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What Foods Should You Choose to improve Heart Health?

More confirmation demonstrates that the sustenances individuals eat can assume a capable part in heart wellbeing, influencing various distinctive hazard elements for coronary illness.

Keeping in mind specialists have known for quite a long time that trans fat and included sugar are terrible for the heart, new data about other nourishment fixings —, for example, coconut oil, fake sweeteners and mixes called plant sterols — is as yet becoming exposed.

“There are various thorough studies being performed connecting supplements to levels of hazard elements, similar to cholesterol levels or body weight,” said Dr. Amit Khera, the executive of the Preventive Cardiology Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Khera gave a discussion on plant sterols, here at an examination meeting called the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Bigger studies are still expected to make authoritative proposals, yet scientists are progressively completing these sorts of studies, Khera told Live Science.

From Khera’s exploration and other work displayed at the meeting, here is a gathering of four nourishments that are in some cases thought to be heart sound — and a glance at what the examination truly says.

# Coconut oil

Coconut oil has recently surged in popularity, touted by some for its ability to help prevent heart disease.

And although there are indeed some favorable aspects to coconut oil — it shouldn’t be thought of as “unhealthy,” per se — more research is still needed to determine whether it can really be considered a heart-healthy food ingredient, said Jo Ann Carson, the director of the department of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, during her presentation on Monday.

The benefits of coconut oil may come from molecules called medium-chain fatty acids, which are a type of saturated fat, Carson said.

Although coconut oil’s fatty acids raise the levels of bad cholesterol, they appear to raise the levels of good cholesterol even more, potentially balancing out the negative effects, Carson said. However, more studies are still needed, she added.

There’s also some evidence to suggest that medium-chain fatty acids are processed differently in the body than are other types of saturated fat, Carson said. This means the medium chains contained in coconut oil are less likely to be stored as fat or plaques in blood vessels, she said.

Carson drew an important distinction between much of the commonly available processed coconut oil and virgin coconut oil. During processing, coconut oil is heated, which can cause hydrogenation, Carson said. This actually increases the saturated fat content of the oil, and can even generate small amounts of trans fats, she said.

Virgin coconut oil, on the other hand, is made by simply pressing fresh coconut, which in addition to avoiding the formation of trans fat, also preserves phytonutrients, she said. Phytonutrients are plant compounds that can have health benefits.

# Monounsaturated fats

Previous studies have shown that monounsaturated fats may have benefits for heart health, and there is increasing evidence that these fats may also be beneficial for weight loss, Peter Jones, the director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals at the University of Manitoba in Canada, said during his presentation.

In Jones’ previous study, the Canola Oil Multicenter Intervention Trial I, researchers found that people who ate diets high in canola oil — which is rich in monounsaturated fats — had slightly lower body weight and slightly less visceral (belly) fat compared with people whose diets contained more polyunsaturated fats. (The study received funding from the Canola Oil Council of Canada, Dow AgroSciences and the Flax Council of Canada.)

Although it remains unclear how monounsaturated fats may influence body weight, some studies have suggested ways that these fats may play a role in weight loss, Jones said. For example, some scientists have suggested that monounsaturated fats increase fat oxidation (the “burning” of fat in the body for energy), and some have suggested these fats help people to feel full, Jones said.

Despite the potential benefits of monounsaturated fats, moderation still needs to be the key message, he noted.

# Plant sterols and stanols

Sterols and stanols are plant compounds that are similar in structure to cholesterol and that block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.

Certain foods such as vegetables and nuts have naturally occurring plant sterols and stanols, while others such as orange juice and milk can be fortified with these compounds. Such foods have been shown to be effective in lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and are currently recommended by the American Heart Association.

When people consume plant sterols and stanols, very little of the compounds ends up in the bloodstream, Khera said.

