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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Sun safety is never out of season. Summer’s arrival means it’s time for picnics, trips to the pool and beach—and a spike in the number of sunburns. But winter skiers and fall hikers should be as wary of the sun’s rays as swimmers. People who work outdoors need to take precautions, too.

The need for sun safety has become clearer over the past 30 years. Studies show that exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. Harmful rays from the sun—and from sunlamps and tanning beds—may cause eye problems, weaken your immune system, and give you skin spots, wrinkles, or “leathery” skin.

Sun damage to the body is caused by invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation. People recognize sunburn as a type of skin damage caused by the sun. Tanning is a sign of the skin reacting to potentially damaging UV radiation by producing additional pigmentation that provides it with some—but often not enough—protection against sunburn.

Whatever our skin color, we’re all potentially susceptible to sunburn and other harmful effects of exposure to UV radiation. Although we all need to take precautions to protect our skin, people who need to be especially careful in the sun are those who have pale skin, blond, red or light brown hair, have been treated for skin cancer, and/or have a family member who has had skin cancer.

The National Skin Cancer Foundation has the following sun safe tips:

1. Seek the shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm.
2. Do not burn.
3. Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.
4. Cover up with clothing and use a broad brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses.
5. Use broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
6. Examine your skin head-to–toe every month.
7. Get a professional skin exam once a year

Eat to Defeat: A New Way to Fight Cancer

Changing the way you choose the food you eat everyday can be one of the most powerful things you do to decrease your risk for cancer. Like life itself, one’s diet is all about making choices. Since we all eat every day, why not choose foods that can reduce your risk of disease? Listed below are some food facts, supported by scientific research, to help you get the most cancer fighting benefits from your diet.

Eat dark greens. Dark greens contain a vari-ety of phytonutrients such as kaempferol and quercetin which are powerful cancer fighters. If you’re a novice to using greens, start by shred-ding them and adding a large handful to your next salad. Or, next time you are sautéing on-ions for a dish, throw in a handful of finely chopped greens and sauté them as well.

Fresh fruits are an obvious healthy choice, but did you know that bananas contain cancer fighters? They are called catechins and del-phinidin, and studies have shown diets rich in bananas and other fruits may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Have half a banana a day with breakfast. It’s an easy way to sneak a cancer fighter into your diet, right at the start of each day.

Citrus fruits are also great to start the day. Oranges, tangerines and clementines contain cancer fighters called hesperidin and naringenin which researchers have shown may reduce the risk of esophageal cancer.

Olive oil has become a popular substitute for other vegetable oils but why not go straight to the source? Olives make a great condiment and contain cancer-fighting polyphenols. There are three “super olives” which contain excep-tionally high levels of these natural anti-carcinogens: 1) The Picual or Spanish olive; 2) the Moriaolo olive, from Umbria, Italy; and 3) the Koroneiki or Greek olive.

Squash: contains two cancer fighters, lutein and zeaxanthin. Diets high in squash have been shown to reduce the risk of a cancer of the lymph system called Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Squash is easy to cook. Simply heat it up, add some cinnamon (a cancer-fighting spice), and serve it as a delicious side dish with any meal.

Choose at least one cancer fighting food for each meal. At 3 meals each day, that adds up to more than a thousand of cancer fighting food choices each year.

Want to know more? Watch for more ways food fights disease in next month’s newsletter….

Fit Tips:

What’s The Risk?

Focus on Waist Circumference

Your waist measurement typically correlates with your Body Mass Index (BMI), and is often seen as a better way of checking your risk of developing a chronic disease.

Measuring your waist circumference is a simple check to tell how much body fat you have and where it is placed around your body. Where your fat is located can be an important sign of your risk of developing an ongoing health problem.

Regardless of your height or build, for most adults a waist measurement of greater than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women, is an indicator of the level of internal fat deposits which coat the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas, and increase the risk of chronic disease. Waist circumference has become one of the leading indicators for developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Reducing Your Risk

Reducing your waist circumference has nothing to do with hundreds of crunches and sit-ups. To remove fat from the mid-section you must:
1. change your eating habits
2. increase the amount of physical activity you get each day
There is no magic pill or starvation diet that will allow you to lose your waist and keep off the pounds. Lifestyle changes work best to reduce your waist circumference and keep off the excess fat for a lifetime.

Stressed?
Take a Breath!

We all have stress. We usually can’t avoid it but the way we manage our stress can mean the difference be-tween being healthy or sick. There are many ways to cope with stress that range from calling a friend to taking a bubble bath. But what can you do when you need to relax RIGHT NOW?
Breathing is a simple strategy for managing stress. Here is a down-to earth breathing exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime to cultivate a sense of calm.
1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine upright.
2. Place your hand on your stomach to help you breathe from your abdomen, rather than your chest.
3. Notice your breath as it flows in and out of your body.
4. As you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in calmness and relaxation.
5. As you slowly exhale, imagine yourself breathing out frustrations and tension.
6. Continue for as long as necessary to relax.

Are You Up for The Million Step Challenge?

These days, Americans are obsessed with weight loss. We spend tens of billions of dollars a year on diets and weight-loss plans, yet obesity is rapidly increasing. What we’ve learned is that dieting alone doesn’t work for most people.

Even dieters who lose weight typically gain it back. Dozens of studies have shown that the people who reliably lose weight and keep it off are those who slightly decrease the calories they eat and increase the calories they burn through physical activity.

There is a special advantage to exercise when it comes to losing weight and maintaining weight over the long term. You don’t have to cut back so much on your daily calories. Here’s why….

It takes a 500 calorie per day deficit to lose one pound of body weight per week. You can do this by eating 500 calories less per day OR eating 250 calories less and increasing your physical activity by 250 calories OR increasing your physical activity by 500 calories per day.

The second and third options give you all the added health benefits of exercise. Benefits like a healthier heart, lower diabetes risk, alleviation of depression, more energy, stress relief, better sleep and much, much more.

Why 1 Million Steps?

Because research tells us that people who get a minimum of 10,000 steps each day typically have lower blood pressure, run less risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, have less depression and just feel more energetic each day!

10,000 steps x 100 days = 1 Million Steps!

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