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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.

 

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Summer: Bring on the Fruits!

Posted By NWI, Monday, June 2, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer: Bring on the Fruits!

 

Summer wouldn't be summer without delicious (and healthy) summer fruits. Below is a list of common, in season summer favorites, their serving sizes, and their nutritional highlights. Eat them raw, in a non-fat Greek yogurt smoothie, mixed into a fruit or vegetable salad, prepared as a cold soup, grilled, prepared in a salsa or chutney, and so much more! Have fun exploring seasonal favorites (maybe even add in some physical activity by visiting a local farm to pick your own), and enjoy!

Fruit

Serving Size

Calories

Fiber (grams)

Known for

Apricot

1 small

48

2

Vitamin A (60%)

B Vitamins (14%)

Vitamin C (26%)

Potassium (7%)

Berries

 

 

 

 

·         Strawberries

8 medium

50

4

Vitamin C (98%)

·         Blackberries

Half Cup

43

5

B Vitamins (16%)

Vitamin C (35%)

Vitamin K (25%)

Omega-3’s

Anti-oxidants

·         Raspberries

Half Cup

52

6

B Vitamins (18%)

Vitamin C (54%)

Vitamin K (12%)

Omega-3’s

Anti-oxidants

·         Blueberries

1 cup

84

2

B Vitamins (11%)

Vitamin K (24%)

Vitamin C (16%)

Anti-oxidants

Fig

1 fig

47

3

Vitamin B (19%)

Potassium (7%)

Mango

Half a cup diced

60

2

B Vitamins (22%)

Vitamin A (15%)

Vitamin C (46%)

Potassium (7%)

Nectarine

1 medium

60

2

B Vitamins (12%)

Vitamin C (11%)

Potassium (5%)

Valencia Orange

1 medium

80

2

B Vitamins (23%)

Vitamin C (75%)

Pear

1 medium

100

3

Vitamin C (7%)

Peach

1 medium

60

1

B Vitamins (12%)

Vitamin C (11%)

Plum

2 medium

70

2

Vitamin C (16%)

Melons

 

 

 

 

·         Watermelon

2 cups diced

80

0

Vitamin A (11%)

Vitamin C (13%)

·         Cantaloupe

One-forth medium

50

1

Vitamin A (68%)

B Vitamins (18%)

Vitamin C (61%)

Potassium (8%)

·         Honeydew

One-tenth medium

50

1

B Vitamins (17%)

Vitamin C (30%)

Potassium (7%)

This nutrition information was gathered from various sources on the web. Nutritional information is approximated given the serving size of the fruit. You can use http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ as a good place to start nutritional information searches. 

Tags:  Fruits  June 2014  Nutrition  Physical 

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Inspiration: Friendship

Posted By NWI, Sunday, June 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

June has the National Wellness Institute (NWI) thinking a lot about friendship. In 1975, NWI held its first National Wellness Conference. In its 39th year, the Conference will be held in Minneapolis in 2014 at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, West Bank Campus. Check out NationalWellness.org/Conference for more information.

While the Conference is rooted in wellness practitioner education, the thing that makes this conference different from most others is the "camp” atmosphere and friendships that have endured year after year. In celebration of the 39th Annual National Wellness Conference, this month’s "Inspiration” is dedicated to friendship and inspired by non other than Winnie-the-Pooh! The Winnie the Pooh character was introduced in 1926 by author A.A. Milne.


If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.

"We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.
"Even longer,” Pooh answered.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Some people care too much. I think it's called love.

You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.

If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.

Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.

"I don’t feel very much like Pooh today," said Pooh.
"There there," said Piglet. "I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.” 

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.

"I wonder what Piglet is doing," thought Pooh. 
"I wish I were there to be doing it, too.” 

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.

