The Mediterranean Diet

By Nadia Nasah, Bridgewater State University

 

Did you know that May is Mediterranean Diet Month?

 

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

 

According to the American Heart Association, it is a generic term that is based on the typical eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The most typical foods include fish, olive oil, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, cereals, potatoes, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. In addition, wine is consumed in low amounts. The Mediterranean diets have many similarities with the American Heart Association’s dietary guidelines. The difference is that the majority of the calories in the Mediterranean diets comes from fats.

 

What is in the diet?      carrots-cucumber-delicious-1640777                 

 

There are at least 16 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, therefore there isn’t just one Mediterranean Diet. However, they do share similar dietary patterns which include:

  • Increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts, and seeds,
  • Use of olive oil
  • Dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten
  • Eggs are consumed up to four times a week
  • Wine is consumed in low to sometimes moderate amounts.

 

What are the benefits?              barbecue-bbq-berries-1667580

 

  • Those who follow the average Mediterranean Diet typically eat less saturated fats than those who eat the average American diet.
  • More than 50% of the fat in the Mediterranean diets comes from monosaturated fats, which unlike saturated fats, doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels.
  • Those living in the Mediterranean countries have a lower incidence of heart disease than in the United States.

 

For more information, click here

 

*Please Note: Always check in with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet. 

 

 

Reference:

Mediterranean Diet. (2018, April 18). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/mediterranean-diet

 

 

Prediabetes: What You Need to Know

By Nadia Nasah, Bridgewater State University

 

Did you know that, according to the CDC, 84 million American Adults have prediabetes and that 90% of those 84 million individuals don’t even know that they are pre-diabetic?

 

What is Prediabetes?

The CDC defines diabetes as a serious health condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than the normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes just yet. Unfortunately, pre-diabetes puts individuals at higher risk for stroke and heart disease, not just type 2 diabetes.

Fasting Blood Sugar Levels Hemoglobin A1c
Normal: Less than 100 mg/dL Normal: Less than 5.7%
Prediabetes: 100-125 mg/dL Prediabetes: 5.7-6.4%
Type 2 diabetes: 126 mg/dL or higher Type 2 Diabetes: 6.5% or higher

 

What Causes Prediabetes?

According to the CDC, there is a hormone called insulin in our bodies that are created by the pancreas. It functions as a key to allow blood sugar to enter the cells for use as energy. With prediabetes, the cells no longer respond to that insulin. As a consequence, the pancreas starts creating so much insulin to try and get the cells to respond. Eventually, the pancreas falls behind and can no longer keep up which causes a spike in blood sugar levels– setting the stage for prediabetes– and eventually type 2 diabetes down the road.

 

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

There are those that have prediabetes and show no clear signs for years. This is why it is highly recommended to get your blood glucose levels checked by your doctor if you have any of the following risk factors:

 

  • Being overweight
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Having a family relative with type 2 diabetes (parent, brother, or sister)
  • Not being physically active (less than 3 times a week)
  • Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds.
  • Having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • In addition to those risk factors, race and ethnicity are also considered a factor: According to the CDC, “African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk” (CDC).

 

Prevention!

The good news is that prediabetes is reversible. If you have prediabetes, losing even a small amount of weight and getting regular physical activity, according to the CDC, can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A small amount of weight loss means losing 5% to 7% of your body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a person weighing 200 pounds.

 

For an adult, normal physical activity means getting at least 150 minutes a week of brisk walking or other similar activities. This means that if you walk for 30 minutes for 5 days, you are getting the normal level of physical activity in.

 

In addition, there is a program led by the CDC called The National Diabetes Prevention Program which can help individuals make those necessary changes and reverse prediabetes! What’s unique about this program is that it can help make those changes stick. According to the CDC, through this program, “you can lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58% (71% if you’re over age 60)” (prediabetes, n.d.). Highlights of this program, as stated by the CDC, include:

  • Working with a trained lifestyle coach to make realistic, lasting lifestyle changes
  • Discovering how to eat healthily and add more physical activity into your day
  • Finding out how to manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can slow your progress
  • Getting support from people with similar goals and challenges

To find a Diabetes Prevention Program near you, click here or ask your doctor!

 

References

Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Rising blood sugar: How to turn it around. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diabetes/rising-blood-sugar-how-to-turn-it-around

Prediabetes – Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes | CDC. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html

 

 

Five Tips on Staying Healthy Throughout National Nutrition Month

By: Matt Fay, Stonehill College

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? Since March is here, we’ve put together five tips on staying healthy.

