Thursday, September 29, 2016

Does How You Cook Affect Your Diabetes Risk?

Food choices are always important when looking to reduce our risk of major diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart attack and diabetes. Eating more foods daily like vegetables, fruits, beans and fatty fish that have important nutrients to fuel our bodies and protect them properly should always be a priority. But even if you are eating a wide variety of healthy foods, you may be undermining your best efforts by the way you are cooking those foods. A new study is suggesting that changing the way you cook could help reduce your risk of getting one of those major diseases - type 2 diabetes.

When you fry, grill or bake foods, which are all “dry-heat “cooking methods, foods produce substances called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Higher levels of AGEs have been linked to insulin resistance, stress on the body's cells and inflammation, according to the study authors. These are all contributing factors in terms of diabetes risk, especially the insulin resistance. When the cells begin to become resistant to the effects of insulin, less sugar from the foods we eat is able to get into the cells to be used for energy. Too much sugar then remains in the blood, which promotes inflammation and stress on the body, which can manifest in the kidneys, eyes, heart or any other tissue. Therefore, other cooking methods such as boiling, steaming and poaching look like the safest way to go, the researchers say.

"When you look at people with chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes or dementia put on a high-AGE diet or a low one, those on the low-AGE diet show signs of decreasing inflammation," said the study's lead author, Dr. Jaime Uribarri. The researchers wanted to see if a low-AGE diet could offer protection to people already at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For the study, the researchers randomly assigned study participants to either a high- or low-AGE diet. All were at least 50 years old and they had at least two of the following five health concerns (or were on medications for these problems): a large waist circumference (40 inches for men, 35 for women); high blood pressure; low HDL (good) cholesterol; high triglycerides; or elevated fasting blood sugar levels. Those in the low-AGE group were told to avoid frying, baking or grilling foods. Instead, they were encouraged to boil, steam, stew, cook with water, or poach their meals. Some examples of the changes made included substituting boiled eggs for fried eggs, poached chicken instead of grilled chicken, or beef stew instead of grilled steak, according to the study.

In the low-AGE group, "all the parameters in stress and inflammation we tested for improved. And we showed that insulin resistance came down," Uribarri said. Body weight also dropped slightly in the low-AGE group. So while we need to be paying attention to the types of foods we eat, it may also be beneficial to change the way we cook those foods.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Gluten Free Diets

As you stroll up and down the aisles of your grocery store, chances are you will have seen numerous products with the label “gluten free” on them. Many stores also have entire sections dedicated to products for those looking to eliminate it from their diets. But is this just a trend that will see its way through, or should you be giving it some thought as to how you manage your food selections?

Celiac disease would be the primary reason for someone to adopt a gluten free diet. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which foods containing gluten trigger the immune system to attack and damage the small intestine. Gluten is a protein found naturally in grains like wheat, barley and rye. People with celiac disease have no choice but to avoid gluten in their diet. If they don't, their small intestine is damaged every time they eat something with gluten. Gluten-free diets seem to be the latest fad, yet the number of people being diagnosed with celiac disease hasn't budged, new research shows.

Researchers reviewed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, a regular survey of American health and diet conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on their analysis, the researchers estimated there are around 1.76 million people with celiac disease in the United States. About 2.7 million more people adhere to a gluten-free diet even though they don't have celiac disease, the findings showed. Around a half percent of survey participants reported being on a gluten-free diet in 2009-2010. By 2013-2014, that number was closing in on 2 percent, the investigators found. The number of Americans following a gluten-free diet tripled between 2009 and 2014, but diagnoses of celiac disease remained stable during that same period, the researchers found, which may have been affected by a decrease in gluten consumption the past several years. The study was published as a research letter in the online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Other reasons for going gluten free could be a wheat allergy or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. These people will eliminate their symptoms by keeping gluten out of the diet, and do not suffer the same intestinal damage as those with celiac disease, although it does still produce inflammation and a lesser immune response. For others, wheat is simply a source of carbohydrates and calories that needs to be curtailed if there are concerns about weight, inflammation or insulin resistance. So while it may not be absolutely necessary to keep wheat and gluten out of the diet for most, many people are adhering to the practice to improve their health. We have seen many patients feel better after eliminating it, in conjunction with other dietary modifications to help support better health.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

6 Tips on Starting to Exercise and Keeping Your Promise to Yourself

We all have had something we are trying to achieve, and realize it was harder than we though. When it comes to exercise, it is very important and we need to keep the body healthy. We know it takes more than just saying you promise on Monday you are going to start going to the gym – we all need to be accountable!

