Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping

Posted in Healthy lifestyle

Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it’s no wonder. The holidays often present a dizzying array of demands — cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. And if coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading in your community, you may be feeling additional stress, or you may be worrying about your and your loved ones’ health. You may also feel stressed, sad or anxious because your holiday plans may look different during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression

When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones for other reasons, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events or communities. Many may have websites, online support groups, social media sites or virtual events. They can offer support and companionship.

    If you’re feeling stress during the holidays, it also may help to talk to a friend or family member about your concerns. Try reaching out with a text, a call or a video chat.

    Volunteering your time or doing something to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. For example, consider dropping off a meal and dessert at a friend’s home during the holidays.

  3. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children or other relatives can’t come to your home, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Or meet virtually on a video call. Even though your holiday plans may look different this year, you can find ways to celebrate.
  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  5. Stick to a budget. Before you do your gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

    Try these alternatives:

    • Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
    • Give homemade gifts.
    • Start a family gift exchange.
  6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, connecting with friends and other activities. Consider whether you can shop online for any of your items. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for meal prep and cleanup.
  7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  8. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

    Try these suggestions:

    • Have a healthy snack before holiday meals so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
    • Eat healthy meals.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Include regular physical activity in your daily routine.
    • Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.
    • Avoid excessive tobacco, alcohol and drug use.
    • Be aware of how the information culture can produce undue stress, and adjust the time you spend reading news and social media as you see fit.
  9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy. Take a break by yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

    Some options may include:

    • Taking a walk at night and stargazing
    • Listening to soothing music
    • Reading a book
  10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Take control of the holidays

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.


MAC Fitness – Making a Commitment to Fitness

Posted in Healthy lifestyle

The Living Healthy with Purpose Empowerment Workshops offer a broad range of topics designed to provide individuals with the nuts and bolts for clarifying their purpose in order to gain a new perspective on health and long-term actionable strategies for living healthy: mind, body and soul.

Our “hands on” workshops blend a unique understanding of emotional and behavior distractions with strong individual and group development expertise. In a fun and entertaining environment, participants get to interact with one another while working, thinking, doing (physical fitness activities, depending on the workshop), and processing a variety of targeted health and fitness strategies.

Whether your goal is to inspire or develop skills, we are committed to helping you enhance the effectiveness of your event, conference, workshop, or meeting.

Living HEALTHY with Purpose Empowerment Workshops will:
  Strengthen the health and well-being of individuals and families
  Foster individual responsibility for behaviors and actions
  Inspire a commitment to personal growth and healthy living
  Raise awareness of the importance of personal and organizational health and wellness
  Help turn personal and business challenges into healthy opportunities

• One-hour workshop: Provides an overview
• Two-hour workshop: Provides in-depth information and assessment
• Half-day workshop: Provides in-depth information and assessment, skills practice and action plan
• Series of four one-hour workshops: In-depth information and assessments

To obtain cost information for the workshops, please email Bridgette Collins at

.   WORKSHOP TOPICS           Today’s Workplace: How Your Health May Affect Your Job         Learning Objectives

Many companies are implementing or revising their extended medical leave policies (after the exhaustion of family and medical leave) to address employees who suffer serious medical conditions and who are unable to return to work after a defined period of time. It is more critical than ever that workers focus their attention on eating healthier and exercising. Learn how to protect yourself from the pitfalls of unhealthy choices by outlining your strategy for developing and implementing healthier lifestyle habits, not only for yourself, but for those you’re obligated to.

  • Reviewing and understanding the organization’s leave policies
  • Present examples and use of medical related policies and procedures
  • Identify the employee’s responsibility
  • Identify the safeguards of healthy lifestyle habits
  • Identify preventive screenings for optimal health
  • Examine steps necessary to achieve and maintain a healthy life
      Clap-On Clap-Off Fitness: The Key to Consistency         Learning Objectives

The conflicting demands of work and home can zap the time and energy needed to create and sustain an effective fitness program. If your ability to get on track with a fitness program is hampered by life’s demands, this workshop will provide you with the tools needed to jump start your fitness plan and learn how to stay focused, be consistent and reap the benefits.

  • Handling multiple demands
  • Five steps to achieving balance
  • Internal and external stressors
  • Using energy wisely
      Re-order Your Priority List to Live Healthier         Learning Objectives

Prioritization is a key success factor to create and/or maintain the physical body that affects every aspect of our lives. Healthy bodies come from proper exercise, diet, sleep and relaxation. This workshop provide tips that can help you focus on prioritizing healthy lifestyle habits to augment a better realization of what it means to be healthy.

  • Self-assessment
  • Gap between reality and expectations
  • Develop action plans
      From Darkness to Light: The Truth About Eating Out         Learning Objectives

Do you and/or your family eat out for most of your meals? If you are a busy person (or a person who just enjoys eating out), this workshop is for you. Get the facts about how eating out affects you and your family. Learn some practical tips for making better choices if restaurants are part of your daily routine.

  • Understand common truths about processed foods
  • Find out what’s really important to you
  • The importance of choice and change
  • Tips on how to identify and find balance
      The Ultimate Hook-Up: Connecting Faith and Fitness         Learning Objectives

God has given you a body and you have an obligation to take care of it. Loving your body and loving yourself is part of what it means to be faithful to God. This workshop will help you connect the physical with the spiritual so you can live healthier: mind, body and soul.

  • Defining your faith profile
  • Exploring personal beliefs about “fitness”
  • Learn five steps to creating and maintaining a “perfect” balance
      Your Health! Your Showstopper!         Learning Objectives

When you are faced with the circumstances surrounding a serious illness—whether it’s medical diagnosis, treatment or post-treatment—the ability to manage your daily demands and obligations may be overwhelming. If your life has taken an unexpected turn because of health problems, this workshop will help you to achieve emotional healing and determine solutions for pursuing an enhanced quality of life.

  • Describe stressors associated with health problems
  • Discuss how a chronic illness impacts the family
  • Identify how to cope with diagnosis, treatment or post-treatment
  • Present strategies to help you get through
      Overcoming Grief and Loss: A Healthy Resolution         Learning Objectives

Grief is a natural response to any loss, whether large or small. It could be a death, a relationship that doesn’t work out, a job change or loss of a friendship. Are you feeling sad, angry, lonely, empty and/or depressed because of the loss of someone or something that was significant in your life?  Don’t let the grieving process leave you where you cannot take care of yourself. This workshop will help you learn how to find resolution through healthy lifestyle changes.

  • The nature of losses, big and small
  • The stages of grief
  • How to accept your own grief and that of others
  • How to implement five step for healthy lifestyle changes for resolution
      Experiencing Your WOW! Factor         Learning Objectives

Are you dreaming of ways to give your body an image overhaul? Right now, your interior is healthy, but your exterior is packed with excess body fat. The good news is that nothing is permanent in our world, not even excess body fat. This workshop will give you the tools you need to make cosmetic changes to your exterior.

  • Understanding the addictive nature of eating
  • Challenges and ways to overcome them
  • Creating a diet/fitness plan and staying motivated
      Ten Essential Habits for Living Healthier Amidst Change         Learning Objectives

We live in an unpredictable world that can be filled with an abundance of successes, upsets, and setbacks. There are ten essential habits that can help you to navigate your way through life’s uncertainties. This workshop will introduce you to the ten habits and how they can help you to achieve and sustain a healthier life in the midst of sudden and constant change.

  • Conducting a self-examination of barriers
  • Benefits and rewards of healthy change
  • Plan of action
  • Reinforcement and support along the way
      Weight Loss for Busy Women         Learning Objectives

Are you a woman whose life is overwhelmed with endless demands, goals, schedules and expectations? You are so busy taking care of others that there’s hardly time left to take care of yourself. This workshop provides today’s multi-tasking woman with five basic tips for creating and maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Explore needs and readiness for change in diet and fitness habits
  • Reduce unhealthy behaviors
  • Tools and strategies for weight management
  • Creating BOLD goals for lifestyle habits
      Living Healthier After Divorce         Learning Objectives

Divorce is often a painful process, even in the most amiable dissolutions. Whether you have completed the task of making an array of difficult decisions (Where do the kids live? Who gets the house? How do you divide up the assets?) or not, it’s critical that you consider your health and well-being. This workshop will help you to focus on reinventing the new YOU through healthy lifestyle pursuits.

  • Impact of divorce on health and well-being
  • Letting go of past hurts and healing emotionally
  • Ideas to reduce divorce related stress
  • Learn the keys for using the pursuits of healthy lifestyle habits for rebuilding
      HealthCare Reform: A Company’s Survival Guide         Learning Objectives

The health care dilemma affects most sole proprietors, small business owners, corporations and non-profit organizations in one way or another. Learn simple solutions for incorporating affordable wellness initiatives that targets disease prevention and disease management. Boost your productivity and increase your profit by keeping your employees healthy!

  • Benefits and rewards of employee healthy lifestyle habits
  • Identifying and developing relationships for foster lifestyle changes
  • Outline implementation of a wellness program that meets employee needs
      Strategies for Developing Healthy Habits in Your Children         Learning Objectives

Not only has the number of overweight and obese adults reached epidemic proportions, the same is true for our children. Overweight and obese children and adolescents are at risk for health problems during their youth and as adults. If you are a parent or guardian, a conscious effort must be made to increase your child’s level of physical activity and to limit his/her intake of unhealthy foods. Learn how to develop healthy habits in your children.

  • Identify the components of children’s health
  • Identify the most common childhood health concerns related to overweight/obesity and how to prevent them
  • Identify the causes and results of obesity in children and adolescents
  • Develop a plan of action
      Run for a Healthier You!         Learning Objectives

So, you want to learn how to RUN! This workshop will cover the basics for implementing a targeted training program, building endurance to improve one’s level of fitness, stretching and the importance of injury prevention, cross-training, footwear, apparel, nutrition, and more!

