The reason for supplementation

The Shaklee March Newsletter shared that with busy lives and food choices that are less than ideal, it is hard to get the essential nutrients we need for good health. Based on Daily Values (DV) for just 16 nutrients, 11 of the 16 were deemed to be “gap nutrients”.i And DVs reflect expert consensus about generally adequate amounts to meet basic requirements in most healthy people – not what may be required to achieve optimal health.

Why Supplement? – Ensuring we are getting the nourishment needed to support our bodies’ optimal functions can be a challenge, but nutritional supplementation can help fill in those gaps. Countless research studies and health experts agree that supplementing with key nutrients, including a multivitamin and multimineral complex, phytonutrients, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids, provides a good nutritional foundation.

The Landmark Study – To understand the relationship between supplementation and long-term health, the first-of-its-kind Landmark Study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Researchers gathered a group of long-term (20+ years) multiple-supplementiii users and compared their health to non-supplement users.

The Findings – Researchers discovered that the overall health of long-term multiple-supplement users was dramatically different from that of non-supplement users. The multiple-supplement users had improved levels of important heart-healthy biomarkers.

As expected, the multiple-supplement users also had substantially higher levels of nutrients in the blood.

Lower Risk of Disease – As a group, the multiple-supplement users had a lower risk of high blood pressure (39%) and diabetes (73%), and multiple measures of cardiovascular risk trended in favor of supplementation.

When you eat and how frequently may benefit heart health

What times someone eats during the day and how frequently may play a role in having a healthy weight and heart.According to an American Heart Association scientific statement published Wednesday, eating breakfast, avoiding late-night eating and mindful meal-planning are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, blood vessel diseases and stroke.

However, current research doesn’t dictate the best approach.

“There’s conflicting evidence about meal frequency,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., writing group chair and associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City. She said studies have shown the benefit of intermittent fasting and eating smaller, frequent meals throughout the day.

Fasting every other day helped people lose weight in the short-term, but its long-term effects haven’t been studied, according to the statement. And there’s no guarantee that such fasting can be sustained.

“I can see scenarios where intermittent fasting can backfire,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., a statement co-author and nutrition professor at Penn State University. For example, people who fast one day could eat more than twice as much the next day, she said. She also questioned what would happen if someone who fasted regularly for lengthy periods of time – weeks or even months – then started eating regularly every day.

Because there’s not a lot of information about how people could practice intermittent fasting, Kris-Etherton cautioned against using it as a weight loss or weight management strategy until further information is available.

Eating frequent meals has also been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease risk factors, says St-Onge. One study of men showed that those who ate more than four times a day had a lower risk of obesity than those eating three or fewer times a day. But other studies have found the opposite, with a greater risk of weight gain over time in those reporting eating more frequently. Read more

Is Miso Healthy?

The Power of One Fruit

College of DuPage Nursing Student Aesha Patel asks, “What if I told you that you can achieve optimal health benefits by eating just one green fruit, a zucchini?” That’s right, zucchini is a fruit that is cooked as a vegetable because it is best when eaten in cooked dishes.

You might be surprised to know that consuming zucchini will help you lose weight tremendously. According to LiveStrong Foundation, the calories presented in a zucchini is only thirty-three, but it still satisfies your stomach fully. Not only does zucchini have low calories, it is also rich in fiber and has a high water content. Zucchini is also a source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. Having that one go to vegetable without having the feeling of an empty stomach, makes your life that much more easier.

The easiest way to fill your stomach in a healthy manner is by making zucchini chips. You will need six simple ingredients: olive oil, bread crumbs, freshly grated parmesan, salt,  pepper,  and a zucchini.

Directions are simple:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Slice the zucchini into thick rounds and toss them into a bowl with olive oil.
  • In another bowl mix in the parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper as well.
  • Dip each individual zucchini piece into the mixture, making sure each side of the zucchini gets coated well.
  • Spray cooking spray on a baking sheet and spread each zucchini piece onto it.
  • Bake the zucchini until they are golden brown and crisp. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy this simple recipe and enjoy the power of the zucchini.

