Practice Mindful Eating

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Many times you eat meals, and a couple of hours later you don’t even remember what you ate. It is important that you acknowledge what you’re eating and that you are mindful because this can help lead into healthier eating habits. Lack of awareness of the food you eat may be a huge contributor to the national obesity epidemic. Mindful eating is focusing on what you’re consuming without doing anything else. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change what you eat, but rather how much of it you eat. While practicing mindful eating take into consideration the following:

  1. where you bought your food,
  2. how it was prepared and served, and
  3. how much you consume of it.

Practicing these mindfulness and making them a habit often leads to consuming less junk food and maybe eating smaller portions.

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When trying to practice mindful eating you try using the following checklist to help guide you:

  1. Consider the health value of the food or meal you want to eat, don’t make impulse decisions. If you are at the grocery store, try to get the majority of your food from the produce section and try to avoid processed food.
  2. Eat when you have an appetite but not when you are starving. Skipping meals can cause you to just want to fill the void in your stomach as opposed to actually enjoying your food. You should eat every meal and small snacks in between so that you don’t eat excessively.
  3. Start off with a small portions
  4. Before you begin eating, take a few minutes to appreciate your food and everyone who prepared it
  5. While eating, try to identify all the different ingredients
  6. Take small bites, this allows you to be able to taste all the flavors
  7. Chew thoroughly, you should chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times depending on the food
  8. Eat slowly, if you practice the steps above then this step is a given.

Bon Appetit!


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Is Your Medication Affecting Your Thinking?

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Is your medication affecting your thinking skills? Every time you take medication there are possible side effects:

  • dry mouth,
  • nausea or
  • drowsiness.

brain memory

Certain medication may affect your thinking skills; a lessor known and potentially debilitating side affect:

Anticholinergics, which can be found in over-the-counter and prescription medication, can alter your mental status and put older people at a higher risk for falls. Anticholinergics may be found in medications that treat for muscle spasms, depression, incontinence and allergies.  Many of these medications are taken by the elderly thereby further increasing their risk for falls and cognitive function.

How does Acetylcholine affect the brain?

These common medications can block acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for stimulation and activity in the brain. Slow brain activity caused by the acetylcholine being blocked, leads to confusion. People who are older tend to take more medication which leads to a chemical reaction that may impact the brain activity and also leaving the brain with higher concentration of acetylcholine.  High levels of acetylcholine can eventually cause the body to have a difficult time to rid the chemical out of their bodies quickly.

Considerations for you and your physician

The medication dosages should be based on the patient’s kidney function and your physician can assist with providing you the dosages that can treat symptoms while minimizing negative side affects. Frequently, the side effects of these medications can be mistaken for side effects of old age, so it is important to monitor side effects after starting to take medication with acetylcholine. You should also talk to your physician or pharmacist to find out how much acetylcholine you are taking, and let them know any over-the-counter medicine you are taking to ensure you’re not taking a high dosage of acetylcholine.

Additional reading:  The Role of Acetylcholine in Learning and Memory


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Yes, Eat Your White Vegetables

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Often times we don’t eat white vegetables because they lack color so we think that they aren’t as “good” for you or have as much nutrients as vegetables that have color. White vegetables are as good for you as any other vegetable and play an important role in the food pyramid. They can contain a lot of the nutrients that we need like potassium, magnesium and fiber.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower has sulfur compounds that have been said to help with strengthening bone tissue, fighting cancer and to maintain healthy blood vessels.

Mushrooms

Not only do mushrooms provide us with selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin D, but they are also fat free, cholesterol free, gluten free and contain low calories. They may also be used as a substitution for meat because they are very filling.

Garlic

Garlic is an ingredient that could really bring a dish together, it tastes delicious. It has antioxidant properties that help boost your immune system. It may also help hair grow and get rid of acne.

Onions

Onions are a great anti-inflammatory vegetable because of a chemical it contains called quercetin. Quercetin is thought to help lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as build a stronger immune system.

Potatoes

Potatoes are high in potassium and fiber; more than any other vegetable or fruit. Additionally, they contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium.

Eating whole foods with an emphasis in a plant based diet can lead to a healthier life. Take control of your health – get discount online blood tests, monitor your blood pressure, eat well and exercise frequently!

 


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Fighting Inflammation with Food!

