Archive for body

The truth thru OUR TEETH

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2010 by ecofrenfood

Some messages coming out of your mouth bypass the vocal chords. Turns out that your teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues also have plenty to say — about your overall health.

“Your mouth is connected to the rest of your body,” says Anthony Iacopino, dean of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Dentistry and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “What we see in the mouth can have a significant effect on other organ systems and processes in the body. And the reverse is also true: Things that are going on systemically in the body can manifest in the mouth.”

So stay attuned to the following warning messages, and have worrisome symptoms checked out by a dentist or doctor.
Dental warning #1: Flat, worn teeth plus headache
Sign of: Big-time stressMany people are surprised to learn they’re tooth-grinders. After all, they do this in their sleep, when they’re not aware of it. And they underestimate the physical toll that stress can place on the body. “Crunching and grinding the teeth at night during sleep is a common sign of emotional or psychological stress,” says Iacopino.
You can sometimes see the flatness on your own teeth, or feel it with the tongue. Or the jaw may ache from the clenching.
What else to look for: Headaches, which are caused by spasms in the muscles doing the grinding. Sometimes the pain can radiate from the mouth and head down to the neck and upper back, Iacopino says. Mouth guards used at night can relieve the symptoms and protect teeth.
Dental warning #2: Cracking, crumbling teeth
Sign of: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)Older adults, especially, are vulnerable to teeth that appear to be cracking or crumbling away. The enamel becomes thin and almost translucent. But this erosion isn’t a normal consequence of aging. In fact, it can happen at any age.
Disintegrating teeth are usually caused by acid that’s coming up from the stomach and dissolving them, Iacopino says. The cause: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, also called acid reflux disease). GERD causes stomach acid to back up into the esophagus — and from there, it’s a short distance to the mouth for some of the damaging acid. GERD is a chronic disorder caused by damage or other changes to the natural barrier between the stomach and the esophagus.
What else to look for: Dry mouth and heartburn are related GERD symptoms. (But in an older adult in someone else’s care — in a nursing home, for example — these complaints may go unreported.) Cracking or chipping teeth in a younger person is also a telltale sign of bulimia, the eating disorder in which the sufferer causes herself (or himself) to vomit before digesting. Same net result: Stomach acid washes up into the mouth, over time disintegrating the tooth enamel.
Dental warning #3: Sores that won’t go away
Sign of: Oral cancerMany people bite the insides of their mouth as a nervous habit. Others sometimes bite the gum accidentally, creating a sore. But when an open sore in the mouth doesn’t go away within a week or two, it always warrants showing to a dentist or doctor. “We all injure our oral tissues, but if an area persists in being white or red rather than the normal healthy pink, this needs to be evaluated to rule out oral cancer,” says Susan Hyde, an associate professor of clinical dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry.
More than 21,000 men and 9,000 women a year are diagnosed with oral cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Most are over age 60. Oral cancer has a survival rate of only 35 percent, Iacopino says, but this is mainly because cases are often detected too late. Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer, but one in four oral cancers develop in non-smokers.
What else to look for: Suspicious oral ulcers tend to be raised sores and often have red or white (or red and white) borders. They may lurk underneath the tongue, where they’re hard to see. Bleeding and numbness are other signs, but sometimes the only sign is a sore that doesn’t seem to go away. A biopsy usually follows a visual check.
Dental warning #4: Gums growing over teeth
Sign of: Medication problemsIf you notice your gum literally growing over your tooth, and you’re taking a medication for heart disease or seizures or you take drugs to suppress your immune system (such as before a transplant), it’s well worth mentioning this curious development to your prescribing doctor.
“A swelling of the gums to where it grows over the teeth is a sign the dosage or the medication need to be adjusted,” the ADA’s Anthony Iacopino says. Certain drugs can stimulate the growth of gum tissue. This can make it hard to brush and floss, inviting tooth decay and periodontal disease.
What else to look for: The overgrowth can cause an uncomfortable sensation. In extreme cases, the entire tooth can be covered.
Dental warning #5: Dry mouth
Sign of: Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetesMany things can cause dry mouth, from dehydration and allergies to smoking and new medications. (In fact, hundreds of drugs list dry mouth as a side effect, including those to treat depression and incontinence, muscle relaxants, antianxiety agents, and antihistamines.) But a lack of sufficient saliva is also an early warning of two autoimmune diseases unrelated to medicine use: Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes.
In Sjogren’s, the white blood cells of the body attack their moisture-producing glands, for unknown reasons. Four million Americans have Sjogren’s, 90 percent of them women. Twenty-four million people in the U.S. have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease caused by high blood sugar.
What else to look for: Other signs of diabetes include excessive thirst, tingling in the hands and feet, frequent urination, blurred vision, and weight loss. In Sjogren’s, the eyes are dry as well as the mouth, but the entire body is affected by the disorder. Because its symptoms mimic other diseases (such as diabetes), people are often misdiagnosed and go several years before being properly diagnosed.
Dental warning #6: White webbing inside cheeks
Sign of: Lichen planusThe last thing you might expect to discover while brushing your teeth is a skin disease. But it happens. Lichen planus, whose cause is unknown, is a mild disorder that tends to strike both men and women ages 30 to 70. The mucus membranes in the mouth are often a first target.
Oral lichen planus looks like a whitish, lacy pattern on the insides of the cheeks. (The name comes from the same roots as tree lichen, a lichen that has a similar webbed, bumpy appearance.) Seventy percent of lesions appear in the mouth before they strike other parts of the body, says professor Anthony Iacopino.
What else to look for: Another common area where a lichen planus rash may appear is the vagina. Lichen planus often goes away on its own, but sometimes treatment is necessary.
Dental warning #7: Crusting dentures
Sign of: Potential aspiration pneumoniaMost people don’t connect dentures (false teeth) with pneumonia, other than to think they’re both words that often refer to the world of the elderly. And yet the two have a potentially deadly connection. “A leading cause of death in older people is aspiration pneumonia, often from inhaling debris around the teeth and dentures,” Iacopino says.
In aspiration pneumonia, foreign material is breathed into the lungs and airway, causing dangerous (even fatal) inflammation. Too often, the problem stems from people in the care of others — those in nursing homes, for example — who fail to clean dentures properly. Dentures need to be removed daily from the mouth, cleaned with a special brush, and stored in a cleansing solution.
What else to look for: A soft, crusty material developing around dentures. With proper cleaning, though, you don’t have to worry about other red flags. “It’s amazing. You can get a 100-percent reduction in what’s otherwise a leading cause of death for denture wearers,” Iacopino says.

