How to have A Healthy Holiday Gathering
1. Use a small plate! Cornell University researchers collected 56 research studies examining the effect of smaller plates on consumption. Combining all the studies, they concluded that a 30% reduction in plate size lead to an average 30% reduction in food consumption.
2. Save your calories for your main Thanksgiving meal. Reduce complex carbohydrate intake, eat moderate fat, and focus on lean protein sources. If you are doing exercise then try not to skip, but also don’t increase the time you spend working out — this will increase your hunger more!
3. Don’t punish yourself, this will actually give you more stress. The joy of eating with your family and friends will be so much more if you are conscious that the food you are eating is becoming a part of you.
Green Tea & Bladder Health
Millions of people drink it every day. Known botanically as Camellia sinensis, green tea contains powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fibrosis and cell protective benefits. It is well-known for its anti-cancer effects.
In a recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 46 men with bladder and urinary tract symptoms participated in a three-month trial. Therapeutic Advances in Urology published results. These men had difficulties with urinary flow, inability to fully empty their bladder and erectile dysfunction. A simple lab test evaluated levels of the inflammatory compound C-reactive protein or CRP. Men drank a green tea blend that significantly helped them with their various discomforts by up to 35 percent. Urinary flow improved, and CRP was lowered. Symptoms of erectile dysfunction improved, as well.
What about urinary tract infections? If you’re prone to these, there are many studies, including one in Frontiers in Biology, that show how green tea acts like an antibiotic by killing E. coli in the bladder and urinary tract. These antimicrobial effects come in handy if you’re susceptible to UTIs.
Green tea extract isn’t for everyone. It can cause unwanted diuresis in some people. This happened to a friend of mine right before we entered the mall. She literally urinated in her pants from taking a supplement (a diet aid) that contained green tea. So it’s not right for everyone; however, it could help some women with post-menopausal bladder problems.
What about bladder cancer? Researchers have shown that women who drink black tea and powdered green tea are less likely to develop bladder cancer. Research has also revealed that people with bladder cancer (particularly men) who drink green tea have a better five-year survival rate than those who did not drink green tea. Does this translate to prostate cancer? Of course ask your oncologist what is right for you. In the meantime, drinking a little cup of green tea is a simple and possibly effective way to improve bladder function and general health.
What Vitamin D Dosage is Best?
Posted Sept 26th
What Vitamin D Dosage Is Best?
Vitamin D is commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin.”
That’s because your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight.
Getting enough vitamin D is important for optimal health. It helps maintain strong and healthy bones, aids your immune system and may help protect against many harmful conditions.
Despite its importance, roughly 42% of people in the US have a vitamin D deficiency. This number rises to a staggering 82.1% of African American people and 69.2% of Hispanic people.
There are several other groups of people that have higher vitamin D needs because of their age, where they live and certain medical conditions.
What Is Vitamin D and Why Is It Important?
Vitamin D belongs to the family of fat-soluble vitamins, which include vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins are absorbed well with fat and are stored in the liver and fatty tissues.
There are two main forms of vitamin D in the diet:
Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): Found in plant foods like mushrooms.
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): Found in animal foods like salmon, cod and egg yolks.
However, sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D3. The UV rays from sunlight convert cholesterol in your skin into vitamin D3.
Before your body can use dietary vitamin D, it must be “activated” through a series of steps).
First, the liver converts dietary vitamin D into the storage form of vitamin D. This is the form that is measured in blood tests. Later, the storage form is converted by the kidneys to the active form of vitamin D that's used by the body.
Interestingly, D3 is twice as effective at raising blood levels of vitamin D as vitamin D2.
The main role of vitamin D in the body is to manage blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. These minerals are important for healthy bones.
Research also shows that vitamin D aids your immune system and may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
A low blood level of vitamin D is linked to a greater risk of fractures and falls, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, several cancers and even death.
SUMMARY:There are two main forms of vitamin D in the diet: D2 and D3. D3 is twice as effective at raising blood levels of vitamin D, which is linked to a variety of health benefits.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need for Optimal Health?
In the US, current guidelines suggest that consuming 400–800 IU (10–20 mcg) of vitamin D should meet the needs of 97–98% of all healthy people.
However, many experts believe the guidelines are far too low.
Your vitamin D needs depend on a variety of factors. These include your age, skin color, current blood vitamin D levels, location, sun exposure and more.
To reach blood levels linked to better health outcomes, many studies have shown that you need to consume more vitamin D than the guidelines recommend.
For instance, an analysis of five studies examined the link between vitamin D blood levels and colorectal cancer.
Scientists found that people with the highest blood levels of vitamin D (over 33 ng/ml or 82.4 nmol/l) had a 50% lower risk of colorectal cancer than people with the lowest levels of vitamin D (less than 12 ng/ml or 30 nmol/l).
Research also shows that consuming 1,000 IU (25 mcg) daily would help 50% of people reach a vitamin D blood level of 33 ng/ml (82.4 nmol/l). Consuming 2,000 IU (50 mcg) daily would help nearly everyone reach a blood level of 33 ng/ml (82.4 nmol/l).
