Wednesday, April 13, 2011

May is designated as National Celiac Awareness Month

Approximately one in 133 Americans are affective with a disease called Celiac Disease (CD) and over 97 percent of those with CD go undiagnosed. It’s time to become aware and informed about Celiac Disease.

What is Celiac Disease?

CD is an inherited autoimmune condition affecting children and adults. When people with CD eat foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is the elastic proteins found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn and faro) and related grains rye, barley and triticale.

What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease?

Gastrointestinal distress such as, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or bloating, lactose intolerance, and/or constipation, are common symptoms but not always. People with CD are often misdiagnosed as other autoimmune diseases such as Cohn’s, lupus, fibromyalgia, and varies allergies.

How can I get tested for Celiac Disease?

A person seeking diagnosis must consume gluten for at least 4 weeks in order for accurate test. A blood test will help determine if you may have CD but the gold standard is a biopsy of the upper and lower intestinal lining.

Where can I learn more about living a gluten free lifestyle?

If you would like to learn more about living gluten-free, attend the wheat-free/gluten-free store tours offered at Henry’s.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sweet Nothings: High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sugar

A typical American’s diet could be labeled as a ‘blood sugar roller coaster disaster,’ because many people are consuming high amounts of refined sugars, flour and saturated fats. These foods cause a rapid spike in blood sugar followed by a drastic decline, resulting in type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high levels of “bad” cholesterol and other diseases and conditions associated with obesity. Today, we spend more time in front of the computer or watching the television and consume empty calories in the form of nutrient-deficient processed foods and sugary drinks.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has increased 1000 percent between 1970 and 2000 according to the US Department of Agriculture. On average, most children consume between 132 to 316 HFCS calories each day, which is related to the rise in the obesity.

Where do we get all this fructose? It is the primary sugar in found fruit and honey. However, in the 1960s due to the excessive supply of corn, scientists developed a liquid sweetener made from cornstarch called high-fructose corn syrup. Today HFCS supplies almost 20 percent of all calories in the average U.S. diet. About two-thirds of the HFCS created is used in soft drinks. Soft drink consumption increased by 60 percent among adults and more than doubled in kids from 1977 to 1997. HFCS can also be found in everything from candies and baked goods to pasta sauces and salad dressings. It’s also the main ingredient in most ketchup, a favorite condiment among children and adults. HFCS is widely used because it’s cheap and sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). In comparative studies of sweetness, sucrose has a rating of 100, while fructose has a sweetness rating of 173.

High Fructose Corn Syrup and Absorption

Although HFCS is quite similar to sugar in its composition, the body digests, absorbs and metabolizes HFCS slightly differently than sugar. HFCS is processed through an enzymatic action that converts the dextrose sugar (in the corn syrup) into fructose sugar. HFCS is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. Fructose is broken down mainly in the liver where some studies show that high levels of fructose can adversely affect the breakdown of fats in the blood, increasing harmful LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raising the risk for heart disease.

In addition, unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin production. Insulin and leptin work together to send signals to the brain helping to regulate food intake and body weight. Without these signals, the brain doesn’t communicate fullness which may result in overconsumption of calories, according to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition 2004.

Fructose in Fruit:

Should you worry about the fructose in fruit? Definitely not! Over half of all Americans already fall short of the recommended nine servings of fruit and vegetables required per day for good health. Besides, fruit contains more than a small amount of fructose; it also provides valuable vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and fiber. You would have to consume several serving of fruit at one sitting to equally the amount of fructose in one can of soda.

The Sweetness of Sugar

Sugar (sucrose) is made up of a molecule of glucose and a molecule of fructose chemically bonded together. This bond is quite weak, and is cleaved in your saliva and in your stomach, so by the time it gets absorbed into your system, it is already broken down into the glucose and fructose molecules. Thus, every dose of ordinary sugar is equal to a half dose of glucose and a half dose of fructose. Although there are some similarities to sugar and HFCS a Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

Final Thoughts

Both excess sugar and HFCS can increase risk for diabetes and heart disease. The bottom line - eat sweet things in moderation and you will be less at risk for disease that comes from sweet things. As Michael Jacobsen, executive director of the consumer advocacy group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says, "It simply comes down to this. We're eating too much refined sugars, be it sucrose or high fructose corn syrup or any other refined sugar."

Avoiding excess sugar and HFCS is easy if you choose non-processed foods, eliminate sodas, drink more low-fat milk, choose 100 percent fruit juice, enjoy more water and read the labels.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Carbohydrates: How much do you need for training?

