Top Ten Foods
What are some best
bets for eating well? Mark Glen, a registered dietitian at
Mayo Clinic offers his top picks. These 10 health foods
are some of the healthiest because they meet at least three of
the following criteria:
- Are a good or excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals
and other nutrients
- Are high in phytonutrients and antioxidant compounds, such as
vitamins A and E and beta carotene
- May help reduce the risk of heart disease and other health
- Are low in calorie density, meaning you get a larger portion
size with a fewer number of calories
- Are readily available
Find out more about these foods and what makes them good
Why eat apples? Apples are an excellent source of pectin,
a soluble fiber that can lower blood cholesterol and glucose
levels. Fresh apples are also good sources of the vitamin C an
antioxidant that protects your body's cells from damage. Vitamin
C also helps form the connective tissue collagen, keeps your
capillaries and blood vessels healthy, and aids in the
absorption of iron and folate.
Why eat almonds? These tear-shaped nuts are packed with
nutrients fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium. In
fact, almonds have more calcium than any other nut 70
milligrams (mg) in 23 almonds. And one serving of almonds
provides half of your body's Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
of vitamin E.
Like all nuts, almonds provide one of the best plant sources of
protein. And they're good for your heart. Most of the fat in
almonds is monounsaturated fat a healthier type of fat that
may help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Why eat blueberries? Blueberries are a rich source of plant
compounds (phytonutrients). As with cranberries, phytonutrients
in blueberries may help prevent urinary tract infections.
Blueberries may also improve short-term memory and promote
Blueberries are also a low-calorie source of fiber and vitamin C
1 cup of fresh blueberries has 83 calories, 3.5 grams of fiber
and 14 mg of vitamin C.
Why eat broccoli? Besides being a good source of calcium,
potassium, folate and fiber, broccoli contains phytonutrients
a group of compounds that may help prevent chronic diseases,
such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Broccoli is
also a good source of vitamins A and C antioxidants that
protect your body's cells from damage.
Why eat red beans? Red beans including small red beans and
dark red kidney beans are good sources of iron, magnesium,
phosphorus, potassium, copper and thiamin. They're also an
excellent low-fat, low-calorie source of protein and dietary
fiber. Red beans also contain phytonutrients that may help
prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and
Why eat salmon? Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty
acids a type of fat that makes your blood less likely to form
clots that may cause heart attacks. Omega-3s may also protect
against irregular heartbeats that may cause sudden cardiac
death, decrease triglyceride levels, decrease the growth of
artery-clogging plaques, lower blood pressure and reduce the
risk of stroke.
In addition to being an excellent source of omega-3s, salmon is
low in saturated fat and cholesterol and is a good source of
Why eat spinach? Spinach is high in vitamins A and C and folate.
It's also a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B-6, calcium,
iron and magnesium. The plant compounds in spinach may boost
your immune system and may help keep your hair and skin healthy.
Why eat sweet potatoes? The deep orange-yellow color of sweet
potatoes tells you that they're high in the antioxidant beta
carotene. Food sources of beta carotene, which are converted to
vitamin A in your body, may help slow the aging process and
reduce the risk of some cancers. Sweet potatoes are also good
sources of fiber, vitamins B-6, C and E, folate and potassium.
And like all vegetables, they're fat-free and relatively low in
calories one small sweet potato has just 54 calories.
Why drink vegetable juice? Vegetable juice has most of the
vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in the original
vegetables and is an easy way to include vegetables in your
diet. Tomato juice and vegetable juices, which include tomatoes,
are good sources of lycopene, an antioxidant which may reduce
the risk of heart attack, prostate cancer and possibly other
types of cancer. Some vegetable and tomato juices are very high
in sodium, so be sure to select the low-sodium varieties.
Why eat wheat germ? At the center of a grain of wheat is the
wheat germ the part of the seed that's responsible for the
development and growth of the new plant sprout. Though only a
small part of the wheat seed, the germ is a highly concentrated
source of nutrients, including niacin, thiamin, riboflavin,
vitamin E, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and
zinc. The germ also contains protein, fiber and some fat.
