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Vanadium: Beautifully Beneficial

Flickr/Kathy Sunderman

Flickr/Kathy Sunderman

Is Vanadium right for you? It seems from its discovery that it was destined to color your health.

Vanadium is a trace mineral originally discovered in the 1800’s in Mexico.

It was named after the Scandinavian goddess of beauty, Vanadis, because of the many beautifully colored compounds it produces.

How does it help? Vanadium has been used for medicinal purposes for many years. Scientists aren’t sure about exact mechanisms, but your body may need vanadium in tiny amounts particularly in relation to normal bone growth.  There is evidence it mimics the effects of Insulin and helps to keep healthy levels of sugar in blood, which has made this supplement a popular choice to support healthy blood sugar levels.

Where do we find it? Vanadium is an essential trace mineral. It is found in nature in the soil and in many foods. The richest sources of this micronutrient are found naturally in sunflower, safflower, corn, mushrooms, shellfish, black pepper and olive oil, as well as buckwheat, parsley, oats, rice, green beans, carrots, cabbage, and dill.

The good news is you don’t need the Scandinavian deity to ensure Vanadium goodness in your diet…you can try a good source supplement! Surely healthy levels of blood sugar will boost your beauty from the inside out!

-Dr. Jackie Miodownik-Aisenberg M.D. PhD – Internist

For more healthy living tips and info please follow us on Twitter @miami_nutrition

Weight Loss: Advertising vs Realities

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Flickr/Gideon

Have you ever watched a television commercial or read a print advertisement that guaranteed you the ability to lose weight with little to no efforts on your behalf or that appeared to be the magic fix that would enable weight loss? I have, in-fact millions of people worldwide have witnessed advertising and marketing for weight loss products and services. Many of these marketing programs cost extra money (different than a book with a plan to follow, for example) beyond that of what foods cost alone. In this vein, today’s blog-column examines some of these fad-advertising themes with straight, true guidance for you. The guidance for you is meant to assist you in achieving any weight loss goals, except this blog is without hype or the need for you to utilize your credit card for something special in the fight for a skinnier you.

 

  1. The Cigarette Diet – in the early 1920’s, the Lucky Strike brand of cigarettes marketed their cigarettes as a tool to aid in reducing appetite and for weight loss.
  2. The Tapeworm Diet – Can you believe that at one time, it was advertised to the public to use and swallow tapeworms to aid in weight loss? Tapeworms, when ingested hatch eggs, yield more worms and these worms can live within your small intestines. The tapeworm will expand up to about 20 inches in length. The tapeworm will also eat much of the food that you ingest, allowing you not to absorb all of the calories that you eat, resulting in weight loss. Would you want to use worms and them come out of your body if it aided in weight loss? Most would not. Thus, this weight loss plan fell out of favor.
  3. The Grapefruit Diet – this diet was advertised as a way to help weight loss. The reality is if you eat ½ to 1 whole grapefruit before eating each meal, which it would aid in burning extra calories and in significant weight loss. The reality is, the advertising campaign helped the citrus and farming industries, but not waistlines. Yes, eating at least ½ a grapefruit before each meal can aid in burning extra calories throughout the day, however over time this may not actually translate into much weight loss.
  4. The Master Cleanse Diet – this basic plan uses drinking juices and homemade juices to induce weight loss while imparting wellness. The diet is lower in calorie and the calories come from juices and honey for the most part while missing many classes and types of phytochemicals and nutrients. In fact, many people who have tried this liquid only diet, have quit due to excessive hunger and feelings of body related fatigue. It is a low calorie weight loss plan can lead to many nutrient           deficiencies.
  5. Take this pill for instant weight loss – infomercials and print ads have claimed that if you take some magic substance that only the company has access to in your quest for weight loss, then your results are guaranteed. Can this guarantee be true? Is a sport team mascot really an animal? Meaning no, if something sounds too good to be true, it is! Sure some dietary supplements and select herbals, standardized to contain a certain amount and type of bioactive components have been shown in research to aid in weight loss. These are the types of products to search for. Fad induced weight loss can help for short-term health promotion reasons, however without lifestyle changes (eating a little less than you need and including exercise daily or almost daily basis), the weight loss will only be short-term. The weight gain rebound is worse.

