Can Water Help You Lose Weight?

Do you get your eight cups of water a day? I’m sure you have heard this question from your health care provider, nutritionist, and even in health articles online.  Water is vital to life, but you may not know exactly why.  There are many benefits to water such as:

  • regulating the temperature in your body
  • lubricating joints
  • protecting the tissues in your body
  • flushing out toxins and waste from your body

Your recommended daily intake of water depends on various factors such as weight, activity level, health status, and the climate in which you live.  On average, the recommended daily fluid intake is half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you water, hydration, healthweigh 150 pounds, then you are suggested to drink 75 ounces, or about 9 and a half cups of fluid a day. Tea, coffee, juice, fluid from fruits and veggies, as well as broths also count towards fluid intake. However, caffeinated drinks such as coffee and cola also act as diuretics since caffeine is a stimulant; therefore these types of fluids can actually dehydrate you if consumed in excess.

Those who live in hot climates, have a fever, or have lost fluids due to diarrhea, vomiting, or other illnesses may require above the daily suggested fluid intake. However, those who have kidney disease or conditions like lymphedema may be told by their healthcare provider to restrict their fluid intake.

Water Intake and Weight Loss

When you are trying to lose weight, you may have been told to drink more water to feel fuller so you will eat less. Also, you may have heard that drinking more water will help reduce bloating.  Although these two suggestions may be effective, research shows that there are other reasons water intake may benefit weight loss.

In the journal Nutrients, researchers observed 16,000 subjects from Spain over 8.5 years.  Over the course of the study, 900 of these subjects became obese. Those who switched a glass of beer for a glass of water each day reduced their risk for obesity by 20-percent. Furthermore, doing the same for sugar-sweetened beverages reduced the risk of becoming obese by 15-percent. Replacing other beverages with water such as whole milk, reduced-fat milk, skim milk, wine, spirits, diet sodas, coffee, orange juice, and other juices did not reduce obesity risk. The study cannot confirm a direct cause and effect link of water intake and reduced risk of obesity.

However, regardless of the study results, it is always good to reduce drinking your calories. When you reduce consumption of calorie-laden beverages, you will reduce daily sugar intake, in turn leaving more daily calories to use for consuming foods that will provide more nutritional benefit. By reducing daily sugar intake, you will be able to also better control blood glucose levels in your body.

Other ways you can control blood glucose levels is through:

  • eating healthy carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains throughout the day
  • limiting consumption of processed food products that are high in sugar and fat
  • reducing intake of sugar-sweetened foods such as candy, baked goods, and ice cream
  • taking supplements such as Glucarex by Vita Sciences. Glucarex contains vanadium and bitter melon which have both been shown to support healthy blood glucose levels.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control (accessed May 20, 2017) “Water & Nutrition” https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/

Preidt, R. (May 18, 2017) “Drink Water, Fight Fat?” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165714.html

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Can Knee Crackles and Pops lead to Arthritis?

When you walk up the stairs does it sound like popcorn popping? Do you feel swelling in those joints after extended movement or climbing up and down stairs? Snapping, cracking, or popping sounds in your knees may be an early sign of arthritis.

Arthritis is an informal way of referring to joint pain or disease. Common symptoms of the knee, arthritis, paincondition include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • stiffness
  • decreased range of motion

Symptoms of such joint pain may come and go, but if untreated may worsen over time. Severe arthritis may cause permanent joint damage, chronic pain, and may make mobility painful and difficult. Therefore, it is important to treat joint pain as soon as you discover symptoms, no matter how mild they may seem.

A recent study in the journal Arthritis Care & Research looked at 3500 adults ranging in age from 45 to 79 years old and at risk for joint disease. The study found that those middle to older aged adults who heard cracking in their knees often were likely to develop arthritis in the next year.  For example, those that reported hearing their knee crackle “sometimes” or “often” were nearly twice as likely to develop arthritis in the next year as those who reported “never” (8% vs. 4.5%). Furthermore, those who reported hearing their knees crackle “always” were nearly three times more likely to develop the condition in the next year as compared to those who reported “never” (11% vs. 4.5%).

