The holidays are here once again and seasonal tables are filled with delicious savory fare and decadent sweet treats. But before you fill your plate, consider this. Nearly one-third of Americans have hypertension (high blood pressure), and many holiday foods cause blood pressure to rise. Prehypertension – a condition in which blood pressure is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as hypertension – affects another one-third of Americans, indicating that perhaps we all should consider what is served on our holiday dinner plate.
If you are among those who suffer from high blood pressure, you will need to thoughtfully consider the offerings of holiday cuisine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious holiday fare! To make the best choices in tasty foods, you need to know which ones may be unhealthy, and replace them with healthy options that can reduce high blood pressure. Let’s look at which temptations you should avoid and which selections can be beneficial.
Sometimes turkeys bought from the store can be injected with salt water to make them more “plump.” By reading the label you can discover whether or not this is the case. You can also buy fresh turkey directly from a farm or butcher to avoid this added sodium. Otherwise, turkey can be a delicious and low-sodium treat!
Processed Deli Meat
Party trays containing sliced ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami, and salami are staples of holiday buffet tables. Most deli meats are cured, seasoned, and preserved with salt, and a two-ounce serving may contain 600 mg or more of sodium. Avoiding processed meats promotes heart health.
Relish trays featuring pickles, marinated olives, mushrooms, and artichokes are sure to be offered at holiday parties. These items are low in calories, making them seem like a good choice, but they are loaded with sodium. As an example, one pickle has around 570 mg, nearly one-third the sodium limit for the entire day!
Gravy can be a low-sodium choice if made with low-salt broth or homemade soup as the base. If you are unsure, however, it may be best to avoid it.
All bread contains sodium so holiday stuffing will contain it as well. So avoid stuffing your plate with stuffing to ensure you avoid the extra sodium here.
Baked potatoes are rich in potassium and magnesium, both nutrients that lower blood pressure.
Berries and Fruit
Instead of hitting the dessert tray, try a tasty treat of fresh fruit instead. Berries contain natural compounds that are beneficial to heart health. Fresh fruit for the holiday season includes grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines, to name a few. Including these in your diet boosts heart health.
Spinach and Kale
These leafy greens are high in fiber, low in calories, and packed with nutrients, making them a heart super food. Pile either on sandwiches, add them to soups and smoothies, and make them the main ingredients of your salads.
Saving everyone’s favorite for last, dark chocolate is a heart-healthy treat that contains flavanoids. Eating just one square of 70% cocoa powder dark chocolate a day can help lower blood pressure.
Focusing on heart-healthy dining is a primary aspect of Parc’s senior living communities. Elegant meals are prepared and shared to promote and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As we celebrate this season of joy and peace, all of us at Parc Communities wish you a heart that is light and healthy, now and through-out the New Year.
Life expectancy in the United States averages around 80 years of age, but in some parts of the world – including specific locations in the U.S. – people are living to be 100 years old or more. In 2004, National Geographic assembled a team of experts to study the world’s longest-living people, and found five cities that met their criteria. These concentrations of long-living seniors – located in Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; and Loma Linda, California – are identified as The Blue Zones, and the keys to their longevity appear to be associated with their lifestyle and environment.
The team of researchers found several evidence-based common factors among all five Blue Zones that linked lifestyle with life expectancy, proving that elevating your lifestyle and environment can add years to your life and life to your years. But you don’t have to move to a Blue Zone to take advantage of a long, healthy life. Parc Communities embodies a premier lifestyle and environment that implements the following five key components found in Blue Zone regions.
The world’s longest-lived people don’t join gyms or lift weights. Instead they were documented as living in an environment that consistently keeps them on the move. They grow gardens, walk to a friend’s home, climb steps, and they don’t have mechanical conveniences for yard or house work.
Know Your Purpose
Without citing specific direction, the study found that knowing one’s purpose in life and understanding what’s truly worth living for can add up to seven years of life expectancy! Many people find their life’s mission in serving others, artistic endeavors, and maintaining healthy family relationships.
Stress leads to poor health and is associated with every major age-related disease. People in the Blue Zones experience stress, too, but the study revealed that they indulge daily in stress busting routines such as walking, praying, meditating, taking a nap, or attending social activities.
