Surprising Ways to Instantly Improve Your Mood

9 Surprising Ways to Instantly Improve Your MoodBeing happier doesn’t have to be a long-term ambition. You can start right now. In the next 30 minutes, tackle as many of the following suggestions as possible.

  • Raise your activity level to pump up your energy. If you’re on the phone, stand up and pace. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Put more energy into your voice. Take a 10-minute walk.
  • Take a walk outside. Research suggests that light stimulate brain chemicals that improve mood. For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning.
  • Reach out. Send an email to a friend you haven’t seen in a while , or reach out to someone new. Having close bonds with other people is one of the most important keys to happiness.
  • Rid yourself of a nagging task. Deal with that insurance problem or make that long-postponed appointment with the dentist. Crossing a tough chore off your to-do list will give you a rush of elation.
  • Create a serene environment. Outer order contributes to inner peace, so spend some time organizing bills and tackling the piles around the house. A large stack of little tasks can feel overwhelming, but often just a few minutes of work can make a sizable dent.
  • Do a good deed. Introduce two people by email, take a minute to pass along user information, or deliver some gratifying praise.
  • Save someone’s life. Sign up to be an organ donor, and remember to tell your family about your decision. Do good, feel good – it really works.
  • Act happy. Fake it ’til you make it. Research shows that even an artificially induced smile boosts your mood. And if you’re smiling, other people will perceive you as being friendlier and more approachable.
  • Learn something new. Think of a subject that you wish you knew more about and spend 15 minutes on the internet reading about it, or go buy a book about it.

Research shows that happier people are more sociable, likable, healthy and productive – and they’re likely more inclined to help other people. By working to boost your own happiness, you’re making other people happier too.

 

Heart Healthy Monday: Corn Relish Stuffed Pork Chops

Corn-Relish-Stuffed-Pork-Chops4 (about 4-oz.) thick loin pork chops

Rub:

1/4 c. lime juice
2 T. cayenne pepper or 2 T. finely chopped, seeded serrano chile
1-2 tsp. cumin
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. dried oregano

Corn Relish:

1/2 c. corn fresh, frozen (thawed) or canned
1 T. bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp. vinegar
Pinch of brown sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or grill to medium heat. Cut a deep slit for a pocket in the side of the pork chops. Combine all ingredients for the rub in a small bowl, stirring until well blended. Rub mixture evenly over the outside surface of chops. Allow pork to marinate for a few minutes. Combine relish ingredients together in a small bowl. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of stuffing into pork pockets. Secure edges with toothpicks (soaked in water to avoid burning). Grill over medium heat for 10 minutes on each side or bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until meat is just slightly pink. Serves 4.

Note: Serve with grilled asparagus threaded on a skewer and brushed with oil, garlic and thyme. Cuts from the pork loin are lean and hearty, providing a great source of protein, iron, B vitamins and zinc. Fat content of cuts from loin is only slightly higher than in a skinless chicken breast. Traditionally most of us think of stuffing pork chops with a cornbread dressing. While this will always be a family favorite, we find a corn relish a nice change. Instead of preparing the filling, you may want to purchase a prepared corn relish. These chops are great grilled over a medium fire or roasted in the oven.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories: 304; Fat: 20g; Protein: 24g; Carbohydrates: 7g; Sodium: 205mg; Fiber: 2g.

 

6 Tips on How to Avoid Drug Reactions

Avoid-Drug-ReactionsAdverse drug effects send about 4.5 million Americans to the doctor’s office or the emergency room each year. But the fatal or serious reactions most often reported are only the tip of the iceberg. There are tens of millions of milder reactions, some of which are quite damaging to people even though they’re medically regarded as minor.

Milder symptoms such as drowsiness, sleeplessness, muscle aches, dizziness, nausea and bouts of depression may be troubling than they are dangerous. Yet, drugs that affect people’s balance or slow their reactions are a major cause of falls and accidents. Even gastric problems or muscle pain can seriously affect mobility and mood, hampering work and daily activities.

