fat and slow down the buildup of fat over time. Those who want to reduce belly fat will likely need to emphasize vigorous exercise. While those hoping to prevent the buildup of belly fat should know that studies have shown, when coupled with a healthy diet, moderate activity, which includes anything that raises your heart rate, three times per week may be enough to slow down fat buildup. — Metro


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Improving heart health

need not be difficult

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eart disease is one of the leading causes of death across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, ischaemic heart disease, in which blood supply to the heart is reduced, is the leading cause of death in middle- and high-income countries and the fourth-leading cause of death in low-income countries. Perhaps the most troubling fact about the prevalence of heart disease is that it can be largely preventable. The American Heart Association notes that there are several ways to easily improve heart health and avoid becoming one of the millions of people to succumb to heart disease. • Embrace aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is essential to cardiovascular health. Daily aerobic exercise, which can be as simple as walking around the neighborhood, can help men and women lower their blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight and lower their bad cholesterol,

which can circulate in the blood and cause blockages that can lead to heart attack. • Adopt a low-sodium diet that’s also low in cholesterol. Diet can be a friend or foe with regards to heart disease. A heart-friendly diet that’s low in sodium and cholesterol can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels as well as a healthy blood pressure. • Monitor your blood pressure. A blood pressure reading is a staple of many doctor visits, but men and women should monitor their blood pressure even when they aren’t visiting their physicians. High blood pressure does not always produce symptoms, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t potentially deadly. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and can contribute to heart and kidney disease. So be sure to monitor your blood pressure and discuss with your physician ways to lower high blood pressure. — Metro

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

What you may not know about your Kidneys

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arch is National Kidney Month—a great opportunity to learn about your risk for kidney disease and take steps to prevent it! Here are 5 facts about kidney disease from the American Kidney Fund to share with friends and family throughout the month: 1. Kidney disease often has no symptoms. Millions of Americans have kidney disease and don’t know it. Simple tests can you tell you your kidneys are working right. 2. Diabetes and high blood pressure — the leading causes of kidney failure — cause nearly 3 out of every 4 cases of kidney failure. 3. As many as 31 million Americans are living with chronic kidney disease and millions more are at risk. Kidney disease is the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States. 4. You can take simple steps to protect yourself from kidney disease. A healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise and good control of other conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can help prevent kidney disease. 5. Some people are more at risk for kidney disease. You may be at risk if you have diabetes or high blood pressure; have a family history of kidney disease; are over age 60; or African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian American.

What are the kidneys and what do they do? The kidneys are a pair of organs located in the back of the abdomen. Each kidney is about 4 or 5 inches long — about the size of a fist. The function of the kidney is to filter our blood. All the blood in our bodies passes through the kidneys several times a day, removing wastes, controlling the body’s fluid balance, and regulating the balance of electrolytes. As the kidneys filter blood, they create urine, which collects in the kidneys’ pelvis — funnelshaped structures that drain down tubes called ureters to the bladder.

important to get checked for kidney disease. Early kidney disease usually does not have signs or symptoms. Testing is the only way to know how your kidneys are doing. Two tests are needed to check for kidney disease. A blood test checks your GFR, which tells how well your kidneys are filtering. A urine test checks for albumin in your urine. Albumin is a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged. The sooner you know you have It’s possible to lose as much kidney disease, the sooner as 90% of kidney function you can get treatment to without experiencing any help delay or prevent kidney symptoms or problems. Only failure. If you have tests by your physician can diabetes, talk to your health identify degraded kidney care provider about getting function. your kidneys checked. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure Almost half of people starting dialysis have kidney failure caused by diabetes. Diabetes can damage your kidneys. This damage can happen over many years, without you feeling it. But, even if you have diabetes, you can take steps to help keep your kidneys healthy. If you have diabetes, it is

The above article is a compilation of articles from the American Kidney Fund, National Kidney Foundation and WebMD. Your best source for information regarding your health is your Choice Medical Group / Choice Physicians Network Primary Care Physician. Visit us on the web at www.ChoiceMG.com, on Facebook or call 760-242-7777. — Choice Medical Group


Thursday, March 27, 2014

LIVE WELL 2014

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Technology aiming to reduce sports-related head injuries

