Vegetables THEN Fruits?!


urlBy: Nikki Nies

Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables are a ubiquitous aspect of health eating recommendations! While fruits are a great contributor of natural sugar, fiber and micronutrients, it’s less likely that criticism will derive from the amount of vegetables consumed.  The term fruits and vegetables kind of rolls of one’s tongue, but what message does that label send? By stating fruits before vegetables in the healthy recommendation, it hints that fruits are more important than vegetables to consume.

For many, it’s much easier to get their daily recommended intakes of fruit at 2-3 servings than  to eat 5-7 servings of vegetables.  However, with many folks barely getting 2-3 servings of vegetables, perhaps, our strategy for health promotion needs to change. Would it be more effective for the health industry to promote regular consumption of vegetables and fruits, not fruits and vegetables.

Vegetables can help one feel fuller longer on less calories, as they are high in water and fiber content. Quality vegetables also help ward of heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, guard against cataracts and macular degeneration.

While we all know adequate intake of vegetables are necessary for optimal growth, development and maintenance, promotion of vegetables have not received enough attention and emphasis.  Therefore, I propose the consumption of vegetables THEN fruits! What’s your take? Do you agree?

Photo Credit:Raw Edibles

Sources:http://www.in.gov/isdh/20096.htm

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/

http://www.med.umich.edu/umim/food-pyramid/fruits_and_vegetables.htm

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vegetables-full-story/

Trans Fat


By: Nikki Nies DeepFat141Cafe

There are two types of trans fat, the naturally occurring and synthetically made trans fat.  Naturally occurring trans fat can derive from the gut of animals, such as milk and meat products.  The second type of trans fat, artificial trans fat or trans fatty acids are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make more solid.  The industry gravitate to use of trans fats in their foods as their inexpensive to use, provide more texture and taste and contain a longer shelf life, which means rancidity decreases and profit increases for food companies.

The good news: changes are coming with trans fat! Recently, the FDA announced complete elimination of trans fat.  Until those changes are implemented and permeates the system, it’s still important to be aware of how bad tarns fat really are and why reading nutrition food labels is more imperative than ever!Until the 1990’s, we didn’t know how bad trans fats are for the public.  However, with increased research and awareness of the impact, more and more products are providing consumers easy access to information on the fat content and a breakdown of the ingredients.

The caveat: Products are allowed to advertise themselves  if they contain 0 grams to less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving!

Why are trans fat so bad you ask?

  • Raises “bad” LDL cholesterol
  • Reduces “good” HDL cholesterol, which adds to the clogging of arteries
  • Increase lipoprotein and triglyceride levels
  • Increases risk for heart attack, stroke and/or diabetes

I’m glad to see the government is recognizing the harm of trans fat trumps any potential “benefits.” On a label, you may recognize the artificially made trans fats as “partially hydrogenated oils.”  Thankfully, as of November 2013, the Food and Drug Administration no longer recognizes partially hydrogenated oils as listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS)! Additionally, several nations, such as Denmark, Sweden and Canada and jurisdictions, California, New York City, Baltimore, and Montgomery County, MD, have taken measures that have either reduced or restricted the use of trans fats in food service establishments.

Until the new trans fat regulations are put into effect, how are you curbing your trans fat intake? What products have you been surprised to find contain artificially made trans fat?

Photo Credit: Stalking the wild breaded pork tenderloin in Iowa

Sources: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/understanding-trans-fats

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/fat/transfat.html

http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm079609.htm

Diabetic Complications


diabetescomplicationsBy: Nikki Nies

Care for diabetes is a long term treatment lifestyle.  When left untreated, it can lead to serious complications that can leave devastating results. 

Taking care of yourself and monitoring changes in your body and your environment is critical for optimal care.  By eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products, lean meats and limiting sodium content, you’re more than half way there in beating the odds of diabetic complications!

Complication

Description

Tips for Better Care

Eyes

  • Diabetics are 40% more likely to have glaucoma than those without diabetes—risk increases with age
  • Vision suffers due to retina and nerve damage over time
  • Cataracts: Diabetics are 60% more likely to develop cataracts than nondiabetics; cataracts blocks light, making lens “cloudy”
  • Retinopathy: all disorders of retina caused by diabetes; 2 types: proliferative and nonproliferative
  • Factors influencing retinopathy development: genes, how long one’s had DM; blood sugar and blood pressure levels
 

  • Wear sunglasses more often
  • Use glare control lenses in glasses
  • Keep blood sugars closer to normal

Gastroparesis

  • Delayed gastric (stomach) emptying
  • If vagus nerve, which controls the muscles of stomach and intestines do not work properlyàmovement of food stops or slows
  • Symptoms: lack of appetite, gastroesophageal reflux, spasms of stomach wall, erratic blood sugar levels, weight loss, abdominal bleeding, early satiety, heartburn, etc.

