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Nutrition - Take One Step
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March - Nutrition Month
March is Nutrition Month and we all know that healthy eating starts at the grocery store but how many of us struggle at the grocery store?
According to a Dieticians of Canada study, 63% of Canadians struggle with making healthier food choices in the grocery store at least half the time they shop; more than one third struggle at least 75% of the time.  Here are some tips that can help when strolling though the grocery store aisles:
1) Plan before going to the store – decide what foods you will be making throughout the week and only buy those items.
2) Fill your cart with whole foods (fresh fruit, veggies, meats, etc.) and skip processed foods full of sugar and sodium.
3) Read the labels, if the ingredients listed are not recognizable or you cannot pronounce them, put the item back and look for a less processed option.
4) Prepare more meals from scratch.  It does not have to be complicated; grocery stores have made convenience foods such as pre-cut veggies, to-go salads, ready cooked unprocessed meats, etc.
5) Cook in bulk and freeze portions for the nights you do not have time to cook from scratch.
6) Eat breakfast – think of buying higher protein options instead of processed cereals and breads.  An egg white omelette with fresh veggies, protein shake with fruits, etc. will provide the nutrition you need in the morning and last until that mid-morning snack!
7) Buy only what you need – break up bunches of bananas, buy half dozen eggs, freeze extra portions of meat, etc.
8) Watch out for coupons, it is only a deal if you actually need that item.
Adapted from the Dieticians of Canada “Best Food Forward” Campaign 2013.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among men and women in Canada (Canadian Cancer Statistics 2011).  Colorectal cancer grows very slowly. and usually doesn’t cause any symptoms in the early stages. There are tests that can check your colon for signs of cancer before you have any symptoms or even before the cancer starts to grow.  Take the first step and talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening.

The exact causes of colorectal cancer are not known.  However, studies show that the following risk factors increase a person’s chances of developing colorectal cancer and they have been divided into two main categories: those risk factors that you cannot change and those that are lifestyle-related and therefore subject to change/alteration.
 
What increases my risk for colorectal cancer?
Hereditary/Genetic
• Age 50 or over
• Personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer
• Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
• Family history of colorectal cancer
• Inherited syndromes
• African American ethnicity
• Jews of Eastern European descent
• Personal history of other cancers

Lifestyle
• High fat, low fibre diet
• Physical inactivity
• Type II Diabetes
• Obesity
• Smoking
• Excessive alcohol consumption
 
Six ways to keep your colon healthy!
1. Eat well.
2. Be active.
3. Don’t smoke.
4. Cut down on alcohol consumption.
5. Talk to your doctor.
6. Get checked.
 
