Archive for April, 2010

Meat, Fish, Poultry & Cholesterol

Posted in Diseases & Disorders, Nutrition on April 30th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Blood Cholesterol Level

To lower your blood cholesterol level, choose only the leanest meats, fish, shellfish, and poultry. Even the leanest of these have saturated fat and cholesterol, so limit the total amount you eat to 5 ounces or less per day.

Often when people cut back on meat they eat cheese instead, thinking they are cutting back on saturated fat and cholesterol. A serving of most natural and many processed cheeses have less cholesterol, but more than six times the saturated fat in a serving of chicken without the skin and almost twice that of lean round steak.


  • Choose chicken and turkey without skin or remove skin before eating.
  • White meat contains less saturated fat than the dark meat.
  • Limit goose and duck, which are high in saturated fat, even with the skin removed.
  • Some chicken and turkey hot dogs are lower in saturated fat and total fat than pork and beef hot dogs. There are also “lean” beef hot dogs and vegetarian (made with tofu) franks that are low in fat and saturated fat.

Fish and Shellfish

  • Some fish, like cod, have less saturated fat than chicken or meat.
  • Shellfish varies in cholesterol content. Shellfish have little saturated fat and total fat.
  • Shrimp can be enjoyed occasionally provided you eat less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day. For example, 3 ounces of steamed shrimp has 167 milligrams of cholesterol.

Meat Substitute

  • Dry peas and beans and tofu (bean curd) are great meat substitutes that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Dry peas and beans have a lot of fiber, which can help to lower blood cholesterol.
  • Try adding 1/2 cup of beans to pasta, soups, casseroles, and vegetable dishes.
  • Tofu takes on the flavor of marinades well. Try marinating tofu in a nonfat dressing or a tangy sauce and grilling or baking for a heart healthy dish.

Talk Test

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on April 29th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity.

As a rule of thumb:

  • If you’re doing moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing, during the activity.
  • If you’re doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Examples of some moderate-intensity activities and vigorous-intensity activities:

Moderate Intensity Activity

  • Walking briskly – 3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
  • Tennis – doubles
  • Ballroom dancing
  • General gardening

Vigorous Intensity Activity

  • Race walking, jogging, or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis – singles
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening – continuous digging or hoeing
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

Eating at a Restaurant

Posted in Nutrition on April 28th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Check out the Nutrition Information
Look for the nutrition information at the restaurant. If it’s not posted – ask to see it! You might try checking online before you leave your home – go to your favorite fast food restaurant’s website to see if nutrient information is available.

Compare Different Foods and Meal Sizes
Check out the differences in nutrients between various choices. Compare different ways foods are prepared:

  • Grilled chicken vs. fried chicken
  • Baked potatoes vs. french fries
  • Small vs. large portions

A “super-sized” item can mean “doubling or tripling” the numbers on the nutrition information because the serving size is larger.

Many restaurants serve more food than one person needs at one meal.

You can take control of the amount of food that ends up on your plate by splitting an entrée with a friend, or… you can ask the waiter for a “to go” box and wrap up half of your meal as soon as it’s brought to your table.

Swap Out One Item
Check to see which foods are lower in nutrients to get less of – then replace one high-fat or high-calorie item you would have ordered with one that has lower calories or fat.

Good Cholesterol & Bad Cholesterol

Posted in Nutrition on April 27th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Good Cholesterol or HDL

  • HDL (High-density lipoproteins) cholesterol (good cholesterol) is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body, including the brain, nerves, muscle, skin, liver, intestines, and heart. High levels of HDL reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Your body needs only a small amount of cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that help to digest fat.
  • A desirable cholesterol level is lower than 200 mg/dL.

Bad Cholesterol or LDL

  • Too much LDL (Low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in your blood can build up on the walls of your arteries and can narrow your arteries or even block them, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.
  • People of all ages and backgrounds can get high cholesterol.
  • High total cholesterol is 240 mg/dL and above.
  • About 1 of every 6 adult Americans has high blood cholesterol.
  • More women than men have high cholesterol in the United States.
  • Cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older.
  • High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol levels.

You can prevent high cholesterol – or reduce your levels if they are high.

