The Importance of Healthcare in Our Life

In our day to day life, it’s our health that gets completely neglected, because we don’t have time for ourselves. We feel that we are healthy and taking proper healthcare measures, but at times this belief turns out to be an illusion. This happens, especially when our hectic lifestyle takes a toll on our health and we fall ill. Sometimes we get diagnosed with such diseases that make us wonder if that could actually happen to us. But then, illness comes unannounced, and this is why we should always be prepared for worst of all situations.

Taking proper healthcare measures is important and that is why it is advisable to take health insurance. Being covered with health insurance proves to be helpful when there is a need of any sort of medical assistance. Health insurance helps in saving a little amount for an individual’s unforeseen future illness. But, people don’t usually think like this when it comes to insurance.

One needs to understand that good health is the real wealth, and this is why it is important to take care of your health. People need to accept the fact that buying health insurance is not an added expenditure; instead it is your own savings that enable you to face a sudden medical emergency with complete ease in future. Buying health insurance secures your future and even keeps the mind at peace.

There are many insurance companies offering different type of plans. But, before heading for any insurance plan, it is important to know which insurance plan shall suit you. This is decided by many factors such as, income group, money spending trend, medical history, premium amount, etc. It is necessary to thoroughly analyze an insurance policy before investing the money. Furthermore, it is important to know the inclusions of the insurance policy that is being offered. After all, it’s health insurance which is being talked about.

At times people feel that they are completely fit and tend to excuse themselves from buying health insurance. But people forget that accidents can also happen. Accidents cannot be predicted and they are the most unfortunate of all medical emergencies. But, having a medical insurance helps a lot, as it eases off the burden of medical expense. However, medical insurance is not all about getting relaxation in one’s medical expenses, but it’s also about being able to avail best possible healthcare treatments at a reasonable cost.

Taking health insurance helps in significantly bringing down the cost of healthcare. In addition to this, healthcare expenses are not just limited to hospitalization; instead it also includes the cost of room rent, ambulance expenses, anesthesia, diagnostic procedures, surgical appliances, medicines, diagnostic procedures, etc.

Having health insurance proves to be beneficial especially when one wants to avail tax benefits; this is the major motivation that pushes one towards buying health insurance. But, this should not be the only reason for purchasing insurance. People should think beyond tax benefits and learn about actual benefits of buying health insurance. After all a healthy person is that, who enjoys life with a free mind and spirit.

Healthy living is leads to a happy life and everyone wants it. So, in our hectic life we must take some measures to secure our and our loved one’s future. Where we save for a vacation, property, education, etc. it is also important to think about health. At times people, buy tend to go for insurance at a later age. But that should not be the case. People, should be well aware of a waiting period that is attached to insurance and thus should prefer buying a suitable insurance policy at a much younger age in life. This proves to be a cost effective decision. The main reason for this is that, the premium amount is lower if a policy is bought at an early age in one’s life. With Apollo Munich one can get hold of comprehensive health plans at an affordable premium. Also, the health insurance plans offered by Apollo Munich provide numerous benefits, such as cashless hospitalization, portability benefit, critical illness coverage, etc.

Antioxidant Products

This effectively minimizes rancidity, retards lipid oxidation, without any damage to the sensory or nutritional properties, resulting in maintaining quality and shelf-life of meat products. However, intrinsic factors are available in live muscle to prevent lipid oxidation. These factors are often lost after slaughtering during conversion of muscle to meat, primary/secondary processing, handling, or storage of meat products, necessitating further supplementation with extrinsic antioxidants.

For this reason, synthetic antioxidants, such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), were extensively used to delay, retard, or prevent the lipid oxidation by scavenging chain-carrying peroxyl radicals or suppressing the formation of free radicals. However, because of the concern over the safety of these synthetic compounds, extensive work is being carried out to find novel and naturally occurring compounds to delay the oxidative degradation of lipids, improve quality, and maintain the nutritional value of foods. Thus, natural antioxidants have greater application potential in the meat industry because of the consumers’ acceptability over the synthetic antioxidants. However, the application of plant extracts, herbs, spices, and essential oils with antioxidant effects is still distant for the major reasons of limited data about their effects in different meat products.

