Thursday, May 31, 2018

Men's Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month! Take this opportunity to heighten your awareness about preventable health problems and diseases among men. Each year, over 700,000 men are diagnosed with cancer and nearly 300,000 die from the disease. The cancers that most often affect men are prostate, colon, lung, and skin cancers. According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, approximately 30-40% of cancer diagnoses could be prevented by modest diet and lifestyle changes.

Consider these seven cancer prevention tips to start your journey toward a healthier life! Learn more about cancer facts for men.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Keep the Pressure Off!

Taking steps to reduce stress can improve your health, including your blood pressure. Hypertension is the result of blood pressure that is too high. When you are experiencing high levels of stress, your blood pressure can spike. Constant increases in blood pressure can harm your blood vessels and raise your risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other health issues. Know what your numbers mean for you.

According to the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association:
• Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
• Prehypertension is between 120/80 mm Hg and 140/90 mm Hg.
• High blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or higher.

Treatment and lifestyle changes can help control high blood pressure to reduce your risk of life-threatening complications. Learn more about 10 ways to keep the pressure off!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Summer Vegetable Frittata

Here’s a recipe for all your summer vegetables to help you reach your nutrition goal of five servings of fruits and veggies a day. Try this easy frittata recipe for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 summer squash, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
½ red bell pepper, chopped
½ onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
8 large eggs
Preparation:
Preheat broiler. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch, oven proof skillet. Add all vegetables except tomato and sauté until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add tomato and cook until liquid has evaporated. Whisk eggs until well blended, season with salt and pepper, and add to skillet.  Stir to blend well with vegetables. Cover and cook on medium heat until center is just beginning to set, 10-15 minutes. Place skillet under broiler for 3-4 minutes until the eggs are set. Serve warm.
You can customize this recipe any way you would like. Add diced chili pepper and chopped cilantro to give it a Mexican flair. For a French-style dinner frittata, replace the zucchini and squash with diced carrots and yellow bell pepper and top with ½ gruyere cheese for last 30 seconds under broiler.
Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information:
Calories 217
Total Fat 14.9g
Sodium 163mg
Carbohydrates 6.3g

Grow Your Own Garden!

How would you like to save some cash while improving your health? Try growing your own fruits and vegetables! You don’t need acres of land to get started. All you need is good soil, sunshine, water, and a pot to get started. Choose a well-lit spot in your yard, on your porch, or even on a windowsill. You’ll be surprised at the amount of vegetables that can be grown in small spaces with a little extra plant food and some creativity. And unlike most hobbies that can tug at your wallet, growing your own food will save you money at the grocery store and have a positive impact on your health! Fresh and budget-friendly additions to your meals are just a bloom away. 

If you are new to gardening, you can find several home gardening guides and resources here: 
Be sure to get the children involved! Studies show that children love to garden and are more likely to eat their veggies if they helped grow them.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Eating Right for a Healthy Weight

Yes, you are what you eat! A big part of slimming down requires a healthy diet. Once you've reached your weight loss goal, it's important to maintain good eating habits. Change your lifestyle and move toward a healthier weight! Try these seven tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to get you started and help keep you on the right path.

Start with a plan for lifelong health. Focus on the big picture—achieving overall good health—not just short-term weight loss.

Set healthy, realistic goals. You are more likely to succeed in reaching realistic goals when you make changes step-by-step. Start with one or two specific, small changes at a time. Track your progress by keeping a food and activity log.

Get a personalized eating plan. Go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for a plan that will give you the amounts of each food group you need daily. If you have special dietary needs, consult a registered dietitian for a customized plan.

Eat at least three meals a day and plan your meals ahead of time. Whether you’re eating at home, packing a lunch or eating out, an overall eating plan for the day will help keep you on track.

Balance your plate with a variety of foods. Half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, about one-fourth with lean meat, poultry or fish, and one-fourth with grains. To round out your meal, add fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese.

Start your meal with low calorie foods like fruits, vegetables and salads. These foods are packed with nutrients your body needs.

Focus on your food. Pick one place to sit down and eat at home. Eating while doing other things may lead to eating more than you think. Also, switching from a large plate to a smaller one may help you feel satisfied with reduced portions.

Cut the Salt!

