Friday, July 15, 2016

Roadblocks to Healthy Nutrition and Ways to Avoid Them

Keeping a healthy diet is extremely important because good nutrition is part of good health. For seniors, it is even more important to maintain a balanced diet. Knowing how to recognize the physical signs of poor nutrition in older people is the first step in prevent health related problems from malnutrition. 
There are lots of reasons why seniors may not have healthy eating habits. Dementia or illness could be the reason responsible for unhealthy eating patterns. Some seniors may have a limited choice of the foods they eat due to dental problems. Food may be less enticing – some foods may not taste as good as they used to because of a weak sense of taste or smell. Other times seniors may experience decreased appetite due to depression or isolation.
Whatever the reasons is, there are some obvious signs of poor nutrition to look out for. It’s important to watch out for the signs and symptoms of poor eating habits. There are a number of things to observe such as:
·       Habits at meal time.
·       Loss of weight.
·       Easy Bruising and slow healing.
·       Side effects from medication.
·       The source of their food.
Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health and you don’t have to go far to find solutions. Start simple by making sure that meals contain nutrient rich foods such as eggs, nuts, beans and whole grains. If there are other factors to consider, such as lactose intolerance or food allergies, meet with a doctor or nutritionist to help create a healthy meal plan.
Finding tasty ways to eat healthy food can be a fun activity and something to look forward to. For seniors who do their own shopping, a list can help save money and stay away from impulse buying. Snacking often and eating smaller meals is generally good for the metabolism. Planning to cook and share meals with friends is also a great tool for motivation.  

Providing Healthy Choices

It seems like eating nutritious food is one of the easiest routes to improving health, there are some roadblocks. Access and affordability are two of the biggest issues faced. It may be more convenient to buy less healthy foods. Making sure that seniors have good nutrition not only improves health, it can add to their quality of life and reduce the risk for chronic diseases. While there are broad solutions being executed across the country, such as the USDA’s food pyramid campaign – there are things that we can do on our own to make a big impact on hunger.
The American government has issued a number of policies in place to promote healthy dietary habits among seniors. Seniors who go hungry or have poor nutrition are at a higher risk for health problems than those who maintain a nutritious diet. They are more likely to suffer from diabetes, depression, physical impairments and are more likely to describe themselves as unhealthy. Nutrition has an incredibly large impact on the risk for health issues like heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Below are some tips that can help you promote good nutrition for your elderly friend or loved one.
·       Bring food as a gift. When you visit seniors, bring healthy foods to eat such as fresh fruit. If fresh isn’t available, dried or frozen fruit is also a nutritious option. 
·       Come up with creative dishes that are healthy and taste great.
·       Fruit juice can be a good gift, particularly in the winter. Be careful though, some juices may have a high amount of sugar, which can spike blood sugar to an unhealthy level.
·       Take a trip to the local farmer’s market to enjoy the day and get nutritious food at the same time.
·       Make nutrition a priority when you are caring for seniors. This can help them address issues, improve health and keep healthy habits.
·       Gather people together for a pot luck full of nutritious foods. Socializing around food can be a very positive way to focus on nutrition.
Before you decide to make any changes or plans, speak with a licensed healthcare specialist. Total Home Health Inc. can connect you with a local professional to answer your questions. We can help you meet with a doctor, physician or certified expert to discuss your options.

Fibromyalgia and Weight Gain

Fibromyalgia is a disorder which affects the musculoskeletal system. Symptoms include pain, fatigue, poor sleep, memory problems and mood disorders. Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia experience dramatic weight gain. The underlying metabolic problems associated with fibromyalgia can make controlling weight very difficult.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology discovered that people with fibromyalgia are more likely to be overweight. The data illustrates some interesting findings. In patients with fibromyalgia:
·       4% were underweight
·       25.9% were normal weight
·       29.9% were overweight
·       43.8% were obese

The Link Between FM and Weight Gain

Just why does fibromyalgia cause so much weight gain in so many people? There are a number of reasons including:
Lack of Sleep – Sleep is an important part of managing weight. One of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia is lack of sleep, especially the deep REM sleep needed to restore the body. Recent studies show that people who don’t get enough quality sleep are at risk for weight gain. Getting less sleep causes the metabolism to slow while the appetite increases. People who can’t sleep often crave foods high in carbohydrates and sugars. Excessive intake of these foods are sure to cause weight gain.
Neuroendocrine Problems – Fibromyalgia contributes to several hormone deficiencies. The body isn’t able to produce and maintain adequate production of serotonin, cortisol and thyroid. This can lower your metabolism making it hard to efficiently process food. This may cause the body to become sensitive to insulin, triggering it to go into fat storing mode.
Decreased Activity – Because fibromyalgia patients suffer from increased pain levels, they aren’t able to increase their activity level. This makes it very hard to burn the amount of calories required for weight loss.
Medication – Side effects from medications commonly prescribed to fibromyalgia patients to treat their symptoms can cause weight gain. This is especially true for certain types of antidepressants used to treat mood disorders caused by fibromyalgia.