 

Five tips for true weight loss:

 

  1. Eat your larger meals earlier in the day – this allows more time throughout the day to burn off what you ate.
  2. Eat ½ the portion(s) that you want or think that you need. Also make the foods and meals that you are going to have be higher in protein and fiber content. If you are still hungry later on in the day, have a protein-rich food.
  3. Talk a 10-15 minute walk after each meal. The added stimulus of activity helps digestion and extra calorie burning.
  4. If wanting to use a dietary supplement for weight loss, realize that there is no magic pill, but the program in whole that seems best, has to include some exercise and smart eating. Think of the supplement as a catalyst that won’t on it’s help own for weight loss.
  5. Avoid anything that seems like it is just popular now or a fad. Fads help spot-weight reduction only – the spot on you that gets reduced is your wallet.

 

The idea of today’s blog is to share with you that if something sounds too good to be true, then, it probably is! Yes, some dietary supplements for weight control work and can be the spark for you to help the lifestyle change needed to sustain weight loss then maintain the lost weight. In order to determine just which products may fit this type of bill, ask then what direct research has been undertaken. If the company answers you, you can feel a little better about the product, however ask to read the research.

 

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@Miami_Nutrition

@dougkalmanphdrd

 

 

Reference:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2618639/Tapeworms-smoking-diet-cotton-ball-regime-The-weird-downright-dangerous-weight-loss-fads-past.html

Does Glucosamine actually work to prevent arthritis?

Arhritis

Just about everyone develops degenerative arthritis – or what we better know as wear and tear arthritis. Glucosamine is a compound that has received some attention recently as a supplement that has been shown to potentially slow arthritis progression. It is a supplement derived from proteins very similar to those found inside normal healthy cartilage and joints. Anatomical changes to the cartilage in the setting of wear as well as the actual discomfort of joint arthritis have been studied in patients taking glucosamine, with favorable results for both. Glucosamine sulfate is the preferred formulation to the hydrochloride version, but both are beneficial. It seems that glucosamine improves the water retention properties of the cartilage, essentially plumping it up  – allowing it to be more flexible and resistant to stresses. Some physicians recommend at least a 3 month trial of any supplement to assess potential benefit from any new vitamin, and patients may typically experience an improvement in pain and movement, however even in someone who does not see a clear cut change in symptoms with regular use of glucosamine benefits may still be gained over time. So it seems this is really an issue of protection. An investment in potential long term cushioning of the aging process of the cartilage and joint structures of the main joints of the body.

-Dr. Olga Kromo M.D – Rheumatologist

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@Miami-Nutrition

How to Make More Money Through Nutrition

Flickr/Lindsey Turner

Flickr/Lindsey Turner

There are many health-promoting activities that one can get involved with. From how one eats, to sleep habits as well as exercise and activity are all examples of health-promoting activities. Throughout our lifespans there are ample opportunities to impact learning or earning power. If you think of missed days of school in any of your key learning years as the same once in the work force, and thus a part of the earning power as gain days and days where you missed a day or more of school or work as a loss day, we can put a value together for the “cost savings opportunity”.

 

A recent study found that consuming probiotics might decrease the duration of common upper respiratory infection significantly as compared to a placebo. Decreased duration of a cold also means less overall sick time. In practical terms, ingesting Lactobacillus and/or Bifidobacterium, which is found in yogurts and dietary supplements can help reduce the duration of the common cold. In the study, those on the probiotics experienced shorter illness episodes and few days absent from daycare, school or work versus those on placebo. Amongst the conclusions was also a referral to a 2011 published meta-analysis as support for the current and now reaffirmed findings.