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults and children should limit their consumption of sodium (salt) to about one teaspoon a day. Too much salt can place you at a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease. The salt you use at the dinner table is not the biggest sodium contributor in the American diet. Did you know that more than 70% of a person’s salt intake comes from restaurants or processed foods?
Follow these tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to cut the salt in your diet:
  • Fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables and skip the processed foods.
  • Cook at home more often to have control of how much salt is added to your food. Remember to rinse canned vegetables to reduce the amount of salt.
  • Use salt-free seasonings such as herbs, spices, garlic, vinegar, black pepper or lemon juice.
  • Always read food labels and buy “low sodium,” “reduced sodium” or “no salt added” products.

Get Physical!

Want to do something special for yourself? Get physical! Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Control your weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, boost your mental power, increase your energy, all it takes is a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week to enjoy these benefits. You can even add years to your life and improve your quality of life!

Don't be overwhelmed! Try to be active for at least 10 minutes at a time without breaks.The benefits are yours for the taking! Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Biking (Don’t forget the helmet!)
  • Swimming
  • Brisk walking
  • Wheeling yourself in a wheelchair or engaging in activities that will support you such as chair aerobics
It is always a good idea to see your doctor before starting your physical activity program.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Celebrate with Chicken Pozole!

Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration that commemorates the Mexican army’s defeat of the French army in a battle on May 5, 1862. The holiday also happens to coincide with the start of the season for fresh tomatillos. Green Pozole with Chicken is the perfect dish for the occasion.
Ingredients for the salsa:
  • 8 ounces fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered (or cut into sixths, if large)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped scallion (white and light green part)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped serrano (with the ribs and seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the pozole:
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups shredded or cubed rotisserie chicken
  • One 30-ounce can hominy, rinsed and drained
  • Kosher salt
  • Shredded sharp cheddar, tortilla chips, lime wedges and fresh cilantro for garnish
Preparation:
Make the salsa: In a food processor combine all the ingredients and pulse until the mixture is almost smooth with some small chunks in it.
Make the pozole: In a large saucepan cook the onion in the oil over medium heat until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the salsa, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered for 10 minutes. Add chicken, hominy and salt to taste; cook just until heated through. Ladle into bowls and serve with all the garnishes on the side.
Nutrition information per serving:
536 calories
17 g fat
28 g carbohydrates
6 g fiber
62 g protein

Why More Fruits and Vegetables Matter

An apple a day just isn't enough! The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health links eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, which amounts to about 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups per day, to increased life expectancy. Did you know the average American eats only three servings of fruits and vegetables each day? Don’t let the “seven servings” recommendation overwhelm you. Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can, and gradually increase the amount to make it a regular part of your daily diet.


Try to incorporate at least five cups of fruit and vegetables each day to ensure your body is getting the vitamins, minerals and fiber it needs.
Here are four reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables each day:
  • Reduces your risk for heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes
  • Provides essential vitamins, minerals and fiber needed for optimal health
  • High in fiber – helps you feel full longer
  • Helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight

Harvesting Tips

Are you eager to start picking all those garden veggies, but are not sure when they are fully ripe? Follow these helpful tips!
Tomatoes
You can pick when you see color on the bottom. Wait to eat until fully ripened and the color covers the entire fruit. If you leave to ripen on the vine, check them often because they can quickly over-ripen, lose firmness and crack on the vine. Tomatoes that fully ripen on the vine are also more vulnerable to disease and insect damage.
Cucumbers
These are ready to pick when the length is over 6 inches. Don’t let them grow too big (over 8 inches) because they will no longer be good for slicing and become bitter. If you enjoy pickling your cucumbers, pick them smaller than 6 inches.
Bell Peppers
Pick these at any time, as they are good to eat green or colorful. In Louisiana, few bell pepper varieties will turn colors before rotting on the plant. Most varieties grow to the size of a woman’s fist when they are finished growing.
Okra
Pick when the pods are three to four inches long. Okra should be harvested every one to two days.

May is American Stroke Month

Did you know that high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke? According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, about 77% of people who have a stroke have blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg. Although stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, it is largely preventable, treatable, and beatable. Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors and prevention strategies that will work best for you.
LEARN HOW TO SPOT A STROKE
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association created F.A.S.T., as an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:
F - Face Drooping
Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
A - Arm Weakness
Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S - Speech Difficulty
Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T - Time to call 9-1-1
If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Managing Medications

Prescribed medications come in several forms and are taken in different ways. Even though they are meant to improve health, taking medicat...