News Roundup: Aluminum Foil

The use of Aluminum Foil is very common in most kitchens for cooking and wrapping our foods. Studies have shown that Aluminum is a known neurotoxin. Neurotoxic metals can also be a factor in many neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s. There has also been some recent debate around whether or not cooking with aluminum foil is bad for our health. This week’s news roundup presents news stories related to this discussion.

Doctors Are Now Warning: If You Use Aluminum Foil, Stop It Or Face Deadly Consequences: Best Healthy Guide. “Additionally, it has been scientifically shown that cooking with aluminum foil impacts the bones, due to the fact that the metal accumulates in the bones and leads to loss of calcium which is of utmost importance for proper bone health. Cooking with aluminum foil was also found to cause pulmonary fibrosis and other respiratory issues.”

Why You Shouldn’t Wrap Your Food in Aluminum Foil Before Cooking It: Huffington Post.  “Scientists are exploring whether over-exposure to aluminum may be posing threats to human health. For instance, high concentrations of aluminum have been detected in the brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”

The Dangers of Aluminum Foil: Sciencing. “Aluminum foil is a great tool to use in cooking, baking and food storage. However, there are dangers associated with its use. These dangers include safety and health risks, such as food contamination and the absorption of too much aluminum into the body. There is some controversy as to the extent of aluminum foil's impact in these situations, but scientists continue to investigate its safety in everyday use.”

Myth or Fact? Cooking with Aluminum Foil Is Bad for Your Health: Food Network. “More research may be needed to warrant tossing all your foil in the trash. Determine if the food you prepare comes into contact with foil and assess if this could potentially contribute to a higher than desirable intake of aluminum. If you are concerned about your intake, reserve foil for food storage instead of cooking.”

Summer Workouts

 

What better way to enjoy the summer than to get outside with family and friends and take advantage of the sun in an active way? It’s warm enough to get out of the gym and into the fresh air. There are many easy ways to incorporate fitness into your summer days, whether it’s finding a tough workout to do without overheating, or trying to add a workout component to things you are already doing with others. Out of the gym usually means out of equipment, but here are a few good exercise ideas that incorporate a typical park or outdoor environment.

1. Plyometric Circuits

Instead of lifting heavy, focus on moving fast! Plyometric exercises are focused on explosive bursts of energy (think maximum force in a short amount of time). The goal of these type of movements is to improve power, combining increases to both speed and strength.

Try the following exercises, going through them a total of 3 times for a full workout:

  • Squat jumps (10 reps)

Start in an athletic position.  Swing arms back and bend knees slightly.  Explode (jump) upwards from the hips, bring knees up and toes up, and land gently back down on the ground with knees bent.

  • Plyo push-ups (10 reps)

Facing downward, keep your body in a straight line with your hands and feet contacting the ground. Lower your body by bending your elbows.  Push yourself back up quickly and forcefully to push yourself off the ground. Be sure to keep your arms close to your body to minimize shoulder wear.

  • Sit ups (15 reps)

Lay on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat.  Cross arms to chest and sit up quickly (1 second), bringing your arms to your knees. Lower your upper body back down to the ground slowly for a 3 second count.

  • Skaters (8 reps each)

Start on your left foot. Swing the right foot behind you and use the momentum to jump to the right and land only on your right foot. Repeat to the other side.

  • Mountain Climbers (15 reps each)

Start in the plank position. Alternate moving each knee to chest, keeping the body in a straight line.

  • Scissor Lunges (8 reps each)

Start with one foot in front of you and one foot behind you, both bent and in the lunge position. Explode upwards and switch leg positions to land with the opposite foot now in front and behind. Repeat.

  • Burpees (10 reps)

From a standing position, put your hands on the ground a few inches in front of your feet. Kick your legs back into the plank position and then replace them back next to your hands. Come up into a jump and repeat.

2. Park Bench Workout

If you are walking the dog or taking a leisurely stroll through a local park, try to add some exercises that can be done on a park bench or table. These require no equipment other than an elevated surface and yourself.

Try the following exercises, going through them a total of 3 times for a full workout:

  • Step Ups (10 reps each)

Start with the bench in front of you.  Step up with one leg while maintaining good posture. Step down with the same leg and switch.

  • Touch Squats (10 reps)

Stand with your feet hip distance apart in front of the bench with the bench about a foot behind your back. Slowly squat backwards, keeping your weight on your heels, until your seat touches the bench. Return to standing without resting on the bench.

  • Bench Jumps (10 reps)

Stand facing the bench. Swing arms back and bend knees slightly.  Explode (jump) upwards from the hips, bring knees up and toes up, and land gently on the bench with knees bent. Repeat.

