Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle: National Nutrition Month

Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle: National Nutrition Month

Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle: National Nutrition Month

There is no single food, drink, or magic pill for achieving optimal health.

What is most important is a person’s overall lifestyle. Making health-conscious choices is crucial to maintaining good health and quality of life. A healthy lifestyle consists of regular physical activity and an eating pattern chosen to meet individual nutrient needs within calorie limits.

The ultimate objective of our Medical Weight Loss Program is to instill positive lifestyle changes within our patients. Not only do we want patients to lose weight while in the program, we want them to keep the weight off after completing the program.

Let’s face it—“crash dieting” does not work!

Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, it is equally important to healthy foods with adequate nutrition.

First and foremost, eliminate processed foods from your kitchen. This includes frozen T.V. dinners, imitation meats (e.g. chicken “nuggets”, corn dogs, etc.), and refined carbohydrates like chips and crackers. Many processed foods contain harmful additives, excess sugars, and are loaded with saturated and trans-fats. Instead, choose whole foods.

What are whole foods?

Whole foods are those which are unprocessed in nature, or very minimally processed. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, for example, retain their fiber as well as the whole range of beneficial phytochemicals and nutrients that are often removed in processed foods.

Our bodies are most efficient when we consume food that is in its natural form. For example, when your body digests a potato chip, your blood sugar increases, resulting in the release of insulin shortly afterward. Since the potato chip is a considered a simple carbohydrate, a high amount of insulin will be released. Research has shown that high insulin levels over time lead to insulin sensitivity and consequently, obesity. This can cause chronic inflammation, and the inflammation puts stress on the body. Also, think of what your energy feels like after eating potato chips or some pizza. You probably feel tired, lethargic, and may even feel bloated.

If we lower the amount of stress we put on the body and its processes, it will make our lives easier.

But why do manufacturers process food, anyways?

There are many reasons for this—one of the main reasons being to increase the flavors in the food, making it more attractive to our taste buds so that we will keep buying the product. Processing foods helps to give products a longer shelf life and raise the convenience factor, particularly appealing to busy lifestyles. However, these foods are usually very high in calories, added fats and sugars, and sodium.

Additional health benefits of whole foods:

Consuming foods that are unprocessed, or very minimally processed, helps to retain the necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber and water that is often removed when foods are processed. You will also feel better when you eat whole foods, providing the natural energy you need for daily activities!

Artificial coloring, preservatives, and flavors are usually added to food during processing, all of which have negative impacts on your health. In addition, consumption of processed foods has been linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes because of the loads of added sugars, salt, and trans-fats.

By now, you should know that “eating well” does not mean constant dieting. It is instead a lifestyle, a behavior, an eating attitude. We understand the difficulty in making these lifestyle changes, and this is why we are here to help. Call us today at 941-749-0741 to learn more information about our weight loss program!

Is Fat Good For Me?

Is Fat Good For Me?

Is Fat Good For Me?

Fat is an essential part of our diet. Without it, our bodies cannot function efficiently and we could develop serious medical conditions.

In a previous blog, I presented the relationship between the obesity epidemic and the consumption of fats and sugars (Click Here). Researchers have found that is the high amount of refined sugars and unhealthy fats in our diet that are responsible for the increase in overweight, obesity and associated medical conditions. That does not mean that we can indulge in eating high fat food. Any excess of calories we consume will be stored as fat, therefore making us heavier.

Healthy fats should be taken by anyone regardless of their health status. Most food has a combination of different types of fats. Always choose food that contains a higher ratio of good fats.

Let us start by defining what fat is.

Fats are a group of macronutrients known as “lipids”. Fat can be obtained from our diet or our body can produce it in the liver. Fats are stored in our body as fatty acids, which are molecules produced by the breakdown of the fat during the digestion process and then absorbed into the blood. Fat has many important functions in the body:

• Stores energy
• Helps in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K
• Promotes healthy nerve activity
• Precursors of essential substances in the body (e.g. hormones and prostaglandins)
• Maintains immune system
• Helps with the growth of hair, nails and skin
• Important component of cells membranes and cell development

If blood sugar (glucose) is not available for energy, the body uses stored fatty acids to provide the energy that we need.

Some omega- 3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential fats. A nutrient is called “essential” when the body cannot manufacture it and it can only be obtained from our food. Some amino-acids and fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are classified as essential. Our bodies require these nutrients to be able to function and operate effectively.

Here are a few types of fatty acids, based on their chemical structure:

1. Saturated fats or “bad fats” are the type of fats that mostly come from animal sources. It is usually solid at room temperature (butter and margarine). Fish and poultry have less saturated fat than red meat. Saturated fat can also be found in coconut oil, palm oil and cocoa butter. However, the health benefits of coconut oil are still controversial.