The compounds are available as supplements, but taking more of the compounds isn’t better, Khera said. In people with a rare genetic condition called sitosterolemia, the body over-absorbs plant sterols and stanols into the bloodstream, and does not properly eliminate them, leading to high cholesterol. Sitosterolemia increases risk ofatherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

For people who don’t have sitosterolemia, taking a plant sterol or stanol supplement wouldn’t pose a risk, Khera told Live Science. However, because the risk of atherosclerosis associated with getting plant sterols and stanols from food is so much lower, he recommends avoiding the supplements until further studies are done to evaluate their safety.

# Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners have come under attack in recent years, with some studies linking the zero-calorie sweeteners to weight gain or increased blood-sugar levels.

But Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition and pediatrics at the University of Vermont, said that artificial sweeteners can be included in a healthy diet and may help people with weight loss or weight maintenance.

Artificial sweeteners can be included in a healthy diet and may help people with weight loss or weight maintenance, Johnson said at the meeting. Of course, it is important that people don’t turn around and add other calorie-rich foods and drinks to their diets, she added.

Some studies have found that people who drink diet beverages are more likely to be overweight or obese than people who skip the diet drinks; however, these studies do not prove cause and effect, Johnson said. Rather, it may be that people who are already overweight or obese choose these drinks in attempts to help control their weight, she said.

Johnson pointed to several randomized control trials that showed that swapping out sugar-sweetened beverages for diet or low-calorie versions resulted in modest weight loss.

An influential study published in 2014 in the journal Nature suggested one type of artificial sweetener, saccharin, may increase blood-sugar levels in humans. But Johnson argued that the dose given to the study participants far exceeded what people normally consume. Additionally, the human part of the trial included only seven people for just one week, which is too small a population and too short a time to draw firm conclusions, she said.

Speaking about all the talks presented at the session, Jones noted that while more studies are needed, researchers do already have a massive amount of nutrition science under their belts.

As such, one of the steps needed now is for researchers to carefully evaluate which studies are valuable and which are not, Jones told Live Science. That way, researchers can group the more important contributions together, excluding other work that may be flawed, he said.

Simple Way to Get More Exercise

exercisePractice is imperative for your wellbeing, and it’s a critical piece of weight reduction. Doing 30 to a hour of physical action every day is especially useful for keeping weight off once you’ve lost it, specialists say. In any case, discovering approaches to do that, and remaining persuaded to do it, is not generally simple.

You don’t need to do all your physical action for the day without a moment’s delay, however you ought to intend to do no less than 10 minutes of practice at once. Here are a few tips for getting more work out:

Pick an exercise you like

Some people start a new exercise regimen only to stop shortly afterward because it wasn’t working for them. When this happens, it helps to take a realistic look at the barriers to exercise, said Wayne Miller, the programs director at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s Center for Rural and Community Health, who has studied weight loss and exercise.

Often, people choose an exercise that they aren’t comfortable with — for instance, they feel awkward at the gym, or dislike participating in sports. Picking a different activity that’s more enjoyable for the person, like a Zumba class or swimming, might increase the chances that they’ll stick with the exercise, Miller said.

And if specific skills are a concern, you might try picking an activity that requires minimum equipment, like walking, jogging or jumping rope, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Exercise with friends

If you need motivation to get moving, it may be helpful to recruit friends to exercise with you. Friends can provide encouragement and may help you stick with your exercise routine, according to the National Institutes of Health.

And social connections may make exercise more enjoyable  — a 2013 study of more than 100 people who took short surveys on their mobile phone throughout the day found that those who were doing physical activity with their spouse, friends or co-workers at a given moment were happier, and enjoyed the physical activity more, compared with those doing physical activity alone.

Move more at work

Even during a busy workday, you can likely find time to get a little exercise in at work. You might consider taking a 10-minute walk during a coffee break, or walking around with a co-worker during a brainstorm session, rather than sitting at a conference table.

You could also walk around during business calls if you don’t need to look at important documents, the American Heart Association says. Your commute to and from work is another opportunity for exercise — if you take public transportation, get off a stop earlier than you usually do and walk the extra distance, or take the stairs instead of the elevator to your office.

