Holiday Healthy Eating

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The holiday season is a time filled with parties, family gatherings, and lots of food, so it’s easy to overindulge in rich foods that aren’t so good for you. But, there’s no need to miss out on the festivities just to save your diet — with a little help, you can keep from eating too much during the holidays. Your National Zetas Have Heart Team has some important information that will help you get through the holidays and not miss out on any of those treats you love.

Enjoy reading and Happy Holidays from  your Zetas Have Heart Team!!!

Soror Mary B. Wright~Grand Basileus
Soror Rauchelle Jones~National Director of Programs
Soror Karen Gipson~National Zetas Have Heart, Chair
Committee-Dr. Randall Wright, Soror Fay Walker Dixon, Soror Charisse Audra Collier

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Is Yoga Right for You?

Considering it’s thousands of years old, it might seem silly to say that yoga has come a long way in recent years. But as mind/body exercise continues to take hold of the fitness industry, the practice of yoga has moved from the alternative to the mainstream.

Today’s hectic lifestyle has left many people wondering how to manage the stress that comes along with it. While regular aerobic exercise and strength training can help, they aren’t the complete answer. Some experts and practitioners believe that yoga is the piece you need to complete the puzzle of maintaining fitness in both the body and mind. Read More

National Nutrition Month Week 3: Make a Fresh Start with Spring Foods

Spring is a great time to hit the reset button and reintroduce some fresh foods into your kids’ diet after a long winter.
Get into the swing of spring produce with these four seasonal favorites.

Spinach

Spinach is called a superfood for a reason: It’s packed with vitamins A and C, which are essential for eye health, immune function and many other body processes. Vitamin K helps build strong bones. Spinach also contains folate and iron, which help prevent anemia. The magnesium and potassium are important for muscle development and growth.

If your kids are on-board with green stuff, serve spinach salads or add it to smoothies. Serve it sautéed with meat and fish. For veggie avoiders, the mild flavor of spinach is easily masked. Just puree and mix it into sauces, soups and meatballs.

Yogurt

A calcium-rich food, yogurt is important for building strong bones and teeth. At eight grams per 6 ounce container, yogurt is also a great source of protein. Greek yogurt has up to twice that much, however it provides less calcium. Yogurt is also a good source of probiotic bacteria, which can promote good digestion and immune system function.

Strawberries

Loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, fresh strawberries are a seasonal superstar. Just one cup provides more than a day’s worth of vitamin C, plus a hearty dose of manganese, which is important for bone development. A serving of strawberries also packs three grams of fiber.

Strawberries are great eaten plain or with other foods. “Sweet and colorful, berries are a great addition to smoothies, cereal and yogurt.

Asparagus

Asparagus is an excellent source of bone-building vitamin K as well as folate. It also provides vitamin A and iron. Available in green, purple and white varieties, asparagus spears are fun to eat and go with all kinds of foods.

National Nutrition Month Week 2: The Basics of the Nutrition Facts Label

The following is a quick guide to reading the Nutrition Facts Label.

Start with the Serving Size

  • Look here for both the serving size (the amount people typically eat at one time) and the number of servings in the package.
  • Compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the panel. If the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.

Check Out the Total Calories

  • Find out how many calories are in a single serving. It’s smart to cut back on calories if you are watching your weight.

Let the Percent Daily Values Be Your Guide

Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan.

  • Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5 percent DV of fat provides 5 percent of the total fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat.
  • Percent DV are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack
  • You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100 percent DV.

The High and Low of Daily Values

  • Low is 5 percent or less. Aim low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • High is 20 percent or more. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Limit Saturated Fat, Added Sugars and Sodium

Eating less saturated fat, added sugars and sodium may help reduce your risk for chronic disease.

  • Saturated fat and trans fat are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • Eating too much added sugar makes it difficult to meet nutrient needs within your calorie requirement.
  • High levels of sodium can add up to high blood pressure.
  • Remember to aim for low percentage DV of these nutrients.

National Nutrition Month Week1: Eating Right Isn’t Complicated

Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated — simply begin to shift to healthier food and beverage choices. These recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans can help get you started.

  • Emphasize fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products.
  • Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.
  • Make sure your diet is low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium) and added sugars.

