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Increasing plant-based offerings at hospitals can improve community health outcomes

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Diet directly affects patient clinical outcomes. Still, many hospitals have historically offered unhealthy food options – a decision that affects millions of people living with food allergies, chronic diseases, and GI intolerance. Patients who need tube feeding have even fewer allergen-free options, as the enteral formulations that are predominantly available to them contain synthetic ingredients that lead to digestive disorders and intolerance and can lead to longer stays in the intensive care unit.

Research showing that the plant-based diet is an effective tool in the prevention, treatment, and treatment of some of the most common chronic diseases in the United States is growing. Studies show that following a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as cognitive decline and dementia. In addition, research shows that oncology and pediatric patients using herbal enteral formulas experience improved tolerability and weight maintenance, which enables them to treat their illnesses more effectively and improve their overall quality of life. In fact, increasing adherence to a plant-based diet could prevent up to 80 percent of chronic disease and save the US healthcare system billions of dollars.

Fortunately, as health care providers and patients discover the benefits of a plant-based diet, more hospitals and health systems are adopting the “food as medicine” philosophy by offering meals and enteral formulas with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds offering, legumes and Whole grain products. And while some states, including California and New York, are requiring hospitals to offer plant-based meals, healthcare facilities across the country are well positioned to promote the value of plant-based nutrition for patients, visitors, and employees.

Here are tips for adding herbal options to hospital and health systems menus and enteral nutrition formulas, as well as some recent initiatives promoting healthy lifestyles beyond the hospital walls and in the community.

Cafeteria and patient menus
The American Medical Association (AMA) urges hospitals to remove processed meat from their menus as studies show that consuming processed meat can cause colon, stomach, pancreatic, prostate, and breast cancers, as well as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes is related. Instead, AMA recommends including plant-based menu options for hospital patients, visitors, and staff.

Hospitals and health systems should start reviewing their menus and identifying gaps where fresh, plant-based ingredients can be used to offer a nutritionally complete meal. Engage key administrators and staff throughout the process while communicating the benefits of including plant-based foods on the menu. Leverage resources from organizations like the Coalition for Plant-Based Foods in Hospitals to develop plant-based nutrition training, culinary training, recipes, and marketing strategies for introducing these new plant-based menu options.

Enteral feeding forms

While updating bedside and hospital canteen food services is essential to promoting healthy lifestyles, ensuring patients have access to medicinal foods made with the highest quality plant-based ingredients is critical to improving their health outcomes. These foods are engineered to help patients manage their illness, and yet the formulas are often not well regulated for effectiveness. For example, there are no regulations against additives and no minimum requirements for essential vitamins and minerals. Some contain nutritionally inferior ingredients like corn syrup, while others contain sources of protein like dairy products that can cause allergies or an immune reaction.

An important first step in evaluating enteral nutritional formulas is assessing the patient population and estimated nutritional needs. Similar to the inclusion of plant-based menu options, this initial assessment enables hospitals and healthcare systems to identify gaps where enteral formulations for specific nutritional needs and diseases can be added to support their unique patient populations.

When it comes to incorporating a healthy plant-based diet, hospitals and healthcare systems need to keep their enteral feeding recipes on par with their canteen and patient menus. Optimizing enteral nutrition therapy with formulas made from nutrient-rich, plant-based ingredients can significantly improve clinical outcomes, especially in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), kidney disease, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and cancer.

Commitment to the community

Some hospitals host on-site farmers’ markets to improve access to plant-based foods and increase their presence in communities. For example, Kaiser Permanente – the country’s largest nonprofit health care system – hosts recurring farmers’ markets at its facilities in several states to promote healthy eating for community members and patients. Hospitals such as Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan also host a weekly farmers market on their premises. [Editor’s Note: Kaiser Permanente is a client of the author’s employer.]

In addition, addressing barriers to a plant-based diet is crucial, especially for those with financial concerns or living in food deserts where nutritious, affordable foods are limited. Food prescription programs allow doctors to prescribe fresh products to their patients as an effective line of treatment that promotes healthy eating habits and enables patients to purchase more nutritious foods that they might otherwise not be able to afford.

