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Archive for the ‘Women's Health’ Category


I was surfing the internet yesterday and read about a very interesting new study about pre-mature births and how something as simple as swishing your teeth with mouthwash can help prevent pre-mature births and cut the risk of giving birth to low birth-weight babies. I found this very intriguing and thought I would share it with you…when I first read the article, I thought it was an old wives tale, but the study seems to have some very interesting and relevant evidence to back up this new belief.

The study, presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting, suggests that mothers at high risk for an early birth can cut the risk by about 2/3 simply by using of an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, a professor of periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania stated, “Preterm birth is the major cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity worldwide and still difficult to predict and prevent. So, when we found that something as simple as mouthwash could change the outcomes, we were very excited.”

A scary fact is that each year, about 13 million babies around the world are born prematurely, leading to death in some, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, and breathing an developmental difficulties in others.

What is the cause of pre-mature births?
A number of factors can increase the risk of preterm birth, such as a mother’s low weight, smoking and drug abuse, but oral infections can also raise the risk.

The Study:
Researchers enrolled 204 pregnant women at 6-20 weeks gestation. All of them had periodontal disease which can cause the gums and the bone around the teeth to decay. None of them were receiving dental care. A group of 49 women were given a antimicrobial, alcohol-free mouthwash containing cetyl pyridinium chloride (CPC), to be used twice daily.

The rates of preterm birth were two thirds lower in this group than in the control group of 155 women.

The Studies Findings:

  • It was noted that only 6.1 percent of the women who used a mouthwash had a premature delivery as opposed to 21.9 percent of those who did not use the rinse.
  • Even after factoring age, smoking, and alcohol consumption, women adopting oral hygiene exhibited a two-third reduction in premature deliveries.
  • Only 6.1 percent of the mouthwash using women had premature deliveries, compared to 21.9 percent of those who didn’t rinse.

Jeffcoat stated, “These results were so dramatic. There is a public health responsibility, in fact, to know what we found, to repeat it, to find out who should get it.”

So what’s the overall importance? Pregnant women have an extra susceptibility to bacterial infections– if the gums become severely affected, the infection could possibly trigger labor. This study also adds to evidence that dental care in pregnancy is very important! So brush and floss those pearly whites! 🙂

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The USDA just released a week ago a document outlining new eating guidelines for Americans, including our kiddos. But just what do these guidelines mean and how can we incorporate them in our everyday eating habits? The main changes since the last update five years ago include: Reducing daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams, eating more fish (especially pregnant and breastfeeding women), and increasing physical activity.

In my opinion, the basic advice is the same. The new edge on these ideas is that the USDA is recognizing the fact that it’s very hard for people to follow that advice.

Candidly acknowledging the lack of progress, the USDA Guidelines Advisory Committee said they were aimed at, “an American public of whom the majority are overweight or obese and yet undernourished in several key nutrients.”

Lower Your Sodium
Lowering your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon) is one of the key recommendations. For people who already have hypertension, diabetes, and other illnesses, this number drops to less than 1500 mg a day.

Increase physical activity
Children ages 6-17 should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily. Adults ages 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.

 

Make the Switch to Fat-Free or 1% Milk
Only babies and children under 2 should be drinking whole milk. Everyone else should switch to low-fat or fat-free milk products.

Kids overwhelmingly choose flavored milk over plain, making it one of the few bright spots in the milk sales landscape, despite the otherwise seen milk sales plummet over the years as kids embraced sugary soda and sports drinks. Dairy interests are vigorously promoting flavored milk in schools through their “Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk!” campaign, endorsed also by the School Nutrition Association, representing some 53,000 of the nations school food service workers.

An eight-ounce carton of strawberry milk contains nearly as much sugar, ounce-for-ounce, as Mountain Dew. Very scary right?

 

Eat More Seafood
Consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week from a variety of seafood types. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat seafood at least twice a week for nutrients that play an important role in babies’ brain and eye development.

 

 

Consume More Whole Grains
At least half the grains you consume should be whole grains. Do this by replacing refined grains with whole grains.

 

Cut Down on Saturated Fats
Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids. This means that we need to cut down consumption of animal products, dairy, eggs and also of processed foods (trans fats hide under the guise of hydrogenated oil in processed foods). We need to replace these with good fats like monounsaturated fatty acids (found in walnuts, pistachios, avocados and olive oil) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in salmon, fish oil, safflower oil etc).

Lower Your Dietary Cholesterol Consumption
Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol comes from animal and dairy products but not from fruits and vegetables. So basically this means less meat and more plants!

 

 

Reduce Added Sugars
Read nutrition labels to look for added sugars. Beware! Added sugars often “hide” behind less common monikers. Look for these varieties in your ingredient list: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and syrup.

Fight Fat
Use oils to replace solid fats like butter, tallow, shortening and margarine.