Tags:  Emotional  Friends  Inspiration  June 2014  Social  Spiritual 

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Why You Need Protein at Breakfast

Posted By NWI, Sunday, June 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cereal for breakfast? A donut? Maybe you had oatmeal and some coffee? New research released May 2014 from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston suggests you may want to re-think breakfast.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, concludes that for optimal muscle growth, protein intake should be evenly consumed throughout the day instead of concentrated during the evening meal. Optimal muscle growth is important to prevent aging-related conditions like osteoporosis (weakening bones) and sarcopenia (muscle wasting). The study’s researchers provided 90 grams of protein to participants (slightly above CDC recommended amounts: CDC Nutrition Information).

What are some easy and healthy ways to get protein earlier in the day? The following are a few suggestions:

·         Eggs…or better yet, for less fat, egg whites.

·         Yogurt. For the best protein punch and healthiest alternative, opt for plain, Greek, non-fat yogurt (mix fresh fruit and a teaspoon natural peanut butter in to improve the taste)

·         Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Make sure to look for peanut butter that contains just peanuts. Many peanut butters add oils and are less healthy. Pay attention to serving sizes as peanut butter is a high-fat food.

·         Lean meats. In Europe, it is common to have a plate of lean meats like turkey cold cuts on wheat bread for breakfast. Try it out!

·         Fish. Lox. Smoked Salmon. Smoked trout or whitefish. Not only are these options great on their own, they also go great in an omelet with your favorite vegetables.

Remember: Protein is great, but make sure to look for the leanest options while paying attention to sodium and other additives.

Here is a link to some great, healthy, high-protein breakfast recipes: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20692801_last,00.html

Mamerow, M.M,Mettler J.A., English K, Casperson S, Arentson-Lantz E, Sheffield-Moore M,Layman D, and Paddon-Jones D. (2014) Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in healthy Adults. Journal of Nutrition, 2014; DOI: 10.3945/%u200Bjn.113.185280

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. (2014, May 20). Full serving of protein at each meal needed for maximum muscle health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520133218.htm

Tags:  June 2014  Nutrition  Physical  Protein 

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When Economic Recession is good for our Social and Emotional Wellness

Posted By NWI, Sunday, June 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Turning the lemons of an economic recession into lemonade is a tall order, but one team of scientists may have done exactly that…

While we all may be familiar with the negative impact recession has on our overall wellness, from stress to occupational, social and financial wellness, there may be a silver lining.

Published May 2015 in the journal Psychological Science, researcher Emily C. Bianchi of Emory Business School suggests that adolescents who go through a recession during their transition to adulthood may exhibit fewer narcissistic personality traits later in life.

According to Bianchi, the economy has an impact on how this group thinks about finances, politics, themselves, and how they should relate to those around them. Further, Bianchi notes that young adults are affected by economic downturns to a greater degree than other age groups and experience greater setbacks.

 

Bianchi’s original study looked at more than 1,500 U.S. adults and grouped them by the unemployment rates during their 18- to 25-year-old periods. Interestingly, the results were not impacted by gender or education. A second set of data from more than 30,000 U.S. adults supported the findings.

Bianchi, E. (May, 2014). Entering adulthood in a recession tempers later narcissism. Psychological Science. doi:10.1177/0956797614532818

Tags:  Finance  Intellectual  June 2014  Occupational  Recession 

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Wellness in 10: Ready, Get Set, Hike!: 10 ways to get ready for a summer outing.

Posted By NWI, Sunday, June 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hiking has many benefits as a physical activity. Not only can hikers select a trail and distance based on their physical activity level, but often hiking trails are free to the public or require a minimal access cost. Plus, hiking is a great activity to share with friends and family! That said, below are 10 tips to follow to make sure your hike is incident-free!

  1. Have a plan for the route. Before going on the hike, research trails on the Internet or through a local guide book. You might search for local, state, and national parks in your region to get an idea of where you want to go and what trails are available.

  2. Have a plan for supplies. If you are going on a hiking trip for several days or just for a few hours, you will want to plan your supplies in advance. From water and snacks to sunscreen and tents, there are many possible things to pack. While water and a map should top your list, you might also use the following as a checklist for other items to bring: http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpacking-checklist.html.

