DASH Eating Plan

The DASH eating plan requires no special foods and instead provides daily and weekly nutritional goals. This plan recommends:

  • Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
  • Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils
  • Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.

Based on these recommendations, the following table shows examples of daily and weekly servings that meet DASH eating plan targets for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.

Daily and Weekly DASH Eating Plan Goals for a 2,000-Calorie-a-Day Diet

Food Group

Daily Servings

Grains

6–8

Meats, poultry, and fish

6 or less

Vegetables

4–5

Fruit

4–5

Low-fat or fat-free dairy products

2–3

Fats and oils

2–3

Sodium

2,300 mg*

Weekly Servings
Nuts, seeds, dry beans, and peas

4–5

Sweets

5 or less

*1,500 milligrams (mg) sodium lowers blood pressure even further than 2,300 mg sodium daily.

When following the DASH eating plan, it is important to choose foods that are:

  • Low in saturated and trans fats
  • Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein
  • Lower in sodium

Vitamin D — Information about this important nutrient.

What is vitamin D and what does it do?

Vitamin D is a nutrient found in some foods that is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium (one of bone’s main building blocks) from food and supplements. People who get too little vitamin D may develop soft, thin, and brittle bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

Vitamin D is important to the body in many other ways as well. Muscles need it to move, for example, nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body.

How much vitamin D do I need?

The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts from the Food and Nutrition Board (a national group of experts) for different ages are listed below in International Units (IU):

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 12 months 400 IU
Children 1–13 years 600 IU
Teens 14–18 years 600 IU
Adults 19–70 years 600 IU
Adults 71 years and older 800 IU
Pregnant and breastfeeding women 600 IU

What foods provide vitamin D?

Very few foods naturally have vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in American diets.

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.
  • Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart. But foods made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified.
  • Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages; check the labels.

Can I get vitamin D from the sun?

The body makes vitamin D when skin is directly exposed to the sun, and most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs this way. Skin exposed to sunshine indoors through a window will not produce vitamin D. Cloudy days, shade, and having dark-colored skin also cut down on the amount of vitamin D the skin makes.

However, despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is prudent to limit exposure of skin to sunlight in order to lower the risk for skin cancer. When out in the sun for more than a few minutes, wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 8 or more. Tanning beds also cause the skin to make vitamin D, but pose similar risks for skin cancer.

People who avoid the sun or who cover their bodies with sunscreen or clothing should include good sources of vitamin D in their diets or take a supplement. Recommended intakes of vitamin D are set on the assumption of little sun exposure.

What kinds of vitamin D dietary supplements are available?

Vitamin D is found in supplements (and fortified foods) in two different forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both increase vitamin D in the blood.

Am I getting enough vitamin D?

Because vitamin D can come from sun, food, and supplements, the best measure of one’s vitamin D status is blood levels of a form known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Levels are described in either nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) or nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), where 1 nmol/L = 0.4 ng/mL.

In general, levels below 30 nmol/L (12 ng/mL) are too low for bone or overall health, and levels above 125 nmol/L (50 ng/mL) are probably too high. Levels of 50 nmol/L or above (20 ng/mL or above) are sufficient for most people.

By these measures, some Americans are vitamin D deficient and almost no one has levels that are too high. In general, young people have higher blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D than older people and males have higher levels than females. By race, non-Hispanic blacks tend to have the lowest levels and non-Hispanic whites the highest. The majority of Americans have blood levels lower than 75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL).

Certain other groups may not get enough vitamin D:

  • Breastfed infants, because human milk is a poor source of the nutrient. Breastfed infants should be given a supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D each day.
  • Older adults, because their skin doesn’t make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight as efficiently as when they were young, and their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.
  • People with dark skin, because their skin has less ability to produce vitamin D from the sun.
  • People with disorders such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease who don’t handle fat properly, because vitamin D needs fat to be absorbed.
  • Obese people, because their body fat binds to some vitamin D and prevents it from getting into the blood.

