Lower Sodium to Lower Blood Pressure

In the face of a public health campaign to lower sodium intakes in the United  States, a controversial health writer created confusion this year when he  claimed new research showed less sodium does not reduce cardiovascular disease,  and worse, lowering sodium may even cause more deaths.

However, when trained researchers scrutinized his studies, they found  glaring flaws. Health experts agree: It is still good advice to lower  sodium.

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, stroke and heart failure,  are the leading causes of death in the United States, and high blood pressure is  a major risk factor.

One in every three Americans is estimated to develop high blood pressure and  high sodium intakes are a contributing factor.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the evidence is  strong: As sodium intake decreases, so does blood pressure, but most Americans  are unaware of this and 90 percent of the population is consuming more than  needed.

Excess dietary sodium promotes fluid retention in the body and constricts  and stiffens vessels, which creates higher pressure. The heart works harder to  force a higher volume of blood through narrowed blood vessels. Over time this  damages the vessels, causes plaque build-up and weakens the heart.

The American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Heart Lung and  Blood Institute all agree: Americans will benefit from lowering sodium in their  diets.

The recommendation is to limit sodium to 1,500 mg daily for more than half  of the population – particularly African-Americans, people over the age of 51  and those with high blood pressure.

For everyone else, the aim is less than 2,300 mg.

Some exceptions apply. For example, people with certain medical conditions,  such as kidney disease, may need even lower amounts and endurance athletes may  need higher amounts because of sweat loss.

Americans consume an average of 3,400 mg of sodium daily with most from  processed prepared foods, like dehydrated rice and pasta packages, jarred and  canned tomato sauce, soups, frozen foods, salad dressings, deli foods, fast  foods, restaurant meals and the like.

There is very little sodium in fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats and  unprocessed grains. A teaspoon of added salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.

To hit the sodium target, try dividing it up in a day; a good aim could be  500 to 600 mg per meal, leaving any extra for snacks. This can make assessing  sodium easier.

For example, three buttermilk pancakes at Denny’s (1,770 mg) or two slices  of pizza (1,500 mg) is excessive for one meal.

For example, three buttermilk pancakes at Denny’s (1,770 mg) or two slices  of pizza (1,500 mg) is excessive for one meal.

One cup of Rice-a-Roni (960 mg) is also over the target; natural brown rice,  peas or fresh-baked potatoes are better choices (less than 10 mg). Half a cup of  tomato sauce (560 mg) could be substituted with crushed tomatoes in puree (180  mg) or a bag of pretzels (450 mg) traded in for a piece of fresh fruit (less  than 1 mg).

Limiting sodium is a big part of the puzzle, but also important: Add foods  high in potassium, magnesium and calcium, minerals that dilate blood vessels and  lower pressure. Choose multiple servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily,  along with low-fat, calcium-rich foods.

Read more: http://www.patriotledger.com/topstories/x470410695/HEALTHY-EATING-Sodium-study-was-misleading#ixzz2Aj2uCMzv

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Seniors Need More Protein to Be Strong

To be strong, seniors need to focus mainly on two things: strength training  and protein in their diet.

Seniors are taking advantage of weight-training classes, yoga, aqua aerobics  and even spinning, and the pluses are worth the effort: improved strength and  balance, stronger heart and lungs and a lower risk of diabetes or a bone  fracture.

But to reap the benefits, seniors need to pay attention to what they eat,  too. Recent research finds more protein is needed as we age – necessary to keep  muscles and joints strong and enable the body to manufacture substances, like  hemoglobin, insulin, neurotransmitters and others.

Counting grams

The recommended dietary allowance is for adults to divide their body weight  by three to get the number of grams recommended – for example, 50 grams of  protein for a 150-pound person.

Researchers at The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department  of Geriatrics, are finding that is too low to improve muscle mass, strength and  function in the elderly, and they recommend almost doubling the amount.

As the research continues, experts say it is prudent for seniors to aim for  halving their weight number – for example, 75 grams for a 150-pound person or 60  grams for 120 pounds.