  • Learn the basic aspects of fitness
  • Create a running program that meets individual needs
  • Identify the most common running injuries
  • Perform basic movement to increase flexibility
  • Identify personal motivation for running
  • Identify the benefits of a healthy diet
      Set a Healthy Example for Your Kids         Learning Objectives

Care and good judgment are among the most important aspects of creating a healthy environment for children. The habits of kids are greatly influenced by their parents and guardians acting in a parent capacity. Do you super-size at restaurants? Do you eat two or more carbohydrates at one meal? Do you avoid exercising consistently? Parents have an obligation to their kids to make better daily choices by setting a good example. This workshop helps parents and guardians model the behavior they want to see in their children: eating fruits and vegetables, eating reasonable portions, cooking meals at home, and exercising.

  • Identify participants’ role in making healthy changes
  • Identify supporting their children’s weight and health management
  • List the steps necessary to help their children control their food choices
  • Identify options for helping their children engage in daily physical activity
  • Develop an action plan
      Processed Foods: Avoiding the Trap         Learning Objectives

Do you really know what constitutes a processed food? Have you ever wondered why a pre-packaged food stays fresh for months, when the same food made from scratch grows mold in just days? This workshop explores the undisclosed aspects of processed foods. Learn how to tell the difference between good and bad processed foods.

  • Identify the benefits of eating healthy
  • Present the basic components of good nutrition
  • Analyze eating patterns
  • Plan a healthy diet
      All Aboard: Focusing on What Matters Most After Fifty         Learning Objectives

When we get older, especially after age 50, the human body starts to experience some setbacks. Many older Americans at some point will encounter arthritis, high blood pressure or heart disease, and diabetes. Cancer and osteoporosis are also more prevalent as we age. This workshop provides a roadmap for individuals over 50 that desire to achieve superior fitness performance capabilities and nutrition utilization.

  • Identify how disease and illness can be prevented, delayed or managed until much later in life
  • Identify the components of superior health for seniors
  • Strategies for adjusting lifestyle habits
  • Examine risk factors and develop a plan of action to address them
      Life in College: Balancing Education and Exercise         Learning Objectives

The pursuit of a college degree will help you learn how to evaluate and interpret information, solve complex problems, reason clearly, make good decisions, and communicate effectively. A healthy mind and body will facilitate the learning process as you work to achieve your goals and complete one of life’s greatest accomplishments. This workshop will focus on fitness and exercise and help participants develop a workout plan.

  • Explore needs and readiness for change in diet and fitness habits
  • Reduce unhealthy behaviors
  • Learn the basic aspects of education and exercise
  • Tools, strategies and action planning for weight management
  • Develop relationships for ongoing support
      Good Grades: A Student’s Guide to Increased Concentration       Learning Objectives

The ability to achieve good grades in college are not just about effective study habits. It is also about concentration, stress reduction and healthy lifestyle habits. If your diet is loaded with “sugary” and “fatty foods,” such as a hamburger, or two slices of meat lover’s pizza, or hot wings you eat on the run so regularly (because it is easy “fill up” food) and 32 ounces of soda, you may be sabotaging your learning. The overload of fats and sugar will probably have your body weighed down rather than energized. This workshop help students learn to how to eat healthy in college to increase concentration, reduce stress and promote healthy eating habits.

  • Explore the challenges of maintaining a healthy diet on
  • Five steps for balancing time and effort spent studying and eating healthy
  • Explain role of changing certain personal habits to achieve proper brain functioning
      A Student’s Healthy Digestive System         Learning Objectives

You are living on your own and learning to be responsible for yourself and your own choices. Part of personal responsibility is making sure you take care of yourself and stay as healthy as you can. From classes to networking meetings and work to studying, the average college student’s schedule is jam-packed. Your immediate options—an order of chili-cheese fries, a hamburger and soda—may not be the best choice for your digestive system. This workshop is designed to help students prepare and cook healthy and hearty meals quickly.

  • Taking care of your health first
  • Describe the impact of unhealthy foods
  • Benefits and rewards of cooking healthy meals
  • Identify the common diseases and illnesses and how to prevent them
  • Strategies for making favorite foods healthier
  Workshop topics can be customized to accommodate the theme for your event or meeting.   To obtain cost information for the workshops, please email Bridgette Collins at  

20 Life-Changing Healthy Eating Habits To Develop – SWEAT

Posted in Healthy lifestyle
Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is something that we all aspire to, but it isn’t always easy to put it into practice! Whether it’s because we use being busy as an excuse for less healthy eating, or there’s a string of social or work occasions where there are unhealthy foods, it’s easy to let the best of intentions fall by the wayside. 

We know that quick fixes won’t last, so how can you maintain a healthy eating pattern in the long term? The answer is to develop sustainable healthy habits, so that healthy eating becomes a natural part of your life. When healthy behaviours become habits, your overall health and wellbeing can improve. 

20 Healthy eating habits to follow

These 20 healthy eating tips from Sweat trainers can help you to get back on track and make healthy food choices part of your daily life. 

1. Commit to making a small change for 30 days

Small changes can make the biggest difference! Think of one eating habit you can change that will benefit your health and stick to it for a full 30 days. Here are some ideas: 

  • Say no to takeaway food
  • Commit to drinking an extra glass of water each day
  • Skip the snacks while watching TV

This might be difficult at the start and the first week will be the hardest! Challenge yourself to commit to the full 30 days and watch for the signs that your health is on track.  

2. Start simple

Rather than cutting certain foods out of your diet, try swapping them for something else. Instead of eating highly processed foods, go for something unprocessed. Instead of a chocolate bar, you can choose a piece of fruit. Switch a packet of chips for hummus and veggies, or swap takeaway for a homemade meal. Instead of an energy drink, soft drink or soda, you could choose sparkling water or kombucha. 

3. Find healthy foods that you really enjoy

Kelsey Wells’ number one tip is to find healthy foods that you love to eat! Instead of forcing yourself to eat something you hate just because you know it’s healthy, choose foods that you actually enjoy eating and fill your diet with these. 

For example, if you really don’t like kale, that’s okay, there are other foods that are just as good for you! Healthy eating should always be enjoyable and never a chore. 

Healthy Eating Choices

4. Eat fruit when you want something sweet

Fruit is a great alternative to desserts which may contain high amounts of refined sugar and saturated fat. Sliced fruit with plain yoghurt and cacao nibs is just one idea of a healthy option you can have to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

There are also heaps of healthy dessert recipes on the Sweat blog, including apple donuts and nice cream.   

5. Eat protein with every meal

Making sure that you eat protein at every meal will not only help you reach your recommended protein intake but it is proven to help you to feel fuller for longer. This can be helpful if you have a fat loss goal.

Adequate protein is also especially important for people who are training as it is required to build and repair muscle tissue. Learning how to combat protein myths and understanding how to build muscle on a plant-based diet while you balance all of your energy needs is important to ensure that you have the energy you need for your workouts.  

6. Stay hydrated

Drinking water is so important! Making sure that you are hydrated can also prevent you from overeating or snacking when you think you’re hungry, but are actually thirsty. Plus, you’ll get more out of your training when you are properly hydrated.

7. Increase your vegetable intake

Filling your plate with extra vegetables will help you to get all the essential vitamins and minerals you need, whilst providing energy and adding volume to your meals so that you feel full and satisfied. 

You can also find ways to sneak extra veggies into your snacks! For example, try adding spinach to your fruit smoothie (we promise you can’t taste it!). Hummus makes a tasty dip, you can try enjoying it with chopped celery, carrot and capsicum rather than crackers. 

Healthy Eating Habits

8. Don’t categorise foods as good or bad

Healthy eating should be just one part of a sustainable approach to being healthy, not a quick fix or fad. Having a restrictive mentality about food can encourage unhealthy eating practices and isn’t sustainable in the long term. Instead, make nutritious choices as much as possible, but don’t punish yourself for enjoying a treat every now and then. One meal won’t derail your healthy lifestyle — healthy eating is all about balance!

9. Find a meal plan that you like

For some, sticking to a meal plan is a fool-proof way to eat healthily. Find one that suits your lifestyle, diet and taste and that is designed by a nutritionist or dietitian so you can be confident that you are making the right choices. 

10. Plan and prepare

Take some time out to prepare your meals for the week, either by writing down a plan and/or actually cooking your food so it’s ready to go. Planning and preparing some of your meals for the week can take away the burden of deciding what to eat and prevent you from making less healthy choices when you’re out and about or don’t have healthy food on hand. 

You could even commit to something as small as packing your bag with an apple and some nuts each night so you know you’ll have something nutritious on hand every day. 

11. Learn to read food labels

Knowing exactly what is in your food can help you to make healthy choices. Of course, it is always best to choose whole foods, but if you do buy packaged food, here’s what to look for: 

  • Choose products that contain less than 5g of sugar per 100g serve for a low-sugar option. Avoid products that contain sugar alcohols like maltitol and sorbitol as these can cause digestive issues when eaten in excess. These types of sugars are often found in protein bars and low-calorie, low-carb sweets as they provide sweetness without a lot of calories or carbohydrates. 
  • Take some time to compare different products in-store and choose the one with the lowest saturated fat per serve. 
  • Look for products that have reduced salt or are labelled ‘no added salt’. A low-salt food has less than 120mg per 100g serve, so check the nutrition label. 
Healthy Food

12. Practice mindful eating

There are so many benefits to eating with more awareness for both your body and your mind. Try these tips: 

  • Chew slowly. This makes food easier to metabolise and will prevent indigestion. 
  • Listen to hunger cues. Asking yourself whether you are still hungry, or whether you are satisfied and being more aware of how you feel will help to prevent you from overeating or eating when you are not hungry. 
  • Savour and enjoy your food! Mealtimes will be even more enjoyable when you take the time to taste and appreciate the flavours and textures of your food. It also encourages you to reflect on the time taken to prepare the meal and practise gratitude, which can lead to a greater sense of wellbeing. 

13. Make a healthy choice first

Chontel Duncan’s top healthy eating tip is that when you want to reach for a less-than-healthy snack, eat a healthy snack first! For example, if you’re craving a salty snack like potato crisps, try a handful of unsalted peanuts or smoked almonds. If you still feel hungry for chips afterwards, have some. But it’s most likely that you won’t want them any more!

