April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Nearly one out of four automobile crashes involves cell phone use. Click on this link to learn more about this driving hazard and tips for increasing your safety and the safety of others.
Champions for Change: The Appeal of Pears
Click here to read all about the health benefits of that most luscious of fruits, the pear. You'll also find buying and storing tips, serving suggestions, nutritional information, and a delicious recipe for Pear Mango Salsa.
The Many Benefits of Water
1. WATER suppresses the appetite … People who drink more are proven to feel hungry less often, as water makes a good appetite suppressant.
2. Water helps to reduce cholesterol … Water has a drastic impact on cholesterol, and will reduce the levels in your body. This should help you slim down much faster.
3. Water helps to tone muscles … If your muscles are dehydrated, you won’t see any toning, no matter how much exercise you do. Up your intake in water and you’ll see a difference fast.
4. Water is necessary for proper digestion …The digestive system requires a minimum amount of fresh water a day to work, and if you are short of this, you will feel bloated and tired.
5. Water helps the liver to function … The liver metabolizes fat, which is very important when you are trying to lose weight. However, it requires a lot of water to do this successfully, and if it doesn’t have enough, it will just store the fat.
6. Water helps soothe digestive problems … If you are suffering from digestive troubles, try drinking a few glasses of water. This should help jump start your system again, as lack of water will cause the entire process to stop.
7. The right amount of water causes the body to stop retaining water …If you usually don’t drink enough, your body will have retained water to make up for it. This water retention can add pounds to your weight, and make you seem very bloated.
8. Water stops you confusing hunger and thirst … It can be very easy to think you are hungry when in fact you are very thirsty.
9. Water moisturizes the skin and makes it more radiant and supple … All the super models are known to drink about 68 ounces of water per day to make sure their skin is hydrated and looks its best. With weight loss, your skin will go through a lot of changes, too, and it will desperately need a lot of liquid.
10. Water washes the toxins out of the body … Being in a good health is vital if you are trying to lose weight. Nothing does it better than drinking water. It washes out the toxins, making your body “cleaner” and healthier. This is a very important condition under which your body will be able to restore its balance and get into shape.
Experts recommend drinking 2,200 ml (68 oz) of water a day for those with an inactive lifestyle. That is about 9 glasses of water, which you should easily be able to fit into your day. After all, it’ll help you lose those last pounds. If you plan on drinking more than that, please check with your health care provider as individual needs can vary and drinking too much water can also cause problems.
Click on this link to get 10 tips for enjoying high quality meals at home.
Champions for Change News Bulletin
Click here for nutrition news brought to you by Hill Country Health and Wellness Center. This issue focuses on zucchini: nutritional information, buying and storing tips, serving suggestions, and a delicious, easy recipe for this tasty, versatile veggie.
September is Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. First, they contain antioxidants, which may reduce the chances of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even some cancers. Second, they have vitamins and minerals that help you to feel healthy and energized. Third, they have lots of fiber which fills you up and helps keep your digestive system functioning properly.
Information on the nutrients contained in fruits and vegetables can be found on the following website http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/:
· Calcium – promotes healthy bones, teeth, muscles and nerves
· Fiber – decreases risk of coronary heart disease
· Folate – decreases risk of babies born with brain and spinal cord defects
· Iron – promotes healthy blood and normal cell functioning
· Magnesium – promotes healthy bones. Low levels of Magnesium can cause muscle cramps and high blood pressure
· Potassium – promotes healthy blood pressure
· Sodium – promotes normal cell function. Often our diets have too much sodium, which leads to high blood pressure
· Vitamin A – promotes healthy eyes, skin, and protects against infection
· Vitamin C – helps heal cuts and wounds and promotes healthy teeth and gums
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
Why are vaccines important? Thanks to vaccinations, many diseases such as polio and diphtheria are becoming rare — because we have been vaccinating against them. If we stop vaccinating, these diseases could reemerge. That is why it’s so important to keep vaccinating at every age.
The following are guidelines obtained from www.healthfinder.gov:
- Children under the age of 6 should get a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, and hepatitis.
- All 11- and 12-year-olds need shots to help protect against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and meningitis.
- Doctors recommend that girls also get the HPV vaccine to protect against the most common cause of cervical cancer.
- All adults need a tetanus shot every 10 years.
- People aged 65 need a one-time pneumonia shot.
Please call Hill Country Health & Wellness Center at (530) 337-6243 to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss what vaccinations you may need.
July: New Services at Hill Country!
Hill Country Health & Wellness Center now has Electronic Health Records (EHR). Our Go Live date was June 25th. EHR allows for quicker and more accurate information to be recorded at your visit with your provider. We are very excited about this transition and want you to feel as secure as possible, so please feel free to stop by and see us or call us at (530) 337-5750 for more information.
Our new Medical wing is now open, allowing for more patient rooms. We are also installing an x-ray machine which will hopefully be up and running by September of this year.
Hill Country Health & Wellness Center will be offering Chiropractic services starting July 24th with Dr. Robert Smith. Please call us at (530) 337-6243 for more information and to set up an appointment.
There are a lot of good things happening at Hill Country right now and we hope you will come in and share in our excitement!
To schedule an appointment with our Medical, Dental, or Counseling departments, call (530) 337-5750.
June: Not All Sweeteners Are Created Equal
For years, the conventional wisdom has been that the number of calories in a sweetener was the primary factor that determined weight gain. However, research studies are starting to show that this may, in fact, be an oversimplification, one with significant implications for our health.
