1. A balanced diet
A healthy lifestyle starts with smart dietary choices. Privilege fruits and vegetables for their high content of vitamins and minerals. You should also make room for whole grains, which are packed with heart-friendly fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Aim to reduce your consumption of salt, trans fats, refined sugars and fried foods. In addition, it’s a good idea to regularly substitute meat with legumes, eggs and plant-based proteins such as tofu. Don’t forget that balance is key, however. Allow yourself a treat from time to time, otherwise you may become frustrated and be less likely to stick to a healthy diet.
2. An active lifestyle
Regular physical activity improves coordination, balance, cardiovascular health and self-esteem. In addition, it strengthens bones, decreases stress, helps you manage your weight and reduces your risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week for people aged 18 to 64. If you’re not sure how to meet this objective, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator and privilege active transportation, such as biking and walking, whenever possible. If you struggle to keep yourself motivated, join a gym with a friend and work out together.
3. A restful sleep
Generally speaking, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to feel energized and maintain their physical and mental health. To help you sleep better, make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillow and that your bedroom is dark, cool and well-ventilated. Avoid screens, stimulants and physical activity before bed and plan for at least two hours between supper and sleep. Finally, try to make your sleep schedule as regular as possible and, if you can manage it, try to stick to it all the time, weekends included.
4. Optimal hydration
Being sufficiently hydrated is essential to ensure your body functions properly. Recommendations about how much water you need to drink a day vary and the amount required by an individual depends on many factors, including height, weight and lifestyle. One thing to keep in mind is that foods like soup and fresh fruits and veggies all count towards your daily water intake. However, try to privilege water over sugary drinks and juices, as it’s free of calories, helps regulate body temperature and aids in intestinal transit by facilitating the decomposition of food.
5. A supportive social network
Social activities are beneficial to both your physical and mental health. According to various studies, social interactions help reduce feelings of anxiety, mitigate symptoms of depression and decrease blood pressure and inflammation. Some studies also suggest that, in certain cases, a healthy social life can help reinforce positive habits like eating well and sticking to an exercise program. Finally, a strong and caring social network offers support in difficult times. If yours is sparse, try joining classes or volunteering. These activities offer great opportunities to meet new people and develop your interests.
6. Mental well-being
Preserving your mental health is crucial to maintaining your overall health. First and foremost, try to develop healthy strategies for dealing with stress, starting with reserving time for yourself in your schedule. Mediating, listening to music, going on nature hikes, reading, performing breathing exercises and getting massages are all great ways to relax. Part of adopting a healthy lifestyle involves devoting time to the activities you enjoy. This will help you keep stress under control and sleep better. In turn, you’ll have the energy you need to prepare healthy meals, work out and keep up with your social life.
5 great reasons to eat mushrooms
Here are five great reasons why the health-conscious diner should make room on their plate for mushrooms.
1. Vitamin B
Most edible mushrooms are rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B9. These help our bodies metabolize food and contribute to red blood cell formation. These nutrients are also thought to play a role in brain health.
2. Vitamin D
Mushrooms are one of the few vegan sources of vitamin D, which is crucial for teeth and bone health. However, mushrooms only produce vitamin D if exposed to sunlight. Look for those grown outdoors or that have been irradiated with UV light.
3. Dietary fiber
Most mushrooms are made up of at least 50 percent carbohydrates by weight. However, most of these carbs are insoluble dietary fiber, which plays a crucial role in digestion and helps control cholesterol.
4. Heart health
Potassium is found in large quantities in mushrooms and is a key player in regulating blood pressure. In addition, they contain high concentrations of beta-glucans, a type of fiber that’s been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels. The stem of the shiitake is a particularly good source of beta-glucans.
5. Weight management
While mushrooms shouldn’t be thought of as a weight loss superfood, they do tend to increase satiety. This means you’ll feel fuller quicker. In conjunction with their low fat and calorie content, this makes them a handy food for weight management.
Mushrooms may also help prevent certain cancers, as well as protect from some types of neurodegenerative diseases. While more research is needed to substantiate these claims, one thing is for sure: eating more mushrooms is a delicious way to stay healthy.
How to get rid of dust mites
Have you recently been diagnosed with a dust mite allergy? Here’s how to evict them from your home.
Dust mites nest in fabrics and are often present in large numbers in the bedroom, particularly in bedding.
Bedding should be cleaned weekly and tumble dried on high heat for at least one hour. Curtains should be cleaned regularly, and the room should be vacuumed two to three times a week.
In addition, avoiding rugs and using dust mite-proof encasements for mattresses, pillows and duvets will drastically reduce allergen exposure.
Furniture with wooden, leather or vinyl surfaces will reduce the dust mite population, or at least ensure they don’t nest there. Note that vacuuming isn’t enough to get rid of them. Use a wet cloth to remove dust from the surfaces around the house. Finally, try to keep the relative humidity below 50 percent, as dust mites thrive in humid environments.
Controlling the dust mite population in your home will drastically reduce the intensity of any allergy symptoms. For additional advice, consult a health care professional.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are microscopic members of the arachnid family that feed on dead skin and other particles. Their excrement is the cause of our allergic reactions.
Spotting spoiled food: beyond the best-by date
Is it safe to eat? While best-by dates are useful indicators, your senses are a much better way to gauge freshness. Here’s how to determine whether food is safe to eat.
