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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

I have several of my friends and relatives with the idea that if they are consuming milk with 1% fat, then they are avoiding the 99% of the fat in milk.

Here is the truth: whole milk contains 3% fat (so, the 3% is the  100% fat that is supposed to be in whole milk).  This means if you are consuming milk with 1% fat, you are avoiding about 66% of the fat in whole milk, and if you are consuming milk with 2% fat, you are avoiding only about 33% of the fat in milk.

Be smart.. Eat smart.. now that you know the fact… make an informed choice….Choose fat free milk especially when you want to control your weight.  Note: Fat free milk is not recommended for children.  and More important…. Children under the age of 6 months should be breastfed exclusively.

Jipende: Ufunguo wa Mtindo bora wa Maisha upo mkononi Mwako.

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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

Today’s Tip: Be smart..

  • Balance your calorie intake with your physical activity
  • If you are overweight or obese, work hard to reduce your weight and stay at healthy weight

This is just a reminder: Remember, being overweight increases your risk of many types of cancers eg. breast and colon cancers.  Control your weight by making sure you burn more calories than those you eat.  Watch the portion size of the meals that you eat.. Go for small portion size, add more vegetables into your meals, avoid foods high in fat and high in sugar, limit or avoid alcohol intake, add exercise eg. working into your routine life.

Jipende: Ufunguo wa Mtindo Bora wa Maisha upo Mkononi Mwako…

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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

Be aware of things that puts you at higher risk of cancer.  Know yourself and your risks, and take action now! Any history of cancer among your parents or ancestors? Are you using tobacco or tobacco products? Examine your eating and exercising habits. Your alcohol consumption puts you at higher risk of mouth, throat and breast cancer..  Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables?  All these define your health and your risk for chronic diseases including cancer.  You may be at increased risk for cancer because of the wrong choices you make. Learn to make the right choices, get regular check-up (at least once a year).  Many cancers (about 60%) can be prevented through better lifestyle and many cancers can be treated if detected early..

Jipende.. Ufunguo wa mtindo bora wa Maisha upo mkononi mwako…

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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

The link with cancer:

  • There is convincing evidence that alcohol increases the risk of cancer of the oesophagus, mouth, throat (pharynx and larynx) and breast, as well as bowel cancer in men. It also increases the risk of liver cancer, and bowel cancer in women.
  • Research shows that alcohol is particularly harmful when combined with smoking, especially for oesophageal, mouth and throat cancer.
  • Bowel and breast cancer are two of the most common Cancers.  Experts estimate that about 43 percent of bowel cancer and about 42 percent of breast cancer could be prevented by not drinking alcohol, together with having a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

Remember:

  • Heavy drinking, or binge drinking, is particularly bad for our health, even if only done occasionally. It is also linked to high blood pressure
  •  Many cases of cancer could be prevented.  Get information on choosing a healthy diet, managing your weight and becoming more active to reduce your risk of getting cancer. Visit Jipende.com more often

Jipende: Ufunguo wa mtindo bora wa maisha upo mkononi mwako!

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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

It is recommended that mothers start breastfeeding immediately after delivery (within the first hour) and continue to breast feed her baby on demand. Some of the other key recommendations include:

  • Breast feed your baby exclusively for the first six months of life. (no any other food, not even water). Then continue complemented breast feeding to two years and beyond.
  • For the mothers who had caesarian section under general anesthesia can start breastfeeding 6 hours after the surgery, while those who had local anesthesia can start breastfeeding immediately after surgery.
  • Even when there is medical indication for not breastfeeding, still the baby should be given appropriate MILK ONLY (which is Acceptable, Feasible, Affordable, Sustainable and Safe) until she/he is six months old.
  • When a working mother goes back to work after maternity leave, it does not mean introducing other foods to the baby. The baby should be fed appropriate MILK ONLY until the age of 6 months.
  • It is also important to maximize breastfeeding during the nights because breast milk is even produced more during the night.
  • Milk will still be important after 6 months of age but at this age, it should be complemented by other foods.

Note: The types of  milk which are not appropriate to a baby under six months of age includes fermented/sour milk, yogurt, skimmed milk and sweetened condensed milk.

Mpende Mwanao! Jipende: Ufunguo wa mtindo bora wa maisha upo mkononi mwako.

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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

Are you over weight?? Being overweight or obese puts you at high risk for many chronic diseases. Aiming to have a healthy weight is key to preventing cancer and other chronic diseases such as diabetes and coronary heart disease.  A healthy weight can be achieved by addressing what we eat and having regular physical activity.

What changes may be needed on what you eat?

It is good to get an idea of the amount of energy you get from the foods that you eat.

  • Reduce the amount of energy-dense foods you eat
  • Reduce the portion size

How do we know the level of energy in the food?

You actually do not need to know the exact amount of energy in the foods you eat, but rather it is good to have a broad understanding. See the examples below to help you make an informed decision on how you choose the foods you eat to maintain a healthy weight.

  • Very low energy-dense foods: This includes most vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, carrots, okra, egg-plant, broccoli, etc.  It also includes most fruits, skimmed milk, and broth-based soups
  • Low energy-dense foods: Cooked grains especially whole grains like whole maize, “dona”, and whole wheat. It also includes low fat milk (1%fat milk), beans and other legumes such as cow peas, dried peas and mang peas.
  • Medium energy-dense foods: Examples of these are meats, cheese, high fat foods, and salad dressings.
  • High energy-dense foods: These include chips/crisps, oils, fats, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, sausages, sugary drinks, energy drinks, bacon, chocolates, sugar, cakes, deep-fried foods (such as chips/fries), candies, etc.

