Salt, Sugar, Fat, Alcohol

Know your numbers, improve your health.

How well do you know: Salt, Sugar, Fat and Alcohol?
All are tasty! Consumption of Salt, Sugar & Alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation.  All three can bring satisfaction and too much can have a negative effect on an individual, promoting health problems.

Salt will lead to hypertension. Reduce your risk of high blood pressure, look for salt that is hidden in: can foods, soy sauce, chicken and meats (injected with saline water), salad dressing, cheese, fast foods, and prepared frozen foods.  Daily recommendation of sodium  consumption is no more than 2.3 grams per day (1/2 teaspoon) and 1.5 grams for those over 51 years old.

Sodium levels reflected in a blood draw should be 135-145 mEq/L. Increased levels are linked to dehydration or renal (kidney) disease. Decreased levels are indicative of heart failure or edema. An individual that suffers from hypertension is strongly encouraged to follow the DASH Diet, designed to promote a low sodium diet and promotes overall wellness.

Sugar as we know and enjoy it! What other forms of sugar do you consume?

Sugar comes in many forms. A few common names are: sucrose (white), fructose (fruits and veggies), lactose (milk) and glucose (fuel for  our body’s energy). Studies of how sugar impacts both individuals and society are being conducted. For now, (within the context of healthy eating) studies show that sugar does not raise blood glucose any more quickly than do other starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, or pasta. Keep in mind, it is ones best interest to consume fruit, vegetable and grain carbohydrates as the element of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) will stabilize blood glucose levels by ridding the body of what is not important.

  • Fasting glucose normal levels 70-99 mg/dl.
  • Pre-diabetes 100-125 mg/dl.
  • Diabetes  >125 mg/dl.
  • Numbers that are over 125 mg/dl will prompt your doctor to ask you to return on a different day to draw blood a second time to better regulate the glucose levels.
  • Talk with your Doctor, Dietitian, or Diabetes Educator about obtaining optimal glucose levels by following  a balanced meal plan
Oil is a healthy fat that keeps the body well lubricated.

Oil is a healthy fat that keeps the body well lubricated.

Fats, when possible, should be consumed in liquid (unsaturated) form at room temperature. Olive Oil is an example of a healthy fat and lubricant for veins, arteries and organs. The presence of fat assists fat soluble vitamins with digestion and are stored in the liver. 3-4 tablespoons a day will keep the body healthy.

The Meditarranean Diet is an easy lifestyle to follow and allows for an individual to enjoy a wide variety of foods.

Reduced amounts of meats should be consumed 3 times a week, 4 ounces/day. Fish is light, easy to digest and contributes to raising healthy (HDL) cholesterol and lowering lousy (LDL) cholesterol. Enjoy fish 4 times a week! Solid fats (saturated) like cheese and butter should be consumed in lesser amounts of 1 ounce a day for cheese and 2 eight ounce glasses of 1% milk of choice (almond, cow or soy).

Ideal Cholesterol & Triglyceride Numbers
HDL cholesterol 40-60 mg/dl.
LDL cholesterol <100-129 mg/dl
Triglycerides <150 mg/dl

Wine in moderation is good for the body.

Wine in moderation is good for the body.

Alcohol
Alcohol can make your blood sugar levels fall too low and put you at risk of hypoglycemia, so people with diabetes are advised to drink alcohol with a meal or snack and not by itself.
Alcoholic beverages and drink mixers contain sugar and carbohydrates, so they must be figured into your overall meal plan. Your body will burn the alcohol as a source of fuel instead of burning fat.
If you use insulin, limit alcohol to two drinks per day.  Consume alcoholic drinks only with a meal or snack, and do not reduce your usual amount of carbohydrate.

Alcoholism is determined through a blood draw. A quick look at potassium levels maybe an indication of kidney or heart problems. Lower levels or potassium  is also a clue to a problem with alcoholism.  Potassium levels should be 3.6-5 mEq/L.

All our favorite vices can be included in our daily diet. Done in moderation, we can benefit from the joy of having them, but excessive consumption can damage our organs. Monitor your blood draw by requesting a copy of your blood results and know your numbers to stay healthy.

Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

References
Sugar and Diabetes  http://www.bddiabetes.com/us/main.aspx?cat=1&id=274
Fiber stabilizes blood glucose http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15173415
Reference Range for Blood Draw http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/features/ref-ranges/

Kidney Disease Low Phosphorus Diet

We are all provided with two equal fist sized organs, found in our lower back on either side of the spine just above the waist called Kidneys. Renal physiology is the study of kidney function, while nephrology is a medical specialty that focuses on kidney disease.

In brief, the kidneys perform multiple functions to sustain the life of the body, cleanse the body by removing waste and excess fluid through urine, provide a balance of water, salt, potassium, phosphorus and produce an active form of Vitamin D.  Multiple hormones and enzymes are produced in the kidneys and released into the body affecting the function of other organs, signaling red blood cell production, regulating blood pressure (Renin) and calcium metabolism.

The degradation of the kidneys can be influenced by a variety of factors. Having regular check-ups is key to kidney health. Do not miss doctor appointments if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic urinary tract infection, bladder issues, chronic lower back pain. Any of all of these factors should be monitored an communicated in a timely manner.

   When kidneys begin to function improperly an individual may have any, or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness, loss of energy, sleep problems, any change in output or color of urine, decreased mental awareness, muscle twitches or cramps, hiccups, swelling of feet or ankles, persistent itching, chest pains, shortness of breath, high blood pressure. Symptoms should be discussed with your Doctor. Early detection of kidney disease can be addressed, so that the health of the kidneys can be sustained.

A diet low in phosphorus, sodium and balanced protein is critical when addressing kidney disease. Listed below are foods allowed for patients facing kidney issues taken from DaVita who specializes in Renal Disease.  Four important points should be reviewed with your Doctor or Dietitian.

  • Foods Low in Phosphorus (less than 110 mg per serving)
  • Consume 800-1000 mg of phosphorous per day.
  • Portion Size is critical to staying in range of low phosphorus.
  • (A normal phosphorus blood level is 3.5 to 5.5 mg/dL)
Additional information on the kidneys can be reviewed at The National Kidney Foundation. Learn more about Renal Health, disease and locate professionals that can answer your questions.
By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio
References
The National Kidney Foundation http://www.kidney.org/index.cfm
DaVita http://www.davita.com/
Webmd http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-kidney-disease-basic-information
Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kidney-failure/DS00682

LOW PHOSPHORUS FOOD SERVINGS & mg/100g

Low-phosphorus meat and poultry choices
Fresh or frozen red meats without additives or enhancements are better choices (be sure to check ingredient labels; even fresh chicken and pork may be injected with phosphates and sodium) for a kidney diet.

** Choose meats without breading, marinades or sauce. On average, fresh meat contains 65 mg of phosphorus per ounce and 7 grams of protein per ounce. Check with your Doctor or Dietitian on serving size per meat. While most will say that 3 ounces is fine the following serving size has been modified to a 2 ounce serving size.

Phosphorus content for a 2-ounce portion, cooked:

Beef, pot roast: 104 mg Beef, sirloin steak: 126 mg
Chicken breast, skinless: 126  mg Chicken thigh, skinless: 100 mg
Hamburger patty 90% lean ground beef: 114 mg Lamb chop: 122 mg
Pork roast: 126 mg
Turkey breast meat, skinless: 122 mg Turkey thigh meat, skinless: 114 mg

 Low-phosphorus fish choices 

Fish is a high-quality protein that contains omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty saltwater fish such as salmon and tuna are highest in omega-3, reducing inflammation and protecting against heart disease and cancer.

Phosphorus content for a 2-ounce portion, cooked:

Mahi Mahi: 104 mg
Tuna, canned: 88 mg

 

Low-phosphorus seafood choices

Seafood is an excellent source of very low-fat, high-quality protein. However, there are differences in varieties of the same species. For example, Pacific oysters contain 50 mg more phosphorus in a 3-ounce serving compared to Eastern oysters.

