Monthly Archives: March 2017

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


  • 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.


  • Three ways you can control your hypertension today

    Are you one of the 85 million Americans with high blood pressure? If so, it is important to know what you can do to control your blood pressure and prevent heart disease.  In many cases, there are not any obvious symptoms of high blood pressure.  Therefore, it is important to keep track of your numbers and visit your doctor regularly to control your blood pressure.

    If you want to control your blood pressure today, follow these three steps to get started on your heart healthy journey.

    1.) Lower your sodium intake.  A recent study of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey looked at salt intake and high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.  Between 1999 and 2012, the sodium intake of those with hypertension rose nearly 14-percent from 2900 to 3350 milligrams daily.  The recommended sodium intake for those with hypertension is 1500 milligrams a day, while those without hypertension should limit intake to 2300 milligrams daily.  It is important to note that that 2300 milligrams of sodium is equal to just one teaspoon of salt.  Furthermore, reports show that three-fourths of the sodium most people consume daily is not from added salt.  Instead, most excess sodium intake is from consuming processed food products. Therefore, it is important to limit prepackaged foods such as:

    • chips
    • crackers
    • canned soups
    • boxed meals
    • deli meats, sausages, and hot dogs
    • take-out food

    These convenience foods contain high levels of sodium-based preservatives that make them shelf stable. Therefore, stick to consuming mostly fresh, whole foods such as lean meats, fiber-rich fruits and veggies, and whole grains to maintain healthy levels of daily sodium.

    2.) Stay active every day. According to the American Heart Association, at least 40 minutes of exercise each day, 3-4 days a week can help control blood pressure. A recent study in the journal Hypertension looked at the link between exercise and risk of high blood pressure in African Americans.  High blood pressure risk was nearly one-fourth lower in those who exercised at least 150 minutes a week versus non-exercisers. However, it is important to note that the exercise found to be most beneficial was done in bouts of at least ten minutes.

    3.) Take your medicine and supplements daily.

    Be sure to take any prescribed medicines as suggested by your healthcare provider.  This is because for some people, diet and exercise may not be enough to maintain blood pressure at a healthy level.  In addition, there are some supplements that may be able to help support healthy blood pressure levels. One of these supplements is Presura by Vita SciencesPresura contains niacin, which is found to dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and in turn lower blood pressure levels. Therefore, visit Vita Sciences to find supplements that can help support your heart healthy lifestyle today.

    For more information on how to control your blood pressure, visit the American Heart Association website or Medline Plus for the latest research findings.

    -Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

    Sources:

    American Heart Association (2017 March 10) “The Facts about High Blood Pressure” https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/GettheFactsAboutHighBloodPressure/The-Facts-About-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002050_Article.jsp

    American Heart Association (2016 December 13) “Five Simple Steps to Control Your Blood Pressure” https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/GettheFactsAboutHighBloodPressure/Five-Simple-Steps-to-Control-Your-Blood-Pressure_UCM_301806_Article.jsp

    Medline Plus (2017 March 8) “Americans with High Blood Pressure Still Eating Too Much Salt.” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_163977.html

    U.S. News World Report (2017 January 30) “Exercise May Help Black Americans Lower Blood Pressure Risk” http://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2017-01-30/exercise-may-help-black-americans-lower-blood-pressure-risk

     

     


  • Could vitamin D protect against bone loss?

    Are you one of the 44 million Americans with low one density?  If so, and if you are over the age of 50, you could be one of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a dangerous condition in which your bones become fragile and at risk for fractures.  In older individuals, osteoporosis can lead to hip fractures that can limit mobility, or even spine fractures that could be debilitating.  Older women at are most risk for osteoporosis, but this condition can occur to both men and women at any age.

    osteoporosis, vitamin D, bone health

    Osteoporosis can weaken bone strength over time increasing risk of hip, wrist, and spinal fractures.

    If you want to prevent osteoporosis, there are a few controllable factors that you can take charge of to lower your risk.

    • Quit smoking or don’t start if you don’t smoke.
    • Limit drinking alcohol.
    • Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D

    A recent study by researchers from Harvard-affiliated Hebrew Senior Life found that older adults who consumed calcium-rich foods such as yogurt, milk, or cheese had higher bone mineral density in the spine and less bone loss in the hip.  However, this risk was only reduced significantly along with consumption of vitamin D supplementation. It is suspected that this finding is due to vitamin D’s important function of assisting with calcium absorption.  Without vitamin D, our body cannot adequately absorb all of the calcium goodness from the foods that we eat. In turn, our bones cannot receive the strengthening elements of calcium needed to preserve bone and prevent bone loss.

    If you are not sure if you are vitamin D deficient, be sure to check with your healthcare provider.  Furthermore, if you are vitamin D deficient, it will be important to start on a vitamin D supplementation regimen.  However, check with your healthcare provider to find a regimen that will be best for you. Other ways to increase vitamin D include consuming foods rich in the vitamin such as:

    • fish oils
    • fatty fish
    • mushrooms
    • beef liver
    • cheese
    • egg yolks
    • fortified milk

    Also, by increasing your sunlight exposure you can naturally increase your daily intake of vitamin D.   However, the amount of sunlight exposure needed to provide the most benefit will differ for everyone.   This is because the time of day, where you live, and skin pigmentation can all affect the amount of vitamin D your skin makes.

    Furthermore, pair your healthy bone regimen with a supplement like Osteovent from Vita Sciences. Osteovent is power-packed with bone healthy vitamins such as vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, and boron that are recommended by the Open Orthopaedics Journal.

    Visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation website for all of the great work they are doing to help increase awareness of osteoporosis and improve bone health efforts.

    Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

    Sources:

    National Institutes of Health (2017 March 1). “Older Bones Benefit from Dairy Plus Vitamin D” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_163861.html

    National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center (2014 Nov). “What is Osteoporosis? Fast Facts: An Easy to Read Series of Publications for the Public” https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/osteoporosis_ff.asp

    Calcium/Vitamin D