Thursday, September 2, 2010

Controlling Diabetes with Food

Diabetes is a very serious disease that can be easier to manage when accompanied with healthy eating habits. Diabetes occurs when your body has trouble using glucose. This is a problem because glucose, or blood sugar, is the body’s main source of energy. Healthy eating habits are important whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes because they can prevent problems such as heart and kidney conditions.

There is no longer a set “diabetic diet”. People with diabetes simply need to follow the principles of healthy eating that apply to everyone. They need to also count their calorie consumption occasionally to maintain or lose weight based on doctor recommendation. There are four major nutrition factors that diabetics need to pay attention to: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and sodium.

Carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels. Although the type of carbohydrate can affect your blood sugar levels, the amount you eat is more important. People with diabetes should watch the amount of nutrient-dense carbohydrates they eat such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This will help control blood sugar levels and keep hunger away.

Keeping track of protein intake is very important. Protein intake needs to be moderate because according to the American Diabetes Association, protein intake higher than 20% can lead to kidney disease. To decrease the amount of protein in your body, eat smaller portions of protein and reduce the intake of saturated fat. This will keep you cholesterol level down.

Because most people with diabetes have unhealthy cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, the reduction of fat is very important. Fat should only account to 25-35% of your total calorie intake according to The National Cholesterol Education Program. Saturated fat should only take up 7% of the total calories. All the other fat taken in should be either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

People with diabetes should not consume more than 2,300 mg a day according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For people with higher blood pressure that number should be lowered to 1,500 mg.

When managing diabetes with food, pay attention to the different food groups. The six main groups, categorized based on the nutrients they provide and their effects on glucose levels, are: starches, vegetables, fruits, milk and yogurt, meat and meat substances, and fats. Try thinking of the foods in this order then it will be easier to put together healthier meals.

In order to help you plan out healthier meals try meeting with a certified diabetes educator (CDE) or a registered dietitian. Helping to get your diabetes under control could be as easy as having a healthy diet.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Conquering Diabetes

A global type 2 diabetes epidemic is happening right now according to The World Wide Health Organization. Right now 180 million people are recorded to have diabetes. This number is expected to double by 2030.

The good news is that we can fix this epidemic by changing the way we live. The crisis was created because of our bad health habits.

So what is diabetes? Diabetes affects the body’s ability to use glucose, also called blood sugar, for energy. Blood sugar levels become too high because of a problem with insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It allows sugar to go from the bloodstream into a cell. There are 2 types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body no longer produces enough insulin and raises blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes accounts for only 10% of worldwide diabetes and is not increasing. Doctors have not fully discovered why type 1 diabetes occurs. If you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes monitor it carefully with your doctor.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin even though the hormone is still produced. Type 2 diabetes can usually be prevented but it cannot be fixed after it occurs because of the physiological changes that occur in the body. Choosing healthier food and making good lifestyle changes can majorly lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Quitting smoking and exercising at least 30 minutes a day can greatly reduce the chance of developing diabetes.

Your health is very important. Make healthy choices today and stop the spread worldwide diabetes epidemic.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes

Summer is here!!! What are children’s favorite part of summer? No school and lots of time to play. New sports are starting up; soccer, baseball, track and field, etc. All mothers are on high alert to make sure their young athletes are healthy and have a chance to reach their full potential while keeping them away from the junk food sitting out. So what can parents do to help their kids out during summer?

The most important thing to remember is to keep everyone in the family hydrated. During summer dehydration can lead to severe medical problems. Parents need to make sure their child has plenty to drink before, during, and after the game; even when a child is not thirsty they can become dehydrated. A dehydrated athlete is likely to collapse of the field and that is not a good way to win a game! Sports drinks are a great way to get water into your child while giving them other essentials such as electrolytes. Liquids in the body help to regulate the body temperature preventing overheating. Before a child gets on the field they should have one or two cups of a non-sugary drink. Sugar before a game can cause stomach cramps or nausea during any strenuous activities.

