Monthly archives of “October 2015

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Does meat cause cancer? Here is what we know

Bacon, everyone’s favorite processed meat, but does it cause cancer?  Over the last few days chaos has ensued over the recent information that was published by The World Health Organization (WHO) regarding red meat and processed meat.  But what are the actual facts? Here is what we know…

What is considered red meat?

  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Mutton
  • Horse
  • Goat

What is a processed meat?

Processed meat is any meat that has been transformed to enhance flavor and preserve the meat by ways of salting, curing, fermentation, or smoking. Some example include:

  • Hot dogs
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Sausages
  • Corned beef
  • Beef jerky
  • Canned meat
  • Meat based preparations and sauces

What is a carcinogen?

A carcinogen is a substance that is capable of causing cancer in living cells.

The WHO has classified red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, what does this mean?

There have been studies that have shown there is a positive link between eating red meat and developing colorectal cancer.  However this new classification of red meat was based on limited evidence, but none the less the evidence does show a correlation between red meat consumption and cancer.

Processed meat has been classified as carcinogenic to humans, what does this mean?

Studies have shown that there is a strong association between eating of processed meats and the development of colorectal cancer. This is due to multiple things, such as meat containing chemicals that form during the cooking process that are thought to be cancer causing.

Is eating bacon as bad as smoking?

No, bacon (processed meats) and tobacco are within the same category but that does not mean they are equally dangerous. When a substance is placed in a category it is looking at the amount of scientific evidence that proves it (in this case processed meat) causes cancer. It does not assess the level of risk.

Should I stop eating meat?

You do not have to cut out processed meats or red meats from your diet.There is evidence that proves eating meat is beneficial for humans.  As with most things moderation is the key component. However not only do processed meats have carcinogenic properties but they have been shown to increase risk for diabetes, and heart disease. Having a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle with some indulgences every now and again is perfectly fine.  Let us know in the comments below what you think about the recently published information.

Source: WHO

 caption-arrow  Feature photo by jeffreyw


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Breast self-exam, do you know how?

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; it is intended to encourage women to take steps towards awareness, prevention, and early detection. Breast self-exams are vital to early detection, and should be done once a month 3-5 days after your period starts. Becoming familiar with your breast health may help you notice if changes occur. Below is information on how to complete a breast self-exam.

  • In the shower: Using your three middle fingers move in a circular motion from the outside of your breast in towards the nipple. Make sure to check the entire breast as well as the armpit, repeat on other breast. Notice any lumps, hardening knots or thickening, as well as any other changes.
  • In front of a mirror:  With your arms at your side visually inspect your breasts. Most women’s breasts are not identical. Look for any dimpling, puckering, indentations, or skin that looks like an orange peel. Also note if your nipples turn inward. Next raise your arms overhead and look for any swelling or other visual changes. Lastly placing your hands on your hips, press firmly to flex your chest muscles, look for any visual changes such as those mentioned above.
  • Lying down: While lying down place a pillow under your left shoulder, and place your left arm beneath your head. Using the pads of your fingers on your right hand, make small circular motions inward along your left breast, start from the armpit and work in towards the nipple. Make sure to cover the entirety of the breast. Notice any lumps, hardening knots or thickening, as well as any other changes. Next gently squeeze the nipple looking for any discharge, irritation, or redness. Repeat on other breast.

Early detection is crucial in fighting breast cancer. Breast self-exams help women notice changes in their breast that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. For women who have gone through menopause make sure to complete your breast self-exam on the same day each month. Most women have some lumps in their breast; the goal of breast self-exams is to notice anything new or different. If you do notice any changes make sure to contact your health care provider. Together, we can bring the numbers down on breast cancer.

Comment below on how you have, or plan to help spread awareness about breast cancer.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by North Charleston

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The hidden health benefits of pumpkins

Oh October, the spiciest month of them all. Did you know that pumpkin spice is actually cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves? These are the ingredients that give your pumpkin spice lattes that lovely aroma and taste.  They are staple ingredients in your pumpkin pies and pumpkin breads. But what about the actual pumpkin? Surely they are for more than just carving. Below are 5 surprising facts about pumpkins and 5 ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet.

5 facts about pumpkins

  1. Pumpkins are one of the lowest calorie vegetables, one cup of cooked pumpkin is only 49 calories.
  2. Pumpkins are rich with vitamin A. One cup of cooked pumpkin  provides over 100% of your daily need of vitamin A; vitamin A is essential for healthy vision.
  3. Cooked pumpkin seeds are a great dose of daily fiber.
  4. Pumpkins are packed with vitamin C, helping boost the immune system.
  5.  The beta-carotene compound which gives pumpkin their orange color can help in disease prevention.

5 ways to add pumpkin to your diet

  1. Stir pumpkin puree into soup, stew or chili, it won’t change the taste much but will increase the nutrients in your meal.
  2. Stir pumpkin puree into yogurt.
  3. Add pumpkin puree to pancake batter.
  4. Add chopped and roasted pumpkins to  salads.
  5. Try adding pumpkin to a protein shake to boost its nutrients

Also note, there are edible pumpkins for eating and decorative pumpkins for carving.  You may eat either but the pumpkins labeled for eating taste better. Let us know in the comments below how you will add this low calorie, disease preventing, and vitamin rich vegetable (actually it is a fruit) to your diet.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by John Morgan

Halloween should be silly and fun without impacting your health. Here are 25 non-candy alternatives that kids are sure to enjoy in their treat bags.
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25 non-candy items this Halloween

Okay, we all know “that” house that doesn’t give out candy on Halloween.  Maybe they give out raisins or toothbrushes or other non-candy items. Well we are here to tell you that it is okay to be “that” house! Just because you don’t hand out candy doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.  This year, try something new.  Here are 25 fun alternatives you can hand out on Halloween that are sure to get some smiles.

  1. Glow sticks
  2. Bubbles
  3. Stickers
  4. Tattoos
  5. Crayons
  6. 100% juice juice boxes
  7. Pre-packaged fruit and nuts
  8. Coloring books
  9. Bottles of water
  10. Play-Doh
  11. Festive pencils and erasers
  12. Small bags of microwavable popcorn
  13. Yo-Yo’s
  14. Whoopee cushions
  15. Granola bars
  16. Silly putty
  17. Puzzles
  18. Stress balls
  19. Confetti poppers
  20. Sidewalk chalk
  21. Rubber ducky’s
  22. Chap stick
  23. Gum
  24. Bouncy balls
  25. Gold fish crackers

Halloween should be silly and fun without impacting your health. Pick and choose your favorites from this list and see what happens, you may be surprised!  Have a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Michael Bentley

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.
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10 facts you need to know about breast cancer

As you may know it is that time of year when we start to see football players, basketball players and athlete’s alike wearing pink during their games, and for good cause! October is known to many as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.

  1. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  2. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide.
  3. Even though it is rare, breast cancer can occur in men.
  4. Exercise at least 150 minutes a week to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
  5. Healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and other diseases.
  6. Minimize alcohol intake to control risk, no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
  7. Complete a breast self-exam once a month.
  8. Stop smoking to support overall health.
  9. Make your mammogram appointment a priority.
  10. Early detection and treatment is key in fighting breast cancer.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Together, we can bring the numbers down on breast cancer. We’re rallying with the Portland Trail Blazers during Moda Health Months to spread the word.

Join us in keeping breast cancer top of mind. Follow us at #modahealthmonths on Facebook and Twitter.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by williami5