Nutritionists and registered dietitians make the recommendation to use more herbs and spices rather than salt, sugar and fats to add flavor to dishes. Herbs and spices have been used throughout all of history and have been proven to have many health benefits. Here are a few herbs and their health benefits that you can add to your grocery list next time you shop, in case you aren’t using them now.
Cinnamon. One of the most well-known spices used around the world. Cinnamon’s health benefits include regulating blood sugar levels appropriately as well as reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in type II diabetes sufferers.
Peppermint. This spice can provide relief to people who suffer from IBS symptoms. Peppermint also contains chemicals that help aid in reducing nausea. One of the best qualities peppermint oil can provide is relief to skin burns, whether it is a sunburn or burn from cooking.
Turmeric. This herb has taken a front row seat this past year in the nutrition world. Turmeric is recommended as one of the best herbs you can intake each day. Turmeric contains the phytochemical curcumin which gives it the yellow color it is most known for. Curcumin can help in weight loss, eliminating cancer cells and control symptoms from metabolic diseases. Scientists have also created a new molecule from curcumin that can help restore brain cells after a stroke.
Oregano. It contains many antioxidants to boost our immune system. Oregano is rich in Vitamin K, iron and manganese. Oregano can kill E.coli and almost any foodborne illness.
Rosemary. Rosemary can block the absorption of carcinogenic compounds found in foods such as grilled meats. Rosemary oil can improve cognitive performance and especially in people who suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Ginger. Ginger contains over 50 antioxidants which can boost the immune system. Ginger also helps increase circulation, calms the digestive system, lowers cholesterol, helps ease arthritis pain, reduce inflammation throughout the body and can help increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics.
Asheville hosts one of the biggest herb festivals in the United States every year at the WNC Farmer’s Market. This year it will take place May 5-7 from 9-5pm on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday from 10-3pm. If nothing else, go speak with the growers and find out what they recommend for your specific needs. It is the perfect opportunity to gain knowledge about growing, preserving and using herbs and spices.
Submitted by Abby Landry: Wellness Director
2017 has begun and a lot of individuals have chosen to take this time to renew themselves by dieting and controlling sugar, high fat or high carb cravings. But, let’s be honest, what is life without a little indulgences from time to time? Especially if you have been in control of your cravings and deserve a little dessert occasionally. Here are some sneaky swaps that will help you indulge and not feel guilty at the same time.
Black beans swapped for flour. I know it sounds crazy, but this is all the rage. Black beans contain more fiber than flour; they have a lower glycemic load which means your blood sugar is better controlled eating black beans than flour. Try substituting black beans in a brownie recipe.
Avocado swapped for butter. I LOVE butter, but everyone knows that it isn’t the healthiest. Butter contains cholesterol, sodium, fat and little nutritious benefits. Spread some avocado on toast or replace equal parts mashed avocado with butter in baked goods.
Rolled oats swapped for breadcrumbs. Oats are a great addition to any dish because they add crunchy texture. Rolled oats have more fiber than breadcrumbs but less sodium per serving. Simply pulse rolled oats in a food processor and use in place of breadcrumbs.
Greek yogurt swapped for mayonnaise. Greek yogurt contains less fat and sodium per serving compared to regular mayonnaise. Replace equal parts Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in salads such as egg salad or chicken salad.
Pumpkin swapped for oil. Pumpkin puree can be substituted for butter and oil in many recipes. Pumpkin contains many nutritious vitamins and minerals compared to any butter or oil. Pumpkin also contains fiber which is not found in oil or butter. Lighten muffins, breads and cakes by substituting equal parts pumpkin for oil or ¾ cup of oil for 1 cup of pumpkin puree. Applesauce can also be a great substitute for oil in these dishes.
Butternut squash swapped for cheese. Macaroni and cheese is a classic dish that is not a healthy option overall. Butternut squash contains less fat, calories and sodium than cheese and it contains more nutrients and fiber. Try roasting and pureeing butternut squash for replacing in mac and cheese. This step may seem more complicated than adding shredded cheese but it makes up for the work in the taste test. Trust me!
Submitted by Abby Landry: Wellness Director
As we begin a new year I am sure many of us have New Years Resolutions. That is not always a bad thing. However must of us set unrealistic goals and set ourselves up for failure.
Here are some helpful easy year round tips from our Wellness Director, Abby Landry.
