Nourish Your Noggin: Top 10 Foods To Improve Your Mind

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By: Callie Miller MHS, RD, LD and Deena Lajoie MS, RD, CSOWM, LD, CLT at Idaho Nutrition Associates
 
We often hear from clients their main goal is to eat healthy, feel fit, lose weight, and look and feel confident in their own bodies. Rarely does a client walk through our door looking for tips to improve their brain function to prevent depression, anxiety, or even Alzheimer’s disease. It’s important to note that nutrition plays a critical role in your brain health. Eating certain foods can help improve memory, reduce “brain fog”, and overall help reduce the risk for depression or other mood disorders. Let’s face it, the happier we are, the more likely we are to exercise and eat healthy. It’s also good to note there are key nutrients that can help our brains function properly. Continue reading to learn more about the top 10 foods that can help your brain function properly.
 
1. Fish
We can’t stress enough the importance of fish consumption. The reason it benefits your brain is due to its high EPA and DHA omega-3 content. These types of fats cannot be made in the body, thus you must consume them. Every cell relies on omega-3’s to carry out essential functions in the body. In regards to brain health, it helps activate and enhance brain activity, thus providing your brain essential nutrients to function properly. Aim for a 4 ounce serving twice per week of salmon, cod, haddock, tuna, or halibut. Not a fish lover? Consider taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement of up to 1,000 mg per day. Allergic to fish? Skip down to #4 on nuts and seeds; there is more than one way to consume omega-3’s, however, fish is one of the best sources.
 
2. Berries
Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, you name it. Berries are full of antioxidants which have been shown to reduce aging in the brain. Realistically, people should consume antioxidant rich foods on a daily basis. Help yourself to these healthy and sweet treats.
 
3. Broccoli and its cruciferous cousins
Spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, anything green and leafy provides a substantial amount of antioxidants which, again, can delay aging in the brain. They are also full of fiber, which benefits the gut microbiota. Research indicates a strong gut microbiome can impact neurotransmitter responses and even reduce inflammation, which in turn can help protect the brain against aging.
 
4. Nuts and Seeds
Unsalted nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts) and seeds (flax, chia, hemp, sunflower) provide essential vitamin E which is an antioxidant to prevent aging and improve brain function. Walnuts, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds provide additional options for omega-3 intake.
 
5. Avocados
This delicious, creamy fruit is high in monounsaturated fats. These types of fats help improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. Healthy, constant blood flow to the brain helps it work properly. It is also high in fiber, which again can impact the gut microbiome. Try replacing butter with avocado on toast in the morning, adding to smoothies, or simply eating it as a snack. They are high in calorie, so make sure to consume the proper serving size (¼ of a large avocado).
 
6. Whole Grains
Whole grains can offer our brain (specifically our memory and mood) support. Whole grains provide essential B vitamins which help to reduce inflammation and promote energy in the body and brain. They are also rich in fiber, which can improve the gut microbiome as well. Try combining brain boosting foods by toasting whole wheat bread or an English muffin, add ¼ avocado as a spread, and have ½ cup berries on the side.
 
7. Dark Chocolate, Green Tea, and Coffee
Rich in flavonoids, which is a class of phytonutrients, dark chocolate, green tea, and coffee help improve cognition and could reduce inflammation. Black coffee and green tea have been shown to improve memory and potentially reduce the risk for dementia. All three are great and can be incorporated into your eating routine daily. Limit coffee to 3 cups or les per day, and avoid sugar-filled chocolate.
 
8. Eggs
Here’s where we get to mention a little bit about vitamin D. Research indicates vitamin D can impact mood and overall brain health. However, the only great source we can obtain vitamin D is through direct sunlight. There are some foods that contain vitamin D, including eggs. This protein packed food is also good for providing the brain vitamins B and E. Make sure to eat the yolk; this is where the nutrients are. Like the avocado, eggs still need to be eaten in the correct serving size. Aim for no more than 2 eggs per day.
 
