Diabetes Prevention

2 Aug

Diabetes is on the rise.  Fortunately, losing weight and leading a healthy lifestyle can prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Can Step Counts Predict Obesity?

20 Jul

Did you know that smart phones could soon be a way for researchers to predict obesity rates across the world?

In a recent study published in the journal Nature, Stanford researchers worked with the mobile health company Azumio (which specializes in biometric mobile technology) to see if step counting on your mobile device could help to predict a country’s obesity level. The study tracked physical activity by population in more than 100 countries and looked at smartphone users’ age, gender, height and weight.  The study showed that in the United States, which has a greater obesity population, that there is a gap in the activity levels of men versus women. In countries with a small obesity population, men and women’s activity levels were ranked more closely.

Individuals who are active daily, taking more steps, are less likely to suffer from obesity. Individuals who are sedentary, taking less steps daily, are part of populations that have a greater risk factor of becoming overweight. One way to use this data is for city planning.  In cities and towns that have paths, walkways, parks, and less vehicle usage, the population is likely to count more steps and men and women activity levels will be closer to each other.

There are lots of ways to track your steps, FitBits, free smart phone apps, pedometers, etc. These devices will hold you accountable to yourself and challenge you daily to take more steps. Set goals for yourself at the beginning of each day. To help get your goal steps in each day, park farther away from work so you have to walk farther, take stairs instead of the elevator, and commit to a walk every day for 20 minutes on your lunch break, even if it is walking laps around the building. Focus on a healthier you.

Original Article Here:  http://time.com/4850108/obesity-rates-smartphones-study/

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.