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Body inflammation is caused when the body senses a stimuli such as an injury or infection. Prolonged inflammation can damage many things in the body like tissue, joints, and organs. What many people don’t know is that there are many foods that can help decrease inflammation. For example; foods that are high in fiber, whole grains, good fats and omega-3s.

good fats and grains images

Fiber

Fiber helps to reduce inflammation because it helps to balance sugar levels, thus decreasing inflammation. High levels of sugar in your blood triggers inflammation, and inflammation increases your sugar levels; it is a vicious cycle. Fiber also lowers cholesterol, and prevents small blood clots. It is recommended that women 50 or older get at least 21 grams of fiber a day and men over 50 get at least 30 grams a day. There are many foods rich in fiber like beans, dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole fruits and whole grains.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are imperative when attempting to reduce inflammation because they are high in fiber. Whole grains help increase HDL cholesterol levels and decrease LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. It is advised to consume 16 grams of whole grains a day but it is important to make sure you are buying whole grains as opposed to multigrain. Some examples of whole grains are brown rice, oatmeal, and barley.

Good Fats

Unsaturated fats are crucial for “good” health because not only do they reduce inflammation but they also lower your cholesterol and give you a steady heartbeat. About 30% of your daily calorie intake can come from these unsaturated fats. There are 2 types, Monounsaturated fats and Polyunsaturated fats. These can be found in nuts, seeds, fish,  and certain oils such as olive or sunflower oil.

Omega-3s

Finally, Omega-3 fatty acids help with many things, one of them being reducing inflammation in the body. The 3 types of Omega-3s are Eicosapentaenoic acid(EPA), docosahexaenoic acid(DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid(ALA). EPA and DHA primarily come from fish and ALA can come from vegetable oils, walnuts, and leafy vegetables. Once digested, the body turns ALA into DHA and EPA. You should get Omega-3s from cold-water fish like salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna. It is important to eat fish at least twice a week to make sure you are getting these Omega-3s.

Some discount blood tests that can assist with diagnosing inflammation:

  1. Complete Blood Count
  2. Cardio C-reactive protein
  3. Sedimentation Rate, Modified Westergren
  4. Rheumatoid Factor
  5. Antinuclear Antibodies

Or order our Inflammation test panel for an economical way to get all the tests above plus additional screening tests to help determine if you have inflammation.

Take care of your health!


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Is Statin Use Worth the Risk?

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If you have high cholesterol, chances are your physician has prescribed or suggested using a statin drug.  Statin use is considered the most powerful medication currently available to help tame high levels of cholesterol.  High cholesterol can lead to heart attack and stroke so reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease is important.

cholesterol imageAre You at Risk for a Heart Attack and Stroke?

There are many risk factors that can be used to assess your overall risk of heart attack and stroke:

  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • weight
  • exercise habits
  • age
  • family history
  • current cardiovascular health

Additionally, your physician may require a cholesterol blood test to see if you have elevated blood cholesterol levels.

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have an assessment test that can predict your chances of having a heart attach in the next 10 years.  If you are at risk, there are several guidelines that focus on who would benefit most from statin therapy.

Four Groups of People Which Would Benefit from Statin Therapy

  1. Those people who have cardiovascular disease.  This includes people who have a) had a heart attack, b) stroke, c) mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks), d) arm or leg artery disease or e) surgery to open or replace coronary arteries.
  2. Those people who have very high LDL cholesterol.  This includes people who have LDL cholesterol levels of 190 milligrams per deciliter or higher.
  3. Those people who have diabetes AND an LDL cholesterol of 70 mg/dl or higher.
  4. Those people with a 10 year risk of heart attack of 7.5 percent and LDL above 100 mg/dl.

Potential Side Effects of Statin Use

  1. Muscle Issues – If you are older, female or of Asian descent or have liver, kidney or muscle disease, or an under active thyroid, you may be at risk for muscle problems when using a statin.
  2. Increase in blood sugar levels that can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Elevated liver enzymes

It is important to discuss the benefits and risks with your physician.  If you decide to take a statin, your physician may look for ways to reduce future side effect risk, such as recommending blood tests for deficiencies in Vitamin D or Q10 and conducting a physical exam with additional blood testing as needed.

