Monday Medical: Resolutions for a healthy 2010 | SteamboatToday.com

Monday Medical: Resolutions for a healthy 2010

Lisa A. Bankard/For the Steamboat Today

Millions of Americans made New Year's resolutions less than three weeks ago. How about you? It's not too late to consider setting some personal goals for 2010.

Popular resolutions are to lose weight, exercise or quit smoking. Here are some new resolutions you may want to consider that can help you and your family stay healthy and safe.

■ I will eat a healthy breakfast every day.

Eating a nutritious breakfast increases your chances of getting the vitamins and minerals you need for strong bones, healthy skin and strong muscles. It also jumpstarts your metabolism, boosting your body's ability to burn more calories.

■ I will drink more water.

We need water to flush out toxins, keep our tissues hydrated and keep our energy up. Have a big glass of water before and after every meal, mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Make a point to drink from every water fountain you pass.

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■ I will use a food thermometer.

Temperature is a critical factor in fighting food-borne illness. To be safe, a product must be cooked to an internal temperature high enough to destroy harmful bacteria.

■ I will safely defrost frozen foods.

Frozen foods may be safely defrosted in the refrigerator, in the microwave, as part of the cooking process, or in water cooler than 70 degrees that is changed frequently. Defrosting at room temperature may allow the surface temperature of the food to get well above 40 degrees for a prolonged period before the center is thawed. This gives disease-producing bacteria time to grow.

■ I will keep a first aid kit in my home and each vehicle.

Having an adequate supply of first aid supplies in easy reach will help you handle an emergency at a moment's notice. Remember to check your kit regularly and replace missing items and those that become outdated.

■ I will make sure my family gets routine health screenings.

To keep healthy, adults and children need routine immunizations and preventive services or checkups. Talk to your doctor about the screenings that you and your family need.

■ I will talk to my kids about alcohol and drugs.

If you think that talking to your kids about drugs won't make a difference, think again. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, teenagers who do not learn about the dangers of drugs from their parents are about 50 percent more likely to try drugs than teens who learn about drug risks at home.

■ I will take time for myself daily to reduce stress.

Stress can contribute to symptoms of illness. Take five to 15 minutes for yourself each day. Even a brief period of quiet reflection may help bring relief from — and increase your ability to cope with — chronic stress. Take a bath, listen to music or go for a walk. Relax and try to think of pleasant things or nothing at all.

■ I will make an effort to be more active every day.

Even moderate-intensity activities such as walking can help lower your risk of heart disease and keep you healthy. Regular physical activity also can help to improve your mood and confidence while reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Look for opportunities to be more active.

■ I will use separate cutting boards and knives for meat.

Always use a clean cutting board. Wash cutting boards, dishes and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next. Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood. Replace boards that become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves.

Have a healthy 2010.

Lisa A. Bankard is director of Wellness and Community Education at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at lisa.bankard@yvmc.org.