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Archive for the ‘FOOD & DIET RELATED DISEASES’ Category

March is National Nutrition Month, and today, March 8, 2017, is National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. Why is that significant? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy represent more than 100,000 credentialed practitioners, primarily registered dietitians nutritionists, who are committed to improving the health of individual patients/clients, families, and the community.
I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month

In 2008, the Academy created a special day for Registered Dietitians Nutritionists. According to their website,  key messages for the public about these leading nutrition and dietetic experts encompass the following:

  • Acquire degrees from Academy-approved programs in colleges and universities in specific fields of nutrition, food service, and dietetics plus additional internship training or plans of study,
  • Translate the science of nutrition into practical application for healthy living,
  • Help individuals achieve positive lifestyle changes,
  • Advocate the advancement of nutritional status of Americans and people around the globe.

The Academy distributes nutrition related educational materials, and for National Nutrition Month has posted a word game for adults. Try it to refresh your memory and challenge your brain.

Celebrate this month with wise food choices. Should you need help with diets or food issues, remember to contact a registered dietitian nutritionist.

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cancer-prevention-monthFebruary may be the shortest month, but it’s a busy time for holidays and health. Valentine’s Day blows warm kisses amid cold winters. President’s Day follows close behind reminding us of extraordinary American leaders in past years. While we observe these two holidays, February additionally focuses on health. Heart-related problems are the number one cause of death in our nation. National Heart Month in February encourages Americans to alter lifestyles to slow progression of this disease.

This is also National Cancer Prevention Month. More than a half million Americans will lose their lives to cancer this year. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) estimates that nearly one-third of cancer cases could be prevented by eating healthy, staying active, and maintaining appropriate weight.

For 2017, AICR provided a 30-day prevention checklist to improve lifestyles. In these few remaining days in February, we can include modified food-related suggestions from their list along with other recommendations to help prevent cancer.

  • If overweight or obese, make every effort to reach your recommended weight. Up to 40 percent of all cancers are associated with excess weight.
  • Distinguish between weight loss myths and facts.
  • Measure portion sizes to avoid overeating.
  • Enjoy meatless dishes. Most American grew up with red meats, from hamburgers to prime rib. While we can periodically enjoy these tasty foods in our diets, to reduce cancer risks limit red meats, especially those that have been cured. Try healthier entrees from vegetables, cheese, or beans.
  • Swap processed meats for better protein sources such as fish or chicken.
  • Substitute water or unsweetened beverages for sugary drinks.
  • Learn the relationship between sugar and cancer.
  • Try new whole grains. Today we have access to familiar grains as well as those unknown to us a decade ago. Common whole grains include amaranth, buckwheat, farro, Kamut, maize, millet, quinoa, rye, sorghum, and teff.
  • Cook cancer fighting recipes.
  • Read labels. Remember, ingredients are listed on the label in order of weight, with the main ingredient first.
  • Take the AICR healthy diet quiz.

The dreaded “C” word affects many lives. Lower your risks by incorporating these suggestions into your routine and adopting permanent changes for a healthier lifestyle.

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More than 416 million adults worldwide have diabetes. About 95 percent of those have type 2 diabetes. Common symptoms include increased thirst, increased hunger, increased urination, unplanned weight loss or gain, fatigue, blurred vision, and numbness or Diabetes concept. Notepad  with diabetic diet and raw organic food. Stock Photo - 39058978tingling in the feet. Those who experience one or more of these symptoms, especially excessive weight gain, would be wise to check with their healthcare provider. Diabetes is a forerunner of multiple health problems.

Who is susceptible to this condition? Risks increase for those aged 45 and older, those who with a family history, and certain ethnic groups (African-Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, or Pacific Islander Americans). Women who have gestational diabetes or give birth to infants weighing more than nine pounds are more susceptible. Higher cholesterol levels may also increase vulnerability. While people may have no control over these factors, the most significant risks for diabetes relate to lifestyle practices—overweight/obesity and inactivity. As many as 70 percent of those with this disease could avoid it by losing weight and becoming more active. Why aren’t they?

In 1991 the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization coordinated efforts to form World Diabetes Day, observed each year on November 14. The purpose is to raise awareness of this disease and its causes. The event is one of several activities of the IDF, a worldwide alliance in 160 countries dedicated to improving the lives of people with diabetes everywhere. The 2016 theme, “Eyes on Diabetes,” focuses on screening to ensure early diagnosis. As many as half of those with the disease remain undiagnosed.

This insidious disease increases risks for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and multiple other problems including potential nerve and blood vessel damage sometimes resulting in amputation. Those proactive in seeking appropriate treatment for this condition improve their chances for healthy living. What are the best ways to prevent or delay this disease? The answer sounds simple, but it is hard for many to achieve.

