DASH!

DASH-Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension

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DASH is a kind of flexible, harmonious, balanced eating plan towards improving the blood lipid levels, there by preventing the high blood pressure and the cardiovascular disease.

Why prevent hypertension?

When the blood pressure elevates, it puts an extra stress to the heart and blood vessels. If the blood pressure is not controlled and stays high all the time, then you are at a high risk of heart attacks, strokes, and renal (kidney) disease. Many factors can affect blood pressure, like amount of water and sodium in the body, the condition of renal and blood vessels, and the hormone levels. As you grow older your blood vessels become stiffer and this could be one of the reason for high blood pressure.

Trans fats and excess saturated fat will raise your LDL cholesterol level in the arteries. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance and is essential for normal cellular structure and function. But excess amount of this waxy substance can cause clogged or blocked arteries. that puts you at a risk of heart attack and stroke! As the blockages build, the blood flow will be restricted and to overcome this restricted blood flow, the heart has to work harder and must increase the pressure to pump blood efficiently.

The result is hypertension, an elevation in Blood pressure, a silent killer!

Though the body can produce 75% of the body cholesterol, and remaining 25% is achieved through the diet, it is obvious that excess saturated & trans fat will elevate the total cholesterol in the blood if consumed in excess!

It is obvious that smart eating strategies will help to control blood pressure.

Low in saturated fats and trans fats DASH Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein

DASH eating plan is focused on: Incorporating whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils; Emphasizing vegetables, fruits, and fat-free & Low-fat dairy products, and reducing the sodium, sweets, sugary beverages and red meats.

High fiber, low-fat, and low-sodium foods are great help in lowering your blood pressure. Oats, quinoa, barley, amaranth, buckwheat are the whole grains that fits into this category.

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Dash guidelines also suggests having more foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, turnip greens, spinach, are high in potassium. Foods high in potassium gives you a better ratio of potassium to sodium that help control the blood pressure.

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Studies show that flavonoids rich fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries help prevent hypertension.

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Potatoes are good source of both potassium and magnesium, the two potential minerals that can help to lower blood pressure. Baked potato with yogurt or tomato & onion salsa for great flavor!

Banana too is an excellent source of potassium, that helps

Nitrates, a natural chemical in beets help bring down the blood pressure. Roasted or steamed beets with spinach is an excellent salad to reap the benefit of this heart friendly chemical.

Calcium rich skim-milk is an excellent source of calcium and low in fat, an ideal food for maintaining blood pressure.

Consume less amount of saturated rich products like butter, whole milk, ice cream, and fatty meats.

Stay away from food that are high in sodium like:

Processed foods like smoked meats, bacon, hot dogs, sausage, bologna, ham and salami

Anchovies, pickles, and sauerkraut

Soy sauce, tomato sauce, vegetable juice and cheese

Bottled salad dressings

Snack foods like chips, crackers, salted nuts.

Individual with hypertension, should abstain from alcohol that help reduce the risk of stroke.

While cooking, it is healthy to replace salt with other seasonings like pepper, garlic, cilantro, basil, parsley and lemon. Spice blends are high in salt. So, try to avoid the ready to use packaged spice blends.

Read labels to understand the sodium contents of the product like:

Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Citrate, for these chemicals may pose a cancer risk.

Do not purchase food with MSG-Mono sodium glutamate. Mono sodium glutamate, will cause a form of neuro-toxicity. The insidious nature of MSG acts as nerve stimulant that changes the taste buds to taste even the bad food, a real fantastic!

Heart & Stroke Foundation recommends 2,300mg (1tsp/5mL of table salt) sodium a day.

Please click https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/dash_brief.pdf for your guide to lowering blood pressure with DASH

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DASH diet is a great way to enjoy food while naturally lowering blood pressure. A little DASH goes a long way!

References:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

www.mayoclinic.com

www.webmd.com

http://www.heartandstroke.on.ca/

Vitamin C for bone healing!

Fractured your bone? Don’t worry…. you still can improve the strength of your bone.

When you break a bone, your body takes immediate action to repair the damage. The healing is a continuous & energy intensive process. So, good nutrition is necessary to ensure perfect and speedy recovery. You may have to work harder to build bones regardless of your current bone status. Healing requires good blood circulation and adequate nutrition through variety of food.

