Modifiable health risk behaviors are the behaviors we engage in and we have the power to change. Commercials and advertisements love to scare us with facts and statistics into changing our behaviors. Although common, this isn’t always effective in motivating people to change. Personally, I believe in educating people on all aspects of health and that will ultimately empower someone to change their behaviors. Which brings us to two very broad questions. What behaviors and why change?
Lack of physical activity
Physical activity is different for everyone. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people have never tried it and think they hate it. Everyone has a different opinion. So what happens when we don’t exercise? Have you heard the phrase “use it or lose it” when talking about exercising your muscles?
When our muscles are unused for only a few days, the muscle mass begins to break down and does not repair itself like it would if you had been exercising. Think of that time you broke your arm and had it in a cast for a while. When you took the cast off, was your arm much smaller than the other? Yes! Our muscles are constantly building, tearing and repairing themselves and in order to achieve our optimal strength. Even in daily activities, physical activity and exercise are critical.
Why should you change? Disease is looming. Physical activity and exercise are an incredible natural medicine. When we start to get a cold, we begin taking Vitamin C and giving our bodies extra rest. Think about looming diseases in this sense and consider exercise as your immune system boost. As Latinas and women, we are at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other chronic diseases. When we aren’t getting our recommended amounts of physical activity, we are increasing our risk of potential disease.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, all adults should receive 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per week. Have you had enough? Did you know that cleaning, gardening and walking the dog are all moderate exercises? Intense physical activity is very different and your body needs it just as much. Studies show the benefits of moderate to high intensity work outs can reduce pain among patients with many diseases, even cancer. High intensity exercise increases your bone density as well which is something us women have to worry about. Avoid osteoporosis, look great and feel great.
Change your behavior and modify your health risks.
-The Healthy Latina
Happy Valentine’s Day Latinas! As you dive into a healthy amount of chocolates, receive gorgeous flowers and gaze deeply into los ojos del su amor, let’s take a minute to find out what the feeling of love really is.
What is love?
This crazy little thing called “love” is defined in many ways, different for every person and every culture. When you think about love, do you picture a person, think of a feeling or have an image of an object in your head? Some people may associate love with romantic feelings, but there is also compassionate love, feelings of infatuation, motherly love, and so many others.
There is a science behind love
Although we associate love with our hearts, the feeling is actually developed in the brain. When various chemicals are released in our brain, they react with neurotransmitters that trigger feelings and emotions. When these chemicals aren’t being produced or functioning properly, we experience complications because of it. It seems like a crazy concept, but our bodies are far more complex than we can imagine. Dopamine and Seratonin are chemicals that we remember hearing in our high school health classes, but do we really know how these chemicals affect our moods and feelings?
Dopamine is a neuotransmitter that not only helps regulate movement and emotional balances, but when released in certain areas of the brain, it gives you the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction.
Serotonin is what makes you feel calm and confident. Dopamine and Serotonin work together in dangerous ways. When you first start “falling in love with someone” your Dopamine levels spike significantly and your Serotonin levels drop drastically. Low Serotonin can cause feelings of obsession and anxiety, which is why every time your mind wanders while in love, you end up thinking about your novio. Fortunately, the high Dopamine levels allow these feelings to be a positive type of anxiety like butterflies in your stomach.
Norepinephrine is the reason you stay up all night hablando con su amor and why love makes you weak at the knees. It is a stress hormone that controls your attention and your responding actions, according to Helen Fisher, a professor at Rutgers University.
Pheremones are odorless chemicals found in sweat and may hone the ability to entice members of the opposite sex. Ongoing studies have proven that the chemicals play an integral role in attracting mates for animals and insects, but the effects in humans are still unclear.
Oxytocin is a chemical that strongly affects women and their “social bonding.” In a study by neuroscientist Larry Young, high levels of Oxytocin enhance social bonding in women and in men, a similar hormone called vasopressin promotes bonding and fatherly behaviors. Another study by Paul Zak, a researcher at Claremount Graduate University suggests that Oxytocin encourages people to form relationships, trust other people and empathize.
Whether you are single or in a relationship today, celebrate Valentine’s Day with a new found understanding of your brain and the crazy science of love. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
-The Healthy Latina
February is National Heart Health Month! While everyone else is out shopping for the perfect gift for their amor, take some time this month to show your own corazon some love. Your heart is the most important muscle in your body to care for and protect. Next time your novio makes your heart skip a beat, think about what’s really happening to your corazon.