14. Find healthy ways to manage stress

Many people turn to food for comfort when they feel stressed or overwhelmed — you can even buy “emergency chocolate” these days for a quick hit of sugar. However, there are many ways to deal with stress that give you a better outcome. Some examples are meditation, taking a walk, reading a good book and checking in with friends. 

15. Cook at home

When you prepare your own food, you know exactly what has gone into it! It’s also easier to manage your portion sizes when you cook at home. You can choose organic or fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and even prepare your own sauces to make the food that you eat healthier. Establishing healthy habits like preparing your meals at home is one step you can take towards giving your body what it needs so you feel at your best more of the time. 

Healthy Meals

16. Variety is key

The different colours in fruit, grains, seeds, vegetables and legumes are linked to the different minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals they contain.

The more colour you can put on your plate, the wider the variety of nutrition in your meal! This Sticky Beef Bliss Bowl or this Vegetarian Rainbow Quinoa Bowl are both great examples of nutritious, colourful meals.  

17. Try new things

While it’s easy to eat the same foods each week, mixing it up can increase the variety of nutrients your body is getting. Plus, trying new foods is fun! You could recreate dishes from different cultures, buy vegetables, fruits (have you tried jackfruit?) or grains you haven’t tried before, or try making vegetarian food once a week. 

18. Stock your kitchen with healthy food

When there’s only healthy food in the cupboard, you’re less likely to make the effort to drive to the shops to get that ice cream fix! Make sure that you buy plenty of healthy food and snacks to eat throughout the week so that you feel satisfied after each meal. When you fill-up on whole grains, fruit and veg, lean meat, nuts and legumes you’ll be less likely to crave unhealthy processed foods.  

19. Choose whole grains

Whole grain options may be more nutritious than white bread, pasta and rice because they are high in fibre which means that they will keep you full for much longer. 

You can boost your nutrition by incorporating a variety of different grains into your diet. Oats, barley, rye, buckwheat and quinoa are all examples of different grains you can include in a balanced, healthy diet. 

How To Eat Healthy

20. Learn to eat healthy at social events

Social events can be some of the hardest times to eat healthy, especially when you’re tempted with all kinds of greasy, highly-processed foods and desserts. First of all, it’s okay to enjoy these foods sometimes! 

If you know you have a lot of these types of events in a row, there are some things you can do to eat healthily: 

  • Have a healthy snack before you go to take the edge off your hunger  
  • Fill up on salad and vegetables
  • Look for grilled fish or lean meats
  • Share dessert with a friend
  • Bring a healthy dish to share

When you step away from fad diets and incorporate sustainable healthy eating habits into your life, it’s going to take time to adjust! Change is always difficult, but if you can stick to it and fuel your body with nutritious, balanced food choices, over time you will have more energy and healthy eating will become a habit.  

Make healthy eating habits a part of your lifestyle

Try these tips for yourself and share what works for you with the Sweat Community — we love to hear how you’re going. Sharing advice and getting support can help sustain you on your health and fitness journey, especially if you’re returning to training after a break and starting to move again.

Making healthy eating into a habit is worth it! Plus, you can try meal prep to make healthy eating easier, more convenient and more sustainable in the long term. Do you have a healthy eating tip that’s helped you to establish a healthier habit? Share your experience in the comments below!

Csc – Healthy Lifestyle |authorSTREAM

Posted in Healthy lifestyle

PowerPoint Presentation:

Healthy Places, Healthy Stages, Healthy Choices MOVING SOCIETY TOWARDS NCD PREVENTION & CONTROL through FLORO A. ORATA, AB, RN Health Education & Promotion Officer III Department of Health

PowerPoint Presentation:

Objectives Meet the country’s targets in its MDGmax Intiatives by 2015: • Raise people’s consciousness on healthy lifestyle habits that can prevent and control risk factors in developing noncommunicable diseases; • Motivate people to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle through counselling and lifestyle intervention programs in health facilities, schools, workplaces and communities; and • Encourage politicians, media and other influentials to provide Filipinos with environments supportive of healthy lifestyle.


THE BENEFITS OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE are enormous. You can: • live longer • look and feel younger • have more energy • lose weight • lower your blood cholesterol • prevent and even reverse heart disease • lower your risk of prostate, breast and other cancers

PowerPoint Presentation:

preserve your eyesight in your later years • prevent and treat diabetes • avoid surgery in many instances • vastly decrease the need for pharmaceutical drugs • keep your bones strong • avoid impotence • avoid stroke • prevent kidney stonese • keep your baby from getting Type 1 diabetes

PowerPoint Presentation:

• alleviate constipation • lower your blood pressure • avoid Alzheimer’s • beat arthritis • and more…

PowerPoint Presentation:

Examples of Non-Communicable Diseases Cardiovascular diseases Diabetes Cancer Alzheimers COPD Kidney diseases Osteoporosis Liver Cirrhosis

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Other Targets: • Health workers and other social services providers in different settings, e.g. community, school and workplace • Local government executives, legislators and media


Objective Primary prevention of hypertension provides an opportunity to interrupt and prevent the continuing costly cycle of managing hypertension and its complications.

PowerPoint Presentation:

NHANES III (Phase 2) 1991-1994 NHANES III (Phase 1) 1988-1991 51% 73% 68% 31% 55% 54% 10% 29% 27% % Adults Awareness NHANES II 1976-1980 Treatment Control NHANES 1999-2000 70% 59% 34% Chobanian AV et al. JAMA 2003;289:2560-2572 U.S. Hypertension Awareness, Treatment, and Control National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Prevalence – R.P.:

Prevalence – R.P. Philippine Data FNRI-DOH-HDL data 1998-99 Prevalence of Hypertension by Sy, R et al published in PJIM Jan 2003 21% single visit average BP 17.2% corrected prevalence NNHeS data 2003-04 Published in PJIM May 2005 by Dans A, Morales D, et al 22.5% single visit average BP 17.4% corrected prevalence

Unmet Need in Hypertension: Majority of treated have poor BP control:

Unmet Need in Hypertension: Majority of treated have poor BP control Present therapies only controlled BP to below 140/90 mmHg in about one-third of hypertensive patients (Chobanian et al., 2003) BP control only 30% of those on 2-drug combination and 18% and 10% among those on monotherapy and 3-drug combination, respectively (Sison et al., 2007) PHA Annual Convention May 16-18, 2007 BP Control Rate* Adults (>18 yrs) Uncontrolled Controlled 20% 80% On medications* 13% 87% All hypertensives + meds**

Risk of Hypertension:

Risk of Hypertension Framingham Heart Study Residual lifetime risk for hypertension is 90% and probability of receiving antihypertensive medication is 60% for middle aged and elderly High BP increases mortality and morbidity from CHD, stroke, CHF and ESRD

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Hypertension Prevalence (%) 18-29 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 80+ Age 3% 9% 18% JNC-VI. Arch Intern Med 1997;157:2413-2446 Blood Pressure: Risk Increases with Age 51% 66% 72% 38% Hypertension defined as blood pressure > 140/90 mmHg or treatment


Intervention Hypertension – modifiable risk factor for CVD Lifestyle interventions are more likely to be successful when targeted in persons who are older and those who have higher risk of developing hypertension Prevention strategies applied early provide the greatest long term potential for avoiding hypertension

Lowering BP reduces cardiovascular risk Small SBP reductions yield significant benefit:

Meta-analysis of 61 prospective, observational studies, 1 mio. adults, 12.7 mio. person-years 2 mmHg decrease in mean SBP 10% reduction in risk of stroke mortality 7% reduction in risk of IHD mortality Adapted from Lewington et al. Lancet 2002; 360:1903–13 Lowering BP reduces cardiovascular risk Small SBP reductions yield significant benefit

Approaches – Population based strategy :

In a developed country US Department of Health and Human Services. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Lowering sodium content or caloric density in the food supply Providing attractive safe and convenient opportunities for exercise Enhancing access to parks, walking trails, bike paths Approaches – Population based strategy

Approaches – individual based strategy :

Intensive targeted strategy Groups at high risk for hypertension High-normal blood pressure Family history of hypertension African-American ancestry Overweight or obesity Sedentary lifestyle Excess intake of dietary sodium and/or insufficient intake of potassium and/or excess intake of alcohol Approaches – individual based strategy

Gene polymorphism and BP:

Gene polymorphism and BP 1940 unrelated Japanese individuals 1067 with hptn (574M, 493F) 873 controls (533 M,340 F) Genotypes of 33 SNPs of 27 candidate genes were determined Results: 2 polymorphisms (825 C→T in G protein [beta]3 subunit gene and 190 G →A in CC Chemokine receptor 2 gene) associated with hypertension in men 1 polymorphism (238 G→A in TNF α gene) associated with hypertension in women Genotyping may be informative for prediction of genetic risk for hypertension Izawa H, et al. Hypert 2003; 41(5): 1035-40.

