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Archive for Nutrition

May
20

How healthy is your gut?

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Do you suffer from bloating, constipation, diarrhea or a lack of regularity?

Are you always hungry and cannot seem to control your appetite or maintain a healthy weight?

If so, you too are like many others who may be suffering from an unhealthy gut.

Now you may be wondering, what is all the talk about and why is there so much conversation about the gut?

The answer is simple; a healthy gut and GI tract may be the two secret keys to better health.

We see it on television, read it in magazines (especially at the supermarket), hear it on the radio, on podcasts and watch it on YouTube videos. Gut health is everywhere. Every health ambassador on every platform, preaching the importance of the health and wellbeing of the intestinal tract and the micro flora found within it.

The goal of the “healthy gut” is to get the entire gut flora back in “wack”, as scientific as that sounds. “Healthy gut” biome is great for nutrient absorption and toxic elimination. Science is starting to recognize that a unhealthy gut can cause symptoms that may cause stomach bloating, skin issues, obesity and even poor sleep.

A “healthy gut” can develop by eating more fermented foods and good bacteria. There are several foods that support the human microbiome, supply the right bacteria and then help to promote the “healthy gut”. These foods include both prebiotics and probiotics that initiate and maintain the healthiest environment inside one’s gut.

Prebiotics initiate and feed the gut’s micro flora. They are essential nutrients that nourish and grow the signals that initiate the healthiest responses from the immune and endocrine systems. Prebiotics are the source that nourishes and nurtures the growth of probiotics in the microbiome. Prebiotics can establish an environment for growth in the large intestinal tract with the most active, healthy microbiome that produces the signals for satiety, blood glucose regulation, immune system support, and gastric emptying regularity.

Foods that encourage a healthy gut are dairy free yogurt, yogurt and kefir. These foods contain strains of probiotics or good bacteria that are beneficial and that help repair the gut and possibly decrease some symptoms of “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” Yogurt has three strains of good bacteria while kefir has ten strains of the active bacteria.

Garlic and onions are prebiotics that help feed the healthy bacteria that already exists in the gut. High fiber food choices like lentils and green beans improve the gut. Using coconut oil, a medium chain fatty acid can also produce a positive effect on the human micro biome.

Lastly, a source of both prebiotic and probiotic strength for wellness of the gut environment is found in chocolate. Of course, as with all food choices moderation is a key when adding this particular food to the individual’s meal plan.

Jan
31

Heart Smart Exercise & Eating Tips

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IMG_3932LET’S GET MOVING!
Regular exercise and eating habits are key to having a healthy heart and a great quality of life. For those of us who struggle to eat well and stay active, here are a few tips:
Exercise Tips
Tip #1: Commit to exercising or participating in a physical activity on a regular basis. The same exercise plan to abate diabetes can keep your heart healthy.
Tip #2: Try to get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Exercise or physical activity can be broken into three types: cardio or endurance, resistance or strength building, flexibility or functional.
Healthy Eating Tips
Tip #1: Use monounsaturated fats like olive oil or canola oil in the cooking process.
Tip #2: When preparing food, bake, broil, stew or grill rather than fry.
Tip #3: Choose lean meats rather than fatty meats. A choice that allows one to cut the fat away can still be an option. A piece of meat that has the fat marbled or streaked through it may not be as healthy.
Tip #4: Eat fish two to three times weekly.
Tip #5: Reduce the consumption of salty foods. Large intakes of sodium or salt can affect blood pressure.
Tip #6: Become an expert label reader. Both the ingredient list and the nutrition facts section can identify the amount of sodium that is in the food. Remember that sodium hides in processed food products.
Overall, let’s work hard to eat better and increase our mobility! We can do it!
All exercise or physical activity plans need to be discussed with one’s physician before the initiation of the program.
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Nov
29

Healthy Holiday Eating

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Holidays do not have to disrupt your diabetes control.

 

TisTheSeason

When families gather, food is always involved—especially during the holidays. While it may be a challenge to maintain good blood sugar control during this time, it can be done!

When attending a party, try to eat something—at least a snack—before going. That way you won’t be as tempted or hungry to over do it on high calorie foods that you will likely be faced with. Examples of healthy snacks to eat before a party include 2% string cheese, yogurt or a piece of fruit.

Bring a healthy food item with you to the party so that you know there will be something good for you to eat there. A fruit tray for instance would be a better alternative than a tray of brownies. Or cut up raw vegetables with a low fat dip instead of chips and dip. Sit in a room different from where the food is being served. Gather and talk with friends away from the food so you won’t be as likely to munch as you’re catching up with friends or family.

Think before you drink! During the holidays, alcohol is often mixed with sugary beverages in a punch which can increase blood sugar. The alcohol may also lessen your desire and ability to make good food choices.

