Looking for a figure-friendly sweet treat this Valentine’s Day? Try tasty vanilla-pomegranate parfaits.
Time-tested ways to cope with the “spring forward” daylight savings time change
An outdoor snowshoeing adventure, spectacular views, and a little exercise are just a hike away.
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It’s that time of year again, when we reset our clocks and try to readjust to the time change associated with Daylight Saving Time (DST). Some of us breeze through the change seamlessly, yet others feel out of sorts for days. If you have trouble dealing with this sudden disruption in your routine, it is for good reason.
Even though your brain knows that the time on the clock has changed, your body’s internal clock does not. In the fall, when you’ve gained an hour of sleep, you might not feel tired, but you may get cranky when you have to wait an extra hour before your lunch break or when it feels like work should have ended an hour ago. When the clocks move forward in the spring, you’ll be robbed of an hour of sleep. That night, you may not be able to fall into your normal sleep rhythms an hour earlier than you’re used to, and you won’t get as much quality sleep as you need.
Since its inception in the early 1900s, DST has been the subject of controversy. Studies are contradictory, showing that DST has both positive and negative impacts on health, safety, energy consumption, and the economy. A sampling of the issues includes:
Health – DST provides more daylight for outdoor exercise and yard work in the evenings, which could improve fitness levels. It also provides more opportunities for sun exposure, which triggers vitamin D synthesis in the skin. However, more sun exposure could lead to higher rates of skin cancer, according to some experts. And some new research shows that heart attacks increase the days following the spring time change (when we lose an hour), but decrease after the fall time change (when we gain an hour).
Safety – In the weeks following the spring time change, there are more traffic accidents. But overall, during the course of DST there are fewer traffic fatalities than during standard time.
Energy Consumption – While it had been hypothesized that DST would help to conserve energy, several studies have shown that DST leads to increased energy and fuel consumption.
Economy – Some industries, like retail businesses and golf courses, benefit from DST, as consumers have more time to shop and play. But other industries including farming, theaters, and prime time television suffer.
Despite the controversy, one thing is certain—DST will be around for a long time. So here are 6 time-tested tips for dealing with the time change:
1. Start early. The time change is usually scheduled for the wee hours of Sunday morning, in order to reduce the disruption of the workweek. To give yourself more time to adjust before the workweek begins, reset one of your clocks at the start of the weekend, such as Friday night or Saturday morning. Try to eat meals, sleep, and wake according to that clock. When Monday comes, you’ll be on your way to feeling adjusted. However, if you have activities and events during the weekend, make sure you don’t get confused about the correct time!
2. Exercise. Working out releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps our bodies adjust. Exercise regularly, preferably outdoors, and early in the day. A brisk morning walk is perfect. Avoid exercising too late in the evening though, as this could interfere with the quality of your sleep. Learn more about the connection between exercise and better sleep.
3. Nap wisely. Try to resist the urge to take long naps late in the day. If you get tired, take a short, energizing walk around the block instead. If you must nap, keep it earlier in the day and limit your snooze time to no more than 20 minutes.
4. Don’t imbibe. Alcohol interferes with normal sleep cycles, so don’t rely on a nightcap to fall asleep. Find out about other foods and drinks that help (and hurt) your sleep.
5. Digest. After the time changes, you may be hungry for meals earlier or later than before. Be sure to give yourself ample time to digest your dinner before heading off to bed. A heavy meal in your stomach will interfere with the quality of your sleep, too.
6. Lighten up. The right combination of light and dark can help your body’s circadian rhythm readjust so you can fall asleep on your new schedule and sleep more soundly. In the morning, open the shades and brighten the lights. Try to spend time outside during the day, if possible. Dim the lights in the evening, so that your body understands that it’s time to wind down.
Hopefully these suggestions will help you adjust more easily to the biannual time changes. If you’ve tried all of these suggestions, and you’re still having trouble adjusting to the time change after a few weeks, call your health care provider for more assistance.
Do you think Daylight Savings is a good thing or bad idea? Let us know why in the comments below!
Blood pressure and heart rate go hand in hand (or arm in cuff) in most people’s minds. After all, these two “vital signs” are measured together at the doctor’s office.
But the two measure distinct factors related to your heart health. Blood pressure is the force of blood flowing against the walls of your arteries, while heart rate (or pulse) is the number of times your heart beats every minute. Below we explain some key differences — and bust some common myths along the way.
1. Blood pressure and heart rate are always linked
False: It is true that blood pressure and heart rate often rise and fall together. When you face danger, for example, your blood pressure and pulse may both jump upward at the same time.
However, if your heart rate rises, that doesn’t automatically mean your blood pressure will rise — or vice versa. When the two are disconnected, you may be looking at a specific problem. For example, if your blood pressure is consistently high but your heart rate stays in your typical range, your doctor may need to look at treatment specifically for high blood pressure.
