Stock Up on Superfoods

Holiday Stress 101

It’s the holiday season and for many people that also means it’s the stressful season.  Instead of sweating every little thing this year, try fighting off your holiday stress with these amazing, stress-fighting superfoods.

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  • Avocado – they give you a burst of vitamin B, which will help to keep you alert and awake, while reducing anxiety.
  • Bananas – help to keep you energized and reduce your blood pressure.
  • Brown rice – complex carbohydrates (like those in rice) help to raise your body’s serotonin levels, without the carb crash that is typically associated with eating carbohydrates.
  • Dark chocolate – also increases the levels of serotonin in the body, giving you those feelings of joy and happiness.
  • Fish – the omega-3 fatty acids in fish help to lower adrenaline levels in the body, which can result in a calming effect in your mind and body.

Load Up on Vitamin C this Flu Season

Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, hacking… the sounds of cold and flu season are upon us.  If you are one of those people that start chugging O.J. as soon as you hear these familiar sounds, then you are already ahead of the cold and flu fighting game.  While vitamin C cannot prevent a cold, it can shorten the length of time you battle a cold or lessen the severity of your cold.

While people typically turn to oranges and their juice to get their daily dose of vitamin C, the 69.7 mg of vitamin C in a medium size orange is actually less than many other common fruits and veggies. If you are looking for an alternative to get your daily dose of vitamin C and help curb the symptoms of the cold and flu season, check out these other options.

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Pineapple – Along with 78.0 mg of vitamin C, pineapple also contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that breaks down food and helps to reduce bloating.

Chili peppers – Just a half cup of chopped chili peppers or diced chili peppers have 107.8 mg of vitamin C. Plus capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers hot can also help to relieve joint and muscle pain.

Red bell peppers – At 190 mg, a cup of chopped red peppers contains nearly three times more vitamin C than an orange.  They are also a great source of vitamin A, promoting healthy eyes.

Green bell peppers – Even though it isn’t as power packed as its red sister, a cup of chopped green peppers contains 120 mg of vitamin C. It’s also a great source of fiber.

Kale – A one cup serving of kale provides 80.4 mg of vitamin C, along with twice your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and seven times the recommended amount of vitamin K.  Kale also provides numerous minerals and fatty acids.

Cauliflower – Cauliflower gives you 127.7 mg of vitamin C, plus 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.

It’s Turkey Time… How many calories are in your meal?

November is here and once again families will gather around to take part in the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

But, before you carve that turkey or dig into those casseroles, here is a handy calorie calculator that can tell you exactly how many calories are in your meal.

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Main Course:

6 oz. cured ham: 300 calories

6 oz. white and dark turkey: 340 calories

½ cup stuffing: 180 calories

½ cup cranberry sauce: 190 calories

½ cup mashed potatoes: 150 calories

½ cup gravy: 150 calories

½ cup green bean casserole: 225 calories

½ cup candied sweet potatoes: 150 calories

1 dinner roll: 110 calories (45 extra calories with one pat of butter)

 

Drinks:

1 mixed drink: 250 calories

1 glass of wine: 120 calories

1 glass of cider: 120 calories

1 cup eggnog: 343 calories

 

Salads and Appetizers:

3 cups salad (with light dressing):  100 calories

½ cup jello with fruit: 120 calories

½ cup Waldorf salad: 110 calories

1 cracker with cheese: 70 calories

½ cup mixed raw vegetables: 25 calories

½ cup mixed nuts: 440 calories

1 oz. tortilla or potato chips: 150 calories (75 extra calories per tablespoon of dip)

 

Desserts:

2 small chocolate chip cookies: 150 calories

1 piece apple pie: 410 calories

1 piece pecan pie: 480 calories

1 piece pumpkin pie: 180 calories

½ cup whipped cream: 75 calories

½ cup ice cream: 145 calories

 

Leftovers:

1 turkey sandwich with mayo and cranberry sauce: 450 calories

1 open-face turkey sandwich with stuffing and gravy: 290 calories

 

Myths of the Common Cold

Every year around cold and flu season, we hear the old wives tales about the common cold… feed a cold and starve a fever, and so on and so forth.  But what tales are indeed true and which ones are myths?  Here we touch on a few of those true tales and debunk some others.

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Chicken Soup:  So grandma always said that chicken soup is good to fight the common cold and she was half right… chicken soup has been shown to relieve inflammation.

Wet hair: Going outside with wet hair will not cause the common cold… but that doesn’t mean that you should do it either.

Feed a cold, starve a fever:  This is the one that has enough calories.

Wearing a coat: Common colds and the flu are caused by viruses not by temperature. And while they do circulate more during the winter months, you are more likely to pick up a cold or the flu inside more so than outside so wearing a coat or not wearing a coat does not indicate whether or not you will catch a cold.  Studies show that you can actually prevent some colds by getting physical exercise outdoors during the winter months.

Vicks Vapor Rub on Your Feet:  A widely spread email last year stated that you should put Vicks Vapor Rub on your kids feet and put socks on them to get rid of a nagging cough.  This myth was debunked and experts suggest that you should stick to using the vapor rub on your kid’s chest and throat instead.

Health experts are constantly conducting research and learning more and more about the benefits of exercise for the elderly.  Sedentary adults are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and joint and muscle disorders.

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To help ward off these conditions and to deal with the everyday wear and tear that aging has on our bodies, experts suggest that individuals over the age of 50 should consult their physician and a personal trainer to come up with a fitness plan that works for them.

Another condition that exercise for the elderly has proven to help is the arthritis-striken.

The appropriate exercises can reduce inflammation and relieve stiffness in those particular joints.  It also increases flexibility, muscle strength, power and stamina.

