Cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes are the four main groups of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). They’re also a main cause of preventable, premature deaths.
New research shows that over 15 years 37 million premature deaths due to NCDs can be prevented. How? By reducing or curbing only six modifiable risk factors: tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, salt intake, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity. As in, if you keep up your bad habits, chances are you won’t live as long. If you drop them, and get healthier, you’ll likely live longer, and our guess is your quality of life will improve too.
How, exactly would changing these 6 factors improve your life expectancy and reduce your risk of premature death?
Tobacco Use – Kick the habit to reduce risk of death by at least 30 percent, and up to 50 percent
- Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death, and is responsible for 5 million deaths per year worldwide.
- By reducing tobacco use by 50 percent, risk of dying from the four main NCDs would drop by 24 percent in men and 20 percent in women.
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For years I felt original for using what I thought was my own word to describe how cranky, snippy, and sassy I get when I haven’t eating in a long time. The word is “hangry”, a fusion between hungry and angry, and it describes pretty perfectly the mood that affects many of us when we have low blood sugar. Hearing the first few people use my word was exciting and unifying, like we were apart of the same witty food-pun club! But lately I’ve been hearing it more than ever, so I am reluctant to admit that perhaps I did not, in fact, invent the word hangry. (I’m also being overdramatic, so perhaps I am currently hangry.)
At any rate, science has recently solidified the use of this word: A new study shows that being hangry is a real thing, or at least proves that being hungry definitely affects a person’s mood.
Researchers from Ohio State University set out to prove that low blood sugar is indeed the underlying cause of hunger-induce crankiness. (Read the full NPR report here.) But they didn’t just want to look at how strangers interacted, they wanted to know how we treat our loved ones when we’re hangry, so they studied spouses. 107 couples were recruited for the study and each given voodoo dolls.
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Around the holidays I found myself suffering from a cold. Since going gluten-free and dairy-free, it’s an anomaly for me to need an anti-histamine or decongestant. Knowing how sugar impacts the immune system, I assumed one of the culprits must be the holiday sweets I was consuming, even though it was in moderation. When I received the book the 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo as a Christmas gift, I decided that I would give the program a try starting January 1.
Last year around this same time, I completed approximately 16 weeks of a three-level allergy-detox (stopping when I had lost too much weight). The programs did not seem all that different so I didn’t think it would be that difficult to go 21 days.
One of the most important things I have learned about dietary change is that restriction can lead to binging. If we feel limited, desire increases and takes on more importance. During my allergy detox, while I constantly had to check my list of approved foods, I was able to eat as much steak and eggs or bacon burgers (no bun) as I needed to. While I realize not everyone agrees, I don’t have a problem with eating fats.
Pamela Reilly, ND, CNHP, MH, CWHP, is a Naturopathic Physician and speaker that I trust with my own health and wellness. She designed the allergy-detox program that I completed last year. She clarifies that “if an eating style is extremely restrictive it is not intended to be permanent.”
I do think part of the secret to success is making sure that you do not feel restricted and finding indulgences when you need them. Sometimes you really do just need to make it just a few more hours before the craving subsides. On the other hand, over indulging does not do your body any favors.
Even if the indulgence is something like grapefruit—too much of even a good thing is still too much. Reilly believes that “people who truly want to change react really well to restrictions”; however, she adds that she “always provides substitutes when telling people to remove something” because she believes “it’s a lot healthier to function from an abundance mindset and to focus on the benefits and not what you are eliminating.”
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Invokana is the newest diabetes drug to hit the market and uses an innovative mechanism to help control blood sugar for type 2 diabetes. Invokana, produced by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, will make a splash in the market as this is the first drug of its kind.
The statistic for this drug that I’m most interested in is the reduction in A1C percentage. Hemoglobin A1C is the percent of glucose that is bound to red blood cells. It also gives a three-month big picture of the patient’s control of their blood sugar. The higher the number the higher the person’s daily blood sugars will be; the goal is to be under seven percent. Trials have shown that Invokana has lowered A1C percent by approximately 1 percent over 26 weeks with a 300 mg dose and a 0.77 percent decrease with a 100 mg dosage. A one-percent reduction is approximately a decrease of 14 points on an average daily blood glucose reading. Lower blood sugars overall will prevent complications which can include blindness, renal failure and amputations.
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By Emily Wade Adams, CNC for Natal-Nutrition.com
Nearly 10 percent of infants in the U.S. are overweight. As they get older, this percentage grows along with them: almost 70 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. But weight gain is largely preventable – and prevention begins in the womb.
Mama-to-be? Keeping your blood sugar steady can prevent your baby from having an excessive birth weight. It can also help your baby stay lean throughout his life. High maternal blood sugar prompts the fetus to develop more fat cells, which can make it easier to become fat later in life.
Not only can your blood sugar levels affect your baby’s development, but they can also affect your comfort levels during pregnancy. Low blood sugar is associated with morning sickness, and high blood sugar may lead to pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes (Hudson, 2008). Gestational diabetes, in turn, predisposes your baby to obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes later in life.
Keeping your blood sugar stable is easier than it sounds – but it requires a little advance planning. Here are some tips to help you maintain a steady blood sugar level in order to protect you and your baby:
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