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Cooking oils: What you need to know

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Some of the most frequent questions I get asked have to do with oils. “Which oil is the healthiest?” “Which oil should I use for cooking?” “Is coconut oil good for you?” These questions came up at the most recent grocery store tour I did this past weekend.

There are no straight answers to any of these questions. In some circumstances a very healthy oil is not one most chefs would use for cooking; and in some cases a good cooking oil is not one a dietitian would recommend for health.

Oils that are suited for cooking have to withstand high heat. Certain oils, when heated, undergo changes that render them unstable and therefore are not the best choices for cooking. For example, olive oil – which is recommended for good health since it contains unsaturated fats and has low levels of omega 6 fatty acids – is not well suited for frying.  Olive oil has a low smoking point, meaning it will start to smoke at a lower temperature than other oils. Olive oil is better used for dressings, marinades and baking. Conversely, palm oil, which is good for frying, scores low for health. So that’s the dilemma.

After reviewing many sources, searching the Internet and exploring nutrition and culinary references, I came across a chart that does a nice job presenting the dichotomy between culinary and health preferences. It includes information about the nuances of different oils such as the level of refinement, the presence of omega 3 and 6, and even includes some information about genetic modification. Continue Reading »

Knee exercises to help prevent basketball injuries

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ACL injuries are more common in female athletes than in male athletes, at a ratio of around 8-to-1. That may seem discouraging for women athletes, but there is good news! There are specific sets of ACL-protective exercises that can be incorporated into practices to reduce the number of injuries. The Affinity Orthopedics & Sports Medicine departments have videos that demonstrate these exercises to reduce injury risk, and most school athletic trainers are well versed in describing these exercises. Other common injuries in basketball include kneecap dislocations, meniscus tears, hamstring/groin pulls and tendinitis. The plan below will outline how to best avoid these problems.

First, I’ll discuss a few facts about knee injuries and basketball, then a few warm-up exercises important for most running, cutting and jumping sports, followed by a number of dynamic exercises to prevent injuries to the knee. Finally, I’ll end with a summary of lower extremity exercises to avoid. Keep in mind that basketball practices should begin with light cardio and dynamic stretching before heavy competitive maneuvers are added. Static stretching is, in general, best added at the end of a practice to keep muscle fibers as responsive as possible during play. Continue Reading »

Simple Honey-Glazed Chicken

shutterstock_82213309The secret to truly delicious chicken is simplicity. This recipe has only five ingredients, but those ingredients create a mouthwatering, flavorful addition to your dinner table. Lemon juice, warm honey and aromatic herbs give roasted chicken the perfect balance of spicy sweetness and tang. Pair with a whole grain, like barley with spring greens, for a perfect meal. This recipe requires a two-hour marinade. *You can also marinade overnight.

Lemon Honey-Glazed Roasted Chicken

1 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 (3 1/2 – 4 lbs.) whole roasting chicken

1 Tbsp. dried Italian herbs (or 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano and 1/2 Tbsp. dried basil)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

1/3 cup honey Continue Reading »

11 Stretches You Should Do Every Day

stretchingIn my previous blog post, we learned the basics of stretching; now it’s time to get down to the specifics. Here are 11 stretches that you can perform every day to improve your overall flexibility and help decrease the likelihood of nagging injuries. We’ll start from the feet and work our way up.

  1. Prone Calf Stretch:

Begin in a push-up position. Next, keep your legs straight as you walk your hands backward toward your feet. Bend at the hips so your butt rises into the air while the heels of your feet press into the ground. Continue to walk your hands backward until a comfortable stretch is felt in both legs. You can increase the stretching sensation by bending one knee while keeping the other straight.

  1. Side-Lying Quad Stretch:

As the name suggests, start by lying on one side. For an example, let’s begin on our left side to stretch the right leg. Pull the heel of your right leg toward your butt. Grab your ankle with your right hand and add some additional pressure. Be sure to keep your knees together to perform the stretch properly. Once you’re finished with the right leg, flip over and perform this exercise with the left leg.

  1. Seated Hamstring Stretch:

To begin this stretch you need to be in a seated position. Keeping your right leg straight out in front of you, bend your left knee and bring your left heel into your groin. Now, keep your back straight as you bend forward at the hips. You can reach forward with both hands, but be careful to not round your back. Repeat with the left leg. Continue Reading »

Women’s Self Defense Class

self defense class Looking to boost your self-confidence, gain a stronger feeling of empowerment and learn skills to protect yourself? Then sign up for Mercy Medical Center’s self defense class!

On Sunday, March 23 from 1 – 4 p.m. in conference rooms A and B, Paul Dukatz, owner of Dukatz’s Academy of Martial Arts of West Bend, will be teaching a women’s self defense class.

The class is offered for women ages 13 years and older and costs $15 per person. It will cover different scenarios of potential attacks and require participants to execute striking techniques with hands, knees and elbows.

In the lesson, Paul will teach the proper use of pepper spray. Pepper spray will be available for purchase to any participant 18 years and older at the end of the seminar for $15.00. Participants should wear loose clothing or gym clothes to the class.

Paul Dukatz is a fourth degree Black Belt and has been teaching Martial Arts for more than 20 years, covering many seminars. His knowledge of hand-to-hand combat, weapons use and defense against weapons is ideal and easy to learn for people who don’t study martial arts on a regular basis.

You can register online here or call Affinity Nurse Direct at 800-362-9900. Please register by Saturday, March 22.

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.