Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

African American Health and Nutrition Issues

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the warning signs of diabetes and heart disease?
    Being in tune with your body is crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Be on the lookout for these warning signs and consult a doctor if you are not feeling well.

    Warning signs of type 1 diabetes: frequent urination (in large quantities); excessive thirst; extreme hunger; rapid weight loss; fatigue (weak and tired); irritability and mood changes; nausea and vomiting; high amounts of sugar in the blood and/or urine.

    Warning signs of type 2 diabetes: blurred vision; tingling or numbness in the legs, feet or fingers; frequent infections of the skin; recurring gum or urinary tract infections; itching of skin and/or genitals; drowsiness; slow healing of cuts and bruises; any of the symptoms listed under type 1 diabetes.

    Warning signs of heart disease: chest pain (angina); shortness of breath; swelling (edema) in the legs and feet; pain in the legs with walking (claudication); high blood pressure; high blood cholesterol.
  2. What type of exercise can help prevent disease?
    Good nutrition and regular exercise can fend off preventable diseases such as diabetes. Make healthy choices and begin a regular exercise routine to prevent these preventable diseases. You will not only feel better, but look it too.

    Flattening your tummy: A good way to flatten your tummy is through the combination of diet and exercise. Exercise will firm the abdominal muscles and diet will help you lose the extra weight and flab. You can exercise your abdominal muscles all you want, but without losing weight, you won't get that flat tummy. These easy exercises are great for anyone who wants to flatten the tummy. You might want to begin with the head lifts, and after doing 10 lifts comfortably at a time, proceed to the shoulder lifts, and then eventually the curl-ups. The abdominal crunch is the most advanced exercise.

    Head lifts: Lie on your back with your arms at your side. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Inhale and relax your abdomen. Exhale slowly as you lift your head. Inhale as you lower your head.

    Shoulder lifts: Use the same procedure as the head lifts, only lift both your head and shoulders off the floor. When you are comfortable with this, progress to the curl-ups.

    Curl-ups: Use the same procedure as with the shoulder lifts. This time reach your arms as you slowly raise your torso to about a 45-degree angle (halfway between your knees and the floor). If you prefer, you can cross your arms on your chest with your hands on your shoulders, or you can place your palms on your ears or behind your head.

    Abdominal crunch: This is excellent for strengthening the abdominal muscles and reducing a protruding stomach. Lie on the floor. Hold your legs at a 90-degree angle, with your lower legs parallel to the floor. (You can also place your legs over a bench or a piece of furniture.) With arms at your sides (or on your shoulders or behind ears as in the curl-ups), inhale slowly as you raise your shoulders off the floor, forcing your chest muscles toward your legs. Pull your hips upward, hold for a second, then exhale slowly and roll down to the starting position. Do up to 25 repetitions.

    Daily walking: A great way to begin exercising is to walk. It's simple, free, and a great way to keep your heart pumping. All you need is a pair of good walking shoes and comfortable clothes and you are ready to begin. Start off easily with your new walking regimen. Walk for 10 minutes, turn around and walk back. Always maintain good posture. Continue this 20-minute walk for five days a week. Add five more minutes to your daily walk if this routine gets easy. Keep adding five minutes to your walk when you feel ready to increase your distance. Remember to always drink plenty of water and to stretch before and after each walking session.

    Stay with it. The hardest part of exercising is keeping up the habit. Have a friend join you to stay motivated.
  3. What are some healthy eating tips?
    Good nutrition and eating habits play a fundamental role in healthy living. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals in addition to eating balanced meat are great steps toward healthy eating. An unhealthy diet can lead to many chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer. By simply making smarter, healthier choices, you can beat these risks. Eating smart is easy. All you need to do is keep these simple tips in mind:

    -- Eat at least five fruits and vegetables each day. Including fresh produce in your diet is your first step toward a healthier lifestyle.

    -- Reduce your portion sizes; keep meat servings to about the size of a deck of cards

    -- Make sure to eat breakfast every day; it will help you refrain from snacking later.

    -- Eat slowly; it takes 20 minutes for your brain to know your stomach is full.

    -- Eating healthy throughout the day not only keeps you full but it also keeps your metabolism running.

    -- Try baking or broiling instead of frying.

    -- Flavor foods with herbs and spices instead of butter and salt.

    -- Eat before you go to the grocery store; shopping on an empty stomach will make you buy more junk food.

    -- Try not to eat out of boredom or frustration. If you're not hungry, do something else -- like taking a walk.

