Going Gluten-Free

05/29/2010

from HealthyWomen’s e-newsletter, HealthyWomen Take 10

What’s up with gluten? You might not have even heard of gluten until recently when foods without this grain protein started being promoted on store shelves.

People with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, suffer difficult gastrointestinal symptoms that are triggered by gluten. Those individuals must avoid eating or drinking any gluten, which isn’t easy.

Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. (Never heard of spelt either? It’s a grain from ancient times that’s highly nutritious.) Gluten occurs in a wide range of foods. Some of these you might expect, such as baked goods and pizza, and some you might not, like ice cream (gluten is commonly used as a thickening ingredient). Food labels now must state if a product contains gluten or was made in a facility that processes wheat.

In addition to those with celiac disease—which is being diagnosed more frequently as doctors become more aware of the condition—others don’t have celiac but do have a heightened sensitivity to digesting gluten. They, too, are helped by avoiding gluten foods.

Fortunately, there are many naturally gluten-free foods, such as fruits, vegetables, poultry, eggs and more. Grains and starches that can be eaten on a gluten-free diet include corn, amaranth, flax, buckwheat (not a wheat), rice, quinoa, potatoes, soy and teff (an Ethiopian grain used for flour).

When eating gluten-free, it’s helpful to consult a registered dietitian to achieve a good nutritional balance in your food selections. Your healthcare provider or a local hospital’s nutrition counseling department should be able to refer you.

For more on nutrition, visit: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/diet-and-nutrition

References

Harvard Medical School . “Getting Out the Gluten.” Harvard Health Letter. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2009/June/Getting-out-the-gluten.

American Dietetic Association. “Do I Need to Follow a Gluten-Free Diet for Life?” http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=10594&terms=gluten. Accessed April 20, 2010.

American Dietetic Association. “Celiac Disease.” http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=5542&terms=celiac. Accessed April 21, 2010.

American Dietetic Association. “If You Have Celiac Disease: Grains and Plant Foods to Include on Your Grocery List.” http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=4294967395. Accessed April 21, 2010.

© 2010 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at: www.HealthyWomen.org.


You Are What You Drink

11/21/2009

So you are probably wondering…..do the beverages I drink really make that much of a difference? They are only liquids, right? Liquids “go right through me” so how much of an ill effect can they have?

You have probably heard the old saying “You are what you eat?”  Well, it is true, but “You are what you drink” also!

 Beverage Guidance Panel

 The Beverage Guidance Panel is a group of nutrition experts from the United States, which formed several years ago.  The purpose of this group was to review the existing research to determine which beverages are considered healthy.  They based their recommendations on the number of calories, energy and nutrients provided and health benefits of different beverages.  The winner hands down was water.  But that doesn’t mean this is the only beverage we should drink.  The Beverage Guidance Panel developed a six-level pitcher for beverages similar to the food pyramid.  (Published in the March 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Available online at www.beverageguidancepanel.org)

 The average adult should aim to drink 8 glasses of fluids every day.  The Beverage Guidance Panel recommends:

 Water: at least 4 (8 ounce) servings a day for women and 6 (8 ounce) servings a day for men

Unsweetened coffee or tea (iced or hot): up to 8 servings of tea or 4 servings of coffee per day

Low-fat Milk: up to 2 (8 ounce) servings per day

100% fruit or vegetable juice, whole milk, or sports drinks: up to 1 (8 ounce) serving per day

Carbonated soft drinks: up to 1 serving per day

Diet beverages with sugar substitutes: up to 4 (8 ounce) servings per day

Alcoholic beverages: up to 1 drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men

Liquid or Empty Calories

In the United States about 20% of our daily caloric intake comes from beverages.  The Institute of Medicine recommends men have 13 cups (3 liters) of fluid every day and women have 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluid every day. 

 Most experts now believe that part of the obesity problem in this country comes from the increased consumption of calorically sweetened beverages.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (April 2009 issue) suggests that cutting back on liquid calories may actually result in greater weight loss.  The study evaluated 800 adult men and women for fruit and beverage intake and weight changes.  The results were interesting:

Cutting 100 calories a day from liquid intake lead to about a 0.5 pound weight loss at 6 and 18 months

Cutting 100 calories a day from solid food intake lead to about a 0.1 pound weight loss at 6 and 18 months

Eliminating one 12 ounce sugar-sweetened beverage a day lead to the greatest weight loss = 1 pound at 6 months and 1.5 pounds at 18 months

 If you are trying to lose weight you must remember to count your liquid calories!!

