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Cold Weather Safety Tips

The teeth-chattering cold is here and it’s nothing to laugh about. Cold weather extremes can be dangerous. Follow these important cold weather safety tips for you, your family, and pets when the mercury and wind chills drop.

  • Minimize outside activities, particularly the elderly and very young.couple walking in the cold
  • Dress in layers. Several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Invest in a good brand of thermal underwear and layer beneath a turtleneck, topped with a wool sweater, then a long coat or fleece-lined parka. Try runners’ tights to wear underneath your pants, which will keep you even warmer than thermal underwear.
  • Wear the right gear. Our bodies prioritize keeping our organs warm, which means hands and feet are typically the first to feel the cold. Wear either wool-lined winter gloves or heavy mittens, and sturdy, waterproof boots, protecting your extremities. A hat is essential, preferably one that covers your ears. Cover your face and mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
  • Don’t forget your pets, bring them inside! They need adequate shelter. In sub-zero temperatures, their paws, noses and ears can succumb to frostbite. If you can’t bring them in your home, house them in a garage or basement with plenty of warm bedding.
  • Know frostbite signs: numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration. Did you know that frostbite could occur in less than 30 minutes if proper precautions are not taken? Frostbite is damaging to body tissue, if symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
  • Know hypothermia symptoms: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If body temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical care.
  • To keep pipes from freezing wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of water to run from a faucet if your pipes have frozen in the past. This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze. Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe should burst.Winter Car safety cartoon
  • Be safe with heat sources. When using alternate heating sources, such as your fireplace, wood stove or space heater, take the necessary safety precautions to ensure they are ventilating properly. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and make sure everyone in the household knows how to use it. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Many house fires result from these practices.
  • Seal off unused rooms by stuffing rolled-up towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets. Consider installing inexpensive insulating window film, which you can purchase at any hardware store.
  • Check tire pressure and your car battery. Be sure your car has a winter safety kit that includes a blanket, warm clothes, and gloves in case your car breaks down or becomes stranded.
  • And most importantly, be a good neighbor. Check in with elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors to ensure they are safe.

For further information check out weather.gov and farmersalmanac.com


Healthy Roasted Turkey and Vegetables

MOM’S ROASTED TURKEY WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND ASPARAGUS

Serves 8

Roasted Turkey

  • 1 12-pound fresh or frozen turkey, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon canola or corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 to 3 medium ribs of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots (about 1 cup), coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped<
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, crushed, or 3 teaspoons bottled chopped garlic
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Place the turkey on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears, remove any loose or hanging skin around the neck cavity of the turkey. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Loosen the turkey skin away from the meat by inserting your hand between the meat and skin and gently pushing down. Pull the wing tips up and back and tuck them under the turkey.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the Italian seasoning and oil. Rub the mixture on the turkey breast and drumsticks, underneath the skin. Sprinkle the pepper over the entire turkey.
  4. Fill the turkey cavity with the celery, carrots, onion, thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Lightly spray a roasting pan and rack with cooking spray. Place the turkey with the breast side up on the rack. Roast for 30 minutes.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Loosely cover the turkey with aluminum foil. Roast for 1 hour 45 minutes, or until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. (The total roasting time may be up to 3½ hours to reach 165°F.) Remove from the oven.
  6. Remove the foil and spoon the pan juices over the turkey to baste it. Recover the turkey and let it stand for 15 minutes at room temperature. Baste 2 or 3 times during the standing time (removing and replacing the foil each time). Discard the skin and any visible fat before slicing the turkey.

Butternut Squash

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients until the squash cubes are evenly coated. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

Asparagus

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced, or 2
  • teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, garlic, and pepper.
  3. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle the lemon juice mixture over the asparagus.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender-crisp.

©2017, American Heart Association, Healthy For Good™, heart.org/healthyforgood/


Holiday Healthy Eating

The holidays are all about family, fun and food! Below are some great tips to help you celebrate the season without putting your healthy habits on hold.

Watch our website later this week for heart healthy holiday meal recipes.

HEALTHY EATING

Here are some simple ways you and your family can eat healthy. Learn more at Eat Smart
INCLUDE

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish, skinless poultry, and plant-based alternatives
  • Fat-free and low-fat dairy products
  • Healthier fats and nontropical oils

LIMIT

  • Sodium and salty or highly processed foods
  • Saturated fat
  • Sweets and added sugars, including sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Fatty or processed meats — if you choose to eat red meat, select the leanest cuts

AVOID

  • Trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils and excessive calories

TIPS

  • Choose wisely, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary by brand and preparation.
  • Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Watch your calorie intake. To maintain weight, consume only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, consume fewer calories or burn more calories.
  • Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served.
  • Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.
  • Prepare and eat healthier meals at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients.</li
  • Look for the Heart-Check mark to easily identify foods that can be part of an overall healthy diet. Learn more at Heart Check

BE SMART ABOUT BEVERAGES

The holidays are chock full of delicious dishes, but they can come with extra calories and unwanted ingredients. Try these tips to enjoy your favorite winter beverages.