The study shows that choosing or creating social circles that support healthy behaviors is an essential element to living well. Including this one component does more to add happy years to your life than nearly anything else, because of the destructive nature of isolation.
The study confirmed that over 98% of Blue Zone centenarians belonged to a faith-based community. Regardless of denomination, attending religious services four times a month can add four to fourteen years to one’s life.
Here at Parc Communities, we recognize the value of Blue Zone lifestyle habits, and have created comprehensive Wellness Programs that emphasize four primary functional components: Social, Physical, Intellectual, and Spiritual. We offer our residents the tools and opportunities to improve their health and build a more fulfilling lifestyle.
Wellness is defined as “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” We believe wellness is an intentional process of making choices that promote a healthy and fulfilling life at every age.
At Parc Communities, our Fitness and Wellness programs are divided into four complementary, and equally vital, functional categories that work in harmony to ensure you have the very best tools to live a well-rounded and balanced senior lifestyle. This balance is obtained when each of the following areas are given the attention and investment they deserve:
Social Wellness is connecting with others and relating to them in a positive way. The path to a healthy social life begins with an evaluation of your current relationships with friends and family. Nurturing these relationships by engaging in group activities such as walks, dinners, or a fun evening of board games, is the next step to securing a satisfying social network.
Spiritual Wellness is establishing personal peace through a set of values, and the ability to live out those values daily. The search for meaning and purpose in our lives is an invaluable part of reaching whole wellness. We encourage our residents to take an active part in developing or exercising their spiritual beliefs.
Intellectual Wellness is the ability to open our minds through expanded knowledge and new experiences. Continued learning is an essential part of active aging, and participating in creative mental activities will stimulate intellectual wellness.
Physical Wellness is maintaining a healthy body and doing the things necessary to stay in good physical condition. Physical wellness is attainable for active seniors who maintain healthful habits, eat a balanced diet, and engage in regular physical activity.
The pleasure of living well as an active senior is achieved when these four dimensions of wellness thrive and are in harmony with each other. At Parc Communities, we help you live your best life now in complete wellness!
3350 Riverwood Pkwy SE # 1580
Atlanta, GA 30339
At Parc Communities, the physical, mental, and social well-being of our residents is a top priority. That’s why Parc residents frequently participate in enjoyable and engaging cognitive activities that keep their brains operating at top performance levels, including Learning L.A.B (brain fitness computer programs), social gatherings, and art lessons.
Rest is another key factor that contributes to the good health and well-being of seniors. According to a recent article published by the National Institute of Health, sleep has proven vital for storing new memories. Sleep also plays an essential role in a senior’s overall health and wellness.
At Parc Communities, seniors stay busy throughout the day, choosing from a wide variety of enjoyable activities. After an eventful day, residents can often be found relaxing in the media center, watching a movie, or unwinding in their well-appointed apartment homes before a good night’s sleep.
For more information about the Parc lifestyle please contact us to schedule your personal tour of our Duluth or Marietta senior communities. Be sure to connect with Parc Communities on Facebook and Twitter for the latest senior living news and information.
At Parc Communities, the health and wellness of our residents is a top priority. To that end, we invite and encourage residents to stay active both mentally and physically through an array of daily activities and events. They participate in a wide variety of activities, from art lessons and Wii® competitions to water aerobics and local excursions.
It is also imperative for seniors to receive periodic check-ups to maintain overall good health. Wellness exams, and measures that should be completed on a routine basis, include blood pressure and cholesterol checks, weight management, colon cancer screenings, hearing evaluations, dental and vision screenings, and bone density tests. The friendly staff here at Parc Communities considers it a pleasure to see residents to and from their medical appointments.
To learn more about our senior living communities, and to schedule a personal tour and enjoy a meal, please contact us. Also, connect with Parc Communities on Facebook and Twitter for upcoming events at Parc at Piedmont and Parc at Duluth.
Although it may not seem like spring given our recent wintery temperatures, Parc Communities’ Corporate Wellness Director, Angela Butler-Hackett, is already planning more outdoor health and wellness activities for Parc residents as the weather gets warmer.
