HEALTHY TIPS DECEMBER 2017
HEALTH TIPS – DECEMBER 2017
Topics This Issue:
- Avoid Winter Illness, Boost Immunity
- A Healthy Approach to the Holidays
- Give Back and Build Strong Communities
- Revitalizing Spice Tea
- “Thank You” to the Living Well Alliance Family
Avoid Winter Illness, Boost Immunity
It’s that time of year again: we all know someone who is sick! Read on to learn ways to strengthen your immune system and avoid getting sick.
Both colds and flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria. This is why antibiotics won’t work to treat colds or flu because antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. The flu tends to hit harder, have higher fever and cause aches and nausea. Cold and flu viruses are easily spread between people in close contact, such as at school or work. They’re typically spread by contact with an infected surface such as a doorknob, or person-to-person by direct contact. Most viruses are not airborne.
Take Preventive Steps!
You can do a lot of things to help prevent you and your family from catching a cold or flu this season.
- Wash your hands: Good handwashing is the number one way to protect yourself from getting sick. Scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap.
- Get the flu vaccine: Everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot. While it won’t keep you from getting a common cold, it will help protect you and others around you from the flu.
- Avoid people who are sick: Keep your distance!Sick children/adults should stay home from school/work.
- Sleep well: Your body needs good sleep for a healthy immune system. Make time for the nightly sleep your body needs: adults, 7-8 hours; teens 8-9 hours; “tweens” 9-10 hours; young school-age kids 10-12 hours; toddlers/preschoolers, 11-13 hours.
- Eat well: Maintain a well-balanced diet of healthy protein, whole grains, healthy fat like olive oil and avocado, limit added sugar, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Read more below!
Choose Foods to Boost Immunity!
Many nutrients from food specifically “feed” the immune system, thus strengthening your body’s protective response.
- Choose whole foods. Whole foods are those you can picture growing or harvesting. They provide more nutrients like vitamins C, D and E and zinc. Cruciferous vegetables—such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy—strengthen the liver so it’s better able to flush the body of harmful substances.
- Devour fish. Cold-water, fatty fish like salmon and sardines are the highest in omega-3 fatty acids, which enhance the function of certain immune cells. Fish is also a rare source of vitamin D, which has been shown to decrease the incidence of the common cold and flu.
- Add fermented foods. They contain good bacteria, or probiotics, that help the digestive tract fight off foreign invaders. Try miso paste (a fermented soybean product), sauerkraut, kimchi (fermented cabbage) and cultured dairy products like yogurt, kefir and sour cream.
- Add some zing. Garlic and ginger have antiviral and active molecules that help the body fight off viruses and bacteria.
Eat well, sleep well and be well this winter!
A Healthy Approach to the Holidays
Scrumptious treats. Rich meals. Special beverages. Plus, parents, siblings, neighbors and friends! For many, the joys of the holidays are a source of stress … and weight gain. With some thoughtful planning and attitude adjustment, you can keep stress to a minimum—and maintain your weight come January!
- Keep your appetite in check. With a sumptuous dinner party ahead, it’s tempting to skip meals or eat less before you go. Instead, eat as you typically do, so you arrive at the festivities with your usual appetite. Then, munch on a plate of vegetables or salad as an appetizer. Vegetables are low in calories, and filling up on them at the beginning of a meal will keep you from overdoing it with higher-calorie options later on.
- Limit yourself to one plate with small portions. This will still allow you to get a taste of everything while not overdoing it. It takes about 20 minutes for our stomachs to realize we’re full, so wait at least 20 minutes after your first plate before deciding if you want seconds.
- Are desserts your nemesis? Love salty snacks? If you know the desserts will be calling your name, make a deal with yourself before the event to have just your favorite one. If salty snacks are your Achilles’ heel, choose to skip any chips or crackers. These snacks are available throughout the year—so why waste calories on them when there are bacon-wrapped scallops to be eaten!
Our outlook and expectations may have as much to do with how we manage the holidays as our resources. As you get into the full swing of the holidays, try these three stress-busters:
- Think about your expectations. Be honest about what you want, and be realistic about what is possible. Then, try these two rules: Keep it simple. Don’t over-commit. If you need to, scale back your plans. Remember, you’re not Superman or Superwoman.
- Accept people as they are. Don’t expect others to behave as you would like them to. This is a recipe for disappointment, if not misery. Recognize that the people in your life will celebrate the holidays as they want to and not the way you want them to. So don’t try to change or control them.