Sources: Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Corporation (www.cancerview.ca) and Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (www.colorectal-cancer.ca)
10 Tips for Regular Fitness Regimen
Planning a workout routine is easy but what is difficult is its execution. How many times have you discontinued your exercise regimen? Or how easily do you forget about your resolution of regular exercise? A workout plan can only be successful if you stay focused, determined, and motivated towards your target. Here are a few simple tips that may help you to stick to your exercise routine:
1. Work out with a partner
It is easier to be punctual and motivated if you exercise along with your spouse, friend, or trainer. In this way there are less chances of skipping out of routine due to mere laziness or lame excuses. Working out in groups is also fun and a good way to spend quality time. This reduces the stress associated with daily workout plans.
2. Set a goal
Setting up an exercise goal can keep you more focused. You can start with small targets and then move to bigger goals. Do not strain yourself too much from the beginning as this will reduce your interest. So, you can start with a daily exercise routine of 20 minutes which can be increased to 40 minutes gradually in few weeks.
3. Start with the basics
Begin with the most simple and easy exercises. This will warm up your body and prepare it for enduring sturdy exercises later. You can increase the intensity gradually with time.
4. Make it exciting
Do not take workouts a daily chore. Assume it to be a recreational activity which you are doing for fun and benefits. Buy a new pair of clothes and shoes for your exercise or gym classes. The excitement of using the new products will motivate you toward your goal.
5. Stay in momentum
If you have missed your exercise for a few days due to illness, vacation or office trip, then do not give up. Get back into the momentum as quickly as possible and set up your new goals. The more you stay away from it, the tougher it is to get back on track.
6. Make the whole process enjoyable
Just don’t go on the whole regimen monotonously. This way you will soon be fed up of the daily routine. Make the workout more enjoyable. Be creative in your approach. You can listen to your favorite music or download an audio-book on your podcast. Do something different in every few days to keep you rejuvenated. Like you can go for swimming, hiking, cycling, aerobics or any other physical activity you like.
7. Be flexible in your approach
Sometimes, it becomes difficult to follow the schedule. You may not be able to workout in the morning. But you don’t need to avoid exercise altogether that day. Try to be flexible and accommodate the time for exercise in the evening.
8. Get adequate sleep
Most people skip their daily workout routine due to sleepiness. So, it is important for you to sleep and wake up at the appropriate time. Even when you are very tired just try out some easy warm ups that day. It will be helpful in re-energizing you.
9. Eat healthy
To stay on a daily routine of exercise, it’s essential for you to take a healthy diet. It is recommended not to workout after a heavy meal or empty stomach. Eat something before exercising. Food rich in protein and carbohydrates can be beneficial. You can go for apples, bananas, oats, or a vegetable sandwich.
10. Appreciate and reward yourself
After achieving your daily goals, appreciate your achievement. This will keep you motivated. Monitor the changes or the benefits the regimen has bestowed upon you. You can reward yourself with a leisure time of 15 minutes after the workout. You can sip a cup of hot tea, drink a glass of juice and have a cold shower
http://www.diyhealth.com/entry/10-tips-for-a-regular-fitness-regimen/
Osteoporosis Awareness
To help Canadians become aware of their risk for breaking a bone, November is nationally recognized as Osteoporosis Month.  Did you know at least 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men over age 50 suffer from osteoporosis?  Osteoporosis, also known as “brittle bone disease” is a condition that causes weakening of the bones in your body.  Osteoporosis increases your chance of sustaining a broken bone and may result in significant loss of mobility when a spine or hip fracture occurs.
What increases my risk for osteoporosis?
• Family history of osteoporosis or fractures
• Being postmenopausal or early onset of menopause
• Late onset of menstrual periods
• Low body weight or having a thin frame
• History of anorexia or bulimia
• Hunched upper back
• Loss of height
• Certain medical conditions (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism)
• Taking certain medications (e.g. corticosteroids, anticonvulsants)
• Drinking alcohol and cola beverages
• Lack of exercise
• Smoking
• Low intake of calcium, phosphorus or vitamin D
How do I protect my bones?
• Calcium and vitamin D.  Fortified dairy products, egg yolks, fish, and liver contain vitamin D, but some people may need take a supplement to ensure they get enough. Good sources of calcium, include a variety of dairy products, fortified cereals and juices, dark leafy greens like bok choy and broccoli, and almonds.
• Exercise.  The best exercise for maintaining your bone mass is walking, as little as 5 kilometers per week.  If you want to increase your bone density, try weight-bearing (e.g. jogging, stair climbing) or strength training (i.e. use of hand weights, resistance bands) exercises.
• Testing.  Bone density screening is the best way to assess the health of your bones.  The tests are known as Bone Mineral Density (BMD), which are safe, painless and accurately measure the density of your bones. A BMD test can tell you whether or not you have osteoporosis and how likely you are to develop it in the future.
 
To view or order an educational video by Osteoporosis Canada, click http://www.osteoporosis.ca/index.php/ci_id/9051/la_id/1.htm
For more information, visit www.osteoporosis.ca
Don’t go against the grain !
Whole grains are the latest and greatest wonder foods that promote a healthy lifestyle. The term has appeared on cereal boxes, breads, and  pasta everywhere.  The term whole grain means that the entire kernel of grain is left intact during processing – this includes the bran, endosperm, and germ.  A grain has the greatest health benefits when it is eaten as a whole grain.  Whole grains also contain protective disease fighting antioxidants in amounts that equal or exceed those in fruits and vegetables!
 
