Archive | August, 2014

Facts You Need to Know About Low Carb Diet

Many people especially women are very conscious about their weight. In fact, I have friends who are observing certain diet programs just to lose weight or to maintain their weight. Achieving the ideal weight for your height and age is especially important to be physically fit and to avoid certain diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

One particular diet that is gaining in popularity among people on a weight loss regime is the low carb diet. A low carb diet may involve consuming low carb fruits and vegetables or counting calories like those who are observing the 1000 calorie diet. However, some people do not really fully understand what a low carb diet is and what its implications are.

Definition

A low carb diet is a diet plan that involves limiting your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates occur naturally in many foods such as in grains, nuts, legumes, milk, certain fruits and starchy vegetables. They are also present in commercially prepared foods in the form of added sugar or starch. A low carb diet instead promotes consuming more fats and protein. There are different types of low carb diet plans and among the most popular are the South Beach, Atkins, Zone and Sonoma diet plans.

Purpose

The main goal of a low carb diet is to help a person lose weight. Some also promise to offer other benefits such as in reducing the risk of cancer or other serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Carbohydrates are converted by the body into sugar, which in turn is the body’s main source of energy. However, if a person takes in more carbohydrates than what is needed for energy, the extra sugar is then converted by the body into fat. Proponents of a low carb diet believe that consuming a smaller amount of carbohydrates may result in lower level of insulin, which in turn forces the body to burn stored fat. Ultimately, it will help you remove excess weight.

Typical Menu

Generally, a low carb diet includes more meat, fish, poultry, eggs, non-starchy vegetables and low carb fruits. Grains, breads, sweets, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, beans and pastas are normally consumed in very limited amounts. It is typical for low carb diets to limit the daily carbohydrate consumption to between 50 and 150 grams. Some diet plans even totally restrict carbohydrate intake during the initial phase.

Risk

A low carb diet may be effective in shedding excess weight, but it is not without certain risks. Sudden reduction of carbohydrates in your diet may cause dizziness, headache, fatigue, weakness and constipation. To some extent, some diet plans that restrict too much carbohydrates result in insufficient dietary fiber of nutritional deficiencies.

One of the more serious side effects of a low carb diet is ketosis. Ketosis normally results when your diet plan restricts you to less than 20 grams of carbohydrates in a day. Ketosis is a condition when your body has no sufficient glucose for energy source, causing the body to burn stored fat unnecessarily and to build up ketones. A person suffering from ketosis may experience mental fatigue, headache, nausea and even bad breath. Some researchers also suggest that consuming more animal protein and fats may put you at risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

If you intend to lose weight through a low carb diet, it is important that you should know first the above mentioned facts. Even better, seek advice from your doctor about your plan.

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When Do You Need Braces for Teeth

Having a nice set of teeth can give you confidence when you smile. I may not have the perfect teeth, but I am happy to say that I have no problem smiling because I am confident that my teeth would look good when I smile. However, there are people who have serious problems with their teeth and which can only be solved by having braces.

Braces are useful for moving teeth to their ideal or intended positions so that there will be occlusion, a condition when the teeth are aligned together when they bite. Many people have problems with malocclusion, a misalignment of teeth in the lower and upper dental arches, with the first molar as the reference point. Aside from misalignment, certain conditions also call for braces:

Class I – Class I misalignment has the ideal alignment between the lower and upper sets of teeth. However, crowding of teeth is normally present and braces are necessary to correct the problem.

Class II – Often referred to as the “over bite,” it is a condition when the first molar is in the posterior position or is girded toward the back part of the mouth. This in turn causes the maxilla or the upper jaw to protrude forward.

Class III – Also known as the “under bite,” this condition is characterized by having the first molar in the anterior position or close to the front part of the mouth. In this case, the mandible of the lower jaw also protrudes forward.

Crowding Teeth – While some patients have the ideal occlusion, braces may still be needed for varying cases of crowding problems. Crowding causes teeth to rotate, overlap or grow in the wrong position in the mouth. In extreme cases, crowding may even cause a tooth to be trapped in the bone. One of the primary factors that cause crowding is when a person has a very small dental arch for its adult teeth to grow. It could also be that the adult teeth are larger than normal. Some people also suffer from crowding teeth as a result of losing teeth too early or retaining them for too long than normal. Both conditions can inhibit the growth of the adult teeth, forcing them to grow in the wrong positions. Brushing and flossing of teeth can be difficult with crowding teeth. In turn, crowding may also result to other serious dental problems such as tooth decay and gingivitis.

Spacing Teeth – To some degree, some people suffer from spacing teeth problem. It is when the teeth or jaw is smaller than normal. One of the most common spacing problems is having space in between the two upper front teeth or the centrals.

Having an incorrect bite or misaligned teeth is a condition that needs dental attention as it could also lead to other problems such as speech impediment, jaw pain, difficulty in eating, clenching or grinding of the teeth, tooth decay, gum disease and even sleep apnea. While tooth pain can be easily remedied with natural and commercial tooth pain relief, these problems can only be solved by having braces. Some people are afraid to have braces because they can be expensive and may also be painful especially if you have just been fitted with spacers for braces. But it may be worth the cost and pain as braces can help you wear that perfect smile.

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Best Foods for Breastfeeding Moms

If there is one thing that I appreciated most about mothers, it is the way they care for their children, especially infants. Some mothers even sacrifice their work and other normal routines just to be able to breastfeed their babies for several months to even a few years later. While breastfeeding, there are also many challenges that a mother can face and these are discussed in numerous online resources. I have encountered numerous articles talking about how mothers should be picky with the foods they eat as there are foods to avoid while breastfeeding. Some articles also discuss the conditions that might affect breastfeeding moms such as period while breastfeeding or serious illnesses while breastfeeding, which must be properly dealt with.

