How nutrition plays a role in your health

Grocery shopping cart conceptIn today’s world, we have access to a wider variety of food than at any other point in human history. However, the irony is that we have picked up unhealthy eating habits that have led to the proliferation of diseases of civilization, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even cancer.

Your food choices each day play an impact on your health – how you feel today, how you will feel tomorrow, and far into the future. Why? The food we eat gives our body the materials and ‘information’ that ensure its proper functioning.

When the food we consume lacks all the necessary nutrients, some important information is not sent and it may result in several deficiencies. On the other hand, eating too much or consuming unhealthy sends the wrong message which leads to abnormal metabolic processes that can result in overweight and a couple of other diseases like diabetes.

These nutrients are the so-called ‘information’. Nutrients are nourishing substances essential for the growth, development, and maintenance of bodily functions. That’s why the role of nutrition cannot be overemphasized.

This post is going to explore the relationship between nutrition and some major chronic diseases.

Nutrition and Chronic Diseases

Many of the chronic health problems we face today can be linked to unhealthy eating habits. In America, over 78% of healthcare expenditures are for the treatment of chronic diseases. This is a fundamental societal problem considering that the United States ranks ninth in life expectancy among nations of the developed world. One major impact of poor nutrition in America is that we have a workforce plagued with absenteeism and reduced productivity due to chronic diseases.

Here are some of the major diseases we battle with as a society and now they can be ameliorated with proper nutrition.

Cardiovascular Disease

Do you know that heart disease is the number 1 killer of both men and women in America, killing about 647,000 people each year? Aside from unchangeable risk factors like age, and family history, it can also be caused by correctable problems like unhealthy diet, being overweight, lack of exercise, and smoking.

Heart disease results from the narrowing of the arteries that supply the heart with blood through a process known as atherosclerosis. Diet high in saturated fats and cholesterol increases the risk of blood clotting. Diets rich in sodium can cause high blood pressure which is a risk factor for heart disease. Consuming alcohol increases the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Here are some healthy eating habits to adopt to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Pay attention to your calorie intake: Watch your calorie intake to ensure that you maintain a healthy weight, as obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. And by the way, about 40% of American adults are obese.

Do not consume food that is high in saturated and trans fat.

Limit red meat intake: Someone with a risk for heart disease should not obtain their protein from red meat. Rather, poultry, fish, and nuts are great alternatives. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help lower the risk of coronary artery disease.

Avoid Sugar: Simple sugar in beverages like soda and juice should be avoided as they provide no nutrients but add calories.

Diabetes

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that over 100 million U.S. adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes. And as it stands, diabetes is the 7th in the leading causes of death in the United States.

Diabetes is caused when the body produces an insufficient amount of insulin or the body is unable to properly make use of the produced insulin. These two scenarios result in type 1 and type 2 diabetes respectively.

Many factors including genetics, exercise, and more influence diabetes, but food also plays a crucial role. A diet high in fat, calories, and cholesterol increases the risk of diabetes and other health problems.

Some eating advice that should be adopted by people with diabetes and people that want to lower their risk factor of having diabetes include:

Pay attention to the fat you consume: People with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease. By limiting the amount of saturated and trans fat consumed, it significantly lowers their risk of heart attack and stroke.

Drastically limit red meat intake: plant-based protein sources like beans should be adopted, as well as poultry, eggs, and seafood.

Eat nutritious grains: Foods like whole oats, quinoa, whole-grain barley, and whole-grain popcorn (without butter) are healthy food choices.

Fruits are a must: To satisfy your sugar cravings, do so with fruits; preferably fresh fruits.

Eat nutrient-filled vegetables: Non-starchy veggies like broccoli, onion, green beans, and tomatoes are low in calories and carbohydrates, making them suitable for diabetics.

Lung Disease

Most people are surprised when they find out that the food they eat may affect their breathing. Well, when you think about it, the food serves as the fuel of the body; meaning it is responsible for providing the required nutrients to all body organs; including the lungs.

For people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammation in the lung that causes breathing problems, certain types of food can exacerbate their condition. Therefore, eating well is important. Overeating results in obesity which increase the pressure in the lungs.

Here are some nutrition tips for people diagnosed with COPD:

Eat complex carbohydrate: It can be found in foods like whole grains, fresh fruits, and veggies.

Simple carbohydrates found in soda, sweets, and candy should be avoided.

Incorporate between 20 to 30 grams of fiber into your daily diet: Foods rich in fiber include nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables.

Increase protein intake to strengthen the respiratory muscles.

Diets high in trans and saturated fat should be limited: Some example includes butter, crackers, and hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Conclusion

In reality, there a whole lot of other diseases that can be caused by poor nutrition. Some include:

  • Tooth decay
  • High blood pressure
  • Some types of cancer
  • Depression… and lots more.

Paying close attention to the food you consume can go a long way in helping you live a long and healthy life. Reach out to us today for more information.

Which type of meditation is right for you?

The potential benefits of meditation can be vast: less stress, improved cardiovascular health and increased self-awareness, to name a few. Meditation as a practice has been around since the prehistoric times, and while eastern holistic medicine has incorporated meditation into daily routines, it’s just starting to catch on in the west.31135020 - woman meditating practicing yoga outdoors

Meditation is a practice that spans cultures and religions. It is practiced by individuals from different economic, ethnic and educational backgrounds.

