Growing up in Kentucky, the heart of college basketball, this is a special time of year! We will talk hoops at the end of this blog with a recipe for a gametime snack.
First, let’s put March Madness in a different context. Is it winter or spring? The rapid weather cycling that occurs at this time of year can have detrimental effects on our health. The scientific study of such effects is called Human Biometeorology.
Sudden changes in barometric pressure causes joint pain as any patient with rheumatoid arthritis will confirm. These folks really can predict the weather! It is also tough on air-filled spaces like your sinuses and can cause headaches and an increase in infections. If you suffer from spring allergies, now is the time to begin taking your Quercitin. There is a 2-week loading time.
A 2009 study of 7,000 patients found that migraine risk rises 7.5% for every 9°F increase. When this happens rapidly (like in Colorado yesterday), the risk doubles.
Rapid temperature swings weaken your immune system and increase your risk of the common cold. We often see another flu spike at this time of year. Combat this by dressing in layers and taking your multi-vitamin and extra Vit C.
According to a study in the British Medical Journal, each 1.8°F drop in temperature is associated with nearly 200 additional heart attacks worldwide. Higher blood pressure from vascular constriction and increase risk of blood clots due to higher blood viscosity contribute to this risk.
We also see a small spike in suicide rates in the spring. Weather fluctuations affect mood and can increase depression. Skip the pharmaceuticals and stock up on Fish oil, B vitamins and Vitamin D. Get out in the sun anytime it is shining!
Springing forward can have adverse consequences as well. This is particularly true for the chronically ill and those predisposed to depression. Just that slight shift in our time clock can wreak havoc.
The solution: Self-care is of paramount importance at this time of year. Get 7-8 hours of solid sleep, drink 64+ oz of water daily, exercise regularly, eat your veggies and practice mindfulness.
As for basketball, I have the Kentucky Wildcats at the top of my bracket. My brother is a Tar Heel and it makes for good family fodder! Try this healthy but super tasty dip at the Final Four party!
Avocado Tzatziki Dip
* 1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 lemon, juiced
* 1/2 cup chopped seeded cucumber
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (I like to use dill instead –but you can use both)
* Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine the avocado, garlic, lemon juice, and cucumber.
- Mash with a fork until smooth. If your avocado is not quite ripe enough, you may wish to use a food processor.
- Season with red pepper flakes, cilantro, mint (or dill), salt and pepper, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!