  1. Reducing sugar intake

Who does not love sugar? Whether it be adding sugar to your morning coffee or in many

person holding doughnut with sprinkles

tasty treats that we love to snack on. The point is we love the taste of sugar! However, many pre-packaged foods come with lots of sugar. Consuming too much sugar can increase your risk for diabetes and other diseases. Instead, try to look for foods that are sugar-free or even low in sugar.

  1. Cutting Back on Salt

Salt is another mineral that is found is a lot of pre-packaged foods, and many Americans consume a lot of salt. It also can increase your chances of developing diseases. One way of limiting your salt intake is prepping your meals instead; That way you can control how much you put in to your meals.

  1. Eating Breakfast

Breakfast is a meal that people often skip in the morning due to their habit of hurrying out the door. It is shown that having a nutritious breakfast can go long ways in your day. If you ever find yourself in a rush to leave in the morning, then try considering

black ceramic bowl filled with cereal

preparing quick foods the night before. Some examples include cutting up fruit, which provides many healthy vitamins and minerals, or hard-boiled eggs, which are a good source of protein.

  1. Eating Frequently

This may same unusual but skipping meals throughout the day can lead to excessive cravings later on in the day. For example, skipping breakfast can lead you to feeling hungry in the middle of the day, making it more likely that you’ll pick up something quick and unhealthy. Try preparing healthy snacks to get you throughout the day, like a cup of yogurt, vegetables and dip, apple slices and peanut butter, and more.

  1. Increase your Water Intake

Have you ever experienced yourself feeling dehydrated throughout the day? Water is one of many great fluids to help you hydrate. Drinking water has many health benefits

water pouring on glass

that can go a long way in your health. Health professionals say that people should drink up to a half of gallon of water, which is equivalent to 8 cups.  A great way of drinking enough of water is by using a reusable water bottle, that way you can fill up at any time of the day.

Steps to Take to Prevent the Flu

By Nadia Nasah, Bridgewater State University

According to the CDC, between October 1, 2018, and February 23, 2019, it is estimated that up to 23.6 million flu illnesses occurred and resulted in the hospitalization of approximately 302,000 people. It also took the lives of 26,700 individuals. The statistics can seem scary but there are ways to reduce the chances of getting the flu!

Here is how:

close up of white syringe

  1. Get the Flu Vaccine! Getting the flu vaccine is by far the most effective way to prevent the flu. The vaccine is most effective in children and protects the vulnerable. The flu vaccine is never 100% effective, but it does lessen the effect and reduces complications. You are better off getting the vaccine!
  2. Avoid contact with sick people! Try to keep your distance from sick people to avoid spreading the flu to yourself. While sick try to limit contact with others.
  3. Cover your sneeze! Even when not sick, you should always cover your sneeze with your elbows. If you use your hands to cover your sneeze, make sure to wash your hands immediately. In addition, it is crucial to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is how germs spread!short red hair woman blowing her nose
  4. Clean Surfaces! It is important to disinfect surfaces such as kitchen countertops, doorknobs, cell phones, and anything you handle every day to avoid the spread of germs!
  5. Never, ever take Antibiotics! If you do end up getting the flu it is important to take the antiviral medicine your doctor prescribes you. Never take antibiotics as they are not effective against the flu. The flu is caused by a virus, not bacteria. Antibiotics are meant to be taken to battle bacterial infections, not viral!

 

Want to know more about the flu?

Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/index.html.To track flu activity and surveillance, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/#S1.

Stay safe!

 

Reference

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/index.html

Celebrating Heart Health Month

By: Nadia Nasah, Bridgewater State University

Did you know that February is American Heart Month? In honor of this awareness, here are some tips that can improve your heart health.