The easiest and most effective guidelines recommend a heart-healthy lifestyle for heart attack and stroke prevention.  It is also helpful to minimize other risk factors such as high blood pressure.  Lastly, add exercise to your healthy lifestyle and you will decrease your risk of all cardio vascular disease.

Take control of your health; test frequently to ensure your cholesterol levels are within normal range and discuss any abnormalities with your physician.

Recommended reading:

Statin Guidelines

American Heart Association – cholesterol


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Diabetes and Eye Health

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There is a strong connection between diabetes and your vision health.  If you have pre-diabetes or diabetes it is important to get your blood glucose levels under control.  The American Diabetes Association says that individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of blindness than do those without diabetes and are 40 percent more likely to have glaucoma and 60 percent more likely to have cataracts.  Those statistics are staggering and we must protect the gift of sight.

There are various types of retinal damage caused by diabetes.  This is typically referred to as diabetic retinopathy.  If you have chronic blood glucose levels (high blood sugar) the tiny blood vessels that supply needed blood to your retina in your eye get damaged and are unable to function properly.  Lack of blood supply to the retina can eventually cause vision loss.  Additionally, your body may trigger the development of new blood vessels (to compensate for the damaged blood vessels) which can rupture and leak blood.  These blood vessels can eventually cause retinal detachment or glaucoma.

The longer you have had the diagnosis of diabetes increases your risk of getting retinopathy.  If your blood sugar is not under control, the likelihood of complications increases substantially.

What are the common symptoms?

  1. blurry vision
  2. dark floating spots

See your ophthalmologist every six months if you are diabetic.  Additionally, it is important that you manage your blood sugar levels.  Many diabetics will check their blood sugar levels at home, but be sure to see if you are managing those levels by getting a Hemoglobin A1c test which is a way to find out your average blood sugar levels over time.

Some discount blood lab tests to consider:

Or order our Diabetes test package for a economical way to get all the tests above plus additional screening tests to be sure your organs are not affected by high blood glucose levels.

Take care of you health!

Additional resources:

Basic Diabetes Information from Mayo Clinic

American Diabetes Association

Two websites for you to place your orders:

www.HealthOneLabs.com

www.InquireLabs.com

 

 

 


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Why Am I Gaining Weight? Maybe It’s The Weather

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In many parts of the country, hibernating animals are busily preparing for the winter, eating and eating and eating as they build up the energy stores that will sustain them until spring. And many humans are doing something similar!

What happens during hibernation?

During hibernation, animals’ metabolism, oxygen consumption, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature all decrease to ensure that the animal burns as few calories as possible thus extending their energy stores. In this state of decreased metabolism, the animal’s body uses lipids (fatty acids) rather than carbohydrates to produce energy. During the hibernation period, an organism will lose about 40% of its body weight.

Can humans hibernate in winter?

As much as some humans might want to curl up in a ball and hibernate during the cold months of the winter, our bodies are not made to undergo the drastic metabolic changes necessary to enter a true hibernation. Many humans, however, do notice bodily changes associated with the drop in temperatures.
People who suffer from a specific kind of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, often liken their condition to hibernation, and researchers have suggested that SAD is in fact a bodily reaction to the shorter daylight hours in winter. But unlike major clinical depression, where people typically lose their desire to eat and have trouble sleeping, people with SAD frequently sleep more than average and note an increase in their appetite and food consumption, often leading to weight gain.

Have you put on some extra “insulation” for winter?

As winter approaches, if you find you are putting on pounds, be sure to consult with your doctor. In addition to talking with you about a healthy diet and exercise, your doctor may want to run some blood tests to see if there is any cause for concern related to your weight change. Some of the tests your healthcare provider may recommend include:

