Most of us know lifestyle changes can improve our overall health. Exercising more, eating more vegetables and not smoking all have an effect on blood flow in the body, which can affect our overall health. These can impact the health of your eyes as well.
(BPT) - Most of us know lifestyle changes can improve our overall health. Exercising more, eating more vegetables and not smoking all have an effect on blood flow in the body, which can affect our overall health.
What many don’t realize is that when blood flow is blocked or slows down, the health of our eyes can also be affected. That means that wearing neckties too tight or doing certain yoga poses, such as the downward dog, can increase pressure in the eyes, which can lead to an eye disease called glaucoma. Glaucoma has few warning signs, and is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60. Being overweight or having high blood pressure can increase a person’s risk for another common eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.
Vision loss — or even worse, blindness — can negatively impact the quality of life, independence and the ability to do daily things such as driving, reading or seeing grandchildren.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that individuals 65 and older get an annual medical eye exam with an ophthalmologist, which is a medical doctor who specializes in medical and surgical eye care. Through comprehensive eye exams, ophthalmologists can check a person’s eyes for hidden signs of eye disease, which may have no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Once diagnosed, ophthalmologists can provide treatments to help prevent vision loss.
For those concerned about the cost of an exam, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program may be able to help. More than 5,500 dedicated volunteer ophthalmologists provide eye exams and care, often at no out-of-pocket cost to eligible patients. Since 1985, the program has helped nearly 2 million people in need.
EyeCare America serves U.S. citizens or legal residents who do not belong to an HMO.
To be eligible for the EyeCare America seniors program, an individual:
* Must be age 65 or older, and
* Have not had an eye exam by an ophthalmologist in three or more years.
To be eligible for the EyeCare America glaucoma program, an individual:
* Must not have had an eye exam within the last year, and must be at an increased glaucoma risk due to age, race and/or family history.
Many sight-stealing conditions can be prevented or slowed down with proper care and making simple lifestyle adjustments such as:
1. Avoid inverted postures in yoga. Studies show head-down positions can increase eye pressure and are not recommended for glaucoma patients. There are plenty of yoga exercises that don’t have this effect.
2. Avoid tight neckties. Researchers say that a too-tight necktie may increase the risk of glaucoma by increasing blood pressure inside the eyes.
3. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially green, leafy ones. One study showed that people who ate more leafy vegetables have a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Why? Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the eye.
4. Exercise regularly. According to the National Eye Institute, eating a healthy diet and getting exercise have been shown in earlier studies to protect against AMD. A recent study showed that people who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity appear to have a 73 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. This is because blood flow and pressure inside the eye may change with exercise.
For more information about EyeCare America or to see if you or others are eligible to be matched with one of its volunteer ophthalmologists, visit www.aao.org/eyecareamerica.
EyeCare America is cosponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc., with additional support from Alcon and Regeneron.
(BPT) - The organics category is becoming mainstream, as it is purchased by shoppers across all demographics. Recently, the category grew in just about every measurable way: in volume, dollars spent, and even in conversations in the media.
When consumers dabble in organic produce, they are more likely to purchase organic goods throughout the entire store and outside the store—like organic snacks or organic cotton sheets. This means it is important for retailers that sell organic products across departments to pay attention to trends in organic produce.
The organic shopper
Casual shoppers are the segment adding growth to the organic category, meaning that sometimes they purchase organic produce, and sometimes they purchase conventional.
“Organics are becoming mainstream, and shoppers are beginning to choose organic items over conventional items,” says Michael Castagnetto, vice president of sourcing for Robinson Fresh. “In our survey with U.S. consumers who buy produce, we found that 51 percent of respondents purchased organic produce and of those, 73 percent purchased both conventional and organic produce during the same trip.”
Research indicated that the organic shopper of today is most likely under the age of 35 or has young children living at home. Organic purchases are also highly correlated to household income.
When it comes to tailoring a shopping experience, it’s important to target Millennials because of their enormous commercial force, but consider the preferences of all generations. Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers all show a preference for organic produce as a destination within the store.