EGGNOG

  • Mix it up. Fill your glass with half- to three-quarter-parts of low-fat or skim
  • milk and one part eggnog. You’ll still get the flavor without all the calories.

  • Act like a kid. Take out the alcohol. This simple step will reduce the caloric content.
  • Cut the fluff. Pass on that big dollop of whipped cream to avoid the extra sugar and saturated fat.
  • Find an alternative. Try a low-fat or non-dairy version.

HOT CHOCOLATE

  • Lighten up. Try hot chocolate made with low-fat or skim milk, and without whipped cream.
  • Do some research. With instant hot chocolate, look for products marked “low-fat/fat-free” and use low-fat or nonfat milk or hot water. Choose options with less added sugars.
  • Go easy on the toppings. Use mini-marshmallows instead of large ones. Use low-fat whipped cream, or stick to less than one tablespoon. Try lighter toppings like grated cinnamon or nutmeg.

APPLE CIDER

  • Read the labels. When buying cider, check the added sugar content, which can increase your calorie intake and cause weight gain. Choose options with less sugar.
  • Do it yourself. When making cider at home, use unsweetened apple juice and a variety of spices (like cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and whole cranberries). You’ll keep the flavor while cutting calories.

COCKTAILS AND OTHER ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

  • Enjoy mocktails. Serve non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktails to lower the calories. Be sure to check the nutrition label, because sometimes products that are alcohol-free have more added sugar.
  • Break it up. Drink a glass of water or sparkling water between each beverage. This will help fill you up, leaving less room to overindulge.

MINDFUL MEALS

SODIUM

  • Limit your sodium. Did you know that many of your favorite holiday dishes may be packed with sodium? Breads and rolls, poultry, and canned soups are three common foods that can add sodium to your diet. When shopping for ingredients to prepare your holiday meal, compare the labels and choose options with the lowest amount of sodium.
  • Savor the flavor. Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of salt or butter.
  • Rinse away. When using canned beans or veggies, drain and rinse in a colander to remove excess sodium.

TURKEY

  • Outsmart the bird. Reach for the lighter pieces of meat; they have fewer calories and less fat than the darker ones. Another way to cut calories and fat is to take off the skin.
  • Keep portions in check. A serving size of meat is 3 oz., about the size of a deck of cards. So, be conscious of how much you put on your plate, and pass on that second helping. If you’re also having another meat, like ham or lamb, take smaller portions of each.
  • Watch out for the gravy train. Turkey usually comes with gravy, which can add excess saturated fat, calories and sodium. Limit gravy to a tablespoon, and keep it off other items, like the dressing.

DRESSNG

  • Call it what it is. Dressing is intended to be a complement to your meal, not an entrée. Limit servings to about 1/4 cup or one spoonful.
  • Judge it by its cover. If the dressing is filled with fatty meats like sausage and pork, looks greasy or buttery, or is made with white bread or sweet rolls, it may be best to pass. Better options include dressings made with whole grain or cornbread, lean meat (or no meat), nuts (like almonds or walnuts), and lots of veggies and fruits.

APPETIZERS/SNACKS

  • Skip the extras. Make sure everyone has an appetite for the meal by skipping appetizers and serving lighter snacks like cut-up fruits and veggies.

ADDED SUGARS

  • Treat yourself right. Try bite-sized or half portions of desserts, or split servings with others.
  • Sip smart. Instead of soda or sweet tea, which can add a lot of sugar to an already indulgent meal, serve sparkling water or tea sweetened only with a bit of 100% fruit juice.
  • Lighten up. Reduce the amount of sugar you use in sides like sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce. Use herbs and spices for flavor instead.

HEALTHY HOLIDAY PARTIES

‘Tis the season of celebrations. Whatever the event, these tips can help you stay
healthy while having fun.

APPETIZERS AND HORS D’OEUVRES

  • Get involved. Whether potluck or not, offer to bring a dish. You can make a healthier item, giving yourself at least one good option to enjoy.
  • Come prepared. If the party is during lunch, eat a healthy breakfast followed in mid-morning by a high-fiber snack, such as an apple or a small handful of almonds. If the party is at the end of the day, enjoy a protein packed lunch like grilled fish or chicken with a salad and then later in the afternoon have another high-fiber snack. If you’re not too hungry when you go to the party, it will be easier to avoid overeating.
  • Go easy. Avoid loading up on foods that are fried, buttered or have a lot of cheese and cream. Even though the portions may be small, these fat-laden bites can really pack a punch. Look for fruit, veggies and dip, whole-grain crackers, and baked or grilled items.

DESSERTS

  • Use the buddy system. By splitting a dessert with someone, you can cut the calories and fat in half and avoid being wasteful. It’s a win-win!