How to Treat Joint Pain

Be sure to visit your healthcare provider if you experience joint pain.  Not only can they provide medications that may help to relieve pain, but they may also be able to take x-rays and blood tests that could check to see if you may have arthritis.

Other ways you can treat joint pain include:

  • Gentle stretching exercises
  • Warm shower
  • Ice packs in the sore area
  • Resting the sore joint

Maintaining a healthy weight by staying active and eating healthy can also reduce joint pain. A joint-healthy diet contains plenty of calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt, and other low-fat dairy products as well as leafy green veggies like spinach and kale. Other vitamins and nutrients may also help with the prevention and treatment of joint pain such as the following:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fatty fish, plant-based oils, olives, nuts, and seeds have been found to reduce inflammation in those people who experience joint pain.
  • Glucosamine, a supplement made from the shells of crustaceans such as lobster, crab and shrimp, has been found to decrease joint pain and stiffness.
  • Capsaicin, such as that found in some analgesics, has been found to help rub out mild joint pain.
  • Osteovent by Vita Sciences contains a combination of joint-healthy supplements such as vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, and boron that have been shown to promote strong bones.

You can also visit the Arthritis Foundation website for more information on joint pain research, treatment, and prevention. arthritis, joint pain

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Arthritis Foundation (accessed May 14, 2017) “What is Arthritis?”  & “51 Ways to Be Good to Your Joints” http://www.arthritis.org/

Medline Plus (May 5, 2017) “Do Your Knees Crackle and Pop?” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165268.html

NIAMS (July 2014) “Living with Arthritis: Health Information Basics for You and Your Family” https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Arthritis/default.asp#d

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Can Meditation Help Those With Anxiety Focus?

Even after thousands of years since its development, meditation is still used as a way to develop the mind and evolve spiritually.  However, even though the term “meditation” may provoke thoughts of religious context, the exercise itself simply involves a specific, comfortable posture, a focus of attention, and an open attitude. Specifically, this may involve repetition of affirmations, relaxation breathing, and clearing your mind of extraneous thought.  According to the National Institutes of Health, meditation holds significant health benefits.  In particular, research has shown the exercise tomeditation anxiety focus mental health benefit those with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and even irritable bowel syndrome. Furthermore, in those with anxiety, meditation helps diffuse worries by improving focus on the present-day.

A recent study in the journal Consciousness and Cognition looked at a group of 82 people with anxiety. Subjects were asked to perform a computer task and were interrupted frequently to test their focus.  Next, subjects were divided into a meditation group and an audio story group.  Results show that those who meditated had greater focus in the second half of the study then those who listened to the audio story.

Therefore, it is safe to say that meditation exercises show promise for helping those with anxiety.  Researchers of the study state that mind wandering account for nearly half of a person’s consciousness. Furthermore, when those with anxiety wander off into repetitive off-focus thought, they may have trouble learning, completing tasks, or functioning safely. However, the National Institutes of Health want to remind you that meditation should not replace primary conventional care of health conditions.

What Are Other Ways to Help Reduce Anxiety?

Besides meditation, there are various ways you can help reduce anxiety:

  • Visit your healthcare provider for counseling or medication treatment
  • Exercise on a regular basis for at least 30 minutes a day; low impact exercises such as walking will do the job.
  • Schedule “me-time” every day engaging in an activity yo love to do such as reading, painting, watching a movie, or cooking; do something that relaxes your mind.
  • Delegate tasks on your to-do list; get others to help with some tasks or schedule some things for another day.
  • Stay connected with a support system through family, friends, coworkers, or community and religious organizations.
  • Use essential oils such as frankincense and lavender to provide a calming scent when practicing relaxation breathing. You can either place oils in a diffuser, or dab on wrists and neck for a more concentrated scent.
  • Drink herbal teas such as peppermint to calm digestion or chamomile to help soothe the mind and promote sleep.
  • Try a supplement such as Sereneo by Vita Sciences. Sereneo contains natural ingredients such as magnesium, chamomile, and valerian that have been shown to promote a boost in “feel-good” serotonin, relieve anxiety, and calm mind and body.

