DIGGING WELLNESS:
ESHCA Wellness Newsletter
March 2019
The shareable link (also printable) for this issue of the newsletter is: https://conta.cc/2EIcmY3

Annual Physical $200 Incentive: Looking for the paperwork?
Get to know yourself from the inside out...
  • "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".
Nutrition Goal for March - Eat Less Processed Meat!!!
Recapping 2019 to date! The objective of "Digging Wellness" is to drive healthy change in an effort to control health care costs. In January, we presented a study that identified diet-related characteristics associated with 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)

The study was followed by "action" in February with a $25 incentive challenge pinpointed on "sodium awareness". Sodium is identified in the study as the #1 nutritional factor contributing to cardiometabolic death. For a more detailed picture of your personal sodium habits, take a minute or two and fill out the Sodium Calculator , I think you will find it a useful exercise.

Goal for March! Reduce the intake of high-processed meats (#3 on the list) and discover what makes them unhealthy and even dangerous. The International Agency for Research on Cancer identifies processed meat as a Group 1 Carcinogen (causes cancer) which is the same as tobacco and asbestos. Processed meats include hot dogs, ham, bacon, pepperoni, sausage, corned beef and many deli meats; unfortunately, all the things we love! Processing includes salting, curing, fermenting and smoking.

Why should you avoid processed meat? They are loaded with 1) sodium (a 3 oz. serving of ham contains 1,023mg), 2) nitrates and 3) saturated fats. Last month we discussed the dangers of sodium (high blood pressure) and it's sources, including high-processed meats. Therefore, our focus will be on nitrates.

What are nitrates? Nitrates are naturally found in many foods and are produced by our own bodies. We ingest the greatest amount of nitrates through fruits, vegetables and some drinking water. When combined with the vitamin C in produce, nitrates are mostly harmless and have healthy effects such as lowering blood pressure, increasing blood flow and possibly reducing the risk for cancer.

So, if processed meats contain nitrates isn't that a good thing? NO, nitrates are added to meat to give it a pink color, preserve the meat by killing harmful microorganisms and to add a salty flavor. The dangers of nitrates are a result of them being converted into nitrosamines which occurs when they are subjected to high cooking temperatures or interact with the acids in your stomach.

What are the perceived dangers of high-processed meats? Sodium, nitrates and saturated fats found in processed meats raise blood pressure, clog arteries and result in insulin resistance not only increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes; but also increasing the risk of cancer (stomach, colorectal and pancreatic) and Alzheimer's disease.

Making better choices! The American Heart Association recommends avoiding processed meats whenever possible. Doctor Axe, an online nutrition guru, recommends avoiding processed meats altogether and instead choose organic grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and wild-caught fish.


Conclusions ...use the month of March to be a mindful eater. How often do you eat processed meat? Can you reduce harmful risks by using healthy alternatives? For example, use chicken breast in your sandwich instead of deli ham. Keep mind, it is not about being perfect but improving, even reducing your use of processed meats by 10% or 2 days per week will have positive effects on your health!!!
$25 Incentive - Stretch of the Month - "Legs Up the Wall"
A number of people have indicated, on the General Health Assessment, that they are suffering from low back pain. It doesn't matter whether your job requires physical labor, operating heavy equipment or sitting behind a desk, anything you do 8 or more hours a day is going to increase the risk of "repetitive stress" or "over-use" injuries. Stretching before and/or after a shift is one way to reduce your risk of chronic pain and injury. In the month of March, earn a $25 incentive card by doing the "Legs Up the Wall Pose", 3-plus times per week for 3 weeks, to improve your hamstring and low back flexibility along with your overall health and wellness.

How to:
  1. Slide your hips close to the wall and walk your feet up the wall, getting your body into somewhat of a L-shape.
  2. Make adjustments to make the position more comfortable i.e. pillow under your hips (Figure 2) and/or head, arms on the belly or out to the sides.
  3. Focus on breathing - deep slow inhale through your nose followed by deep slow exhale through your nose.
  4. Try to stay in the pose for 5 minutes!
  5. Tips: keep your hips a few inches from the wall, being at a full 90-degrees reduces blood flow in your hips. Elevate your hips by placing a cushion under your sacrum if necessary (Figure 2).

Benefits:
  • Relaxation - combined with controlled breathing it lowers your heart rate reducing anxiety, stress & insomnia
  • Facilitates venous drainage & improves circulation helping blood back to the heart
  • Soothes swollen and cramped feet and legs
  • Stretches the hamstrings and lower back
  • Relieves lower back tension
  • Pelvic floor relaxation

Challenge #3 - earn your $25 incentive
  • begins on March 10th and ends on March 31st
  • complete the "Legs Up the Wall" pose 3-plus days per week for the 3 weeks - minimum of 9 times!
  • Download and fill out the "Legs Up the Wall" Calendar!!!
  • Return the calendar to me by email (cell phone pictures work), mail or fax.
  • If you do not have the means to download the calendar, please feel free to make your own and send it in, I will take it!
  • When I receive the filled in Calendar, I will send you the $25 incentive card!
  • Reminder: although all in your family are encouraged to participate only one $25 incentive card can be sent to the member-household.