  • Single Leg Squat (8 reps each)

Start facing away from the bench with one leg in front of you and the other behind you with your toe on the bench. Slowly squat and return to standing. Repeat each side.

  • Push-ups (10 reps)

Start with your hands on the bench and your feet extended out away from the bench so that you are in a plank position. Push yourself up and down. This should be easier at this angle.

  • Dips (10 reps)

Sit on the bench facing away from it with your hands on the bench on either side of you. Scoot yourself forward, while leaving your hands on the bench. This should create clearance for you to bend your arms and push yourself up and down, dipping your body.

3. Interval Run with Strength Stops

Running in the summer heat can be overwhelming at times. Instead, break up your run into intervals with stops in the shade for water breaks and strength exercises. Try running for either a half a mile or a timed 5 minutes, then stop and do an exercise set or 2 exercises, 3 times each.

An example of exercise sets could be:

  • 30 sec Plank + 10 back extensions
  • 10 mountain climbers + 10 lunges (each side)
  • 10 squat jumps + 10 calf raises
  • 10 burpees + 10 bicycles (each side)

4. Bicycling

A fun activity to do with others, especially if they are visiting from out of town and want to peruse around, is bicycling. Take a ride through the local park or neighborhood to catch up and cool off in the bike breeze. A lot of local markets are open and selling fresh goods in the summer months. Try biking to a farmer’s market or local festival to take advantage of the nice weather and exclusive summer activities

5. Get in the Water

Finally, a fool-proof way to exercise in the hottest days of summer is to get in the water! Whether you kayak, paddleboard, or swim, it’s a good way to have fun while getting some exercise into your routine. Sure, bodies of water are fun, but they can also be a great workout! Try practicing some strokes for distance or even incorporate gym exercises simply using the water as resistance instead of weights.

Visit our fitness tool in the Army H.E.A.L.T.H. program for more exercises with pictures and videos, complete workouts, and fitness tips: http://armyhealth.pbrc.edu

Healthy 4th of July

 

Independence Day is approaching fast, and with it comes party plans and grill-out gatherings with family and friends. Between the pool party and the post-party fireworks, check out our healthy patriotic menu ideas for some new bites to serve the guests!

Appetizers:

Summertime brings tons of fresh produce, which makes these Caprese Skewers a fresh, easy appetizer to serve to hungry mouths between jumping off the diving board. Plus, the skewers provide automatic portion control. Be sure to make a lot, or they’ll be gone before anyone can have seconds!

If you’d like to invite the grill to the party early, this Grilled Watermelon, Mint, and Feta salad is a great way to show off summer fruit as well as your grill skills. For a more patriotic presentation, lay out the feta and grilled watermelon in separate red & white stripes instead of mixing them together, then nestle a bowl of blueberries in the upper left-hand corner for a flying feta flag!

Grill Out:

Sliders are all the fun of a burger with natural smaller portions. As an alternative to the usual ground beef, these Red-White-and-Blueberry Turkey Sliders are packed with roasted red peppers and can be served with a blueberry balsamic sauce for a fun twist.

Prefer hot dogs to hamburgers? Try stuffing a whole wheat bun with chicken-apple sausage and roasted red peppers, then serve them with this fun Blueberry Ketchup made from fresh fruit for an unforgettable patriotic meal!

Remix the Classics:

If you grew up in the South, you know a grill out isn’t complete without some homemade potato salad. Try this mayo-free red white & blue spin on the classic side, which uses three different kinds of potatoes for the stars and stripes effect!

Prefer fries with your food? Check out these baked barbecue fries for a spicy non-fried fry. No grease needed.

A sweet surprise:

Bring back the skewers for some delicious desserts that are a little bit of a splurge with built-in portion control. These red white & blue angel food cake skewers can be served with a cheesecake dipping sauce, providing a crowd-pleasing patriotic sweet. 

Looking for a way to cool down after a hot party? These Red White and Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles are stripy show-stoppers. These popsicles are only 3 ingredients: strawberries, blueberries, and Greek yogurt. No added sugar here!

From all of us here at Army H.E.A.L.T.H. we wish you a healthy, happy 4th of July!

News Roundup: The Effect of Alcohol on the Heart and Brain

The effects of alcohol consumption on the body have always been a source of debate. Public opinion on whether drinking is good or bad for you has shifted back and forth across the decades. Many studies have shown that the antioxidants and polyphenols in grapes used for red wine can have health benefits for the heart. However, more recent studies indicate that even moderate drinking can cause negative effects in the brain. This week’s news roundup shows evidence from both sides as the debate goes on.

