When the weather heats up in July, a cold, sweet scoop of ice cream can seem as refreshing as a quick dip in the pool.
Perhaps that’s why July was designated years ago as National Ice Cream month and its third Sunday as National Ice Cream Day.
If you love the smooth creaminess of ice cream and want to indulge a little during our hot summer months, there are simple ways to enjoy this cool treat without sending your blood sugar soaring too high. All it takes is a little effort to read labels and a commitment to stick to your healthy eating goals.
Here are some easy tips to cut back on the sugar, fat and calories that often come with ice cream desserts:
Go easy on the scoop. An actual scoop should be about one-half cup or 200 calories. Don’t be afraid to measure your ice cream scoop – it’s how people avoid eating more calories than they intended. Most people scoop out two-thirds of a cup as a serving, which is a whopping 270 calories.
Skip the cone. Order your scoop in a bowl if not at home. Cones only add more calories.
When eating ice cream at home, choose a smaller serving bowl. Everything looks bigger in a smaller cup. (This strategy also works for people who want to drink less wine. A recent study has shown that a smaller glass can equal less consumption.)
If you want to add toppings, choose healthy ones: fruits and nuts make excellent pairings. Fruits are naturally sweet and full of fiber. Nuts are loaded with healthy fats and packed with nutrition.
Try to avoid hot fudge and candies as toppings. They can easily double your sugar and fat calories.
Don’t be fooled by food stereotypes. Frozen yogurt may sound healthier than ice cream, but it really depends on what’s listed on the food labels. Many frozen yogurts contain less fat than ice cream but they are often brimming with sugar. Federal dietary guidelines recommend getting no more than 10 percent of your daily calories from sugars.
Remember, ice cream is a treat. Let it be something you and your family enjoy occasionally, not every night after dinner – especially late at night when those calories will never be burned.
Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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When it comes to skin protection, what you don’t know about the Ultraviolet Index could burn you.
Most of us understand that we need to wear sunscreen on sunny days, especially if our skin burns easily. But what about when the forecast calls for clouds? Do you really need to wear sunscreen? And does it matter what time of day you plan to be at the beach?
If you look at the UV Index, you can schedule your Memorial Day activities for the best time of day based on how much radiation is expected.
Too much exposure to UV rays can damage your skin and lead to skin cancer. In fact, research shows that about 95 percent of melanoma cases – a deadly form of skin cancer – are linked to UV exposure. It’s one reason why the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention is trying to raise awareness of skin cancer prevention and to encourage everyone to protect their skin as they head outdoors during the summer.
Knowing the UV Index before you settle in your beach chair is one way you can practice sun safety.
The UV Index predicts the level of solar UV radiation that is expected to reach the Earth on a particular day. How much UV radiation will reach us depends on many factors including ozone depletion, and seasonal and weather variations, according to the EPA.
UV Index Basics
When the index is between 0 and 2, it means the average person faces a low risk for sun damage. A UV Index reading of 3 to 5 means there’s a moderate risk if you step outdoors without sun protection. So, even on cloudy days, you should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of 30 or higher every two hours.
If the UV Index reaches 6 or above, make sure you wear sunglasses to protect against eye damage. At this level, you should reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are outside, stick to the shade and wear protective clothing.
Stay safe. Know the UV Index.
Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency, figuring out the UV Index wherever you are — your neighborhood or vacation destination — is as simple as entering the corresponding zip code into an online UV calculator. The EPA website will also give you an hourly UV Index forecast so you can decide whether it’s better to swim in the morning or late afternoon. You can sign up for UV Alerts by email as well.
In general, the UV Index increases during the morning, peaking mid-afternoon. Be careful, though: by 10 a.m., the UV Index could already range from 3 to 5.
Don’t forget that white sand and bright surfaces can reflect UV rays, doubling your UV exposure.
Check your skin.
The best way to detect skin cancer early is to examine your skin regularly. If you notice any changes in moles or new skin growths, contact your health provider.
Multiple studies show the importance of sleep for children, whether they are infants or teenagers. A recent study published in the journal Sleep showed that short sleep duration is a risk factor for the development of obesity in infants, children, and adolescents (Miller, Kruisbrink, Wallace, Ji & Cappuccio, 2018).
According to the National Sleep Foundation, here are current recommended sleep guidelines:
For new parents in particular, it is important to stay up to date on the current sleep safety guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Following safe sleep guidelines is linked with decreased rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). To practice safe sleep, here are six recommendations:
Back to Sleep. Babies should sleep on their backs (not on their stomachs) until their first
Use a firm Sleep Surface. Babies should sleep in a crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard that meets safety standards from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This sleep surface should be covered with a tight-fitting, firm mattress and a fitted sheet. A car seat or a swing are not considered safe sleeping areas.
Share your room, but not your bed. Put your baby’s bassinet or crib close to your bed for the first year of their life. The baby should not sleep in your bed with you.
Keep loose bedding and soft objects out of your baby’s sleep area. The only thing that should be in your baby’s crib or bassinet for the first year of their life is your baby! Pillows, blankets, toys, bumper pads and other items increase the risk of suffocation for your baby.
Breastfeed your baby. Lactation consultants recommend breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for the first six months of a baby’s life. Taking a breastfeeding class or meeting with a lactation counselor are great ways to receive guidance on your baby’s nutrition. To make an appointment with a Bon Secours lactation counselor, please call (804) 730-4690 and ask to schedule a lactation counseling appointment with Tiffany Powers.
Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol while pregnant or after your baby is born. Exposure to second-hand smoke endangers babies and children, and alcohol can make parents drowsy and put a baby at risk.
Michelle A. Miller, Marlot Kruisbrink, Joanne Wallace, Chen Ji, Francesco P. Cappuccio; Sleep duration and incidence of obesity in infants, children, and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies, Sleep, Volume 41, Issue 4, 1 April 2018, zsy018, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsy018
Orthotics are specialized devices like shoe inserts, knee braces, or ankle braces that are designed to support your bone and muscle health. The most commonly used orthotics are shoe inserts that improve foot and ankle health.
True foot orthotics can’t be bought in a shoe store. These customized shoe inserts, available from physical therapists, podiatrists, or other health care providers, need to be specially designed for your feet and even some shoes.
WHAT DO ORTHOTICS DO?
Orthotics, which can be soft or rigid, are inserted into your shoe. They are designed to hold your foot in a certain position as you walk or run. By ensuring your foot is in the right position, they help stabilize your feet and ankles. They may reduce your risk of injury and relieve foot pain.
Orthotics can support just the heel or the entire foot. They can be made to fit into specific shoes, like track cleats, or be easily moved between different types of shoes. You may need to replace your orthotics every six months or so, depending on how often you use them.
ARE ORTHOTICS RIGHT FOR ME?
You may benefit from orthotics if you have one of the following conditions:
Calluses or corns
Hammer or claw toe
IT Band syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
These conditions often cause foot pain. You may also benefit from orthotics if you experience problems such as:
Abnormal shoe wear (one side of the sole wears out faster than the other)
Chronic heel, knee, or low back pain
Frequent ankle injuries
HOW CAN I GET ORTHOTICS?
To receive customized orthotics, you’ll need to undergo an evaluation with someone trained to provide orthotics, such as a physical therapist. You may need to get your foot measured as well as a gait analysis completed. The orthotics should be designed to handle your specific diagnosis or problem.
Your doctor may write a prescription for orthotics, which may make them more affordable. However, you don’t need a prescription for orthotics.
Bon Secours Richmond Physical Therapy offers a variety of devices, including softer devices for those who cannot tolerate rigid devices and orthotics for athletes. We can provide devices that will fit into tight fitting shoes like cleats/track spikes for athletes with these problems. Learn more about our orthotics services: http://www.bonsecoursphysicaltherapy.com/orthotics/
Nearly half of all U.S. adults need to lower their blood pressure, according to new health guidelines. Whether or not you fall into this group, it’s smart to practice healthy lifestyle habits that have a direct effect on your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Taking care of yourself requires some commitment but the benefits can last – and possibly extend – your lifetime.
Here are five strategies federal health experts recommend to lower blood pressure:
Eat healthy foods.
Watching what you eat can greatly reduce the amount of sodium you take in every day. First, ask your health provider how much daily sodium is safe for you. The American Heart Association recommends adults consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium. The National Institutes of Health, however, suggests limiting your sodium to 2,300 mg.
When you start reading labels, it’s amazing where you’ll find sodium: bread, cold cuts, sandwiches, pizza, soup, and chicken are among the top salty foods in our diet.
Your doctor may recommend you follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – commonly called DASH – eating plan. Ranked by health experts as one of the best eating plans to follow to improve heart health, the DASH diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein. You can also eat fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetables oils, but steer clear of fatty meats, tropical oils, and sugary foods and drinks.
Physical activity can make your heart stronger.
If you’re not working out regularly, you should always consult your doctor first before starting an exercise routine. Ideally, you should exercise two hours and 30 minutes every week at a moderate intensity. Brisk walking 30 minutes daily, five times a week would meet this goal.
If you work out at a vigorous intensity level, you need about 75 minutes of exercise per week.
Find an exercise routine that works for you. Too cold to walk around the neighborhood? Take a walk around your local mall. Try a gym if you like to exercise in a group setting or need to switch up your routine.
Maintain a heathy weight.
Do you know how much you should weigh? You can use a body mass index calculator to figure it out. A healthy weight is when your BMI falls between 18.5 and 24.9.
Losing a small amount of weight can greatly improve your blood pressure. If you have trouble losing weight or repeatedly put the weight back on, talk to your doctor about enrolling in a weight-loss program that’s tailored to your individual health.
Some people can lose weight by changing their eating habits and exercising regularly. Other people may need additional strategies that include medication, medically-supervised weight loss or bariatric surgery.
Limit your alcohol consumption.
Having a glass of wine at dinner or a beer after work may seem like it helps you unwind and relax. Too much alcohol, however, can raise your blood pressure. The added calories can also make you gain weight.
Health authorities recommend men have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day. For women, the limit is one drink.
Manage your stress levels.
Taking care of yourself can help manage stress and help you cope with challenges in your life. If you feel like stress is overcoming your ability to relax, try a yoga or tai chi class. Exercising, listening to music, and meditating are other stress management techniques.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, see your doctor regularly and follow whatever treatment plan prescribed for you.
Prevention & Early Detection
The Prevention and Early Detection Program from the Bon Secours Heart Team offers comprehensive services to diminish the impact of heart disease in the communities we serve. We offer community educational seminars and free screening opportunities through our extensive outreach efforts. Our free online heart assessment, HeartAware, has helped thousands of people understand their cardiac risk factors and the steps they can take to improve their overall health.