Should you drink wine?

Is it healthier to drink decaffeinated coffee or tea?

Does grapefruit juice really interfere with some medications?

Can diet soda really make you fat?

Is grape juice as good as red wine in preventing heart disease?

Can vegetable juice help promote weight loss?

Is organic milk really healthier?

These are just some of the questions we answer in our eBook….

 The above is the introduction to our new eBook called “You are What You Drink: A Healthy Beverage Guide” available on smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4830

This eBook contains information on the health benefits and adverse health effects of water, coffee, tea, milk, calorically Sweetened Beverages (soft drinks), non-calorically sweetened beverages (diet soda), fruit and vegetable juices, alcoholic beverages, sports and energy drinks, how to read a nutrition label on a beverage and lots more…

You can visit www.heart-strong.com for more info (Cheers)


Heart Healthy Vitamins and Supplements

09/12/2009


7 Quick Healthy Diet Tips

08/09/2009

fruits and veggies

Small changes can make a BIG difference over time.  If you are trying to lose weight or just trying to eat healthier here are a couple of suggestions to gradually make some dietary changes.

1)      Replace white bread with whole grain bread
2)      Avoid candy instead try some dried fruit (raisins, dates, apricots)
3)      Eat brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice (increases your fiber intake)
4)      Instead of potato chips have baked tortilla chips or whole wheat pretzels
5)      Pick up some fruit you can eat on the run (banana, grapes, apple, pear)
6)      Have nonfat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream
7)      When ordering pizza request extra tomato sauce, oregano, basil, add some veggies (limit or cut back on the amount of cheese)

Change is hard, so try to make gradual changes whenever possible (even one a week or one a month).  A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that men who ate fish JUST ONCE A MONTH reduced their stroke risk.

For more healthy dietary tips visit  www.heart-strong.com


Sweetened drinks increase a woman’s risk for heart disease

07/31/2009

 The Nurses Health Study evaluated over 88,000 women aged 34 to 59 over 24 years.  They recently reported that women who drank 2 or more sweetened beverages a day had a 35% increase in their risk for heart disease (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2009).  Sweetened beverages in this study included: Caffeinated and non-caffeinated colas and carbonated beverages with sugar.  The increased risk was not observed with artificially sweetened drinks.  The researchers believe that the sweetened beverages can increase triglycerol levels and this might be the cause of the heart problems.

 Enjoying an occasional sweetened beverage may be okay but – Moderation is Key!

 For more heart healthy info and New Women’s Heart Health book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” visit www.heart-strong.com


What is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil?

07/29/2009

olive oil

Rachel Ray talks about EVOO all the time, but is it really worth the money? And what exactly is extra-virgin olive oil?
“Extra-virgin” means the olives and pits are ground together into a mash.  This mash concoction is then subjected to several hundred pounds of pressure producing an oil and water.  The water is removed and what is left is called “virgin oil”.  If it contains less than 1% acid and has a superior taste and color it is called “extra-virgin” oil.  Only the best green olives, which take on the personality of the soil from Spain, Greece, Italy and California, make up extra virgin olive oil. 

Olive oil connoisseurs claim that each oil has its own taste and aroma similar to wine.  But unlike wine, olive oil does not age well and should be consumed within one year (best taste is within first 2 months).

Whether you use an expensive brand of extra-virgin olive oil or a less expensive brand remember that all olive oils are considered heart healthy.

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com


“Energy Drinks” May Trigger Heart Problems

07/24/2009

Energy drinks are touted to improve stamina and cognitive function.  These beverages often contain caffeine and sugar which can lead to an elevation in blood pressure and heart rate.  A recent study (published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, April 2009) evaluated the effects of energy drinks of 15 healthy 20 to 39 year olds.  The participants drank 2 cans (containing 100 mg of caffeine each) daily for one week.  Blood pressure and heart rate were monitored before, during and after the energy drinks were consumed.  The heart rate increased approximately 8% on day 1 and 11% on day 7.

While the blood pressure increased approximately 8% on day 1 and almost 10% on day 7.  These increases in heart rate and blood pressure would definitely be detrimental to people with known high blood pressure or heart disease but may also over time lead to heart problems in younger healthy adults.

If you are going to consume “energy drinks” you should do so in moderation !! Better yet avoid them if possible.

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com