Quality Home Health Care

Meals on Wheels: A Program Worth Fighting For

Not many programs were birthed from the heart and perpetuated by the human spirit like Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels recipient and volunteerThe program brings much needed assistance to millions of seniors. It seems impossible that the program could be threatened by an administration or circumstance and yet it is.

The True Value of Meals on Wheels

The concept behind this program originated in the United Kingdom. It started during the Blitz, where many people in the country lost everything.

Homes were destroyed during these trying times, but the people behind the Women’s Volunteer Service for Civil Defence saw an opportunity to make a difference. The idea was to simply bring prepared food to people who needed it, which is how the program started.

The program has transformed over the years and through different cultures, but the core idea remains the same: to help people. The program delivers food to the needy, to those who cannot prepare their own meals, and to elderly people.

Meals on Wheels did not officially arrive to the United States until 1974, and many welcomed the program.

The program is under attack under the new President of the United States. It seems that the current administration believes the program is not being run correctly. The officials seem to believe that Meals on Wheels is not targeting the people that need this service the most, which makes it ineffective.

These statements were made as the administration announced that it was planning to cut funding to Meals on Wheels. It should be noted that the program is already suffering. Data shows that the program, as a whole, has had to reduce the number of meals delivered by 23 million since 2005. This is on top of the fact that the program’s waiting list is growing, which shows just how greatly the program is needed.

Some will likely point out that Meals on Wheels will be just fine without the financial support it receives from the government. There probably is some truth to that since the program’s budget states that only around 3 percent of its revenue comes from the government. Most of the program’s revenue actually comes from companies and good-hearted people.

The problem here is that the program can use all the help it can get. Charities and other similar initiatives are always going to give more than they receive.

It is very hard, some might say impossible, to make a profit from helping people. Furthermore, no charity should really begin by hoping to make a profit off of giving but rather give as much as possible. The key thing to understand is that the reward is that people are ultimately helped by the program.

Meals on Wheels delivered 219.4 million meals in 2015. That is a large number, and it also represents the number of victories this program has had. For the administration to say that this program shows no results is quite a stretch.

The Other Side of Meals on Wheels

There are additional services that Meals on Wheels provides that some may overlook like companionship. Many seniors that are visited by the volunteers of this program are lonely and rarely get additional visitors.

Human beings are naturally social creatures, so giving lonely seniors an opportunity to meet with others should have a positive effect on some.

It should be pointed out that some people cannot prepare a meal without considerable strain due to some type of disability. Forcing people with debilitating afflictions to prepare their own meals by stripping away help could actually put some of these people in danger. Many people know that elderly people have been known to trip or fall, which could be fatal.

Meals on Wheels helps minimize the need for an elderly person to have to cook, and it provides a visitor who will also make sure everything is okay.

Some seniors also have trouble knowing if food is safe to eat due to afflictions that hinder the sense of smell or taste. This puts the senior in unnecessary risk. Thankfully, the good people in this program help feed some of these people. Seniors are happier with the assistance and also get to eat healthier, too.

No one is saying that the program is perfect. There are surely a few changes that can be made to target more people who are in need of help.

There are bound to be changes in policies that could make Meals on Wheels an even more effective program. Perhaps, some of these policy changes can connect the organization to the people who need it. It should also look for people who want to be involved.

Change should be welcomed because the goal should always be to improve, but cutting funding is a step backward. Cutting funding seems like it would hurt the program rather than help it.

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Foods That Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

Doctors sometimes discover patients are suffering from high blood pressure during a routine medical exam, but more frequently find out in the Emergency Room. blood pressure examinationSymptoms may take years to present themselves or could be triggered by secondary conditions. Worldwide, more than 7 million people will die of conditions related to high blood pressure, such as heart attack or stroke, while many more millions will suffer disability. The financial and emotional costs of failing to regulate blood pressure are enormous.

What Contributes to High Blood Pressure?

Numerous individuals in society of all sizes and every age group are at risk but are unaware. They have not yet presented any symptoms. Many such individuals are slender, possibly athletic, and their diets are considered healthy as determined by public health guidelines.

Most individuals who suffer from high blood pressure have chosen unhealthy lifestyles. They drink alcohol excessively, smoke, consume too much coffee, are sedentary, and they report high levels of stress. Their diets are rich in fat and table salt but low in fiber, good fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Sometimes, blood pressure changes can be traced to pre-existing conditions. Healthcare workers report that risks increase as a result of organ-related or thyroid diseases, for example. Certain gastric conditions which interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients also contribute to heart problems.

Effects of High Blood Pressure

When consumers are genetically predisposed to heart disease, the first sign is elevated blood pressure. In their thirties and forties, possibly earlier, symptoms will become apparent such as headaches, fatigue, breathlessness, or chest tightness. Signs such as these should not be ignored. Consumers should see a doctor right away if they suffer from chest pain in particular. These are warning signs; precursors to emergency situations.