- Remember, even the best-laid plans can go awry. This goes back to expectations. Expect that some problems are possible or even likely—inclement weather, delayed guests, an overcooked dinner. Try to approach unexpected challenges with an open mind, patience, creativity or a sense of humor.
A final idea, for both stress and healthy eating: get everyone outdoors, walking, jumping puddles or kicking a ball around. Exercise is good for your emotional state and your waistline! Remember, the holidays are short, as is life. Make the most of them!
The dietitians at PacMed help patients support good health through better eating habits. The PacMed behavioral medicine team offers a variety of therapy to help patients cope with a wide range of problems.
Give Back and Build Strong Communities
Giving back to those around you is a wonderful way to build community. Donating your time or providing supplies to those in need can also remind us of the power of doing good, sharing life’s burdens and spreading joy. It can also be a low-cost and powerful antidote to the pressures of consumerism.
Our local communities need your gifts of creativity, energy, support and caring. Make it a team effort! Pull together family and friends and pick a project, big or small.
Shop (or sew or craft!) for patients at Seattle Children’s hospital. Your thoughtful gift helps young patients and their families when they need it most.The Toy & Items for Patients web page gives all the details. Can you sew a flannel blanket for an infant? Want to shop for preteens? Look for links under the “Our Greatest Needs” section. The web page also gives details about wrapping (don’t!), donation drop-off, and other ways to give. Short on time?
Help your children learn the joys of giving, with Toys for Tots. This is a wonderful way to teach generosity and help children get involved. Run by the US Marine Corp Reserve, Toys for Tots has several ways to donate toys. They ask for new, unwrapped toys and get them to families who can’t afford gifts. Find a local program or check out the Toys for Tots Native American Program.
Support youth in foster care—academic resources, clothing extracurricular fun. Treehouse provides academic and other essential support for 7,000+foster kids throughout Washington State each year. Besides investing in their academic future, Treehouse helps them try to fit in and feel comfortable with clothing that suits them and resources to take part in extracurricular activities. You can donate time, money, supplies or host a drive – see the Take Action page!
Collect donations for a food bank—or help sort, label and prep food! Food banks distribute food to people in need. Make it a group activity with family or friends. Either donate time on an afternoon, or do a group shopping and donate needed food. Check the food bank’s website for acceptable, needed items—including non-food items. Sample items include packaged whole-grain foods, canned vegetables, low-sodium broth and low-sodium canned meats or fish.
Search an online map for “food bank” and give them a call. Or try one of these:
Food Lifeline (numerous sponsored food banks throughout Puget Sound region) • Nourish Pierce County (formerly FISH Food Banks) • Kent Food Bank • Rainer Valley Food Bank • North Helpline (NE Seattle) • HopeLink (Eastside, Shoreline, Sno-Valley) • Lynnwood Food Bank • Mill Creek Food Bank
Thanks for sharing your energy and joy with others! Knowing you are giving helpful and even fun gifts to those who need them most can be very fulfilling.
Revitalizing Spice Tea
This revitalizing tea is a unique blend of warming herbs that have invigorating properties while leaving the house smelling great while you cook it. Ginger helps improve digestion and reduce nausea, while cinnamon improves circulation and may comfort coughs. Cardamom helps aid digestion, and peppermint freshens the breath.
Serves 2. Prep and cook time: 15 minutes.
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (peeled and minced small)
½ teaspoon organic orange peel
1 cinnamon stick chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 peppermint tea bag
1 slice of lemon
1. Place the water and the ginger into a small saucepan. Heat the water until it’s about to boil. Reduce heat and add remaining ingredients except lemon.
2. Steep the spices for 5-10 minutes.
3. Using a strainer, pour tea into two mugs, making sure to remove all the spices.
4. Finally, squeeze lemon into each mug and stir.
Recipe adapted by Christy Goff, RDN, CD.
More recipes online! Go to www.PacMed.org/recipes.
“Thank You” to the Living Well Alliance Family
We wish to thank all the employees, organizations and community groups who invited the Living Well Alliance team to your worksite in 2017. With your help, we have continued to make great strides in our overarching goal of preventing chronic diseases in the Puget Sound area. We couldn’t have done it without your help and referrals. Thank you.
Some highlights! In 2017, the Living Well Alliance:
- Worked with 70 companies and community groups
- Conducted biometric screenings at 11 companies
- Made 80+ wellness presentations
- Supported 35 health fairs
- Offered new nutrition counseling through the national Enhance Wellness program
- Held our second annual Wellness Symposium for area HR professionals to share, learn and grow their company’s wellness offerings
The Living Well Alliance is run by Pacific Medical Centers. Call us today at 206.621.4419.