This quiz was moderated by: Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.
Do you know that breakfast is the most significant meal of the day? Unfortunately, most of us skip the meal in a struggle to lose weight. In fact, skipping breakfast is the unhealthiest idea and can cause the exact opposite. As the name says, this mealtime breaks the fast and reloads the glucose levels that are generally low after a long night. Omitting the morning meal imbalances the natural rhythm of fasting and feasting.
Skipping breakfast may also affect the proper functioning of our brain. It has been said that people who miss out on breakfast are not equally prolific at work, they are not as efficient problem solvers and they have less emotional clearness compared to the folks who usually have a nourishing breakfast. Omitting a morning meal can even decrease the energy levels and disturb our metabolic system, leading to an unhealthy body weight. While you consume breakfast, it helps to kick start the metabolic rate and you will be able to keep up a healthy weight as a result.
There seems to be many reasons we skip breakfast. In most cases, we are in a hurry to organize things for the family and getting ready for work. But, investing some extra time for breakfast is necessary to uphold the energy levels during your busy day. Here are some tips to stick to a healthy habit while you are busy with your schedule. Grab any of these food snacks on-the-go:
- Omelettes filled with yummy and healthy stuffings like veggies or greens
- Steel-cut oats filled in a jar to have with Greek yogurt or boiled water (oatmeal)
- A sandwich made from apple and almond butter
- A whole wheat tortilla filled with sliced banana, strawberries and peanut butter or almond butter
- Homemade chocolate smoothie with banana, peanut butter and cocoa powder
- Baked tomatoes with eggs
However, consuming the right food at this morning meal is important. Ensure that the food you eat includes of all essential nutrients to the body and keeps you away from any health allergies. It is noticeable on business trips, that many restaurants include an elegant, complementary morning buffet in their package and will name it an “All You Can Eat Buffet”. The options usually range from nourishing eggs and grilled veggies, to fruits and cereals with assorted cakes and breads. This is because, a healthy breakfast is not a pure protein one or just one of fruits or vegetables. You need to include some complex carbohydrates also. The best choice is a meal which comprises of carbohydrates, fiber, protein and healthy fats from nuts.
If you do not have much of an appetite in the morning, you can have a glass of low fat milk, real fruit juice free from concentrated syrups, a protein shake or a protein bar. Some other healthy snacks can be homemade fruit-nut muffins and coconut-orange-date balls if you have more time. But, always remember to read food labels, looking for serving size, sugar, sodium and calories. If you choose a grain based food, ensure that it is whole grain. It is also better to take whole fruit instead of juices, as juicing lowers the fiber content. Finally, limit the intake of sugary cereals, breakfast bars and pastries. By making some small changes in our food pattern, we can remain fit and strong.
A morning meal is the most important meal of a day. Regular intake of breakfast is one of the most vital habits anyone can have for their well-being. The benefits are countless and obstacles can simply be met with minute tactical pre-planning. Many families are now considering breakfast time as family time; to sit, have food, and bond, even if just for a short time before starting to the day work. Having food together with family strengthens relationships and will help kids have good habits. Let’s eat breakfast like a king!
Studies by the NIH have also shown men and women who continually skip breakfast have shorter life spans than those who eat breakfast daily.
If you have further questions about eating right, meal plans or dieting, please ask a doctor!
Today’s world does not always seem to be a happy place to live. Every day we hear about the wide varieties of problems evolving, especially related to our health. The advanced world has brought much more comfort to our lifestyle, however, it has paved the road to the development of many serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and depression. When we start to talk about our health, the topic of medical concerns never ends. Therefore, what is the solution to this our list of major medical concerns?
The solution can be in the participation of yearly medical checkups or annual physicals.
What Does it Mean to Have a Yearly Physical?
It is very simple. Every year, you visit to your family doctor or any other doctor to receive a medical checkup even though you feel healthy. Although it is more suited for people above 50 years of age, yearly physicals are not limited to anyone. You can have a physical check-up as young as age sixteen.