Phosphorus content for a 3-ounce portion, cooked:

Shrimp: 120 mg
Oysters, Eastern: 120 mg
Snow crab: 120 mg

 Low-phosphorus breads

Bread is a good source of carbohydrates and calories needed by your body fo renergy production. While whole grain bread is a healthy source of fiber, it also has more phosphorus and potassium than white flour bread.

Phosphorus content for a 1-ounce portion, (usually one piece of bread):

Bagel, cinnamon raisin, blueberry, plain, onion, 1 ounce: 53-70 mg Corn tortilla, 6-inch: 75 mg
English muffin, 1 ounce: 52-76 mg Flat bread: 48 mg
Flour tortillas, made without baking powder: 20-37 mg French bread or rolls: 28 mg
Italian bread or rolls: 29 mg Light wheat bread: 38 mg
Pita bread, white: 58 mg Sourdough bread: 30 mg
White bread: 25 mg

 Low-phosphorus pasta and rice

Pasta, rice and other grains are a great source of carbohydrates, calories and B vitamins, plus zinc, copper and iron. For a kidney diet, whole grains like brown rice, oat bran and wild rice ARE LIMITED due to the higher phosphorus content. A half cup of brown rice has 75-81 mg of phosphorus which can add up if you eat a larger portion.

Phosphorus content for a 1/2 cup portion, cooked:

Couscous: 20 mg Egg noodles: 50-60 mg
Macaroni: 40 mg Pearled barley: 43 mg
Plain white rice, short, medium or long grain: 35 mg Rice noodles: 14-28 mg
Spaghetti: 42 mg

 Low-phosphorus dairy, dairy substitutes and egg whites

Milk and milk products are high in calcium and phosphorus, so finding an acceptable lower phosphorus substitute is a must. A half cup of milk (4 ounces) contains 111-138 mg of phosphorus. Some liquid dairy substitutes can be used in cooking to replace milk, but not all products are interchangeable. Read ingredient lists to look for phosphate additives in nondairy products. Some products are fortified with calcium-phosphate. Beware of the ones that promote “high in calcium” as these are also high in phosphorus. Eggs are a great protein source but also contain 95 mg phosphorus in a large egg. Remove the yolk and phosphorus is only 5 mg for each egg white.

Phosphorus content for a 1/2 cup portion, unless stated otherwise:

Almond milk, Almond Breeze®, original: 50 mg Nondairy creamer without phosphate additives: 40-53 mg
Nondairy whipped topping, 2 tablespoons: 0-10 mg Sherbet: 38 mg
Sour cream, 2 tablespoons: 20-40 mg Soy milk varies by brand: 50-125 mg
Unenriched rice milk without calcium-phosphate additives: 29 mg Egg whites, pasteurized 15 mg

 Low-phosphorus snacks

Crackers, cookies, candy, fruits or vegetables — all are appealing snack foods.There are many low-phosphorus choices for your kidney diet.

Apple, 1 medium: 10 mg Applesauce, 1/2 cup: 6 mg
Baby carrots, 9 pieces: 25 mg Biscotti, without chocolate or nuts, 1 ounce: 35-50 mg
Blueberries, 1/2 cup: 9 mg Celery, 1 stalk: 10 mg
Cherries, 1/2 cup: 15 mg Fig bars, 2 bars: 10-25 mg
Fruit candies, hard candy, chews or gummy: 0 mg Fruit cocktail, 1/2 cup: 17 mg
Gelatin, without phosphate additives: 20-30 mg Low sodium crackers, 1 ounce: 20-35 mg
Peach, 1 medium: 10 mg Lemon Juice, 3 fluid ounces: 3.6 mg
Pineapple, fresh, 1/2 cup: 6 mg Radishes, 10: 9 mg
Shortbread cookies, 4 cookies: 17-35 mg Sorbet, 1/2 cup: 2-6 mg
Strawberries, fresh, 1/2 cup: 18 mg Unsalted popcorn, 1 cup: 8 mg
Unsalted pretzels, 1 ounce: 20-40 mg Vanilla wafers, 1 ounce = 5-8 cookies: 12-20 mg

 Lower phosphorus cheese choices

All cheese contains phosphorus with most having 120-250 mg per ounce; some contain more than 300 mg per ounce. The suggested portion for a dialysis diet is usually one ounce of cheese 1-2 times a week if phosphorus is controlled. Check with your dietitian for individual recommendations. Cream cheese-based spreads are much lower in phosphorus than cheese-based spreads. Portion control is key when it comes to cheese!