  3. Think about comfort. Layer clothing. Wear breathable fabrics. Break in your hiking shoes before the hike. Bring sunglasses and or a hat. Use sun protection. If you bring a bag to carry (or backpack) make sure its weight is distributed evenly so you don’t end up with aches on one side of your body.

  4. Have a plan, just in case. Even if you are going with a group, it is always good if someone (not with you) knows your route and your plans. If possible, check in with the Ranger Station or Welcome Center (some parks even require you to check in.).

  5. Once you arrive at the hiking spot, check in with the visitor center or Ranger Station (if available) to see if additional maps are available or if there are any additional precautions you might want to take (avoiding closed trails, bears, etc.)

  6. Pay attention to what’s around you. Not only should you pay attention to important signs like, "Cliff, steep drop-off,” but also you will want to slow down and pay attention to the beautiful nature around you. Investing in a guidebook of local flora and fauna might enrich your hiking experience.

  7. Stay on the trail. Remember, you are hiking to observe nature and although there may seem to be good nature off of the trail, the trails make sure the human footprint is limited.

  8. Leave no trace. Not only is it important to take your trash with you, but also if you see trash (even if it isn’t yours), pick it up. Enjoying nature is about leaving the environment better than we found it. For more ideas on preserving nature visit: Leave No Trace (the organization) at https://lnt.org/

  9. Go responsibly. With all of the water and trail mix you are consuming…you might have to "Go.” To poop, dig a "cathole” 6-8 inches deep, away from streams, rivers, or other water sources that could get polluted. Do your thing, and then cover it up. Take toilet paper with you as trash. Here is a site that goes into more detail: http://amountaintophigh.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-to-poop-in-woods.html

  10. Have fun and mark your calendar for National Trails Day on Saturday, June 7

Tags:  Exercise  Hiking  June 2014  Physical  Social 

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Heart Disease: Should you take aspirin?

Posted By NWI, Sunday, June 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Research released May 2014 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes looks at who is a good candidate for aspirin therapy as it relates to managing heart problems. Specifically, the researchers found that an individual’s coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, a measurement of plaque in the arteries that feed the heart, may help determine whether or not an individual is a good candidate for aspirin.

Essentially, aspirin helps to thin the blood to prevent future blood clots that cause heart attacks in arteries that are lined with plaque buildup. While it is beneficial for many individuals to undergo this type of therapy, thinning blood in patients that do not necessarily need the therapy can cause increased bleeding risks due to the blood’s inability to clot. While it is evident that patients with known cardiovascular disease (CVD) can benefit from an aspirin regimen, treating only high-risk patients misses many of the patients who have heart attacks or strokes, but do not have any of the symptoms of a high-risk patient.

The researchers looked at 4,229 multi-ethnic study participants over a seven-year period who did not have CVD or diabetes and were not already on aspirin therapy. The researchers discovered that individuals with CAC scores of more than 100 were 2-4 times more likely to benefit from aspirin therapy than to be harmed by the thinner blood associated with aspirin therapy. This finding contradicts the American Heart Association’s recommendation that only individuals who already have heart disease or those who are considered high-risk should undergo an aspirin regimen.

Conversely, individuals with a CAC score of zero, were more likely to be harmed by aspirin therapy than helped. According to the researchers, measuring CAC scores as a way to determine if aspirin therapy would be beneficial is a way to better customize treatment plans for potentially at-risk patients.