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thletes who play contact and even noncontact sports typically recognize the risk of injury that comes with competing. Head injuries are particularly cause for concern because of the long-term cognitive damage that may result for such injuries. Many times players, parents and coaches are unaware that a serious head injury has occurred until it is too late. In order to alert to injuries early on and ensure that players can get the prompt care they need, many different alert systems are

currently in research and development, and a few products have already hit the market. For example, the CheckLight is a washable hat created jointly by Reebok and MC10, an electronics company interested in making electronics to conform to the human body. This beaniestyle hat can be worn alone or under a helmet and has an electronics module inside of it. Should a potential head injury occur, an LED light readout will be triggered. Yellow indicates the blow was moderate, while red indicates a severe impact. Other sen-

sors in development include a patch that can be attached to a player. The patch would then send out wireless data when impact injuries have occurred. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons says traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of sports-related deaths, adding that sports and recreational activities contribute to roughly 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children and adolescents. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is defined as a jolt

or blow to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Mild cases may be not be life-threatening. However, repeated cases or severe jolts may result in serious conditions and even lead to death. Preventing head injuries in sports is a goal of many parents, coaches and sports administrators. Sensors that can alert to head injuries or help people be more conscious of head trauma may prove a significant step toward achieving that goal. — Metro


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Join the movement and Walk the Block

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n Friday, April 11th at 8 a.m. hundreds of High Desert residents will join Desert Valley Medical Group and take a step in the right direction. They are part of a growing movement that is discovering the benefits of walking and they will participate in the 2014 Block Walk. It might sound too good to be true, but regular walking can help you reach the recommended level of physical activity of a few hours a week of moderate exercise. It can protect you against a number of illnesses and can easily become part of a busy lifestyle and you can do it virtually anywhere, at any time. The Block Walk event is designed to encourage and inspire people to make regular exercise part of their routine and is fully supported by Desert Valley Medical Group. Brisk walking can be an excellent aerobic exercise that burns calories. For example someone who weighs 132lbs who walks briskly at about 4 miles per hour for half an hour uses up around 150 calories. To lose excess weight, you need to make sure you’re burning up more calories than you take in through eating and drinking. You’re also likely to need to exercise more than the recommended target of 2.5 hours per week. As with all types of exercise, not only is walking good for your physical health, but it improves your mood, reduces stress and anxiety and

builds self-esteem. Any sort of exercise causes the release of particular hormones called endorphins – these hormones create a ‘natural high’ bringing about changes in your body that make you feel better and happier. If you are only now beginning to walk regularly you may feel slightly tired in the first week or two. People who exercise regularly generally feel they have more energy than inactive people. In addition, regular physical activity will mean you sleep better, provided you don’t do it too soon before going to bed – this can disrupt your sleep so leave about four hours between exercising and getting your head down. Gentle exercise is fine though – heading out for a

light stroll after your evening meal might help you to wind down before bedtime. Walking can also help reduce joint pain, it can help to prevent back pain and alleviate it if it’s already a problem for you. As well as keeping you fit and in good shape, staying active will mean you’re less likely to develop a range of health problems in the future. Using walking to help you meet the recommended physical activity targets reduces your risk of: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease (which can lead to angina, heart attack or stroke), type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, especially colon and breast cancer and mental health problems.

If you haven’t been active for a while, walking is one of the easiest ways to get started. Begin slowly and gradually increase how much walking you do. Build walking into your daily routine so that it becomes a habit – that way it will be easier to keep it up. The Block Walk will begin at The Desert Valley Charitable Foundation on Bear Valley Road in Victorville and is open to all levels who will walk the 1.5 mile route.It is the perfect place to ‘Join the Movement’ with Desert Valley Medical Group. Call for registration information at 760-241-8000, Ext. 8568 today. — Desert Valley Medical Group


Thursday, March 27, 2014

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Get the facts on stomach bugs to feel better fast

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ew things can prove more painful or inconvenient than stomach bugs. Digestive tract illnesses can cause persons to spend many hours of the day running to restrooms while confining others to the house for extended periods of time. Though often temporary, stomach bugs can last several days to more than a week and they may lead to more dire situations if not properly treated.

fever, achiness and lethargy.