bright cardiac cardiology care

  1. Don’t skip your annual check-ups Your heart is very important and therefore it is very important that you get yearly check-ups where you get your blood pressure, glucose levels, and cholesterol levels checked. Ask your doctor about any questions or concerns you have. They will be more than happy to guide you!
  2. Exercise! Walking at least 20 minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. You can even walk or jog in place for at least 15 minutes in place while watching your favorite TV show!
  3. Increase water intake Drinking water is important! Take a reusable water bottle blue tumbler on flooreverywhere you go. This way you will always be hydrated!
  4. Eat Healthy! Don’t leave unhealthy snacks and foods in plain sight, hide them! Leave healthy snacks such as fruits and veggies in the fridge where they are accessible. Prepare your lunch and snack the night before. Before you know it, eating healthy becomes a habit. In addition, when grocery shopping, look for the heart logo from the American Heart Association. It will help you identify heart-healthy foods!
  5. Cholesterol Control Stay away from foods that contain high saturated and trans-fat as they lead to high cholesterol levels! Try adding chicken and turkey (skinless, baked, or roasted), fruits and veggies, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and whole grains to your diet to help keep cholesterol levels low.
  6. Less salt, please If you have high blood pressure, you may want to watch your salt intake. On the food labels, salt is labelled as sodium alginate, sodium sulphite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or sodium citrate.
  7. Quit Smoking! Smoking is harmful to the heart. It is not an easy habit to quit but with this four-step way it is possible:
        1. Day 1: Cut the number of cigarettes you smoke by half.
        2. Day 3: Cut the number of cigarettes you smoke by half again.
        3. Day 5: Cut your smoking in half once again!
        4. Quit Day: Quit!
  8. Keep a healthy weight Did you know that excessive weight can actually increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes? You can achieve that healthy people putting hands togetherweight by exercising 30 minutes every day or most days and by consuming 200-300 fewer calories than you normally would each day.
  9. Positivity is Key Going off track happens but when you do it is important to get right back. You can do it!
  10.  Reward Yourself! In this day and age getting in shape can be a challenge. So, don’t forget to reward yourself with something fun every once in a while, you deserve it!

Reference:

https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/your-health

https://www.uwhealth.org/go-red/10-ways-to-take-charge-of-your-heart-health/10543

Apps For Diabetes Management

By: Nadia Nasah

The age of the smartphones has led to the new age of applications, or Apps for short. There are apps for everything nowadays. We have the ability to entertain ourselves with games, online magazines, movie apps, photo editing apps, health apps, and apps for just about anything you can think of! There are even apps that can help people manage their diabetes. In this post, I will be looking at various apps that do just that.

  1. Glucose Buddy:
    1. The app allows you to Log: blood glucose level, carbohydrate intake, doses of medications, A1C results, exercise etc.mysugr
    2. Pros: Offers reminders for blood glucose checks and to take medication
    3. Cons: Does not sync with meters, only allows Apple users to sync their app to the Glucose Buddy Website, and there is no way to back up data entered.
    4. Price: Free
  2. MySugr Diabetes Logbook
    1. This app was created by individuals who themselves are inflicted with diabetes and therefore uses a more personal form of feedback to keep people on track and on top of their health. This app allows users to log their blood glucose levels, monitor carb intake, track the use of insulin, and provides positive and motivational feedback to help people cope with diabetes. This app is targeted for people that have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
    2. Pros: This app generates health reports for your health care provider!
    3. Cons: It does not sync with blood glucose meters or insulin pumps, must buy MySugr PRO to be able to generate Health Reports as PDFs
    4. Cost: Free
      1. MySugr PRO: $2.99 per month or $27.99 per year
      2. MySugr PRO with in-app counselling by certified diabetes educator (Apple only for now): $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year
  3. Diabetes Connect
    1. This app allows users to record as well as keep track of blood glucose levels, meals, insulin injections, medications, and more! This app was also created by people inflicted with diabetes for other people with diabetes, both Type and Type 2.
    2. Pros: This app allows users to use the app or to log on to the apps online portal to download the data and reports to take to their next appointment with their health care provider!
    3. Cons: The app does not sync with meters, CGMs, or even insulin pumps. In addition, only premium users get reminders for taking medications, insulin, or blood glucose measurements
    4. Cost: Free
      1. Premium Membership: $1.99 per month, $16.99 per year (only for Apple users and soon to be discontinued)
      2. One Time Fee: $26.99 (Apple) or $29.99 (Android)
  4. Sugar SenseSugar Tracker.jpg
    1. This app allows users to keep track and logs blood glucose levels, carbohydrate intake, and even weight. Its use is intended for those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
    2. Pros: This app provides users with a community support forum for people with type 2 diabetes and offers valuable diabetes prevention information.
    3.  Android users. Also, just like with the other apps, it does not sync with CGMs and pumps.
    4. Cost: Free
  5. One Drop
    1. This App allows users to log food and exercise and offers peer and expert support. This app is intended for people with type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes.
    2. Pros: This app wirelessly with the One Drop Chrome meter, insulin pumps, and CGMs.
    3. Cons: For an additional $99.95, One Drop Premium includes the One Drop Chrome blood glucose monitoring system, which includes a meter, lancing device, 10 lancets, 100 test strips, and a carrying case.
    4. Cost: Free
      1. One Drop Premium: $39.95 per month (includes One Drop diabetes management app, One Drop Chrome blood glucose monitoring system, unlimited test strips delivered by mail, and 24/7 in-app text messaging support from certified diabetes educators.
      2. For One Drop Chrome System: One-time $99.95 fee
  6. Diabetes and Glucose Tracker (Apple); Diabetes and Diet Tracker (Android)gluose tracker
    1. This app is for diabetes management and weight loss and works the exact same way in both Apple and Android devices despite the two different names. This app provides a log for keeping track of blood glucose readings, A1C results, food, exercise, blood pressure readings, and medication use. In addition, this app provides reminders to check blood glucose levels. This app is also intended for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
    2. Pros: After logging in the food and exercise, the app provides you with more personalized advice and support to help keep you right on track!
    3. Cons: Does not allow for syncing with CGMs and insulin pumps and it is not free.
    4. Price: One-time fee of $9.99, $60 per year (or $9 per month) for the maximum version of the app, which is available for purchase in the app.
  7. BG Monitor Diabetes:
    1. This app provides insulin bolus calculation and blood glucose levels as well as trends. The app is intended for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
    2. Pros: It is very easy to log in data entries and to see your blood glucose levels. The developers of this app are continuously improving their app based on user reviews.
    3. Cons: This app is only available for Android devices and it does not sync with meters, CGMs, or insulin pumps.
    4. Cost: Free.
      1. Upgrade to Pro: One-time fee of $4.99.

