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What You Can’t Eat, What You Should eat, and Why



Does the fact that we live in Australia affect this?

“Even with these ‘higher risk foods’ mentioned above, the bacteria may only be present 1-2% of the time, and usually in very small amounts that are unlikely to infect anyone. As a result, the number of listeriosis cases in Australia is increasing, which may be due to the messages directed to pregnant women to avoid these higher risk foods, as well as the food industry’s rigorous efforts to minimize contamination.

Are there foods that we think we should avoid that are okay?

Common allergens (e.g., peanuts, nuts, eggs, cow’s milk, soy, fish, shellfish, wheat) – avoiding them during pregnancy and breastfeeding can have a significant impact on the likelihood of an infant developing food allergies. Current research suggests that the frequent intake of allergens during pregnancy and breastfeeding helps strengthen the baby’s immune tolerance. “

The foods that you should avoid

1. Raw fish

Fish is one of the most important foods to eat during pregnancy because it contains many brain-building omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of iodine. However, when you are pregnant it is important to avoid raw seafood and cooked, ready-to-eat seafood, as they are at a higher risk of contamination with listeria

2. Fish that are high in mercury

Mercury can build up in high levels in the bloodstream and cause problems for your baby’s nervous system. Limit your intake of flake, swordfish, marlin, orange bass, barramundi, catfish and southern bluefin tuna. Instead, choose fish with a low mercury content such as salmon, sardines, cod or canned tuna. Other types of fresh seafood, such as shellfish and crustaceans, contain less mercury and pose no risk.

3. Uncooked meat and poultry

Meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly at high temperatures until there is no trace of pink meat or blood. Hot takeaway chicken is safe when it’s freshly cooked and still hot. Use up leftovers within 24 hours and warm up well.

4. Processed meat

Processed meats and sausages like ham, salami, and lunch should be avoided as they are not only high in saturated fat and salt, but also pose a risk for listeria.

5. Soft cheese

Soft cheeses (like brie, camembert, and gorgonzola) are made with mold and have a high risk of contamination with listeria. Instead, opt for hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan.

6. Liver

Limit the liver to very small amounts (no more than 50 g per week) as it contains high levels of vitamin A which can affect your baby’s development. Remember, this includes pate.

7. Food supplements with vitamin A.

Make sure you are taking a multivitamin that specializes in pregnancy. While small amounts of vitamin A are important for your baby’s development, too much vitamin A can lead to liver damage and even cause congenital birth defects.

8. Packaged salads

Packaged salads, vegetables and fruits are at a higher risk of contamination with Listeria. Instead, buy whole fruits and vegetables and then cut them up yourself as needed. Avoid buffets and salad bars where the salads have been standing for a while so the listeria can grow.

9. Shop-bought sushi see below

As with prepackaged salads, store-bought sushi is at higher risk of contamination with listeria. If you have food cravings, try making your own from home.

10. Stone melon

Rockmelon is at high risk of Listeria contamination. It is best to avoid this during pregnancy.

11. Bean sprouts

Like stone melons, bean sprouts have a high risk of contamination with listeria. It is best to avoid these altogether during pregnancy.

12. Raw milk

Raw milk and products made from it (such as goat cheese) should be avoided during pregnancy. You shouldn’t do without soft ice cream either, because Listeria like to multiply in the cracks of the machine. Go for pasteurized and ultra-heat-treated (UHT) milk.

13. Raw or partially cooked eggs

Eggs should be cooked thoroughly until the egg white is set and the yolk thickens. Discard any eggs with a crack in the shell, as salmonella can get into the egg through these cracks. It is also very important to avoid foods that contain raw egg, such as mayonnaise.

14. Too much caffeine

Unfortunately, too much caffeine can increase your risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. Limit your intake to no more than 200 mg per day during pregnancy. This corresponds to about 1 to 2 cups of espresso, 2 to 3 cups of instant coffee and 3 to 5 cups of tea (depending on the strength). Another option are decaffeinated varieties. They are now so good that they taste like the real thing! (Note: decaffeinated still contains some caffeine, but in tiny amounts!). Some energy drinks (like Red Bull and V) contain caffeine or guarana (a source of caffeine) and should also be avoided during pregnancy.

15. Fermented foods

It’s a good idea to avoid fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha while you are pregnant. While these foods are fermented to encourage good bacteria to grow, they can also contain bad bacteria.

