Eat For Your Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and February is American Heart Month. Every 25 seconds an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one (1). Exercise and nutrition are things we can control to prevent any heart conditions. On that note, I have listed powerful foods (and favorites) that can help us take care of our hearts.

  • Milk (low-fat and fat free milk)
  • Tuna and low-sodium/low-fat crackers
  • Hummus and fresh veggies
  • Edamame
  • Veggie burgers
  • Dark chocolate (that contain flavanols)
  • Oatmeal (I love the Trader Joe’s brand that has the flaxseed and soy protein)
  • Salmon rolls (sushi)
  • Spinach salads

Have a healthy and fit day!

1. Lloyd-Jones D, Adams R, Carnethon M, DeSimone G, Ferguson TB, Flegal K, Ford E, Furie K, Go A, Greenlund K, Haase N, Hailpern S, Ho M, Howard V, Kissela B, Kittner S, Lackland D, Lisabeth L, Marelli A, McDermott M, Meigs J, Mozaffarian D, Nichol G, O’Donnell C, Roger V, Rosamond W, Sacco R, Sorlie P, Stafford R, Steinberger J, Hong Y; American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics–2009 Update. A Report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Circulation. 2008 Dec 15.

You Could Call Today a Miracle

Or better put, seven years ago, today, was a miracle. At this pasttime, I was with my mom at OSU hospital where my dad received a fortunate pancreas and kidney transplant. The stubborn guy is doing superb today and I love him for his strength and courage!

To you padre!

– Your favorite youngest daughter

Do you really have a food allergy?

Telling Food Allergies From False Alarms

By TARA PARKER-POPE
Published: February 2, 2009

For Ingelisa Keeling, a Houston mother of three children with multiple allergies, mealtime was a struggle. Nuts, eggs, wheat, beef, peas and rice were all off limits — banned by the children’s allergist.Skip to next paragraph

Does your child have food allergies? Join the discussion.

But recently, Mrs. Keeling learned that her family’s diet need not be so restrictive. Although her children do have real allergies — to peanuts, milk and eggs, among other foods — extensive testing at a major allergy center showed that they were not in fact allergic to many of the foods they had been avoiding. Her 2-year-old son, who had been living on a diet primarily of potatoes, fruit and hypoallergenic formula, has resumed eating wheat, bananas, beef, peas, rice and corn.
“His diet had become so, so restricted that nutrition had become a real concern,” said Mrs.


Keeling, who traveled to specialists at National Jewish Health in Denver last summer for answers about her children’s diet and eczema problems. Among other findings, she learned that neither of her younger children was really allergic to wheat.

“That’s the big one,” she said. “Wheat is in everything, so it makes life a whole lot easier.”
Doctors say that misdiagnosed food allergies appear to be on the rise, and countless families are needlessly avoiding certain foods and spending hundreds of dollars on costly nonallergenic supplements. In extreme cases, misdiagnosed allergies have put children at risk for
malnutrition.
And avoiding food in the mistaken fear of allergy may be making the overall problem worse — by making children more sensitive to certain foods when they finally do eat them.

More than 11 million Americans, including 3 million children, are estimated to have food allergies, most commonly to milk, eggs, peanuts and soy. The prevalence among children has risen 18 percent in the past decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the increase appears to be real, so does the increase in misdiagnosis.

The culprit appears to be the widespread use of simple blood tests for antibodies that could signal a reaction to food. The tests have emerged as a quick, convenient alternative to uncomfortable skin testing and time-consuming “food challenge” tests, which measure a child’s reaction to eating certain foods under a doctor’s supervision.

While the blood tests can help doctors identify potentially risky foods, they aren’t always reliable. A 2007 issue of The Annals of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology reported on research at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, finding that blood allergy tests could both under- and overestimate the body’s immune response. A 2003 report in Pediatrics said a positive result on a blood allergy test correlated with a real-world food allergy in fewer than half the cases.

