Olive Oil is not the Only Healthy Oil

Avocado oil is popular because of its high smoke point. That makes avocado oil ideal for high-heat cooking.

Sesame oil, a staple of Asian cooking, is ideal for light sauteing.

Toasted sesame oil has a bold taste, and is often used as a season, and not as a cooking oil.

Flaxseed oil is a delicate oil that spoils quickly, so it must be stored in a dark, airtight container in the refrigerator. It is ideal for cold preparations such as salad dressings or dips.

Walnut oil becomes slightly bitter when heated, so it’s ideal for salad dressings, or for adding flavor to pasta salad.

Look for cold-pressed or unrefined oils, even though they are more expensive because they are less likely to be treated chemically. Keep fresh oils in the refrigerator or in dark containers away from heat. Refrigerated oils should be brought to room temperature before using.

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If you Diet, Weight Training is Important

Recent studies have showed that people who were on a diet and did aerobic exercise (even just walking) were more likely to lose muscle than if they did no exercise at all.

Dieters who did weight training often lost more fat than those who dieted alone, and did not lose as much muscle as those who dieted and did aerobic exercise.

Losing muscle can lead to loss of strength and stability which can lead to falls.

Strength training doesn’t have to involve an expensive gym membership. Using resistance bands or lifting cans found in your pantry can be enough to keep muscles active and healthy.

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Watch for Dehydration in Your Older Relatives and Friends

It’s important to make sure older adults drink enough water every day.

Older people often do not feel thirst as quickly as a younger person does. Older adults who have difficulty communicating, should be watched for the signs of dehydration because they cannot communicate their thirst to caregivers.

If your older adult needs assistance to drink, make sure that you have glasses that are not too heavy, or too difficult to hold, and straws are sometimes ncessary to facilitate drinking without choking.

Medications such as diuretics which are commonly prescribed to older adults, can lead to dehydration.

Older adults who have a sudden change in behavior, especially if they become non-communicative, should be evaluated for dehydration. All too often dehydration is misdiagnosed as dementia.

Make sure your older adult drinks at least 8 glasses of 8 ounces of fluids a day, even if it means more trips to the bathroom. Good urine output is a sign that dehydration is being reversed.

Dehydration in older adults can be deadly. Once organ failure sets in, approximately 50% of older adults will die from it.

Drink up! Push the fluids. Save your older relative or friend’s life.

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Shoveling Snow Safely

Breathe in through your nose to warm the air and then exhale as you lift the snow. This helps set a rhythm for breathing that helps avoid overexerting your heart and lungs. It keeps you from holding your breath which can increase pressure in the chest.

Lift from the legs. Using your body’s biggest muscles will help lift the snow without putting so much strain on your back.

Wait to shovel until 45 minutes after you’ve had a big meal. Allowing your body to digest your meal will help to keep from redirecting much needed blood flow from the heart and muscles needed to shovel snow.

Take regular breaks to give your body time to rest. Allow your heartrate to return to normal. Have a glass of water to stay hydrated. And go inside to warm up, if your extremities feel cold.

If you have a serious chronic condition or are not in shape to tackle a heavy snow, don’t. There are plenty of young, healthy people who would enjoy making a some money shoveling snow.

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Staying Healthy Through the Flu Season

Now is the time to get a flu shot, before the peak of the flu season which occurs in February most years.

For older adults who have chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, the earlier you get your vaccine, the better, as older adults often have more complications from the flu than younger people.

Pregnant women should also get the flu shot early. Pregnant women have complication rates from flu as high or higher than older adults. The good news is a vaccinated mother also protects the baby for the first 6 months of life.

If you’re afraid of needles, there is a nasal spray alternative, although the nasal spray has been shown to be less effective than the shots.

Older adults are sometimes misdiagnosed when they really have the flu. Often times, older adults don’t develop classic-influenza signs like fever. The symptoms are often explained away as a worsening of other chronic conditions. If you feel bad enough to go to a doctor during the flu season, ask that he/she test you for the flu.

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The Dangers of Snow Shoveling

Heart attack is one of the most deadly complications of shoveling snow. Approximately 100 people die of heart attacks while snow shoveling in the US every winter. The combination of forceful exertion while lifting and pushing snow can raise blood pressure and cause the heart to pump faster while the cold temperatures make your blood vessels constrict. That combination makes it harder for your heart to do its job particularly if you already have heart disease.

Hypothermia or low body temperature often occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat while shoveling. Your body only needs to drop a couple of degrees to put you in serious jeopardy.

Hyperthermia or high body temperature is possible if you overexert yourself and built up too much heat in heavy clothes while snow shoveling.

Anyone with a chronic breathing issue such as asthma or emphysema, should be cautious while shoveling snow because the cold air plus the exercise can trigger an attack.

Another common injury of snow shoveling is back injury. Snow is heavy and the repetitive motion of moving snow can cause pain, muscle strain or even a slipped disk.

If you injure yourself while shoveling, schedule an appointment. A good neuromuscular massage can ease the pain.

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