The Scoop About A Banana
After Reading THIS, you'll NEVER
look at a banana in the same way again!
Bananas Containing three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and
glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant,
sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven
that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous
90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one
fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy
isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also
help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and
conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people
suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a
banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of
protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you
relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
Forget the pills -- eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains
regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin
in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet
low in salt, making it the perfect way to beat blood pressure.
So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just
allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the
fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped
through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast,
break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research
has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by
making pupils more alert.
High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore
normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without
resorting to laxatives.
One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a
banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the
stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted
blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your
Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you
suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar
levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the
affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people
find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and
Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous
Overweight and at work?
Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure
at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and
chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found
the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs.
The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food
cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking
on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels
The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal
disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is
the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in
over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and
reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can
lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant
mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas
to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural
mood enhancer tryptophan.
Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The
B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium
found in them, help the body recover from the effects of
Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the
heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's
water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises,
thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced
with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine,"
eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of
death by strokes by as much as 40%!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you
compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the
carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the
vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals.
It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods
around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so
that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"
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Recognizing A Stroke
occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is
interrupted, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients.
Within a few minutes to a few hours, brain cells begin to die.
Prompt treatment could mean the difference between life and
death. Early treatment can also minimize damage to your brain
and potential disability.
symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify.
Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke
victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to
recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander
can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
1. *Ask the individual to SMILE.
2. *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
3. *Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (ie:
It is sunny out today)
If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1
immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could
identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems,
researchers urged the general public to learn the three
questions. They presented their conclusions at the American
Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread
use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment
of the stroke, and possibly prevent brain damage.
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Safety tips for
Women - reminders - we have all read before but
it's always good to keep them fresh in your
mind! After reading these 9 crucial tips,
forward them to someone you care about. It never
hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live
1. Tip from Tae
Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on
your body. If you are close enough to use it,
2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New
Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or
purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away
from you....chances are that he is more
interested in your wallet and/or purse than you,
and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE
MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a
car, kick out the back tail lights and stick
your arm out the hole and start waving like
crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody
else will. This has saved lives.
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars
after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just
sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list,
etc. DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be
watching you, and this is the perfect
opportunity for him to get in on the passenger
side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where
to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK
THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
If someone is in the car with a gun to your head
DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF!
Instead gun the engine and speed into anything,
wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If
the person is in the back seat they will get the
worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out
and run. It is better than having them find your
body in a remote location.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a
parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your
car, at the passenger side floor, and in the
B.) If you are
parked next to a big van, enter your car from
the passenger door. Most serial killers attack
their victims by pulling them into their vans
while the women are attempting to get into their
C.) Look at the
car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle,
and the passenger side. If a male is sitting
alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want
to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a
guard/policeman to walk you back out.
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And
better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the
stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be
alone and the perfect crime spot. This is
especially true at NIGHT!)
7 If the predator has a gun and you are not
under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will
only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times;
And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a
vital organ. RUN, Preferably ! in a zig -zag
8. As women, we are always trying to be
sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or
killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a
good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS
played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women.
He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often
asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his
vehicle, which is when he abducted his next
9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me
that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch
the night before last, and she called the police
because it was late and she thought it was
weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO
NOT open the door." The lady then said
that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a
window, and she was worried that it would crawl
to the street and get run over. The
policeman said, "We already have a unit on the
way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He
told her that they think a serial killer has a
baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women
out of their homes thinking that someone dropped
off a baby. He said they have not verified
it, but have had several calls by women saying
that they hear baby's cries outside their doors
when they're home alone at night.
Please pass this
on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby
----This e-mail should probably be taken
seriously because the Crying Baby theory was
mentioned on America's Most Wanted this past
Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in
Courtroom Deputy to Judge Robert Junell
U.S. District Court for the West Safety Tips -
Compulsive Gambling (The Mayo Clinic)
Gambling odds, as
the saying goes, are stacked in favor of the
house. But that doesn't stop people from
trying to beat the odds.
percent of American adults report having
gambled at some point in their lives, and
about 60 percent say they've gambled at least
once in the past year. Gambling results in
hundreds of billions of dollars in annual
wagers and, for some people, a big problem
with compulsive gambling, an addiction.
