Serving the Community Since 1956

Serving the Community Since 1956

Thursday, February 26, 2015

More Than Vitamin C

When you think of an orange you think of vitamin C, but the health benefits of this amazing citrus go way beyond that.
Did you know...
  • Oranges are rich in dietary fiber
  • Oranges are also a great source of Vitamin A and B
  • Oranges provide 90% of the recommended Vitamin C in one serving
  • Oranges are rich in antioxidants which help boost the immune system
  • Oranges help in the prevention of skin, breast, lung and colon cancers
  • Oranges contain hesperidin and pectin which help reduce cholesterol
  • Oranges have anti-inflammatory agents and are used to treat arthritis
  • Oranges help relieve constipation and prevent ulcers and kidney stones
  • Oranges promote weight loss and assist in brain development
When in need of a quick snack...give this amazing citrus a try!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Secondhand Dangers

Secondhand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke is a mixture of two forms of smoke; sidestream smoke from the lighted end of the cigarette and mainstream smoke that is exhaled by the smoker.

Smoke is smoke, right? Not exactly. Sidestream smoke has a higher concentration of carcinogens and is more toxic than mainstream smoke. Additionally, sidestream smoke is made up of smaller particles that make their way into the lungs and body cells easier.

Non-smokers who breathe in secondhand smoke take in nicotine and toxic chemicals the same way a smoker does. The more you are exposed to secondhand smoke, the higher the level of harmful chemicals in your body.

Tobacco smoke is a mixture of gases and particles containing more than 7000 chemical compounds; more than 250 are known to be harmful and 69 of them are known to cause cancer.

No level of secondhand smoke is safe. Every 2 in 5 children are exposed to secondhand smoke and one in four nonsmokers are exposed. Secondhand smoke causes death in over 41,000 nonsmokers each year. Exposure is most common in children ages 3 to 11, African Americans and those living below the poverty level.

Many states have smokefree laws which protect people in restaurants, bars and private worksites.

Avoiding secondhand smoke is important. Try to not be around people that smoke - even better try to encourage friends and family to quit smoking. Keep your home smoke free, especially if you have children.

For more information visit MMHD.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Causes of Stress

There are many things in life we can identify that cause stress; finances, schedules, illnesses and work. We know that stress can be a contributing factor to poor health. Studies find that it is not limited to the BIG stressors in our lives, the MILD stressors have also been found to pose long-term problems when it comes to health.

To help you identify what may be sneaking in as a stressor in your life, here is a list of some of the smaller issues you may not realize are bothering you.

  • Going to bed too late - the longer you put off your bedtime, the more likely you are to have negative thoughts, worries and low mood swings. It is recommended to start winding down and relaxing at least 2 hours before you plan on going to bed. Sit down and relax, read, unplug from technology and just keep things simple.
  • Not telling the truth - even the little white lie can interfere with quality mental health, physical well-being and even cause stomach issues.
  • Caffeine - We use caffeine as a stimulant, a way to perk up when we are tired. Unfortunately, we exceed the recommended intake of caffeine by doing so. Too much caffeine elevates anxiety, adrenaline, cortisol and blood pressure which actually can make us more sensitive to every day stressors.
  • Alcohol - What we may think of as a way to relax, actually can stimulate the release of cortisol and can intensify stress. Know your limits.
  • Exercise - Being physically active is great for your health, but there is a point when you can overdo it. If you push your body over the limit too often stress hormones can increase and change your mood.
  • Technology overload - give it a rest, if you never unplug, stress will increase.
  • Noise - Without even knowing it, noise can increase anxiety levels.
For more information on stress, visit MMHD's website.


Monday, February 23, 2015

The Scoop on Salt

You may not think you consume a lot of salt, especially if you don't add salt to your food. You may be getting more than you think. Most of the salt (sodium) consumed comes from processed and restaurant foods.