How to Reduce Blood Pressure

There are several ways to reduce blood pressure. Individuals leading a healthy lifestyle but suffering from a genetic condition will be prescribed medication if necessary. Since poor diet and lack of exercise are usually behind blood pressure anomalies, consumers are most likely to be given an ultimatum: lose weight, get fit, or symptoms will worsen. The urgency of a situation will often inspire a patient to start walking or swimming, reduce fat in his diet, and cut down on alcohol consumption. Moves to change lifestyle will have a positive effect on Type 2 Diabetes, a frequent contributor to high blood pressure and other conditions.

Stress-related health problems should be addressed by a counselor or psychologist as well as one’s doctor. A physician will treat the medical symptoms, but a counselor addresses the root of one’s stress and how to cope with stressors in healthy ways.

How to Reduce Blood Pressure with Food

Consumers with high blood pressure often eat too much salty, fatty food and lack essential nutrients, especially electrolytes. These are minerals which regulate blood pressure; potassium, magnesium, and calcium are the best-known and most important electrolytes. A healthy diet should contain adequate amounts of all three and cutting down on table salt or sodium. Although one can obtain essential minerals from multi-vitamins, foods are better sources because they also contain other nutrients such as fiber.

Black beans, Garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas), and Edameme beans are among the most nutritious legumes. Always choose dry or frozen sources which have not been preserved in salt or sugar. There is very little calcium in Black Beans but 20% of your daily requirement of magnesium and 18% of your recommended dose of potassium. These numbers for Edameme beans are 17% and 20%, respectively. Chickpeas provide about 10% of each.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Greens are excellent for many reasons, one of which is that they are rich in all three essential minerals which lower blood pressure. Kale and spinach are two of the best but among the least loved by some diners. Romaine lettuce and broccoli are more popular sources, but not as nutrient-rich. Kale contains 14% of the potassium required by an adult male or female, about 15% of the calcium, and 11% of one’s daily magnesium allowance.


Cheese is high in fat but also high in calcium. Cheddar contains 72% of the calcium most people need each day. Plain yogurt with about 4% fat features roughly half your daily calcium needs per serving. Vegans seeking non-dairy protein and minerals should look to nuts, especially almonds which contain more than 60% of the magnesium an average adult requires for good health.

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The Health Benefits of Eating Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein make fish an essential part of a healthy diet. There are specific health benefits of eating fish.

Fish For Heart Health

fishThe unsaturated fatty acids in fish can benefit your heart in a number of ways. One example is the effects on inflammation. When inflammation is present in your body, it can result in heart disease from the damage it causes to the blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and protect the blood vessels.

Fish can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. As high cholesterol and high blood pressure are factors which contribute to heart attacks, fish can reduce these risks.

The risk of blood clots can also be reduced by eating fish. In some cases, irregular heartbeats can be improved by adding fish to the diet.

The risk of a sudden heart attack and heart disease can both be reduced by eating fish that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish For Brain Health

Fish is good for your brain. One category of benefits is associated with the brain’s hippocampus. This part of the brain is responsible for learning and memory. Individuals who eat fish regularly have a larger hippocampus. Everyday learning and memory will be more effective, and you will have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Dementia and cognitive decline are more common in individuals who do not have enough fish in their diets.

Reducing the risk of stroke is another benefit of eating fish. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. The consequences of a stroke can be temporary, long-term, or fatal. Both the Omega-3 fatty acids and the lean protein in fish can reduce your risk.

Other Health Benefits From Fish

While fish is important for your heart and brain health, having fish in your diet can provide additional benefits.

Fish can relieve the symptoms of depression. It can even reduce the risk of postpartum depression when it is consumed during pregnancy.

Vitamin D is important for bone health. Fish can be an excellent source of this essential vitamin.

Men who eat fish regularly have healthier sperm.

Hair and skin are improved by a diet that is rich in fish. A person who has psoriasis may find it is relieved by adding more fish to his diet.

Fish is an ideal food for weight loss. While fish is naturally low in calories, it provides the protein your body needs to retain lean muscle and energy when you are on a weight loss diet.

How Much Fish Should You Eat?

While pregnant women, children, and individuals with health conditions should consult with their physicians before adding fish to their diets, a healthy person should have two servings per week. 3.5 ounces is considered to be a serving.

The way fish is prepared makes a difference. The best methods for preparing fish are broiling and baking. If you want the most health benefits from fish, it should not be fried.

Wild fish is healthier than farmed fish. The latter is often exposed to chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotics.
Everyone needs a balanced diet for good health. However, there are few foods that offer as many health benefits as fish. While there are dozens of fish from which to choose, some have a higher content of Omega-3 fatty acids than others. Mackerel, lake trout, herring, bluefin tuna, salmon, and sardines are some of the fish that provide the most of this healthy fat.

Eat a serving of fish at least twice per week. You will appreciate the many health benefits of this delicious, nutrition-packed food.