Ways to Lost Weight

Pain makes it extremely difficult for fibromyalgia patients to increase their level of exercise. A slower metabolism means that eating less doesn’t usually do much. So how can those who have fibromyalgia lose weight? One strategy includes coming up with a diet plan that is geared toward increasing metabolism. The right quality foods can also help you burn calories.
Eat a High Protein, Low Carb Diet – Focus on deriving protein from lean meat, eggs, dairy products, tofu and legumes is a wise choice. You can also limit your carbohydrate intake. Get your carbs from fresh fruit and vegetables. Include fats in your diet from fish oil, almonds, avocados and plant oils. Avoid processed sugars. If you need a sweetener, try something like Stevia. Foods to stay away from as much as possible include sweets, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, hydrogenated oil, soft drinks and excess alcohol. 
Eat Your Protein First – You should never eat carbs (even the healthy ones) on their own. Always eat protein first. When you eat in this order, you are promoting better digestion. The protein will activate your digestive system, which will slow the rate that your body absorbs carbohydrates.
Eat Until You Are Full – Portion control can take some time to master, even for the best of us. At meal time, eat until you are full and then stop. Eat slowly, completely chewing your food. This can help you avoid overeating in two ways. First, it can give your stomach time to let your brain know you are full, since there is a bit of a delay. Second, eating slower can aids digestion because you are more likely to chew your food completely.
Eat Smaller Meals – Try to eat 5 or 6 times a day. Eating several smaller meals instead of large ones can boost your metabolism. You will have to experiment a bit to find the right schedule. If you have irritable bowels, you may find that eating less helps.

Before you begin any new diet or exercise regimen, check with your doctor first. You may also want to ask about screening for other problems that can contribute to weight gain. Your health care provider will work with you to determine what course of action is best for you. Total Home Health can connect you with experienced health care experts who are ready to help you live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Join today to learn jumpstart a longer, healthier life.

9 Tips for a Longer Life

No matter how old you are, you can change many of the things that determine how long you live, the quality of your life and how active you are. This article will outline some simple things that you can do to ensure a healthier, longer life including:
·       Not smoking
·       Staying physically and mentally active
·       Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet filled with whole foods and healthy fats.
·       The use of multivitamins to supplement your diet.
·       Getting regular social interaction.
·       Maintaining a healthy weight for your body type and size.
·       Keeping your mind and memory sharp.
·       Taking steps to prevent illness and other health problems.
·       Minding your dental hygiene.
·       Visiting your doctor and asking lots of questions.

Don’t Smoke

If you are interested in living a long, active life, avoid smoking. Smoking is a habit that contributes to a number of deadly diseases. It makes it harder to breathe and causes a number of chronic health conditions like stroke, heart disease and emphysema.
There is some good news for smokers. Those who quit can repair all of the damage done by smoking. Quitting smoking will drastically reduce your rate for stroke, heart disease and cancer. After you quit your risks for health problems directly related to smoking drops each year.

Nutrition – the Secret Weapon to Longevity

There is ample research to suggest that eating healthy food can help you live longer and promote good health. Diet can help fend off a multitude of health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease and many different types of cancer.
The scientific research behind diet can be confusing. For starters, stick to the basics that people have known to be true for centuries. Cut back on meat, eat lots of veggies, whole grains and stay on top of portion control.

Choosing Fruits and Vegetables

Making smart choices isn’t hard if you follow some simple guidelines. When you are filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, make sure you have a broad range of colors on your plate. Most people should try and get at least 5 servings of vegetables a day. Try to get there with a combination of fresh fruits, salads and vegetables soups. 

Choosing Healthy Fats

Some people are confused by fads which advocate avoiding all fats. The truth is that we need fats and not all fats are created equal. If you can you want to avoid trans fats, like those found in red meat or French fries as much as possible. For a healthy source of fats, eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as white fish or raw cashews.

