Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is known for boosting health and lowering risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Every five years the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines are developed by an expert panel of nutrition and health professionals to help all Americans consume a healthy and nutritionally adequate diet.

Green up your eating plan

Summer is a great time to “green up” your diet by eating more fresh or cooked greens. Green leafy vegetables are in season in Missouri in the early summer and then again in the fall. This includes those greens most commonly seen in grocery stores, like spinach, kale, collards, mustard greens or Swiss chard.

Don’t be fooled by fancy food labels — read the ingredients

These days many people are very intentional about selecting healthy and nutritious foods for themselves and their families. And yet even the most conscientious may be fooled by fancy food labels that cleverly make consumers think they are getting something better than they are. Some tricks have been around for a long time. Here are some described in the April 2011 issue of Nutrition Action HealthLetter.

Food labeled as “natural” isn’t necessarily healthy

According to an August 2008 issue of Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, we are spending $13 billion per year on foods labeled as “natural.” The word “natural” makes it seem like the food is better for you, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

Free Seasonal and Simple app

The Seasonal and Simple smart phone application is available for both iOS and Android devices. The application is free to download.

Organic produce – Is it the best choice?

Most of us would like to feed ourselves and our families the most nutritious foods we can. Sometimes, however, it is not clear what choice to make. Marketers would have us think organic is best, but a report in a Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter describes an analysis of current research that indicates that organic may not be as great as once thought in terms of nutrition.

Do you know your cholesterol numbers?

It is important to be aware of cholesterol numbers because high cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. There’s no better time than right now to know your numbers.When you get the results of your cholesterol blood test you should know your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The desirable total cholesterol level is 200 mg/dL or below.

Small steps to heart health

February is National Heart Month, so it’s a great time to make a change for better heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with stroke coming in fifth, according to the American Heart Association. Both of these conditions result when blood flow is reduced or stopped altogether. But there are steps people can take to reduce the risk.

Belly fat is linked to health risks

People with a lot of belly fat are at a higher risk for health problems than people who carry fat in other areas. Some of those health problems include diabetes, some types of cancer, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease and dementia.

Live like your life depends on it

You can improve your health and prevent or lessen the effects of chronic diseases through diet and exercise. By investing a little time in your health, you can live a longer, healthier life.

Walking is the best medicine

Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (known as the father of Western medicine) once said, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” What a relatively simple and inexpensive “pill to take” to make such a big impact on maintaining and improving our health.

Healthy habits help you live longer

Longevity appears to be more about healthy lifestyle than genes. It is 25 percent genes and 75 percent lifestyle, according to Steven Austad, author of the book, "Why We Age." A study from the University of Cambridge in England, which followed 20,000 middle-aged men and women for 11 years, found that nonsmokers with the healthiest eating and exercise habits lived longer than people with the worst habits.

Balancing responsibilities

Do you ever feel as if you are trying to juggle too many items at the same time? Do you care for your kids, go to work, attend school activities, take care of aging parents, help with social events, attend meetings, maintain the car, keep up with the house or apartment, do the shopping, fix the meals and...? The list goes on and on. And when is there time in the day to take care of you?

Chronic stress leads to health problems

Our lives can be very stressful, and, if we become accustomed to living with these feelings, we may not even realize how much it is affecting us. Our bodies are designed to respond to stressful situations in order to protect us from danger.

Mindful eating

Do you have a habit of eating when you are bored, lonely, stressed out, depressed or tired? Sometimes we find ourselves eating, not because we are hungry, but because we are experiencing emotions that prompt us to reach out to food for comfort.

Mindfulness: What it is and how it helps

Recent research provides strong evidence that practicing nonjudgmental, present-moment awareness changes the brain. This practice is called mindfulness.

Personal resources to manage stress

Work and life create stress for each of us. Why do some people cope better than others? Here are some ideas from researchers who study human behavior.Before determining how to cope with stresses, take some time to identify priorities. What are the important things in your life? Child rearing, caregiving for elderly parents, buying a home, having time alone or completing education goals are some priorities people have.

When stress is not normal

Everyone has stress, and a moderate amount of stress is normal. A stressor is any demand on your body or your mind. Stressors can be unpleasant or pleasant experiences, like a family reunion, the holidays or exercise. Situations that are considered stressful for one person may have little effect on another person.