If you have any questions about wellness or about the Wellness Center on campus please do not hesitate to contact one of our Wellness Associates at 828-418-2330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Do winter time chores and blues get you down? Winter is a time when the benefits of living in a continuing care retirement community hit home the most. You will find fitness classes, social events, clubs and friends just outside your door, but above all no winter chores!
A winter wonderland is a beautiful sight as the white snow falls softly to the ground and there is a quiet stillness in the air. Sadly the beauty quickly fades when it comes time to clear a path to the door and the driveway needs to be shoveled. By the time this back-breaking work is done no one has the energy to go outside and enjoy themselves. Seniors are especially at risk during the winter season when they go outdoors for long periods of time to complete chores. The risks go beyond broken bones from falls on icy steps, sidewalks or streets. The National Institute on Aging warns that older adults are especially vulnerable to hypothermia because the body’s response to cold can be diminished as most seniors are less physically active and generate less body heat.
Once you live at Pisgah Valley you no longer have the burden of home maintenance, life becomes more fun with less work. You will never have the fear of running out of groceries during a storm or worrying about your water lines freezing. Another great advantage is that you will not have to budget for future repairs to your home such as replacing an appliance or even a roof. You will have the peace of mind knowing that everything from clearing a sidewalk to changing a light bulb will be provided by our dedicated staff. No more getting out in the cold for long periods to do household chores!
When you make the choice to move to a continuing care retirement community you will have the time to pursue new and old interests both on and off campus as you can take advantage of free transportation to places of interest. You will have opportunities to meet new friends through various planned programs.
Please call to learn more about the advantages of maintenance-free living.
At Pisgah Valley we have a campus Wellness Program called “CREATION health.” It is an acronym that we use as a model for achieving whole person health. The letter “I” in the acronym stands for Interpersonal Relationships. Wellness means so much more than nutrition and fitness. This new year, try focusing on the relationships in your life that matter the most. Think back through your life about the people who have taught you, supported you, counted on you and loved you the most. Make a list of those who you have not seen in a long time and try to reconnect with some.
In life we experience constant changes; it is unfortunate that we lose touch with so many over the years. If you have a loved one who you know you could do better at reaching out to, make 2017 the year that you make an effort to reestablish this connection. Here are some ways to find that person and reach out:
Social Media: use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram to find a friend. Many people are on social media these days and this is an effective and efficient way to find someone. If you search the name of the person you are trying to locate and don’t find him/her, try searching a family member’s name instead. Also remember that people get married so last names can change.
High School and College Reunions: attend a reunion if you want to reconnect with friends from school. This is an excellent way to catch up with old friends. Even if you don’t find the friend you have in mind, you will most likely find someone who does know where to find your friend.
Google Search: try simply entering the person’s name into the search bar and see what comes up. Or try searching the person’s name and the school that he/she graduated from or the town that he/she is from.
Contact mutual acquaintances: if you can’t find a friend, someone else will. Call a mutual acquaintance such as an old teacher or boss and ask if they know how to contact your friend. Even if these people don’t know how to get in touch with your old friend, they may be able to get you on the right track by giving you your friend’s last known whereabouts.
Contact your school or alumni organization: many of schools keep a database of old students for soliciting donations and informing of upcoming events. Try contacting your friend’s old school and asking if they would be willing to give you any information at all. Some schools will not for privacy purposes.
Reconnecting old friendships can be beneficial for our health in many ways. It usually brings forth laughter and reminiscing of the old days which can signal our brains to release feel good hormones and endorphins. We use our brain to reminisce which connects neurological pathways to help our memories. We can sit with a meal and enjoy some nutritious food while catching up. No matter what age you are, social connectedness is powerful, so be sure this New Year to love the ones you have close by and keep in touch!
Submitted by Abby Landry: Wellness Director
As we age, muscle cramps can become either more frequent or more painfully intense. In older age, many things in our bodies including our muscles and nerves wear out and become less functional.
Cramps are caused by a muscle spasm which contracts too hard. It usually occurs in a calf muscle, below and behind a knee, and in the small muscles of the feet. When the muscle spasms and squeezes all the little nerve endings inside the muscle this creates pain. If you have ever experienced a cramp, you know the pain will not go away until you make the move to do something about it.
