5 Tips to Minimize Bone Loss in Menopause

It's Never Too Early to Start!

You lose more bone mass in menopause because your body is producing less estrogen. This increases your risk of bone fractures due to osteoporosis.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. Making wise choices, changing some bad habits, and consulting with your doctor can minimize bone loss, and improve your quality of life.

Here are five tips to minimize bone loss in menopause:

Enjoy the Sunshine

The conventional wisdom is that you shouldn’t go out in the sun without sunscreen. However, enjoying the sun for 15-20 minutes a few times a week, allows you to soak up Vitamin D3. This feel-good vitamin not only helps you build bone mass, it also brightens your mood.

Quit Smoking

Smoking may relax you, but it reduces the amount of calcium in your bones, and interferes with Vitamin D production. There are many over the counter products to help you quit smoking, or you can  join a smoking cessation group.

Weight Bearing Exercise

Walking, jogging, or strength training helps keep bones strong. If you have arthritis or osteoporosis, ask your doctor which exercises would be appropriate for you. If you’re a member of a gym, many personal trainers will give you at least a complimentary session, so take advantage of that.

Foods High in Calcium

Fish with bones such as salmon, sardines, or whitebait, are rich in calcium, and can be served as a main dish, added to a casserole, or used as a tasty protein over salad greens. Other good sources of calcium include almonds, broccoli, collard greens, dried figs, soy milk, and fortified tofu.

Calcium Supplements

It may not be possible to get all the calcium you need from your diet. Unless you take hormone therapy, you need between 1000-1500 mg a day. Take two to three times a day, because the body only absorbs about 500mg at a time.

 

Are You Sick and Tired of Bad News?

One Positive Thing That Will Have You Smiling!

 

I’ve decided my days of being a news junkie are over. I’m tired of hearing about the senseless things people say and do, and the current administration in Washington leaves a lot to be desired.

What I have been doing more of is seeking out positive news stories. There is still a lot of good in the world, you just have to look for it. Surprisingly, we often overlook the blessings we have already experienced.

I was reading an article this morning about the benefits of having a blessings bowl. You may be thinking what in the world is a blessings bowl? As you go through your day, think about all the things you are grateful for. Write these things down on a small slip of paper or Post-It note and put it in your blessings bowl.  At the end of the year, read each slip of paper, and you’ll be surprised at how much is going right in your life.

If you want to get fancy about it, you can order a beautiful blessings bowl online. There are sets that have the blessing bowl, a pen and paper, ribbon, and instructions on how to use it.  However, if your wallet is flatter than a pancake, use any bowl you have on hand, a pot, or even a hat.

A blessings bowl makes a nice gift for a friend or family member. Instead of writing what you’re grateful for, think of all the helpful things this person has done for you and write them down. Once the bowl is full, you have a nice gift that will be cherished forever.

It’s easy to get lost in our crazy world, and counting your blessings keeps your emotions in check, and you realize that you are still making a difference in your own life, and in the lives of others.

What are you grateful for today?

 

 

 

Do You Feel Like A Walking Zombie?

Tips and Tricks to Reduce Sleep Apnea

 

Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of menopause.  The culprit may be hormonal changes, but you may also suffer from sleep apnea. This is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when your breathing repeatedly stops during sleep. Your brain and the rest of your body may be starved of oxygen.

You may be more likely to suffer from sleep apnea if you’re overweight, over the age of 40, diabetic, or have high blood pressure or heart problems. A large neck, tonsils,or tongue may also cause sleep apnea.

You can’t perform at your best if you’re not well rested and you may feel sleepy during the day, which can affect your job performance. It’s especially dangerous if you get sleepy while driving.

Your doctor may order a sleep study to confirm that you are suffering from sleep apnea. You report to the sleep center, and the technician takes a brief medical history. Then over 20 wire electrodes are applied to your head, face, and body, and this measures brain waves, eye movements, heart, respiration, oxygen levels, snoring, and muscle tone while you’re sleeping.

Depending on your sleep study results, you may be advised to use  continuous positive airway pressure, which is commonly referred to as a CPAP. You wear a mask over your nose and mouth and air flow helps keep  your airway open and you breath easier.  Check with your insurance to see if a CPAP is covered, because some insurances will pick up the whole tab.

