Health Benefits of Family Meals

947Eating together as a family packs plenty of benefits. Studies show that children who eat meals together with their families tend to have greater emotional well-being and better grades. The family meal also supports better eating habits, reducing the chances of childhood obesity.*

Eating together as a family provides a great opportunity to bond. Consider increasing your family bonding by cooking together; perhaps share family recipes and pass down cultural or ethnic traditions.

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*http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/eatsmart/eat-smart.-play-hard.-magazines-1/2009-eat-smart-play-hard-magazine/test-item
Photo | Dinner with the Carpenters | ©Paul Schultz | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

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Watch Out for Sugary Drinks

922A startling trend was reported by The Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina. In 2002, calories from beverages went up by 21% (when compared to a study from 1965). If you’re making an effort to watch your weight, be sure to watch what you drink. Sugary drinks sneak many unnecessary empty calories into your diet.*

Extra calories hide in more places than just soda. Watch out for fruit drinks and sport drinks as well. Instead of giving in to sugary beverages, shake up the flavor of zero-calorie water with fresh slices or oranges, lemons and limes.

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.choosehealthla.com/eat-healthy/sugar-loaded-beverages/
Photo | Drinks are served | ©Jixar on Flickr | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

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Exercise Lowers Cancer Risk

1593Studies suggest that physically active people have a 20% lower risk of developing cancer than their inactive peers. For example, women who have high estrogen levels have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. However, women can lower their estrogen levels, and their breast cancer risk, by exercising. Exercise also lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, helps you maintain a healthy weight and improves sleep, all of which are important for a healthy body.*

Incorporate more exercise into your day by biking to work, having a walking meeting or walking to your coworker’s desk rather than sending an email. At home, incorporate a walk around your neighborhood after dinner into your nightly routine.

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Dr. Kim

*https://www.fredhutch.org/en/events/healthy-living/Trim-Risk.html
Photo | John Loo | Jogging | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

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Keep Your Waist Trim

1493Decades ago, a French doctor named Jean Vague suggested that people with large waists had an increased risk of cardiovascular problems and premature death. Long-term follow-up studies have indicated that Dr. Vague was correct. People with abdominal obesity have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular problems and premature death. It’s important to strive for a trim waistline through healthy eating and exercise.*

Avoid processed, sugary and fatty foods, and keep a trim waistline by filling up on whole foods and fiber. Cardiovascular exercises such as running, biking, swimming and aerobics will help you to trim tummy fat as well.

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9260091/Forget-BMI-just-measure-your-waist-and-height-say-scientists.html
Photo | Sheila Sund | Belly Dancer.jpg | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

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Don’t Fear Full-Fat Dairy

1453Many people opt for skim milk because it provides calcium and protein without the calories that come with whole milk. However, recent studies have shown that people who eat and drink full-fat dairy are no more likely to gain weight than people who consume low-fat dairy. However, not all dairy is created equal and there are other risks to consider. Full-fat dairy does have higher saturated fats, which can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.*

Dieters should lessen their fear of full-fat dairy, as it is fine in moderation. Our focus should be less on dairy and more on fruits and vegetables, which provide the fiber we need to maintain a healthy weight.

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/full-fat-over-low-fat_56042632e4b00310edfa5302
Photo | gwire | Milkbottles | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

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Exercise with a Medicine Ball

1343Medicine ball training will improve your exercise routine by enhancing your endurance and flexibility while increasing your muscle mass. Medicine balls can be used to strength train, for example, you can hold one while you do lunges or squats. They can also add resistance to your workouts, for example, by holding one and twisting with it side to side during abdominal crunches.*

Medicine balls come in varying weights, from a couple of pounds to over 50 pounds. When using a medicine ball, make sure it is heavy enough to slow you down, but not so heavy that you lose your range of motion.

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.ehow.com/about_5084066_benefits-medicine-ball.html
Photo | Chris Dlugosz | yay i love this ball | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution license

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Health Benefits of Swiss Chard

1324A great source of antioxidants, Swiss chard offers anti-inflammatory benefits for your whole body. Swiss chard is a great source of healthy omega-3 fats, vitamins K and A, and beta carotene. And with only 19 calories per 100 grams of raw Swiss chard, it’s a snack that will give your body the phytonutrients it needs while keeping your weight down.*

For a healthy cooking method, boil Swiss chard uncovered for three minutes. By keeping the pot uncovered, you allow acids to escape, making the Swiss chard taste sweeter. Once boiled, press excess liquid out with a fork, toss with lemon, and enjoy!

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=16
Photo | thebittenword.com | Clagett Farm CSA Week 3 | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

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Stay Active

stairs“Fifty years ago, humans burned about seven hundred more calories every day than we do now…. machines are now doing our work for us.”
-Dr. Myron Wentz

We are not as active as we used to be, but technological advancements do not have to hold us back from being healthy. Make the decision to take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further from buildings and walk more, and use TV commercial breaks to do some indoor jumping jacks, sit-ups, or pushups. Let’s get active today!

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Dr. Kim

Photo | climbing stairs | Angelo DeSantis | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

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Heavy Handbags Can Cause Misalignment

purseFashion today can cause health problems tomorrow. Women and men who carry bags and briefcases with excess weight, can cause their bodies to experience improper balance, bad posture, and poor spine alignment. When hiked over one shoulder, a heavy handbag can interfere with the natural movement of your body, and even worse, can cause your spine to curve toward your shoulders.*

Misalignment caused by heavy bags can create headaches, neck and back pain. Do your best to reduce unnecessary items from your totes to lighten your load, and consider a backpack with supportive straps for more even weight distribution.

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=73
Photo | people standing in line in front of me at king soopers | Bradley Gordon | Used under a Creative Commons Attribution license

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Snack Late and Still Lose Weight

cherryEating in the evening will not cause you to gain weight as long as you snack smart. With the lowest glycemic index of all fruits, snacking on cherries at night will not have a detrimental effect on your insulin levels. Scoring a low glycemic index of 22, cherries are your best fruit option for snacking while still losing weight.*

The next time the midnight munchies hit, snack on a bowl of healthy cherries! Frozen cherries are another way to snack smart and can taste as good as ice cream.

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Dr. Kim

*http://www.ingredientsinc.net/2011/08/top-10-health-benefits-of-cherries-a-true-superfruit/
Ed Ivanushkin | Cherries | Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license

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