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Sodium Reduction

11 Jan

I know that thereimages[2] are several good reasons to reduce the amount of sodium I consume, including protection from high blood pressure, reducing headaches and occasional dizziness, and avoiding the bloated feeling that comes from fluid retention. Still, when I learned that the recommended maximum consumption per day per person is 2,300 milligrams, and then found out that the average daily intake per person of sodium in the U.S. is nearly 5,000 milligrams per day, I was amazed!

Where does all this sodium come from? It turns out it’s not all from the salt shaker at the dinner table.  About a quarter of the sodium we consume comes from sprinkling salt on food, from condiments such as ketchup, and from natural sources. The majority of our sodium consumption, however, comes from processed foods. The list of significant sodium sources includes fast foods, canned and frozen vegetables, canned and dried soups, frozen convenience foods, canned tuna, cured meats such as bacon and ham, and chips and other salty snacks. Sodium is even found in ready-to-eat breakfast cereals—it turns out that we may be consuming sodium without even tasting its presence!

Many of the foods on that list are a part of my every day diet—and probably part of yours, too. In 2014, I’m going to reimagesCAL4QSDGduce the amount of sodium I consume. I will eat more fresh and unprocessed food, start making my own soups, and commit to eating more veggies.

Yes, I know this means I’ll be spending a little more time in the kitchen, but considering the health benefits for myself and my family, I think it’s worth it. I’m also going to break the habit of adding salt to my food at the dinner table. To make sure that food still tastes delicious, I plan to use more herb seasoning and other salt substitutes–that way I won’t miss the salt shaker so much. At the grocery store, I’m going to take the time to read the nutrition labels, looking out for foods that contain less than 500mg per serving and trying out low sodium alternatives to the products I usually buy.

By the end of this year, I expect that I will have very much reduced my daily consumption of sodium, and helped my family to do so, too. It might be a little difficult at first, but I know that we’ll all feel a little better for it!

Mes Nacional de la Diabetes

4 Nov

salsa figures



Bailando salsa en el Mes Nacional de la Diabetes

            Esta semana la coordinadora de extensión de mi oficina me compartió un artículo publicado en una revista conocida por su información sobre la diabetes. El reportaje es sobre mi cantante favorito y compatriota Gilberto Santa Rosa, quien es el  embajador latino de la Asociación Americana de la Diabetes, durante la celebración del Mes de La Diabetes que comienza durante este mes. Hace ocho años que Gilberto descubrió que tenía diabetes, pero eso no ha sido una razón para dejar de cantar, bailar y entretener a su público que se encuentra disperso a través del mundo.

            La meta de Santa Rosa, quien ha recibido innumerables reconocimientos por su contagiosa música, es la de compartir un mensaje educativo con la comunidad hispana sobre la incidencia y las realidades de la diabetes. Los latinos tienen un riesgo de 66% más alto de  tener diabetes. El también comparte que es importante que cada persona con diabetes  visite a su médico y se informe acerca de las alternativas de tratamiento que hay disponibles para cada persona, y que se animen a disfrutar su vida aunque tengan la enfermedad. Gilberto también reconoce la importancia de mantenerse activos y en movimiento para prevenir o manejar la diabetes.

            Las personas de raza negra no hispanas y los adultos hispanos tienden a hacer menos actividad física (43.2% y 44.7%, respectivamente) que los adultos blancos no hispanos (31.0%), según los Institutos Nacionales de Salud. Para aumentar nuestra actividad física se nos recomienda que bailemos al ritmo de por lo menos tres de nuestras canciones favoritas cada día. Yo sé que yo no tengo problema de hacerlo al ritmo de la salsa de Gilberto Santa Rosa. ¿Y a usted que ritmo es el que le gusta? ¡Bailemos salsa durante el Mes de la Diabetes!

Life’s Simple 7

4 Oct

Coalicion Mariela

From left to right: Inés Beltrán, Mariela Romero and Edda Cotto-Rivera

Last week Ines and I were invited by Mariela Romero of Univision Atlanta o attend the Hispanic Health Coalition Annual Latinos for Health Luncheon. The activity proved to be a success since lots of community representatives and members of many organizations gathered to recognized several leaders who have done a great job advocating for the Hispanic community in our state.

Dr. Eduardo Montaña, Chair of the coalition; led the group in recognizing leaders, highlighting some of the initiatives the coalition has in place to contribute to the health of the community. The audience was engaged by the excellent presentation from Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the American Heart Association. Dr. Sanchez passionately presented data about the importance of health care access for Latinos, recognizing the importance of education as one of the main factors in reducing morbidity and mortality among our growing community.

We were invited to review the seven key factors that can help prevent, or manage many chronic conditions that usually affect our lives. Based on the program from the American Heart Association, people are encouraged to determine their health statuses by checking how well you are keeping up with the following:

  • Being physically active – Exercising frequently during your week.
  • Keeping a healthy weight – Getting to know your Body Mass Index and aiming for a healthy body weight is important.
  • Eating a healthy diet – Increasing your consumption of fruits, vegetables and fish.
  • Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels – Making sure your levels are lower than 200mg/dL
  • Keeping blood pressure down – Know your numbers lower your sodium intake and take your medication if you need them.
  • Regulating blood sugar levels – High levels of sugar in the blood can cause diabetes and increase your risk for other conditions like kidney and heart disease.
  • No smoking – If you smoke, seek help to quit. Quitting will improve your health and reduce your risk for many illnesses.

Let’s review these seven crucial steps and start living a healthier life!!