HELP YOUR CHILDREN GROW AND LEARN

A healthy, nutritious diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent weight-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. Children need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. They need to eat three meals daily and have healthy snacks in between. The more active your child is, the more calories he or she needs. Here are some ways to encourage your child to follow a nutritious diet:

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SODIUM AND YOUR HEALTH

Sodium is an essential mineral for life. It is regulated in the body by the kidneys. It helps control the body’s fluid balance, affects muscle function and helps send nerve impulses. An Australian study showed the brain responds to sodium in the same way it responds to substances such as cocaine and heroin, which may explain why we tend to overindulge in high-sodium foods.

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HEALTHY EATING TIPS

A balanced healthy diet should contain a variety of nutritious foods and sufficient vitamins and minerals. Such a diet can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk of many diet-related problems, such type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It’s recommended men have around 2,500 calories a day and women 2,000 calories a day. Studies indicate eating a typical Western diet filled with packaged meals, takeout foods, processed meats and sugary snacks may lead to stress, high rates of depression....

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•  Eat smart carbs. When choosing foods for a meal or snack, eat foods low on the GI index, such as blueberries with yogurt or strawberries and low-fat Cool Whip in place of that chocolate donut. Have a sweet potato for dinner instead of a white potato.

• Add good fats that also taste good, such as nuts, peanut butter and fish.

•  Shop wisely. Make a list that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables and a rainbow of fresh produce, plus dips for raw vegetables.

•  Find recipes for grain dishes such as polenta and quinoa.


You can eat well and stay healthy. It takes planning, the wise selection of foods and a bit of preparation, but the work is worth the reward. You’ll have more energy, be in a better mood, lose weight easier and reduce your risk of disease.

“If one simple thing could energize you within hours, soothe crankiness and fatigue within days, allow you to finally shed extra pounds and dramatically reduce risk of heart attack and stroke, you’d say it is magic, would you not?” This simple something is real, says Ann Fittante, MS, RD, in her book, “The Sugar Solution.” The answer, she maintains, is in taking charge of your blood sugar.


New research indicates each person in the United States eats the equivalent of a 5-pound bag of sugar each month — and most of that sugar does not come from the sugar bowl. It comes from the sugar in beverages and in processed foods such cakes, donuts and chips.


The statistics tell it all: 41 million people have pre-diabetes (above normal blood sugar numbers) and 21 million individuals have diabetes (the inability to metabolize sugar properly). Blood sugar, when allowed to soar time and again, interferes with your energy, impairs weight-loss efforts and puts you at risk for many serious health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers, blindness, kidney failure and more.


The body needs some sugar daily for health. Sugar nourishes the cells, allowing us to function and live. We get sugar from the carbohydrates we eat. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple sugars are found in refined sugar often used to sweeten

SUGAR IN THE DIET – DELICIOUS OR DELETERIOUS?

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with an MSN from University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health & Wellness magazines.

more articles by jean jeffers

often used to sweeten processed foods. Simple sugars are also found in fruits and milk. The difference between these two sugars is that the latter contains fiber. Complex carbohydrates are different because they are starches that must be broken down into sugar before being used by the body. Some starches have fiber.


One of the keys to overall control of blood sugar can be found in the glycemic index (GI), a measurement of the utilization of sugar. High GI foods speed through the digestive process, raising blood sugar to soaring heights. Then those levels swiftly drop, leaving you famished and grabbing more donuts and coffee. This leads to cravings, binges, fatigue and the inability to lose weight.


Slower-acting foods are low on the GI because they contain fiber that slows down the digestive process and makes blood sugar levels rise more slowly, avoiding spikes and sharp drops in blood sugar levels. You remain full longer and have fewer food cravings. You are satisfied, eat less and are better able to lose weight.


Fittante offers the following strategies to manage blood sugar levels: