The Medical Minute: Health Tips for “Heart Month”

As we draw closer to the end of February aka “Heart Month” there are many ways to strengthen both your own heart and the hearts of those you love.  Here are a few:

Move! This means Exercise.

Take even a modest amount of time each day for physical activity, fresh air, and natural light.  It is so easy these days to get into a “rut” in front of our computers, i-Phones and TVs and not simply get out, stretch, lift and breathe. You don’t have to be a marathon runner, Olympic athlete, or professional weightlifter to do your heart some good.

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Just get off the couch and move!   Walking, swimming, biking or anything that works the heart and lungs are all going to benefit your heart as well as the rest of your body and mind.  Do you know that if you park only 20 feet farther away in a parking lot every day, you will walk about 3 miles more each year?  If you weigh 140 pounds and walk up 4 stairs a day, you will have lifted almost 200,000 pounds in a year!

Watch What You Eat

As with exercise, your diet isn’t decided in a single moment or at a single meal—it is a cumulative process that helps determine your heart health over time.  Portion control, a vegetable/fruit-based diet, lots of good quality fluids, and fewer processed foods can all contribute to your Heart Health.  High quality fiber and unsaturated fats along with nuts and seeds are also key elements.

Optimize Your Body Composition

This is about a lot more than just “losing weight”.  It is about finding the right body composition for you at your stage in life.  We tend to lose body mass (muscle) as we age, especially if we don’t eat right or do proper exercise.  So the quality of your diet and your caloric intake are both key here.  Find a good source to test your body composition, set achievable health goals for your body cell mass and fat mass, and monitor them on a quarterly basis. This can be done with simple Bio-Impedance Analysis (BIA) as we perform at PMCM.

Stop Smoking

If you are a smoker, consider even one day away from smoking—you will be the better for it.  Even someone who has smoked for decades can improve their cardio health by reducing, or (better) stopping this habit.

Educate yourself

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See your healthcare provider and have your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checked regularly.  Determine if there are areas where you can improve your numbers.  Spend time looking at your results and learn:

What does the number mean?
Am I in the “normal/healthy” range?

Is there a problem?
What approaches can we take to improve my test results next time?

Here is hoping that February is a “heartfelt month of health” for you and yours, and that by next February you will even be healthier!

Dr. Elson

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How Food Combinations Affect Healthy Eating

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Dr. Haas and Betterforyou.com discuss food combining, and how it can benefit your digestion.

“When you eat certain foods, you produce certain digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid to digest. [Nutrients] like fat and protein trigger high hydrochloric acid production, and more alkaline things like fruits and vegetables don’t produce that much hydrochloric acid,” Haas says. When foods that have different digestive periods are eaten together, such as fast-digesting fruit and slow-digesting proteins,
one stays in the stomach longer and therefore can cause gas and cramps when it moves to the intestine.

10 Tips to Stick to Your Health Resolutions

New Years has come and gone, and chances are you’re doing pretty well keeping your resolutions!

If your resolutions include loosing weight or controlling those late night food cravings, here are ten health tips to keep in mind:

1. Build a new way of eating into your life. Sugars in the diet, especially rapidly absorbed, refined sugars, are a key cause of obesity. Learn to use the Glycemic Index. Eating foods low on the Index provides you with a range of delicious fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and more — all foods that will help you keep your weight down and still enjoy your food.

Salty potato chips2. Be aware of food cravings, particularly for sugary or starchy snacks, from creamy candies to salty chips. Watch for the foods, nutrients, and lifestyle habits that cut your cravings.

3. Address any underlying issue that may be causing cravings, whether it’s candida yeast, habitual low blood sugar, or some other type of imbalance.

4. Apply the False Fat Diet program so you can discover your food reactions, reduce your food cravings, and clear other health conditions.

5. Learn to use the rotation diet to minimize any allergies and keep your meals interesting and tasty by trying new healthy foods and meal combinations.

Strawberries6. Cut out junk food — If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it. Carry healthy foods and snacks to consume when you need to eat. Buy wholesome snacks for yourself and your family, chosen from foods low on the Glycemic Index, such as apples and plums, nuts and seeds, or popcorn.

7. During any type of weight reducing diet, weigh yourself only once or twice a week to avoid weight obsessions. Pay attention more to how you look and feel. To avoid feeling deprived, allow yourself to indulge once a week.

