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Educational Articles

Cholesterol & Heart Disease

cholesterol heart disease

If you have high cholesterol, you’re also at higher risk for heart disease. But the good news is, it’s a risk you can control. You can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol. You just have to make some simple changes.

Ban Trans Fats
They raise your LDL, lower your HDL, and increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke, but it’s hard to avoid them. They’re found in fried foods, baked goods (cakes, pie crusts, frozen pizza, and cookies), and stick margarines.

That’s why the FDA is taking steps to remove them from the food supply. How can you avoid them in the meantime? When you go shopping, read the labels. But be careful if you see “partially hydrogenated oil” on the package. That’s just a fancy name for trans fat.

Get Moving
Exercising at least 150 minutes a week is enough to raise HDL and improve LDL and triglycerides. If you haven’t been active, start slowly – even 10-minute blocks of activity count! Choose an exercise you enjoy. And buddy up! An exercise partner can help keep you on track.

Scale Back
You don’t have to lose a lot of weight to lower your cholesterol. If you’re overweight, drop just 10 pounds and you’ll cut your LDL by up to 8%. But to really keep off the pounds, you’ll have to do it over time. A reasonable and safe goal for weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds a week.

Fill Up on Fiber
Foods like oatmeal, apples, prunes, and beans are high in soluble fiber, which keeps your body from absorbing cholesterol. Research shows that people who ate 5 to 10 more grams of it each day saw a drop in their LDL. Eating more fiber also makes you feel full, so you won’t crave snacks as much. But beware: Too much fiber at one time can cause abdominal cramps or bloating. Increase your intake slowly.

Go Fish
Try to eat it two to four times a week. Not only are the omega-3 fats in fish heart-healthy, but replacing red meat with fish will lower your cholesterol by reducing your exposure to saturated fats, which are abundant in red meat.

Opt for Olive Oil
Substituting olive oil for butter may reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 15%, which is similar to the effect of a low dose of medication. The “good” fats in olive oil benefit your heart. Choose extra-virgin olive oil. It’s less processed and contains more antioxidants, which help prevent disease.

Chill Out
Did you know that when you’re stressed, your cholesterol can go through the roof? Relax. Get lost in a good book, meet a friend for coffee, or take to your yoga mat to help keep your cholesterol in check.

Spice It Up
If you don’t already dust your cappuccino with cinnamon or shake pepper on your pasta, listen up: Spices like garlic, cumin, ginger, black pepper, coriander, and cinnamon do more than flavor your food, they can also improve cholesterol levels.

For more information on improving your cholesterol and reducing your risk for heart disease, talk with your doctor or contact the Wellness Department at Southeastern Med at 740-739-8000.

 

Five Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

healthy 2017It’s that time of year again when we make New Year’s resolutions. We’ll set goals, make plans and imagine all the ways we can do better in 2017. And while we’ll start with the best intentions, most of us will fall off the wagon before the end of January.

Here are five New Year’s resolutions you can stick to!

1. Get regular checkups.
Don’t let your busy schedule keep you from important preventative healthcare services. This month, make appointments with your primary care doctor for your annual physical, as well as other regular checkups like dental exams and skin cancer screenings.

2. Request baseline testing.
Blood tests and imaging services are a routine part of your healthcare. Ask your primary doctor when it’s best to start baseline and regular testing for cholesterol, breast cancer, blood sugar, colorectal cancer and other important health screenings. And remember, all blood tests, laboratory screenings and imaging can be done locally at Southeastern Med in Cambridge.

3. Adopt a healthy diet.
Your daily food choices affect how you feel today, tomorrow and in the future. Combined with exercise, good nutrition can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of health problems like heart disease, and promote your overall wellbeing. Talk with a Southeastern Med nutritionist to get started on the right foot!

4. Exercise regularly.
Physical activity improves your health and reduces your risk of developing chronic health problems like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Exercise can also reduce stress and improve sleep quality. You don’t have to adopt the latest fad fitness phase of log late nights at the gym – just get moving. Walk the neighborhood, join a fun sports league, or try out local fitness classes. Household chores and yardwork count, too!