Also,  visit websites such as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for more information on anxiety, treatment options, and ways you can support anxiety research.  anxiety depression treatment research

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Dallas, M.E. (May 5, 2017) “Meditation Can Help Improve Focus in People With Anxiety” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165274.html

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (updated March 17, 2017) “Meditation: In Depth” https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

National Institute of Mental Health (accessed May 10, 2017) “5 Things You Should Know About Stress” https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

Puff, Ph.D., R. (July 7, 2013) “An Overview of Meditation: Its Origins and Traditions” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meditation-modern-life/201307/overview-meditation-its-origins-and-traditions

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Can Diabetes Affect Your Brain Health?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition of insulin resistance. This particular condition is  related to obesity and inflammation versus Type 1 diabetes that is insulin-dependent. If uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to conditions such as tingling nerve pain in the hands and feet, slow emptying of the stomach also known as gastroparesis, and increased risk of heart disease. Furthermore, a recent study has found a link between brain health and type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes and Brain Health

A 2017 study in Diabetologia looked at Asian adults between the ages of 30 and 60 years old.  This study looked at the brain health of those with diabetes versus those who brain health diet antioxidant diabetesdid not have the condition.  Subjects underwent MRI brain scans and tests to measure memory and thinking skills. Test results showed those with diabetes to have decreased cortical thickness as compared to those without the condition. Furthermore, additional thinning of the temporal lobes was found in overweight and obese subjects with the condition. A 2009 study in Intelligence found that cortical thickness has been linked with cognitive function Therefore, it can be suggested that those with diabetes are at risk for decreased cognitive function if the condition is not controlled.

How Can Brain Health Be Improved?

Inflammation and poor blood glucose control affects brain health. Therefore, there are several ways you can protect your brain health:

  • Consume a carbohydrate-controlled diet to better control blood glucose levels. You can control blood glucose levels by limiting concentrated sugar intake and increasing fiber intake. For example, decrease intake of sugary drinks like colas and juices as well as candies and baked sweets that contain concentrated sugars. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats are fiber-rich.
  • Consume antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and veggies to help decrease inflammation in your diet.  In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish like salmon and in plant-based oils, nuts, and seeds can also prevent the cell damage related to inflammation in the body.
  • Stay active daily to help better control blood glucose levels and to help with stress management.  For example, just 30 minutes of moderate activity like walking for 5 times a week can help you maintain weight, lower stress, strengthen your heart, and in turn decrease inflammation in the body.
  • Take high quality supplements like Glucarex by Vita Sciences to help better control your blood glucose levels. Glucarex contains ingredients like chromium and alpha-lipoic acid, which helps to keep existing blood glucose levels within normal range.

Visit the American Diabetes Association website for more ways you can control your blood glucose levels and keep your heart and brain in the best health possible.

-Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MED, RD, LDN

Sources:

American Diabetes Association (accessed April 30, 2017) “Complications” http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/

Karama, S., et al (2009) “Positive association between cognitive ability and cortical thickness in a representative US sample of healthy 6 to 18 year-olds.” Intelligence, 37(2): 145–155.

Mayo Clinic (Feb.7, 2017) “Add Antioxidants to Your Diet” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/antioxidants/sls-20076428

Medline Health News (April 27, 2017) “Type 2 Diabetes May Be Bad for Brain Health” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164982.html

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Should yearly vision exams be in your diabetes routine?

Carbohydrate counting, staying active, and checking your blood glucose levels may remind you of the typical diabetes care routine. However, other aspects of diabetes care must not be forgotten. Foot care, dental care, and high cholesterol are just a few other check-ups that are important to diabetes care.