When symptoms begin to subside, sufferers can gradually add foods back Treatment into their diets. But men and women Many people opt for a wait-and-see should avoid particularly spicy or approach when struck with stomach heavy foods until they are convinced bugs. Gastroenteritis often heals on that they have fully recovered. its own. Some refer to it as a “24-hourMany people are tempted to turn bug” and find that once the stomach to an anti-diarrheal medication at the has been purged clean, the offender no first sign of a stomach bug. However, longer wreaks havoc on the body. But the side effects of gastroenteritis stomach bugs can be more persistent are the body’s method of ridding as well. Sufferers should visit a doctor itself from whatever has brought on if vomiting or diarrhea last more than symptoms. Failure to let nature run Causes a few days. Doctors may take a stool its course could result in a rebound of Stomach bugs are known as sample to determine what’s behind symptoms or a longer-lasting sickgastroenteritis, a condition the bug. In the event of a bacterial ness. characterized by an inflamed and infection, an antibiotic may be needed To avoid suffering from stomach irritated stomach and intestines. The to clear up the infection. Visiting a bugs, men and women should conMayo Clinic says people are most doctor when stomach problems persist sider the following tips. likely to contract gastroenteritis after is also beneficial because he or she • Frequently wash your hands eating contaminated foods or drinkmay be able to rule out certain condiwhen preparing food and thoroughly ing contaminated water. Sharing tions, such as colitis, ulcers or Crohn’s cook foods, particularly meats, items, like utensils, with someone who disease. poultry and eggs, to reduce potential is infected is another way to contract exposure to bacteria. gastroenteritis. Viral gastroenteritis Helpful hints • E. coli may be present on some is caused by a virus that enters the When a stomach bug strikes, it is fresh produce, so wash produce body. However, bacteria and parabest to refrain from eating, especially carefully before consumption. sites also are responsible for stomach when vomiting regularly. Stick to • Consider taking a probiotic supbug outbreaks. Viruses that trigger clear broths and liquids, which are plement to increase the amount of gastroenteritis include adenoviruses, easy on the digestive system, while good bacteria in your digestive tract. rotaviruses, calciviruses, astrovithe stomach is irritated. Once vomit- Yogurt also contains live cultures ruses, and noroviruses. Bacteria that ing has subsided, sufferers should opt that are good at maintaining can cause gastroenteritis include E. for a bland diet. When plagued by di- digestive health. coli, salmonella, campylobacter, and arrhea, the BRAT diet is adviseable. • Avoid contact with people who shingella. This acronym stands for Bananas, claim to have the stomach flu. Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. These • Promptly consult a doctor if Symptoms foods can help bind a person and are symptoms do not go away or if you Stomach bugs often strike suddenly. relatively easy to digest. have a high fever or blood in your Sufferers may experience queasiness Because a stomach bug often stool. This may indicate a different or nausea and a loss of appetite. Pain leads to dehydration, drink plenty of illness. or bloating in the stomach also may fluids. To restore salt and electrolyte Stomach bugs are never enjoyable, occur. Vomiting and diarrhea often balances, sports drinks are advisebut there are ways to manage the cause many people to suspect someable for adults, while a beverage like symptoms and get back on the road thing is wrong, and some stomach Pedialyte is best for children and the to recovery. conditions are also accompanied by elderly. — Metro


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Healthy Mind, Healthy Me:

Use the power of your mind to improve your life

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he brain is a very powerful organ. It is like the super computer for our body. The brain is responsible for every cell in our body. It controls our digestion, our breathing, our hormones, our circulation and our mood. Yes, our mood. The thoughts that we think, the feelings we have, all come from our brain. Much like a computer, the brain takes in all the information, situations, and circumstances around it. The brain then processes all of that information into thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. What if you could control those thoughts and actually reprogram your brain? Here are some tips and tricks to help you refocus your thoughts to promote your health and well-being: 1. Focus on the positive. Look at the world around you. Do you see it as a bleak, cold, unfriendly place or do you see it as a wonderful, happy place? When we see all the negativity in the world, we will bring more negativity to us. When we see all the good things this world can bring, we attract more goodness into our life. Be on the lookout for the joyful, the beautiful, the amazing, and you will see more joy, more beauty, and more amazing. You will naturally be more relaxed and free of stress. By

