Spring Vegetables

Spring is almost here, which means warmer weather and more sunlight. For some, the spring season can mean a fresh start. Spring is also a great time to make healthier choices when it comes to food, which can include incorporating more vegetables into your diet.

These colorful vegetables are in season right now and are very versatile – they can be consumed whether they’re fresh, frozen, or even in the form of a smoothie. Another good thing is – these don’t require much time or effort at all.

  • Kale is high in vitamins A, C, and K, and very low in calories. It’s easy to add in a salad, or you can substitute it for bread if you choose to make a healthy lunch wrap.
  • Spinach is a great source of iron, folate, and magnesium. It can also be added to salads or eaten on the side of a dish such as grilled chicken.
  • Asparagus contains a prebiotic named inulin that aids digestive healthy by promoting the growth of good bacteria. It also contains many anti-inflammatory nutrients that act as antioxidants. Artichokes provide fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They are a great source of lutein, which promotes heart health. Salmon with a side of grilled asparagus is a very popular dish.
  • Spring peas provide folic acid, fiber, and vitamin B6. They have been recognized as a source of alpha-linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Sweet spring peas can be eaten raw with a salad.
  • Broccoli contains the antioxidant named sulforaphane, which studies have shown to have anti-cancer effects. Broccoli can help support digestive health. You can lightly steam broccoli for about 5 minutes and have it on the side of a dish.
  • Avocadoes are considered a great source of folate, which is one of the B-vitamins needed to make red and white blood cells in bone marrow, convert carbs into energy, and produce DNA and RNA. You can mash up avocados in order to make guacamole, eat it on toast, or even have it with scrambled eggs.
  • Brussel sprouts contain potassium and are high in vitamins C and K. You can coat Brussel sprouts in olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice, and roast them.
  • Artichokes nourish the probiotics in your digestive system and also help reduce inflammation in your body. Artichokes are best when steamed or braised, or you can even make it into a soup with other vegetables.
  • Tomatoes contain many antioxidants and they can go with just about any meal. You can add them to salads, soups, or choose to eat them as a snack.
  • Red bell peppers are high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Red bell peppers are sweet and you can even eat it as a snack. Green, yellow, and orange bell peppers are healthy as well, but red bell peppers have more nutritional value.

Speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about the effects these vegetables will have on your body and overall health.

 

Written by Dami Falade

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10 Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis and has been used around the world for medicinal purposes. Green tea is consumed as a beverage and can also be taken in supplements. There are many different types available and it is very versatile.

Here are the top 10 health benefits of drinking green tea.

  • Compounds in green tea can improve brain function, mental performance, and prevent cognitive decline. The two main compounds in green tea, L-theanine and coffee, can significantly boost levels of attention and alertness.
  • Increases fat burning and improves physical performance. Green tea increases metabolism and the nutrients found in green tea works to increase levels of fat burning.
  • Improves bone density. The bioactive components of green tea help decrease the risk of fractures by improving bone mineral density.
  • Can kill bacteria, which improves dental health and lowers your risk for infection. Green tea has natural antibiotic and antifungal properties and can protect against cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
  • May lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Green tea improves insulin sensitivity and helps protect against rapid rises and crashes in blood sugar levels.
  • Maintains a healthy cardiovascular system. Green tea contains significant amounts of antioxidants that protect against heart disease by preventing blood clots and improving blood vessel function.
  • Aids digestion. One of the ways that green tea promotes digestive healthy is because the catechins (antioxidants) found in green tea can help increases the activity of pepsin, a digestion enzyme.
  • Improves your mood and helps you relax. Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which is found in tea plants. L-theanine exhibits anti-anxiety effects by increasing dopamine levels in the brain and decreases blood pressure.
  • Live longer. Not only has green tea been found to help prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but it has also been found to prevent cancer, which can greatly impact one’s life expectancy.
  • Lowers blood sugar. Green tea helps reduce insulin resistance, which goes hand in hand with the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes.

Here are some more tips to make drinking green tea more enjoyable.