Intrauterine growth retardation :

Intrauterine growth retardation Low birth weight Law and Shiell, 1996 The smaller the baby from intrauterine growth retardation, the higher the blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease in later life

Weight loss and BP:

Weight loss and BP He J, Whelton PK, Appel LJ et al.. Long-term effects of weight loss and dietary sodium reduction on incidence of hypertension. Hypertension. 2000; 35(2):544-9. initial 18 months weight loss group reduced their body weight by 7.7 lbs (3.5 kg) and their systolic BP by 5.8 mm Hg and diastolic BP by 3.2 mmHg after 7 years Incidence of hypertension in the weight loss group was 18.9 percent vs. 40.5% in the control group Findings suggest that weight loss interventions produce benefits that persist long after the cessation of the active intervention

Weight loss and BP:

Weight loss and BP Trials of Hypertension Prevention Collaborative Research Group. Effects of weight loss and sodium reduction intervention on blood pressure and hypertension incidence in overweight people with high-normal blood pressure. The Trials of Hypertension Prevention, phase II. Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(6):657-67. 595 participants weight loss counseling intervention experienced a 21 percent reduction in incidence 9.7 lbs (4.4 kg) reduction sustained for 36 month period of follow up experienced average reduction in systolic BP of 5 mm Hg and diastolic BP of 7 mmHg

Weight Reduction: Key Points:

Weight Reduction: Key Points Even modest weight loss (4.5 kg) can improve BP For overweight patients, the efficacy of weight loss in reducing BP is similar to that of single drug therapy The effect of antihypertensive medications on BP is additive to that achieved by weight loss alone (TMHS) The maintenance of a healthy body weight can prevent hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors (Ideal BMI for Filipinos: <23.0 Kg/ m 2 ) CMAJ May 1999; 160 (9 Suppl)

Modified diet and BP:

Modified diet and BP D ietary A pproach to S top H ypertension 8 weeks trial Individuals with SBP less than 160 and DBP between 80-95 were randomly assigned to different diet groups Three diet options Usual american diet American diet + rich in fruits and vegetables DASH diet – rich in fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products but reduced in saturated and total fat DASH diet reduced SBP by 3.5 mmHg (p<.001)

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DASH Results : Mean Systolic and Diastolic BP at Baseline and During Each Intervention Week, NEJM Apr 1997; 344:1117-24

Daily Intake of Sodium :

Daily Intake of Sodium Moderately restricted sodium intake Normal sodium intake Excessive sodium intake 90 -130 mmol Na + 131-175 mmol Na + > 175 mmol Na + 1.0 – 1.5 tsp NaCl 1.6 – 3 tsp NaCl > 3 tsp NaCl 5.0 – 7.5 g NaCl 7.6 g – 10 g NaCl > 10 g NaCl 2.0 – 3.0 g Na + 3.1 – 6.0 g Na + > 6 g Na + CMAJ May 1999; 160 (9 Suppl)

Salt reduction and BP:

Salt reduction and BP Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension DASH-Sodium Trial Sacks FM, Svetkey LP, Vollmer WM, et al. For the Dash-Sodium Collaborative Research Group. Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet. N Engl J Med. 2001;344(1):3-10.

DASH-Sodium Trial: Key Findings:

DASH-Sodium Trial: Key Findings Confirmed and extended the findings of original DASH study BP can be lowered in consumers of either typical American diet or DASH diet by reducing sodium intake to ≤ 100 mmol/day Combined effects on BP of a low sodium intake and DASH diet are greater than the effects of either intervention alone Reduction of dietary sodium significantly lowered the BP of persons without hypertension N Engl J Med. Jan 2001; 344: 3-10,

Potassium and BP:

Potassium and BP Whelton PK, He J, Cutler JA, et al. Effects of oral potassium on blood pressure. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. JAMA. 1997; 277(20):1624-32. 12 RCTs; 1,049 normotensive subjects potassium supplementation (median, 75 mmol/d) lowered systolic blood pressure by 1.8 mm Hg (95% CI, 0.6-2.9) and diastolic BP by 1.0 mm Hg (95%, 0.0-2.1)

Potassium and BP:

Potassium and BP Recommendation the effects of potassium supplementation appeared greater in those with higher levels of sodium intake maintain adequate intake of dietary potassium (more than 90 mmol [3,500 mg} per day).

Calcium and BP:

Calcium and BP Griffith LE, Guyatt GH, Cook RJ, Bucher HC, Cook DJ. The influence of dietary and nondietary calcium supplementation on blood pressure: an updated metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Hypertens. 1999;12(1):84-92 Conclusion: Calcium supplementation results in only a small reduction in blood pressure Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997; 106-17. Recommendation: calcium intake of 1000 to 1200 mg/d for adults

Fish oil and BP:

Fish oil and BP Fish oil supplementation Appel LJ, Miller ER III, SeidlerAJ, Whelton PK. Does Supplementation of diet with ‘fish oil’ reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Arch Intern Med. 1993; 153 (12): 1429-38. 11 trials; 728 participants 3.4 g/day fish oil supplementation lowered SBP by only 1 mm Hg (95% CI, 0.0-2.0) and DBP by 0.5 (95% CI, -0.2-1.2)

Fish oil and BP:

Fish oil and BP Fish oil supplementation Ascherio A, Et al. Dietary intake of marine n-3 fatty acids, fish intake, and the risk of coronary disease among men. N Eng J Med. 1995;332(15):977-82. Health Professionals Follow-up Study 44,895 male health professionals 40-75 years of age 6 year follow up Conclusion: Increasing fish intake from 1-2 servings/week to 5-6 servings/week does not substantially reduce the risk of CHD among men who are initially free of cardiovascular disease

Fish oil and BP:

Fish oil and BP Fish oil supplementation Morris MC, Sacks F, Rosner B. Does fish oil lower blood pressure? A meta-analysis of controlled trials. Circulation. 1993; 88(2): 523-33 There is a dose-response effect of fish oil on BP of -0.66/0.35 mm Hg/ g omega-3 fatty acids Hypotensive effect may be strongest in hypertensive subjects and those with clinical atherosclerotic disease or hypercholesterolemia

Physical activity and BP:

Physical activity and BP Whelton SP, Chin A, Xin X, He J. Effect of aerobic exercise on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann Intern Med 2002;136(7):493-503. 27 RCT; 1,108 normotensive persons 4.04 mm Hg reduction in SBP (95%CI 2.75-5.32) in those assigned to aerobic exercise compared with the control group magnitude of intervention effect appears to be independent of the intensity of the exercise program


Finnish study on physical activity In a prospective 11-year follow-up of over 12,000 Finnish people, the incidence of hypertension was reduced by 28% in men and 35% in women who engaged in high levels of physical activity such as jogging or swimming (Barengo et al., 2005) (From Kaplan NM: Treatment of Hypertension: Lifestyle Modifications. Clinical Hypertension. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2006, P204-5.) Physical activity and BP

Physical Activity and BP:

Physical Activity and BP Recommendation Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General exercise for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all days of the week

Alcohol consumption and BP:

Alcohol consumption and BP Xin X, He J, Frontini MG, Ogden LG, Motsamai OI, Whelton PK. Effects of alcohol reduction on blood pressure. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. JAMA. 1997; 277(20) 1624-32. 6 RCT; 269 normotensive patients 3.56 mm Hg (95% CI 2.51-4.61) lower level of systolic BP and a 1.80 mmHg (95% 0.58-3.03) lower level of diastolic BP Decreased consumption of alcohol was associated with reduction of blood pressure Relationship was dose-dependent

Alcohol consumption and BP :

Alcohol consumption and BP Recommendations For hypertensive patients, it is recommended that alcohol consumption should be limited to 2 or fewer standard drinks* per day , with consumption not exceeding 14 standard drinks per week in men, and 9 standard drinks per week in women. One standard drink contains 13.6 g of ethanol. This is approximately the amount of ethanol in 1.5 fl. oz. spirits (40%), 12 fl. oz. of beer (12%), or 5 fl. oz. of wine (5%) CMAJ May 1999; 160 (9 Suppl)

Alcohol consumption and BP :

Alcohol consumption and BP Recommendations 1 oz (30 ml) ethanol per day in most men to no more than 0.5 oz (15) ml in women 1 oz ethanol ~ 24 oz (720 ml) beer ~ 10 oz (300 ml) wine or 2 oz (60 ml) 100-proof whisky

Smoking and BP:

Smoking and BP Nicotine in cigarette smoke acutely raises blood pressures, even in addicted smokers (Gropelli et at. 1992) Effect of each cigarette is transient and is over with 30 minutes Transdermal patches do not appear to affect BP (Khoury et al. 1996) Other cardiovascular effects of smoking Insulin resistance Attenuation of endothelium-dependent relaxation Increase in endothelin levels

Special Issues/Concerns:

Special Issues/Concerns Drug-induced or drug-related NSAIDS; COX 2 inhibitors Cocaine, amphetamines, other illicit drugs Sympathomimetics (decongestants, anorectics) Oral Contraceptives Adrenal Steroids Cyclosporine and tacrolimus Erythropoietin Licorice (including some chewing tobacco) Selected over the counter dietary supplements and medicines (e.g. ephedra, ma haung, bitter orange)

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Used as an anti-inflammatory herb and also as a remedy for gastric and peptic ulcers Carbenoxolone (one of the components of licorice), can elevate BP and cause hypokalemia May offset the ability of spironolactone to reduce BP, however discontinuation of licorice results in return of BP to normal Licorice and BP

Caffeine and BP:

Caffeine and BP Although considerable tolerance rapidly develops to the pressor effect of caffeine, the pressor response is regained after a few hours (Shi, et al. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1993;53: 6-14) 32 year follow up study of 1017 former medical school students, hypertension is 3 fold higher in those who drank 1-5 cups of coffee a day compared to non-caffeine drinkers (Mead et al. J Hypertens 1996; 14:S210) MRFIT (Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial) Study increasing caffeine intake (by dietary recall) was associated with lower BP (Stamler J et al. Am J Clin Nutr 1997; 65 (S): 338S-365S.)

Caffeine and BP:

Caffeine and BP 250 mg of caffeine (3 cups of coffee) raises blood pressure an average of 4/3 mm Hg (Hartley et al., 2004) But habitual consumption of more than 120 mL per day of green or oolong tea for at least a year was associated with a 46% reduction in the incidence of hypertension (Yang et al., 2004 ) (From Kaplan NM: Treatment of Hypertension: Lifestyle Modifications. Clinical Hypertension. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2006, P204-5.)

