Do Your Part this Earth Day

March 29, 2022

There are nearly 8 billion people on Earth, and whether we realize it or not, we all take a toll on the planet. When the health of our ecosystems and climate is at risk, it puts our own health at risk.

This Earth Day let’s remember that any positive action, no matter how small, can make a difference. Better yet, if everyone made just one healthy change to live more sustainably, imagine the impact it could have. With that in mind, here are some tips to improve your well-being, while helping the planet.

Food Earth Day

Eat less animal protein

Beef, pork, and poultry all taste good. However, studies have repeatedly shown that too much meat, especially red meat, is bad for you. What’s more, raising those animals is terrible for the environment. They require a lot of land for their feed, and to house and raise them. They create a lot of greenhouse gasses, just by existing. Processing that meat is also very energy intensive. If you start with one meatless meal a week, you do some good for your heart, your wallet, and the earth.

Berries Earth

Eat local

There are a couple of reasons for doing so. By eating local you have a better understanding of where your food comes from. Think about joining a community garden in your neighborhood. It’s a great way to get healthy vegetables required for a balanced diet. Most produce travels about 1,500 miles to get from the farm to your market, which creates a huge carbon footprint. Commercial farms also use a lot of chemicals when growing crops. Neither will be an issue if you’re eating healthy produce from just up the block. If that’s not an option, there may be a farmers market in your area.

Plant Earth

Grow your own

Consider growing your own food if you have space for a garden. It’s a great way to get you and the family to stay active outside together. The fruits or vegetable you produce provide essential, healthy nutrients. Indoor house plants, too, can offer surprising health benefits while pulling carbon dioxide from the air. Aloe vera plants, for example, contain antioxidant and antibacterial properties, which can help treat cuts and scratches.

Walking Earth

Walk where you need to go

When you drive, you’re adding about a pound and a half of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere for every mile traveled. Taking short trips by foot, or bike, will have an immediate effect on the atmosphere and your health. Walking 2 to 3 miles per hour for an hour can burn as much as 300 calories, while riding at an easy pace of 6 miles per hour can help you burn around 240 calories. If you take public transit instead of your own car, those walks to and from your stops will also help your blood pressure.

Water Earth

Stay hydrated, the right way

Your body is about 60% water, so it’s no wonder that staying hydrated is important for your overall health. When you do go for a sip, keep the environment in mind. Disposable plastic bottles are terrible for nature and wildlife, plus they’re a huge waste of money. Investing in reusable canteen-like stainless-steel bottles will prevent more plastic from ending up in our rivers, oceans, or landfills. An insulated thermos is also better for hot beverages than disposable coffee cups.

Healthy people need a healthy planet

If you want to make changes to your environment to make it healthier, AltaMed can help. You may want to make changes to your diet, your living situation, or maybe you just have questions. We’re here for you as your community health network. Contact us today at (877) 462-2582.

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Foods with Surprising Health Benefits

December 20, 2021

Go ahead. Have some chocolate. Drag it through some peanut butter. Maybe wash it down with a cup of coffee.

At some point you read an article or saw a news story encouraging you to give up these foods as being unhealthy. It’s simply not true. Over-indulging in these foods — just like over-indulging in anything — can be harmful over time. But there are plenty of foods you thought you needed to avoid that you can enjoy, in moderation.

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol must be done in moderation. One alcoholic beverage a day for women and two for men may help protect from heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. But the moderate consumption must include a healthy diet and regular exercise to get the greatest benefit.

Pork

It’s lean with less saturated fat than 30 years ago. Replacing beef and chicken with pork could help you lose weight and body fat. Tenderloin is a great, lean cut.

popcorn

Popcorn

It’s a whole grain that’s loaded with fiber, which helps fill you up and keeps you regular. It also has vitamin B, manganese, and magnesium, and antioxidants, which may protect you against disease and cell damage. Don’t drown it in butter or cover it in salt.

Avocado

They’re loaded with good fat. The kind of fat that is linked to a healthy heart and good cholesterol levels. Eating avocados regularly can help your eyes and skin and may even help with belly fat.

beef

Beef

Lean red meat with the fat trimmed away is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, and iron. Eat it occasionally and in small portions and it’s been shown to lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol.

Chicken (Dark Meat)

Thighs and legs may have more fat, but they also have more minerals like iron, zinc, and selenium. There are more vitamins like A, B, and K. It’s also high in taurine, which breaks down fat and helps with inflammation and blood pressure.

chocolate

Chocolate

Dark chocolate is the healthiest because it has the least sugar and is made mostly of cocoa and that’s where there are flavonoids. These plant chemicals may help protect against cell damage. They could also lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and make you less likely to have certain kinds of heart disease. Remember, only eat a little bit.