 

In the United States, 22 million school days and 20 million workdays are lost due to the common cold and the economic impact of these lost days is estimated at $40 million. Any saved lost days, saves money and also allows greater learning opportunity. Probiotics as found in foods and in dietary supplements support the immune system and now are reaffirmed to be helpful with the common cold.

 

Some take home tips for staying healthy:

 

  1. Eat or take probiotics daily
  2. Wash your hands a few times daily
  3. Get adequate sleep
  4. Make protein a part of each meal
  5. Stay hydrated
  6. Enjoy a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables throughout the day
  7. Exercise

 

Yours in Health!

 

Douglas Kalman PhD RD

 

Like the information? Want more? Please follow the blog and us on Twitter!

@Miami-Nutrition

@dougkalmanphdrd

 

References

 

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21901706
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24780623

 

The Dangers of Sugar

Flickr/JMR Photography

Flickr/JMR Photography

Do you recall as a child perhaps hearing the saying “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down?” One of the reasons that our collective parents and grandparents told us that was that liquid medicines typically do not taste good and that by adding the sweetness of sugar, it was easier to take the medicine. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has estimated that we all on average ingest as little as 76 pounds of sugar per year and top out at 90 pounds per capita. Contrast this, sugar is a type of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram. There are 454 grams in a pound (or 1,816 calories in a pound of sugar). If you are ingesting 90 pounds of sugar per year, the amount is also known as 163,440 calories in a one-year’s period (this is equal to ~36 pounds that the body might gain from added sugars alone). If losing weight, maintaining a healthy body weight, living in good health, avoiding diabetes or high triglycerides is a concern to you, so should your sugar intake.

Sugars can occur naturally in food – such as fructose in fruits and lactose in dairy or be added to foods such as bakery items, cereals, soda, candy, processed foods and more. Typically the added sugars are refined cane and beet sugars or high-fructose corn syrup. Interestingly enough, 33% of all added sugars in the diet come from sodas and the next greatest percentage group (26%) from foods like ketchup, canned vegetables, fruits and peanut butter. Did you know that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that sugars equal no more than 10% of total caloric intake? Do you know how much sugar you eat daily?

Recently scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emory University and Harvard School of Public Health examined the association of sugars intake and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Data from the study revealed that the current average American ate around 15% of their total calories from added sugars in the diet. The amount of people ingesting 25% of their calories from added sugars is also growing. The data strongly revealed that that those people who consume more than 10% of their total calories from sugar/added sugars might be at significantly added risk for cardiovascular disease and more importantly, cardiovascular mortality. This means, the greater your sugar intake, the greater the likelihood is that you may develop cardiovascular disease!

Literally, we now believe and know that sugar, having too much sugar can kill you.

General tips to lower sugar intake:

  1. Cut down slowly. Look to cut intake by 50% at a time, after about three to five reductions of sugars intake, you will not even relate to or want to go back to having added sugars in your diet.
  2. If you are a soda drinker, start mixing ½ regular with ½ diet until you are ready to make the total switch to a healthier lower-sugar intake lifestyle.
  3. Only eat pre-portioned foods. Helps limit total caloric intake.
  4. Start reading food labels, look for hidden sugars, than stop eating these foods!
  5. When reading a food label, look for foods with less than 5-7 grams of sugar per serving, this is an easy way not to over-sugar the meal.
  6. For easy to implement methods to decrease your sugar intake now, follow the guidelines in this link http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/lower-your-sugar-intake/3/
  7. Remember not to skip meals or go more than four to five hours without quality nutrition being ingested.
  8. Remember alcohol calories, while not technology carbohydrate or fat, is 7 calories per gram and wine calories also contain sugars.
  9. Drink more water.
  10. Don’t forget the benefits of exercising daily!

-Douglas Kalman PhD RD

Like the Blog?