We need a small amount of sodium for the body to function properly, but too much can be hard on your health. Excess sodium can increase blood pressure and your risk for heart disease and stroke.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the everyone aged two and older should consume less than 2300 milligrams of sodium each day. People over 51 years old, African Americans and anyone with high blood pressure should limit their sodium intake to 1500 milligrams per day.  

Where is your sodium coming from?

The top six foods that add high levels of sodium to your diet might surprise you.
  • Breads and rolls
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Pizza
  • Poultry
  • Canned soups
  • Fast food sandwiches and burgers
Sodium is necessary to help keep normal body fluids in balance. You can keep your sodium intake at a manageable point by learning to read labels and control portions, include high fiber foods in your diet and experiment with other seasonings and spices. Low sodium versions of many foods are available.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Screening for Seniors

Men, Women, Children and Seniors all need preventative health screenings. As with the other age and gender groups, seniors may qualify for a yearly wellness visit and many preventative services for free under the Affordable Care Act.

If you are a senior that is new to Medicare, you will receive a "Welcome to Medicare" preventative visit with no cost during your first 12 month of Part B Coverage. This will serve as a review of your health, provide education and counseling about preventative services available to you.  If you have had Part B for longer than a year, you can receive annual wellness visits.

There are several other preventative services that also qualify including:
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Counseling
  • Screening for bone mass
  • Cervical cancer screening
  • Cholesterol and cardiovascular screenings
  • Diabetes screening
  • Flu, pneumonia and hepatitis B shots
  • Mammograms
  • Medical nutrition therapy to help manage diabetes or kidney disease
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • More available screenings

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Preventative Screenings for Children

Children are not exempt from preventative screenings. Under the Affordable Care Act many insurers are now required to provide preventative services at no cost.  
Children are entitled to 26 preventative services including developmental screenings and immunizations.
Regular health exams and screenings can help identify problems before they start. Many childhood health problems can be corrected before a child carries the issue into adulthood.
For more information about preventative health screenings under ObamaCare click here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Health Screening for Men

Just like women, men are covered for a variety of health screenings under the Affordable Care Act. These preventative services are provided without you having to pay a co-payment, co-insurance or towards meeting your deductible. The services need to be performed by one of your network providers.

Services covered for adult males include:
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • Alcohol Misuse
  • Aspirin use
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Depression screening
  • Type 2 diabetes screening
  • Diet Counseling
  • HIV screening
  • Immunization vaccines
  • Obesity screening
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tobacco use screening
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has put out a guideline for health screenings for men. For more information check our Preventative Health page.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Health Screening for Women

There are many preventative screening services that are covered by insurance companies at no cost under the Affordable Care Act. Women's preventative health screenings such as mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care and other services must be covered on health plans with no cost sharing.

Here's a list to review based on a 40 year old woman:

Blood Pressure Test - Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure. (lower that 120/80); test once a year if your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89. You should consult your physician about possible treatment if your blood pressure is over 140/90.

Bone Density Test - after age 50

Mammograms - This should be discussed with you physician. Standard recommendation is every 1-2 years.

Pap Test - Screening for cervical cancer should begin around age 18. In your 40's schedule a Pap test and HPV test every 5 years.

Chlamydia Test - Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at an increased risk.

Cholesterol Test - Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease. Consult your physician about frequency of testing.

Colorectal Cancer Screening -  Starting at age 50 your should be screened for colorectal cancer.

Diabetes Screening - If your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you are on medication for high blood pressure you should be screened for diabetes.

For a list of screenings for women covered under the Affordable Care Act click here.

For detailed information on Women's Health Screening see our link on the MMHD Preventative Health page

Read more here about what you need for your age - What tests do you need?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Smoking Increases Risk

If you smoke, you are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries, which can ultimately lead to a heart attack.

The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This can increase blood pressure and make your heart work harder to supply oxygen.

When trying to decrease risk of heart disease, no amount of smoking is safe, but the more you smoke the greater the risk.

There is good news; when you quit smoking your risk of heart disease drops to almost half within five years.