Primary prevention in children:

Primary prevention in children same lifestyle approaches used to prevent and treat hypertension in adults monitor school lunch menus read food labels health education programs promote increased physical activity

Lifestyle modification to lower BP :

Lifestyle modification to lower BP Modification Recommendation Approximate Systolic BP Reduction, Range Weight reduction Maintain normal body weight (BMI, 18.5-24.9) 5-20 mmHg/ 10 kg wt. loss Adopt DASH eating plan Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products with a reduced content of saturated and total fat 8-14 mm Hg Dietary Na restriction Reduce dietary sodium intake to no more than 100 meq/L (2.4 g sodium or 6 g sodium chloride) 2-8 mm Hg Physical Activity Engage in regular aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking (at least 30 minutes per day, most days of the week) 4-9 mm Hg Moderation of alcohol consumption Limit consumption to no more than 2 drinks (1oz or 30 ml ethanol) per day in most men and no more than 1 drink per day in women and lighter persons 2- 4 mm Hg JNC 7 Report JAMA, May 21, 2003- vol 289, No. 19

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WHAT WE ARE EATING? Protein, fat, carbohydrate, & alcohol virtually all of the calories that we consume. Fat, carbohydrate, & protein as “macronutrient” make up almost all the weight of food, aside from water, we consume everyday. The remaining small amount being the vitamins and minerals or “micronutrients”

Lifestyle Diseases :

Lifestyle Diseases Attributed to dramatic shifts in the way humans live their LIVES

Factors affecting food choices :

Factors affecting food choices BIOLOGICAL FACTORS ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS CULTURAL FACTORS Nutritional needs Heredity Special Physiological conditions (e.g. pregnancy) Special Diseases or abnormal conditions Taste Preferences (genetically determined) Individual cravings or idiosyncrasies Geography , climate Season Economics Transportation Technology Fuel Availability Education Understanding of nutrition and health concepts Income Social Class, status Tradition , beliefs, values Ideology ( worldview ,religion) Communication Influence of business, government, professionals Politics From McIntosh EN: American Food Habits in Historical Perspective, copyright 1995 by Praeger. Reproduced with permission of Greenwood Publishing Group .Inc.Westport CT.


THE TOP 3 CONTENDERS : SALT SUGAR FATS What is lacking here?

LIPIDS-umbrella term – fats & oils :

LIPIDS-umbrella term – fats & oils Ordinary fats and oils found in food and human body TRIGLYCERIDES upon digestion – 3 FA and 1 glycerol CHOLESTEROL – is only present in animal food sources( pork , beef , fish, chicken, shrimps, egg) Has essential role in adrenal and sex hormones PHOSPHOLIPIDS and STEROLS – part of the structure of cells

TRANS FATS – a common name for an UNSATURATED FATS:

TRANS FATS – a common name for an UNSATURATED FATS Longer shelf life Improved flavor and texture Enhances appearance A plus factor in convenience foods (no refrigeration needed ) Cost effective Created industrially in partial hydrogenation of fats

MAJOR FOOD SOURCES OF TRANS FAT ( 6g average intake or 3% of calories ):

MAJOR FOOD SOURCES OF TRANS FAT ( 6g average intake or 3% of calories ) 40 % cakes and pastries 21 % animal products 17 % margarine 8 % fried potatoes

Newer terms about fatty acids:

Newer terms about fatty acids Omega 3 fatty acids Studies -90 to 120 grams fish oil – are encouraged to consume 3 fish meals per week Thrombus effect – prevents platelet aggregation THROMBUS “THROMBUS”

Medical Nutrition Therapy for CVD:

Medical Nutrition Therapy for CVD How to go about it? THERAPEUTIC LIFESTYLE CHANGE DIET ( TLC ) Emphasizes grains, cereals, legumes,vegetables,fruits,leanmeat ,poultry, fish and non fat dairy products. OTHER STRATEGIES: 1.Reduce SFA and trans FA 2.Use of the Exchange System for dietary modification 3. Meeting Sodium guidelines can be a challenge Data from National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) , Second Report of the Expert Panel on Detection ,Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults

Medical Nutrition Therapy for CVD:

Medical Nutrition Therapy for CVD AGGRESSIVE DIETS VERY LOW FAT DIETS – For highly motivated patients who want to avoid drug therapy ( LACTO OVO VEGETARIAN REGIMEN ) 3 % Saturated FA – In a 1500 Calorie diet , this is approx 45 grams of FA Fatty Acid content per 3 ounces or 30 grams of : Beef 1.4 ( 2 servings=60 grams = 2.8 grams ) Pork 4.1 Chicken 1.1 Turkey 0.9 Tuna,light 0.2 Most restaurants serve 70 to 80 grams of meat per serving which will provide from 3.2 to 4.0 grams of FA in a particular meal only, In three meals – approx 10.0 grams FA

The Hearts Delight Diet :

The Hearts Delight Diet Originated from St.Luke’s Medical Center , 1994 CARDIAC REVERSAL DIET 200 mg. Cholesterol /day High in fiber No Pork , No beef,NO EGG* Chicken , Fish and Seafoods are common food choices Salt Allowance – as per recommendation Herbal teas , Decaffeinated beverages Other nutl supplements -PRN

DASH DIET – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension:

DASH DIET – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Higher intake of fruit and vegetables , and a lower intake of red meat ( except fish) can prevent higher blood pressure (Miura & Nakagawa 2005) ↑ AMOUNTS OF K+ – FRUITS, VEGS FISH , NUTS , USE OF LOW FAT DAIRY PRODUCTS, AND ↓ REDUCED LEVELS OF TOTAL AND SATURATED FAT ,ALONG WITH LOWERED SODIUM INTAKE

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The Mediterranean Diet Is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of some countries of the Mediterranean Basin. Principal aspects of the diet : high OLIVE OIL consumption High consumption of LEGUMES High consumption of unrefined cereals High consumption of fruits and vegetables Moderate consumption of dairy products Moderate consumption to high consumption of FISH Low consumption of Meat and meat products


SALT or SODIUM??? FACT : All foods have their natural SODIUM content

How to lower down Sodium intake :

How to lower down Sodium intake INSTEAD OF EAT 1 CUP OF CANNED MUSHROOM : 400 mg of SODIUM 1 CUP OF COOKED FRESH MUSHROOMS: 2-3 mg of SODIUM 2 pieces of Bread : 120 mg of Sodium ½ cup of cooked rice : 1 mg of Sodium

Medical Nutrition Therapy – Low Sodium Diet:

Medical Nutrition Therapy – Low Sodium Diet 1 teaspoon SALT = 2400 mg Filipino Diet – 4,000 to 6,000 mg sodium per day Additional patis , toyo, bagoong- 9,000 to 15,000 mg per day. The following foods are restricted or avoided on a LOW SODIUM DIET: Salt as Sodium Chloride Canned vegetables, frozen with salt or sodium contg additives: pickles, sauekraut, Glazed or candied fruits , dried or frozen fruits to which salt , sulfite containing sodium has been added; 4. Breads with baking soda , baking powder , salt and sodium contg. additive, commercial mixes, quick cooking cereals, dry cereals, potato chips, pretzels, popcorn ,cookies unless prepared without sodium 5. Noodles such as miki , mami , misua , and canton 6. Canned , salted , cured , , smoked or processed meats containing additives

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SPICES Herbs Lemon juice , vinegar – can help enhance the taste appeal of food

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SALT SUBSTITUTE The manufacturer of LOW SALT – warned: CAPTOPRIL and Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, SPIRONALACTONE , ALDACTONE , DYTAC Potassium Chloride Spices and herbs

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ABOUT SUGAR and CARBOHYDRATE Facts about sugar intake : Foods high in table sugar or SUCROSE frequently have LOW NUTRIENT DENSITY For Reducing Diet regimen and Diabetes Mellitus – NCS ( no concentrated Sweets ) 2. Sugars up to 10 % of Total Calories are now permitted for persons whose Diabetes is UNDER CONTROL

Distinction between …. :

Distinction between …. SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES Found in candies, table sugar, syrups and soft drinks COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES STARCHES and FIBERS i. e. vegetables

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Dietary Fiber A non-starch polysaccharide that is not absorbed in the small intestine and can be metabolized in the colon Trinidad , Trinidad Ph.D. Excerpts from BIOCHEM , MSCN class PWU 2008

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HISTORICALLY CLASSIFIED AS ……… Soluble Fibers Major Food Sources Actions in the body Gums, Pectins, some Hemicelluloses , mucillages Fruits, oats,barley,legumes Delay GI transit (benefits digestive disorders) Delay Glucose absorption ( benefits Diabetes) Lower Blood cholesterol ( benefits heart disease) Insoluble Fibers Major Food Sources Actions in the body Cellulose, many hemicelluloses,lignins Wheat bran , corn bran , whole grain breads and cereals, vegetables, ( such as cabbage, carrots, and brussel sprouts) Accelerates GI transit Increase fecal weight (promotes bowel movements) Slow Starch hydrolysis Delay Glucose Absorption


FIBER LIKE SUBSTANCES INULIN FRUCTOLIGOSACCHARIDE RESISTANT STARCH UNABSORBED SUGARS Normally present in the diet , escape digestion, by human enzymes but are fermented almost completely in the colon

Sources and recommended Intake of fiber like substances:

Sources and recommended Intake of fiber like substances Whole grains & legumes- ↑ in IF and SF Fruits and Vegetables , nuts and seaweeds contain FIBER , INULIN and FOS that are found in many plants and some man made foods Fiber Intake – 10 to 13 grams /1000 Kcal ( 20 to 35 grams /day ) Average intake of Inulin and FOS ↓in Western countries ( 1 to 11 grams per day ) Still NO FORMAL DIETARY RECOMMENDATTIONS for Inulin and FOS


DIETARY FIBER MATRIX Specialized structure of dietary fiber Specialized structure that is formed in the digestive system which envelops nutrients and sugars

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Counting Calories :

Counting Calories A technique which we teach our clients to empower them in their healthy food choices

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RICE 160g RICE (200kcal) 40g (2 pc Pandesal) 75g (1 cup Spaghetti) 30g Popcorn 165g (2pc Boiled Potato) 40g (2 pc Sliced Bread) 75g (1 cup Macaroni) 100kcal

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MEAT 1 Pc Chicken Leg ( 30 g) 1 Matchbox size Beef (30 g) 1 Pc Boiled Egg (60 g) 25 g Shrimp 1/3 cup cottage cheese (60 g) 1 pc fish fillet (35 g) ½ cup tofu 86kcal

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VEGETABLES ½ cup Carrots ½ cup Broccoli ½ cup Tomatoes 16kcal ½ cup bok Choy

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MILK ½ cup Yoghurt 250 ml Milk 170kcal