9. Yogurt & Other Probiotic-Rich Foods
Consuming adequate amounts of probiotic-rich foods have been shown to reduce inflammation, anxiety, and sign of distress in regards to brain health. Having a good balance of good bacteria in the gut improves the Microbiota-Brain-Gut-Axis which can help reduce inflammation in the body and improve mood and memory. A good healthy dose of yogurt or kefir daily can take care of this recommendation. Remember, prebiotics (think fiber) help “feed” probiotics. Consume fiber-rich foods including green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and fruit (specifically berries) in addition to yogurt or kefir daily.
 
10. Red Wine
Raise a glass for the health benefits of resveratrol! This antioxidant has been shown to reduce cell damage and prevent plaque buildup in the brain. What does all this mean? It helps reduce aging, boost memory, and improve mood. A 5-ounce serving of red wine is preferable, as it has the most amount of resveratrol. Women can have one drink per day, and men two. Not a wine drinker? Go ahead and have the same serving of 100% grape juice daily.

One Pan Fits All

By: Ryan Vance, RDN, LD

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As the daylight lasts a little longer and the temperatures continue to climb, it gets harder to feel motivated to stick with everyday tasks. I, for one, want to take every opportunity to spend as much time outside enjoying the beautiful Boise weather. One of my favorite ways to save time around meals is to use the humble sheet pan-- the simple sheet of metal that allows several items to be cooked all at once. 
 
Believe it or not, you can make several healthy, crowd-pleasing, complete meals with a few simple ingredients, and some spices that satisfy, energize and save time. 
So break out the sheet pans, get the whole family fed, and then get out and enjoy all that sunshine.  
 
Below are a few simple sheet pan solutions for success 

  1. Select in Season: Selecting foods that are in season will ensure that you get the most nutrients, best flavors and, at times, can be cheaper than out of season items. Check out this website for a list of vegetables and when they are in season. With such a huge selection, I’m sure you’ll find something that interests you.  Also, by eating items in season it will ensure no one will ever get bored with the options.

  2. The Cut: As much as possible try to cut everything to the same size. This will ensure that they all cook evenly and will likely be done at the same time.

  3. Don’t Get Stuck: Utilize aluminum foil, parchment paper, and nonstick cooking spray if needed to ensure food won’t become forever glued to your sheet pan. This will also make clean up super easy and fast!

  4. Cooking Time: Put all ingredients of the same size together, don’t be afraid to add or stagger cooking times of food that may cook faster than others. For example, root vegetable and proteins like chicken will take longer to cook. Just add softer vegetables, like broccoli, asparagus or peppers to the sheet pan for the last 10-15min.

  5. Spice it Up: Adding oil, salt and pepper are the basics and often all that’s needed. You can also add additional flavors with spices. I love trying new things and often times I’m surprised at how well it turns out. A few great ones to start with are cumin, fennel seeds, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme. Curry powder is another one of my favorites.

  6. Is it Done Yet: Don’t be afraid to use a fork to check the doneness of vegetables and always us a thermometer to check any animal products. Here’s a link for proper cooking temps.

  7. Garnish: Once done cooking feel free to add fresh herbs. These will add flavor and color to your dish. Some of my go to’s are cilantro, scallions and chives. Also a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime is great.

For inspiration or ideas simply Google “sheet pan meals” and pick one that looks good to you!

February Newsletter

"To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." - Buddha


Colleen Shackelford, NP-C, receives American Association of Nurse Practitioners® Idaho State Award for Nurse Practitioner Excellence

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Colleen Shackelford, NP-C, has been named recipient of the 2019 American Association of Nurse Practitioners® Idaho State Award for Nurse Practitioner Excellence.  This prestigious award is given annually to a dedicated nurse practitioner (NP) and NP advocate in each state.  Recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony and reception held during the AANP 2019 National Conference, June 18—23, in Indianapolis.
 
        The State Award for NP Excellence, founded in 1991, recognizes a NP in each state who demonstrates excellence in practice.  In 1993, the State Award for NP Advocate Excellence was added to recognize the efforts of individuals who have made a significant contribution toward increasing awareness and recognition of the NP role.
 
      Colleen is delighted to be receiving this award! Since completing her Masters of Science in Nursing in 2011, Colleen has been dedicated to delivering the best care to every one of her patients. People describe Colleen as “awesome” and “caring”. It is her willingness to go above and beyond that has led to where she is today. Her colleagues at Center for Lifetime Health are proud to be working along side Colleen!
 
