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Diets: the Good, the Fad, & the Ugly

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Stepping out for spring?

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People with diabetes should check their feet first

(BPT) – Spring is finally here and it’s an ideal time to get outside and be more physically active. For those with diabetes, regular exercise helps increase circulation and is a critical part of staying healthy. But, before lacing up your sneakers, remember these important steps to ensure your feet are in shape:

* Get the green light from your health care provider. Discuss the type of physical activity that’s best for you and ask your provider to examine your feet. In general, your feet should be professionally examined four times each year.

* Be mindful of everyday foot care. Sometimes, people with diabetes have serious foot problems yet feel no pain. This may be due to nerve damage, a long-term complication of diabetes. Everyday self care includes inspecting your feet for scratches, cracks, cuts or blisters and washing and drying them carefully, especially between the toes.

* Wear socks and well-fitting shoes. Because of the higher risk of foot problems among those with diabetes, avoid going barefoot, even indoors. Wear socks and shoes that fit properly.

* If you do notice a problem, it may be a foot ulcer. Ulcers occur most often on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. Ulcers may also appear on the sides of the foot. Keep in mind, while some ulcers may not hurt, every ulcer should be seen by your health care provider right away.

* Get foot ulcers treated. If you have a foot ulcer, innovative treatments can help, such as EpiFix, a wound care product from MiMedx, used extensively to rapidly and effectively heal diabetic foot ulcers. EpiFix is a dehydrated human amnion/chorion membrane allograft that delivers essential wound healing growth factors, enhances healing and reduces inflammation and scar tissue formation.

* Let it heal. If you have an ulcer, help it to heal by staying off your feet. Walking on an ulcer may worsen the problem by making the wound larger or migrating it deeper into your foot.

“Foot problems, including ulcers, are common among people with diabetes, but they don’t have to hold you back if you take the proper precautions and seek early treatment,” says Dr. Matt Garoufalis, president at Physicians Surgery Care Center, Chicago, Ill., and immediate past president of the American Podiatric Medical Association. “Before you step out to enjoy the spring weather, have your feet checked by a health care provider to make sure you’re good to go.”

 

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Health alert: Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes and don’t know it?

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(BPT) – Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the U.S., and 7 million do not even know they have it. An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

For 26 years, the American Diabetes Association has set aside one special day for people to learn their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Held on the fourth Tuesday of every March, American Diabetes Association Alert Day (R) is a one-day “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test. This year’s Alert Day will be March 25. The Association will also be encouraging the public to start living a healthy and active lifestyle by asking them to join a Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes (R)event in their area.-

The Diabetes Risk-Test-asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history, and other potential risk factors for-prediabetes-or-type 2 diabetes. Preventive tips are provided for everyone who takes the test. For every Diabetes Risk Test taken, Boar’s Head Brand(R)—a leading provider of premium delicatessen products—will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association starting March 25 through April 25, 2014, up to $50,000.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include people who are overweight, are under active, over the age of 45 or who have a family history of diabetes. African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are also at higher risk. Understanding your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, or getting an early diagnosis, is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.

Carmen Micciche was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 31. By then, at 400 pounds, he’d been feeling the symptoms for about six years, yet he ignored them.

“I didn’t even know what diabetes was when I was diagnosed,” says Micciche, now 56.

Micciche, a Subway (R) restaurant franchise owner, was so focused on building a successful business he ignored his health and suffered through numerous gall bladder attacks before finally seeing a doctor. After checking his blood pressure and testing for diabetes, he was sent to the hospital.

Twenty year later, Micciche now weighs about 185 pounds and has brought his A1C (average blood glucose levels) down from a staggering 12 percent to just over 6 percent, which is close to the normal range. He finally learned, with daily exercise and healthy eating, what it takes to be healthy.

“Eat right, exercise, listen to your doctors,” he says. “You have to do everything you can to maintain a healthy weight. The consequences are too high if you don’t.”

Micciche has helped raise more than $1 million for the American Diabetes Association to help Stop Diabetes (R), placing donation boxes and selling pin-ups in each of his 30 Subway restaurants. He wants everyone to know that a type 2 diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to end your life.

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed by losing just 7 percent of body weight (such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating. By understanding your risk, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Be part of the movement to Stop Diabetes and take the Diabetes Risk Test by going to diabetes.org/risktest, the Association’s Facebook page where you can share the test with friends and loved ones, or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).