  • Get a blood test. Everyone should have their cholesterol levels checked starting at the age of 20. The test is a blood test called a lipoprotein profile.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eat less saturated fat and trans fat.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe medications in addition to lifestyle changes.

Desirable Cholesterol Levels

  • HDL (good cholesterol) 40 mg/dL or higher
  • Total cholesterol Less than 200 mg/dL
  • LDL (bad cholesterol) Less than 100 mg/dL (Optimal level)
  • Triglycerides Less than 150 mg/dL

Listeriosis (Listeria)

Posted in Diseases & Disorders, Pregnancy, Women's Health on April 26th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes can be found in soil and water, and in a variety of raw foods.

  • Raw unpasteurized and pasteurized milk, high fat and other dairy products like butter and cream.
  • Cheeses – particularly soft ripened and unripened varieties – examples: feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, queso blanco fresco, cottage and ricotta cheese.
  • Ice cream
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Fermented raw-meat sausages
  • Raw and cooked poultry
  • Raw meats (all types)
  • Raw and smoked fish and seafood – examples: smoked finfish and mollusks.
  • Cooked crustaceans – examples: shrimp and crab

Listeria is killed by pasteurization and cooking, but, in certain ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs and deli meats, contamination may occur after cooking by the manufacture but before packaging.

Important!! Listeria monocytogenes can survive at refrigerated temperatures.

Anyone can get listeriosis, but it is especially harmful to pregnant women, their fetuses, newborns, older adults, and adults with weakened immune systems.

Listeriosis can be passed to an unborn baby through the placenta even if the mother is not showing signs of illness. This can lead to:

  • Premature delivery
  • Miscarriage
  • Spontaneous abortion
  • Stillbirth
  • Serious health problems for the newborn, even death

Reduce Your Risk

  • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk products.
  • Eat precooked and ready-to-eat foods as soon as you can, and don’t eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, deli meats, or leftovers unless they are reheated to steaming hot.
  • Don’t get fluid from hot dog packages on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces.
  • Wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, deli meats, and uncooked foods.
  • Don’t eat refrigerated pâté or meat spreads. It is safe to eat canned or shelf-stable pâté and meat spreads
  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid meat and seafood cooked rare.
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood unless it is an ingredient in a cooked dish such as a casserole. Examples: salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, and mackerel which are most often labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky.” It is safe to eat canned fish such as salmon and tuna or shelf-stable smoked seafood.

Symptoms of Listeriosis

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach

If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Convulsions

Also, more severe complications can occur. Check with your doctor if you have these symptoms. A blood test will show if you have listeriosis.

Antibiotics are given to treat listeriosis.

Keep it Lean

Posted in Nutrition on April 25th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

  • The leanest beef cuts include round steaks and roasts (round eye, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
  • The leanest pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
  • Choose extra lean ground beef. The label should say at least 90 percent lean. You may be able to find ground beef that is 93 percent or 95 percent lean.
  • Buy skinless chicken parts, or take off the skin before cooking. Boneless skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choices.
  • Choose lean turkey, roast beef, ham, or low-fat luncheon meats for sandwiches instead of luncheon meats with more fat, such as regular bologna or salami.
  • Trim away all of the visible fat from meats and poultry before cooking.
  • Broil, grill, roast, poach, or boil meat, poultry, or fish instead of frying.
  • Drain off any fat that appears during cooking.
  • Skip or limit the breading on meat, poultry, or fish. Breading adds fat and calories. It will also cause the food to soak up more fat if you fry it.
  • Prepare dry beans and peas without added fats.
  • Choose and prepare foods without high fat sauces or gravies.

“Oh, my aching back!”

Posted in Injuries on April 24th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Back Pain

Back pain can range from a dull constant ache, to a sudden sharp pain that makes it hard for you to move. Back pain can start quickly if you fall, or if you lift something too heavy, or it can get worse slowly.

Acute Back Pain
Acute or short-term low back pain starts quickly and lasts less than 6 weeks. Most acute back pain is the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis. Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues. Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or an inability to stand straight.

Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back pain is pain that persists for more than 3 months. It is often progressive and the cause can be difficult to determine.