let negative thoughts enter my mind” is another useful technique. 3. Remind yourself. Start out your day with something positive. This can be a song, a prayer, a poem, or HOLLY anything that uplifts your HANDORF spirit. This will help you start out the day on a positive note. As you go reducing stress, you can about your day, remind reduce your risk of serious yourself frequently to focus health problems. on the positive. You can 2. Banish negativity. actually reverse a bad mood, Negative things are going to happen in our day. It can’t banish a headache, and remove fatigue by doing this. be avoided. If we choose to Instead of saying to yourself, let those negative things “I’m so mad, I have a headfester in our minds, they ache, or I’m very tired,” try will grow like weeds in a saying “I am happy, I feel garden. Do not allow great, I have lots of energy.” negative thought to take Say it until you mean it and root in your mind. The best you will be amazed at how thing to do is acknowledge that something negative has different you will feel. 4. Be present. Many happened and then move on. Trying to find a positive side people enjoy reliving terrible events from their past. to a negative situation will They think about the event, also help you let go of talk about the event, and negative thoughts. Another re-live the event over and trick is to picture the negative though as a bubble over again. Many people also like to live in a future that gets bigger and bigwhere they will be happy. ger until it pops. Once it is popped, it is out of your life. They will talk about all the Saying to yourself, “I will not negativity they are cur-

rently living in and wait for some future date to be finally be at peace. When we let go of past hurt and stop waiting for some future happiness, we begin to see the beauty of the present moment. To open yourself up to being present at every moment throughout your day, remember to forgive the past, be hopeful for the future, and enjoy the present. It is easy for us to drift off from time to time during the day. If you feel you are slipping back into the past or pushing yourself into the future, get back to the present by saying to yourself “be in this moment.” Say it over and over until you feel yourself returning to the present. 5. Smile. Feel a bad mood coming on? Try smiling. Research shows that the act of smiling releases hormones in your brain called endorphins, which makes a person feel happy and promotes a good mood. — Holly Handorf, RN, BSN Health Educator, Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group


Thursday, March 27, 2014

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Caution necessary when using saunas ercise caution when making use of saunas. The following are a few tips sauna users should employ to ensure their next steamy sauna session does not produce any unwanted consequences. • Stay hydrated. It’s easy to become dehydrated when spending time in a sauna, and dehydration can lead to heat stroke if sauna users don’t replenish themselves with liquid. This is why it’s important for sauna users to stay hydrated when using a sauna and to drink several glasses of water after each sauna session. Many people like saunas because they feel they sweat out any toxins or heavy metals within the body while in the sauna. Though some evidence exists to any men and women Watch, advises that those support that theory, the body enjoy sitting in a with poorly controlled blood is not only losing those sauna after particular- pressure, abnormal heart harmful things like toxins ly grueling workouts. That’s rhythms, unstable angina, and metals while in the especially true for those who and advanced heart failure sauna but also lots of water. suffer from chronic pain, as or heart valve disease stay This is why it’s important heat has long been used as cool and avoid saunas. In that men and women ima remedy for muscle aches addition, pregnant women, mediately rehydrate with and pains, with some studies who risk raising their body several glasses of water after indicating that warm, moist temperature and suffering leaving the sauna. heat can raise endorphin from fainting spells or heat • Steer clear of the sauna levels in the brain and exhaustion when spending if you are on medications nervous system while time in a sauna, and children or if you have consumed simultaneously decreasing should avoid saunas entirely. alcohol. Alcohol and stress hormone levels. Those uncertain about sauna certain medications can Though some dispute the usage and the potential impair sweating, increasing health benefits of saunas, impact of such usage on a person’s risk of overheatmany agree that saunas are their health should consult ing before and after a sauna safe for many people. Harvey their physicians before using session. Men and women on Simon, M.D., a professor of saunas. such medications may medicine at Harvard Medical But even sauna users with- already be at risk of overSchool and the editor in chief out preexisting heating even before they of Harvard Men’s Health medical conditions must exenter a sauna, a risk that

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only increases significantly when they get in the sauna. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning the more alcohol a person consumes, the more likely that person is to urinate and lose water as a result. Water in the body is essential for men and women using a sauna. Without sufficient water in their bodies, men and women won’t be able to produce adequate sweat and will put themselves at risk of overheating. This is why it’s also beneficial for men and women to avoid saunas the morning after they consume alcohol, when the body might still be mildly or even significantly dehydrated from the previous night’s alcohol consumption. • Allow the body to cool down after using the sauna. Many people do not have saunas in their homes and therefore only use public saunas, such as those in gyms or spas. When using a public sauna, men and women may prefer to take a hot or warm shower immediately after exiting the sauna. But the body needs to cool down gradually after it’s been in a sauna, so men and women must resist the temptation to jump right into a cold shower after exiting the sauna. Instead, men and women should put on a robe when they leave the sauna and allow their bodies to cool before taking a shower. — Metro