 

 

 

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Top fashion tips for spring and summer

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(BPT) – Spring is just around the corner – time to start planning your warm-weather wardrobe updates. To help you stay on top of the trends for spring 2014, the experts have plenty of advice to share.

Lynne Riding, who is the fashion coordinator at The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, and Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds, who has the same role at The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, offer some pointers.

Q: What are the top five trends for spring 2014?

A: “Look for clean, simple lines,” says Riding. “You’ll also see pleats, sheers and lace, and prints – both floral and graphic.” Hammonds agrees that pleats, especially knife pleats, will be big this spring. “Graphic prints are a major trend, using written words embroidered or printed across ready-to-wear garments,” he adds. “We’ll also see accessories with metallic touches in gold and bronze this year.”

Q: What are this spring’s top colors?

A: Both experts agree that lilac and other pastels are the most important color story for spring. Greens, especially mint green, are also big. “Muted and sophisticated tones predominate, although brights are also seen, particularly when paired with metallic touches,” Hammonds says.

Q: What one piece should everyone consider adding to her wardrobe to be on trend for spring?

A: “A poplin dress shirt in white, lilac or mint green is a great spring/summer addition,” says Riding. “It could either be a long wrap shirt without buttons or a long shirt worn on the hips with a belt.” Hammonds recommends adding a modern accessory, such as a metallic bag or clutch, statement eye frames, or even a metallic shoe that can go from day to night.

Some other ideas to give your wardrobe the fashion edge this spring? Consider a longer skirt (mid-calf or upper ankle length), wearing a classic shirt untucked with the bottom several buttons undone, or an accessory with fringe. And be sure to hang on to fashions with color blocking. Riding says this trend is continuing to be popular.

Whatever you do, Hammonds advises, dare to be edgy and always be true to yourself and your personal style. Riding adds, “A trend only works if it works for you. Does it fit your style, your lifestyle, what’s flattering? For instance, if lilac is not your color, don’t add a lilac dress to your wardrobe. Instead, choose a flower print that includes lilac or wear a print skirt with lilac tones along with a crisp white shirt.”

 

 

 

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Parents: spring chicks may carry Salmonella

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Health officials at the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Community Health warn parents that the baby poultry found in feed and pet stores in the spring may carry Salmonella, a common bacterial illness found in the droppings of poultry that can cause illness in people.

“Raising birds can be a great experience, but children need to be supervised and wash their hands after handling chicks and other poultry,” said State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill. “Even birds that appear healthy can carry bacteria that will make people sick.”

“Live poultry, especially baby poultry, can carry Salmonella germs, so it’s important to not keep them in the house and to wash your hands immediately after touching poultry or anything in the area where they live or roam,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health. “Treating poultry like you would a pet increases the risk for Salmonella infection in a household.”

Salmonella can make people sick with diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or abdominal cramps lasting 4-7 days or more. People should always assume baby chicks carry Salmonella and should follow these recommendations to protect themselves and others:

Children younger than five-years-of-age, older adults, or people with weak immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry because they are more likely to become severely ill.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.

Use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Chicks should have a heat lamp and should be kept in a barn or garage, in a draft-free cage that keeps predators out.

Always keep poultry away from areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.

Do not kiss the chicks.

Do not touch your mouth, smoke, eat, or drink after handling live poultry.

Clean all equipment such as cages, feed, water containers and other materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house.

For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/live-poultry-04-13/advice-consumers.html

 

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Community health forum

March 27 6-8 p.m. at Metro Health in Cedar Springs

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The Kent County Health Department needs your help! The Health Department is currently conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment to identify strengths, weaknesses, and the health concerns of several communities within Kent County. Our Cedar Springs area meeting takes place on March 27, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Metro Health, on White Creek (near Save A Lot) in Cedar Springs, and is currently lacking in participation. We need your help to spread the word! The community health forum is open to men, women, and children alike; every person in attendance will receive a meal and be entered into a drawing for one of several $25.00 Meijer gift cards.

This community health forum is crucial to the success and health improvement of Cedar Springs.  We encourage you to participate and hope that you’ll tell others within your organization, social circles, etc.  The greater the participation we see within the community the better we can assess health and work to improve.