Some foods and herbs may help ward off the flu

Patrick B. Massey, MD, PH.D., medical director for complementary and alternative medicine at Alexian Brothers Hospital Network and president of ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy, shared in the Daily Herald that he is often asked in winter is “should I get the flu shot?” He answered that his answer varies. Some people need all the protection they can get and others not as much. Truth be told, it is rare that the flu shot actually prevents the flu. Fortunately nature has provided some natural options to the flu vaccine. There is reasonable medical research that some foods, herbs and supplements may be effective in the prevention and treatment of influenza.

Glycyrrhiza lepidota is the name for the American licorice plant. The active ingredient is a group of compounds termed glycyrrhric acids. Licorice stimulates the production of anti-viral compounds called interferons. It also has anti-inflammatory properties so the symptoms of the flu may be blunted. The most interesting aspect of licorice root (at least to me) is that it actually prevents the influenza virus from getting into the cell, reducing the risk of the cell actually becoming infected. Overall licorice root is safe, however the glycyrrhric acids may cause high blood pressure.

Ginseng is an herb that is often used in Oriental medicine. Ginseng is classified as either red or white. Heat white ginseng and it becomes red ginseng. A number of medical studies have shown that red Korean ginseng helps to significantly reduce the symptoms and duration of upper respiratory tract infections. Although not shown specifically to reduce the incidence of influenza, it is historically used during influenza season to maintain health. Red ginseng can cause an increase in blood pressure in those with high blood pressure. Insomnia can be an issue as well as migraines in those who are sensitive to the effects of red ginseng. Read more

Want to Avoid Munching on Unhealthy Foods? Serve Yourself

Having to serve yourself doesn’t curb appetites for healthy foods, the study found. It only stopped people from eating unhealthy food.

“If they’re served by someone else, they can outsource responsibility to someone else,” says Dr. Linda Hagen, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. “But if they serve themselves, they have to accept responsibility and that makes them feel bad.” Read more

What the ancient Greeks can teach us about herbs

 in the Washington Post shared that at a point in the 9th century, someone noticed a problem with all those ancient handwritten texts: The scribes had left their Caps Lock on.
Every character had been rendered in uppercase, or, in the terminology of philologists, majuscule. Suddenly, people who could read found this EXTREMELY ANNOYING and clamored for minuscule script.This shift created a new industry among the quill pushers of the day who would take moldy papyrus works — say, the landmark 1st-century herbal by Dioscorides describing 600 medicinal plants — and render them into manuscripts in the new style.Alain Touwaide, an expert in this field, says this development was an advancement in information technology as momentous as the appearance of digital books in our own time.

Touwaide, with his wife and fellow researcher Emanuela Appetiti, created an organization named the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions 10 years ago whose mission, in part, has been to study the proliferation of manuscripts after this development.

This subject speaks to a deeply important and interesting aspect of garden history: how our forebears relied on a knowledge of herbs (and to a lesser degree, animal products and minerals) to manage maladies and keep themselves healthy.

Years before the institute was formed, Touwaide came to see a problem: Manuscripts were lost or misfiled, and the actual number of copies of a given text was often significantly understated. Now 63, he has haunted dozens of national, university and private libraries over his career in search of missing or hidden manuscripts.

The result is a new book, essentially an inventory of Greek medical manuscripts spanning the Byzantine Empire between the 5th and 15th centuries.

A Census of Greek Medical Manuscripts: From Byzantium to the Renaissance” will not make any bestseller list: It is a list of specific manuscripts that Touwaide and Appetiti, a cultural anthropologist, have tracked down, often by going to the libraries that hold them. One entry alone may have taken them days to pin down, especially if they had to find their way by bus and taxi to visit a monastery on a Greek hilltop somewhere (population: one monk).

The census is an inventory of all known surviving Byzantine medical manuscripts — it lists their titles and locations — and is primarily a tool for other researchers to spread knowledge of horticulture, botany, medicine and literature in the Middle Ages. It took 30 years of concerted effort, Touwaide said, and increases the number of known manuscripts from approximately 1,500 to 2,300, tracked to some 150 locations. Although they were written during the Byzantine Empire, they record texts dating to 5th century B.C.