Better food choices

Experts recommend switching to a high-protein breakfast after middle age,  which is when we start to lose muscle mass. Options could be a yogurt smoothie  with fruit, a vegetable omelet or oatmeal with milk rather than water.

Although grains and vegetables supply an average of 3 grams of protein per  half-cup serving, the bulk of dietary protein should come from animal sources or  soy protein because they contain an essential amino acid, called leucine, found  to stimulate muscle building.

Whey protein in milk contains the richest concentration of leucine as well  as eggs, meat, poultry, fish and other dairy products.

Each 1-ounce serving of meat, poultry or fish contains an average of 7 grams  of protein. An egg contains 6 grams, and a cup of milk or a serving of yogurt is  8 grams. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are more concentrated with about 17  grams of protein per serving. A veggie burger or 4 ounces of tofu has 14 to 18  grams.

Time it out

Active seniors should aim to eat protein-rich foods like yogurt, cottage  cheese or a tuna sandwich right after exercise because this is when the body is  primed to build muscle, and it helps improve strength.

Spread out protein during the day because the body can only use 30 grams at  a meal or snack for muscle building. Instead of choosing 6 to 8 ounces of  chicken breast at dinner, for example, a better option is to eat half that  serving at lunch. Aim for balanced meals and snacks that contain protein to meet  the daily protein aim.

To avoid weight gain and excess saturated fat, choose leaner chicken, turkey  and white fish (same protein content but roughly half the calories per ounce  compared to beef) and fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cottage cheese. If  lactose intolerance is a problem, try lactose-free varieties or soy milk.

Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and  nutrition. Send your questions to her at www.wicked goodhealth.com. This column  is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Check with your doctor before  changing your diet.

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Chemical in Soda May Make You Re-Think Your Drink

Need another reason to ditch soda?

Researchers say Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi contain a chemical that causes cancer in animals, and a consumer group says the chemical may be responsible for thousands of human deaths every year.

Add this to the 150 empty calories; the 10 teaspoons of high-fructose corn syrup in a can of regular soda; the 25 percent greater chance of developing diabetes by drinking a can a day; and a 50-percent chance of becoming obese with two cans daily. Perhaps it is time to rethink your drink.

“Caramel coloring” is added to soda to make it dark brown. Listing it among the ingredients on a food label implies it’s a natural ingredient made from melting sugar, but, in fact, soda companies use a different, cheaper chemical process to form caramel coloring. They add ammonia or ammonia and sulfite to reduce the sugar, and that creates a byproduct, 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI, which ends up in sodas in varying amounts.

In rat studies, large amounts of 4-MI caused lung, liver and thyroid cancer as well as leukemia.

The National Toxicology Program of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which conducted the studies, claims there is clear evidence that 4-MI is an animal carcinogen.

The issue is whether 4-MI could also cause cancer in humans.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit group, believes 4-MI is responsible for thousands of cancer deaths in the U.S. each year, and it asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban it.

The FDA disagrees and claims the amount of 4-MI in caramel-colored sodas is too small to pose a problem. The FDA believes you would have to drink 1,000 sodas a day to be at risk.

California has issued its own guidelines, deeming 4-MI a cancer-causing chemical and requiring food manufacturers to add a warning on food labels if a product exceeds 29 micrograms per serving.

This year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest tested sodas from grocery store shelves and found servings of Coca-Cola and Pepsi with five times that limit. The group again petitioned the FDA to ban this additive chemical, or at least provide consumers with more accurate information by requiring manufacturers to list “ammonia-sulfite process caramel coloring” or “chemically modified caramel coloring” on the food label.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola have re-formulated their products to avoid a cancer-warning label in California, but samples in other states and worldwide still contain high levels of 4-MI. Both companies have vowed to decrease the amount across the U.S. and then worldwide, but it is unclear when that will occur without an FDA mandate.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest claims you can manufacture caramel coloring without any carcinogen, but it costs four times as much, and companies do not want to lose profits.