Quickly gaining in popularity, you might be curious how meditation would work for you. Here are five of the more popular types so you can decide.

Mindfulness meditation
This is the form of meditation you might be most familiar with, as it’s very popular in the west. In this type, become one with your mind and your breath. Your attention may wander at first, but bringing it back to center is what this form of meditation is all about.

Focused meditation
If you feel the need to be more attentive in your daily life, this form of meditation may be for you. It involves focusing on every aspect of a given item or activity with the intention of shutting off all other thoughts. Choose a target to focus on, get in a comfortable position, and let all other feelings escape.

Spiritual meditation
As the name suggests, this form of meditation is for those who seek spiritual growth and connection, whether that be to a higher power or nature.

Movement meditation
Movement meditation is all about focusing on the motion your body makes during an activity, like yoga. If you get anxious sitting during other types of meditation, this one can be appealing.

Transcendental meditation
The goal with this form is to transcend beyond your current state of being by breathing slowly. You might also have a mantra that you repeat for motivation and encouragement.

Remember that getting into the practice of meditation can take some time, but no matter which works best for you, meditation can help you live a healthier and happier life. When trying it out, enjoy the process and remain in the present.

Hormone decline in men

86083900 - testosterone deficiency conceptWith age, both men and women lose hormones in their bodies. It is a natural part of human aging. For women, this process is known as menopause. For the male counterpart, andropause. However, the awareness of hormone-decline in men as they age is not half as widespread as that in women.

Simply educating yourself in this natural process could mean the difference between sufficient, normal levels and rapid hormonal decline. Never become a bystander in the progression and evolution of your own health and well being. In this article, we talk about hormone decline in men as they age, its symptoms, and possible solutions for them to live a more fulfilling life even as they age.

Hormone Decline

Men possess the sex hormone testosterone that yields them masculine characteristics as they hit puberty. Development of sexual organs, penis and testes enlargement, sexual desires, facial and pubic hair, and body growth are some changes caused by testosterone at puberty.

These characteristics prevail throughout their life but towards old age, some men tend to face a decline in testosterone which causes age-related symptoms in them.

Note that, for men, the changes are not as sharp as that in women. When women experience menopause, there is a sharp decline in the production of estrogen and progesterone hormones in women. With men, these changes are slow and hard to notice.

Symptoms

Hormone decline in men causes a lot of gradual symptoms. These symptoms are both physical and mental.

Physical changes include low bone mineral density or low trauma fracture, fatigue, loss of energy, mood swings, erectile dysfunction (ED), decreased stamina, decreased urine flow, an increase and frequent urge to pee, breast enlargement, loss of physical agility, shrinkage of sexual organs, poor sleep quality or insomnia, accumulation of fat in the abdominal area, hair loss and patchy baldness, and night sweats

Mental and emotional changes include loss of activity, loss of mental sharpness, feeling lazy, low confidence, self-doubt, decreased motivation, depression, mood swings, anxiety, apathy, memory lapses, and short-temperedness.

As is apparent, some of these changes are so subtle that is hard to notice them. Some changes, however, are easily noticeable in a man’s day-to-day life. For instance, if you were a sound sleeper till now but are experiencing loss of sleep and mental peace due to no underlying reason whatsoever, then it can be due to hormonal loss. Or if you’re experiencing changes in your body structure such as a paunch or man boobs despite working out and eating healthy, you may want to have it checked by the doctor ones.

Checkups and Diagnosis

It is surprising that a simple blood test is all it takes to detect loss of testosterone in men. If a doctor decides to run by a regular checkup, loss of testosterone doesn’t go unnoticed. A man’s testosterone decreases by 1% yearly on an average after 40. Hence, it is best to have regular checkups in place to determine a sharp loss in testosterone levels and to overrule any other symptoms.

This being said, so many men with declining testosterone levels might not experience any symptoms at all. Or the symptoms of low testosterone are not limited to declining hormone levels.

Treatments

Thankfully, like most hormonal issues, medical science also has a solution for age-related hormone decline in men. Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) refers to a wide variety of methods involving pills, injections, tablets, and psychological help to restore the confidence and girth in aging men.

The Bioidentical Hormonal Replacement Therapy (BHRT) aims to replace hormones physiologically to restore hormone levels in men.

No matter which of these treatment options you chose, they are all beneficial in restoring hormone levels in some way. These treatments have been known to improve sexual performance in aging men, increase bone health, enhance sex drives, stop balding and make hair treatments more effective, improve mood and confidence, improve energy levels, yield sharp memory, and improves heart health.

Conclusion

The field of restoring hormonal imbalance in aging men is still in its developing stages. However, there are ample evidences to show that these treatments work effectively and restore quality of life. There have also been rumors that such treatments cause cancer but supporting evidence to prove this are far and few.

If you are an aging man suffering from any of these symptoms, don’t be taken aback. Consider having routine tests done to check your testosterone levels. Talk to your doctor about the possible treatment solutions. With help, you can get back in control of your life and lead a healthy life even as you age.

We understand that a realization such as this can be an overwhelming “pill” to swallow – but there’s proven steps that can be taken to mitigate any unwarranted decline in hormone levels. We’re here to help. Contact us today for more information.