Why heart health?
Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-hispanic women according to the American Heart Association.More women die of heart disease in the United States than all cancers combined.
What is heart disease?
When we think of heart disease, it’s easy to automatically assume we’re talking about heart attacks and leave it at that. Heart disease can come in many shapes and forms as well as under many different names. Also referred to as coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and heart infections, heart disease can also be heart defects you are born with (congenital heart disease) and even irregular heart beats. Cardiovascular disease is a type of heart disease that can lead to stroke, heart attack and chest pains.
How to prevent heart disease?
Heart disease does not have a cure, but that does not mean it can’t be prevented. As Latinas, we are already at a higher risk than other populations because of our genes, so we absolutely need to focus on prevention.
Friday was National Wear Red Day to support healthy hearts around the nation. Since we already look great in red, take some time to check out different eventshappening in your area and let your loved ones know about heart disease. It can be prevented, so show your own heart some love and start with you!
-The Healthy Latina
We’ve all been there. Trapped. In the kitchen. Surrounded by delicious calorie packed traps that go straight to your thighs. And sadly, it’s that time of year again.
The football loving members of our families have been looking to this day for months and all you can think of is the new dress you bought for Valentine’s Day and how hard it’s going to be to squeeze into. Be strong, chica. You can face this thing (and all the calorie packed snacks that come with it) and succeed!
Here’s a few helpful hints to help you get through the display of team themed platters and football shaped delights.
There’s an app for that
Just because you’ve been put in charge of an appetizer for 20 of your novio’s closest friends and their significant others doesn’t mean you have to fret or settle for something with 500 calories per serving. Check out these SuperBowl recipes for Latin flavors with skinny results.
Easy Creamy Salsa
This is a go to favorite in mi familia. We are all cream cheese obsessed and find a way to sneak those extra calories into everything. Here’s a lighter version with the same amount of taste.
1 Can of your favorite salsa (or homemade if you have some)
2 blocks of Nufchatel Cheese (1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese)
Start by cubing the cheese into 6 pieces per block. Place these cubes into a microwavable safe bowl and heat for 1 minute or until creamy. Stir the cheese so there are no cubes left and combine with the salsa. Serve with whole grain tortilla chips and divulge in a low calorie dip that you won’t make you feel guilty.
I love ceviche almost as much as I love shopping. It is the perfect blend of refreshing flavors like cilantro with bold favorites like avocado and shrimp. For the SuperBowl, this recipe is perfect replacement for the normal 7 layer bean dip. Check out this recipe from Cooking Light for ceviche de camaron.
The Latina veggie platter
A woman I work with gave me this recipe and I was instantly addicted. It is a simplistic replacement to the normal onion or ranch dip and pairs perfectly with any of your favorite vegetables.
2 cups of sour cream
1/2 chicken bouillon cube
2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
1/2 bag of mini carrots
1 container of cherry tomatoes
Feel free to swap out any of the veggies for whatever you have on hand. After washing the vegetables, begin slicing and seeding the bell peppers and place in a sectioned party platter. Add the rest of the veggies as well. In a football festive bowl, combine the 2 cups of sour cream and the 1/2 chicken bouillon cube and stir until completely combined. That’s it!
It doesn’t matter which team will win or lose the game. You’ve got the recipes for a slim soiree which is better than any football match up. Enjoy!
-The Healthy Latina
You Are What You Eat: Gordita Edition
We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat” as you reach for that extra enchilada smothered in chile and queso. But just because you eat a gordita, doesn’t mean you have to turn into a gordita.
As Latinas, our families are such a huge part of our lives! And we know all too well they are willing to share their opinion, especially about our weight. So when your tío says, “you’re no tortilla chip” for the thousandth time, you start to rethink the extra enchilada… and that side of beans… and the flan your abuelita made.
The crazy thing about losing weight is that you can eat real food and things that you want and still lose weight. It’s all about balance. A few key tips to remember are as follows.