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FAT 1 Strip Bacon (10 g) 1 tsp Oil ½ Avocado (65g) 1/3-cup Peanuts (25 g) 45kcal 1tsp peanut butter

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SUGAR 1 tsp Sugar (5 g) 4 pcs Hard Candy 1tsp Honey (5 g) 20kcal

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CHINESE CUISINE Menu CHO CHON FAT Calories Crab and Corn Soup (180g) Crab 2tbsp – 8 1 41 Corn 2tbsp 5 41 – 21 Steamed Vegetable Steamed Bok Choy (45g) 3 1 – 16 Rice (145g) 42 4 – 181 Main Dish: Steamed Lapu-lapu (155g) – 35 4 182 Mushroom (20g) 1 0.5 – 7 Red Pepper (50g) 3 1 – 16 Onion Leeks (10g) 1 0.2 – 4 Cooking Oil (5g) – – 5 45 Fruit Salad: Pineapple (50g) 7 – – 27 Papaya (40g) 7 – – 27 Cream 2tsp – – 10 90 TOTAL 69 50.11 20 612

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Snack- Greenwich Solo ham meal

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Snacks- Greenwich Weight CHO CHON FAT CALORIES Solo Ham and Cheese Crust 85g 48.7 4.24 – 212 Ham 10g – 1.6 2 24.4 Cheese 5g – 1.14 0.85 12.29 Cooking Oil 10g – – 10 90 Regular Coke 237ml 25 – – 100 TOTAL 73.76 6.98 12.85 438.7

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Dinner- Burger king Blazing Mushroom Swiss Burger

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Dinner-Burger King Weight CHO CHON FAT CALORIES Blazing Mushroom Swiss Burger Beef Patty 80g – 21.3 18.6 228.76 Burger Buns 80g 46 4 – 200 Mushroom 5g 0.33 0.1 – 1.78 Cheese 10g – 2.28 1.71 24.6 Large Onion Rings 90g 6 2 – 32 Cooking Oil 25g – – 25 225 Flour 5g 4.6 – – 20 Regular Coke 237ml 25 – – 100 TOTAL 81.93 29.68 45.31 832.14

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What the NUTRITIONISTS & DOCTORS are not saying but the NUTRITION SCIENTISTS do?

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PROTEIN – is the most “sacred” of all nutrients, but animal-based protein is the “culprit” of almost all lifestyle diseases.

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What is Protein, anyway? Nitrogen containing chemical The core element of animal-based food Vital components of our bodies & there are hundreds of thousands of different kinds. Constructed as long chains of hundred of thousands of amino acids, of which there are 15-20 different kinds. Wear out on a regular basis and replaced by consuming foods that contain protein .

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FUNCTIONS OF PROTEIN Enzymes Hormones Structural Tissue Transport molecules * All of which makes life possible

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• What are good sources of protein? • How much protein should one consume? • Is plant protein as good as animal protein? • Is it necessary to combine certain plant foods in a meal to get complete proteins? • Is it advisable to take protein powders or amino acid supplements, especially for someone who does vigorous exercise or plays sport? • Should one take protein supplements to build muscle? • Some protein is considered high quality, some low quality; what does this mean? Confusion reigns on many of the most basic questions about protein:

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• that the “soul” of animal-based foods is protein. Where do vegetarians get protein? • Can vegetarian children grow properly without animal protein? Fundamental to many of these common questions and concerns is the belief that “meat is protein” and “ protein is meat” . This belief comes from the fact that the “soul” of animal-based foods is protein.

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NUTRIENT COMPOSITION OF PLANT AND ANIMAL-BASED FOODS (PER 500 CALORIES OF ENERGY) Nutrient Plant-Based Foods· Animal-Based Foods ” Cholesterol (mg) Fat (g) Protein (g) Beta-carotene (meq) Dietary Fiber (g) Vitamin C (mg) Folate (meg) Vitamin E (mg) Iron (mg) Magnesium (mg) Calcium (mg) – 4 33 29,919 31 293 1168 11 20 548 545 137 36 34 17 – 4 19 0.5 2 51 252 * Equal parts of tomatoes, spinach, lima beans, peas, potatoes ** Equal parts of beef, pork, chicken, whole milk

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SPINACH Nutrients: Water Fat (many kinds) Calories Carbohydrate Protein (many kinds) Fiber Minerals Calcium Sodium Iron Zinc Magnesium Copper Phosphorus Manganese Potassium Selenium Vitamins C (Ascorbic Acid) B-6 (Pyridoxine) B-1 (Thiamin) Folate B-2 (Riboflavin) A (as carotenoids) B-3 (Niacin) E (tocopherols) Pantothenic acid FaHy Acids 14:0 (Myristic acid) 1 8: 1 (Oleic acid) 16:0 (Palmitic acid) 20: 1 (Eicosenoic acid) 18:0 (Stearic acid) 18 : 2 (linoleic acid) 16 : 1 (Palmitoleic acid) 18 : 3 (linolenic acid) Amino acids Tryptophan Valine Threonine Arginine Isoleucine Histidine Leucine Alanine Lysine Aspartic acid Methionine Glutamic acid Cystine Glycine Phenylalanine Proline Tyrosine Serine Phytosterols (many kinds)

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Eating Right: Principles of Food & Health PRINCIPLE # 1 Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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PRINCIPLE #2 Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health. Eating Right: Principles of Food & Health

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PRINCIPLE #3 There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not beHer provided by plants. Eating Right: Principles of Food & Health

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PRINCIPLE #4 Genes do not determine disease on their own. Genes function only by being activated, or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed. Eating Right: Principles of Food & Health

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PRINCIPLE #5 Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals. Eating Right: Principles of Food & Health

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PRINCIPLE #6 The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis). Eating Right: Principles of Food & Health

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PRINCIPLE #7 Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board. Eating Right: Principles of Food & Health

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PRINCIPLE #8 Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected. Eating Right: Principles of Food & Health

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The process of eating is perhaps the most intimate encounter we have in this world; it is a process in which what we eat becomes part of our body. Good nutrition & regular exercise combine to offer more health per person than the sum of each part.

As my SUMMARY …:

As my SUMMARY … Nutrition Education geared towards CHANGE in HEALTHY EATING LIFESTYLE depends on the TYPE and STRENGTH of meaning of nutrition information we intend to convey to the selected population .

Take the words from Floro O.:

Take the words from Floro O. The human body is a factory of nutrients and medicines that no man –made factory could ever match; provided it is sustained & maintained in a state of HOMEOSTASIS.

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Heart health at any age – 40, 50, 60 and beyond

Posted in Healthy lifestyle

Middled aged man running through city

Making healthy choices during any decade of life increases the chances of staying healthy as you age.

It’s never too late to embark on a healthy lifestyle, even in your 40s, 50s and 60s. Taking steps during those decades to reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses can help your quality of life as you grow older.

“We are increasingly understanding that what you do earlier in life has a long-term impact,” said Norrina Allen, an associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Middle age is the time to focus on your health for now — and for the future.

See your doctor, get on a healthy path

Visiting your doctor isn’t just for when you feel sick. While in good health, arrange for an annual checkup to discuss whether your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar are in a normal range. You can also track your blood pressure between exams with an at-home monitor or a machine in a drug store or grocery store.

A normal blood pressure range is less than 120 for systolic (the top number) and less than 80 for the diastolic (the bottom number).

If your numbers are in unhealthy ranges, a physician can help you decide whether medication is needed to control heart disease risk factors. Lifestyle changes can help, too.

“You can step up your game, essentially, in terms of diet and physical activity,” Allen said. “Anything you can do at any age is going to make your future healthier and happier.”

Consider eating more fruits and vegetables and eliminating sugary beverages.

Maintain or begin an exercise program. You don’t have to run a marathon. Begin gradually by adding 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week for adults, aiming for 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week.

A nutritious diet and physical activity are two of Life’s Simple 7, which are seven measures and actions identified by the AHA as having the most impact on heart health. The others are managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, losing weight and quitting smoking.

Quitting smoking can result in an almost immediate benefit. Stopping smoking reduces your risk for heart disease and other illnesses. For some diseases, that risk eventually drops to pre-smoking levels.

Feeling good in your 40s

Your 40s may be consumed with your job and childrearing, but you shouldn’t neglect your own well-being.

“People put their health kind of on the sidelines,” Allen said. “Making time for yourself is an age-old adage, but there are long-term benefits with being healthy — and even short-term benefits.”

Her team of researchers examined health records for more than 25,000 people over the course of several decades from the Chicago Health Association study. Heart disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, diabetes and smoking, were assessed for each person in medical exams in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the average participant was in their early 40s.

Cardiovascular disease risk factors that were present (or not) in that early 40s age group were “highly predictive” of what kind of health one had at ages 65, 75 and 85, Allen said.

Those with no major risk factors lived longer, lived more years without heart disease or other chronic illnesses, and saved money on health care in their later years, according to the study published in the journal Circulation in 2017.

Meanwhile, people in their 40s should also be aware of health issues that tend to arise in middle age. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 90 percent to 95 percent of them have Type 2 diabetes, which most often develops in people over 45, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heart health in the 50s and 60s

Cardiovascular health (link opens in new window)

Employees with better cardiovascular health, as measured by the Life’s Simple 7 factors, experienced fewer sick days and better concentration at work, one study found. Other research found that annual employer health care costs were on average $2,021 less for employees with at least six ideal scores of the seven heart health metrics.

For women, menopause doesn’t cause cardiovascular disease, but risk factors can begin to occur around this period of a woman’s life, and heart disease symptoms may become more evident afterward.

The 50s and 60s is often a time when people accumulate more weight, and heart disease risk factors appear.

Research has shown that exercising regularly in middle age can improve the elasticity of blood vessels brought on by a sedentary lifestyle and reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

Think about ways to do more walking, whether it’s a few blocks in your neighborhood or a trek to the local farmer’s market to find fresh produce. Also keep in mind that preparing meals at home rather than eating out is usually a good way to ensure healthy eating.

In your 60s and beyond, medical problems can become more prevalent. But people with fewer health issues are likely to have fewer doctor visits and less hospital or nursing home care.

