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Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

HEALTHY MEAL 2

Who doesn’t want to extend years of life as long as possible? Researchers confirm that even after middle age, we can lengthen our life span. In a study of nearly 74,000 health professionals 60 years-of-age or older, those who shifted to better eating habits lived longer. What changes did they make? Those who increased the amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains plus other healthy foods in their diets lowered their risk of premature death compared to those whose diets remained the same. Likewise, those who let their eating habits slip to less healthy fares in their older years increased their risks for dying.

Researchers used three scoring systems based on the Alternate Healthy Eating Index, the Alternate Mediterranean diet, and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. While those diets differ somewhat, all promote fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy, olive oil, and nuts. Some foods may include more of certain vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, or other nutrients, but all of these received higher scores and are good options. In all diets, less healthy choices such as sweets, processed foods, and red meats received low scores. The higher the overall score, the lower the risk of premature death.

Even changing a few items, such as fish or legumes in place of red meat, made a slight difference.  Alice Lichtenstein, spokesperson for the American Heart Association stated, “The key is to make changes that you can stick with for the rest of your life.” She added, “There are no magic-bullet foods or nutrients.” The message isn’t new. However, many believe if they haven’t followed healthy eating rules throughout their lifetimes, change is hopeless. Not so. It’s never too late to improve eating habits.

Choosing healthy foods helps prevent an early death and assures that the years we live will be less hampered by the many diseases resulting from poor diets. Quality of life is a precious commodity for everyone, especially as we age. Making slight diet changes can improve physical well-being and make those extra years’ worth living. It’s a win-win choice.

 

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Eating is a major focus during the busy holiday season. Many people add a few pounds to their weight from the festivities centered around food. This isn’t the time to diet, but with a few simple changes, we can spare ourselves from gaining additional pounds.

    1. Choose smaller portions. Not easy, but many times we not only add extra calories but become uncomfortably full from excess food. Gauge those portions sizes and feel better afterward.
    2. See what calorie-laden foods you can skip or resolve to eat less. Gravies and creamed dishes add lots of calories. Select unsweetened beverages. Choose red sauces over white ones for fewer calories.
    3. Choose desserts with less calories. Double crusted pies and those with whipped cream or topping have more calories. If you must have a piece of that traditional coconut cake, make it a smaller portion.
    4. Watch out for snacks of candies, nuts, party mixes and yellow cheeses. Look for veggie or fruit trays and skip the dip.

A few simple changes can keep away those dreaded extra pounds. Make the holidays a time of love and joy without those rich, fattening foods. Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

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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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The tsunami of obesity refuses to let up. Pills and potions may prove worthless or harmful.Appetite, Barbeque, Beef, Calories Cutting out favorite sweets and fatty foods taxes self-control, and special diets may work only for a brief time. What to do? How can we curb the continuing expansion of our waistlines?

We often overlook a major cause of obesity. It’s so easy, yet few practice what it takes. What is this magic bullet? Portion control! Yep, we put too much on our plates and lap up every morsel. My mother would say about my sister, “Her eyes are bigger than her stomach.” She thought she could eat more than she could. That doesn’t seem to be the case with most of us. We fill our plates, and even if we do begin to feel full, we keep eating. It takes our brains about 20 minutes to catch up with our stomach and sense a feeling of fullness.

How do we resolve this problem? Most of us fail to recognize what a serving is. We don’t eat servings, we eat portions. They are different. A serving is a specified amount of a given food from nutritional guidelines. Labeled products list serving amounts. If a product says it contains two servings and we eat the whole thing, then in actuality we have eaten two servings. Foods may vary slightly by products or categories, but a serving size is close to the following scale.

  • Fresh fruit—–1 small to medium whole piece
  • Cooked fruit——½ cup
  • Raw vegetables—–1 cup
  • Cooked vegetables—–½ cup
  • Meat/poultry/fish—–a piece about the size of a deck of cards
  • Cereals—–about ½ to 1 cup (see the box for exact amounts)
  • Breads—–1 slice, buns and similar breads are 2 servings
  • Milk—–1 cup (preferably skim)
  • Nuts—–1 ounce (12 almonds/7 walnut halves)

To keep that scale from climbing, take a look at how much you eat. If you are a hearty eater and tend to pile your plate high, keep serving sizes in mind and consciously eat less. Measure exact amounts of foods eaten at home until you can visualize how much of a certain food is a serving. Below are other tips to help that scale go down.

