Inflammatory Foods on GI Health

Inflammatory Foods on GI Health

Question:

Which foods have the most inflammatory effect on the digestive system?

– Anonymous

Answer:

The upper digestive tract (mouth, throat and stomach) is probably less apt to get irritated from compounds in food since what you’ve eaten isn’t yet broken down there. Hot sauce is an exception! Inflammation in these areas is likely due to bacteria or autoimmune responses. It’s rare that foods cause direct inflammation on the interior lining of the intestinal tract from within the gut itself. Usually it’s by way of immunoregulatory pathways and depends on the health of that lining.

When nutrition and medical experts speak of an inflammatory effect from food, they’re usually talking in reference to the two inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The causes may be genetic, environmental or both. It’s assumed a pathogenic agent – bacteria, viruses, antigens – triggers the body’s immune system to produce an inflammatory reaction in the digestive system. Certain types of foods may cause greater symptoms, but each person’s response varies.

Outside of IBD, maybe you’re referring to foods that cause other gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating and pain such as from indigestion, reflux or irritable bowel syndrome? Here the list of problem foods can vary depending on the person’s tolerance. Lactose-containing milk products, nuts, legumes, fructans in grains and vegetables, sugar alcohols, heavy spices, caffeine, and greasy foods are the top contributors to gut issues.

Though you may want to avoid inflammatory foods, I’d suggest focusing on the positive by seeking foods that fight inflammation systemically. These include beneficial spices, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts, olive oil, fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel), oysters, wheat germ, liver and citrus fruit.

Resources:

  • Inflammation in the intestinal tract: pathogenesis and treatment. Blumberg RS. Digestive Diseases 2009;  27(4): 455–464. doi:10.1159/000235851
  • “Symptoms & Causes of Gas in the Digestive Tract.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 July 2016, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gas-digestive-tract/symptoms-causes.
  • Harvard Health Publishing. “Foods That Fight Inflammation.” Harvard Health, Harvard Medical School,    June 2014, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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 Our Meal Prepping 101 Guide

 Our Meal Prepping 101 Guide

After successfully finishing the work day, picking up the dry cleaning, and picking up the kids from practice, you find yourself like many others–smack in the middle of a lava-flow of traffic desiring for nothing more than to kick-back and relax back in the comfort of your home. After the many stop-and-goes, you glance at what was quite possibly the fourth or fifth billboard showcasing yet another fast-food advertisement. Suddenly, half-way home you realize that you have yet to solve the dreaded-dilemma of figuring out what’s for dinner? In many cases, you are left with the undesirable options of Sunday night leftovers or some mystery frostbitten contents in the freezer from who knows when? On demanding days like these, convenience is often the motivating factor when making a decision on what to eat. But what if I told you these moments could be avoided?

Maintaining healthy habits when it comes to diet for you and your family is similar to creating unhealthy ones. Consider this: in the split moment when you’ve finished work and are scrambling to think of what to make for dinner, most decisions are made from a convenience-driven mentality, even if it results in compromising goals towards a healthier you. This isn’t to say you should completely override eating out. This is simply a gentle reminder that it is often easier to make better decisions for our health when we make efforts to prepare to have better options more accessible and convenient for us.  

It is far more appealing to swing through your local drive-through than it is to think about hovering over a hot stove after a taxing day at work. As convenient as it is to make unhealthy food choices, meal-prepping offers that similar convenience when approached with the same goal in mind.

The goal in this case, is to maintain good eating habits without having to put too much thought behind it, right? What if I told you meal prepping could be more than just steamed veggies and roast chicken piled high in your refrigerator? With a few pointers, meal-prepping could be the easiest decision you could ever make.

Below are some benefits and tips for the beginners out there and a new perspective for others who have the meal-prepping habit already under their belt.

Benefits of eating from home:


 

1. Control what is in your food.

Eating out may be convenient, but it often includes excessive amounts of processed ingredients that include trans fats and higher amounts of sodium and/or processed sugar. Cooking from home allows you to see what and how much you’re putting on your plate.

2. Spend more time with the family.

Meal-prepping doesn’t all have to fall on one person. Getting the kids or your partner involved in washing or cutting produce for your meals can be both interactive and more time-efficient. Including other members in the household for what is on this week’s menu is another great way to get more people involved in the kitchen.