Move more at home

There are also a number of opportunities to squeeze in more exercise at home. Doing housework or gardening can count as exercise — mowing the lawn with a hand mower burns about 235 calories in 30 minutes, and vacuuming burns about 140 calories in 30 minutes, according to the Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide from the University of South Carolina, which lists the calories burned during many different types of physical activity.

You might also consider buying exercise equipment so you can work out while doing activities that would otherwise be sedentary, like watching TV. Equipment can be pricey, but it is a one-time expense and can be used by the whole family, the AHA notes.

Know More about Dietary Fat

dietary-fatDespite the fact that it gets negative criticism, fat is an essential supplement that the body needs to work. Eating the appropriate sum — and the right shape — of dietary fat is critical to keeping up great wellbeing, specialists say. In any case, devouring a lot of fat or too little may bring about wellbeing issues.

# Function of fat

Fat is a macronutrient. There are three macronutrients: protein, fats and starches. Macronutrients are supplements that give calories or vitality. Extensive sums are required to manage life, consequently the expression “large scale,” as indicated by the University of Illinois McKinley Health Center. The measure of vitality gave by the macronutrients shifts: fat has 9 calories for every gram, more than double the quantity of calories in carbs and protein, which each have 4 calories for each gram.

The primary function of fat is as an energy reserve, according to Iowa State University. The body stores fat, or adipose tissue, as a result of excess calorie consumption. During exercise, the body first uses calories from carbohydrates for energy. After about 20 minutes, it uses calories from stored fat to keep going, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Fats also help the body absorb necessary fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K), said Jim White, a Virginia Beach-based registered dietitian, health fitness specialist and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dietary fat also helps keep hair and skin healthy, insulates the body, protects organs and fills fat cells.

“Fat plays a role in the diet and shouldn’t be avoided,” said White. “Your body needs healthy sources of fat, also known as essential fatty acids, because the body can’t produce these fatty acids naturally.” Essential fatty acids contribute to brain development, blood clotting and aid in inflammatory control, according to the NIH.

There are several types of fat — some good, some bad, some well understood and some less so. Saturated fats and trans fats are commonly considered unhealthy, while unsaturated fats — including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat — are considered healthy. All foods that contain fats have a mix of fat types, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

— Saturated fats

Saturated fats are saturated with hydrogen molecules. According to White, saturated fat comes from animal sources, such as red meats, poultry and full-or-reduced fat dairy products.

“Saturated fats are solid at room temperature,” said Ximena Jimenez, a Miami-based nutritionist and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She cited lard as an example. Other examples include cheese and butter. Oils that are solid at room temperature, like palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also contain saturated fats. This means that baked goods can be high in saturated fats.

“Saturated fat is linked to high cholesterol levels and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” said White. Saturated fats also tend to contain a lot of calories.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends getting only 5 to 6 percent of calories from saturated fat. This puts someone on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet with 120 calories or 13 grams of saturated fats per day. The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines allow for up to 10 percent of calories to come from saturated fat.

— Trans fats (also called trans fatty acids)

According to Jimenez, trans fats are sometimes found naturally in meats or dairy, but usually in small amounts. More often, she said, they are “produced by the food industry for the purpose to increase shelf life of the product.” This is done by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make the oils more solid. These are called partially hydrogenated oils. Jimenez said that they are often found in “convenient foods” like frozen pizzas. Other common sources of trans fats include baked goods, crackers, refrigerated dough, margarine and coffee creamer. Fast food restaurants often use them in deep fryers because partially hydrogenated oil does not have to be changed as often as regular oil.

Trans fats are not recommended at all because of the link to heart diseases,” warned Jimenez. In fact, they are often considered the worst type of fat. According to the AHA, they both lower your good cholesterol and increase your bad cholesterol. In 2013, the FDA decreed that partially hydrogenated oils were no longer considered safe. There is currently a three-year adjustment period in place so that food manufacturers can change their practices or seek approval. In the meantime, the Mayo Clinic recommends checking labels and looking for the words “partially hydrogenated.”

