Monthly Health Topic
Each month MANNA includes a health tip in our MANNA Nourishes enewsletter. The topics included on this page are in depth version of the tips.
May Health Topic: Women’s Health Week
Celebrate the moms and special women in your life this month by making their, and your, health a priority. National Women’s Health week runs from May 12 – 18 and encourages all of us to recognize that it is crucial for women to maintain good physical and mental health.
May is also National Osteoporosis Prevention and Awareness Month. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that affects women at a higher rate than men and one that can be prevented through healthy eating and exercise. Osteoporosis weakens your bones over time and increases your risk of fractures. Risk factors for this common disease include aging, gender (female), low body weight and decreased estrogen levels. Osteoporosis can be a silent disease but many patients suffer from symptoms such as pain, gradual loss of height and unexpected fractures. Luckily, there are ways to prevent and slow the progression of osteoporosis.
Low calcium intake contributes to reduced bone density which can lead to fractures. Women between the ages of 18-50 need 1,000 mg a day, and woman between the ages of 50-70 require 1,200 mg per day. Try adding foods like low-fat dairy, dark leafy green vegetables, soy products, fortified cereals, and orange juice to your diet.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient because it helps your body to absorb calcium. Although more research needs to be done, the current recommendation for vitamin D is 600-800 IU per day. Good food sources include milk, salmon, tuna, eggs, pork and fortified cereals. While it can be difficult to get enough from your diet, getting 10-15 minutes of sunlight three times a week will help your skin to naturally produce Vitamin D; just make sure you protect yourself with sunblock.
Strength training and weight bearing activities will help to strengthen your bones. Bones are in a constant state of renewal, exercise improves bone mass density, increases muscle strength and improves balance.
April Health Topic: Lowering the Pressure
April 7th is World Health Day. Did you know that 40% of all MANNA patients suffer from high blood pressure? It is the number one co-existing condition that we address. So we were not surprised to learn that the goal of World Health Day 2013 is to raise awareness of the causes and complications of high blood pressure and to encourage self-care to prevent this disease.
MANNA meals are designed to help control our clients’ blood pressure. As a standard they are low in fat, low in salt, and heart healthy. Our entrees contain 6 ounces of lean protein and 4 ounces of vegetables plus fresh fruit.
Blood pressure is the force of blood that is being pushed against the blood vessels, called arteries, which carry blood throughout your body. Thus, high blood pressure is the condition in which your heart is working harder to pump more blood into your arteries. This puts too much pressure on the arteries, which can lead to more serious problems such as heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. Blood pressure should be measured by your doctor regularly, a normal reading is considered to be less than 120/80.
High blood pressure affects more than one in three adults worldwide and contributes to more than 9 million deaths each year. It is predicted that by the year 2025, there will be 1.56 billion people living with high blood pressure worldwide. The biggest concern with high blood pressure is that it remains largely hidden; many people do not know that they potentially have this silent killer because symptoms are not always clear.
Treatment for high blood pressure can include a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Most people who have high blood pressure will need lifelong treatment to help correct the issue and prevent or delay more serious diseases from developing. Healthy lifestyle habits can include following a healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and managing stress. Click for more information on World Health Day and for ways to prevent and treat hypertension.
March Health Topic: Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day
March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme, Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day, recognizes that lifestyles, cultural and ethnic traditions, and health concerns influence what we like to eat. So how can you apply this to yourself?
- Eat the meals that you like, just make them healthier – For instance, if you like to make lasagna use whole wheat lasagna noodles, part-skim cheese, and add extra veggies including mushrooms, eggplant, or zucchini. Or, if you prefer Mexican food, use black beans in place of refried beans, part-skim cheddar cheese, and extra veggies like sautéed bell peppers, onions, and garlic.
- Remember to eat the right portion size at each meal – Eat approximately 1 cup of vegetables, 1/2 cup of meat or poultry and grains, and1/8 cup of cheese. If this doesn’t look like enough food, add extra veggies which are lower in calories and full of fiber, which fills you up for longer.
- Plan your meals around your schedule – If you find it difficult to incorporate healthy meals into your everyday busy schedule, plan ahead. Spend an hour prepping your meals for the week so that all you have to do is put it them together. This cuts down on cooking time. Pack healthy snacks to bring with you on the go; try fresh fruit, cut up vegetables, or trail mix.
Make it your goal to eat right, every day! For more info visit www.eatright.org
February Health Topic: Heart Health
Heart disease is the number one killer in America; statistics are released every year that show a steady increase in the rate of incidence and mortality. Currently, heart disease kills over 600,000 Americans every year, making it the most common cause of death. Heart disease is not biased; it can affect people of any age, sex, and race. It can affect you! That is why it is important to take the proper precautions and make the necessary changes in your lifestyle now to prevent this deadly disease.
Focus on the risk factors that you can control and make lifestyle changes to decrease your risk.
1. Quit Smoking
2. Exercise for 30 minutes daily
3. Maintain a healthy weight
4. Get regular health screenings
5. Eat a heart-healthy diet
- Grains: make them 100% whole grain and get 6-8 servings per day
- Fruits and Vegetables: get a good variety, 4-5 serving of each per day
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products: keep it low in fat, 2-3 servings per day
- Lean meats/poultry/fish: 6 or less servings per day
- Nuts and seeds: 4-5 servings per week
- Fats and oils: 2-3 servings per day
- Sweets and added sugars: 5 or less per week
Heart disease risk factors include;
- Age: 83% of people who die from heart disease are 65 or older.
