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Friday, May 29, 2015

Use Family Meal Time to Fight Obesity

Remember when, if you wanted to get something to eat you were home by the time mom got the food on the table? Only about one-quarter of families with children sit down to dinner together every night. And it’s not just the family bond that’s being threatened: Children who don’t eat with their families are more likely to become obese later in life, according to a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics.

The researchers analyzed data from the Project Eating and Activity in Teens study, which tracked the dining habits and body mass index (BMI) of middle- and high-school students, then followed up again 10 years later when they were young adults. After a decade, more than half of the 2,117 study participants were overweight or obese — and their childhood frequency of family meals emerged as a significant factor in their weight-gain.

Specifically, the young adults who’d eaten just one or two family meals a week as kids were 45 percent less likely to be overweight, compared to those who never dined with their parents. Sitting down to three to four family meals per week reduced the kids’ odds of full-blown obesity by half.
What’s being served at those family sit downs may play a role. Past research has linked a higher frequency of family meals with greater intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; that may be because more forethought goes into family dinners. You sit down and think, ‘What could I serve?’, so you’re more likely to put a fruit and a vegetable on the table.

However, the study didn’t ask the kids what they were eating, so a family meal could have meant takeout. This means that other factors, like the family connection that mealtimes foster, are likely at play.  Family meals present a safe, predictable environment where you can talk with family members. That sense of stability may give kids a greater sense of control in daily life, helping them regulate their emotions, as well as their food intake.

And when dinner is grilled chicken and green beans? By watching parents eat — and enjoy — children may feel encouraged to do the same, even when they’re deciding what to eat on their own. Parents are modeling communication and how to connect with one another, as well as modeling healthy eating and recognizing satiety cues.

To make the most of your family meals, here are a few suggestions for turning dinnertime into an opportunity for healthy living:

Start small
Three or four weekly meals as a family are better than one or two—but if your schedule only allows Sunday night dinner, that’s a great place to start. Aim to make it a can’t-miss appointment by putting it on the calendar, and tell your kids (and spouse) it’s non-negotiable.

Think beyond dinner
Dinner is the classic time for togetherness, but it’s not the only way your family can connect over a meal. If breakfast or lunch is more convenient for your clan, consider making those mealtimes your family’s main focus.

Eliminate distractions
Banish smartphones, tablets, and TV’s from the table — that way, you can really focus on promoting conservation and connection. Dinner should be about interacting with the family…not catching up on emails or texting friends.

Stay positive
Save the serious discussions for another time. Try to make it a positive atmosphere; don’t use it as a place to lecture or vent about getting homework done. Have each family member share a high point for the day. That way, the experience is about connection, not discipline, and your kids will be more willing to come back to the table night after night.

Keep it together
No one eats alone!  So if your kid gets home late after practice, make a point to sit down with him or her during a meal, even if the rest of the family can’t join in.  That’s a great way to make the meal count as more than “just get food in the person”.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Why it is Important to Bring Your Prescription Bottles to Your Office Appointment?

The best way you can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team. That means taking part in every decision about your health care. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results.

Make sure that all of your doctors know about every medicine you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements, such as vitamins and herbs.  Do not assume that everyone has all the information they need. Bring all of your medicines and supplements to your doctor visits. "Brown bagging" your medicines can help you and your doctor talk about them and find out if there are any problems. It can also help your doctor keep your records up to date and help you get better quality care. Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines. This can help you to avoid getting a medicine that could harm you.

Ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand—both when your medicines are prescribed and when you get them:
  • What is the medicine for?
  • How am I supposed to take it and for how long?
  • What side effects are likely? What do I do if they occur?
  • Is this medicine safe to take with other medicines or dietary supplements I am taking?
  • What food, drink, or activities should I avoid while taking this medicine?
  • When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask: Is this the medicine that my doctor prescribed?
  • Ask for written information about the side effects your medicine could cause. If you know what might happen, you will be better prepared if it does or if something unexpected happens.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The phones are not working in the office right now. Bright House is working on the problem and will restore service as soon as possible. If you need to reach us during this time please log-on to the patient portal to send us a message.

 Here is a link to the portal: https://totalfamilyhealthcare.secure.force.com/portal

Monday, May 18, 2015

In Observance of This Memorial Day Our Office will be Closed on May 25th.

     In observance of this Memorial Day our office will be closed on May 25th.  

      Please plan ahead to request any prescription refills prior to this time. Our physicians will be “On Call” to address any of your non-emergency health care issues that cannot wait until the office reopens on May 26th.

      We would like to wish you and your families a   safe and  happy Memorial Day.

      Dr. Edgar Cruz, Dr. Cara Jakob and the entire staff of
Total Family Healthcare.

Friday, May 15, 2015

High Blood Pressure & Hypertension, What is it And Why You Should Care!

                We have all likely heard of high blood pressure, or "hypertension", at some point in our lives. Our grandmother may have been taking blood pressure medicines. We may have checked our own blood pressures out of curiosity at those little machines at our local pharmacy.  Or, perhaps our own doctor has mentioned high blood pressure to us.

                But, what exactly is high blood pressure, and why such a big deal about it?  Let's start with some numbers. High blood pressure, or "hypertension," is defined as repeated blood pressure above 140/90mmHg. Normal blood pressure is blood pressure up to 120/80mmHg.  The blood pressures in between 120/80-140/90mmHg are considered "pre-hypertension."