  • Be mindful of water temperature. Green tea should usually be brewed between 150 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to control water temperature is to use a tea kettle. If you don’t have one, you can simply boil water in a pot on the stove.
  • Don’t add sugar or honey. This may take away from the nutritional value of tea. A better alternative would be using mint or lemon juice.
  • Drink three to five cups a day for maximum health benefits.

Feel better, lose weight, lower your risk of chronic disease, and be healthier by incorporating green tea into your everyday routine!

 

Written by Dami Falade

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Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch

Packing your own lunch can save you money and cut down on daily calories. Although it can be tempting to eat fast food instead or have other sweet snacks, there are many options for easy and healthy lunches that you can take with you to work. Here are some tips that packing a healthy lunch can be less difficult.

  • Plan ahead! Have a meal prep day, if your schedule permits. Prepare some large batches of salad, soup, or another healthy recipe on the weekends so it can be packed into your Tupperware containers for the week. Store the containers in the fridge, and in the mornings, you can grab them on the way out the door.
  • Make extra dinner and pack up the leftovers. If you make a large healthy dinner, put some away in a container and refrigerate it for the next day.
  • Pack your lunch early. Making your lunch the night before can save time in the mornings.
  • Keep water on hand. You can pack a reusable water bottle that you like. Drink water throughout the day and at lunchtime so that you can stay hydrated. Try to avoid sugary drinks, like juices or soda.
  • Don’t force yourself to eat foods that you don’t like. If you pack foods that you won’t normally eat, you’re more than likely to toss it out and go eat at a restaurant instead.
  • Consider investing in Tupperware containers and a lunch bag to put your food in.
  • Skip the processed snacks. When adding snacks to your lunch, consider fresh fruit, raw veggies, or nuts instead of packing potato chips and candy.

Here are some healthy lunch ideas.

  • Switch noodles for veggies. You can make zucchini noodles, which has fewer carbohydrates, instead of eating whole grain pasta.
  • Protein is very versatile. You can do grilled chicken breasts, turkey, or hard-boiled eggs.
  • Instead of having a sandwich, eat a lettuce wrap. You can still incorporate your choice of protein, such as ground turkey meat or grilled chicken.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Baby carrots, avocados, celery, or grape tomatoes
  • Chili or chicken tortilla soup
  • Snacks: Besides fruits and veggies, try raw nuts or seeds.
  • Turkey meatballs with green vegetables – zucchini, spinach, or kale
  • Chicken or steak fajita bowls with bell peppers and low-fat cheese

Finding time to cook during the week can be tough, but you can start by making small steps to beat bad habits. Bringing your lunch to work is a great way to start or maintain healthy eating habits. Making smarter choices can save you time and calories!

 

Written by Dami Falade

Benefits of Encouraging Employees to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

The New Year is a great opportunity to advance individually and as a company. One of the best ways the company can grow is health-wise. Healthy employees improve the company’s culture and core values, therefore helping get the company to where it needs to be. Here are the benefits of supporting employees’ health:

Overall awareness. Employees will want to be more aware and have more of an incentive to pay attention to their health. Once they know your numbers – crucial indicators of health such as BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol – they will have the knowledge to take the necessary steps needed to make lifestyle changes.

It’s cost-effective. According to a study done by the CDC, employers may accumulate costs – upwards of $2 billion annually, per condition – relating to absenteeism for employees with common risk factors such as obesity, smoking, or living a sedentary lifestyle.

Absenteeism. Healthy employees get don’t get sick as much, which means that they are less likely to miss work. Absenteeism decreases as much as 27% for those who have a healthier diet and exercise on a regular basis.

Productivity – When employees decide to take action in regards to their health, one of the ways they can make adjustments to their lifestyle is by exercise. Being active will, in turn, improve employee attitude, energy, and focus.

Health problems are inevitable, but good health begins with proper preventive care. When employees feel cared for and supported health-wise, they make work possible and help the company to succeed.