Tips to avoid drug reactions:

  1. If you experience a change that doesn’t feel right, tell your doctor. Ask if the symptom could be a drug side effect. It may be an expected effect that will wear off soon. But it also may signal a serious medical problem.
  2. If you’re taking several drugs, ask your doctor or pharmacist to review them. Ask about interaction problems with your drugs and even vitamins and supplements. Consider seeing a certified consultant pharmacist trained in managing a number of drugs.
  3. Ask about lifestyle changes you can make instead of taking a drug. Patient with chronic conditions such as diabetes can minimize side effects or avoid taking drugs by losing weight, exercising or stopping smoking.
  4. Ask to be prescribed drugs that have been on the market for at least seven years. It often takes five to 10 years for serious side effects of a new drug to show up in the general population. Some reactions surface only after the patient has been on the drug for a year or more.
  5. Ask why the doctor is prescribing a particular drug. Find out what the risks and benefits are, compared to alternative drugs.
  6. Don;t stop taking a drug without consulting your doctor. Suddenly stopping some drugs can be harmful.

Find out more about potentially harmful drug interactions by visiting www.bhsi.com.

5 Signs that You’re in Labor

Even moms who’ve been through it before can’t always tell when labor is starting. To help you figure out when you’re really ready to head to the hospital, check out these cues.

  • Your water breaks. You’ve probably worried about this suddenly happening in the office elevator or at the movies. But only a small minority of women report that their sac of amniotic fluid broke before they started having regular contractions. Even if your water does break, you’re likely to feel a small leak, not a big gush, because you’re baby’s head often prevents too much fluid from leaking out. 80% of women spontaneously go into labor within 12 hours after their water breaks. And those who don’t are likely to be induced because of risk of infection increases once the amniotic sac has ruptured.
  • You’re having strong, regular contractions. Even though contractions are a telltale sign of labor, many women are fooled by the practice of contractions (known as Braxton Hicks) in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Braxton Hicks contractions rarely get strong or regular, and then they usually go away. This may be because practice contractions can be triggered by hunger or dehydration. So eating or drinking something can sometimes quell them. True labor pains, by contrast, do not lessen until delivery. In fact, they typically get more intense and more frequent over time.
  • You notice a discharge. During pregnancy, the cervix stays closed and plugged up mucus. It’s nature’s way of protecting your baby from infection. But as your progress toward labor, the cervix begins to dilate and soften in preparation for delivery, causing what’s accumulated there to dislodge. Also, blood vessels can tear as the cervix opens, tinting the discharge with blood. At that point, labor could be hours, days, or even weeks away, but these are hints that the cervix is changing.
  • You get diarrhea. During the early part of labor, your body begins to release prostaglandins, a group of hormone-like substances that cause the uterus to contract and help soften and dilate the cervix. But prostaglandins can hyper-simulate the bowels, causing frequent stools or even diarrhea.
  • Your back really hurts. If you’re like a lot of pregnant women, your back may have been aching for months. But when the pain becomes extremely harsh, this can be a sign that you’re experiencing “back labor”, which happens to nearly 1/3 of women. Normally, a baby descends the birth canal with its face pressed against the mom’s spine. But in some cases the baby descends with its skull hitting the mom’s spine. The result? Constant pain that may radiate to the abdomen but is mostly concentrated in the back.

Here at Baptist Health, we have the answers to your baby-related questions. Whether you need to register for a prenatal class, prepare for your pregnancy or learn about labor, you can find answers at Baptist Health. Visit www.bhsi.com for more information. 

Extreme Heat Calls for Smarter Workouts

Extreme-Heat-Calls-for-Smarter-WorkoutsWith temperatures soaring across much of Kentucky, people should use caution when engaging in aerobic activity outdoors or in facilities without air conditioning.

Here are some tips for avoiding heat-related injuries when working out in hot, humid conditions.

