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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

By Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health Sep 01, 2011

After a long hard day at the office, I crave a manly dinner. Something that will sharpen my mind, feed my muscles, and infuse me with energy to keep up with two young kids till bedtime.

So, often, I have a bowl of cereal. With bananas and whole milk. Mmm.

Do I feel like I’m depriving my body of key nutrients? Quite the opposite, actually. My favorite dinner isn’t just for kids. It contains high levels of three nutrients that American adults need much more of: B12, potassium, and iodine. Our shortfalls with these nutrients—along with vitamin D and magnesium—have serious health consequences, including a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, fatigue, and weight gain.

Here’s the good news: These nutrients are readily available in the foods you know and love. You can get more of one simply by spending more time outside. That doesn’t sound so hard, does it? Here’s how to fortify your diet—and your health.

1. VITAMIN D This vitamin’s biggest claim to fame is its role in strengthening your skeleton. But vitamin D isn’t a one-trick nutrient: A study in Circulation found that people deficient in D were up to 80 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. The reason? Vitamin D may reduce inflammation in your arteries. Also, a University of Minnesota study found that people with adequate vitamin D levels release more leptin, a hormone that conveys the “I’m full” message to your brain. Even more impressive, the study also found that the nutrient triggers weight loss primarily from the belly. Another study found that people with higher D levels in their bloodstream store less fat.

The shortfall: Vitamin D is created in your body when the sun’s ultraviolet B rays penetrate your skin. Problem is, the vitamin D you stockpile during sunnier months is often depleted by winter, especially if you live in the northern half of the United States, where UVB rays are less intense from November through February. When Boston University researchers measured the vitamin D status of young adults at the end of winter, 36 percent of them were found to be deficient.

Hit the mark: First, ask your doctor to test your blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. “You need to be above 30 nanograms per milliliter,” says Michael Holick, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at Boston University. Come up short? Eat foods like salmon (900 IU per serving), mackerel (400 IU), and tuna (150 IU). Milk and eggs are also good, with about 100 IU per serving. But to ensure you’re getting enough, take 1,400 IU of vitamin D daily from a supplement and a multivitamin. That’s about seven times the recommended daily intake for men, but it takes that much to boost blood levels of D, says Dr. Holick.

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2. MAGNESIUM This lightweight mineral is a tireless multitasker: It’s involved in more than 300 bodily processes. Plus, a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that low levels of magnesium may increase your blood levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker of heart disease.

The shortfall: Nutrition surveys reveal that men consume only about 80 percent of the recommended 400 milligrams (mg) of magnesium a day. “We’re just barely getting by,” says Dana King, M.D., a professor of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. “Without enough magnesium, every cell in your body has to struggle to generate energy.”

Hit the mark: Fortify your diet with more magnesium-rich foods, such as halibut, navy beans, and spinach. Then hit the supplement aisle: Few men can reach 400 mg through diet alone, so Dr. King recommends ingesting some insurance in the form of a 250 mg supplement. One caveat: Scrutinize the ingredients list. You want a product that uses magnesium citrate, the form best absorbed by your body.

DID YOU KNOW? There are 46,000 foods in the average supermarket. How to choose what to put in your cart? Here’s your shopping list: The 125 Best Foods.

3. VITAMIN B12 Consider B12 the guardian of your gray matter: In a British study, older people with the lowest levels of B12 lost brain volume at a faster rate over a span of five years than those with the highest levels.

The shortfall: Even though most men do consume the daily quota of 2.4 micrograms, the stats don’t tell the whole story. “We’re seeing an increase in B12 deficiencies due to interactions with medications,” says Katherine Tucker, Ph.D., director of a USDA program at Tufts University. The culprits: acid-blocking drugs, such as Prilosec, and the diabetes medication metformin.

Hit the mark: You’ll find B12 in lamb and salmon, but the most accessible source may be fortified cereals. That’s because the B12 in meat is bound to proteins, and your stomach must produce acid to release and absorb it. Eat a bowl of 100 percent B12-boosted cereal and milk every morning and you’ll be covered, even if you take the occasional acid-blocking med. However, if you pop Prilosec on a regular basis or are on metformin, talk to your doctor about tracking your B12 levels and possibly taking an additional supplement.