Eat More Fruit
Nearly everyone can stand to increase their fruit intake. The USDA recommends about four 1/2-cup servings of fruit a day.

Eat Your Vegetables!
Increase your intake of vegetables including leafy greens, peas, and other brightly colored veggies.

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Heard the phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Curious about where it came from? The credit goes to Wales (though it’s known as an English adage). The original proverb, printed in 1866, goes: “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” With winter here and it being apple season, I thought about, “What does the apple nutritionally give us and our kids?” So I did some research for you (and for me) about nutritional facts, fun facts and the history of the apple.  

10 Core Facts about Apples
Apples are a very good fruit for building strong and healthy bodies. A medium-sized apple is:

  1. Fat-free: May help reduce the risk of some types of cancers
  2. Saturated-fat free
  3. Sodium-free: May help reduce the risk of high blood pressure
  4. Contains natural sugars called fructose
  5. Has only 80 calories: Helps you maintain a healthy weight.
  6. Cholesterol-free: Helps keep your heart healthy and may help protect against cardiovascular disease.
  7. Contains no artificial colors or flavors
  8. An excellent source of fiber and Vitamin C: Helps reduce blood cholesterol, and aids digestion. They also contain potassium, antioxidants, iron, calcium and Vitamin A. One apple has five grams of fiber.
  9. A handy, satisfying snack: You can take one with you anywhere.
  10. An easy way to get your recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily!
  11. A medium apple is about 80 calories.

Did you know?…Apple Facts:

  • To make a traditional 9-inch apple pie, you’ll need 2 pounds of apples.
  • Worldwide, a remarkable 7,500 varieties of apples are grown.
  • In the United States, a hearty 2,500 varieties can be found; though only 100 are grown for commercial purposes. The only apple native to North America is the Crabapple.
  • Out of the 100 apple varieties grown, 15 comprise 90% of total production: Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Fuji lead the way.
  • An average of 65 apples per person are consumed in America each year. 


  • Apple trees can grow up to 40 feet high; though many orchards have dwarf trees for easier picking.
  • The first apple nursery opened in 1730; the location was Flushing, New York.
  • A peck of apples is 1/4 a bushel and weighs approximately 10.5 pounds.
  • A bushel weighs 42 pounds.
  • A bushel of apples can produce 20-24 quarts of applesauce.
  • At room temperature, an apple will ripen 6-10 times faster than in the refrigerator.
  • The state fruit of New York is the apple
  • The state flower of Michigan is the apple blossom
  • Apples can be as small as a cherry or as large as a grapefruit
  • Apple trees don’t grow from seeds — they are grafted or budded
  • Apple trees can live to be 100 years old
  • Most apples have only five seeds, but some may have as many as 10 and others may have no seeds at all
  • Sixty-one percent of apples are eaten fresh and 39 percent are processed into juice and sauce
  • Apples come in all shades of reds, greens, and yellows.
  • The pilgrims planted the first United States apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • The science of apple growing is called pomology.
  • 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air. That is why they float.
  • The largest apple picked weighed three pounds.

Apple History
Originating somewhere between the Caspian and Black Seas, apples today are grown all over the world — from China to Italy to the United States. As long as 3,000 years ago, apples were playing an important part in people’s lives.

Folklore has it that an ancient Greek who wanted to propose to a woman would only have to toss her an apple. If she caught it, he knew she had accepted his offer. And newlyweds in the 7th century B.C. shared an apple as a symbol of a fruitful union.

European settlers to America brought with them their favorite fruits, which were much favored over the native crab apple. The colonists used apples to eat and also to make into apple cider, apple vinegar and hard cider. As the early colonists explored the frontier and moved from the eastern United States to the west, so did the apple. Now the apple is grown commercially in 36 states.

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I don’t even know why, but I have been hearing more and more about gluten-free diets. I had thought it was only for people with celiac disease, but it seems that a non-gluten diet is actually catching on with health-conscious people. Oddly enough, people with  celiac disease —the people who genuinely need gluten-free food—seem to have little to do with the current boom in gluten-free products. The question is why?

What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks itself when triggered by gluten, a portion of the protein present in grains. This attack by the immune system on the intestines causes damage which leads to malabsorption of nutrients, many gastrointestinal problems, and possibly many other symptoms that may be associated with other diseases.

The Low-Down on Gluten-Free
According to Children’s Hospital Boston Pediatric, “A recent survey reports that 15 to 25 percent of consumers are looking for gluten-free choices when they shop for food. The same survey reveals that only 1 percent of those shoppers actually have celiac disease—a permanent sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and some contaminated oats.”

Anecdotally, stories are being shared online of children and adults who have credited a gluten-free diet for improvements in everything from infertility and ADHD to helping clear up severe acne or depression.