3. Save money.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, “as of 2018, the average household spends an average of $ 3,365 per year on dining out alone,” over time what you make up for convenience many households lose in long-term savings.

Execution Time!


 

1. Prep according to your schedule.

Determining how many meals you are going to prepare ahead of time ultimately comes down to the need at hand. I find it best to make this decision after asking myself what part of the day is the most demanding? If mornings are an impossible to time to cook, consider meal prepping with a couple of options you can grab and go before you start your day. If you can anticipate afternoons or evenings being more hectic, then do the same according to what your schedule demands.

2. Commit to prepping one meal a week.

Small steps to healthier living are more sustainable and also less intimidating when first beginning the meal-prepping process. Meal-prepping a whole week’s worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus snacks is a bit of a daunting task for some, and quite honestly, maybe a bit excessive when you are just starting out. Commit to meal-prepping one meal based on your schedule and when you have become more accustomed to this new healthier habit, you can always add on an additional meal or snack to the mix. After a while, you’ll soon be able to conquer multiple meals or days if needed.

3. Purchase seasonally.

It’s completely understandable to have specific preferences in food choices and this might differ depending on what kind of diet you adhere to on a daily basis. Rule of thumb: for more cost-efficient shopping, purchase produce and other items that are within season. Doing so ensures the best quality of ingredients and more reasonable prices than say trying to stock on strawberries in the middle of December.  

Although this is just some basic insight to meal prepping and its advantages, it is a great start towards a healthier more stress-free-you that can be something experienced and beneficial for you and the entire family! The goal couldn’t be more clear – experience living healthy together.


1United States, Congress, He Division of Consumer Expenditure Surveys. “Economic News Release; Bureau of Labor Statistics.” Economic News Release; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2018, p. 1.


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Meats, Fruits, and Vegetables to reach 100% Daily Value of Vitamins and Minerals

Meats, Fruits, and Vegetables to reach 100% Daily Value of Vitamins and Minerals

Question:

Which unprocessed meats, vegetables, and fruits should I eat each day to get 100% daily value of vitamins and minerals without supplements?

– Charles E.

Answer:

Great question, Charles! There are over 20 vitamins and minerals which need to be obtained in the diet because the human body cannot make them. The Reference Daily Intake levels – either Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Adequate Intake (AI) – for each micronutrient show how much is needed for men, women and children of various age groups. Your question’s wording refers to the Daily Values, which are not so specific.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “one value for each nutrient, known as the Daily Value (DV), is selected for the labels of dietary supplements and foods. A DV is often, but not always, similar to one’s RDA or AI for that nutrient.” The Daily Values are set by the U.S. FDA for labeling so that consumers can see how much of a nutrient is provided in a serving of a food compared to their approximate requirement for it. The Nutrition Facts panel shows the percent DV for certain vitamins and minerals. Readers – if you’re interested in more about food labels, check out our Living Health Podcast Episode 21!

Okay, so on to whether it’s possible to plan a 100% micronutrient complete day from whole foods. Yes! Though the amount of produce may not be realistic for a person to consume on a daily basis, or the energy provided may be inadequate or excessive for you. That’s one reason why a variety of food selected across several days is best for meeting one’s nutritional needs.

If you’re looking for a list of what to eat in one day that meets 100% DV, the best one could do would be to construct a day using nutrient analysis software which would still be compared to the RDA or AI for your age and gender, not DV. The following list shows how you can meet the DV for about half the essential micronutrients:

Vitamin C: 1 large orange

Vitamin D: 3 1/2-ounces salmon

Vitamin E:  1 cup raw broccoli, plus 2 ounces almonds

Vitamin K: raw broccoli from above

Folic Acid: 1 cup peas, 1 cup cooked spinach, and 5 long asparagus

B12 and B6: 1 cup plain yogurt and a banana, 1 ounce sunflower seeds, and 3 ounces roast beef

Calcium: cooked spinach and yogurt from above plus an 8-ounce glass skim milk, and 1 fig

Iron: red meat from above plus a large spinach salad, and 1 cup lentil soup

Magnesium: almonds from above plus 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, 1 ounce raisins, a baked potato, and 4 ounces grilled halibut

Zinc: whole wheat bread from above plus a burger patty, and 1 slice cheese

 

Restricting intake to only the three food groups you mentioned is more work, so you are on your own there. If you are adamant about doing so, I’d suggest using a sample menu as a template for starters then substituting for foods you won’t eat. Truly a personalized custom menu!