Moreover, I have known of lactating moms who have issues about the quality and quantity of their milk. Therefore, I thought that this list of best foods for breastfeeding moms could really help:

Water

Although technically, water is not considered as food, it is the most essential component of a good diet to ensure an adequate supply of milk. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water or eight glasses of water per day is a must. If you can drink more, then that is even better. It will be helpful if you could keep a bottle of water with you wherever and whenever you nurse to keep yourself hydrated.

Nuts

Nuts are also a good milk booster as they are high in antioxidants and healthy fats. Almonds, cashews and macadamia nuts offer the most benefits, but opt for less oily and salt-free or low-sodium versions.

Carrots

When you are breastfeeding, you can boost the quality of your milk by eating carrots as they are rich in beta carotene, carbohydrates and potassium, which your child greatly needs. Additionally, eating carrots is also a good way to lose the extra weight you have gained during your pregnancy. For easy snacking, keep a ready-to-eat carrot in your fridge.

Oatmeal

If you have a low milk supply, you can help extend it by consuming a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Aside from maintaining your milk supply, oatmeal also helps lower your bad cholesterol.

Garlic

Adding extra garlic to your dish will not only add extra flavor but it will also help you increase your milk supply.

Fennel

Lactating moms can have an added benefit by consuming fennel since it is known to be an effective galactagogue, one that promotes lactation. Fennel is a versatile herb that you could stew, saute or add into your vegetable salad. It also has added benefits for digestion and for soothing an upset stomach.

Green Papaya

In Asia, the green papaya is a traditional galactagogue. It is normally added in stews or soups and is made into a green papaya salad. You can also steam it or add it to your stir fried dish until tender. Aside from that, green papaya is also available in tablet form.

Aside from taking the foods listed above, it is also best to talk with your healthcare provider for more advice on how to improve the quality and quantity of your milk. Your doctor might also recommend you to take vitamin supplements as a health and milk booster.

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Neutropenic Diet: Up Close

As I designed clothes for dogs, I became aware that some breeds are just more prone to infections than others. It is like some breeds have reduced immune functions than others. This is somewhat comparable to people suffering from neutrophenia, a condition when the neutrophil count is much lower than it should be. It is normally caused by taking certain medications for various illnesses or when a person undergoes chemotherapy or radiation therapy. But it may also be inherent upon a person. Neutrophils are vital for fighting against infections. With a low level of neutrophils, a person can be easily infected by contaminants in the surroundings and from the food they eat.

To avoid infections, people with neutropenia normally observe neutropenic precautions. Part of it is taking a neutropenic diet which involves avoiding certain foods and eating only foods that are allowed:

Dairy

Allowed

  • Pasteurized yogurt, milk and milk products
  • Cheese and cheese products from pasteurized milk that are commercially packaged such as mozzarella, parmesan and cheddar cheeses
  • Whipped toppings that are dry or frozen
  • Commercial ice cream, ice cream bars and sherbet
  • Homemade milkshakes

Must be avoided

  • Raw or unpasteurized milk, yogurt, cheese and other milk products
  • Delicatessens cheeses
  • Cheeses with uncooked vegetables
  • Moldy cheeses such as gorgonzola and blue cheeses
  • Feta cheese, camembert, sharp cheddar, brie and farmer’s cheese

Vegetables

Allowed

  • All frozen, cooked or canned vegetables
  • All cooked spices and herbs

Must be avoided

  • Raw or undercooked vegetables, spices, herbs and garnishes
  • Caesar salads

Fruits

Allowed

  • Frozen or canned fruits and juices
  • Fruits with thick skin such as bananas, melons and oranges

Must be avoided

  • Dried fruits
  • Raw fruit
  • Foods containing raw fruits such as fruit salad
  • Unpasteurized fruit juices
  • Any precut fresh fruits in the supermarket

Nuts

Allowed

  • Bottled or canned roasted nuts
  • Nuts in pastries and other baked products
  • Commercially packed peanut butter

Must be avoided

  • Raw or undercooked nuts
  • Roasted nut with shell

Breakfast and Snacks

Allowed

  • All breads, rolls, pancakes, bagels, French toast and waffles
  • Chips including corn chips, potato chips and tortilla chips
  • Popcorn and pretzels
  • Cooked rice, pasta and other grain
  • All cereals

Must be avoided

Soups and Entrees

Allowed

  • All cooked soups and entrees

Must be avoided

  • All products made from miso such as miso soup

Meat, Poultry, Fish and Meat Substitutes

Allowed

  • All cooked or canned meats, poultry and fish including bacon, ham, hotdogs and sausages
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Pasteurized egg substitutes
  • Commercially packed bologna, salami and other luncheon meats
  • Commercially packed or canned smoked fish, but keep refrigerated after opening
  • Cooked tofu

Must be avoided

  • Uncooked or undercooked meat, poultry, fish, game, meat substitute and tofu
  • Cold cuts
  • Cold-smoked fish
  • Salami that is hard-cured and in natural wrap
  • Pickled fish
  • Sushi
  • Tempe products

Beverages

Allowed

  • Tap water and commercially distilled water
  • All canned and bottled beverages
  • All powdered beverages
  • Instant and brewed beverages including teas in tea bags prepared with boiling water

Must be avoided

  • Well water and spring water in general
  • Beverages made with warm or cold water
  • Egg nog
  • Homemade lemonade

These are some helpful guidelines on what foods to eat and not to eat if you have neutropenia. However, this list is not all-encompassing. When in doubt, it is best to talk with your healthcare provider on whether a certain food is okay for you to consume or not.

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