Addressing the “plant-forward” trend in healthcare provides a vital opportunity to ensure that more patients benefit from the profound health-related outcomes of plant-based nutrition. Hospitals have a responsibility to continually improve the quality of care, and providing nutritious, plant-based meals and medicinal food options are critical to improving patient outcomes, lowering healthcare costs, and reducing the risk of chronic disease in the population.

Photo: noipornpan, Getty Images

Whole Grains Health

A cardiothoracic surgeon on the one thing she wishes people knew about their heart

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As one of only eleven female cardiothoracic surgeons in Australia, Dr. Nikki Stamp a heart surgeon with a mission – to bring inspiration and education to people everywhere.

Dr. Nikki works as a heart surgeon and has a particular interest in heart disease in women and transplants. She also has a strong desire to change the way we think about health and is committed to raising awareness about heart disease in women, which is currently the number one killer among Australian women.

In fact, one Australian woman dies of heart disease every hour and 50 women have a heart attack every day. On this World Heart Day we have Dr. Nikki asked how to keep a happy heart and safely monitor the health of one of our most precious organs.

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1. As a cardiovascular surgeon, what would you like to know about your heart?

I would be happy if people know that caring for their hearts starts at a young age! It doesn’t have to be complex or even popular.

2. What are some of your top tips to make sure your heart stays healthy?

There is a lot of complicated and unreachable advice to stay healthy when, in reality, it is the simple things that are good for your heart. Exercise your body, eat a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats, quit smoking (if you do), sleep well, and talk to your doctor to learn more about your heart. It’s boring advice, but it works!

3. Wearable technology has made tremendous strides in monitoring our health in recent years. What can we learn from monitoring our heart rhythm and health on wearable technology like a Fitbit?

As a surgeon, I’m excited about the potential of wearable technology to help people better understand their health right on their wrist. Fitbit’s EKG app is a fantastic example of this, making it quick and easy to check your heart for common rhythm problems like atrial fibrillation.

This can then provide data that you can share with your doctor, identify important issues early on, and feel empowered about your own health and wellbeing.

4. I think that I am reasonably fit and healthy. Do I still have to monitor my heart rhythm with such a technical device?

In all honesty, it’s never too young to think about its heart. While we think of heart problems that arise when we are older, the truth is that heart disease does not discriminate.

Not only can we see heart problems in young people, but we also know that what we say in our 20s and 30s really lays the foundation for our future health.

5. What are some of the warning signs our heart may need medical attention?

You know your body best, so if you feel like something is wrong, get examined. Things to watch out for include chest pain or discomfort, palpitations that don’t go away, dizziness or fainting, shortness of breath, or realizing that you can’t do things that you normally would.

6. Assuming it’s World Heart Day, go ahead, give us your best heart fun fact?

Your heart starts beating before you are even born and doesn’t stop until you die, beating over 2.5 billion times in your lifetime! That’s so amazing!

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Tips to Be Fit: Early retirement may lead to earlier death | Health

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Retirement is a phase that most of us will go through. But should we just ride into the sunset and accept retirement as a phase we all have to live with? A study of Shell Oil employees found that people who retired at 55 and lived to be 65 died 37% earlier than those who retired at 65. They also found that people who retired at 55 were 89% more likely to retire within 10 years than those who retired at 65. Social security data also showed the trend. Men who retire at 62 were 20% more likely to die than the general population.

The type of occupation you had before retirement also played a role in how long you lived after you retired. One study found that groups who retired from lower-status jobs at the age of 65 were more likely to die within three years of retirement. People with higher quality jobs lived longer after retirement. A greater percentage of those with higher status who retire at 65 have higher education. Studies have also found that the lower the income and educational level, the higher the mortality rate among retirees.