Those with more favorable heart disease risk factors in middle age saved approximately $18,000 during their time on Medicare, according to Allen’s research. Even those who developed chronic diseases later in life experienced less severity of those illnesses.

Whatever your age, reducing your cardiovascular disease risk is worth the effort. It’s often a good idea to involve the whole family — spouses, children and grandchildren.

“Work as a team,” Allen said. “Making it a group activity is good for everyone.”

If you have questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected]

Social Development in 11-13 Year Olds | Scholastic

Posted in Healthy lifestyle

While tweens and young teens are growing in all areas, in none is it more obvious than their social/emotional development. These changes coincide with the transition to middle school, which demarcates the shift to adolescence as we think of it. Understanding this complicated time will help you best guide your child through it. 

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Around puberty, adolescent egocentrism emerges, deeply affecting how 11-13 years feel about themselves. There are two aspects of egocentrism at this age: the imaginary audience (where your child believes that others notice and care intensely about her appearance and actions) and the personal fable (where your child believes that his experiences and emotions are unique and experienced by him alone). As a result, children this age are highly self-conscious, while at the same feeling powerful and invincible. Although children this age know that others have differing points of view (in contrast to the preschooler who displays egocentrism), this knowledge leads her to become preoccupied with others’ perception of her. 

Middle schoolers are at the tail end of what researcher Erik Erikson calls the age of Industry vs Inferiority. During this stage, they become aware of themselves as individuals, and they work hard to be responsible and to accomplish more complex tasks. As they move towards the next stage, Identity vs Role Confusion (around age 12), they begin to form values and challenge the self-confidence they have built over the preceding years. During this new phase, they seek to find the identity they will take with them into adulthood, along with the peers they feel reflect their values and sense of self. The Identity phase is only just beginning in early adolescence; it will continue until children are about 19-years-old. 

The middle school years are marked by significant personality changes. By definition, children this age show erratic, inconsistent behaviors: one moment they are happy, the next, weeping. In one instant they are affectionate and loving, the next, they resent their parents. At once they feel invincible, the next, invisible. Parenting young teens is an investment in patience, empathy, and continued support, despite all evidence from your child to the contrary. 

These years are important ones for your child to develop increased independence from you, to shift the center of his social world from home to peers, and to explore and discover his talents and interests within a larger community of influence. To do this successfully, your child needs to learn how to interpret others’ perspectives and emotions, determine his own point of view, thoughts, beliefs and intentions (metacognition and self-knowledge). He must learn to successfully share space with others, regulate his own reactions, and adapt to various environments. He must develop his social cognition (understanding of how social situations work, how to use pragmatic (everyday) language and communication skills) to successfully navigate social and academic interactions, and learn to relate to the world, other people, and experiences as an individual. To do this he needs interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, conflict resolution skills, and survival skills. Whew! 

Middle school is when children begin to spend significantly more time with friends over family. While needing to be an individual, they do not want to stand out from peers, particularly same sex peers. They seek group membership at almost any cost, including acting cruelly to others outside the group. The rate of social cruelty and bullying spikes during these years, especially among girls, and young teens are particularly vulnerable to the influence of aggression in all its forms. 

MORE: When Teasing Becomes Bullying

Adolescent self-esteem comes into play with friendship making, as well as social behaviors in general. Supporting the development of your child’s metacognition (their ability to think about how they think) is the first step to helping them make better decisions across the board. To foster good decision making and to improve your child’s self-esteem, support low-stakes decisions in various areas (e.g., academically, in sports or clubs, etc.). After, have your child articulate what went well, what strategies he used, or what he might do differently. When your child is facing a challenging decision, be a sounding board. While it is usually easy for children to see potential social benefits (e.g., popularity), the personal fable often prevents them from considering potential risks. Asking a simple question such as, “what’s the potential downside?” can spark new ways of approaching tough choices. Sometimes it helps to enhance strategies in low stakes situations. 

Mood swings and irritability are common in the middle school years, particularly within the family. Increased pressures at school and within peer groups, along with confusion and anxiety over puberty, are often cited reasons for the increased emotionality in young teens. Teens’ drive for independence, their need to define their individuality, as well as their increased logic and reasoning skills lead to the “talking back” that often increases during this time. Recent brain research points to inadequate sleep among this age group as another determining factor in adolescent mood swings. Sleep deprivation has also been associated with impulsive behavior and delinquency, emphasizing its importance to emotional health among adolescents. 

MORE: Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?

Maintaining limits on acceptable ways to interact and express emotions, including giving your child time alone with music, books, or sports to calm down and gain perspective, will help your child learn to direct and manage his emotions. Allowing appropriate outlets is important. At this age, physical or creative expressions are encouraged. For example, your child can create avatars with emotions. Take the topics that matter to your child seriously and give her credit for bringing up challenging topics. Include your child in discussions about complex issues, including politics, values, and tough topics (e.g., poverty or war). When pushed past your limit, rather than lose your cool or exert your ultimate power, take time to consider the issue: “This is a complicated matter. Let me think on this and we can talk more about it.” If you notice signs of depression or self-abuse, involve the support of a professional right away. 

New findings at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) help explain some of the science behind the “storm and stress” associated with the teen years. Research reports that connections between the various parts of the brain increase over childhood as a result of white matter production and myelination (increase in connectivity and efficiency among neurons). These changes move from the front of the brain to the back between the ages of 6-13, subsiding after puberty. This growth connects the regions specialized for language and understanding spatial relations. Thus, the parietal and temporal areas that mediate spatial, sensory, auditory, and language functions are mostly mature by age 13. 

Recent research demonstrates that there is a surge in the production of gray matter just before puberty (peaking at age 11 for girls, 12 for boys), largely affecting the frontal cortex, where executive functions are housed. (Executive functions include the ability to think, plan, maintain short-term memory, organize thoughts, control impulses, problem solve, and execute tasks.) This same research finds myelination of the gray matter develops slowly, with this region not fully maturing until young adulthood. 

Prior to the maturation of the frontal lobes, young teens seem to use the amygdala to process emotions, a brain center responsible for mediating fear and other gut reactions. In addition, when shown emotionally loaded images or situations, teenage brains showed responses that were greater in intensity than were either younger children or adults. Research demonstrates adults use the frontal lobe as opposed to the amygdala for such processing. Scientists thus posit that the parts of the brain responsible for emotional responses are fully developed, possibly even hyper-reactive in young adolescents, compared to adults. However, the parts of the brain responsible for keeping emotional, impulsive responses in check have not reached maturity, and thus children this age aren’t yet capable of making decisions that accurately assess risk or that are free of impulsivity. 

While these brain changes may be what equips tweens to transition from dependence to independence, they may also be some of the reason behind their drive for pleasure seeking and limit testing. Adolescents’ still-developing frontal cortex and the need for social connection and acceptance may also explain their risk-taking behavior. However, as compelling as these changes are, they alone do not account for the behaviors we see in young adolescents. Instead, they interplay with genetics, environment, and experiences, making this transition from childhood to adulthood extremely complex. 

Photo credit: ©gpointstudio/iStockphoto

Healthy Living Grant Program

Posted in Healthy lifestyle

  • CFDA#


    Funder Type
    Private Foundation

    IT Classification
    C – Funds little to no technology

    American Medical Association

    The AMA Foundation, with support from the AMA Alliance, began the Healthy Living Grant Program to address critical issues which include: obesity, tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption and violence. Based on the thought that local leaders can come up with the best solutions to these problems, this initiative supports grassroots organizations who are on the front lines in their communities. These grants provide critical funding that can jump-start a project, affect change quickly, increase visibility for a project/organization, encourage collaboration and make a lasting difference in a community. The three funding categories are:

    • Nutrition/Physical Fitness: The proposed project must include a least one nutrition objective and at least one physical activity objective;
    • Alcohol, Substance Abuse and Smoking Prevention
    • Violence Prevention: Anti-bullying, domestic violence (with a focus on providing a safe environment for children), suicide prevention, and internet safety. The target audience must be youth/young adults between the ages of 2-21. 

    Organizations that receive grants design projects to meet the needs of their local communities. The current round of funding is intended for projects focused on Prescription drug safety.


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6 Lessons in Healthy Eating from Those Who Live to 100

Posted in Healthy lifestyle

A long, healthy life is about much more than good genes; it’s highly dependent on building healthy habits. Habits—both good and bad—are an integral part of your everyday life. Part of forming healthy habits is to become intentional with them until they become ingrained into your daily routine. It will take effort on your part, but if the payoff could be a long, healthy life, then it’s worth it, right?

So what’s the formula for success? Well, what better way to find and adopt healthy habits than from those already practicing them? Let’s take a look at the healthy habits practiced by people living happily into their hundreds, in parts of the world known as “Blue Zones.”

The Study

In 2004, author and explorer Dan Buettner rounded up a bunch of anthropologists, demographers, epidemiologists, and other researchers to travel around the world to study communities with surprisingly high percentages of centenarians. Funded in part by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, the study’s findings, highlighted in National Geographic by Buettner, discussed five hot spots—called “Blue Zones”—where there is a high rate of centenarians who enjoy a healthier lifestyle. These places were:

  • Loma Linda, U.S.
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Okinawa, Japan

Buettner and the researchers found that seniors in these widely separated regions share a number of key habits, despite many differences in backgrounds and beliefs. These universal healthy habits can be broken down into the following:

This first article in the series will focus on the first factor, having a healthy diet.

A Healthy Diet

It’s widely known that what you eat is important to your health and well-being, but with all the new diet trends and research, it can be difficult to figure out just exactly what eating healthy means. Another complication is that each of us is unique—we each have individual tastes, dietary restrictions and allergies, and cultural influences.

With that said, the Blue Zone study found that the majority of centenarians practice similar healthy eating habits. Here are some centenarian dietary best practices to try.

