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Jul 152017
 

(NC) Getting healthy can sometimes feel like an impossible feat, and you don’t always know where to start. It’s important to begin with simple steps that will become habits. Before you know it, they will be a part of your everyday routine and you’ll see benefits soon.

  1. Keep hydrated. Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day helps your body function properly. It keeps you hydrated and eliminates toxins. Take a reusable water bottle to work and keep it on your desk as a reminder to sip throughout the day.

  2. Eat colourful food. The more colourful the foods you choose are, the more likely they’ll be packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. For example, adding one serving of vibrant yellow Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit to your daily diet provides all your vitamin C needs and as much potassium as a medium banana. Cut and scoop SunGold kiwis for a tropical sweet snack or pair them with other colourful foods for a nutritious meal.

  3. Add exercise to your day. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to working out — some like yoga classes, others prefer visiting a gym, some like a long walk after dinner. Discover what works for you and add it to your day in the timeframe that suits your schedule. Remember, if it feels like a chore, it will be harder to build into your regular routine.

  4. Rest up. Silence your phone and get a good night’s sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep is proven to help your overall well-being. It is important for maintaining hormonal balance, increasing cognition and memory, and aiding in digestion.

  5. Repeat. Repetition is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The more you incorporate healthy habits into your everyday, the easier it will become.

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Jun 222017
 

(NC) Sizzling summer days call for lounging at the cottage, entertaining in the backyard and adventures outdoors. When having fun under the sun, don’t forget to drink plenty of cool liquids before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration. Here is a breakdown from Health Canada on the differences between popular thirst quenchers.

Water. Water really is the best hydrating liquid. Your need for water will vary depending on your activity level, diet, exposure to heat, perspiration rate and sodium concentration in your sweat. Canada’s Food Guide recommends drinking more water in hot weather or when you are very active.

Juices and sports drinks. Considering that you need to be well hydrated in the heat, choosing these popular drinks can be hard on your wallet and could be dangerous for diabetics. If you want to give plain old water a tasty boost, try flavouring it with natural fruit for a more refreshing and budget-friendly alternative.

Caffeinated beverages. Caffeine is a diuretic that increases urination, but regular caffeine drinkers have adjusted to its effects and may continue to drink it during extreme heat. If you don’t have a regular latte habit, during the midst of a heat wave isn’t the time to start or to increase your consumption.

Fruits and vegetables. Finding it difficult to drink enough liquids with your busy schedule? Fruits and vegetables are a great snack to increase daily water consumption, and their high water content can help improve your hydration. Think fresh watermelon on the patio or orange slices after a soccer match.

Remember that thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration, as many people, especially older adults, may have a reduced ability to feel thirst. Drink before you feel thirsty, and try to leave yourself cheerful reminders, like sticky notes or a colourful glass to drink from.

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May 092017
 

(BPT) – Americans are now living longer than ever before. In fact, one of the fastest growing segments is people over the age of 85 who will represent 20 percent of the population by the year 2040. Because we are living longer, certain conditions specific to seniors are also on a steady rise. Dehydration, falls, fractures, cognition loss and attention deficits are now becoming more commonplace.

In a recent paper titled “Salt Appetite Across Generations” presented at a medical conference in Switzerland, Israeli researchers from the University of Haifa indicated that among seniors, a reduced sense of thirst could increase the increased risk of serious dehydration. They also noted that the appetite for salt does not diminish with age, and suggested that this could be used to help sustain hydration and prevent the dangerous symptoms that result from dehydration.

Another study published in the American Journal of Hypertension identified significant risks to cardiovascular health and longevity from consuming any less than 1, or more than 3 teaspoons of salt per day. Fortunately, most Americans, including seniors, when left to their own choice consume right in the middle of this range.

Seniors in assisted living centers can be especially susceptible to the dangers of low salt diets. In 2013 a task force of 12 professional medical, nursing, and nutritional organizations assembled by the Pioneer Network published the “New Dining Practice Standards.” Their report concluded that low salt diets were contributing to malnutrition and weight loss among a significant percentage of seniors in assisted living facilities.

Low salt diets can also cause seniors to suffer from mild hyponatremia, an electrolyte imbalance in the blood which may not sound bad but can lead directly to walking impairment, attention deficits and a much higher frequency of falls. Several recent medical papers found a direct relationship between hyponatremia and unsteadiness, falls, bone fractures and attention deficits.