The meat industry is demanding antioxidants from natural sources to replace synthetic antioxidants because of the negative health consequences or beliefs regarding some synthetic antioxidants. Fruits, vegetables, by-products, and other plant materials provide good alternatives. Some of these antioxidants, apart from oxidation inhibition, may also affect other quality attributes positively or negatively, and ultimately affect consumer acceptability of the product. It has been shown that treatment with some natural sources can cause changes in the color of meat or meat products. Spices have shown to affect the flavor profile of treated meat and poultry products. Depending on the product, these flavors may be viewed as negatively or as positively by sensory panels. Some ingredients negatively affect the technological properties of meat and meat products, such as texture and emulsion properties. The safe edible use of these natural sources also depends on their health-related issues because some of these may also contain anti-nutritional or even toxicological factors. Thus, while establishing a new source of natural antioxidant for use in the meat and meat product at small, medium, or commercial level, following should be considered:

  • The in vitro antioxidant activity should be based on various different analytical techniques. The activity should also be confirmed in targeted products during various processing conditions; thus, the effects of cooking, pressure, product ingredients, and so on, on antioxidant potential should be confirmed.
  • The active ingredients/molecules of crude, concentrated or/and raw material should also be identified, and efficient conditions for extraction/separation of that particular molecule possessing potent antioxidant activity should be studied.
  • Apart from oxidation inhibition, other product attributes should also be considered. Thus, the overall cumulative effect of identified antioxidants should be evaluated in different products before reaching to a conclusion. For example, if one source is a very potent antioxidant, it can also affect the color and sensory properties negatively and lower the acceptability of the final product; then a proper conclusion should be drawn to establish these negative implications. Some natural antioxidants are also sensitive to light, temperature, and pH which results in reduction of antioxidant potential. Thus, future studies should also be directed towards exploring the storage and processing environment effects on the antioxidative potential of natural antioxidants.
  • Economics is the other main factor on which sustainability of any industry depends. Thus, economical extraction conditions should be well addressed relative to yield, time, infrastructure requirements, treatment materials, as well as the availability of natural sources. The correlation between economics of antioxidant use and economics of oxidation spoilage should also be considered before making any conclusion for the meat industry.
  • Mere conclusions based on in vitro, in vivo, or in producto antioxidant activity is not suitable when new unconventional antioxidant sources are discovered. Thus, nutritional and toxicological studies (in vitro/in vivo) must be done to ascertain the safe edible use of these natural sources. This is the most important point because the meat industry is rejecting synthetic antioxidants on the basis of negative health-related issues; thus, while accepting new natural antioxidants, these must be analyzed for the same health-related consequences.

Learn to Relax and Have Fun Playtime Outdoors

Connect with nature and get your regular dose of natural stress relief while you’re at it! This we should memorize as a daily mantra.

I talk a lot about getting outdoors to move, do your exercise and have fun while you are at it. Most of us don’t follow my advice, sometimes (because of work); I don’t follow my own advice. But I try damn hard to, because I know how much better it makes me feel.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is not just about eating healthy food (if you know what that is) and working out all the time. It’s about being aware of your life and moments throughout your day, and it’s about taking time for you, relaxing, doing fun things alone or with family and friends. The more time you spend focusing on your inner well being and the more you look after you, the better you are going to feel. This will result in a more “productive you” at work and a more “fun you” to be around. People who don’t get out, just stare at a screen all day and night, nor make an effort on weekends to break the mould and do something different, are mostly bitter people who think they have all the cards stacked against them and things are unfair. Well, they don’t at all; they stack them that way with their own self-destructive behaviour. Get out and make an effort!

As a Health Coach with my own story of recovery from depression and being overweight, I can really attest to this being a major factor in the process of getting well again and finding that healthy lifestyle, for real.

Many of us think we are healthy, maybe because you hit the gym every day, or think you eat loads of salad. Not so fast, too much hard exercise actually harms your overall health and well being. What we need is a good dose of balance with everything we do.

But first we need to draw up a menu of everything we “should” be doing and check it daily and weekly to make sure are doing it right.