Most people who
wager don't have a problem with compulsive
gambling. But some people an estimated 2
million American adults become compulsive
gamblers at some point in their lifetimes.
People who exhibit compulsive gambling lose
control of their betting, often with serious
consequences. Other people don't meet the
diagnostic criteria for compulsive gambling
but are considered problem gamblers.
Many people are
able to control their compulsive gambling
after receiving treatments with medications
and psychotherapy, and with the aid of
You may have a
gambling addiction if:
take time from work and family life to gamble.
feel remorse after gambling and repeatedly vow
to quit. You may even quit for a while, but
then start again.
don't plan to gamble. You just "end up"
gambling. And you gamble until your last
dollar is gone.
gamble with money you need to pay bills or
solve financial problems. You lie, steal,
borrow or sell things to get gamblin money.
you lose, you gamble to win back your losses.
When you win, you gamble to win more. You
dream of the "big win" and what it will buy.
gamble both when you feel "down" and when you
feel like celebrating
Imbalances in the
brain chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine
(adrenaline) and dopamine may be factors in
all are neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters
are the chemical messengers that enable nerve
cells (neurons) to communicate. They're
released into the gaps (synapses) between
nerve cells to help nerve messages flow from
one cell to another. If neurons don't produce
enough of these chemicals, nerve messages
aren't communicated effectively. Alterations
in neurotransmission have been associated with
a variety of other mental health problems,
Serotonin is a
chemical in the brain that plays a key role in
regulating mood and behavior. Norepinephrine,
a hormone released in response to stress, has
been linked to arousal and risk-taking in
compulsive gamblers. Brain cells release
dopamine as part of the reward system through
which you learn to seek pleasurable stimuli,
such as food and sex, and dopamine plays a
role in developing addiction.
A number of
factors increase your risk of a gambling
People who gamble compulsively often have
substance abuse problems and experience mood
and personality disorders.
You may be more likely to develop an addiction
to gambling if you begin to gamble at a young
Men are more likely than are women to develop
a gambling addiction.
People who live close to a casino are more
likely to develop a gambling problem as are
those who live farther away.
If your parents had a gambling problem, the
chances are greater that you will too.
to treat Parkinson's disease.
Studies have identified a link between the use
of certain Parkinson's disease medications,
called dopamine agonists, and the onset of
compulsive gambling. These medications also
may increase your risk of other compulsive
behaviors, such as hypersexuality and
compulsive overeating. If you are taking these
medications and start behaving in a way that's
out of character for you, talk to your doctor.
When to seek
If your gambling
has gotten out of your control, see your
doctor for help or for referral to an
addiction specialist. Your gambling has gotten
out of control if:
affecting your relationships, your finances or
your work life
You're devoting more and more time and energy
to pursuing gambling
You're unable to stop or cut back on your
Seeking help early
reduces the risk that your compulsive gambling
will lead to severe family problems and
Because denial is
nearly always a characteristic of addictive
behavior, it may be difficult for you to
recognize a gambling addiction and to seek
help on your own. It often takes family
members, friends or co-workers to persuade a
person with a gambling addiction to seek
Psychiatric Association (APA) classifies
compulsive gambling as an impulse-control
disorder. To meet the APA's diagnostic
criteria for compulsive gambling, a person
must show persistent gambling behavior as
indicated by at least five of the following
Being preoccupied with gambling (for example,
reliving past gambling experiences,
handicapping or planning the next venture,
thinking of ways to get money with which to
Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of
money to achieve desired excitement
Having repeated unsuccessful efforts to cut
back or stop gambling
Being restless or irritable when attempting to
cut down or stop gambling
Gambling as a way to escape problems or to
relieve a dysphoric mood (feelings of
helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)
After losing money gambling, often returning
another day to get even ("chasing" one's
Lying to family members, therapists or others
to conceal extent of involvement with gambling
Having committed illegal acts, such as
forgery, fraud, theft or embezzlement, to
Having jeopardized or lost an important
relationship, job, or educational or career
opportunity because of gambling
Relying on others to provide money to relieve
a desperate financial situation caused by
addictive behaviors, compulsive gambling can
affect many areas of your life, possibly
Estrangement of family and friends
Legal problems, as you may resort to illegal
activities to fund your addictive behavior
Development of associated problems, such as
excessive alcohol consumption or drug abuse
compulsive gambling is similar to therapies
for other forms of addiction. Your doctor or
mental health professional may use these
A form of psychotherapy called cognitive
behavior therapy focuses on identifying
unhealthy, irrational and negative beliefs and
having you replace them with healthy, positive
ones. Group therapy also may be helpful. In
group therapy, you're able to tap into the
advice, feedback and support from other people
on how to deal with a gambling addiction.