Anyone can have back pain. Things that increase your risk:

  • Being overweight.
  • Poor physical fitness.
  • Getting older.
  • Heredity.
  • Some conditions and diseases – such as arthritis, cancer, tumors, stress, pregnancy, infections, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, kidney stones.
  • Your job – lifting, pushing, or pulling while twisting your spine, working at a desk all day and not sitting up straight.
  • Smoking- – not getting enough nutrients to the disks in your back, smoker’s cough, and people who smoke are slow to heal, so back pain may last longer.
  • Race – black women are 2 to 3 times more likely than white women to have part of the lower spine slip out of place.

Body Mass Index – BMI Chart

Posted in Weight Loss - Weight Gain on April 23rd, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Body Mass Index (BMI) Chart for Adults
Body Mass Index is a number calculated from a person’s weight and height. BMI is one way to tell whether you are at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.

  • A BMI below 18.5 is underweight.
  • A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is in the healthy range.
  • A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight.
  • A BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese.

Because BMI does not show the difference between fat and muscle, it does not always accurately predict when weight could lead to health problems. For example, someone with a lot of muscle – such as a body builder – may have a BMI in the overweight or obese range, but still be healthy and have little risk of developing diabetes or having a heart attack.

You can also use the Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator on this blog to tell whether you are at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.

Do You Cry When Chopping an Onion?

Posted in General on April 22nd, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Unstable chemicals are the reason why you cry when chopping an onion.

Onions produce the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide.

Syn-propanethial-S-oxide stimulates the lachrymal glands in your eyes so they release tears.

Scientists used to blame the enzyme allinase for the instability of substances in a cut onion. But studies from Japan proved that lachrymatory-factor synthase, a previously undiscovered enzyme, is the culprit.

This is how it works:

  • 1. Lachrymatory-factor synthase is released into the air when you cut an onion.
  • 2. The synthase enzyme converts the sulfoxides (amino acids) of the onion into sulfenic acid.
  • 3. The unstable sulfenic acid rearranges itself into syn-ropanethial-S-oxide.
  • 4. Syn-propanethial-S-oxide gets into the air and comes in contact with your eyes. The lachrymal glands become irritated and produces tears!



Posted in Diseases & Disorders on April 21st, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Constipation is having a bowel movement fewer than three times per week. Constipation usually makes stools hard, dry, small in size, and difficult to eliminate. It is usually painful to have a bowel movement and people often experience straining, bloating, and the sensation of a full bowel.

Just so you know… normal stool elimination may be three times a day, or three times a week, depending on the person.

Some foods that may help prevent constipation include:
Fruits and vegetables such as:

  • Dried fruit, such as apricots, dates, prunes, and raisins.
  • Fresh fruit, such as apples, blueberries, and grapes.
  • Raw or cooked vegetables, such as broccoli, corn, green beans, peas, and spinach.

Breads and grains such as:

  • Bran muffins.
  • Bran or whole-grain cereals.
  • Brown or wild rice.
  • Cooked, dried peas and beans (such as pinto, black, red, or kidney).
  • Whole-wheat bread.
  • Whole-wheat pasta and tortillas.

Snacks such as:

  • Granola.
  • Nuts.
  • Popcorn.
  • Seeds, such as sunflower.

Common Causes of Constipation

  • Not enough fiber in the diet.
  • Lack of physical activity, especially in the elderly.
  • Medications.
  • Milk.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Changes in life or routine such as pregnancy, aging, and travel.
  • Abuse of laxatives.
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement.
  • Dehydration.
  • Specific diseases or conditions, such as stroke (most common).
  • Problems with the colon and rectum.
  • Problems with intestinal function (chronic idiopathic constipation).

Suggestions to help relieve and prevent recurrence of constipation include:

  • Eat a well balanced, high fiber diet that includes beans, bran, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Set aside time after breakfast or dinner for undisturbed visits to the toilet.
  • Do not ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.
  • Understand that normal bowel habits vary.
  • Whenever a significant or prolonged change in bowel habits occurs, check with a doctor.

Most people with mild constipation do not need laxatives, but sometimes a doctor may recommend laxatives for a limited time for people with chronic constipation.