Menopause and Dietary Choices

23 Jun

Did you know eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly can help alleviate symptoms of menopause? Menopause can affect our health in many ways!

Menopause may cause weight gain, hot flashes, mood changes or a feeling of tiredness. To boost energy, mood, metabolism, and overall health you should make sure that you consume low calorie, high fiber fruits and vegetables. This will help to give you a full feeling and keep your weight in check.

Menopause can also cause dry skin, bone loss and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.  Osteoporosis can be caused by decreased estrogen levels during menopause. This is when our body starts losing bone density. Calcium and Vitamin D are very important for our body during this time. Some calcium-rich foods you should consider adding to your diet are dark leafy greens, plain non-fat yogurt, and low-fat milk.

Post-Menopausal women are also at a risk for developing heart disease, caused by weight gain in their mid-section. Our heart is the most important organ in our body. To protect your heart you should consume Omega 3. A few good source examples that contain Omega 3 are salmon and spinach. These food choices will also help improve stamina and mood. Vitamin B, folic acid, and fiber are also needed to promote a healthy heart. A good source for this nutrition is from whole grain foods such as brown rice, quinoa, etc.

Exercise is also important during menopause and will not only will help reduce or alleviate side effects of menopause, but it can help you emotionally and mentally deal with other symptoms. Exercise may help you to fall asleep easier and to stay asleep during the night.

Original Article Here:  https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2017/04/05/dietary-tweaks-to-consider-as-you-enter-menopause/

Coconut Oil – Is It Healthy?

19 Jun

Coconut Oil – Is It Healthy?

Coconut oil is commonly marketed as a health food, but is it really healthier for you?

Recent research reported by the American Heart Association indicates that coconut oil is just as unhealthy as beef dripping and butter. Coconut oil contains a high amount of saturated fat, which can raise ‘bad cholesterol’ in the body. According to the AHA, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated.  That’s more than in butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%).

A recent survey reported that 72% of the American public rated coconut oil as a “healthy food” compared with 37% of nutritionists.  This difference in opinion is largely due to how coconut oil has been recently marketed.

Some believe that the mixture of fats in coconut oil make it a healthy option, but the AHA states there is no solid evidence for this claim.  Other myths that surround coconut oil are that it is good for your skin, that it increases your metabolism, that it’s heart healthy, but these claims do not have sufficient evidence.

Eating a diet high in saturated fat can raise LDL levels.  LDL, also known as bad cholesterol, can clog arteries, and increase risk of heart disease, or stroke.  Scientific research from the AHA indicates that limiting saturated fats helps to prevent heart disease and other serious health risks. One source of bad cholesterol is animal fats – try to limit eggs, red meat, and other fatty meats to help reduce bad cholesterol. Fiber rich foods and certain green vegetables will help to lower bad cholesterol. HDL, also known as good cholesterol, carries the bad cholesterol to our liver, where our liver gets rid of it.  It is important to limit saturated fats in our diet. To help achieve this, you can replace some saturated fats with unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, and vegetable oil.

While saturated fat should be limited in our diets, fat is essential for a balanced diet, so it shouldn’t be completely cut out. Vitamins A, D, and E are absorbed by our body and fatty acids feed off particular fats in our diet to aid in this process. To help keep a healthy balance of fats in your diet, try trimming meat of skin, fat, and bone before cooking.  Also grill, bake, broil, or steam your food,  instead of frying.

Original Article Here: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-40300145

AHA Research Here: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/06/15/CIR.0000000000000510

Weight-Related Deaths Affecting Non-Obese Individuals

15 Jun

A recent global study suggests that you don’t necessarily have to have an obese diagnosis, to be at risk for dying from conditions related to excess weight.

Of 4 million deaths that occurred in 2015 that are related to being overweight, around 40% were not considered clinically obese (a BMI of 30 or more.)

The study looked at 195 countries and territories over a period of 35 years, from 1980 to 2015, and indicated that 30% of the world’s population, 2.2 billion children and adults, are affected by excess weight and suffer from health problems related to being overweight (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers.)