4. POTASSIUM Without this essential mineral, your heart couldn’t beat, your muscles wouldn’t contract, and your brain couldn’t comprehend this sentence. Why? Potassium helps your cells use glucose for energy.

The shortfall: Despite potassium’s can’t-live-without-it importance, nutrition surveys indicate that young men consume just 60 percent to 70 percent of the recommended 4,700 mg a day. To make matters worse, most guys load up on sodium: High sodium can boost blood pressure, while normal potassium levels work to lower it, says Lydia A. L. Bazzano, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of epidemiology at Tulane University.

Hit the mark: Half an avocado contains nearly 500 mg potassium, while one banana boasts roughly 400 mg. Not a fan of either fruit? Pick up some potatoes—a single large spud is packed with 1,600 mg. Most multivitamins have less than 100 mg of potassium, so eat your fruits and vegetables, folks!

5. IODINE Your thyroid gland requires iodine to produce the hormones T3 and T4, both of which help control how efficiently you burn calories. That means insufficient iodine may cause you to gain weight and feel fatigued.

The shortfall: Since iodized salt is an important source of the element, you might assume you’re swimming in the stuff. But when University of Texas at Arlington researchers tested 88 samples of table salt, they found that half contained less than the FDA-recommended amount of iodine. And you’re not making up the difference with all the salt hiding in processed foods—U.S. manufacturers aren’t required to use iodized salt. The result is that we’ve been sliding toward iodine deficiency since the 1970s.

Hit the mark: Sprinkling more salt on top of an already sodium-packed diet isn’t a great idea, but iodine can also be found in a nearly sodium-free source: milk. Animal feed is fortified with the element, meaning it travels from cows to your cereal bowl. Not a milk man? Eat at least one serving of eggs or yogurt a day; both are good sources of iodine.

Also, check out our list of the 40 Foods with Superpowers—foods that, even in moderation, can strengthen your heart, fortify your  bones, and boost your metabolism so you can lose weight more quickly.

http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/5-nutrients-youre-not-getting-enough

Food poisoning is a horrible, even potentially life-threatening experience. But it’s hard to determine if food is safe to eat, partly because problems are relatively rare. But knowing which foods are potentially risky can help.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has issued a list of the top 10 FDA-regulated foods linked to outbreaks since 1990. (That includes produce, seafood, egg, and dairy products, but not meat.)

Be aware of the risk, but don’t avoid these types of food. “They are everywhere and are part of a healthy diet,” says CSPI staff attorney, Sarah Klein.

1. Leafy Grains

Yes, they’re your favorite go-to salad greens—lettuce, escarole, endive, spinach, cabbage, kale, arugula, and chard.

But they also caused 363 outbreaks involving 13,568 reported cases of illness since 1990. (Remember bagged spinach in 2006?)

Greens can be contaminated by manure, dirty water rinses, or unwashed hands before you even purchase them.

To avoid getting sick, wash produce and prevent cross-contamination (improper handling of meat in the kitchen can spread bacteria to other types of food, including greens) by washing hands and using separate cutting boards.

2. Eggs

This breakfast favorite has been linked to 352 outbreaks since 1990, most often due to Salmonella bacteria.

The bacteria can lurk inside the egg, so proper cooking is key (which kills the germs). Avoid eating any products containing raw eggs, including cookie dough.

“Our food supply is safe,” says Craig Hedberg, PhD, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis. “There is roughly one illness for every three to four thousand meals served,” he says.

Still, “raw food items like eggs may have contamination and need to be handled properly.”

3. Tuna

This type of fish can be contaminated by scombrotoxin, which causes flushing, headaches, and cramps.

If it is stored above 60 degrees after being caught, fresh fish can release the toxin, which cannot be destroyed by cooking (and is unrelated to mercury contamination or other problems related to tuna and other fish).

Tuna has been linked to 268 scombroid poisoning outbreaks since 1990.

“You just can’t cook out all the things wrong with food supply right now,” CSPI’s Klein says.

4. Oysters

Before being transformed into a pricey delicacy, oysters lurk on the ocean floor doing what they do best—filter feeding.

And if the water they are filtering is contaminated, so are the oysters. (Or they can be contaminated during handling.)

If served raw or undercooked, oysters can contain germs—mostly a gut-churner called norovirus and a bacterium known as Vibrio vulnificus—that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

5. Potatoes

A freshly scrubbed spud that’s properly cooked is unlikely to cause illness. But watch out for potato salad.