To Sign-Up For One Of Our Forums, Please Follow The Directions Below:

1. Visit Our Website:  www.KentCountyCHNA.org

2. Select The ‘Meetings’ Tab.

3. Scroll Down The Page To Find A Meeting Near You.

4. When You’ve Found Your Community Meeting, Scroll To The Bottom Of The Page.

5. Select The Link “RSVP To A Meeting Near You” and complete the survey.

 

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Stomach illness on the rise in Kent County

 

GRAND RAPIDS – Reports of stomach illness to the Kent County Health Department have health officials reminding everyone to practice good hygiene to prevent the further spread of sickness. For the week ending March 8, 2014, gastrointestinal illness (vomiting and/or diarrhea) complaints are being reported to local medical emergency departments at a rate that is higher (16.9%) than the four year average for this time of year (14.9%).

Communicable Disease staff at KCHD has been in contact with local emergency departments as well as people impacted by the illness. The increase also prompted an alert, sent to food establishments, to be diligent regarding the health and hygiene of their food employees; to use proper cleaning procedures and reinforce proper protocol if someone on their staff or in their facility is ill. If you work in the food service industry, in a cafeteria, or in a restaurant, and you are ill, stay home until you recover. The Michigan Food Code requires food employees to be symptom-free from diarrhea or vomiting for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to work.

Many of the complaints exhibit symptoms consistent with norovirus infection, a highly contagious, easily transmitted illness.

“If you or someone in your family is suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, avoid contact with those who are not ill,” said Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “Although a surface may not be visibly soiled, the virus can live on this surface for long periods of time if not properly cleaned.”

If possible, infected individuals should use one bathroom while uninfected individuals use another. The infected person should use disposable paper towel to dry their hands after washing, to prevent the virus from spreading.

Be sure to clean that bathroom (and any other potentially contaminated areas) with a chlorine bleach solution, mixing ¼ cup of bleach with one gallon of water.

Other tips:

1. Wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and before, during and after preparing food:

• Rub your hands together to lather the soap, and be sure to really scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

• Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.

• Rinse your hands well under running water.

• Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dry them.

• After drying, use another clean paper towel to open the door, and then dispose of it.

2. If you have been suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, remain at home until symptoms subside.

3. Don’t prepare food for anyone else until you haven’t had symptoms for 24 hours or more.

4. If sharing food, don’t use bare hands when handling foods, and use utensils to transfer food from container to plate.

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Get the Most Nutrition from Your Calories

‘Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right’ during National Nutrition Month® and Beyond

HEA-National-nutrition-monthCHICAGO – While taste drives most food choices, eating nutrient-rich foods that provide the most nutrition per calorie is one of the best ways to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As part of the 2014 National Nutrition Month® theme, the Academy encourages everyone to choose the most nutritionally-packed foods you can from each of the five MyPlate food groups every day.

Nutrient-rich foods and beverages provide vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients that offer health benefits with relatively few calories.

“When your daily eating plans include foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, fat-free or low-fat dairy, beans, nuts and seeds in the appropriate amounts, you are able to get many of the nutrients your body needs, all with relatively low amounts of calories,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Debbi Beauvais.

Beauvais offers practical ways to add nutrient-rich foods and beverages to your daily diet:

Make oatmeal creamier by using fat-free milk instead of water. Mix in some raisins, dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries, too.

Make sandwiches on whole-grain bread, such as whole wheat or whole rye. Add slices of avocado, tomato or cucumber to lean roast beef, ham, turkey or chicken.

When eating out, look for nutrient-rich choices, such as entrée salads with grilled seafood and low-calorie dressing, baked potatoes topped with salsa, grilled vegetables and reduced-fat cheese and yogurt parfaits made with strawberries and blueberries.

Drink nutrient-rich, low-sugar beverages such as low-fat or fat-free milk or 100-percent fruit juice.

Top foods with chopped nuts or reduced-fat sharp cheddar to get crunch, flavor and nutrients from the first bite.

Spend a few minutes to cut and bag vegetables so they are in easy reach of every family member: some ready-to-eat favorites include red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower flowerets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or radishes.

Serve meals that pack multiple nutrient-rich foods into one dish, such as hearty, broth-based soups that are full of colorful vegetables, beans and lean meat. Make chili with a dollop of low-fat yogurt. Serve these with whole-grain breads or rolls.

For dessert, enjoy a tropical treat by blending mango, plain low-fat milk, ice and a splash of pineapple juice, or stir chocolate syrup into a cup of coffee-flavored yogurt, freeze and enjoy.