Please follow us on Twitter @Miami_Nutrition and @dougkalmanphdrd

References

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/27/business/us-cuts-estimate-of-sugar-intake-of-typical-american.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  2. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56589
  3. https://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1819573

Stress Relief Through Others

We have all experienced the benefits of reaching out to and leaning on others to get us through a difficult time. And we also know that we seem to derive more comfort from talking to some people rather than to others. Now, researchers from the University of California, University of Southern California and University of Leuren in Belgium have conducted a study which may clarify an important component of this phenomenon – emotional similarity. In other words, to what degree does the person we are turning to either feel the same thing we are feeling, or has been through something similar to our situation and can relate to what we are feeling. The study design called for placing pairs of individuals in anxiety-provoking situations, measuring how similar they were feeling during the waiting period, and then measuring their stress response when they were finally exposed to the anxiety-inducing situation. Essentially, the results indicated that if the individuals perceived each other to be feeling in a similar fashion, they were able to better tolerate the stressful situation and get through it with less anxiety.

Apparently, misery really does love company, but only if the company we are in is just as miserable as we are. The practical application of this study is that we will experience some comfort and increased capacity to handle a stressful situation when we have someone accompanying us – particularly if that individual is either in the same boat as we are or we perceive that that person has the experience to empathize with us and understand the emotions that we are feeling.

-Dr. Rafael Rivas-Vasquez PsyD – Psychologist

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Bacteria: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

There is a lot of new information coming out right now about bacteria – which ones are good for us, which ones are bad for us – how do we find the perfect balance. What is the reason for wanting to strike a balance – very simply – its health. The more we learn about ourselves, the genome project, the crazy infections that affect just about everyone every flu season – the more we are beginning to understand that not all bacteria are created equal – some cause infections and some protect us from infections.

We are now starting to understand that certain types of bacteria determine what kind of chronic diseases we develop through our life times, including arthritis, diabetes, and the like. Science is finally starting to catch up with the concept that it’s the balance of our bacteria, not the elimination of, that is necessary for health. We are still very far away from truly knowing what is that exact balance and how to achieve it, but advancements have been made. Some of our foods and supplements already contain some of the forms that have been found to be beneficial – namely the probiotics. It’s a good start. We have a long way to go.

For more daily health enhancing tips please stay plugged into to this blog and follow us on Twitter @Miami_Nutrition

-Dr. Olga Kromo M.D – Rheumatologist

The Life Giving Fruit: Pomegranate

Flickr/Negin A

Flickr/Negin A

The pomegranate fruit (punica granatum) is believed to be native of Persia and has enjoyed great popularity through the ages. The fruit and its ruby-like seeds (arils) defines the Middle East and has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. Believed to be the original fruit of temptation from the Garden of Eden it is also mentioned in ancient Babylonian texts, the Homeric Hymns, the Quran and Greek and Egyptian mythology.

 
This antioxidant rich nutritious fruit has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and life. The Greeks called pomegranates the “fruit of the dead,” referring to Hades tricking Persephone into eating its seeds to delay her departure. Ancient Egyptians saw the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity as does the Judaic tradition which also views its multiple seeds as a representation of fruitfulness, and in Hinduism it embodies well being and fertility.

 
Modern science seems to back up the life giving properties of pomegranate. Its jewel-like seeds packed with powerful antioxidants and vitamins have been used for a variety of conditions including stomach upsets, hot flashes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and inflammation. Several studies have recently showed it may reduce risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol. It has been shown that the combination of the family of pharmaceutical drugs that lower cholesterol, known as statins, and pomegranate concentrate helps delay risk factors affecting the onset of atherosclerosis and its consequences – heart attack and stroke.

 
Go ahead and take the challenge. This tart and sweet fruit is a tasty and nutritious snack. And if purple-tinted fingers are not your fashion style you may choose to drink a delicious fresh pomegranate juice!