 Monitor blood sugars

Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome(HHNS)

  • Can occur in Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics
  • Usually due to an infection or illness
  • Blood glucose levels increase, yet one’s body tries to get rid of excess sugar by passing in through urine. Urine becomes dark and one may become thirsty.
  • Severe dehydration can lead to coma, seizures or death
  • Symptoms: excessive thirst, n/v, weakness or fatigue, fruity scented breath, confusion, shortness of breath, frequent urinating, abdominal pain
 

  • Drink liquids even when not thirsty
  • Control blood glucose levels
  • Check sugars regularly
  • Know target range for blood sugars
  • Adjust insulin dosages as needed
  • Check ketone levels

Hypertension

  • Nearly 2/3 of diabetics have high blood pressure
  • With high blood pressure, one’s heart has to work harder, which increases one’s risk for heart disease and/or stroke
 

  • Opt for whole grain cereals and grains
  • Read nutrition fact labels—opt for foods with less than 400 mg of sodium per serving
  • If needed, quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol  
  • Replace salt in cooking with herbs and spices

Feet

  • Most often in occurrence with neuropathy
  • Can lead to tingling, weakness, pain or stinging in feet
  • Can lead to loss of feeling in foot—unknowingly injuring foot
  • Feet problems may be due to poor blood flow or changes in shape of feet and/or toes
  • Can cause changes in the skin of feet—may become very dry and start to peel and crack
  • Calluses , foot ulcers, amputations and/or poor circulation can occur as well
 

  • After showering, dry feet and seal in remaining moisture with petroleum jelly or unscented hand cream
  • Do not place oils or creams between toes
  • To limit dry skin, limit soaking of feet
  • Let a health care provider cut off calluses
  • Increase amount of exercise if there’s poor circulation
  • Avoid smoking as it can impact small blood vessels and decrease blood flow to feet

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

  • Dangerously   high ketone levels or acids in the blood
  • More rare in those with Type 2 Diabetes
  • Ketones appear in urine when there is not enough insulinàcan poison body
 Eat small, frequent meals

Kidney Disease—Nephropathy

  • High blood sugars make it hard for kidneys to filter out blood
  • After years of exertion, kidney may start to leak and protein may start to be present in urine
 

  • Control blood pressure and blood sugars
  • Consume less high sodium foods
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Regular physical exercise
  • Lose weight  
  • Low protein diet

Nerve Damage—Neuropathy

  • About ½ of all diabetics have some type of neuropathy
  • More common for those who have had diabetes for years
  • Types: peripheral,
  • Peripheral neuropathy: may experience tingling, pain or increased sensitivity, numbness or weakness, muscles and bone
 

  • Keep blood sugars on target
  • Manage pain
  • Protect feet
  • Medications to reduce burning and tingling

Skin

  • Skin conditions can often be early signs of diabetes—diabetics often have dry skin and are less able to fend off bacteria
  • If caught early, may be easily be treated
  • Inflamed tissues are often times hot, painful, red and swollen
  • Most common organism: Staphylococcus bacteria
  • i.e. bacterial infections, fungal infections, itching, diabetic dermopathy, necrobiosis lipoidica, diabetic blisters, eruptive xanthomatosis and/or diabeticorum
  • Use talcum powder in places with skin to skin touch
  • If skin’s dry, limit bubble baths
  • Avoid very hot showers or baths
  • Limit moisturized in between toes
  • Use mild shampoos
  • Avoid feminine hygiene sprays
  • See a dermatologist
  • During cold, dry months, bathe less if possible
  • Treat cuts right away with antibiotic cream
  • Check feet daily for sores and cuts

Stroke

  • A diabetic has a 1.5 times higher risk of having a stroke
 

  • Lower blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol on target with physical exercise, medicine and healthy eating
  • Quit smoking 

You’ve probably noticed that most, if not all, of these complications can be controlled with blood sugar levels.  By taking a proactive approach to treating you diabetes, you could live a more worry free life!