Beginning April 16th, water aerobics will resume at Parc at Duluth. The heated pool will be nice and warm for residents to enjoy their exercise classes. Compared to land exercises, water aerobics is particularly useful in reducing stress on joints and muscles, decreasing risks of injury and muscle soreness. Residents with arthritic joints or those recovering from an injury often find water aerobics very therapeutic.
For more information about the health and wellness activities available to Parc at Duluth’s residents, please call 770-622-6880 to schedule a personal tour. Continue reading our blogs for more Parc Communities information. Also, connect with Parc Communities on Facebook and Twitter for the latest senior living news and information.
Although Georgia’s winter has been milder than previous years, outdoor activities generally decline in these colder months. Despite the temperatures outside, Parc residents stay active and involved year-round. At Parc Communities, we offer a wide range of activities, resources, and events for all physical abilities.
There are many indoor fitness activities that residents can participate in to improve their overall wellness including exercise classes, yoga, strength and balance exercises, Wii® fitness, and chair volleyball. Offered weekly at both our Piedmont and Duluth senior living communities, many of our residents find yoga to be beneficial both physically and mentally as it improves flexibility and strength while promoting relaxation and strong breathing. As champions in senior Wii® bowling and golf leagues, our residents enjoy socializing with one another while being active. Chair volleyball and dance lessons are other group activities that many of our residents frequently enjoy.
At Parc, we understand that engaging the mind and body is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Through activities such as our Learning L.A.B, bridge and knitting clubs, and technology training, residents can maintain and sometimes improve their cognitive function.
If you are interested in learning more about Parc Communities, please contact us to schedule your personal tour. Also connect with Parc on Facebook and Twitter for the latest resident news and senior living information.
Staying active is beneficial for both your mind and body. At Parc Communities, we understand as we age, focusing on a healthy lifestyle becomes even more important for our overall well-being. Recent research from the University of California, Irvine published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found individuals who briefly exercised showed improvement in memory.
The study examined more than 50 adults between the ages of 50 to 85, half who had memory issues and half who did not. The groups of participants were then divided into two groups- one who exercised on a stationary bike for six minutes and the other group who did not exercise at all. All of the exercising participants, regardless of whether they had long term memory impairments or not, showed improved memory after their short time biking.
The researchers believe the benefit may be tied to an exercise-induced brain chemical, norepinephrine, which influences memory. Saliva samples taken from participants found high levels of the biomarker for norepinphrine in the exercise group.
Although these finding are a good start, additional research will need to be conducted. At Parc, our residents lead an active lifestyle through our fitness and wellness programs, along with a busy social calendar.
If you are interested in learning more about Parc Communities, please contact us today. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest senior news and information.
We all know it’s important to have a balanced diet and there are numerous health benefits by including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eating right promotes healthy aging and can help with weight management and blood pressure. At Parc Communities, residents can enjoy dining with friends in our full service restaurant style dining room for a delicious meal prepared by our executive chef.
Although fruits and veggies are great for physical health, a new study discusses how they can also improve mental well-being. The research, conducted by the Warwick Medical School in the U.K., analyzed diet habits of 80,000 men and women in Britain. Participants answered questions about their daily intake of fruits and vegetables and then reported on exercise habits, employment and whether they smoked. They were also asked to report their levels of life satisfaction, mental well-being, any mental disorders, happiness, nervousness and feeling low.
The analysis showed the more fruits and vegetables the participants ate, the happier their overall well-being responses were. Sarah Stewart-Brown, MD, research professor of public health at Warwick Medical School stated, “I think it’s splendid to know that fruits and vegetables are likely to be good for your mental health as well as your physical health.”
Parc residents enjoy delicious selections of freshly prepared vegetables, healthy salads, soups and entrees, including many ParcSmart healthy choices. Parc’s Wellness Director provides our residents with health information and tips to incorporate both healthy eating and physical fitness into their daily routine. We invite you to visit us at Parc Communities and join us for a complimentary lunch to see for yourself.
If you are interested in scheduling a lunch and tour at a Parc community, please contact us today. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest senior news and information.