Functional Foods.

Marie L. Veselsky, Licensed Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator; Dustin Forrest, MSN, RN, Nurse Practitioner.

Functional Foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.

National nutrition guidelines stress the importance of consuming a wide variety of food.  Good old fashion oatmeal is an example of a functional food because it naturally contains soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels. Spices are examples of functional foods. Spices have been used for centuries, not only to give food flavor, but also for their health benefits.  The spice Turmeric is a functional food because research shows it is naturally anti-inflammatory and a slight blood thinner.

Here are 12 Functional Foods that Boost Immunity!

  1. Yogurt – live active cultures found in yogurt help keep the GI tract free of disease causing germs.
  2. Oats and Barley – these grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities.
  3. Garlic – this potent onion relative contains the active ingredient allicin which fights infection and bacteria.
  4. Shellfish – selenium, plentiful in shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs and clams, helps white blood cells produce cytokines – proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body. Salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich in Omega-3 fats which reduce inflammation.
  5. Chicken Soup – home made – can help you get over a cold sooner – the amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, may explain the results.
  6. Tea – people who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink in a Harvard study.
  7. Beef – zinc deficiency is one of the most common nutritional shortfalls among American adults, especially vegetarians. Zinc in your diet is very important for the development of white blood cells.
  8. Sweet Potatoes – for your skin to stay strong and healthy, your skin needs Vitamin A which sweet potatoes are known for.
  9. Mushrooms – our earliest ancestors ate a lot of mushrooms. For centuries people around the world have turned to mushrooms for a healthy immune system. Shiitake, Maitake, and Reishi mushrooms appear to pack the biggest immunity punch!
  10. Turmeric – a spice that has been found to be anti-inflammatory in general and is a slight blood thinner.
  11. Cinnamon – has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties. In one study 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day was found to lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
  12. Ginger – ginger’s most well-known medicinal use is as a digestive-aid to relieve stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea, but just like cinnamon and turmeric, it is also an anti-inflammatory.

And guess what?  All the above are food and are considered safe. As always if you are on any prescription medication check with your MD before adding anything new into your diet.  There can be food/drug, herb/drug interactions.

Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Nutrition and Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss approach the patient as a whole for diabetes, weight loss and other chronic illnesses. We provide education on options, advocate healthier choices and provide access to programs needed to help each person better manage their own disease state and reach their optimal health.

Call 603-770-4856 in NH and 888-444-1204 in Maine!

 

 

 

It is Time for Healthier Choices!

It is Your Health and Your Choice®!   Choose Health!

marie

March 12, 2016 by Marie Veselsky RD, LD, BC-ADM

As a Registered Licensed Dietitian, I am always going to recommend a more holistic approach such as diet and lifestyle changes first, or in addition to any prescription drug you decide to take. You should always work with your doctor and weigh the risk with the benefit of any medication!

Facts on people’s current health in the United States: 

  • 50% have a chronic condition
  • Over half of American adults have Pre-diabetes or Diabetes
  • 67% overweight or obese
  • Nearly 70% of Americans are on at least one prescription drug with 50% on two

I have found that the best outcomes for people happen when they play an active role in their own health management. As a credentialed licensed Registered Dietitian, I understand that people are alive right now because of the advances in medicine and medications. A good example is insulin and how it has saved many lives, but also there are medications being taken as if they are a “magic bullet.”  The person feels they don’t need to make diet and lifestyle changes if they are on that drug!

Diabetes is a prime example of the above.  All these years we have been “managing” the symptoms: hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and the metabolic syndrome . . . primarily with drugs while only giving lip service to food and exercise.  The cost of diabetes drugs has reached outrageous amounts. 

Diet (lower carb, functional foods), Exercise, Stress Reduction and Weight Loss are the “best meds” and it is not as hard as it sounds! One just needs a health coach to get them going in the right direction! Many of my clients that were proactive and thus successful in their own health improvements have said “I had a gut feeling I needed to make a change and that is why I showed up at your office door.” 

Evolved Medicine – Research shows that “Diet and Exerciseare most effective for preventing pre-diabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes. A major study in 2002 found that the combination of diet and exercise reduced the odds of pre-diabetes becoming diabetes by 58%, compared with 31% among those using the common diabetes drug metformin.

Yearly sales of diabetes drugs has reached over $23 billion according to the data from IMS Health, a drug market research firm. This is more than the combined revenue of the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. In addition, people with diabetes spend an average of $6,000 annually for the treatment of their disease, according to a recent report by Consumer Reports Health. Many are on two or more diabetes medications, but yet do not exercise or watch their carb intake, and are not actively trying to lose weight. From 2004 to 2013, none of the 30 new diabetes drugs that came on the market were proven to improve key outcomes, such as reducing heart attacks or strokes, blindness and other complications of the disease, per an investigation by MedPage Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Diet, especially carbohydrate reduction, exercise, weight loss and lifestyle changes should always be used as the first line of defense for elevated blood sugars associated with insulin resistance and being overweight for your height. If your doctor feels you need a diabetes medication, then diet, exercise and weight loss should always be used in conjunction with the medication.

The good news is, as I like to tell my clients, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You can’t go back and start over, but you can start from here and have a better future.” It is never too late to make changes. Research as of 2016 shows that if you hang in there and get the support you need, you can be successful!