In Great Health. An In Great Health eNewsletter.
Signup For Avera Newsletters
Avera Health Source
Find a Physician
Click here to donate.
Avera Medical Minute
Calendar of Events
Avera Jobs
Visit Avera
Cardiac Risk Assessment
Avera Health Plans

Thank you for subscribing to In Great Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with information to help you live a healthy lifestyle.  To learn more about what Avera can do to partner with you to improve your health, visit

To your health,

The Avera Staff


It's tempting to pile your plate high with fat-laden foods on Thanksgiving Day. However, if you keep your portions under control, Thanksgiving meals have many healthy options that can satisfy your cravings for holiday foods without ruining your good eating habits throughout the rest of the week.

What to Eat

Turkey: If turkey is baked, broiled or grilled instead of deep-fried, help yourself. Turkey, especially white meat, is naturally low in fat, and it is a good source of folic acid , zinc, potassium and vitamin B. Don't eat the fatty skin, though.

Cranberries: Cranberries are full of antioxidants, which have been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels and fight cancer. Opt for fresh fruits instead of canned, which can have added sugar and preservatives.

Vegetables: Green beans, corn, squash and yams are always good options. Just make sure they're not oversalted or covered in unhealthy fats, such as butter or lard. It's also best to avoid cheesy or creamy casseroles, which can add a lot of extra fat and calories to your healthy vegetables.

What to Avoid

Gravy: While turkey is a good meat option, resist the urge to cover it in gravy, which is filled with unhealthy fats.

Mashed Potatoes: Potatoes themselves are packed with nutrients such as potassium, B vitamins and iron. However, the added butter, cream and salt (not to mention gravy!) make mashed potatoes a calorie bomb. If they're something you love, see if you can replace cream or whole milk with skim milk or broth, and try a butter substitute.

Sugar-Filled Desserts: Pies at Thanksgiving are typically high in calories and saturated fat. If it's difficult for you to skip the dessert, pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie are nutritionally better choices than pecan pie (although they are all loaded with fat and sugar). Remember, though, that few foods are completely off-limits as long as you watch your portion sizes.

Share: Facebook MySpaceGoogle Microsoft Yahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn

Back to top^


What are you thankful for during the holiday season? It may not be something you consider often, but research has shown that a positive attitude can help improve overall health.

Thinking positively is one of many methods that help people deal with stress. Stress can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.

If you notice you're feeling more stressed than usual, you can make some lifestyle changes that have been shown to reduce your symptoms. Adding more physical activity to your day can help you feel better both physically and mentally. Diet also makes a difference; eating more fruits and vegetables helps improve health and well-being. Continue to socialize, even if stress makes you feel like you don't want to be around people. Relaxation techniques also are beneficial for stress management.

Giving thanks can help relieve stress by replacing thoughts about things undone or unrealized with thoughts about things accomplished or actualized. This year, make a real list of all of the things, people and events for which you are thankful, and you'll be surprised to feel the stress melt away.

Many Avera facilities offer exercise, meditation and/or stress management classes. Contact your local Avera facility for classes near you.

Share: Facebook MySpaceGoogle Microsoft Yahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn

Back to top^


Every year, people have accidents and health emergencies while hunting. The physical activities of hunting -- long, strenuous walks in the woods, climbing tree stands, dragging a deer or other large animal and so on -- can put a strain on a hunter's body, especially for a person who doesn't exercise regularly.

Because many hunting grounds are remote, a health emergency or accident while hunting can be life-threatening. Taking some health precautions before you go out in the fields could save your life.

Train your body before hunting. Have a checkup with your doctor before the season begins to assess your fitness level. Your doctor can help you devise a pre-season exercise routine to condition your body for hunting.

Remember to stay hydrated. It's easy to become dehydrated in colder weather because you often don't feel as thirsty. Take a bottle of water with you and drink it throughout the day.

Listen to your body. If you feel tired during the hunt, take a break. Try not to overexert yourself during physical activity. Pay attention to the signs of a heart attack, such as chest or arm pain.

Learn CPR. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can save a life, especially if you are far from emergency medical personnel.

Stay connected. Make sure someone knows where you're hunting and carry a cell phone with you. It's best to hunt with at least one other person in case of emergency.

Take a gun safety course. Some hunting accidents are the cause of improper handling of firearms. Find a hunters' safety course near you before the season starts, and be sure everyone in your party has participated in one.

Share: FacebookMySpace GoogleMicrosoft Yahoo! Bookmarks LinkedIn

Back to top^

In Great Health online archive.

In Great Health is one in a series of In Great Health™ eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.