        The American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the largest national professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties, represents the interests of more than 248,000 licensed NPs practicing in the U. S. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. 


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Congratulations to our Winter Wellness Team for completing the YMCA Christmas run! Your hard work paid off!

Keep an eye out for updates for our annual Winter Wellness training in the future. 

In honor of our Winter Wellness team completing their race in 30 degree weather, here is a list of the seven things we learned along the way:

1. There is such a thing as too many layers! When running outside, we
    suggest one less layer than you think you would need. You will thank us
    later. 
2. Training with a group is way more fun. Grab a buddy and a go for a
    hike! 
3. Ear warmers are a necessity. 
4. Some days it's okay to ditch the run, go get coffee instead. 
5. Applications like Boise Trails are crucial to not getting lost. 
6. Fun socks make running a little easier.
7. And tutus obviously make you run faster!


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Are you interested in receiving Dietary Counseling?
Ryan Vance, a registered dietitian, has been practicing for 10 years! Ryan enjoys being a dietitian and working closely with clients to improve their relationship with food and gain a better understanding of chronic disease and how nutrition plays a vital role. Schedule your first consult with Ryan either online or by calling our office at 208-342-7400.


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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, Center for Lifetime Health is proudly participating in American Heart Month. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:

  • Watch your weight.

  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.

  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.

  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.

  • Get active and eat healthy.

For more information, visit The American Heart Association.


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TeleVisits are a great way to connect with your provider without the hassle of getting to our office. As long as you are in the state of Idaho, you have the ability to video chat with your provider! Most insurances will allow Televisits or it is a flat fee of $40. Schedule your appointment today on our website or give our office a call.


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2019 is all about staying active while juggling our busy lives. For many of us, that can be hard work. Check out our most recent blog post to find out  7 Ways to Live a More Active Lifestyle

7 Ways To Live a More Active Lifestyle

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1) Find your motivation. We’ve all been there, when life is thrown at you. You feel as if you’re going through the motions with no goal in sight. The best way to ensure you stay active is to know what drives you. Don’t focus on just being healthy. Find the main motivator to your actions. Do you struggle with depression and need an outlet? Has someone in your family dealt with health issues? Being able to pinpoint a specific motivator for you will allow the results such as a healthier lifestyle come that much easier!

2) Focus on doing one thing a day. Going to the gym every day is unrealistic, unless you’re Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Find something every day that keeps you on your feet! Such as walking the dog, cleaning the house, or going for a bike ride. Did you know that the average person burns 167 calories in 30 minutes when cleaning windows? This is a great excuse to keeping the house clean!

3) Join a fitness class. There are so many fitness classes around you, you probably have no idea! A lot of them even offer free trials. Don’t be afraid to try something new such as hot yoga, Pilates, cross fit or even karate! The options are endless.

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4) Track your steps. Have you gotten your 10,000 steps for the day? According to research, an active person gets that many steps or more. A great way to do this is through a fitness tracker such as a Fitbit or the Apple watch. Also, most iPhones will automatically track your steps in the health app when it is on your person.  Happy stepping!

5) Download a group fitness app. A great motivator to living an active lifestyle is our friends and family! However, it can be hard to coordinate such busy schedules during the week.  The solution to this problem is to use a group fitness app. Applications like Strava allow you to track and share your activities with your friends and family, as well as tracking your own performance over time. This app is great if you are biking, running, or hiking!

6) Plan. Plan. Plan. Let’s be honest... do you ever get to the gym after work if it was not set in stone? Probably not. This is why it is so important to plan out your day! By setting an intention for the rest of your day, the more likely you will accomplish everything on your to-do list.

7) Always remember to have fun. The key to staying active is to do things that you enjoy! If you don’t like going to the gym, try something else. Pick up a sport, find a hobby, or create a walking group with your friends. Whatever it is, have fun with it!

 

As you can see, living an active lifestyle does not have to be hard or boring. It can be easy and fun! Take little actions everyday that will better your health in the future.