  • Cortisol: Also called the “stress hormone” or the “fight or flight hormone,” cortisol increases adrenaline production in stressful situations. While it can benefit the body, increasing awareness and immunity as well as reducing pain in the short-term, too much cortisol on an ongoing basis can damage the thyroid, bone, and muscle. It can also decrease long-term immunity and contribute to the production of belly fat.
  • Homocysteine: A risk factor for heart disease, this protein is typically elevated in people with insulin resistance.
  • Insulin and Glucose: Those with diabetes do not produce sufficient insulin to process the body’s glucose. But high insulin is also problematic, causing the body to accumulate glucose as stored fat but not allowing the body to metabolize that stored fat for energy.
  • Liver Function:  If liver function is compromised, the body can struggle to remove hormonal waste and burn fat.
  • Testosterone: This hormone (found in both males and females) is responsible for sexual function and development, but it is also crucial for brain, bone, muscle, and vascular health, as well as fat dispersal.
  • Thyroid Tests: The “master gland,” the thyroid produces hormones that are crucial for healthy metabolism. If it is not functioning properly, the body will not be able to properly process food’s energy.
  • Vitamin B-12 and Folate (also known as Folic Acid): In order for the body to work effectively as a fat burner, insulin levels must be steady, and these are key ingredients for creating that stability.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency can cause the body to accumulate belly fat, as well as improperly process food. It is also a crucial element for bone health.

While there are many potential causes of weight gain, the results of these lab tests can help your healthcare provider assess the condition of your body and offer suggestions on the best approach to weight loss.

Learn more about these and other value-priced blood tests available through www.HealthOneLabs.com


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Temperatures are beginning to cool (in some parts of the country, at least!), and the days are getting shorter, which means that many people will not be spending as much time in the sun as during the warm summer months. Could this retreat indoors result in a vitamin D deficiency?

How do we get vitamin D?

Humans have two natural sources of vitamin D:

Exposure to sunlight
The most effective means of attaining proper vitamin D levels, the sun (specifically ultraviolet [UVB] radiation) converts a prohormone in the skin into vitamin D3. For people who have sub-par vitamin D levels, spending some time in the sun can increase levels naturally.

Diet
The diet of the average American is very low in vitamin D, with only a handful of foods–like fatty fish, egg yolks, and beef liver–naturally containing it. (Some foods like milk and cereals are fortified with vitamin D during manufacture.)

Critical to good health

Doctors have long known the importance of vitamin D in forming strong, healthy bones–it stimulates the absorption of calcium into the bone. Conversely, a vitamin D deficiency can cause bone calcium loss, which can lead to conditions like osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and rickets.

But more recent research has shown that vitamin D is also crucial for overall health and proper cellular function in numerous other organ systems.

  • The risk of certain cancers, including prostate, endometrial, skin, pancreatic, and colorectal, is reduced by higher bodily levels of vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of developing certain autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 and 2 diabetes, as well as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
  • During pregnancy, low maternal vitamin D levels have been correlated to increased odds of a Cesarean section.
  • In children, vitamin D deficiency has been tied to severe asthma.

Could I have a vitamin D deficiency?

It has been estimated that up to 50% of the U.S. population, including seemingly healthy children and young adults, are actually vitamin D deficient. And because initial symptoms are typically subtle, most people don’t even know it.

There are several factors that can contribute to lower-than-desired levels of vitamin D including:

  • Age–older adults have an increased risk
  • Insufficient sun exposure, including living in higher altitudes
  • Inadequate dietary vitamin D
  • A dark complexion
  • Some malabsorption conditions, as well as liver and kidney disease

A simple blood test can tell you if you are low on vitamin D. Since it is a fat-soluble vitamin and is absorbed from the intestine, vitamin D levels are sometimes monitored in individuals with diseases that interfere with fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease.

Learn more about our low-cost vitamin deficiency tests on www.HealthOneLabs.com >>

Learn more about our low-cost vitamin deficiency tests on www.InquireLabs.com>>

Supplementation

If a blood test determines that your vitamin D levels are too low, your doctor may recommend a dietary supplement. The Institute of Medicine’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is 600 international units (IU) for people ages 1-70, and 800 IU for those older than age 70 to optimize bone health. For breastfed babies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a supplement of 400 IU per day of vitamin D.

Vitamin D tests are also used to determine the effectiveness of treatment when vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and/or magnesium supplementation has been prescribed. Of note, a 2004 study showed that dietary supplementation with vitamin D3 may be more effective than adding D2 supplements to the diet. Find out if your vitamin supplements are effectively increasing your bodily levels >>


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With the busy lives people lead these days, it’s common for people to feel worn down. If you are burning the candle at both ends and sacrificing sleep, the source of your fatigue may be pretty obvious. But if you are getting enough zzz’s yet still feel constantly exhausted, a vitamin or mineral deficiency could be the cause.

Here are a few vitamin levels you may want to have tested if you feel like you are always running on empty.

