HOTFLASHES | November 2021

The Benefits of Not Smoking

Most of us have heard by now that smoking isn’t good for us, but we may not have heard specifics on how this one small aspect of our life can positively impact our health. These benefits range from our lungs and heart to our bones and immune system. Learn more about the benefits of smoking cessation below.

  • Keep your hearing intact.
  • Preserve your overall vision.
  • Brighter smile and healthy mouth.
  • Clear up blemishes and protect your skin from aging.
  • Lower your blood pressure and heart rate almost immediately.
  • Help lower your cholesterol.
  • Prevent emphysema and permanent damage to your lungs.
  • Lower your risk of getting cancer.
  • Reduce your belly fat and lower your risk of diabetes.
  • Increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy in the future.
  • Lower your chances of erectile dysfunction and improve your chances of having a healthy sexual life.
  • Build a stronger immune system.
  • Stronger and healthier muscles.
  • Reduce your risk of broken bones, both now and later in life.

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Managing Diabetes

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it can be easy to go into information overload. You may want to do more than just taking your prescribed medications, but it can be hard to know where to start. Because people with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke though, it’s important to take additional steps to better manage your diabetes. Below are a few simple and proven tips to help you do just that.

  • Lose weight. Although losing those extra pounds can be hard for all of us, losing even just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight (for someone weighing 175 pounds, that’s a loss of 9 to 17.5 pounds) can help to lower your A1C (a test of long-term blood sugar control) by 0.5 percent, a significant drop. Losing that percentage also makes you more likely to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Eat more fiber. When people with diabetes increase the fiber in their diet, they can potentially lower blood glucose over a period of 12 weeks or less, according to a major review of 15 studies. The American Diabetes Association suggests that diabetics should aim for 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed in a day, but those who participated in these studies increased their intake by an average of 18 grams a day—the amount in a bowl of higher-fiber breakfast cereal plus a couple of extra servings of vegetables. Whenever you can, choose vegetables, whole grains, and fruit over sugary treats and bread, rolls, and other foods made with refined grains.
  • Get moving. Starting a regular exercise routine can help people with diabetes lower their A1C by an average of 0.3 to 0.6 percentage points. It’s a good idea to try to fit 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (walking, riding a bike, or swimming) at least five days a week. Add two to three light strength-training sessions a week and you’ll build muscle, which uses blood sugar for fuel.
  • Know your ABCs—and beyond. Because you’re at a higher risk for heart disease because of your diabetes, it’s important to see your doctor regularly and have you’re A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol checked as often as your doctor recommends.
  • Monitor blood sugar at home too. Be sure to check your blood sugar levels as often as your doctor recommends, in addition to the tests your doctor performs. Testing blood glucose at home can give you and your doctor a better idea of how well your medications are working as well as their side effects and other risks, and how your diet and exercise habits are affecting your blood sugar levels.
  • Quit smoking. Nearly one in six people with diabetes are smokers. Tobacco use boosts your risk for heart disease, stroke, blood sugar control problems, vision loss, nerve damage, kidney problems, and even amputation, according to a study review published by the CDC. If you’ve tried to quit in the past, make another attempt. Counseling or a support group plus nicotine-replacement products and medications to help control nicotine cravings can help.

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Low Carb Cheddar and Garlic Cauliflower Mash


  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Water to cover
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


Step 1: Place cauliflower, garlic, and bay leaf in a pot; pour in enough water to cover. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and discard bay leaf.

Step 2: Transfer cauliflower and garlic to a blender; add Cheddar cheese, butter, and sour cream. Blend mixture until desired consistency is reached; season with salt and pepper.