Filed under: Diet
The American Heart Association recently reduced the recommended daily intake of sodium, or salt, to 1500 mg or less per day. High salt intake is associated with increased risk of blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease and many Americans are at risk. Read about daily recommendations and the benefits of consuming less salt by clicking here.
Your body needs calcium for optimal bone health and a number of other functions essential to daily life. Good food sources include: fat-free or low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt; leafy greens such as spinach and kale; and broccoli, and pinto and red beans. Many other foods such as high fiber cereal, soy beverages, and orange juice are fortified with added calcium. Adding these foods to your diet will improve not only your calcium intake, but many other nutrients as well!
First Lady visit to Fort Jackson will highlight the impact of obesity and decreased physical activity on military recruitment
First Lady Michelle Obama will visit South Carolina on January 27 for the first time since moving into the White House when she comes to Fort Jackson to highlight the impact of childhood obesity and decreased physical activity on military recruitment. Ms. Obama will spend a good chunk of the day at Fort Jackson, the Army’s largest training base, where she will discuss the “Let’s Move” campaign she launched two years ago with the aim of eliminating childhood obesity in a generation.
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Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDShub.net) has an article on the obesity epidemic - which is a major problem in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The article reports that bad eating habits affect both civilians and military members and provides information on how service members can improve their eating habits.
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Do you know what a serving size is for different food groups? Here are a few helpful tips for standard serving sizes:
A one-cup serving of cereal or other grain is about the size of your fist; one medium fruit is about the size of a baseball; a half-cup serving of ice cream is about half a baseball; three ounces of meat, fish or poultry is the size of a deck of cards. For more helpful hints on serving sizes click here.
Experts from MedicineNet, the American Dietetic Association, and the Cleveland Clinic developed a heart-healthy food pictures slideshow. Besides pictures, the slideshow also includes menu ideas to help you easily use these foods in your daily diet. The foods that protect against heart disease include: salmon, flaxseed, oatmeal, black or kidney beans, almonds, walnuts, red wine, tuna, tofu, brown rice, soy milk, blueberries, carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, asparagus, oranges, tomatoes, acorn squash, cantaloupe, papaya, dark chocolate, and squash.
Milk and milk products provide calcium which is important for bone health. Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt to reduce your intake of fat and calories. Switching from whole milk to 1% milk will save 50 calories and over 5 grams of fat per serving. Try using low or fat-free yogurts and milk in dips, salad dressings, and cream soups.
Eggs are a good source of protein but the yolks are high in cholesterol; egg whites are cholesterol-free. A diet high in cholesterol may contribute to high blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Experts recommend that you limit your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg a day if you are a healthy individual and less than 200 mg a day if you have heart condition. Since one egg has about 213 mg of cholesterol, consider limiting other sources of cholesterol on days you eat eggs. The Mayoclinic offers tips to reduce cholesterol intake.
Remember to include nuts and seeds in your diet. Try them as snacks, on salads, or in main dishes. You can even use nuts to replace meat or poultry. For example, add toasted peanuts to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat. Or, add walnuts or pecans to a green salad instead of cheese or meat.
We don’t give much thought to our skeletal systems until we do something that results in a broken bone. But bones play a vital role in a person’s general health and fitness. Our bones support us, allow us to move, and protect our vital organs from injury. They also store minerals—such as calcium and phosphorus—that are released into the bloodstream when our systems need them, for example, for muscle contractions.
Bone loss usually occurs gradually over a long period of time. By taking steps now to maintain healthy bones, you could ward off medical conditions such as osteoporosis.
One way to maintain optimal bone health is to eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Without enough vitamin D, the body cannot absorb enough calcium from the foods we eat. This causes calcium to be taken our bones, which prevents the growth of new bone and results in weaker bones.
Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds, beans, broccoli and other leafy green vegetables, and fortified products such as orange juice that have added calcium. Good sources of vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish, beef liver, and milk with vitamin D. We also make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun, although not everyone is able to get enough vitamin D this way.
Another way to keep your bones strong is to engage in physical activity. The best exercises are the strength-building and weight-bearing kinds such as walking, climbing, lifting weights, and dancing.
Other ways to maintain bone health include preventing falls by reducing the risk factors that you can control. Improve your balance and strength through exercise, maintain good vision, and make sure that your home is free of “falling dangers” such as poor lighting and loose rugs. Risk factors such as smoking, alcohol, medications, and body weight are also controllable. Smoking cigarettes, like vitamin D deficiency, can keep your body from using the calcium in your diet. Alcohol and certain medications (glucocorticoids, for example) also can cause your bones to become weak or lose mass. Moreover, being too thin increases one’s risk of developing weak bones that are more likely to break. If necessary, boost your diet with calcium and vitamin D supplements. Also consider talking to your physician about your bone health.
You may have heard again and again how important calcium and vitamin D are. Maybe you’ve even taken some or all of the steps above. But if you haven’t, start now and take action! Eat the right foods and exercise for strong bones.