Reference

M. D. Miedema, D. A. Duprez, J. R. Misialek, M. J. Blaha, K. Nasir, M. G. Silverman, R. Blankstein, M. J. Budoff, P. Greenland, A. R. Folsom. Use of Coronary Artery Calcium Testing to Guide Aspirin Utilization for Primary Prevention: Estimates From the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 2014; DOI:10.1161/%u200BCIRCOUTCOMES.113.000690

Tags:  Heart Disease  June 2014  Physical 

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Well Cleaning: Springtime Inspiration

Posted By NWI, Thursday, May 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

With temperatures rising, days getting longer, and birds chirping, that can only mean one thing: spring is on its way. With spring, comes spring cleaning. Before you whip out the rags, cleaners, and gloves, you may want to consider the safety of your cleaning products. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has conducted an extensive research report that investigates more than 2,000 different cleaning supplies in an effort to inform consumers of the hazards that may be in these commonly used cleaners. The EWG’s mission is to “use the power of information to protect human health and the environment.”

The EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning had a number of key findings:

1. 53% of cleaning products assessed contained ingredients known to harm the lungs; 22% contain chemicals reported to cause asthma.


2. Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, is used as a preservative or may be released by other preservatives in a number of cleaning products.

3. The chemical 1,4-dioxane, a suspected human carcinogen, is a
widely-used detergent chemical.


4. Chloroform, a suspected human carcinogen, sometimes escapes in fumes released by products containing chlorine bleach.

5. Quaternary ammonium compounds (“qu
ats”) like benzalkonium chloride, found in antibacterial spray cleaners and fabric softeners, can cause asthma.

6. S
odium borate, also known as borax, and boric acid are added to many products as cleaning agents, enzyme stabilizers, or for other functions. They can disrupt the hormone system.

7. Many leading “green” brands sell superior products, but not all cleaners marketed as environmentally conscious score high. Some “green” brands do not disclose ingredients adequately. For a list of brands see:
http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/findings



The EWG also has suggested that consumers avoid the following completely because they are unnecessary or there is not a better alternative:
1.  Air fresheners contain secret fragrance mixtures that can trigger allergies and asthma. 

2. Antibacterial products can spur development of drug-resistant superbugs.

3. Fabric softener and dryer sheet ingredients can cause allergies or asthma and can irritate the lungs. The alternative: Try a little vinegar in the rinse cycle.


4. Caustic drain cleaners and oven cleaners can burn eyes and skin. The alternative: Use a drain snake or plunger in drains. Or, try a do-it-yourself paste of baking soda and water in the oven.

For more information on “well” spring cleaning visit: The Environmental Working Guide Website at: http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/findings

Tags:  Chemicals  Cleaning  Intellectual  May 2014  Physical  Social 

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Are you Hangry (Hungry + Angry)?

Posted By NWI, Thursday, May 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Research funded by the National Science Foundation and released April 2014 suggests a direct correlation between our blood glucose levels and anger.

Researchers from The Ohio State University followed 107 married couples for 21 days. During that period they measured blood glucose levels and found they could predict how angry the individual would be with their spouse that night. This study points to the idea that hunger can cause anger and aggression.

The scientists measured anger in two unique ways. One: Participants were given a voodoo doll that they were told represented their spouse, along with 51 pins. At the end of each day, for 21 consecutive days, the participants inserted 0 to 51 pins in the doll, depending on how angry they were with their spouse. They did this alone, without their spouses being present, and recorded the number of pins they stuck in the doll. Two: near the end of the experiment, individuals played a “game” with their spouse while each individual was secluded in a private room. Each time an individual won, they could select the volume and length of a loud noise their spouse would have to endure (because they were secluded, they didn’t know that no actual noises were delivered). The individuals whose blood glucose levels were lower, selected to deliver louder and longer noises to their spouses.

What’s the moral of the story and the emotional and social wellness lesson? If you are feeling angry and agitated, you might  ask yourself if you are hungry before getting into an argument or heated discussion.

Bushman, B., DeWall, C.N., Pond, R.S., and Hanus, M.D. (2014). Low glucose relates to greater aggression in married couples. PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1400619111

Tags:  Emotional  Intellectual  Marriage  May 2014  Occupational  Relationships  Social 

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Ride Your Bike to Work Week!

Posted By NWI, Thursday, May 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

May 12-16, 2014, is National Ride your Bike to Work week. Riding your bike instead of driving has a number of environmental and personal benefits. It is good for your wallet, and is a great workout. Below is a list of why jumping on the “Ride Your Bike to Work” bandwagon can benefit you!