Cross contamination—the transfer of germs from one type of food, usually meat, to another—can be the source of the problem.

Potato-related outbreaks of illness have been traced to germs like Listeria (which can live on deli counters ), Shigella, E. coli, and Salmonella

6. Cheese

While restaurants are a key source of other food-related outbreaks, most people who get sick from cheese do so from products consumed at home.

Cheese can be contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella or Listeria, which can cause miscarriages.

(That’s why doctors warn pregnant women to avoid soft cheeses, such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican style cheese.)

7. Ice Cream

I scream, you scream. We all scream from ice cream? Ice cream has been linked to 75 outbreaks caused by bacteria like Salmonella and Staphylococcus since 1990, according to the CSPI.

The largest outbreak occurred in 1994, when a batch of pasteurized ice cream premix was transported in a Salmonella-contaminated truck, and then used to make ice cream without re-pasteurizing.

“People are making ice cream at home and using raw eggs in the household,” explains Hedberg.

8. Tomatoes

Although tomatoes were found “not guilty” in a 2008 outbreak that sickened thousands (the culprits were jalapeno and Serrano peppers), this summer favorite has been linked to at least 31 outbreaks.

“Lettuce or tomatoes may be contaminated, but once they enter a household, you can make sure that you don’t allow the bacteria to grow and multiply,” says Hedberg.

To do this: wash hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce; wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking, even if you plan to peel it before eating; and keep fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw separate from other foods.

9.  Sprouts

While sprouts are practically the poster child for healthy food, they can also be vulnerable to bacterial contamination.

The seeds used to produce the sprouts can be contaminated in the field, and water and warm growing conditions that encourage germination can also boost bacterial growth.

The FDA and CDC recommend that the elderly, young children, and those with weakened immune systems avoid eating raw sprouts.

10. Berries

Another common source of food poisoning is berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

A 1997 outbreak that sickened thousands of children via school lunches was traced to hepatitis A-contaminated frozen strawberries (possibly from a farm worker in Baja California, Mexico).

Other cases—linked to imported raspberries from Chile and Guatemala—have been caused by a germ called Cyclospora, which causes severe diarrhea, dehydrations, and cramps.

http://health.yahoo.net/articles/nutrition/photos/10-types-food-can-make-you-sick#10

MIND YOUR BODY By Willie T. Ong, MD (The Philippine Star) Updated April 13, 2010 12:00 AM

As the age-old saying goes, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper.” The American Dietetic Association agrees that breakfast is really the most important meal of the day. You “break the fast,” so to speak, of not eating for the whole night.

If this is so, then how come almost one out of three persons doesn’t eat breakfast? Let’s look at the health benefits of eating a healthy breakfast every day:

Increases energy. Just like a car low on fuel, skipping meals causes the body to become sluggish. On the other hand, eating breakfast increases one’s metabolism because the body is burning up the food. Our brain needs fuel, in the form of glucose from food, for it to function properly.

“Eating breakfast is very important for the brain and the body,” says Los Angeles registered dietitian Gail Frank, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “Breakfast skippers often feel tired, restless or irritable in the morning.”

Lowers cholesterol levels. According to a study conducted at the University of Nottingham in England, skipping breakfast can lead to an increase in LDL levels (the bad cholesterol levels), probably from bad food choices and habits. Conversely, a healthy breakfast rich in soluble fiber (found in oatmeal, citrus fruits, vegetables, and strawberries) has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. And lowering your cholesterol levels may prevent a heart attack.

Helps control weight. Some people think that skipping breakfast can make them lose weight. This is not true. In fact, eating breakfast can actually help you lose weight. According to dietitian Gail Frank, “Breakfast is also very important for weight loss and weight management.”

Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast tend to eat fewer calories the rest of the day. A 1994 report shows that children who skip breakfast are almost twice as likely to be overweight compared to kids who eat breakfast.

The problem with skipping breakfast is that it causes severe hunger patterns later in the day. This results in overeating on the next meal. Moreover, it’s hard to make a healthy food choice when you’re already starving. Nutrition experts believe that it’s better to eat several small meals a day.

In a survey by the National Weight Control Registry, 80 percent of dieters who lost 30 pounds or more ate breakfast regularly. Take note that these people ate a healthy breakfast and not one loaded with fats and calories.