Make Your Calories Count

Think nutrient-rich rather than “good” or “bad” foods. The majority of your food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients, and lower in calories. Making smart food choices can help you stay healthy, manage your weight and be physically active.

Focus on Variety

Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups to get the nutrients your body needs. Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned. Eat more dark green vegetables such as leafy greens and broccoli and orange vegetables including carrots and sweet potatoes. Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans and peas. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day.

Know Your Fats

Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Most of the fats you eat should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. Check the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels for total fat and saturated fat.

Exercise and Asthma

Asthma is an increasingly common lung disease in the U.S. People who have asthma have inflamed and highly irritable airways. When the airways are exposed to irritants, they narrow, making breathing more difficult. Signs of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing, especially at night and early in the morning. Common irritants include tobacco smoke, air pollution, viral infection and allergens like dust mites and cat dander. Vigorous exercise also can act like an irritant by triggering airway spasm and narrowing. This is referred to as exercise-induced asthma.

The ABCs of Exercise-induced Asthma

About five to 10 minutes into a strenuous soccer game you start to cough and feel short of breath. You tell yourself that you’re out of shape and recommit to your resolution to participate in vigorous cardiovascular exercise at least three days per week. But then, the next time and the time after that the same feelings of difficulty breathing set in. You finally go visit your doctor, who tells you that you have asthma. But this only happens with exercise, you say.

If that’s the case, you’re one of 5 to 10% of people with asthma who only experience symptoms with exercise. On the other hand, 90% of people with asthma have exercise-induced symptoms. Exercise-induced asthma attacks may start during exercise or shortly after exercise. These episodes tend to be shorter than attacks with other triggers.

Many people with asthma avoid exercise, thinking it will do more harm than good. The truth is that people with asthma can experience the same benefits from exercise as everyone else. And with the proper precautions, the risks are significantly lessened.

Exercising With Asthma

First, have a thorough medical evaluation and obtain your doctor’s permission before beginning an exercise program. Your doctor will probably prescribe you a medicine to help keep your airways open during exercise. For example, you may be instructed to take albuterol, a short-acting inhaled bronchodilator, 15 minutes before exercise to prevent symptoms for up to about four hours.

Once you receive clearance from your doctor, consider the following exercise guidelines:

  • Always have medication nearby for use in the event of an asthma attack. Be aware of early signs of an asthma attack, such as shortness of breath and coughing.
  • Take extra time (aim for 15 minutes) to warm up before exercising. This helps the airway retain a more normal size.
  • Prolong your cool-down. The second most likely time to experience an exercise-induced asthma attack is in the five to 10 minutes after exercise. By gradually decreasing intensity, you reduce your risk.
  • Be aware of your exercise environment. Avoid exposure to other asthma triggers such as pollen and pollution when exercising. A warm and humid environment (like that in a pool) reduces exposure of the lungs to cool, dry air—the suspected cause of exercise-induced asthma.
  • Consider exercising at the lower end of your target heart-rate range and incorporating intervals for high-intensity training to minimize your risk of an asthma attack. Choose exercises least likely to trigger an attack, such as pool swimming and walking.
  • Maintain adequate hydration. This will decrease mucous accumulation in the airways, thus reducing risk for an asthma attack or a future infection like bronchitis or pneumonia.
  • Maximize air exchange with diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. With each inhalation you should see or feel your belly rise.
  • Rest when necessary and listen to what your body is telling you.

Keep Your Options Open

Asthma does not equate to an inactive life. In fact, six-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner–Kersee achieved the highest levels of athletic success despite having asthma. As long as you and your physician are comfortable with your level of activity, nothing should keep you from doing the activities that keep you happy and healthy. An ACE-certified Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist can help you design the program that’s just right for you if you need help getting started.

Additional Resources

American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, & Immunology
Mayo Clinic
Medline Plus

Reducing Workplace Stress

Reducing Workplace Stress

Do you have a demanding boss or difficult co-workers? Stacks of work to get done and not enough time? Everyone encounters job stress sooner or later — but that doesn’t make it easier. There are many aspects of your work environment that you have no control over — but you can take action to manage stress so that work doesn’t take a toll on your well-being. Read More

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