16. Alcohol

This one is a breeze. Alcohol can seriously harm your developing bladders, especially in the early stages of pregnancy. Refraining from alcohol is the safest option.

17. Treats with high sugar content

Limit your intake of high-sugar foods (like soft drinks and lollipops) during pregnancy to reduce the risk of chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

18. Soft ice cream

Another common carrier of Listeria due to its high moisture content and the possibility of a messy machine being housed in it.

19. Herbal teas

Consuming too much herbal tea during pregnancy can affect the baby’s growth and development. Herbal teas like peppermint and ginger are fine as long as you don’t consume more than 3 cups a day; more than this and you can increase your risk of premature births and low birth weight babies. Licorice, evening primrose oil tea, rooibos and fennel tea should be avoided completely because of the negative risks.

What foods are good to eat?

“When it comes to pregnancy (and fertility), I recommend a Mediterranean diet. Long considered one of the healthiest diets in the world, the Mediterranean diet is associated with a variety of positive health benefits. There has been an incredible amount of research, over a long period of time suggesting that the Mediterranean Diet is one of, if not the ‘best’, diets for increasing overall health and life expectancy, and it is no different when it comes to pregnancies.

“There are slight variations in diet, but the guidelines remain fairly consistent. The focus is mostly on high intakes of vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and extra virgin olive oil.”

Research shows:

  • May reduce the risk of negative pregnancy outcomes, such as:
    • Gestational diabetes
    • Premature birth
    • excessive weight gain in pregnancy
    • Emergency caesarean sections
    • Perineal trauma
    • small / or large for newborn babies of gestational age
  • Improves the baby’s health:
    • Reduced occurrence of low birth weight
    • Small for gestational age
    • Premature birth
    • Premature birth
    • Reduces the risk of obesity in children
    • Improved blood pressure readings

What other nutrition tips do you have for pregnant women?

  • # 1 – Take a prenatal supplement
  • Fruit: 2 – 3 servings per day
  • Whole grains: 4-8 servings per day – think of low GI carbohydrates, not “no” carbohydrates
  • Vegetables: 5 servings per day
  • Dairy products: 2 ½ servings per day
  • Meat / alternatives: 3 ½ servings per day
  • Fish / seafood: 2 – 3 servings per week (particularly fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, etc.)
  • Include more plant-based protein in your diet – think of whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans
  • Enjoy healthy fats – think extra virgin olive oil, oily fish (like salmon), avocado, nuts
  • Liquid: at least 2L per day
  • Energy demand 2nd / 3approx Trimester: an additional 600kJ per day
  • Reduce your consumption of excess salt, sugar, and saturated fats

Why do you need a supplement?

“We know what happens during pregnancy, we program the developing baby and have a major impact on its physical growth, brain development and health in later life. Whether you are already pregnant or planning to conceive, there are certain vital nutrients that are crucial to successful conception, and a healthy pregnancy Deficiency of nutrients during this time can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby.

“My most important tip for pregnant women or children who want to get pregnant is to take a high quality prenatal vitamin. This is the most important investment you can make for your future baby.

“There are many ways that high quality prenatal nutritional supplements can have a positive impact on your baby’s future health and development. By making sure you are getting all of the essential nutrients you and your baby need (through quality prenatal supplements and a healthy diet), you can help:

  • Optimize your genetic programming
  • Ensure the healthy development of the embryo
  • Reduce the risk of neural tube defects (and other birth defects)
  • Reduce the risk of premature delivery
  • Reduce the risk of low birth weight
  • Reduce the risk of allergies
  • Reduce the risk of eczema
  • Improve brain development and cognitive skills
  • Improve your lifelong mental, emotional, and physical health
  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, obesity)
  • Strengthening the baby’s immunity
  • Influence taste preferences
  • Influence your future weight
  • Extend your baby’s lifespan

Note – A prenatal food supplement is particularly important for women on a vegetarian / vegan diet. These diets make it difficult to meet needs for many essential nutrients, so women can be at risk of nutrient deficiency.

Whole Grains Health

MOV Parent: Time for the lunch bell | News, Sports, Jobs



The summer months are coming to an end and school is getting closer and closer. When you go back to school it can be difficult to start or continue a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to choose unhealthy lunch and snack ideas. However, I want to share with you the importance of packing a healthy lunch and preparing a healthy snack when your kids go back to school.