Among Touwaide and Appetiti’s richest haunts have been the National Library in Paris and the Vatican Library, though Washington has its own riches in such places as the Library of Congress and the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda. The Austrian National Library is extremely proud of having Codex Vindobonensis, the most impressive of the more than 100 manuscript copies of Dioscorides’s seminal work. An early physician, Dioscorides was so good at identifying the therapeutic value of certain plants that his knowledge is still valued today.

This is more than just an exercise in logging historical documents. No two manuscripts of the same text turned out quite the same, and the fascination is in how they differ. Some of the manuscripts were copied by healers who would add their own pharmaceutical notes based on local practice and knowledge.

Comparing the manuscripts, Touwaide could see that the same plant might have different utility based on its location. This is because herbs take on varying chemical properties based on their terroir and because different human populations developed different genetic tolerance or susceptibilities to disease.

The more a given herbal preparation appears between texts, the higher the probability it’s the correct remedy, Touwaide said. The couple have been based in Washington for 17 years but are moving the institute, formerly affiliated with the Smithsonian, to Southern California, where Touwaide now teaches.

Far from quackery, these herbals were lifesavers, and the people who copied the words and illustrations shine through the murkiness of the Dark Ages as heroic figures to Touwaide and Appetiti. “I have admiration for these people but more than that, respect,” Touwaide said. “I’m amazed by what they have done, the exactness of the observations, the accuracy in keeping the information, and all the pain” of copying for long hours by candlelight.

Sometimes they didn’t know the plants firsthand and would wing it. Touwaide likes to show students an image of a cinnamon “tree” that the scribe rendered as a stick of cinnamon with a tuft of leaves on top.

“Alain would show this to students and they would laugh,” Appetiti said, “but then he asked them if they could describe a pepper plant, and they were, of course, lost.”

Touwaide said that in contrast to the learning embodied in these manuscripts, “we live in an age of inflation of information and deflation of knowledge.”

Another lesson from these texts is that there was little or no separation between medicine and diet, a link that is at best tenuous in the West today.

I asked them if they were stranded on a small island, what plants they would extract from antiquity to keep themselves healthy. At the top of the list would be rosemary, oregano, garlic, lavender and onions. But they would also seek out a pomegranate tree. The fruit “has a lot of properties,” Appetiti said.

Touwaide would also want those biblical gifts of frankincense and myrrh, derived from tree gum resins. “They are the antibiotics of history,” he said. “But I would need to find a merchant.”

@adrian_higgins on Twitter

Read more

Healthy food swaps you’ll barely notice

 Alanna Elliott, RD, LDN shared in Edwards-Elmhurst Hospital’s Healthy Driven News that there’s no more comforting food on a winter day than a big helping of creamy mashed potatoes or a plate piled with steaming hot pasta.

Comfort food is a go-to dinner on a cold night. I get that. The only problem is that most comfort food will leave you feeling uncomfortably stuffed full of high-calorie sugar or fat.

Don’t despair! You can still enjoy your favorite foods without as many calories or unhealthy fat. By replacing some of the ingredients with healthier options, you get the same meal with much better nutrition.

Take a look at some of these easy swaps:

  • Cauliflower. Cauliflower is full of fiber and vitamin C, is low in calories and carbs, and tastes very similar to potatoes. It’s a great substitute for mashed potatoes, which are high in carbohydrates and can raise your blood sugars quickly. You could also use mashed cauliflower instead of cream in cream-based soups, sub it for rice, or mash it into pizza crust! When you use mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes and use low-fat milk instead of cream and butter, you save over 150 calories and about 35 grams of carbs per cup.
  • Zoodles. Zucchini is a great source of fiber, B vitamins and vitamin C.  And the fiber in zoodles helps keep you fuller longer and regulates your blood sugars. Creating noodles out of zucchini – “zoodles” – to replace pasta can slash more than 160 calories and 35 grams of carbs per cup. Zoodles can be used instead of noodles in almost any recipe, even lasagna (sliced into long thin strips). A spiralizer tool, available at most large stores or online, easily creates zoodles from veggies.
  • Nonfat plain Greek yogurt. It tastes so much like sour cream, you won’t notice the difference in your taco, holiday dip or soup. What’s even better about this swap is a half cup substitution saves you more than 220 calories, 22 fat grams and 13 saturated fat grams.
  • Unsweetened applesauce (or mashed banana). This swap is all about the calories. You can cut a whopping 900 calories and 109 fat grams per half cup by using unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas in place of olive or canola oil in your baked goods.