Low-phosphorus cheese choices:

Blue cheese, 1 ounce: 110 mg Cottage cheese, 1/4 cup: 92 mg
Cream cheese, 2 tablespoons: 20-40 mg Feta cheese, 1 ounce: 96 mg
Neufchatel cheese, 1 ounce: 39 mg Parmesan cheese, grated, 2 tablespoons: 72 mg

 Managing a low-phosphorus diet

Avoid dried fruits which are higher in phosphorus levels including: raisins, prunes, peaches, pears, dates, currants, bananas. Legumes should be reviewed with your dietitian, some are higher in phosphorus and may not be allowed.

FRUITS

Most fruits can be factored at 10 mg phosphorus per serving. Some fruits do not have any phosphorus. Fresh fruits with higher levels of phosphorus can be eaten in moderation. Weigh your food carefully to configure the amount of mg/100g.

GREAT CHOICE, No present phosphorous in fruit; Raspberries, Cherries, Grapefruit, Lychee, Apricots, Pineapple, Plum, Pumpkin

Banana 27 mg; Blackberries 27 mg; Kiwi 71 mg; strawberries 27mg; Tomato 63 mg; Watermelon 26 mg; Mango 23 mg; Orange 18 mg

VEGETABLES

GREAT CHOICE, No present phosphorus in vegetables: Brussel Sprouts, Chicory, Cucumber, Pickles, Leeks, Olives, Radish, Red Paprika,

Asparagus 49 mg: Artichoke 103 mg; Avocado 82 mg; Broccoli 46 mg; Baked Beans 132 mg; Cabbage 36 mg; Carrots 23 mg; Cauliflower 20 mg; Corn 79 mg; Green Beans 26 mg;  Green Peppers 14 mg; Mushrooms 36 mg; Onion 23 mg; Peas 187 mg; Potato 78 mg; Spinach 15 mg; Zucchini 7 mg; Lima Beans 178 mg;

If baking at home, explore substitutes in baking found at DeVita.com. Bakers Active Dry Yeast provides a good solution when baking.  Another TIP to adding levitation is to follow the recipe backwards, eliminate baking powder and salt. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until foamy, add a few grains of cream of tarter, beat another 10 seconds. Lastly, fold egg whites into the other ingredients.

Reducing Triglycerides and Cholesterol

FOLLOW UP WITH: Cholesterol and Triglyceride Reducing Foods

Understanding Triglycerides in the correct amount   The body needs a supply of two types of  lipids/fats that circulate in our blood stream: triglycerides and cholesterol. Triglycerides are made in the liver and stored in fat cells, playing a key role in energy for muscle function. While this article in brief, takes a closer look at triglycerides it is equally important to keep its partner in mind, cholesterol, which is key for muscle cell membrane and making of hormone’s.  The liver builds triglycerides by using a glucose (sugar) with three fatty acids attached to it, however they can be made without food consumption as well.  After triglycerides are built, they can be stored in the liver, or sent to and stored within muscles.

     Three functions, of triglycerides are:
  1. Energy for all parts of the body.
  2. Insulation to help keep the body in homeostasis (balance of temperature).
  3. Provide adequate nutrition when we are sick, delivering fat vitamins (K, A, D, E).

How it works:  The liver creates triglycerides as stored energy. When energy levels become low, the hormone glucagon orders the fatty acids to be broken off of the sugar base. The sugar and fatty acids can both then enter energy production cycles

Cause and Effect:  The calorie is a measurement of heat energy. Carbohydrates and proteins contain only 4 calories per gram. Fats contain 9 calories per gram, thus providing the body with more than twice the amount of energy as sugars and proteins.  Triglycerides are the most concentrated form of energy found within the body, producing more than twice the amount of energy per gram than other forms of energy (protein and carbohydrates), which is why the body can store large amounts of triglycerides.

