Eat to Defeat Inflammation
The first nutrition course I ever took in college changed my life. I was absolutely fascinated to learn what vitamins and minerals were and how important they are for good health. It was also about that time I finally understood what Hippocrates meant when he said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Today, that saying is even more important as nutrition science has come a long way since I took that first nutrition course. Just think about inflammation, your body’s natural protective response to illness or injury. In fact, a little inflammation under normal circumstances can be a good thing. When you cut yourself, you want your immune system to respond quickly by sending white blood cells to your wound to fight off infection. But a low-grade persistent state of chronic inflammation is not a good thing. In this circumstance, white blood cells inappropriately move into tissues and cause destruction. In fact, chronic inflammation has been linked to a whole host of health conditions from type 2 diabetes and arthritis to heart disease, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects of certain foods, a healthful diet can help you fight off inflammation, (Regular exercise, not smoking, and losing weight are powerful tools, too.) Start by eating less of the “bad stuff”— fast food burgers, French fries, and sodas, as well as sweets such as cookies, cakes, and pies. These highly processed foods loaded with fat, sugar, and salt promote inflammation, while eating more of the “good stuff”—yes, more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts—inhibits and protects against inflammation. Here are some of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods:
Fish and walnuts. Salmon and tuna are great sources of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, as are walnuts. These foods help offset the pro-inflammatory effects of omega-6 fatty acids, which are pervasive in our diet. Omega-6 fats are found in eggs, corn, soy, and safflower oils.
Olive oil. Studies suggest consuming a Mediterranean-style diet—a diet high in plant foods and olive oil—helps decrease joint tenderness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Red wine and dark chocolate. Resveratrol, a phytonutrient found in red wine, has been shown to inhibit inflammation, while the consumption of dark chocolate, something I do almost daily, has been linked to lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of inflammation in the body.
Turmeric. Spice up your life. Turmeric, also known as curry, is a traditional spice of Indian cuisine. In a recent pilot study, supplemental turmeric helped reduce joint tenderness and swelling in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Tart cherries. It’s cherry season and according to the latest research, tart cherries may have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food. In a recent study, women with osteoarthritis who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for several weeks experienced a significant reduction in important markers of inflammation.
Eating to fight inflammation could be one of the best things you do for yourself. For your next meal, how about some salmon curry and a glass of red wine, followed by some tart cherries covered in dark chocolate for dessert?
Article by Pamela Riggs: Director of Medical Affairs and Health Sciences at the Shaklee Corporation
- Researchers: Tart Cherries Have ‘Highest Anti-Inflammatory Content Of Any Food’ (detroit.cbslocal.com)
- America’s Deadliest Diseases: How Your Diet May Put You at Risk (mcntalk.com)
- When food causes you pain (cnn.com)
Wellness To-Do List: Keep Bones Strong and Healthy
by Dr. Jamie McManus
When you think about getting healthy, what comes to mind first? If you are like most Americans, you first think about losing weight or maybe trying to eat less fat to lower cholesterol levels. While these are both important, in my opinion there is probably nothing more critical to your health than having strong bones! Your skeleton holds you up and together. The 236 bones that make up your skeleton anchor your muscles in place and protect your vital organs—including your brain. And did you know your skeleton completely replaces itself every 12 months or so? That’s right—the cells of your bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt again. Your highest bone density is reached in your 20s—after that, it is a lifelong process to maintain that bone density. Factors such as aging, menopause, smoking, and anorexia can increase bone loss, but everyone— yes, men and women—is at risk to develop osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become porous and less dense, and are more likely to break. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, this condition affects 44 million Americans, and by 2020, half of all American over age 50 are expected to have osteoporosis. In honor of Osteoporosis Awareness Month, here are the THREE most important things you can do to keep your bones strong and healthy:
1) Consume adequate amounts of calcium. Men and women between the ages of 18 to 50 need about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Women over age 50 and men over age 70 should increase that total to at least 1,200 mg per day. This equates to 4 servings of dairy products such as milk or yogurt. If you don’t consume dairy products, consider fortified soy products or soy milk, and dark, leafy green vegetables (broccoli is my personal favorite). To ensure your calcium intake is adequate, consider a calcium supplement. Supplemental calcium is best absorbed when consumed in amounts of 500 mg or so and taken with a meal.