 

By: Center for Lifetime Health

What is a Primary Care Physician?

A Primary Care Physician or a PCP is someone who practices general medicine. They are your first stop when it comes to any non-emergency medical issue. If they are not able to take care of you in house, they can refer you to a specialist. Their goal is to oversee your health throughout the entire process. PCP’s are typically Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants.

Types of Primary Care Physicians

The type of PCP you should be looking for depends on your family’s needs.

Family Medicine Doctors

            Family doctors are meant to take care of your whole family. They look over people of all ages from infants to the elderly. Your family doctor should be your primary physician for any non-emergency medical issues. However, they will care for you when you have an acute issue such as an illness or injury, as well as your routine care for physicals and check-ups.

Pediatricians

            Pediatricians are doctors who specialize in children’s health from birth to 18 years of age. Generally, pediatricians will refer patients who reach 18 years to a family medicine physician.

Internal Medicine Doctors or “Internist”

            Internist’s are doctors that specialize in adult care who have an expertise in diagnosing and treating complex diseases most common in adults.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Doctors or “OB-GYNs”

            OB-GYNs are doctors that focus on women’s reproductive health. They are specialized in caring for women from pregnancy to birth as well as birth control and menopause.

Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant

            A Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant is a nurse that is qualified to practice general medicine without the supervision of a doctor.

What should I see my Primary Care Physician for?

Most Primary Care Physicians see everything from acute issues such as a sore throat to more serious illnesses such as diabetes. Primary Care Physicians also provide preventive care. Depending on your age, preventative care is free with most insurance companies. They will cover things such as immunizations and annual physicals. Regular annual physicals are important to create healthy benchmarks and identify any issues before they get worse. Most PCP’s also provide in house procedures such as wart removal and laceration repair.

The main job of your PCP is to oversee your care. An important part of this is when your PCP “refers” you to a specialist. When specialized care is needed, they will be able to refer you to a provider that they trust. In the end, your PCP and the specialist will be able to communicate about the best options for your care. With many health insurance plans, referrals are necessary to get the covered care that you need.

Do I have to see a Primary Care Physician?

The answer is no BUT Primary Care Physicians offer more than just helping you when you’re sick. They provide personalized care from start to finish. PCP’s are able to follow you throughout your life and determine the best care for you based off of your health history. PCP’s are also crucial to getting specialized care. By referring you to specialists that they trust, you can be sure that your health is being overseen the entire time.

When looking for a PCP, it is important to make sure that they are the right fit for you. First, check with your insurance company. Most insurance companies have a directory of PCP’s that you can choose from so be sure to check with them for your in-network providers. Next, look at what other people have said about them. Good websites to look at are Healthgrades.com and Ratemds.com. Lastly, set up an appointment to establish care with your new PCP. This gives you and the provider a chance to sit down and talk about your health history. It also establishes a long-term relationship between you and the physician.

Are you looking for a new Primary Care Physician? Center for Lifetime Health has three providers that can be your PCP! Call our office to schedule your initial appointment.

The Importance of an Annual Physical

Here at Center for Lifetime Health, we strive to provide the best medical care possible to every one of our patients. One way we ensure our patient’s needs are being taken care of is by offering annual physicals. Annual physicals are crucial to staying on top of one’s health. It is the time to talk to your doctor about what is going well and not so well. Through developing a relationship with your primary care provider, they can have a full understanding of your health history for the future.

Regular annual physicals are important to create healthy benchmarks and identify any issues before they get worse. Through blood work, your provider can get a closer look into your health. Typically we will test for blood glucose levels, cholesterol, blood cell count, thyroid levels, as well as kidney and liver function. Occasionally an abnormal result will point directly to a specific disorder, which requires treatment or further evaluation. Test results should always be considered along with other information about the individual. However, tests do not reveal all possible diseases or abnormalities and should not be considered a substitute for regular medical checkups.

Annual physicals may even add longevity to your life. Through constant evaluation, you can keep a better eye on what is going on. It is also a time to reevaluate your current routine and make the appropriate changes to better your health.

Most insurance companies will cover one annual physical a year. Take advantage of your benefits and schedule your annual physical!