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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Preventing Colon Cancer

Cancer of the colon and rectum is the third most regular disease and third driving reason for malignancy demise in both men and ladies in the U.S. Odds are you know somebody distressed with this feared malady. Both hereditary and natural variables, including eating routine and action, assume a part in colorectal tumors. Modifiable hazard elements—calculates that we have control over—that expansion danger of colon tumor include:

  • inactive lifestyle
  • obesity
  • eating lots of red or processed meats
  • smoking
  • drinking moderate-to-high levels of alcohol

In fact, it is estimated that about one-quarter of colon cases could be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, not smoking, limiting alcohol and following a healthy diet.1,2

Many studies have looked at how diet and exercise affect cancer risk.  One group of foods specifically—milk & milk products—may play an important role in preventing colon cancer. A variety of studies indicate that consuming more calcium and/or milk foods reduces risk of colon cancer.3,4 Calcium intakes of 1200-1500 mg/day, or 4 servings of milk products per day, seems to provide the most protection against colon cancer.5 This amount is the same or slightly higher than the current calcium recommendation for adults. There is new evidence that vitamin D (which is added to milk) may also protect against colorectal cancer.5,6

Some studies show that people with the highest calcium or milk intakes have a 50-60 percent lower risk of colon cancer, compared to those with lower intakes.5  The reason may be that calcium binds to cancer-causing agents in the gut and helps excrete them, reducing the risk.

The impact of calcium and dairy foods on other types of cancer—specifically breast and prostate cancers—is also being studied. However, the findings are not consistent and more studies are needed before making any changes to our diet.

Along with the protective effect calcium and milk foods seem to have against colon cancer, they also provide other benefits such as heart health, lowering blood pressure, muscle building and bone health. To reap these benefits, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults consume 1000-1200 mg of calcium daily—the amount in 3-4 servings of milk and milk products per day. The variety of flavors and types of milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products make meeting this recommendation both enjoyable and healthful.


1American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2012.
2Kirkegaard H et al. Br Med J 2010; 341:c5504.
3Chan AT, Giovannucci EL. Gastroenterology 2010;138(6):2029-43
4Cho E et al. J Natl Cancer Inst 2004;96(13):1015-22.
5Holick MF. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 Sep;3(5):1548-54.
6Park SY et al. Am J Epidemiol. 2007 Apr 1;165(7):784-93.

A Key Nutrient in Heart Health

At the point when the vast majority consider eating routine and coronary illness, they consider bringing down their admission of fat, soaked fat, cholesterol and sodium. Did you know there are sustenances and supplements you can eat to enhance your heart wellbeing? Potassium—a mineral found in bananas, drain and oranges—really assumes a major part in keeping us sound.

# What are the medical advantages of potassium?

More sustenance research recommends that expanding dietary potassium (found in low-fat dairy, products of the soil) can bring down circulatory strain. Truth be told, expanding dietary potassium might be considerably more vital than diminishing sodium allow on pulse … uplifting news for those experiencing serious difficulties back on salt. The term ‘dietary potassium’ implies that the supplement is given from sustenance in the eating routine, not supplements. Regularly individuals hop to the conclusion that if something is beneficial for us, a greater amount of it is far superior. Truth be told, an excessive amount of potassium—more often than not from supplements—can be unsafe, so it’s imperative to get your potassium from a sound eating regimen.

Truth be told, potassium is so essential in averting hypertension and stroke that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits nourishments that contain no less than 350 milligrams of potassium to express the accompanying wellbeing claim on their mark:

“Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.”

# How does potassium lower blood pressure?

Potassium is a mineral that helps regulate fluids and helps your muscles, including your heart, contract. If you increase the amount of potassium you take in from food, it increases the amount of potassium in the body.

This potassium helps the blood vessels become larger and therefore blood can get through more easily, lowering blood pressure. You can think of it like traffic—if a 4 lane highway has 2 lanes blocked from construction and then they suddenly open up, traffic can flow more freely. This Health Connections Newsletter has more information on the research investigating potassium’s role in heart health.

 # What else does potassium do?

Potassium plays many other roles in the body including:

  • Helping your muscles—including your heart—contract
  • Helping move nutrients into and waste out of cells
  • Transmitting nerve impulses
  • Regulating water and mineral balance
  • Maintaining normal blood pressure

Low potassium intakes have been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders and even infertility. Health professionals often recommend higher intakes of potassium to prevent or treat some of these conditions. Adequate potassium intakes may also reduce the risk of kidney stones and help prevent bone loss as we get older.

The Institute of Medicine’s guidelines for potassium call for 4,700 milligrams a day in everyone over 14 years of age. This is about double what most people usually eat. In fact, potassium is one of four nutrients—along with calcium, vitamin D and fiber—considered “under consumed” by the Dietary Guidelines Committee.