· Find a workout buddy – It helps having someone besides yourself to keep you accountable when you try to avoid your workout. Plus, when the workout gets hard, they have your back!

· Look up gym classes – If you start scoping out classes and trying them, you can really find something you truly enjoy. Plus, when you find a class you really like you are more likely to go. Your group fitness instructor will even remember your name – you bet they may call you out if they notice you’ve missed a class!

· Always pack a bag – You never want to use the “well, I don’t have my bag,” excuse. If you always keep a change of clothes with you, the second you have some spare time you can get a couple minutes in at the gym. Who knows when your friend may ask you to join them at the gym!

· Set realistic and attainable goals – We all know it takes time to put weight on, just as it does to lose weight and gain muscle. Setting realistic goals helps you achieve them more successfully. You can always tack goals on, but you want to set yourself up for success. You can do this!

· Be positive – You are making a change, and you can stick to it. You are doing something for yourself that will help keep you healthy. It is worth it, and so are you.

· Stick to it – It takes at least a week to make a habit of something. Keep your workout time part of your schedule. You will get used to your designated time, and the day you miss you will feel thrown off. It just takes time!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

What is Metabolism?

We are all familiar with the metabolism, but not everyone quite understands exactly how the metabolism operates. While obviously, there are the physiological processes, we want to briefly explain the components. The three components that establish our total daily energy expenditure (TDEE; the total of calories expended each day) for the day are resting metabolic rate (RMR), thermic effect of food (TEF), and thermic effect of activity (TEA).

  • Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR):
    • The energy required for the body to maintain homeostasis and normal daily bodily functions 
      • Blood flow
      • Breathing
      • Heartbeat
      • Blinking
      • Sleeping
      • Bodily movements
    • The largest contributor to our TDEE
    • Typically makes up roughly 60%-75% of TDEE
    • Factors that can influence the percentage of caloric expenditure from RMR:
      • Gender
      • Age
      • Muscle (lean body mass)
      • Body composition
      • Genes
  • Thermic Effect of Food (TEF):
    • Energy required for the body to process and store food for energy/nutrients
    • The smallest contributor to TDEE
    • Makes up about 10% of TDEE
    • What can influence TEF?
    • Daily caloric intake
    • Composition of carbohydrates, fats, and protein from meals
    • Diet
  • Thermic effect of physical activity (TEA):
    • Energy used to use voluntary musculature
    • Accounts for about 20% of TDEE
    • The percentage of TEA can be increased, with the more physical activity/exercise and individual has that day. Athletes typically have a much higher contribution of TEA than the average person.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Using Exercise As A Tool To Eliminate Pre-Diabetes

Regular monitoring of your blood sugars is an important way to measure whether your lifestyle is either on track or leading you into an unhealthy place where you’d rather not be (meaning, the dreaded land of and diabetes). The first stage of that process is pre-diabetes, where the blood sugars are higher than normal, but not enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. If this is your diagnosis, red flags should be waving and alarms going off! In other words, you need to embark ASAP on a plan that will get you moving in the opposite direction so that diabetes never comes into your health picture. The "gold standard" approach to diabetes prevention involves weight loss, diet and exercise, but for some people total lifestyle overhaul may be difficult all at once.

One particular study at Duke University looked at what the effects of exercise alone would be compared to the process described above. It included 150 people with prediabetes who were divided into four groups. One group followed a gold-standard program that included a low-fat, low-calorie diet and moderate-intensity exercise equivalent to 7.5 miles of brisk walking a week. The other participants were assigned to one of three exercise groups: low amount at moderate intensity equivalent to walking briskly for 7.5 miles a week; high amount at moderate intensity equal to walking briskly for 11.5 miles weekly; and high amount at vigorous intensity equivalent to jogging for 11.5 miles a week.

After six months, patients using the gold standard approach had an average 9 percent improvement in oral glucose tolerance -- a measure of how readily the body processes sugar and an indicator used to predict progression to diabetes. Among those who did exercise only, there was a 7 percent improvement in the moderate-intensity 11.5-mile group; a 5 percent improvement in the moderate-intensity, 7.5-mile group; and a 2 percent improvement in the vigorous-intensity 11.5-mile group.