Just remember that foods of less energy-density have fewer calories and therefore contribute less to weight gain. (The energy density is measured by the amount of calories per 100 gm. For example, 100gm of cooked spinach can be compared to 100 gm of chips/fries). Given the above information it is clear that eating 100gm of spinach is much better than eating 100 gm of chips/fries.  Usually foods which are less energy-dense have more water and/or fiber, and it is often more difficult to eat a larger amount of these foods because they fill you up quickly.

A good place to start with changing eating habits is to work on proportion and portion size.  With proportion, make sure you choose more of the low energy-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, while you minimize meats and other foods of animal origin. On the portion size, just look at what you have on your plate.  Usually you can tell if the amount is more than what you need.  Try to decrease the portions gradually every day until you achieve a desirable amount. Be patient as it may take you weeks or even months to adjust.  Here are some tips to help you reduce the amount of food you eat:

  • Use a smaller plate
  • Use a smaller cup or glass for your drinks
  • Do not eat while doing other things eg. Do not eat while watching TV, driving or reading.
  • Do not eat from a package or pot
  • Stay conscious of the type and amount of food you are eating
  • Limit snacks to low energy-dense foods such as fruits or vegetables
  • Don’t stay hungry for too long
  • Take your time to complete your meal.  (It usually takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to report to the brain that you are full.  So if you eat too fast, you may not feel full until this time has passed, regardless of the quantity you eat.)

    fruits

Remember to have regular physical activity such as brisk walk for 30 minutes to one hour every day. Read more about physical activities in the  following link  (mazoezi ya mwili).

Jipende… Ufunguo wa mtindo bora wa maisha upo mkononi mwako

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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

Most of us hardly even think of our heart until something bad happens either to ourselves or to our loved ones! It is good to be aware that most risk factors of coronary heart disease are preventable and therefore, under your control.  Often after a loss of a loved one to a heart attack, our concern is only short-lived, before life continues to business as usual.  As you embark on this New Year, take a minute to assess your risk of heart disease so that you can take care of your heart.

Assess your risk using the following table (answer either yes or no to each risk factor)

# No Yes Risk Factor
High Blood Cholesterol
1.* I often eat foods high in cholesterol or high in fat, such as butter, full cream milk, deep fried foods, sweets, chocolates, etc.
2.* My blood cholesterol (if tested) is over 240
3.* I eat a lot of processed foods (such as sausages, bacon etc), and fast food
High Blood Pressure
4.* My blood pressure is higher than 120/80
5.* I am overweight
6.* I exercise less than 30 minutes on most days
7.* I eat a lot of salty foods
Smoking
8.* I am a cigarette, pipe or cigar smoker; or I use tobacco in other forms
9.* I have little motivation to quit smoking
Other risks
10. I have diabetes or a family history of diabetes
11.* I do not regularly make an effort to reduce/relieve stress
12.* I am not physically active
13.* I am a woman on birth control pills who smokes
14. I have a close male relative who had a heart attack before the age of 55 years or a female before the age of 65 years.

The more times you answered “Yes”, the greater your chance for developing coronary heart disease. But now that you know the risk factors, I believe you are ready to address them and reduce the risk. Note that the 12  risk factors out of the 14 (marked with a *) are completely under your control, and you can do something to reduce eliminate them.  As one of my friends put it, “Take care of your heart so that it can take care of you”. Try to make this one of your New Year resolutions.

Jipende, Ufunguo wa mtindo bora wa maisha uko mkononi mwako.

“The key to a healthy lifestyle is in your hands”.

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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

In general, whole fruits are nutritionally better than juices, while fresh juices are better than frozen juices.  And … Juices that have pulp are better than “pulp free”.  So, enjoy plenty of whole fruits everyday and a glass of that juice with “lots of pulp”

Jipende, ufunguo wa mtindo bora wa maisha upo mkononi mwako.

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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

It is important to know what poses high risk for cancer and perhaps more important is to know what can be done to reduce that risk.  When you know both the risk and how to minimize it, you stand a better chance of success in avoiding it.  Sometimes the truth is not very interesting, but I still have to tell the hard truth … Ha! Ha! Ha!

Processed meat is loved by many. In some cases it is viewed as prestigious food especially for some in Tanzania. Perhaps this is because in our society, it is mostly those in the higher income bracket who can afford it.  The bad news is that experts now have a come up with strong evidence that processed meats are a high risk for cancer especially colorectal cancer. (WCRF 2007) (http://www.wcrf.org/).

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Posted by Mary G. Materu Msc

For fruits and vegetables, both amount and variety are important. The more the mix of colours the better the quality.

What is a portion?

Examples of a portion:
- One big slice of water-melon or pineapple = one portion
- One orange or banana = one portion
- One cup-full cooked spinach or carrots = one portion
- One handful grapes or berries =one portion
Eating the recommended five or more portions of fruits and vegetables everyday  is estimated to reduce your risk of cancer by 20 percent. (Ref. World Cancer research Fund)

Jipende!!  Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits everyday.

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