One of the most commonly used and encountered sweeteners in the U.S. is high fructose corn syrup, also known as HFCS. This is the type of sweetener found in the majority of processed and prepared foods, such as soft drinks and name brand baked goods, ketchup, breakfast cereals, sweetened yogurt and even mayonnaise. High fructose corn syrup is composed of a differing ratio of sugars than regular sugar: It is 55 percent fructose, 42 percent glucose, and 3 percent “higher saccharides.” Ordinary sugar, or sucrose—the sugar refined from sugar cane or sugar beets—is composed of equal amounts of fructose and glucose. It’s the kind of sugar we buy at the supermarket for baking.
On the surface, it would seem that this deviation in sugar percentages would have little effect beyond simple calories. But experiments conducted at Princeton University have come up with troubling findings. Two groups of rats were given their standard rat chow, supplemented with one of two sweeteners. In addition to the chow, one group was given water sweetened with sucrose at a concentration roughly equal to that in soft drinks, while the other group was given water sweetened with HFCS, at approximately half the concentration found in soft drinks.
Their findings? The rats receiving the HFCS gained much more weight than the rats who received sucrose. In a second set of experiments, researchers monitored not only weight gain, but also body fat and triglyceride levels. (High triglyceride levels are related to fat metabolism by the liver, and are linked to a greater risk of heart disease.) These findings were even more troubling:
Rats fed a diet rich in high fructose corn syrup showed signs of developing the dangerous condition known as “metabolic syndrome,” often a precursor to obesity and type II diabetes and linked to increased risk of cancer, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. They found elevated triglyceride levels and significantly more weight gain, as well as greater deposition of body fat, especially around the belly. Male rats in particular “ballooned in size,” according to researchers. These animals gained 48 percent more weight than animals fed a normal diet.
Researchers note that the manufacturing process for HFCS creates unbound fructose molecules, easily available for absorption and utilization. The fructose molecules in sucrose, on the other hand, are each bound to a glucose molecule and go through an additional metabolic step before they become available for energy use. The scientists have not yet clarified the underlying reasons for the additional weight gain and other metabolic markers, but speculate that fructose may be used by the body primarily to produce fat storage, whereas glucose is used for energy and stored in the muscles and liver. The lower percentage of glucose in HFCS, as well as the freely available, unbound fructose, may be the culprits.
The Princeton research team feels that the widespread use and consumption of high fructose corn syrup may play a large role in the current obesity epidemic. They noted that even when rats were fed a high-fat diet, they did not see the kind of weight gain incurred by consuming HFCS.
The best way to avoid HFCS is to avoid prepared and processed foods, especially soft drinks. Always read ingredient labels before you buy, and select foods that are sweetened with sucrose, sugar, cane or beet sugar, honey, agave syrup, or evaporated cane juice. Unfortunately, opting for artificial “zero-calorie” sweeteners poses its own health and metabolic problems, which we’ll explore in a future column.
May is Mental Health Month
May Mental Health Month began in 1949 to raise awareness for the millions of Americans who are suffering from a mental illness. One in four American adults live with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition. Most of these people do not receive care. Experts say that mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability in the United States. Mental illness can include depression, anxiety, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress. If left untreated, these illnesses can cause extensive damage to a person’s overall well-being. Many people do not actively seek out care because they are afraid of how they will be perceived, because they don’t have insurance, or simply because they have a lack of information. In reality, most mental health illnesses are treatable, and people can go on to live happy and productive lives. Hill Country Health & Wellness Center has a Behavioral Health Department that is ready and willing to serve those in need. Our friendly, caring staff and counselors work hard to ensure that you are taken care of. Please call us at 530-337-6263 to make an appointment with one of our counselors.
March 27th is American Diabetes Alert Day
Hill Country Health & Wellness Center offers Diabetes Management.
Call us at 530.337-6243 to make an appointment with one of our doctors
to discuss your diabetes care.
Diabetes affects nearly 26 million children and adults in America, and about 7 million don’t even know they have it. Even more frightening is the fact that another 79 million Americans have prediabetes, which will develop into type 2 diabetes if left untreated. Early detection and treatment of diabetes is crucial for preventing complications such as blindness, amputation, stroke, and kidney and heart disease. American Diabetes Alert Day is was established to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and healthy eating habits. Hill Country Health & Wellness Center offers diabetic screening. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, our staff will work with you to make sure all of your care needs are met, and that you have the information you need to make important lifestyle decisions.
February 2012 Blog Entry: Health Benefits of Massage
Massage: the therapeutic use of the hands to manipulate skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage therapy can have many beneficial results, including improved overall well-being, especially if done on a regular basis. Massage releases endorphins, the body’s “feel good drug,” neuropeptides that work as natural pain killers. It not only relieves mental and physical stress, it also improves sleep quality, mental clarity, and strengthens the immune system. Massaging muscle tissue increases blood flow, which keeps the tissue healthy by providing it oxygen. This is why many people with arthritis report good results with massage therapy and why it speeds up recovery from an injury. Coincidentally, by increasing blood flow, massage reduces heart rate and blood pressure. Massage therapy can also be beneficial for infant growth, and it can be a helpful component of cancer treatment. Be sure to talk to your massage therapist before getting a massage and let them know of any pre-existing conditions you may have so that you can get the most out of your massage experience.