    -- Breakfast gets you off to an energetic start by jump-starting your metabolism and providing essential nutrients that will keep your body and mind at peak performance. Breakfasts rich in protein, such as eggs and lean meat, and fiber, such as whole grain cereals, are ideal. They not only keep the hunger pangs away, but they also provide a healthy start for the day. Stay away from sugary cereals, pastries and syrups. The high sugar content causes them to be digested quickly and will leave you feeling hungry and tired within a few hours.

    -- Portion size is often a problem, as the American concept of a portion size has grown larger. Eating plate of spaghetti is not a single serving; depending on the size of the plate, it could actually be three or four servings. A single serving of pasta is actually the size of your fist or a deck of cards.
  4. What is the 1-2-3 healthy eating plan?
    Try this simple, easy-to-follow plan to start including more fresh produce into your diet: Eat 1 or more fresh vegetables ... with 2 meals a day ... for 3 months. After consciously changing your eating habits for three months, you will find that healthier eating has become part of your normal routine.
  5. Is drinking water beneficial for a healthy lifestyle?
    Water is essential for living. It lubricates the joints and aids in digestion and the removal of waste. Drinking water also has a great effect on combating cancer. Drinking five glasses of water a day decreases your chance of colon cancer by 45 percent, your chances of breast cancer by 79 percent, and your chances of bladder cancer by 50 percent. Water can also temporarily suppress appetite and can aid in weight loss. Tips for drinking water:

    -- Drink before you are thirsty.

    -- Carry a water bottle.

    -- Plan a water drinking routine; start and end each day with a glass of water.

    -- Use caution with caffeinated drinks; they can cause you to lose 50 percent of the water you drink.

    -- For variety and interest, liven up water with slices of lemon or lime, try carbonated water, or drink from a fancy glass.
  6. What are tips for shopping for healthy foods?
    -- Make an effective shopping list. Plan weekly meals and snacks in advance. Don't forget: snacks are important because they provide that energy charge to get you to the next meal.
    -- Read the nutritional label on food. Avoid foods high in saturated fats and sodium and those that contain partially hydrogenated oil.

    -- Look for foods rich in fiber. Four grams per serving is perceived as a good source of fiber. Multigrain potato chips can provide this fiber.

    -- Seek out lean meats and fish. Lean meats have less fat, and fish has fatty acids that are good for your heart. Avoid processed lunch meat, hot dogs and bacon that may contain impurities such as chemical additives and excessive salt.
  7. What are tips for cooking healthy foods at home?
    -- The closer your food is to its natural state the better. Vegetables maintain their nutritional value the less they are cooked. Stir-fry is a great way to cook vegetables.

    -- Fresh fruits are also a great and healthy way to satisfy a sweet craving.

    -- Use whole grain breads and pastas instead of bleached white pastas.

    -- Before cooking, trim fat off of meat.

    -- Use vegetable spray instead of shortening, butter or oil.

    -- When you have to use oil, choose olive or canola.

    For a list of Florida agricultural dealers that currently have at least one outstanding claim for non-payment filed against them, call the Bureau of Agricultural Dealer's Licenses at (850) 617-7150 or use the online searchable database.
  8. Who is wellness expert Donna Richardson Joyner?
    Donna Richardson Joyner's involvement with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and its African American Health Initiative grew out of her own grassroots approach to taking fitness and nutrition issues to the African American community. The initiative's goal is to reach out to African American women and show them the importance of eating right and staying active.

    Over the last 25 years, Donna Richardson Joyner's purpose and passion has been to educate, empower, and energize children, women, and families about living a healthy lifestyle. She has produced the inspirational fitness videos "Sweating in the Spirit" and "Body Gospel." She has starred in more than 25 award-winning videos including "Buns of Steel." Donna was appointed to the Presidential Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Donna also was appointed to the National Advisory Board of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity to serve as a spokesperson to champion the cause to reverse childhood obesity.

    She was inducted into the Fitness Hall of Fame and was named by Essence Magazine as "one of the 25 most inspiring women in America." She served on the Women's Sports Foundation and Board of Trustees and currently is an Advisory Board Member for the Boys and Girls Club of America. Donna broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the world's largest line dance with over 50,000 participants.

    Donna was the former co-host for the "ESPN Fitness Pro's Show" and fitness expert on the "NBC Weekend Today Show." She produced and hosted the Donna Richardson Joyner show on TV One. Donna has lectured and conducted seminars at schools, community centers, and universities in over 40 countries.
    She has been a featured speaker with "God's Leading Ladies," "Sisters in the Spirit," "Pantene Total You," and the "Eliminating Childhood Obesity Tour."

    Founder of Sweating in the Spirit, Donna helps churches and communities live healthier lifestyles by incorporating good nutrition and daily physical activity to improve overall wellness.

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