Sticky Notes

Heart Health Tips, Part 4: Nutrition

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In our first blog of this series, we noted lifestyle factors to improve heart health: quitting smoking, avoiding obesity, an increase in physical activity, a healthy diet, and stress reduction. In that post we discussed quitting smoking; in Part 1 we offered mindfulness techniques easily accomplished in the workplace; in Part 2 we offered the opportunity to get your own heart-shaped stress ball, a mindfulness tool to keep on your desk; and last week, in Part 3, we shared a list of exercises to help get you moving at your desk or on your break. While exercise can play a huge role in avoiding obesity, having a healthy diet is likely to make the most difference. Thus our final post of the series focuses on nutrition: what should you snack on, add to your packed lunch, and order at restaurant lunch meetings to help keep the pounds off – and keep the heart (and taste buds) happy.

1.) Nuts: A handful (or 1oz) of nuts consumed daily can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 30 percent. Among the best are walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, and pistachios. Opt for a raw/unsalted variety to ensure you’re not getting any unintended additives.

  • If you prefer the flavor of roasted nuts try preparing some at home: preheat your oven to 250, measure 1 cup of raw/unsalted nuts, add 1 tbsp of avocado or coconut oil, mix together in a bowl with seasoning, then spread on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and roast for 1 hour. Seasoning variations: Sweet: ¼ tsp sea salt + 1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp coconut sugar. Salty: ¼ tsp sea salt + ½ tsp garlic powder + ½ tsp onion powder.
  • Nut butters are also a tasty and versatile desk snack: stick to 1 tbsp at a time, opt for a brand with a lesser amount of ingredients, and try to avoid anything with added sugar and salt.

2.) Fresh Fruit: Along with nuts, apples showed up on almost every list of heart-healthy snacks we encountered. They’re high in antioxidants and pectin, which both help to reduce cholesterol levels. Try dipping apple slices in nut butter!

  • Other heart-healthy fruits include blueberries, grapes, melon, avocado and grapefruit.

3.) Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas): All beans are a good choice when it comes to heart health, but garbanzo beans are a standout. They’re packed with soluble fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol; and they contain antioxidants, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Grab some hummus or snack on garbanzo beans right out of the can. Opt for brands that contain only these three ingredients: garbanzo beans, water, and sea salt. Try this recipe for a delicious crunchy, roasted version. Don’t be scared to switch up and alter the seasonings to suit your personal taste.

4.) Tips for when eating out: (1) Avoid sweetened beverages; opt for water or unsweetened tea. (2) Salads are always a great option but avoid high-calorie toppings, such as bacon, croutons and cheese. Plus ask for oil and vinegar instead of salad dressing. (3) Be mindful of portion size. Ask for a takeout box and separate your meal in two, putting away half for the next day. (4) Don’t snack on pre-lunch appetizers.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS: Avocado Toast, Detox Salad, Buddha Bowl, Rainbow Slaw

If you found value in our American Heart Month inspired workplace heart health blog series, please let us know by adding a “Paper Clip” comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Heart Health Tips, Part 3: Exercise

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The number-one tip we have gleaned for exercise in the office is: be mobile. By taking every opportunity to get up and move around, or do a little stretching between tasks, you can lift your mood, stay energized, and even lessen food cravings. Experts recommend standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during your workday, but that’s easier said than done in today’s workplace. Simple exercises or stretches done in front of your computer between tasks can make a big difference. Below is a list of easy exercises that can be performed throughout the office – at your desk, in the stairwell, or even in the office restroom. Try one or two of these exercises when you have a minute between tasks, and your mind, body, and heart will thank you.

  • Shoulder Raises: Raise one shoulder to your ear, hold for a few seconds then relax. Repeat, alternating sides.
  • Wrist Stretch: Stretch one arm out in front of you, palm up. With the opposite hand, grab your fingers and gently pull them down. This will stretch your hand and forearm also.
  • Countertop push-ups: Lean on a countertop or sturdy piece of furniture and slowly push your body off, then lower down and repeat in a push-up motion.
  • Shoulder Blade Squeezes: Pretending to hold a pencil between your shoulder blades, squeeze them together and hold for 10 seconds. Release, then repeat.
  • Chair Squats: Stand 6” in front of your chair. Bend your knees and lower down until your bottom touches the edge of your seat, then pop back up to standing position. Repeat a few times.
  • Wall Sits: Rest your back against a wall, your hips and knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle, your feet should be flat against the floor and spread to about shoulder-width. Squeeze your core muscles tightly. Hold the position as long as possible.
  • Toe Raises: White seated keep your heels firmly on the ground and lift your toes and forefoot up off the floor, then lower and repeat.
  • Calf Raises: Holding on to a sturdy desk or countertop and standing upright with good posture, raise your heels off the floor, slowly lower them and repeat.
  • Seated Hip Flexion: While seated in your chair, lift one foot a few inches off the floor. Keep your knee bent at a 90-degree angle and hold the position as long as possible. Repeat with opposite leg. Make sure to maintain a good upper body posture.
  • Plank: Start by getting into a push-up position but with your forearms against the ground, elbows aligned under your shoulders and arms parallel to the body and about shoulder width apart. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together keeping your elbows under your shoulders. Try to remain in a straight line from shoulders to ankles and engage your core by sucking your belly button up towards your spine. Don’t arch your back or let your hips droop to the floor.

Always consult your physician before starting a new exercise practice.

APP SUGGESTIONS: SworkitFitnetDeskActiveMove

Up next, check back on Friday, February 24th for workplace nutrition tips!  

Heart Health Tips, Part 2: #EONLoveIs

During a typical workday, we are often unable to carve out time to practice mindfulness techniques like those we shared in last week’s sticky note blog post. Setting a reminder on your computer or cell phone to practice mindfulness, or dedicating your daily break time to meditation, can be helpful. But when it’s difficult to get away from your desk, try using a stress ball.

Stress balls come in varying materials and designs, but always fit in the palm of your hand. They are easy to keep in view on your desk. When you need a break, squeeze the ball for a few seconds, then release and repeat. This simple repetitive motion works as a mindfulness practice, but there are other benefits as well: stretching and strengthening of your hand and arm muscles, and increased blood flow all help alleviate discomfort related to carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis.

This month you can reach out to your EON Account Manager and ask for a heart-shaped stress ball, free of charge, in honor of #EONLoveIs—our newest campaign to help encourage two things: Workplace Wellness (goodbye, stress!) and spreading love to our colleagues, and those who could use more of it.

The action of this campaign is simple: Show us what love means to you and you’ll be entered to win a $250 Visa Gift Card!

How it works:

  • STEP 1—Finish the statement ‘#EONLoveIs______’ using a Sharpie marker.
  • STEP 2—Upload a photo of your finished heart to our Facebook wall and tag it with #EONLoveIs, or tweet us using the hashtag #EONLoveIs. The more creative, the better!
  • STEP 3—Check our social channels on Friday, February 24th to see if you or your team won.

Join us on Facebook  and Twitter to follow the campaign.

Up next, check back on Friday, February 17th for workplace exercise tips!

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