If you have been told that you have pre-diabetes don’t wait to do something about it.
A delay in action means that 15-30% of folks with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
The numbers about pre-diabetes are staggering!
• More than 85 million American adults – or more than 1 in 3 – have pre-diabetes
• 51% of adults over age 65 currently have pre-diabetes
Pre-diabetes is a condition when your blood sugar or glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed with type 2.
The risks for pre-diabetes are similar to the risks for developing diabetes:
• being 45 years and older
• having a family history of diabetes
• having gestational diabetes during pregnancy
• being overweight/obese
The lab work that would indicate that you have pre-diabetes:
1) a fasting glucose of 100-125
2) a random glucose of 140-199
3) an A1C of 5.7-6.4%
Get that glucose back to normal and yourself out of the pre-diabetes category!
Lose weight, if needed– it should be a top priority.
Watch your intake of the carbohydrate foods including starches (breads, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes), fruits, and sweets/dessert.
MOVE every single day. Be an active person.
If you have received the diagnosis of pre-diabetes, the worst thing is to do nothing. Talk things over with your family to see
what can be done differently to help you live a more active life, to make healthier meals at home, to stay up on your medical
appointments and to reduce life stressors.
Learn everything you can about pre-diabetes:
• Look into a Pre-Diabetes class at your local hospital.
• Take a Pre-Diabetes/Diabetes Supermarket Smarts class – check with your local grocery stores.
• Online education from the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org.
You can reverse pre-diabetes but whatever you do to get it under control needs to be continued for a lifetime.
It’s November and that means Diabetes Awareness Month is underway. We really do want to think about diabetes prevention all the time, but perhaps a sharper focus this month will motivate you into action if you are at diabetes risk. It is a disease that strikes 29 million Americans. Another 86 million have pre-diabetes, which means they are on their way to diabetes sooner or later.
Know if YOU are at risk for diabetes:
• Does it run in your family?
• Do you carry extra belly weight?
• Are you older?
• Did you have gestational diabetes when you were pregnant?
Get your blood sugar or glucose tested periodically. These numbers indicate that you might have diabetes:
1) A1C of 6.5 or higher
2) a random glucose of 200 and higher
3) a fasting glucose of 126 and higher
If you have diabetes, get control of your glucose readings to minimize health problems down the road:
1) enjoy a variety of foods with minimal processing in modest amounts to maintain a healthy weight
2) include daily walks or activity
3) take any prescribed diabetes medications
Receiving the diagnosis of diabetes may be the motivator you need to make healthier lifestyle choices and changes. And whatever you do to control your diabetes is really good for the entire family.
• Your spouse and kids can join you for your daily walk or weekend hikes. The goal: 30 minutes of activity each day because you do have diabetes every single day.
• Enjoy family meals with great conversation and delicious wholesome foods.
• And then keep up with current reliable information about diabetes – there is great online information at www.diabetes.org or www.nih.gov.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the American Cancer Society reminds us that there will be over 224,000 new cases diagnosed in this year alone, and over 159,000 men and women will die from lung cancer in 2014. The statistics are staggering, aren’t they? By the way, the average age of diagnosis is age 70.
Smoking is by far the biggest risk factor for developing lung cancer AND it is a risk factor that we have total control over. But it is also a difficult addictive habit to cure. Here are some food tips that might help in this journey if you need to quit.
Food Replacements for Smoking
Popcorn, cooked plain
Drink Sugar-Free – all day long
Water and flavored water
Coffee and tea, unsweetened
By the way, SKIP the alcohol – it is an addictive beverage.
Keep Calories Down
Reduce sugar intake
Select unprocessed foods with natural fiber – they are more filling
Often food, especially sugary items, will replace cigarettes so you will want to be on your game regarding this.
Another area to consider is that smoking has put you at risk for developing cancer. So, when you give up smoking, be sure to choose foods that might offer some cancer protection:
- lots of colorful fruits and vegetables with cancer-fighting substances
- more meatless meals – and for sure, less processed cured meats with preservatives
- fewer refined foods that spike blood sugar levels, like cakes and cookies
And finally, don’t forget that daily walk – exercise DOES offer protection from cancer cell initiation.
Halloween is just around the corner – BOO - and according to the National Retail Federation, Americans are projected to spend $7.5 billion on Halloween goodies, decorations and costumes. WOW!! Even though it is a one-day event, you’ll probably want to reign things in if you have little ones, and not let the focus be on candy and sugar. Here are a few tips for a healthier Halloween.
For night time trick-or-treating, safety first: 1) reflective tape on costumes; 2) go in groups; and 3) have good-fitting costumes to minimize tripping.
