Healthy Tips - January/February 2018
HEALTH TIPS – JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018
Topics This Issue:
- Heart-Healthy Resolution: Go Big, Go Positive
- Are You Struggling with Depression or SAD?
- Nutrition Corner:
- Good Mood Sardines
- The Living Well Alliance—Check Out Our Added Programs!
Heart-Healthy Resolution: Go Big, Go Positive
Do you have high blood pressure or precursors to heart disease? This year, honor yourself and focus on good heart health. And your timing is perfect: February is National Heart Month!
Try our ideas to making a beneficial change in your heart health for 2018.
Go big—and SMART! Dream up your heart-healthy resolution. You’re aiming for a shift in focus, a new lens through which to view your lifestyle choices. Keep it SMART but flexible. The idea of SMART goals are that they have Specific, Measurable outcomes and are Attainable, Realistic and Timely. For example, the general goal of “I want to lower my blood pressure” becomes SMART when it expands to this: “By next month, I want to lower my blood pressure to less than 140/90 by increasing my exercise to 3 days per week and reducing my consumption of salty foods.”
Work with your doctor and dietitian. An excellent place to start for heart health is with your primary care provider or cardiologist, and a dietitian to sort out the details. Tell your provider that you are working on improved heart health in 2018. Ask what areas you might focus on for prevention or for treatment of a specific heart condition. Your provider can guide you in lifestyle changes to improve your heart health. The American Heart Association offers several guidelines for managing high blood pressure (also called hypertension)—eat a well-balanced, low-salt diet; quit smoking; enjoy regular physical activity; and more.
Stay positive with changes. When it comes to heart-smart eating in 2018, focus on your well-being, not the latest fad diet. One approach is to practice mindfulness as you eat. Take the time to check in with yourself: Am I really hungry? Which snacks give me good energy? Which foods make me feel good and inspire me to eat right? Once you’re sitting down to eat, slow down and appreciate the meal. Savor the colors … the flavors … the aroma. When you feel full, stop eating. Applying a positive attitude to your goal can be a rewarding path to success. It helps to lower stresses in your life and can assist you with feelings of failure.
Are You Struggling with Depression or SAD?
Like other types of depression, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a condition of the brain that leaves a person feeling down. It can sap your energy, erase your motivation and make you feel moody.
SAD is cued by the low levels of light during winter’s shorter days. Its symptoms usually start in fall and end in spring. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or health situation.
Ongoing depression is never a normal part of life. Read on to learn about the symptoms of depression and SAD, and how to seek treatment.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of depression and SAD may include:
- No longer enjoying the things you usually like to do.
- Feeling sad, down, hopeless or cranky most of the day, almost every day.
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Feeling tired or having no energy.
- Feeling guilty or worthless.
- Having trouble concentrating.
- Feeling agitated.
- Thinking about death or suicide.
These symptoms are specific to SAD:
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Tiredness or low energy
(SAD sometimes occurs in people in spring and summer. Summer-onset SAD has nearly the opposite symptoms, including insomnia, poor appetite, weight loss and agitation.)
Safe and effective treatments for depression and SAD are available. They can include seeing a psychotherapist, taking medications or a combination.
Additionally, with SAD, light therapy can be a powerful treatment protocol. With light therapy (also called phototherapy), you use a special light box “aka happy lights” and expose yourself right after you wake up each day. Doing this appears to trigger a change in your brain chemistry and boost your mood. It’s a bit like getting some summer sunshine to start the day. Light therapy often offers relief from SAD in just a few days.
With all types of depression, a behavioral health therapist or your primary care provider can guide you to the support you need. Make an appointment today.
Learn more about our Behavioral Medicine team at PacMed. Our team of licensed therapists offer individual, couples and family therapy. They also can help with medication management and provide psychiatric evaluation. To make an appointment, use our appointment tool or call 206.621.4045.
ARE YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IN CRISIS?
If you are thinking about suicide or hurting yourself, help is available:
- In an emergency, call 9-1-1
- Go to the emergency room at your local hospital
- Call the King County 24-Hour Crisis Line: 1 (866) 427-4747
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255
- Call your health care provider and tell them it is urgent
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A Star for Your Health?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of dietary fat that has been greatly studied over the years for its ability to improve health. This type of fatty acid is called an essential fatty acid because it is crucial for maintaining our heart and brain health and yet the body is unable to produce it. Therefore, we must ingest omega-3s from what we eat.