Non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke also see an increase of 25-30% in risk of heart disease. Breathing second hand smoke has immediate harmful effects on your cardiovascular system and can increase the risk of heart attack.

Smoking Cessation programs can help you to kick the habit. MMHD's Respiratory Department has an outpatient program to assist you with these needs.

Click here for more information on how to successfully quit smoking.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lower Cholesterol for a Healthy Heart

One of the biggest risk factors of heart disease is high cholesterol. Taking steps to lower your blood cholesterol level can help you avoid that risk.

When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up in the walls of your arteries. This causes arteries to narrow and the blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked.

There are two forms of cholesterol, HDL(good) and LDL(bad). LDL is the main source of artery clogging plaque. HDL actually works to clear cholesterol from the blood.

There are no real symptoms of high cholesterol, therefore a blood test is needed to determine if you are at risk. If you do have high cholesterol, taking steps to lower it will reduce your risk of heart disease.

There are some recommendations that say once you are 20 years old, you should have your cholesterol checked every 5 years.


There are many factors that affect your cholesterol level:
  • Diet
  • Weight
  • Exercise
  • Age and Gender
  • Heredity
  • Medical Conditions
  • Medications
Controlling your cholesterol includes a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Sometimes your physician will prescribe a medication to help with your cholesterol.

Some of the top cholesterol lowering foods are:
  • Oats
  • Barley and other whole grains
  • Eggplant and Okra
  • Nut
  • Canola, Sunflower and Safflower oils
  • Apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Fiber Supplements
Foods to avoid are ones that include saturated and trans fats.

Learn more about cholesterol...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Eat for a Healthy Heart


Eating right is one way you can help control the risk of heart disease. Although changing your eating habits can be hard, there are a few simple tips that can help get you started.

Portion Size
How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overeating results in extra calories, fat and cholesterol. Try to measure and keep track of your portions. Eating more low calorie, nutrient rich foods like fruits and vegetables can help fill you up and keep you from overdoing other portions.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals and are also loaded with fiber and are low in calories. Making more choices from this food group may help keep you away from other high fat choices. Make it easier by washing a prepping fruits and vegetables and having them handy for a meal or snack.
Include Whole Grains
Whole grains are also a good source of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. Try a variety such as couscous, quinoa or barley. Another way to get some whole grains in your diet is flaxseed. Try grinding the seeds and adding to yogurt, applesauce or cereal.  Try to limit refined flours, products made with white flours and snack foods such as cakes, pies, high fat crackers, etc.
Limit Unhealthy Fats and Cholesterol
Limiting saturated fats and trans fats is an important step in reducing your blood cholesterol and lowering your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to build up of plaques in your arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. The most effective way to limit these fats is to limit your intake of solid fats (butter, margarine, shortening) You can also choose lean meats, trim fat and use low fat substitutes whenever possible. Choose monounsaturated fats such as olive oil or canola oil.
Low Fat Protein
Lean meat, poultry, fish, low fat dairy and egg whites are great sources of low fat protein. Certain fish choices are rich in omega-3's which can lower blood fats. Other sources of omega-3's are walnuts, soybeans, canola and flaxseed. Beans, peas and lentils are also a good source of low fat protein. Try top avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and cold cuts, fried or breaded meats, high fat dairy and organ meats.
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Eating too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart healthy diet. It is recommended by the USDA that  healthy adults have no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day (1 teaspoon). People age 51 or older, African-Americans and those with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease should only have 1500 milligrams per day. One way to decrease your sodium is to avoid processed foods.
Plan Ahead
Planning allows you ta make healthy choices, avoid eating out and eating too much processed or fast food. Try creating menus, grocery lists and sticking to them.
Allow a Treat Once in a While
A treat every once in awhile won't hurt. Just don't use it for an excuse to get of track permanently.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Types of Heart Disease

There are many types of heart disease. It is important to know the signs and symptoms and understand each type of the disease. Each type may have similar warning signs, but may require different treatment.

