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Innocent Ways you are Hurting your Heart

With February being Heart Health Month, we bring you this feature that highlights the innocent things that you may be doing daily that can be hurting your heart (among other parts of your body) and how to fix it!

Healthy Heart Keeping your heart healthy

How you cross your legs,  Sitting with your legs crossed at the knees increases your blood pressure.  According to studies, leg crossing increased systolic blood pressure nearly 7% and diastolic by 2%.  Studies say that you should avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time, like 10 to 15 minutes, and get up every half hour or so to walk around and get the circulation moving.

How you stand, If you are a person who frequently locks their knees when standing, you are no longer efficiently using the muscles that surround the joint.  Therefore, forces to the joint are increased.  Causing this additional stress to you knee joints isn't helping your heart at all.

How you sleep, If you are a stomach sleeper, this puts your neck in a titled-back position, leading to pain or numbness in your upper extremities.  Nerves are also affected when people sleep on their stomach.  To avoid the pain, numbness and affect to the nervous system, people should avoid sleeping on their stomach.

How you wear your belt, It sounds strange, we know, but the tighter your belt the more pressure you put on your intra-abdominal area, which can result in acid reflux.  Acid reflux could include a bitter taste in your mouth, burning or pain the upper chest and stomach, a chronic cough or even difficulty swallowing.  Doctors say that your belt shouldn't be any tighter than your waistband.  You should be able to inhale and exhale comfortably.

Germs 101: Five Ways to Avoid the Cold and Flu

We are well into the cold and flu season and unfortunately everyone knows someone that has been down and out with cold and flu symptoms this year. Fortunately there are some simple ways to help you stay healthy throughout the winter.

Here are five simple ways to stay cold and flu-free:

  1. Load up on garlic.  It contains allicin, which has antiviral properties.
  2. Sweat it out in the sauna.  Sweating helps to release toxins in the body.
  3. Get the proper amount of sleep.  Sleeping helps you to be more energized and helps your immune system fight off germs.
  4. Eat your chicken noodle soup.  It contains anti-inflammatory deliciousness that strengthens disease-fighting cells.
  5. Have your yogurt.  The probiotics help strengthen your immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells in your body.

Fight the Flu and Load up on Vitamin C

Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, hacking, the sounds of cold and flu season are upon us.  If you are one of those people that start chugging O.J. as soon as you hear these familiar sounds, then you are already ahead of the cold and flu fighting game.  While vitamin C cannot prevent a cold, it can shorten the length of time you battle a cold or lessen the severity of your cold.

While people typically turn to oranges and their juice to get their daily dose of vitamin C, the 69.7 mg of vitamin C in a medium size orange is less than many other common fruits and veggies. If you are looking for an alternative to get your daily dose of vitamin C and help curb the symptoms of the cold and flu season, check out these other options. 

Chili peppers : Just a half cup of chopped chili peppers or diced chili peppers have 107.8 mg of vitamin C. Plus capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers hot can also help to relieve joint and muscle pain.

Red bell peppers : At 190 mg, a cup of chopped red peppers contains nearly three times more vitamin C than an orange.  They are also a great source of vitamin A, promoting healthy eyes.

Green bell peppers : Even though it isn't as power packed as its red sister, a cup of chopped green peppers contains 120 mg of vitamin C. It's also a great source of fiber.

Kale : A one cup serving of kale provides 80.4 mg of vitamin C, along with twice your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and seven times the recommended amount of vitamin K.  Kale also provides numerous minerals and fatty acids.

Broccoli : In just one serving, broccoli provides 132 mg of vitamin C, filling fiber and only 30 calories.  Studies have shown that broccoli also has cancer-preventing properties.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer is the most feared disease in the world and the worst feared word in the English language, and rightfully so.  Every day we hear stories of cancer : both of people who have lost their battle, people who are battling or people who have survived.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and because it is one of the most common cancers in the United States we offer these facts, symptoms, signs, possible causes and ways that you can decrease your risk of having breast cancer.

BREAST CANCER FACTS:

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that more than 220,00 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.

BREAST CANCER SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

  • A lump in the breast or thickening that feels different than regular tissue.
  • Discharge from the nipple.
  • Change in size or shape of your breast.
  • Changes to the skin of the breast, including dimpling.
  • Redness of the skin of the breast.

RISKS:

  • Being female.
  • Increasing age.
  • A personal history of breast cancer.
  • A family history of breast cancer.
  • Inherited genes that cause breast cancer.
  • Radiation exposure.
  • Obesity.
  • Beginning your period at a young age.
  • Beginning menopause at an older age.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Having children later in life or not at all.