Happy Memorial Day! This unofficial start to summer often includes outdoor eating celebrations, including picnics, barbeques, and cookouts. Sometimes these fresh-air meals increase the risk of food poisoning, so take a few steps to keep everyone safe. My top 3 tips:
First, wash your hands before, during and after all food prep. Be sure everyone else does, too, or provide wet wipes and hand sanitizer on your outdoor tables.
Second, do not let food sit out for more than an hour. Serve small portions of perishable foods while keeping extra portions in the refrigerator or cooler.
Third, make sure hot foods are hot (use a food thermometer to cook steaks, pork and fish to 145oF, burgers to 160oF, and chicken to 165oF,) and cold foods are cold (keep coolers packed with ice to stay below 40oF).
I never used food and fridge thermometers much before I studied nutrition, but once I learned how easily bacteria grow in warm weather, the more vigilant I became. I hope you will, too.
Find more great tips here and here.
Just One Thing to do: Keep foods safe by washing hands often and paying attention to temperatures and times!
May is National Osteoporosis Month, dedicated to empowering you to understand this disease and take steps to prevent it.
Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones that effects both women and men. As bones become less dense, they are more likely to break. In fact, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Besides fractures, osteoporosis increases one’s risk of limited mobility, isolation, pain and soaring healthcare costs. Find more facts here.
You can prevent osteoporosis by knowing your risks and facing them head on: age, family history, and a small body size are risk factors you cannot control, but you can improve your diet, physical activity, and weight while avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
Just One Thing to do: Eat fruits and vegetables every day, and increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D by consuming yogurt, milk, sardines, tofu, and fortified orange juice, soymilk and other non-dairy beverages.
Just One More Thing to do: Get some physical activity every day, such as walking and using exercise bands. Find more ideas here.
Did you know that as many people in the U.S. have a stroke every year as have a heart attack? One every 40 seconds. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked, causing brain cells to die from lack of oxygen-rich blood. Unfortunately, it is a leading cause of long-term disability as well as death.
The good news is, it is preventable! Sometimes we forget that what we do now, while we are young (it’s all relative) will make a difference in our health tomorrow. We can all reduce our risk of stroke. The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have put together a handy stroke prevention checklist here, and summarized tips with Life’s Simple 7 to protect you from stroke:
1. Don’t smoke
2. Be physically active
3. Eat a healthy diet
4. Maintain a healthy weight
5. Control cholesterol
6. Control blood pressure
7. Control blood sugar
Just One Thing to do: Reduce your risk of stroke by picking one of Life’s Simple 7 to work on now!
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of those conditions that is often ignored or not taken seriously. It is pretty easy to ignore, unfortunately, as it often has no signs or symptoms. Once diagnosed, it is still easy to ignore when you start taking a medication that corrects the symptoms – but the medication doesn’t take away the cause, making it a condition still worth your attention. Take your meds, but address your lifestyle, too!
Causes of high blood pressure include a family history, being inactive, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, and high sodium intake. Even if you can’t control your genes, you can certainly control the other risk factors.
Let’s start with physical activity. Studies show you can improve your heart health with just 30 minutes, 5 times a week. That is very doable, especially when you consider I’m not asking you to join a gym, swim laps, or run a 5K – unless that’s what you want to do. Do 30 minutes of something you enjoy! Once you make that a habit, increase your activity to every day, and you will further improve your wellbeing to fight off not only hypertension but heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. Educate yourself here.
Just One Thing to do: Get your blood pressure checked.
Just One More Thing to do: Improve your lifestyle factors to prevent or manage high blood pressure. This week, focus on moving! Click here for additional information.