Antidepressant medications called selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be
effective in treating compulsive gambling.
SSRIs that your doctor may prescribe include
fluvoxamine (Luvox), fluoxetine (Prozac,
Sarafem) and citalopram (Celexa). Lithium
(Eskalith, Lithobid) may be effective for
pathological gamblers with mood disorders,
such as bipolar disorder. Naltrexone (ReVia),
a narcotic antagonist used to treat alcohol or
narcotic addiction, has shown some promise as
an effective treatment for compulsive
gambling, but more research is needed.
provides a 12-step program patterned after
Alcoholics Anonymous. For people who wonder
whether they may have a gambling problem,
Gamblers Anonymous publishes a list of 20
questions as a screening tool and provides a
list of local chapters.
Your doctor or counselor may be able to refer
you to a Gamblers Anonymous group. You may
also find state-sponsored help groups in your
local telephone directory. Gamblers Anonymous
has more than 1,200 U.S. locations and 20
Explore how carcinogens in the environment might
contribute to cancer risk. Learn why it's
difficult to tell what causes cancer and what
In a study of cancer myths, 40 percent of people agreed that city
air pollution was a bigger risk for lung cancer
than was smoking. Pollution certainly may
contribute to some cases of lung cancer, but not
anywhere near the number caused by smoking. Yet
the idea that chemicals in the environment are a
major cause of cancer persists.
Researchers estimate that cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens)
in the environment cause fewer than 5 percent of
cancer deaths in the United States. Most cancers
are believed to be caused by lifestyle choices,
such as what you eat, whether you maintain a
healthy weight and whether you smoke. So why do
some people still believe their environment is a
major cause of cancer? Here's an in-depth look
at the issue.
Why is there so much confusion over whether
certain chemicals are carcinogens?
Most cancers take years to develop, making it difficult to
determine if a chemical exposure today will
cause cancer in the future. Tumors usually
develop for 15 to 20 years before they become
evident. Blood and lymph cancers, such as
leukemia and lymphoma, usually take five to 10
years to develop.
Chemicals both natural and man-made are everywhere in our
environment. People are exposed to so many
chemicals and combinations of chemicals that
it's nearly impossible to pinpoint one chemical
that could have caused an individual's cancer.
It's even more daunting when you factor in the
nonchemical causes of cancer, such as family
history and lifestyle choices.
It's unlikely that one carcinogen or a single lifestyle factor
could be responsible for a person's cancer.
Instead, genetics, lifestyle choices and
environmental carcinogens work together. For
instance, smokers who work around asbestos are
more likely to develop lung cancer than are
smokers who don't. Carcinogens in cigarette
smoke and asbestos work together to increase the
chance that a person will develop cancer a
process sometimes called synergy.
What evidence is needed to determine whether
certain chemicals are carcinogens?
To reach a definitive answer, scientists would need to conduct a
controlled clinical trial in which half the
people were exposed to a suspected carcinogen.
Most people would be unwilling to enroll in such
a trial, and the institutional review boards
that monitor trials to ensure safety wouldn't
allow these types of trials.
With that in mind, scientists rely on other types of studies to
decide whether chemicals are carcinogens. These
§ Human observation studies.