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are both found in marine sources, including seaweed; and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in plant sources like flax seeds. EPA is known for reducing inflammation in our body, which keeps our blood vessels and heart healthy. DHA plays an integral role in brain function, especially for the developing fetus and young children, by protecting cell membranes. Lastly, ALA is converted to EPA and DHA in the body; however, it is highly dependent on a person’s current health status, genetics, gender and general eating habits so you may need to eat more for the same results as EPA and DHA directly.
So, what is best? Studies show that eating two to three servings of marine animals high in omega-3s each week can help reduce a person’s risk for heart disease because of a reduction in triglycerides and blood pressure. Studies also show promise that regular omega-3 consumption is protective against cognitive decline and depressive disorders, although more research is needed on specific amounts.
The best sources include salmon, mackerel, sardines (see recipe), rainbow trout, herring, halibut, cod liver oil and anchovies. You also get some omega-3s from tuna, oysters, flax and chia seeds, walnuts and soybeans.
And how much? The National Institutes of Health suggests a range of amounts that depend on age and sex (see chart below). Because there isn’t one size that fits all, your provider or registered dietitian can suggest a dose that’s right for you, specifically if it involves supplementation.
Adequate intake measurements for omega-3s
|Birth–6 months*||0.5 g||0.5 g|
|7–12 months||0.5 g||0.5 g|
|1–3 years**||0.7 g||0.7 g|
|4–8 years**||0.9 g||0.9 g|
|9–13 years**||1.2 g||1.0 g|
|14–18 years**||1.6 g||1.1 g||1.4 g||1.3 g|
|19–50 years**||1.6 g||1.1 g||1.4 g||1.3 g|
|51+ years**||1.6 g||1.1 g|
g=grams *as total omega-3s **as ALA
Good Mood Sardines
This dish will make even those who dislike sardines envious of your culinary talent. The mix of fresh herbs and lemon add freshness, while the sardines’ rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids helps lower inflammation in your body, including your heart and brain.
Video demo: Watch our registered dietitian Christy Goff demonstrates how to make this recipe.
Serves 2 Prep time: 10 minutes
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 (4.35-ounce) can sardines, packed in water or olive oil
Put lemon juice, lemon zest, red onion, parsley, basil, mint, olive oil, mustard, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Add the sardines and flake them into chunky pieces with a fork. Stir gently to combine. Taste; you may want to add a pinch of salt or more lemon juice. Serve on crackers, in a sandwich or on top of a fresh salad.
Recipe from The Longevity Kitchen by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson.
Nutrition Information per Serving (1/2 recipe):
Calories: 102, Total Fat 11g, Sat Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium: 111mg, Total Carbohydrate: 3g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Protein: 14g
More recipes online! Go to www.PacMed.org/recipes.
The Living Well Alliance—Check Out Our Added Programs!
As we enter 2018, the Living Well Alliance™ would like to share some exciting additions to your favorite programs.
First off, a few reminders!
- In 2018, the LWA team will again help you reach your company’s employee wellness goals by providing complimentary services for biometric screenings and health fairs!
- Don’t forget to take advantage: LWA offers you one complimentary wellness class each year!
- Participants in our new Understanding Vegetarian & Vegan Eating class will explore different types of vegetarianism, their health benefits and potential concerns. They will learn to use plant proteins to create healthful, delicious and satisfying meals, and discover it is more than just avoiding red meat!
- In Preventing Cancer, participants will learn what cancer is and the common types, review risk factors, and gain positive lifestyle interventions that have been shown to lower your risk. Nearly 50% of most common cancers can be prevented so let’s start now!
And here’s what’s new for 2018!
With our new webinar subscription program, you can offer your organization more wellness initiatives monthly! More details by emailing below.
Already preparing for February’s heart health awareness month at your site? Book a biometric health screening that directly helps participants know their health numbers like blood pressure and weight. A biometric health screening measures physical characteristics such as height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood cholesterol and fitness. This screening evaluates an individual’s health status and provides a benchmark that can be used to track changes over time.
Introducing NEW class topics for this quarter! Classes from the Living Well Alliance help you provide wellness programming to your employees. These 45-minute, in-person classes are interactive, fun, current—an easy fit for your worksite.
Learn more about scheduling a worksite biometric screening for employees with the Living Well Alliance, book a class or schedule PacMed into your health fairs by contacting Christy Goff, RD, by email or at 206.621.4419.