1. Eating a healthy diet can improve your health today and for years to come. Think about how your food choices will be made up throughout the day or week to help you create a healthy eating routine.

2. It is important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, as well as dairy and fortified soy alternatives. Choose options for meals, drinks, and snacks with limited added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.

Some of the negative effects that unhealthy school lunches have on children are mental and physical problems. Eating the wrong diet can lead to obesity or other weight problems. A child with poor diet is more likely to develop diabetes, kidney stones, and heart disease. Without proper nutrition, a child’s academic performance will decline. Sleep behavior is also affected when children do not eat enough nutritious foods. These children may also exhibit more aggressive behavior and lower attention spans.

When I was in school I packed my own lunch. Most of the time I just tossed everything I could find into a bag and called it lunch. I would wrap anything from cookies to leftover pizza. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I understood why I should choose healthier options. I decided to work on a healthier lifestyle and now cucumber and melon are my favorite food when I wrap lunch.

Becoming more aware of what to give your child for lunch, what your child is packing for lunch, and what groceries you bring around the house can help them feel better, be better, and be healthier.

As a parent, you can help your child choose healthier options by:

1. Regular family meals

2. Serving a wide variety of healthy foods and snacks

3. Be a role model by eating healthily yourself

4. Avoid fighting over food

5. Include children in the process

Figuring out the best lunch options for your child can be difficult. You could try some of these options:

* Turkey + cheddar roll-up, fresh berries, yogurt and trail mix

* Cheese quesadilla, guacamole, salsa, tortilla chips and strawberries

* Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, graham crackers, cheese spread and a peach cup

* Turkey slices, cheese cubes, pita wedges, hummus, baby carrots and celery

To make lunch more attractive to your child, try different foods. Some ideas include:

* Make potato salad or pasta salad multi-colored. Use fun noodles or add hard boiled eggs, beans, peas or small cubes of meat for extra protein.

* Cut raw vegetables like carrots, celery, green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumbers. Send them with a small container of low-fat dip.

* Add a piece of fruit for dessert, washed and ready to eat, or a packet of fruit salad.

* Try reduced-fat cheese cubes or cheese spreads with whole grain crackers.

* Few children can resist yogurt, a good source of protein and calcium that is now available in many different flavors and shapes.

* Choose healthy snacks. Pack pretzels, popcorn, rice cakes, whole grain crackers, dried flakes, or trail mix.

After a long day at school, your children will be hungry. Having healthy snacks for your children after school is important. You can have a snack ready and waiting for them or allow them to choose from the healthy options you have around the house.

The American Heart Association has a list of healthy snack options divided into categories based on cravings. Some of these snacks are:

* Apples and pears

* Bell pepper slices

* Popcorn

* Nuts and seeds

* Carrots and celery sticks

Make sure you find the right ones that suit your family’s needs.

While I was in grades 3-12, I got involved in post-school sports. It was important to have a healthy snack before training and games. The snacks I always chose were apples and peanut butter or bananas and peanut butter.

I also enjoyed applesauce. My parents bought the sugar-free version and I added cinnamon. These were simple and healthy snacks that I could grab on my own.

“There is nothing unhealthy about educating young people about nutrition.” – Pierre Dukan


Megan Zwick is a program assistant in Family and Consumer Sciences at Ohio State University Extension, Washington County. She can be reached at



* Stadler, M. (2018, August). Back to School Kids Lunch Ideas. (2018, August 14).

* Hopkins, A. (2019 August 15). 15 Healthy After School Snacks Your Kids Will Actually Eat

* What is MyPlate?

* Dukan, P. (n.d.). Healthy eating quote. 34 Best Quotes About Healthy Eating For You And Your Children.

* Schuna, C. (no year). The Effects of Children Eating Unhealthy School Lunches. LIVESTRONG.COM.

* Ben-Joseph, EP (Ed.). (2018, June). Healthy nutrition (for parents) – nemours kidshealth. Children’s health.

* School lunches. Harvard Health. (2015, July 16).

* Healthy snacking. (nd).

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7 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health



When your stomach is fine, you never think about it – but when you don’t, it’s hard to think about anything else. The group of microorganisms that live in and make up your gastrointestinal tract play a role in almost every aspect of your health, from preventing chronic disease to maintaining your immune system. So it’s no wonder that you feel lousy when things get out of hand.

But what exactly is your gut feeling? And is it possible to improve your gut health? Here is everything you need to know.