That menu should include

  • Eat well (and I mean follow the keto diet to become ketogenic). This will in itself become a lifestyle habit for you that you will not want to break. Once you learn how to achieve this and get there, it’s the most amazing feeling.
  • Workouts and Fitness Routines need to be carefully coordinated so that you do not over exercise, as so many people do everyday worldwide. Your whole body fitness program may need a total adjustment.
  • Set up an “efficient” cardio and weight training program, but do not over exercise.
  • Schedule alone time in your calendar for reading and meditating.
  • Schedule Play and Fun time alone or with friends and family.
  • Make sure you breath take note of what’s going on during your day while you are living it, or you may just miss it and become automated. This is MINDFULNESS; we need to adopt a mindful mind. This will help you take more enjoyment out of any given situation and deal with difficult ones more effectively.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9890503

Three Questions To Answer If You Are Thinking About Varicose Vein Surgery

If you are one of the many who suffer from the varicose curse, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are now more ways to find treatment for your ailment. Technology and medical expertise has come a long way towards specializing in vascular treatment. However, as treatments become more common and more centers open up, you have to make decisions and choose from the best options. This is especially important if you are going to have surgery. Here are three questions to answer if you are thinking about varicose vein surgery.

  1. Is it necessary?

It is not uncommon for hospitals and specialized treatment centers to jump straight to the option of having surgery. Usually going with this option makes sure the problem gets taken care of while also providing the hospital or center a sizeable profit. However, just because surgery can take care of an issue, doesn’t mean it is the optimal solution. There are various other treatment options that exist for a range of subtle differences when dealing with veins.

  • Laser Light Therapy: Laser light therapy is an option for those suffering from spider veins of birthmarks. During this procedure a strong light is used to create energy that gets selectively absorbed into the vascular tissue. This destroys this type of tissue only and eventually your body absorbs it. Several treatments are necessary but it is overall painless and easy to recover.
  • Endovenous Ablation: For a non surgical and more minimally-invasive option, endovenous ablation may be a good solution. In this procedure a very tiny catheter is inserted into the knee and into a problem vein. A fiber that emits radiofrequencies is funneled inside the entire length of the vein. This causes it to seal which allows for the redirection of blood and nutrients to other healthy ones.
  1. Pick a quality doctor with experience.

If you have to have surgery and all other options have been exhausted, take your time finding the proper doctor to conduct the surgical procedure. A quality doctor will be well credentialed and have plenty of general medical experience but will have special training and specialization in the treatment of vascular diseases. Ideal doctors will have plenty of experience working under trained specialists and cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons as well as have numerous published articles and research in related fields. Overall, you want someone who has the experience to make sure your treatment starts and ends as easily as possible.

  1. Support staff.

Many people overlook the importance of a high quality and helpful staff. There is nothing worse than having a procedure and being left with questions and concerns and having no ability to contact or reach your doctor or nurse for help. High quality treatment centers make sure their staff are well-trained, knowledgeable, friendly, and able to assist you with your recover needs after your surgery. This makes all the difference in having a wonderful experience that you can easily recover from, or having a horrendous one filled with complications. Do not overlook the importance of a well-organized organization staffed with great people.

Chemical Poisoning

Despite taking precautions like labeling poisonous chemicals and keeping them out of the sight and reach of children, chemical poisoning emergencies do arise. Let us prepare ourselves for the quick and decisive action that is called for.

Domestic chemical poisons can be divided into three categories: 1. Corrosives like acids and alkalis. 2. Petroleum products. 3. Pesticides.

There are three ways that poisonous chemicals can get into the human system and wreak their havoc. They may be taken in

  1. through the mouth (ingested)
  2. through the nose (inhaled) or
  3. through the skin (absorbed)

Depending on the concentration dosage and duration of exposure, these poisons (especially corrosives) do the most harm when they are ingested as they impair the mouth, foodpipe (esophagus) and stomach and, if aspirated, even the lungs, thus impairing breathing.

But whatever the chemical, and whether it is ingested or inhaled, if the person is semi-conscious, unconscious or convulsing, do not give any fluids or try to induce vomiting. If he is semi-conscious or unconscious, make him lie on his side so that the fluid drains out and stay by his side. Contact an ambulance service or try to get him to a hospital a soon as possible.

If the person is conscious, look for specific symptoms of chemical poisoning like burn marks or swelling around the mouth, increased salivation, constricted pupils, a pungent smell or spray paint on the face and hands. (Many non-specific symptoms like vomiting, mental confusion, breathlessness, convulsions and even coma may be mistaken for other acute illnesses.)