  1. Drink water. Drink a large amount of water 30 minutes before exercise and at least six ounces every 20 minutes during a workout. Once finished exercising, continue drinking water even after you are no longer thirsty. If exercising for more than 60 minutes, you may substitute a sports drink for water.
  2. Get your body accustomed to the heat. It takes up to two weeks of combined heat exposure and exercise for your body to acclimate to the environment. Once your body has adapted, you will sweat sooner, sweat more, and lose fewer electrolytes through sweat, resulting in a lower body core temperature, a decreased heart rate response to exercise and lower potential for dehydration and electrolyte depletion.
  3. Slow down. Lowering the intensity level of your workout will reduce the strain on your body and improve its ability to regulate the temperature.
  4. Dress right. Don’t wear waterproof clothes. These fabrics will prevent the evaporation of sweat from the skin and increase the risk of heart injury. Performance apparel solves that problem by wicking sweat away from your body.
  5. Use sunscreen and avoid sunburn. Sunburn decreases your ability to cool yourself and causes fluid loss. Use sunblock with SPF 15 or higher.
  6. Be smart. Consider cutting back on exercise when the temperature rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity is above 60 percent.

Physical fitness can help prevent or manage many chronic diseases and is one of the best things that you can do for your body, mind and spirit. Visit www.bhsi.com for more information.

Heart Healthy Monday: Pineapple-Soy Marinade

Pineapple-Sioy-MarinadeIngredients

  • 1/2 c. pineapple juice
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated or bottled ginger or use 1/4-1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to blend. Use as basting sauce or marinade for fish, chicken or pork. Makes enough for 1 pound.

Preparation time: 5 minutes.

Note: Tips for marinating meat: Marinade are a great way to tenderize meat plus adding flavor at the same time. For tenderizing, marinades must contain acid, such as vinegar or citrus juice. To tenderize meats, plan on marinating for at least 4 hours. To add flavor only, 30 minutes may be enough. Avoid marinades high in fat. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) occur when fat drips from food onto hot coal. PAHs have been linked to cancer in populations that eat grilled food on a regular basis. Use a shallow, disposable aluminum pan. Do not use the same sauce at the table that was used to brush on raw meat. Use separate containers for sauce, 1 to brush on raw meat and the other to serve at the table.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (2 tablespoons): Calories: 50; Fat: trace

 

9 Tips on How to Eat Healthy at the Airport

9 Tips to eat healthy at the airportWhether you find yourself  constantly traveling for work, or just take a single vacation each year, being hungry at the airport can sabotage your healthy eating habits and cause you to scramble for the nearest cinnamon roll stand.

Don’t let your diet fall by the wayside when traveling. With proper planning you can avoid derailing your diet with airport food. Here are some tips to help you make healthy choices at the airport food court.

  • Skip the extras. Watch out for foods that pack extra calories and fat. If you’re getting a sandwich, you definitely want to avoid getting anything with cheese or sausage. Generally speaking, steer clear of any “salady sounding” items such as tuna salad or chicken salad because they’re usually loaded with mayonnaise or other specific dressings. Also, try to pass on junk-food sides such as chips and cookies, which can be full of unnecessary calories, fat and sugar.
  •  Load up on produce. Fruits and veggies are low in calories, so they won’t break your calorie bank, and they’re high in fiber, so they’ll hold you over while you fly. They’ll also give you a healthy boost of protective nutrients. Be sure to eat the brightly colored ones –  dark green and orange, which are often lacking in our diets.
  • Avoid salt. It’s no secret that eating a lot of salt is bad for you, but it may be worse for frequent fliers (higher sodium foods may contribute to high blood pressure and fluid retention). What’s worse is that we usually have no clue how much sodium is in the foods that we order. So if you choose to sit down at an airport restaurant, request no added salt from the chef.
  • Slow down. We’re usually in a mad rush at the airport, running between bag-check, terminals and concourses. We certainly don’t want you to miss your flight, but slow down when it comes to eating. Take time to enjoy your meal and chew it well. Inhaling even the most nutritious meal will likely make you feel uncomfortable, bloated and unsatisfied.
  • Do your homework. Once you know which terminal you’re flying out of, do some research –  all eateries and their locations within the airport are listed online. Some airports even have the restaurants’ menus on their websites. Chains such as Au Bon Pain® and McDonalds® even have the nutritional information for their options on their websites.
  • Avoid alcohol. Aside from being a lot of empty calories, alcohol can dehydrate you, leaving you with a major headache.
  • Eat often. Eating in regular intervals is important to maintain blood sugar levels and keep your energy high while you travel. You should not go longer than four hour between meals. If the flight is longer, grab two small sandwiches.
  • Eat balanced meals. Traveling can be unpredictable, but try to eat balanced proportions. One of the goals of eating when traveling is a meal with moderate amounts of lean protein and carbohydrates with fiber. These meals help digest foods in a slow and steady way to release that needed energy when you arrive at your destination.
  • Pack some snacks. Don’t be afraid to being stuff from home. It saves money, time and you know exactly what you are eating. You can also pack healthy snacks from airport shops (a cup of hummus, a hard boiled egg or a piece of fruit) to bring with you on the plane.