• Dairy. Milk, yogurt, sour cream and other high-humidity dairy products should be chucked if they’ve separated, smell sour, have curdled or are showing even a hint of mold.
• Cheese. Hard and semi-soft cheeses like Parmesan and cheddar are fairly resistant to mold. If there’s only a little bit on the surface, you can cut off one inch around the affected area and eat the rest. Moldy soft cheeses should be discarded.
• Bread. Since mold spores can penetrate the porous surface of bread, a moldy loaf should be thrown out.
• Potatoes. Throw out any potato with green flesh. This is due to an accumulation of solanine, a toxic chemical naturally produced by potatoes. If the green coloration doesn’t extend below the skin, the potato is safe to eat once peeled. Make sure to remove eyes and sprouts and to throw out soft, moldy potatoes.
• Fruits and vegetables. Some fruits and veggies, like carrots and bell peppers, are too dense for mold to penetrate past the surface, so these are safe to eat once the affected spot is removed. Slimy, discolored and thoroughly moldy fruits and veggies should be thrown out.
• Eggs. Conduct a water test to determine freshness. If the egg sinks, it’s good. If it floats, toss it.
• Canned food. Throw out rusted or bulging cans, as well as those that have been punctured.
• Meat and fish. Minor discoloration is nothing to worry about. However, a slimy texture or an unusual smell are indicators of spoilage. The same is true of fresh fish, which should never smell fishy. Deli meats with a slimy coating should also be discarded.
Remember, best-by dates are indicators of freshness, not safety. However, if in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
5 unexpected signs of heart disease
Every February, the American Heart Association organizes Heart Month to help raise awareness about the warning signs and risk factors of heart disease. Though there are a number of more commonly recognized symptoms in¬cluding chest discomfort, dizziness, fainting and shortness of breath, here are five lesser known indicators of this type of disease.
1. Frank’s sign
Diagonal creases on the earlobes have been linked to having a higher risk of heart problems. This sign was first described by American physician Anders Frank, and it’s associated to arteriosclerosis, which is the buildup of pla¬que in the arteries, a common cause of heart attack.
2. Fatty bumps
Yellow, fatty bumps called xanthomas, which can appear on the knees, elbows, eyelids and buttocks, are a sign that someone has exceptionally high levels of lipoprotein cholesterol, commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. The medical conditions that cause them to form lead to the generation of fat deposits in arteries, which is why they may be an indicator of heart disease.
3. Nail clubbing
Digital clubbing is when the fingernails and tips of both hands become thicker and change shape. This occurs when there’s not enough blood reaching the extremities and the body reacts by producing a growth-promoting factor to compensate.
4. Iris halo
Nearly 45 percent of people over the age of 40 have a fatty ring around their iris. This number goes up to 70 percent for people over 60. These rings are associated with well-established coronary disease risk factors.
5. Blue lips
Lips can turn a blueish color in people with a heart problem. This phenomenon is called cyanosis, and it’s caused by the failure of the heart to provide oxygenated blood to tissues in the body.
Though all of these symptoms of heart disease can have benign causes, if you notice any of them, it’s time to visit your doctor.
Heart disease kills an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. It’s the leading cause of death in the United States.
4 foods for healthier skin
In winter, your skin is routinely exposed to the effects of cold temperatures, indoor heating, pollution and sunlight. Here are four foods that can help allay the effects of these stressors.
1. Fatty fish. Packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, fish such as salmon and mackerel help preserve your skin’s elasticity, reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. Adding them to your diet will mitigate the negative effects of sunlight on your skin and provide essential antioxidants.
2. Avocado. An excellent source of healthy fats and vitamin C, this popular fruit helps skin maintain its elasticity and protects it from irritants. It’s also highly versatile and can be enjoyed in salads, smoothies, sandwiches and on its own.
3. Nuts. The amino acids in nuts are essential to our skin’s health. They promote its natural regenerative processes while improving blood circulation. Add them to salads and baked goods or eat them as a snack.
4. Berries. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries all contain very high concentrations of antioxidants, which slow skin aging and contribute to your overall health. Add them to your cereal and smoothies or munch on them as a low-calorie snack.
Other skin-friendly foods include olive oil, green tea, garlic and red grapes. As a bonus, adding these to your diet will diversify it and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Keep fit and enjoy life!
It’s not because you’re retired that your days have to stretch into a succession of endless hours. It’s just the opposite! Now is the time to enjoy life. Here are some tips to help you stay in shape for years to come.
• Watch your diet. It’s important to eat well to prevent obesity and its harmful effects on your health. The revised American Food Guide is a good reference tool that contains recommendations for the different age groups.
• Exercise. Walk, dance, swim, bike, play golf, or do Tai chi. In other words, stay active. And don’t just exercise your body; your brain also needs a workout. Keep your mind sharp by doing crossword puzzles or playing memory games.
• Relax. You’ve lived a full life; now take the time to relax. Reduce stress through meditation or yoga, or relax with a good book.
• Have fun. To be in good shape is also a matter of well-being, because to stay fit you have to stay happy. That is why it’s important to keep busy. Retirement is the perfect time to indulge in the passions you’ve always neglected or to explore and discover new ones. Seize every opportunity to laugh and have fun with your loved ones.
Follow the recommendations of your doctor; take your medications, stop smoking, relax, and enjoy Mother Nature and all that wonderful fresh air. In other words, take care of yourself and make the most of life!
Explore all your options; you may discover some new passions.