Those with diabetes are at high risk for foot ulcers due to decreased blood flow to the feet caused by diabetes-related nerve damage. Also, those with diabetes are at greater risk vision, eye exam, eye healththan those without diabetes for gum infections. Furthermore, those with diabetes have been shown to have greater blood vessel damage when they have high cholesterol than those without diabetes.

Diabetes and Eye Health

Another important part of diabetes care is regular vision check-ups. This is because those with diabetes are at higher risk for conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy than those without diabetes.  Diabetes-related nerve damage that occurs as a result of uncontrolled blood glucose levels can greatly impact vision health. According to the National Eye Institute, all forms of diabetic eye disease can lead to severe vision loss and blindness.  However, it is diabetic retinopathy that is the most common cause of vision loss among those with diabetes.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

The retina is a light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. The retina detects light and sends a signals through the optic nerve to the brain. Next, the brain converts this electrical signal to an image.  Uncontrolled diabetes damages vessels of the optic nerve, therefore worsening vision.

When someone has diabetic retinopathy, vessels in the retina swell and leak fluid into the retina. In turn, this fluid distorts vision.  Furthermore, in advanced stages of the disease, scarring of the retina can occur, which can eventually pull the retina away from the underlying tissue, which in turn could lead to blindness.

Diabetes and eye exams

A 2017 study in the New England Journal of Medicine observed the vision health of 1400 people with Type 1 diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes, over 30 years.  Biannual retinal photographs and general diabetes health reviews were used to assess vision health. From this study, it was determined that in place of yearly vision exams those with a Hemoglobin A1C, or average blood glucose level over three months of:

  • six-percent or less, without signs of diabetic retinopathy, would be safe getting a vision exam once every four years
  • six-percent or less with mild retinopathy should have vision exams ar least once every three years
  • eight to ten-percent should be screened more often than yearly for their vision health

In addition to getting regular exams, everyone, no matter their diabetes status should take steps to maintain vision health.  Consuming  vitamin A-rich foods such as brightly-colored veggies like carrots, peppers, and leafy greens is one way to support retinal health. Furthermore, leafy greens, as well as pistachios, contain the eye-healthy antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that can lower your risk of eye disease. Finally, taking supplements with these eye-healthy nutrients can help you maintain your vision health.

Vita SciencesOcutain contains both lutein as well as beta-carotene, which support eye health. Also, be sure to visit Vita Sciences for other supplements such as Glucarex, which can support healthy blood glucose levels.

Also, be sure to visit the American Optometric Association website for further research and information on ways you can maintain vision health.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

American Optometric Association (accessed April 21, 2017) “Lutein & Zeaxanthin.” https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/lutein?sso=y

Dreher, M.L. (April 2012) “Pistachio nuts: composition and potential health benefits.” Nutrition Reviews, 70(4):234-40.

Mayo Clinic (December 18, 2014) “Diabetes care: 10 ways to avoid diabetes complications” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-management/art-20045803

Medline Health News (April 19, 2017) “Is Annual Eye Exam a Must for People With Type 1 Diabetes?” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164719.html

National Eye Institute (September 2015) “Facts About Diabetic Eye Disease” https://nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic/retinopathy

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Could Unemployment Increase Stroke Risk?

In unstable financial times, losing a job can be a very stressful time in one’s life.  Anxiety and depression could develop as a result of such a big life event. In turn, a person’s health may start to worsen after losing a job if they do not have effective measures in place to help manage their stress.  Emotional eating, loss of sleep, and engaging in unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking may develop as a result of stress. In fact, a study from Japan has recently found that those who are unemployed have a greater risk of stroke than those who are employed.

unemployment, health, stroke, heart disease

Unemployment and Stroke Risk Study

A recent study of about 42,000 men found that those men who were unemployed had a 60-percent higher risk of stroke than those who were steadily employed. In addition, those unemployed men who suffered a stroke were about 120-percent more likely to die from it than those employed men who had a stroke. For women, those who were unemployed had a 50-percent greater chance of having a stroke. Of those women who had a stroke, those who were unemployed had a 150-percent greater chance of death.