Elderly adults who exercise also gains the benefits that their younger counterparts also gain including: weight control, the ability to manage daily stress and improved self-confidence.

Experts have also found that exercising as you age can also reduce the risk of premature death, can curb depression and minimizes the development of brittle bones.

Spotlight on Turkey

Eating Healthy

  • One good thing about the nutritional value of turkey is that it is very low in fat and high in protein.
  • It is also a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins.
  • Turkey is also naturally low in sodium. It typically contains less than 25 milligrams (mg) of sodium per ounce on average.
  • The meat fiber in turkey is easier to digest than other types of meat, so that makes turkey a good choice for individuals that have digestion problems.

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Recipe: Turkey Chili

  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 (35 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¾ cup chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more if desired to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups shredded, cooked turkey meat
  • Sugar
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, sour cream for optional garnishes

 

In a large, 8-quart thick bottom pot, cook the onion and green pepper over medium heat, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, for a minute or two more.  Add a bit more olive oil if needed.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, beans, oregano, salt, pepper and cooked turkey meat.  Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low.  Simmer, uncovered for an hour.

Salt to taste.  Add 1 to 3 tablespoons of sugar to take the edge off the acidity of the tomatoes, if desired.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion or sour cream.  Serve alone, over rice or with corn bread.

 

 

 

 

Ditch the Razor – It’s Movember

Awareness 101

If you have been wondering why all of the men in your life seem to be sprouting more and more facial hair these days, wonder no more – it’s Movember! (Also known as No Shave November.)

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The meaning behind Movember is raise awareness for prostate cancer and testicular cancer and began in Australia more than 11 years ago.  Males participating not only talk about why they are participating but also get other men to start talking about men’s health and cancer awareness.  Men participating are also encouraged to donate what they would otherwise spend on grooming/shaving to the American Cancer Society.

Don’t worry, ladies, you are encouraged to participate as well… you can forego shaving your legs or cancel the waxing/threading appointment that you have planned for the month.

Slimming Foods for Fall

Fall can be time for festivals, pumpkin patches, get togethers, football games and many more events where food plays a huge role in the activities of the day.  If you are like most people you want to watch what you eat during the fall season, as you know that the holidays are just around the corner – which means more overeating!

But, even though fall is synonymous with fattening foods there are some fall food items that can actually help you to slim down.

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One of these foods is the apple.  Apples are low in calories and high in fiber (95 calories and 4 grams of fiber per medium fruit) and are great tasting!  In a recent study, dried apples have been found to help people lose weight and lower their cholesterol.

Another great fall slimming food is the squash (and who doesn’t love squash from butternut to acorn?)  Just one cup of cooked squash packs 214 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin A and a third of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C.  Squash are also only 80 calories per cup –compared to its more fattening fall friend the sweet potato at 180 calories per cup.

A good way to add squash to your existing soups and stews is to puree the squash, so you are adding texture and creaminess to your food, without adding all of the extra calories.

Broccoli is another great fall slimming food – a cup of broccoli is just 31 calories and 2.4 grams of fiber.  Plus experts say that when you add fresh vegetables to any food you tend to eat fewer calories so you can add broccoli to virtually any meal to decrease your caloric intake.

Lastly, there is kale.  These days dark, leafy vegetables like kale are the go-to when you are talking about healthy foods.  Kale is packed with vitamin A, loads of fiber and isothiocyanates that help your body to detoxify.

A Little Bit About Fats…

Those people looking to understand what dieticians are talking about when they compare good fats to bad fats will not find these terms on food labels.  Instead you will see words like polyunsaturated and trans fats.  Here is a brief explanation of those fats and how they affect your body.

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Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are the fats that stay solid at room temperature, such as lard, coconut oil and cow butter. Saturated fats are what dieticians consider “bad fats” because they raise your bad cholesterol level, thereby raising your total cholesterol level. People whose diet consists of many foods high in saturated fats typically are at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats have a lower melting temperature than saturated fats, which means that they do not stay solid at room temperature.  These types of fats can be found in: peanut oil, olive oil, nuts and avocados. Monounsaturated fats are what dieticians consider the“good fats” that lower bad cholesterol without lowering your levels of good cholesterol.  In addition, monounsaturated fats help to prevent against cardiovascular disease.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats are fats that can stay liquid even at lower temperatures, such as corn oil and sunflower oil.  Polyunsaturated fats are also found in soybeans, fish, fish oil and in grain products.Dieticians consider polyunsaturated fats the “good fats” as they lower cholesterol and they help prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering the amount of fat in the blood.

Trans Fats

 Trans fats are man-made fats that are created during the hydrogenation process.  These types of fats are unnatural and toxic to your body.  Trans fats are abundant in packaged and processed foods. Dieticians consider trans fats the “bad fats” as they can cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, birth defects, low birth weight babies, and sterility.

Signs, Symptoms and Risks of Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and because it is one of the most common cancers in the United States we offer these facts, symptoms, signs, possible causes and your risks of having breast cancer.

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BREAST CANCER FACTS:

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that more than 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.

 

CAUSES:

While there is no clear answer to what causes breast cancer, researchers have identified things that can increase your risk of breast cancer.

 

BREAST CANCER SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

  • A lump in the breast or thickening that feels different than regular tissue.
  • Discharge from the nipple.
  • Change in size or shape of your breast.
  • Changes to the skin of the breast, including dimpling.
  • Redness of the skin of the breast.

 

RISKS:

  • Being female.
  • Increasing age.
  • A personal history of breast cancer.
  • A family history of breast cancer.
  • Inherited genes that cause breast cancer.
  • Radiation exposure.
  • Obesity.
  • Beginning your period at a young age.
  • Beginning menopause at an older age.
  • Drinking alcohol.

 

Having children later in life or not at all.