2) Get plenty of vitamin D. Vitamin D is absolutely essential for your body to absorb and utilize calcium. Recent studies suggest up to 80% of adults may have insufficient vitamin D levels in the blood. This may be due to a number of factors. Although scientists don’t know exactly what the optimal daily intake of vitamin D is yet, a good starting place is between 1,000 and 2,000 IU per day, and I urge all adults to ask your doctor to run a vitamin D blood test.
3) Exercise, exercise, exercise. It not only helps build strong bones, but it slows down bone loss. Strength-training exercises that work your upper body—your arms and upper spine—are great, especially when combined with weight-bearing activities such as walking, jogging, and stair-climbing that work your lower body—including your lower back, hips, and legs. Osteoporosis is not an inevitable part of getting older. Although some risk factors—such as age, race, and family history—can’t be changed, it’s never too late to start improving your eating habits, increasing your exercise levels, and taking supplements to help maintain your bone strength and integrity.
- Five on Friday: Protect Those Bones (acommonsea.wordpress.com)
- Osteoporosis Tips: Diet and Exercise for Stronger, Healthier Bones (webmd.com)
- Osteoporosis ~ a silent thief (thinkloud65.wordpress.com)
Super Wellness For Super kids
Children grow at a much faster rate during their first few years than at any other time in their lives, stressing the need for parents to ensure optimal nutrition. Of special importance are macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) that provide calories and essential vitamins and minerals critical to proper growth, development, and immune function—including all eight B vitamins and vitamins C, A, and D, as well as calcium, iron, and zinc. In addition, growing children should achieve adequate intakes of omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA, which is essential for early brain and eye development.
Although specific nutrient needs vary throughout the different stages of life, there is probably not a more critical time for optimal nutrition than during childhood—especially early childhood. Good nutrition is absolutely essential for the development of healthy bodies that will thrive with abundant energy, healthy brain function, a responsive immune system, and strong bones and teeth. Healthful eating and exercise habits established during childhood also will help reduce the risk of obesity as well as many degenerative and lifestyle-related diseases of adulthood, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and other conditions related to nutrition, weight, and lifestyle. In other words, acquiring beneficial lifestyle habits early in life, making nutritious and healthful food choices, being physically active, and filling in nutritional gaps with the appropriate dietary supplements can provide a strong foundation for a lifetime of health and wellness.
For more information on supplements click HERE.
- Healthy Eating in Children: Problems Caused by Poor Nutrition – Children’s Health (vickycolas.wordpress.com)
Thought this was a good article by Dr. Jamie McManus
Next year will mark the 40th year since the first National Nutrition Week campaign was launched. And I know I am showing my age, but I remember 1973! I was an intense pre-med college student working in a research lab and studying to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Richard Nixon was the president, and one of the top news stories was Billie Jean King defeating Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes—go, girl power! The theme was Invest in Yourself—Buy Nutrition. National Nutrition Week was enthusiastically embraced by the American Dietetic Association (now called the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and officially became National Nutrition Month in 1980—now celebrated every March.
And since this year’s theme is Get Your Plate in Shape, I thought I would share how I get MY plate into the best nutritional shape!
Make a list. Take time to think ahead as to what you are planning to put on your plate tonight and every night this week. Get to the grocery store—with your list—and stock up on fruits, vegetables, lean-protein choices such as chicken breast, low-fat (or better, nonfat) milk and yogurt, soy milk, etc. This will help ensure you have healthy choices at home as you prepare your meals
Load up at least half of your plate with veggies at lunch and dinner. I try to have at least THREE colors on my plate—red bell peppers, dark green broccoli and spinach, and orange carrots. These colors tell us these veggies are brimming with health-promoting phytonutrients as well as vitamins and minerals!
