Mid-Life

Diet Tips for 2019 with NurseChrisP

Sharing Pizza is a good thing

Diet tips for the New Year For Fitness After 40

 

If you have decided to improve your health in 2019, no doubt this has included some thoughts about ways to improve your diet.  While it is true, health and obtaining a healthy weight is 80% diet and 20% activity, it is a bit more difficult  as we age, especially for middle aged men and women. This is due to hormone changes and natural aging, and it is far less easy to out exercise our poor food choices.  Here are my top diet tips to integrate into your eating plan starting today.

1. Drink adequate water.

Ideally your urine should be pale yellow to clear. Relying on your thirst level to guide your thirst may be too late, especially if you are taking a diuretic for blood pressure management. A good rule of thumb is to consume ½ of your body weight in ounces of water. Adjust according to your activity level and your environment.

2. Eat an apple a day.

Apples provide astonishing benefits is their tiny packages and should be included in eating plans for people of all ages. If you struggle with constipation eat an apple daily. The fiber and pectin will alleviate the constipation. If you struggle with loose stools eat an apple a day, the pectin will improve the consistency. Apples improve the gut biome which can improve digestion and mood. No need to eat a monster apple, the huge ones are about 2 ½ servings, instead aim for the small ones, eat the peel and consider eating the whole apple, seeds and all. Many cultures do this, however apple seeds contain cyanide which can be toxic if too much is consumed. Purchase organic apples if possible, and if you cannot, then wash the fruit to remove the waxy coating before eating.

3. Share.

Sharing entrée’s when you go out to a restaurant, or getting a doggy bag and putting half of the meal away before you start eating is a simple way to manage serving size and calorie intate. Restaurant meal portion sizes are double or more and can exceed a day’s calorie portion in one dish. Sharing the meal with your dinner date will save you calories and money. That is a win/win right there.

4. Start Intermittent Fasting.

Begin practicing intermittent fasting during the week, or at least 5 days out of the week. Intermittent fasting has been shown to aid in weight control, blood sugar management, and more. To incorporate intermittent fasting into your day, make lunch your first meal and dinner your last meal. The old adage that “breakfast is the most important meal” is not, in my opinion, the best way to manage weight or health at mid-life.

5. Limit alcohol consumption to the weekends.

6. Eat no processed snacks.

If you must snack, make them yourself. For example, if you are a cookie fiend, then mix up your favorite recipe, roll the dough into a log and place it in the freezer. Slice off a couple of cookies when you want them. This limits you from eating the whole batch, but can still enjoy the deliciousness of a fresh cookie without preservatives and chemicals.

7. Eat vegetables daily.

This one is very difficult for me to do as I do not readily like to eat them. Blue Apron has been my salvation in this area, as their menus rely on a good serving of veggies with every meal preparation.

8. Do not eat in front of the TV, or on the run.

Try to eat at the table with a real plate and utensils. Reclaim eating from something that is done in a hurry to something that is enjoyed.

9. Drink no sugary drinks.

Avoid pop/soda/cokes (I have covered all of the names for Americans right here ), sweet tea and Gatorade. Limit your consumption of diet sodas to 1-2 times per week.

10. Put good fats back into your diet.

Good fats are ones like nuts, chia seeds, nut butters, oils like avocado, sesame, olive oil, coconut, eggs, and fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna.

Those are my top 10 dietary improvement suggestions. When you incorporate these suggestions into an energy balanced diet, you will see weight loss and improved sense of health. There are many experts out there, and amazing people want to help you. Thank you for reading my suggestions. Here is to your improved and continued health.

We are all going to die, but the goal is to die being as healthy as possible.

If you want assistance in discovering your best diet and exercise plan for 2019, order my book Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

This is a condensed version of the counselling that I do with my own patients who come to me for health and wellness assistance. I am a guide and you are the hero. I can help.

Got Diabetes? High Blood Pressure? High Cholesterol?

Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are often related to lifestyle choices. Did you know that you can improve or even cure these diseases (if they are caused by your lifestyle choices) with an improved diet and increased exercise? In this post I will review 4 great eating plans to improve these diseases.

In my book, the Second Chance at Health, I outline four medical eating plans that can improve each of these conditions.

American Diabetes Association Eating Strategy

American Diabetes Association Diet recommends that a healthy diet be adopted which includes eating a variety of healthy, whole foods. The ADA publishes cookbooks annually. These book include: Gluten-Free recipes, Carb Control, Quick and Healthy. Additionally, this diet can be tailored to manage weight, and even to assist with weight loss. A nutritionist and your doctor can assist with the best decisions on how to ensure that blood sugar stability is maintained.

