Category Archives: Well Care News

Save Money on Organic Produce: Dirty 12 and Clean 15

Most people pursuing a healthy lifestyle will choose organic produce whenever possible to avoid pesticides, shown by U.S. and international agencies to be associated with brain and nervous system toxicity, hormone disruption and cancer, as well as skin, eye and lung irritation.

Although availability has increased dramatically in the last few years, organic continues to cost more than produce grown by conventional means. However, because some produce has protective peels or husks, you don’t need to buy expensive all organic to avoid toxic pesticides.

Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases its Dirty 12 and Clean 15 lists, documenting which fruits and vegetables have the highest and lowest amounts of pesticide residue. The lists are based on scientific data from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

Here’s how to save money when buying organic produce.

The Dirty 12

Here are the 2017 Dirty 12, in descending order of contamination: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, peas, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes. Plus: hot peppers

The list changes each year. For example, spinach was number eight last year, but has moved up to number two this year due to the finding of contamination with new fungicides and an insecticide. In 2016 and 2017, the EWG has made a special note of hot peppers. Although, they don’t meet the EWG’s traditional ranking criteria, they were found to contain insecticides toxic to the human nervous system.
According to the EWG, cleaning conventional produce with vegetable/fruit washes is not enough to remove all toxic contaminants.

As a result of their studies, the EWG recommends buying only organic produce of the items on the Dirty 12 list.

However, you can save money and still be protected from toxic pesticides by buying conventional produce instead of organic foods that appear on the Clean 15 list.

The Clean 15

The Clean 15 list includes: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit.

Click here to obtain the free EWG pocket-size Shoppers Guide with the Dirty 12 and Clean 15 Lists.

Dietary Supplement Expiration Dates

In contrast to prescription and over-the-counter medications, manufacturers of nutritional supplements are not required by the FDA to print expiration dates on their products. However, many do some voluntarily. If there is a labeled expiration date, the company is required to have stability data demonstrating that the product will still have 100% viability of all the listed ingredients until that date.

Over time, most of the ingredients in nutritional supplements gradually decompose. This makes the product less potent, although typically not dangerous. To address his phenomenon, many companies add higher amounts of the ingredients listed on the label, especially those like vitamins C and B12 that decompose rapidly.

Most supplements retain their full potency until 2 years after the label date. Probiotics, liquids and oils, which are less stable, typically retain full potency for about a year. Be sure to store your supplements in a dark, dry place, except those that have direction labels requiring refrigeration.

When deciding on supplement brands, check out consumerlab.com, an independent testing company, which routinely analyzes competitive brands and reports on the veracity of their ingredients as well as cost.

Increase Your Bone Density with 12 Minutes of Daily Yoga

A Common Disease in Older People

Each decade after about age 30, the mineral density of our bones declines. The decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) that occurs with aging is called osteopenia when it is mild and osteoporosis when it is more severe. Both men and women suffer from osteoporosis. Worldwide, osteoporotic fractures occur in 33% of women and 20% of men over age 50.  (https://www.iofbonehealth.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/WOD Reports/osteoporosis_in_men_2004_english.pdf). In the U.S., an estimated 44 million women and men aged 50 and older suffer from low bone mass or osteoporosis.

The most common bone fractures occur in the spine, hip, thigh bone (femur) and forearm. Bone fractures, especially of the hip, often triggers a downward spiral in health. Researchers have shown that in comparison to fracture-free individuals of the same age, those with hip fractures face a 3-4 times greater risk of dying. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45502/) Continue reading Increase Your Bone Density with 12 Minutes of Daily Yoga

Dehydration Dangers

Recently, I traveled from my home in Santa Monica to my favorite desert spa in record 121° heat. At 10 pm, it was still 106°. During my three days there, I drank liquid continuously. I estimate 16-20, 8-ounce cups daily. During such severe heat, people become very sensitive to dehydration. But it’s important to stay adequately hydrated year-round.

Dehydration Causes

Dehydration can happen for many reasons besides heat exposure, including as a side effect of prescribed medications; diarrhea; excessive sweating; loss of blood; diseases, such as diabetes; as well as the effects of aging

Dehydration Symptoms

If you notice your mouth is dry and you’re tired, see what happens once you drink some purified water. If you immediately perk up, that’s feedback that you were dehydrated. Dehydration can range from mild to severe. Severe dehydration can be life-threatening. If you develop severe diarrhea with or without vomiting, fever, moderate diarrhea for 24 hours, bloody stool, or you can’t drink any liquids, get professional treatment as soon as possible. Chronic dehydration may affect your organs and lead to kidney stones; increased cholesterol; constipation; liver, joint, and muscle damage, as well as impaired balance. Continue reading Dehydration Dangers

New Nutrition Labels: 5 Important Changes

Finally, the FDA is catching up with reality. And Michelle Obama is one of the people you can thank for this beneficial change.