  • When you eat out, consider sharing your meal with another person in your group. Or ask for a take-out box and remove half the food before you begin eating.
  • If you choose high-calorie foods such as pizza or sweetened beverages, order the smallest size.
  • When you begin to feel full, stop eating.
  • Resign from the “clean-plate-club.”
  • Discipline yourself not to return for seconds.

A portion size is how much we choose to eat at one time. It may be a half serving, but often it is one and one-half or more servings. Many other factors relate to losing weight such as changing sugary beverages to no-calorie drinks or choosing low-fat dairy products. But serving size is often a culprit that slips up on us. Conquer this bully and watch weight slowly dwindle. What have you got to lose except weight?

Suggested References:

http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/#table-1-1

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Caregiver/Replenish/WhatisaServing/What-is-a-Serving_UCM_301838_Article.jsp#.VvBH_jHmqUk

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/HowtoMakeaHealthyHome/Portion-Size-Versus-Serving-Size_UCM_304051_Article.jsp#.VvBI7zHmqUk

 

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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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Throughout the 20th Century, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published varied guidelines to help Americans eat healthier. Prior to the discovery of individual vitamins, Wilbur Atwater in the 1890s compiled the first nutrition bulletin. He advocated variety, portion control, calorie maintenance, and affordable diets that emphasized nutrient-rich diets with limited fat, sugar, and starch. The 1940s ushered in the “Basic 7” food groups which were replaced in 1956 with the “Basic Four.” The USDA introduced the “Food Guide Pyramid”  in 1992.

Amplified dietary guidelines appeared in 1980 and is updated  every five years for the general public. The USDA and Health and Human Services now conjointly establish dietary guidelines. Each new edition, compiled by a panel of experts in the fields of medicine and nutrition, builds on the previous guidelines and incorporates the latest information from scientific research.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released on January 7, 2016. Many recommendations remained the same as previous publications while others were diminished or expanded. New information also surfaced. These are the first guidelines to acknowledge the widespread use of caffeine, a non-nutrient, and suggest upper limits for its use. Information incorporated into the new guidelines seemed more contentious than in previous years. Questions surfaced regarding political influence while opposing factions sometimes appeared to have self-serving motives.

These documents are public domain. The complete report can be accessed at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Identified below are the five categories recommended in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
  1. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.

What purpose do these guidelines serve? Here are a few considerations.

  • With nearly 70 percent of our nation overweight or obese, these guidelines can help people achieve a more reasonable weight for better health.
  • Several illnesses and diseases result from environmental causes. Many of those could be abated or eliminated with appropriate diets.
  • Foods at the check-out easily persuade us to buy foods we don’t need or really want because of visual temptations. Aldi grocery stores declared support of a healthier food supply by replacing candies and less nutritious foods at the check-lanes with nuts, dried fruits and granola bars.

The above is not intended as a complete list. Dietary guidelines serve many purposes in giving directions for the public to remain healthy and extend longevity. Whatever flaws may exist in each new addition, these suggestions can help us maintain optimum health and well-being. The wise consumer will not ignore them.

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Do we take food for granted? While many in the world go to bed hungry, most of us  have abundant food and often tend to eat too much. October reminds us of the abundant fall harvests. Several groups choose October to celebrate our food sources.

Americans celebrate Food Day each year on October 24. The purpose is multifaceted. First, it’s a reminder to make positive changes in our diets. It’s also a good time to call attention to the value of food in diets of all Americans and help solve food availability problems throughout our nation. The 2015 theme, “Toward a Greener Diet,” promotes healthy, affordable food produced under friendly environmental conditions and recognizes  those who grow, harvest, and serve it. In 2014, Food Day emphasized food justice and 2013 focused on food education.

Earlier this month on October 16 we commemorated United World Food Day which recognized the founding of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945. This significant date raised nutrition awareness worldwide. The 2015 theme, “Social protection and Agriculture,” sought to “improve agricultural productivity at all levels, enhance the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.” Additionally, it proposed to help other countries change agricultural policies, aid areas enduring famine, and help nations use technology more effectively.

Previous themes of United World Food Day have included “Feeding the world, caring for the earth (2014),”  “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition (2013), ” and “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world (2012).”

Let’s remain mindful of how to share and educate those with few options and opportunities for healthful foods. While typical American diets continue to contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems, it’s also a good time to check our own diets. On this Food Day October 24, 2015, let’s resolve to eat healthier, set a positive example for our families, and help those unable to help themselves.

 

 

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