By: Nadia Nasah, Bridgewater State University
Did you know that February is American Heart Month? In honor of this awareness, here are some tips that can improve your heart health.
- Don’t skip your annual check-ups Your heart is very important and therefore it is very important that you get yearly check-ups where you get your blood pressure, glucose levels, and cholesterol levels checked. Ask your doctor about any questions or concerns you have. They will be more than happy to guide you!
- Exercise! Walking at least 20 minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. You can even walk or jog in place for at least 15 minutes in place while watching your favorite TV show!
- Increase water intake Drinking water is important! Take a reusable water bottle everywhere you go. This way you will always be hydrated!
- Eat Healthy! Don’t leave unhealthy snacks and foods in plain sight, hide them! Leave healthy snacks such as fruits and veggies in the fridge where they are accessible. Prepare your lunch and snack the night before. Before you know it, eating healthy becomes a habit. In addition, when grocery shopping, look for the heart logo from the American Heart Association. It will help you identify heart-healthy foods!
- Cholesterol Control Stay away from foods that contain high saturated and trans-fat as they lead to high cholesterol levels! Try adding chicken and turkey (skinless, baked, or roasted), fruits and veggies, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and whole grains to your diet to help keep cholesterol levels low.
- Less salt, please If you have high blood pressure, you may want to watch your salt intake. On the food labels, salt is labelled as sodium alginate, sodium sulphite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or sodium citrate.
- Quit Smoking! Smoking is harmful to the heart. It is not an easy habit to quit but with this four-step way it is possible:
- Day 1: Cut the number of cigarettes you smoke by half.
- Day 3: Cut the number of cigarettes you smoke by half again.
- Day 5: Cut your smoking in half once again!
- Quit Day: Quit!
- Keep a healthy weight Did you know that excessive weight can actually increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes? You can achieve that healthy weight by exercising 30 minutes every day or most days and by consuming 200-300 fewer calories than you normally would each day.
- Positivity is Key Going off track happens but when you do it is important to get right back. You can do it!
- Reward Yourself! In this day and age getting in shape can be a challenge. So, don’t forget to reward yourself with something fun every once in a while, you deserve it!
By: Nadia Nasah
The age of the smartphones has led to the new age of applications, or Apps for short. There are apps for everything nowadays. We have the ability to entertain ourselves with games, online magazines, movie apps, photo editing apps, health apps, and apps for just about anything you can think of! There are even apps that can help people manage their diabetes. In this post, I will be looking at various apps that do just that.
- Glucose Buddy:
- The app allows you to Log: blood glucose level, carbohydrate intake, doses of medications, A1C results, exercise etc.
- Pros: Offers reminders for blood glucose checks and to take medication
- Cons: Does not sync with meters, only allows Apple users to sync their app to the Glucose Buddy Website, and there is no way to back up data entered.
- Price: Free
- MySugr Diabetes Logbook
- This app was created by individuals who themselves are inflicted with diabetes and therefore uses a more personal form of feedback to keep people on track and on top of their health. This app allows users to log their blood glucose levels, monitor carb intake, track the use of insulin, and provides positive and motivational feedback to help people cope with diabetes. This app is targeted for people that have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
- Pros: This app generates health reports for your health care provider!
- Cons: It does not sync with blood glucose meters or insulin pumps, must buy MySugr PRO to be able to generate Health Reports as PDFs
- Cost: Free
- MySugr PRO: $2.99 per month or $27.99 per year
- MySugr PRO with in-app counselling by certified diabetes educator (Apple only for now): $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year
- Diabetes Connect
- This app allows users to record as well as keep track of blood glucose levels, meals, insulin injections, medications, and more! This app was also created by people inflicted with diabetes for other people with diabetes, both Type and Type 2.
- Pros: This app allows users to use the app or to log on to the apps online portal to download the data and reports to take to their next appointment with their health care provider!
- Cons: The app does not sync with meters, CGMs, or even insulin pumps. In addition, only premium users get reminders for taking medications, insulin, or blood glucose measurements
- Cost: Free
- Premium Membership: $1.99 per month, $16.99 per year (only for Apple users and soon to be discontinued)
- One Time Fee: $26.99 (Apple) or $29.99 (Android)
- Sugar Sense
- This app allows users to keep track and logs blood glucose levels, carbohydrate intake, and even weight. Its use is intended for those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
- Pros: This app provides users with a community support forum for people with type 2 diabetes and offers valuable diabetes prevention information.
- Android users. Also, just like with the other apps, it does not sync with CGMs and pumps.
- Cost: Free
- One Drop
- This App allows users to log food and exercise and offers peer and expert support. This app is intended for people with type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes.
