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HealthPerks Newsletter for December 2013

Healthy Holiday Makeover 2013

The holidays are here, which means festive food, and not enough time for healthy habits. Use these tips for your healthiest holiday ever.

Healthy eating – With these healthy holiday eating tips, it is possible to eat, drink and be merry (in a healthy way) this holiday season:
  • Back away from the buffet – Choose 3 or 4 items you really want to try, serve yourself a healthy portion, and then walk away and mingle as you eat.
  • Make room for dessert – Eat less in the regular meal, leaving calories available for a few bites of dessert.
  • Lighten up at the potluck – Bring a light and healthy option to potlucks, like a salad or roasted veggies.
  • For more healthy holiday eating tips, download our Holiday Eating Tip Sheet.

Healthy activities – During the busy holiday season, it can be difficult to stick to your regular exercise routine, but don’t fret – there are ways to build activity into your daily activities. Here are a few tips:
  • Take a walk after dinner – The fresh air is good for the lungs, and can help to jumpstart the digestion process
  • While running errands, park at the far end of the parking lot and take the stairs whenever possible

Healthy hydration – The change from Fall to Winter can wreak havoc on your digestive system, making proper hydration even more important. Follow the guidelines below to stay hydrated:
  • The Institutes of Medicine recommends about 9 cups of total beverages a day for women, and about 13 cups for men.
  • Thirst is not an especially reliable indicator of whether your body is hydrated enough. Stay ahead of your thirst by drinking regularly during the day.
  • Beverages other than water can count toward your overall fluid intake. Be mindful of drinking your calories, and try not to load up on sugary drinks such as soda, coffee concoctions and juice.

Healthy lifestyle – Holiday stress? Not this year! Use the following tips to stay cool as a cucumber this holiday season:
  • Keep a positive attitude, rather than defaulting to negatives. Give yourself positive reminders throughout the day.
  • Manage your time. Give yourself proper time to get things done.
  • Take 15-20 minutes every day to sit quietly and reflect, while focusing on taking deep breaths.
  • Get enough rest and sleep (7-8 hours per night is recommended). Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.


Healthy Year-end Reminders

As the holidays come to a close, the end of the year is the perfect time to review and make sure you are up-to-date on the important screenings and updates that will keep you healthy. If you haven’t seen your doctor recently, we encourage to make an appointment today.

Mammogram – Women over 40 should get a mammogram screening each year. If you have a family history of breast cancer or dense breast tissue, check with your doctor if additional screenings may be a good fit for you.

Colonoscopy – Recommended for both men and women every 10 years, starting at age 50. If you have a family history of colon cancer, your doctor may recommend early screening.

Bone density – About one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Get your bone density checked, and work with your doctor to develop a care plan if you have low bone density.

Skin check – Ask your doctor to perform a screening for skin cancer at your next appointment, and each year after that. Do an at home scan monthly to be sure that there haven’t been any changes to the shape or color of moles.

Blood work – It’s important to “know your numbers” and how they affect your health. Routine blood work is recommended annually. This may include a lipid panel for cholesterol, glucose to check for diabetes, thyroid function and Vitamin deficiencies. Check with your doctor to see if it’s time to be tested again.

If you haven’t seen your doctor recently or had your regular screenings, make it an end-of-year goal for good health. You and your loved ones will be glad you did. If you don’t have a physician, El Camino Hospital can refer you to a general practitioner or specialist in your area – call 800-216-5556 to get a referral by phone, or visit the Find a Doctor tool on our website.


Time to Update Your Medicine Cabinet

How long has it been since you went through everything in your medicine cabinet? Chances are it’s been a while, so you likely have old or expired drugs lurking on the shelves. Take a few minutes to do an inventory now, and you’ll be ready to start the year with a safer, more organized, and more current supply of the medications and items you and your family need.

Set aside any medication that is old, no longer necessary, or prescribed for someone that no longer lives in the household.

  • Check to see if any local pharmacies participate in the Drug Take-Bake Program, which allows you to drop off old medications for safe disposal.
  • Some medications, including many prescription pain relieves can be safely flushed down the toilet. See the list of medications the FDA recommends flushing.
  • Dispose of other pills by mixing with kitty litter or coffee grounds (do not crush pills), adding a small amount of water, and sealing in a plastic bag. The bag is then safe to throw in the trash.
  • Before throwing away prescription pills bottles, scratch off or black out any personal information.

Make sure all medication is in its original container, and never mix medications in a single container.

Review dosing guidelines to ensure that you are taking the medication appropriately.

Make sure your medicine cabinet also includes items that are commonly needed for treating minor scrapes, pains, and illnesses:

  • Thermometer
  • Aspirin
  • Non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Antiseptic solution or wipes
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Antihistamine
  • Calamine lotion
  • Check with your Primary Care Physician to see if there are other items you should include in your medicine cabinet.

Learn more by scheduling a personal consultation with an El Camino Hospital pharmacist. It’s a free benefit – available to all HealthPerks members! To schedule a consultation, call 650-940-7210.


Great Gifts for Everyone on Your List

This holiday season, why not give gifts that improve health and well-being? It’s the perfect way to show your friends and family how much they mean to you. And with lots of fun options, you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list:

  • Activity Tracking Device. Getting fit is more fun with a mobile device that tracks steps, distance, time, calories burned, heart rate and more. Great for men, women, teens
  • Gym Shoes. There’s nothing like a new pair of training shoes to get you up and moving. And this year, the more colorful the better! Great for anyone
  • Spa Gift Certificate. A little pampering and relaxation will be a welcome gift for the busiest people you know. Great for women and seniors
  • Smartphone sport armband. For keeping connected and hands-free while working out, these armbands fit the bill. Great for men, women, teens
  • Meditation CD. Even the most stressed people on your list can find a little calm and relaxation with the help of a guided meditation. It’s a great way to ensure they focus on themself! Great for men, women, seniors
  • Ski or Bike Helmet. The best gift you can give to protect skiers and cyclists of all ages. Great for anyone
  • Foam Roller. These versatile fitness aids can help improve workouts, massage sore muscles, and build better balance. Great for men, women, seniors
  • Personal Training Gift Certificate. Even novice exercises will be more confident and motivated after a session or two with a certified personal trainer. Great for men, women, seniors
  • Herb Garden Kit. Bring a little green – and a whole lot of flavor – into any kitchen. The herbs are easy to grow, and will enhance any healthy meal! Great for men, women, seniors
  • Fitness Video. Kids of all ages will appreciate a fun and interactive game that also challenges their fitness. Great for teens and kids of all ages
  • Resistance Bands. With dozens of ways to use these ingenious little bands, they’re great for improving strength and flexibility or aiding in stretching routines. Great for women and seniors
  • Water Bottle. Encourage hydration with a bottle that infuses water with a subtle hint of fruit flavor. Great for anyone
  • Dark Chocolate. For an indulgent gift that’s still healthy, give them some high quality dark chocolate to enjoy. Skip those that have fillings or lots of things added. Great for anyone
  • Hula Hoop. This provides a double healthy bonus: it’s sure to get them laughing and moving! Great for anyone
Lighten up your holiday buffet with this Festive Fruit Salad Recipe!

Download Recipe