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Blog posts tagged with 'bone loss'

Can You Guess Which Ordinary Fruit Is as Nutritious as the Trending ‘Superfruits’?

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Can You Guess Which Ordinary Fruit Is as Nutritious as the Trending ‘Superfruits’?Fruits have long been touted as a necessary staple of our daily diet and nutrition needs. But according to experts, we aren’t getting enough. The USDA recommended serving of fruit—depending on your age—is at least 2 cups a day. The benefits of natural fruits are nothing short of wondrous, but every month there seems to be a new “superfruit” trend being hailed as the best fruit around. Often forgotten is one of the go-to staples that we have relied upon for years: the apple. While it may not be as glamorous or exotic-sounding as the acai berry, pomegranate, papaya, or kumquat (all of which are nutritious in their own right) an apple contains just as many vitamins and nutrients to give you the boost you need from your daily fruit intake.

Plentiful Benefits from a Familiar Fruit

A simple apple has many nutritional benefits. As a handy and relatively inexpensive snack a medium apple contains around only 80 calories and is fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free. It can also support a healthy immune system because of its vitamin C content. A single apple holds enough nutritional value to cover half of your daily recommended intake of fruit!

Nutrition is Skin Deep

Many of the nutritional benefits of an apple can be derived from its skin. The skin of an apple can contain up to 3.3 grams of fiber. This type of dietary fiber can help support healthy cholesterol levels, aid digestion, and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Apple skins also contain a high amount of the antioxidant, quercetin, which can help protect against free radical damage. Quercetin is a phytochemical possessing anti-inflammatory qualities that can be beneficial to your heart. Apples can be seamlessly integrated into your daily diet because they make for such a convenient and inexpensive snack that can last longer than most fruits. An apple kept in a bag in your refrigerator can stay fresh up to three weeks.

Covering the Crucial Areas of Your Daily Nutrition

The USDA guidelines for fruits and other food groups exist to help steer you towards making healthier food choices. Apples can be a tasty, nutritious way of complementing your daily intake of nutrients that your body needs for top performance and overall health maintenance. But if you’re on a diet that restricts the type of food you can eat, you don’t like a particular food group, or you simply don’t have time to eat healthy meals all of the time, you may not be getting all the nutrition you need. Supplementing your diet with the proper antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals is a perfect way to fill in the nutritional gaps regardless of your eating habits. Balance is always important and making sure you get sufficient levels of essential daily nutrients can be vital to supporting a healthier way of life.


Daily MultiChew
 

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How Much Vitamin D Do You Need? It Can Depend on Your Race

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How Much Vitamin D Do You Need? It Can Depend on Your RaceVitamins have many roles in human health and vitamin D is no exception. Although it’s closely associated with calcium absorption and bone health, vitamin D has also been linked to the immune system and cardiovascular health. The Food and Drug Administration has recommended guidelines on how much vitamin D people should get, but these levels can vary by fitness, gender, and even race. In a new study examining the role of vitamin D in heart health, researchers found that low vitamin D levels may increase the risk of heart health challenges in white and Chinese ethnicities, but not in blacks or Hispanics.

Genes May Be a Factor

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), was an observational paper pulled from data on over 6,400 patients enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). MESA is one of the most diverse, long-term studies on heart health among different ethnic groups in the United States. Vitamin D is produced naturally in skin cells from sun exposure. Races with less melanin (or pigment cells) tend to produce more vitamin D than blacks or Hispanics under the same amount of light exposure. According to Dr. Cassianne Robinson-Cohen, the lead author of the JAMA paper, “We don’t know for sure, but perhaps genes affecting the need for and use of vitamin D could have evolved to adapt to different levels of sun exposure in places where various ethnic subgroups of people originated.” One of the key findings that researchers noticed was that while blacks and Hispanics may have higher rates of developing heart health challenges, low vitamin D did not appear to be a significant factor. This may be because their bodies have adapted to metabolizing vitamin D differently.

It’s the Little Differences That Count

One of the most important things to take home from the study is that a one-size-fits-all approach to treatments seldom works. Increasing white or Chinese patients’ vitamin D dosage to support their heart health may be effective for them, but taking the same approach to black or Hispanic patients may have little effect. Dr. Michael Lauer, director of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences that funded the MESA study, hopes that the report “underscores the value of conducting studies that include participants from diverse backgrounds. The MESA investigators have presented a finding that could serve as a foundation for future research on the possible link between vitamin D blood levels and heart health.” Studies like these may also lead to more personalized nutritional recommendations of vitamin D and other nutrients, so that future populations may get essential levels of vitamins and minerals that are truly essential to them.


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Study Shows Bone Health Support May Vary Depending on the type of Dairy

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Study Shows Bone Health Support May Vary Depending on the type of DairyFor years it has been common knowledge that dairy can play a positive role in supporting the health of your bones. Drinking milk for strong bones – with its high calcium and vitamin D content - has been a common fact preached throughout the years. But now, according to a new study, our understanding about particular types of dairy products and the link to bone health may have to be slightly revised. Researchers at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School (HMS) collected data from a food-frequency questionnaire completed by 3,212 participants. They then compared participants' dairy intake with their bone mineral density (BMD) measurement, which revealed the varying benefits of milk and yogurt versus cream in middle-aged men and women.