— Triglycerides

Triglycerides are a potentially dangerous type of fat found in blood, according to the NIH. They are associated with coronary artery disease, especially in women.

The body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides, which are stored in the fat cells. They are supposed to provide energy between meals, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you eat more calories than you expend, however, the body does not burn triglycerides, and they accumulate. Most types of fat we eat become triglycerides.

The Mayo Clinic provides the following guidelines for healthy triglyceride levels:

  • Normal: Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or less than 1.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)
  • Borderline high: 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.8 to 2.2 mmol/L)
  • High: 200 to 499 mg/dL (2.3 to 5.6 mmol/L)
  • Very high: 500 mg/dL or above (5.7 mmol/L or above)

A blood test can reveal your triglyceride levels.

— Monounsaturated fats

These fats get their name because they are not saturated with hydrogen molecules and because they have a single carbon bond in the fat molecule (called a double bond). “They are liquid at room temperature. Examples are canola, peanut or olive oil,” said Jimenez. Olives and avocadoes also contain monounsaturated fats, White added.

“[Monounsaturated fats] are known to have a heart-protective role,” said Jimenez. White noted that they have been linked to improved cholesterol levels, and the Mayo Clinic adds that they may help insulin levels and blood sugar control.

It is still important to watch your intake of monounsaturated fats because of their high caloric content, said Jimenez. Though there are no specific guidelines on how many monounsaturated fats to consume, the Mayo Clinic suggests that most of your total fat intake should come from healthy fats.

— Polyunsaturated fats

Like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats are not saturated with hydrogen molecules. They get their name from having more than one carbon bond (double bond) in the fat molecule, according to the AHA. They are liquid at room temperature.

Polyunsaturated fats are found mostly in plant food sources, such as soybeans and soybean oil, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, walnuts and flaxseeds, White said. They’re also present in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel and trout.

“[Polyunsatured fats] have been shown to impact blood cholesterol levels leading to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease,” said White. They also help with cell development and maintenance and add vitamin E to your diet.

Polyunsatured fats provide essential fatty acids, including omega-6 and omega-3, according to White.

Though there are no specific guidelines on how many polyunsaturated fats to consume, the Mayo Clinic suggests that most of your total fat intake should come from healthy fats.

— Omega-3 fatty acids

“Omega-3 fatty acids are a polyunsaturated fat that can come from plant-based sources and are also found in fish,” said White. “Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower blood pressure levels.”

Jimenez added that they are also important anti-inflammatories. On a cellular level, omega-3 fatty acids work like aspirin to inhibit an enzyme that produces hormones that trigger inflammation.

She recommended eating cold-water fish like salmon, herring, tuna and mackerel, as well as walnuts, olive oil and canola oil. Some people take fish oil to up their omega-3 intake.

There are no standard recommendations for the amount of omega-3s you need every day. The American Heart Association recommends eating 3.5 ounces of fish at least twice a week to get a good amount of omega-3s. No one should consume more than 3 grams of omega-3s from supplements without consulting a doctor, as it may cause bleeding.

— Omega-6 fatty acids

“Omega-6 fatty acids are also polyunsaturated fats commonly found in plant-based oils,” said White. Good sources include vegetable, corn, peanut, grapeseed and sunflower oils, as well as mayonnaise and many salad dressings.

According to White, omega-6 fatty acids promote healthy skin and hair growth and benefit a healthy metabolism. They also help maintain bone health and the reproductive system.

In excessive amounts, some types of healthy-omega-6 fatty acids may cause the body to produce inflammatory chemicals, according to theUniversity of Maryland Medical Center. This is important to note because in general, Americans get far more omega-6 fatty acids than necessary and far too few omega-3s. The American Heart Associationrecommends that between 5 and 10 percent of calories come from omega-6 fatty acids.