How Many of us Freely Visit a Doctor for a Yearly Medical Checkup?
The world’s statistics say that women are more concerned about their health than the male population. Men feel that they are strong, fit and ideally healthy. They tend to feel more invincible than women, thinking diseases will not affect them. This misconception is one of the reasons for the very low percentage of male participation in annual physicals.
Why We Need to do Yearly Medical Checkups? How are They Going to Help Me?
The answers to both of these questions lie within knowing the real benefits of yearly medical checkups or annual physicals.
The annual physicals help the doctor to determine your current state of health. It is very important to determine the state of your health even if you do not have any known trouble incase there is anything hiding. Simply measuring your height and weight, blood pressure, blood cholesterol level, blood sugar level and anamnesis of your past and present medical history usually does this. This complex information combined will help determine your new set of medical information.
For most people, annual phsicals or yearly medical checkups work as a lifesaver. The annual physicals reveals the presence of the disease, even though those sets of people thought that they were healthy.
How Can One Visit a Year Help?
Early detection of any disease can be easily treated in comparison with late stage detection.
The yearly medical checkups not only sort out any ongoing health concerns, but it can also predict the future and helps to eliminate the risk factors which might be dangerous or threatening to your upcoming health.
The single annual physical can help you to prevent high cost medical bills and many visits to the doctor throughout the year.
I hope you can see the real advantage of visiting the doctor yearly for your medical checkups. This single visit prevents and protects your health from various disease threats that can be seen or unseen. However, keep in mind it is necessary to continue to follow up if with the doctor there is a need or as per your doctor’s advice.
If you need medical advice, you can ask a real doctor a free question on www.askthedoctor.com where are team of physicians are here to help!
What do we know about High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a major contributor to the epidemic of the chronic diseases. It is no longer commonly seen only in the Western World but has become a burden to individuals, families, and communities all over the world.
The force exerted on the walls of the arteries as the blood circulates throughout the body is what is measured when the blood pressure is taken. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80. Persons with co-morbidities (other illnesses) such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke need to have their blood pressure under control to prevent acute illnesses such as heart attacks, heart failure, renal (kidney) disease and even sudden death.
As we age, our blood vessels become stiffer. Hence, there is a large association between aging and high blood pressure. Other risks factors for high blood pressure include:
- Obesity (severe overweight)
- High salt diet
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Family history of hypertension
The Essentials of Diagnosis and Treatment
Three consecutive readings of high blood pressure readings during consultations with the doctor indicate that you have high blood pressure. A physical examination and diagnostic tests will help to determine whether there are further complications involving the heart, kidneys or eyes.
Treatment entails the use of anti-hypertensive medication to lower the blood pressure. Diuretics (water tablets) are often prescribed along with the normal blood pressure tablets. It is very important to control other co-existing illnesses.
Tips to Control High Blood Pressure
It is never too late to start controlling your blood pressure, whether it be low or high. There is much benefit to be gained from applying healthy lifestyle practices and modifying risky behavior. Never abandon your medical therapy or medication to pursue a strictly natural approach. Partner with your physician to adjust your treatment plan should this become necessary.
There are good benefits from adopting anti-inflammatory diets.
Healthy fats/omega fatty acids (3 & 6 in equal ratio).
- Avoid partially hydrogenated oils
- Do not use vegetable shortening
- Eliminate trans fats from your diet
- Do not eat margarine, use butter and olive oil
- Avoid fried foods in restaurants
- Stay away from rancid oils, nuts, seeds, whole-grain flour and cereals
- Minimize use of polyunsaturated vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower, corn, sesame, and soy). Use olive and canola oil instead. Your best option is extra-virgin/cold compressed olive oil
- Never heat oils to the point of smoking & never reuse oil previously heated to high temperatures.