Exercise fatigue is associated with reduced muscle glycogen (the energy stored in your muscles). Traditional beliefs said to eat a high-carbohydrate, low-fat and low-protein diet to help build and maintain glycogen storages. Some say your total caloric intake should include 60 - 70 percent from carbohydrates. However, within the past 20 years, studies have reported that consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet may improve performance.

The theories are centered on the fact that fat oxidation increases (fat-burning), thereby "sparing" muscle glycogen when consuming a high-fat diet. Data from recent studies showed that endurance in both men and women increased with a high-fat diet (42% to 55%) compared to a low fat diet (10% to 15%). Numerous clinical studies clearly demonstrate that: low-carbohydrate diets decreases body weight and fat faster that low-fat diets.

Udo Erasmus, author of Fats that Heal Fats that Kill, suggest that athletes that 1 tablespoon per 50 pounds (25 kilograms) of body weight per day of Udo's Choice Perfected Oil Blend. According to a Danish study, within one month, stamina increased by 40 to 60% in athletes. Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires after 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and upon cessation of the trial. Interviews were carried out after 4 weeks of supplementation and upon cessation of the trial. One participant increased his running distance from 56 to 91 kilometers per week within a month of starting on the oil blend.

Now, before you jump to all kinds of conclusions and debates regarding carbohydrates versus fats, I just want to point out that the real answer may fall somewhere in-between; it's all about balance. For example Barry Sears Zone Diet probably has some of the best scientific research showing that a 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrate diet will keep your glycogen levels running at optimal levels.

The most important factor to remember regarding carbohydrates or fats is for you to choose healthy options such as whole grains and beans, omega-3 friendly foods, fresh fruits and veggies, and avoid processed foods, even the so called "health" processed bars, chips and drinks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Few Turkey Tips for Tomorrow

It's the day before "T-day" as in Turkey Day. Here are a couple of tips that will ensure a wonderfuly juicy turkey.

Tip 1: Free Range Turkey

Free range birds have outdoor access and they are not crowded in tight cages like conventionally raised birds. This means that the turkey can walk around and develop their musclar flesh, resuling in a juicy and richer flavor than their frozen counterparts. Also free range birds are raised without the need for antibiotics or hormones. So this year, forget about buying the cheap birds and give your family a better quality bird by buying free range - you'll taste the difference.

Tip 2: Invest in High-Quality Cookware

Forget about using a disposable roasting pan, they cook uneveningly and they poorly transer heat from pan to bird. Instead, buy a high-quality roasting pan and your turkey will roast evenly resulting in a juicy and tender bird - you'll never cook with a disposable pan again.

Tip 3: Cover with Foil and Leave It Alone

I've seen recipes where they have you baste the bird every hour or so, but I say, "Skip the basting and leave the bird alone!" Once I season my bird and cover it with foil, I don't uncover the bird until it reaches 150 F, and then I take off the foil and let the bird brown while continuing to cook until it reaches 180 F. Each time you uncover the bird you lose the moisture locked within the covered bird and you'll end up with a dry bird.

Simple follow these suggestions and your dinner will be a success!

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bike ride on Sunday

Finally got back on my bike yesterday for a 20 mile bike ride. The hills were much harder than I remember. Just goes to show you how fast you can lose your biking legs.

I have 6 months until my next Ironman in Utah so I need to bike at least twice a week and include one spin class per week.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Up Dating blog

Greetings Everyone:

It's been awhile since I've updated my blog. I'm always trying to find ways to help other people live healthier lives, and I began the blog posting article that I've written. However, I find long articles may not appeal to a lot of blog readers. Rather, I think that most readers may want quick, relevant and updated information.

So I figure I'll update my training for my next Ironman (IM) in May. I'm already getting a little nervous since the event is only six months away and I've haven't been swimming or biking.

Also, I've been feeling under the weather these past couple of weeks. It might be the H1N1 that I'm fighting, who knows but I can't seem to gain any energy to get much of anything done lately.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Boosting your Brain Power

We have all heard the saying, ‘use it or lose it’ and this saying is especially true when it comes to protecting your brain's cognitive health. Cognitive health refers to healthy brain function and to skills people use everyday, such as; learning, memory, decision-making, abstract thinking, reasoning, insight and even appreciation of beauty. However, many Americans do not pay attention to their brain health, which can potentially lead to poor health, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. By simply following a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle, you can help maintain optimal cognitive functioning.
As we age, our bodies adapt naturally to the changes that are occurring in all parts of the brain. Studies show that an estimated one out of five Americans between the ages of 75 to 84 years old have Alzheimer’s disease . Even though there is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, researchers have discovered that consuming nutrient-dense brain boosting foods, physical activity, controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure, and use of your brain may lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s altogether.

