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Archive for June, 2018

Three-quarters of Americans are falling far short when it comes to exercise, and the South and Midwest bear the dubious distinction of having the most couch potatoes, a new government report shows.

Only about one in four adults (23 percent) meets minimum federal guidelines for physical activity, according to researchers from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

Dr. William Roberts, past president of the American College of Sports Medicine, said the only surprise is that the percentage of Americans meeting the exercise target “is as high as it is.”

But he suggested that it’s never too late for those who aren’t active.

“Regular exercise reduces the prevalence of heart disease, [high blood pressure], diabetes, obesity, depression and many other medical conditions,” he said. “It is dose-dependent, and basically free.”

In the study, investigators Debra Blackwell and Tainya Clarke surveyed exercise habits among more than 155,000 American men and women, aged 18 to 64, between 2010 and 2015.

The goal was to see whether Americans were meeting the most recent recommendations issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) back in 2008. Activities performed during work or while commuting were not included.

The 2008 guidelines advocate muscle training at least twice weekly, alongside either 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobics (or a mix of both).

The 23 percent figure shifted little throughout the five-year study, the investigators found. And the good news is that while three-quarters of Americans didn’t meet the thresholds, the 23 percent who did exceeded the federal goal of getting 20 percent adherence by 2020.

The bad news, however, is that the report also found huge geographical disparities, with activity levels in some states dipping far below or far above the national average.

“Fourteen states and the District of Columbia had significantly higher percentages of adults meeting the guidelines than the national average, while 13 states had percentages that were significantly below the national average,” Blackwell said.

Among men, Washington, D.C., topped the rankings, with just over 40 percent of residents meeting the guidelines. But in South Dakota, less than 18 percent of male residents made the exercise grade.

Colorado came out on top among women, said Blackwell, with nearly one-third meeting the guidelines. By contrast, Mississippi came in dead last, with only about one in 10 women achieving minimum standards.

As to what might explain regional differences, Blackwell said “there are likely many factors that play a role,” including social and cultural backgrounds, economic status and job status.

Blackwell and Clarke found that states that were home to more professional or managerial workers met higher exercise thresholds. Similarly, states that had fewer unemployed adults encumbered by fair-to-poor health or disabilities also registered higher exercise rates.

Gender also mattered, as less than 19 percent of all women met HHS exercise goals.

But sedentary people who get off the couch and start moving actually have “the most gain in health benefit for any group of people,” noted Roberts, a professor in the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota.

“Or put another way,” he said, “the same increase in activity benefits a sedentary person by a far greater amount than a similar increase in an already moderately active person, and even more so than a vigorously active person.”

So what’s an aspiring exerciser to do?

“‘Well’ people can start with a five-minute walk, and add a minute a day — more or less — to gradually increase activity over a period of weeks to months,” Roberts said. “Once at 30 to 60 minutes nearly every day of the week, picking up the pace is OK. Any physical activity from walking to running to dancing to biking is OK. The goal is to move.”

The findings were reported in the June 28 issue of the National Health Statistics Reports.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about the exercise guidelines.

SOURCES: Debra Blackwell, Ph.D., statistician/demographer, U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Md.; William Roberts, M.D., professor, department of family medicine and community health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and past president, American College of Sports Medicine; June 28, 2018, National Health Statistics Reports

Source: https://consumer.healthday.com/fitness-information-14/misc-health-news-265/just-1-in-4-americans-gets-enough-exercise-735267.html

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Meat and fish aren’t the only sources of protein. Veggies, legumes, and other vegetarian foods can also load you up with this power nutrient.

BRIAN YARVIN/GETTY IMAGES

There lots of good reasons to go vegetarian. For one, there are major health benefits: People who eat more plant-based protein tend to weigh less and have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes than people who eat a lot of meat, and some research shows a meatless diet reduces your risk of death from any cause. Even if you’re not interested in going fully meatless, simply cutting back on animal protein could have a positive impact on your health.