Make a Plan
Going to the grocery store and grabbing everything you see is never a good idea. Make a list of what you need (clip the coupons for those items if you have time) and evaluate what it is you are eating. If you eat mostly high fat, red meat, think about swapping that out for a low fat pork or chicken. When you know what you are eating and take the time to evaluate the food you put into your body, the healthy choices come easier.
Mi Bisabuela always used a ton of lard in her cooking. It tastes great, but it’s not great for you. A healthier version would be to swap out lard for vegetable oil. Fresh fruitas y verduras are great for your body inside and out! Avocados are a Latina Superfood. They offer 20 essential nutrients like fiber, Vitamins E and B and have a healthy amount of fat your body needs. (They also make your skin look great!) Look for ways to lighten the heaviness of every meal.
A bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos may be your favorite snack, but it’s not something you should eat everyday between meals. Think fruits and veggies with a little humus for protein and fullness or baked chips with sea salt. Whole grain tortilla chips with salsa are great and great for you! Just because you’re looking to lose weight doesn’t mean you have to skip out on taste.
-The Healthy Latina
I’m going to say something revolutionary: you are not your age, your weight, your hair, your skin or your clothes.You are not your favorite magazine’s opinion of you, you’re not what your ex-boyfriend thought of you or what your current boyfriend thinks you should be. You aren’t any of that. It’s that simple. Really. — Hello Giggles (article by Jennifer Still)
(Source: everythinghereisnonsense, via hellogiggles)
For anyone who has seen Modern Family, Gloria or more fondly known as Sofia Vergara, is so easy to love. She has beauty, influence and the strength of a woman who has been through it all. She is truly a health inspiration to women of any culture or region. We love watching her hilarious character on Modern Family, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Sofia Vergara.
Sofia was featured in Health Magazine in December and talked about self image, sterotypes and offered some health tips.
Now, Sofia and Oscar De La Hoya have teamed up to launch a health website aimed at Latinos, she said in an interview with Primera Hora. The website is called SuperVida and will feature health information and resources for health issues that affect the Latino community. It is scheduled to launch in 2012. And to be honest, I can’t wait!
-The Healthy Latina
biggirl-skinnymind asked: Hi I love the blog, as a fellow latina I will love to see how can I eat my favorite latin food without the calories. Thanks, saludos desde mexico ;)
Muchas Gracias! I’ll definitely continue on the series with recipes for low calorie dishes! Any requests? I couldn’t possibly survive without my favorite foods! Thanks for following!
As ladies, we get left out of the protein craze because we’re surrounded by products marketed toward the bodybuilding machismos of the world. We can easily forget the importance of such an important aspect to our nutrition.
What is protein?
Protein is essential to maintaining and building muscle and keeping your body healthy. Protein is in every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies and are constantly breaking down and needing to be replaced, which is where eating protein comes in. When you eat protein rich foods, your body pulls amino acids from the protein and nourishes your cells. Your body doesn’t produce 8 amino acids that you still need to get from the food you eat. “Pure proteins” are what foods with the 8 essential amino acids are called. My favorite pure protein is edamame, or more commonly known as soybeans. They are surprisingly delicious!
How much protein do we need?
The Harvard School of Public Health has great resources on how much protein you need for your weight and the benefits of getting the right amount.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day—that’s about 64 grams for a 160 pound adult. In the U.S., adults get an average of 15 percent of their calories from protein; for a person who requires a 2,000-calorie-per-day-diet, that’s about 75 grams of protein. In healthy people, increasing protein intake to 20 to 25 percent of calories can reduce the risk of heart disease, if the extra protein replaces refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, or sugary drinks. Higher protein diets can also be beneficial for weight loss, combined with a reduced calorie diet.
Where can we find protein?
Protein is found in the following foods:
Next time you reach for a snack, think about grabbing a handful of unsalted almonds, steamed edamame or a glass of low-fat chocolate milk. And then show those machismos who’s boss without needing the help of protein shakes.
-The Healthy Latina
Eating healthy can change your life, but only if you know how to make the right health choices. Despite what every magazine, diet book or commercial tells you, there is such a thing as eating what you want and still being healthy!
This will be a series of posts on healthy eating, but feel free to add in your triumphs or troubles with food in the ask box.
For a little background info, check out the new food pyramid! (Seriously, it’s new and improved) Para que lo ayuda mira aqui.
Adios para ahora,
The Healthy Latina