# How much potassium do we need?

Children need slightly less—between 3,000 and 4,500 milligrams/day—depending on their age.
Too much potassium—usually from supplements—can be dangerous, so it’s important to get your potassium from a healthy diet.

# How do I keep track of potassium in my diet?

It can be difficult and not very practical to count and keep track of the total amount of potassium consumed each day. Instead of counting up milligrams of potassium in every food, however—which gets tedious—it is much easier to follow an overall healthy dietary pattern. The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) takes the guesswork out of meeting your potassium recommendations and is well-known for helping reduce high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

The good thing is the DASH Diet consists of normal foods that are readily available, with lots of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains—tasty, convenient foods we should be eating anyway!

So, there is a lot we can do to improve our heart health every day. Read more on diet and other lifestyle factors that will help you maintain a healthy heart.


1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
2. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2004.
3. Rafferty K, Heaney RP. Nutrient effects on the calcium economy: emphasizing the potassium controversy. Journal of Nutrition 2008;138:166S-171S.
4. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference:
5. Siervo M et al. Effects of the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet on cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2014 Nov 28:1-15.
6. Buendia JR et al. Longitudinal effects of dietary sodium and potassium on blood pressure in adolescent girls. JAMA Pediatr 2015; 169(6):560-8.
7. Aburto NJ et al. Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. Br Med J 2013;346:f1378.
8. Binia A et al. Daily potassium intake and sodium-to-potassium ratio in the reduction of blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Hyperten 2015; 33(8):1509-20.

Keep Your Bones Strong

Test Your Bone IQ : Are Your Bones Strong and Healthy?

Solid bones rely on upon numerous things, take this speedy test to figure out whether you are at hazard for the bone diminishing ailment osteoporosis:

  • Are you female?
  • Do you have a family history of osteoporosis (sibling, parent or grandparent) or broken hips?
  • Are you often on a diet to lose weight?
  • Do you do weight-bearing activities (running, walking, weight training) less than three times a week?
  • Do you get less than 15 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) daily?
  • Have you gone through menopause without estrogen replacement therapy?
  • Do you eat less than 3 servings of high-calcium foods every day? (One serving = 1 cup of milk, yogurt or calcium-fortified orange juice, 1 1/2 oz. of cheddar cheese)

Calcium is one of the minerals that helps build strong bones, especially during childhood and young adulthood. Our bones become less dense as we age, but if you’ve built up bone mass early in life, the loss is less likely to cause devastating problems later in life. Getting enough calcium also helps to maintain the bone mass you have in your later years.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in healthy bones by helping absorb calcium from the gut (this is why milk is fortified with vitamin D).

# What is the best way to get enough calcium from my diet and ensure I’m building strong bones?

The best natural food sources of calcium are milk, cheese and yogurt, which provide two-thirds of the calcium in the American diet. Each serving of milk and dairy foods provides about 300 mg of calcium needed be build bone density. Other food sources of calcium include broccoli, almonds, tofu and beans. Do you know how much broccoli it takes to equal a glass of milk? The Calcium Quiz can help you figure out if you are getting enough calcium from the foods you eat everyday.

However, it is not just specific nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D that are responsible for bone health.  A whole “package of nutrients” – calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins B12 and D, protein and zinc – are involved in bone health. This is why getting our nutrients from food sources, rather than from individual supplements, is your best bet.

Consuming a well-balanced diet of a variety of foods, including dairy products and other calcium-rich foods, fruits and vegetables, grains and meat or beans on a daily basis is the best way to ensure an adequate intake of all these important bone-building nutrients.

Does Milk Prevent Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become brittle and are more likely to break in your older years. If not prevented or if undetected, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. Women are at increased risk because their bones are less dense to start with, and hormonal changes after menopause make them lose bone mass faster. However, men are also at risk for osteoporosis; up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis leads to an increase risk of bone fractures typically in the wrist, hip, and spine. A broken hip almost always requires hospitalization and major surgery. It can impair a person’s ability to walk unassisted and may cause long-term or permanent disability or even death.

The good news is, osteoporosis is preventable in most people. You can improve your bone health, even in your older years, through weight-bearing exercise and eating the right foods. A very large body of evidence establishes that adequate calcium consumption throughout life augments bone gain during growth, prevents fracture, retards age-related bone loss, and reduces risk of osteoporosis.1

Milk and dairy foods help build bone density. Dairy sources of calcium are more effective than calcium supplements due to dairy’s unique package of nutrients (vitamin D, protein, magnesium phosphorus, potassium) that are the right proportions for healthy bones.

  1. NIH Consensus Development Program. Consensus Statements. Osteoporosis Prevention, Diagnosis, and Therapy. Vol. 17, No. 1. March 27-29, 2000. (JAMA 285: 785-795, 2001)