The study showed nutrient composition and benefits varies among dairy foods. Choosing low-fat milk or yogurt over cream can increase intake of protein, calcium and vitamin D while limiting intake of saturated fats. Creams, because of their fat and sugar content, were associated with a lower total BMD. The study also showed that various dairy foods support different parts of the body and not others. They discovered that dairy intake - specifically milk and yogurt – was connected with higher BMD in the hip, but not the spine."Dairy foods provide several important nutrients that are beneficial for bone health," says lead author Shivani Sahni, Ph.D., Musculoskeletal Research Team, IFAR. "However, cream and its products such as ice cream have lower levels of these nutrients and have higher levels of fat and sugar." According to statistical data from the study 2.5 - 3 servings of milk and/or yogurt intake each day was associated with better bone density. And while the study shows that nutrient composition and its subsequent bone health support varies among specific types of dairy foods, choosing low-fat milk or yogurt over cream can increase your intake of protein, calcium, and vitamin D while limiting intake of saturated fats. Bone health and the proper vitamin intake is especially important. This type of research supports the notion that a proper nutrient rich diet can help protect your body against bone related issues, which is a major public health concern currently affecting over 44 million Americans. Due to dietary concerns like lactose intolerance or personal choice some people cannot get the nutrients directly from dairy that they need. They still can receive the proper vitamins and minerals from vitamin supplementation. A daily multi-vitamin, or a calcium and/or vitamin D supplement for those who are unable to digest certain dairy products can still provide the valued nutrition and protection needed to support BMD for strong and healthy bones.

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Frailty Not a Necessary Part of Aging

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Frailty Not a Necessary Part of AgingA lot of people associate old age with loss of speed, strength, energy, and mobility; aka frailty. But according to a growing number of physicians—including internist and geriatrician Ava Kaufman—that doesn't have to be the case. "Frailty is not an age, it's a condition," says Kaufman. Like any medical condition, it's characterized by a group of symptoms that occur together. Although the elderly are more susceptible to frailty, old age is not a guarantee that one will end up frail.

Inflammation Increases Risk of Frailty

Americans are living longer, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're living healthier. About 4% of men and 7% of women over age 65 are frail, but that number rises sharply to about 25% after age 85. Women are more likely to be frail because they have less muscle mass and are more prone to bone loss. Researchers believe that there are a number of underlying reasons why an individual can become frail. Inflammation, for example, can weaken bones and muscles. The inability to process glucose can also lead to a buildup of the stress hormone, cortisol, which also damages skeletal muscle and weakens the immune system.

Staying Active Is Key to Being Healthier

However, researchers point out that many preliminary studies show that moderate physical activity may help reduce walking problems and improve mobility. Exercise need not be strenuous, especially if a patient's joints and muscles are already weak. Instead of high-impact jogging, for example, a person can opt for a slow-paced, 30-minute walk and light weights. Many frail individuals are also malnourished, so their bodies lack the basic nutrients to support their bone and muscle health. That's why nutritious eating habits are a must not only for the young and active, but anyone who wants to maintain a long, healthy lifestyle. Age brings greater responsibility and wisdom, but it doesn't have to include weakness and poorer health, especially if you start practicing healthier habits when you're younger.

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Don’t Get Caught Up in the Calcium Scare!

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CalciumOn May 23, 2012, the Los Angeles Times published an article warning that taking calcium supplements increases the risk of heart attack. The article was based on findings from a Swiss/German study published in the journal, Heart. Calcium is the top-selling nutritional supplement in the United States, so naturally this report raised quite a fuss when it was published. But here are a few things you may not know.

Study Faces Criticism

The study conducted by the scientists was set up to examine the effects of diet and nutritional supplements on cancer and nutrition health; it was not specifically targeted toward calcium supplements and cardio health. This means that even though there were several thousand participants in the analysis, only a fraction of them took any calcium supplements or consumed foods with high amounts of calcium (such as milk and dairy products). Another thing to consider is that study paints a bad light on calcium alone, but not when calcium is consumed as part of food or with other nutrients. The researchers claimed that when too much calcium is consumed, it can clog arteries the same way cholesterol plaque does. However, according to a 2007 article on WebMD, pairing calcium with other nutrients, such as vitamin D and magnesium, aids calcium absorption in bones and helps maintain normal blood calcium levels. Most high-quality supplements or multivitamin formulas already do this.

Strong Bones Need Calcium

Calcium supplementation is crucial to supporting bone density, especially in maturing women who are more prone to age-related bone loss. Studies on the benefits of calcium are so plentiful that the Food and Drug Administration has even approved health claims about calcium with regard to osteoporosis. The National Products Association, a leading representative of the dietary supplement industry, believes that people who are currently taking calcium supplements should not be frightened into cutting off their supplementation, especially if it has been recommended by a physician. If you are concerned about your calcium intake, speak to a physician first before making any radical changes to your supplement plan.

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