Falls are one of the most serious problems for the elderly and about a third of people over 65 fall at least once every year. Fall-related injuries in the elderly are associated with numerous psychological and physical consequences and are a leading cause of bone breakage and hip fractures, which can lead to complications and permanent disability or death. Some seniors do need a low salt diets but many do not, and it should not be assumed that they all do or benefit from when in fact the opposite may be the case.

May 072017
 

(NC) Retirement should be your golden years — a time to relax, play golf and connect with loved ones. However, not everyone makes the transition smoothly, especially if living with a health condition like diabetes.

“For all seniors, it’s important to know how to reduce stress and manage health conditions. But for those living with diabetes, it can be even more complicated,” says Toronto endocrinologist Harpreet S. Bajaj, MD, MPH. “It’s important to know what lifestyle changes can help you feel your best or what technology is available to make your life even simpler.”

Here are few tips to help you reduce stress and enjoy your golden years.

  1. Get outside: Fresh air is a simple remedy that provides restorative health benefits. Explore the outdoors, read on a bench, or grab a coffee with a good friend. It’s important to value physical and mental health, and discovering the great outdoors benefits both.

  2. Find a furry friend: Pets can help provide soothing comfort and improve overall well-being. Known to reduce stress, animals can be loving companions with positive lifestyle effects. Cuddle with your cat or walk a dog and experience their fun-loving nature.

  3. Stay on top of your health: A disease like diabetes can be difficult to manage, but new technology and mobile apps are making it easier. The Contour Next One meter and its app make it easy for people with diabetes to use their smartphones to manage the condition. The system features an easy-to-use wireless smart meter that connects to the app to store and analyze patient blood sugar levels. Patients have a greater sense of independence and less anxiety over maintaining optimal blood glucose levels. The new meter also uses coloured lights to quickly indicate if a reading is too high, too low, or within target range, making results simple to understand.

  4. Breathing exercises: Taking a moment to focus on breathing is important. Breathing exercises are a convenient and effective stress reliever that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Inhaling deeply and taking controlled breaths will help diminish anxiety and leave you in a state of calm and self-awareness.

Find more information at www.contournextone.ca.

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Mar 302017
 

(NC) When counselling people for weight, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, the topic of carbohydrates is always discussed. I frequently see two opposite patterns when it comes to the consumption of carbohydrate sources such as breads, cereals, and pastas. One is the group of people who abstain from carbohydrates completely because of perceived weight gain consequences, thus consuming very limited amounts and finding themselves tired, irritable and unable to concentrate. The other is the group who makes poor choices in how frequently they consume carbohydrates, consequently in-taking less nutrients, vitamins and minerals, while eating unhealthier fats, added sugar, sodium and calories.

I explain that we need carbohydrates because they:

• Are the body’s main and preferred source of energy

• Are necessary for optimal brain function

• Provide key vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, iron, zinc and magnesium

• Can contain high fiber that:

• Regulates blood sugar

• Reduces blood cholesterol

• Decreases the risk of chronic diseases

• Supports good bowel function

• Makes us feel full, or satisfied, which helps manage body weight

I teach people to:

• Choose high fiber and nutrient-dense most, or nearly all of the time

• Have appropriate amounts, being aware of serving vs portion sizes

• Limit the added fats and sugars found in sauces, spreads, gravies and other condiments

• Make the plate 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 lean protein and ¼ whole grain

I use the example of eating dinner at a pasta restaurant. Something like fettuccine alfredo is served to cover the entire plate, made with white noodles, and smothered with a high fat sauce. It comes with a minimal amount of protein and a caesar side salad. A better alternative would be to choose a whole grain pasta to accompany an adequate protein source with a dark green salad and side of steamed vegetables.

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.

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Feb 162017
 

(NC) Canada’s 150 years is a rich history chock-full of milestone achievements that leave us with more than 150 reasons to be proud. As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, the nation is bursting at the seams with a mosaic of talents that are renowned around the world. Here’s a look at three Canadian-isms that put the “great” in “great white north.”

Music to the World’s Ears. Canada’s roster of musical talent is indisputable. From rock and roll, to bluegrass, R&B and hip hop, our country continues to export many musicians who have gone on to top national and international charts, breaking records and collecting accolades along the way. Artists like Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Drake and Justin Bieber make our sounds heard around the world.

Perfect politeness. A study conducted by a group of students at McMaster University in 2016 sought to decipher just how polite we actually are. Researchers compiled and compared millions of geo-tagged tweets from Canada and the United States. between February and October 2015. Their data was then compiled into two separate word bubbles so that the speech and language used in the neighbouring countries could be observed. The more often the word was used, the larger it appeared within the word bubble. Words such as “amazing,” “great” and “beautiful” dominated the Canadian bubble. In comparison, the U.S. bubble featured words that were too offensive to be displayed on the graphic and were blurred out as a result.