Choose Carbs Wisely

Switch white bread for whole grain bread, or white rice for brown rice when you can. Refined grains found in foods like white bread or baked potatoes can spike your blood sugar. People who need lots of carbohydrates are usually very active, like laborers, weightlifters or cross country runners.

Choosing Protein

Plant based proteins are generally healthier than animal based proteins. For a healthy dose of protein, look to legumes, vegetables, nuts and grains. Fats from these sources can lower your cholesterol levels. Stay away from proteins high in saturated fat such as heavily marbled red meat. If you do eat red meat, do it sparingly and/or choose lean cuts. 

You Engage in Regular Social Activity

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge found that a person’s social life can be a good indicator of life expectancy. How so? The meta-analysis study indicated that social isolation can be bad for your health. People with active social lives who participated in the study were 50% more likely to live longer than their counterparts.

Get Active

If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, you can always up your activity level. Try safe, low impact exercises like walking, swimming, yoga and stretching. If you are athletic, ask your doctor whether it is safe to try more strenuous activities. For more intense exercises, you’ll get the same benefits in less time. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Some people may find it difficult to maintain their weight. The following tips can help:
Get support – recruit a doctor, nutritionist and/or a personal trainer to help you get started on the right track. Give yourself some reasonable expectations and take gradual steps to achieve your goals.
Cut out needless snacking – sometimes we eat for emotional reasons, rather than for nutritional reasons. Make a schedule for times when the kitchen is off limits.
Always speak with your doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle. If you have certain health conditions the advice in this article may not be right for you. Contact Total Home Health Inc. today to get started. We can connect you with a local professional to help you live a longer, healthier life.

Managing High Blood Sugar

Managing blood sugar is an integral part of treating diabetes. Diabetes occurs when your pancreas can no longer deliver adequate insulin to the body, or when the body is sensitive to insulin. Without enough insulin, your glucose levels can spiral out of control. High blood glucose, also known as hypoglycemia is the simplest form of type 2 diabetes. Bringing your glucose level down is critical to treating hyperglycemia. If untreated the following can occur:
·       Vision Loss
·       Cardiovascular Disease
·       Nerve Damage
·       Skin Damage
·       Joint Problems
Many people with diabetes know the signs of hyperglycemia. As indicated by the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of high glucose begin when levels are higher than 200 mg/dL. Warning signs include:
·       Dizziness
·       Extreme Headaches
·       Frequent Urination
·       Dehydration
·       Blurry Vision
·       Stomach pains
·       Dry Mouth
·       Confusion
If you experience any of these, get help immediately. The goal is to prevent hyperglycemia before it starts. The onset of hyperglycemia can be quick, happening only within the span of a few days. Symptoms worsen the longer you have hyperglycemia. The key is to know what your blood glucose level is. The American Heart Association (AHA) standards for glucose levels are 70 to 130 mg/dL before meals and under 180 mg/dL after eating.  

Dietary Changes

Eating a healthy diet not only makes you feel better, it can lower your blood sugar levels. Making changes in your diet are one of the cornerstones of treatment. Sugar intake should be monitored closely. Sugars have more influence on glucose than any other substance we eat. It’s critical to realize that carbohydrates can really raise glucose. One approach to achieve healthy glucose levels is to eat food with a low glycemic index (GI). These include:
·       Stone Ground Wheat
·       Oats
·       Vegetables
·       Beans
Foods with a high GI should be avoided. These include:
·       White Rice
·       White Bread
·       Popcorn
·       Pumpkin
While attempting to control hyperglycemia, you should limit high GI foods. Controlling what foods you eat is only part of the process. Portion control is also essential. Over indulging can cause spikes in your blood sugar. By reducing the intake of junk foods high in processed sugar you can lower your blood glucose level. Concentrating on entire meals is a popular approach that yields good results.