Sources: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/

http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/risks-complications-uncontrolled-diabetes

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/

https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/conditions/diabetes/problems_caused_by_diabetes.htm

http://healthy-ojas.com/diabetes/diabetes-complications.html

50 Reasons To Exercise


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The Salt Review


By: Nikki Nies

Depending on living environment and/or accent, nouns be referred to as different things.  For instance, you won’t find the word “pop” on a menu on the East Coast, but in the MidWest, “pop’s” the standard name for soda.  Get it?  While these regional words are equally accepted and used for sodium bicarbonate, such exchange of words are not always accurate.

Salt and sodium are used interchangeably.  However, salt and sodium don’t have the same meaning.  Salt is the combination of sodium + chloride, with sodium deemed the unhealthy part of salt.  1 gram of sodium is equal to 2.5 grams of salt.  On average, people are consuming 9 grams of salt a day.

It’s important to follow these parameters as too much sodium can lead to hypertension and increase one’s risk for stroke and/or heart disease.  The salt shaker on your table isn’t the issue at hand, but 80% of sodium is from the pre packaged,prepared, restaurant processed foods that are packed with sodium rich preservatives.

Recommendation: One should have no more than 2300 mg a day of sodium/6 grams of salt.  If you’re of African American descent, 51 years or older, have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, you should limit to 1500 mg per day.  Yet, high salt intake doesn’t increase one’s risk for heart disease, but sodium does!

To be more mindful of the amount of sodium in foods, choose:

  • Food with less than 50 mg sodium per serving is very low in sodium
  • Entrees with no more than 480 mg sodium per serving   
  • Opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned
  • Look for “no salt added” or “low sodium” products
  • Eat in one more night a week.  Peruse the American Heart Association‘s website for heart healthy recipes and ideas
  • Limit intake of sodium rich foods–soy sauce, pickles, salad dressing, ketchup, cheese, canned meats, frozen meals (i.e. pizza, stir fry, TV dinners), bread, cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, salami and sausage

Foods that contain more than 250 mg of sodium per serving are considered high in sodium.

Salt Grain Size Recommended Use Fun Fact
Sea Salt Small and large Cooking and seasoning Comes from evaporated sea water; it’s common for minerals to be left behind in sea salt, which gives it extra flavor and its off white color
Table Salt Very small For seasoning, baking and in salt shakers All mineralsare removed from table saltChemicals are added in so so the grains don’t stick together
Kosher Salt Large Cooking and Seasoning Salt isn’t actually “kosher”, meaning it doesn’t conform to Jewish food laws, it’s used to make meat kosher

Now that you can differentiate salt and sodium, you’re already on your way to lowering your risk for blood pressure, heart attack and stroke!

Sources:http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Sea-Salt-Vs-Table-Salt_UCM_430992_Article.jsp http://www.food.gov.uk/scotland/scotnut/healthycatering/healthycatering2/healthycatering06/healthycateringqa09#.U7rIRZRdVIE

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/community-health/heart-disease-stroke/sodiumsalt.html http://www.food.gov.uk/scotland/scotnut/healthycatering/healthycatering2/healthycatering06/healthycateringqa09#.U7rIRZRdVIE

https://www.cardiosmart.org/News-and-Events/2013/07/Sodium-Levels-Remain-High-in-Popular-Foods

Omega 3 FA


Original Image by Camilo Rueda López via Flickr
Original Image by Camilo Rueda López via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Honestly, how many times a week do you find yourself eating fish or making your own sushi rolls?  Well, if you’re having a hard time recalling the last time you had a jam packed omega 3 fatty acid meal, let me persuade to add these types of food to your grocery list!

Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fats, deemed as “healthy fats” and “heart healthy.” They can help contribute to the reduction of inflammation, controlling blood clotting, build cell membranes in the brain and help protect against heart disease and stroke.

The three main sources of omega 3’s are eicosapentaenoic acid( EPA), docosahexaenoic acid(DHA)and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are found in fish, while ALA is found in nuts and seeds. These fatty acids (FA) are considered essential since they’re not produced in the body and need to be consumed in one’s diet.

Yes, while salmon is touted as the major source of omega 3’s, it can also be found in: anchovies, mackerel, algae, krill, bluefish, herring, sardines, lake trout, tuna and/or sturgeon. If consuming tilefish, mackerel, wild fish or shark, make sure to monitor how you’re consuming as these types of fish can have a toxic mercury level.

Additionally,food sources of ALA are: walnuts, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil and/or flaxseed.

The one downside to omega 3 fatty acids are their high calorie content, so moderation is key.  There’s so many variations that fish, nuts and seeds can be introduced to your daily meals.  Check out some recipes from the NHLBI website or experiment in your kitchen!

Sources:http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3/

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet

http://www.xtri.com/features/detail/284-itemId.511711945.html