Nutritional Wellness

Nutritional wellness is the ability to take in and utilize any food material to get the proper nourishment that a person needs. This involves a person’s ability to adequately study the different food groups and assess the different portions that are required for an individual. Overall, having nutritional wellness is the starting point that needs to be achieved in order to succeed in other areas of wellness.

September Wellness Webinar: Make Mealtime Family Time

MealtimeSometimes it’s hard to gather for a sit-down meal. But family meals can teach your kids health lessons that will stick with them for years to come. And, if you don’t have kids, it can help strengthen your relationship with your spouse/partner or another friend. This webinar will provide you with tips and ideas for making mealtime fun and even help persuade those picky eaters.

Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Location: Cofrin Library, 7th floor, room 735

No need to RSVP – just mark your calendar to join us, and bring your lunch!

You could also participate in this webinar at your workstation if you prefer – please visit wellwisconsin.staywell.com and go to Webinars to register.

Wellness webinars highlighting various health and well-being topics will take place the 3rd Wednesday of each month. All webinars will be recorded and available to Well Wisconsin Program participants on the wellness portal after the event date.

To access the wellness portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or enrolled spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program.

Produce May Be the Key to Happiness

 

VeggiesWord

A silver lining … and a slice of apple? Research shows fruits and vegetables not only nourish your body—they also make you happier.

One possible explanation: The feel-good boost of knowing you’re eating healthy. By now, almost everyone has heard that fruits and vegetables form the cornerstone of a nutritious diet. So you should rightfully feel proud of placing them on your plate.

The Brain Power of Produce

But that’s not all. Healthy compounds in produce help your brain function properly, improving your psychological health. Star nutrients include:

Complex carbohydrates. All carbs provide an instant lift as glucose, insulin, and serotonin flow through your veins. But unlike simple sugars, which often cause you to quickly crash, complex carbs from starchy veggies and fruits keep your blood sugar and hormone levels steady.

B vitamins, including folate and vitamin B-6. Your body needs these nutrients to produce brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Fall short and your emotions tend to run off track.

Some evidence also suggests that antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, including vitamins C and E, may help combat a process in your body that triggers cell damage. The jury is still out, but it’s possible antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may help keep your mood intact, and in particular, protect against depression.

Which Fruits and Veggies to Choose?

Health experts recommend at least five to nine servings per day of fruits and veggies. Create your own mood-boosting shopping list with these picks. They’re easy to find, low-cost, and can all fit into dishes your whole family will love.

Peas: Mix into pasta; stir into salads; or combine with onion, garlic, broth, and seasonings for a tasty soup.

Spinach: Use as a pizza topping, heat up frozen greens as a side dish, or heat in a pan with chickpeas for a tasty beans-and-greens sauté.

Bananas: Think beyond cereal—try bananas blended into smoothies, sliced lengthwise and topped with frozen yogurt, or even tossed with apples, lettuce, and peanuts for an unexpected salad.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

How to Handle Fruits and Vegetables

The skin of fresh fruits and vegetables can have germs that can make you sick. They also can contain chemicals that farmers use to help the plants grow. That’s why it’s a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Here are some tips:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling fruits and vegetables.Washing_peppers
  2. Rinse all fresh fruit and vegetables with warm water, even if you don’t eat the skin or peel. Germs on the skin or peel can spread to the inside when you cut or peel it.
  3. If there is a firm skin, such as on apples or potatoes, use a scrub brush to clean it.
  4. Cut away bruised or damaged areas on fruits and vegetables before you eat them.
  5. Most fresh fruits and vegetables will stay fresher if put in the refrigerator, but some will not. For example, it is OK to keep potatoes and bananas on the kitchen counter. But return cut and peeled fruits and vegetables to the refrigerator within two hours. Put them in the crisper and cover them.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

Color Yourself Healthy

VeggieRainbow

You can find a rainbow of colors in the produce section at your supermarket, and all that color provides big nutritional benefits.

When you shop, look for the most vividly colored fruits and vegetables. Colorful plant chemicals—such as carotenoids and flavonoids—contain antioxidants that can strengthen your immune system, protect your body’s cells from disease-causing free radicals, and may prevent some types of cancer or heart disease.

Different colors mean different types of antioxidants with different benefits. Here’s a guide:

The Reds

This hue is a sign of antioxidants that may reduce your risk for cancer and protect your heart. Consider putting these in your cart:

  • Cranberries
  • Pomegranates
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries and strawberries
  • Red bell peppers
  • Red grapes
  • Tomatoes

The Oranges and Yellows

They are packed with carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C. These nutrients promote heart health and vision and may reduce the risk for certain cancers. Shop for these bright foods:

  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Oranges, lemons, grapefruit
  • Peaches
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potatoes

 The Greens

Green vegetables contain a slew of antioxidants. They are also a rich source of other health essentials, such as folate, minerals, and fiber.  Add these to your menu:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collard greens
  • Green bell peppers
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

The Blues and Purples

Fruits and veggies that are blue and purple offer many of the same benefits as red items. Fill up on these deeply hued choices:

  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Plums
  • Purple grapes and juice

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

August Wellness Webinar: Fitting a Healthy Life in a Hectic Lifestyle

AugWebinar

Life can be busy. Filled with meetings, deadlines and family commitments. It’s no wonder that exercise gets put to the wayside and our meals are made at the drive-thru window. This webinar will discuss simple tricks and tips you can use to make healthy living fit into your hectic lifestyle.