Family Halloween Party
A costume parade
The focus is off candy, candy, candy.
Non-Food Treats to Give Out
Extra Candy Leftovers?
If you are going to give out candy to trick-or-treaters, give out what you don’t like and buy a small amount.
If you do end up with extra candy, freeze it and dole it out.
Crush or cut it up, put it into bags and freeze. Then add candy pieces later throughout the year to brownie, cake or cookie batter. Yum.
Healthy Halloween Dinner Menu
Decorate special placemats for Halloween dinner.
Stuffed orange bell peppers with lean ground turkey breast and wild rice
Fruit salad with papaya, oranges and mango
Having enough dietary protein is important for all of us, no matter your age.
For the youngsters, protein is essential to provide the nutrition for bones to grow to their full height, for muscles to develop, and for so many other body processes.
Even as adults we need to have protein to maintain our muscle mass, keep bones strong, and to support a good immune system.
Protein intake is still vital in older adults to maintain a strong skeletal muscle system.
A health problem of many older folks is sarcopenia – a loss of skeletal muscle. There is a 3-8% loss of skeletal muscle per decade after age 30. The loss of skeletal muscle accelerates as we age.
What are the health consequences of losing skeletal muscles or developing sarcopenia?
Health researchers recommend one or two servings of dietary protein at each meal to maintain strong skeletal muscles. Protein can come from two primary sources in the diet:
Animal protein sources – dairy (milk, cheeses, yogurt), eggs, fish, poultry, meats, game
Plant protein sources: legumes (dried beans and peas), quinoa, soy (tofu, edamame, tempeh, soy veggie crumbles), nuts and nut butters (peanuts, almonds, etc.)
With lengthening lifespans and active busy lives in the older years, it is important that we work on body maintenance as we age. We need the strength, muscle mass, and day-long energy to hike, bike, work part-time jobs, help care for grandkids, and volunteer. There are so many active things to do in the day, even when you hit your 70s and beyond. Stay strong with adequate dietary protein to prevent sarcopenia.
Ideas for boosting the protein at each and every meal: (The protein foods are in RED)
Oatmeal made with milk and topped with a handful of nuts and blueberries
Fried egg sandwich on whole grain bread, seasonal fruit and cup of cocoa made with milk
Vegetable beef soup with cheese and crackers
Tuna fish sandwich on oatmeal bread and tomato soup made with milk
Pork tenderloin, baked potato topped with shredded cheese and broccoli
Vegetable stir fry with tofu cubes, served over quinoa
Monday, October 20 is World Osteoporosis Day. It is observed to raise global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and bone disease. We have 206 bones in our body and so it is really important to have those lifestyle habits that help protect your bones.
Osteoporosis or porous bones puts you at risk for a fracture-the most common places for fractures are the hip, spine and wrist. And unfortunately about 44 million adults have osteoporosis. One in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Here are the Risk Factors for osteoporosis that we cannot alter or change:
Having a family history
Being over age 50
Being post menopause
Note: Men can develop osteoporosis but it usually is later in life.
Here are the Risk Factors for osteoporosis that we DO control:
The age differences:
By the late teens, 90% of bone mass has been developed. So the teen years are extremely important to get in bone-building nutrition and exercise.
Adults need to maintain those strong bones through good food choices and regular activity.
The key nutrients for healthy bones:
Calcium and vitamin D are the most important nutrients for healthy bones. Dairy products contain BOTH vitamin D and calcium (milk, yogurt and cheese). There are vegetables that contain calcium - collard and turnip greens, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli. Vitamin D is also found in sardines and salmon.
- Potassium, vitamin C and magnesium are also important for strong bones.
Magnesium food sources include greens, beet greens, tomato products, artichokes, white & sweet potatoes, and raisins.
Vitamin C is in oranges, peppers, and strawberries.
Potassium is in tomato products, melons, dried beans, potatoes, and bananas.
To protect bones, aim for an overall healthy diet with a variety of foods. And be sure to include three servings of dairy a day. For example:
1. Make oatmeal at breakfast with milk rather than water.
2. Add shredded cheese to your lunchtime salad.
3. Enjoy a yogurt for an afternoon snack.
It’s October, and that means Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We will be seeing pink ribbons out and about to remind us of this oft-times deadly cancer, but also as a reminder that it is a treatable-beatable cancer if detected in its earliest stages.