- Pros: This app wirelessly with the One Drop Chrome meter, insulin pumps, and CGMs.
- Cons: For an additional $99.95, One Drop Premium includes the One Drop Chrome blood glucose monitoring system, which includes a meter, lancing device, 10 lancets, 100 test strips, and a carrying case.
- Cost: Free
- One Drop Premium: $39.95 per month (includes One Drop diabetes management app, One Drop Chrome blood glucose monitoring system, unlimited test strips delivered by mail, and 24/7 in-app text messaging support from certified diabetes educators.
- For One Drop Chrome System: One-time $99.95 fee
- Diabetes and Glucose Tracker (Apple); Diabetes and Diet Tracker (Android)
- This app is for diabetes management and weight loss and works the exact same way in both Apple and Android devices despite the two different names. This app provides a log for keeping track of blood glucose readings, A1C results, food, exercise, blood pressure readings, and medication use. In addition, this app provides reminders to check blood glucose levels. This app is also intended for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- Pros: After logging in the food and exercise, the app provides you with more personalized advice and support to help keep you right on track!
- Cons: Does not allow for syncing with CGMs and insulin pumps and it is not free.
- Price: One-time fee of $9.99, $60 per year (or $9 per month) for the maximum version of the app, which is available for purchase in the app.
- BG Monitor Diabetes:
- This app provides insulin bolus calculation and blood glucose levels as well as trends. The app is intended for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- Pros: It is very easy to log in data entries and to see your blood glucose levels. The developers of this app are continuously improving their app based on user reviews.
- Cons: This app is only available for Android devices and it does not sync with meters, CGMs, or insulin pumps.
- Cost: Free.
- Upgrade to Pro: One-time fee of $4.99.
By Nadia Nasah
With the cold that the winter season brings it could often be difficult to find the motivation to exercise and stay healthy. Here is a list of tips that could help you brave through this winter season!
- It is very easy to overeat, so it is important that you maintain the same exercise schedule and to take your diabetes medication.
- During dinner try to stick to meat, vegetables, and side salads to help keep your blood sugar levels from skyrocketing. You can even try a sweet or two, just make sure to add them as part of the carbohydrate portion of your diet and not as extras.
- When drinking alcohol, make sure you do so with a meal and not on an empty stomach. For diabetics, it is recommended to not exceed more than one drink a day for women and two for men (1 drink = 4 ounces of wine, 12 oz of beer, and 1 ounce of distilled spirits).
- There are also really cool apps such as Glucose Buddy, MySugr, DiabetesConnect, Sugar Sense, One Drop, and BG Monitor Diabetes, that you can download for free to help you count the number of carbohydrates in certain food and to help you keep track of your blood sugar level, and even medication!
- Going to a restaurant doesn’t have to be an unhealthy choice! Just make sure to choose options with less saturated fats, sugar, and fried foods. Instead of French fries and mashed potatoes, order boiled or baked potatoes. They most likely have the healthy dishes labelled as healthy in certain restaurants, making it so much easier to enjoy your meal without worries.
- When going over a friend or family member’s dinner, bring in a light, low-calorie, healthy meal. Try to include as many vegetables as possible. If you need help or ideas about what to make, just go to the American Diabetes Association website, they have plenty of recipes ready for you: http://www.diabetes.org
- When going to a party, play it smart by first munching on some healthy appetizers like vegetables and later some meats and cheese. This way you fill up on veggies first that way you eat less cheese and meat. Try placing the appetizers in a napkin instead of a plate, that way you will be less likely to overfill it. Also, do not seat near the food table, it can be too tempting!
- Exercising may be a little more difficult around this time so instead, try doing some fun activity with your family. Enjoy games like Just Dance or Zumba on the Wii.
By Jess Givens, Stonehill College
Holiday season is here and often times we find ourselves eating more and exercising less. However, we will end up finding ourselves “bursting” with holiday cheer if we get too much out of balance with our food intake and activity output. To help prevent gaining the holiday weight and to help maintain physical activity, here are 9 tips to help find ways to stay active during the holiday season.
- Shoe-in. As much as you can wear running shoes so that you can get moving whenever an opportunity presents itself. This may be while you’re waiting for food in the oven. Park farther away in order to walk further to your destination. If you’re out doing holiday shoppingwalk the mall before shopping the mall.
- Take the Stairs. According to the CDC, in one minute a 150-pound person burns 10 calories walking upstairs and only 1.5 riding an elevator. Make this choice during the holiday season to burn a few extra calories and stay fit.
- Work Out with your Mobile Device. Download an app or watch videos for workout ideas whether you are at home trying to get a quick workout in or away from home and have no access to a gym.
