Category Archives: Fun Facts

Diet Choices That Can Boost Sleep Quality

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In March we welcome the change of seasons. We are excited to say goodbye to winter and the cold weather. With the promise of Summer on the horizon, many people are refocusing their attention on their health and wellness journey.  This often includes attention to your diet, which can help with better weight management.

If you are seeking to make changes to your nutrition and diet, sleep plays an important factor in being successful.  Many of us feel especially sluggish after the winter hibernation. In addition, we experienced the change of our clocks. We jumped ahead one hour due to Daylight Savings. The National Sleep Foundation has claimed the week after Daylight Savings to be Sleep Awareness Week. In 2021, Sleep Awareness Week is dated March 14th through March 20th.

We have compiled a few options on how to achieve a better night’s sleep through our nutrition choices during the day.

Fruits – An important piece for any diet, but when we are speaking about sleep specifically, look at eating more cherries or kiwis. Cherries have been found to help decrease the effects of insomnia. Cherries contain a high amount of the sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin. Eating kiwis two hours before bed has been found to help with falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer and waking up less frequently.

Caffeine – Most of us know to avoid caffeine before bed. The rule is to avoid caffeine 5 to 6 hours before bed. Caffeine can be tricky because it can also be found in the foods we consume, it’s not limited to beverages like coffee or soda.

Snacking – Avoid late night snacking. Try to stop eating 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed. Snacking can lead to broken sleep, individuals find themselves waking up more frequently during the night.

Spicy food – Eating spicy food can cause heartburn which can impact your sleep. Acid reflux can worsen and irritate an individual’s airways. Avoid consuming spicy foods within 3 hours of going to bed.

Alcohol – Drinking alcohol before bed is typically not the best choice. Alcohol is a sedative and it may help you fall asleep, but it reduces the overall quality of sleep you receive. Most people find themselves waking up more frequently during the night.

Sources: Sleep.org and Hopkinsmedicine.org

Posted in Fun Facts /General Information /Health Topics /Uncategorized /

Let’s March into Spring HEALTHIER

March is

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National Nutrition Month was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The month focuses on helping people make informed and healthy food choices. They focus on developing better eating habits and healthy physical activities. Many common health problems can be prevented by taking charge of your diet and exercise. Paying attention to what you eat and drink and physical movement are two of the biggest ways you can take control of your health.

Common health problems that can positively benefit from a good eating regime are many. At any age it is important to pay attention to what you eat and the quantity. Our diet contributes to our overall well being.

Diabetes is a long lasting disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. There are different types of Diabetes. Over 34 million people live with diabetes and over 85 million live with prediabetes. Most of the food we eat is broken down into sugar (glucose) and released into our bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, your pancreas is signaled to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. With diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin or can’t use it properly. Over time, serious health problems can develop, such as heart disease, kidney disease and vision loss.

Living with diabetes can be a challenge. But one can do a lot of good by eating well and staying active. A healthy diet that includes a balance of nutrient rich foods is extremely important. Balancing your blood sugar is the key to staying well. Knowledge is power, so here’s a list of things to help create a healthy eating plan.

Meal Planning - Make a plan so you are not caught without the proper foods to sustain your health

Grocery Shopping - Helps keep you on track with your meal plans

Read Food Labels - Know the nutritional value of the food you purchase

Eating Out - Have a plan before you go to a restaurant, choose wisely

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Learn much, much more at: mayoclinic.org, cdc.org, diabetes.org, eatingwell.org

 

Posted in Fun Facts /General Information /Health Topics /

The History of Friday the 13th

Friday, November 13, 2020

In a good year, Friday the 13th carries its reputation of bad luck. In a pandemic year, who knows what it will bring.

