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Today’s Health Upgrade
A stroke trigger?
The two-serving fix
Recipe of the week
A Stroke Trigger?
A 10-year study on more than 30,000 people made us stop what we were doing, check out the research, and write this item.
If you struggle to fall asleep, you might be at greater risk of suffering a stroke.
Remember, we don’t want you to jump to conclusions, but the takeaway from this research is clear. We are not saying light insomnia or restlessness causes a stroke. But we are saying that if sleep is a struggle, there’s plenty of evidence that you should prioritize it.
In the study, which focused on people older than 50, the scientists surveyed participants about their sleep habits and behaviors and monitored them for about a decade. Those with some sleep troubles were 16 percent more likely to have a stroke, and those with significant issues with their sleep had a 51 percent increased risk of disease.
While it’s hard to assume causation from this study, the scientists factored out other common behaviors linked with strokes, such as alcohol use, smoking, and a lack of exercise. Even then, the increased risk was linked to sleep struggles.
Like many other sleep-related issues, the cutoff appears to be 6 hours per night. Other research suggests that those who get less than 5 hours of sleep are three times as likely to suffer a stroke.
If you need help winding down at night, try to cut off technology about 30 to 60 minutes before you sleep, stop eating at least 2 hours before your shut down, cut down on late-night alcohol, read a book, write in a journal, or call one of your best friends. Any of those tips could help you wind down and ease more effectively into sleep.
Reaper Repellent (The Two-Serving Fix)
You probably know that fruits and vegetables are good for your health. But you might not realize how little you need to eat to help fight off death.
Research suggests that just two servings of fruits or vegetables per day can significantly impact the fight against disease and might prevent early death.
The scientists went data-crazy. They reviewed 95 studies of populations worldwide, including 2 million people, and assessed roughly 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases, and 94,000 deaths.
They found that five servings of fruits and vegetables are the sweet spot for maximum benefits and protection. You may have heard this number before and felt defeated if your idea of a serving of vegetables is the tomato sauce on a slice of pizza.
But if you dig deeper into the study, you’ll see that about two servings (technically, it’s 2.5 servings) were associated with a 6 percent reduced risk of heart disease, 18 percent reduced risk of stroke, and a 13 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
If veggies or fruits are a struggle, start by finding easy ways to mix the foods into meals you love or foods that make it easier to dilute the taste. A perfect example is blending a banana, strawberries, or blueberries (or all of the above) into a protein smoothie. That could cover your servings for the day. Or, try the “recipe of the week” below. It's a perfect way to sneak in extra veggies and learn to enjoy them.
Recipe of the Week
Last week, we shared one of Daniel’s favorite taco recipes. This week, I’m sharing a fan-favorite from You Can’t Screw This Up. People love it because it takes less than 20 minutes to make, tastes delicious, and is one of the easiest ways to sneak in vegetables and protect your health.
Note: this recipe makes about 6-8 tacos (a normal serving size is 2-3 tacos)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 thinly sliced yellow onion
1 thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Six to eight 7-inch tortillas
1 cup defrosted frozen corn
1 avocado, sliced
Lettuce or spinach, finely chopped
1. In a large skillet, melt the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and sauté until softened, about five minutes. Add the ground turkey, break it into pieces, and cook until the turkey starts to brown. Add the spices and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for about five to ten minutes until the turkey is no longer pink.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings in small serving bowls. Or don’t. If you’re eating for one, you can make the tacos and eat them plain.
3. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for five to ten seconds, and divide the turkey mixture and taco toppings among them as desired. Enjoy immediately!