FITNESS AND FUEL – Eggs Are Not the Enemy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by ecofrenfood

FITNESS AND FUEL – Eggs Are Not the Enemy

by Whitney M. Cole, Fitness & Nutrition Phenom
Given how many people in the last week have raised their eyebrows and remarked, “aren’t they bad for you?” in response to my “eat eggs” recommendation, I thought I’d set the record straight.

Yes, they are high in fat and cholesterol, both which reside in the yolk.
No, eating the white only is not “better.”

While the yolk is fattening by comparison with the white (5g vs. 0g for a large egg), it also contains 3 of the 6 grams of protein in the egg, along with calcium, copper, zinc, Vitamin E, Omega 3s, riboflavin, Vitamin D, etc. The white alone really only provides protein, and surprise, most of the egg’s sodium. By tossing the yolk entirely, you miss out on the above nutrients which actually work in conjunction with the protein in the white for muscle growth, cell repair and memory function, to mention a few.

While convenient, the packaged whites are actually the worst option. Not only do you lose the important nutrients naturally occurring in the yolk, but also, like any packaged product that has an extended shelf life, you get to consume an additional 115grams of sodium, vegetable gums, phosphates and other preservatives. Some brands do contain traces of the vitamins and nutrients originally in the egg, but they are typically added in, like cereal, bread and other enriched foods.
Regarding cholesterol, instead of getting hung up on the dietary cholesterol listed on food labels, we should be more concerned with monitoring the level of cholesterol in our bloodstream. This measure is more affected by the mix of fats in our diets rather than the cholesterol we intake from food. We chat fats in another entry.

