83 Million Americans are living with heart disease or the after-effects of stroke. The numbers are scary, but we can do our part to help improve them by making simple lifestyle changes and focusing on heart-healthy nutrition – specifically omega-3 fatty acids, oat beta-glucan and vitamin D.
Click on the infographic below to expand it and read more about heart health and nutrition. For more information, visit www.vitaminsinmotion.com
Two of the most beloved holiday icons are leveraging their celebrity this season to bring attention to heart disease – the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. Mrs. Claus is inviting American families to join her in making the same, heart-healthy lifestyle changes she and Santa are taking on this year to raise awareness for nutrition’s role in heart health.
Find out more and hear Mrs. Claus’ important message from her and Santa here: www.clausnutrition.com
These days, we can do just about anything online. Work, catch up with friends, buy gifts and household items, read the news and play games. Playing games may sound frivolous, but one study found that video games may help maintain brain health in seniors.
Not into video games? You can still challenge your brain online with countless websites featuring brain teasers, logic puzzles and riddles. Here are five of our favorites:
- Puzzles.com http://www.puzzles.com
- Brain Games (National Geographic) http://braingames.nationalgeographic.com/episode/20/
- Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/05/15/10-brainteasers-to-test-your-mental-sharpness/
Do you have a favorite website for challenging your brain? Share it in the comments!
As summer turns to fall, the days get shorter, people refocus on school and work and many of us find our social calendars a little emptier. Our suggestion for keeping your social life, well, social? Take a class.
Continuing education classes are everywhere. Check out the library, community center, senior center and even the grocery store for classes being offered this fall. Enhance your skills for an existing passion, like cooking or computer programming, or step out of your comfort zone and try something new, like knitting or tae kwon do.
The wonderful thing about taking a class – an in-person class, online doesn’t count! – is that you’ll connect with other people with similar interests. Whether you take the friendship outside of the classroom or simply enjoy the time learning together, the social interaction is extremely valuable to your brain health.
Research shows that regular social activity promotes creation of new brain cells. So stimulate your brain this fall by signing up for a class or two.
What community classes do you attend?
Plan a romantic dinner for two, featuring with this salad recipe from Elizabeth Somer’s Eat Your Way to Sexy. “This salad features pomegranate, the symbol for longevity, immortality and abundance in China and fertility in Greece,” says Elizabeth. “Pomegranates are rich in potassium, vitamin C, fiber, B vitamins and phytonutrients. Feeding your body and brain with nutrient foods – now that is sexy!”
Fall Romance Salad (from Eat Your Way to Sexy by Elizabeth Somer, M.A.,R.D.)
- 2 1/3 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar (preferably one infused with pomegranate)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 /2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper salt to taste
- 20 ounces baby greens, such as Fresh Express Tender Ruby Reds
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 cups toasted walnut pieces
- 5 tangerines or small mandarin oranges, peeled, sectioned, the pith removed, and cut in half
- 1 1 /2 cups pomegranate seeds
1. In a medium, non-stick saucepan, bring juice to a gentle boil and simmer until reduced to 3/4 cup, approximately 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. While still warm, add thyme. When cool, add vinegar, oil, pepper, and salt.
2. In a large bowl, place lettuce. Top with onion, parsley, walnuts, orange pieces, and finally pomegranate seeds. When ready to serve, gently and thoroughly toss with dressing. Makes 8 servings.
Fall is the perfect time to get active outdoors; not too hot and not too cold, the weather is just right. Here are five ideas for making exercise fun this autumn:
- Leaf Walk or Jog: The changing colors of fall foliage provide gorgeous scenery for a brisk stroll or jog. Check out a local park, trail or your own tree-lined neighbourhood.
- Sign up for an outdoor boot camp: Challenge yourself with a new workout in a group setting. You’ll gain benefits from both the exercise and the social interaction.
- Yardwork: Raking leaves, winterizing your garden – it all counts as physical activity! Make it fun by listening to up-tempo music that will inspire you to work to the beat.
- Farmer’s Market: Make a Saturday morning date with a friend to visit a farmer’s market. Enjoy catching up while getting your body moving and exploring the harvest bounty.
- Limber up: Fall is a great time to take your yoga, pilates or tai chiworkout outdoors. Breathe in the crisp air, relax your mind and stretch your body.
What could be better than satisfying your sweet tooth while getting a boost of nutrients and protein at the same time? Indulge guilt-free (in moderation, of course) in this rich and flavorful chocolate espresso tofu mousse from www.youbeauty.com.
“Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, flavonols and iron – all wonderful nutrients for the whole body,” says Dr. Michael Roizen, co-founder of YouBeauty.com as well as co-author of the You series of health books. “You’ll also get protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals from the tofu. This is a great recipe for guests – they won’t know there is a tofu in it if you don’t tell them!”
- 12 ounces extra firm tofu
- 2 ripe bananas
- 2 ounces 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon, 2 teaspoon agave nectar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
Place tofu in food processor and blend until creamy. Add bananas and process until smooth. Melt chocolate and add to tofu along with remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Place in serving cups, refrigerate until cold and serve.
You may or may not have the voice of angel, but did you know that belting out the tunes – particularly in a group setting –is great for your health? A study at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that singing in synch with others, as in a choir setting, creates a calming effect that can be as beneficial to our health as yoga.
The study, which looked at high school choir members, found that the regular, controlled, breathing required for singing helps individuals to relax and calmed their heart rate.
Singing in a choir or group has the added benefit of social connectedness, one of the four pillars of brain health. Senior citizens choirs, where musical ability is not required but enthusiasm is, have become increasingly popular. Well-known Young @ Heart Chorus, based in Massachusetts, has touredthe United States and internationally.
Look for singing groups in your area by doing an Internet search, checking with community centers, and connecting with local choral or music associations. Can’t find one? Start one of your own!
Food is a big part of our lives. We celebrate with special meals, we connect with friends over lunch, we plan a week’s worth of dinners for our families. But at it’s root, food is fuel to help our bodies work. We need the energy, nutrients and vitamins food provides. “The foods we eat should make us feel good,” says Elizabeth Somer, nutritionist and author of Eat Your Way to Sexy and other titles. “These days, the typical American diet contains too many foods that have the opposite effect – making us feel tired, stuffed and uncomfortable.”
Below, Somer shares some of the foods that she defines as unsexy foods – foods that make us feel badly. “Put these foods on the ‘rarely’ list,” she says. “Indulge occasionally if you must, but take note of how these foods make you feel.”
- Refined grains: “People who eat refined grains are more likely to be overweight,” says Somer. Try replacing white carbohydrates, like bread, pasta and flour with whole-grain alternatives to get a feel-good dose of fiber.
- Commercial snack foods: Chips, cookies, crackers, candy, granola bars, baked sweets are all included here. “Too much processed foods and sugar will you leave you feeling seriously unsexy,” says Somer.
- Meat and full-fat dairy: You don’t need to cut out meat, but you should be wise about what cuts of red meat you choose. “Focus on lean meats (7% fat or less), smaller portions and try substituting fatty fish once in a while,” says Somer. “If you don’t like fish, be sure to take a supplement to get those essential omega-3s.” As for dairy, stock up on low-fat cheese and milk. Add homemade fruit puree to plain low-fat yogurt to avoid a sugar rush.
Tell us, what foods make you feel great? What foods do you avoid?