Another issue that affected retirement was how important the job was to the retiree. Retirees who found their identity through their jobs have a harder time adapting to retirement. Some retirees have felt lost, unsure of who they are or what to spend their time with. These feelings can lead to inactivity, increased alcohol consumption, and depression. Working longer seems to reduce the likelihood of early death. Healthy workers who continued to work until they were 66 years old had an 11% reduced risk of death. Even retirees with health problems who worked until the age of 66 had a 9% reduced risk of death. These studies do not imply that you will die soon after you retire. If you retire at 65, you have a 76% chance of living another 10 years, a 38% chance of living an additional 20 years, and a 5% chance of living an additional 30 years. The life expectancy for men in the United States is 78.54 years. Women generally live longer than men and have a life expectancy of 81.1 years. Not all will die soon after retirement.

There are several things you can do to stay healthy in retirement.

Maintain a healthy weight and reduce body fat

Don’t smoke or hang out with people who smoke

Enjoy your family and friends

Plan meaningful tasks like travel, hobbies, and volunteering

See your doctor for regular checkups

Retirement does not mean becoming weak and suffering from age-related changes that are more likely to affect the elderly. Several studies show that strength training exercises help maintain and increase muscle strength and size as you age. When muscle biopsies from men over 50 who lifted weights were compared to those from 20-year-old men, the biopsies looked the same. When biopsies from men over 50 who did not exercise were compared to those from the same 20-year-old men, their biopsies showed typical age-related changes.

A complete workout should include exercises for each part of the body. These include the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, biceps, forearm, thighs, calves, and abdomen (midsection). Start with 2 or 3 different exercises for each part of the body. Gradually work up to 8-12 repetitions for each exercise. If you can do more than 12 repetitions with a weight, the weight is too light. If you can’t do 8 reps with a weight, the weight is too heavy. Do each exercise 1-3 times to start.

We strongly recommend that you have a professional show you what to include in your routine and that you get an OK from your doctor before starting. If you have chronic conditions such as heart failure, high blood pressure, arrhythmias, angina, or diabetes, these must be stable before starting an exercise program.

There is no mythical fountain of youth to stop the aging process after retirement. Aging begins with birth. Good nutrition plays an enormous role in aging gracefully. Many diseases or physical problems related to aging can be attributed in part to poor eating habits. Even after retirement, your body needs carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water to be healthy. Optimal health cannot be achieved without proper diet and exercise. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins provide energy (calories) that are necessary for work and normal body functions. Vitamins, minerals, fiber and water have no caloric value, but are still necessary for normal body functions. Most of the nutritional needs of the elderly person are similar to those of their younger counterparts. Make sure you are getting enough calcium, B vitamins, and iron through a balanced diet. Keep a food journal for two weeks to determine what to add to your diet. An active person needs around 10 to 13 calories for every pound of body weight. You should eat 4 to 5 small meals that contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins.

My advice is to work for as long as you enjoy the work. When it comes time to retire, plan the eight hours you’ve worked with eight hours of something that matters to you.

If you have a fitness question or concern, write to Tips to be Fit, PO Box 53443, Philadelphia, PA 19105 or email tipstobefit@gmail.com. To find past articles, go to www.phillytrib.com and search for “Tips for Fit”.

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Is Rice Keto? Nope: Here’s Why

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Did you join the keto club? The ketogenic diet is a trendy high-fat, low-carbohydrate eating style that is touted for its potential health benefits (like promoting weight loss and treating certain medical conditions).

If you’re new to keto, it may take a while to familiarize yourself with what will and won’t fit in your new diet. Before you cook your favorite fried rice or dig into sushi, you may be asking yourself: is rice keto? Let’s find out.

With the keto diet, most of your caloric intake is obtained from proteins and healthy fats instead of carbohydrates. You will usually try to eat foods that contain a certain ratio of nutrients (like 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 10 percent carbohydrates).

Carbohydrates and ketosis

If you drastically reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat, your body can go into a state of ketosis. That’s when your body becomes mega efficient at burning fat for fuel. This can help you lose body fat and can be beneficial for some medical conditions.