Though, in most cases, antidotes are indicated by the manufacturer on the packaging of domestic products that can cause poisoning, they are not always accurate or adequate. Nevertheless, locating the container helps in ascertaining the nature of the poisonous chemical so that suitable first aid measures can be taken.

The specific measures depend upon the category in which the chemical falls:

CORROSIVES

ACIDS

Some acids in common domestic use are: hydrochloric acid, bleach (sodium hypochlorite and oxalic acid), toilet bowl cleaner (sulphuric acid), and phenyl (carbolic acid).

Symptoms of acid poisoning: Scalding, and hence a burning pain around the lips and the mouth, palate, the tongue and, most probably, the hands. Acids act on clothes by completely eating them away, giving the impression that holes have been cut out. The person may also cough and get breathless.

How to treat:

DON’T

  • Induce vomiting by pressing a finger down the throat or making the person drink saline water: the convulsive movements of vomiting put a strain on the walls of the stomach and may perforate it. If the stomach gets perforated and the acid leaks into the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity, it could prove fatal. Besides, if vomiting is induced, on its return journey up the esophageal tract, the acid will compound the damage.
  • Give an alkali (like soda bicarb) in the hope of neutralizing the acid. The equally corrosive alkali will aggravate the damage done by the acid. Besides, the chemical reaction that takes place between the two will release carbon dioxide which will bloat the stomach and increase the chances of peroration.

WHAT TO DO:

If the person appears to have difficulty breathing or if he has stopped breathing, give mouth-to-mouth respiration. This is done by positioning the person flat on his back on a hard surface. Kneeling at his side, place one hand under his neck and the other on his forehead and gently tilt his head back so the chin points up. Pinch the nose shut and give four quick breaths at the rate of twelve times a minute or once every five seconds for an adult; and twenty times per minute or once every three seconds for a small child or infant.

If the person begins to vomit, turn his head to one side to allow the vomitus to drain out so that it does not enter the airway.

If the person is convulsing, keep calm and place a padded object such as handkerchief between his teeth to prevent him from biting his tongue or cheek. Don not force his jaw open if he has already clamped it shut. Loosen tight clothing. Once the convulsive movements stop, turn him on his side to allow his tongue to fall forward and excess saliva to drain out of his mouth.

If the person is in shock, the symptoms will include: shallow breathing, weak pulse, nausea and vomiting, shivering, pale, moist skin, dropping eyelids, dilated pupils, mental confusion and even collapse. Keep the victim lying down and elevate his feet by about 12 inches. Maintain normal body temperature. Give nothing by mouth.

If the person is conscious and is not convulsing, quickly give about three tablespoons of vegetable oil, or milk cream, or melted butter or the white of an egg. They partly neutralize the acid and form a protective coating along the lining of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and stomach to prevent further damage.

If the acid has entered the eyes and the person wears contact lenses, remove the lenses first and flush with plenty of water. If only one eye is contaminated, turn the head so that the injured side is down and flood the inner corner with cool water for at least five minutes. Or, hold the eye under a stream of cold water from a tap, making sure the acid does not wash into the other eye. Cover with clean gauze but not with absorbent cotton (the fibres can get lodged in the eye.)

Similarly, wash off any acid from the skin with plenty of water preferably under a tap or shower.

Remove contaminated clothing. Rush the person to the hospital to minimize late complications like narrowing of the esophagus which involves long-term surgical measures for correction.

Alkalis

In the domestic setting, these may be found in drain cleaners (sodium hydroxide), button batteries (sodium and potassium hydroxide), and products containing ammonia.

Symptoms: Since alkalis are also corrosive, the symptoms will be the same as in the case of acids, only the membranes of the mouth appear white and swollen, instead of scalded.

How to treat:

The action to be taken is also similar, only don’t five an acid in the hope of neutralizing the alkali as its corrosive action will worsen the damage.

Button batteries if swallowed are removable with a gastroscope (inserted into the stomach through the mouth) or through surgery.

PETROLEUM PRODUCTS

These include gasoline, kerosene, benzene, lighter fluid, furniture polish and paraffin.