Date: Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Location: Cofrin Library, 7th floor, room 735

No need to RSVP – just mark your calendar to join us, and bring your lunch!

You could also participate in this webinar at your workstation if you prefer – please visit wellwisconsin.staywell.com and go to Webinars to register.

Wellness webinars highlighting various health and well-being topics will take place the 3rd Wednesday of each month. All webinars will be recorded and available to Well Wisconsin Program participants on the wellness portal after the event date.

To access the wellness portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or enrolled spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program.

The Benefits of Mindful Eating

Rushing through meals, barely acknowledging the food you put in your mouth, deprives you of the pleasure of eating and may impact Appleyour health.

A study in the Journal of Obesity found that the more study participants practiced mindful eating, the greater their ability to reduce anxiety, skip eating comfort food to ease stress, and avoid eating in response to emotions. That helped them lose weight in the abdominal area.

To practice mindful eating, try these exercises:

• Be mindful of food prior to eating it. Before you eat something, silently do the following for 30 seconds: Look closely at the food in front of you, noticing the colors and shapes. Smell the food and enjoy the aroma. Consider all the plants and animals that are part of the food. Acknowledge the effort of everyone who was involved in making the food. Envision yourself eating the food mindfully with attention.

• Take mindful bites. Be aware of your movements as you bring food to your mouth. When the food is in your mouth, put your hands, silverware, or chopsticks down. As you chew, pay attention to the taste and texture of the food and to the act of chewing. Chew until the food is smooth, then swallow. After swallowing, pause for a few seconds before picking up more food or your utensils.

• Mind your chews. Pay attention to how many chews it takes for you to eat a particular food. Begin by taking a bite of food and then counting the number of chews it takes you to completely chew it up. Then take a smaller bite of the same food and count the number of chews you need, followed by taking a larger-than-normal bite and noting the number of chews. This practice can help you focus specifically on the act of eating when your attention is wandering.

Easy ways to practice mindful eating include:

  • Making eating your only activity without reading, talking on your cellphone, watching TV, texting, computing, or working
  • Eating with chopsticks or with your non-dominant hand
  • Chewing each bite 30 to 50 times
  • Sitting at a table when you eat

Slowing down and practicing mindful eating has the potential to transform your relationship with food. Reducing distractions is key to the experience.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

What is Mindfulness and What Does it Mean?

Stones

Mindfulness is defined as being present in the moment in a nonjudgmental way. Becoming mindful in our lives expresses itself in multiple ways:

  • Being aware and accepting of present experience
  • Bringing focus, awareness and attention to the present moment
  • “Single-tasking” rather than multi-tasking
  • Being wholeheartedly present here and now
  • Appreciating the present moment rather than wishing it away
  • Being attentive to what you are doing rather than operating automatically
  • Nurturing attitudes of acceptance and non-judgment, which adds warmth, friendliness and compassion

You can practice mindfulness in almost everything you do.

Informal Practice – involves reminding ourselves throughout the day to focus our attention on whatever is happening in the moment, which increases our ability to respond effectively. A simple example is becoming more mindful of our movement, which may lead to taking the stairs instead of the elevator or bicycling instead of driving.  Practicing mindfulness in this way involves experiences like:

  • noticing the sensations of walking when we walk
  • noticing the taste of our food when we eat
  • noticing the clouds and the trees as we pass them
  • noticing the feel of soapy water on our hands when washing dishes
  • focusing our attention on our friends and family when we’re with them

Opportunities for informal mindfulness practice are infinite.  At every moment, when it’s not necessary to be planning or thinking, we can simply bring our attention to what is happening in our sensory awareness.

Formal Practice – involves setting aside time to go to the mental “gym.”  Unlike informal practice, in which we’re accomplishing another task while practicing mindfulness, formal practice means dedicating a period of time entirely to cultivating mindfulness per se.  Mindfulness meditation is a formal practice that has been studied scientifically.  This practice involves choosing an object of attention such as the breath or another sensation and returning our attention to that object each time the mind wanders. Through this formal practice we develop a degree of concentration that allows us to focus closer attention to any physical or emotional sensation, such as an itch, ache, sound or feeling. Regardless of the object of attention, we practice being aware of the present experience with acceptance.

Why Practice Mindfulness?