But if you go vegetarian, how are you going to get enough protein? Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass, keeping you full between meals, and ensuring every cell in your body is operating properly.

Don’t sweat it—we figured it out for you. There are plenty of other sources of protein besides meat, and they’re incredibly good for your body. Here, we’ve ranked 20 high-protein vegetables, legumes, and minimally processed meat alternatives.


Edamame

edamame
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Protein: 18 g per 1-cup serving (cooked)

Talk about healthiest appetizer ever—just a cup’s worth of edamame (or cooked soybeans) packs a huge protein punch. Be sure to pick an organic variety, though, as most soybeans in the US are genetically modified and heavily treated with pesticides.

Tempeh

tempeh
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Protein: 16 g per 3 oz serving

Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans and shaping it into a dense cake that can be sliced and pan-fried like tofu. It’s nutty, chewy, and packs significantly more protein and fiber than tofu—and because it’s fermented, it’s easier to digest for some.

Try this recipe: Tempeh Meatballs

Tofu

tofu
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Protein: 8 to 15 g per 3 oz serving

Ah, tofu, the classic vegetarian blank slate made from curdled soymilk that’s wonderful pan-fried, sautéed in a stir-fry, and even scrambled. Though it’s not quite as protein-packed as tempeh, its taste may be more tolerable. Opt for organic varieties to avoid genetically modified soy and funky pesticides. Then try the versatile protein in one of these 7 delicious recipes guaranteed to make you like tofu.

Lentils

lentils
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Protein: 9 g per ½-cup serving

Low-cal, high-fiber, and high-protein lentils can be morphed into a nutrient-dense side dish, veggie burger, or even whipped into a hummus-like dip. Bonus: They’ve been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease.

Black Beans

black beans
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Protein: 7.6 g per ½-cup serving (cooked)

Black beans are also packed with heart-healthy fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and a range of phytonutrients.

Lima Beans

lima beans
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Protein: 7.3 g per ½-cup serving (cooked)

What, you haven’t had these since you were 10? Well, good news: In addition to filling protein, lima beans contain the amino acid leucine, which may play a big role in healthy muscle synthesis among older adults.

Peanuts or Peanut Butter

Peanut butter
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Protein: 7 g per ¼-cup serving (or 2 Tbsp peanut butter)

Not only are peanuts and peanut butter great for munching and whipping up classic childhood comfort food, they’re also super versatile—really, you can even use them in a pizza. They’ve also been shown to help you eat less at lunch if you consume them at breakfast—aka the second-meal effect. PB and banana, anyone? Just make sure to use a peanut butter that’s 100% nuts and doesn’t contain added sugars, like Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter.

Wild Rice

wild rice
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Protein: 6.5 g per 1-cup serving (cooked)

Move over, quinoa. Wild rice is the protein-rich grain you should be gravitating toward. With a nutty taste and slightly chewy texture, it’s way more satisfying, too. Use this ultimate guide to cooking whole grains.

Chickpeas

chickpeas
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Protein: 6 g per ½-cup serving

Permission to eat all the hummus—well, maybe not all of it, but chickpeas’ combo of protein and fiber make for one healthy dip. Try it slathered on sandwich bread in place of mayo, or serve up one of these four ridiculously tasty hummus recipes with veggie slices. You can even use chickpeas to make these super-easy Flourless Banana Blender Muffins when you’re hankering for something sweet.

almonds
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Protein: 6 g per ¼-cup serving

Along with protein, almonds deliver some serious vitamin E, which is great for the health of your skin and hair. (These are the 25 best foods for your skin.) They also provide 61% of your daily recommended intake of magnesium, which can help curb sugar cravings, soothe PMS-related cramps, boost bone health, and ease muscle soreness and spasms.