Canadian milk. Canada’s dairy farmers are deeply rooted in our history, with some farms even pre-dating the country itself. Using the rich history, knowledge and passion of those who came before them, today’s Canadian dairy farmers continue to innovate and evolve to ensure dairy farming remains a sustainable industry for generations of future Canadians. Upgrades to milking technology, such as automated milking systems, allow cows to be milked whenever they want. Moreover, Canadian milk is free of antibiotic residues and artificial growth hormones, ensuring that Canadian milk is produced in accordance with the highest standards and regulations. It all works to make Canadian quality milk delicious, nutritious and world-class.

Find more information at www.qualitymilk.ca.

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Jan 292017
 

(NC) If you’ve ever had a rough night after an all-you-can-eat buffet, then you know better than most the importance of food safety. But foodborne illnesses can do more than cause discomfort. There are approximately four million cases of food poisoning in Canada each year— that’s about one in eight people. Protecting yourself and your family begins by following the four rules of food safety — clean, separate, cook and chill. That’s how you’ll avoid the most common sources of food poisoning:

  1. E. coli. Most commonly found in raw or undercooked meats and raw vegetables and fruit. E. coli bacteria can also be present in untreated water and unpasteurized milk, apple juice or cider.

  2. Campylobacter. Most commonly found in raw poultry, unpasteurized (raw) milk and untreated water. Dogs, cats and farm animals can also carry these bacteria.

  3. Listeria. Most commonly found in processed meats, like hot dogs and deli meats; unpasteurized milk and milk products; raw vegetables; and raw or undercooked meat, poultry or fish.

  4. Salmonella. Most commonly found in raw or undercooked poultry, meat, fish and eggs; raw vegetables and fruit; unpasteurized milk and milk products; sauces; salad dressings; peanut butter; cocoa; and chocolate.

  5. Clostridium botulinum (botulism). Most commonly found in improperly prepared home-canned, low-acid foods like corn, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, salmon, and garlic in oil. Honey may also be contaminated.

Bacteria form the biggest group of food contaminants, but viruses, parasites, mould and toxins can also seriously harm anyone who eats contaminated food.

Food can become contaminated when not handled or cooked properly. Food poisoning can be caused by not chilling or cooking foods properly; by cross-contaminating cooked foods with raw foods; and by not properly cleaning cooking surfaces, utensils, dishes or hands.

One of the most common mistakes is leaving foods in the “danger zone” where bacteria grow quickly—between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F). This is why properly chilling and cooking food is essential to food safety.

Harmful bacteria can infect food at any point from farm to table. Fortunately, you can prevent most cases by following safe food handling practices. You can do something as simple as using a food thermometer to check that your food is cooked properly. Always follow the four rules of food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill.

If you think you have a foodborne illness, report it to your doctor or health department.

Find more information online at Canada.ca/FoodSafety to avoid food poisoning.

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Dec 232016
 

(NC) Osteoporosic fractures are more common in Canadians than heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer combined. What many of us fail to realize is that osteoporosis and its prevention are rooted in proactive action. Prevention begins in young adulthood as bone mineralization peaks in our twenties. Both men and women begin to lose bone mass in their mid-thirties.

Since bone mass increases through young adulthood, reaching maximum peak bone mass by age 20, it’s essential to do everything possible to increase your peak bone mass to offset bone loss in later years.

According to a recent survey, 85 per cent of people don’t realize that osteoporosis typically goes undetected, with a broken bone often being the first sign of the disease. Here are three tips for becoming proactive about osteoporosis prevention:

  1. Get active. Increasing daily physical activity and exercising regularly is important for everyone. Improving muscle mass and strength helps to slow the rate of bone loss. Weight-bearing activities where you are upright, like walking and running, are the best way to do it.

  2. Increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D rich foods. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in calcium, protein and nutrients that contribute to the development and maintenance of strong, healthy bones. Increased consumption of calcium-rich dairy products has a beneficial impact on fortifying bone density. Milk is one of the rare dietary source of vitamin D, so try to drink two glasses every day.

  3. Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Quit smoking, limit your alcohol consumption, and drink coffee in moderation. Get a bone mineral density test if you’re at risk.

Find more information on reducing your risk of osteoporosis at osteoporosis.ca, and get delicious recipes at www.getenough.ca.