Do you ever find yourself worrying about the future, feeling angry or sad, feeling guilty or ashamed, getting upset about physical pain, or just feeling bored or stressed?  Sometimes the feeling is more subtle and you may just feel “out of sorts.”  There may be times when you get taken over by anxiety, depression, addictions, pain or other stress-related symptoms that make it difficult to function.  Emotional suffering comes in all forms.  Mindfulness is a way of relating to life that holds the promise of both alleviating our suffering and making our lives richer and more meaningful.

The point of being mindful is to develop a close relationship with your own mind. You become more familiar with what you are thinking and feeling, and less reactive to the thoughts, emotions and cravings you have.  Mindfulness is a practical way to develop our ability to see the world around us more clearly and understand ourselves and others better, so that we might live a more joyful and fulfilling life.

Mindfulness practices have been around for thousands of years.  Research in the past twenty-five years has proven that mindfulness can help people with a vast range of emotional and physical disorders, which has led many people from all walks of life to be more open to the practice including hospitals, businesses, governments, athletes, schools and the military.

Stress has been cited as a cause of more than 70% of all family doctor visits for illness and 66% of Americans report having trouble focusing at work because of stress.  Job stress costs U.S. industries more than $300 billion per year.  These costs include missed work, employee turnover, decreased productivity, and medical, legal and insurance costs. Mindfulness programs have been shown to help reduce many stress-related symptoms and improve overall health, including outcomes such as the following:

  • 80% fewer hospitalizations for heart disease
  • 83% improvement in decision making skills
  • 60-70% fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression

Benefits of Mindfulness

Meditation practice can yield all of the following benefits:

  • Strengthened immune system
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Balanced hormones
  • Improved digestion
  • Help maintain weight
  • Increased ability to relax
  • Reduced fatigue and anxiety
  • Increased energy
  • New coping skills
  • Better brain function
  • Sense of calm
  • Decreased depression
  • Help with relationships
  • Enhanced listening skills
  • Focus on goals and meaning
  • Resiliency

Just how can the simple practice of mindfulness provide all of these positive benefits?  Paying attention to the present moment can improve the functioning of the body and brain in two specific ways. Mindfulness:

  1. Helps You Be Less Reactive – When you slow the mind, you think more clearly.  You respond thoughtfully instead of simply reacting.  Many people use the same coping mechanism over and over, repeatedly reacting the same way without thinking.  Although this coping mechanism may be a healthy one, such as choosing walking or jogging rather than food or alcohol when frustrated, being mindful allows you to be intentional about healthy choices.  Being mindful also helps you be more aware of how you unconsciously and consciously react to stress so you can find new ways to deal with the situation.
  2. Helps Relax Your Body – Short-term effects of mindfulness on the body are similar to the benefits of relaxation. When you are in a mindful state, you experience a decrease in perspiration, a slower heart rate, and changes in alpha waves in your brain.  These physiological changes are evidence that your body is going into relaxation mode. Your body can’t be relaxed and stressed at the same time so, when you are relaxed, you think more clearly and tend to make wiser decisions.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

Fourth of July Salsa

4thJuly(Recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 cup diced jicama
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, strawberries, jicama, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, and lime juice.
  2. Stir until well combined.
  3. Season with salt, to taste.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips at room temperature or chilled.

Yield: 3 cups

Note-this salsa is also great with grilled fish or chicken. It is best eaten the day it is made.

Nutrition Facts for ¼ cup: 21 calories ∙ 5 g carb ∙ 0 g protein ∙ 0 g fat

Recipe provided by Bethany Soderlund, UWGB Dietetic Intern

The Farmer’s Market: A Rainbow of Opportunity

With Summer around the corner, let’s talk Farmer’s Market! The Farmer’s Market offers an abundant selection of fruits and vegetables. Visit the Green Bay Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays to support your local farming community and provide you and your family with nutritious produce.

Fresh fruits and vegetables come in a assortment of colors which means they contain a diverse selection of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed to protect the immune system and prevent diseases including cancer. Produce also contains fiber. Fiber helps keep you fuller longer, aids in normal digestion, and regulates blood sugar levels. Fruits and vegetables offer our bodies a variety of health benefits.

Purchasing fresh produce might be a concern because they have a shorter shelf life. Keep produce fresher longer by storing in the refrigerator which slows the ripening process. Washing produce right before use also helps to increase the shelf life. If you do find yourself with expiring fruits and vegetables, try some of these ideas below:

  • Make a veggie stir-fry.Veggies
  • Grill veggies for a side.
  • Serve fresh cut veggies with hummus, guacamole or bean dip.
  • Dip apple slices in peanut butter.
  • Prepare a savory salsa with tomatoes, onion and peppers.
  • Toss a sweet salsa together with berries, mango and pineapple.

The Farmer’s Market is a perfect time to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.  There are so many delicious ways to use your Farmer’s Market purchases.  Discover the colorful and nutritious opportunities at this year’s Farmer’s Market beginning May 31st!

Article provided by Bethany Soderlund, UWGB Dietetic Intern