Select foods with a low glycemic index (GI):
- Less refined, less processed carbohydrates with low glycemic load
- Reduce consumption of whole wheat flour & sugar especially bread and packaged snacks
- Eat more whole grain, beans, winter squash and sweet potatoes
- Avoid products made with high-fructose corn syrup
- Eat less protein if you have liver or kidney problems, allergies or autoimmune disease
- Decrease consumption of animal protein except fish and reduced-fat dairy
- Eat more vegetable protein such as beans & soy
- 40 gram a day and can include fruits, vegetables and whole grain
- Ready-made cereals should contain at least 4 to 5 grams of bran per servings
Along with the healthy diet it is important to exercise to stay at a healthy body weight.
- Adults are now more sedentary and need to structure time for walking, jogging, high and low impact aerobics.
- The elderly have less options as there are other concerns with the degenerative diseases especially osteoporosis and arthritis. They are encouraged to do walking, stretching, gentle aerobics, yoga and tai chi.
Smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. There is help to break the addiction.
A little wine is good for health especially red wine with anti-oxidant effects. A glass of wine a day is a safe guideline. Diabetics and persons with a family history of alcoholism have to be cautious as moderate intake can easily switch to excessive use.
Regular Medical Check-Ups and Risk Assessments
People with hypertension need to see the doctor every 2-3 months. Longer appointments may be given if the blood pressure is well controlled. There are now practices available to screen for the very early detection of pre-hypertension and an assessment of the risks for heart disease. This approach to early detection and treatment can result in better outcomes.
Those who commit to a healthy life-style and adhere to the guidance of the healthcare providers can indeed normalize their blood pressure once again.
If you have further concerns about high blood pressure or other medical conditions, you can ask any medical question on www.askthedoctor.com for free!
Staying healthy during pregnancy is a big concern for many women. Here, we’ve listed ten of the best tips to have a smooth and happy pregnancy.
1. Preconception Care
Preconception care is an essential aspect of having a healthy pregnancy. Preconception care focuses on a women’s health, identifying and reducing any risks to the women or the baby before a woman becomes pregnant. Healthcare providers can help identify specific issues that may be necessary to address before a woman begins conceiving.
One key aspect of preconception care is having a nutritional assessment done. Dietary changes are most beneficial to the women and baby when they are done before she becomes pregnant. Some aspects of the nutrition assessment include determining if women are getting enough vitamins and nutrition, which can have an effect on a baby. One nutrient is folic acid. Women are recommended to start taking adequate amounts of folic acid several months before pregnancy. Neural tube defects found in infants can be reduced if women increase the amount of folic acid months before attempting to become pregnant. The pregnancy folic acid requirement for an uncomplicated pregnancy is 600 mcg/day. Major sources of folic acid include eggs, leafy green vegetables, strawberries, oranges, beans, particularly black and kidney beans, sunflower seeds, and fortified breads.
2. Prenatal Visits
Going to your prenatal visits is a major aspect of having a healthy pregnancy as these visits are to ensure a healthy baby and mother. During these visits, your healthcare provider will determine your estimated due date which may be different based on your own calculations. Your healthcare provider will also monitor and screen for any complications and manage them accordingly. Generally, all first-time mothers need instruction related to discomforts. Here, you will receive education on your pregnancy and baby.
3. Prenatal Vitamins
Taking prenatal vitamins is highly recommended. Prenatal vitamins contain enough vitamins and minerals to meet the needs of your growing baby and the health changes you will experience. There are many different prenatal vitamins and discussing this with your healthcare provider is essential. Some of the prenatal vitamins can contain additional iron needed for you and your growing baby while some generic vitamins may contain too much of a specific vitamin which can be harmful to a growing baby, such as Vitamin A. In doses greater than 10,000 IU a day, Vitamin A can be harmful to the growing baby. In many cases, you should discuss with your healthcare provider the best prenatal vitamin for you.
4. Eating Healthy
Eating healthy during pregnancy is a crucial. You need to consume the right amounts and types of calories and foods to support yourself and the growing human inside of you. The benefits of eating healthy will help keep you feeling good during pregnancy and help promote your baby’s growth and development. Eating healthy has also shown to decrease the chance of birth defects and chronic health problem throughout the baby’s life. During pregnancy, you want to avoid eating empty calories from food high in added sugars and fats that add little nutritional value to your diet.
