Take the Madness out of Your Health

Just a game?  Not for NCAA Tournament fans!

March Madness may have more to do with your health than you are aware.  If you are a serious fan, you know the thrilling self-esteem boost you feel when your team is victorious.  You also know the agony of watching your team battle until the end, only to fall short when the buzzer rings.  Help take the madness out of your health while taking in the Big Dance with these tips.

Help control your blood pressure by skipping the salt.

Don't add extra salt to your meals and avoid snacking on foods with high sodium levels.   It is also helpful to avoid processed foods, as their sodium levels tend to be very high, even without adding additional salt.  Read the packaging on prepared foods for the sodium levels and limit sodium intake to between 1,500 mg and 2,400 mg per day.

Limit alcohol intake.

Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and increase your risk for heart attack.  Do not exceed one drink per day if you are a woman or two drinks a day if you are a man.

Eat nutrient rich foods.

Diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole-grain high-fiber help support heart health and overall nutrition. Here are some healthy snack ideas from Hillcrest Medical Center's Pinterest board, Staying Healthy.

Use your competitive drive as motivation.

Be a part of the game, physically.  On game days, go to the gym to use your competitive drive as motivation to be active and healthy.  Work out while watching a game to help burn off stress and extra calories. 

Be Social.

Enjoy the game with friends and family to help reduce the stress of watching and cheering for your favorite team.  Being social and being around people helps lower blood pressure, increases mood boosting endorphins, and strengthens important relationships in your life.  Try not to take each game too seriously to avoid temporary situational depression.  There’s always next year, right?