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Winner of "The Amazing Race" shares spring cleaning tips for optimal health

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Located between the nose and chin is a canal shaded in variant pink with 32 chiseled enamel structures and a 4-inch muscle coated with thousands of taste receptors. It aids in chewing, swallowing, breathing and speaking. Yet, most notably, it can determine the condition of your health.

Dr. Natalie Strand, MD, Anesthesia and Pain Management Expert, dLife Patient Champion and winner of "The Amazing Race,” has collaborated with Colgate Total® to promote its Spring Clean Your Health campaign to educate about the fundamental association between oral hygiene and total health.

Strand offers the following tips:

1. Relax, Don’t Just Rest.
“Resting is sitting on the couch or watching TV, putting your feet up,” says Strand. “Relaxing is letting go of tension in your body.”

Stress, when unrelieved, can lead to arrhythmia and hypertension. Strand insists that stress relief should be a conscious decision particularly among women who put other people’s health and wellness before their own.

She recommends at least 10 minutes of daily relaxation techniques namely progressive muscle relaxation, breathing and yoga. "If you can't do it every day for 10 minutes, then do what you can,” she says. “Stress is a huge contributor to heart disease. Try to get in at least five minutes."

2. Get Seasonal.
Strand suggests buying produce at local farmers markets. “It’s fresher,” she says, adding that it’s more flavorful and dense in nutrients. Farmers markets also offer wide-ranging selections presenting more nutritional options to expand your diet.

3. Make Exercise Fun.
“Anything that gets your heart rate going is exercise,” says Strand.

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of weekly moderate exercise for optimal cardiovascular health. “Being sedentary accelerates poor health,” she says, citing heart disease and diabetes as likely consequences.

Exercise, dubbed the “miracle cure” by Strand, also helps to reduce stress and depression, and can include social and double-duty activities such as walking, dancing and household chores.

4. Get a Spring Tuneup.
Strand recommends annual checkups which should generally include Pap smear, mammogram, physical and eye exams.

5. Improve Your Mouth Health.
The American Dental Association reports nearly 100 million Americans avoid dental treatment each year. Consequently, irregular oral hygiene can lead to heart disease, osteoporosis and periodontitis, the latter, most critically for people with diabetes. In addition to brushing twice daily, Strand recommends flossing and regular dental visits.

“Small changes can lead to dramatic health improvements,” she says.

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