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Eat Better and Feel Better

At some point in their lives, many people find it necessary to start taking better care of their bodies. elderly man with carer serving mealOf course, it is better to take care of yourself all along rather than be forced to undergo a crash alteration in one’s usual lifestyle. Regardless of when the time comes to make the switch, however, it is usually a case of trouble with the heart and circulatory system that impels the change. For this reason, most healthy nutrition plans focus on heart health at the expense of other organs of the body—although it is fair to say that foods that increase heart health are likely to have a beneficial effect throughout the body as well.

Heart healthy foods tend to cluster in several distinct groups. These groupings include those of fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains, and fish. In addition, several outliers are also considered to have useful properties. Not all members of each general category exhibit outstanding benefits. Here is a quick rundown of the best candidates for improving your heart health through better nutrition.

• In the fruit category, grapes—in the form of a glass of red wine with dinner—are an excellent starter, but keep in mind that too much wine can have other serious effects. Because of the potential for abuse, red wine is seldom publicly acknowledged as a heart health superstar, although it is often prescribed on an individual basis. Most types of berries are also excellent food sources for improving cardiac performance over time.

• Certain members of the nut family provide an excellent combination of fatty acids and fiber in one neat, ready-to-eat food source. Almonds and walnuts are the two nut species that are most often cited for their positive dietary effects.

• When it comes to vegetables, there are many candidates to select from. Carrots and spinach have been favorite health foods for generations, even before specific heart-focused regimes became common. Tomatoes and red bell peppers illustrate an important factor in choosing healthy vegetables—many of the most colorful ones offer the largest boosts.

• As far as grains are concerned, it might be easier to broaden this category to go beyond what one would usually think of as grains. While oatmeal is well-known for its health benefits, other foods in this category include lesser-known flaxseed, which is seldom found on its own, but is used rather as an accompaniment to other dishes. Brown rice offers lots of fiber and vitamin content. Dark beans such as black beans or kidney beans are obviously not grains, but legumes such as these offer nutritional benefits very similar to grains.

• Salmon stands at the pinnacle of fish-centric choices. Tuna runs a respectable second place. Either of these selections offers the high omega-3 counts that dieticians so heartily recommend to their patients. Ease of preparation is another benefit of both of these, since they are the most commonly canned fish products and thus offer significant time-saving and storage benefits over other fish products that are mostly found as either fresh or frozen and require more prep time.

• Finally comes those foods that are not easy to otherwise categorize. Soya comes to mind. With soya milk and tofu and so many soya additives, it is practically an industry unto itself. Teas offer many benefits, not least of which is their soothing effect on the spirit. Lastly, because eating healthy deserves a reward, dark chocolate needs to be mentioned.

Always keep in mind that ingredients are important to a healthy lifestyle, but preparation counts for a lot as well. Most of the items named in this article provide the greatest benefits if they are used in a raw or minimally prepared fashion, and always go easy on the salt.

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Nutrition For The Elderly – The Must Do To Keep The Blood Pressure In Check

Elderly Lady Monitoring Her Blood Pressure

Elderly Lady Monitoring Her Blood Pressure

There are no better solutions for lowering blood pressure or hypertension (medical term for high blood pressure) than to eat the right foods and exercise. Many people think that having blood pressure medication will afford them a “Get Out of Jail Free Card” on diet and exercise, but it just isn’t so. Although blood pressure-lowering medications are good scientific tools for certain situations in which a person is unable to control their blood pressure through diet and exercise, they will never be a replacement.

That said, there is no one right way to keep your heart healthy as each person health is unique to them. Some of us will need the following to keep our Blood Pressure within normal limits:  

  • A heart healthy diet
  • The right exercises
  • Blood pressure medication

In this day and age, it is wise for each of us to not only maintain a good rapport with our doctors, but to also maintain an ever-growing knowledge base about our own specific health conditions and what we can do to maintain our individual health plan.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Heart Blood and Lung Institute, what we choose to eat affects our chances of developing high blood pressure. Studies done by the National Institute of Health have shown that following a diet regimen like the DASH diet which was primarily developed to lower high blood pressure have had positive results. The study also found that reducing your salt intake only added benefits to this specific diet and increased the blood pressure lowering effect.


The NIH (National Institute of Health) outlines the steps for controlling or preventing high blood pressure as:

  • Drinking alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all.
  • Following a healthy eating plan which includes
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables: tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, greens
    • Low-fat or Fat free dairy
    • Whole grains
    • Foods rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium
    • Foods with low sodium quantities – limiting your self to 1500 mg  of sodium a day
    • Lean meat, poultry and fish
    • Nuts, seeds and legumes: almonds, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, peas, lentils
  • Being moderately physically active on most days of the week.

Following these steps will assist you in maintaining a healthy weight. The NIH does not recommend blood pressure medication for the prevention of hypertension. It does however state that if your doctor has prescribed blood pressure medication to you, you should take it only as directed.

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