Improves children’s ability to concentrate. Kids who ate breakfast have gotten higher test scores and shown greater ability to concentrate in class. They were also more alert and creative. This finding is not surprising since it’s hard to think straight when your stomach is growling.

Improves adult’s work performance. Likewise, adults were better able to perform at work if they have eaten breakfast. Research shows that those who ate breakfast have better concentration, memory, and problem-solving skills than those who skipped breakfast. Perhaps, employers should start encouraging their workers to eat breakfast, too.

May prevent stomach pain and ulcers. Eating breakfast, more specifically eating several small meals in a day, can help prevent gastritis and stomach ulcers. One common habit of people with ulcers is the tendency to skip meals. Remember that the food we eat stays in the stomach for around four hours only. After which time, the stomach will be empty and will be looking for something to digest. For those with ulcers, take a banana or a piece of bread every two to three hours.

• May prolong life. Dr. Roger Henderson, author of 100 Ways To Live To 100, says, “Researchers recently reported that people who reach the ripe old age of 100 tend to consume breakfast more regularly that those who skip the first meal of the day.”

Dr. Michael Roizen, internist and author, agrees, “Non-breakfast eaters have a mortality rate that is 1.3 to 1.5 times per year higher than those who eat breakfast regularly.”

Eating breakfast also avoids wide swings in your blood sugar from fasting, then overeating. A University of Nottingham study found that those who skipped breakfast were more resistant to insulin, making them at risk for diabetes.

Choosing A Healthy Breakfast

The benefits of eating breakfast apply only if you choose healthy foods over unhealthy ones. Eating donuts, buttered pastries, or fatty meats is not a good way to start the day. It’s high in sugar, fat, and calories.

So, which foods make up a good breakfast? Actually, your usual choices of healthy foods are acceptable already.

Cereals are good breakfast foods. Several studies have shown that breakfast cereal (those high in fiber) can play a role in maintaining weight. A Harvard study of more than 17,000 men found that those who frequently ate breakfast cereal consistently weighed less than those who rarely or never ate breakfast cereal.

Eggs are healthy, too. A study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows that eggs can satisfy hunger. The subjects were more satisfied and consumed fewer calories throughout the day, compared to those who ate a high carbohydrate meal.

But what about the controversial egg yolk and its cholesterol? A large egg contains 75 calories, six grams of protein, and 212 mg. cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), healthy people can eat up to one egg a day.

The healthiest breakfast would, of course, include some fruit on the side, like a banana, an apple or a slice of mango. Other excellent choices are vegetables, yogurt, skim milk, and oatmeal. For our protein needs, our local fare of fish (sardines, tilapia, and bangus) with a cup of rice will give you plenty of energy.

So, to all our readers who aren’t regular breakfast eaters, let me remind you again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s the secret to good health, great energy, and long life!

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=565842&publicationSubCategoryId=80


by Sarah McColl, Shine staff, on Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:52am PST

As compelling as it may be to only buy free-range beef and fair trade coffee, who can afford it? You want to do the right thing for your health and the planet, but your budget begs otherwise. In terms of long-term costs to your health, though, there are some fruits and veggies that are always worth the organic splurge. The dirty dozen below have the highest levels of pesticides when grown conventionally. The thin skins on many of them make it easy for pesticides to penetrate to the food and impossible for us to wash away the chemicals. Opt for USDA certified organics of these foods and you’re ensuring your salad wasn’t raised using man-made chemical pesticides, fossil fuel- or sewage-based fertilizers or genetically-modified seeds.

  1. apples
  2. sweet bell peppers
  3. carrots
  4. celery
  5. cherries
  6. grapes (imported)
  7. kale
  8. lettuce
  9. nectarines
  10. peaches
  11. pears
  12. strawberries

Let’s say you’re looking at this list feeling totally daunted because these are the only fruits and vegetables you buy. A good compromise is to hit up your local farmer’s market where the prices are often lower than the grocery store, and the farmers raise their crops using organic methods but don’t opt to go through the costly and lengthy organic certification process. Ask them how they raise their apples. No spray? Then ask for their best apple pie recipe.

And whether you buy organic or not, always remember to give your food a good wash before eating or cooking with it!

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/makeover/12-foods-that-are-worth-the-organic-splurge-706366/


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