Coronary Artery Disease - the most common being angina. This is America's #1 killer, affecting more than 13 million people.  It is a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries that leads to blockage.

Angina can be described as discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing or a painful feeling in your chest. It can be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn. You may also feel symptoms in the neck, shoulders, arms, throat, jaw or back. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, palpitations, faster heartbeat, weakness, dizziness, nausea and sweating.

Heart Attack - More than 1 million Americans have a heart attack every year. A myocardial infarction (MI) is permanent damage to the heart muscle.

Symptoms of a heart attack can include discomfort, pressure, heaviness or pain in the chest, arm, or below the breastbone. There also may be discomfort in the back, jaw, arm or throat. Other symptoms include fullness and indigestion, sweating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, anxiety shortness of breath and rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Arrhythmia - This means your heartbeat is irregular. Arrhythmias can be an emergency or they can be harmless. It could be caused by heart disease or other factors such as:
  • The wrong balance of electrolytes in your blood
  • Changes in your heart muscle
  • Injury form a heart attack
  • healing process after heart surgery
There are many types of arrhythmia. Symptoms include palpitations, pounding in your chest, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, chest discomfort weakness and fatigue.

Atrial Fibrillation - This type of heart disease is an irregular heartbeat that can increase the risk of stroke. Some people have no symptoms. The most common symptoms are heart palpitations, lack of energy, dizziness, chest discomfort and shortness of breath.

Heart Valve Disease - This occurs when the heart valves don't work properly. According to the American Heart Association, about 5 million Americans are diagnosed with this form of the disease each year.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, chest discomfort, palpitations. Symptoms of heart valve disease don't always relate to the seriousness of the condition.

There are several other types of heart disease including:
Consult your physician if you have questions or symptoms related to heart disease.

Monday, February 9, 2015

American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. One in four deaths are caused by heart disease. There is good news; heart disease can often be prevented. Simple steps like making healthy choices and managing health conditions can make all the difference.

American Heart Month is meant to provide awareness and education about heart disease and how people can prevent it.

What is Heart Disease?

Each type of heart disease has a different symptom, but there are also many similarities. Heart disease encompasses a number of abnormal conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels in the heart.

There are many tests that can diagnose possible heart disease.  These often depend on risk factors, history of heart problems and current symptoms.

Heart Disease Risk Factors: 
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Blood Cholesterol
  • Diabetes and pre-diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Being physically inactive
  • Family history of heart disease
  • History of preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Age 55 or older for women 
Stay tuned this week as our blog will discus ways you can prevent heart disease  Read more.

Friday, February 6, 2015

What are Oils?

What are oils? One thing they are not is a food group, but they do provide some essential nutrients.  Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature. Oils are derived from many different plants and fish.  Some of the more common oils are corn, canola, olive, safflower and soybean. There are other oils used primarily as flavoring - like walnut  and sesame oils.

Some foods consist mainly of oils such as mayonnaise, some salad dressings and soft margarine.

How much oil should you consume?
Often you consume enough oil through the foods you eat such as nuts, fish and salad dressings.


Oils differ from solid fats in that solid fats contain more saturated fats and trans fats. Oils contain more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  The saturated and trans fats tend to raise LDL "bad" cholesterol.

Oils found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils do not raise LDL.  In addition to the essential fatty acids found in oils, oils provide Vitamin E.

Although consuming oils is part of a balanced diet, they contain calories. (About 120 calories per tablespoon) The amount of oil consumed should be limited to balance your daily calorie intake.  

For more information visit MMHD.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Do You Do Dairy Daily?

Do you do dairy daily? Say that five times! Dairy products, if tolerated are an important part of your daily plate. Consuming dairy products provides many health benefits, especially improved bone health. Dairy products provide your body with needed calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein.

How much dairy do you need in a day? As with all of the other food groups, it depends on your age, gender and activity level. On the average it is recommended you consume about 3 cups per day. See the chart below to determine what counts as a cup of dairy.


The vitamins and nutrients provided from dairy products are an important part of the health and maintenance of your body.

