All About Your Health and Apex, NC

Discover interesting health tips and happenings in our favorite town of Apex, NC

Avoid Unpleasant Holiday “Gifts”

Thanksgiving is over and it’s officially the holiday season! Along with gaining gifts and treats, many, many of us also gain weight and colds and illnesses this time of year – and  those are “gifts” no one wants!

How can it be avoided? Well, we’ll tell you!

  1. Eat well. It’s common to pack on 5-10 pounds during the holiday season, but there are ways you can eat both healthy and well! Know which foods are high in caloric content and low in nutrition. Don’t deprive yourself of such treats, but indulge in moderation.
  2. Stay active. Exercise is just as important during the holidays as any other time of the year. You should be active at least four to five times a week, preferably with some aerobic exercise every day.
  3. Prevent illness and injuries. Colds and the flu are most prevalent in the winter. Prevent them by washing your hands regularly and urging others to do the same.
  4. Travel safely. Whether you are going down the block or halfway across the world, follow extra precautions. Give yourself plenty of time in the additional holiday traffic.
  5. De-stress. Holidays can be a stressful time. Try to anticipate sources of stress and develop a plan to manage them.
  6. Help others. Depression and suicidality increase during the holidays. Watch for signs of depression among your friends and family. Take an active role to support those in need.
  7. Treat yourself. The holiday spirit is about helping others around you, but you also have to make time to take care of yourself. So treat yourself with something over the holidays. It may be something as simple as sleep.
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Stay Healthy This Thanksgiving Week

It’s Thanksgiving week and while it’s a week to give thanks, it can also be a week to lose sight of your health. It’s easy to sit around the television watching parade footage and football. Oh, and all the eating, too!

So we’ve come up with some pretty fun and simple ways to be mindful and stay healthy while giving thanks.

Get outside!

Up early? Go for a walk or run to enjoy some pre-festivities alone time, or grab your favorite second cousin to catch up. If you’re a bit more competitive, get a group of family or friends together for some flag football.

If you’re up for it, run a race Thanksgiving morning! Find a Turkey trot in your town, sign up, and have a blast with other members of your community.

Stay hydrated!

Make sure to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Not drinking enough H2O could spark hunger pangs, which may actually be thirst.

Don’t fill up on appetizers!

Cheese and crackers can happen any day of the year. Save your appetite (and calorie consumption!) for dinnertime.

Use a small plate!

Stick all those Thanksgiving sides on a smaller plate. Research shows it’ll help you eat 22 percent fewer calories, while a bigger plate of food may be wiped clean, even if you’re not all that hungry.

Eat dessert!

The holidays shouldn’t be about restricting certain foods—just try to enjoy them in moderation!

 

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Calories or Exercise: Which is More Important?

So, say you’re trying to take better care of yourself. You’re trying to lose weight, exercise more, see your chiropractor on a regular basis (hint, hint). But in your efforts to lose weight, you start to wonder if you should be eating fewer calories or if you should be exercising more?

Which is going to get you to a healthy weight faster?

According to My Fitness Pal:

It’s generally accepted that diet is more important than exercise for weight loss — some say weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. We live in an environment that is “obesogenic,” meaning weight gain is easy and weight loss is difficult, especially with tempting snacks and fast food around every corner. The problem is, those snacks and fast-food dinners take a lot of extra effort to burn off. Nobody has time to walk 25 minutes every time they eat a Reese’s peanut butter cup. This is why diet trumps exercise if you have to pick one.

However!

A randomized controlled trial of about 400 overweight, middle-aged women found a lifestyle change that combines both diet and exercise led to more substantial weight loss than simply diet or exercise alone.

There you have it! While you need to watch your calories and put the right things into your body, you also need to get off the couch and get moving!

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Start at the Beginning: Breakfast

If you want to reduce your sugar intake, why not start at the beginning? Breakfast! What you eat for your first meal of the day can make a huge difference in how you feel – whether it’s full or whether you’re struggling to stay awake while sitting at your desk.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams (100 calories) of added sugar per day for women, and 36 grams or 9 teaspoons (150 calories) for men.

Unfortunately, most people consume much more than that.

According to one study, added sugar makes up about 15% of the total daily calorie intake of most adults. For those of us with a typical 2,000 calorie diet, 300 calories come from sugar alone. This means we have 75 grams of added sugar every day.

Yikes!

But why is this so bad? Well, when you eat foods with a lot of sugar, your pancreas releases insulin to help place that sugar into your cells for use. If there’s you don’t add protein, fiber or fat to slow down this process, the carbohydrates are absorbed and converted to energy quickly. This is good if you need a burst of energy, but since you burn through that energy rapidly, you’ll soon crash and need another dose of sugar.

Because, yes, sugar is addictive. Additionally, the consumption of sugar has been linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, among others.

The best way to avoid added sugar is to create your own healthy options. Keep the total sugar in your breakfast under 10 grams, with most or all of it coming from fiber-rich, nutritious fruit. And make sure your breakfast includes a source of protein and healthy fat.

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Snack Time!

Most people enjoy a good snack (or few) every day. They’re great – they can help you make it through a mid-morning – or afternoon! – slump. They work to ensure you don’t end up ravenously hungry and overeating at your next meal. A snack can also give you energy to stay focused while you’re at work or out and about running errands.

Unfortunately, most people select snacks that are loaded with carbs and sugar. Unhealthy snacks are easy to grab on the go, they’re often cheap, and sometimes sugar is just what you think you need to push you through the valleys of your day.

The problem is those unhealthy, sugary, carby snacks not only make you feel worse, they’re bad for you in the long run. They contribute to conditions like diabetes and obesity.

According to the folks over at Under Armour, “Aiming for a 200-calorie snack is easy when you take nutrient density into account. For example, an apple with a handful of almonds will be more satisfying in the long run than a bag of chips.”

They’ve put together a list of six healthy snacks – that include chocolate! yogurt! fruit! and did we mention chocolate!? – that all clock-in at 200 calories or less.

So, go ahead. Grab a (healthy) snack!

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