Eggs

They are rich in protein with a full range of B vitamins and amino acids. They also include vitamin D and selenium. They are NOT calorie dense, meaning they help you feel fuller longer.

coffee

Coffee

This can also be healthy when consumed in moderation. It can help reduce heart disease, help you process sugar, reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease, help protect your liver, strengthen your DNA, reduce your risk of colon cancer, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and reduce your risk of stroke. Just don’t load it up with a lot of sugar and creamer.

Dairy

The full-fat variety isn’t likely to raise your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, or diabetes if it’s part of a balanced diet. Foods like yogurt, whole milk, and brie can be good for you. Just watch the calories or they will pile up.

pasta

Pasta

Pasta fills you up, it’s a good source of energy, is low in salt, and low in fat. Just don’t cover it with heavy sauces. Try whole-grain pastas for an even healthier alternative.

Potato Salad

Cooled potatoes have something called “resistant starch,” which acts like fiber and can help keep you regular and your gut healthy. Potatoes — whether hot or cold — have lots of nutrients, like potassium and magnesium. Choose low-fat, low-calorie mayonnaise for potato salad.

toast

Honey

It may be full of sugar, but it’s a natural sweetener with plenty of antioxidants to protect your cells. It’s also good for inflammation. It mixes well with the bacteria in your gut which helps with digestion. Local honey can also help with allergies.

Peanut Butter

It may have saturated fat, but it’s 80% unsaturated fat, which isn’t bad. Eating nuts or peanut butter regularly reduces the risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes. It also has potassium. Get it unsalted for a healthier option.

Frozen Veggies

They’re affordable, convenient, and they have the same benefits as fresh vegetables. They may even be better because you can store them, so stock up when you can.

Dietician Consultations Available

No matter your age, what you eat has a huge effect on your overall health. Healthy eating isn’t hard – especially when you have someone to empower you to make good decisions and teach you how healthy food can be delicious. Our registered dietitians provide individually tailored nutrition plans to members of every age.

Patients with the following are encouraged to see a dietitian: diabetes, heart-related conditions, those considering bariatric surgery, pregnancy, gastrointestinal-related conditions, and patients with any other nutrition-related condition.

This program is available to all AltaMed patients at no cost. Ask your doctor for a referral or call (888) 499-9303 to enroll.

Ways to Keep the Whole Family Active, Together

December 20, 2021

The demands of our daily lives make it tough to get motivated to move for our health. There’s already enough demand of our time with work or school, maintaining a household, and making sure the kids do what they need to do. It’s so much easier to unwind in one place with your eye on everyone.

But if family time is at a premium, adding movement to the routine can be a great way to create some lasting habits that get everyone moving toward better health.

biking family

Active Parents Create Active Kids

Kids are truly mirrors of their parents. They will do what they see you do. If you sit around eating fatty foods, glued to the television, they will sit around eating fatty foods, glued to the television.

But if you’re active, they will be active. We understand that can be hard to do when you’re working long hours and taking care of a household on top of that. But the New Year creates opportunities to get yourself moving and make the kids part of the action. Even better, there’s plenty of easy ideas.

Hiking family

Get outside

You might have to schedule some time early on. But make sure to go for a walk as a family right after they get home from school, or after dinner. You might not have to schedule the time after a while.

Limit screen time

It’s an easy way to keep kids occupied but two hours a day is MORE than enough. Keep televisions and electronic media out of your kids’ rooms to encourage them to engage with you.

basketball family

Choose toys wisely

Gaming systems may be the rage, but balls, skateboards, jump ropes, and kites require kids to get out of the house and move. And you need to go with them.

Do chores together

There’s always work to do around the house. It gets done faster when everyone chips in. It keeps people moving and it keeps your household sharp.

golf family

Schedule play time

Think of activities that require movement: a weekly trip to the park, monthly minigolf, or bowling. It’s a fun activity that’s outside the norm, but it requires everyone to move.

Plant a garden

Take advantage of any property you have access to or involve the children in your community garden. It teaches kids about the food system, and they will be excited about eating what they grow. It can also help boost healthy eating habits.

Walking Family

Get Moving

You don’t have to run a marathon or turn into a world-class athlete. You just need to get moving. Getting your kids to move with you will be a great way to keep everyone in the family motivated.

Look around your house and see if there are any items you can incorporate into an exercise routine. You just need a little creativity and the wherewithal to get started.

AltaMed has all manner of resources to help you eat right, move right, and take better care of yourself and your entire family. Let our team of bilingual certified enrollment counselors help you explore program options that work best for you and your family. 

Get started by calling AltaMed at (877) 462-2582.