“You should enjoy the foods you eat. In choosing nutrient-rich foods, you’ll find they are familiar, easy to find and represent the five MyPlate food groups,” Beauvais says. “Achieving balance and building a healthier diet can be simple and stress-free. Selecting nutrient-rich foods and beverages first is a way to make better choices within your daily eating plan.”

Beauvais also recommends limiting added sugars and reducing the major sources of solid fats. “Drink few regular sodas, fruit drinks and sports drinks, and cut back on cakes, cookies, ice cream, cheese and fatty meats like sausages, hot dogs and bacon,” she says.

“You don’t have to give up these foods entirely, but find ways to enjoy small amounts occasionally,” Beauvais says.

Visit the Academy’s website to view a library of recipes designed to help you “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”

As part of this public education campaign, the Academy’s National Nutrition Month website includes a variety of helpful tips, games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition based on the “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” theme.

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Did you know: Probiotics can improve more than just stomach health

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Monticello - Shutterstock

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Monticello – Shutterstock

 

(StatePoint) If you’re familiar with probiotics, you probably know that these “good bacteria,” found in such foods as yogurt and pickles, are associated with good digestive health.  But the health benefits of probiotics are more extensive than just improving digestion. Experts now say that paying attention to your probiotic intake, including the use of probiotic supplements, can potentially help you achieve better health — from developing a stronger immune system to reducing stress.

“Probiotics have formed a vital part of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets for thousands of years and are credited, in part, for the remarkably low rates of chronic, age-related diseases that prevail in those regions,” says Michael A. Smith, M.D., senior health scientist with Life Extension in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and host of Healthy Talk on www.RadioMD.com.

Gut Health

The human gastrointestinal system has the all-important job of digesting food and absorbing nutrients. If it fails at this, you’ll quickly become malnourished. These tasks are managed mostly by bacteria and not by your own body. Foods and supplements that replenish important bacteria are called probiotics.

Additionally, probiotics are said to ease inflammation by decreasing production of inflammatory proteins called cytokines.

Immunity

Your gut system is exposed to lots of dangerous bacteria, molds and fungi. A vast majority of your immune defenses are right there in the gut. Probiotics can help keep these critical defenses functioning properly.

Stress Management

Have you ever experienced “butterflies” in your stomach? This sensation isn’t just “in your head.” The gut contains over 100 million neurons. One particular nerve, the vagus nerve, communicates directly with your brain. When you’re stressed, your digestive system suffers as a result. But new research shows that probiotics can potentially alleviate these symptoms.

Though more research is needed in this area, scientists are uncovering new ways that your mind is connected to your gut.

Reaping the Benefits

Start by incorporating more probiotics into your diet. Sources include yogurt, sour pickles, certain soft cheeses and miso soup. While these foods do supply a small dose of beneficial bacteria, Smith says that if you’re not already doing so, you should consider supplementing your diet with probiotic supplements or foods with added probiotics.

“Thanks to new research and the emerging field of pharmabiotics, you can increase your intake with a broad spectrum of probiotic products, as well” says Smith.

Remember, not all probiotics are created equal — there are many strains and preparations on the market. One of the complications many commercial probiotics face is their inability to overcome hurdles in the digestive tract before hitting their target area, which can limit their beneficial effect. Additionally, some supplements only provide one type of bacteria. It’s important to get clinically effective strains in whatever product you choose. To learn more, visit www.Lef.org/FlorAssist or call toll-free, 1-855-870-0682.

An improper balance of good-to-bad bacteria can wreak havoc throughout the body. But by being proactive about probiotics, you can better achieve optimal health.

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Fifth Flu-Related Death Reported in Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS – The Kent County Health Department received notification today of a fifth flu-related death: a man from Kent County over the age of 50. The initial test confirms the man was suffering from Influenza A/H1N1, the predominant strain people have been catching this season. The health department has no medical history on the man, so it is unclear if there were any known underlying medical conditions in this case.

“Health care providers report a leveling-off of cases of flu-like illness in recent weeks, but we still need to practice prevention,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department.

“In some years, we see flu season peaks as late as March. If you are suffering from the symptoms, consider seeking help from a health care provider, and stay home until you recover.” Kent County had five known flurelated deaths in the 2009-2010 season, the initial year that the H1N1 strain was circulating. There were no deaths reported in Kent County in 2012-2013.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. It takes 10 – 14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot. Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10 – 14 days before their immunity develops.

Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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