There are also lifestyle changes you can make that may improve your sleep apnea. Losing weight is one of the most important. Excess weight may cause the throat and tongue muscles to become too relaxed, and that blocks your airway.

If you sleep on your back, try switching to your side for at least part of the night. You won’t snore as loudly, and it’s easier to breathe.

This one should be a no-brainer, but smoking can increase the swelling in the upper airway, so enroll in a stop-smoking class or purchase a product that gradually weans you off cigarettes. Your whole body will thank you.

What has been your experience with a CPAP?

 

Is Hand and Arm Pain KeepingYou Awake?

4 Home Remedies For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I remember when I was 28 I woke up with the worst hand and arm pain I have ever experienced. It felt like someone was giving me constant electrical shocks.  When I went to the doctor, I found out that I had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by a pinched nerve in your wrist, and is more common in women. This is probably because women have smaller carpal tunnels. The most common cause seems to be working on a computer or other job where you’re constantly flexing your wrist.

Other causes may include high blood pressure, fluid retention in menopause, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination and tests, and there are also things you can do at home to relieve the pain. Here are four home remedies to relieve the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome:

Wear Splints at Night

I have been wearing splints to bed since I was in my late 20s, and it holds my wrists still while I sleep. It isn’t the most fun thing to do, but if I skip it, my wrists are tingling and achy. I’m lucky because my insurance covers the cost of the splints.

Take Quick Breaks

If you’re at work, you might have to be more discreet, but in addition to your regularly scheduled breaks, stretch your fingers and palms. Most bosses know that you need to stretch, so it shouldn’t be that much of a problem.

Take a Pain Reliever

Sometimes you just want the pain to quickly go away, and taking an Ibuprofen or Advil can really make a difference. Talk to your doctor about the correct dosage and how often you should take it. It can make you sleepy, so be careful when you are at work.

Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach

When you sleep on your stomach, you may be gripping your pillow, and that can cause pain and numbness in your hands and wrist.

I tried home remedies but needed to have surgery on both my right and left wrists. I still need to wear splints to type and to sleep.  You may want to look for another job so you’re not always flexing your wrist.

 

Why Your Smoothie May Not Be Healthy

Try One of These Healthy Substitutes!

Smoothies are popular with the diet crowd, and by combining and blending different fruits with a vegetable, you may feel like you’re meeting your nutritional requirements.

On those busy mornings when you don’t have time to prepare a full-course breakfast, drinking a smoothie will keep you from starving to death before lunch. However, like everything else in life, there is always a down side.

You May Still Feel Hungry

Liquids may not satisfy your appetite like solid food, and so you may eat more later in the day, which can send the scale into overdrive.

It Affects Your Blood Sugar

According to Dr. Thomas M. Campbell, medical director of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, “When you blend fruit with a veggie, you’re absorbing much more of the fruit and that can cause a rapid rise and fall of your blood sugar. Your energy can plummet, which makes for a very tiring day.

There Are Healthier Substitutes

Fruits and vegetables in their natural form provide needed nutrients, and they’re easy to prepare ahead of time. Cut melons into cubes, have a bowl of grapes on hand, or make a fruit salad with apples, pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries, which is my personal favorite.

Put some cooked greens in a Ziploc and mix into omelets or scrambled eggs. You’ll have to get up earlier, but the protein will give you energy to motor through your day. Layer cucumbers on sandwiches and top with a juicy tomato.

This doesn’t mean that you can never have another smoothie, but don’t make it an everyday thing. As a time saver, you can mix your smoothie the night before so it’s ready for you when you need it.

What has been your experience with Smoothies?

Is Your Job Getting On Your Nerves?

4 Tips for Taking a Mental Health Day

 

When I was in the work force, there were days that were so stressful I was about to snap. I worked the phones for a large insurance company, and guess who was often on the other end of the line? That’s right, customers who were irate about their insurance premiums, and it was my job to calm them down and resolve the problem.

I definitely needed a mental health day where I could just take off work and do something fun, and try to forget what a bitchy office I worked in. According to workplace help expert Brandon Smith, “there are four signs that you need a mental health day.”