“Your fat consumption should be proportional to your weight and dietary lifestyle,” said White. If you’re trying to change your body or become healthier, it should be proportional to your goals. “You will need to look at how many calories you need to consume daily to maintain, lose weight, or gain weight (based on your goals).”

White said that the average adult should get 20 to 35 percent of their calories from healthy fat sources. An adult eating a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet could eat 44 to 78 grams of fat in a day. Some healthy fat sources include olive oil, avocadoes, salmon, tuna, walnuts, flax seeds and sunflower seeds, said White.

“If you eliminate fat too much, it can have serious health consequences,” said Jennifer Fitzgibbon, a registered oncology dietitian at Stony Brook Hospital Cancer Center in New York. “Mental health deficits like depression and vitamin deficiencies can occur. The vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, meaning the body stores them in fatty tissue and the liver. The intestines need dietary fat to properly absorb these nutrients. These vitamins are also necessary for the health of your skin, bones and cardiovascular system, among other organs and systems.”

“It isn’t very common for someone to be deficient in fat in their diet, most people are guilty of having too much fat in their diet. Anything over an average amount is too much,” said White.

If you eat too much fat, you will likely gain weight, which is linked to health problems. Research on fat is ongoing, but some studies suggest that excess fat may play a role in heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Eating too much fat is also linked to high cholesterol.

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) create a committee to update the official U.S. Dietary Guidelines. The most current version available is from 2010. That version advises that 20 to 35 percent of calories come from fat. In 2015, however, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) issued a recommendation to remove restrictions on fat consumption.

There is a growing body of evidence that emphasizes getting healthy fats and avoiding unhealthy ones rather than cutting fats altogether, according to the Mayo Clinic. White advises not to cut all dietary fat, but to keep track of it. “Focus on consuming healthy fat sources instead of unhealthy fat to help toward weight-loss goals,” he said.

Furthermore, low-fat diets often lead to people eating highly processed foods that are high in refined sugar and carbohydrates but low in fat. Rather than specifying how much fat to consume, the DGAC advised eating more vegetables and limiting sugar.

Reduce Deaths from Heart Disease with Eating Healthy Fats

Urging individuals to eat sound fats, for example, those found in olive oil or fish could avoid more than a million passings from coronary illness worldwide every year, as per another study.

Truth be told, the quantity of passings from coronary illness because of inadequate admission of sound fats is just about three times’ more prominent than the quantity of passings because of unnecessary admission of soaked fats, as per the analysts. (Soaked fats are found in meat, cheeses, other dairy items and additionally palm and coconut oils.)

“Strategies for a considerable length of time have concentrated on soaked fats as the need for averting coronary illness, however we found that in many nations, an as well little admission of sound fats was the huge issue, greater than immersed fat,” said contemplate creator Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.

In the study, researchers looked at data on people’s diets and rates of death from heart disease from 186 countries in 2010. They estimated that 711,800 deaths from heart disease that year —or 10.3 percent of all deaths from heart disease worldwide — were due to people eating too little of the healthy fats called “omega-6 polyunsaturated fats,” which can be found in vegetable oils.

In comparison, only about one-third of this number — 250,900 deaths, or 3.6 percent, of worldwide deaths from heart disease — were due to people eating too much saturated fat. [10 Amazing Facts About Your Heart]

The reason why so many more deaths could be prevented by increasing the intake of healthy fat is likely that there are additional health benefits when people consume omega-6 polyunsaturated fats instead of carbohydrates, the researchers said.

For example, “Instead of having two pieces of bread, have half a piece of bread and lots of olive oil or lots of healthy cooking oil or nuts,” Mozaffarian told Live Science.

The researchers also found that 537,200 deaths in 2010 were due to anexcessive intake of trans fat, including those in processed, baked and fried foods as well as cooking fats used in certain countries.

When the researchers looked at patterns of deaths from heart disease over time, they found that the proportion of deaths from heart disease due to an insufficient intake of omega-6 polyunsaturated fat declined 9 percent between 1990 and 2010.