Read more

Make 2017 Your Healthiest Year Yet

Research shows that when it comes to the New Year, everyone’s top priority is their HEALTH. Yet, 92% of people will FAIL or give up on their resolutions. That only leaves a mere 8% who actually succeed. Take a moment and think about which percentile you’ve fallen in since the year began…Are you still going strong or have you fallen off the ladder? Do not fear. We are here to help you succeed!! We’ve learned that all it takes is a little bit of accountability and action to be able to maintain your 2017 goals.

Bring a friend or 2 and join us Sat. 1/28 for an exciting seminar, which covers the secrets you need to:

  • Lose a few pounds
  • Improve your diet
  • Boost your energy
  • Jumpstart your health

Our key speakers include Dr. Timothy Weselak, DC, CCWP & Julianne Schager, ACE Personal Trainer. Both are incredibly talented professionals and have extensive health-related backgrounds in order to share with you the most up to date knowledge on the topics of nutrition, exercise, weight loss, and overall health and wellness.

As a free bonus for you, Glen Prairie (well-known for their local natural and organic ingredients) is providing a healthy brunch to enjoy during the seminar!! Yumm.

Looking for a change in 2017? Try eating organic

Child and fresh vegetables

Josh Steckler, from PUSH Fitness, shared that the New Year has arrived, and for many people, it brings with it a new attitude toward diet and exercise. If you’re wondering which approach to take in 2017, don’t forget one of the most natural ways to stay healthy: eating organic.According to the USDA, organic food is produced without: antibiotics, growth hormones, conventional pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.

Organic food does not contain antibiotics, hormones, chemical preservatives, pesticides, or any other added harsh chemicals. The controversial genetically modified organisms (GMO) are not present in 100 percent organic foods either. In other words, organic foods are foods in their natural state — which is the way nature intended food to be eaten.

Eating organic has many health benefits. Because much of our nonorganic food is mass produced, chemicals and additives are used to increase production, including pesticides and growth hormones. These substances eventually end up in our bodies and over time can disrupt our natural metabolic processes and cause toxicity. This could lead to weight gain, food allergies, digestive problems, headaches, and lack of energy. These chemicals were never intended for human consumption. Fortunately, organic foods do not contain any of these substances, so they fuel the body without the negative side effects.

Certain organic foods have been shown to be more nutritious than their nonorganic counterparts. Most organic foods are in their natural state or minimally processed, so this means less ‘filler’ ingredients and more of what your body needs. Organics contain more nutrients with fewer calories, which will leave you more satiated and aid in weight control.

Organic food production also benefits our environment. By eating organic, you are supporting natural farming methods, which minimize damage to our water, soil, air and any animals involved.

So while the benefits of eating organic may seem obvious, the increased cost of organic foods can sometimes scare people away. This is where it comes down to the consumer to make the most sensible choice.

Next to air and water, food is one of the most important substances we consume. Is it really worth cutting corners when it comes to the quality of the food that fuels your body? Many of our clients have realized that once they evaluate how they are spending their grocery money and cut out the unnecessary items, their grocery bill really isn’t much higher with organic foods.

So if you’re ready to make a positive change, give organic a try. Focusing more on the types of calories you’re eating is just as important as the number of calories. Take a look at the big picture and you’ll be on your way to a healthy year.

For more exercise and nutrition tips check out our blog at PushFitnessTraining.com as well as links to our social media resources.

• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.

Read more