Friday, April 25, 2008

Nutrition Facts - Carbohydrates, Sugars and Cholesterol

Nutrition Facts - Carbohydrates, Sugars and Cholesterol
By Connie Limon

Vegetables and fruits are rich in nutrients, low in calories and high in fiber. Diets high in vegetables and fruits meet vitamin, mineral and fiber needs without adding a lot of calories. Diets rich in vegetables and fruits have been shown to lower blood pressure and improve other cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The American Heart Association continues to recommend the following to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease:

• Consume an overall healthy diet
• Aim for a healthy body weight
• Aim for recommended levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides
• Aim for a normal blood pressure and blood glucose level
• Be physically active
• Avoid use of and exposure to tobacco products
• Drink alcohol in moderation

A healthy diet includes:

• Eating a variety of whole (fresh, frozen, or canned) vegetables and fruits
• Eat more deeply colored vegetables and fruit such as spinach, carrots, peaches and berries (they tend to contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than others such as potatoes and corn)
• Choose whole fruits over juice most often (whole fruit contains more fiber)
• At least half of your grain intake should come from whole-grain foods
• Reduce intake of beverages and foods with added sugars (primarily to lower total calorie intake and to get enough of the nutrients your body needs)

Recommended servings per day for a healthy person needing 2,000 calories each day includes:

• 6 to 8 servings of grains (at least half of the servings should be whole-grain foods)
• 8 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits (about ½ cup counts as a serving)

Cholesterol:

Cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body, however, high levels of cholesterol in the blood, is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack. Typically the body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so people do not need to consume extra to get enough.

Some of the excess dietary cholesterol is removed from the body through the liver. The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. If you have heart disease, they recommend limiting your daily intake to less than 200 milligrams.

Everyone should remember that by watching how much cholesterol they take in each day can help significantly lower total dietary cholesterol intake. Especially watch foods high in saturated fat.

Regular physical activity is helpful in increasing HDL cholesterol in some people. Higher HDL cholesterol is related to a lower risk of heart disease.

Physical activity also helps control weight, diabetes and high blood pressure. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease.Tobacco smoke is among the six major risk factors of heart disease. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels and increases the tendency for blood to clot.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sports Nutrition

Sports Nutrition
by Melinda Banks

Whether you're a "weekend warrior" or a professional athlete, nothing affects your ability to perform more than good nutrition.

Properly fueling your body helps you establish desirable body weight, stay in great shape, and maintain those all-important nerve-muscle reflexes.

And if good nutrition isn't part of your training program, physical conditioning and expert coaching won't make much difference to your game.

There isn't one particular diet that's right for every sports enthusiast, of course. A lot depends on the age of the player and on the sport that's played.

In general, however, a simple balanced diet allows your body's nutrients to work together like members on a team -- each nutrient performs a specific function.

Carbohydrates, for example, are an important source of energy for sports that require repeated bursts of power -- such as basketball, soccer, hockey, football, and tennis -- and for long-distance events, such as long-distance running, swimming, and cross-country skiing.

But although filling up on foods that contain mostly carbohydrates is great for maintaining energy, your body still has a need for proteins, minerals, and vitamins.

And lack of just one nutrient is a disadvantage to your body and therefore, your sports performance.

Ideally, these nutrients should come from the food you eat every day, but if you aren't eating balanced meals (or even if you are), taking a nutritional supplement that will give you balanced nutrients is a wise choice.

Your sports diet has a dual purpose: It keeps you healthy and it prevents fatigue so you maintain a high energy level during exercise.

Learn how to properly fuel yourself for top performance.

For example, cutting back on refined sugar products will ensure there isn't an abrupt rise in blood sugar -- and subsequent drop once exercise begins.

Good sources of carbohydrates that don't affect blood sugar levels include whole wheat bread; whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce; vegetables and fruits; and low-sugar, high-fiber breakfast cereals.

Not hungry? Eat anyway. Just because you don't feel hungry doesn't necessarily mean your body has all the nutrients it needs.

And don't forget that staying properly hydrated is also part of your sports nutrition plan.

You lose between one and three quarts of water per hour during exercise, which not only decreases your endurance but puts you at risk of dehydration.

Drink 8-10 ounces of water every 15 minutes during a prolonged sports activity.

Don't wait until you feel thirsty -- dehydration can occur before you ever sense thirst.

Heavy sweating also results in the loss of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are critical for all bodily functions.

Cold soda water will reestablish the proper balance of water and electrolytes in your bloodstream, as will sports drinks.

Remember that good nutrition and fluid replacement have a major impact on athletic performance.

Use a sound nutritional program to complement your sports activity, and give yourself that competitive edge.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Gout And Nutrition

Gout And Nutrition
By: Sven Ullmann

Gout is a disease that is due to an inborn disorder of the uric acid metabolism and is also referred to as metabolic arthritis.

When you suffer from this disease monosodium urate crystals are deposited on the articular cartilage of joints and in tissues such as the tendons.

Then also causes an inflammatory reaction to the tissue and the deposits get larger and burst through the skin to form sinuses discharging a white material.

The bloodstream usually carries only a tiny amount of uric acid but if there is an increased concentration then crystals are deposited on the cartilage and tissues that surround the joints.

If you have high levels of uric acid in your bloodstream it can also result in uric kidney stones.

The common effects of gout include the sudden pain, swelling, redness, warmness, stiffness in the joint, and sometimes a low fever may persist.

Those suffering from gout are in pain because of the crystals inside the joint that cause pain whenever the area is moved, as well as the inflammation of the tissues around the joint which tends to cause swelling and soreness.

Gout commonly affects the big toe but can affect other area such as the joints in the ankle, heel, knee, wrist, instep, fingers, and spine.

There have been instances where gout appears in the joints of the small toes which have become immobile because of an impact injury which leads to poor circulation and gout.

Hyperuricemia is a uric acid level higher than 420 ┬Ámol/L in males and 380 ┬Ámol/L in females. High uric acid levels don't always lead to gout.

If it is suspected that you are suffering from gout the serum urate test should be repeated once the attack has subsided.

To get an accurate diagnosis of gout you must have a light microscopy of joint fluid aspirated from the joint to show intracellular monosodium urate crystal in synovial fluid polymorph nuclear leukocytes.

Only a well trained specialist can distinguish the difference from other crystals. If you aren't able to get immediate medical attention there are a few things that can provide temporary relief to the pain and swelling commonly associated with gout.

NSAIDS including ibuprofen can be used to reduce the pain and inflammation, but stay away from aspirin as it has been known to have adverse affects.

You can also apply Preparation H ointment to the affected skin to reduce swelling. You can also apply ice to the affected area for 20-30 minutes multiple times throughout the day.

Some may think that uric acid crystallization is increased with low temperatures but a recent study proved that those who use ice packs experienced a relief in pain without negative effects.
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