You Can’t Sleep

It’s not always possible to leave your problems at the office, and you may find yourself stewing over a work problem to the point that at bedtime you’re tossing and turning, and can’t fall asleep. If you do fall asleep, you may wake up in the wee hours of the morning with your mind still racing.

(Who Cares) Attitude

I remember when I would get multiple rude customers, I developed a (who cares) attitude, and wasn’t as worried about giving the right information. I even entertained the thought that I might be fired, and then I could find a less stressful job.

You’re Cranky with Friends and Family

This one is always a catch-22 because you may feel you can’t blow up at your boss, but taking your frustrations out on your friends and family doesn’t solve your work problems. Activities that you used to enjoy are not fun anymore if you’re constantly thinking about what is going on at work.

You’re Stressed About Past Problems

It was hard for me to shake off the rude callers, and I would still be stressing over what happened a week ago. Very few of my calls were people who were praising the company, and it seemed like I never could take a break from all the complaints.

Don’t feel guilty about taking a mental health day. If you’re sick you take off to go to the doctor and take care of yourself. Your mind also deserves a rest. Listen to music, exercise, shop, hang out with friends, or just relax with a good book. You’ll be in a much better frame of mind when you return to work.

What do you like to do on mental health days?

4 Foods That Get a Bad Nutritional Rap

They're So Good You Won't Even Feel Like You're Dieting!

It seems like we are always on a diet. Too much holiday cheer, pigging out at the buffet, or just not keeping close track of calories can add pounds in a hurry.

You know the healthy foods you should eat, such as yogurt, whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and veggies. However, many times the foods you think might be bad for your diet, are actually nutritious and can help you keep your diet on track.

Here are four foods that get a bad nutritional rap:

Peanut Butter

I would like to raise a toast to the man that invented peanut butter. Yes, it may be high in fat, but the majority of fat is made up of healthy monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated oils. The high protein count will give you extra energy, and it is rich in Vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, and antioxidants.

When you shop for peanut butter, buy a natural brand that just contains ground peanuts, and avoid brands that have trans fat, high fructose corn syrup or too much salt.

Bananas

Bananas are my favorite fruit, but have received a bad rap because they’re high in calories and carbohydrates. On the plus side, bananas are packed with potassium, vitamin A, folic acid, and fiber. Remember, a half a banana is one serving. I just have to point out with a little peanut butter spread on they are over-the-top delicious.

Potatoes

Who doesn’t love a fully loaded baked potato? It makes my mouth water just thinking about that crispy bacon, sour cream, butter and cheese.

Unfortunately, if you are interested in losing weight, you’ll have to skip the loaded version, but you won’t have to skimp on flavor. Replace sour cream with low-fat Greek Yogurt, which only has ten calories per tablespoon. Season your baked potato with thyme, fresh chives, and rosemary.

Egg Yolks

Every time I go out to breakfast, it seems I always see an egg white omelet as one of the daily specials. Many people don’t eat egg yolks because they are afraid their cholesterol will go up.  You miss out on so many vital nutrients such as choline, which promotes neurological function, and lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy vision.

Limit yourself to four egg yolks a week and if you have any questions, consult your doctor or dietitian.

5 Drug-Free Tips to Control Hypertension

You Will Be Happier and Healthier!

 

Americans have a love affair with salty snacks. Nibbling on foods such as chips, crackers, deli meats and fries, has caused an epidemic of high blood pressure problems. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1500 mg. of salt is the ideal daily limit, but some people are consuming as much as 3400 mg.

Eating too much salt in menopause can cause hot flashes, palpitations, and may lead to dehydration. Here are five drug-free tips to control hypertension in menopause:

Limit Eating Out

Restaurants are notorious for adding too much salt, and since portions are larger, you can easily go over your daily limit. Cooking at home lets you keep an eye on portion size and either eliminate or reduce added salt.

Home Monitoring

Blood pressure monitors are inexpensive, and let you keep tabs on your blood pressure. You can adjust lifestyle changes if the numbers are too high, or call your doctor to deal with complications. Best of all, you can buy a blood pressure monitor without a prescription.