2. There’s one “normal” for blood pressure and heart rate
False: There are guidelines, but what’s normal varies from person to person.
Optimal blood pressure is typically defined as 120 mm Hg systolic (the top number, which is the pressure as your heart beats) over 80 mm Hg diastolic (the bottom number, which is the pressure as your heart relaxes). For your resting heart rate, the target is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. But keep in mind that both heart rate and blood pressure are a customized fit. You need to work with your doctor to establish a baseline that’s normal for you.
3. Going “low” always indicates a problem
False: What’s healthy for one person may indicate danger for another. For example, a young, fit person may have a resting heart rate in the 50s or, in some cases, even the 40s. It can actually be a badge, a sign of being in really good shape.
Low blood pressure can be a bit trickier, especially in older patients and those with heart disease. If you’re in danger from low blood pressure, your body will tell you. It’s really about how you feel. Are you dragging and feeling weak? The numbers on their own don’t tell the story; it’s the numbers paired with how you are feeling and what symptoms you may have.
4. High blood pressure or heart rate is more likely to be dangerous
True: Again, “normal” varies. But there is enough clinical evidence to suggest that when blood pressure is even a little over your typical average over time, the risk for heart disease and stroke go up. The physical effects of high blood pressure take their toll on your blood vessels.
Elevated heart rate can be a sign of danger, too, but the cause-effect relationship is not so clear. Studies show that people who run a faster heart rate are more likely to have cardiac problems and premature cardiac death. But we’re not sure whether that is the cause of the problem or just a sign of what’s going on.
5. When you measure matters
True: To measure your resting heart rate and blood pressure, pick a time when you’re feeling relaxed. Randomly sampling both measures throughout the day can also help you reach an average. Don’t take your readings right after exercising — unless you’re trying to establish a baseline for “active” blood pressure and heart rate.
Which measure is more important depends on your health, too. For patients with atrial fibrillation, heart rate might be more important to watch, but many other heart diseases depend more on blood pressure. To be safe, measure both.
Almost all automated kits you buy at a drugstore are going to give you blood pressure and pulse on one readout. It’s convenient — and there’s really no reason not to stay on top of both.
For more heart health related information and resources in Northern Nevada, go to CarsonTahoeHeart.com.
What are your favorite heart healthy activities? Let us know in the comments below!
Do you know what your resting heart rate is? You can measure it now by finding your pulse in your wrist or neck. Next, use a timer and count the number of beats you feel in 10 seconds, and multiply that number by six. Use the chart below to see how your heart measures up.
Adapted via http://bit.ly/MZaddM
If you’re planning to spoil that special someone this Valentine’s Day but want some healthy options, these Vanilla-Pomegranate Parfaits will have you head over heels for this sweet treat.
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 cup pomegranate seeds (see Tip)
• 2/3 cup pomegranate juice
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 cup low-fat milk
• 3/4 cup half-and-half
• 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 large egg
• 1 large egg yolk
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds for garnish
• 6 mint sprigs for garnish
- To prepare compote: Mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice and lemon juice; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Refrigerate while you prepare the pudding.
- To prepare pudding: Combine milk and half-and-half in a medium heavy saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (or add vanilla extract). Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk egg, egg yolk, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch in a medium bowl. Reheat the milk mixture just until steaming. Carefully whisk one-third of the steaming milk into the egg mixture. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in butter.
- To prepare parfaits: Divide the pomegranate compote among six 6-ounce (3/4 cup) parfait glasses, ramekins or other small dessert cups. Spoon the pudding mixture over the compote. Cover and refrigerate until the pudding is well chilled and firm, at least 3 hours. To serve, garnish each parfait with pomegranate seeds and a mint sprig, if desired.
Tips & Notes
• Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the compote (Step 1), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Cover and refrigerate parfaits for up to 8 hours.
• Tip: To seed a pomegranate, fill a large bowl with water. Lightly score the fruit into quarters from crown to stem end, cutting through the skin but not into the interior of the fruit. Hold the fruit under water, break it apart and use your hands to gently separate the plump seeds (arils) from the outer skin and white pith. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry. Seeds can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Per serving: 209 calories; 8 g fat ( 4 g sat , 2 g mono ); 88 mg cholesterol; 31 g carbohydrates; 15 g added sugars; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber; 48 mg sodium; 189 mg potassium.
- Carbohydrate Servings: 2
- Exchanges: 1/2 fruit, 1 1/2 carbohydrate (other), 1 1/2 fat
For more nutrition related information and resources, go to CarsonTahoe.com/Nutrition.
What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day recipe? SHARE your recipes below or let us know how this turned out for you!