Iron

Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, but if you have too few of these cells, or if your red blood cells do not have sufficient amounts of an iron-dependant protein called hemoglobin, anemia can result. And fatigue is often one of the first symptoms experienced by people with anemia.

Fortunately, anemia is easy to diagnose with a blood test that measures the number of red blood cells in the blood and amount of hemoglobin in those cells.

If you are suffering from anemia, you must first increase your body’s iron supply with iron-rich foods. Good options include red meat, eggs, rice, and beans. With your doctor’s okay, over-the-counter iron supplements are another option for boosting iron levels, though these can cause constipation.

Vitamin B12

In addition to iron, vitamin B12 is also critical for the body’s production of healthy red blood cells, and a vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anemia.

Good dietary sources of vitamin B12 are meat and dairy products, so most people on a traditional Western diet get enough of this key nutrient through their food. However, vegetarians and vegans can become deficient in B12. Additionally, with age and certain health conditions–including gastrointestinal problems like Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease–it becomes more difficult for the body to absorb sufficient B12.

B12 deficiency is typically resolved with oral supplements and/or dietary changes to increase B12 consumption. For some people, B12 deficiency is treated with regular vitamin B12 injections.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is unique. There are few natural dietary sources of vitamin D, however it is naturally produced by the human body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is necessary to maintain bone and muscle health, and deficiencies of this vitamin also contribute to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and reduced immune function.

If you shun the sun or during winter months when sunlight is more scare, you can get at least some dietary vitamin D from foods such as tuna, salmon, and in fortified products like milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals. Another option to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D is nutritional supplements. If you decide to take the supplement route, the D3 form is easier for your body to absorb than other types of vitamin D.

>> Visit the National Institutes of Health website for charts of daily recommended values of these and other key nutrients, both for adults and children.

While a deficiency of any of these important nutrients can cause you to drag, it is important to visit your doctor if you are experiencing extreme fatigue with no obvious cause. Numerous other health conditions–from autoimmune diseases to irregular hormone levels to cancer–can be the root cause of lethargy.

Learn more about the low-cost vitamin deficiency tests offered by HealthOneLab

Learn more about the low-cost vitamin deficiency tests offered by InquireLabs


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If you are diabetic, you know that it is important to maintain and test your blood sugar levels daily. But did you know that it’s also recommended that you test your hemoglobin A1c levels?

What is hemoglobin A1c?

Hemoglobin is the compound in the red blood cells that transports oxygen. One of the types of hemoglobin is called hemoglobin A (HbA); hemoglobin A1c is a specific subtype of HbA. Molecules of glucose (sugar) in the blood bind to hemoglobin A1c and stay bound to it for months. The higher the amount of blood glucose, the higher the amount of hemoglobin A1c, and by measuring its value, one can obtain their average blood sugar level during the previous 8 to 12 weeks.

Why test hemoglobin A1c levels?

Because it measures average blood glucose levels over a period of two to three months, the hemoglobin A1c blood test is commonly used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Once diagnosed, the A1c test is then used to gauge how well you are managing your diabetes.

This test goes by many other names including glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, and HbA1c, but no matter what you call it, if the results show a high A1c level, then your blood sugar is not well-control ed. And if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, the poorer your blood sugar control, the higher your risk of diabetes-related complications such as kidney failure, vision problems, and leg or foot numbness. (Conversely, the lower your A1c level, the lower your risk for diabetic complications.)

The importance of testing hemoglobin A1c to manage diabetes

The A1c test is known as the “gold standard” for evaluating the risk of damage to tissues caused by high blood sugar levels. It is therefore one of the most useful tools to assess how effectively your diet and your diabetes medication are regulating your blood sugar, and it can help your doctor determine whether your medication needs to be adjusted.

If you are diabetic and want to have better insight into your blood sugar levels, get a hemoglobin A1c test. Discuss this test with your physician if you have further questions.  Remember, if you have diabetes, keeping good control of your blood sugar reduces your risk for long-term health problems, like eye, heart, and kidney problems, and even stroke.

Take control of your diabetes and your health; order your own hemoglobin A1c test every 3 months!

Two websites to take advantage of our discount online blood testing:

www.HealthOneLabs.com for Hemoglobin A1c

www.InquireLabs.com for HemoglobinA1c

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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