  1. Burn calories. Riding your bike 12 to 14 mph for a half an hour can burn approximately 267 calories for a 135-pound woman. To calculate the number of calories you would burn check out this link: http://www.healthstatus.com/perl/calculator.cgi

  2. Tone your body. Cyclists are able to build killer legs, quads, glutes, and calves by propelling their bike. The upper body gets its workout through handlebar maneuvering, giving your body a balanced tone.

  3. Give yourself a little extra boost. According to the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, bike riding can improve energy levels by 20% and decrease fatigue by 65%. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/bicycle-fitness?cat=18722&tip=18718

  4. Save your joints! Bicycling has a low-impact on your joints compared to running. For maximum low-impact, make sure your knees are bent just slightly (approximately 25 degrees) on the down pedal stroke.

  5. Protect your heart. Riding your bike three times a week can help to lower your blood pressure and LDLs, the top two risk factors of heart disease.

  6. Increase your brain power. Cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for memory, which begins to deteriorate at the age of 30. http://www.bikeradar.com/us/road/gear/article/30-reasons-to-take-up-cycling-23965/

  7. Get a better night’s rest. According to a Stanford University of Medicine Study, sedentary insomnia sufferers were asked to cycle for 20-30 minutes every day. As a result, the time required for insomniacs to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by an hour. http://www.bikeradar.com/us/road/gear/article/30-reasons-to-take-up-cycling-23965/

  8. Cycle away cancer. Exercise of any type has plenty of evidence to ward off cancer, but a number of studies have shown that cycling is specifically good for keeping cells in working order and reducing the risk of breast cancer by nearly half. http://www.bikeradar.com/us/road/gear/article/30-reasons-to-take-up-cycling-23965/

Statistics show that over half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace, making the ride to work a doable 20-minute ride. With the increasingly beneficial environmental, health, and economic perks to cycling, joining the National Ride Your Bike to Work Week is a wellness positive! 

Tags:  Bike  Environment  Exercise  May 2014  Occupational  Physical 

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Find Peace and Living Well in Your Mind: Mindfulness

Posted By NWI, Thursday, May 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

OmmmMindfulness:

is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. Mindfulness can bring you benefits emotionally, physically, and socially. — mind·ful·ness noun

Examples of Mindfulness:

The following are mindfulness exercises that are simple and convenient and can help you lead a deeper experience in daily life.

  1. Meditation: Find a quiet place, free yourself of distractions, and quiet your mind. A simple meditation starter technique is to focus on a place you feel is comforting (for instance, the beach). Start by watching the waves come in and out for 30 seconds. Hear the sounds. Smell the smells. Feel the temperature. See the scenery. Block everything else from your mind. Gradually increase your meditation time as you become more skilled at the practice. You can do this meditation with any scene. For instance, if a ballgame is your fancy…hear, smell, feel, see all that is around you and block other thoughts out. 

  2. Deep Breathing: A simple exercise of focusing on the sound and rhythm of your breath can have a calming effect and can help to keep you grounded in the present moment. Feel the air enter your lungs and your lungs expand to hold it. Feel your lungs shrink as you let the air go.

  3. Listen to Music: Listen to virtually any type of calming music and focus on the sound and vibrations of each note to bring the music within you for a “right now” feeling.

  4. Observe Your Thoughts: Busy and stressed minds often find it difficult to focus when they have a rapid stream of thoughts running through their minds. Instead of working against the stream of your thoughts, sit back and “observe” them, rather than becoming involved. This can help you to better process and decrease the stress in your mind.

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Keeping a healthy mind not only keeps you mentally healthy, but also makes your physically, emotionally, and socially healthier as well.

For more information visit: http://stress.about.com/od/tensiontamers/a/exercises.htm

Tags:  Emotional  Intellectual  May 2014  Meditation  Mindfulness  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual 

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