In comparison, the proportion of deaths from heart disease due to a high intake of saturated fats declined by 21 percent. Deaths from heart disease due to a high consumption of trans fat rose by 4 percent during this time, the study found.

The new results suggest that “people should be increasing their healthy fats as long as they are doing it in place of animal fats, or, even better, in place of refined starch and carbohydrates,” Mozaffarian said. Such healthy fats can be found in fish, nuts and vegetable oil, he said.

In the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death, and kills about 610,000 people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Along with eating a healthy diet, people can prevent heart disease by getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight and refraining from smoking.

The Healthy Way Gain Weight During Pregnancy

Putting on weight amid pregnancy is both regular and key. Be that as it may, constraining the weight picked up amid pregnancy to a solid sum is an entire other story, and the familiar saying “eating for two” surely doesn’t help.

Ladies may surmise that “being pregnant gives them the permit to eat anything,” said Katherine Tallmadge, an enrolled dietitian and a commentary patron to Live Science. In any case, putting on an excess of weight amid pregnancy can have long haul wellbeing results for mothers, she said.

That is on account of it can be super difficult to lose that additional fat in the wake of conveying, she said.

In fact, considers demonstrate that the measure of weight a lady picks up amid pregnancy assumes a noteworthy part in the amount she’ll lose subsequent to conceiving an offspring.

So, with that in mind, here’s how to gain weight during pregnancy in a healthy way.

300 calories

To gain at the rate of 1 lb. (0.45 kilograms) a week — which is the recommendation for most women in their second and third trimesters — it takes only 300 extra calories a day, on average, Tallmadge told Live Science.

A woman could get those extra calories, for example, by drinking two glasses of milk (around 100 calories each) and eating one extra serving of a whole grain (around 100 calories), Tallmadge said. Adding a serving of yogurt or fatty fish is also a great idea, she said. (Women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy are recommended to gain less than 1 lb. weekly, so they need even fewer extra calories.)

In any case, the approach should be all about eating nutritious food, Tallmadge said, noting that these guidelines aren’t much different from other health guidelines, with the exception that pregnant women need slightly more calcium, iron and folic acid than other adults do. (These can come from a prenatal multivitamin, she added.)

Dr. Jacinda Nicklas, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, also said that women should increase their calories with healthy fats, such as avocados or nuts, not junk food.

Of course, weight-gain requirements change as pregnancy progresses, with the recommended number of calories increasing with each trimester.

Small meals

Although it’s relatively common for women to gain too much weight in the first trimester, for some, it may actually be difficult to get enough calories later in pregnancy.

During the third trimester, the developing fetus gains a lot of fat, and it’s important for a pregnant woman to consume enough calories for the fetus to do so, said Kathleen Rasmussen, a professor of maternal and child nutrition at Cornell University.

But because of the growing size of the baby, and increasingly limited space in a woman’s midsection, it can be difficult for women to eat large meals later in their pregnancy, Rasmussen told Live Science.

As such, Rasmussen recommends that, unless a woman is eating very-high-calorie foods, she should eat several small meals a day.

Vitamin D

News about vitamin D is all over the place. In case you’re experiencing difficulty sorting it out, read on. We’ve pulled together the most ebb and flow look into about this vital vitamin.

Vitamin D permits us to assimilate more calcium. Before the fortress of drain items with vitamin D, rickets, a sickness creating the softening and debilitating of bones, was a noteworthy general wellbeing issue. Since the 1930s, all drain delivered in the United States is invigorated with 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D per quart which drastically lessened the quantity of rickets cases.

New research has connected vitamin D insufficiency with numerous infections, including hypertension, coronary illness, diabetes, disease, different sclerosis and rheumatoid joint inflammation.

It is right now assessed that 30 percent of youths across the nation may have vitamin D lack. Why aren’t children getting enough vitamin D?

