Tag Archives: Nutrition

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What does a portion size look like?

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Less than 3%

There are really only a few basic habits we know should help keep people healthy: eating well, exercising, avoiding smoking, and keeping body fat in check.

Turns out a shockingly tiny number — just 2.7 percent — of Americans actually manage all four habits, according to a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The research, led by Paul Loprinzi of the University of Mississippi, used data about the lifestyles of nearly 5,000 US adults from the 2003 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. (That’s the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s biggest national health survey.)

The researchers zeroed in on information about exercise (whether people got 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity weekly based on accelerometer data) and smoking status (measured by blood levels of cotinine, a biomarker for tobacco exposure). As for eating habits, the researchers looked at self-reported 24-hour recall data about diet and used the Healthy Eating Index score (an indicator of diet quality that takes into account how many fruits and vegetables people eat, as well as meat, beans, oil, saturated fat, alcohol, and sodium). To evaluate physical fitness, they also looked at body fat percentage.

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The researchers also looked at how these behaviors corresponded with biomarkers related to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, including cholesterol and fasting glucose.

The findings were stark.

Only about 38 percent of Americans surveyed had a healthy diet, just 10 percent had a normal body fat level, and fewer than half (47 percent) were sufficiently active. On the upside: 70 percent of adults reported themselves as nonsmokers. But overall, fewer than 3 percent of Americans managed all four healthy lifestyle behaviors. Eleven percent had none.

Generally, the researchers also found, people who had three or four of these behaviors had better biomarker measures compared with those who managed none.

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This new research should be a reminder of how difficult behavior change is, and how addressing society’s obesity challenge is going to take more than simply telling people to eat better and exercise more.

From VOX, read post here

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The science of mindful eating

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6 Foods to Eat for a Younger Heart

Adapted from Everyday Health, click here for the original article.

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According to CDC data, nearly three out of four U.S. adults have a predicted heart age that is older than their actual age, placing them at higher risk for heart attacks and stroke. (You can find out your own heart age by using the calculator on the CDC website.)

Everyone can benefit from a heart-healthy diet, but if you’re among the 70 percent of the population with an accelerated heart age, the payoff is even greater. While diet doesn’t directly factor into the new calculator, it can affect many of the indicators that do.

A diet aimed at prevention should be built on a foundation of nutrient-dense, low-sodium foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and fish.

Six Eating Habits That Can Boost Heart Health

That sounds well and good, but putting this general advice into practice can be overwhelming, especially if it’s a big shift from your current meal and snack patterns. To ease the transition, you can break up heart-healthy guidelines into smaller goals and tackle one or two changes at a time. Here are six eating habits that can make a big difference and help to reverse the clock on your aging heart.

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  • Swap one of your daily snacks for a handful of nuts. From almonds and pistachios to walnuts and peanuts, all nuts are heart-healthy choices, so choose your favorites. Stick to unsalted, though.
  • Serve at least one cup of vegetables and/or fruit with every meal. Produce is naturally low in sodium, and it’s rich in fiber, potassium, and other nutrients that may help to lower blood pressure. Squeeze in extra servings as snacks, such as berries with plain yogurt or baby carrots with hummus.
  • Put fish on the menu twice a week. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and Arctic char are best bets, but some seafood is better than no seafood, so if you prefer milder, flaky white fish or shellfish, those are fine choices, too. Fish fillets cook in less than 10 minutes, so they’re a smart entree choice for speedy weeknight meals.
  • Make the majority of your grains whole. Whole-grain bread, crackers, pasta, and breakfast cereals made from whole-grain flours are convenient choices to keep on hand. Intact and minimally processed grains, such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, popcorn, and bulgur wheat may offer even more benefits because they are digested slowly, producing a lower glycemic response.
  • Eat beans or lentils at least three times per week. Plant-based proteins are a nutrient-rich substitute for processed and red meats, which may increase heart disease risk factors. Combine canned, low-sodium beans with whole-grain pasta and roasted or sauteed vegetables for a simple meal that hits on three of the heart-healthy food groups listed here. Or, serve a side of seasoned beans in place of rice, pasta, or potatoes.
  • Cook more meals at home using whole foods. Seventy-five percent of the salt in our diet comes from processed and restaurant foods, so preparing more meals from scratch is hands down the most strategic way to reduce sodium. Minimize the salt you add to recipes and use fresh or dried herbs, vinegar, and citrus juices to build flavor.

What is Body Composition Analysis?

Body composition analysis through bioimpedance (bioelectrical impedance analysis / BCA) determines the electrical impedance, or opposition to the flow of an electric current through body tissues which can then be used to calculate an estimate of total body water (TBW). TBW can be used to estimate fat-free body mass and, by difference with body weight, body fat. The BF-350 is a professional grade machine with more accurate results than found in products available to the general public.

BCA is considered reasonably accurate for measuring groups, or for tracking body composition in an individual over a period of time, but is not considered sufficiently accurate for recording of single measurements of individuals.

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Why is body composition important to your health?

A normal balance of body fat to lean body mass is associated with good health and longevity. Excess fat in relation to lean body mass, a condition known as altered body composition, can greatly increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. BCA enables early detection of an improper balance in your body composition, which allows for earlier intervention and prevention. BCA also provides the measurement of fluid and body mass that can be critical assessment tool for your current state of health.

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BCA serves to measure your progress as you work to improve your health. Improving your BCA measure, or maintaining a health BIA measurement, can help keep your body functioning properly for healthy aging and reduced risk of illness. With your BCA results, we can recommend a personalized dietary plan, nutritional supplements, and exercise to help support optimal health and well-being for a lifetime.

Whole food nutrition and supplements for a healthy immune System

Immune system support supplements made with whole food ingredients can help you stay at your healthiest throughout the challenges of daily life and seasonal stresses.

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Porridge for your Health

Oats have long been considered a superfood, staving off illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

But now a review by Harvard University has found that whole grains also appear to prevent early death and lower the chance of dying from cancer.

A meta-analysis of 12 studies involving nearly 800,000 people found that eating 70 grams of whole grains a day – the equivalent of a large bowl of porridge – lowers the risk of all-cause death by 22% and death from cancer by 20%. It also reduces the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 20%.

Scientists believe that whole grains help lower cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar, as well as making people feel full for longer, preventing them from snacking on unhealthy foods. The same effect could be gained from eating bran, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, or a mix of grains.

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Whole grains, where the bran and germ remain, contain 25% more protein than refined grains, such as those used to make white flour, pasta and white rice.

Previous studies have shown that whole grains can boost bone mineral density, lower blood pressure, promote healthy gut bacteria and reduce the risk of diabetes.

One particular fibre found only in oats – called beta-glucan – has been found to lower cholesterol which can help to protect against heart disease.

Whole grains are recommended in many dietary guidelines because they contain high levels of nutrients such as zinc, copper, manganese, iron and thiamine. They are also believed to boost levels of antioxidants, which combat free-radicals linked to cancer.

Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Eating more whole grains is a simple change we can make to improve our diet and help lower our risk of heart and circulatory disease. Choosing brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, wholemeal or granary bread instead of white and swapping to whole-grain breakfast cereals such as porridge are all simple ways to help us up our fibre and whole-grain intake.”

From Irish Independent, click here for article.