These studies compare a group of people who are
more likely to be exposed to potential
carcinogens to a group of people in the general
population. For instance, people who work around
asbestos are more likely to be exposed to
asbestos particles, so that group might be
followed over a number of years. However, one
observational study usually provides
insufficient evidence to prove something does or
doesn't cause cancer.
§ Animal studies. Scientists expose animals usually mice
or rats to very high levels of suspected
carcinogens to see how their bodies react.
Whether diseases in animals are comparable to
diseases in humans, however, is a subject of
Two groups determine whether substances are carcinogens the
National Toxicology Program, run by the
Department of Health and Human Services, and the
International Agency for Research on Cancer, run
by the World Health Organization. Both groups
review the latest in scientific evidence and
rule whether a chemical causes cancer, is likely
to cause cancer or doesn't cause cancer.
Sometimes there isn't enough evidence to make a
ruling. Though both groups examine many of the
same chemicals, they don't always agree.
Common misconceptions about environmental
carcinogens: Recognize myths and explore
Because cancer is such a complicated process, it's difficult to
know how to react to news reports of chemical
spills and air pollution. Before you panic, get
the facts about these common myths about
Even tiny amounts of carcinogens can cause cancer
Most carcinogens won't cause cancer unless
you're exposed to a great deal of the substance.
For instance, radiation causes cancer, but
getting your arm X-rayed to look for broken
bones isn't likely to cause cancer because
you're exposed to X-ray radiation for a very
short period of time. Other carcinogens require
many years of daily exposure to cause cancer.
Man-made carcinogens are more dangerous than carcinogens
that occur naturally
Carcinogens aren't solely man-made. They can
also occur naturally in the environment. For
instance, asbestos and cadmium both listed as
known carcinogens by the federal government
are both found naturally in the earth.
Eliminating all man-made carcinogens wouldn't
remove all the carcinogens in the environment.
Being near a carcinogen is all it takes to cause cancer
Most carcinogens are absorbed into your body in
a very specific way. Cadmium, for example, only
increases the risk of cancer if it's inhaled
through polluted air or ingested through
contaminated food or water. Touching a rock that
contains cadmium won't increase your risk of
cancer. Other carcinogens are absorbed through
your bloodstream, your mucous membranes or your
Cancer rates are on the rise because there are more
carcinogens in the environment
Many factors contribute to the rate of newly
diagnosed cancers. There's no evidence to
suggest that environmental carcinogens have
anything to do with the increases in newly
diagnosed cancers that occurred from 1975
through the early 1990s. Most researchers
attribute that increase to smoking and the fact
that more people were being screened for cancer.
In addition, the population is increasing and
people are living longer making them more
likely to develop cancer. The incidence rate of
cancer the number of cancer cases per 100,000
people has remained stable for most cancers.
How can you protect yourself from carcinogens?
It's impossible to stay away from all environmental carcinogens.
While it may be scary to know that you can't
control whether you get cancer, you can take
measures to reduce your risk. You can:
§ Control what's within your reach.
You make choices every day that could reduce
your risk of cancer. Though eating a healthy
low-fat diet full of fruits and vegetables can't
guarantee that you won't get cancer, it may
reduce your risk. Avoiding cigarette smoke,
excessive alcohol consumption and excessive
amounts of sunlight reduces your risk of certain
§ Know what carcinogens you work with.
In the United States, your employer is required
to inform you about the hazards of any chemicals
in your workplace. Follow all safety precautions
at your workplace. Ask your doctor what more you
could do to protect yourself.
§ Get screened. Though cancer is difficult to prevent, most
cancers can be treated if found at an early
stage. Screenings for cancer can help your
doctor identify cancers at a treatable stage.
§ Be conscious of chemicals around your home and use them
properly. The bug spray in your home isn't likely to cause cancer,
especially when used correctly. Follow the
directions on any household chemical containers.
Open a window in the room where you're using
chemicals and wash up when you're done. If
you're worried about household chemicals, choose
alternatives, but know that the alternatives may
do more to calm your mind than to actually
reduce your risk of cancer. Use the National
Library of Medicine's Household Products
Database to learn more about the ingredients in
Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan
(The Mayo Clinic)
Diet plays a key role in controlling your
blood sugar. A healthy-eating plan tailored to
your needs will do that and more.
