running

Promoting Healthy Living at the American Heart Association

AHAlogoIn addition to advancing research and promoting effective cardiovascular treatments and care, the American Heart Association (AHA) serves as a public resource for people worldwide looking to improve their overall health and well-being. As part of these efforts, the organization offers a variety of resources and information on its website. The group also works closely with several companies on initiatives aimed at public health. Here’s a closer look at the AHA’s advice and work in the area of healthy living:

 

Championing the Healthy for Good Movement

The driving force behind the AHA’s healthy living activities is its Healthy for Good movement, which invites people to improve their health and lives by making simple changes in their activity levels and eating habits. The movement is focused on providing science-based information coupled with “you-based motivation.” Whether they are focused on losing weight, eating healthier, getting active, or reducing stress, Healthy for Good provides tips, videos, and life hacks that people can use to advance their goals.

 

Move More

A main component of Healthy for Good is all about encouraging and helping people to become more active in their daily lives. Along with medical professionals and other health-focused groups, the AHA recommends that people start with a goal to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. To support individuals in reaching this goal, the organization offers information on fitness basics alongside a number of tips for getting active.

Those interested in learning more about fitness will find a variety of articles on the AHA website. The articles cover physical activity recommendations for adults and children as well as topics such as staying hydrated and keeping cool during warm-weather workouts. The website also features articles on exercises that target specific goals, such as building balance, endurance, and/or flexibility.

Part of staying active involves staying motivated, and the AHA offers plenty of advice and tips in this area as well. The motivation-focused articles from the AHA cover topics such as overcoming fitness plateaus, setting fitness goals, and celebrating fitness successes. The AHA also offers an infographic on how to get energy when one is too tired to work out.

 

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Eat Smart

Of course, the AHA’s Healthy for Good movement also focuses on assisting people in their efforts to eat better. To help them make simple changes to their overall eating patterns, the organization provides a wide range of tips, articles, and infographics on nutrition basics. Individuals can turn to the AHA website for specific, science-backed information related to fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. Visitors to the website can also find articles on picking healthy proteins, reading food labels, healthy snacking, and many other related topics.

In addition to the informative tips and articles, the AHA provides a variety of free heart-healthy recipes. Visitors can search the website for recipes according to specific courses, ingredients, and lifestyles. The organization has even published a variety of cookbooks that are available in brick-and-mortar stores as well as the AHA online shop.

The AHA’s efforts to promote healthy eating also include helping people learn to shop for, prepare, cook, and properly store their food. At www.heart.org, those looking to improve their cooking skills can read cooking guides and watch instructional cooking videos. The videos feature easy-to-follow instructions on everything from how to properly use a knife to how to avoid freezer burn.

 

Be Well

Healthy for Good is not only about improving physical health but also one’s overall well-being. Along with eating the right foods and getting the appropriate amount of activity, living well includes managing stress, getting adequate sleep, fostering positive relationships, and quitting unhealthy habits.

The AHA’s resources for helping people to live well include stress-management tips and ideas for stress-busting activities. Other tips, articles, and infographics focus on promoting better sleep by changing certain tech-device habits and establishing productive bedtime and wake-up routines. In the area of general mental health, the AHA provides resources on mindful eating, meditation, depression, and the importance of gratitude.

As it puts people at a much higher risk for heart disease and stroke, smoking has been one of the AHA’s major areas of focus for several decades. Getting Healthy for Good requires that people give up smoking regardless of whether they’re addicted to traditional tobacco cigarettes or nicotine-filled e-cigarettes. In addition to providing a wealth of information about the harmful effects of tobacco and vape products, the AHA connects individuals with toll-free hotlines and other resources to help them quit and enjoy better health.

 

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AHA’s Healthy Living Collaborations

The AHA has a long history of working with corporations and other nonprofit groups to advance its mission goals. As part of the Healthy for Good movement, the organization is currently leveraging support from the food, beverage, dining, and retail industries to make healthier drinks and food more accessible. The AHA also works with industry groups to implement its Heart-Check Food Certification Program, which makes it easier for consumers to identify heart-healthy food choices in grocery stores and restaurants.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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children

Boys and Girls Clubs Get a Big Boost from Holiday Support

boysandgirlsclubTo continue its important work as a youth-focused nonprofit organization, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) depends on volunteer support and financial contributions from businesses and individual donors. BGCA collects donations throughout the year, but the holiday season is an important period in its annual fundraising efforts.

Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many corporations invite their customers to embrace the spirit of the season by supporting fundraising campaigns benefiting Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide. Read on to learn about 2018 holiday fundraising campaigns and find out more about what you can do to support BGCA all year long.

 

A Look at BGCA’s 2018 Holiday Partners

A number of large corporations, including Coca-Cola, Disney, and UPS, have provided BCGA with millions of dollars through ongoing partnerships with the organization. These and other companies often increase their support during the holiday season to ensure that Clubs have the resources needed to operate in the upcoming year.

Here’s a quick look BGCA’s 2018 holiday partners and their fundraising efforts:

Buffalo Wild Wings – Buffalo Wild Wings, the largest sports bar brand in the US, directs its fundraising efforts toward Boys and Girls Clubs’ ALL STARS team sports program, which engages youth in football, basketball, soccer, cheer, step, and other activities. Through its 2018 holiday fundraiser, the national restaurant chain is pledging to donate $1 to the ALL STARS program for every bottle of its signature sauces and dry seasonings sold in its US locations. With the addition of other fundraising events, the goal is to raise at least $22 million.

The Coca-Cola Company – Coca-Cola has been supporting BGCA programs and activities for more than seven decades. During the 2018 holiday season, the company is partnering with Family Dollar on a campaign to give Boys and Girls Clubs 15 percent of the proceeds (up to $1 million) from all eligible purchases of Coke products sold in Family Dollar stores. The campaign represents the culmination of a yearlong partnership between Coca-Cola and Family Dollar.

Family Dollar – In addition to its partnership with Coca-Cola, Family Dollar is selling special gift bags designed by Club members, the net proceeds of which will benefit Boys and Girls Clubs. The national chain of discount stores also sells holiday-themed gift cards to support its seasonal donation to BGCA programs.

Forever 21 – Known for offering trendy clothing at affordable prices, Forever 21 is putting the “fun” in fundraising by giving Boys and Girls Clubs $1 every time a customer makes a purchase from its Ugly Sweater Collection. As part of the holiday campaign, the fashion retailer has promised BGCA up to $100,000.

Neiman Marcus – Through its Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation, Neiman Marcus supports youth arts education programs across the United States. During the holiday season, the American chain of luxury department stores promotes its partnership with BGCA via its exclusive Christmas Book as well as in-store and online advertising.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company – With 13 amusement parks across the country, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company is known for offering family-oriented fun. As part of its commitment to kids and families, Cedar Fair is supporting BGCA through its 2018 Winterfest events. Winterfest guests have the opportunity to make a $5 donation when purchasing tickets for the event online. Cedar Fair is also providing coin collection boxes at Winterfest to raise additional money for BGCA during the holiday season.

 

What You Can Do to Support Boys and Girls Clubs Year-Round

In addition to participating in annual fundraisers and holiday giving programs, you can invest in America’s youth by supporting BGCA in a number of ways. Whether you’re looking to volunteer your time or give financially, here are some options to consider.

One-Time and Recurring Donations – Boys and Girls Clubs makes it easy to donate at any time through its secure online giving portal. With any major credit card, you can make a one-time gift or set up a monthly donation of any amount. BGCA also gives you the option of dedicating your gift to a friend or family member.

Planned Giving and Donations of Assets – If you’d like to make a lasting impact on America’s youth, you can make BGCA a beneficiary of your estate through the organization’s planned giving program. Gift options include cash, appreciated securities, real estate, insurance, and retirement assets. BGCA also accepts one-time charitable gifts of common stocks and mutual fund shares.

Online Fundraisers – You don’t have to wait until the holiday season to participate in a BGCA fundraiser. In fact, you can start your own fundraising campaign via online platforms such as CrowdRise. Special events like birthdays and weddings are the perfect time to spread the love and raise money for Club youth. If you’re participating in a community walk or race, consider turning the event into a BGCA fundraiser.

Volunteer – Local Clubs across the country rely on caring volunteers to assist with daily activities. As a Club volunteer, you can help with homework, oversee sports events, conduct an art project, or simply provide guidance to local youth. More information about volunteer opportunities in your area is available at www.bgca.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

heart health

You Need to Know about These 4 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number-one cause of death among men and women in the United States, killing an average of 610,000 people and causing 735,000 heart attacks each year. As such, it’s crucial that Americans adopt various preventative measures to reduce their risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) has outlined the following actions individuals of all ages can undertake in order to maintain a healthy heart and prolong their life:

 

  1. Maintain an Active Lifestyle.

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A lack of regular exercise contributes to the death of an estimated 250,000 Americans per year, therefore it’s important to engage in some form of physical activity every day. You don’t have to be lifting weights in the gym or running miles outdoors either. The AHA recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Although playing a sport or taking up running are great ways to ensure you get the required amount of exercise, you can reduce your risk of heart disease simply by starting a walking program or riding a bicycle.