The stats: there will be 233,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer this year, and 62,500 new cases of carcinoma situ which is the non-invasive and earliest form of breast cancer. (www.cancer.org)
The non-controllable risk factors for Breast Cancer:
The controllable risk factors for Breast Cancer:
There are lifestyle choices and habits that may reduce your risk for developing Breast Cancer:
Be physically activity each and every day
Limit grilled, charred and fried meats
Get lean and stay lean as you age
It is estimated that 38% or 1 in 3 cases could be prevented by being at a healthy weight, being physically active, breastfeeding and avoiding alcohol.
The American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org provides more guidance on healthy lifestyle habits. In the food department they suggest watching food intake to manage weight – that means the types of foods as well as the amount eaten. In addition, whole grains, as well as at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day are suggested. These guidelines are really good for all of us, aren’t they?
Cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the U.S. It’s hard to believe that 600,000 people die from heart disease and 130,000 die from having a stroke each year.
Nutrition researchers feel that cardiovascular disease could be reduced by up to 40% simply….. by simply eating more fruit. That’s right – eating fruit! Many studies over the years have shown that both fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that seem to protect the vascular system. Now a large Chinese study offers more proof.
The Chinese study details: 450,000 adults without high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease were followed for seven years. After seven years, 19,300 had developed heart disease and 19,700 had experienced a stroke.
The study results showed that the more fruit eaten the better:
- 15 % lower heart disease risk
25-40% lower stroke risk
The more fruit a person ate, the lower the vascular risk.
32% lower risk of all causes of death in those who ate fruit daily.
What might be the health benefit from fruits?
- Fruit fiber can bind cholesterol in the intestines.
Potassium can help keep blood pressure in control – ex. melons, banana, oranges and grapefruit.
Colorful fruits (berries, mango, cherries, kiwi, etc.) have antioxidants to help keep the lining of the arteries smooth – less chance for plaque build-up
Incorporate fruits into meals and snacks each and every day.
- Add berries to breakfast cereal.
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and it warrants a discussion because almost 22,000 women with be diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer this year alone. If it is diagnosed at the earliest stages, there is a 5-year survival rate of 93%. Unfortunately, most are diagnosed at Stage 3. Half of the cases are in women over the age of 63. It is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women.
Symptoms for Ovarian Cancer are somewhat benign and unfortunately similar to irritable bowel syndrome: bloating, nausea, gas; abdominal pain; indigestion and constipation; and/or extreme fatigue.
There are a few Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer:
having a family history
over age 50
Researchers looked back over the past 40 years into the diets of 180,000 women and found that eating foods and drinking beverages high in flavonoids provided protection from Ovarian Cancer. The main sources of flavonoids in this study were oranges and orange juice, black tea, onions and apples.
It is good to know that dietary protection from Ovarian Cancer might come from dietary flavonoids. Good sources of flavonoids include
Apple, berries, grapes and oranges
Kale, broccoli, legumes, and yellow onions
Here is a jam-packed reduce-your-cancer-risk menu:
Breakfast: oatmeal with blackberries + cup of black tea
Lunch: white bean-kale-onion soup
Snack: red grapes
Dinner: grilled salmon, baked sweet potato + oven-roasted broccoli florets
Snack: cup of black tea + apple slices
Your kids are probably settled back into their school routine. Lots more reading, homework, and after school activities – the entire day really ramps up during the school year. And children of all ages need the daily energy to handle all of the goings on, as well as the essential nutrients to meet their growth needs. If you are packing up their lunch for the day, here are a few nutrition and safety reminders.
The lunch basics to include when packing up:
1) Protein: fish, poultry, cheese, peanut butter, etc.
2) Whole-grain: bread, tortilla, crackers, etc.
3) Vegetables and/or fruits
4) Beverage (milk is best)
Tips for packing healthy and interesting lunches:
1) Include colorful foods: yellow mini bell peppers and bananas, green broccoli florets and kiwi, red cherry tomatoes and cherries, purple grapes, etc.
2) Child-size portions if you have young children: half a sandwich, for example
3) Kids of all ages like finger foods such as string cheese, pretzel sticks, bran chex cereal & nut trail mix, etc.
4) Try out some non-traditional lunch ideas – some work best if there is a microwave for reheating available in the school cafeteria:
baked potato with toppers such as shredded cheese, salsa, green onions or chili
pasta salad packed with whole-grain pasta and fresh veggies
wraps made with hummus, spinach leaves, and grated carrots
homemade vegetable soup with apple muffin
any hearty leftovers such as chili, casseroles, etc.
Be sure to keep brown bag lunches safe:
1) Use insulated lunch bags and frozen-solid cold packs.
2) Wash out the lunch boxes or bags at the end of the day with hot sudsy water so there is plenty of drying time before you repack.
Rita P. Smith, MS, RD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She has worked in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for 35 years, working with patients and their family members to help guide healthy food choices.