You Asked It!

Tag: health

February is American Heart Month

The American Heart Association designates February as American Heart Month!

Protect your heart, you can protect your brain. Making lifestyle behavior changes can improve overall cardiovascular health, but it also benefits cognitive health. This is due to good blood flow from the heart to the brain. Failing brain function leads to problems with thinking, memory, concentration, energy level and overall body health.

Exercise is so important and a simple 30-minute walk can help. Just get up and move! Plan now to join Walk Kansas 2020 to help get you and your team motivated, and improve overall health.

Be proactive about your health. Know your numbers, such as blood pressure and cholesterol. Make simple lifestyle changes, they really don’t take a lot of effort. Know your risk, heart disease kills one in three women. Talk to your family and include them in making lifestyle changes.

Learn more at www.heart.org.

 

Tea May Help Brain Health

Photo: USDA/ARS

There have been many reports on the benefits of drinking tea. It can be refreshing, soothing, calming and also provide health benefits.

In a recent study from the National University of Singapore, they looked at how tea effects brain function. Specifically, they targeted the connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This was designed to see if tea would reduce the aging affects on the brain and the connections regarding cognition and organization.

By using neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging, the study found that consumers who drank black, green, or oolong tea four times a week had better brain connectivity and better functionality.

While more research is needed, this is a positive step to better brain health. Read more at https://news.nus.edu.sg/research/drinking-tea-improves-brain-health.

 

Have a Fun, Active and Healthy Celebration!

Red Spherical Christmas Ornament ca. 2002

Celebrate the New Year with some simple steps for a fun, healthy, and active event!

  1. Add activities to get people moving and interacting.
  2. Festive foods are eye-catching. Fun shapes or a garnish make a dish pop!
  3. Make ice cubes with 100% juice or added fruit for flavor.
  4. Savor each bite. Add some flavor with a cultural favorite.
  5. Alongside party food favorites, have fruit kabobs, vegetable trays arranged for the party theme, and simple swaps like offering whole-grain crackers.
  6. Let’s dance! Get people up and moving with party games or dancing.
  7. Sneak in healthier options with simple ingredient swaps or try a new recipe.
  8. Keep it simple. That can save a lot of stress! Ask guests to bring a favorite food or have them plan party games. Don’t forget to get the kids involved!
  9. Shop smart to fit your budget. Make a list and shop grocery sale ads for savings. Don’t forget coupons for extra savings.
  10. Be an example for healthy habits. The kids are watching!

Source: www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-make-celebrations

 

Taste and Smell Affects Eating Well

Photo: USDA Flickr

The ability to taste and smell food brings enjoyment to the eating experience. But as we age, those two senses can change for many reasons.

The human mouth has about 8,000 taste buds! But we lose taste buds over time. A decrease in saliva, medication side-effects, and poor chewing reduces how the flavor of food is sensed.

Your nose directly affects how food tastes. When you have a cold, your sense of smell is diminished and food tastes bland. When you breathe in odors, they dissolve in mucus and move to odor receptors. If odor receptors are damaged by air pollution, cigarette smoke, or viruses and bacteria, they may not be repaired.

If food tastes bland, avoid reaching for the salt shaker or add sugar to improve flavor. This can lead to other health issues such as high blood pressure, increased risks for heart attack and stroke, or even diabetes.

Always consult with a medical professional for any changes in taste or smell. This includes a dental checkup.

Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, December 2019

 

Kansas Ag Stress Resources

Farming and ranching brings many stresses along with the rewards.

To help cope with those mental and emotional issues, the Kansas Department of Agriculture has a new website of resources to help with mental health, support, and services.

This resource is a collaboration to support emotional and financial challenges. There is information for teens to aging adults. Suicide is at alarming levels and this can help reduce this trend.

Learn more at www.kansasagstress.org.

Kansas Suicide Prevention Line
1-785-841-2345

Crisis Text Line 24/7 Support
Text “HOME” to 741741

 

Sodium and Your Health

Reading Nutrition Facts label information can help control sodium intake.

While sodium helps make food taste good, for some consumers, sodium imbalance can be a serious health issue. It helps regulate blood pressure, water content in the body, and many other factors.

If sodium levels in the blood are low, this can be the result of diarrhea, vomiting, kidney disease, heart failure, diuretic medications, liver cirrhosis, and other factors. The symptoms the body gives include confusion, fatigue, loss of appetite, irritability, muscle weakness, and other symptoms.

Consulting a medical professional is a priority. There are many issues that can lead to low sodium. Treatments can include medication, fluids through the vein, or limited liquid intake.

Learn more at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000394.htm.

 

Outsmart Your Cravings!

We all crave certain foods from time to time. The psychology behind cravings show that hormones, memories and other triggers create a sensory signal of craving a food. This intensifies with hunger or dieting.

So how can you outsmart these cravings? Here are some tips.

  • Take a walk! Some sort of physical activity can redirect your craving, thus putting mind over matter.
  • Your nose picks up on food odors, so try smelling a nonfood, such as a scented candle, to redirect your brain.
  • You’ve heard the saying, “my eyes were bigger than my stomach.” So keep healthful snacks in your vision.
  • Do you crave sweets? Grab naturally sweet fruit to curb that craving.
  • Thanksgiving is about comfort food. Enjoy in moderation, smaller portions, or do a healthier makeover to classic recipes.

Source: https://fruitsandveggies.org/stories/buzz-brain-wired-create-food-cravings/

Health Promotion Materials

Looking for ways to promote health? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a variety of free resources to do just that.

From fact sheets, to videos, to social media messages, the CDC has many options to educate children and adults. Handwashing is one example. Order free posters to place in various locations.

Learn more about these materials at www.cdc.gov/handwashing/materials.html. And learn all about handwashing at www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html.

Many of these materials are available in a variety of languages.

Kansas Environmental Public Health Tracking

In this time of emphasis on the culture of health, there are many environmental affects that can determine the health of consumers.

To help track data related to environmental public health, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has a tracking network that brings together data concerning some health and environmental problems. The bottom line goal is to improve where all Kansans live, work, and play.

This tracking network is a part of the CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking program. The CDC provides funds to 26 state and local health departments to feed date into the National Tracking Network.

Some of the topics addressed by this network in Kansas include:

  • Air quality
  • Lead exposure in children
  • Asthma hospitalizations
  • Cancer incidence rates
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning hospitalizations

Learn more at https://keap.kdhe.state.ks.us/Ephtm/Default

 

Eat Some Nuts! Improve Your Mind!

Nuts have been touted as beneficial with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. New research from the University of South Australia shows that they can also help adults have better mental function, improved thinking, reasoning, and memory.

The study followed 4,822 Chinese adults aged 55-plus from 1991-2006. They consumed 10 grams (two teaspoons) of nuts a day. They mostly ate peanuts. The results showed an improvement in cognitive function up to 60% compared to those who did not eat nuts.

Age is the biggest risk factor for cognitive health. Eating a few nuts each day is worth the effort!

Source: www.ift.org/IFTNEXT/nut-consumption-spurs-cognitive-health.aspx