During American Heart Month, you’ll see many valuable articles about maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle. American Heart Month is observed to raise awareness on the importance of a healthy heart and to encourage healthy habits that help reduce the risk of heart disease.
“You’ve heard time and again from your physicians and nurse practitioners that diet, exercise, regular check-ups, and compliance with medications are all excellent ways to address cardiac health,” said John Uplinger, RPh, a Trinity Health retail pharmacist. “While this is absolutely true, for a change of pace, I’d like to offer five simple, practical steps every person can take to promote overall health and especially heart health, even during an emergency.”
1. At all times, keep an up-to-date, printed list of medications and supplements you take with you.
Whether you keep them in a backpack, wallet, purse, or pocket, such lists are very valuable for first responders in an emergency. Although you may already keep a list of medications on an app on your phone, first responders cannot override the security systems on your phone to access that information. So, for now, a printed list is best.
And don’t forget to update it annually after your check-up with your primary care provider. Indicate the name of the medication and the daily dosage.
2. Know your personal and family health history, your allergies, and your blood type.
If you have annual checkups, you are familiar with your own history. For example, you may know that you have high blood pressure, but may not know that your parents or grandparents did, too, and that stroke may “run in your family.” So, it’s best to have those conversations when you can with your family members.
When creating your medications/supplements list, also add a simple phrase about your health, your blood type, and any allergies to make it easier for first responders. For example:
Type 2 diabetes patient with high cholesterol, no allergies, blood type A positive
I am pregnant, allergic to shellfish, peanuts, and sulfa drugs, Type O negative
3. If you are on prescribed medications, check with your pharmacist before purchasing over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Your pharmacist will be able to tell you about any drug interactions or side effects in OTC medications. For example: Did you know that if you have high blood pressure, ibuprofen may not be recommended? You should check with your doctor or pharmacist first. Some cold medications can raise blood pressure, as well. When in doubt, ask your pharmacist.
4. Many pharmacies have free machines for checking blood pressure.
Take advantage of checking your blood pressure, even if you have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a silent killer, so it can’t hurt to check occasionally.
If you are uncertain about what your numbers mean, your pharmacist can explain it to you. Getting high results once may not be a concern, but if it persists, check with your primary care provider.
5. If you are a smoker who wants to quit, your pharmacist is an invaluable resource.
There are many products in the marketplace for smoking cessation. Your pharmacist will be able to check with your insurance company to ensure your prescription is covered and can offer the pros and cons of various smoking cessation medications. If you can quit smoking, your heart will thank you.
Pharmacists are a valuable member of your health care team.
The next time you are in the pharmacy and have a question about medication, please don’t hesitate to ask. Learn more about our available pharmacy services by calling or visiting the location nearest you.
A cross between muffins and baked oatmeal, these oatmeal cakes are perfect for an on-the-go breakfast or snack. If you prefer to use fresh blueberries, they’re an equal swap for the frozen in this recipe. You can also make a double batch and enjoy one during the week and store the other batch in the freezer to savor later.
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (see Tip)
1 ¼ cups low-fat milk
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
¼ cup lemon juice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen blueberries, preferably wild
Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.
Combine oats, milk, applesauce, brown sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, baking powder, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Fold in frozen blueberries.
Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups, about 1/3 cup each.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To make ahead: Freeze oatmeal cakes in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To reheat, microwave 1 oatmeal cake in 30-second intervals until heated through. Alternatively, refrigerate oatmeal cakes in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Tip: People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use oats that are labeled “gluten-free,” as oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat and barley.
Serving Size: 1 muffin
Per Serving: 134 calories; protein 5g; carbohydrates 24g; dietary fiber 3g; sugars 10g; added sugar 6g; fat 3g; saturated fat 1g; mono fat 1g; poly fat 1g; cholesterol 32mg; vitamin a iu 104IU; vitamin c 3mg; vitamin d iu 19IU; folate 8mg; vitamin k 2mg; sodium 163mg; calcium 77mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 26mg; phosphorus 127mg; potassium 154mg; niacin equivalents 1mg; selenium 4mcg.
