March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month - Schedule Your Screening TODAY!

Colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer related deaths, but WE CAN CHANGE THAT STATISTIC!

When colon cancer is found in the early stages, most patients can be cured. The problem is that most patients have NO symptoms in these early stages. Routine screening can find these early stages, curable cancers, and may even prevent some colon cancers from developing.

Talk to your doctor about which colon cancer screening test is right for you, then spread the word to friends and loved ones.

TOGETHER, WE CAN SAVE LIVES!!

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

We often take for granted the incredible actions of our most important muscle. Did you know the heart beats more than 100,000 times per day? Similar to an engine in a car, our heart needs special care and attention.

The engine of a car is responsible for powering a vehicle while undergoing considerable stress. Oil in our car keeps the engine well lubricated and cool and prevents junk and particles from accumulating in the engine. If we go too long without changing our oil, we may not see the effects immediately, but eventually our vehicle will start to fail.

The heart operates in a similar fashion. It powers all of our actions and is resilient under stress. Without proper care like nutrition and exercise, the heart will eventually start to fail. How do we take care of this organ that does so much work under the hood?

1. Kick Tobacco to the Curb!

The lungs are not the only organ affected by cigarette smoke. Tobacco damages blood vessels and puts us at risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. This is not only true for smokers, but those who inhale second-hand smoke are also at risk. One in three deaths each year from cardiovascular disease is caused by smoking (CDC).

2. Get Moving!

The heart is a muscle, and like every other muscle, it needs proper training. Challenge your body with exercise like walking, dancing, aerobics, cycling, and strength training. Aim for 30 minutes, 5 days per week. Pick something you like and commit to it.

3. Increase the Rough Stuff!

Fiber is an important nutrient that performs many essential functions for our bodies. First, fiber adheres to bad cholesterol in the blood and transports it out of the body or prevents it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Fiber also takes a lot more energy to digest, so it keeps us satisfied longer between meals, decreasing the need for empty-calorie snacks. Finally, fiber helps the good bacteria in our gut thrive. All of these functions benefit our heart! Fiber is found in foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans/legumes.

4. Pass on the Salt!

Are you tired of hearing this refrain? Sadly, it is true. Sodium is a magnet for fluid. Remember those old science experiments? Water will always move toward an environment that is more concentrated in sodium. The more sodium in your blood vessels, the more fluid is also present. As the pressure in your blood vessels increases, it puts stress on many of your organs including your kidneys, liver, and heart. Over time, this damage takes a toll.

5. The Good Kind of Fat!

Fat is not always a bad word. In fact, it is an essential nutrient, meaning our bodies need it to survive. Certain types can decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). Why is this important? Increasing good cholesterol helps prevent bad cholesterol from leaving damaging debris in our blood vessels. To increase your intake of this important nutrient, eat plenty of nuts, avocado, peanut butter, olive oil, seeds, eggs, salmon, and tuna.

10 Holiday Health Tips

1. Get your groove on

Staying active is one of the easiest ways to keep weight off in the colder months. Choose something you enjoy, whether it’s hiking outside, trying a new class at the gym, rocking out to Christmas music at home, walking at the mall with a friend, or working in the yard. Make a plan, and stick to it. Having a partner keeps you accountable.

2. Force the fluids

Do you have a harder time remembering to drink water in the winter time? Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink – thirst is a sign of dehydration. Fluid helps your body regulate temperature, balance fluids, and keep skin and muscles healthy. Besides water, choose low-fat milk/milk alternatives, unsweet tea, and fruits and veggies (many are 90% water!).

3. Boost immunity with anti-oxidants

Unless you live in a bubble, germs are impossible to avoid. Give your body a fighting chance over the holidays by consuming more foods high in anti-oxidants like Zinc, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. Vegetables rich in reds and oranges, citrus fruits, eggs, lean meats, and fortified grains are high in these immune-boosting nutrients.

4. Resist skipping meals

It’s tempting to skip breakfast (and maybe lunch, too) when you know you’ve got a big meal planned for dinner. The logic of “saving calories” makes sense, but research shows that people tend to overeat when they backload their caloric intake. Instead, choose lighter foods like lean proteins (eggs, turkey, chicken), low-calorie foods (fruits and vegetables), and foods high in fiber (beans and whole grains) before a big meal.

5. Beat the buffet

The first time through the line, fill your plate with low-calorie items like steamed/cooked vegetables, lean meats, and salad. When you’re done, go back for small amounts of dishes like casseroles, gravy, and stuffing. Remember, you can always enjoy leftovers tomorrow.

6. Think small

People tend to eat less when they downsize their plate. Using a salad plate or bowl in place of a dinner plate can save a lot of calories. The same rule applies for beverages – use a small juice glass when drinking sugary beverages, eggnog, or anything else caloric.

7. Food safety

Too many cooks in the kitchen can lead to a food safety disaster. To reduce the chances of foodborne illness over the holidays, remember to wash your hands, thaw meat in the refrigerator or under running water, use separate cutting boards for raw meat and produce, wipe countertops with bleach or germ-killing agent, and dispose of leftovers in a timely manner. When in doubt, throw it out.

8. Count your liquid

Remember that liquid calories and food calories are created equal. Liquid typically contains less fiber and does not fill you up. Limit consumption of caloric beverages like eggnog, sodas, peppermint mochas, and alcohol. Alcohol contains more calories per gram than sugar and almost as many as fat.

9. A carb’s best friend

Try adding something with protein to every meal and snack. Protein digests more slowly and keeps blood sugar levels more stable. It also keeps you satisfied longer between meals. Pairing a carb with a protein is an ideal snack. Some examples are: whole grain crackers + cheese; apple + peanut or almond butter; ¼ c nuts + dried fruit; 5 oz greek yogurt.

10. Don’t always skip dessert

Don’t pace back and forth by the pie table while salivating. Help yourself to a reasonable slice (width of two fingers, or one inch) and savor every bite. Try taking a walk after your meal to help regulate blood sugar.