5. Quit tobacco.
The number of adult tobacco users in the U.S. has steadily declined in recent years, but quitting smoking/chewing is still a popular New Year’s resolution. While it’s a tough one to stick to, the benefits are endless – for your lungs, your heart and your wallet. Check out the tobacco cessation program at Southeastern Med and ditch tobacco for good.

Make 2017 your healthiest year yet! For more ways to boost your health and well-being, contact Southeastern Med in Cambridge, OH, at 740.439.8000.

6 Tips for Staying Happy and Healthy During the Holidays

Healthy Holidays Image

 

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away, and Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s celebrations are right around the corner.  The holidays are a time of year when you really want to feel your best, but this time of year can also challenge our physical and emotional health with everything from cold and flu viruses to party hangovers, and even depression.

In addition to getting your flu shot, there’s plenty you can do to help your system weather the season of joy. Here are 6 tips for staying happy and healthy as you shop, travel and celebrate.

1.Prevent Illnesses

Since colds and the flu are most prevalent in winter, use precaution both at home and while traveling. Prevent illnesses by washing your hands liberally and regularly. Before settling in on planes or trains, use disinfecting wipes on the armrest, tray table and seatbelt buckle, and let them air-dry. This way, you’ll avoid germs previous travelers might have left behind.

2.Snack Smart

It’s common to pack on 10 pounds during the holiday season, but smart snacking will help you avoid the holiday bulge. Don’t forgo treats altogether, but indulge in moderation. Choose healthy snacks at home, like yogurt, fruit and nuts. When visiting others, bring a healthy dish to share. And be mindful of liquid calories, especially alcoholic drinks with sugary mixers.

3.Rest up

The holidays can be a stressful time. Anticipate stressors and develop a management plan. This might involve setting a tighter budget or attending fewer get-togethers. And make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye – 8+ hours a night. Sleep deprivation puts you at a higher risk for illness, depression, headaches and a whole host of other problems.

4.Prevent overeating

You don’t have to pass up tasty holiday fare, just use these simple tricks to curb your appetite. Chew a piece of gum or eat a mint about 15 minutes before a meal is served. This tricks your brain into thinking you're eating, and you’ll naturally eat less when food is served. Eat slowly, too. It can take a few minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re no longer hungry. If you eat too quickly, you’ll eat more than you need to, and then you’ll feel over-full. You can also drink a large glass of water before your meal, and another during. The water will help your stomach feel full, so it won’t take as much food to trigger your brain’s “I’m full!” response. 

5.Drink in moderation

When you're at a holiday bash, limit yourself to two drinks, and alternate them with water to avoid “next-day weariness." And always remember to eat before you drink to maintain your blood sugar levels and avoid a hangover. If you DO wake up with a headache the next day, drink plenty of water, take a pain reliever like ibuprofen, and get some rest!

 6.Treat yourself!

The holiday spirit is about helping others, but don’t forget to take time for yourself. Treat yourself with something over the holidays. Whether that’s waking up late, reading a book or scheduling a day at the spa, take time to do the things that make you happy.

Southeastern Med in Cambridge, OH, wishes all of those in our community a safe, happy, season of joy!

Diabetes Prevention and Control

Diabetes Image

 

During National Diabetes Month, Southeastern Med in Cambridge, OH, urges you to think about the important role you play in diabetes prevention and control.

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new and alarming statistics on diabetes that tie an increase in obesity rates to the increase in new cases of diabetes.

Approximately 29 million Americans, adults and children, have Type 2 Diabetes. Perhaps more alarmingly, 25% of people don’t even know they have the disease – a scary fact, since complications of chronically high blood sugar include stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. Worse yet, an additional 86 million adults have prediabetes, a condition characterized by elevated blood sugar just below the diabetic threshold.

The good news? Type 2 Diabetes is largely preventable, and studies demonstrate that complete lifestyle modifications reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 58%.

Follow these 5 diabetes prevention tips to reduce the odds that you’ll develop the disease:

  1. Get physically active

Regular exercise has countless benefits, from weight loss to lowering your blood sugar. Physical activity also boosts your sensitivity to insulin, which keeps your blood sugar in a normal range. Aerobic exercise and resistance training help control diabetes.

  1. Increase fiber intake

Fiber might help reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar regulation. It also lowers your risk of heart disease and promotes weight loss by making you feel fuller faster. High-fiber foods include fresh veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts.