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When you think of bone health, milk is the first food that comes to your mind. Of course, it is an excellent and easy source of calcium, for a glass of milk (240ml/80z) will provide 300mg of calcium.  Calcium recommendation for an adult is 1000mg/day. Calcium is an essential mineral for the bone, muscle and heart activity.

Other dairy products like cheese and yogurt are good sources of calcium. Salmon, sardines, anchovies are among sea foods, rich in calcium. Spinach, collards and swiss chards are good vegetable sources of calcium. Broccoli, turnip leaves, asparagus, and mustard greens also contain fair amount of calcium. White beans, kidney beans, calcium fortified soy products & cereals, contains moderate amount of calcium. A teaspoon of sesame seeds over cooked greens and a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds to green salad, will enrich the dish with calcium.

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Excess salt, soda and caffeine consumption will decrease the calcium absorption. For bone health, it is best not to drink too many soft drinks or cups of coffee or tea, everyday.

It is not just the calcium that is essential for the formation of bone. You also need good amount of protein, vitamin D, vitamin K, and vitamin C for bone formation and quick healing. 

Protein plays important role in enhancing the integrity of your bones. Bone is a connective tissue composed of an organic protein, collagen that gives strength & flexibility to the bone and muscles. By volume, half of bone is comprised of protein. Poor protein status will take longer time to heal.

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Intake of protein and calcium should be adequate for bone repair.  A constant stream of amino acids, building blocks of protein, is required through regular balanced diet. For elderly, the protein intake is little higher than the recommended intakes. Meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and soy foods are considered high biological value protein foods.

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Edamame (fresh green soybean) and calcium fortified tofu, tempeh, and soy beverages are excellent sources of bone-building protein. Soy milk contains plant estrogen that increases the absorption of calcium.

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Among nuts almonds, pistachios, sunflower, and walnuts seeds have the highest amount of protein but high in calories, too!  So, just a handful of any plain or baked nuts a day, is sufficient.  Control intake of pecan and macadamia, for they are lower in protein and high in fat content.

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is essential for the dietary calcium to get absorbed by the intestine.  You could drink milk all day, but the calcium in it would not do much good to your bone unless it is accompanied by vitamin D. Mushroom, egg yolk, oyster, sardines, tuna, herrings, are good sources of Vitamin D. Milk also contains some amount of vitamin D.

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Expose yourself to sunlight, everyday (before 9:00am and after 4:00pm) for vitamin D. Sunlight exposure is truly one of the powerful healing therapy. Yes, skin produces vitamin D when hit by ultraviolet light from the sun.  An UV advantage!   But this healing rays cannot penetrate glass. So, by just sitting inside a car or a glass room, you cannot generate vitamin D. You need to step out of the door and enjoy the sunlight!

Kidney beans are a good source of calcium and also rich in vitamin K that activate proteins during the bone formation. Other vitamain K rich foods are lettuce, spinach, turnip leaves, broccoli, and liver.

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Vitamin C promotes the formation of new connective tissue, the collagen, that holds our body together. Collagen is the most abundant protein when compared to other proteins in our body. No heart or other organs and blood vessels could perform its function without the collagen, protein. Vitamin C is essential in every steps that involved in the manufacturing of collagen! Fruits are good sources of vitamin C. Include variety of fruits to every meal, every day.

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Good blood circulation and consumption of high biological value protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin K  rich food will speed up the healing process of bone, and also help reduce the chance of getting fracture in future.

References

  • Rober P Heaney and Donald K Layman: “Amount and type of protein influences bone health,” Am J clin Nutr May 2008 vol.87 no. 5 15675-1570S
  • H E Theobald: “Dietary calcium and health,” 2005 British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin, 30, 237-277
  • Bess Dawson – Hughes: “ Calcium and Vitamin D Nutritional Needs of Elderly Women,” J. Nutr. April 1996 126: 1165S-1167S
  • Jean Philippe Bonjour, Valerie Benoit, Brigitte Rousseau, and Jean-Claude Souberbielle: Consumption of Vitamin D and Calcium Fortified soft white cheese lowers the biochemical marker of bone resorption TRAP 5b in Postmenopausal women at moderat risk of osteoporosis fracture,” J. Nutr. April 1 2012 vol. 142 no. 4 698-703
  • www.nof.org
  • www.mayoclinic.com
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Rescue from Lactose Intolerance

There are various intolerances in existence like gluten, lactose, yeast, and fructose intolerance.