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Energy Boosting Foods to Increase Workplace Productivity

The foods you eat lay the foundation for your overall body chemistry and processes. Here are some food and nutrients that are key to more energy and productivity:

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s important to not skip it. What you eat in the morning sets the tone for how your day will go. Eggs are one of the most common breakfast foods. Whether they’re hard-boiled or scrambled, eggs are packed with nutrients such as Vitamin B which improves reaction time.
  • Fresh fruit is a light snack that can be eaten for breakfast or even be eaten in between meals. Bananas, berries, apples, oranges, and melons are a great source of natural sugars, fibers, and healthy vitamins, which regulate the body’s blood sugar.
  • Although green tea does contain caffeine, this caffeine will not make your body crash and burn, as opposed to coffee. Aside from improving brain function, aiding with digestion, and fat burning, drinking green tea helps you concentrate better.
  • Kale: Kale is very versatile – it can be eaten in salads or can even be blended into a smoothie with other fruits and vegetables. Kale is a great source of iron and Vitamin C, which improves overall blood flow and blood clotting. It also preserves vision quality.
  • Chicken: Chicken breasts are another versatile food that are low fat and packed with protein. Instead of deep frying, it can be grilled the night before and eat it for lunch with a salad, or with some vegetables on the side.
  • Nuts: Nuts are a great source of natural fat and protein that the body needs in order to be healthy. Not only do they contain antioxidants and Vitamin E, they’ll give your body the natural increase in memory and overall brain performance. You can have them as a snack in between meals.
  • Avocados: One of the best ways to increase productivity is to have a consistent and steady blood flow to the heart and brain. Avocados help blood flow and also improve focus.
  • And last but not least, water. The human body is made up of 70% water. Every single organ in your body uses water so that it can work well. Studies have shown that drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will provide your brain the fuel it needs to think clearly and quickly, and be more focused.

The World Health Organization has confirmed that when the right foods are consumed, brain power can increase by as much as 20%. Eating healthy is not just a temporary fix – it’s a lifestyle choice. With food, it can be easier to go with the cheapest or faster option, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the most beneficial option. When you make healthier choices, you will feel better inside and out!

6 tips for healthy holiday eating

The holiday season is in effect and we all know that means festive food overload. A lot of eating followed by weight gain is a typical pattern for most people. The good news is you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite holiday foods in order to maintain health during the last seasons of the year.  These 6 tips will help you indulge your favorite foods while reducing the impact of negative consequences:

  1. Portion Control

Portion size is important throughout the entire year, but especially during the holidays. Opportunities to eat festive snacks and desserts will happen often. Eating smaller portions and lessening how frequently you eat holiday treats can help gear you away from weight gain.

  1. Eat when you’re hungry

Holiday parties and potlucks happen recurrently and it’s important to indulge only when you’re hungry. Don’t treat yourself only because the food is available.

  1. Pace yourself

Eat slowly and savor every bite. Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds to see if you really are still hungry.

  1. Do not skip meals throughout the day

Skipping meals throughout the day to prepare for a big holiday feast may lead to overeating. It is especially important to have breakfast, as research shows that those who eat this important morning meal tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day.

  1. Strategize

There are many strategies to help you avoid overeating. For instance, using a smaller plate allows you to serve yourself less food. Also, eating vegetables and a salad before entrees and desserts can help you become full faster and prevent you from overeating on foods with higher calories like desserts, pasta, and bread.

  1. Stay active

Chilly weather tends to give people the urge to want to stay indoors, but don’t worry there are plenty of indoor activities that allow you to get a workout done while staying warm. There are plenty of options to choose from like walking up and down the stairs at home or at the workplace, working out at the gym or even joining an indoor sports team like basketball.

Eating healthy and staying active during the holiday season is achievable by being mindful of your food intake and ensuring you are continuing your workout schedule.

Nova Medical Centers specializes in occupational health. Attending to your health and safety needs is our number one priority. We proudly offer onsite health fairs that provide employees with health tips, blood pressure checks, BMI and much more. Contact us today to schedule a health fair or for more information on any of our other services.

 

Written by Nayda Sanchez

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