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This Week’s What Do I Need To Know About……Exercising With Lung Conditions, Healthy Salsas, and Whole Grains

With Cinco de Mayo coming up this week, many people might be tempted to overindulge. Thankfully, Health IQ’ s got you covered when it comes to nutrition-packed, waist-slimming salsa recipes. We also explore other ways to stay healthy, including which whole grains can help you live longer and which exercises are best if you have a lung condition.

Is your workout hurting your lungs?

While exercise is known to improve oxygen efficiency and keep lungs healthy and strong, people with lung conditions should choose their activity wisely. For example for people with asthma, prolonged sustained activity like long-distance running might be more likely to trigger an attack, compared to activities with breaks such as tennis. Those with seasonal allergies might want avoid mountain biking—as grasses and trees can trigger an allergy attack—and stick to paved roads when cycling. And both allergy and asthma sufferers might do well to do indoor swimming, where warm and moist air free from outdoor allergens can help keep symptoms at bay. Take our quiz on the best activities to promote lung health to find out what’s best for you.

Ready to spice up your Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo parties often offer up oversized (and sugar-laden) margaritas and bottomless baskets of chips and high-calorie dips. A healthier option is to celebrate by making your own low-cal, antioxidant-packed salsas and chip alternatives. Salsa verde—usually made with fiber-filled tomatillos—is a popular alternative to plain pico de gallo. Add mangos to traditional salsa for a sweet flavor that won’t spike blood sugar, thanks to mango’s natural levels of pectin. And corn and chipotle provide flavor and a boost of eye-health promoting carotenoids. You can also make your celebration even healthier by eating your salsa with sliced jicama or endive, instead of high-calorie chips.

Choose pumpernickel for a longer life?

A study of elderly heart patients showed that those who ate the most dark whole grains—compared to more processed varieties—reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by 20%. Potential cardiovascular benefits of dietary fiber include positive effects on serum lipid levels, better blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and lower blood pressure. Researchers were pleased to find out that improving diet later in life still had the potential to lower risk and improve major health outcomes. For better heart health, choose dark, less processed breads such as wheat, rye, or pumpernickel.

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