Tag Archives: Diabetes

Healthy Aging Support for Men over 40

HealthyAgingMenJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

It happens to all of us. We wake up one morning and are surprised to find ourselves suddenly in midlife when we feel no different than we felt yesterday. Right about the time we reach age 40, we may begin to realize that we are not invincible, and that we need to take steps to protect our longevity and long term health. While we may look forward to many active years ahead, how we live now will determine how we live in later life. Practicing prevention with a healthy lifestyle, while we are young, will result in healthier years ahead. It will also reduce the risk of developing preventable chronic diseases and gender specific health issues associated with aging. As well, a dismissive attitude towards prevention can have dire consequences in the long term. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the top health concerns for aging men are prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, erectile dysfunction, weight management, diabetes and stroke.

Men’s protein needs are proportionally greater than women’s, especially when combined with regular physical activity. Physically active men who wish to maintain lean muscle mass as they grow older require more protein than sedentary men. As metabolic rates decrease with age, good quality protein along with vitamins and minerals help to maintain both lean muscle mass and energy levels. Good nutrition is needed to maintain immune function and overall health, as well as to protect muscle, bone, prostate, cardiac and vision health. Antioxidant vitamins that help prevent oxidative damage also become more important with aging. Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain strong and healthy bones. Fiber keeps the gastrointestinal tract running smoothly and helps to reduce cholesterol and maintain weight.

Cardiovascular health – The American Heart Association indicates that one in three adult men have some form of cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and homocysteine levels begin to creep up with aging, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke. Adult men should monitor their cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as high levels are known contributors to heart disease, and high blood pressure is common in younger males. Essential nutrients for heart health include omega-3 fatty acids for decreased inflammation, and maintenance of healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels; folate and vitamin B6 for maintenance of healthy homocysteine levels; CoQ10 for maintenance of cellular energy; healthy fats for reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels; polyphenols, to aid relaxation of blood vessels and lower blood pressure; and antioxidants such as resveratrol, to combat oxidative stress and reduce free radicals.

Weight management – As we age, metabolism slows and exercise becomes increasingly important. Eating for health and controlling portion sizes are critical to maintaining a healthy weight. A poor diet that includes salty and highly processed foods contributes to hypertension, high blood sugar and ultimately, obesity, poor health and a host of age related chronic illnesses. Healthy foods for weight management include eggs, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, fish, lean proteins, beans and legumes, and healthy fats such as avocado.

Diabetes – Along with the current obesity epidemic, type 2 diabetes is a significant health concern for older men. Blood glucose levels should be monitored, as blood sugar can frequently be maintained or lowered with a healthy diet and lifestyle, often warding off pre-diabetes, diabetes and insulin dependency. The American Diabetes Association recommends that those eating a largely plant based diet should be sure to get sufficient amounts of vitamin B12, omega–3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D and iron. For diabetes prevention, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recommends exercising to reach and maintain normal weight, following a healthy nutritious, low glycemic index diet, not smoking and limiting alcohol.

Eye health – Changes in vision and hearing loss are relatively common for people in their 40’s. Many will typically notice problems with close range vision especially in low light. Some may experience floaters or dry eye syndrome. Good nutrition and eye friendly nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C and E, zinc and essential fatty acids support and preserve long term vision health, and help to reduce the risk of developing age related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts.

Prostate health – The majority of American men develop benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as an enlarged prostate. A prostate-healthy, largely plant based diet that includes legumes, garlic, onions and flax seeds, plus other modifiable lifestyle factors, including regular physical activity, can prevent or positively influence progression of the disease. As obesity is a risk factor for developing BPH, a diet high in vegetables, fruits, fiber and nutrients can help ward off weight gain, thereby supporting prostate health. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, red grapefruits, papaya and other red fruits and vegetables, helps to lower the blood levels of antigen, a protein connected to prostate inflammation and BPH.