Anatomy of a Whole Grain Kernel
Bran – Is the outer shell that protects the seed.  It is included in whole wheat flour and is also available separately.  The bran contains a small amount of protein, large quantities of the three major B vitamins, trace minerals and dietary fibre -- primarily insoluble.
Endosperm – Provides energy and the source of white flour.  The endosperm contains the greatest amount of protein, carbohydrates and iron, as well as the major B-vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and iron.  It is also a source of soluble fibre.
Germ – Is the inner part of the grain which contains B-complex and E vitamins, unsaturated fats and phytochemicals (compound produced by plants which help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and other diseases).
 
Three is the key for better health
Eating three servings of whole grains per day:
• Decreases risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
• Decreases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
• Cuts the risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 40%
• Lessens colon and rectal cancer risk
• Helps control weight
 
For recipes visit the Whole Grains Council at http://wholegrainscouncil.org.
Source: Balanced Choices for a healthy lifestyle monthly nutrigram
Cholesterol Deposits Around the Eyes May Signal Heart Problems
If you've ever wondered why your doctor examines your eyes when you're just there for a regular check up, it's because your eyes can indicate heart trouble.
How are your peepers? Take this assessment to check your eye health.
As doctors, we're looking into your eyes for clues. Your eyes can actually provide early warnings about your heart health. The cool thing is that you can keep an eye out for the same things we do, such as:
• Small yellow patches around your eyes: These are cholesterol deposits called xanthelasmata, which suggest a serious risk of heart disease or a fatal heart attack. In 50% of cases, there are no other warning signs of heart trouble.
• A white ring around your pupils: Called a corneal arcus, it hints of cholesterol that's high enough to trigger heart disease -- especially if you're under 40.
• Blood vessels in your eyes that look kinky or off-color: If the blood vessels on your retina are looped, have sharp bends, or look more gray or bronze rather than red, we'll check extra carefully for diabetes and hypertension.
Benefit
Reducing your total cholesterol to 160 mg/dL or lower can make your RealAge as much as 5 years younger. Take the RealAge Test!
Chocolate Anyone ?
As Valentines Day is upon us and some of us may be enjoying a chocolate … or two … or three, we should be looking at what types of chocolate to choose.
Did you know that dark chocolate and coco powder are a rich source of flavonoids? Flavonoids have antioxidant effects and as such they protect the cells in your body from damage caused by the wear and tear of daily life.  This information has encouraged chocolate manufacturers to look at developing proprietary methods in the processing of coco beans to ensure that the flavonoid content is preserved.
Cocoa powder, which is low in fat, would surely be a healthier option to get a chocolate fix and a dose of flavanols. Alkalizing cocoa (also known as Dutch processing) produces a milder flavour and darker color but destroys most of the flavonoids. Since coco is high in flavanol it is naturally bitter, chocolate manufacturers have been working to make it more palatable.
Some research suggests that dark chocolate may have a beneficial effect on your heart health, and may also help improve your overall mood. More research is required before we have an idea of chocolate’s impact on our health.
Although chocolate may offer health benefits, keep in mind that it is also a high source of calories and fat, that being the case, it should be enjoyed in moderation.
 
Children and Dental Health
Healthy teeth are important to your child's overall health. From the time your child is born, there are things you can do to promote healthy teeth and prevent cavities. For babies, you should clean teeth with a soft, clean cloth or baby's toothbrush. Avoid putting the baby to bed with a bottle and check teeth regularly for spots or stains.
For all children, you should:
• Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste;
• Provide healthy foods and limit sweet snacks and drinks;
• Provide low-fat milk and dairy products high in calcium;
• Schedule regular dental check-ups.
Forming good habits at a young age can help your child have healthy teeth for life.

NIH: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Don't Go Against the Grain !
Whole grains are the latest and greatest wonder foods that promote a healthy lifestyle.  The term has appeared on cereal boxes, breads, and  pasta everywhere.  The term whole grain means that the entire kernel of grain is left intact during processing – this includes the bran, endosperm, and germ.  A grain has the greatest health benefits when it is eaten as a whole grain.  Whole grains also contain protective disease fighting antioxidants in amounts that equal or exceed those in fruits and vegetables!
 