“Excess body weight is one of the most challenging public health problems of our time, affecting one in every three people,” said Dr Ashkan Afshin, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of Global Health at IHME.

These results stress the need for reducing the prevalence of high BMI and its health consequences.

Original Article:  http://www.bbc.com/news/health-40220182

Full Journal Article:  http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1614362

Does TV in the Bedroom Increase Childhood Obesity?

2 Jun

A recent study by scientists at the University College London suggests that children who have television sets in their bedrooms are more likely to be overweight than children who do not.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, analyzed data from over 12,000 young children in the United Kingdom that indicated if the children had a TV in their bedroom or not.  A parent rating of how many hours per day the children spent in general, watching television, was also analyzed.  The first astonishing fact, was that more than half of the children had TVs in their bedrooms at the age of 7.

A few years later, when the children were at the age of 11, researchers analyzed their body mass index and looked at their percentage of body fat.

Girls who had TVs in their bedrooms at the age of seven were 30% more likely to be overweight when they were 11, compared to children who did not have TVs in their bedrooms.  For boys, the risk was increased by around 20%.  This data shows that there is a link between having a TV in the bedroom as a child and being overweight a few years later.

This link is not clear, but the researchers suggest it may be a result of children getting less sleep due to watching TV or eating too many snacks in front of the television screen.  They hypothesize that girls have a stronger link because they are less physically active at this age than boys.

Researchers encourage strategies to prevent childhood obesity to do more to tackle this issue.

Writing in the journal, they say: “While our screens have become flatter, our children have become fatter.”

Original Article Here:  http://www.bbc.com/news/health-40120286

Table Salt vs. Himalayan Salt

22 May

Table Salt versus Himalayan Pink Salt – Is Himalayan Salt healthier for you?

Himalayan salt is rock salt from the Punjab region of Pakistan. Himalayan Salt consists of 95-98% sodium chloride and 2-4% polyhalite (potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen).  Recently, many individuals use Himalayan salt for cooking or garnishing foods.

Himalayan salt’s chemical properties are close to that of table salt, but it differs in that it’s unrefined and unprocessed.. The colors of the salt crystals are off white, while the pink or reddish colors in the veins of the crystals are its mineral impurities.

Because Himalayan salt is unrefined and contains impurities (minerals that are essential for the human body), it’s often thought of as a healthier alternative compared to table salt – this is not the case! The amount of minerals in Himalayan salt is too minimal to make a difference in our diet and we already consume plenty of the same nutrients and elements in our daily fruits, vegetables, etc. The more salt you consume, in any form, the more fluid you retain and the harder your heart has to work to pump blood, which increases blood pressure.  Overall, it’s best to avoid Himalayan salt, even if it’s advertised as a healthier form of sodium.

Obesity and Stroke Risk

1 May

Did you know that strokes kill more than 133,000 Americans annually?  This makes stroke the leading cause of serious, long-term disability.  Fortunately, eighty percent of strokes are preventable!

May is ‘American Stroke Month’, which focuses on educating individuals about what strokes are, what are the risk factors, and how to prevent this condition.

A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen to anyone, at any time.  It occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts.  When that happens , part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.  How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.

High blood pressure is the greatest, and most controllable risk factor for stroke.  Currently, one in three American adjusts has high blood pressure.  Excess body weight and obesity are also linked with an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Obesity can increase the risk of stroke due to inflammation caused by excess fatty tissue. This can lead to difficulty in blood flow and an increased risk of blockage, both of which can cause strokes.  Also, excess fatty tissue has been shown to have a significant association with risk of stroke, independent of other vascular risk factors.  Losing as little as 5 to 10 pounds can decrease your risks.

The best way to achieve this lowered risk of stroke is by eating a heart healthy diet, in proper portions, and by being regularly physically active.