Fill the rest of the plate with small portions of a protein food and a starch. And since you will be following my lead and filling up on veggies, it will be easier to avoid overeating or oversized portions. You might even try using smaller plates and bowls if you tend to overeat.
Spice up your life as I have—who knew there were so many choices of amazing spices?! You need only a pinch of salt, especially when you have garlic, basil, rosemary, and thyme. Did you know these spices provide additional phytonutrients to support your health, as well as make your food taste fabulous and yummy? Pull out those dusty cookbooks and try a new recipe that uses spices you’ve never tried—this has become one of our favorite activities at our house!
Last but not least, be sure you have nutrition insurance. Even though I am knowledgeable about nutrition and committed to healthy eating, I know my food cannot provide all that I need every day, so I always take a daily comprehensive multivitamin/multimineral supplement and urge you to do the same! It is simply good nutritional sense.
- “Get Your Plate in Shape to Manage Your Weight” – IFIC Foundation Offers Resources for Nutrition, Weight Management During National Nutrition Month (prweb.com)
- March is National Nutrition Month (massageenvycentralfl.wordpress.com)
Is a vitamin just a vitamin? Watch and see…
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Winter is still here, and some of us are feeling the blues. Here is some helpful information on vitamin D and how we can use it to lift our mood during these sometimes gloomy months. The following is an excerpt from Genevea-Health.com.
About Vitamin D and …
Vita-D3 Promotes heart, immune and bone health
Add some sunshine to your day with Vita-D3™! Recent research shows that vitamin D—the “sunshine vitamin”—offers a multitude of benefits including supporting healthy heart function, immune and bone health. But, up to 80% of Americans may have insufficient levels of this essential nutrient. Boost your level of vitamin D with Shaklee Vita-D3. The perfect choice for overall health and well-being, Vita-D3 provides 1,000 IU of high potency vitamin D3 to help your body thrive!
- Vitamin Deficiency Linked to Diabetes, Autoimmune Disorders, Cancer (library2humanities.wordpress.com)
Your Body Can’t Manufacture All The Nutrients It Needs On Its Own
Scientists define a vitamin as a compound essential for life. Since your body cannot manufacture most of these vitamins on its own, it can come by them only from the food you eat and the supplements you take every day. Over the long term, proper nutrition impacts every aspect of your health – from its ability to maintain health to its role in preventing nutrition – related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can prevent many major diseases 60-90% of the time.
Heart Disease is the number one killer in the US.
Every minute of every hour of every day, someone dies from a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, 80% of all heart disease in women is preventable with proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices.
Cancer is the number two killer in the US.
Approximately one of every two adults will be diagnosed with cancer sometime during their life. The American Cancer Society reports that 60% of all cancer-related deaths can be prevented by improving lifestyle choices – by being physically active, losing weight, stopping smoking, and getting proper nutrition
Diabetes: The illness multiplier.
Diabetes contributes to more than 230,000 deaths every year. Plus, if you have diabetes, you are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke and 10 times more likely to have a limb amputated. Also, diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure and blindness. A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that 90% of all type 2 diabetes is preventable with proper nutrition, achieving a healthy weight and engaging in other healthy lifestyle behaviors.
Our standard American diet (S.A.D.) is a big, fat problem.
90% of Americans fall short in getting essential nutrients in our diets.
The proven benefits of nutritional supplementation:
The good news is that the very latest research suggests that you can positively influence you health every day through lifestyle changes you make and through the quality of your nutritional intake.
A recent study of people who took a wide range of high quality nutritional supplements for 20 years or more showed dramatic benefits compared to those who took just a multivitamin or no supplement at all. These long term supplement users were 73% less likely to have diabetes, 39% less likely to have high blood pressure, and were nearly four times more likely to describe their health as “very good” or “excellent” compared to nonusers. In other words, consuming a wide variety of high quality supplements is associated with better health and a reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more.
- Celebrity chef Paula Deen reveals she has type 2 diabetes – Chicago Tribune (chicagotribune.com)