- Sex: Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women do. However, even though the risk for men is higher, heart disease is the number one killer of women.
- Family History: those with close relatives with heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves
- Race: heart disease risk is higher among African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, and Asian Americans compared to Caucasians
- Smoking: cigarette smoking increases your risk 2-4 times
- High Cholesterol: as cholesterol levels rise, so does the risk of heart disease
- High Blood Pressure: the higher the blood pressure level, the more work you heart has to do which causes it to thicken and increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and congestive heart failure
- Excess Weight: individuals who have excess body fat, especially around their midsection, are more likely to develop heart disease even if they have no other risk factors
- Diabetes: having diabetes significantly increase the risk for heart disease. Seventy-five percent of diabetics die from heart disease.
More information on the heart healthy DASH diet is available from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
January Health Topic:
With the winter months rapidly approaching, what better way to stay warm than by enjoying a delicious bowl of hot soup. Besides offering a warm meal, soups are a great way to incorporate different vegetables and grains that are nutrient-rich all in one bowl. Coincidentally, January is also National Soup Month.
The history of soup dates back to the beginning of cooking. In times when food was scarce, combining various ingredients that were seasonally available into a bowl and heating it was a cheap way to provide for a quick and nutrient-rich meal. Now, soups are available in the grocery store and are quick and easy to prepare. However, soups today can often be high in sodium which can cause a serious health risk to those with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Don’t let the sodium content prevent you from enjoying a delicious soup. There are several ways that you can reduce the sodium content in canned soups. Start by choosing a broth-based soup that is lower in calories and fat. Next drain some of the broth and replace it with water before heating the soup to dilute out some of the sodium content. Also, try adding extra vegetables or grains to the canned soup to increase the fiber and nutrient content. Lower-sodium canned soup options are often an option and should be your first choice when buying them in the grocery store. In general, processed foods are always higher in sodium than fresh, whole foods so try making your own soups at home from scratch.
Making homemade soups is a great way to incorporate seasonal vegetables and whole-grains into your diet. These vegetables and grains can provide a fiber-, nutrient-, and protein-packed meal. Try to use local and seasonal ingredients to get the most nutrition out of your meal. Some vegetables that are currently in season locally in the Northeast are kale, leeks, winter squash, potatoes, and parsnips. When choosing your whole grain options, try to be adventurous. Barley, bulgur and quinoa are all whole-grains that can be added to your soup that will not only provide flavor but also are a great source of fiber and nutrients. One cup of these grains can contain up to 6 grams of fiber, up to 10 grams of protein, and plenty of B vitamins and folic acid.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing your hearty soups:
- If you want to make a thicker soup, use a blender to puree beans, potatoes, or other vegetables to act as a thickening agent instead of using cream.
- If you are using broths purchased from a store, look for a low-sodium version.
- Looking for flavor? Try adding herbs and spices instead of salt.
- After preparation, the soup can be refrigerated to allow fat to harden and be skimmed off the top to lower the fat content as well as calorie content.
Barley and Winter Squash Soup
This recipe incorporates some seasonal vegetables as well as a whole-grain.
1 cup dried barley 8 cups chicken broth (reduced-fat/low-sodium)
1 bunch leeks 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of minced garlic 1 ½ cup diced carrots
1 ½ cup diced celery 1 ½ cup diced onions
2 cups peeled/diced winter squash ½ teaspoon thyme
Ground pepper to taste
Chop the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Peel and dice the winter squash. Slice the leeks, using the white part only, into thin slices. In a large pot, heat the chicken broth and barley by bringing it to a boil. Once it has boiled, reduce the heat and allow the barley to simmer. In another pan, add the olive oil and sauté the garlic, carrots, onions, leeks, and celery until they are soft. Once cooked, add the sautéed vegetables to the broth, cooking for 30 minutes with the lid off. Add the winter squash, thyme, and fresh ground pepper and continue to cook uncovered until squash is soft but not mushy. This soup is a great winter treat that can also be frozen to be enjoyed at a later time. Makes 6-8 cups
December Health Topic:
A HOLIDAY MEAL THAT MATTERS – IN MORE THAN ONE WAY!
Whether traveling near or far this holiday season, the season finds us indulging in a special meals with those we care about most. With many delicious options and large quantities of food at a holiday meal it can be challenging to keep nutrition on your mind; the joy in a holiday dinner is making it a Meal that Matters.
Here are our top 5 tips for healthy holiday eating:
1. Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less likely to overeat.
2. Look at all of your food options before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Be sure to add some fruits and vegetables!
3. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions.
4. Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.
5. Bring your own healthy dish. Preparing favorite dishes that are lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate some of these simple-cooking tips in traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier:
- Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whopping 56 grams of fat per cup.
- Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
- Mashed Potato — Use skim milk, low-sodium chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese to prepare this dish instead of whole milk and butter.
- Quick Holiday Nog — Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soymilk, 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg. Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.
Now that you have healthy eating alternatives, how about some gift alternatives? As part of making the holiday meal one that matters, MANNA suggests asking your guests not to bring a side dish, rather make a gift to MANNA. Our wonderful sponsor, TEVA Pharmaceuticals, has generously offered to match every dollar donated through a Meal that Matters party, up to $25,000 – but only through December 31, 2012! Visit our Meals that Matter page for more information on hosting a meal or party that benefits MANNA – any time of the year.
And this year make your holiday celebration a Meal that Matters in more than one way!