Certain vitamins can also improve an athlete’s abilities. Athletes of all ages need the following vitamins for healthy bone growth, endurance, wound healing, and tissue growth: B vitamins, Calcium, Iron, and Zinc. B vitamins help to metabolize the carbohydrates and proteins that all athletes need to have in their diet. Calcium, as we have all been taught, helps with bone growth. Children’s bones are not as sturdy as adult athletes therefore they should receive 1,300 mg of calcium per day in children between the ages of 9 and 18. Iron carries oxygen in the blood through the body thus allowing the different parts of the body to work better. Children between 9 and 13 should receive 8 mg of iron per day. After 13 boys and girls need for oxygen changes. Boys 14-18 need 11 mg and girls in the same age range need 9 mg. Zinc heals wounds, helps with tissue growth and improves immune function. When a child becomes an athlete their body changes therefore consequently they may not get enough zinc in their daily intake. Athletes between 9 and 13 need 8 mg of zinc per day. Boys 14-18 need 11 mg; girls 14-18 should get 9 mg. If you are not sure that your child is getting what they need the best thing to do is ask your child’s doctor about starting a broad spectrum and mineral supplement.

Carbohydrates are essential to the diet of any athlete; they provide energy for the body and the brain while helping to maintain the blood-sugar level. Protein, used in the body to maintain and build muscles is also important especially while training for the sport(s) of choice. Fat is also important but it should be healthy fat not the type received from junk foods. Fat is an energy source. Healthy fats come from plants; some of the best places to get these fats are in nuts, olives and avocados. The fat in fries and processed foods should be limited but they are still needed in the body. It is advised that carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats be taken into the body 2-4 hours before beginning any sports. This time allows the food to begin breaking down and giving the athlete what they need in the game. During the game the athlete should eat a snack that will give them what they need especially if the game lasts longer than a few hours. After the game the child needs to replenish the carbohydrates and protein within a half hour of the finish of the game.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Increase Metabolism

Want to speed up your metabolism? Try cardiovascular exercise. It helps improve cholesterol levels, increase energy, relieve stress, improve mood, and burn calories. It also increases your ability to burn fat 14-16 hours after completing the activity.

Research shows, that moving with higher intensity and using more muscles, burns more calories during activity and boosts metabolism for 16 to 38 hours.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is used to maximize energy output while saving time. This allows a 20-minute workout to be equal to, or greater than, a 60-minute workout. Before beginning your HIIT workout, talk to your doctor and make sure it’s safe for you, and then follow these steps:

1. Choose your workout. There are lots of options like walking, running, and swimming. Try alternating your exercise. Choose something you can safely do for four minutes.

2. Begin your HIIT. After a 5-minute warm-up start a more intense workout. On the fitness scale placed below, start at 1 and 2. Slowly build your way up to 3 and 4.

Level 1: Warm-up. Easy, low effort pace.

Level 2: Moderate effort. Heavier breathing, move as if you are speeding up to coach someone.

Level 3: High effort, Labored breathing. Like chasing after a child.

Level 4: Very high effort. Like racing someone.

3. After completing one minute of HIIT, slow yourself down. For example, go from a sprint to a jog.

4. Do your second HIIT cycle. Like in step 1 slowly push yourself to level 3 or 4 for 1 minute.

5. After your minute slow yourself down and perform another recovery portion of your training.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Succeeding in Your Diet

Have you ever started a diet or workout program and quit shortly after starting? This trend is common and is based on the fact that your expectations were not met within the time wanted.

Televisions and magazines try to sell the unrealistic idea that if you start a diet, or take a pill, you will look how you want, in a short amount of time. Our culture is obsessed with doing as much possible in a little time as possible. When you are hungry how many times have you gone to a fast food place? You know it is not healthy, yet you tell yourself that you don’t have time for a real meal. It’s no wonder we get discouraged when diets don’t work.

Every trial, whether conducted by government or by a private company, results are the same: eat right, move more, and taking supplements, equals a healthy lifestyle that will help you to lose unwanted weight.