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

These snacks pack an energetic punch

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any adults find themselves feeling drowsy in the hours after they eat lunch. A heavy lunch, a staid office atmosphere or a combination of the two can make professionals feel sleepy as the workday winds down. Though some might opt for a second cup of coffee, the immediate energy boost provided by caffeine quickly wears off, leaving men and women feeling even more tired as a result. Oftentimes, the right mid-afternoon snack can provide the energy boosts adults need to stay productive throughout the workday. The following are a handful of healthy snacks that tend to provide a lot of energy. • Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more people are opting for this snack that’s rich in calcium, protein, phosphorous, and

zinc. Traditional yogurt tends to provide a quick energy boost, as it is generally easy to digest, before that boost quickly fades. Greek yogurt is thicker than traditional yogurt, so it does not digest so easily, producing more sustained energy levels as a result. However, Greek yogurt is also loaded with protein, helping men and women feel fuller longer. That can be beneficial for those who want to lose weight, as the feeling of fullness that Greek yogurt provides means those who eat it are less likely to eat more snacks throughout the day. • Whole grains: Whole grain snacks are loaded with energizing ingredients, including fiber, iron, magnesium, and protein. Whole wheat snacks are also loaded with B vitamins, which help people fight fatigue and stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, the body takes

longer to absorb the complex carbohydrates found in whole wheat snacks, which means the body can maintain stable blood sugar levels for extended periods of time, and that leads to a long-lasting energy boost. White bread and simple carbohydrates provide an immediate, yet temporary, energy boost when people’s blood sugar levels spike. But once that initial energy boost subsides, men and women will be left feeling fatigued. • Edamame: Many people may know edamame from recipes, but few might know edamame can be an energy-boosting snack as well. Edamame are boiled soybeans that are rich in protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Each of these things helps the body sustain energy levels. In addition, edamame is also packed with a trace mineral known as molybdenum that

helps cells function properly while enhancing alertness and improving concentration. • Almonds: Almonds are loaded with ingredients that increase energy levels, including vitamin E, phosphorous, vitamin B2, and magnesium, which serves numerous beneficial functions, including aiding in the production of energy and relieving stress and anxiety. Because they are rich in protein and fiber, almonds take longer for the body to digest, which means energy levels will stay up for longer periods of time than they would for those snacks that are easily digested. Almonds also contain healthy fats that curb appetite, making it less likely that men and women who snack on almonds will overeat and find themselves fighting the fatigue that’s often a byproduct of overeating. — Metro


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Healthy habits

How to use diet to supplement your workout routine Metro Creative

A healthy breakfast is a great way to supplement a workout routine.

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en and women who have successfully adopted healthy lifestyles know full well that combining exercise with a healthy diet is the key to getting and staying healthy. Simply visiting the gym won’t work if it’s not coupled with a healthy diet. But many people incorrectly assume that a healthy diet is one devoid of taste. That simply isn’t true. In fact, a healthy diet does not necessarily restrict foods, but how frequently some of those risk-

necessarily healthy. Avoid breakfast sandwiches that are high in fat and calories, and avoid eating fried foods for breakfast. For those men and women who prefer to workout first thing in the morning, keep in mind it’s important to eat before working out, even if those workouts are in the wee hours of the morning. Working out on an empty stomach can cause feelings of lightheadedness. In addition, many people are sluggish if they exercise on an empty stomach, which can make workouts less effective. If eating before a morning workout isn’t your thing, consider going with a small snack before beginning your routine. If even that is not ideal, then consider a snack before bedtime. However, this option won’t necessarily prove effective, as your body might just consume all of the ier foods can be consumed. energy this snack provides The following are some of the while you’re asleep. steps men and women can • Reassess your take to ensure their workouts snacking habits. If greasy aren’t losing their effectivepotato chips or sleep-inducness due to unhealthy eating ing baked goods like brownies habits. are your idea of the perfect • Start the day off with snack, then it’s time to reasa healthy breakfast. Many sess your snacking habits. foods make healthy breakfast Snacks should not induce options, including fruit and sleep, but provide a little whole-grain cereals. Unforextra energy and reduce any tunately, on-the-go men and hunger pangs. Fresh fruit, women often reach for what’s yogurt, energy bars, and even readily available, and what’s whole-grain crackers with readily available isn’t a little peanut butter each