By mid-2018, all packaged foods will be required to contain the updated Nutrition Facts labels. There are many changes, including larger type for calories, number of servings, and serving size, as well as a new category—added sugars. Michelle Obama, who has focused her First Lady efforts on promoting healthier lifestyles, first proposed updating the label 2 years ago.

Packaged foods have listed key ingredients and other information on standardized nutrition labels since 1994 under a mandate from the Food and Drug Administration. The nutrition label has not been updated in more than 20 years, despite the change in food consumption patterns.

Serving size has substantially increased. For example, a single soda serving was previously calculated at 8 ounces and a single ice cream serving was ½ cup. For the new label, those serving sizes have been reformulated to reflect what people are actually consuming—12 ounces for soda and 2/3 cup for ice cream. These updated calculations increase both the per serving calorie count as well as the cost/serving.

Most Prominent Changes

  1. Much Larger Type

A much larger type at the top of the label highlights calories, serving size and servings per package

nutrition

Continue reading New Nutrition Labels: 5 Important Changes

More About Healthy Fats

For decades the conventional wisdom was that eating fat made us fat. As a result, food manufacturers went wild with refined carbohydrates and sugar, seeking to make low-fat foods more palatable. Now, it’s understood that it’s those foods that make us fat.

As explained in Fats: The Good, The Debatable, The Ugly, our body needs certain types of fat to maintain health. These fats are called essential fatty acids (EFAs) because they are required for normal metabolic function. Because they are not manufactured internally, we must obtain them from foods and nutritional supplements we consume. The most important of these are Omega-3 EFAs, found in a variety of foods, including fatty fish, olives, avocados, nuts and seeds. Recently, some saturated fats, previously considered unhealthful, are also being shown to be beneficial.

Let’s take a look at some of these healthy fats, which have variable compositions. Continue reading More About Healthy Fats

Fats: The Good, The Debatable, The Ugly

Are you confused about the amounts and kinds of fat you should include in your diet? Just about everyone is. For decades, we have been advised to limit fats. But our bodies need certain types of fat throughout our lives. The brain needs fat for its development during infancy and childhood and for normal function in adulthood. Fat is also needed for the absorption of some essential vitamins, the manufacturing of hormones and a wide range of normal metabolic activities.

The Good

The body needs only certain types of fats—omega-6s and omega-3s. These polyunsaturated fats are called essential fatty acids (EFAs) because the body can’t function without them and can’t produce them on its own. Omega-6s, found in animal foods, are necessary for proper body function, but only in limited quantities because Continue reading Fats: The Good, The Debatable, The Ugly

New Fed Dietary Guidelines Ignore WHO and Scientific Advisors

Every 5 years, the USDA and HHS together release an updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Legislated in 1990 under the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act, the report contains nutritional and dietary information and guidelines for the general public.

The 2015-2020 Guidelines 

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities. 

What’s Changed 

Unlike earlier releases of the Dietary Guidelines, which focused on Continue reading New Fed Dietary Guidelines Ignore WHO and Scientific Advisors

Why It’s OK to Eat Whole Eggs Again

For decades we have been advised to limit our consumption of foods high in cholesterol, such as red meat, dairy products and eggs. It is the egg yolk that is rich in cholesterol, while the white contains only protein and no cholesterol or fat. Hence, egg-white choices on breakfast menus have become commonplace.

Cholesterol is not a demon. We need cholesterol for building a variety of essential hormones, including the sex hormones. All the cholesterol the body needs, however, is produced by the liver. Scientists held until recently that the cholesterol in animal foods, which are high in low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as the “bad cholesterol”, ends up accumulating in the lining of the arteries. Once the LDL hardens, it becomes dangerous plaque, which can break away and cause a stroke or heart attack.

Bad Fats Not High-Cholesterol Foods to Blame

The new understanding about cholesterol in food, based on recent Continue reading Why It’s OK to Eat Whole Eggs Again

If Pregnant, Don’t Delay Dental Care

Outdated beliefs by dentists often keep pregnant women from receiving dental care. A nationwide survey of more than 350 obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) conducted in 2009 found that 77% of the doctors said that their patients had been denied dental services because they were pregnant.

Particularly with gum inflammation (gingivitis), which affects 60%-75%  Continue reading If Pregnant, Don’t Delay Dental Care