                How do these numbers affect our health?  According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the current leading cause of death in the United States.  About one third of all deaths above age 35 is due to heart disease, and hypertension is a major risk factor in the development of heart disease. ypertension also increases risk for stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.

                Just imagine trying to water your lawn using a garden hose that has a kink in it. You'll be working harder and struggling to push the water past the high pressure in the hose, and those flowers in your garden will suffer from the poor supply of water coming through. That is a simplified version of the way our hearts are working to pump blood through our arteries to feed our body's organs like the brain, eyes, kidneys, etc. With hypertension, our vital organs are suffering the damages of a high pressure system.

 The good news is that healthy lifestyle changes like regular exercise, lower sodium diet, and weight loss can significantly lower blood pressure, thereby decreasing the risk for stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.

                Aerobic exercise regularly can lower blood pressure by 5-15mmHg, and the intensity of the workout is more important than its duration. An easy way to improve our diet to a lower sodium diet is to limit or cut out the processed foods and canned foods. Eating fresh foods, and preparing your own meals can help reduce that excess salt in our diet. As for weight loss, there are many benefits to reaching a healthy weight, and better blood pressure is one major benefit. Every few pounds we lose can improve our blood pressure by as many points. Some people may also need medications to treat their hypertension and its risks.

                Now that we know more about hypertension, let's be on the lookout for it, and take healthy steps to help combat it. Talk with your doctor about your blood pressures and whether you have hypertension. Together, you can develop an individual health plan to keep you at your best.

Friday, May 8, 2015

What Your Body is Telling You About Your Diet

When your body is trying to tell you something — for example, that you’re skimping on critical vitamins — it may go to some strange lengths.  Check out these unusual vitamin-deficiency warning signs. The good news: Most are fixable with dietary tweaks — all the more reason to make nutrition a top priority. When food cures don’t work, be sure to check in with your doctor.
Cracks at the corners of your mouth.

Deficiency: Iron, zinc, and B vitamins like niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), and B12.
It’s common if you’re a vegetarian to not get enough iron, zinc, and B12; or if you’re skimping on essential immunity-building protein due to dieting.

Solution: Eat more poultry, salmon, tuna, eggs, oysters, clams, sun-dried tomatoes, Swiss chard, tahini, peanuts, and legumes like lentils. Iron absorption is enhanced by vitamin C, which also helps fight infection, so combine these foods with veggies like broccoli, red bell peppers, kale, and cauliflower.
Red, scaly rash on your face (and sometimes elsewhere) and hair loss.

Deficiency: Biotin (B7), known as the hair vitamin.
While your body stores fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), it doesn’t store most B vitamins, which are water-soluble. Body builders take note: Eating raw eggs makes you vulnerable, because a protein in raw eggs called avidin inhibits the body’s ability to absorb biotin.

Solution: Reach for more cooked eggs (cooking deactivates avidin), salmon, avocados, mushrooms, cauliflower, soybeans, nuts, raspberries, and bananas.
Red or white acnelike bumps, typically on the cheeks, arms, thighs and butt.

Deficiency: Essential fatty acids and vitamins A and D.
Solution: Skimp on saturated fat and trans fats, which you should be doing anyway, and increase healthy fats. Focus on adding more salmon and sardines, nuts like walnuts and almonds, and seeds like ground flax, hemp, and chia. For vitamin A, pile on leafy greens and colorful veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, and red bell peppers. This provides beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which your body will use to make vitamin A. For vitamin D, though, we recommend a supplement—5,000 IU a day in one that also contains vitamins A and K, which help with D absorption.
Tingling, prickling, and numbness in hands, feet or elsewhere.

Deficiency: B vitamins like folate (B9), B6, and B12.
It’s a problem directly related to the peripheral nerves and where they end in the skin these symptoms can be combined with anxiety, depression, anemia, fatigue, and hormone imbalances.

Solution: Seek out spinach, asparagus, beets, beans (pinto, black, kidney, lima), eggs, octopus, mussels, clams, oysters, and poultry.
Muscle cramps in the form of stabbing pains in toes, calves, arches of feet, and backs of legs.

Deficiency: Magnesium, calcium, and potassium. If it’s happening frequently, it’s a tip-off that you’re lacking in these. And if you’re training hard, you can lose more minerals (and water-soluble B vitamins) through heavy sweating.

Solution: Eat more bananas, almonds, hazelnuts, squash, cherries, apples, grapefruit, broccoli, bok choy, and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and dandelion.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Get Ready for Cinco de Mayo!

  Being from Florida I have always had a lot of Spanish speaking friends. Growing up in a small orange producing town, many were from Mexico and I was able to celebrate the holiday Cinco de Mayo, The 5th Of May, with their families.  This commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862. It is not, as many people think, Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually September 16. There was always a lot of music and dancing, but the best the part was always the food!

       Substituting lower calorie ingredients for high calorie ingredients is one of the best ways I know to live healthy and not feel like you are missing out on life. Here are a few recipes for you to try this Cinco de Mayo to help cut some of the fat and calories a party can put on you.


Easy, Taste Good Substitutions

  • Replace regular sour cream with reduced fat sour cream or Greek yogurt.
  • Replace milk cheese with cheese made from 2% milk.
  • Replace fried (hard) taco shell with soft, low-carb tortillas.
  • Replace ground beef with meatless, chicken or even better fish tacos! At the very least drain the fat off the ground beef. Who wants a soggy taco anyway?

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