Contrary to popular belief, having diabetes doesn't mean that you
have to start eating special foods or follow a
complicated diabetes diet plan. For most
people, having diabetes simply translates into
eating a variety of foods in moderate amounts
and sticking to regular mealtimes.
This means choosing a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and
whole grains. Rather than a restrictive
diabetes diet, it's a healthy-eating plan
that's naturally rich in nutrients and low in
fat and calories. In fact, it's the best
eating plan for anyone who wants to manage his
or her weight and adopt healthier eating
Planning your meals
Your meal plan is an eating guide that helps you:
§ Establish a routine for eating meals and snacks at regular times
§ Choose the healthiest foods in the right amounts at each meal
If you're already eating healthy foods, you may not need to make
many changes to keep your blood sugar
(glucose) under control. If you tend to eat at
irregular times, overeat or make poor food
choices, ask your doctor for tips to help you
change your eating habits.
If you need to lose weight or you're taking diabetes medications
or insulin, you may need to follow a more
deliberate plan eating only a recommended
number of servings from each food group every
day. Your doctor may suggest working with a
registered dietitian to tailor your diet based
on your health goals, tastes and lifestyle.
Together you'll determine which meal-planning
tools might work best for you such as
carbohydrate counting or exchange lists.
Carbohydrate counting can be a helpful meal-planning tool,
especially if you take diabetes medications or
insulin. Eating the same amount of
carbohydrates at each meal or snack will keep
your blood sugar from going too high or too
low throughout the day. If you're taking
insulin, your diabetes educator can teach you
how to count the amount of carbohydrates in
each meal or snack and adjust your insulin
The amount of protein or fat in the meal or snack generally isn't
a factor when determining the insulin dose.
However, that doesn't mean that you can go
overboard on low-carbohydrate foods or those
that don't contain carbohydrates, such as meat
and fats. Remember, too many calories and too
much fat and cholesterol over the long term
may lead to weight gain, heart disease, stroke
and other diseases.
Some people who have diabetes use the glycemic index to select
foods especially carbohydrates. Foods with a
high glycemic index are associated with
greater increases in blood sugar than are
foods with a low glycemic index. But low-index
foods aren't necessarily healthier. Foods that
are high in fat tend to have lower glycemic
index values than do some healthy foods.
If you're counting carbohydrates, work with your dietitian to
learn how to do it properly to meet your
Using exchange lists
Your dietitian may recommend using the exchange system, which
groups foods into categories such as
starches, fruits, meats and meat substitutes,
One serving in a group is called an "exchange." An exchange has
about the same amount of carbohydrates,
protein, fat and calories and the same
effect on your blood sugar as a serving of
every other food in the same group. So you can
exchange or trade half of a medium baked
potato (3 ounces) for 1/3 cup of baked beans
or 1/2 cup of corn because they're all one
Your dietitian can help you use an exchange list to figure out
your daily meal plan. He or she will recommend
a certain number of servings from each food
group based on your individual needs.
Consistency and variety are key
Consistent eating habits can help you control your blood sugar
levels. Every day try to eat about the same
amount of food at about the same time. Include
a variety of foods to help meet your
nutritional goals. Your dietitian can help you
plan a program that meets these guidelines:
45% to 65% of daily calories
15% to 20% of daily calories
20% to 35% of daily calories
If you stick to your meal plan and watch your serving sizes,
you'll eat about the same amount of
carbohydrates and calories every day. This
helps control your blood sugar and your
weight. On the flip side, the more you vary
what you eat especially the amount of
carbohydrates the harder it is to control
your blood sugar.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Embracing your healthy-eating plan is the best way to keep your
blood sugar under control and prevent diabetes
complications. And your planned meals and
snacks need not be boring. For greater
variety, work in your favorite foods and foods
you haven't tried before. Get creative within
the guidelines of your healthy-eating plan.
Look for inspiration from others who are
following a plan and enjoying the benefits.