So who wins the egg debate? Here’s my crack at it:
In the interest of limiting daily fat and calories, and keeping an eye on cholesterol, I recommend eating a 2:1 ratio of whites:full egg. Crack 4 eggs in a bowl and remove 2 yolks before scrambling. If you already have your doctor hounding you about high cholesterol or heart disease, you should reduce the ratio to 3:1, removing 3 of the 4 yolks in the former example, and enjoy this omelet no more than 3 times a week.

Got a diet or nutrition question for Whitney? Send it to whitney@whitneymcole.com to see it answered in the next Fit Fueled and Fabulous blog at Diet.com

Why You Should Get Over Your Fear of Carbs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2009 by ecofrenfood

Why You Should Get Over Your Fear of Carbs

I’ll just share the good news now: it’s possible to regularly eat the fun kind of carbohydrates (a.k.a. pasta and pizza) without weight-gain. Hard to believe since the fear of bread products has become so embedded in our culture. Once eccentric carb-ditching tricks have become normal: asking the waiter to hold the bread basket, scooping out the insides of bagels, and forever ordering the fish over spaghetti. Nutritionist and author of Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads, Christine Avanti flips this Atkins paradigm. Here she explains the best way to eat carbs and why they are the essence of energy, metabolism, and fat-burning.

1.  Combine carbs with a protein. Combining a protein with a carb not only fills you up, but it lowers the overall glycemic index (the GI, a popular way to measure the speed that carbs enter the bloodstream in the form of glucose or blood sugar). According to David Ludwig, M.D. of Harvard Medical School, high GI meals are like newspaper in your fireplace, quick to flare up and burn out, while low GI meals are more like slow-burning logs. This one trick, if used consistently, can influence your weight loss plan more than any other eating tip.
Example: Pasta with a meaty tomato sauce
2.  Eat carbs more often!  While the conventional approach to dieting teaches you how to omit meals, the smarter approach is to make sure you do not miss meals. And it gets better. Eating a carb-protein meal 4 times per day rather than 3 helps keep blood sugar levels stabilized. This keeps the metabolism firing and energy levels high. Research has demonstrated that regulating blood sugar levels regulates hormonal secretions which results in optimal fat burning. Not only this, but carbs must be present in the system for the chemical process of fat-burning to work.
Note: For portion sizes and many more details, check out Christine’s book.
3.  Eat carbs at every meal.  Believe it or not, this is a healthier approach because you will stabilize blood sugar and prevent the urge to binge later. Skipping carbs at a meal almost always leads you to make up for it later; usually in the form of late-night cookies. This is because the brain needs the glucose from carbs for fuel and if it doesn’t get more within 4 or 5 hours, your body has no choice but to break down lean body tissues (like muscles) for fuel.
Example of what not to eat: salad with grilled chicken — too low on carbs! Much better to eat a grilled chicken burger with a side of fruit.
4.  Eat carbs late at night. Yes this is just as important as the rest of your meals. And go ahead and eat dinner even if it is late. Starving yourself or skipping meals slows the metabolism and let’s face it — it isn’t fun to starve! To keep the metabolism humming and the fat burning, eat a full meal including carbs even in the late evening. Just be sure to eat a healthy protein-carb combo and if it is really late, you might want to cut the meal in half.
5.  Don’t overdo it at one time. Your body isn’t a cash register. It doesn’t add up your total at the end of the day. It only cares how much you eat at a single meal. If you eat one entire large deep-dish pizza, your body converts the carb overload to fat storage. However if you only eat two light slices now and two slices for dinner 4 hours later, you won’t overload the bloodstream with glucose at one time, thus you will keep your fat-burning going. So, keep each meal a reasonable size and spread your carbs evenly over all the meals in the day.