When you start a diet don’t think of it as a diet, think of it as a lifestyle change. Don’t compare yourself to the people around you. Everyone is different. Pace yourself where you feel comfortable. Envision what you are working for. This will help keep your lifestyle changes going. Take it day-by-day. Set goals when you get up in the morning. After work, write down in a chart everything you did right, such as: “I took my supplements”, “I took the stairs instead”, or “I passed by the vending machine”. Before you know it, you will be on your way to a healthier you.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Surviving Allergies

As the plants bloom allergy season begins again; 22 million Americans flock to doctors and drugstores to get relief. Relief comes in only a few forms each one with a cost. Who really wants to be drowsy all day?

For many people the way to get allergy relief is natural alternatives. It is believed that herbs, food, and phytonutrients will eventually cure allergies plus all-natural treatments are often less expensive and they work! Vitamin C, stinging nettles, and quercetin often found in apples, grapes, onions, and green tea have been shown to have antihistamine activity. Spicy food can also help with allergies because they thin mucous secretions which help to clear nasal passages. The best spices to try are cayenne pepper, hot ginger, fenugreek, onion, and garlic.

Reducing allergens help with allergies. When outdoors, wear glasses (sunglass/prescription); this will reduce the amount of pollen around the eyes. After coming back indoors wash hands to remove clinging pollen then, when possible, take a shower because pollen will linger on hair and clothes. Keeping the house clean will also help. Try cleaning with a damp rag or mop instead of dry dusting or sweeping. Vacuuming rugs and carpet frequently also reduces allergens. Air filters, especially HEPA filters reduce allergens in the air. Keep drying laundry inside to prevent pollen from setting on them. Don’t over water your indoor plants! The extra water creates a place for mold growth which can cause allergies.

Before making outdoor plans check your calendar! Pollen seasons are predictable so if you know what you react to see when the season starts and plan accordingly. Check the weather and allergy forecast. Pollen count is the highest on warm breezy mornings and cool, rainy days. If the pollen count is high try avoiding exercising outdoors or try less intense activities. If you are going out-of-town make sure to check the allergy forecast of your destination. Before starting your journey, turn the air conditioner on and open windows for 10 minutes. This removes dust mites from within the system. While driving keep the windows closed and use the air conditioner to circulate clean air. Before turning off the car, turn off the air conditioner and allow the blower to continue for a short time; this dries the vents and prevents moisture collection.

Before making any plans for the summer talk to your doctor about when to take your medicine. For some people taking it at night will help in the morning. Make sure that you keep treatments with you whenever you travel.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Diabetes a Big Problem

Almost 23.6 million people have diabetes in America; ergo, practically everyone knows someone with this disease. Only about 17.9 million people are diagnosed. 5.7 million people have diabetes and are unaware.

There are three different, vary distinct types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. All types of diabetes have one or more health consequences including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, adult-onset blindness, lower-limb amputations, or gum disease. Diabetes occurs when too much suger travels through the body because there are not enough cells to absorb it. Even though sugar is good for the cells and helps allow them to grow, if there is too much sugar in the body it can severely damage important cells.

Type 1 diabetes consists of 5-10% of people with diabetes. It appears most often in adolescents and children. To manage it, daily insulin shots must be taken. Type 1 diabetes is usually caused from an immune system disorder. The most common symptoms are increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, extreme fatigue, and constant hunger.

Type 2 diabetes symptoms include; unusual thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, slow-healing wound/sores, or vision changes. This type of diabetes occurs in 95% of diabetics. Although this usually occurs in adults, it is increasingly appearing in teens and adolescents. Some people are more at risk: Hispanics/Latinos are 1.8 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, African Americans are 1.6 times more likely, and Native Americans or Asians are also at higher risks. Other people more likely to have type 2 diabetes includes people over 45, closely related to people with diabetes, over weight with a Body Mass Index (BMI)higher than 25, high blood pressure (140/90 or higher), or abnormal cholesterol levels.

The final diabetes, gestational diabetes, most often occurs in pregnant women late in their pregnancy. It occurs because of pregnancy hormones or insulin shortages. It often disappears after the child is born but it increases the chance of type 2 diabetes later in life.

There are seven risk factors associated with diabetes. Although the first four are not controllable the last 3 are very important. Make sure to eat right, manage stress, and monitor your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. With these precautions you could reduce your risk of getting diabetes.

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