Main Number 913-676-2000

Shawnee Mission Medical Center Health Blog

Probiotics can help women shed extra weight

Posted by Sarah Eisenbraun on Feb 13, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Probiotics are microorganisms that contain certain types of “good” live bacteria that can help regulate your gut flora and digestive system — leading to improved health, better digestive function, and even weight loss. New evidence published in a recent issue of the British Journal of Nutrition has found that women who make a conscious effort to add probiotics to their diet can actually accelerate their weight-loss efforts.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at University Laval in Quebec, involved a total of 125 overweight or obese men and women who were put on a 12-week weight-loss program followed by a 12-week maintenance program. Over the course of the study, participants were randomly selected to take either two probiotic supplements or two placebo per day.

After the first 12-week period, women who took probiotics had lost an average of 10 pounds, whereas the placebo group lost only an average of 6 pounds. After the second 12-week period, women who took probiotics continued to lose weight, while the placebo group reached a plateau, or stand-still, with their weight-loss efforts. All men involved in the study experienced no changes in their body composition regardless of whether or not they took the probiotic supplements.

The study results showed that in women, probiotics have the ability to regulate the appetite-controlling hormone known as leptin and also decrease bacteria in the intestinal tract associated with obesity.

Probiotics can be found in many different foods that can easily be added to your diet to increase your weight-loss success rate. Probiotics exist in yogurt that contains live and active cultures, as well as in sauerkraut, dark chocolate, kefir, tempeh, pickles, kimchi, soft cheeses, miso soup, and kombucha tea. When you purchase foods that contain probiotics, read nutritional labels to make sure that they lack sugar, preservatives, and other processed ingredients that may hinder, rather than help, your weight-loss efforts.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center offers a variety of nutrition and wellness programs designed to help you become healthier and lose excess weight. Learn more about our comprehensive nutrition, wellness, and weight-loss programs.

Read More

Topics: Weight Management

Fish oil boosts heart and brain health, studies say

Posted by Sarah Eisenbraun on Feb 11, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Fish oils in salmon and other types of fatty fish have been shown to boost heart and brain health, according to a number of different studies. Most types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve “good” HDL cholesterol levels and lower high triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to reduce inflammation and contribute to weight loss.

A recent study found that older women with the highest levels of omega-3 in their bodies generally had better cognition and brain health as they aged. The American Heart Association also backs research that shows omega-3 can improve heart health and help prevent heart disease by decreasing the risk for abnormal heartbeats and lowering blood pressure levels.

Since the human body does not produce omega-3 fatty acids naturally, it’s important to eat foods such as fatty fish on a regular basis to boost your immune system health. Sometimes it can be difficult to eat the amount of fish you need on a daily basis to keep up your omega-3 intake, especially if your geographical location or budget limits your access to fatty types of fish. However, you can still receive the daily recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids by taking fish oil in supplement form.

The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat at least two servings of fatty fish per week, including salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, lake trout, sardines, and herring, with an appropriate serving size being 3.5 ounces of cooked fish. Adults who do not eat the recommended amount of fatty fish should take 1,000 milligrams per day of fish oil supplements that contain EPA and DHA.

Fish oil supplements can be prescribed by physicians; however, representatives from the American Heart Association say that over-the-counter fish oil supplements are just as effective, and are often less costly. Based on tests conducted on the quality of fish oil supplements, research physicians recommend purchasing fish oil supplements from companies Kirkland (Costco), Swanson, Vitacost, and Vitamin Shoppe. Experts also recommend refrigerating fish oil capsules to prolong their shelf life and prevent them from becoming rancid.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center offers a variety of nutrition classes and programs designed to help you become healthier and maintain a healthy weight. Learn more about our comprehensive nutrition, wellness, and weight-loss programs.

Read More

Topics: Heart and Vascular Center

7 tips for eating healthy on a budget

Posted by Sarah Eisenbraun on Feb 6, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Considering the growing obesity rates in the United States, many Americans are concerned about being able to purchase and eat healthy foods on a limited budget. Organic and all-natural foods often have a reputation for being more costly than their less healthier counterparts; however, eating healthy can be completely affordable and doable as long as you know how to budget properly.

Here are 7 tips that will help you budget your grocery spending while eating healthy at the same time.

1. Plan a menu and prepare a grocery list ahead of time

Arriving at the grocery store without a list can result in overspending and impulse buying. Sit down before you go shopping to make a meal list, and then purchase only the food items for those meals.
Read More

Topics: Weight Management

6 foods that fight fat and ward off hunger

Posted by Sarah Eisenbraun on Feb 4, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Eating healthy whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can help you lose weight, but sometimes these foods can leave you feeling hungrier soon after consumption, which can be problematic if you’re on the go and lack the time to snack.