“The only true test of whether you’re allergic to a food or not is whether you can eat it and not react to it,” said Dr. David Fleischer, an assistant professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health. In one recent case there, doctors treated a young boy who had been given a feeding tube because blood tests indicated he was allergic to virtually every food. Food challenge testing allowed doctors to quickly reintroduce 20 foods into his diet, and they expect more to be added.
Blood tests may be unreliable because they fail to distinguish between similar proteins in different foods. A child who is allergic to peanuts, for instance, might test positive for allergies to soy, green beans, peas and kidney beans. Children with milk allergies may test positive for beef allergy.

The most important question in diagnosing food allergy is whether the child has tolerated the food in the past, Dr. Fleischer says. While some severe allergies are obvious, parents given a positive blood test result should seek advice from an experienced allergist who performs medically supervised food challenge testing.

Even when a food allergy has been confirmed, parents should have children retested, because many allergies are outgrown, particularly in the cases of milk, eggs, soy and wheat.

Doctors’ groups are also starting to acknowledge that some of their own policies may have contributed to overtesting and misdiagnoses. A committee for the American Academy of Asthma Allergy and Immunology is considering revised guidelines recommending earlier introduction of foods like eggs, peanuts and shellfish, which in the past have been delayed until age 2 or 3. A 2008 study of 10,000 British children, reported in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that early exposure to peanuts lowered allergy risk.

Just as an allergy indicates oversensitivity to certain foods, it may be that doctors and parents have become oversensitive to food allergies. In an essay in The British Medical Journal in December, Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, a professor at Harvard Medical School, argues that an “overreaction” to allergy is leading to unnecessary testing and false positives.

“If the kid has been doing fine, I would advise parents not to get allergy testing, because the results are more likely to be false positives than true positives,” Dr. Christakis said in an interview. “If they do think they need allergy testing, be extremely measured and go to reputable people.”

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How are Your Resolutions Doing?

It’s February and are you pursuing your resolutions in the same way that you were January 1? Research shows, and consumers prove, that resolutions don’t always make it past the first month, let alone into spring. Specifically, I’ve heard that the average resolution lasts only 42 days. BUT, but, but if you are reading this post then you now have a nudge to hold your goals tight and do what you need to do to be successful with your goals.

However, do not forget we are human and humans are not perfect. Therefore, don’t beat yourself up if you have slipped. I sure have! My friends can detest that I still love my salt shaker but I am trying to use it less. Below I have listed my resolutions that I am striving to keep until 2010. You can do it too!

Have a healthy and fit day!

  • Try a new sport/physical activity
  • Drink a liter of water a day
  • Eat every 4 hours
  • Workout consistently and participate in races (5k, 10K and half marathons throughout the year)
  • Eat slower
  • Maintain desirable glucose readings
  • Strive for 8 hours of sleep
  • Continuously read throughout the year (read at least 6 books)
  • Stop salting my food

In Actuality We Really Need to Eat High-Fat Favs In Moderation

Our brain cells are made up mainly of fat. Therefore, it’s crucial to avoid the wrong kinds of fat in our diets. A diet high in saturated or trans fats can double the risk of Alzheimer’s compared to diets low in these fats.

My suggestion is to fuel your brain properly — eat flaxseed, fatty fish, and walnuts.

Have a healthy and fit day!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Did you know that only 16% of Americans know that popcorn is a whole grain?
MyPyramid.gov suggests that atleast half of our grain intake should be whole grains.

Grains are divided into 2 subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel — the bran, germ, and endosperm.

Examples include:
whole-wheat flour
bulgur (cracked wheat)
oatmeal
whole cornmeal
brown rice

Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.

Some examples of refined grain products are:
white flour
degermed cornmeal
white bread
white rice