Clearing up the confusion:  Keep in mind that triglycerides are stored in fat cells and some muscle cells. While your body prefers to use fat as the main energy source, it should represent less than 30 percent of your diet. High-fat diets leave you at risk of obesity.  Your blood value must be <150 (less than 150).  More than 150 puts an individual at risk.

Fish, fruits, vegetables promote HDL Cholesterol to reduce LDL Cholesterol

An excess of triglycerides causes fat buildup in the liver and around the muscles, causing an increase in body fat percentage. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat found in your body and blood plasma. The body absorbs and uses all the energy consumed from food eaten throughout the day, getting rid of anything it cannot use turning it into triglycerides, storing them in your fat deposits.  As a body takes in more food than it can store, the unused food is stored as triglycerides in lipid cells, the more that this happens, the bigger the risk for the build up in the system, placing the individual at risk for diabetes, strokes and heat attacks.

Foods to eliminate in dietary intake in order to reduce triglyceride levels are:  Alcohol, Dairy, Pork, White Breads, Reduce Red Meat to 3 ounces twice a week.  

Read More: Remove Alcohol For Quick Weight Loss 

Food Pyramid for improved Health

Include these foods for improved Triglycerides Cholesterol and Triglyceride Reducing Foods and learn more about how to balance your meals by following Dietary Serving Guidelines . Increase Fish: Salmon, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring, Mackerel intake 4 times a week to improve quality of Omega 3 (healthy fat) and protein. By introducing fish into your lifestyle, the body responds to a fat that is easier to break down with protein that the organs need in order to have improved function. For fiber include 4 servings of Fruit and 5-7 servings of vegetables a day. Quality of vitamins and minerals is critical to a reduction of unwanted food that would otherwise by stored as triglycerides in fat (lipid) cells.  By doing so you can keep your HDL Cholesterol >70, the LDL Cholesterol <120 and Triglycerides <150.

Recipes to include in your diet

Tuna Steak

Roasted Pepper and Carrot Soup

Lemon Infused Chicken or Fish

Written by:  Kim Crocker Scardicchio

Vitamin “H” for Haar and Haut

European spa’s know it and sell it at their Benessere Resorts (well-being)!  The style toted by european women is practiced weekly as they go to local salons and focus on their natural beauty. When referencing the body it’s as simple as name dropping, just say the German words “Haar and Haut” and you have “Hair and Skin”.

Vitamin H derives its name from Haar and Haut (also known as  Biotin/B7) therefore, this vitamin  is critical in the making of:  skin, hair cells, breaking down fats and producing fats metabolized from protein/amino acids as it assists key enzymes (carboxylase) to produce what is necessary for life.

Carefully understanding the word metabolism allows for easier comprehension on how and why we can better do better in improving or maintaining a lean machine.   Metabolize comes from the Greek word Metabole meaning Change.

We count on our metabolism, to break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into smaller units; those units are reorganized as tissue building blocks (or as energy sources) and then waste products are eliminated and removed based on what our body cannot use.  In order for a body’s enzyme’s or hormone’s to do all this work, it needs an assistant  (referred to as co-enzymes) like biotin so that principle enzymes can participate in the production and building of healthy bodies.

Foods rich in Biotin

Improving  daily intake of vitamin H  is easy to do by choosing one of the following foods and including it into a well rounded diet.  Best foods for Biotin/Vitamin H/B7  are:  cooked egg yolks and whites, liver, fish, peanuts, peas, cauliflower, corn and grains. Biotin is produced in the intestines through bacteria as well. Vitamin B7 is also found in synthetic form.
Interference of proper uptake of vitamin B7 can happen through consumption of alcohol, which limits or prohibits the co-enzyme to function, as well as eating of raw eggs.  Research shows  that the raw egg white holds the  protein Avidin which can  interfere with Biotin which is found in the egg yolk.  Therefore, it’s advised that if biotin deficiency is determined in an individual, that one should cook the egg so that avidin is denatured upon cooking, while biotin remains intact.  Those who are pregnant, lactating, or athletic may need extra vitamin B7 and should consult their doctors to have their levels of biotin checked.
Biotin/B7 deficiency can be noted by causes of skin rashes (dermatitis), nail and hair (alopecia) loss, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and tingling in extremities.  It may also result in weakness, depression, hallucination, numbness, fatigue, irritation, rashes, loss of appetite.
We can still enjoy the care of “Haar and Haut” at our local hair salons for cuts, pedicures and manicures! However, with accurate dietary information in hand, knowledge and proper care of oneself  can improve lifestyle and attention to what will bring about physical success.
By:  Kim Crocker-Scardicchio
References