  1. Get more whole grains

Whole grains help maintain blood sugar levels, which lowers the risk of diabetes. Most foods made from whole grains are ready-to-eat, like pasta products, cereals and breads, just make sure the word “whole” appears on the package among the first couple of items in the ingredient list.

  1. Lose excess weight

When you’re overweight, weight loss might be the most important factor in diabetes prevention. Each pound you lose improves your health, and you’ll probably be surprised by how much! Moderate weight loss and regular exercise reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 60%.

  1. Make healthier choices

While fad diets might help you lose weight, their effectiveness of preventing diabetes isn’t known, and they have adverse long-term side effects. Excluding or limiting a particular food group isn’t healthy since you’re giving up essential nutrients. Your healthy eating plan should include food variety and portion control. Our dietitians can help you develop a meal plan!

When to see your doctor

Ask your doctor if diabetes testing is appropriate if you’re 45+ and your weight is normal. The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetes (blood glucose) screening if:

  • You’re over age 45 and overweight
  • You’re younger than 45 and overweight, and have additional diabetes risk factors, like a family history of the disease or a sedentary lifestyle

For more tips on diabetes prevention, contact Southeastern Med, your community hospital in Cambridge, OH, at 740.439.8000 today.

Healthy Frozen Meal Options for Your Busy Family

frozen meal

 

Eating healthy on a hectic schedule can be tricky, especially during the busy holiday season. When your “to-do” list never seems like a “to-done” list, it might feel easier to skip the gym in favor of a night on the couch or head to the drive through instead of the grocery store.
Regularly giving into takeout convenience gets expensive and unhealthy quickly. As an alternative, stroll down your grocery store’s frozen foods aisle. Dinner options are different than you might remember, including many that are healthier than fast food. But, are frozen meals really satisfying, tasty alternatives to a home-cooked meal?

At Southeastern Med, we’ve done our homework, and want to ensure families in our community commit to a healthy holiday season. Consider these 3 frozen food meals you might want to give a try:

1. Lean Cuisine Marketplace Collection, Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken (Available at select Walmart Stores)
Power ingredients: White meat chicken tenderloins, vegetables and whole-wheat vermicelli in a sesame sauce.
Key nutritionals: 270 Calories, 0.5g Saturated Fat, 14g Protein, 3g Fiber, 650mg Sodium

2. Healthy Choice, Classic Meat Loaf (Available at select Walmart Stores)
Power Ingredients: Meat loaf with rich brown gravy, creamy mashed potatoes, corn and caramel apple dessert
Key nutritionals: 280 Calories, 2g Saturated Fat, 15g Protein, 6g Fiber, 550mg Sodium

3. Cedarlane Garden Vegetable Lasagna, SERVES 2 (Available at select Kroger stores)
Power ingredients: Organic pasta, tomatoes, and spinach
Key nutritionals: 180 calories, 3g of Saturated Fat, 10g Protein, 3g Fiber, 390mg Sodium

When shopping for frozen meals, consider the nutrition information carefully, paying special attention to:

  • Saturated fat – This should make up 6% or less of your total calories. So, a 400-calorie meal shouldn’t have more than 3g of saturated fat.
  • Sodium – Adults only need 1500-2300mg of sodium per day. Considering that most of the foods we eat contain sodium, don’t choose a meal that has more than 500-700 mg of sodium.
  • Serving size – Some popular lines of frozen dinners include 2 servings per package. Ensure you’re eating a frozen meal – not multiple meals!
  • Ingredients – Generally, seek out frozen dinners with the least amount of ingredients.
  • Fiber – The more, the better. Choose meals that contain at least 3g of fiber.

While frozen dinners might make the hectic holiday season less stressful, take extra time to savor your meals. Those who eat dinner in a fine-dining setting enjoy their meal more and consumer fewer calories. Set out the placemats, and use real silverware and plates. Also, consider adding a salad as a side to your frozen dinner. This way, you’ll get additional fiber, folate and other vital nutrients at mealtime.

At Southeastern Med, we invite the Cambridge, Guernsey County and Southeastern Ohio communities to take an active part in their wellness this holiday season. Learn more about your health and how you can improve it every day. Call 740.439.8000 to ask us about:

  • Weight management
  • Community wellness events
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Diabetes education

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