11 Top Foods for Healthy Bones

A bone-building breakfast: Eggs and calcium and vitamin D-fortified orange juice. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

A bone-building breakfast: Eggs and calcium and vitamin D-fortified orange juice. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Noshing on these 11 foods can help you maintain strong bones and avoid osteoporosis (via Health):

  1. Yogurt is rich in both calcium and vitamin D, both of which are essential for bone health.
  2. Skim milk contains 30 percent of your daily calcium in just one 90-calorie cup. Try blending it into a smoothie for a healthy treat.
  3. Cheese is also a great calcium source, in moderation. Snack on a 1.5 ounce serving of cheddar to get 30 percent of your daily calcium.
  4. Sardines may be an acquired taste, but they’re packed with calcium and vitamin D.
  5. Eggs are a quick way to get 6 percent of your daily vitamin D. Opt for the whole egg (not just the egg white) because the vitamin D is in the yolk.
  6. Salmon contains more than 100 percent of your vitamin D in just one 3-ounce serving. Bonus: it’s also rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.Continue Reading …

6 Ways to Avoid the Flu

Tip #2: Wash your hands as often as you can stand, and then some. Scrub for 20 seconds or more to remove viruses from your skin. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Tip #2: Wash your hands as often as you can stand, and then some. Scrub for 20 seconds or more to remove viruses from your skin. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

2013 is becoming a big year for the flu, in Minnesota and around the country. Fortunately, there are several ways you can decrease your chances of getting sick (via WebMD):

  1. Get a flu shot. It’s the most effective thing you can do to prevent the flu. Not a fan of needles? There are flu-mist vaccines available, too.
  2. Wash your hands like it’s your job. Run your hands under hot water and wash with soap as often as you can stand. Remember, it takes 20 seconds to completely rid your skin of viruses, so each hand washing should be at least that long. Don’t forget to scrub everywhere, including in between your fingers, the baks of your hands, and your wrists.Continue Reading …

12 Desk Stretches to Increase Flexibility

Try the "look up" stretch to release tension in your back and shoulders. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Try the “look up” stretch to release tension in your back and shoulders. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Desk job? No worries. Do these stretches daily to avoid back pain and increase flexibility and energy (via WebMD):

  1. Try the no-hands stand and sit. Try a few rounds of standing and sitting without using your hands for balance. This increases your core strength.
  2. Sit on an exercise ball. Trading your regular desk chair for an exercise ball engages your entire body as it uses its muscles to keep you balanced.
  3. Shrug your shoulders. This release tension in your neck and shoulders. Inhale deeply and shrug your shoulders, lifting them high up to your ears. Hold. Release, exhale and drop. Repeat three times.
  4. Make air circles. Clench your fists, stretching both hands out in front of you. Make circles in the air, first in one direction, to the count of 10, then reverse the circles for 10 more counts. Shake out the hands.
  5. Point your fingers. This is good for your arms, wrists and forearms, which can hold tension during long periods of typing. Stretch your left hand out in front of you, pointing fingers toward the floor. Use your right hand to increase the stretch, gently pushing your fingers down and toward the body. Do the same with the other hand. Next, stretch your left hand out straight in front, wrist bent, with fingers pointing skyward. Use your right hand to increase the stretch, pulling the fingers back toward your body. Do the same on the other side.
  6. Twist your torso. This releases tension in your entire upper body. Inhale and as you exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of your chair with your right hand, and grab the arm of the chair with your left. With eyes level, use your grasp on the chair to help twist your torso around as far to the back of the room as possible. Hold the twist, then slowly come back to facing forward. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Do leg extensions. These work your legs and your abdominal muscles. Grab the seat of your chair to brace yourself and extend your legs straight out in front of you so they are parallel to the floor. Flex and point your toes five times, then release and repeat.
  8. Give yourself a hug. Hug your body, placing the right hand on your left shoulder and the left hand on your right shoulder. Breathe in and out, releasing the area between your shoulder blades.
  9. Cross your arms. To stretch your shoulders and upper back, extend one arm out straight in front of you. With the other hand, grab the elbow of the outstretched arm and pull it across your chest, stretching your shoulder and upper back muscles. Hold. Release. Then stretch out the other arm in front of you. Repeat.
  10. Give yourself a “leg hug.” To release tight shoulders and back, sit on the edge of your chair. If it has wheels, wedge the chair against the desk or wall to make sure it does not roll. Put your feet together, flat on the floor, then lean over, chest to knees, letting your arms dangle loosely to the floor. Release your neck. Bring your hands behind your legs, right hand grasping left wrist, forearm (or elbow if you can reach that far), left hand grasping the right. Feel the stretch in your back, shoulders and neck. Hold. Release your hands to the floor again, and repeat three times.
  11. Look up. To release your upper body, sit up tall in your chair, or stand up. Stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers. Turn the palms to the ceiling as you lift your chin up, tilt your head back, and gaze up at the ceiling, too. Inhale, exhale, then release.
  12. Walk instead of email–and don’t eat at your desk. Instead of dashing off an email to an office colleague, walk over to the person you want to talk to. And instead of eating at your desk, walk around the block before you eat, or walk to a local sandwich place. The more steps you can get in throughout the course of your day, the better. They do add up!