Pomegranate Health Benefits

Pomegranate Seeds NutritionThe pomegranate fruit is obtained from a tree  that is originally native to the Southwest Asia and is cultivated since centuries together. Pomegranate is widely cultivated throughout the Afghanistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, East Indies, Malaysia, tropical Africa and southeast Asia. Later on, it was also introduced to the US and Latin America. The fruit is typically available from November to February (in the northern hemisphere), while in southern hemisphere, it seasons from March to May. There are more than 750 species that are observed and cultivated all over the world for various purposes from eating to forming pomegranate juice.  The name pomegranate literally means “the apple with many seeds”. The number of seeds in a single fruit varies from 300-1000.

Pomegranate tree can live up to many years, which is an advantage for the pomegranate growers. This way, it enhances the outdoor decoration of the house with additional fruits provided. The fruit of pomegranate is ruby colored with many seeds that are both juicy and citrus in flavor. Pomegranate seeds nutrition facts are just numerous and therefore, pomegranate seeds are used for many purposes from ancient times.

Health Benefits of Pomegranate Seeds
Often called as super fruit, the invaluable pomegranate seeds are loaded with numerous antioxidant properties that are said to be three times higher than the green tea. As we know, antioxidants are very important to control the free radicals from the body that can cause several troubles to the body. Antioxidants also maintain and repair the damaged body cells.  Pomegranate is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin E , fiber, potassium, iron and calcium.

This ‘magic fruit’ is a bliss for the heart health, as regular intake of pomegranate seeds or pomegranate juice promotes:
Cardio health and reduces risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Contributes to proper thinning of the blood, reduce blood pressure levels, increase blood flow towards heart.                 Maintains good cholesterol levels (so that HDL cholesterol is elevated) and reduces arterial plaques.
Reduces symptoms of:
Anemia (add 1 tsp of cinnamon & honey to 1 cup of 100 % Pomegranate Juice)
Arthritis
Osteoporosis
Skin allergies
Skin disorders
Urinary tract infections
Wheezing linked to asthma
Sore throats
Tapeworms
Digestive disorders
Blood impurities
Anemia
Diabetes
Read on for health benefits of pomegranate juice.

Researchers are carefully observing the effects of pomegranate juice and prostate cancer as well as skin cancer. There are numerous products that are used by the pomegranate seeds including: pomegranate seed oil , pomegranate dietary supplements, pomegranate extracts and pomegranate concentrated juice.

Due to the polyphenols (anti oxidant) within this wonderful fruit it’s nutrition promotes anti inflammatory effects which strengthens the immune system, wound repair and reduces skin wrinkling making it’s derivites the most sought after when addressing skin remedies.

Eat, Drink and Enjoy!

RECIPE

Pomegranate Apple Salad

Red seeds from a Pomegranate
1 Apple diced (remove core)
1/4 c. Feta Cheese crumbled (optional)
Lettuce Leaves: Endive, Rucula  (Arugula), Spinach, Green Leaf Lettuce. Tear into bite size.
Dressing
1/3 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese grated

Wash Pomegranate, Apple and Lettuce leaves. Over a salad bowl cut Pomegranate into quarter pieces, invert each piece so that the skin is push inward and the seeds com outward. Seeds will easily come out. Make sure to remove white pith that the seeds are attached to, discard pith. Cut apple in half, remove and discard seeds. Cut apple into chunks place into bowl. Add feta cheese and lettuce into salad to salad bowl.
Toss well so that all ingredients are incorporated.

Place all Dressing ingredients into a bottle or bowl, cover tightly, shake ingredients so that they are well combined. Pour dressing onto salad 5-10 minutes before serving.