Symptoms: Burning irritation in the throat, coughing, breathlessness and possibly shock.

DON’T

  • Induce vomiting as the poison could enter the lungs via the windpipe on its way up and induce chemical pneumonia.
  • Give water. Petroleum products, because of their low density, float on water, which increases the chances of their entering the lungs and causing chemical pneumonia.

How to treat:

If he has difficulty breathing or has stopped breathing, give mouth-to-mouth respiration.

Treat for shock, if necessary.

Only the absence of the symptoms listed above (an indication that a small quantity has been ingested) should the person be inducted to vomit.

As there is no specific antidote, it’s important to take the person to a hospital as soon as possible.

PESTICIDES

These fall into two categories:

  1. Organophosphorus compounds. All cockroach and bug repellents come in this category.
  2. This category includes DDT (an organochlorine insecticide), moth repellent, also called naphthalene balls (hydrocarbons), and rodenticides or rat poison (phosphide).

Symptoms: A strong, pungent smell pre-dominates.

Since the chemical stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, it brings on a constriction of the pupils and increased salivation. It may also bring on nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, drowsiness, sweating, convulsions and even coma.

How to treat:

If the person has difficulty breathing, give mouth-to-mouth respiration.

Induce vomiting by giving two glasses of water with at least two teaspoonful of common salt stirred into each glass. If the person does not vomit, give more of this solution until he vomits and the vomitus stops smelling of the poison. Children who cannot easily be induced to drink such a solution should be forced to vomit by pressing a finger down their throat.

Collect the vomitus and take it, along with the container of the product, to the hospital.

Do not delay transporting the victim. As the chemical stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, it brings on increased motility (movements) of the gastrointestinal tract, and if the poison travels from the stomach to the small bowel it will cause further damage.

WHEN POISONS ARE INHALED:

Chemical poisoning can be caused by inhaling gases such as carbon monoxide, volatile liquids like gasoline, turpentine and paints, or the fumes from acids or from pesticides such as cockroach and mosquito repellents or DDT.

Carbon monoxide collects due to incomplete combustion of gasoline in a car, particularly when it is left in a closed garage with its motor running; or when heating equipment, including gas ranges, are used in poorly-ventilated rooms.

Signs and Symptoms: Coughing

Rapid or slow pulse

Irritation or burning of the eyes

A burning sensation in the mouth, nose, throat and chest

A burning or itching in the underarms, groin and other moist areas of the body

Severe headache

Nausea and vomiting

Another helpful indication is the presence of spray paint or other substances on the person’s face.

However, it is important to realize that carbon monoxide, being odourless and tasteless, will give rise to practically no symptoms except headache. It may, however, cause the lips and cheeks of a fair-skinned victim to turn red.

How to treat:

Take a gulp of fresh air before entering a dangerously-polluted room.

Get the person away from the contaminated air and into fresh, clean air.

If the person is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth respiration promptly.

If he is conscious and breathing, ask him to take deep, slow breaths.

Loosen his clothing, using minimal contact, so as to avoid getting skin burns.

Get the person to a hospital a soon as possible.

WHEN POISONS ARE ABSORBED:

Poisonous chemicals which fall in this category include organophosphorus compounds (cockroach and bug repellents), fungicides, rodent poison, wood preservatives, paints, varnishes, paint thinners, waxes and polishes, motor oil and de-greasers and aerosols (spray insecticides). Absorbed poisons usually irritate or damage the skin. However, if they are highly concentrated and absorbed in large amounts, they can enter the blood-stream via the blood vessels under the skin and bring on the same symptoms as if the poisons were ingested.

Symptoms: Skin reactions from mild irritation to burns.

Itching

Irritation of the eyes

Headache

How to treat:

Carefully brush off any dry chemicals from the skin.

Wash the areas exposed to the poison with plenty of water. Remove all contaminated clothing, shoes and accessories, including jewellery, wrist watch, etc.

Then, once again wash the affected areas with soap and water.

Transport the person to a hospital.

Study Reveals How to Reprogram Cells in Our Immune System

Our immune system is calibrated to provide us with specific protection shields against harmful diseases, and other conditions too. On being influenced by the excessive active cells and intruder cells, interfering with its physical functions, our immune system is more likely to lose its strength to fight diseases, and as a result it causes a range of autoimmune diseases or different types of leukemia.