Why doesn’t rice help you achieve this state? Rice is a grain, and grain just isn’t a low-carb food. Even brown rice – usually considered a “healthier” option than white rice – is off-limits on a keto diet.

Should you avoid rice altogether?

Rice is high in carbohydrates, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut it out of your life forever. While rice isn’t keto friendly, it’s still packed with essential nutrients and minerals. For example, it’s a good source of potassium and magnesium.

Keep in mind that while the keto diet has many potential health benefits, this low-carb lifestyle is not for everyone. It can actually have negative effects in certain populations (such as people with type 1 diabetes or people who are pregnant). If you are thinking of getting ketogenic, speak to a nutritionist first. They will help you find a plan that suits you.

Looking for a new staple supplement? We have them! Check out our list of delicious keto-friendly alternatives.

1. Shirataki rice

Net carbohydrates per serving: 1 gram

Shirataki rice (also known as “miracle rice”) is an interesting keto-friendly rice alternative. It is made from flour, which is made from the root of a plant called Konnyaku. What is so wonderful about it? Each serving of Shirataki rice contains only 1 carbohydrate. Also, because this rice is made up of soluble fiber, it can aid digestion.

2. Swede rice

Net carbohydrates per serving: 9 grams

And now for something completely different: turnip rice. Rutabaga is a root vegetable from the same family as cabbage and beets. It is often used as a low-carb substitute for potatoes. It has 9 grams of net carbs per 1 cup serving, but depending on your daily carb goal, it could fit into your keto diet. To make turnip rice, simply chop raw turnips in a food processor, then cook them on the stove.

3. Zoodles

Net carbohydrates per serving: 3 grams

Who needs pasta when you’ve got tons of zoodles? Zucchini noodles are zucchini that are cut into thin threads. They are suitable as a low-carbohydrate substitute for pasta and rice dishes. You can cut them at home with a spiral cutter or buy them ready-made. Zucchini is high in potassium and a 3/4 cup serving has only 3 grams of net carbohydrates.

4. Spaghetti squash

Net carbohydrates per serving: 7.8 grams

In the mood for something warm and hearty that will give you all the cozy vibes? Try spaghetti squash. With just 7.8 grams of carbohydrates per 1 cup serving, spaghetti squash is another great low-carb substitute for rice. To make the spaghetti-like strands appear, cut the pumpkin in half and toast it. When it’s done, use a fork to scrape out the fleshy parts.

5. Grated cabbage

Net carbohydrates per serving: 3 grams

Grated cabbage is far from rice, but it can serve as an easy-to-prepare, low-carb side dish. You can chop up your cabbage with a food processor or just cut it by hand. Not only is cabbage low in carbohydrates, but a study suggested it could play an important role in heart health.

6. Broccoli rice

Net carbohydrates per serving: 6 grams

It has color, it has taste, and it looks like a little tree … it’s broccoli! Broccoli is a cauliflower cousin and another great low-carb substitute for your regular rice dish. To make broccoli rice, simply put the broccoli in a food processor and pulse it until it’s as small as grains of rice. One cup of cooked broccoli has about 6 grams of net carbohydrates and 30 milligrams of calcium, making this vegetable a great non-dairy source of calcium.

7. Cauliflower rice

Net carbohydrates per serving: 6 grams

A popular low-carb rice alternative under #TeamKeto, cauliflower rice is only 6 grams of net carbs per 1 cup serving. In addition, a small study suggested that eating vegetables like cauliflower can have a positive impact on digestion and gut health.

  • The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that limits the amount of carbohydrates you eat.
  • Both white and brown rice are high in carbohydrates, so rice is generally * not * keto.
  • Keto-friendly alternatives to rice include vegetable options with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and zucchini.
  • There is some evidence that a keto diet can play a role in weight loss and even in the management of diabetes.
  • A restrictive low-carb diet cannot be sustainable in the long run. If you have any questions about keto and how it can affect your health, speak to a registered dietitian.

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