DIGGING WELLNESS:
´╗┐ESHCA Wellness Newsletter
April 2019
The shareable link (also printable) for this issue of the newsletter is: https://conta.cc/2JZvtma
$25 Incentive: Nutrition Goal for April - Eat an Apple & Almonds
In January, we looked at a study which identified the leading nutritional causes of cardiometabolic deaths (heart disease, stroke and diabetes):

  1. Too much sodium (9.5% of CM deaths in 2012; 66,508 deaths)
  2. Not enough nuts/seeds (8.5%; 59,374)
  3. Too many processed meats (8.2%; 57,766)
  4. Not enough seafood (omega-3 fats) (7.8%; 54,626)
  5. Not enough vegetables (7.6%; 53,410)
  6. Not enough fruits (7.5%; 52,547)
  7. Too many sugar-sweetened beverages (7.4%; 51,694)

Each month we have provided a nutrition goal targeting one (or more) of the aforementioned nutritional factors. In January we focused on eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages and provided a $25 incentive to drink 66-99 oz. of water for 21 days. In February, members were encouraged to fill out an online sodium calculator to determine how much sodium they ingest per day and through which sources (example: eliminating or reducing processed meats was an objective of that goal). In March, we took a closer look at the "dangers" of processed meats not only in terms of sodium but also educating ourselves on nitrates and what makes them harmful.

Our nutrition goal for April , once again targets multiple nutritional deficiencies. The challenge is to eat a serving of almonds (raw, unsalted) and an apple at least 3 times per week for 3 weeks. Prepare your refrigerator and pantry to be provide a successful environment . Replace the bag of potato chips in your pantry with a box of single serving almond packs (as seen in the picture above) and pick up a bag of your favorite variety of apples.

What are the health benefits of eating almonds?
  1. Helps prevent heart disease and heart attacks.
  2. Supports healthy brain function (lowers risk of Alzheimer's Disease).
  3. Maintains healthy skin.
  4. Helps control blood sugar and prevents diabetes.
  5. Aids weight loss and helps prevent overeating.
  6. Increases nutrient absorption.
  7. Improves digestive health.
  8. Can help fight cancer and inflammation.
  9. Helps maintain dental and bone health.
For a more detailed look at the health benefits of almonds read: " Almonds Nutrition: Heart Healthy Brain Booster or Fat Trap?"

Why "eat an apple a day"?
  1. They are nutritious, loaded with valuable vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  2. Good for weight loss - high in fiber and water content making them low calorie yet filling.
  3. Good for your heart.
  4. Linked to a lower risk of diabetes.
  5. Prebiotic effects that promote good gut bacteria.
  6. Help prevent cancer.
  7. Help prevent asthma.
  8. Good for bone health.
  9. Protects against stomach injury from NSAIDs.
  10. Helps protect your brain.
For a more detailed look at the health benefits of eating apples read: "10 Impressive Health Benefits of Apples"

What if I don't like almonds and apples, can I substitute a different nut and fruit or vegetable? Yes, obviously there are a variety of different nuts that are beneficial to your health in one way or another (read: Best and Worst Nuts for Your Health to assist you in choosing the right nuts for you). Additionally, American culture is low in all kinds of fruits and vegetables, pick any one of a number of nutritious fruits or vegetables to pair with your "nut of choice". Remember, the overall goal is to get 5 or more servings of produce each day!

How do I get the $25 Incentive?
  1. Challenge #4: eat a combination of almonds and an apple 3+ times per week for 3 weeks.
  2. Begins on April 7th and ends on April 28th.
  3. Download and fill out the "April Almond and Apple Calendar". If you do not have the means to download the calendar, you may make your own or journal your entries (ex: 4/10/19 Almonds/Apple).
  4. E-mail (good cell phone picture works), mail or fax the calendar to me on 4/28 or shortly after.
  5. Only one $25 incentive card is paid out to each member household, although all household members and friends are encouraged to participate!
Stretch of the Month - Piriformis
What is the piriformis? The piriformis (Figure 1) is a small muscle located deep beneath the gluteal muscles (or buttocks), it's origin (starting point) is at the lower spine (sacrum) and it's insertion (ending point) is at the top of the femur. When the piriformis contracts it rotates the leg and foot outward.

Why does the piriformis need to be stretched? In 2019, 26 million Americans will suffer from back pain, 5 million of those will have a condition know as piriformis syndrome. Stretching the piriformis can alleviate the symptoms.

What does piriformis syndrome feel like (symptoms)? Piriformis syndrome is often misdiagnosed as a herniated disk because it has many of the same symptoms. Muscle spasm, tightening or swelling of the piriformis muscle can result in pressure on the sciatic nerve cause pain, numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot.

What causes piriformis syndrome? Piriformis syndrome is the result of injury from a wide range of circumstaces including too much activity (road work) or long hours in a seated position (heavy equipment operator or working in the office). We are all at risk!

How do I stretch the piriformis? Stretching the piriformis can be done from a standing, sitting or lying position. Figure 2a and 2b are examples of a seated piriformis stretch:
  1. Sit down and cross one leg over the other placing your ankle on your thigh.
  2. Grasp your ankle and gently pull it back toward your hip.
  3. a) Take your knee with the opposite hand and gently pull it toward your chin until you feel a pull in your glute or buttocks (hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times). b) Next, from the same position, place the hand to the inside of the knee and gently push it down opening up the hip (hold the stretch 15-30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times). Repeat both stretch positions on the opposite leg.
Annual Physical $200 Incentive: Looking for the paperwork?
Get to know yourself from the inside out...
  • Statistics provide by MVP demonstrate the incentive program is working to get people to their Primary Care Physician for their Annual Physical. Not only were numbers up last year, approximately 12%, but we started 2019 with a bang, recording the highest January participation rate in the past 3 years. Still only roughly 50% of eligible people having physicals are submitting the paperwork to receive the $200 incentive (available to the member and the member-spouse). I am pleased members are participating but if you are driven by the incentive please make sure you submit the paperwork or contact me with questions or for additional assistance.
  • "Know Your Numbers"
  • Blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol and body weight are good indicators of current and future health!
  • An annual visit to your Primary Care Physician is an important step in being healthy. Schedule your appointment today!
  • Submit the paperwork to receive the $200 incentive.
  • Click Here to download the paperwork.
  • Participating in the activities offered by the Wellness Program will educate you on skills needed to understand, improve and manage "your numbers". Asess your numbers with your physician and then take small steps to improve them!