Exercise to Lower Blood Sugar

Eating alone isn’t enough to treat diabetes. By exercising your body will process food more efficiently. Moderate movement can bring down your blood glucose levels to a healthy level. The AHA recommends that 30 minutes of exercise no less than 5 days a week for the average person. Exercise ideas include:
·       Brisk Walks
·       Swimming
·       Cycling
·       Elliptical Machines
Consider checking your levels before and after your workouts, much the same way you’d do before and after a meal. This can help you stay on track and see your progress, which is a great motivating factor. Your readings can also let you know if you have to modify insulin admission. If your glucose level is high, you should avoid exercising until you consult with a specialist. If your levels are above 350 mg/dL, you should contact 911 immediately

Treatment Planning

Examine your current treatment plan today. Eating healthy and exercising are two ways that you can bring your glucose level down and help you control your weight. Being overweight carries higher risks for developing serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes.
Even diabetics who eat right and exercise will need to take additional measures. Overseeing high glucose may also require the use of insulin medication and other drugs. Medication is carefully administered on a case by case basis. The planning of doses is adjusted to handle blood sugar spikes before they happen. Each patient is unique and treatment is contingent upon many different variables. The seriousness of your prognosis may change as time goes on.
If your glucose levels are high and you suspect you need treatment, see a specialist today about an insulin screening. Your health care provider will work with you to determine what course of action is best for you. Total Home Health can connect you with experienced health care experts who are ready to help you live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Join today to learn jumpstart a longer, healthier life.

Eating to Increase Wellbeing

This article is intended to provide tips that people can use to enhance their overall well-being. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. It’s a simple guide full of concrete steps anybody can take toward better health.
The term “Wellbeing” can implies both physical and emotional wellness. These are considered to be equally important and inherently related by many healthcare professionals. We will provide you with some specific actions to take and things to avoid when making daily decisions. These examples will address ways to improve your emotional and physical fortitude. Read on to find out some do’s and don’ts to bring balance to your life.

Eating (diet)

Food provides the building blocks for life and sustains us.  Everyone needs to eat to stay healthy. People have a very diverse set of dietary needs. Newborn babies, children, young adults, adults and older adults all have different dietary guidelines to follow. Additionally, body type, genetics and lifestyle habits also need to be factored in. For instance, a newborn baby may need to eat small portions often throughout the day until they can start eating more at once. Eventually they will follow the typical eating patterns of older children and adults, eating three times a day.
As most parents know, children love to snack in-between meals. There are a dizzying array of different diets and ways to consume food. Although we all have different goals and needs, the following tips can help:
·       Portion control is key. Eat the smallest portion that you can to make yourself feel full. To avoid overeating, wait 30 minutes after you eat one portion to see if you are full or not.
·       Sick with foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, too much salt and processed sugars. Look at the labels to see what kinds of ingredients are in your food. You may be shocked to see what’s inside some of your favorite treats.
·       Protein should come from lean meats, fish, eggs and nuts.
·       The bulk of your diet should consist of natural food products, vegetables, grains and low fat dairy products.
·       Snacks are okay as long as you exercise some restraint. Opt for healthy snacks like whole grain toast or raw cashews.
·       Stay away from soft drinks with lots of sugar. These are full of unnecessary calories and sugar. Diet soft drinks may not be a healthy alternative, as they contain high amounts of processed ingredients and little nutrition value.
·       Don’t eat too much before bedtime. This can cause weight gain and reduce the quality of sleep. 
·       Avoid emotional eating. Sometimes we eat junk food for emotional reasons. Finding other healthy ways to deal with stress can help with this problem.
·       Try going vegan. A vegan diet and philosophy is a sound way to reduce your weight and eat healthy. Vegetable lovers and vegans need to check with their doctors to make sure that they are getting the proper nutrients.
·       Cooking food above 165 degrees Fahrenheit is a good guideline to kill most unsafe microscopic organisms and pathogens. If you eat any raw foods, make sure that you wash them completely under clean running water prior to eating.
·       Eating undercooked meats of any sort can be hazardous. If you do eat raw meat, such as sushi, make sure you trust the people who prepare it for you.

Tips for Special Circumstances

The following tips are for those who face specific challenges due to health conditions or unique circumstances.
·       Those with diabetes should use the tips mentioned above to manage their glucose levels. Keeping blood glucose levels under control is crucial to managing diabetes.
·       Individuals with uncommon work routines (graveyard shifts, military etc.) need to prioritize their diet. It may take some extra effort for them to make time for a consistent diet. Try to stick with a breakfast, lunch and dinner routine.
·       People who are attempting to lose weight should avoid all greasy and sugary foods. Their diet should mainly consist of vegetables, organic food products and nuts. Try and keep the intake of dairy products to a minimum.
If you are having trouble with your diet, consult a professional. Your health care provider will work with you to determine which type diet is best for you. Total Home Health can connect you with experienced health care experts who are ready to help you live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Join today to learn jumpstart a longer, healthier life.