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Posts Tagged ‘Holiday’

October 31st is a fun time. Halloween, one of the world’s oldest holidays, mingles tricks of fictitious goblins and ghosts with treats of candy. Derived from ancient festivals and religious rituals, the holiday is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve and remains a celebration in many parts of the world. In the United States, it is the second most popular holiday, after Christmas, for decorating, candy, and costume sales.

Puritan traditions in the early years of our nation restricted the holiday. During the 19th century, the migration of some two million Irish brought Halloween to the United States. Trick-or-treat became the main event of this holiday for children in our country and Canada. Children shuffle from house to house seeking goodies, especially candy. Both children and adults dress in costumes of favorite characters.

Commercialization of Halloween in the U. S. began around the turn of the 20th century. According to the National Confectioners Association, each year more than 75 percent of Americans plan to give candy to trick-or-treaters. And Americans’ favorite Halloween candy? Chocolate, of course, with candy corn in second place.

Halloween is the largest candy-eating event of the year. Other than gaining weight or developing tooth decay, are there dangers in eating too much candy? The American Chemical Society gave this some thought in 2016 and concluded that sugar from large amounts of candy consumed in one sitting might be lethal. The probability is unlikely since most would become sick before eating enough to harm them. Based on research and mathematical equations using rats, theoretically, 1,627 pieces of candy corn eaten in one sitting could be toxic to humans. One fun-size piece of candy has about 75 calories. Eating 262 pieces equates to about 20,000 calories. If it doesn’t kill you, your conscience may as you figure out how to work off those added pounds.

While dying from an overload of Halloween candy isn’t likely, use caution in making your choices. If you are over 40, consuming two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks may cause irregular heart rhythm. The sweetening compound, glycyrrhizin, in black licorice may lower potassium levels in the body resulting in high blood pressure and other heart-related problems. This candy can also interact with medications, herbal products, and dietary supplements.

As you observe this special holiday of sweet treats, keep in mind the outcomes of eating too many sweets. Teach children about moderation. The American Heart Association warns against allowing them to have large amounts of candy. Set a good example and use discretion in how much you eat. Make the holiday a treat but avoid the trick of too many calories.

 

 

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Who doesn’t enjoy a thoughtful remembrance from that special someone on Valentine’s Day? Sure, we’re delighted with red roses or drool over Godiva’s, but what better gift could you give your significant other than a healthy heart—your healthy heart?

February is American Heart Month. According to the American Heart Association, a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons against cardiovascular disease. They recommend the following simple steps for optimum physical well-being.

  • Choose a variety of foods from all food groups each day in the following quantities (based on a 2000 calorie diet).
    • 6-8       Grains with at least half from whole grain sources
    • 4-5       Vegetables—including sufficient green and yellow varieties
    • 4-5       Fruits—especially those with high vitamin C levels
    • 2-3       Cooked lean meat, poultry, or seafood
    • 2-3       Fats/oils
    • Nuts, seeds, legumes, 4-5 servings per week.
  • Watch serving size. Many consume too many calories because they eat excessive amounts. Consider the following as a guide to portion control.
    • Grains:            dinner roll—Yo-yo; cereal—baseball; pasta—tennis ball
    • Vegetables:     green salad—baseball; cooked vegetable—small fist; potato—computer mouse
    • Fruits:              light bulb
    • Meats:              three ounces poultry, beef, or pork—deck of cards; fish—checkbook
    • Fats/oils:        1 tablespoon tub margarine—three thumb tips; two tablespoons salad dressing—shot glass
    • Nuts:               one-ounce—cupped palm of medium-sized hand
  • Curb the amount of nutrient-poor foods.
    • Choose less fatty or fried foods
    • Drink smaller amounts of beverages with added sugar
    • Strive to limit sodium to no more than 1,500 mgs per day
    • Reduce intake of trans-fats and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
    • Choose fat-free dairy products
  • Use as many calories as you take in. Remember that the only way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than you use. To maintain a healthy weight, balance the amount of calories you eat with appropriate activity to burn up those calories.

You have only one heart. Use these suggestions to help assure yours will be healthier to celebrate Valentines 2013.

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Nutrition-Center_UCM_001188_SubHomePage.jsp

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