  • Calcium is used for building bones and teeth and helps maintain bone mass.
  • Potassium helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • Vitamin D helps the body to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorus.
If you are intolerant to dairy products there are other sources of calcium including calcium fortified cereals, juices, breads and rice milk or almond milk. Additionally soy products, some beans and leafy greens contain calcium.

A balanced healthy meal plan is important. Including foods from all food groups should be a part of that plan.  For more information visit MMHD.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Protein Power

Protein provides fuel and is an important part of our daily diet. Most Americans get enough protein, but need to focus on making leaner protein selections.

Meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, soy products, nuts and seeds are all considered in the protein group. A variety of foods from the protein group can improve nutrient intake and health benefits.

The amount of protein needed varies on age, gender and activity level; but a good rule of thumb is 3 palm sized portions daily. One-quarter of your plate should include protein. From those protein choices, 8 ounces weekly should come from cooked seafood.

For one ounce portion equivalents see chart.  
Nutrients and Health Benefits:
Protein food choices not only provide essential protein, but B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc and magnesium.
  • Proteins are building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood
  • B Vitamins help the body release energy, play a role in the nervous system function, help build tissues and aid in the formation of red blood cells
  • Iron carries oxygen in the blood
  • Magnesium is used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles
  • Zinc is an essential part of the immune system
For more healthy tips visit MMHD.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

To Grain or Not to Grain?

There is a lot of talk about grains.  Should you eat them or not? If you are basing a healthy eating plan on USDA recommendations, 1/4 of your plate should consist of healthy grains.  Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or other cereal grain is a grain product. We get our grain portion from bread, pasta, cereal, tortillas, oatmeal, etc.

Grains are divided into 2 groups; whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains have the entire grain kernel. Refined grains are milled, which removes the bran and germ and also removes fiber, iron and many of the B vitamins.

Many refined grains are enriched which means certain vitamins and nutrients are added back to the grain after it has bee refined.

How much do you need?
The amount of grains you consume depends on factors such as your age, gender and level of activity.

A one ounce equivalent in the grain group is equal to 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cereal, 1/2 cup of rice, pasta or cooked cereal. At least half of the grains eaten should be whole grains.
Grains are an important source of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, several B vitamins and other minerals.
Health benefits of grains:
  • Consuming health grains may reduce the risk of heart disease
  • May assist with weight management
  • Will help with digestive process
More healthy tips at MMHD

Monday, February 2, 2015

Yes! Eat Your Fruits and Vegies!

Including fruits and vegetables in your daily food plan is important. People who eat fruits and vegetables are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. A balanced plate is half filled with fruits and vegetables. Do you get enough fruits and vegetables?

Fruit & Vegie Facts

  • Most fruits and vegies are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories and have no cholesterol
  • Fruits and vegies is a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and folic acid
  • Bananas, prunes, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honey dew and oranges are a great source of potassium. Vegies with potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomatoes, beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans. Potassium helps to maintain blood pressure.
  • Fruit  & Vegies = Fiber. Fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease. It also is essential with digestive function.
  • Vitamin C is essential for growth and repair of all body tissues, helping cuts and wounds heal, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
  • Vitamin A helps keep eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
  • Folic Acid helps the body form red blood cells.
Health Benefits:
  • Reduce risk of heart attack and stroke
  • May provide protection to some cancers
  • May reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • May lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of kidney stones and risk of bone loss
  • Lowers calorie intake
How to Eat More Fruits & Vegies:
  • Keep a bowl of fruit on the table
  • Peel, cut and refrigerate fruit and raw vegies to have ready when needed for a snack
  • When choosing canned fruit - select 100% natural juice
  • Vary your choices
  • Add fruit to cereals, yogurts, salads or other dishes
  • Eat fruit for dessert
  • Shred carrots, zucchini or other vegies into meatloaf, casseroles, quick breads, and sauces
  • Try grilling vegetables
Visit MMHD for more health information.