Losing weight as a diabetic is difficult but not impossible. Understanding how to manage your medicines to ensure safe glucose control is paramount.

Dietary Approaches to Stop High Blood Pressure, or the DASH Diet

The DASH diet is designed to prevent and lower high blood pressure. It is a plan that is lower in sodium, rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and protein. The plan instructs on appropriate food choices, appropriate preparation and seasoning options, and proper portion size.

Therefore, this eating plan is great for middle aged adults as it allows for variety and is not overly restrictive. This diet can be used for weight loss because many publications have descriptions of calorie counts that could be chosen based on your BMR and weight loss goals.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet  is used to manage and prevent cardiovascular disease. This diet mimics the eating plan of people in the Mediterranean who have been found to have far less incidence of cardiovascular disease than those in the U.S.A. The diet is mostly plant-based and is high in recommendations of fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, olive oil, and fish. This diet limits red meats, processed meats, and sweets.

Again, this approach is a fabulous option that can be adjusted to meet weight loss goals.

Therapeutic Lifestyle Change Diet/TLC Diet

If you have high levels of cholesterol, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) diet  can guide your food choices to improve your blood cholesterol levels. The specific guidelines include having less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat (look at the nutrition information of your foods), less than 200 mg of cholesterol per day, and 25 to 35 percent of daily calories from total fats. To improve your LDL or bad cholesterol levels, it is recommended that you consume 2 grams of plant stanols, or sterols, and 10 to 25 grams of soluble fiber. Additionally, the TLC diet can be modified to include the number of calories that you need to lose weight based on your identified BMR.

Now is the time to regain YOUR health for 2019 New Year’s Resolutions!

Order my book, Second Chance at Health- Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating now and make the year 2019 the one that you throw out your medicines because you are eating the right foods.

Night Sweats and Fitness after 40

Want another reason for eating healthy and staying fit?? An active lifestyle, nutritionally motivated eating, and a healthy weight are excellent ways to promote health and decrease your risk for experiencing night sweats.

Night Sweats Defined

Night sweats/nocturnal hyperhidrosis /night time hot flashes that result in soaking your pajamas, sheets and disrupt your sleep occur in just over 40% of people. That is a lot of people. There are many conditions, medications and situations that can result in this disruption and I will discuss this in this post, as well as give your some ideas about how to manage them.

Since we all want to be able to sleep well without persistent and regular night time interruptions first we must identify our own risks. Here are some causes of night sweats; do you have any of these conditions?

What Can Cause Night Sweats?

People with the following conditions are more likely to experience night sweat:

• Sex hormone changes: menopause, pre-menopause and pre-menstrual
• Obstructive Sleep Apnea
• Low thyroid/high thyroid
• Infections (HIV, abscesses)
• Low blood sugar
• Cancer
• Autonomic nervous system dysfunction (strokes, dysreflexia)
• Other endocrine disorders (adrenal gland issues)
• Depression medications
• Anti-psychotic medications
• Common medications: Tylenol, steroids, and aspirin

As you can see from this list, some of the conditions can be modified, others cannot. Some of them can be treated with medication, some may require medication changes, others may require a cure, and still others can be avoided altogether.

Let’s review them more in-depth.

Hormones

Aging and hormone changes, particularly for females, can result in night sweats that disrupt sleep. Imbalance of estrogen, estradiol, progesterone and testosterone is thought to be the cause. A visit to your ob/gyn should help and they can determine if you would benefit from hormonal therapy.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where there is a physical obstruction causing oxygen deprivation while sleeping. One study¹ revealed that the night sweats resulting from this condition can be improved with regular use of a CPAP machine that forces air into the upper airway to keep it open. A visit to your primary care doctor can begin the processes of assessment for this condition. Maintaining a normal healthy weight, avoiding alcohol before bed and losing weight can also improve this condition.

Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disorders, whether low or high have been implicated in nighttime sweating. A visit to your doctor and a blood lab test will identify if there is an issue with your thyroid. Both low and high thyroid levels can be treated.

Infections

Untreated infections can also result in night sweats initially. HIV, TB and abscesses have been implicated. If you are at high risk for HIV or TB visit your doctor to be tested. Abscesses may be harder to find, but a physical exam and lab work is the place to start.

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar can cause night sweats. If you are being treated for diabetes and are on medicine perhaps the medicine is causing a low blood sugar at night. Notifying your doctor is important to be able to manage this cause. They may order a continuous blood sugar monitor for you to determine if indeed you are becoming hypoglycemic at night. This can be very dangerous and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Cancer

Some cancers can cause night sweats as an initial symptom. Evaluation is warranted especially if you are experiencing fatigue, and unintended weight loss. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and lab evaluation.