 

References:

  • “Daily Values.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/dailyvalues.aspx.
  • Harvard Health Publishing. “Getting Your Vitamins and Minerals through Diet.” Harvard Health, Harvard Medical School, July 2009, www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/getting-your-vitamins-and-minerals-through-diet.
  • “How to Eat Your Vitamins.” Real Simple, www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/vitamins/eat-vitamins.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Injuries: Back, Knee, Shoulder – Podcast Ep. 28

Injuries: Back, Knee, Shoulder – Podcast Ep. 28


Welcome to the 28th episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, the one-and-only, LA Fitness Master Trainer, Geoff Fox, joins the show to discuss how to prevent and handle back, knee and shoulder injuries. 

How Are We Doing? 


This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Timecard Markers – Injuries: Back, Knee, Shoulder – Podcast Ep. 28  

Intro    

Begins at 0:01     

Introduction of LA Fitness Master Trainer, Geoff Fox 

0:28 

Keep in Touch with Us!  

3:01 

Part 1 – The Back 

3:40 

What Are Some of the Most Common Back Injuries?  

3:52 

Is There a Way to Help Prevent Back Injuries from Occurring?  

4:20 

Why Do Back Injuries Tend to Affect More Seasoned Adults?  

5:20 

What Are Some Go-To Machines or Exercises for Strengthening the Back? 

6:10 

What Products on the Market Help with Back Pain?  

9:06 

Is it Safe to Work Out with a Back Injury?  

10:42 

Part 2 – The Shoulders 

How Important is it to Focus on Shoulder Strengthening Exercises? 

11:30 

What Are Some of the Best Exercises for the Shoulders? 

13:36 

What Should Someone with a Shoulder Injury Do to Recover?  

16:05 

Is There a Way to Prevent Shoulder Burnout?  

17:23 

What is More Important? Muscle Health or Bone Health?  

18:35 

Part 3 – The Knees 

Is it OK to Work Out with a Knee Injury? 

19:40 

What Causes Knee Injuries to Happen?  

21:46 

What Are Some of the Best Knee Strengthening Exercises? 

23:24 

Are There Certain Injuries That Should Be Avoided by Those Susceptible to Knee Injuries? 

24:32 

Do Bodybuilders Experience Knee Issues A Lot Due to Increased Muscle Weight? 

26:31 

Actionable Advice 

27:48 

Outro 

28:52 

Goodbye to One-Half of Your Show Hosts, Candice Currie  

29:00 


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

Struggling with Food? Try the “Un-diet” Approach

Struggling with Food? Try the “Un-diet” Approach

Question:

I just started to go to LA Fitness. I’m a 23-year-old female, I weigh 205 lbs., and I’m 5’4″. I struggle with food. I’ve been on multiple diets, lost weight, restricted myself and end up giving up because it wasn’t sustainable, gaining it back. Calorie counting just seems very tedious and writing things down as well. Is there a way of eating that doesn’t involve measuring out everything in order to lose weight? Or any advice/suggestions?

– Marissa R.

Answer:

I agree that you should remove the focus on portions and calorie restriction. For chronic dieters, experts in weight management recommend making permanent lifestyle changes the goal. Creating realistic goals and developing healthy habits that last are key to an “un-diet” approach. No mention of calories or measurements in The National Weight Control Registry’s summary of its registrants’ four most common habits*: eat breakfast every day, weigh themselves once a week, watch less than 10 hours of TV per week and exercise about 1 hour daily.

Knowledge is power! I believe that a simple foundational understanding of nutrition can help frame your outlook and shift your thinking away from weight, towards nourishing your body. Have you read our Living Healthy articles on nutrition basics, weight loss tips, a Mediterranean style of eating, mindfulness, and social support? For more in-depth learning consider a mass open online course (MOOC) on nutrition fundamentals. Several are free (taken as an audit, not for credit) and available from trusted sources like respected U.S. universities with credentialed instructors.

*The NWCR is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance. http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm  accessed 6/4/2019

Resources:

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

1 + 12 =


Recommended Reading - Q+A

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