What is the intestine?

The human intestine is much more complex than even experts once realized – it comprises a multitude of internal organs that are involved in the digestive process to absorb nutrients from food and excrete waste, explains Rushabh Modi, MD, a certified physician in both internal medicine and Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “Typically, this refers to the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon, with the pancreas and liver being crucial as supporting organs that help make digestive enzymes,” he says.

How your gut keeps your body healthy

In addition to absorbing and transporting nutrients to all tissues in the body, the intestine is critical to maintaining fluid and salt levels and eliminating waste, explains Dr. Modes. “Many vital nutrients and vitamins such as B12 and iron have special transporters that only exist in the intestine,” he adds. Iron, for example, needs stomach acid to be absorbed effectively – and B12 also needs certain receptors in the stomach and middle intestines to be absorbed. “These nutrients are difficult to obtain in any other way and they are essential for normal physiological function,” adds Dr. Modes added.

The gut is also one of the body’s most important disease control systems. “The acid in the stomach kills the bacteria and viruses that can inadvertently be ingested through food, and the digestive tract is an important way of introducing antigens to boost immune function and protection in the body,” says Christine Lee, MD . Gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “The digestive tract also digests the foods ingested and extracts the essential nutrients that the body can absorb for vital use.”

New research has even uncovered a link between poor gut health and several neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, and depression. One such study from the Université de Genève found that people with Alzheimer’s have different types of bacteria in their gut than those who do not have the disease.

8 signs your gut is suffering

If your gut is unhealthy, you are likely to have one or more of the following symptoms, even if it’s mild or rare:

  1. gas
  2. Flatulence
  3. Acid reflux
  4. heartburn
  5. diarrhea
  6. constipation
  7. Changes in stool
  8. Inexplicable weight loss
    1. “Since food digestion and waste production are the two most important functions of the intestine, if there are problems in these areas, the intestine can often be the cause of the problem,” explains Dr. Modes. Acid reflux and heartburn have also been linked to the gut, although you may feel the pain further from the core of the problem. Flatulence is also becoming more common, so Dr. Modi notes that patients view them as almost a normal reaction to eating certain foods.

      If you experience unexplained weight loss despite eating regular meals, it may indicate that your body is unable to digest or absorb the nutrients in the foods you eat and that there is a problem in your digestive system, according to Dr. Lee.

      How to improve your gut health

      The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to support your gut health. Here are some of the strategies doctors recommend.

      Eat a wide variety of healthy foods

      A diet made up of several different food types can result in a more diverse microbiome made up of more types, according to a report published in the journal Molecular Metabolism. This, explains Dr. Lee, strengthens our microbiome and increases its resilience.

      The best foods for gut health are fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, especially those with the highest fiber content that help your digestive tract function properly. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day and men 38 grams per day.

      And cut down on unhealthy foods. “The more fat, fat, and salt you eat, the worse your gut health gets,” said Scott David Lippe, MD, chief of gastroenterology at Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, NJ and assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Medical School. This is especially important to keep in mind at dinner, as restaurants tend to consume salt, fat, and fat because they taste good.

      Try to leave out dairy products

      If you experience gas, gas, or loose bowel movements after drinking milk or eating cheese, you may be lactose intolerant. “This affects many adults, especially those who have no Northern European ancestry,” says Dr. Lip. “A quick and easy test is to drink a glass of regular milk – if you feel unwell, you are lactose intolerant.” If you are not ready to give up dairy products, you can also try taking lactose tablets before consuming dairy foods take.

      Consider a probiotic

      These tiny little microorganisms aid your metabolism and help rebalance your microbiota, says Douglas A. Drossman, MD, gastroenterologist and Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Psychiatry, UNC Division of Gastroenterology at the UNC School of Medicine. He recommends taking them when you have symptoms of an unhealthy bowel; however, there can be no other benefit. In fact, there isn’t a lot of research to prove the benefits of probiotics for the gut.

      For example, a review published in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology found that probiotics positively affect the gut microbiota of people with certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes, but do little to improve the gut microbiota of healthy people. “If you are taking antibiotics or have diarrhea, taking probiotics can be very helpful,” adds Dr. Lip. However, he recommends trying to get your fair share of probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi first.