5 Health Benefits of Playing Tennis

5-Health-Benefits-of-Playing-TennisWhether you are playing competitively, for your health or just for fun, tennis has great benefits for the mind and body. Here are some ways that taking up a racquet and hitting the court can have positive impacts on your health.

  • Decrease your risk of heart disease. Lowering your blood pressure, maintaining a healthy body weight, lowering cholesterol, reducing stress and being physically active are key to helping reduce your risk of heart disease –  and playing tennis can help you accomplish all these things. An average-sized man burns around 600 calories playing just one hour of singles tennis (425 calories for doubles) and the average woman burns 420 calories playing singles (330 playing doubles).
  • Enhance your flexibility, coordination and balance. Tennis is a sport that requires the cooperation of your whole body. Your feet maneuver you into the right position, your arms and hands position the racquet to make contact with the ball, and your torso and legs provide the power to send the ball flying over the net. All these factors come together every time you hit the ball, and each shot takes flexibility, coordination and balance.
  • Boost your brain power. Tennis requires your brain to be creative, and it involves planning, tactical thinking, agility and the coordination of different parts of your body. So the more you play tennis, the better and stronger the neural connections related to those types of activities become, and the better you become at them. Studies show that exercises that require a lot of thinking – such as tennis – can actually improve brain function in ways that aid memory, learning, social skills and behavior.
  • Improve your bone health. Exercising regularly can increase your peak bone mass and can slow the rate of bone mass loss over time. Tennis also improves coordination, flexibility and muscle strength, which can help prevent falls and injuries that can damage fragile bones.
  • Lose weight. Running, swinging, reaching, pivoting –  tennis can be a real workout. In fact, for many people, playing tennis can actually burn more calories than other popular types of physical activity, including leisurely cycling, weightlifting, golfing or playing volleyball. As a result, playing tennis can help reduce body fat.

Visit www.bhsi.com to learn more about our sports-medicine-trained primary care physicians and orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and athletic trainers.

Heart Healthy Monday: Crispy Apple Bake

Serves 1Heart-Healthy-Monday-Crispy-Apple-Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1 Granny Smith or other tart apple
  • 1-2 tsp. butter or margarine
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 2 T. oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2-3 walnut or pecan halves
  • 1 T. orange juice

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Core apple and split 3/4 down in 4 sections. Combine butter, brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon and nuts in a small bowl with a fork. Spoon mixture into center of apple, allowing some to spill over top and sides. Pour juice over apple. Cover loosely  and bake for 20 minutes. The topping will be crispier if the cover is removed during the last few minutes of baking. This can also be prepared in a microwave oven, on high for 4 minutes, however it will not be as crispy. Apple is done when fork inserted in side of apple comes out clean.

Note: Simple fresh fruit desserts for one are easily adjusted for additional servings. It’s a great way to enjoy dessert and get your fruit as well.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories: 190; Fat: 4 g; Protein: 2g; Carbohydrates: 36 g; Fiber: 6g.

When should a young woman first see a gynecologist?

Originally posted on Baptist Health Paducah:

GHP-0643A gynecologic exam can be stressful at any age, but especially when it is your first appointment.

As a woman and a health care provider for 25 years, I strive to make women of all ages comfortable as they take the steps necessary to be proactive about their health.

Why see a gynecologist?

A gynecologic exam is an important part of health care. Typically, young women first visit the gynecologist at 18, with exams starting at age 21. The gynecologists at Baptist Health Women’s Choice Blair Tolar, MD, and Amber Savells, MD – as well as my myself see girls as young as 13 for issues such as painful menstrual periods or abdominal pain.

The visit usually includes a health screening and a physical examination. We can discuss the benefits of the cervical cancer vaccine and the prevention of sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy.

Preventive care

As women age…

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