15 Natural Ways to Ease Heartburn

Take a cue from ancient culinary traditions, and try to work a digestive aid, like miso soup, into each meal. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Take a cue from ancient culinary traditions, and try to work a digestive aid, like miso soup, into each meal. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

If you suffer from heartburn, follow these 15 dos and don’ts to minimize it naturally (via Care2.com):

1. Do find out the root cause of your heartburn. Heartburn has many root causes, including stress, food allergies, and structural problems with your esophageal sphincter.

2. Do consider raising the head of your bed. Elevating your head keeps the contents of the stomach from sliding up against the LES (the sphincter that separates the esophagus from the stomach) while you sleep. Try placing a 4-by-4-inch piece of wood under the top two legs of your bed, or using a foam wedge under your mattress.Continue Reading …


Public – Private Partnership Gets Results [Video]

We are honored to be featured in a new video by Prevention Speaks, which documents public-private efforts to help Minnesotans live healthier. Click the video to check out our progress!


7 Summer Berries with Healing Powers

Blueberries contain pain-relieving aspirin naturally – without the harmful side effects. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Keep a fresh stash of these 7 berries on hand to stay healthier (and happier!) all summer long (via Care2.com):

  • Blackberries are rich in vitamin C, and also contain the phytonutrient ellagic acid, which shields your skin cells from UV rays and prevent the collagen breakdown that occurs as we age and leads to wrinkles.
  • Blueberries are packed with phytonutrients, including anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechins, and salicylic acid (otherwise known as aspirin). Yes: blueberries contain aspirin naturally, and with no harmful side effects! Blueberries are also helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Loganberries, which look like long raspberries, strengthen blood vessels to help fight heart disease or varicose veins. The rutin in these berries also strengthens capillaries and improves circulation.Continue Reading …

BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge: Hennepin County Government Team Wins in Exercise Category

Team captain Steve Compton attributes success to more walking, better eating habits and a healthy spirit of competition.

As the BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge drew to a close May 6, the six people on Hennepin County Government’s Skywalkers team were indeed walking a little lighter. Throughout the 12-week competition, the team had exercised an average 88 minutes per day—enough to snag first place in the Challenge’s Exercise category, which measures the minutes exercised by each team each week. In total, 10,000 participants on more than 1,600 teams competed in the Challenge.

“We are all a little thinner and likely a little stronger,” says Steve Compton, Skywalkers team captain. “I am really proud of the team’s efforts. Every individual was key to that success.”

The Skywalkers team’s three women and three men walked, biked, ran, gardened and broke a sweat on the local softball field as much as they could. While family events and travel posed challenges for some at times, the team continued to fit in exercise wherever and whenever it could. In part, Compton attributes his team’s enduring momentum to the competitive spirit fostered by the Challenge.

Continue Reading …


Celebrating World No Tobacco Day

In many public spaces, flowers are placed in ashtrays in observance of World No Tobacco Day. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

Today marks the celebration of the 24th annual World No Tobacco Day. Created by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1987 and launched in 1988, the day is observed by all United Nations member states. Its goal is to encourage people to quit smoking for 24 hours, with an ultimate mission to publicize the deadly risks associated with smoking, and to reduce tobacco use around the world. In many public spaces where smoking is permitted, flowers are placed in the ashtrays in observance.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide, killing almost 6 million people each year, 600,000 of whom die from secondhand smoke. In the United States, 1,200 people per day die from smoking. Even more disturbing, for each one of those deaths, the Surgeon General reports that two young adults become regular smokers.

This year, World No Tobacco Day arrives on the heels of a new mass media campaign across the U.S. called “Tips From Former Smokers,” designed to draw attention to the physical deterioration that smoking and smoking-related illnesses cause over time.

If you or someone you know is ready to quit smoking, a wealth of quitting assistance information is available online. Check out smokefree.gov for useful quitting tips and resources.


5 Fatigue-Fighting Foods

What should you eat when you’re tired? While soaring on a caffeine high might seem tempting, the crash-and-burn after-effect can be just the opposite of what your body needs to stay alert. A recent article from Care2.com lists five foods that are excellent at keeping you energized throughout the day, no caffeine required. The recommended eats for lasting energy are:

  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Spinach
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans
To learn the science behind each choice, read the full article here.