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Nov 212016
 

(BPT) – A single choice doesn’t matter most of the time. Having dessert one night, taking a walk on another and deciding to skip an outing with friends aren’t life changing choices. A daily choice is small, like a pebble. But like pebbles, when you keep reaching for the same choices, they can amass into something significant.heart

If you want to improve your heart health, science tells us that making simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. And better heart health is undoubtedly on the minds of many Americans. One in three adults live with one or more types of cardiovascular disease, according a review published in the journal Circulation. Over time, changes in the heart and blood vessels can lead to a host of devastating problems, including heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

But the good news is you can make some lifestyle changes to reduce your risk and make yourself healthier. The effort doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t need to sign up for an expensive complicated plan. If you make a commitment to reach for healthy choices more often than the alternatives, you and your doctor will start to see a difference. Here are four tips to get there.

Don’t chase diet fads: Stick with a Mediterranean-based diet, which is based on simple, whole, healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, olive oil and fish. The upside is the Mediterranean diet checks off many boxes in terms of achieving better health. It promotes heart and brain health, weight loss, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. Recent research also shows it can reduce the risk of stroke. In 2013, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine said switching to a Mediterranean diet can prevent 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and heart disease deaths in high risk people.

Get more exercise: The recommendations are very simple here. The Surgeon General recommends 2.5 hours of moderate intensity each week for good heart health. That’s just over 20 minutes a day. While some people love the idea of getting super fit with an intense program, the truth is that all it takes is simple changes. Visit your doctor to find out what is safe for you, and make a list of activities you enjoy doing, whether it’s walking in the woods or taking a leisurely bike ride. Then make a plan to make these outings a part of your routine.

Find a friend: This surprising but true tip has some truth. Seeking companionship, whether it’s through an outing with a friend, joining a club or attending a family member’s school function can add up to good heart health. Without community and companionship, depression is more likely to set in, which is linked to higher rates of heart disease. Though it may be easier and tempting to stay in, especially during cold weather, choosing companionship can be positive for heart health.

Be informed: When it comes to your body, knowledge empowers you to make decisions to improve your health. Consult with your doctor, so you can make that targeted plan to improve your health. In addition to knowing your blood sugar, blood pressure, weight and cholesterol, consider adding vascular screening to the list. This screening looks for fatty buildup in the arteries, which can lead to serious conditions such as stroke, peripheral vascular disease and carotid artery stenosis.

Yet, many people are missing out on an important opportunity to be informed about their artery health, because vascular screenings are not typically covered by insurance. Luckily, there’s an affordable way for you to know your risk. Life Line Screening performs affordable testing in community settings throughout the country. The process is simple, safe and convenient, you will get your own results pack that you can review and bring to your doctor. In addition, you can sign up for a newsletter delivered to your inbox containing up-to-date, research-backed tips to help you maintain your health.

To find out when a Life Line screening clinic may be scheduled in your area, visit www.lifelinescreening.com or call (877) 754-9631.

Nov 072016
 

(NC) In Canada, one in three women and one in five men will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Despite these statistics, many of us have misconceptions about the disease, which is characterized by bone loss and leads to bone fragility and fractures.

Father and son holding glasses of milk at camera

According to Dr. Famida Jiwa, president of Osteoporosis Canada, each year 30,000 Canadians suffer hip fractures, with many more incurring spinal, wrist, shoulder and pelvic fractures as a result of the disease.

A recent survey from Ipsos found that 85 per cent of Canadians don’t realize that osteoporosis typically goes undetected, with a broken bone often being the first sign. Day-to-day life can become difficult, with simple acts such as bending over, moving, and lifting being enough to cause a fracture that leads to a loss of independence, hospital admission and more complications.

A healthy balanced diet — including getting enough calcium-rich foods such as milk products — is a key preventative measure for keeping your bones strong. Milk, yogurt, and cheese naturally contain more calcium per serving than any other food. They contain other bone-building nutrients such as protein, phosphorus, and magnesium. Milk also contains vitamin D, another key nutrient for bone health.

How can you ensure you’re getting enough? Here are three resources to keep you on track:

  1. Check out the www.getenough.ca site. This is a great resource to make sure you get enough calcium-rich milk products into your diet. It has tips on integrating more dairy into your everyday meals and delicious recipes approved by a team of registered dietitians.

  2. Explore www.osteoporosis.ca for more information on osteoporosis and proactive prevention.

  3. Download the Get Enough Helper App, a great on-the-go resource for individuals and families on the move. The app allows you to track your food servings to ensure you’re getting enough of what you need every day, based on Canada’s Food Guide recommendations. You’ll receive personalized recipes and tips to help you get the servings you need.

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