Stress management – Chronic stress is a known high risk factor for coronary disease. Participation in regular exercise, healthy amounts of restorative sleep and relaxation techniques reduce stress and help allay future health concerns. Healthy eating is crucial to provide immune and energy support during times of increased stress. Whole, unprocessed foods that contain fiber and phytonutrients boost immune function and help maintain overall health. As stress creates a greater physiological demand for energy, oxygen, and circulation, a daily vitamin and mineral supplement can provide micronutrient support. Supplements including antioxidants, B vitamins and omega-3 fats are particularly important for those under stress.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements for men’s health support:

Every Man's One Daily by New ChapterEvery Man’s Once Daily by New Chapter – This whole food complexed multivitamin is specifically formulated to meet the needs of active men and provide support for immune function, energy production and cardiac health. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Trilogy Men by Vibrant HealthTrilogy Men by Vibrant Health – This unique product supplies a daily power pack that includes a 100% organic plant based multivitamin, mercury free EPA and DHA fish oil, as well as a 12 strain probiotic. It provides 20 billion CFU of helpful microorganisms in support of healthy blood sugar levels, cardiac health, energy production and immune and overall health. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Al's Formula (Basic Nutrients For Men Over 40) (VMM) by Thorne ResearchAl’s Formula Basic Nutrients for Men over 40 –  This comprehensive formula, specifically designed to meet men’s nutritional needs, provides prostate support, promotes healthy cardiovascular function and supplies all essential nutrients for overall health. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

Enzyme Nutrition Multi-Vitamin for Men by EnzymedicaEnzyme Nutrition Multi-Vitamin for Men by Enzymedica – This product provides 100% whole food and enzyme activated nutrients that enhance the utilization of vitamins and minerals. The formula includes guaranteed potency probiotics, nutrient rich superfoods and daily botanicals in order to support increased energy and stamina, heart health, and immune function and to promote longevity. Gluten, soy and dairy fee, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

MultiMedica for Men by NuMedicaMultiMedica for Men by NuMedica – This comprehensive multivitamin, mineral, botanical and amino acid formula is designed to meet the unique nutritional requirements of men. This product provides overall wellness support and antioxidant protection, along with prostate, liver and adrenal supportive nutrients. Gluten and dairy free.

 

Homocysteine Factors by Pure EncapsulationsHomocysteine Factors by Pure Encapsulations – This high quality product provides activated vitamin B6 and bioavailable folate in support of the maintenance of healthy homocysteine levels. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

 

References:
Nutrition for Older Men. http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/healthy-aging/nutrition-for-older-men
Top Health Concerns for Men and Women. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2012/03/top-health-concerns-for-men-women/
10 Top Health Risks for Men. http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/top-10-health-risks-for-men#2
Healthy aging – http://www.healthcommunities.com/healthy-aging/healthy-living-tips-40s.shtml
Diet and Nutrition – http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition?sso=y
Important Nutrients for Stress Management. http://paleoleap.com/important-nutrients-stress-management/
10 Essential Nutrients for Heart Health. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7757/10-essential-nutrients-for-heart-health.html
Key Nutrients – http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/meal-planning-for-vegetarians/nutirents-vegetarians.html
Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/

 

Know Your Dietary Fats

appleBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Dietary fat is often seen as the villain when it comes to obesity and associated health conditions, such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes.  However, dietary fats along with protein and carbohydrates are a necessary part of a healthy diet.  Fats are an indispensible source of the essential fatty acids that are needed for proper brain development and function, inflammation control, and the formation of healthy cell membranes.  Healthy fats provide a concentrated energy source for most of our cellular and life functions.  Fats aid in the transport of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K, assist in the production of hormones, maintain healthy skin and hair, and protect organs.  With 9 calories of energy in every gram, fat is the most powerful food energy source.  By contrast, proteins and carbohydrates provide 4 calories of energy in every gram. 

Dietary fat and cholesterol are not one and the same.  As a vital part of the body’s chemistry,  cholesterol is used in the production of steroid hormones that are necessary for normal development and functioning.   Cholesterol is also involved in the production of cortisol which helps regulate blood sugar levels, is used to make the bile that aids in the digestion and absorption of dietary fat, and provides immune system support.  Your body has the ability to manufacture all the cholesterol it needs for proper function. 

When consumed in excess, dietary cholesterol and animal fats affect the body’s cholesterol production.  A diet high in animal fats will cause a slowdown in the production of cholesterol, whereas a diet with foods from plant sources will cause the body to manufacture cholesterol to meet its needs.  Most Americans consume too much dietary fat and cholesterol, mainly from animal fat and prepackaged and processed foods.  Elevated blood cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.  Types of dietary fats include:

  • Lipids –  The scientific term referring to naturally occurring molecules that include fats, cholesterol and triglycerides.  Lipids are a structural component of cell membranes, and are involved in energy storage and signaling. 
  • Triglycerides – The main form of fat found in the diet and stored in the body.  Triglycerides play an important role in metabolism as energy sources and transporters of dietary fats. 

