Remember the suggestion of 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables?
While eating 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables is good if you currently are not eating daily fruits and vegetables, and sadly many fall short of this guideline, eating 10 servings will be even better for your heart!
Eating 10 portions of fruits and vegetables per day was tied to a:
· Reduced risk of heart disease by 24 percent
· Reduced risk of stroke by 33 percent.
· Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease by 28 percent.
· Reduced risk of cancer by 13 percent.
· Reduction in premature death by 31 percent.
Some fruits and vegetables are better than others. For example, apples and pears; citrus fruits; salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory; and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower may all help in the prevention of heart disease, stroke, and possible early death.
Research also shows that green vegetables, such as spinach or green beans; yellow vegetables, such as peppers and carrots; and cruciferous vegetables may help reduce cancer risk.
The whole package of beneficial nutrients you obtain by eating fruits and vegetables is crucial to your health. It is why it is important to eat whole plant foods to get the benefit, instead of taking antioxidants or vitamin supplements.
10 servings a day may seem like a lot, especially for people who don’t like the texture, taste or smell of vegetables and fruits, but there are some great ways to try and work them into your daily routine. It may take some planning, but with daily focus it should be able to become a habit.
One idea is to not rely on just eating vegetables at dinner. Try and shoot for three or four servings of vegetables with both lunch and dinner, and one or two servings of vegetables and fruit with breakfast and snacks.
Another great idea is spending time immediately after grocery shopping to do some quick cooking and chopping of vegetables and fruits and putting serving portions in plastic bags or containers.
Also, remember that little trick they suggest for getting kids to eat their vegetables? Hiding the veggies in their food? Well, you just might have to do that to yourself if you can’t get yourself to eat your fruit and vegetables. So, make a pasta dish, and toss in some berries, broccoli or spinach. Instead of flavoring with dressings and dips use fruits and vegetables. Freezing fruit is also a great way to enjoy a cold treat and reap the nutritional benefits. Have you tried cauliflower rice? Another great way to substitute with a vegetable instead of a carb.
And even though both fruits and vegetables are important in your diet, try and go lighter on the fruit and heavier on the vegetables because of the higher sugar content and calories in fruit.
No matter what new fad diet comes out, or whether there is a new superfood of the month , fruits and vegetables are undeniably a part of a healthy diet, so getting as much as you can in your diet will lead to you living a longer life.
In a world of a near future of self-driving cars & Artificial intelligence, we are also learning more and more things about our bodies.
Here comes in your Microbiota.
Your Microbiota which consists of Bacteria and Microbes makes up about 3 pounds of your body weight (that is about the same as what your brain weighs). Microbes are bacteria and other tiny critters not visible to the naked eye but numbering in the trillions – and are busy in your body. Most of these microbes benefit you while others have the potential to cause harm.
With the newest discoveries in research of our bodies, we now realize that the Microbiota performs functions that could impact the functioning of our bodies, many which we don’t even know of yet.
One that we do know is that a disruption of the normal human gut microbiota is associated with many different health conditions, such as asthma, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer, among others. Scientists are still trying to figure out what role the microbiota plays in these conditions, but what is clear is that is it wise to do your best to support a healthy microbiota.
So first, starting with your gut Microbiota, eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt with “good bacteria” may be the first way that comes to mind or shaping the makeup of your gut microbiota. The only problem is that probiotics are not a one-size-fits-all. Certain benefits associated with probiotics, such as supporting immunity or easing constipation which are specific to certain strains of bacteria.
Another great way to “Influence” your gut microbiota is by changing what you “feed” the bacteria and research has shown the diversity of the gut microbiota matters. For example, the diet consumed by most in the U.S. consuming a typical Western diet, is usually low in fiber and high in processed foods is generally less diverse than in people in other areas of the country who have more fiber intake.
Studies are now showing that the more fiber you consume, especially if from a wide range of plant foods, the more diverse your gut microbiota will be, and as noted previously, the healthier your gut microbiota the less likely you will suffer from health conditions such as allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and others.
Researchers suggest trying to eat more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. When it comes to vegetables it is best to eat the rainbow – getting a variety of colorful plant foods.
Other tip is to focus on eating whole plant foods rather than purchasing supplements or other special food products.
Here are a few really great fruits and vegetables specifically with prebiotics:
So how can you insure your Microbiota is functioning at its Best?
Make Healthy eating a habit
What you eat day in and day out is what impacts your microbiota most.
Eat a wide variety of plant foods
Challenge yourself to try fruits and vegetables you’ve never tried before. Check what is in season for best flavor and availability and pick up something different every time you shop.
Choose whole grains instead of refined grains
The higher fiber content of whole grains supports the gut microbiota, among other digestive benefits.
Meet your Fiber quota
On average, women should strive for at least 25 grams of dietary fiber a day; men, 38 grams. Increase intake gradually by eating more whole plant foods (vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes), and drink plenty of water.
I particularly want to focus on trying those vegetables I have never tried before. I challenge you to pick up a new vegetable your next trip to the supermarket. If you have an internet connection you should be able to easily find some kind of recipe to make with whatever vegetable you decide to try.
A compassionate doctor. An early, insightful diagnosis. Effective drugs and treatments that work, with minimal side effects. You deserve all this – and more – from your health care system.