While it’s helpful to start being physically active from a young age to establish a habit, it’s never too late to being exercising regularly. A study published in the journal Circulation found that it can take as few as six years for middle-age people to experience a 23 percent reduction in risk of heart failure after increasing their physical activity to AHA-recommended levels. Study participants who said they met the recommended physical activity levels experienced a 31 percent decrease in potential for heart risk failure, whereas those who reported a decrease in physical activity experienced an 18 percent increase in heart failure risk.

 

  1. Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet.

In addition to influencing your weight, the food you eat can affect your chances of experiencing heart disease. The AHA suggests adopting a healthy eating plan as early in life as possible and, while it recommends eating a high volume of fruits and vegetables, you don’t have to become a vegetarian. Instead, try eating lean cuts when you do eat meat, and consume at least one meatless meal per week. “Going meatless is as simple as moving vegetables and fruits from a side dish to a starring role,” notes Rachel Johnson, a University of Vermont nutrition professor. “You should also seek out high-fiber whole grains, beans and legumes, unsalted nuts, and lower fat and fat-free dairy foods. These tend to be high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other important phytonutrients.”

If cutting back on meat sounds like too tall an order, consider eating more skinless chicken and omega-3-rich fish instead of pork and beef. You should also limit your portion size to six ounces and remove all visible fat.

 

  1. Don’t Smoke.

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Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart health and one of the most preventable causes of early death in the United States. In addition to putting you at a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), which can lead to a stroke or coronary heart disease, it has a negative impact on other risk factors. For instance, smoking regularly can decrease your HDL (good) cholesterol as well as your tolerance for physical activity. Moreover, if you already have a family history of heart disease, smoking can exacerbate your risk level. Even being around someone who smokes can increase your risk of heart disease; a US Surgeon General report found that the risk of lung cancer or heart disease for nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work rises by as much as 30 percent.

 

  1. Manage Stress Levels.

You can avoid smoking, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, but you’ll still be at risk of heart disease if you allow stress to control your life. A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that work-related pressure is associated with a 48 percent increased risk of atrial fibrillation, which can lead to dementia, stroke, or heart failure, and manifests through symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, palpitations, or dizziness. “People who feel stressed at work and have palpitations or other symptoms of atrial fibrillation should see their doctor and speak to their employer about improving the situation at work,” says Eleonor Fransson, one of the authors of the study.

If you’re unwilling or unable to find a more suitable job or work environment, there are several things you can do outside of work to reduce your stress level. In addition to the following the aforementioned three recommendations, consider cutting back on coffee consumption or making a habit to perform relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or even deep breathing. Getting enough sleep is also an excellent way to lower your risk of heart disease and, in that regard, the AHA suggests aiming for between seven and eight hours per night.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

Three Tips for Cooking Better Chili

Chili pic

Chili
Image: allrecipes.com

Since April 2016, Dr. Erol Onel has served as the vice president of Heron Therapeutics in La Jolla, California. There, he provides scientific leadership in various therapeutic areas while working with a team to get a new non-opioid drug approved. Outside of the office, Dr. Erol Onel loves to cook and, along with his wife, has won a cooking competition with his chili.

A good chili is a hearty, flavorful, and welcoming meal, especially in colder weather. These three tips will help make your next chili dish the best you have ever made.

1. Beans – When choosing between dried beans and canned, go for dried beans. They hold together better in the cooking process, where canned beans often turn to mush. Soak the dry beans overnight before cooking them in salted water, which will help keep the skin intact.

2. Blooming Spices – Whether you are using your own blend of chili powder or a store-bought variety, bloom it first to release its flavor and intensify the spices present. Blooming your spices simply entails cooking them in a pan with a bit of oil or butter.

3. Low and Slow – While you could follow a recipe promising quick and easy chili, it will not provide as rich a taste as slow-cooked chili. Instead of rushing, give your chili a couple of hours to simmer over low heat, which will allow your dish to draw out its most complex flavors.