1. Eat More Plants

There is a clear theme across the Blue Zone communities to eat fresh, organic food, high in proteins and healthy fats. In general, the centenarians eat a large amount of vegetables and fruits, and small amounts of red meat. The fruit and vegetables tend to be high in antioxidants and fiber, such as tomatoes, onions, squash, roots/tubers, and beans. Whole grains are also often included in the Blue Zone diets in the form of breads or cereals.

2. Eat Locally/Home-Grown Food

The majority of centenarians eat fruits and vegetables that are home-grown or locally grown organic products. Picking up food at local farmers markets not only fosters a sense of community (another factor in longevity), but also allows you to eat seasonally, which means the fruits and vegetables will be more nutritionally dense. The same principles apply for growing your own food—a little more work, but you will be able to control what goes into your food—and what does not (i.e., pesticides).

3. Practice Portion Control

Consuming excess calories leads to weight gain and potential health risks. Learning to control your portions like many centenarians (and those following an Ayurvedic diet) can be a healthy eating habit.

For example, Okinawans practice “Hara hachi bu,” a Confucian mantra said before a meal that reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80-percent full. The 20 percent gap between not being hungry and feeling full could help with losing weight. “Rituals like this and other forms of saying grace also provide a pause in everyday living, forcing people to slow down and pay attention to their foods,” says Buettner. “Ikarians, Saridinians, Costa Ricans, and Adventists all begin meals by saying a prayer.”

The Okinawans also eat off small plates to limit the amount of food consumption. Take a look at what size dishes are in your cupboard—you may want to invest in smaller plates to help with portion control.

4. Have a Meal Routine

When you eat is also important because it can help with digestion and ensure your body gets the energy it needs to perform. People in the Blue Zones tend to eat three meals a day and don’t make a habit of snacking. Their smallest meal is usually dinner and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day, but adopting this habit will depend on your life schedule (dinner may be your first meal of the day, depending on your work hours).

5. Practice Moderate Alcohol Consumption

American alcohol consumption is on the rise—including increases in its abuse. Drinking alcohol in excess can cause liver damage, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health risks. It can also increase the chance of violence, motor vehicle accidents, and injuries due to falls.

That’s not to say alcohol consumption is off the table—just that the health risks of alcohol consumption tend to outweigh the benefits. If you drink, do so in moderation. Many centenarians in Okinawa, Sardinia, and Icaria enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol (wine and sake), while others such as the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda refrain from drinking all together.

6. Eat with Family and Friends

Eating is best as a social experience where you can slow down, be present, and connect with others. “I’ve eaten countless meals with people in the Blue Zones, and they were often three-hour affairs with a succession of many small plates punctuated by toasts, stories, jokes, and conversation,” says Buettner. “Mealtimes are celebrations, a time to give thanks, talk out problems, and bond as a family. As a rule, people in the Blue Zones never eat alone, never eat standing up, and never eat with one hand on the steering wheel.”

By forming healthy eating habits you can optimize your lifestyle and may gain an extra decade of good life you’d otherwise miss. Adopting these six healthy eating habits practiced by centenarians may help to improve your life expectancy at any age.

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center’s Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

Jump start your journey to a long, healthy life at Perfect Health, a six-day mind-body retreat where our healing experts create a transformative experience customized for you. Learn More.

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier

Posted in Healthy lifestyle

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier

Strength training is an important part of an overall fitness program. Here’s what strength training can do for you — and how to get started.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Want to reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently? Strength training to the rescue! Strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness for everyone.

Use it or lose it

Lean muscle mass naturally diminishes with age.

Your body fat percentage will increase over time if you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose over time. Strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age.

Strength training may also help you:

  • Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Manage your weight. Strength training can help you manage or lose weight, and it can increase your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
  • Enhance your quality of life. Strength training may enhance your quality of life and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Strength training can also protect your joints from injury. Building muscle also can contribute to better balance and may reduce your risk of falls. This can help you maintain independence as you age.
  • Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, depression and diabetes.
  • Sharpen your thinking skills. Some research suggests that regular strength training and aerobic exercise may help improve thinking and learning skills for older adults.

Consider the options

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Common choices may include:

  • Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try pushups, pullups, planks, lunges and squats.
  • Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store or online.
  • Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools. If you don’t have weights at home, you can use soup cans. Other options can include using medicine balls or kettle bells.
  • Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can invest in weight machines for use at home, too.
  • Cable suspension training. Cable suspension training is another option to try. In cable suspension training, you suspend part of your body — such as your legs — while doing body weight training such as pushups or planks.

Getting started

If you have a chronic condition, or if you’re older than age 40 and you haven’t been active recently, check with your doctor before beginning a strength training or aerobic fitness program.

Before beginning strength training, consider warming up with brisk walking or another aerobic activity for five or 10 minutes. Cold muscles are more prone to injury than are warm muscles.

Choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. When you can easily do more repetitions of a certain exercise, gradually increase the weight or resistance.

Research shows that a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions with the proper weight can build muscle efficiently in most people and can be as effective as three sets of the same exercise. As long as you take the muscle you are working to fatigue — meaning you can’t lift another repetition — you are doing the work necessary to make the muscle stronger. And fatiguing at a higher number of repetitions means you likely are using a lighter weight, which will make it easier for you to control and maintain correct form.

To give your muscles time to recover, rest one full day between exercising each specific muscle group.

Also be careful to listen to your body. If a strength training exercise causes pain, stop the exercise. Consider trying a lower weight or trying it again in a few days.

It’s important to use proper technique in strength training to avoid injuries. If you’re new to strength training, work with a trainer or other fitness specialist to learn correct form and technique. Remember to breathe as you strength train.

When to expect results

You don’t need to spend hours a day lifting weights to benefit from strength training. You can see significant improvement in your strength with just two or three 20- or 30-minute strength training sessions a week.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:

  • Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. Greater amounts of exercise will provide even greater health benefits. But even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. Being active for short periods of time throughout the day can add up to provide health benefits.
  • Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.

As you incorporate strength training exercises into your fitness routine, you may notice improvement in your strength over time. As your muscle mass increases, you’ll likely be able to lift weight more easily and for longer periods of time. If you keep it up, you can continue to increase your strength, even if you’re not in shape when you begin.


A Healthy Daily Routine to Keep Your Mental and Physical Health in Shape

Posted in Healthy lifestyle

Nine out of 10 people I talk to don’t know what they want from life. They just let it happen without questioning it too much, often taking the path of least resistance. I was one of them. I didn’t know where I was going in life; I had vague goals, a poor work ethic and no clear vision. But then, I completely transformed my life by engineering a simple yet profound morning routine. Do you know what you want from your life?

The daily routine I will share in this article can be easily replicated and adjusted to take your life to the next level. Read on!


The importance of “me” time

I always wanted to read more, spend time learning things that mattered to me and simply have time where no one can tell me what to do and I can just focus on getting lost improving myself. It’s important to set a specific time for yourself. Whether you want to do yoga, stretch, read, paint, write, anything. You must block time where you have little to no distractions and can spend time on yourself guilt free. My decision was clear when I started writing my first book. My day would become so busy that I wouldn’t have the time nor the energy to sit down and write. I decided to wake up one hour earlier and write. Nothing more, nothing less. Some days I would write two sentences, other days I would easily get to 1,000 words. For the last two years I have dedicated three hours, from 5am to 8am to “me” time and I have grown enormously.


Prepare the night before


Consistency beats ability

Showing up daily and performing consistently might not be sexy and won’t bring overnight results but it will definitely make you better. Here’s an article by James Clear on marginal gains that proves that improving just 1% every day will have a significant impact on your life in 365 days. Whether it’s fitness, finances, creativity or relationships, show up daily and improve just 1% to grow.

Action: Decide on what you want to improve this year and write it down. Every morning spend time practicing.


Develop your grand life vision

As I mentioned at the very beginning of this article, most people don’t know what they want from life. Vague goals like building a house, buying a car, marrying and having a good job are not really goals. It’s the way people live, these are more like needs. I was focused on needs as well until I started thinking what is really important to me.

To help you develop your grand life vision, ask yourself the following questions.

  • What do I want to be remembered for?
  • What gives me enormous satisfaction?
  • How can I leave this world a better place?

For some people it’s music, for others it’s art. For me, it’s about mastering myself, learning new things and experimenting in life.

Action: Come up with a grand vision for your life. Remind yourself every morning why you woke up and why it matters. Visualize yourself getting closer to your goal.


Read/listen/watch something uplifting

What works for me is to keep my schedule consistent and read every day for at least 30 minutes. It allows me to focus and forget myself while learning and gaining inspiration. Other times, when I travel early in the morning, I like to listen to podcasts about the things that matter to me. Whether it’s health, productivity, lifestyle design or business, I get inspired and pumped up hearing experts talk about these topics. Lastly, watching uplifting videos can fill you with positive energy in no time.

Back in 2015, I took an intense five-week training program for a half-marathon and had hard mornings when my legs and feet were sore, it was raining outside and I wouldn’t get excited about running 18 kilometers. Then, I would watch a motivational video on YouTube and become motivated in no time. My favorites are videos about great athletes like Lionel Messi, Novak Djokovic and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Action: Make a motivational playlist on YouTube and watch it every morning for inspiration.




Step out of your exercise comfort zone

Finally, every morning I challenge myself through exercise. While traveling I don’t always have the luxury of hitting the gym and do a short HIIT session or use a fitness app. Exercise is extremely important as it contributes to my discipline, confidence and performance. If I show up daily and push myself to become a better person, I can demand from my body to perform at a higher level and make me more productive, focused and healthier. I know not everyone is lucky enough to be able to hit the gym every day but there are tons of other possibilities. Go for a run, do bodyweight exercises, challenge yourself with the HIIT session. Don’t just pity yourself and give in to an excuse that there is nothing you can do to make your body stronger. Getting into mental and physical shape requires a consistent healthy daily routine.

I noticed that exercise has become one of my keystone habits that push me out of my comfort zone every single day, building up stronger will and self-discipline.

Action: Decide how you will push yourself out of your comfort zone. Make it easy to start. Find a suitable training program, prepare your clothes the night before and find an accountability partner.

Do you have a morning routine that fires you up and makes you a better person day after day? Share your plans or tips in the comments below.