Up the exercise! We know we will be faced with more food and probably eat more food during holiday season. Off set this increase in food with an increase in exercise. Make it a point to exercise more often—especially on the days you will be attending a party. While this won’t cancel out the food, it will certainly help with blood sugar control and weight maintenance.

Lastly, shift your focus from weight loss to weight maintenance. Be realistic with yourself and you will feel more in control if you just try to get through the holidays without gaining weight.

Categories : Holidays, Nutrition
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Dec
18

Holiday season may host seasonal depression

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The holiday season may help bring attention to a rarely-discussed diabetes symptom: depression. Whether emphasized by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or just noticed in contrast to the festive season, depression may be one sign of diabetes or a flag that one’s diabetes is not in good control.

The American Diabetes Association explains that people with diabetes are at a greater risk to depression and the complications of poorly controlled blood sugars are very similar to the symptoms of depression.

Spotting depression in yourself or someone you love is an important step to countering depressions effects. The signs include:

  • Loss of pleasure: You no longer take interest in doing things you used to enjoy.
  • Change in sleep patterns: You have trouble falling asleep, you wake often during the night, or you want to sleep more than usual, including during the day.
  • Early to rise: You wake up earlier than usual and cannot to get back to sleep.
  • Change in appetite: You eat more or less than you used to, resulting in a quick weight gain or weight loss.
  • Trouble concentrating: You can’t watch a TV program or read an article because other thoughts or feelings get in the way.
  • Loss of energy: You feel tired all the time.
  • Nervousness: You always feel so anxious you can’t sit still.
  • Guilt: You feel you “never do anything right” and worry that you are a burden to others.
  • Morning sadness: You feel worse in the morning than you do the rest of the day.
  • Suicidal thoughts: You feel you want to die or are thinking about ways to hurt yourself.

You should contact your doctor if you see any three of these signs. Taking action can affect both your mental and physical well-being.

Visit the ADA for more on the link between diabetes and depression.

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Dec
18

Plan for a safe, healthy holiday party season

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blog_art_holiday
Holidays can be hard when you are trying to handle your diabetes. When family and friends gather, food is often involved. Routines are often disregarded for parties, shopping, cooking and decorating. Learning how to choose the best foods for you can be stressful.

Keep in mind that New Years and Christmas are days to relax and celebrate. Treat yourself to your favorite stuffing or homemade pie on these days.  Keep these treats to the holidays. You will then avoid turning this time into a whole season of blood sugar trouble.

These tips can help you stay on track during the holidays:

  • Drink water and eat a snack before you go to parties. You won’t make choices when hungry.
  • Be sure to eat some food when drinking alcohol. This will help prevent low blood sugar.
  • Help out the host. If you are going to a party, call first and ask if you can bring a dish. Now, you will know there will be food that fits into your needs.
  • Look for hidden carbohydrates. Gravies, soups, dips and salads can have flour, sugar, potatoes, corn and bread. Remember to count these foods with your allowed carbohydrates per meal.
  • Don’t forget about free foods such as non-starchy vegetables. These foods fill you up, but will not affect your blood sugar. Chicken, turkey and cheese are often on party trays. These are not free foods so it is important to be aware of portion size and servings.
  • Work in exercise. Just a 15-minute walk before or after a holiday party can help to keep your blood sugar in control when you are celebrating.

Enjoy your holidays. Make good choices to keep your blood sugar in control. This will allow you to have many more healthy and happy holidays.

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Aug
15

Healthy eating key piece of treatment plan

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food_bagEating a balanced diet means your diet contains all the necessary food groups including carbohydrates (carbs), proteins and fats.

Carbohydrates, when broken down, turn into sugar. Too many carbs at one time can cause your blood sugar to go too high. The amount of carbs that you should eat at one meal depends on the individual. Contact a diabetes educator or a dietician for a customized meal plan.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a simple principle that explains all carbohydrates are created equal: A carb is a carb is a carb! It is important to understand that sucrose (table sugar) and other sugars do not create a more harmful effect on blood sugar and they are not absorbed more rapidly than starches. The totalamount of carbohydrates eaten will have more of an effect on blood sugar levels than the source of the carbohydrate.

A healthy eating regimen doesn’t just help control blood sugar. It also can have a positive effect on other conditions like obesity, hypertension and heart disease.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific nutrition needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email education@diabetesms.com.

Apr
08

Diabetes Superfoods can come to the rescue

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healthyfood

Diabetes involves metabolism, but this doesn’t mean food is the enemy of people living with diabetes. Good food is in your prescription for health and and proper nutrition plays a role in getting and maintaining blood sugar control.

Some foods are better than others in helping to reach diabetes control. The American Diabetes Association has identified the top 10 diabetes superfoods in an effort to encourage individual steps for staying healthy.  These foods have glycemic impact and are rich in the key nutrients we often miss out on in our current eating habits. Those key nutrients include calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, C and E.