Why organic is becoming mainstream
“In the past, purchasing anything organic was an emotional-based purchase,” continues Castagnetto. “However, for today’s casual shopper, organic purchases are increasingly becoming more of an impulse purchase. The way that produce is merchandised makes a difference in how consumers make purchasing decisions.”
How organic produce is purchased
Organic items are an impulse purchase more than 30 percent of the time. Within the organics category, impulse purchases are two times more likely on items that index higher as healthy snacking options—such as berries and grapes. Here are the top 4 factors driving impulse organic purchases:
* The freshness and quality of the produce: 73 percent of respondents ranked this as a top driving factor
* The price of the produce: 61 percent of respondents rank this as a top driving factor
* The packaging the produce comes in
* Whether the organic produce is locally grown
To learn about who is buying organic produce and gain insight into the reasons why those consumers are choosing organic, Robinson Fresh(R) conducted a survey with U.S. consumers who buy produce—both conventional and organic. The full survey results can be found at www.robinsonfresh.com.
When it comes to advice about healthy living, there are opinions nearly every place you turn. The medical community generally agrees that slow and steady is the way to win the race toward healthy living. Adopting a broad set of healthier habits can deliver results over time and foster a new way of living that promotes your overall health and wellbeing.
Healthy Living Habits that Work
(Family Features) When it comes to advice about healthy living, there are opinions nearly every place you turn. Unfortunately, a great deal of that information is based on fad diets and trendy workouts that may deliver quick results but don’t promote a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
The medical community generally agrees that slow and steady is the way to win the race toward healthy living. Adopting a broad set of healthier habits can deliver results over time and foster a new way of living that promotes your overall health and wellbeing.
Aim for balance. A diet that combines healthy levels of protein and carbohydrates from all the food groups is the surest way to deliver your body the vitamins and nutrients you need for optimal health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans call for an eating plan that is centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and reduced-fat dairy foods, rounded out by lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts for protein. When planning your meals, be sure to limit saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar.
Know when to say when. Building a healthy lifestyle is about more than eating the right foods. It also means keeping your calorie count in check. That means keeping the amount you eat and the portion size in mind. Work with your doctor or a nutritionist to determine your body’s true caloric needs, which can vary depending on numerous factors such as your age, activity level and overall health. Then get smart about the portion sizes that will help you stay within those parameters. Initially, you may want to weigh out portions but soon you’ll be able to recognize and adjust your portions on sight.
Set your body in motion. Increasing your activity level not only helps burn calories and boosts your metabolism, it also helps tone your muscles and improve overall body condition by promoting healthy blood flow. The exact amount of exercise you need will vary depending on your goals, age and physical ability. You may need to work up to the optimal level, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week for most adults.
Replace what you lose. A strong workout may help you shed calories, but it also can deplete your body of essential fluids. Staying hydrated is crucial to keep your body functioning properly, from regulating your body temperature to providing the lubrication your joints and muscles need to keep you in motion. Rehydrating during and after exercise is important for getting the most out of your workout. For example, try incorporating an electrolyte beverage, such as Propel Electrolyte Water, which is the only water with enough electrolytes to help replace what is lost in sweat and supports hydration by stimulating thirst and promoting fluid retention. The 10 flavors contain no calories and provide B vitamins to support metabolism as part of a daily diet and antioxidant vitamins C and E. Learn more at PropelWater.com.
Give yourself a break. Most experts agree it’s OK to indulge and enjoy your favorite treat occasionally. Skipping a day at the gym won’t end your efforts either. The key is to make those allowances an exception rather than the norm, skipping one day instead of three or eating a sliver of pie, not a giant slice. Rewarding yourself within reason is a good way to stay motivated and create a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
(BPT) - A healthy diet and lifestyle are our best weapons against age-related diseases, and for staying healthy and active throughout life.
Becci Twombley is sports dietitian for USC Athletics and Angels Baseball, overseeing the nutrition of 650 collegiate athletes and the 200 MLB and minor league baseball players within the Angels organization. The healthy practices she employs to keep her athletes fighting strong also apply as preventative measures for staying fit and active as we age.