It is suggested that these alarming rates of stroke and stroke-related death in the unemployed may be due to unhealthy habits such as drinking, smoking, being inactive, and having a poor diet.  In addition, it is suggested that even once re-employed, individuals may feel afraid that they will lose their job again, and therefore may be afraid to take leave when they are sick.  In turn, this could affect their long-term physical health.

Although this study is based on the Japanese culture, it may not be completely applicable to Americans, so further studies must be done. However, studies like the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System reported by the Centers for Disease Control suggest risk of depression is significantly increased for those Americans out of work.

How Can I Lower My Risk For Stroke?

Staying heart healthy involves a holisitic approach of eating balanced meals, staying active, and managing stress. Follow the tips below to help you keep your heart healthy for many years to come.

  • Consume minimally processed foods.  There are many foods that have to go through some processing to create such as yogurt or cottage cheese.  However, these types of products are only minimally processed. When trying to eat heart healthy, just be sure to limit highly processed foods such as neon-colored salty snacks, canned foods, pre-packaged meals, and deli meats like hot dogs or luncheon meat.  Just keep in mind that if it is an unnatural color, or has a confusing list of ingredients, then it is likely to be a highly processed product.
  • Consume plenty of fiber-rich foods. Fruits, veggies, whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats, as well as nuts and seeds are all great natural sources of fiber.  Fiber is important for helping stabilize blood glucose levels, slow down digestion to help with absorption of nutrients from foods, and to bulk stool to help with elimination of wastes from the body. Furthermore, fiber is also great for helping you to stay more satisfied after meals, so it can help with weight management.
  • Stay active.  Staying active each day for at least 30 minutes can be a great way to blow off some steam and keep your heart healthy.  This doesn’t mean you have to go to boot camp classes or run a marathon. Simple moderate activity such as walking, riding a bike, or swimming can help keep your heart  healthy.  Exercise not only works to strengthen your heart, but can also act as an outlet for stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep. When you are feeling stressed, it can be hard to sleep. However, lack of sleep can actually make you more prone to anxiety and depression. This is because your body uses sleeping time to regulate hormones, fluids, and blood glucose levels in the body.  If you have trouble sleeping, try natural essential oils such as lavender or frankincense to help relax your mind. Other sleeping aids may include:
    • Relaxation breathing
    • Listening to relaxing music
    • Eliminating screen time before bed
    • Avoiding fluid consumption 2 hours before bed to avoid interrupted sleep
    • Supplements like Somnova from Vitasciences.

Somnova includes natural ingredients like melatonin and magnesium that work together to help produce restful sleep. Melatonin is also natural, so it is unlikely to have any interactions with other medicines you may be taking. However, be sure to check with your medical provider before starting any supplement regimen.

  • Develop healthy stress management techniques.  Find 15 minutes a day to engage in an activity that you enjoy. Reading a book,  taking a relaxing bath, or going to an acupuncturist or massage therapist, are some ways to relax. Also, visiting a counselor may help you better deal with stress and anxiety. Consistent self-care is essential to overall health and well-being. You can also try supplements like TheraCALM from Vitasciences to help with stress relief and restful sleep.

Visit Vitasciences for all of your supplement needs to help enhance your healthy lifestyle. Also, be sure to visit the National Stroke Association for more information on stroke facts, prevention, and research.

written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

American Heart Association (August 2015) “The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations” http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/The-American-Heart-Associations-Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp#.WPUehMuQx9A

Centers for Disease Control (March 19, 2015). “Unemployment and Depression Among Emerging Adults in 12 States, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2010” https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2015/14_0451.htm

Medline Plus (2017 April 13). “Another Downside to Unemployment: Stroke Risk?” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164623.html

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Can Exercise Prevent Stroke Complications?

stroke, heart disease, health

Knowing these signs and symptoms of stroke can help save a life; perhaps even your own.

