Sunday, November 25, 2018

Prevent Cancer by Moving More

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently gave us clear guidelines for the amount and types of physical activity to reduce the risk for common diseases, and to improve health for people with chronic diseases.

The guidelines state that being physically active is one of the most important things that people can do to improve their health. Health benefits start immediately after exercising, and even short periods of physical activity are beneficial. The government goes on to state that almost everyone can benefit from physical activity: women and men of all races and ethnicities, people of all ages, pregnant and postpartum women, and individuals with disabilities or chronic diseases.

The guidelines state that individuals who engage in regular physical activity have a lower risk of cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach. Any amount of activity is beneficial in reducing risk, but the protection is greater with more time spent in physical activity on a regular basis.
The guidelines recommend that cancer survivors engage in regular physical activity for its many health benefits. For adults with breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer, greater amounts of physical activity were associated with lower risk of dying from their cancer. For some cancer survivors, regular physical activity may reduce the risk of dying from any cause. Since physical activity can also improve quality of life, fitness, and physical function in cancer survivors, as well as reduce fatigue and some adverse effects of cancer treatment, all cancer survivors should be as active as they are able. The government recommends that individuals with cancer consult with their doctor or an exercise professional to determine what is the best type and level of physical activity for them.

The Key Guidelines for adults are:
  • Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.
  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.
  • Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
The guidelines provide recommendations on how to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle. For some people, getting help from others can help—friends, family, or exercise professionals. For others, technology might be key, such as step counters or exercise monitors, or text messages from professionals to help with behavior change. For cancer survivors, resources may be available through your hospital, medical center, or community for special exercise opportunities. Guidance for communities and institutions is also provided in the guidelines because improving access to physical activity opportunities can help everyone.

Adapted from: Move More and Sit Less for Cancer Prevention

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Great Halloween Dish - Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Mix up Your Macaroni
Pumpkin has long been a staple of fall. If your pumpkin latte consumption is borderline ridiculous, trade it in for a healthier fix. This pumpkin mac and cheese is rich in carotenoids, particularly alpha- and beta-carotene and just one serving provides 100% of your daily value of vitamin A. Each serving packs 17 g of protein and 4 g of fiber, yet it actually has fewer calories per serving than the 12 oz cup (yes, the regular size) of your favorite seasonal coffee beverage.

         Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Canola oil cooking spray
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 Tbsp. canola oil
8 oz. whole-wheat rotelle pasta
1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (2 1/2 oz.) sharp light (50 percent) Cheddar cheese
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat 6cup baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

To breadcrumbs, add 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Add oil and using your fingers, toss to coat breadcrumbs, then set mixture aside.

In large pot, boil 4 quarts of water. Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes, until slightly al dente. Drain in colander, and set aside.

While pasta cooks, in microwave or small saucepan, heat milk until it steams, and set aside.

In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking slowly. Off heat, gradually add milk while whisking to avoid lumps. Return pot to medium-high heat and simmer sauce until it thickens to consistency of stirred yogurt, 3 minutes. Add cheese, remaining Parmesan cheese, pumpkin, mustard, black and cayenne peppers and nutmeg, if using, and stir until cheddar melts. Mix in cooked pasta. Spread mac and cheese in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle seasoned breadcrumbs over top.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until breadcrumbs are crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 289 calories, 9 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 37 g carbohydrate, 17 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 307 mg sodium.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Do You Get Headaches? What Your Eating or Drinking May Be The Cause

In the Tuffs article linked below there is an interesting discussion on foods which trigger headaches for some people and the process to go through to see what might trigger your headaches.  Here are a few of the common tiggers.

Compounds called biogenic amines, such as histamine, tyramine and phenylethylamine, may contribute to headaches in some people. Certain foods, such as tomatoes, avocados and spinach, naturally contain higher amounts of histamine and/or tyramine. Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine. Amounts of biogenic amines are generally highest in foods in which bacteria break down certain amino acids, such as during fermentation or as the food ages, ripens or spoils. Examples are alcoholic beverages, fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut), processed meats (like salami), aged cheeses (like Swiss), soy sauce and some fish, particularly if mishandled.

Alcoholic Drinks:

Alcohol is a vasodilator, which means it causes blood vessels to expand. When blood vessels in the brain expand, the nerve fibers coiled around them are stretched. That activates the nerve fibers and can cause the release of inflammatory chemicals and pain. In addition to alcohol itself, certain products of fermentation (including histamine and tyramine) in alcoholic beverages, such as whiskey, beer and wine, may trigger a headache. Many of these fermentation products dilate blood vessels.


Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor. When you have caffeine in your system all of the time on weekdays, and then it wears off on the weekend [when you don’t get your typical coffee or other caffeinated drinks], you get rebound vasodilation. The result is a headache. Caffeine-withdrawal headaches are more likely with higher daily caffeine intake but can happen with as little as 100 milligrams of caffeine a day. That's about what’s in a cup of coffee or 2 cups of tea.


Headaches may be a symptom of celiac disease (a genetic-based illness requiring complete elimination of gluten, a protein in wheat, rye and barley). Headache also is a common complaint in those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and in wheat allergy."

Other food or beverages may be the cause of your headaches. If you have frequent headaches, read this article and go through the steps to determine your triggers.
 What Foods Can Cause Headaches