But the reality can be far different: Your doctor’s appointment may be shorter than a television commercial break; your physician may interrupt you and have no interest in listening to you; in the hospital, the doctors and nurses who care for you may forget to wash their hands – raising your risk for a hospital-acquired infection; and you may receive prescriptions that cause unwanted side effects or that interact with other medications and remedies you’re taking. Like any service industry, there are many terrific doctors and hospitals, but plenty of mediocre ones, too, and, on any given day, someone is going to make a mistake.
But there is the other side of the health-care equation. As patients, we don’t always hold up our end of the bargain. Studies show that half of us don’t take prescription drugs as directed, and many of us skip them entirely. One in three of us are reluctant to ask questions. And many of us withhold important information from the doctor, either intentionally of without giving it a second thought. In the end we are ultimately responsible for our health. You need to be the CEO of your healthcare.
Your first step in making sure you receive top quality health care? Believe that you deserve it. Your second step? Follow these strategies to get the care you need – and deserve.
The first thing to focus on is getting doctor visits that work. Here are the strategies to achieve this.
Study up before your visit
Research your medical condition and concerns by reading reputable web sites. Generally, government health web sites and those maintained by medical associations, large nonprofit groups dedicated to a single medical condition, and university medical centers have the most trustworthy, up-to-date medical information. Make notes and create questions. You shouldn’t try to diagnose your symptoms or self-prescribe your remedies. It’s still up to your doctor to do that.
Make a list of questions, and then prioritize them
Doing this you will feel more confident when talking with your doctor – and you’ll get the answers and information you need. In one review if 33 office visit studies, researchers found that people who brought checklists even got more time with their doctors.
Feel intimidated? Try asking your spouse or other relative or friend to play doctor while you voice your health concerns, and ask every question on your list, out loud. The best time to do this is in the hours just before your appointment.
Bring a family member along
Another person who knows about your health and your concerns can help you listen carefully, take notes, ask the right questions, and even help you make important decisions during a doctor’s appointment.
Carry a tape recorder
Replaying an audio tape of your visit could assist you in better understanding instructions and information that you may have missed or not fully understood at the time. Just let the doctor know you are recording for that purpose.
Bring in your current medications
Toss all your prescription drugs as well as herbal supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter remedies and bring them all in a shopping bag with you to your appointment. This will help your doctor understand if you’re experiencing any problems with drug interactions or if you’re taking any drugs you really don’t need.
Be sure your doctor knows these three important things about you:
Finally, evaluate your doctor. You are not obligated to stay with a certain physician if you don’t feel they are a good match for you. Patients who don’t trust their doctors simply don’t get well as quickly, studies show, probably because they’re less motivated to follow their advice and treatments. Ask to see another doctor in the same practice, or ask friends and family for recommendations for a new doctor.
If you have COPD chances are good that your doctor has prescribed various medications and programs to help you cope. But there are simple lifestyle improvements you can make to battle back against the disease.
Ventilate your indoor spaces
High levels of indoor air pollution caused by smoking, indoor fires, and indoor toxins can significantly exacerbate COPD symptoms, say researchers from Aberdeen, Scotland. The scientists measured concentrations of indoor air pollutants in the homes of 148 people with COPD. They found that indoor air pollution levels were up to four times the levels that experts say is acceptable. The higher the levels of indoor air pollution, the worse the individual’s COPD. As expected, the highest pollution levels were found in homes in which someone smoked.
Get at least 20 minutes a day of moderately intense exercise
It could be riding a stationary bicycle, briskly walking, or swimming. Not only will this improve your breathing capabilities but, chances are, you’ll fell sharper mentally afterward. That’s what researchers from Ohio State University found when they evaluated the effects of just one session of exercise on 58 adults, half with COPD and half healthy. The COPD group was able to process and retain information better than before they exercised, while the healthy subjects didn’t show any improvement. The improvements in the COPD group was probably due to the fact that the exercise increased their lung capacity- sending more oxygen to their brains. The healthy group already had good lung capacity; a 20 minute exercise session wasn’t going to affect that much for them. A follow up study in which participants were tracked for a year found that those who continued exercising maintained their cognitive gains, while those who didn’t lost physical, cognitive, and psychological functioning.
Pop some Fish oil
Two grams a day should do it. Take half in the morning and half in the evening. When Japanese researchers had 64 people with COPD supplement their diets with about 400 calories a day of an omega-3 rich supplement or one without omega-3 fatty acids for two years, they found numerous indicators of improved lung function in the omega-3 group, with no change in the placebo group. They also found much lower levels of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines in the omega-3 group. Omega-3 fatty acids are potent anti-inflammatories; their ability to quell the inflammation of COPD likely prevented further lung damage during the study.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight puts more pressure on your heart and lungs, increasing breathlessness. It also makes it harder to exercise. But being underweight – a common problem as COPD progresses and eating a full meal becomes more difficult – is linked to an increased risk of death. You should aim for a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or 26. If you’re having trouble maintaining your weight:
With increased awareness you have the ability to prevent COPD, so make sure you also read my previous blog for the best ways to prevent COPD.
Giving you the most current and up to date advice on living a longer and active life.
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