Salt reduction benefits may go beyond blood pressure: Study

Reducing the intake of salt from the diet may improve the health of blood vessels, with the effects going beyond blood pressure benefits, says a new study.
Short-term adherence to a low salt diet was associated with a 1.5 per cent increase in flow-mediated dilation (FMD), the measure of a blood vessel’s healthy ability to relax, according to results published in the new issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Australian researchers also report that blood pressure improved as a result of the low-salt diet, but that there was no link between the blood pressure improvements and FMD.
The study looks set to maintain the pressure on food formulators to reduce the salt content of their products.
Salt is of course a vital nutrient and is necessary for the body to function, but campaigners for salt reduction, like the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) consider the average daily salt consumption in the western world, between 10 and 12g, far too high.
Numerous scientists are convinced that high salt intake is responsible for increasing blood pressure (hypertension), a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) – a condition that causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe.
The pressure has been mounting on food manufacturers to reduce the salt content of their foods and the UK’s Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) recommendation of six grams of salt per day for the general population is understood to be more a realistic target for the next five years than the ideal healthy limit.
Study details
Researchers from the CSIRO Human Nutrition and Flinders University in South Australia recruited 29 overweight and obese men and women with normal blood pressure. The average age of the participants was 52.7 and their average BMI was 31.6 kg/m2. The participants were randomly assigned to either a low salt diet or a US diet for two weeks, followed by two weeks of no intervention, and they then crossed over to the other diet for two more weeks.
According to the researchers, both diets contained similar levels of potassium and saturated fat and were designed to ensure that the weight of the participants remained stabile.
At the end of the six-weeks of study, the researchers, led by Jennifer Keogh, report that FMD was 4.89 per cent in the low-salt group, and 3.37 per cent in the US diet group.
Furthermore, the systolic blood pressure of the participants was significantly lower following the LS diet (112 mmHg) compared to following the US diet (117 mmHg).
Excretion of sodium was also significantly lower following the low salt diet, compared to the US diet, added Keogh and her co-workers.
“The main finding of this study was that a sodium-restricted diet improved endothelial function, assessed by FMD, relative to a US diet in overweight and obese normotensive subjects,” wrote the researchers. “Change in FMD was unrelated to changes in BP, which suggests that a mechanism other than change in BP is responsible for the effect of salt on FMD.”
Keogh and her co-workers speculated that the endothelial effects may occur via a neurohumoral response, by preventing the production of cortisol, a stress hormone reported to increase blood pressure. They indicated that this hypothesis should be investigated by a prospective study.
The study was financed by CSIRO Human Nutrition.
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Volume 89, Pages 485-90“Effects of a low-salt diet on flow-mediated dilatation in humans”Authors: K.M. Dickinson, J.B. Keogh, P.M. Clifton

Most delicious, sweet (but No Sugar Added) and indulging snack ever!

I get pretty creative when I assure I meet my daily required fruit and vegetable intake, while not eating too many sweets, and I’ve developed the most satisfying snack out there. Our office is ever-so-kind in supplying us with fresh fruit weekly. We also have a stash of No Sugar Added Hot Cocoa Mix. So, I get adventurous and combine my cravings with foods I have easy access to, and WOW, I’ve made something good!

Fresh sliced strawberries dipped into hot cocoa powder!! No lie, this will meet any chocolate craving. Try it! Low fat, low cal and AMAZING!

Have a healthy and fit day!

Why Men Make Better Dieters

Source: Washingtonpost.com

Why do women seem to have a much harder time sticking to their diets than men do? A new study provides a provocative clue: Women’s brains appear to have more of a mind of their own, so to speak, when food beckons.

Gene-Jack Wang of the Brookhaven National Laboratory and his colleagues quizzed 13 healthy women and 10 men about their favorite foods and then asked them to fast for at least 17 hours before coming in for a series of brain scans.

Before two of the scans, the researchers tempted the subjects with their favorite foods, whether it was lasagna, pizza, cinnamon buns, barbecue ribs or chocolate cake. The subjects could smell and even taste the food, but they couldn’t eat it. Before one of the scans they were asked to try to suppress their impulse to indulge by trying to think about something else. They were also asked to describe how hungry they were and how strong their desire to eat was.

In both men and women, a variety of brain areas associated with regulating emotions, desire, conditioning, habit and motivation lit up when the subjects were tempted with their favorite foods. And both men and women described themselves as less hungry and less interested in eating when they tried to suppress their appetite.

But only the men showed a decrease in activity in the parts of the brain activated by food when they tried to tamp down their appetite, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers are unsure why these sex differences exist, but it may be because of the difference in sex hormones such as estrogen.
— Rob Stein