Here are your 10 Diabetes Superfoods

  • Beans
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Citrus Fruit
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts
  • Fat-free Milk and Yogurt

strawberries-and-yogurt-sauceCheck out these easy-to-follow recipes for ideas on using the Diabetes Superfoods

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers accredited diabetes education services that can make managing diabetes and other conditions an easier task. For more information on care management needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at education@diabetesms.com.

Visit the ADA for a complete discussion on 10 Diabetes Superfoods

Apr
02

Fresh produce has place in diabetes toolkit

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longvegs
Fruits and vegetables are a valuable part of a healthy diet. The standard for how much produce should be on your plate may be going up again. A study release this week encourages seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day instead of five.

The United Kingdom researchers found that people who eat up to seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day can cut their risk of preventable death by 42 percent. They also concluded and that vegetables may be more important than fruit to overall health.

The findings:

  • The participants ate an average of 3.8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Older, non-smoking women tended to eat more than other demographic groups. Produce consumption was also linked to participants’ body mass indexes; those who ate more fruit and vegetables tended to have a lower BMI.
  • The researchers found that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can be protective against cancer, heart disease and all other causes of death. Eating at least seven servings was best, but each serving increase was associated with a lower risk of death from preventative conditions.

This is also good news for people living with diabetes. One can control blood sugar and take advance of vegetables and fruit. The American Diabetes Association encourages people with diabetes to focus on non-starchy vegetables and don’t hold back.

Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber. Fiber is the part of produce that is hard to digest. Foods high in fiber take longer to digest. This gives a slower effect on blood glucose.

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The ADA Recommendations:

  • The best choices are fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and vegetable juices without added sodium
  • If using canned or frozen vegetables, look for ones that say low sodium or no salt added on the label.
  • As a general rule, frozen or canned vegetables in sauces are higher in both fat and sodium.
  • If using canned vegetables with sodium, drain the vegetables and rinse with water. Then cook the rinsed vegetables in fresh water. This will cut back on how much sodium is left on the vegetables.

For more, visit:

CNN: Study: Eat 7 servings of fruit, veggies daily
ADA:  Making healthy food choices: Non-starch vegetables

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Dec
24

Make a holiday meal game plan

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bigstock-Christmas-Time-500From the desk of Ellen Smith RD, LDN
Diabetes Management & Supplies

Holidays can be hard when you are trying to handle your diabetes. When family and friends gather, food is often involved. Routines are often disregarded for parties, shopping, cooking and decorating. Learning how to choose the best foods for you can be stressful.

Keep in mind that Thanksgiving and Christmas are days to relax and celebrate. Treat yourself to your favorite stuffing or homemade pie on these days.  Keep these treats to Thanksgiving and Christmas. You will then avoid turning this time into a whole season of blood sugar trouble.

These tips can help you stay on track during the holidays:

  • Drink water and eat a snack before you go to parties. You won’t make choices when hungry.
  • Be sure to eat some food when drinking alcohol. This will help prevent low blood sugar.
  • Help out the host. If you are going to a party, call first and ask if you can bring a dish. Now, you will know there will be food that fits into your needs.
  • Look for hidden carbohydrates. Gravies, soups, dips and salads can have flour, sugar, potatoes, corn and bread. Remember to count these foods with your allowed carbohydrates per meal.
  • Don’t forget about free foods. Chicken, turkey, cheese and non-starchy vegetables are great. These foods fill you up, but will not affect your blood sugar.
  • Work in exercise. Just a 15-minute walk before or after a holiday party can help to keep your blood sugar in control when you are celebrating.

Enjoy your holidays. Make good choices to keep your blood sugar in control. This will allow you to have many more healthy and happy holidays.

 

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Nov
12

Turkey leftovers give diabetes-friendly options

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gif_turkey002PR_cAs we approach the holidays and observe Diabetes Awareness Month, Chef John Wright offers some suggestions on using turkey leftovers and ways to incorporate turkey into your eating plan.

Meals built around turkey can be more than just holiday favorites. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein. It is cheap source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. A serving of turkey is a 2 to 3-ounce cooked portion. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings from the meat group each day.

The following portions represent 100 grams, approximately 3 1/2 ounces, of sliced meat from a whole roasted turkey. A 3 1/2-ounce portion of turkey is about the size and thickness of a new deck of cards. The fat and calorie content varies because white meat has less fat and fewer calories than dark meat and skin.

As you ponder menu items for your leftover holiday bird, consider these recipes from Chef Wright:

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Ordering Supplies and Equipment

A diabetes treatment plan is very important. Make sure you know how things should work. Carefully following any medication orders and instructions is vital to your plan's success. Make sure you don't run out of supplies just as you refill prescriptions so you don't run out of medication.

Here are some ways you can let us help you reorder supplies:

At Diabetes Management & Supplies, we value the part we play on your treatment plan team and realize that winning is promoting good health.