Every time you eat a meal, you’re also feeding the roughly 100 trillion bacteria that call your gut and other organs home. Bacteria isn’t just passively hanging out in digestive organs: They have the ability to break down food remnants and turn them into usable sources of energy. As many as 1,000 different bacterial strains inhabit our intestines, and each of us has our own unique gut fingerprint of microbes comprised of different species in different proportions. Different species of bacteria thrive on different foods, so what we eat alters our intestinal makeup. For example, research shows that the standard Western diet, high in protein and fat, has been associated with a greater proportion of bacteria belonging to the Bacteroides genus. A high-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet, such as that consumed by traditional rural populations, has been correlated with higher amounts of Prevotella bacteria. The following suggestions may help to nourish a more complex gut environment by fueling beneficial bacteria:
- Eat a wide variety of high-fiber plant foods every single day, including vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
- Incorporate prebiotic foods. Best bets include onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, asparagus, beets, cabbage, beans, lentils, soybeans, whole wheat, oats, and bananas.
- Enjoy fermented foods. Fermented foods get their tang from lactic acid-producing bacteria, which can survive your harsh digestive tract and actually populate your gut, at least temporarily. Yogurt with live and active cultures is an easy source, but there are plenty of other deliciously funky options.
Superfoods. They are everywhere. But what’s so super about them? Though there is no legal or medical definition, superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that pack in large doses of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. There is a lot of buzz about certain foods, but the fact is that common and readily available foods contain these powerful qualities, there are just some that seem to buzz more than others. You don’t have to get online and order goji berries from across the world in order to acquire these certain nutrients. Common foods such as garlic and lemon are also super foods. At the core of a balanced diet are foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients while being low in unnecessary fats and sugars. Variety is key to obtaining all nutrients necessary for good health. Each food group contains different combinations of nutrients. So, for example, oranges provide vitamin C but no vitamin B12; cheese provides vitamin B12 but no vitamin C. But often times, items like kale and blueberries get additional hype due to diet fads in the market. They are in fact super foods, but other foods like oranges are just as great. It’s important to eat a balanced and healthy diet and if there is a superfood fad, try it out, fit it into your diet, as long as it’s part of the bigger balanced diet. Talk to your doctor about more information on balancing your diet and eating healthy.
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to spread the word about the benefits of getting active. Regular physical activity is good for everyone's health, and people of all ages and body types can be physically active.The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly eighty percent of adults and seventy-five percent of adolescents do not get the daily recommended amount of physical activity. Here are just a few benefits of physical activity:
- Children and adolescents – Physical activity can improve muscular fitness, bone health, and heart health.
- Adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
- Older adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning (like learning and judgment skills).
With several physicians in Pueblo retiring, you may be thinking about transferring practices and looking for a new physician. It’s an easy process if you do it right and how to manage the transition. Here are a few steps to help you manage the transition:
- Make sure the new doctor will take your insurance. You can call the office and ask or you can check online. Oftentimes, you can even find doctors through working with your insurance company. This is a great way to assure your coverage is accepted.If you have any questions about coverage and co-pays, clear these up with your insurance company before going in. You don't want to get a big bill you were not anticipating a month after your first visit.
- Have your medical records forwarded. You'll need your medical records forwarded to your new doctor. This can be done in a variety of ways. Click here to find out how. You can request a copy of your medical records over the phone, or have a Patient Portal that allows you to access your records online. You can have the records sent directly to you and then bring them to your new doctor. Make sure to request items like lab results, x-rays, and any CAT or MRI scans.
- Get organized. Preparing your own patient history can help smooth the transition. You should also make sure there's no gaps in coverage. You don't want to be left without a doctor during an emergency or run out of a prescription and have no one to refill it.
A report conducted a few years ago, estimates that up to 21,000 people will die from air pollution — specifically, particulate matter and ground-level ozone in the next few years. Most of these deaths will be from chronic disease, rather than acute episodes, but will all be caused by poor air quality. Predictions also indicate that there will be 306 premature deaths due to air pollution in the next five years, increased emergency-room visits, hospital admissions and doctor’s-office visits. Air pollution, in high population areas are expected to cause about two and a half million minor illnesses in 2017. In the past, scientists thought that respiratory disease was the major outcome of exposure to air pollution. However, scientists such as the American College of Cardiology have now found that cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is a significant problem, too. Air quality is a major issue and is causing a lot of sickness. Talk to your doctor about how air quality (indoor and outdoor) can affect you.