A recent study conducted by researchers overseas found that when mice are fed high-fat foods, they actually gain less weight when they are fed foods that contain inulin and beta-glucan — also known as fermentable carbohydrates.

Fermentable carbohydrates are a type of fiber that is broken down by the healthy bacteria in the colon. When the fiber is broken down, a series of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are formed, which then release hormones that control the appetite and create the feeling of fullness. Former studies have linked high consumption of foods that trigger SCFAs with lower levels of the type of dangerous body fat that is linked to cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Here are 6 foods that contain fermentable carbohydrates you can add to your diet to help yourself lose weight and ward off hunger pangs.

1. Oats

Oats contain beta-glucan, which absorbs “bad” LDL cholesterol and help remove it from the body. Just two servings of oats can lower your LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 5% within a 6-week period.
Read More

Topics: Weight Management

Americans are now making healthier choices, says new study

Posted by Sarah Eisenbraun on Jan 30, 2014 9:25:00 PM

As America continues to rank high in obesity rates, consumers are now paying closer attention to nutrition labels, and are starting to make healthier choices when it comes to the foods they eat. According to researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, working-age adults are now consuming fewer calories and eating foods with better nutritional content as a result of feeling more empowered and confident in regards to becoming healthier and losing weight.

Based on data collected between the years 2005 and 2010, approximately 42% of working-age adults and 57% of older adults say that they consult the nutrition labels on food most or all of the time when making food choices. Additionally, overall daily caloric intake showed a decrease of 78 calories per day during the same time period. Americans have been found to consume 7.5% more fiber per day, as well as 3.3% less total fat, 5.9% less saturated fat, and 7.9% less cholesterol per day.

Experts say that the Obama administration is working hard to encourage more Americans to make healthier choices every day at work, at school, and at home, and that restaurants are also working hard to reduce sodium content in their meals and inform consumers about calorie content.

The FDA will soon require chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calorie information on menus to help encourage Americans to make healthier choices when eating out. A number of major food companies are also making conscious efforts to scale back on sodium and high-calorie content in their foods, including General Mills, Campbell Soup Co., Kellogg Co., Hershey Co., and Unilever.

Major airports are starting to encourage healthy eating on the go by offering a higher number of healthy food items and restaurants, while also providing travelers with access to exercise and full-service yoga centers.

As Americans are being presented with more knowledge and options when it comes to healthy eating and nutrition, experts in the health industry predict that obesity rates may start to decrease in upcoming years.

If you want to lose weight and become healthier through nutrition and wellness, Shawnee Mission Medical Center offers a number of different weight-loss programs that may help. Click here for more information about our many comprehensive nutrition and weight-loss programs.

Read More

Topics: Weight Management

Drinking diet soda could lead to higher calorie consumption

Posted by Sarah Eisenbraun on Jan 28, 2014 9:22:00 PM

Overweight and obese individuals who drink diet sodas on a regular basis tend to consume a higher number of calories than individuals who consume regular sodas, says a new study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Researchers suggest that those who consume diet sodas cut back on high-fat foods to reduce overall calorie consumption and encourage weight loss.

The study was published in last week’s edition of the American Journal of Public Health and was based on data gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is a population-based survey that collects data on a variety of health-related topics.

Lead researcher and study author Sara Bleich says that many overweight and obese individuals will attempt to lose weight by switching from regular soda to diet soda, but fail to change their regular eating habits. Although such individuals may have good intentions behind switching to diet soda, they must also focus on lowering their overall calorie reduction to achieve successful weight-loss results.

Throughout the course of the study, researchers learned that heavy individuals who drank diet soda consumed between 88 and 194 more calories on a daily basis than heavy individuals who drank regular soda. Although the article doesn’t disclose the reasons why diet soda drinkers consume a higher number of calories, the researchers from Johns Hopkins suggest that the brain’s sweet sensors may no longer be able to determine the difference between sweet foods and non-sweet foods due to certain factors associated with metabolic syndrome.

To help spur weight loss, diet soda drinkers who have plans to lose weight should start swapping out the high-fat foods in their diets with more fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and lean proteins. Paired with exercise, healthier foods can help increase a person’s metabolism, and may result in faster weight loss results than those associated with switching to diet soda.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center offers a number of weight-loss programs designed to help people become healthier and lose weight. Click here to learn more about our many different nutrition and weight-loss programs that are available to help make you feel happier and healthier.

Read More

Topics: Weight Management

Failure as the Teacher

Posted by Nan Garcia on Jan 27, 2014 4:25:07 PM

mark_stoddart“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:” Proverbs 24:16

It’s about that time.  We are four weeks into the New Year and we have returned to the routine of the everyday.  For some of us, the changes we promised to make are already frustrations, forgotten or failures.  A word of encouragement; don’t give up because of a setback or because you have missed a few days of your new routine.  Don’t give up because you have eaten more sweets than you should have.  Don’t give up because you have failed to be nicer or kinder.  Accept the fact that you are human and as such are prone to fail from time to time.  Failure is not the enemy, in fact, it could be your greatest ally.   

