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reduce your risk

There are quite a few dramatic strategies that can be implemented to prevent illness and diseases.  However, most of us don’t have the time, patience, or knowledge to complete these strategies on a daily basis.  This week I’m going to discuss some simple ways to make big differences in your ability to fight off infections, colds, and disease.

WASH YOUR HANDS! 

I know we have all heard it a million times but it is vital to your health for you to wash your hands many times throughout the day.   Washing hands can prevent many illnesses and keep you healthy. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the “best way to prevent infection and illness”. Below are why you should wash your hands and when you need to wash them:

Why:
– Prevent catching a cold
– Prevent acne
– Prevents contamination of foods
– Prevents spreading germs
– Prevents picking up germs
– Prevents spreading germs from one
area (mouth) to another (eyes).

When:
– Before preparing food
– After handling uncooked meat
– Before eating
– After changing diapers
– After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
– After touching animals or things in an animal’s environment
– After using the bathroom

GET ENOUGH SLEEP!

That’s right, how much sleep you get can affect your immune system too!  Eight hours is what the majority of adults need, some can get by on seven others need nine.  Anything less than seven and you’re asking for trouble! When we don’t get enough sleep we suppress our immune system, creating an environment for catching colds and the flu.  Our immune system needs rest like all other parts of our body!

STRESS!

High stress weighs on your immune system.  Constantly being on high alert makes the body’s cells work harder in case something bad happens.  Worrying non-stop weakens your cells because they need rest!

DRINK WATER!

Water helps to flush out all the unneeded waste from your body.  This waste can include toxic substances that we want out of our body so they cannot infect us, cause sickness, or wreck havoc on our cells.  Drinking half your body weight in ounces of water a day will help ensure you are cleaning your system effectively.

What Does Work
Permanent changes in eating and exercise habits
– To lose weight successfully and to maintain a healthy weight you must make PERMANENT changes in your diet and exercise routine.
Losing 1-2 pounds per week
– It may seem like you can lose or gain a couple pounds between days – not a week. However losing 1-2lbs per week is a pace that will help you maintain weight loss instead of adding the weight back on.  If you lose weight faster than that, it may not be fat that you are losing – its probably water weight
To burn more calories than you consume
– 1 pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. To lose 1 pound a week you must burn 500 cal more a day than you eat. To lose 2 pounds you must burn 1000 cal more a day that you eat.  Walking for 1 hour burns about 200 cal and running for 1 hour burns about 700 cal while a Big Mac value meal from McDonalds has over 1,100 calories.
Portion control
– the average American consumes more food a day than needed. Restricting your caloric intake will aid in weight loss; however, consuming too few calories can impede weight loss by putting your body into conservation mode.  This is where portion control comes in – moderation is key! When you start feeling full – stop eating. Do not go back for seconds.  To learn exactly how many calories you need a day consult a doctor or specialist.
Saying no to added sugar
– What do juice drinks, soda, candy, ice cream, canned fruits, yogurt, and snacks have in common? Extra sugar that you don’t need! Lots of foods have extra sugar added to make them “tastier” such as canned fruit and yogurts. Check the nutritional labels and if high fructose corn syrup or sugar is one of the first few ingredients – do not eat it!
Exercise
– Exercise helps burn off calories. Exercise plus a healthy diet is the best method to weight loss.  Some exercise is better than no exercise. Exercise also has other health benefits such as increased self-confidence, improving you cardiovascular system, and reducing blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Also exercising is your way of controlling how many extra calories you burn a day after regular daily activities. Interval training is a great way to burn the optimal amount of calories during exercise.

Influence of Stress

Stress is what you feel when you are faced with more responsibilities, duties, worry, or more of anything than you are used to.  When you are stressed your body responds as though you are in danger.  Your heart rate quickens, you breathe faster, you receive a burst of energy from your body – this is called flight or fight response.  This is your body’s natural response to stress.  Problems can start to occur though, when the stress is continuous.  Another hormone that is linked to stress is cortisol.  Cortisol helps maintain healthy blood pressure, stabilize metabolism, and increase immune function.  Cortisol is linked to increased belly fat among other health issues.Stress is what you feel when you are faced with more responsibilities, duties, worry, or more of anything than you are used to.  When you are stressed your body responds as though you are in danger.  Your heart rate quickens, you breathe faster, you receive a burst of energy from your body – this is called flight or fight response.  This is your body’s natural response to stress.  Problems can start to occur though, when the stress is continuous.  Another hormone that is linked to stress is cortisol.  Cortisol helps maintain healthy blood pressure, stabilize metabolism, and increase immune function.  Cortisol is linked to increased belly fat among other health issues.Stress has been linked to a number of different physiological symptoms and health problems:

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Back pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weakened immune system
  • Moodiness
  • Depression
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Problems concentrating or remembering

What can you do about stress?

  • Learn time management.  Often we get stressed because we have too much to do and not enough time.  Prioritize, make a list of the most important tasks and get those done first.  Cut out unnecessary things if you can.
  • Find a way to cope that works for you. Explore different options until you find what works best.⦁ Take good care of yourself.  Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of rest.
  • Try to stop negative thinking.  When worrisome thoughts come into your head get rid of them by finding a bright side.  Think about positive things and don’t spend all day worrying when you have no control over a situation.
  • Talk! Not being able to talk about your concerns or feelings can make stress worse.  Find a friend or loved one you can confide in.
  • Ask for help.  If your stress is over whelming ask for help.  People who have a strong network of friends and family are able to manage stress better and live healthier, happier, lifestyles.  If your situation is out of control,  professional help may be needed.

 

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