Specialists trust it’s brought about by numerous elements, some dietary and some identified with sun presentation – vitamin D is made in the skin within the sight of bright beams.

  • Children are spending more time indoors, favoring television and video games to outdoor play.
  • Liberal use of sunscreen reduces skin damage but also minimizes vitamin D production in the skin.
  • Living among tall buildings in urban environments means less sun exposure.
  • ŸYoung children and adolescents are consuming less vitamin D fortified milk.
  • ŸDark-skinned individuals don’t absorb sunlight as easily as Caucasians and are more prone to vitamin D deficiency.

# How to Safely Get Vitamin D – From the Sun

Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine” vitamin because our skin can make it when we are out in the sun. About 5 to 30 minutes of sun (without using sun screen) during peak hours (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) twice a week on our face, hands and arms is enough to meet our needs. Sunscreen with SPF of 30 can block 95 to 99 percent of vitamin D production. After your 5 to 30 minutes, however, be sure to put on some sun block or a cover-up to prevent skin damage. In winter months, it may be necessary to get more of your vitamin D from foods.

Although most of us get enough vitamin D from food and sun exposure, some people may need more, including those who live in northern states, are not outside often, are older or have dark skin.

# How to Get Vitamin D – From Food

  • Aim for 3 cups of vitamin D-fortified milk a day.
  • Use milk instead of water in making hot chocolate, soups and sauces.
  • Choose vitamin D-fortified yogurts, cheese and orange juice whenever possible.
  • Check labels and choose breakfast cereals that are fortified with vitamin D.
  • Include tuna on a regular basis, in sandwiches, casseroles or salads
  • Grill or bake salmon for a vitamin D-rich meal, once a week if possible.

# How Much Do I Need?

Our consumer tip sheet, Vitamin D: What You Need to Know About the Sunshine Vitamin is a great resource. It outlines the current recommendations: children and adults aim for 600 IU of vitamin D per day, while those over 70 should get 800 IU.1One cup of milk contains 100 IU, so three cups over the course of the day will get most people halfway to the recommended amount.2 Other dairy products, like yogurt and cheese, often contain vitamin D, but aren’t required to, so always check the label.

Milk is an important source of vitamin D, and people who drink it tend to get 180 percent more vitamin D than those who don’t.3 Other good sources, like salmon, contain 100 to 250 IU for a serving of farmed salmon and as much as 500 IU for wild.

There are plenty of vitamin D supplements on the market, but the Institute of Medicine encourages people to get vitamin D from foods. Very high doses of vitamin D (above 10,000 IU per day) can cause kidney and tissue damage. Always check with your doctor before taking supplements.


  1. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2014. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page,
  3. Fluid Milk Consumption in the United States. Food Surveys Research Group: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2005-06, Dietary Data Brief #3, ERS, Oct 2010. – first paragraph, top of pg 6.
  4. Bendik I, Friedel A, Roos FF, Weber P, Eggersdorfer M. Vitamin D: A critical and essential micronutrient for human health. Front Physiol. 2014 Jul 11;5:248.
  5. Ross A. Modern nutrition in health and disease (11th ed.). 2014. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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)

Healthy Eating During Cold and Flu

As the climate gets to be colder and we remain inside additional, individuals frequently get bugs or different infections. The frosty and influenza season can start as right on time as October and for the most part finishes at some point in April. While there is no real way to cure the normal chilly or influenza, good dieting amid icy and influenza season can help you abstain from becoming ill.

By eating an assortment of nourishments from all nutrition classes, you can guarantee you’re getting the vitamins, minerals and macronutrients your body needs to bolster your insusceptible framework and better avoid colds or this season’s flu virus. Specialists are researching eating examples and individual sustenance parts to figure out what can best shield us from ailment amid this season.

# Foods that may Boost the Immune System

Researchers are finding positive links between immune function and components in food. If you or your kids seem to get one cold after another, try including some of these foods in your meals and snacks.

