September is Fruit & Veggies and Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is Fruit & Veggies Month

Eating fruits and vegetables has many health benefits. People who eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help lower their risk for:

  • Some types of cancer
  • Heart disease, including heart attack and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity

Fewer than 1 in 7 adults eat the recommended amount of fruits every day.
Fewer than 1 in 10 adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day.

The good news? Communities, health professionals, businesses, and families can work together to encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Visit the Produce for Better Health Foundation for tips on quick recipes for healthier eating.


Ask the Nurse – Don't let your kids be blimps

Ask the Nurse: Christine Hammerlund, President of Assured Healthcare Staffing and Nurse

Dear Chris: Help! I have to figure out meals for grandchildren when they visit. But my son has no good advice. When we're eating out, what should I buy them?

Chris: My seven grandchildren don't always appreciate that I am a nurse.

To begin with, I don't feed them from a commercial menu guaranteed to turn them into fat-as-a-redwood-log adult. I like my large unmovable redwoods in forests, not on my sofa. The entire world of advertising always paints the best-tasting pre-prepared food as the best for you, too. Which, of course, is a giant pre-prepared fib.

Some food tastes good because it's packed with fat and empty calories. On the other hand, eat enough of it and nothing else, and it will kill you stone cold dead.

In my experience, overweight kids often turn into overweight adults. The way I look at it, it's hear-me-now or see the cardiologist later. So what's the worst?

Here is my Fatal Foursome, the absolute worse for your kids.

SunnyD Smooth Style (16 ounces, 260 calories, 60 grams sugar): Don't mistake SunnyD for orange juice or anything else natural unless you think 5 percent real is “real.” It's just a lot of water with a lot of sugar dissolved in it. Buy your kids a package of Oreos. It has less sugar. Cap'n Crunch (1 cup 146 calories, 2 grams fat, 1 gram saturated, 16 gram sugars, and 1 gram fiber): As food, this is an empty suit. It's a waste of time. There are a few added vitamins that are required by the government but it's a totally unnatural collection of unrelated components, most of which is corn flour coated by food colorings yellow 6 and 5. If your children have attention issues, this will make them jump off the ceiling like cats on speed.

Oscar Mayer Maxed Out Turkey & Cheddar Cracker Combo Lunchables (680 calories, 22 grams fat, 9 grams saturated, 61 g sugars, 1,440 mg sodium): You'd think a company with an old-timey name like Oscar Mayer wouldn't do this to kids. It's gastronomic assault and battery. This junk has nearly half of a second graders' daily calorie allotment with more than twice the sugar and fat of a Snickers.

Burger King Kids' Double Cheeseburger with Small Fries and Coke (1,100 calories, 52 grams fat, 17.5 grams saturated, and 1.5 g trans, 1,870 mg sodium): Double your beef; double your kids' budding heart disease. If you feed your child this meal more than once a year, just paint the word “Goodyear” on his side and let him float over football stadiums. Your child would have to be a world class triathlete to burn that many calories.

 

Ask the Nurse: To Detox or Not to Detox

Detox advice

Dear Nurse Chris: I see all these television and newspaper advertisements for colon “detox” products. It seems to make sense what we clean out the toxins in our systems every once in a while. But are they safe and do they actually work? Nancy in Arlington Heights.

Dear Nancy:  In shorthand, the answers are probably no and even more probably no.

Remember what your mom used to say about not believing everything you hear or read?  Well, the same goes for believing what you are being told by TV advertisements is good medicine for you.

The worst medicine is the kind that “seems” to be true but for which there is no evidence. “Colon cleansers” are a big business but there’s not much evidence they work and because most are herbal-based, the government doesn’t regulate them the same as they do for other medicine. So it’s not even sure they’re safe.

First, “colon cleansing” doesn’t really address how the body works.  Fecal matter and toxins— parasites, pesticides, or chemicals—do not accumulate and stick to the colon wall, causing assorted ailments. In fact, fecal matter does not cling to the colon wall, and experts have found no evidence that toxins build up there. Richard Harkness, a consultant pharmacist and author of five books on evidence-based natural medicine, backs natural treatments, but he’s dead set against this one.

He says colon cleansing itself carries health risks, including side effects from questionable ingredients, dehydration, impaired bowel function, and disruption of normal, protective intestinal flora. Some laxatives can even worsen heart failure or cause kidney failure, while colonic irrigation or enemas could tear the rectum. Steer clear of all of these. Your body detoxifies itself perfectly well, thanks to your kidneys and liver. True, you may “feel” better after one of these cleansings but it’s because you stuffed yourself with junk food and are now eating better.

The best advice I can give is do some research on the product that you have seen advertised. When you use an Internet search engine for the product, always include the word “scam.” That will tell you what customers are saying
Talk to your doctor. In most cases I advise people to talk to their pharmacists because they have the most current information about the latest things to hit the market. I hesitate to encourage research on the web unless you go to reliable health care sites that have good, solid medical advice.

Behold the Lowly Dandelion

Spring has finally sprung, and brings with it the stirring of growing things all around us.  One of my favorite memories from childhood was seeing the big field across the street from our house transform from muddy, snow blotched thatch to lush green grass, suitable for barefoot games of tag and running bases with my friends.

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