2. Trans fats: this type of fat has been changed by a chemical process called hydrogenation. Trans fats are solid at room temperature and used in a variety of commercially processed food products such as margarine, lard and shortening. Researchers have found that this type of fat is very dangerous and its consumption should be limited.

3. Unsaturated fats or “good fats” are liquid at room temperature (oil). It is mostly in oils from plants. Eating this type of fat may increase total cholesterol, both bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL).

Unsaturated fats come in two varieties:

Monounsaturated fats: “mono” means one unsaturated chemical bond. It is found in avocado, nuts, and vegetable oils such as canola, olive, and peanut oils. Omega-9 is a type of monounsaturated fat that the body can produce, but they are beneficial when obtained from the food.

Polyunsaturated fats: “Poly” means many unsaturated chemical bonds. It is found in vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, sesame, soybean, and corn oils. There a two types of essential fatty acids: linolenic and linoleic acids. These types of fats are used to build specialized fats called omega- 3 and omega- 6 fatty acids. Research studies have shown that supplementation with these fatty acids can prevent the development of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and brain deterioration leading to stroke or Alzheimer’s dementia.

A. Omega-3:
Plant source: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the only omega-3 found in plants. There is a small amount of omega-3 in walnuts, flaxseed, leafy greens, canola oil and soybean oil compare to animal products.
Animal source: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found on oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters and trout. These types of foods contain higher levels of omega- 3 compared to plant sources.

B. Omega 6:
This type of fats is more abundant is our diet. It is found in nuts and seeds, corn, olive and sunflower oil, shellfish and krill. Most people have higher amounts of omega- 6. The ratio of omega- 3 to omega-6 fatty acids should be 1:1 or 2:1.

A healthy diet should include 8 ounces or more of these types of fish a week or 2 grams daily of good quality fish oil supplements. Click on the link to learn the recommended daily intake fats from the Center of Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/fat/unsaturatedfat.html

Always review the nutrition label in the package to learn the amount of total fat, saturated fat and trans fats. Food labels are not required to list monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

At The Aesthetic and Wellness Center, we offer an analysis of body composition. This test helps us determine the amount or excess of fat mass and recommend a healthier and leaner body. Call us today set up an appointment.

Sincerely,

Inda Mowett, MD

Antioxidant Foods

Antioxidant Foods

Antioxidant Foods

Antioxidant foods are treasured for their ability to fight disease, cancer, and aging. In this article, we will examine the top ten foods with highest antioxidant capacity:

Rank Food item Serving size Total antioxidant capacity
per serving size
1 Small Red Bean (dried) Half cup 13,727
2 Wild blueberry 1 cup 13,427
3 Red kidney bean (dried) Half cup 13,259
4 Pinto bean Half cup 11,864
5 Blueberry (cultivated) 1 cup 9,019
6 Cranberry 1 cup (whole) 8,983
7 Artichoke (cooked) 1 cup (hearts) 7,904
8 Blackberry 1 cup 7,701
9 Prune Half cup 7,291
10 Raspberry 1 cup 6,058

But, what are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent, delay, or repair certain types of cell damage. They are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables, and also available as dietary supplements. Examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

Small red beans

Beans contain eight flavonoids, plant substances that give many fruits and vegetables their colors. Scientists say these plant chemicals act as antioxidants to give you some protection against heart disease and certain cancers.

Wild blueberries

Blueberries are full of anthocyanins, a healthy plant chemical that gives them that beautiful blue color, and also provide some protection against heart disease. Some research also indicates that blueberries may have a positive effect on improving night vision and reducing blood glucose levels.

Red kidney beans

Red kidney beans are packed with protein, fiber, folate (vitamin B12), magnesium, potassium, and a number of other health promoting nutrients. The high amount of folate from red kidney beans, in particular, promotes excellent cardiovascular health!

Pinto beans

In addition to health benefits of pinto beans related to heart disease and cancer, studies also suggest eating beans may help manage diabetes and cut the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Blueberries (cultivated)

Blueberries contain no fat or cholesterol. They’re high in fiber and low in calories, and they make a great snack alone or as an additive to a cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt.

Cranberries

It has been known for a while that cranberries prevent harmful bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract, thus cutting down on the possibility of infections.

Cooked artichoke

Artichokes are low in calories and sodium, and packed with vitamin C, folate, and fiber. They also have phytonutrients that work to protect against many health risks including cancer, heart disease, liver dysfunction, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Blackberries

This fruit is packed with anthocyanins, plant chemicals that gives them their deep color and act as antioxidants. Blackberries are rich in vitamin C and fiber!