The “bad” fats:

  • Saturated fats –  Normally solid at room temperature, most saturated fats are found in animal products including meat and dairy products, and in some tropical plant oils such as coconut and palm oil. Saturated fats raise total cholesterol levels. 
  • Hydrogenated fats – These unsaturated fats are processed to become solid at room temperature.  Packaged and processed foods such as cookies, crackers and margarine contain hydrogenated fats.  Hydrogenated fats can also raise total cholesterol levels. 
  • Trans fatty acids –  Small amounts of trans fatty acids are found naturally occurring in meat and dairy products.  Artificial trans fats are formed during hydrogenation, where hydrogen is added to liquid oil, turning it into a solid fat.  This process extends shelf life, increases stability and provides texture.  These fats can be found in partially hydrogenated margarines, white bread, fast foods and snack foods.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting this type of dietary fat to less than 1% of your total daily caloric intake which translates to approximately 2 grams.  Trans fatty acids tend to raise total cholesterol levels. 

The “good” fats:

  • Monounsaturated Fats – Liquid at room temperature, monounsaturated fats are primarily found in plant oils and include olive, canola and peanut oil.  Fish and nuts are another good dietary source.  Monounsaturated fats lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. 
  • Polyunsaturated fats – Liquid at room temperature, sources include many common vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, sesame and sunflower oils, plus avocados, olives and walnuts.  Polyunsaturated fats lower total cholesterol levels. 
  • Essential fatty acids –  Omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and EPA are found in high-fat cold water fish, as well as nuts and seeds and fortified eggs.  Omega-6 fatty acids, or LA, can be found in soybean, corn, and safflower oils.  Essential fatty acids are not made by the body and must be obtained through the diet.  Essential fatty acids lower triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and the Institute of Medicine recommend that consumption of hydrogenated and trans fats be kept to a minimum.  Consumption of trans fats raises LDL, the bad cholesterol, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.  Major contributors to trans fat intake include fried foods, microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, cake, cookies, margarines, prepared cake frosting and coffee creamers. 

To reduce trans fats in the diet:

  • Read nutrition labels.  Choose products with 0 grams of trans fat.  Products containing less than 0.5 grams of trans fats can be labeled as trans fat free.  In order to avoid all trans fat, check the ingredient labels for any partially hydrogenated oil. 
  • Check labels for cholesterol content.  Look for foods with 5% or less of the Daily Value.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg.
  • Limit total fat intake to less than 25 – 35% of your total daily calories.  Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7% and trans fats to less than 1% of daily caloric intake.  A minimum of 10% of daily calories should come from fats.  Limit your intake to less than 78 grams of fat per day and choose healthy unsaturated fats. 
  • Limit fried fast foods which contain both saturated fat and trans fat. 
  • Choose monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  The bulk of your fat intake should come from fish, nuts, seeds and naturally occurring non-hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and low fat dairy.  Choose lean meats and include cold water fish such as salmon or halibut several times a week. 

The typical American diet contains roughly 35 – 40% fat.  This dietary fat consumption plays a significant role in the obesity epidemic.  Choosing healthier types of dietary fats is one of the most important factors to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.   Reducing the total fat content of your diet will help control your weight and that alone may help you live a longer and healthier life. 

BioLipotrol by BioGenesis Nutraceuticals –  An all natural nutraceutical designed to assist the body in regulating the production and metabolism of HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  Effective and well-tolerated forms of niacin are combined with herbal extracts for a complete and natural option for blood lipid support. 

Cholestar (K-27) by Apex Energetics –  This scientifically designed formula includes natural compounds that maintain levels of cholesterol, including LDL, triglycerides, and HDL, within  the normal range for healthy individuals. The key ingredients are red yeast rice extract, inositol hexanicotinate, and garlic extract.

Cholesterzyme Formula by Professional Solutions –  This product supports healthy cholesterol levels and provides liver support for cholesterol production. 

Inflammation Part I: Causes and Effects

inflamationBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

The word inflammation comes from the Latin “inflammo,” meaning “I set alight, I ignite.” Acute inflammation is a biological immune response to harmful stimuli such as pathogens, damaged cells, irritants or injuries.  It is the body’s attempt at self-protection and a basic survival instinct.  When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, the body will attempt to remove the stimuli and initiate the healing process.  Without acute inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal and survival would be compromised. 