Americans, on average, each drank 45 gallons of soft drinks last year, or a little over a can a day, and most popular were Coke, Diet Coke and Pepsi.

The American Beverage Association, a trade group that represents the billion-dollar soda companies, claims the science simply does not show that 4-MI is a threat to human health. Now that’s reassuring.

Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and nutrition. Send your questions to her at www.wicked goodhealth.com.

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Pack Nutrition into Teen Diets

“There’s nothing to eat in this house!”

Anyone with a teen can relate to this angry growl. This, after multiple trips to the grocery store, or even after your son has consumed the entire family meal before you arrive home. What’s a parent to do in the feeding-frenzy years? Read on.

First, it’s important to know your teenager. If weight is a problem, aim to provide filling, nutritious, lower-calorie options, and encourage exercise. But active, normal-weight teens growing rapidly will need calorie-dense selections, and they’ll need them often.

Calorie amounts for 14- to 18-year-olds vary. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a sedentary male teenager may need roughly 2,000 calories to maintain normal weight gain while an active teen could require 3,000 or more. A female in this age bracket ranges from 1,800 to 2,400 calories, depending on activity.

These ballpark-calorie amounts can also change based on growth spurts –– one day he is insatiable and the next like a complacent pig in mud, similar to their unpredictable mood swings!

Don’t panic if it appears like pounds are starting to accumulate. It could be she is perfectly fine on her growth chart. Talk to your doctor to determine if it is a problem.

Never put your teen on a calorie-restricted diet because this could inhibit growth and development. Focus instead on the quality of the diet, making sure to have balanced meals with vegetables, protein and nutritious starch options, such as brown rice, peas, sweet potato and the like.

Snacking accounts for 30 percent of teen calories. Allowing too many nutrient-poor snack choices will not support brain health and normal development. They tend to be higher in calories, too.

For example, a sedentary female requiring 1,800 calories for normal weight gain can put away 300 calories in two cans of soda and 800 calories in half a bag of potato chips.

Other options, such as fruit and yogurt (200 calories), veggie burger on a deli thin (250), cottage cheese and vegetables (250) or an egg sandwich on whole grain bread (300 calories), served with seltzer water or 1-percent milk, will not only trim calories but provide essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein and others.

Cutting the soda would be wise. Just one soda daily increases the risk of obesity by 30 percent, and more than two jumps the risk to 47 percent, according to recent research.

Active teens may benefit from liquid calories, but opt for nutrient-dense choices such as yogurt smoothies, chocolate milk and 100-percent fruit juices, such as orange juice that is rich in folic acid. Tame the hungry beast with calorie-dense nuts, dried fruit, granola, peanut butter toast, vegetable omelets, tuna melts, cereal and milk, or leftovers, such as chili or chicken with vegetables. Aim for wholesome ingredients for snacking rather than a bar or bag of processed food.

Consider making a snack list to post in the kitchen. Silently point to it for guidance when he roars for food, and honor his request to “stop nagging” at the same time.

Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and nutrition. Send your questions to her at www.wicked goodhealth.com. This column is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.


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No Diabetes with a Change in Eating Routine for Senior

You are never too old to learn something new and make changes. Seniors who believe this and adjust their eating routines can significantly improve their health.

His doctor said his fasting blood sugar was too high and he needed to lose weight or start diabetes medication. Being “stubborn,” as he wryly describes himself, Paul McDonough, a 73-year-old retired Boston police officer from Hingham, Mass., chose not to take medicine.

He’d seen other people start on diabetic pills, then use insulin, and “next thing you know, they lose a leg.” He had other plans for his retirement, like walking and enjoying nature and spending time with friends in Florida and his grandchildren.

He had exercised all his life, but now he knew he had to tackle his diet. His friend Bob Keyes encouraged him to join Diet Boot Camp, an eight-week program offered by the Hingham Recreation Department. Think of it as basic training for healthy eating.