Alcohol is Good for Your Heart – Most of the Time: “People who did not drink had an increased risk for eight of the heart ailments, ranging from 12% to 56%, compared to people who drank in moderation. These eight conditions include the most common heart events, such as heart attack, stroke and sudden heart-related death.”

The silent damage from drinking moderately down the decades: “Historically, it's been thought that light drinking is protective of the brain while heavy drinking induces damage. The few studies that have examined the effects of moderate drinking have produced inconsistent results.”

Is Wine Healthy? “Benefits of moderate alcohol consumption such as wine include a 30% reduction in the risk of heart attack compared to non-drinkers…[a]dditionally alcohol consumption has been associated with a 30% to 40% reduction in the risk of Type 2 diabetes, compared to those who don't drink.”

Even Moderate Drinking Causes Atrophy in Brain Area Related to Memory, Learning: “But even moderate drinkers were three times as likely to have brain atrophy as non-drinkers. The researchers found no brain-related benefits for alcohol consumption at any level, including very light drinking, compared with abstinence.”

Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits: “Alcohol’s two-faced nature shouldn’t come as a surprise. The active ingredient in alcoholic beverages, a simple molecule called ethanol, affects the body in many different ways. It directly influences the stomach, brain, heart, gallbladder, and liver. It affects levels of lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) and insulin in the blood, as well as inflammation and coagulation. It also alters mood, concentration, and coordination.”

PTSD: Myths

 

 

Not all wounds are visible.

June 27th is National Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) awareness day. It is a day dedicated to increasing PTSD awareness. This is a topic that should frequently be discussed.  According to the National Center for PTSD, roughly 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan, struggle with PTSD symptoms in a given year.  Continued awareness of PTSD is necessary as this debilitating condition represents a notable and catastrophic illness to veterans and their Families.  

What is PTSD?

The Military has played a vital role in implementing assessments, treatment programs, and research to help aid the growing rate of Veterans suffering from PTSD. Despite growing research and awareness in this area, popular myths still exist related to PTSD. Below is a list of several of these common myths.

PTSD: Common Myths

Several misconceptions can be associated with PTSD. These misunderstandings can have negative consequences such as stigma and mistreatment for those suffering from PTSD. 

MYTH: People with PTSD are dangerous.
FACT: PTSD is characterized by upsetting memories and changes in mood. Symptoms of PTSD do not imply danger or that the person is dangerous.

MYTH: People with PTSD cannot function in their work environment.
FACT: There are many individuals with PTSD who are able to work and uphold their position of employment. PTSD can create symptoms that happen in the workplace, however coping skills allow them to still function in that environment with success. 


MYTH
: PTSD affects someone as soon as they are exposed to a traumatic event.
FACT: Many believe if time has passed from the traumatic event that individuals are no longer at risk for PTSD. Although symptoms often happen after the first couple of months after a traumatic event, it can take months or even years before the symptoms can appear.


MYTH:
PTSD is a sign of mental weakness.
FACT: This is a common misconception that is hard to cope with for someone going through this struggle. Some of the factors that determine whether someone will develop PTSD include: the type of trauma experienced, the severity and length of exposure, amount of social and family support, and how the brain releases chemicals to combat stress, etc.

 
MYTH: PTSD only affects the military population.
FACT: Although PTSD greatly affects our military veterans and Soldiers, it can occur in anyone, including children. Below are some more facts about PTSD for the general U.S. population.

  • Roughly 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • Roughly 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
  • Roughly 10 of every 100 women develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%).

 

From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Center for PTSD - a list of common reactions family members of a person with PTSD may experience

  • Sympathy
  • Negative Feelings
  • Avoidance
  • Depression
  • Anger and guilt
  • Health problems

 

The encouragement and support from family members and/or friends or other social supports are vital for someone experiencing symptoms of PTSD. Many service members choose not to get help because of the social stigma that comes with psychological health care treatment. The challenge then becomes for the person with PTSD to manage their illness by themselves while staying emotionally connected to their family.  Social support is a key part of the recovery process.  It is essential that individuals lending support to a person with PTSD educate themselves as to how to best support them in their journey of recovery.

 

The best way to recognize PTSD awareness day is to take the time to understand the experiences and realities of those around you who may be suffering from PTSD. Visit the National Center for PTSD website to learn about posttraumatic stress disorder and resources available to support service members and families. Also, check out the PTSD Coach app for iOS and Android devices. Additional resources can also be found at Military one source.

 

Resources:  http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treatment/family/ptsd-and-the-family.asp

                    http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/basics/how-common-is-ptsd.asp

                    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2891773/