I’m sure you have heard many times before how exercising is great for keeping your heart strong. Therefore, it may come as no surprise that exercise has been found to prevent complications after someone has a stroke.

 

What is a stroke?

A stroke is essentially a brain attack of which there are two major types.

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel bursts.  An ischemic stroke is caused by restricted blood flow to the brain as a result of a vessel being blocked.

According to the National Stroke Association, these brain attacks are the fifth leading cause of death in America and one of the leading causes of adult disabilities in the country.  Unlike what was previously though, it is estimated that 80-percent of strokes can be prevented by such controllable lifestyle factors as:

  • Eating a healthy diet. To consume a heart and brain healthy diet, you can:
    • Limit saturated fats in the diet such as those from fatty meats, whole fat dairy products, and fried foods.
    • Limit sodium in the diet to 2300 milligrams a day.  You can limit sodium by reducing the amount of processed food products you consume each day.  Try to  limit intake of high sodium foods such as canned soups, chips, deli meats, and adding salt to your food.
    • Limit added sugars at meal and snack time.  Try to stick to foods that contain less than 15 grams of sugar per serving and limit intake of sugary drinks such as juice, cola, milkshakes, and dessert coffee drinks.
  • Stay active. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. This doesn’t mean you have to attend boot camp classes. Just walking at a brisk pace is enough to keep your heart strong.
  • Limit alcohol intake. For healthy living, you should consume no more than 1 standard drink a day for women and no more than 2 standard drinks a day for men. Alcohol has been associated with increased blood pressure, which can increase risk of stroke. One standard drink is equal to 12 ounces beer, 5 ounces wine, or 1.5 ounces liquor.
  • Quit smoking or don’t start. Smoking constricts the blood vessels, therefore restricting blood flow to the organs and tissues.
  • Visit your doctor regularly. You and your healthcare provider should work to control any chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes since these conditions can increase your risk of having a stroke.

Exercise and stroke

In the journal Neurology, researchers followed individuals with no history of stroke for 12 years.  Over 7-percent of those individuals suffered a stroke and survived during the course of the study.  It was found that three years after this major health event, survivors who had exercised regularly before their stroke were 18 percent more likely to be able to perform basic tasks such as bathing themselves. Furthermore, those individuals who were more fit were 16 percent more likely to be able to perform more complex tasks, such as managing money on their own, compared to those who did not exercise.

Surprisingly, a person’s body mass index, or estimate of fat mass, was not a predicting factor in their level of disability after having a stroke. Therefore, it is suggested that doctors should stress the importance of leading an active lifestyle for not only prevention of the condition, but also to improve chances of survival if a stroke occurs.

Another way to help prevent stroke is to take a heart healthy supplement such as Circova by Vita SciencesCircova contains a powerful blend of Hawthorne extract which has been found to assist in the dilation of blood vessels, in turn increasing blood flow to the heart.

Visit the National Stroke Association website for more information on how you can prevent stroke.

-Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

National Stroke Association (accessed 2017 April 10) “What is Stroke?” http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke

Preidt, R. (2017 April 5) “Fitness, Not Fat, Is Key to Post-Stroke Recovery” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164476.html

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Can Exercise Improve Brain Health?

Staying active is well-known for helping to maintain heart health.  However, did you know that regular exercise may also benefit brain health?  A recent study has found that exercising 2.5 hours a week, or 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, may help slow progression of Parkinson’s disease.walking, exercise, Parkinson's, brain health

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that may worsen over time. Therefore, medication and surgery have currently been used to treat and manage the symptoms of the condition.  This condition involves the progressive death of brain cells, which leads to a decrease in dopamine levels in the blood. Lower dopamine levels result in a lessened ability to move.  Therefore, since those with Parkinson’s disease lose dopamine over time, they may subsequently experience tremors, stiffness, and trouble with walking.

Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease 

A recent study in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease looked at the effects of exercise on the progression of Parkinson’s disease. After observing 3400 patients for over two years, those people with Parkinson’s disease who maintained exercise 150 minutes per week had a smaller decline in quality of life and mobility as compared to those who exercised less. The type of exercise that was of most benefit was not apparent. However, it is suggested that finding a type of exercise an individual enjoys will help them to maintain a regular exercise regimen and in turn will benefit them. Furthermore, by empowering those with Parkinson’s disease to engage in more exercise they enjoy, it may improve overall quality of life for these individuals.

Joint Pain and Quality of Life

Even if you do not have Parkinson’s disease, you may experience joint pain that limits your movement.  Limited movement may in turn reduce quality of life by:

  • affecting heart health
  • making an individual more dependent on others for daily activities
  • reducing the amount of serotonin”feel good” hormone produced

Therefore, it is important to find effective treatments for joint pain that will help make movement more comfortable.  When movement is more comfortable, you will be more likely to engage in more activity, and in turn will gain the most health benefits. Also, the American Psychological Association has reported that regular exercise may help reduce panic in those with anxiety and improve mood in those with depression. Furthermore, regular exercise has been found to normalize sleep patterns, which in turn can make it easier for the body and mind to handle stress.

Some effective treatments for joint pain include:

  • CDC Self-management programs
  • Acupuncture
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Water-based exercises such as swimming
  • Supplements such as glucosamine or Flexova

Furthermore, Flexova contains a blend of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A, as well as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate that helps to reduce joint pain and improve joint mobility.  Therefore, for more information on Flexova and other high quality supplements that can help improve your quality of life, visit Vita Sciences.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources :

Arthritis Foundation (accessed 2017 April 2) “25 Treatments for Hip and Arthritis Pain” http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/tips/25-treatments-for-hip-knee-oa.php

Centers for Disease Control (2017 March 7) “Living with Severe Joint Pain” https://www.cdc.gov/features/arthritis-quality-life/

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (accessed 2017 April 2) “What is Parkinson’s Disease?” http://www.pdf.org/about_pd

Preidt, R. (2017 March 29) “Exercising 2.5 Hours a Week May Slow Parkinson’s Progress” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164357.html

Weir, K. (2011 December) “The Exercise Effect” American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

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Could Healthy Fats Ease Chronic Pain?

You may have heard about healthy fats and their ability to help lower cholesterol.  However, did you know that healthy fats may also help to relieve chronic pain associated with obesity?

What are healthy fats?

There are two main types of fats.  Saturated fats are considered unhealthy fats since they have been found to increase risk of cholesterol plaques in blood vessels.  In turn, these plaques can increase risk of heart disease and stroke.  Fatty meats, fried foods, cream, butter, and some baked goods all contain unhealthy fats.

Unsaturated fats are considered healthy fats since consuming them in place of saturated fats have been found to lower risk of heart disease.  Plant-based foods such as nuts,mediterranean diet, chronic pain, obesity, unsaturated fat seeds, olive oil, olives, and avocado as well as fatty fish like salmon, lake trout, and sardines contain unsaturated fats.  The Mediterranean diet contains nearly half of all calories consumed coming from such healthy fats. The Mediterranean diet involves not only consumption of healthy fats, but also eating:

  • more plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables
  • replacing animal-based fats such as from red meats and butter with plant-based oils such as olive or canola oil
  • consuming seafood and poultry at least twice a week
  • Using herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of salt

How Do Healthy Fats Help with Pain?

Elevated levels of inflammation have been linked to both body fat and chronic pain.  high levels of inflammation are suspected in those with obesity and chronic pain.  A 2017 study in the journal Pain revealed that those obese adults that consumed a diet full of fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans had significant health benefits such as reduced chronic pain.  This reduction in pain is thought to be a result of the anti-inflammatory properties of such healthy fat-containing foods.