Reference:

 

http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2017/mar-apr/diabetes-applications.html

 

 

 

9 Tips for Staying Physically Active During the Holiday Season

By Jess Givens, Stonehill College

Holiday season is here and often times we find ourselves eating more and exercising less. However, we will end up finding ourselves “bursting” with holiday cheer if we get too much out of balance with our food intake and activity output. To help prevent gaining the holiday weight and to help maintain physical activity, here are 9 tips to help find ways to stay active during the holiday season.

snowman and drum decor

  1. Shoe-in. As much as you can wear running shoes so that you can get moving whenever an opportunity presents itself. This may be while you’re waiting for food in the oven. Park farther away in order to walk further to your destination. If you’re out doing holiday shoppingwalk the mall before shopping the mall.
  2. Take the Stairs. According to the CDC, in one minute a 150-pound person burns 10 calories walking upstairs and only 1.5 riding an elevator. Make this choice during the holiday season to burn a few extra calories and stay fit.
  3. Work Out with your Mobile Device. Download an app or watch videos for workout ideas whether you are at home trying to get a quick workout in or away from home and have no access to a gym.
  4. Find trails or tracks before you travel. Check for walking or running trails or earphones headphones listen listeningtracks to wherever you are traveling. Visit the USA Track & Field website at http://www.usatf.org/routes/ to find new routes in your area!
  5. Try some new tunes. If you like to work out to music, listen to new music to get motivated. For example, search Christmas fitness music or holiday fitness music.
  6. Clean your house. Whether or not you are having guests over this holiday season set aside several hours one day and THOROUGHLY clean your house. Bending, squatting, running up and down stairs, standing and outing away laundry are all activities that burn calories.alone branches bridge bright
  7. Look for a holiday fun run. Fun runs are often held over the holidays. Get a group of friends or family and run or walk at your own leisurely pace and plan to get coffee or breakfast after the event.
  8. Build activity into family visits and outings. Encourage house guests or family members to bring workout clothes and start each day with a walk, jog, or run or any other form of work out to get a great jump start on the day and avoid gaining the holiday weight.
  9. Fly with wheels. If you plan on flying during the holiday season, use the time between flights to get in some activity. Walk around instead of sitting at the gate. If time allows, walk vs using the “people mover”. If you have carry-on luggage make it more comfortable by using a wheeled suitcase or a backpack.

Wishing you all a fun, safe, and ACTIVE holiday season!

 

References

https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/

https://food.unl.edu/9-tips-staying-active-over-winter-holidays