In late February, the 6-foot-tall McDonough weighed 231 pounds and had a fasting blood sugar in the diabetic range at 144 mg/dL. He received a wake-up call in the first Diet Boot Camp class when he assessed the calories his body required and learned how going over that amount not only increases weight but also blood sugar and cholesterol.

Week after week, as he got lesson after lesson on the ins and outs of healthy eating, McDonough adjusted his diet and steadily lost weight. Eight weeks later, he lost 21 pounds and dropped his blood sugar 40 points, putting him outside of the diabetic range. His tremendous effort in changing his diet has put him in control of his health.

How did he do it? He faithfully kept a food journal to improve the quality of his diet and to avoid a daily calorie intake of more than 1,700 calories.

He pared down his portions. Over the years, as a police officer, he had acquired a “grab and go” attitude toward food. Regardless of his hunger level, if food was available, he ate it, and a lot of it.

He planned healthy meals and snacks and ate sensibly. He changed from cranberry juice and ginger ale to club soda. He ate more fruit and stayed away from cookies, scones and ice cream.

He changed the way he cooked (his passion) and began making more meals with generous portions of vegetables and fish instead of meatloaf, kielbasa and potatoes.

He kept his sense of humor –– “looking forward to wearing a Speedo in Florida” –– and a positive attitude.

“I am thankful for what I have. I want to take care of myself and be healthy,” he said.

McDonough, at 73, was “the biggest loser” in Diet Boot Camp, outdoing some people half his age.

Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and nutrition. Send your questions to her at www.wickedgoodhealth.com. This column is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.

Read more: http://www.patriotledger.com/archive/x304764084/Joan-Endyke-Senior-kicks-diabetes-in-Diet-Boot-Camp#ixzz1srgNgYLW


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Avoid Artificial Chemicals in Easter Candy

Some goodies in Easter baskets could drive children to be unfocused, impulsive and behave poorly, according to recent research, and the culprit is not sugar but specific food additives.

Yet most parents are unaware of harmful chemicals lurking in cute speckled eggs, color-coated almonds and other candy because the Food and Drug Administration has failed to require food-label warnings, like those recently instituted in Europe.

Synthetic food dyes and other food additives can alter the functioning of children’s brains and neurological systems and cause problems, such as poor reading and writing and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disordersymptoms. With school testing, like MCAS, in process, parents and grandparents should rethink Easter basket selections.

A study published in the British medical journal The Lancet found synthetic food dyes can trigger hyperactivity and inattention in all children, not just those with ADHD. The lead researcher of the study likened these food additives to how lead affects IQ in children. This prompted the UK to ban these substances in foods and the European Union to require a warning on food labels, stating the item ‘may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.’

Researchers from Columbia University and Harvard Medical School agree; there is enough research to conclude synthetic food dyes are linked with hyperactivity, according to the Feingold Association.

In the United States, most Easter candy –– neon-yellow chicks, vivid jelly beans, lollipops and the like –– are made with petroleum (crude oil)-based artificial food colors, many of which are produced in Chinese refineries. In the UK, the same candies are made with natural coloring.

Americans consume almost three times the amount of synthetic food dyes as they did in the 1980s, and some experts believe this strongly correlates with the rise in ADHD, now affecting an estimated 8.6 percent of children in the country.

Another problem with synthetic food dyes is cancer. Red No. 3 is known to cause cancer, and three other dyes (Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6) are contaminated with low levels of cancer-causing compounds, such as benzidine, according to theCenter for Science in the Public Interest. They petitioned the FDA to require food manufacturers to label whether colorings are artificial or natural, but the request was denied.

For a healthier Easter basket:

Read the ingredient list on food labels and avoid candy containing synthetic dyes –– basically, any color with a number beside it: Blue No. 1, Blue No. 2, Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6, Red No. 3, Red No. 40 and Green No. 3.

Buy jellybeans, chocolate and other candies made with natural food colors and real vanilla. These products are usually available in natural stores, such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and also can be purchased online atnaturalcandystore.com

Think outside of the (candy) box and fill the basket with jump ropes, balls, books, art supplies, garden seeds, stuffed animals and other non-food items.