Their results appeared to demonstrate that a high amount of moderate-intensity exercise alone provided nearly the same benefit on glucose tolerance that we see in the gold standard of fat and calorie restriction along with exercise. High-intensity exercise tends to burn glucose more than fat, while moderate-intensity exercise tends to burn fat more than glucose. Encouraging news, because even the addition of regular brisk walking for extended periods would add some benefit.

However, education here is key because exercise alone can make a difference, but it can’t make up for a poor quality diet (which usually is the main reason diabetes develops in the first place). Learning proper food choices so that the body can keep the sugars in a normal range AND help support healing and recovery from the exercise is the smartest approach. Not only will it help by keeping diabetes out of the picture, but it will also maximize your overall health on so many levels, you’ll be glad you made the extra effort!

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Turmeric is a yellow-pigmented curry spice that is often used in Indian cuisine. But this spice is far more than a cooking staple. It also has a long history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as well as Ayurvedic medicine. Traditional medicinal uses include the treatment of liver disease, skin problems, respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments, sprained muscles, joint pains, and general wound healing.

Its benefits have since been well documented in the medical literature, and curcumin—one of the most well-studied1,2 bioactive ingredients in turmeric— has been found to promote health and protect against a wide array of health conditions. It actually exhibits over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity, as well as potent anti-cancer properties that have been intensely studied.
Turmeric May Help Combat Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Inflammatory Conditions

Curcumin is capable of crossing your blood-brain barrier, which is one factor that has led researchers to investigate its potential as a neuroprotective agent for neurological disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer’s disease. The potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin suggests it may also promote brain health in general. In the case of Alzheimer’s, recent animal research has discovered another bioactive ingredient in turmeric, besides curcumin, that adds to its neuroprotective effects.

This compound, called aromatic turmerone, help endogenous neutral stem cells (NSC) to grow, and these stem cells play an important role brain repair and regeneration activities. According to lead author Adele Rueger: "While several substances have been described to promote stem cell proliferation in the brain, fewer drugs additionally promote the differentiation of stem cells into neurons, which constitutes a major goal in regenerative medicine. Our findings on aromatic turmerone take us one step closer to achieving this goal."

Curcumin may also be helpful. Previous research has shown that curcumin helps inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta-amyloids in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, as well as break up existing plaques associated with the disease. People with Alzheimer's tend to have higher levels of inflammation in their brains, and curcumin is perhaps best known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. It can inhibit both the activity and the inflammatory metabolic byproducts of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX) enzymes, as well as other enzymes and hormones that modulate inflammation.

Another common condition that can benefit from curcumin’s anti-inflammatory activity is osteoarthritis. Research published in 2011 found that patients who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility compared to the control group. Earlier research also found that a turmeric extract blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the launch of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.
Curcumin Appears to Be Universally Useful for All Cancers

Among the most exciting benefits of turmeric is its potent anti-cancer activity. Curcumin actually has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer of any other nutrient, including vitamin D! As noted by Dr. William LaValley, one of the leading natural medicine cancer physicians, curcumin is unique in that it appears to be universally useful for just about every type of cancer. This is odd, considering the fact that cancer consists of a wide variety of different molecular pathologies. One reason for this universal anti-cancer proclivity is curcumin’s ability to affect multiple molecular targets, via multiple pathways.

Once it gets into a cell, it affects more than 100 different molecular pathways. And, as explained by Dr. LaValley, whether the curcumin molecule causes an increase in activity of a particular molecular target, or decrease/inhibition of activity, studies repeatedly show that the end result is a potent anti-cancer activity. Moreover, curcumin is non-toxic, and does not adversely affect healthy cells, suggesting it selectively targets cancer cells—all of which are clear benefits in cancer treatment. Research has even shown that it works synergistically with certain chemotherapy drugs, enhancing the elimination of cancer cells.

We have used a high-quality turmeric product in our office to assist in successfully helping people with inflammatory conditions and autoimmune issues as part of a holistic approach to improving health. If you would like to learn more, please contact our office to come in and speak to one of the doctors to see if it may be beneficial for you!

Source: Turmeric— The Spice of Life May 04, 2015