      Include more prebiotics in your diet

      “Prebiotics are not bacteria, they are foods that good bacteria like to eat,” explains Dr. Milstein. “We have to feed the good bacteria and starve the bad bacteria.” He recommends eating foods rich in bacteria such as walnuts, berries, bananas, flax seeds, legumes, artichokes, onions, garlic, chicory, dandelion greens, asparagus, leeks and whole grain products. “The diet is personalized, but putting some fruits and vegetables and fiber on our plate with every meal helps keep gut and brain health,” adds Dr. Milstein added.

      Monitor your vitamin D levels

      Recent research in Nature Communications has examined the relationship between gut bacteria and vitamin D levels and found that deficiency in the nutrient plays a key role in increasing the risk of certain diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer, plays. Any form of disruption of the GI barrier, according to Dr. Drossman commonly referred to as “leaky gut,” which can increase a person’s risk of developing infectious, inflammatory, and functional GI diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. “Most people with leaky gut have very low levels of vitamin D and very low levels of the two most important omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA,” he says. He recommends that most people consume at least 5,000 IU (125 µg) of vitamin D3 daily and consume sufficient fish oil (or the vegan equivalent) of 1,000 mg DHA per day. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

      Manage your stress level

      Stress not only puts a strain on your mental health, but also on your physical well-being. Chronic high stress can, according to Dr. Drossman directly affect your gut health. While removing stressors from your life isn’t always possible, stress management strategies like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, or yoga can help, says Dr. Drossman. “It’s also a smart idea to see a psychologist to see if brain and gut therapies (cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, mindfulness) can be used,” he adds.

      Get a good night’s sleep every night

      When you don’t get enough sleep, your whole body is affected, including your intestines. In fact, new research shows how closely your gut microbiome and the quality of your sleep really are. A study by Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida found that poor sleep, for reasons as yet unknown, can negatively affect your gut microbiome, which can then manifest itself in a variety of other health problems, including autoimmune diseases and mental illnesses. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.

      Jenn Sinrich is a veteran writer, digital and social editor, and content strategist specializing in health, fitness, beauty, and relationships.

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    YOUR HEALTH: When heart health is a matter of race



    PITTSBURGH – Up to 1 in 500 American adults have cardiomyopathy.

    Their hearts have enlarged, thickened, or stiffened, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood around the body.

    Now, new research examines racial differences in the outcomes of these heart patients.

    “If we don’t give patients good medicines and the like over time, they will develop into what is known as clinical heart failure, where they develop symptoms of shortness of breath and leg swelling,” said Dr. Shazli Khan. Internal Medicine Physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

    People with cardiomyopathy may not have any symptoms at all, or their symptoms may be very mild to begin with.

    Dr. Khan examines racial differences in cardiomyopathy outcomes.

    She and her colleagues looked at data from 18,000 patients over a period of six years.

    “What we actually found was that black patients in our cohort had a much higher prevalence of many chronic diseases,” said Dr. Khan.

    “So more chronic kidney disease, higher blood pressure, higher diabetes rates.”

    If black patients are on optimized heart failure therapy and continue to have symptoms, they can get additional benefit from taking hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate, known under the brand name BiDil.

    Previous research suggested that black patients had a much higher prevalence of chronic illnesses, including chronic kidney disease, higher blood pressure, and higher rates of diabetes.

    “In fact, they died more than the white cardiomyopathy patients,” said Dr. Khan.

    Researchers found that black patients diagnosed with cardiomyopathy were 15% more likely to die than white patients.

    Dr. Khan says the study results suggest that providers should emphasize earlier interventions.

    “That they come in to fill their medication, make appointments, give them resources, and educate them about the long-term effects of certain medical conditions.”

    Patients are advised to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken or fish.

    Also, focus on maintaining a healthy weight by balancing caloric intake with physical activity to reduce the risk of heart disease.

    Doctors will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your personal and family medical history.

    You will also be asked when your symptoms are occurring, such as whether exercise is causing your symptoms.

    If your doctor thinks you have cardiomyopathy, several tests may be done to help confirm the diagnosis, including an X-ray test to see if your heart is enlarged.

    Several blood tests may be done, including those to check your kidney, thyroid, and liver function, and to measure your iron levels, and a treadmill test to see your heart rhythm, blood pressure, and breathing while you run on a treadmill.

    Your doctor may recommend this test to evaluate symptoms, determine your physical fitness, and see if exercise is causing an abnormal heart rhythm.

    If this story affects your life or has caused you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

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