Immune cells mostly referred to as T cells can reverse the effects of these defective cells and reinstate the balance through a reprogram technique. With a reprogram technique manipulating the performances of certain immune cells, we can remain unaffected to the prevalence of different diseases, including cancers and psoriasis. This also fosters the development of new treatment options.

This is how the scientists at the Gladstone Institute have expressed about their latest findings. A renowned journal Nature has published about this metabolic mechanism in an elaborate way.

How Much Effective Is the Whole Method Of Reprogramming T Cells?

The whole method of manipulating T cells or immune cells, advocates for the reduction of anti-inflammatory reactions, developed in the immune system through pro-inflammatory genes. So, the inflammation causing factors in the immune system could be curtailed using this modification theory.

On the basis of the findings, there are two types of cells termed as Effector T cells and Regulatory T cells. These two cells play a key role in regulating our whole immune system. The Effector T cells build a shield against the pathogens so as to protect us from the vulnerability to infections, once the immune system gets charged up. The Regulatory T cells on the other hand, restrict further attacks of the pathogens to the healthy parts of our body.

With Regulatory T cells being converted into Effector T cells under the influence of reprogramming technique, a molecule drug appears to be a great precursor in the whole process. So, this method seems to be effective in converting one cell into another cell type.

The conversion methods show promise to find the etiology of the disease, especially auto-immune diseases, making it possible to eradicate the diseases from its root. Say, when effector T cells are charged up excessively in the body in the presence of autoimmune disease, the T cells expose the body to harmful effects. But by converting these Regulatory T cells, the balance of the immune system can be reinstated, followed by the reduction of hyperactivity.

Treatment for Immune-Oncology

Another way, the study is intensifying our hopes against the deadly effects of cancers and tumor related disorders. We can achieve a better outcome for immune-oncology and cancer treatments. The process is ineffective in influencing the cancer cells though; it defies its attacks on the activation of the immune system.

Since cancer cells seem to be stronger to influence Regulatory T cells, they make a room in the immune system for the growth, and hence, the detection becomes quite tough. But, the findings could help us in detecting cancerous cells and destroying them by strengthening the immune system through a conversion of Effector T cells from Regulatory T cells.

More Scopes for Stem Cell Therapies

It also brings a revolutionary milestone for stem cell therapies. With the development of Regulatory T cells, we could reverse the effects of graft-versus-host-disease, and also make our body adjust to the newly-transplanted cells.

With a reprogram technology for immune system, we could defend ourselves from a range of diseases, once which were termed as unavoidable medical cases. Hence, we can live our dream to make a disease-free world in the future.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9913136

How to Dine Out and Stay Healthy

What these researchers found out about fast food was pretty impressive, from a (bad) health perspective: Each one of those speedy breakfasts, lunches, or dinners contained an average of more than 1,750 milligrams (mg) of sodium.

To put these findings in perspective, consider that the new U.S. government dietary guidelines recommend that a person consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium–over the course of a whole day. Would you be shocked if I also told you that over half of those 6,500 single meals (57 percent of them) contained more sodium than the 1,500 mg daily supply?

Far too much salt

And how much sodium does the human body really require in a day? Only about 500 mg. And yet, the experts estimate that the average American swallows between 6,900 mg and 9,000 mg of sodium every day.

Since 1 teaspoon of salt contains roughly 2,000 mg of sodium, this means that the average American is downing up to 4 1/2 teaspoons of salt each and every day! If a high-sodium diet can leave you feeling bloated, what must these folks be feeling?

A hazardous substance

For people sensitive to sodium, such as those with a family history of hypertension, people with diabetes, African Americans, and the elderly, the accumulation of too much salt in the body can be particularly risky–it can, for example, increase one’s chances of getting heart disease, a leading killer. Add to this the fact that about half the people with high blood pressure aren’t even aware that they have hypertension–and, Houston, we’ve got a problem here.