make for a healthy snack that won’t zap you of valuable energy during the day. • Let food help your muscles recover. Some people feel they might negate the positive effects of their workout if they eat immediately after exercising. That’s not necessarily true. In fact, foods that contain protein and carbohydrates can actually help your muscles recover after a workout. Yogurt (Greek yogurt is packed with protein), fruit, dried fruit, and nuts make great post-workout food options, and none will negate the effect of that grueling workout you just finished. In general, the longer you wait to eat after exercising, the longer it will take your muscles to recover. • Stay hydrated. Water is an essential part of a healthy diet, and it’s even more essential before, during and after a workout. When exercising, your body will lose a significant amount of water, which can cause the body to dehydrate. Drink water before and after your workout, and don’t forget to focus on staying hydrated during your workout as well. Daily exercise is essential to longterm health. But all those hours in the gym won’t pay off if they’re not combined with healthy eating habits. — Metro


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Clean produce properly to avoid contaminants

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he demand for fresh produce has increased in recent years as more people are turning to fresh fruits and vegetables for their nutritional value. That increase in demand has forced many suppliers to import more produce from other countries, which could be putting consumers’ health at risk. Although the United States and Canada may have stringent standards for produce, many other countries do not. Less stringent regulations overseas can result in irrigation water carrying sewage, pollutants and parasites to crops, and herbicides and pesticides may be used in abundance in foreign countries where such usage is subject to little, if any, oversight. Fewer regulations means some farms pay more attention to profit than to the purity and safety of crops. The Pure Food Growers of America states that the average American consumes more than 10 pounds of insecticides and herbicides every year from produce. Many of these substances are proven carcinogens. Thoroughly washing and soaking fresh produce is the key to removing potential hazards from foods. Organic fruits and vegetables may be less risky, but even organic foods are susceptible to contamination because of potentially unsafe handling practices. All produce should be washed before eaten. Before cleaning produce, stock up on a few supplies. You will need

a large plastic bowl, some apple cider vinegar or baking soda and a produce brush. Add enough cool water to cover the produce you will be washing. Add either three tablespoons per gallon of water of the vinegar to the bowl or sprinkle about three tablespoons of the baking soda into the water. It’s best not to mix both the vinegar and the baking soda, or you may end up with a foaming, overflowing concoction thanks to the chemical reaction that occurs when vinegar mixes with baking soda. Add the vegetables or fruit to the treated water and allow it to soak for around 10 minutes. Use a vegetable brush to thoroughly scrub the produce. Some foods, like celery and lettuce, have dirt or bugs trapped in their

ribs and folds. Soaking and scrubbing can dislodge any bugs. Instead of washing the entire head at once, wash lettuce leaves as they are used to retain the vitamins and minerals. After rinsing the produce, allow to dry before eating. A salad spinner can help dry lettuce and cabbage leaves so they are not soggy. It is best to wash produce right before using it rather than washing it in advance. Moisture encourages bacterial growth and hasten spoiling. Even foods that have a rind, such as melons, should be washed prior to eating to avoid contamination from the rind to the flesh inside. The Dirty Dozen Certain foods are dirtier than others in terms of the

pesticides they contain. However, foods that were grown without pesticides may still be contaminated by animal feces and bacteria from the soil and irrigation. That being said, here are the 12 foods that are most likely to contain the highest amounts of pesticide residue, according to The Environmental Working Group. 1. Apples 2. Celery 3. Cherry tomatoes 4. Cucumbers 5. Grapes 6. Hot peppers 7. Nectarines 8. Peaches 9. Potatoes 10. Spinach 11. Strawberries 12. Sweet bell peppers — Metro


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The nutritive power of apples

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ho has not heard the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? It may seem unlikely that one fruit could be so effective at maintaining good health, but apples really are a super food. Apples are a member of the Rose family and are related to pears, peaches, apricots and plums. Though considered a fall fruit, apples can be enjoyed year-round thanks to commercial food production and importing. Apart from being sweet, sometimes sour and refreshingly crisp, apples pack a number of nutritional benefits. Research has shown that apples can help to reduce a person’s risk of heart disease and help those with diabetes. In addition, apples can help fight cancer and prevent dental problems. According to new information from long-running studies published in the British Medical Journal, eating at least two servings a week of whole

