Sunday, April 15, 2012

Your Diet—Can It Kill You?

“You have a severely blocked coronary artery, about a 95% obstruction . . . At this moment you are a heart attack statistic just waiting to happen.”
THIRTY-TWO-YEAR-OLD Joe could hardly believe these words of a cardiologist who examined him to determine the cause of his chest pain. Almost half of those who will die of heart disease are not even aware that they have it.
But what led up to Joe’s condition? ‘For 32 years I ate the typical American “meat and milk” diet,’ laments Joe. ‘Somehow the fact that the American diet is hazardous to my health fell through the cracks.’
Your Diet andHeart Disease
What was wrong with Joe’s diet? Basically, it contained too much cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat. From his youth, Joe had been setting himself up for coronary heart disease with nearly every forkful of food. A high-fat diet is, in fact, linked to five of the ten leading causes of death in the United States. At the top of the list is coronary disease.
The connection between diet and heart disease is seen in a study conducted in seven countries on some 12,000 men aged 40 to 49. The extremes are particularly revealing. The study showed that Finnish men—eating 20 percent of their calories as saturated fat—had elevated blood-cholesterol levels, while Japanese men—eating only 5 percent of their calories as saturated fat—had low blood-cholesterol levels. And the Finnish men had a rate of heart attack six times greater than the Japanese men!
Coronary heart disease, however, is no longer rare in Japan. In the past several years, as Western-style fast foods have become popular there, the consumption of animal fats has gone up 800 percent. Now, Japanese boys have even higher blood-cholesterol levels than American boys of the same age! Clearly, dietary fat and cholesterol are implicated in life-threatening conditions, particularly heart disease.

Diet Types For Loss Weight

 Fixed-menu diet
A fixed-menu diet provides a list of all the foods you will eat. This kind of diet can be easy to follow because the foods are selected for you. But, you get very few different food choices which may make the diet boring and hard to follow away from home. In addition, fixed-menu diets do not teach the food selection skills necessary for keeping weight off. If you start with a fixed-menu diet, you should switch eventually to a plan that helps you learn to make meal choices on your own, such as an exchange-type diet. 

Exchange-type diet

An exchange-type diet is a meal plan with a set number of servings from each of several food groups. Within each group, foods are about equal in calories and can be interchanged as you wish. For example, the starch category could include one slice of bread or 1/2 cup of oatmeal; each is about equal in nutritional value and calories. If your meal plan calls for two starch choices at breakfast, you could choose to eat two slices of bread, or one slice of bread and 1/2 cup of oatmeal. With the exchange-type diet plans, you have more day-to-day variety and you can easily follow the diet away from home. The most important advantage is that exchange-type diet plans teach the food selection skills you need to keep your weight off.

Adequate Protein

The average woman 25 years of age and older should get 50 grams of protein each day, and the average man 25 years of age and older should get 63 grams of protein each day. Adequate protein is important because it prevents muscle tissue from breaking down and repairs all body tissues such as skin and teeth. To get adequate protein in your diet, make sure you eat 2-3 servings (see Figure 2) from the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group on the Food Guide Pyramid every day. These foods are all good sources of protein.

Prepackaged-meal Diet

These diets require you to buy prepackaged meals. Such meals may help you learn appropriate portion sizes. However, they can be costly. Before beginning this type of program, find out whether you will need to buy the meals and how much the meals cost. You should also find out whether the program will teach you how to select and prepare food, skills that are needed to sustain weight loss.

Formula Diet

Formula diets are weight-loss plans that replace one or more meals with a liquid formula. Most formula diets are balanced diets containing a mix of protein, carbohydrate, and usually a small amount of fat. Formula diets are usually sold as liquid or a powder to be mixed with liquid. Although formula diets are easy to use and do promote short-term weight loss, most people regain the weight as soon as they stop using the formula. In addition, formula diets do not teach you how to make healthy food choices, a necessary skill for keeping your weight off.

Questionable diets

You should avoid any diet that suggests you eat a certain nutrient, food, or combination of foods to promote easy weight loss. Some of these diets may work in the short term because they are low in calories. However, they are often not well balanced and may cause nutrient deficiencies. In addition, they do not teach eating habits that are important for long-term weight management.

Flexible diets

Some programs or books suggest monitoring fat only, calories only, or a combination of the two, with the individual making the choice of both the type and amount of food eaten. This flexible type of approach works well for many people, and teaches them how to control what they eat. One drawback of flexible diets is that some don't consider the total diet. For example, programs that monitor fat only often allow people to take in unlimited amounts of excess calories from sugars, and therefore don't lead to weight loss.

Live With It

It is important to choose an eating plan that you can live with. The plan should also teach you how to select and prepare healthy foods, as well as how to maintain your new weight. Remember that many people tend to regain lost weight. Eating a healthful and nutritious diet to maintain your new weight, combined with regular physical activity, helps to prevent weight regain.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Healthy Gums, Healthy Heart?

Regular brushing of teeth, which prevents periodontal disease, may lower the risk of suffering a stroke or a heart attack, reports Mexico City’s Milenionewspaper. Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that people with high levels of bacteria that cause periodontal disease also had a narrower carotid artery. 
One possible explanation is that “the microorganisms that cause periodontal disease emigrate and travel throughout the bloodstream, which stimulates the immune system and provokes inflammation,” says the paper. In turn, that inflammation increases the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries or contributes to the formation of blood clots that can lead to heart attacks, researchers theorize. Therefore, “caring for oral health may have a significant impact on cardiovascular health,” says Milenio.

Your Hands and Health

“When a person sneezes and puts his hand across his mouth or blows his nose, the hands need washing before touching telephones or doorknobs,” says The Medical Post of Canada. ThePost quoted the U.S. Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, which says that “80% of common infections are spread directly by hands and touching, not through the air.” 
 Dr. Audrey Karlinsky of the University of Toronto recommends washing frequently and rubbing soap into your hands “for 10 to 15 seconds, taking care to get in between the fingers and under the nails.” After that, she suggests, you should rinse your hands in hot water and use a paper towel to turn off the faucet. How can you get children to take enough time? Have them recite the whole alphabet while they soap up, suggests Dr. Karlinsky.

Why Care About My Health?

Put a nextto each goal you would like toreach.
Lose weight
Improve complexion
Have more energy
Be more alert
Reduce anxiety
Control temper
Feel more confident
THERE are some things in life that you as a young person don’t get to choose—your parents, your siblings, and where you live, to name just a few. Your health, however, is a different story. Whether you’re in shape or not can depend on hereditary factors as well as the lifestyle you choose.


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