Consuming less sodium in restaurants

Now that you know that restaurant food in particular is laden with piles of sodium, maybe it’s time for us all to review the tips given by the American Heart Association (AHA) to reduce sodium intake when dining out:

  • Get to know which foods are low in sodium, and look for them on the menu.
  • Ask for your dish to be prepared without salt.
  • When you order, be specific about how you want your food prepared.
  • Don’t add salt to your food. Instead of the salt shaker, reach for the pepper shaker.
  • Ask for fresh lemon and squeeze its juice onto your dish instead of using salt. (Lemon juice goes well with fish and vegetables, for example.)

And consume less fat as well

As always, we’ve got to also continue to keep track of the calories and fat when dining out. What should your daily target be for calories and fat? The AHA now recommends that most adults, besides limiting their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, consume no more than about 2,000 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat (the artery-clogging kind) each day.

Healthy options are possible–even at McDonald’s (sort of)

So how are you supposed to navigate the unhealthy meals being dished out by so many of today’s eating establishments? If you find yourself at a McDonald’s, for example, what can you do to stay healthy? The medical and health news publisher WebMD recommends steering clear of the fatty offerings and going with the Egg McMuffin, which totals

  • 300 calories
  • 12 grams of fat (5 grams of it saturated fat)
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • protein that should help you feel satisfied for hours

But… please know that the McMuffin falters in the sodium department, containing as it does a whopping 820 mg of the stuff, or a little more than half the daily limit of 1,500 mg.

… And even at Burger King (sort of)

In Burger King, you could choose the Egg and Cheese Croissan’wich, which provides

• 320 calories

• 16 grams fat (7 grams of it saturated)

• 11 g of protein to keep your hunger at bay

Like the McMuffin’s, however, the Croissan’wich’s sodium content is still too high: 690 mg.

If you’re ordering lunch at Burger King, the chicken baguette sandwich will supply you with 350 calories and 5 grams of fat.

A great source of dietary info from restaurants

HealthyDiningfinder is a website that has teamed up with restaurants and with registered dietitians to help diners in the U.S. find–and restaurants to serve–food that passes or surpasses a list of healthy-eating criteria. The website shows diners a selection of restaurants in their area that offer tasty, dietitian-approved, menu choices, while it inspires the restaurants themselves to offer healthier choices.

The site also provides tips on how to decrease the content and consumption of calories, fat, and sodium. In order to meet HealthyDiningfinder‘s “Sodium Savvy” criteria, for example, an entrée can have no more than 750 mg of sodium, whereas appetizers, side dishes, and desserts must contain no more than 250 mg.

Playing with HealthyDiningfinder

Here’s how I had fun playing with this website:

  1. Go to the search mechanism on HealthyDiningfinder.com and you’ll find the search parameters listed in a column down the left-hand side of the page.
  2. Type in your city, state, and zip code. (It’s not necessary to enter your exact street address.)
  3. Narrow your search to within 5, 10, 15, 20, or 50 miles of your house, depending on how far you’re willing to drive for a meal.
  4. Don’t bother choosing a “Price Range”–you might as well see all the restaurant options available out there.
  5. I clicked on only 1 “Cuisine” choice at a time–“American/Family”; “Asian/Chinese”; “Italian”; Fast/Quick”; “Mexican”; “Seafood”; “Other”; etc.). By choosing just a single category each time, I could keep my search results simple.
  6. Click the “Apply” button after each of your “Cuisine” choices, take note of the results, and then go back to the search page and unclick your last choice. Choose another type of cooking that you’re interested in and click “Apply” again. Repeat as long as you want to keep looking.
  7. I also didn’t bother to choose any of the 3 Specialties–“Sodium Savvy,” “Kids LiveWell,” and “Coupons”–because whenever a restaurant popped up in the search results, its specialties were automatically listed below its name and logo.

A couple of surprises

HealthyDiningfinder‘s search form worked pretty well for me, although it presented me with a couple of surprises. A Hooters restaurant here in Baltimore, for example, proudly listed 7 “Healthy Dining Options”–who knew? And when I searched “Seafood,” not a single restaurant turned up, even when I extended the search out to 50 miles. I have to assume that the “Seafood” category was not functioning, since I live in Baltimore, a city that sits right on the Chesapeake Bay and is world-renowned for its piscine delights. Oh–that reminds me of 1 further step:

8. At some point in your search, be sure to click on the last category, “Other.” When I finally got around to searching it, several seafood places did pop up–although none was a Baltimore great.