Garlic may boost your immune system, increasing resistance to infection and stress1. Garlic contains selenium, an antioxidant that scavenges free radicals in the body. Selenium deficiency, which is uncommon, can make people more susceptible to disease2.

Cheese and other dairy products contain conjugated linoleic acid, a natural component of dairy fat which has boosted immune response, primarily in animal studies3.

Yogurt and other cultured milk products contain probiotics, beneficial bacterial that have shown potential immune-boosting benefits in human studies4. Look for the “live active culture” seal, which indicates that probiotics have been added.

Also, check milk product labels for vitamin D. Early research suggests low levels of vitamin D may be linked to a seasonal increase in colds and flu and a higher incidence of respiratory infections5.

Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and juices, may also help the body’s immune system6.

Zinc, found in meat, chicken, peanuts and peanut butter, plays an important role in the proper functioning of the immune system in the body7.

# Foods that Heal

Fresh ginger root can help you when you are sick by decreasing nausea and vomiting8. Make ginger tea by grating one ounce of fresh ginger in a pint of water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add lemon and honey to taste.

Chicken soup, long known as a cold remedy, is likely effective because it contains any number of the above foods and their accompanying vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The wonderful aroma and cozy warmth can’t hurt, either.

# Keeping the Germs Away

The most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands. A common way to catch a cold is by rubbing your nose or eyes, so to protect against infection wash your hands frequently.

Your hands pick up germs from other people or from contaminated surfaces and hand washing prevents you from infecting yourself with the germs. Use warm water, soap and wash for several minutes for best results9.

Other good health practices are not sharing cups, or silverware and cleaning high-contact items, such as doorknobs, faucets and telephones, with soap and water.

# Boost Your Immune System

Even when your hands are clean, staying healthy means more than simply avoiding germs. Healthy bodies have an easier time fighting off infection. To stay healthy and boost your immune system:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Decrease stress
  • Cut back on unhealthy habits, such as smoking and over consuming alcohol

Some studies have shown that a session of moderate physical activity produces positive effects on the immune system. Over time, this means catching fewer colds and other upper respiratory tract infections9.

# Feeling Better

For most of us getting sick is a part of life. If you do catch a cold or the flu, the following advice still holds true.

To feel better while you are sick:

  • Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest
  • Use a humidifier – to moisten mucus membranes
  • Add immune-boosting foods to your shopping list this flu season.

When you are sick, stay home so you don’t infect others. If you do go out and need to sneeze or cough, use a tissue or sneeze or cough into your sleeve or upper arm. Don’t do it into your hand, since you can spread the virus to others by touching people or handling objects that others may use.

This information is not a substitute for a physician’s advice or your own good judgment. If you are feeling truly awful, or your symptoms worsen or last a long time, it is always wise to contact a physician.


1Tingg U. Selenium: its role as antioxidant in human health. Environ Health Prev Med. 2008 Mar;13(2):102-108.

2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health Website. Washington D.C. Selenium. Accessed March 25, 2015.

3O’Shea M, Bassaganva-Riera J, Mohede IC. Immunomodulatory properties of conjugated linoleic acid. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;79(6 Suppl): 1199S-1206S.

4Tolo R, Suarez A, Clemente MG, et al. Intestinal microbiota in health and disease: Role of bifidobacteria in gut homeostasis. World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(41): 15163-15176.

5Watkins RR, Lemonovich TL, Salata RA. An update on the association of vitamin D deficiency with common infectious diseases. Can J Physio Pharmacol. 2015 Jan 26:1-6.

6Sorice A, Guerriero E, Capone F, et al. Ascorbic acid: its role in immune system and chronic inflammation diseases. Min Rev Med Chem. 2014 May:14(5):444-52.

7Shankar AH, Prsda AS. Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998:68(suppl):447-63S.

8Palatty PL, Haniadka R, Valder B, Arora R, Baliga MS. Ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013:53(7):659-69.

9Allan GM, Arroll B. Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence. CMAJ. 2014 Feb 18;186(3): 190-199.