Many of us suffer from some form of these intolerances, but very few of us are aware of the intolerance to specific foods and carry on as normal.

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. Though it is common in adults, it is not dangerous.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance often occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating or drinking milk products.   Abdominal bloating & cramps, diarrhea, nausea are common symptoms of Lactose intolerance.

Dairy modification

Most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate some amount of lactose in the diet. Therefore, decreasing the dairy products from the diet, usually improves the symptoms.

Some dairy products that are easier to digest:

  • Butter milk, yogurt, aged & hard cheese (are lower in lactose than milk)
  • Milk shakes
  • Lactose – free milk /products

Milk and milk products are an easy source of calcium and other nutrients. Not having milk in the diet, can lead to a shortage of Calcium, Vitamin-D, Riboflavin and protein.

Calcium is essential for the growth and repair of bones at all ages. A shortage of calcium intake in children and adults may lead to fragile bones that can easily fracture, a condition called osteoporosis, later in life.

Calcium is absorbed and used in the body only when enough vitamin-D is present. Egg, liver and yogurt are some of the good sources of Vitamin-D. Regular exposure to sunlight helps the body to naturally absorb Vitamin-D.

Non dairy sources of calcium

 

Those who are intolerance to lactose, should find new ways to get calcium into their diet. Leafy greens, oysters, sardines, salmon, shrimp, broccoli, bok choy, almonds, sesame seeds are some of the non dairy choices that are rich in calcium.

Fortified milks such as rice, soy and almond milk are other better alternatives.

Probiotics rescue:

Probiotics, the active good bacterial culture, can be a wise investment especially for those who have been on frequent antibiotics or under significant stress. They help to restore the natural gut flora, the main key in improving the absorption of nutrients in the bowel and blocking the toxins too!

Some of those flora, the term dairymen use to refer the bacteria cultures, aids in digestion.

Yogurt made with active bacterial cultures, is a good source of calcium for those who cannot tolerate lactose. Yogurt has low lactose content as the process of fermentation breaks down lactose. The bacterial cultures converts lactose to lactic acid making yogurt a better choice for lactose intolerants.

We should keep in mind that frozen yogurt does not contain live bacterial cultures and so it may not be able to protect the colon from harmful pathogens.

Why read food labels?

Milk and milk products are often added to processed foods. Checking the ingredients on food labels is helpful in finding possible sources of lactose in products. For example; if milk, lactose, whey, milk by-products, casein, curds, dry milk solids, non-fat dairy milk powder are listed on the food labels, it is obvious that the product contains lactose.

Craving a yogurt smoothie?

Blend fruit (berries are great) and yogurt in the evening, store in the refrigerator and have an instant smoothie the very next day morning.

Increased number of probiotics in the intestinal tract might contribute to the reduction of lactose intolerance symptoms.

Milk allergy ?

It is common to confuse lactose intolerance with cow’s milk allergy.

Problem with digesting a sugar in the milk is lactose intolerance. Being intolerant to the cow’s milk is an allergic reaction to proteins in the milk”.

Milk allergy usually happens in minutes to hours after taking milk products. Rash, eczema, nasal stuffiness,vomiting abdominal pain are the symptoms of milk allergy. Some may experience constipation if they are sensitive to the protein component of milk. Those who are allergic to milk protein should seek doctor for an immediate recovery.

Label ingredients that indicate presence of milk proteins: butter, casein, caseinate, cream, cheese, curds, lactose, lactalbumin, milk solid, whey, yogurt.

Every single food we eat has influence on overall nutrition and our wellness. Reading labels will help make a wise choice. The key to healthy balanced diet is to balance what we eat by consuming a variety of foods from each food group in right proportions along with a sustained and energetic exercise regime that helps us to maintain our body weight by balancing the energy intake with energy output.

Our Health is Ultimately Our Responsibility”!

Kohila Govindaraju, Nutritionist