Prunes

Prunes are a good source of Vitamin A, an essential nutrient. They also are high in fiber, as well as beneficial in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, diabetes, and diverticulitis.

Raspberries

This fruit helps fight inflammation and has been used to reduce arthritis-related pain. Raspberries are high in polyphenolic compounds, plant chemicals that act as powerful antioxidants that fight cardiovascular disease and cancer.

In summary, it is important to eat foods with antioxidants to help defend against free radicals. Free radicals, as you may have heard, can cause damage to cellular DNA. Eating antioxidant foods, however, gives you the protection you need to combat this damage.

References

“Antioxidants.” (2014, June 6). MedlinePlus. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/antioxidants.html.

Donaldson, D. (2009). Top 10 antioxidant foods. Better Homes & Gardens Network. Retrieved from http://www.hearthealthyonline.com/healthy-recipes/cooking-nutrition-tips/antioxidant-foods_1.html.

Eder, C. (2011, Nov). The amazing artichoke. Life Extension Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2011/nov2011_The-Amazing-Artichoke_01.htm.

“Health benefits of eating red kidney beans.” (2014). HealthWithFood.org. Retrieved from http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/red-kidney-beans.php.http://www.hearthealthyonline.com/healthy-recipes/cooking-nutrition-tips/antioxidant-foods_1.html.

“Prunes rank #1 in antioxidant activity.” (2000). Stapleton-Spence Packing Co. Retrieved from http://www.stapleton-spence.com/nutrition/dried-plums-or-prunes-rank-1-in-antioxidant-activity.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The Aesthetic & Wellness Center is not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this site. After reading articles, watching videos or reading other content from this website, you are encouraged to review the information carefully with your professional healthcare provider.

Are You A Carboholic?

Are You A Carboholic?

Are You a Carboholic?

After many years of practicing Obesity Medicine, I have found that there is no difference between the one who tends to eat sugary treats versus the ones that prefer salty snacks and starches. Both types are carbohydrate dependent. These types of dietary carbohydrates will release insulin, the hormone responsible for the storage of fat in our body.

So, who is a carboholic?

A carboholic is the individual who will select food made from grains or starchy vegetables over protein or fat. They usually prefer savory or salty food over sweet treats. However, the consumption of these types of carbohydrates will have the same effect in brain and liver as the sweets consumed by sugar addicts.

Before we continue, take this brief quiz and find out if you are a carboholic.

Set A:
____ I eat potatoes, pasta, rice or bread every day
____ I tend to skip meals
____ I feel relaxed, happy or relieved after eating carbs
____ I cannot limit the amount of carbohydrates I eat
____ I tend to lose weight when I limit the amount of carbs

Set B:
____ I mainly eat whole grains and non-starchy vegetables
____ I eat a balanced meal three times a day
____ I feel tired, fatigued and sluggish after eating carbs
____ I eat more starches close or during my period
____ I can limit the amount of carbs in my diet

**To get the answers, go to the end of the page.

Individuals eating more starches tend to skip meals, placing their body in starvation mode. Once their blood glucose levels drops, they have to increase the blood sugar level by eating more simple carbohydrates, non-starchy vegetables or grains. The load of glucose into the bloodstream will cause the release of a large amount of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. It moves glucose (sugar) obtained from the food into the cells. The cells are then able to use the glucose for energy. An excess of glucose not utilized by the cells will be stored as fat. Chronic carbohydrate overload causes an excess of insulin, resulting in increased on body fat storage. This chronic cycle will eventually cause insulin resistance, high blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetes.

Also, simple carbohydrates can have the same effect in the brain as alcohol, nicotine and some illegal drugs. They work in the area of the reward system of the brain, releasing the two neurochemicals dopamine and serotonin. These neurochemicals are responsible for the emotions of reward and addiction. Carboholics are not satisfied until they eat starchy vegetables or grains. They can develop episodes of low blood glucose levels that are corrected by eating more starchy carbohydrates. Weight gain leading to obesity is very common in this group. Obesity is linked to a variety of chronic medical conditions such as elevated blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers.

Recommendations:

• Do not skip meals
• Eat a well-balanced diet
• Pre-plan your meals
• Eat more protein with your meals
• Exchange starchy vegetables for non-starchy vegetables
• Eat a snack before eating out (you will be less tempted to pick from the bread or chip basket)

Answer to quiz:
If you have more than 2 answers from Set A, you are a carboholic.
If you have more than 3 answers from Set B, congratulations, you don’t have to worry
If you answer 2 questions from Set A, you could be at risk

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The Aesthetic & Wellness Center is not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this site. After reading articles, watching videos or reading other content from this website, you are encouraged to review the information carefully with your professional healthcare provider or skin care specialist.

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