Metro Creative

Whether gala, golden delicious, granny Smith or braeburn, apples make for a nutritious snack.

fruit, particularly apples, blueberries or grapes, reduces a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes by around 23 percent. Apples are high in many antioxidants and, as a result, this makes them especially valuable at fighting illness. For example, the diseasefighting compounds in antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers by neutralizing free radicals. Apples also are very high in fiber. Fiber is needed to help a person feel full and can also regulate digestive function. Fiber also can help reduce cholesterol by preventing the buildup of cholesterol-causing plaques in the blood vessels, improving cardiovascular function and possibly reducing risk of a stroke as a result. In addition to working their magic inside of the body, apples can have a noticeable impact on physical appearance as well. Apples are sometimes referred to as “nature’s toothbrushes” because they can brighten and clean

the teeth. The crisp, abrasive texture stimulates the gums and removes debris from the teeth. What’s more, the natural mild acidity of apples helps to stimulate saliva production that can rinse away germs that lead to plaque. An apple weighs in at under 100 calories per serving, making them a low-fat and ideal snack any time of the day. Because they are low in calories and full of fiber, apples can help men and women maintain a healthy weight. Because apples can be plagued by insects and parasites, some growers repeatedly spray the trees with pesticides. It is adviseable to buy organic apples to avoid many of the pesticide dangers and to be able to safely eat the apples raw. There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples on the market today. With such variety, availability and health benefits, apples make a convenient and nutritious snack. — Metro


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

The growing problem of peanut allergies

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arents tend to be quite familiar with food allergies. In an effort to protect youngsters, schools have begun to crack down more regularly on foods that tend to cause allergic reactions, often placing restrictions on what children can bring in for lunches or snacks. Parents and children who grew up around peanut and tree nut allergies are quite familiar with what triggers allergic reactions associated with such foods, and the potential side effects of consuming these foods. But those who are less experienced with food allergies may not know what to expect. According to the Mayo Clinic, being allergic to nuts is one of the more common food allergies, especially among children. Many people who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to tree nuts, including walnuts, almonds and pecans. As with any allergen, reactions vary from person to person. Some may experience mild symptoms, such as light rashes or swelling, while others may have severe reactions, including anaphylactic shock, which is characterized by shortness of breath, a severe drop in blood pressure, constriction of airways, and potential heart failure. According to Spire Health Partners, more than 3 million people in the United States have a nut allergy, and one-third of them will suffer from a severe symptom if they ingest nuts. A peanut allergy occurs

Metro Creative

The number of children with peanut allergies has grown considerably in the last 10-15 years. when your body mistakenly identifies peanut proteins as something that can be harmful. Just as your body might fight a cold, it releases chemicals from the immune system to fight off the peanut invader. The number of kids with peanut allergies has been increasing over the last 10-15 years, doubling in the last halfdecade alone. It isn’t known why some people are prone to nut allergies while others are not. However, Michael C. Young, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a practicing pediatrician at Children’s Hospital, has a few ideas. Nursing mothers and very young children are eating more peanuts, particularly

in the form of peanut butter, than ever before, something that Young feels could be causing a higher incidence rate of peanut allergies. Young also theorizes that better hygiene may play a role, suggesting that because children have fewer infections (due to improved hygiene and routine immunizations), their immune systems are more likely to target other things, such as foods and environmental factors, resulting in allergies. Although peanut allergies are prevalent and can be dangerous, there is no reason to act rashly. Young notes that approximately 20 percent of children will outgrow their peanut allergies by the age of 6, and he advises that it is

worth having a child retested as they get older to gauge if there have been any changes in the status of the peanut allergy. When dealing with peanut allergies, it is important to separate myths from facts. • Direct contact is the most common cause of a reaction. This results from eating peanuts or foods that contain peanuts. Crosscontamination,which occurs when peanuts unintentionally come into contact with other foods, is another common cause. • Some people can have a reaction by touching peanuts with their skin. A rash may occur, but a very dangerous reaction will not result unless the peanuts enter the mouth or come into contact with the nose or eyes. • An allergic reaction can occur from inhalation of peanut dust, such as peanut flour or ground shells during processing. Aerosol cooking sprays that contain peanut oil also can produce a reaction. It is important to note that the smell of peanuts will not induce an allergic reaction. • Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found that peanut proteins can be detected in some people’s saliva after eating peanuts. A kiss could transfer some of the peanut allergens to another person. • Sometimes an allergy is not really an allergy, but rather an intolerance to a certain food. A food intolerance does not involve the immune system. A person with a food