- Find trails or tracks before you travel. Check for walking or running trails or tracks to wherever you are traveling. Visit the USA Track & Field website at http://www.usatf.org/routes/ to find new routes in your area!
- Try some new tunes. If you like to work out to music, listen to new music to get motivated. For example, search Christmas fitness music or holiday fitness music.
- Clean your house. Whether or not you are having guests over this holiday season set aside several hours one day and THOROUGHLY clean your house. Bending, squatting, running up and down stairs, standing and outing away laundry are all activities that burn calories.
- Look for a holiday fun run. Fun runs are often held over the holidays. Get a group of friends or family and run or walk at your own leisurely pace and plan to get coffee or breakfast after the event.
- Build activity into family visits and outings. Encourage house guests or family members to bring workout clothes and start each day with a walk, jog, or run or any other form of work out to get a great jump start on the day and avoid gaining the holiday weight.
- Fly with wheels. If you plan on flying during the holiday season, use the time between flights to get in some activity. Walk around instead of sitting at the gate. If time allows, walk vs using the “people mover”. If you have carry-on luggage make it more comfortable by using a wheeled suitcase or a backpack.
Wishing you all a fun, safe, and ACTIVE holiday season!
By Cassie Spencer, Stonehill College
As we wrap up Diabetes Awareness Month in the month of November, here are some facts that can help you or a loved one learn more about this disease.
Diabetes is a lifelong disease that will affect the way the body responds to sugar. Anyone can be affected. 29.1 million people in the US have diabetes, and 86 million have prediabetes. Prediabetes is a “wake up call”. It is your body telling you that you have high blood pressure, but not high enough to be diagnostic for diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in childhood. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get it later in life. With type 1, you have to constantly inject insulin and monitor your blood sugar. There is no cure for type 1, but there is a lot of research being done to find a cure.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body metabolizes glucose, or sugar. When you have high blood sugar, this sugar builds up in your bloodstream. As levels increase, your pancreas is unable to produce enough of the hormone insulin to keep up with the demand. Type 2 diabetes is preventable with lifestyle changes, including increased exercise, moderate weight loss and improved diet.
Here are some more ideas that can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle:
- Lose some weight but only if your doctor says you need to
- Cut back on high sugar and high fat foods, they aren’t healthy in general
- Get some sleep
- Instead of soda, drink water
- Get moving, being active reduces a lot of problems so go outside and walk, look at fall foliage
- Go to the doctor on time and be open, they are trained to know what to look for, so telling them will help them monitor you
Keep these tips in mind for yourself, friends and family. November is the time to raise awareness and find a cure!
By Kristiana Parrillo, Stonehill College
Healthy Easton’s “Healthy Stops” are business and restaurants throughout the community which offer a variety of amenities to help improve the overall health, nutrition and wellbeing of all residents! “Healthy Stops” are businesses that are walker/biker friendly and restaurants that make it the healthy choice the easy choice. They can be identified by window decals featuring them as a Healthy Stop.
Two Types of Healthy Stops:
Healthy Stop Restaurant
Healthy Stop Restaurants have joined Healthy Easton in our vision to create a community where all can access healthy, nutritional options. As Healthy Stops, they are recognized providers of:
- Smaller sized portions
- Fruits/vegetables as side dishes
- Highlighted healthier options on a menu, table tent or sign
- Healthier options which include whole wheat, low fat/fat free dairy, water as an alternative to sugar sweetened beverages, lean proteins, and items not deep fried or in creamy sauces
Healthy Stop Business
Healthy Stop businesses have joined Healthy Easton in supporting this same vision of accessibility to increased physical activity and healthy, nutritional options. These businesses welcome walkers and bikers in Easton to utilize any combination of the following:
- Accessible water
- Healthy Snack
- Bike Rack or Bench
Visit some of our newest Healthy Stops!
- Ames Free Library
- North Easton Savings Bank
- Old Colony YMCA
- Stonehill College
- The Beanery on Washington
By: Cassandra Spencer, Stonehill College
Everyone can agree stress rules our lives. Whether it is work, children or school, it’s something you can get away from. Here are some tips to combat and relax.
Meditation– There are many websites like http://www.calm.com that provide free guided meditations for anyone to use!
Watch some TV-Despite sounding basic, distractions are a super useful tool to combat stress, so turn on some comedy shows and relax.
Exercise it out– It doesn’t matter what type of exercise… it can be running, biking, walking or dancing! Exercising releases endorphins which relax you.
Color– coloring books are not just for children anymore, adult coloring books are more delicate and beautiful, and can be found almost anywhere!
Read– Read your favorite book when you are feeling stressed and instantly be transported to a different universe
Go outside– Fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature can help you destress and get some vitamin D
Sleep– Not getting enough sleep leads to being even more stressed out. Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.