February 2019 - American Heart Month
A Message from Your Hometown Health Manager
Happy February.

Have you completed your online health assessment and biometric screening? If you did, don’t forget to log back into the Hometown Health Portal and begin earning points toward your next Visa gift card.

If you missed your onsite biometric screening, you can still qualify for the $25 Visa gift card. Please contact your Human Resource Office to request a Physician Qualifi-cation form or download the form from the Hometown Health portal. Simply have your healthcare provider complete the form (submission instructions are included on the form), then complete your online health assessment on the portal. Your Visa gift card will be sent to you after completion. You have until March 31, 2019 , to earn this incentive.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to hometownhealth@flcities.com.

All the Best,

Gwen Mahabir
A Close-Up on Cholesterol: Know the Basics 
Do you know the ins and outs of cholesterol? How about the highs and lows? Read on for information that can help you learn more about this threat to heart health.

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance your body needs — and your liver makes most of what you need. Some people inherit a tendency to produce too much. You might also raise your levels of unhealthy types when you eat certain foods — such as fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy and other high-fat animal products.

Why it matters
If your cholesterol levels aren’t what they should be, it may be a serious health risk. They can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries. This can cause an artery to narrow or become clogged — which could trigger a heart attack or stroke.

There are two types of cholesterol that play a role in that risk:

  • The bad: low-density lipoprotein, or LDL. Too much LDL is a plaque builder — and a primary culprit in clogged and damaged arteries.
  • The good: high-density lipoprotein, or HDL. This type works a bit like a trash collector. As it travels through your bloodstream, it gathers up other bits of cholesterol — and takes them to your liver for disposal.

Heart Healthy Diet Supplements
Some foods and dietary supplements may help lower blood pressure or blood cholesterol levels. Be sure to check with your doctor to find out what diet changes and supplements are right for you.

Evidence strongly indicates that a potassium-rich diet can help achieve healthy blood pressure levels and that potassium supplements can lower systolic blood pressure. The best source of potassium is the fruits and vegetables that contain them. Some potassium-rich foods include bananas, oranges, pears, prunes, cantaloupes, tomatoes, dried peas and beans, nuts, potatoes and avocados.

Plant stanols/sterols
Plant sterols and stanols are substances that occur naturally in small amounts in many plant foods. Two grams taken every day has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol by up to 15 percent. You can now get stanols or sterols in some margarine spreads, orange juice, cereals and even granola bars. They can also be found in gel form as a supplement. Ask your doctor if taking plant stanols/sterols is right for you.

Mediterranean Diet
A salad drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, fat-free yogurt laced with walnuts and fresh fruit, whole-grain toast topped with avocado and sliced tomato. Sound delicious? These are all foods you would find in the Mediterranean diet.

Far from exotic, eating the "Mediter-ranean way" is less of a diet and more about a healthy approach to eating. It is based on foods that are traditionally found in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

Vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and olive oil are abundant. Meat, saturated fats and high-fat dairy are consumed in much smaller amounts.

Health benefits
Multiple studies suggest that eating a Mediterranean-style diet may help contribute to a longer life, aid in weight control and cut the risk of heart disease.

Researchers credit health benefits to plenty of plant-based foods, fish and healthy fats, combined with lower amounts of high-fat animal foods. 

Recommended Recipe: Mediterranean Diet
Lemon Salmon with Lima Beans

Read more
American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids
Are you fitting in at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of heart-pumping physical activity per week? If not, you’re not alone. Only about one in five adults and teens get enough exercise to maintain good health. Being more active can help all people think, feel and sleep better and perform daily tasks more easily. And if you’re sedentary, sitting less is a great place to start.

The guidelines are based on current scientific evidence supporting the connections between physical activity, overall health and well-being, disease prevention and quality of life. 

Recommendations for Adults
  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week.
  • Spend less time sitting. Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.
  • Gain even more benefits by being active at least 300 minutes (5 hours) per week.
  • Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.

Recommendations for Kids
  • Children 3-5 years old should be physically active and have plenty of opportunities to move throughout the day.
  • Kids 6-17 years old should get at least 60 minutes per day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity, mostly aerobic.
  • Include vigorous-intensity activity on at least 3 days per week.
  • Include muscle- and bone-strengthening (weight-bearing) activities on at least 3 days per week.
  • Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.

What is intensity?
Physical activity is anything that moves your body and burns calories. This includes things like walking, climbing stairs and stretching.

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