The Feingold Association also recommends not buying products with artificial vanilla flavor (vanillin) or and these three preservatives: BHA, BHT and TBHQ, which already removed from most food for children in the UK. The preservatives are made from petroleum and vanillin.

For more information, go tofeingold.org/ andcspinet.org/fooddyes/

Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and nutrition. Send your questions to her atwww.wickedgoodhealth.com. This column is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.



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Coconut Water Doesn’t Hydrate Better Than Water

Body water is lost daily through waste elimination and sweat; even when not visible on skin, we perspire regularly to maintain body temperature. Hydration involves replacing this water day to day. Coconut water can supply fluid to hydrate but is not superior to water.

Coconut water is the liquid from a coconut when it is cracked open. It contains important electrolytes, like sodium, chloride and potassium. It differs from coconut milk, which comes from the meaty portion of the coconut and contains saturated fat.

Coconut water is being hyped as better than water because of its electrolyte content, but these nutrients are helpful, supplied quickly in a beverage, only for very active people and athletes who rapidly lose them through excessive sweating.

Water makes up 75 percent of muscle. It is needed for tissues and organs to work properly, and for nutrients to be transported into cells and wastes out. Humans can only survive about a week without water.

When fully hydrated the body performs optimally. Dehydration can cause irritability, fatigue, confusion, diminished athletic performance and, in severe cases, death.

Although water requirements vary based on body size, climate and activity level, a general aim is nine cups for women and 12 cups for men, according to the Dietary Reference Intake from the Food and Nutrition Board.

Water is the best fluid replacement for average exercisers, according to the American Council on Exercise. Beverages with electrolytes, like Gatorade, are helpful when exercising over an hour at high intensity. The purpose is to replace electrolytes lost in sweat and especially to avoid hyponatremia, a dangerous, sometimes fatal condition when the body’s sodium level drops and can be further diluted with drinking water.

People who sweat profusely for long periods of time, like marathon runners or football players training in hot temperatures, are at risk for hyponatremia and should choose sports drinks when hydrating.

Coconut water can be an option for athletes, but be aware it contains less sodium than sports drinks and one study found that only coconut water with sodium added to it helped with hydration in athletes.

Also, coconut water, a natural product, can contain varying amounts of electrolytes, which is different from a sports drink manufactured to contain a specific amount.

The makers of Vita Coco, a major brand of coconut water, settled a lawsuit this month and will pay $5 million to consumers because electrolyte amounts in their products were below what was reported on the food label. This was assessed through an independent study. Vita Coco has vowed to adjust its food labels to more accurately reflect amounts starting in May.

The average person can obtain recommended amounts of electrolytes, like potassium and chloride, from eating a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables. Eating whole foods is more filling than drinking liquids and supplies more fiber.

Most Americans are consuming excessive amounts of sodium, more than 3,000 mg, through food choices, and do not need additional amounts from coconut water.

Old-fashioned water will do just fine to hydrate the body.

Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and nutrition. Send your questions to her at www.wickedgoodhealth.com. This column is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.

Read more: http://www.patriotledger.com/archive/x962235226/Joan-Endyke-Coconut-water-isn-t-better-than-water-for-hydration#ixzz1n7wZ26nz




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New Habits for a New Year

It’s a new year. It’s a time of self-reflection and goal setting –– to eat healthier, exercise more and lose weight. But how do you develop these habits?

The typical gung-ho response is two weeks of unbearable ‘perfect’ torture followed by a year of mental torture –– self-doubt, and guilt –– when old habits resume. Consider a new resolution: not to fall into this trap.

Be patient

A recent study found it can take an average of 66 days to develop a habit –– the activity is automatic, with little resistance, like brushing your teeth. Simple tasks, like eating fresh fruit daily, could take fewer days to accomplish while more challenging tasks, like exercising 30 minutes a day, could take longer.