We’re in the height of winter. Some of us are winter sports enthusiasts, others not so much. Did you know that hundreds of thousands of Americans will seek medical treatment because of injuries while skiing, skating, snowboarding, sledding and tobogganing this winter, according to research conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission? Whether you are a winter sport pro or novice, getting in shape and taking a few simple precautions can help make sure you take advantage of our winter wonderland without ending up on crutches or with other serious injuries.
Don’t shorten your time outdoors because you can’t stay warm or feel a cold coming on. Wear several layers of clothing to trap body heat, including a long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt and outer coat. Invest in waterproof boots, a hat and gloves. Good goggles and a helmet can literally be lifesavers when participating in speed sports. Dress for the top of the mountain – it’s always colder than the bottom.
Even though it’s cold out, you still sweat and need to stay hydrated. Winter is also a time when wind and sun can dry out your skin. Drink plenty of water before, during and after strenuous activities, particularly when exercising at higher altitudes. Apply long-lasting waterproof sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside and apply lip balm to keep your lips from drying, cracking and bleeding.
Protect Your Ankles
If you’ll be wearing skates or ski or snowboarding boots, choose ones that fit snugly but don’t cut off circulation. Wear socks that keep you warm and keep you stable in your boots.
Avoid long static stretching or holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds before you begin exercise. This not only temporarily desensitizes your muscles and decreases your power and vertical leap, but it can also mask muscle pain that might be a warning sign to take it easy. Start with a quick stretch followed by exercises to raise your heart rate, such as jumping jacks, arm swings and running in place.
Most winter sports require good balance, which relies on strong core muscles. Include at least 10 minutes of core exercises two to three times per week, choosing movements that mirror the activities you’ll be doing outside. Make sure to move your core forward and back, as well as side-to-side.
Improve Reactive Power
Prepare for winter activities by doing workouts that help you perform the powerful side-to-side and up-and-down movements necessary for snowboarding, skiing, and skating. These movements require you to use two muscle groups to create reactive power, such as jumping off a mogul or making quick turns. Use resistance bands, dumbbells, and calisthenics to build your leg and core muscles. Lunges, jump squats, burpees and jumping as high as you can are good choices. Target your hamstrings and calves, which can cramp if you overdo it on the slopes, pond, or hill.
Learn How to Fall
Many people break bones by not falling correctly. This often occurs when they stick their arms straight out and use their hands to try and break a fall. Landing on your shoulder can cause serious and long-term ligament and/or tendon damage. Learning how to avoid falls and how to fall correctly can help protect your arms and legs.
Skip the Last Run and Listen to Your Body
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons advises that many winter sports injuries occur later in the day, suggesting that people might be getting injured because they are pushing their limits to make that final ski or snowboard run. If you feel fatigued and are debating whether or not to take that one last run, it’s probably a good time to call it a day. Always listen to your body. If you’re tired, stop. Any time you have chest pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and dizziness, stop immediately and seek medical attention.
Know Where to Go if You do Get Injured
Sports injuries can come on suddenly or occur gradually. Even a minor injury can keep you from participating in activities you love or performing your best. Trinity Health Michigan delivers specialized care to help you get back in the game safely and without pain.
The labels you see on the foods you buy are meant to help you make more informed choices about what you put on your table and into your body. But all the names, numbers, and ingredients you find on food and nutrition labels can often lead to more confusion than understanding.
So how do you take what you see and turn it into what you know? With this handy guide, of course! Here are some simple definitions and descriptions to help you become a nutrition label sage and savvier food consumer.
Food labels tell us more about the food we’re buying and eating. These are some of the key terms you’ll read on food labels and what they really mean.
Gluten-free products are those that contain no gluten and are considered safe to consume by those with gluten intolerances or those who want to avoid it.
To earn the organic label, foods and products must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients. The remaining ingredients must be on the national approved list provided by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Organic products can’t be made using ingredients produced with antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.
Vegan products are those that do not contain any animal ingredients (meat, eggs, dairy products) or any ingredient derived from animals.
For a product to have the Non-GMO label, the crops used to create the product cannot have been modified in a lab to make them resistant to herbicides and/or produce an insecticide. Simply put, they are foods that haven’t been genetically modified in any way.
A free-range label means that the animals must be allowed to move freely over a large area of open land. These animals shouldn’t be locked away or contained.
