What is Meatless Monday?

Meatless Monday is a global movement to help people reduce their meat consumption by 15%.

Meatless Monday is an initiative of The Monday Campaigns; it began in 2003 and it was launched in association with the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Meatless Monday is now active in 36 countries.

Why Meatless?

Because going meatless one day a week may reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, reducing meat consumption can help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water.

Why Monday?

Monday influences our mood and health outcomes and, according to research, on Monday people are more willing to engage in healthy behaviors.

How it works?

It’s easy. Don’t eat meat on Mondays!!

You can get tasty and healthy recipes, along with more information about the benefits of going meatless on Monday and the history of the movement by clicking the links below.


http://www.mondaycampaigns.org/ index

World Diabetes Day 2014

November 14 is World Diabetes Day (WDD). Led by the International Diabetes Federation, WDD aims at raising awareness about diabetes, a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, that promotes the passage of the glucose contained in the food we eat from the blood stream into the cells in the body to produce energy.

When the body is not able to produce insulin or use it, glucose levels in the blood rise (hyperglycaemia). Over the long-term high glucose levels can impair body’s functions.

There are two main forms of diabetes, or diabetes mellitus:

Type 1 diabetes is caused by impaired secretion of insulin. It is also known as juvenile diabetes because the usual onset occurs during childhood. Unfortunately, it cannot be prevented.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency and can occur at any age. It accounts for almost 90% of all cases of diabetes.

There are 382 million people living with diabetes and the number is estimated to increase to 582 M in 2035. Every seven seconds a person dies from diabetes.

Fortunately, we can take some actions to lessen the global burden of diabetes, save lives and reduce healthcare costs.

How to prevent type 2 diabetes?

A healthy diet containing leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, lean meat, fish and nuts can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 ‪diabetes and avoid complications in people with diabetes.

30 minutes of exercise a day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 40%.

Avoid smoking, an important risk factor for diabetes.

Healthy Living and Diabetes is the World Diabetes Day theme for 2014-2016. In particular, this year’s activities are focused on promoting healthy breakfasts. Here’s a list of some healthy and unhealthy breakfast options.

Healthy breakfast options:

  • Unsweetened tea, coffee or water
  • Vegetables
  • Wholegrain bread, rice or other products
  • Low fat milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs (boiled, scrambled or poached)
  • Unsweetened yoghurt, (e.g., with nuts ,seeds, fresh fruit)
  • Fish
  • A piece of fresh fruit (e.g., apple, pear, orange, peach)
  • Cheese (small portion)
  • Low sugar, high fiber cereal

Unhealthy breakfast options:

  • Fruit juice, fruit smoothies
  • Sugar-sweetened yoghurt
  • White bread, pastries, croissants
  • Most breakfast cereals
  • Jam, honey, chocolate spread
  • Fried food
  • Sugar sweetened beverages
  • Flavored milk

So, let’s start the day with a healthy meal. Because, as the old adage says, who well begun is half done!


International Diabetes Federation



#LoveYourBones: World Osteoporosis Day

Today is World Osteoporosis Day. Organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), it aims to raise awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease.

This year, the campaign is focused on osteoporosis in men. Yes, osteoporosis is not a women’s disease, and it can also affect men!!

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by reduced bone mineral density (BMD) and deterioration of the bone microarchitecture which can result in an increased risk of fractures.

It occurs when the bone mass decreases more quickly than the body can replace it, leading to a net loss of bone strength. The skeleton becomes very fragile, and a slight bump or fall can result in broken bones!

Osteoporosis is often called a ‘silent disease’ because it has no signs or symptoms until a fracture occurs. It is estimated that an osteoporotic fracture occurs every 3 seconds!! The most common osteoporotic fractures occur at the hip, spine, and wrist. They may result in loss of independence or death; 20% of those who suffer a hip fracture die within 6 months after the fracture!!

The good news is that there are different strategies to diagnose and treat osteoporosis. And, most important thing, we can take some actions to prevent it.


Healthy bones need good nutrition!!

Calcium is needed for muscle contraction and as a building block of bone. It is built into bone as a mineral complex of calcium and phosphate. Our skeleton stores 99% of our body’s calcium. The calcium stores in the bones are also important to maintain the calcium levels in the blood.

We can get calcium from different foods such as dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), tofu, sardines, kale, figs, apricots, almonds.

Vitamin D is required for calcium absorption. People with high levels of vitamin D absorb more calcium. Vitamin D regulates bone mineralization, helps reduce bone loss, stimulates muscle tissue and reduces the risk of falling. Vitamin D can be produced by our skin after exposure to sunlight. Unfortunately, we cannot always rely on our skin for Vitamin D production (e.g., elderly produce less vitamin D than younger people, we expose less than 5% of our skin to the sun and we wear sunscreen, sunlight is limited during some months of the year). In these cases, vitamin D supplements come in handy. Food sources rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, egg yolk, and foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.

Protein helps build stronger bones and muscles. Numerous studies have shown that muscle strength is correlated with bone density and muscle weakness is an independent predictor of fracture risk. Protein sources include meat, fish, dairy products (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese), nuts, legumes, tofu, eggs.

Physical activity

Exercise is positively related to bone health. It builds strong bones in youth. In adults, it prevents bone loss and maintains muscle strength, and in elderly it helps prevent bone frailty, falls, and fractures.

Children, adults, and elderly are all encouraged to engage in some physical activity, depending on their age and health conditions, of course.

We can stay active by brisk walking or other weight-bearing physical activities such as hiking, stair climbing or jogging. We can include simple strategies to keep moving in our daily life..take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk small distances instead of using the car, get off the bus/train one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way, stand on one leg while doing daily tasks such as brushing our teeth, waiting for the coffee machine, stand and slowly raise one foot a few inches in front of you, then trace the letters of the alphabet with that foot.

Alcohol and smoking

They are two lifestyle factors which have a negative impact on bone health. Studies have shown that consuming more than two units of alcohol per day can increase the risk of osteoporotic fractures in both, women and men. Similar effects are caused by smoking.

To sum up, this is what we need for unbreakable bones:

  • Consume a balance diet rich in calcium and protein
  • Sunlight exposure or, if not possible, vitamin D supplements
  • Make physical activity a daily habit
  • Limit the consumption of alcohol
  • Avoid smoking

You can download the resources and get more information about the campaign by clicking the link below


World Food Day 2014

Today is World Food Day. What a better day than this to start writing about nutrition, health, food policies, and anything that revolves around food!!

World Food Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) members in 1979. The first one was held in 1981 and, since then, it is celebrated each year on 16 October, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945.
Some of the objectives of World Food Day are to raise awareness about sustainable food systems and nutrition, draw attention about malnutrition, hunger and poverty in the world.

The 2014 World Food Day theme is “Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth”. The theme was chosen to emphasize the important role played by family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty.
To underline the importance of family farms, the UN General Assembly has designated 2014 THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF FAMILY FARMING.
Family farming includes all family-based agricultural activities and both, in developing and developed countries, it family farming is the predominant form of agriculture in the food production sector.
To better understand this, let’s take a look at some figures *:
• 500 million out of the 570 million farms in the world are family farms.
• They make up over 98% of farming holdings
• They are responsible for at least 56% of agricultural production on 56% of the land

Family farms are fruit and vegetable farms, grain farms, orchards, livestock ranches, and even fisheries and those that harvest non-wood forest products.
Family farmers grow our food and take care of the land for future generations, a good reason to give our support to family farmers this World Food Day!

Below you can find some links where you can find more info about World Food Day and how to support family farming!!!

Happy World Food Day!!!



*data provided by the FAO, based on Census data