Thursday, March 27, 2014

LIVE WELL 2014

you sweat away those extra pounds. • Get off the couch. Many FROM PAGE 3 men and women prefer to unwind on the couch as they missed workouts. catch up on their favorite • Prepare meals ahead of television shows and movies. time. If working out in the But such unwinding should morning simply won’t work not come at the expense out for you, then consider of working out. Much like planning meals in advance so catching up on work at the you can free up time between gym, you also can catch up the office and dinner each on your favorite shows and night. For example, slow movies while at the gym. cookers and crockpots make Many smartphones and it possible to start making tablets now have apps that dinner in the early mornallow users to access ing and require little or no subscription streaming effort once you arrive home services, so users who can’t in the evening. Plan to cook find time to exercise should a few meals each week in a take advantage of such apps slow cooker, which will free and watch their favorite up time for you to workout shows and movies from when you would otherwise be the treadmill instead of the preparing dinner. couch. Readers who can • Work while you comfortably read while workout. Smartphones and exercising can follow a tablets have made it easier similar route and read on the than ever to get work done elliptical instead of sitting while you’re away from work. sedentary in a chair as they This includes getting some make their way through the work done while you’re latest bestseller. getting in your weekly Finding time to exercise recommended aerobic can be difficult, but even activity on the treadmill, the busiest men and women elliptical machine or exercise have several options at their bike. Thanks to smartphones disposal as they attempt to and tablets, you can now make fitness a bigger priority read and answer emails and in their lives. work on some projects while — Metro

FIND TIME

intolerance can eat small amounts of the food with only mild symptoms, such as indigestion, rather than a severe reaction with a true allergy. While being diligent in reading food labels and asking what ingredients are in prepared foods at restaurants is key for people with peanut allergies, so is avoiding potential skin contact. This means thor-

oughly washing areas where peanuts or peanut butter may have been and ensuring other children wash up after lunch. Peanut allergies are foremost on the minds of parents and educators. Understanding what is involved in a peanut allergy can help everyone make informed decisions about protecting youngsters. — Metro

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the exercise group participants learning to associate the symptoms common to FROM PAGE 4 both fear and exercise, such as sweating and an elevated studying 60 participants heart rate, with something with heightened sensitivity positive (exercise) instead to anxiety, Otto and Smits of something negative found that the subjects who (anxiety). participated in a two-week Regular exercise benefits exercise program exhibited the human body in numermarked improvements in ous ways, not the least of anxiety sensitivity comwhich is its impact on the pared to those participants brain. More information on who did not take part in the the link between exercise exercise program. Otto and and improved mental health Smith concluded that this is available at www.apa.org. improvement was a result of — Metro

EXERCISE

the doctor during the course of therapy. Another pitfall of FROM PAGE 7 injectable HGH is that it is an artificial source of the Assistant Professor of Medi- hormone. When the body cine at Hofstra/North Shore becomes accustomed to LIJ School of receiving HGH from an Medicine, the largest review external source, the pituof trials with HGH demonitary gland may decrease strate that long-term use of the natural production of growth hormone caused an HGH. Should a person cease average 2.3 kilogram (about 5 therapy, he or she may find lbs) loss of weight, 2.6 kg (5.6 that they are now deficient in lbs) loss of fat, 1.4 kg (3 lbs) the hormone. increase in lean body mass The Mayo Clinic says and no consistent change in that HGH isn’t the magical bone density. Patients using answer for staving off aging. HGH tend to feel better, The organization warns that too, as seen in quality of life there is little evidence that scores. But these benefits taking HGH supplements often come at a cost. provides any measurable One significant disadvanbenefit for healthy inditage of HGH injections is viduals and it may actually that they are very expensive. result in side effects that are Over the course of a year, unhealthy. These can include men and women receiving carpal tunnel syndrome, HGH injections can expect swelling in the arms and legs, to pay thousands of dollars joint pain, muscle pain, and for those injections, particu- enlargement of breast tissue larly if they are not covered in men. HGH also may by insurance. Injections contribute to conditions also can only be given by a such as diabetes and heart licensed medical practitioner, disease. requiring multiple trips to — Metro

HORMONE


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LIVE WELL 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Live Well March 2014  
Live Well March 2014