March 19, 2013
By Elli Pace, EKU Dietetic Intern and Melissa Smith, MS, RD, LD, LexingtonFayette County Health Department
This March marks the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month, a celebration of healthy eating. This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day." This theme emphasizes the idea that there is not one healthy diet that works for everyone and that instead we should approach developing good eating habits with consideration for each individual’s food choices and preferences. A Registered Dietitian can be very beneficial in helping to develop good eating habits. Their services may be covered by your insurance carrier or at low cost through your local health department.
For many of us, when we hear a nutrition expert talk about “eating a healthy diet”, we cringe or plug our ears. We do not want to hear what they have to say, because we are afraid they will tell us we have to stop eating our favorite foods. This is especially true for people newly diagnosed with diabetes and pre-diabetes, who fear the diagnoses means that they can never again eat their favorite cake, candy bar or dairy treat.
Years ago, all people with diabetes were advised to follow the standard American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet. This approach addressed health concerns according to what was known at the time about diabetes and nutrition but it failed to offer flexibility for food preferences, lifestyle, and cultural and ethnic traditions. Following the early ADA diet was especially challenging. These days, as those of us who have been counting our carbs for a while know, a healthy diet is not about giving up your favorites. It is about balancing intake of foods and beverages with the energy we use each day and enjoying the foods that can have an impact on our health in moderation. Anyone who counts their carbs is ahead of the curve when it comes to Eating Right, Your Way, Every Day! Carb counting is all about still being able to eat the foods you love, but in a portion that helps regulate your blood sugar and promotes overall health. Whether you have diabetes and struggled in the past with the ADA diet or you are simply looking for a new approach to eating well, taking a page out of the Diabetic way of Eating Right, Every Day, Your Way can help you get ahead too. Let’s take a look at how the carb counters do it: ModerationModeration is the key to eating your way, while still eating right. No foods are bad foods, but even too much of a good thing can be unhealthy. Serving small portions helps to ensure you are eating all foods, including the foods you love, in moderation. ConsistencyConsistency is important when managing diabetes. This means having the same number of meals and snacks at about the same time every day. But this doesn’t mean the meals have to be the same old thing every day. Rotating the foods that you enjoy is important.
So it might be cereal, fruit and milk for breakfast one morning and a fruit and yogurt smoothie with peanut butter on toast the next – the important thing is remembering to eat the same number of meals and snacks each day. BalanceBalance is about getting foods from at least three of the food groups – grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy – each time you eat. Treat snacks as mini meals and try to balance them too. Practicing balance, like ensuring we eat a protein with a carbohydrate helps to prevent spikes in blood glucose and keeps you feeling full longer. Balancing food groups at each meal also helps us to get enough fruits and vegetables in our diet. These foods are high in fiber and offer many health benefits. With moderation, consistency, and balance, Eating Right, Your Way, Every Day is easy to achieve. Before you know it, you will have developed a healthy habit that will last a lifetime. What better time to work on such a habit than during National Nutrition Month! For more diabetes nutrition and management information contact the National Diabetes Education Program at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org or 1-888-693-NDEP (1-888-693-6337) or the American Diabetes Association at http://www.diabetes.org
Feb. 13, 2013
This Valentine's Day, give a special gift to yourself or someone you love. Quit smoking;
Being smoke-free is important to heart health. This Valentine’s Day, give a special gift to yourself or someone you love. Quit smoking or encourage your loved ones to quit. Now’s the perfect time!
February 14 is Valentine’s Day—a day to celebrate love in its many forms. But did you know that nearly 50 years ago, February was designated as American Heart Month? During this month, we raise awareness about the risks for heart disease as well as healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce cardiovascular risks and promote healthy hearts.
Given that February is dedicated to celebrating love, caring, and heart health, it’s a great time to improve your own heart health or encourage loved ones to improve theirs by quitting smoking. About 130,000 cardiovascular disease deaths per year in the United States are attributable to smoking. Also, approximately 26% of heart attacks and 12–19% of strokes are attributable to smoking. The Surgeon General has concluded that cigarette smoking greatly increases one's risk for heart disease. Being smoke-free and eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke is important to heart health.
Quitting smoking could be the best Valentine’s Day present you can give to your family or your loved ones.
Smoking and Heart Health
When you smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke, cells that line your body's blood vessels react to the poisons in tobacco smoke almost immediately. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up. Your blood vessels grow narrower. Chemical changes caused by tobacco smoke also make blood more likely to clot. Clots can form and block blood flow to your heart.Smoking is one cause of dangerous plaque buildup inside your arteries. Plaque clogs and narrows your arteries. This can trigger chest pain, weakness, heart attack, or stroke. Plaque can rupture and cause clots that block arteries. Completely blocked arteries can cause sudden death. Smoking is not the only cause of these problems, but it makes them much worse.Secondhand Smoke and Heart Health
Tobacco smoke hurts anyone who breathes it. When you breathe secondhand smoke, platelets in your blood get sticky and may form clots, just like in a person who smokes. Research shows that even spending time in a smoky room could trigger a heart attack. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Even brief exposure can be harmful to your health, especially if you are at risk for heart disease.
Quitting Saves Lives
You have years of life to gain and love to give by quitting smoking. Your risk for heart attack drops sharply just 1 year after you quit smoking. In fact, even if you've already had a heart attack, you cut your risk of having another one by a third to a half if you quit smoking. And because secondhand smoke also affects others and can increase their risk for heart attack and death, quitting smoking can help protect your loved ones. Make an effort during this heartfelt holiday to stop smoking and/or to encourage your loved ones to stop smoking.
Support to Quit
For free quit support, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).This service provides free support and advice from experienced counselors, a personalized quit plan, self-help materials, the latest information about cessation medications, and more.
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