The familiar signs of acute or normal inflammation are pain, redness, swelling, heat and loss of function.  These are signals that your immune system has been activated.  Inflammation actually begins when pro-inflammatory hormones send out a call for white blood cells to clear out an infection or damaged tissue.  Equally powerful anti-inflammatory compounds move in to begin the healing process once the threat is neutralized.  Acute inflammation that ebbs and flows when needed indicates a well-balanced immune system.  Acute inflammation has an immediate onset, is of short-lived duration and has a definitive resolution or outcome.  It’s when the symptoms of inflammation don’t recede that troubling chronic inflammation begins. This type of inflammation is a key cause or factor in almost all chronic degenerative and lifestyle-caused diseases. 

Chronic inflammation differs from acute inflammation in that it can involve persistent foreign bodies, a persistent infection, a non-degradable pathogen that can cause persistent inflammation, or an overactive immune system response.  These can kick the immune system into high gear lasting from several months or even years.  The outcomes of chronic inflammation can be the destruction of the tissue, thickening and scarring of connective tissue, and death of cells or tissues. 

Diseases and conditions associated with chronic inflammation include asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and chronic hepatitis.  Chronic or long-term inflammation can result from:

  • Failure to eliminate whatever was causing the acute inflammation.
  • An autoimmune response where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
  • A chronic irritant of low intensity that persists.
  • Dysbiosis, an imbalance of bacteria or fungi in the gastrointestinal tract. 
  • Stress.  Constant psychological, emotional or physical stress raises cortisol levels, creating inflammation.
  • Environmental toxins.  Pollutants and toxic metals contribute to inflammation.
  • Diet and lifestyle.  Too much fat, sugar and processed foods, obesity, inactivity and poor sleep quality can all increase inflammation. 

Chronic internal inflammation can remain undetected as there are no visible symptoms such as pain and swelling.  Results of chronic inflammation may include:

Low grade inflammation is a factor in most health issues.  Studies show that the risk of heart disease and cancer are modifiable by our lifestyle choices which includes the foods we choose to eat each day. With every bite we take, we’re either balancing the pro- or anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, or tipping the scale to one end. 

Many common foods in the Standard North American Diet can cause or exacerbate inflammation in the body.   Foods known to cause inflammation include:

  • Fast foods.  Processed, packaged and prepared foods top the list of inflammatory foods due to harmful oils, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and food additives. 
  • Sugar.  Excessive sugar intake is linked to increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. 
  • Common vegetable cooking oils.  Common vegetable cooking oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids and dismally low in omega-3 fats.  A diet consisting of a highly imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation and breeds inflammatory diseases like heart disease and cancer.
  • Trans fats.  Trans fats increase levels of bad cholesterol while lowering levels of good cholesterol.  They have also been found to promote inflammation, obesity and resistance to insulin, laying the groundwork for degenerative illnesses to take place.
  • Dairy products.  As much as 60% of the world’s population cannot digest milk.  Milk is also a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses, such as stomach distress, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, acne, hives and breathing difficulties in susceptible people.
  • Feedlot-raised meats.  Commercially produced meats are fed with grains like soy beans and corn, a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.
  • Processed meats.  Processed meat includes animal products that have been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.  Compounds in meats can cause an immune response that may trigger a chronic low-grade inflammatory response which has been linked to cancer and heart disease. 
  • Alcohol.  Regular high consumption of alcohol has been known to cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, larynx and liver. Over time, the chronic inflammation promotes tumor growth and gives rise to cancer at the sites of repeated irritation.
  • Refined grains.  Refined grains are devoid of fiber and vitamins and full of empty calories.  Refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed whole grains.  Consistently consumed, they can hasten the onset of degenerative diseases such as cancer, coronary disease and diabetes. 
  • Artificial food additives.  Artificial food additives such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate can trigger inflammatory responses in people already suffering from inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Food allergies.  Repeated long-term exposure to foods that irritate can cause inflammation and lead to chronic disease.

It’s become increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses.  “Cooling the fires of hidden inflammation may be the most important thing you can do for your long-term health and well-being,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, editor in chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 

Up next:  Part II: Reducing inflammation with supplements, diet and lifestyle changes.