It is important to eat a variety of foods so you get the most out of different vitamins and nutrients. Remember the foods you eat also feed your baby.
- 3 servings of milk or dairy products
- 4 servings of vegetables
- 3 servings of fruit, fresh fruit is best
- 9 servings of whole grain breads, cereals, rice, or pasta
- 2-3 servings of lean meat, fish, poultry, dried beans, eggs, or nuts
- 6-8 glasses of water
Try your best to also include these foods also:
- 2-3 servings of iron rich food
- 1 serving of food rich in folic acid
- 1 serving of foods rich in vitamin C
Exercising during pregnancy is recommended for both the health of the mother and the baby. It is recommended that healthy women with an uncomplicated pregnancy continue to exercise during pregnancy. As long as there are no obstetrical of medical conditions, women can maintain a healthy exercise routine of at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. Walking is an excellent form of exercise for pregnant women. Keep in mind that some exercise activities may need to be adjusted, such as soccer or baseball where the women are at risk of an object hitting the growing belly. Other activities that change atmospheric pressure, such as skydiving and scuba diving should also be avoided to minimize harm the growing baby
6. Avoiding Environmental Hazards
There can be many unknown environmental exposures at home or in the workplace that can have an effect on reproduction. Limiting and avoiding these exposures is essential to maximizing a healthy pregnancy. Known substance that are harmful include metals (lead, mercury), solvents (trichloroethylene, chloroform, benzene, carbon disulfide), vinyl monomers, pollutants (polychlorinated biphenyl PCB, polybrominated biphenyl, pesticides, gases (carbon monoxide, anesthetic gases), radiation (x-rays) and antineoplastic drugs (cefalo, chemotherapy & Moos)
7. Teeth Cleanings
Getting your teeth clean is extremely important in pregnancy. It is safe and highly recommended, especially during the first trimester. Moms who have bad dental diseases have been shown to be at risk for having babies who are preterm and who delivery too early.
8. Vaccines and Avoiding Illness
The flu is more likely to cause severe illness and complications in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Some immunizations, such as Influenza (flu) and Pertussis, can and should be given during pregnancy to prevent severe complications of this illness. It is recommended that pregnant women get their anti-flu and anti-pertussis vaccine at any stage of the pregnancy in order to maintain their health.
9. Healthy Weight Gain
It is expected that women will gain weight during pregnancy, however; too much or not enough weight gain will have a negative effect on the baby. The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine recommends that women gain between 25 and 35 lbs during pregnancy, for women that are carrying a single baby. Weight gain requirements are different for women that are carrying twins or multiple babies. Health studies have shown that women who do not gain sufficient weight during the pregnancy period will have babies of a low birth weight and are at risk for preterm birth. Women that experience excessive weight gain will have larger gestational babies. Gaining too much weight can also lead to other medical complication during and after the delivery, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
The institute of medicine has made specific recommendations for weight gain in pregnant women, according to the Body mass index pre-pregnancy
• BMI <18.5 kg/m2 (underweight) – weight gain 28 to 40 lbs (12.5 to 18.0 kg)
• BMI 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2 (normal weight) – weight gain 25 to 35 lbs (11.5 to 16.0 kg)
• BMI 25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2 (overweight) – weight gain 15 to 25 lbs (7.0 to 11.5 kg)
• BMI ≥30. 0 kg/m2 (obese) – weight gain 11 to 20 lbs (5 to 9.0 kg)
10. Personal Hygiene
It is very important to maintain your personal hygiene while pregnant. During pregnancy, your body goes into an immunocompromised state, which means that you can easily catch diseases and illness. You should practice good hand washing frequently to reduce the chance of having something infectious spread to you. Keeping up with staying healthy and looking good will have you feeling better!
If you have any more pregnancy concerns or feel like you need a doctor’s expertise, you can ask any medical question for free on www.askthedoctor.com where our team of physicians are ready to help!
For general information, see www.newenglandpregnancycenter.com.