  • Make lifestyle changes
    • The most significant change for those overweight or obese is to lose weight. A 10 or 15-pound weight loss can make a big difference.
    • Choose healthy foods most of the time. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) identifies Diabetes Superfoods to assist in making wise food choices.
    • Exercise on a regular basis. Make every effort to exercise at least 30 minutes five days a week.
  • Follow healthcare providers’ guidelines for medications.
    • While many with type 2 diabetes can control blood sugar levels with changes in diet and/or weight loss, some may need medications. Usually these will be oral drugs prescribed by the healthcare provider. For a better understanding of available drugs, the ADA explains options for treatment.
    • Before taking supplements or herbal products, check with your healthcare provider.

Where to Start

Change is difficult. Most of us are creatures of habit, but habits can be altered. The following steps may make a new lifestyle easier.

  • Think through and write down a plan of action.
  • Set definite goals with a specific time frame.
  • Consider preplanning of needs such as grocery lists to assure needed foods will be available.
  • Explore possible food and exercise app trackers.
  • Consider what obstacle you may face.
  • Seek support from those who will encourage you.
  • Decide on a non-food reward when you obtain your goals.

On World Diabetes Day, be mindful of symptoms and the implications for diabetes. It’s a condition you don’t want. Remember, most type 2 diabetes is preventable or reversible. The choice is yours.

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Projected new cancer cases in 2016 will exceed 1.5 million. What can we do to avoid being oneWord cloud for Healthy Eating of those statistics? Excessive body weight is a definite link for increased risk of certain cancers. Two-thirds of U. S. adults are overweight or obese. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), one-third of all cancer cases hinge on three weight-related factors.

Eat Smart:    AICR recommends vegetables, fruits, and whole grains make up two-thirds of the meal. More than one-third of people surveyed by AICR claimed cost influenced their failure to eat healthy. The following include AICR suggestions to lower food costs plus my own thoughts.

  • Choose lower-cost fresh produce such as carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, oranges and foods in season. Many of these foods, especially vegetables, keep for longer periods of time so stockpile them when grocery stores run specials.
  • Stock up on canned foods. Canned fruits and vegetables are convenient and economical. Grocery stores also run specials on many canned items. To save on costs, choose store brands that in most cases are as nutritious as name brands.
  • Keep frozen foods on hand if space permits. Frozen foods are quick and easy to prepare and retain nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Move More:    Many claim a lack of time as their reason for failing to exercise. Easy ways to move more  include:

  • Take five-minute walking breaks. Sitting all day at work or at a desk is detrimental to health. Short breaks will improve physical well-being while giving your brain a break as well.
  • Include the family. Use TV commercial breaks for activity challenges for the entire family. Children often relate well to simple family games that involve movement.
  • Try new activities or resurrect old ones. Often sedentary past-times have replaced previously active ones. Find a family member or friend to join you in former active interests or join a class involving your favorite activity.

Maintain a Healthy Weight. Next to smoking, excessive weight is the single most important factor in lowering the risks of at least ten different kinds of cancers. In April 2016 the AICR released an updated report relating stomach cancer to extra body weight bringing that number to eleven. The report confirmed other food-related issues that also increased stomach cancer―consuming three or more alcoholic drinks per day and eating bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats.

More than half of the American population are unaware that weight is linked to their risk for cancer. Many find losing weight difficult and don’t know where to begin. The AICR “Cancer-Fighting Fridge” makes other recommendations in addition to those already stated.

  • Swap white processed grains for whole grains.
  • Make fruit and vegetables front and center
  • Replace sweetened drinks with water and unsweetened beverages
  • Keep easy-to-grab healthy snacks and meal options visible

May 8-14, 2016 is National Women’s Health Week. This is a great time to consider―not only for women but men as well― what you will do to lower your risk of cancer. Women can find additional age-related guidelines to help make more informed choices.

Knowing that too much weight leaves us more susceptible to unwanted cancer, why do we take losing weight so lightly (no pun intended)? Weight-loss is a challenge, but most of us can do it.

And one last suggestion from AICR worthy of note, support and encourage those making an effort to lose weight. Even small amounts of weight-loss benefit health. Don’t wait another day to begin the road to a healthier you and at the same time help others in their quest.

http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw/by-age/ (paste into browser if link fails to work)

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Now that we’ve enjoyed too much chocolate candy for Valentine’s, wStethoscope Heart Clip Art hat next? February shares the heart of romance with another important event―the human heart. This is American Heart Month. One in four will die from heart disease. It remains the number one cause of death for both men and women with African-Americans the most susceptible. Many of these fatalities can be avoided by choosing a healthier lifestyle, including what we eat.

Small changes in diet make a difference by keeping the circulatory system healthier. These major changes may help keep you alive and well.