Anatomy of a Whole Grain Kernel
Bran – Is the outer shell that protects the seed.  It is included in whole wheat flour and is also available separately.  The bran contains a small amount of protein, large quantities of the three major B vitamins, trace minerals and dietary fibre -- primarily insoluble.
Endosperm – Provides energy and the source of white flour.  The endosperm contains the greatest amount of protein, carbohydrates and iron, as well as the major B-vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and iron.  It is also a source of soluble fibre.
Germ – Is the inner part of the grain which contains B-complex and E vitamins, unsaturated fats and phytochemicals (compound produced by plants which help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and other diseases).
 
Three is the key for better health
Eating three servings of whole grains per day:
• Decreases risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
• Decreases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
• Cuts the risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 40%
• Lessens colon and rectal cancer risk
• Helps control weight
For recipes visit the Whole Grains Council at http://wholegrainscouncil.org.
Source: Balanced Choices for a healthy lifestyle monthly nutrigram
Vision Health
Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) designated May as Vision Health month.  Vision loss can be caused by eye problems that are present from birth, by conditions that appear later in life, or by infections or environmental factors.  There are many things you can do in your daily life to take care of your eyes and keep your vision healthy.
 
Ten Simple Steps to Help Prevent Vision Loss:

1. Have your eyes examined regularly by an eye-care professional, and don't ignore changes in your vision.
• Serious eye conditions such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be present in your eye without any symptoms of eye disease. Other conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, can progress rapidly if left untreated. Early detection is important to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment.
• You may have a higher risk of developing vision loss if you have a family history of eye disease, light-coloured eyes and skin, are diabetic, overweight, over age 50 or a smoker.
 
2. Quit smoking.
• People who smoke are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop AMD, which is the number one cause of significant vision loss in people over 50 in Canada. Quitting now can reduce the risk.
 
3. Get healthy.
• Research has shown that a diet high in fats and low in nutrients may increase the risk of developing AMD. Increase your intake of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, fresh fruit and dark green leafy vegetables as they provide nutrients and antioxidants that are healthy for the macula.
• Keep active: excess weight, a sedentary lifestyle and high blood pressure are all risk factors for AMD and diabetic retinopathy.

4. Protect your eyes from sunlight.
• Exposure to sunlight is associated with a higher risk of developing AMD and cataracts. Wear a hat with a brim, and choose sunglasses that provide at least 98 per cent protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays: check the vendor tag for the UV rating before you buy.
 
5. Wear eye protection.
• When playing sports or working with power tools, protect your eyes with Canadian Standards Association-approved safety glasses or goggles. You don't need a prescription for them, and most hardware and sporting-goods stores carry a good selection.
 
6. Consider vitamin supplements.
• If you are diagnosed with dry AMD, talk to your eye doctor about using a special formulation of high-dosage vitamin supplements that has been shown to be effective in lowering the risk of developing the advanced form of AMD.
7. Prevent diabetes.
• Most people with diabetes are at a high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and other vision problems.
 
8. Manage diabetes (if you already have it).
• Significantly lower your risk of diabetic retinopathy. It’s particularly crucial if you have Type 1 diabetes to control your blood pressure, sugar and lipid (fat) levels.
 
9. Keeping drinking moderate.
• Lower the risk of developing cataracts, since heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages is a known risk factor.
 
10.  Using an Amsler Grid.
• Be more likely to catch wet AMD in the early stages, when it’s much easier to treat. Wet AMD causes significant vision loss, usually very quickly. The Amsler Grid – a test you can easily do at home – is highly recommended if you are over 50, have a family history of AMD or have dry AMD (which often progresses to wet AMD).
• Check your vision with the Amsler Grid (Source: http://www.cnib.ca/en/your-eyes/eye-conditions/amd/diagnosing/amsler-grid/)

Source: www.cnib.ca
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