“It’s vital at any age to adopt good habits to live a long and healthy life,” says Twombley. “Exercise and move 30 minutes a day and along with that, pay attention to what you put in your body.” Twombley’s prevention plan against age-related illnesses and conditions starts with a “food first” approach.
Diet has a profound impact on two of the leading causes of age-related illnesses and conditions: inflammation and being overweight, according to Twombley. “Maintaining a healthy heart and blood vessels are two of the most important things anyone can do, along with keeping one’s weight under control.”
Eating a healthy diet does not need to be a chore, she claims. It is all a question of smart choices. Picking the right foods not only makes a difference in health risks, but also positively affects performance throughout the day at work and at home. While the answer is not in a single food, or even a handful, adding nutrient-rich foods like these Twombley recommends, and calls the "All Americans" of the functional food group, is part of a winning game plan.
Pistachios are a multitasking nut that has proteins and healthy fats, as well as three types of antioxidants. Those antioxidants help to decrease blood pressure and allow for good muscle recovery. Large population studies show that people who regularly eat nuts, such as pistachios, have a substantial lower risk of dying from heart disease or suffering a heart attack. Pistachios may protect from heart disease in part by improving blood cholesterol levels. Pistachios contain relatively high levels of the amino acid L-arginine, which maintains the arteries’ flexibility and enhances healthy blood flow by boosting nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels. They’re also good for the eyes and skin, and have been found to positively promote weight maintenance.
Twombley serves tart cherry juice to her athletes after their workouts as its targeted antioxidants help with muscle recovery, improving recovery time. In addition, it boosts sleep quality to help prevent anxiety and stress later on in the day.
Plain Greek yogurt is a nutrient-packed snack that has many health benefits. High in protein, it can boost energy and muscle mass, which decreases as we age. It can also benefit digestive health if it contains probiotics. Check the label to see if it contains live and active cultures.
The deep red root vegetable increases the size of blood vessels, thereby improving the flow of oxygen that can get to muscles and tissues. For anyone with high blood pressure or suffering from cardiovascular disease, this is a good food to include.
A good hydration beverage that has protein, vitamin D and calcium like we often hear, milk also contains electrolytes for good muscle contraction.
Salmon and grass-fed beef
Both of these are high in omega-3, which is a really good healthy fat profile for overall heart health. They also decrease inflammation in the long term. Inflammation causes a lot of the diseases we fear as we age, whether it’s diabetes or cardiovascular health.
Beyond these foods Twombley identifies, the noted nutritionist has more tips for healthy eating.
* Look for different colors of foods at different times. Make sure they’re incorporated throughout the day.
* Eat often and in a good portion size.
* Shop for high quality whenever possible and pay attention to ingredients.
* Maintain balance. Make sure your plate has carbohydrate, protein and healthy fat in the correct amounts. Add fruits and vegetables to that to get the antioxidants.
* And finally, have a plan. Plan out what you’re going to eat that day and stick to it.
Bryan Snyder, registered dietitian and director of team nutrition for the Denver Broncos offers these tips for better snacking in his healthy eating playbook for football season and throughout the year.
(BPT) - Football season is quickly approaching, which means it will soon be time for tailgating or watching the big game on TV. For many of us, this time of year is tough on our diet and exercise plans, but it doesn't have to be, according to Bryan Snyder, registered dietitian and director of team nutrition for the Denver Broncos.
Snyder, who is responsible for keeping the year-round nutrition strategies for the team’s players on track, also knows the pitfalls for fans. “Nutrition goals can fall by the wayside when leisure time includes snacking or party fare,” Snyder says. “We tend to make poor choices when it comes to snacking, earning it a bad rap. But in fact, by picking healthy and tasty options, anyone can come out a winner on game day.”
Snyder recommends these tips for better snacking in his healthy eating playbook for football season and throughout the year.
1. Plan ahead.
Cut and slice your fruits and vegetables the day before you plan on eating them. That way when you find yourself hungry and ready for a snack, you will already have the hard part finished. Grab your pre-cut veggies and dip them in low-fat ranch dressing or hummus to help get you through the day. This is a great way to add some healthy vegetables to your tailgate menu. Perhaps you could make a strawberry banana smoothie with Greek yogurt the night before and leave the pitcher in the refrigerator for a quick grab-and-go snack as you run out the door.
