Healthy Hint #42

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your blood. When there is too much, it builds up on the walls of your arteries and can slow down or stop blood from getting to your heart. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

There are different kinds of cholesterol in your blood. A simple blood test can tell you and your doctor how much of each kind you have.

What do your cholesterol numbers mean?

  • Total cholesterol – Less than 200 mg/dL is good.
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol – This is the kind that can build up and block the arteries. LDL levels lower than 100 mg/dL are best.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol – This kind can keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. HDL levels of 60 mg/dL or more help lower your risk for heart disease.
  • Triglycerides – This is another form of fat in your blood that can raise your risk for heart disease if you have too much. Levels that are borderline high (150-199 mg/dL) or high (200 mg/dL or more) may need treatment.

Ask your doctor what your cholesterol levels should be and how often to get tested.

To lower your risk for high blood cholesterol:

  • Eat healthy. Reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet.
  • Watch your weight. Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if you need to.
  • Be active. Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most, if not all, days.

Healthy Hint #41

Taking care of your teeth and gums may help your smile, but it’s also important for your general health. The bacteria in an unhealthy mouth can affect the rest of your body. And research shows that gum disease is linked to serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

To keep your mouth healthy:

  • Take care of your teeth and gums by thoroughly brushing and flossing.
  • Go to the dentist regularly for exams and teeth cleanings. Checkups can help your dentist spot early signs of oral health problems.
  • Eat wisely. Avoid sugary snacks. And choose fresh, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
  • Say no to tobacco. Cigarettes, pipes and tobacco raise your risk for gum disease, oral and throat cancers, and fungal infections in your mouth.

Limit how much alcohol you drink. It increases your risk for oral and throat cancers.

Healthy Hint #40

A few pounds can make a big difference when it comes to diabetes. If you have the condition, your body either has trouble making enough of a hormone called insulin or can’t make any at all. Insulin helps break down the food your cells use for energy. When your body can’t break down this energy, you end up with high levels of sugar in your blood. Studies show that people at high risk for Type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the disease if they lose as little as 10 to 14 pounds (at a starting weight of 200 pounds). To begin your weight-loss journey:

Step 1 – Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity, five days a week. Walk during your lunch break. Park your car farther from stores or your office. If you haven’t been active for a long time, talk to your doctor about the best physical activity plan for you.

Step 2 – Make healthy food choices. Go with foods that are low in fat, sugar and calories. Limit your portion sizes. Eat a variety of colorful fruits and veggies. When you’re thirsty, drink water, which is calorie-free. And eat healthy snacks between meals so you don’t get too hungry.

Healthy Hint #39

As a melting pot, the U.S. is full of different cultures and their foods. This diversity of flavors can help us cook more exciting meals with healthier ingredients. Add a little Mexican-inspired cilantro and garlic instead of salt to bring new life to a stew – or replace a buttery mashed potato side dish with hearty Indian-style lentils.

Whether you’re borrowing herbs and spices from another country or preparing your own special dishes in a healthier way, your choices are endless! Use more chili, garlic, ginger, basil, oregano, curry, low-sodium soy sauce and cilantro – and less salt, gravies, creams and heavy sauces. Try baking a meal you traditionally fry. And include more fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, seafood, lean meats and low-fat dairy options in your new and improved menu.

HealthyCPA – November 2018 :: Defeat Diabetes

The eMagazine dedicated to improving members’ well-being

  • Defeat diabetes
  • Busting diet myths
  • Wheelchair fitness
  • Diabetes: Are you at risk?
  • Get your energy back
  • Can exercise help control stress?

In each issue you will find information and inspiration to help you with your health and wellness goals.

Healthy Hint #38

Fruit is awesome! In addition to being high in fiber and vitamin C, most fruit is naturally low in fat, sodium and calories. Eating more of it as part of a healthy diet may even lower your risk for some chronic diseases. Plus, fruit is a great substitute for sugar in recipes and desserts.

The best time to buy different fruits is when they’re in season and at their peak flavor. Since the fresh kind doesn’t last long, stock up on dried, frozen or canned (in water or 100% juice) fruit to have a supply on hand. Make most of your choices whole or cut-up fruit, instead of juice, so you get more fiber.

Healthy Hint #37

Have you heard that you should stop exercising as you get older? Or that women shouldn’t do weight-training activities because they’ll get too muscular? These are both common fitness myths.

The truth is that staying active is one of the best ways you can stay strong and fight
aging. Plus, you can lower your risk for many serious health problems, like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers and bone density loss. Women, who are more prone to osteoporosis, can especially benefit from weight-training activities that keep their bones, muscles and joints in good shape.

So the next time you hear people making excuses for why physical activity is bad for you, tell them to get the facts!

HealthyCPA – October 2018 :: Our Pets: Friends and Healers

The eMagazine dedicated to improving members’ well-being

  • Our pets: friends and healers
  • Get a move on – Quit sitting your life away
  • Gain more from exercise
  • QuikRiskTM Assessment: Breast cancer
  • New colorectal cancer screening guidelines

In each issue you will find information and inspiration to help you with your health and wellness goals.

Healthy Hint #36

Americans have a taste for salt (or sodium), which plays a role in high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Adults age 51 and older, African Americans of any age, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should further lower their sodium levels to 1,500 mg a day.

Most of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and cold cuts; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned soups. To minimize how much sodium you have each day:

  • Eat fewer processed foods, in smaller portions.
  • Read nutrition labels to keep track of how much sodium is in your food.
  • Have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are usually low in sodium.

Skip the salt when cooking and try other seasonings.

Healthy Hint #35

Vegetables are light on calories, but packed with disease-fighting vitamins and minerals. Ideally, you should fill half your plate with them. And it’s easier than you think.

To bulk up the vegetable content of your meals:

  • Cook fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave for a quick-and-easy dish.
  • Be ahead of the game. Cut up a batch of bell peppers, carrots or broccoli and pre-package them to use in a pinch.
  • Brighten your salad by using colorful vegetables, such as shredded radishes and chopped red cabbage.

When eating out, choose vegetables or a salad as your side dish.