Brain enhancing foods:

Supplement your diet with ample amounts of B vitamins for a healthy brain.

1) B vitamins are vital for normal brain and nerve function. Evidence suggests that low blood levels of B vitamins, such as B1, B6, B12, and folic acid (or folate), may be linked to cognitive impairment. Thiamin (B1) helps maintain proper function of the nerves, muscles, heart and brain. Pyridoxine (B6) helps utilize energy in the brain and nervous tissues, which is essential for regulating the central nervous system. Cobalamin (B12) is used in new cell synthesis and maintains the sheath (coating) that surrounds and protects nerve fibers and promotes normal cell growth.

For a great source of B1, B6 and folic acid, select whole grains, legumes, fortified cereals, beans, peas, strawberries, spinach, sunflower seeds, bananas and tomatoes. You can find B12 in lean beef, trout, salmon, tuna, pork, chicken, eggs and low-fat dairy.

2) Minerals, such as iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium are also known to help maximize brain function. Sources of iron and zinc are found in lean beef, beans, lentils and other whole grains. Dairy products and dark leafy green vegetables are wonderful, natural sources of calcium. Plus, leafy greens are another way to include magnesium into your diet.

3) Essential fatty acids are the most critical components to boosting brain power. Your brain is made up of approximately 60 percent fat. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is the most prominent fat in the brain, especially in the nerve cells in the cerebral cortex. A 2006 study in the medical journal Neurology for nine years tracked 899 healthy men and women who were free of dementia. They found that those with the highest blood levels of DHA from fish intake of 3.0 servings per week had about half the risk of dementia compared to those with lower levels. DHA is found mostly in fatty fish, cod liver oil and algae. Henry’s Farmers Markets also sells Omega 3 enriched eggs, which contain more than 150mg of DHA per egg.

4) The brain relies on high-quality proteins to maintain a strong support system. Select lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs and low-fat dairy products. Avoid any protein that has been fried, which includes meat, chicken or fish, as fried foods have higher amounts of saturated fats. New research from the University of Toronto shows that diets high in saturated fats starve the brain of its energy supply. Always select organic and grass-fed beef whenever possible as pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and synthetic hormones may have a dramatic impact on cognitive functions. Organic foods are produced from agricultural products grown on farms and livestock operations that promote the health of the ecosystem, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic foods are grown without pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers, bio-engineering, or ionizing radiation. Grass-fed beef is also known to have higher levels of essential fatty acids, vitamin E and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than conventional grain-fed beef.

Brain enhancing lifestyle:

1) Physical activity can protect your cognitive functions. According to researchers at Columbia University, people who engage in an exercise training program increase neurogenesis – the development of new nerve cells. There is also emerging evidence that physical activity may be protective against neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Keeping your mind active will help decrease your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A study conducted at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, studied more than 700 seniors for up to five years. The researchers discovered that the seniors who regularly engaged in frequent participation in cognitive activity had a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s versus the seniors who were cognitively inactive. The inactive group was 2.6 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than a cognitively active person.

2) If you are overweight, have high blood pressure or high sugar levels, you have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. In a published report from the American Academy of Neurology, mid-life stroke victims risk poorer cognitive function and late-life cognitive impairment. By maintaining and controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, you lower the risk of diabetes and untreated hypertension, which are contributing factors to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain-boosting supplements:

1) Acetylcarnitine can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to revitalize brain function via energetic pathways. Several studies suggest that supplementing with Acetylcarnitine delays cognitive decline and improves overall function especially in seniors. Taking 1,500 mg a day may improve memory, mood and responses to stress.

2) Phosphatidylserine (PS) has been shown to improve memory, cognition and mood in seniors. Human trials indicate that PS statistically improved the retention levels of those who previously struggled at remembering names, faces, telephone numbers and misplaced objects. Suggested doses of PS are 300 mg per day.

3) Fish oil supplements are important for a healthy brain and nervous system. Most fish oil capsules at Henry’s Farmers Market are derived from fresh, cold water fish and are free from contaminates such as pesticides, PCBs and heavy metals. Taking fish oil capsules daily, about 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg, is a great alternative if you don’t consume a lot of omega 3-rich fish in your diet.

Please note: These recommendations are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. If you’re taking medication, please talk to your healthcare provider before taking any type of supplementation.

Every day you have the power to make healthy decisions that affect you and your cognitive health.