BEVERAGES

  • Mix it up. If alcohol is being served, alternate each glass with a glass of water. This will help reduce your thirst while filling your stomach and you’ll consume fewer calories.
  • Watch seasonal drinks. Many holiday beverages have so much added sugar, they may as well be a dessert. Keep in mind what else you’ve eaten; it may be best to enjoy these drinks on another day.

MAKING TRADITIONS HEALTHY

Keep your holiday traditions, and make small changes and smart substitutions where you can.

  • Instead of butter, use a healthier vegetable oil or substitute equal parts unsweetened applesauce when baking.
  • Use a lower-calorie sugar substitute.
  • Use low-fat or nonfat milk instead of whole milk or heavy cream.
  • Instead of only white flour, use half white and half whole-wheat flour.
  • Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, use dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries.
  • Use extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint to add flavor, instead of sugar or butter.
  • Use vegetable oils or soft margarine instead of butter.
  • Use whole-grain breads, rice and pasta instead of white.
  • Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying.
  • Compare labels of your holiday ingredients, and choose products with lower amounts of sodium and added sugars.
  • Use spices, fresh herbs and citrus juice to flavor foods and drinks instead of excess salt and added sugars.

 

MOVE MORE. BE WELL.

If your holiday traditions all seem to revolve around eating, liven things up with some opportunities to be physically active with family and friends.

  • Go for a walk or run. Instead of heading for the couch after the big meal, bundle up and head outdoors for some fresh air. Walking is an activity the whole family can do together, even the dog!
  • Play to win. Start a new tradition of an annual family game of touch football, basketball, mini-golf or whatever your family’s favorite sport is.
  • Make it move. Add movements and gestures to your favorite card or board games.
  • Play in the snow. Go sledding, ice skating, skiing or snowshoeing. Build a snowman or snow fort. Team up for an epic snowball fight.
  • Break up the binge-watching. In between bowl games or your favorite holiday movies, take a walk or do something active.

If the holidays sometimes leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, take care of yourself to stay well.

  • Keep up healthy habits. Make a commitment to yourself before the holiday season begins. If you don’t completely give up your healthy habits, you won’t  feel like you have to start all over once the holidays are in the rear-view.
  • Fit in fitness. Try not to skip workouts, but when a full social calendar gets in the way, sprinkle some healthy activity like walking into your daily routine.
  • Give yourself the gift of peace. When the invitations pile up, don’t be afraid to say no to some of them. If you need some down time to recharge for the next party, take a break. Do something that relaxes you, like yoga, meditation, reading, a warm bath or spending time in nature.
  • Get your ZZZs. Aim for 7–9 hours of sleep each night to stay in the healthy zone. Don’t let your wake-up time and bedtime get too far off your regular schedule. Nap when needed and ditch the digital devices at night.

For more tips, visit Healthy For Good.


Why is physical activity so important for health and wellbeing?

There are so many reasons why regular activity boosts your health.

Learn what those are and how you can incorporate exercise into your day.

We know that staying active is one of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy. But did you know it can also improve your overall well-being and quality of life? 

Here are just a few of the ways physical activity can help you feel better, look better and live better. Because, why not? It’s a natural mood lifter.

Regular physical activity can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger. You know that “feel good sensation” you get after doing something physical? Think of it as a happy pill with no side effects! Most people notice they feel better over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of their lives.

It keeps you physically fit and able.

Without regular activity, your body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function properly. It’s like the old saying: you don’t stop moving from growing old, you grow old from stopping moving. Exercise increases muscle strength, which in turn increases your ability to do other physical activities. 

It helps keep the doctor away.

Stand up when you eat your apple a day! Too much sitting and other sedentary activities can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. One study showed that adults who watch more than 4 hours of television a day had an 80% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
 
Being more active can help you:

  • lower your blood pressure 
  • boost your levels of good cholesterol
  • improve blood flow (circulation)
  • keep your weight under control
  • prevent bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis

All of this can add up to fewer medical expenses, interventions and medications later in life!

It can help you live longer.

It’s true, 70 is the new 60… but only if you’re healthy. People who are physically active and at a healthy weight live about seven years longer than those who are not active and are obese. And the important part is that those extra years are generally healthier years! Staying active helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging. So active adults maintain their quality of life and independence longer as they age.

Here are some other benefits you may get with regular physical activity: 

  • Helps you quit smoking and stay tobacco-free.
  • Boosts your energy level so you can get more done.
  • Helps you manage stress and tension.
  • Promotes a positive attitude and outlook.
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • Improves your self-image and self-confidence.
  • Provides fun ways to spend time with family, friends and pets.
  • Helps you spend more time outdoors or in your community.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. You can knock that out in just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. And every minute of moderate to vigorous activity counts toward your goal.

So, this is easy! Just move more, with more intensity, and sit less. You don’t have to make big life changes to see the benefits. Just start building more activity into your day, one step at a time.

Learn more about heart healthy living at American Heart Association


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