Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Digestive Health

Here are some guidelines to maintain digestive health:
- consuming about 25-30 grams of fiber daily by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will help move stool through the colon quicker
- drink plenty of low calorie fluids like water, skim milk and 100% fruit juice also facilitates in softening the stool to prevent constipation
- limit alcohol intake; too much alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and cause relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which all contribute to heartburn
- decrease saturated fat intake; too much unhealthy fats slow digestion contributing to heartburn, bloating and constipation

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#Sweet Potatoes on the Thanksgiving menu?

Will you be having sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving? Hope so. Here are the health benefits of the unique root vegetable.

- anti-inflammatory properties
- antioxidant function: provided by beta-carotene and the storage proteins, sporamins within the vegetable
- blood sugar regulating properties
- Vitamin C
- Beta Carotene, a Vitamin A precursor
- potassium
- iron
- calcium
- Vitamin B6
- eventhough it is a starchy root vegetable, it has a very reasonable glycemic index, superior to other starches
- valuable amount of dietary fiber

Friday, November 19, 2010

#What causes Hot Flashes?

The hypothalamus, located deep in the midbrain, is your body's thermostat. Along with the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), it controls blood vessel dilation & constriction. The hypothalamus needs estrogen to function properly. A lack of estrogen affects the feedback system between the hypothalamus & the ANS, thereby disrupting these two temperature regulators. So during perimenopause & menopause, the lack of estrogen & it's deficiency respectively, causes the hypothalamus to change it's thermostat set point, signalling the ANS to dilate the surface blood vessels and release some heat. So what does this mean? Due to the fluctuating concentration of estrogen in this stage of life, you basically have no control over when you're body acts as a heat exchanger!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

#HDL and LDL...what the heck is that?

HDL (high density lipoprotein) is a protein that carries about 1/3 to 1/4 of blood cholesterol. HDL acts a  "good" cholesterol because it picks up the cholesterol and removes it from the bloodstream by carrying it back to the liver, where it is passed from the body. Levels above 40 milligrams per deciliter can protect against heart attacks and strokes.

LDL (low density lipoprotein), "bad" cholesterol, carries cholesterol in the blood stream and is involved in plaque formation within the arteries, this process is called, atherosclerosis. Levels higher than 160 mg/dl increases the risk of heart disease.

So what can you do to raise your HDL and lower your LDL?

- exercise daily
- STOP smoking
- moderate amounts of alcohol, limit to only one drink/day, or even better 3-4 glasses of red wine a week
- add whole grains and beans to your daily diet
- eat more nuts, like walnuts & almonds
- refrain from trans fats and limit saturated fats in your diet
- eat more oats
- EAT breakfast
- eat garlic which has heart protecting antioxidants
- eat a grapefruit
- drink green tea daily
- consume cranberries
- eat 5-6 small meals a day
- drink plenty of water daily
- consume the recommended amount of vitamin B (niacin) and folic acid daily

Monday, November 15, 2010

#Leafy greens

Eat more leafy greens. The benefits of kale & chard include cholesterol lowering fiber, they lower the risk of cancer & support the body's detoxification system, and the flavenoids have both antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties. Arugula is rich in vitamin A & C. Spinach contains vitamin A, K, potassium & iron. So instead of a romaine salad substitute with spinach and add other dark leafy greens!