Alan Leichtner, MD, senior associate in medicine in Children’s Hospital Boston’s Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, is quick to refute these tenuous connections, worrying that the public’s fascination with “going gluten-free” could lead to inappropriate self-diagnosis. “There are no studies showing that the gluten-free diet has an impact on anything other than celiac disease,” he says.

Another misconception is that gluten-free is synonymous with healthy, because many people automatically associate the word “free” with something unhealthy being removed from their diet. For example, many prepackaged foods may be gluten-free, but it doesn’t mean they’re nutritionally complete. Some gluten-free alternatives can be just as high in fat and sugar—or just as lacking in fiber—as their gluten-containing counterparts.

My thoughts? Don’t just be “gluten-free” as a fad – most kids with celiac disease don’t go on a gluten-free diet unless it is medically required. Make sure you are looking at nutrition as a whole for your kids. You should understand your child’s needs and sensitivities. Some children may be only mildly intolerant to gluten or dairy, allowing you to keep it in the house with minimal precautions or to use products produced in the same facility as wheat or dairy items. More sensitive children, and particularly those with celiac disease, may require that you avoid even the smallest traces of gluten, according to Celiac.com. All in all? You should consult your child’s pediatrician for information and support before making a major dietary change. Your child may have specific nutritional needs that require additional care.

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I am now quite a few weeks into my pregnancy! I promise I won’t drag you through the minute details of pregnancy. Just a few fun things to share with you…Right now I know this body is definitely hard at work. How do I know? Because I am exhausted!!!  All I want (more than anything in the world) is a Venti Caramel Frappaccino and my nice comfy bed.  

It’s definitely amazing to think that my now lime of a baby has only 28 more weeks ahead to go (or at least I am crossing my fingers for nothing more than that time span). I haven’t outright started planning  for the arrival of our little one, merely gathered thoughts in my head; even though we have known for two months now, I am still trying to process this new life. What are the steps I need to take at home? How much and how hard of exercise should I be doing? What and how much should I be eating? I am a candy-holic, and after all – this isn’t going to be an easy road.  I think I will have to sneak a candy bar or two- hmmm maybe Chocolate Pattie in Rockford, IL will be a cohort in that evil scheme and send me some yummy chocolate?! 😉

I have started reading the “key” books and have downloaded great applications on my iTouch – What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Pregnancy 411 by the Bump. These two great apps are really getting me through these long weeks. I am also surfing http://www.letop-usa.com/ and dreaming of all the clothes that I will soon be dressing my child in! Ooooh temptation!

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We all know the importance of sunscreen for both kids and adults — But, did you know that a recent study found that many Americans aren’t properly putting sunscreen on — either on themselves or their children?
 
“It only takes one severe sunburn to potentially double your child’s chances of getting melanoma later in life,” according to Andrea Cambio, MD, FAAD, a board-certified pediatric dermatologist in Cape Coral, Fla. 

The sun can be intimidating, but don’t keep your kids away and/or out of it – just follow these safe and fun tips!   

This post has been moved to our website. To view the post post go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=11652

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Firstly, why “morning sickness”? Who termed it morning? Why not afternoon or evening because it can happen any time of day! Although there is no clear answer why nausea happens during pregnancy, it is believed the cause is hormonal changes.  My friend Chloe is recently prego and voila – nausea just around her 6th week as most doctors would say. Fortunately she reassured me for when I get pregnant that “it isn’t too bad” and by mid-pregnancy I would be fine.

According to AmericanPregnancy.org, “More than half of all pregnant women experience morning sickness. Many health care providers think morning sickness is a good sign because it means the placenta is developing well.” The good news is that morning sickness doesn’t harm you or your baby, but if you are experiencing excessive nausea or vomiting, then talk to your doc because it may be hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare complication that results in a poor intake of fluids and food (and your wee little one will be quite hungry!).

Here are some DO’s and DON”Ts to help ease your morning sickness:

Do:

  • Eat small meals as this will help keep your blood-sugar level steady and will keep your stomach filled
  • Drink fluids a ½ hour before after a meal, but not with the meals
  • Of course drink fluids also during the day to avoid dehydration
  • Eat soda crackers 15 minutes before getting up in the morn (Snacking on easy-to-digest foods, such as whole wheat toast, baked potatoes, pasta and fruit)
  • Ask someone to help cook for you or with you and open the windows if the smells are bothering you
  • Rest, rest, rest during the day!
  • Avoid warm/hot places
  • Natural remedies can help – Sniff lemons or ginger, drink lemonade, or eat watermelon to relieve nausea (it works!)
  • Eat salty potato chips (they have been found to settle stomachs enough to eat a meal)
  • Safely exercise – it helps you sleep at night and relieve stress
  • Get out of bed slowly
  • Avoid greasy foods

Don’ts:

  • Do not lie down after eating
  • Do not skip meals
  • Do not cook or eat spicy food

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