  • Decrease saturated fats and trans fats: Fats in whole milk, butter, sour cream, and similar products plus skin of chicken or turkey increase risks for blood clots. For better health, switch to unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are abundant in salmon, mackerel, trout, walnuts, soybean products, corn oil, sunflower oil and some seeds. Unsaturated oils can help off-set heart problems by lowering coronary heart disease and stroke.
  • Decrease salt intake: The Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 2400 milligrams of sodium each day. Table salt is about 40 percent sodium. Excess intake can increase fluid retention and is a major factor in hypertension (high blood pressure). Foods exceptionally high in salt/sodium include processed foods, luncheon meats, canned and instant soups, pickled products, salted nuts and snacks, and most fast foods. Common words to look for on labels include sodium bicarbonate, sodium caseinate, sodium citrate, sodium saccharin, sodium phosphate, sodium glutamate (MSG) and others.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity increases risks for heart disease. Reducing weight a few pounds can make a big difference.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables: These foods have limited or no sodium or fat.

In addition to healthy foods, remember other lifestyle practices can make a difference. Aim toward at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least three times per week. Nix all tobacco products. Take care of your heart. It’s the only one you have.

 

 

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Cancer is a universal fear. Yet, so many of the choices we make increase our chances of acquiring this terrible condition. Why do we continue practices that make us more vulnerable? In the last blog, we looked at pros and cons of the effects of moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages on heart disease.

Strong evidence confirms that women who drink even small amounts of alcohol will increase their risk for developing cancer. Alcohol may be responsible for as much as thirteen percent of cancer in women. When combined with smoking, that number increases. Women who only drink wine have the same risk as those who consume beer or hard liquor. Even women who drink as little as one drink are more likely to have certain cancers. The most common types related to alcohol are:

  • Breast: As many as eleven percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer may have resulted from drinking alcohol.
  • Liver: Alcohol is the primary cause of liver cancer.
  • Mouth/throat/ esophagus: Alcohol acts as an irritant to cells which may eventually lead to DNA changes that set the stage for cancer.
  • Colon/rectum: Bacteria convert alcohol to acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

The more women drink, the greater the risk of cancer. The exceptions are renal cell cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphomia. Increased amounts of alcohol may lower risks for these two.

For women who stop drinking, the risk for cancer remains bad news. It may take years to return to the risk level of non-drinkers. Even more than ten years after they stop drinking, the risk is greater for them than for those who never drank.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends omitting alcohol entirely. They suggest several ways to cut out or cut down alcohol consumption.

  • Choose smaller servings. Dilute drinks with ice, water, or club soda.
  • Sip slowly and drink less.
  • Alternate with other beverages.
  • Select days to stay alcohol free.
  • Stock refrigerator with alternate beverages such as sparking water or juices.
  • Buy low-or-no alcohol beer or wine.
  • Keep track of the amount consumed each day.

The facts are in. Women who drink even small amounts of any alcoholic beverage are more likely to increase their chances of getting cancer. Is it worth the risk?

Check out the National Institute of Health brochures and fact sheets for more information on the effects of alcohol.

 

 

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Is a little nip everyday bad for your health? More than 70 percent of the population either abstains from alcohol or drinks responsibly within low-risk health limits.

Those who enjoy alcoholic beverages welcomed news that a moderate daily drink could protect the body from heart attacks. In long-term studies, those who drank limited amounts of alcohol had less risk of heart failure than either non-drinkers or heavy drinkers.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the most positive effect of alcohol is a slight increase in HDL cholesterol levels. But AHA suggests that regular physical activity also raises HDL cholesterol. One alcoholic drink per day or less for women may help rid blood vessels of plaque. Some substances such as resveratrol, found in red wine, may help prevent platelets from sticking together to form a blood clot. Resveratrol is also available in red grapes, peanuts, and other foods.

Women have lower tolerance to alcohol than men because alcohol disperses in water, and pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men do. Also, their bodies break down alcohol more slowly. Limits for optimal heart-health benefits are three to seven drinks per week. Amounts above that may result in serious health problems.

Too much alcohol can poison the heart. The more people drink, the more abnormal changes occur in its structure and function, and women who consume more than one drink per day can expect a slight drop in heart function.

Chronic heavy alcohol consumption often leads to disabling or fatal health problems. Alcohol affects the brain, heart, liver, and potentially other organs. Excessive alcohol can also raise blood levels of some fats and can be a factor in arrhythmias, hypertension, stroke, and sudden death.  Alcohol is the cause of about one-third of non-ischemic heart disease, and even moderate drinking may result in atrial fibrillation. Those who drink more than two drinks per day are one and one-half to two times more likely to have hypertension than those who don’t drink alcohol at all. Extra calories from alcohol may lead to obesity which can cause a higher risk for diabetes.

Women who drink are more susceptible to alcohol-related liver disease than men who drink the same amount. Pregnant women should not drink alcohol at all. The expectant mother can cause serious brain damage to her unborn child or fetal alcohol syndrome in the newborn.

One alcoholic drink per day isn’t the best way to prevent heart disease. The AHA cautions people not to start drinking. For those who do, AHA suggests contacting your physician about the benefits and risks. Before you rely on alcohol to improve heart-health, consider its effects on other health-related issues. Check my next blog to learn the relationship between alcohol and cancer.

Choose wisely─stay healthy.

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