Chia Seeds

chia seeds
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Protein: 6 g per 2 Tbsp

Chia seeds pack a ton of protein in those pint-sized orbs, which are also a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. Bonus: Omega-3s help stimulate the satiety hormone leptin, which signals your body to burn these fats instead of storing them.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal

steel cut oats
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Protein: 5 g in ¼-cup serving (dry)

Steel-cut oats aren’t just a solid source of protein; they also have a lower glycemic index than rolled oats. This means they don’t spike blood sugar as much, so you’re likely to be more satisfied and experience fewer cravings after eating them.

Cashews

cashews
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Protein: 5 g per ¼-cup serving

In addition to a decent protein punch, cashews contain 20% of the recommended intake of magnesium, along with 12% of the recommended intake of vitamin K—two essential bone-building nutrients. (Here are 4 things that can happen if you don’t get enough magnesium.)

Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds
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Protein: 5 g per ¼-cup serving

Pumpkin seeds aren’t just a super convenient way to get a dose of satiating protein, they’re total nutrient powerhouses, packing about half the recommended daily intake of magnesium, along with immune-boosting zinc, plant-based omega-3s, and tryptophan—which can help ease you into a restful slumber.

Potatoes

potatoes
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Protein: 4 g in 1 medium white potato

Another stealth source of protein! Despite having a reputation for being pretty much devoid of all nutrition, a medium-sized spud actually contains 4 g of protein, along with about 20% of the recommended daily intake of heart-healthy potassium.

Spinach

spinach
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Protein: 3 g per ½-cup serving (cooked)

Sure, 3 g may not sound like a lot, but for a green veggie, it is. Still, don’t just make a salad and call it a day. Cooking this green is the secret to upping its protein content.

Corn

corn on the cob
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Protein: 2.5 g per ½-cup serving

Like potatoes, corn often gets put into the “plants with no redeeming qualities” category, but paired with protein-rich veggies and legumes, it can nicely round out a protein-packed plant-based dish. Pick organic or non-GMO fresh or frozen varieties, though, as most conventional corn has been genetically modified.

Avocado

avocado
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Protein: 2 g per ½ avocado

This fruit is creamy, dreamy, and super filling, thanks to its bend of monounsaturated fatty acids and a bit of protein.

Broccoli

broccoli
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Protein: 2 g per ½-cup serving (cooked)

Broccoli’s not only an awesome source of fiber, its protein content is surprising, too (for a veggie anyway). And you can’t go wrong with a vegetable that’s been proven to deliver cancer-preventing properties.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts
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Protein: 2 g per ½-cup serving

These little green guys get a bad rap in the taste department—especially the frozen variety—but they’re actually nutritional superstars. In addition to protein, Brussels sprouts pack hefty doses of potassium and vitamin K.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/a20514733/high-protein-vegetables-and-plant-based-food/

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Post traumatic stress disorder is more common than you think, and women are more than twice as likely to develop it than men.

Most people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, whether they’ve lived it themselves, witnessed it, or heard about it happening to a friend or family member.

In fact, five out of 10 women in the United States—yes, half—will experience one of these events, like a tragic car accident or sexual assault. When this happens, it’s normal and expected for those affected to act differently afterward—nightmares, being hyper-alert, or avoiding the place where the trauma happened, for example.

But if those behavioral changes last longer than a month or two, it could signal something more lasting than that initial after-shock: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“After a traumatic event, for a little while, anybody would experience some after-events like upsetting memories,” says Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, PhD, acting deputy director at the National Center for PTSD. “But as time passes, a lot of people notice that they start to feel better, and they notice that those difficulties start to decrease. But for a smaller subset of people, even after a couple of months, these types of problems remain, and that’s when we would think about diagnosing PTSD.”

While PTSD doesn’t discriminate, women are more than twice as likely as men to develop the condition at some point in their lives. It can happen at any time to any woman of any age. Here’s what you need to know.

How does PTSD develop?


PTSD is a collection of symptoms that develop after an extremely traumatic experience that involves exposure to a stressor. In this case, there could have been a threat of potential death, serious injury, or sexual violence, says Gloria Kardong, MD, adjunct clinical associate professor at Stanford University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.