Nervous System Dysfunction

Autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction is most often a secondary dysfunction caused by other conditions. The ANS system is responsible for heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and body temperature regulation. When this system is damaged it will malfunction. The more common conditions that are implicated in ANS dysfunction include autoimmune diseases, cancer, diabetes, alcoholism and Parkinson’s disease. Maintaining a healthy body weight to avoid lifestyle related diabetes and avoiding excessive alcohol intake can reduce your risk of damaging your ANS.

Endocrine Disorders

Endocrine disorders other than thyroid and sex hormones can also cause night sweats. The adrenal gland is responsible for a variety of hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Adrenal gland malfunction which results in altered levels of the glands main hormones can cause many sleep issues. It has been implicated in causing low blood sugar which we discussed earlier as a cause of night sweats. If there is a tumor or other significant issue with the adrenal glands this must be addressed by a doctor and possibly a surgeon. There is a condition called adrenal fatigue that is popular in the alternative medicine group that provides supplemental adrenal support. I recommend ruling out a serious condition before opting to choose the alternative approach and using an herbal supplement.

Depression Medication

Night sweats have been associated with some depression medications. I recommend reading the insert of the medication and bringing this adverse effect to the attention of your prescribing doctor if the night sweats are disrupting your sleep. Do not stop taking these medicines suddenly and only wean yourself off of these under medical supervision. Staying healthy, eating wholesome foods, being active and living for a purpose are actions that you can take to decrease the need for depression medications.

Anti-Psychotic Medication

Antipsychotic medications may also cause night time sweats. Discuss this side effect/adverse reaction with your prescribing doctor to see if there is an alternative. Never stop taking these medications without approval and guidance from your doctor.
Common over the counter medicines like Tylenol, aspirin and other can also cause night sweats. Eliminating them may improve your symptoms. You may stop these medicines at any time. Addressing the issue for which you are taking these medicines for can help reduce your need for them.

As you can see there are many causes of night sweats, and ruling out the most serious is of utmost importance prior to self-treating.  While it may seem that night sweats are benign, you can see that not identifying some of the more serious conditions that cause them could result in serious illness or even death.

Complications

Without the identification of serious medical conditions causing the night sweats there can still be some consequences of persistent disruptive night sweats and these may include the following.

Severe night sweats could result in:

• Dehydration
• Dry skin
• Exhaustion
• Sleep deprivation

Symptoms of Night Sweats

In general symptoms of night sweats include clothing and sheet drenching sweating and that interrupts sleep.

When to Seek Care

Seek care for persistent and disruptive night sweating. In addition to seeking care for night sweats seek care immediately if you experience fevers, palpitations, irregular heart beat or weight loss. These additional complaints could mean that something more serious is occurring.

Treatment

The treatment of the night sweats will depend on the primary cause of the sweating. A visit to your primary care doctor as discussed earlier, to rule out serious illnesses is necessary. A thorough health history, physical examination and blood work should be performed for this complaint.

While there is no medication to take to stop the night sweats, by identifying the cause and addressing the identified issue, the night sweats should improve. One study in China in 2015 showed that acupuncture improved hyperhidrosis and this might be a viable option.

Reduce your Risk

To reduce your risk of experiencing night sweats not related to causes like cancer, infection, endocrine or nervous system issues it is important to maintain overall health. This can mitigate significant and disruptive night time sweats.

A healthy lifestyle that includes eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising intentionally every day for 30-45 minutes may reduce your risk of experiencing disruptive night sweats.

Sleep Hygiene Practices

Sleep hygiene activities performed can help decrease the chances of night sweats if there is no serious cause. Take these steps to help:

• Sleep in a cool room (65-68 degrees)
• Use light layered bed clothes
• Use light sleeping attire
• Avoid added sugar
• Eat a diet high in fruit and vegetables
• Use herbal supplements as needed
• Exercise daily (preferably in the morning)
• Increase water intake
• Attain and maintain a normal healthy body weight

If you want help to reduce your risk for diabetes or want help finding the best activity check out my book, Second Chance at Health- Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

References

1. Night Sweats: Retrieved from https://sweathelp.org/where-do-you-sweat/other-sweating/night-sweats.html
2. Types of Autonomic Disorder: Retrieved from https://nyulangone.org/conditions/autonomic-disorders/types
2. Menopause Night Sweats: A Complete Guide. Retrieved from ttps://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/menopause-center/menopause-night-sweats.html
3. Nocturnal Sweating- a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea: the Icelandic sleep apnoea cohort. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3657640
4. Acupuncture as a Treatment Modality in Dermatology: A Systemic Review. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26115180

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