Looking for a fun way to get active?  Join the MWLC Walking Team at the upcoming Michigan AHA Heartwalks!  Register Here:  http://mwlc.com/Community_Events.php

More Information on American Stroke Month Here: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/AmericanStrokeMonth/American-Stroke-Month_UCM_459942_SubHomePage.jsp

More Information About Obesity and Stroke Risk: http://www.obesityaction.org/wp-content/uploads/Obesity-and-Stroke-Fact-Sheet.pdf

Obesity and Sleep Apnea

27 Apr
More than one-third of Americans are now obese according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Obesity is a risk factor for many medical conditions, and is considered a major risk factor for the development of sleep apnea. Simply ... Read more »

Why to Avoid Bananas While Losing Weight

4 Apr

Bananas may come to mind when we think of healthy food choices, but this fruit may not be the best option when trying to lose weight.  Here’s why you should avoid eating bananas while following a weight loss plan. 

Calories

Caloric balance is key when it comes to losing and gaining weight. To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.  One cup of sliced banana contains 134 calories. Compared to other fruits such as strawberries, which only have 49 calories per cup, or watermelon, which has 46 calories per cup, bananas rank pretty high in terms of calories.

Carbohydrates

Most of the calories in bananas come from carbohydrate, with 34 grams per cup.  Because of this higher carbohydrate content compared to other fruits, bananas do not fit well in a weight loss plan.

Potassium

If you are looking for the potassium benefit found in bananas, there are other options that are a part of a healthy low-carbohyrdrate diet!

Some other fruits high in potassium are:

1/2 cup Cantaloupe:  215 mg

1/2 cup Strawberries:  220 mg

1 small Orange:  237 mg

Original Article Here:  http://livehealthy.chron.com/people-say-bananas-arent-good-eat-diet-2657.html

The Impact of Obesity on Fertility

6 Mar

Couples where both individuals are obese may take 55 to 59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy (compared to non-obese couples), according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

The 501 couples involved were a part of the ‘Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study’, which looked at the relationship between fertility and environmental chemicals.  The couples were from Michigan and Texas, and the women in the study kept record of their menstrual cycles, intercourse, and home pregnancy test results.  The couples were monitored until pregnancy or for up to one year of attempting to conceive.

The participant’s BMI was calculated and they were classified into two groups of obesity – group one had a BMI of 30 to 34.9 – group two had a BMI of 35 or greater.  The researchers then calculated the probability that a couple would achieve pregnancy by using a statistical measure called the fecundability odds ratio (FOR).

The researchers compared the average time to achieve a pregnancy among couples in the non- obese group to that of the couples in the BMI of 35 or greater group.

The study found that the BMI 35+ group took longer to achieve pregnancy than non-obese couples. Couples in the non-obese group had a FOR of 1.  BMI 35+ couples had a FOR of .45, indicating that they took 55 percent longer to achieve pregnancy than the non-obese group. When the researchers took into account other factors known to influence fertility, the ratio for BMI 35+ couples lowered to .41 (59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy.)

The study concluded that couples’ obesity may reduce the chances of fertility and that this should be taken into consideration when counseling couples about pregnancy.  Losing weight may help reduce the time needed to conceive.

Full Article Here: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/020217-couple-obesity.aspx

Fasting Diet May ‘Regenerate Diabetic Pancreas’

24 Feb

Recent US research, published in the journal Cell, indicates that pancreas (the organ that controls blood sugar levels) damaged from diabetes may be able to regenerate via a fasting diet.  The regeneration of the organ contributed to a reversal of diabetic symptoms in animal experiments.

During the research, mice were given a modified form of the “fasting-mimicking diet”.  The human equivalent of the diet would be five days on a low calorie (around 800 to 1,100), low protein, low carbohydrate meal plan, but with high unsaturated-fat.  The five days are followed by 25 days eating what they want.

During these animal experiments, the diet regenerated the beta cell (detects sugar in the blood and releases insulin when levels are too high) in the pancreas.

Dr Valter Longo, from the University of Southern California, said: “Our conclusion is that by pushing the mice into an extreme state and then bringing them back – by starving them and then feeding them again – the cells in the pancreas are triggered to use some kind of developmental reprogramming that rebuilds the part of the organ that’s no longer functioning.”

Researchers have indicated that these findings are “potentially very exciting”, as they are the beginning stages of finding a new treatment for the condition.  People are advised not to try this diet without medical advice.

Full Article Here:  http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39070183