-Dr. Jackie Miodownik-Aisenberg M.D. PhD – Internist

For more daily health enhancing tips, please stay plugged into to this blog and follow us on Twitter @Miami_Nutrition

Smarttrition

Flickr/dimnikolov

Flickr/dimnikolov

What is Smarttrition you might be asking? No, it is in not a made up word, but is slang for us to mean “smart-nutrition”. Smart Nutrition simply is the use and embracing of easy reproducible food choices, meal timing and complementary use of dietary supplements when needed to achieve specific health goals. If we apply the concepts that are shared in today’s blog on a daily basis, achieving goals becomes that much easier. It has been said that to form a new habit, it takes 21 days of consistent doing, if you think about it, three-weeks of doing something consistently is not that much in one’s life. The 21 days is one-seventeenth of a year. When viewed in this fashion, the effort we ask you to make is a small miniscule part of your year, yet can have profound effects for you.

  1. Set yourself to never go longer than 4-5 hours without nutrition. This is, eat quality food every 4-5 hours (except obviously when it is your sleep time) so that you help maintain a stimulated metabolism and also never get that starving feeling. Aim for these feedings to be small meals or a snack.
  2. Divide your plate. This means, when serving food on a plate, look to divide it as follows for the carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
    1. Research shows that protein foods are actually the most filling. Therefore make ½ your plate a protein. For example, protein foods include lean steak, chicken, turkey, fish, and of course vegetarian proteins like soy, quorn, and so forth. For tips on protein foods, see this link: http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/highproteinfood.htm
    2. Next, take ¼ of the plate and fill it up with a non-vegetable carbohydrate – such as brown rice, baked sweet potato, baked potato, quinoa, jasmine rice, and the like. Ideally, the carbohydrate should be a whole grain as a source of natural fiber, B-vitamins and added satiety. For more tips on whole grains, see this link: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains-tips.html.
    3. Finally, take the last ¼ of the plate and pile it high with vegetables. No one gets fat or gains weight from over eating vegetables (except for when the vegetable is soaked in oils or fried), so we recommend vegetables that are either cooked by steaming, microwaving, cooking in a wok (stir-fry) or even cooked into or with the carbohydrate.
    4. As far as fats, you can use some healthy oils or fats in your cooking, but there is no need to add extra fats on top of or into the foods, once cooked. Healthy and waist-friendly recipes and cooking directions can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/healthy-dinner-recipes.html
    5. Take a walk! – Yes, just as Socrates and his fellow philosophers loved to take walks and talk, they also did so after eating meals. Trust that some light motion, movement aids in digestion. What we are asking you to do, whenever possible, after you finish a meal or eating opportunity (as some call it), take a 10 to 15 minute long walk. Not only does this aid in digestion, but it also aids in calorie burning – and as you may know, burning calories that would have just sat there untouched, helps with weight and waist control as well in promoting overall health.
    6. Practice portion control. Many people judge the meal they are given by the plate it is served on. What I mean by this is not the color of the plate or even the beauty of the plate but the size of the plate. One simple way to eat less is to serve foods in your house on smaller plates. Plates today are 2-3 inches larger than they were just 20 years ago. Use smaller plates. Serve smaller portions, protein foods, make the size of your palm, grain carbohydrates, aim for the size of a baseball, vegetables, go wild on, however one easier way of thinking about portion sizes is – to serve or eat about ½ of the amount that you think you want. Finish that food, wait a few minutes, if sill truly hungry, then have some more veggies. Some websites that are useful for learning about portions are:
      1. A) http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/portion/keep.htm and
      2. B) http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/weight-management/better-choices/decrease-portions.html.

Following the above recommendations will help you in making better calorie, food and portion choices – thus making weight and waist control that much easier while also promoting better health.

To your health!

– Douglas Kalman PhD RD

On Twitter – please follow Miami_Nutrition and dougkalmanphdrd