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January 20th, 2021
Healthy Lifestyles

familyfitnessThe buddy system is widely used to help men and women get in shape. Friends can encourage their workout partners to get off the couch on days when their motivation might be waning, and partners can return that favor when the roles are reversed. And the benefits of the buddy system are not exclusive to adults, as families can rely on it to make sure moms, dads and kids each get the exercise they need.

oatmealOatmeal is one of many options people have when sitting down to breakfast each morning. Though brand name cereals or staples like bacon and eggs might be the most popular choices at the breakfast table, few foods pack as nutritious a punch as oatmeal.

Instant oatmeal might be found in the pantries of many households. But it’s important to note that packets of instant oatmeal are often loaded with sodium and sugar, which can compromise the nutritional benefits of the oats. In fact, WebMD says some instant oatmeal packets contain as much as eight teaspoons of sugar per serving. Store-bought plain rolled oats, or steel-cut oats, are typically nutritious and low in both sugar and sodium. For example, Bob’s Red Mill® Extra Thick Whole Grain Rolled Oats contain just one gram of sugar per serving and no sodium.

Oatmeal can provide a great start to your day and pay other dividends as well, though it’s important that consumers read package labels so they are getting the nutritional benefits of whole grain oats without the added sugar and sodium. The following are three of the many ways a morning bowl of oatmeal can benefit your body.


  1. Oatmeal can help lower “bad” cholesterol. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. And it doesn’t even take much soluble fiber to reap such benefits. Five to 10 grams of soluble fiber per day has been shown to decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is commonly referred to as “LDL” or “bad” cholesterol. A single serving of Bob’s Red Mill® Extra Thick Whole Grain Rolled Oats provides 1.6 grams of soluble fiber, helping people get a healthy head start on lowering their LDL throughout the day.


  1. Oatmeal is loaded with vitamins and minerals. 

The online medical resource Healthline® notes that oats contain a well-balanced nutrient composition that can help people get well on their way to consuming their recommended daily intake of various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For example, half a cup of oats contains 41 percent of the RDI of phosphorous and 20 percent of the RDI of iron. That same serving contains 51 grams of carbohydrates and 13 grams of protein.


  1. Oatmeal can help people maintain healthy weights.

Oatmeal, so long as it isn’t instant oatmeal, is one of the rare foods that’s both filling and low in calories. That makes it an ideal choice for those who want a filling breakfast that won’t affect their waistlines. Oatmeal is filling because of its fiber content. Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber does not break down into sugar once it’s consumed. When fiber is consumed, it absorbs water and takes up space in the stomach, leading to feelings of fullness that can prevent overeating.

The nutritional benefits of oatmeal make it a must-have item for anyone who wants to start their day off in a healthy way.


polarplungeCome wintertime, polar plunges are sponsored by various organizations. Such events may serve as fundraisers for club operations or to help needy individuals, while others may simply be efforts to fend off cabin fever.

While no one can say for sure who originated the polar plunge, the first recorded Polar Bear Swim took place in Boston in 1904. In Canada and the Netherlands, it has become tradition to host plunges on New Year’s Day. Even people in the southern hemisphere participate, with plunges off the coast of New Zealand and Antarctica in June. In the United Kingdom, a “Loony Dook” takes place in Scotland, with several thousand people attending the event and taking the plunge after New Year’s Eve celebrations. The largest plunge in the United States is the Plungapalooza in Maryland, which includes 12,000 swimmers, all of whom are there to raise funds for the Special Olympics.

Polar bear swims are not for the feint of heart, and even the most stalwart (and cold-tolerant) plunger can employ a few strategies to make the swim a success.

  • • Prepare in advance. Build up your cold tolerance in the bathtub or shower. Cold water may cause some people to hyperventilate. Acclimating to the sensation can make it less shocking when it’s time to get in the water.
  • • Exercise caution if you have a heart condition. Experts in medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School say that, following cold shock, the body will do something called a diving reflex. This means constricting blood vessels to direct more blood flow to the heart and brain, which causes an increased cardiac workload. 
  • • Walk slowly into the water. Rather than running and diving in, slow enter the water to acclimate your body to the cold and mitigate some of the shock.
  • • Make it a brief stint. Only stay in the water for a few minutes. Doctors say that cold water incapacitation can begin within five minutes of entering the water. Hypothermia requires being immersed for 30 minutes or more to set in.
  • • Bring along warm clothes. You’ll need to warm up quickly after the plunge. A terry cloth bath robe, thick wool socks, heavy sweater, and a hat can help restore body heat.
  • • Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can give off a false feeling of warmth and heat in the body, advises Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani at Indiana’s Ball State University. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the limbs at the expense of the core. It also may interrupt the body’s natural shivering response. Warming up with some scotch is not adviseable before or after the plunge.

If health ailments do not preclude a person from plunging, it can be an exciting way to spend a few wet minutes.  

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