Be realistic

Aiming to lose 50 pounds in a month is failure before trying. A prudent rate of loss is 1 to 3 pounds weekly. Rapid weight loss indicates an unrealistic eating plan, and it is not likely to last long. It also robs the body of desirable muscle mass. Slow and steady weight loss wins the race, especially when combined with a sensible weight-training program (20 to 30 minutes, two or three times weekly.) The weight lost, mostly from fat mass, is likely to stay off.

Make a plan

Determining how you will accomplish your goal will also help to assess your readiness for change. For example, wanting to exercise daily may not be realistic if your work and home life is chaotic. To be ready, you may need to first make changes, like saying no to volunteer work, asking for help with child care or resolving to leave work on time. To prepare healthy dinners, you may need to plan food and shop from that list, prep food on the weekends or have simple go-to meals. A registered dietitian can provide suggestions that fit with an individual’s lifestyle, work routine and food preferences.

Assess self-thinking

Realistic thinking and self-confidence is essential to habit change. Many adhere to “all-or-nothing” scenarios.

For example: “I need to eliminate all ‘treat foods’ from my diet and ‘eat clean’ or ‘I am a failure, why bother at all.’

This can result in negativity and poor eating.

‘Treat foods’ in reasonable amounts are part of normal eating and socialization. A professional dietitian is trained to help bring ‘gray’ thinking to the process, essential to developing long-lasting habits and to help turn negative thoughts into positive thinking patterns, which boost self-esteem.

Some Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans offer unlimited visits, without a co-pay, to see a dietitian for medical conditions such as pre-diabetes, glucose intolerance or diabetes. This benefit recognizes the length of time it can take to develop healthy, long-lasting habits.

Consider a recent client, ‘Karen.’ It took her six weeks to understand how negative thinking was impacting her self-care. During this time, she was not ready to make changes and did not lose any weight. Now, three months later, after considerable self-reflection, and non-judgmental support, Karen has lost 20 pounds, is off one diabetes medication and has cut her cholesterol medication in half. She has developed realistic habits and feels confident and motivated to continue. Health care dollars well spent.

Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and nutrition. Send your questions to her at www.wickedgoodhealth.com. This column is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.

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Nightshade Vegetables and Arthritis

Nightshade vegetables are a group of plants that produce alkaloids,  substances that keep insects away.

Some people believe alkaloids cause joint pain and arthritis, but little  research is available to substantiate this, and some research suggests the  opposite.

Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, hot peppers, cayenne, paprika and Goji berries  are common nightshade foods. They contain various alkaloids, such as tomatine  (tomatoes), solanine (potatoes), alpha-solanine (eggplant,) solanadine (hot  peppers and spices) and atropine (Goji berries.)

Arthritis is a condition in which inflammation flares up in joints, causing  pain, stiffness and damage to cartilage. Some foods, like nightshade vegetables,  are thought to promote inflammation.

However, a study recently published in The Journal of Nutrition found  markers of inflammation decreased when men were fed white, yellow and purple  potatoes for six weeks, (particularly yellow and purple) which suggests this  nightshade vegetable could actually improve arthritis symptoms.

Another study, part of the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project in North  Carolina, found people with the highest blood levels of lutein, a substance  found in tomatoes, were 70 percent less likely to have osteoarthritis.

Despite this, some people report nightshades cause joint pain, and it is  possible to have an individual reaction. Test this by omitting them from your  diet for a month and then reintroduce one at a time, observing if they trigger  arthritis symptoms.

Instead of focusing solely on nightshades, consider beefing up specific  nutrients shown to decrease joint pain.

Years of research through the Framingham (Mass.) Osteoarthritis Study, an  offshoot of the Framingham (Mass.) Heart Study, and others find adequate amounts  of vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce  pain and inflammation in joints and can slow the progression of arthritic  disease.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and also is vital in  the process of cartilage repair and regeneration. Research finds people who eat  three good sources daily –– citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, kiwis,  broccoli and the like –– have considerably less joint pain and less damage to  joints over time.