That last stressor could be partially to blame for the huge disparity in PTSD between men and women. After all, 1 in every 6 American women will be the victim of sexual assault at some point during their lifetimes, according to RAINN.

Although the psychological and physiological causes of PTSD are still being researched, people who have already been exposed to trauma or who are already experiencing depression or anxiety are at higher risk, says Wiltsey Stirman. The same is true for those who experience ongoing trauma or were injured during the event.

But one important factor can also determine whether a person’s post-traumatic-event behaviors develop into PTSD: the support they get afterward. “If people have supportive people that they can talk with about what happened and how they’re feeling, they’re less likely to experience PTSD,” says Wiltsey Stirman.

Especially since there are often feelings of shame and guilt associated with a traumatic event, victims might be less apt to talk about it, and if it’s not well-received when they do, that could ultimately lead to them experiencing PTSD, says Wiltsey Stirman.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?


In order to receive a PTSD diagnosis, you must have symptoms that fall under four categories.

You relive your trauma

This means you can experience upsetting memories and thoughts, flashbacks, or nightmares, all of which cause you emotional distress, says Wiltsey Stirman. If you have PTSD, you will continue to relive your trauma a month or more after it occurred.

You avoid things that remind you of what happened

You might completely shy away from reminders of the trauma or the emotions associated with it. “That might mean that people aren’t going to places that remind them of what happened, or they might avoid crowds because crowds now feel dangerous,” says Wiltsey Stirman.

But it can also look like people staying busier than usual. “You might see someone who seems to be functioning at a really high level, but part of what they’re doing is trying to stay so busy that they don’t even actually have much time to think about what happened,” says Wiltsey Stirman.

Your way of thinking changes

PTSD can seriously mess with your head. You may have a hard time feeling positive emotions or view the world as being dangerous as a whole. “They may develop a sense of blame or responsibility for the trauma or results of the trauma and develop an altered worldview,” says Kardong.

Because of those changed perceptions, you might start to lose trust in other people, which can also affect their interpersonal relationships, says Wiltsey Stirman.

You’re constantly on alert

The final cluster of symptoms involves feeling on edge, easily startled, or irritable, which could cause you to have difficulty sleeping or concentrating. “People kind of stay in a state of what we call hyperarousal,” says Wiltsey Stirman. Because of that hyperarousal, you start feeling constantly unsafe, which results in more reactive behaviors, like not wanting to get in a car if the traumatic event you experienced was a car accident.

The important thing to recognize is that all of these signs can impact each person in a unique way. “Just from the variety of different ways they can manifest, it can look pretty different in different people,” says Wiltsey Stirman. So if you find yourself experiencing some mix or variation of these symptoms a month or more after the event, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your therapist or health care provider.

How is PTSD treated?


Living with PTSD can be extremely debilitating for those affected. “PTSD can adversely affect every area of the person’s life and make daily living almost intolerable,” says Kardong. Because of the symptoms and effects, PTSD can kill your self-esteem and mood while boosting your anxiety, all of which can affect family, personal, and professional relationships.

But there are several treatment options available for PTSD that have been proven to work. “What we know is that certain forms of psychotherapy seem to work better than medications,” says Wiltsey Stirman.

The first line of therapy with PTSD is trauma-focused treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to help you process the memories you’ve been avoiding. You also take a look at how you’ve been making sense of what happened. These treatments take about 8 to 16 sessions, says Wiltsey Stirman.

If the trauma-focused treatments don’t seem to work or aren’t available, there is also present-centered therapy, which focuses on how the trauma affects your day-to-day life and problem-solves for those effects. To figure out which treatment might be best for you, the National Center for PTSD offers a Treatment Comparison Chart that breaks the details down even further.

Plus, unlike other mental health conditions like depression, once PTSD is treated, it’s unlikely for someone to experience a relapse. “This is not something people have to live with their whole lives,” says Wiltsey Stirman.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a21965989/ptsd-signs-symptoms/

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