The new 2015-2020 federal dietary guidelines focus on the prevention of diet-related chronic diseases instead of just weight management alone. Here are three suggested diets designed around the guidelines to help make them more user-friendly:
Healthy American Diet: A healthier version of what people in the United States typically consume, it suggests 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 6 ounces of grain, 3 cups of dairy and 5.5 ounces of protein daily.
Mediterranean Diet: Heavy on protein and fruits while light on dairy, this diet suggests 6.5 ounces of protein, 2.5 cups of fruit and 2 cups of dairy daily. Like the American diet, it also suggests 2.5 cups of vegetables and 6 ounces of grain daily.
Vegetarian Diet: This diet only suggests 3.5 ounces of protein daily. To replace meat and seafood, it prescribes 7 ounces of nuts and seeds, as well as 8 ounces of tofu and other soy products. It also recommends 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit and 6.5 ounces of grain.
*Above examples are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Heat spells ‘hazard on the job’ for workers in the summertime. With the warmer weather moving into our area, the risks for heat-related illnesses increase, especially for workers exposed to humid conditions while wearing bulky protective clothing.
So, how do you stay cool during the warmest months of the year? Would you know the signs if heat exhaustion suddenly hit?
Hydration is Key
The absolute best way to avoid the threat of heat-related illness while working is to stay hydrated. Water is still the go-to drink in extreme heat. As for the amount of water that you will need to stay hydrated, new research suggests we should go beyond the traditional 8 glasses per day rule. Recent studies are saying that on average, adult males need about 3.7 liters of fluids per day (nearly 16 cups), while ladies need roughly 2.7 liters (or 11 cups) per day.
There are other food options for helping you stay hydrated, including:
Fruits & vegetables
What to Wear?
OHSA advises workers to wear light, loose-fitting clothing while working in extreme heat. Tightly-woven clothing works best for blocking out light, and the fabric should contain as much cotton as possible.
You should also be wearing sunscreen to block harmful sun rays. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for extreme temperatures can include a vented hard hat with UV protection, reflective clothing, body-cooling vests, and water-cooled garments. Workers should also be aware that some equipment can actually increase the risk of heat stress.
Knowing the Signs
Signs of heat exhaustion include disorientation, stumbling, slurred speech and unresponsiveness.
Other symptoms include:
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National Nutrition Month is designed to promote nutrition education and information. Created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating habits. For 2015, the theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” which encourages everyone to adopt eating and physical activity plans that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise.
You can participate in National Nutrition Month by preparing nutritious meals for dinner and keeping healthful snacks on hand. You can also work on making every month a nutrition month by creating a nutrition plan at choosemyplate.gov.
When it comes to physical activity, any exercise is better than none, and a lot is better than a little. Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving, but messages promoting exercise often lack a strict definition of the amount of exercise needed to attain health benefits. In the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concluded that adults need two types of physical activity each week to improve overall health: aerobics and strength training. HHS recommends:
Two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups;
One hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week and two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups; or
Two or more days a week of an equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activities include brisk walking, water aerobics, bicycling slower than 10 mph, ballroom dancing or gardening. Vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise includes jogging, running, swimming and bicycling faster than 10 mph. Major muscle groups include legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.
Exercises can be completed in as little as 10-minute intervals, while still providing health benefits.
However, keep in mind that these numbers are just the minimum recommendations. Older adults are advised to perform additional physical activity. Moreover, all adults will gain greater health benefits for performing any physical activity above the minimum recommendations.
Gluten is a protein found in grains, including wheat, barley and rye. Individuals may choose a gluten-free diet for several reasons. Whether you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or are simply looking for a diet change, here are a few tips for transitioning to a gluten-free diet:
Stock up on foods that are naturally gluten-free, including beans, eggs, meats and fish, fruits, vegetables and most dairy items.
Find alternatives for gluten-laden staples. As gluten-free diets become more common for health and popularity reasons, many food manufacturers are now producing gluten-free breads, cereals and desserts.
If you have celiac disease, be extremely careful of cross-contamination. For example, don’t share a jar of peanut butter with someone who spreads it on wheat bread. Simply dipping a knife back into the jar can cause contamination. Some individuals may experience a reaction to even a tiny amount of gluten, so be cautious with shared food and kitchens.
Constant connection to technology and personal mobile devices can be fun and helpful—think text messages and GPS—but being tethered to your smartphone, laptop or tablet can also increase stress, lead to reduced physical activity and decrease your ability to focus on the people around you. Less stress and more time to have fun with your family are a few of the benefits of unplugging. Here are a few tips to help you unplug for the holidays (or at least reduce your screen time):
Leave your cell phone and laptop in another room, or at least turn off notifications and temporarily delete social media apps to reduce temptation.
Tell your family and friends that you’re unplugging for the holidays; they might even join you for a technology-free vacation.
Set a specific, limited amount of time when you can access your work email, if you absolutely must check in.
Plan technology-free activities—try playing board games, going sledding or bike riding, baking cookies, reading a book, hosting a karaoke night at home or reviving an old hobby.
Thanksgiving meals usually include an abundance of unhealthy food options, making it easy to stray from proper nutrition until the start of the New Year. But if you opt for a healthy Thanksgiving meal instead, it doesn’t mean it can’t also be enjoyable. With a few changes, you can make your “Turkey Day” an extension of your year-round commitment to good health.
Begin with the elephant in the room: food. You can probably stand to forgo a luxury or two come turkey time. But don’t worry; you can still enjoy a delicious meal with the added bonus of feeling much better afterward. Plus, Thanksgiving is just the start of the holiday season, so there will be a lot of large meals to come.
Start by having breakfast. While many Americans make it a habit to wait to eat until the holiday meal is set out, eating a small meal in the morning can give you more control over your appetite, allowing you to be more selective in your food and beverage choices later on. Keep in mind that you can always have leftovers the next day.
When moving on to Thanksgiving’s centerpiece—the turkey—be sure to go skinless. Just 1 ounce of turkey skin contains 80 calories and 2 grams of fat. Also, be sure to use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and to make the gravy.
Next, turn your attention to the side dishes. Substituting skim milk or half-and-half for whole milk and cream in recipes is an obvious choice, as is omitting bacon and cheese from any casseroles, but how about complementing these sides or ignoring them altogether in favor of steamed or roasted vegetables and cornbread?
If you must have a holiday favorite, make sure it is just that, and not something you consume regularly during the year. And be sure to police your portions, since there are definite consequences to having too much of a good thing.
Once you’ve made smarter choices regarding your turkey and your side dishes, you may be wondering if there is anything else you can do. There is!
Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It is a wonderful way for families to get some physical activity and to enjoy the holiday together. For those who have the day off after Thanksgiving, plan an additional workout. You will feel like your old self in no time, ready to manage your diet and exercise regimen right away, instead of waiting until January 1.
As cold and flu season rolls around, there are a bevy of products you can turn to that purport to help boost your immunity. But how well do they actually work?
Since the function of the immune system is to react to challenges and develop new defenses, it can be improved. Every time you catch a cold or get vaccinated, your immune system builds a new army of killer T-cells, ready to fight off a future recurrence of the same pathogen.
But there is no nutritional supplement, superfood, or mind, body or spirit technique that will do this for you. Harvard Medical School has stated, “The concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body—immune cells or others—is not necessarily a good thing,” and can lead to autoimmune disease in the case of your immune system.
So while you can’t supercharge your immune system, you can take precautions to prevent getting sick. These include practicing good hygiene (like regular hand-washing), getting vaccinated (including flu shots), practicing food safety, being knowledgeable and vigilant when traveling to foreign countries, drinking clean water and practicing safe sex.