Unfortunately no scientific research has been conducted that proves any tried and true method for either preventing muscle cramps or getting them to go away quickly.
An article on NPR.org tells the story of a 71 year old man named Holladay who was waking up between 2 and 6am every morning with severe cramping in his toes. One morning it was so bad, he stood up and broke his toenail off as well as the big toe itself. This was his wake up call to do some research and find out what he could do to make these painful cramps stop and thus, get a restful night of sleep.
He set up an appointment to meet his family doctor who first ruled out any chance that he could have some type of degenerative disease which could cause cramps such as ALS. Once that was determined, the doctor advised trying acupuncture and a prescription for quinine. Quinine is no longer on the market for treatment due to its bad side effects. Holladay had no good results with acupuncture, so he decided to meet with a neurologist.
At the neurology clinic at Stanford University, doctors and colleagues had just finished an evidence-based review of treatments for muscle cramps. Unfortunately, they turned up very little. There were hundreds of studies but not one showed that any particular treatment would work for all or even most patients. Some treatments did hold some promise such as including a type of calcium channel blocker used to treat blood pressure as well as a Vitamin B complex. However, even with those, results showed that they did not work for a lot of the participants.
According to University of California at San Francisco’s neurologist, Dr. Robert Miller, “older people are at greater risk for cramps simply because of their age. Nerves control muscles, and nerves just wear out.”
Here are some things you can do to ease the pain once you have a cramp:
There’s one thing we have no choice over in life and that’s our parents. With that come various illnesses and diseases that we are genetically exposed to. Unfortunately, we cannot control what we are born with, but we can control other lifestyle factors that can have a large impact on our future and quality of life.
It probably comes to no one’s surprise that diet has a huge impact on the quality of life you have as well as life span. Keeping your weight in check can add years to your life. All of us are made differently. Find what weight is appropriate for your body type and activity level and maintain that. Speak with your physician to get some help on what that weight should be. People who are overweight due to overeating will lose years off of their life expectancy. Here are a few pointers for following a diet focused on longevity:
Exercise is the fountain of youth…..so they say. They are right! No matter what type of exercise, all movement is beneficial to the human body. Yoga and tai ji can help you become more intimate with your body as well as flexible. Interval training can be most effective, but more intense on your joints and muscles. It provides an excellent aerobic workout and is excellent for the body. Speak with a fitness professional if you are interested in learning about interval training.
Supplements and herbs have been shown to be very beneficial for some adults. From the perspective of a nutritionist, you cannot possibly take in the amount of food you need to get the recommended amounts of nutrients and minerals we need in a day. A multivitamin supplement would be most beneficial for this. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before trying any supplements and herbs for any reason at all.
The final and most important habit that creates longevity is social connectedness. People who are engaged in helping or supporting others have an enormous advantage in life expectancy. Caring for others is one reason why we’re alive. Living an engaged life is a choice we make day to day and even hour to hour. Social connections are what make us feel alive, and maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that they are also what help keep us alive. Take time out of your day to speak with a neighbor or help a stranger open the door with a smile, it really warms the heart.
Are CCRCs the Right Fit For You?
There are many options in senior living that you should explore when considering a move, as each option provides a variety of benefits that make it attractive to consider. When researching, you should focus on finding out which option provides the most comprehensive benefits, now and in the future.
When asked, Continuing Care Retirement Community (or CCRC) residents give a variety of reasons as to why they choose a CCRC. For many, it is the security of having a plan in place for the future and knowing that long-term healthcare needs are taken care of, should any arise. They don’t want to be a burden to their family and want to make important healthcare decisions for the future well in advance. Others choose a CCRC because of the maintenance-free lifestyle, ample opportunities to explore new interests, and the strong social network. CCRCs aren’t for everyone, but for those who are looking for a community that includes exciting amenities and assurance for the future, a CCRC can be the perfect retirement option.
Our FREE digital publication, The Benefits of Choosing a CCRC, gives a comprehensive overview of continuing care retirement communities. This includes:
One of the causes of high blood pressure and bloating is high sodium within the diet. You’ll be surprised to hear one of the biggest contributors of high sodium within the diet is…
A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that on any given day, 49% of American adults eat at least one sandwich and that a sandwich accounts for 46% of the daily recommended sodium allowance.
Continue reading “The Secret Sodium Bomb You’re Eating Every Day”