The origins of the Western fear of the number 13 is unclear. Some date it back to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party and a 13th uninvited guest arrives.  Others relate the fear of the number 13 to the Code of Hammurabi. The Code allegedly missed a 13th law from its list of legal rules. This event is commonly viewed as simply, a clerical error. However, superstitious people will point to this as proof of 13’s longstanding negative associations. There is a biblical theory as well.  The Last Supper was attended by 13 guests.  Jesus and his 12 apostles attended and one of those apostles went on to betray Jesus.

Why Friday though? Most people look forward to Friday every week. It is the sign of another work week done and ushers in the happiness of the weekend. The negative association with Friday is linked to religious and cultural origins. Biblically, Friday is seen to be more ominous because it is the day Jesus was crucified.

Friday and the number 13, how did these two “unlucky” things get paired together? There are infinite theories and most have been dismissed. Friday the 13th really gained attention and hysteria in the 20th century.  An author by the name of Thomas Lawson published a book titled, Friday, the Thirteenth, which is about a stockbroker who deliberately chooses to crash the stock market on this given date. The following year, the New York Times became one of the first channels to recognize the superstition. Fast forward to the 1980’s when a new movie franchise was born. It featured the anti-hero, Jason Voorhees terrorizing infamous Camp Crystal Lake. “Friday the 13th” became a popular culture phenomenon and added to the superstitions attached to the date.

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Sources: wikipedia.com, History.com and CNN.com

 

Posted in Fun Facts /General Information /global interest /History /

ASK THE EXPERT

Laughter is the best medicine… 

Staying healthy sometimes seems like a lot of work.  One way to increase our wellness is to simply laugh.  Life isn’t always funny, but there are good reasons, both physically and emotionally, to laugh!

 

  • Laughter makes us healthier.  It lowers our blood pressure, reduces stress hormones and increases muscle flexion.  It increases the circulation of antibodies in the blood stream and makes us more resistant to infection.

 

  • Laughter touches our soul. Laughter is good for us physically – it’s good for the soul.  It brings us closer to one another and there is something that is wonderful about that.  Sometimes laughter catches us by surprise and that can make us feel great.

 

  • Laughter keeps things in perspective.  Laughter helps us lighten up and take ourselves less seriously.

 

  • Laughter helps us stay positive.  Laughter helps us keep our troubles in perspective and that can help us stay positive.  It creates positive emotions and thus a positive frame of mind.  Laughter is much like changing a babies diaper.  It doesn’t last long but it sure helps in the short term.

 

  • Laughter is loving.  We laugh at our mistakes and foibles.  We find humor with our friends and family.  We laugh together.  These positive experiences give us the gifts of joy and love.

 

~stopdoingnothing.com

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What causes leaves to change colors?

It’s all about Chemistry:

Not all leaves turn vivid colors.  Only a few species of deciduous trees produce the beautiful colors this time of year.  In Minnesota, most notably, we have aspen, maple and oak.  Soil moisture, precipitation, temperature and light all contribute to fall color.  Light, the lack of it, is the main agent.

As autumn days grow shorter, thus less light, chemical changes in deciduous plants cause a “corky” wall to form in between the twig and leaf stalk.  This “corky” wall or abscission layer eventually causes the leaf to drop.

The chemical change seals off the vessels that supply a leaf with nutrients and water.  It also blocks exit vessels, thus trapping simple sugars in the leaves.   Reduced light, lack of nutrients and not water add up to the chlorophyll (which makes the green color) to die.

Once the green is gone, other pigments take over.  Carotene (yellow) and anthocyanin (red) exist in the leaf all summer but are overpowered by chlorophyll.  The brown in autumn leaves is a result of tannin.

Sugar trapped in the abscission layer is largely responsible for the vivid colors.  Sunlight acting on the trapped sugar also helps to manufacture anthocyanin (red).  This is why colors on bright fall days are crisper and duller or more pastel during times of rain.

A wet growing season and a dry autumn filled with sunny days combined with cold frost free nights helps produce the most vibrant colors of fall.

 

Source: Farmer’s Almanac 2020

 

This is a helpful graphic to sort out all the information above:

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