Keep a Food Diary

Write down everything that you eat in a week’s time. List each food, portion size, time of day, and why. Were you hungry or just stewing over a problem and used food to make you feel better?

Buy Low-Sodium Foods

Stores feature a wide variety of no or low-sodium foods. If you like cereal for breakfast, try shredded wheat, oatmeal, or muesli. Snack on unsalted popcorn, rice cakes, unsalted nuts, or plain breadsticks.

Use Juices and Spices for Flavor

For flavorful veggies and salads, use lemon juice or freshly-squeezed lime juice. I like sweet potatoes, which can be drizzled with lemon juice and black pepper before roasting. Make your own seasoning for meats by combining 1 tsp. of paprika, 1 tsp. garlic powder, and 1 tsp onion powder.

Is Keeping Up With Exercise Driving You Crazy?

5 Benefits of Wearing a Fitbit Flex

 

Staying fit is a priority at any age, but especially in the menopause years it’s easy to slack off on exercise and the next thing you know you’re piling on the pounds.

That’s why I am saving up my money to buy a Fitbit Flex. If you’re not familiar with the Fitbit Flex, it is a solid basic bracelet that you wear on your wrist. You program in your fitness goals, and the Fitbit keeps track of your progress.

It’s designed to be worn 24 hours a day, and even has a vibrating alarm that will tell you when it is time to get up and start your day.

Here are five benefits of wearing a Fitbit Flex:

It’s Waterproof:

When you drive to the gym to swim laps, you don’t have to worry about taking off the Fitbit Flex and possibly losing it. I like the fact that you can shower with it on and it just keeps on working.

Counts Daily Steps

You are probably on the go a good part of the day, and the Fitbit app keeps track of how many steps you’re taking on a daily basis. If you have set a goal of 10,000 steps a day, when you reach your goal, Fitbit awards you a fancy badge. It’s kind of like an extra pat on the back.

Tracks Water Intake

Use the Fitbit Flex app to monitor how much water you’re drinking. You even get a reminder if you’re not drinking enough fluid. What is really cool is that it takes the total water intake and calculates the average ounces a week.

Monitors Food Intake

You may have used apps before to calculate your food intake, but the Fitbit Flex app has a chart that shows you how many calories you’ve taken in vs. how many calories you’ve burned off. Follow the meal shortcuts so you don’t have to stand over a hot stove all day.

Tracks Sleep Patterns

The Fitbit app tracks your sleep so you can see how well you slept, and the times you were awake and restless. You’re going to be more productive if you’re well rested, so you can identify the things that are keeping you awake, and take action to eliminate them.

 

 

 

Are Wordly Worries Weighing You Down?

5 Benefits of Attending Church

 

I have to chuckle when my Mom talks about her church. I thought I was a foodie, but this congregation takes the prize when it comes to eating. The morning starts off with doughnuts, and then after the last hymn is sung there is a pow-wow in the parking lot about where to meet for lunch.

After a long afternoon nap, whoever can still rise to a standing position, lumbers out to the car, and drives back to the church for a potluck and evening program.

A good feast is always a good thing in my book, and it is fun to fellowship and meet new friends. Here are four other benefits of attending church:

Time of Reflection

Menopause is typically a time when you are an empty nester, and you’ve been so busy tending to everyone else’s needs that you lose sight of what is important in your life. Following the teachings of your church can lead to massive personal growth, and you’ll wonder what you can do to make the world a better place.

Positive Environment

You’re not smoking and drinking at some honky-tonk bar, or doing drugs with the in-crowd. When you’re going through hard times, the church can be a great support system. Listening to positive sermons encourages you to live a better life and develop to your full potential.

Giving Back

There is always some type of program that needs a healthy infusion of cash, or some able-bodied volunteers. You can teach Sunday school, help serve at coffee hour, volunteer in the office, or offer to help with gardening or lawn maintenance.

Fellowship with God

If you could count all the things you worry about on a daily basis, I’m sure you would have a very impressive list. There are plenty of opportunities to pray with like believers, or you can seek out a private area and pray on your own.

Let God handle your problems and you’ll leave church with a lighter, more carefree spirit.