Another analysis of seventeen studies with over 300,000 people looked at the link between vitamin D intake and heart disease. Scientists found that taking 1,000 IU (25 mcg) of vitamin D daily reduced heart disease risk by 10%.
Based on current research, it seems that consuming 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 mcg) of vitamin D daily should be ideal for most people to reach healthy vitamin D blood levels.
However, don’t consume more than 4,000 IU of vitamin D without your doctor's permission. It exceeds the safe upper limits of intake and is not linked to more health benefits.
SUMMARY:Consuming 400–800 IU (10–20 mcg) of vitamin D should meet the needs of 97–98% of healthy people. However, several studies show that taking more than this is linked to greater health benefits.
People With Medical Conditions That Reduce Fat Absorption
Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, it relies on the gut's ability to absorb fat from the diet.
Thus, people who have medical conditions that reduce fat absorption are prone to vitamin D deficiencies. These include irritable bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease, liver disease and also people who have had bariatric surgery.
People with the above conditions are often advised to take vitamin D supplements in an amount prescribed by their doctors.
SUMMARY:Those who need the most vitamin D are older people, people with darker skin, those who live farther from the equator and people who can’t absorb fat properly.
Can You Take Too Much Vitamin D?
While it is possible to take too much vitamin D, toxicity is very rare.
In fact, you would need to take extremely high doses of 50,000 IU (1,250 mcg) or more for a long period of time.
It’s also worth noting that it is impossible to overdose on vitamin D from sunlight.
Although 4,000 IU (250 mcg) is set as the maximum amount of vitamin D you can take safely, several studies have shown that taking up to 10,000 IU (250 mcg) daily won’t cause side effects.
That said, taking more than 4,000 IU may provide no extra benefit. Your best bet is to take 1,000 (25 mcg) to 4,000 IU (100 mcg) daily.
SUMMARY:Although it is possible to take too much vitamin D, toxicity is rare, even above the safe upper limit of 4,000 IU. That said, consuming more than this amount may provide no extra benefit.
The Bottom Line
Getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and foods is necessary for optimal health.
It helps maintain healthy bones, aids your immune system and may reduce the risk of many harmful diseases. Yet despite its importance, many people don’t get enough vitamin D.
In addition, older people, people with darker skin, those who live farther away from the equator and people who can’t absorb fat properly have higher dietary vitamin D needs.
The current recommendations suggest consuming 400–800 IU (10–20 mcg) of vitamin D per day.
However, people who need more vitamin D can safely consume 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 mcg) daily. Consuming more than this is not advised, as it is not linked to any extra health benefits.
Ask the Diet Doctor: Changing Your Diet with the Season
Dr. Mike Roussell
Q: Should I change my diet as the seasons change?
A: Actually, yes. Your body undergoes changes as the seasons change. The differences of periods of light and darkness that occur have profound effects on our circadian rhythms. In fact, research shows that we have entire groups of genes that are impacted by circadian rhythms and many of these genes can impact body weight (causing either loss or gain) and hormones such as adiponectin, which increases insulin sensitivity and fat burning. So make these four easy changes to help your body adjust to the changing seasons.
1. Supplement with vitamin D. Even during the summer, a majority of people don’t get enough of the "sunshine vitamin." Supplementing with vitamin D won’t cure your winter blues, but it will help you maintain optimal blood levels when your body isn’t converting much of the vitamin from sunlight. D is also very important for bone health, and maintaining optimal levels may help fight certain cancers, aid in weight loss, and boost immune function, which is extra important during cold and flu season.
2. Stay committed to exercise. When the weather is balmy and the sun is shining, it's easy to want to go for a run, but the colder, shorter days of fall and winter aren’t quite as motivational. Still, you should squeeze into a workout for the sake of both your waistline (hello, holiday feasts!) and mood. A 2008 study published in PLoS Onereported that seasonal changes in mood caused by the change in light cycles can greatly increase your risk for metabolic syndrome, but exercise during fall and winter seasons can offset that. Even more interesting (or scary): These negative effects of skipping your workout were as strong as the positive effects of exercise!
3. Monitor weight changes from fall to spring. Research from the National Institutes of Health shows that between September to October and February to March, people gain an average of one pound (some upwards of almost five pounds) each year. While one pound may seem insignificant, this extra pound (or five) can lead to slow and incremental weight gain over the years.
This can be further compounded by the fact that as we age, we can lose up to 1 percent of our lean body mass each year. Increasing body weight plus decreasing lean body mass equals a recipe for disaster! In order to prevent this, monitor your weight at least weekly throughout the year. Research shows that people who weigh themselves more frequently are more successful at maintaining their weight. It will also help you stay on top of seasonal additions to your waistline, ensuring that they don’t sneak up on you.
4. Increase your carbohydrate intake. As the days get darker, you may begin to suffer from a mild form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder. Adding more carbs to your day is one diet strategy that may be able to help pick you up out of your slump. A study from Biological Psychiatry found that a high-carb (but not a high-protein) meal boosted mood. This may be due to the ability of insulin (a hormone released by your body when you eat carbohydrates) to drive tryptophan into your brain where it gets converted to the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. The more serotonin your brain produces, the better you will feel.