5 Healthy Habits to Help Reduce Stress
(Family Features) Between work, family obligations and a constantly changing world, people in the United States are stressed. In fact, U.S. workers are among the most stressed in the world, according to a State of the Global Workplace study. While some stress is unavoidable and can be good for you, constant or chronic stress can have real consequences for your mental and physical health.
Chronic stress can increase your lifetime risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also lead to unhealthy habits like overeating, physical inactivity and smoking while also increasing risk factors, including high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. However, a scientific statement from the American Heart Association shows reducing stress and cultivating a positive mindset can improve health and well-being.
To help people understand the connection between stress and physical health, the American Heart Association offers these science-backed insights to help reduce chronic stress.
Exercise is one of the easiest ways to keep your body healthy and release stress. Physical activity is linked to lower risk of diseases, stronger bones and muscles, improved mental health and cognitive function and lower risk of depression. It can also help increase energy and improve quality of sleep. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity or a combination.
Incorporate meditation and mindfulness practices into your day to give yourself a few minutes to create some distance from daily stress. Some studies show meditation can reduce blood pressure, improve sleep, support the immune system and increase your ability to process information.
A positive mindset can improve overall health. Studies show a positive mindset can help you live longer, and happy individuals tend to sleep better, exercise more, eat better and not smoke. Practice positive self-talk to help you stay calm. Instead of saying, “everything is going wrong,” re-frame the situation and remind yourself “I can handle this if I take it one step at a time.”
Gratitude – or thankfulness – is a powerful tool that can reduce levels of depression and anxiety and improve sleep. Start by simply writing down three things you’re grateful for each day.
Find a Furry Friend
Having a pet may help you get more fit; lower stress, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar; and boost overall happiness and well-being. When you see, touch, hear or talk to companion animals, you may feel a sense of goodwill, joy, nurturing and happiness. At the same time, stress hormones are suppressed. Dog ownership is also associated with a lower risk of depression, according to research published by the American Heart Association.
Find more stress-management tips at Heart.org/stress.
Understanding stress is an important step in managing and reducing it. Consider these things to know about stress and how it could affect your life:
- Today, 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. report being worried or depressed.
- Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol are linked to increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular events like heart disease and stroke.
- The top sources of stress are money, work, family responsibilities and health concerns.
- Work-related stress is associated with a 40% increased risk of cardiovascular disease like heart attack and stroke.
American Heart Association
Take Steps Toward a Healthier Lifestyle
(Family Features) There isn’t a better time than now to start getting fit with health information and products so easily accessible. Simply incorporate the basics into your daily routine – good nutrition, adequate exercise and a daily supplement – and start down the path toward better health.
Plan a Nutritious Diet
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans describes a healthy diet as one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products. It should be low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugar.
- Warm weather makes fresh produce more easily accessible. Eat more fruits and vegetables by setting freshly washed and prepared produce on the kitchen counter or at eye level in the fridge. At every meal, make sure half your plate is made up of fruit and vegetable servings.
- One-fourth of your plate at every meal should be made up of grains, such as wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal or barley. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.
- The remaining one-fourth of your plate should be lean or low-fat cuts of meat, plant-based protein or seafood.
Get Regular Exercise
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends an adequate amount of exercise every day. This guide can point to the right amount of exercise to add to your schedule:
- Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week. For best results, spread the time out over several days.
- Do strength training exercises at least twice a week. Lifting weights builds muscle, which means the body burns more calories – even at rest.
- It’s important to keep in mind that when people are active, they produce more free radicals. The antioxidants found in supplements can help buffer the negative effects of the workout.
Improving your diet, exercising regularly, taking a daily supplement and getting enough restorative sleep are all important steps to overall wellness. Work to incorporate each step into your daily routine until you reach your goal of good health, and find more health-conscious tips at eLivingToday.com.
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Jump-Start Success at School with Wellness at Home
(Family Features) Setting the stage for success in the classroom starts with reliable morning routines the whole family can depend on. Establishing a plan for each day before heading off for work or school is beneficial for staying on time and organized, and many families’ mornings start with a nutritious breakfast.
This school year, add better-for-you breakfast recipes like Orange Oatmeal or an Orangeberry Smoothie to the menu. These morning meals are powered by 100% orange juice, a delicious option that helps fuel the body with essential nutrients that support a healthy immune system and overall diet quality with no added sugar.
“A growing number of research studies has revealed children who regularly drink 100% orange juice have higher intakes of key nutrients, higher quality diets and may have healthier lifestyle habits, like greater physical activity levels, than children who do not drink OJ,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, director of scientific research at the Florida Department of Citrus. “Study after study confirms that 100% orange juice not only has a place in the diets of children, but it can also serve as an easy way for parents to provide key nutrients without fear of adverse effects on body weight when served in moderation.”
Consider these nutritional benefits of Florida Orange Juice, “The Original Wellness Drink.”
Because 1 cup of 100% orange juice counts as 1 cup of fruit, it’s an easy way to contribute to your children’s fruit intake. As a kid-favorite, it’s a nutrient-dense beverage that helps increase the intake of key nutrients including vitamin C, folate, thiamin, magnesium, potassium and, in fortified juices, vitamin D and calcium.
When paired with a healthy lifestyle, Florida Orange Juice has vitamin C, vitamin D (in fortified juices) and phytonutrients (naturally occurring plant compounds) and may help support a strong immune system.
- Vitamin C – Commonly associated with helping maintain and strengthen a healthy immune system by protecting cells and promoting the production and function of cells. One 6-8-ounce glass of OJ is an excellent source.
- Vitamin D – Plays an important role in regulating immune response and helps cells fight off bacteria and viruses that get into the body. One 6-8-ounce glass of fortified OJ is a good source.
- Plant Compounds, Flavonoids and Colorful Carotenoids – Work to support the immune system by helping to fight inflammation and helping cells communicate with each other, which can help strengthen immune response when encountering infection.
No Added SugarFind more information and recipe inspiration at FloridaCitrus.org/OJ.
Unlike foods and beverages that contain added sugars, the natural sugar in 100% orange juice contains vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. As one of nature’s nutrient-rich foods, OJ is a convenient way to enhance whole fruit intake and reach daily recommendations. Plus, it can be used as a substitute for nutrient-poor foods and beverages, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, in the diets of children and adults.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
- 1 cup quick cooking steel-cut oats
- 1 Florida Orange, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In medium saucepan over high heat, bring water and orange juice to boil.
- Add oats to boiling liquids.
- Return to boil then reduce to medium heat and cook uncovered 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Mix in orange, agave nectar, cinnamon and salt. Remove pan from heat; let stand 1 minute before serving.
- 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 4 ounces strawberry Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup milk
- ice cubes
- 1 Florida Orange, sliced
- In blender, blend orange juice, strawberries, yogurt, milk and ice, as needed to reach desired consistency, until smooth.
- Pour into glass and garnish with orange slice.
Florida Department of Citrus