Read More

Topics: Mark My Words

How exercise can help lower the frequency and severity of colds

Posted by Sarah Eisenbraun on Jan 23, 2014 9:15:00 PM

There are multiple health benefits associated with exercising regularly, including increased blood flow, higher energy levels, weight loss, mood boosts, and much more. Exercise also strengthens the immune system, and can help the body fight off viruses, bacteria, and infections, including the common cold.

A study published in a recent issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who are active or physically fit typically have fewer and less severe colds than those who are more sedentary. The study involved a total of 1,000 male and female adults of all ages. Compared to those who didn’t exercise, the group of participants who stayed fit through exercise generally experienced cold symptoms that were 41% less severe than their counterparts.

In the United States, the average American adult can expect to suffer from a cold between two and four times per year, whereas children may have up to 12 colds per year. As a result, the United States economy spends about $40 billion per year specifically on healthcare to treat colds, which could have been prevented in the first place with regular exercise.

Even if you do feel under the weather or are suffering from a cold, exercise can make you feel better and even help rid your body of the cold even sooner. Here are exercises you can do if you have a cold, or feel cold symptoms coming on.

Best exercises

  • Walking. Walking can promote deep breathing and help unclog your sinuses. Walk for at least 20 minutes per day to improve your cold symptoms.
  • Jogging. Just like walking, jogging is a natural decongestant and can help make your head, throat, and sinuses feel better. Just be sure to scale back the intensity level and jog at a slow, steady pace.
  • Yoga. Yoga and deep breathing can help boost immunity and could help relieve the aches and pains associated with the common cold.
  • Dance. Dancing is generally considered a low-impact form of exercise and has been shown to boost immunity. Break a light sweat with dance to relieve some of the pain associated with your cold.
Read More

Topics: Weight Management

Turn chain restaurant dining into a healthier experience

Posted by Sarah Eisenbraun on Jan 21, 2014 9:12:00 PM

Most people know that fast food has the potential to wreak havoc on a person’s health and immune system, especially when consumed on a regular basis. Fast food is often high in sodium and saturated fat, and low in vital nutrients. Eating excessive amounts of fast food could increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases.

On the other hand, Americans generally assume that meals at full-service chain restaurants are healthier than those served at fast-food restaurants given the higher cost and dining experience. However, a new study conducted by researchers at Drexel University School of Public Health and published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior shows that full-service chain restaurants serve food that is just as unhealthy as items at fast-food restaurants.

The study found that nearly one-third of all appetizers and a la carte entrees served at chain restaurants have contents of sodium and saturated fat that are far higher than the daily recommended amounts. Additionally, only one-fifth of all menu items at full-service chain restaurants contain the minimum daily recommended amount of fiber, and full meals generally contain approximately 1,500 calories, over 3,300 milligrams of sodium, and 28 grams of saturated fat.

According to the study, about half of all Americans eat out once per week at either fast-food restaurants or full-service restaurants.

Although some meals at full-service chain restaurants may lack certain nutrients and be unhealthier than others, there are many ways you can turn eating out into a healthier experience.

  • Eat a green salad rich in vegetables to ensure you get the nutrients you need, and also to help you feel full sooner.
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side so you can limit your serving size.
  • Stay away from fried foods, and opt for foods that are grilled, steamed, or broiled.
  • Ask your server to replace white bread on sandwiches with whole-wheat bread or pita bread.
  • Order water or unsweetened tea in place of soda, lemonade, and other types of sweetened beverages.
  • Avoid restaurants that only offer all-you-can-eat buffets and visit restaurants that allow you to order just one main dish instead.
  • Avoid overeating by either ordering a healthy appetizer for your meal, sharing a meal with a friend, or immediately placing half of your meal into a to-go container.
  • Avoid ordering food that contains gravy or another type of creamy, high-fat sauce.
  • Refrain from ordering dessert, or order dessert made with fresh fruit.
Shawnee Mission Medical Center offers a number of nutrition and weight-loss programs that can help you become healthier and meet your target weight. Click here for more information about our many weight-loss services and programs.
Read More

Topics: Weight Management

World Changers

Posted by Nan Garcia on Jan 20, 2014 3:01:30 PM

mark_stoddart“Where there is no vision, the people perish:” Proverbs 29:18

What are your life goals, personal and professional?  Do you have a vision for the community in which you live or the place where you work?  What are your aspirations for your family?  Is there a cause for which you live or an ideal for which you are willing to die.

Read More

Topics: Mark My Words

Subscribe via E-mail

Follow Me