Meat labeled grass-fed means the animal must have been primarily raised on ranges and eaten only grasses and forages for the length of its life, rather than in a feedlot. It does not mean the animal wasn’t contained unless it also has the “free-range” label.
For a product to be considered Kosher, it must conform to the Jewish religious dietary law. Any animal species must be slaughtered using a method in which the animal is rendered unconscious. Death then occurs almost instantly and the animal doesn’t suffer during the slaughter. This method is called “Shochet.”
All-natural or 100% natural ingredients
This label can deceive people. While foods can have an all-natural, or 100% natural ingredients label, they can still contain growth hormones, antibiotics or other harmful chemicals.
Nutrition labels let us know about the dietary impact of the foods we’re consuming. Here are some of the terms you’ll find on your typical label and how to interpret them.
When you first look at the Nutrition Facts label, find the total number of servings (shown as servings per container) and the serving size. Serving sizes are first provided in familiar units that people typically eat at one time, such as cups, ounces or pieces. You are then given the specific metric amount (e.g., the number of grams (g)). It’s important to note that all the nutrient amounts shown on the label (calories included) are related to a single serving size.
Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of the food in the package you’re reading. For example, if there are 100 calories in one serving of a drink, you get 100 units of energy from that serving. If you drink the whole bottle containing 4 servings, you’d be consuming 400 calories. The general guideline for most adults is 2,000 calories per day. Depending on your age, sex, height, weight, and activity level, you may need more or less calories.
The label’s nutrient section shows you the nutrients you’ll be getting by consuming that product. You can use the label to seek out foods containing more of the nutrients you want (vitamins and minerals) and less of those you may want to limit (saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars).
The Percent Daily Value (DV)
The % Daily Value (DV) is the percentage of the daily value of each nutrient your body needs that a serving of that food will provide. Daily Values are average levels of nutrients based on a person who eats 2,000 calories a day. It also helps you determine if a serving is high or low in a nutrient. (5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low, while 20% DV or more is considered high).
Five Ingredients to Watch Out For
The ingredient list must contain every single ingredient present in your food product, in order of greatest to least. Here are 5 ingredients to watch out for when making food choices.
Partially hydrogenated oil (or trans fats) have now been outlawed in the US. However, many manufacturers are turning to fully hydrogenated oils instead. These oils are a source of saturated fat and can impact cholesterol levels and inflammation in the body. These types of fat are largely found in highly processed foods, foods that should be limited due to their low nutritional value.
Sodium benzoate is a preservative found in many processed foods. It’s been shown to increase inflammation, obesity, oxidative stress, and allergic reactions. It also likely becomes carcinogenic when combined with higher levels of vitamin C.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup contributes to inflammation, increased cholesterol and triglycerides, and fatty liver. It also increases appetite and obesity.
Other Added Sugars and Refined Flours
In excess, added sugars contribute to inflammation, high blood pressure, weight gain, and fatty liver. Added sugars in any form are bad if consumed in excess. This includes sugars like honey and unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar, which some people believe are less harmful. Diets high in refined grain products, like white bread, pasta, cracker, and baked goods, have been linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Carrageenan is a food additive used to help with thickening and emulsifying foods. It has been linked to IBS, inflammation, colon cancer, and glucose intolerance. Foods that are labeled organic can no longer contain carrageenan. But other foods can.
Making more informed choices about the food you eat is one of the best things you can do for your long-term health and reading and understanding food labels is a great way to do it. So, use the information you find there to your advantage and start eating and living healthier today. To learn more about healthy eating schedule an appointment with one of our dietitians.
Find a Provider Near You.
We offer more ways to care for you, your family and our community. Whether you need routine care or treatment for an injury or chronic condition, our providers are here for you.
Our little ones mean a lot to us and it’s tough to imagine forgetting them anywhere – but it happens. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the majority of child related hot car incidents happen because someone forgets a child in a car. Keep your children safe by:
Never leaving your child in a car, no matter what the weather is.
Teaching your children that cars are not play areas.
Placing a child’s item on the front seat and a personal item in the back seat.
When traveling with a child or infant, practice looking inside your car before locking it. Remember: Park. Look. Lock.