Also essential for cartilage production is vitamin D. Along with adequate  calcium, this important nutrient is needed to maintain strong bones, too, which  is necessary to support joints and reduce wear and damage to cartilage.

Consider having blood levels of vitamin D tested at your next physical. If  normal, maintain adequate levels of vitamin D with at least 600 IUs daily (800  IU after age 51) through foods (milk, fatty fish) or supplement or sunshine in  the summer months.

Aim for three calcium-rich food sources daily (consisting of one cup of  milk, soy milk, yogurt or orange juice fortified with calcium) or make up the  difference with a calcium supplement.

Omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in fish reduce inflammation and may even  prevent arthritis from developing, according to new research.

Switch to canola oil for cooking and choose fish like salmon or tuna often.  Extra omega-3 from a fish oil supplement is beneficial, too, however check with  your doctor to be sure it is right for you.

Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and  nutrition. Send your questions to her at www.wickedgoodhealth.com.  This column is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Check with your doctor  before changing your diet.


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Boston-based b.good Chain Focusses on Nutrition

Years ago, my sister Rose and I dreamed of opening a fast food restaurant  with tasty, healthy options for busy people, and our slogan was to be “fast food  with a conscience.” Now “b.good”, a Boston-based chain with a restaurant at  Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham, Mass. is fulfilling this need.

The philosophy of the co-owners, also childhood friends from the Boston  area, is simple. Serve locally-grown food, produced by people, not factories.  Beef, turkey and veggie burgers, hand-cut fries, salads and fruit shakes are on  the menu.

The beef comes from Pineland Farm, Maine, a co-op of small sustainable farms  in New England. The cows are fed primarily grass and hay during their lifetime,  and no antibiotics or growth hormones are used. The meat is shipped to B-Good  restaurants in chops where it is freshly ground on site. One of the benefits  from this approach – verses grinding bits and parts from many different cows in  a huge factory – is a lowered risk of contamination from dangerous bacteria,  like E. Coli.

Food Inc., a documentary about the mass production of food, claims that four  corporations own 80 percent of the beef slaughter market and engage in practices  risky for the health of our nation. These corporations are squeezing out small  farmers – but customers have a choice. Making a decision to buy local is like  casting a vote for higher-quality food.

B.good also purchases local fruits and vegetables – strawberries, greens,  tomatoes and the like – from farms in Massachusetts and through the Green City  Growers, an organization that grows produce in plots on city rooftops. Local  food is fresher and tastes better than say a tomato that has traveled thousands  of miles to your table, and when you buy local you support your community farmer  and reduce sprawl.

The b.good potatoes come from The Szawlowski Potato Farm in Hatfield, a  family owned farm for more than 100 years. B Good hand-slices them on location  with the skins on and bakes them, instead of deep frying them like other  fast-food joints. Sweet potato fries are another option higher in carotenoids  and fiber.

How does their number one burger, “Cousin Oliver” stack up against the Big  Mac, McDonald’s most popular? The “Cousin Oliver” has fewer calories, almost  half the saturated fat (6 grams verses 10 grams) and more fiber (5 grams versus  3 grams.)

Another advantage is the ability to up the nutritional value of your burger  or chicken sandwich with healthy ad-ons, such as avocado, cilantro, salsa,  locally-grown lettuce, and the like.

Unless you are a marathon runner, save the milk- and non-fat-yogurt shakes  for a special occasion because they can add an average of 500 calories to your  meal. Or opt for the smaller-sized (16 ounce) fresh fruit shake for 200  calories.

The veggie burger is delicious. To make your experience even healthier, grab  a side of the crisp veggies instead of the fries. Consisting of fresh broccoli,  carrots and peppers sautéed in a light, flavorful, sesame soy sauce, they are  addicting.

Joan Endyke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and  nutrition. Send your questions to her at www.wickedgoodhealth.com. This column is not intended to  diagnose or treat disease. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.

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