8. Remember to exercise on a regular basis.

Remember to exercise9. If you’re looking for snacks or find yourself becoming obsessed with food, change the pace. Do something productive — take a break, take a walk, or call a friend. Then, plan the right snack or meal for you.

10. If you still feel hungry, bloated, or heavier than you want, there may be an underlying physical problem. Seek the help of a healthcare professional with training in nutrition and preventive medicine.

10 Health Resolutions for the New Year

Happy New Year!It’s no secret that keeping New Years resolutions can be a psychological, and sometimes emotional, challenge.

So here are ten mindful tips to encourage yourself to stick to those health resolutions all year, and life, long.

  1. I eat the most wholesome of foods as Nature provides them.
  2. I eat the right amount for my body (not overeating), and eat only when I am hungry.
  3. I chew my food thoroughly and take time to eat.
  4. I avoid the junky and artificial foods as much as possible.
  5. I let go of any regular use of troublesome SNACCs—sugar, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and chemicals.
  6. I stretch my body and mind to be my most flexible.
  7. I exercise daily with enjoyable physical activities, such as walking, running, or working with weights.
  8. I open my heart to experience the greatest joy—giving and receiving love.
  9. I express my feelings to those around me in a wholesome and non-hurtful manner.
  10. I allow love and healing to pervade all levels of my life.

For more helpful, healthful tips by Dr. Elson, visit Haas Health Online.

Money-Saving Ways to Stay Warm

Winter is a great time to explore natural and environmentally-friendly ways to stay warm and save on our heating bills. In addition, maintaining a healthy body temperature enables us to function more optimally and ward off potential colds, infections, and other illnesses.

First of All—Stay Healthy!

A healthy human body is one big energy producing machine, especially when we give it the right fuel. When you look at a picture of the human body with infrared technology, all you see is radiating heat—At its normal resting state, it generates enough heat to boil a gallon of water each day. The body’s heat cycles vary daily, but certainly by insuring that your body is in a good state of metabolic health, you can do a lot to maintain a healthy body temperature even during cold winter months.

Cover Your Windows and Seal Your Doors

If you haven’t yet insulated (double-paned) your windows and sealed your doors, you can take short-term measures to save heat and money. Cover your windows with a sheet or blanket, making sure that the window is all the way closed first and that your covering is not near a heating system. Weather stripping around doors and even taping around the edges of doors that aren’t used may also help keep out those cold drafts.

Hot Water Bottles, Hot Tubs, Saunas

One of water’s many miraculous qualities is that it has a high heat capacity. A bottle of warm water will hold its heat for a while even in a cold house, acting as a very cheap mini-furnace. The rubber bottles made for this purpose may be better insulated and more comfortable to hug, but any bottle will do. Also, taking hot baths (showers not as good for building body heat) or hot tubs if you are lucky enough to have access to one is a good way to heat up the body, as are dry saunas.

Nutrition and Herbs

Food is our body’s fuel and feeds the furnace. We burn calories and that produces heat. During the colder months, we need more cooked foods and more complex carbs, proteins and fats to fuel our furnace. Baked squashes are good, hot soups, nuts and seeds as snacks, and roasted veggies are all good choices. Warming herbs, either sprinkled on foods or cooked in them, include garlic and onions, ginger and mustard, cayenne pepper, and chilies.

Get to the Root

A great and healthful source of winter warming is to eat cooked root vegetables like carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, yams, and sweet potatoes (also, the hard squashes have a great warming effect on the body).

Hot beverages

A true no-brainer, cups of tea or other hot healthful beverage are an integral part of any winter survival plan. Ginger root tea, simmered with slices of about half to one teaspoon per cup of water for 5-10 minutes, can be drunk with some lemon and honey for throat soothing and got enhancing body heat.

Move It or Lose It

Working out, exercising, and moving during the winter may not seem like the most enjoyable activity, but it works!  As well as giving you a rush of endorphins, which boosts your mood, exercise will get the blood pumping around your body and vitally heat up your skin. Blood and body fluids from the warmer parts of your body are more efficiently transmitted to the cooler parts of your body.

Keep Your Extremities Protected

Who hasn’t been out in the winter freeze and felt their ears burning, or their fingers and toes tingling from the frigid temperature. Your extremities are farthest away from your body’s heat center, and their circulation is more readily restricted that other parts of the body when we are trying to save energy.

Be Social

Probably the most enjoyable ways to stay warm during the winter months is to hang out with friends and family. Besides creating activity (and heat) and distracting you from the cold, more people produce more heat.