However, further studies will need to be done to determine if the inflammatory markers for this kind of pain is similar in adults of a healthy weight.  It is unclear whether losing weight would further reduce pain in obese individuals. In the mean time, a diet full of healthy fats and plant-based foods can still be a great addition to any heart-healthy regimen.

Another way to relieve pain is to take a high quality supplement like Relocane by Vita Sciences. Relocane contains a powerful blend of ingredients such as turmeric, Holy Basil, Cetyl Myristoleate and MSM.  Such ingredients can modulate a healthy immune inflammatory response in the body.  In turn, minor aches, pains, and muscle cramps have found to have relief with Relocane.

For more information on the latest research and education on pain-related conditions, visit the US Pain Foundation or the International Pain Foundation. iPain Foundation

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Chiu, S., et al. (2017 Feb 6) “Effects of a Very High Saturated Fat Diet on LDL Particles in Adults with Atherogenic Dyslipidemia: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” PLoS One, 12(2):e0170664.

Hooper, L., et al. (2016 April) “Reduced or Modified Dietary Fat for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease.” Sao Paulo Medical Journal, 134(2): 182-3.

Hooper, L., et al. (2015 June 10). “Reduction in Saturated Fat Intake for Cardiovascular Disease.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (6):CD011737.

Mayo Clinic (2016 May 3) “Mediterranean Diet: A Heart-Healthy Eating Plan.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801

Medline Plus (2017 March 10) “Mediterranean Diet May Ease Chronic Pain of Obesity” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164033.html

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Are you losing sleep because of daylight savings?

With the recent daylight savings time changes, it can be distressing to hear that you are going to lose an hour of sleep.  Especially if you are already feeling like you do not get enough sleep every night.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult should get between 7 and 9 hours sleep a night for optimal health.  Most American adults get about 7.5 hours a night according to the most recent Sleep Index Survey.

With the addition of daylight savings time, losing an hour of sleep may put many in the unhealthy range for sleep hours per night. This can have a major impact on well-being since sleep affects many parts of our body. According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep can affect such things as:

  • memory
  • ability to learn
  • mood
  • healing and repair of heart and blood vessels
  • hormone balance
  • immune system response

Therefore, without adequate sleep, a person can be at higher risk for anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, and increased blood glucose levels.

Manage your sleep, manage your health

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that in order to ensure proper sleep each night, to stick to a sleeping schedule.  Without a scheduled bed time each night, you may be at risk for staying up late.  In addition, without a set bed time, you may end up engaging in mindless activities such as playing on the computer or watching television, which could affect your ability to wind down and have restful sleep.

Furthermore, limiting alcohol and caffeine intake can help improve sleep quality. Therefore, try to limit consuming caffeine-containing foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, and chocolate in the later half of your day to prevent over-stimulation.  On a similar note, limit alcohol consumption to improve sleep quality and quantity. Although, you may fall asleep faster after a glass of wine, alcohol actually reduces rapid eye movement (also known as REM). REM sleep is a deep state of sleep, so without it, you may feel tired upon waking.  Therefore, after drinking alcohol, you may fall asleep fast and then wake up earlier and unrested.

Natural supplements such as melatonin, such as that found in Vita Science’s Somnova may also help sleep.  Somnova contains a powerful blend of melatonin, L-Theanine, and magnesium, which work together to promote healthy sleep.  Melatonin is a hormone that helps to maintain a health Circadian rhythm in the body.  Visit Vita Sciences website to check out some other supplements that can help you live a healthier, fuller life.

Also, be sure to visit the National Sleep Foundation website for more tips, research, and Homeinformation about how you can improve your sleep.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (Feb 22, 2012). “Why Is Sleep Important?” https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

National Sleep Foundation (accessed 2017 March 20). “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

National Sleep Foundation (accessed 2017 March 20). ” How Alcohol Affects the Quality- and Quantity- of Sleep” https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/how-alcohol-affects-sleep

University of Maryland Medical Center (Feb 3, 2016). “Melatonin” http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/melatonin.

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