2. Snack on foods that are healthy and will fill you up.
How many times do we eat a snack and 10 minutes later we’re hungry? The perfect snack strikes a great balance of healthy carbohydrates along with protein, fiber and antioxidants. One of the healthiest and best snacks is pistachios. With 1 ounce of pistachios, you get 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, healthy fats and 6 percent of your daily value of iron. Plus, pistachios contain antioxidants, which help our immune systems stay strong and fight off diseases. One serving of pistachios contains only 160 calories.
3. Aim for whole grains.
The last thing you probably think about as you get ready for the big game is setting out snacks that contain whole grains. However, eating whole grains may reduce your chances of developing chronic diseases like heart diseases, and incorporating whole grains isn't as hard as it seems. One option you could have available is whole grain crackers and cheese. Try whole grain Wheat Thins instead of potato chips as a healthy substitution.
4. Stay hydrated with water.
Our bodies have a difficult time distinguishing between being hungry or thirsty. Often, we feel like we are hungry when in reality we simply may be thirsty and/or dehydrated. One study found that people who drink water 20-30 minutes before starting their meals eat about 75 fewer calories per meal. Considering we may be snacking for three hours while watching the game, these calories will add up.
5. Replace fatty protein with lean proteins.
Hamburger sliders are a staple of many tailgating menus across the country, but sometimes we just want a good burger. While eating a fatty hamburger in moderation isn’t the worst thing in the world, there are certainly some leaner options to choose. Instead of going to the grocery store and picking up the first piece of beef available to grill for the game, look at either a leaner beef option or a different meat altogether. For example, a better option for protein would be a 97 percent lean ground beef to make sliders or hamburgers. Another option would be to simply choose ground turkey instead of ground beef to make patties to throw on the grill.
6. Don’t be afraid of veggies.
Despite what your buddies may think, it is not against the law to eat vegetables at a tailgate party. More than likely, there will be some grilling before the big game. Don’t be afraid to throw some zucchini, mushrooms or even asparagus on the grill to complement the other items you are cooking. You can also chop up some veggies and serve with low-fat ranch dressing or hummus.
7. Have a backup plan
You might be heading to the game on Saturday or Sunday, and you plan on meeting up with some friends before the game to tailgate. In this case, you may have zero healthy choices to pick from while you are snacking and eating before the game. It is always good to have a backup plan. Healthy bars, nuts or a piece of whole fruit are easy and portable so you have a go-to backup plan. Trail mix and pistachios are easy to throw in your bag for the game or to have around your house for a snack. Plan ahead and bring some small snacks with you, so you don’t indulge in hours of unhealthy snacking, like my Pistachio and Date Energy Bites (recipe below). Great for tailgating, this portable and delicious snack is healthy and gives a great variety of protein and antioxidants to not only fill you up, but give you an immune system boost as well.
Pistachio and Date Energy Bites
A nutritious diet is crucial for overall health and well-being. While it’s OK to indulge from time to time, it’s important to make sure you’re providing your body with appropriate nourishment. There are many ways to help you add more of the essential nutrients you need into everyday meals, including these nutritious ideas and this recipe for a Chocolate-Chai Smoothie.
Focus on Nutrition: 5 ways to add more nutrients to your lifestyle
5 ways to add more nutrients to your lifestyle
(Family Features) A nutritious diet is crucial for overall health and well-being. While it’s OK to indulge from time to time, it’s important to make sure you’re providing your body with appropriate nourishment.
Sneak in More Fruits and Vegetables.
Consider Cocoa Flavanols.
The Truth About Chocolate
While there are many misconceptions about chocolate, especially when it comes to its health benefits, these facts from the experts at CocoaVia set the record straight on some of the most common chocolate myths.
1. Chocolate contains powerful antioxidants.
2. Chocolate is good for your heart.
3. Chocolate containing 70 percent cacao or greater is good for you.
4. Chocolate is high in caffeine.
Makes: 1 smoothie
Content courtesy of CocoaVia
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man and woman in kitchen)SOURCE:
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