What happens if I don’t get enough vitamin D?

People can become deficient in vitamin D because they don’t consume enough or absorb enough from food, their exposure to sunlight is limited, or their kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form in the body. In children, vitamin D deficiency causes rickets, where the bones become soft and bend. It’s a rare disease but still occurs, especially among African American infants and children. In adults, vitamin D deficiency leads to osteomalacia, causing bone pain and muscle weakness.

What are some effects of vitamin D on health?

Vitamin D is being studied for its possible connections to several diseases and medical problems, including diabetes, hypertension, and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Two of them discussed below are bone disorders and some types of cancer.

Bone disorders

As they get older, millions of people (mostly women, but men too) develop, or are at risk of, osteoporosis, where bones become fragile and may fracture if one falls. It is one consequence of not getting enough calcium and vitamin D over the long term. Supplements of both vitamin D3 (at 700–800 IU/day) and calcium (500–1,200 mg/day) have been shown to reduce the risk of bone loss and fractures in elderly people aged 62–85 years. Men and women should talk with their health care providers about their needs for vitamin D (and calcium) as part of an overall plan to prevent or treat osteoporosis.

Cancer

Some studies suggest that vitamin D may protect against colon cancer and perhaps even cancers of the prostate and breast. But higher levels of vitamin D in the blood have also been linked to higher rates of pancreatic cancer. At this time, it’s too early to say whether low vitamin D status increases cancer risk and whether higher levels protect or even increase risk in some people.

Can vitamin D be harmful?

Yes, when amounts in the blood become too high. Signs of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. And by raising blood levels of calcium, too much vitamin D can cause confusion, disorientation, and problems with heart rhythm. Excess vitamin D can also damage the kidneys.

The upper limit for vitamin D is 1,000 to 1,500 IU/day for infants, 2,500 to 3,000 IU/day for children 1-8 years, and 4,000 IU/day for children 9 years and older, adults, and pregnant and lactating teens and women. Vitamin D toxicity almost always occurs from overuse of supplements. Excessive sun exposure doesn’t cause vitamin D poisoning because the body limits the amount of this vitamin it produces.

Are there any interactions with vitamin D that I should know about?

Like most dietary supplements, vitamin D may interact or interfere with other medicines or supplements you might be taking. Here are several examples:

  • Prednisone and other corticosteroid medicines to reduce inflammation impair how the body handles vitamin D, which leads to lower calcium absorption and loss of bone over time.
  • Both the weight-loss drug orlistat (brand names Xenical® and Alli®) and the cholesterol-lowering drug cholestyramine (brand names Questran®, LoCholest®, and Prevalite®) can reduce the absorption of vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, and K).
  • Both phenobarbital and phenytoin (brand name Dilantin®), used to prevent and control epileptic seizures, increase the breakdown of vitamin D and reduce calcium absorption.

Tell your doctor, pharmacist, and other health care providers about any dietary supplements and medicines you take. They can tell you if those dietary supplements might interact or interfere with your prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or if the medicines might interfere with how your body absorbs, uses, or breaks down nutrients.

Vitamin D and healthful eating

People should get most of their nutrients from food, advises the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Foods contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and other substances that benefit health. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may provide nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less-than-recommended amounts. For more information about building a healthy diet, refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal link disclaimer and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlateexternal link disclaimer

Disclaimer

This fact sheet by the Office of Dietary Supplements provides information that should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this publication of a specific brand name is not an endorsement of the product.

LAUGH YOUR WAY TO GOOD HEALTH

Very often we witness efficient wheel chair transportation services, disability transportation, handicap transportation taking care of the transportation needs of the elderly or the wheel chair bound people, but what is often missing is the laughter on these weathered faces.

Changing the age old phrase ‘A family that prays together, stays together’ to ‘people who laugh together stay together’, won’t be so befitting. With the health benefits of a good  laugh being uncovered, laughter is being increasingly prescribed as an effective medicine.

While laughter on one hand has shown to delay or prevent many physical and mental illnesses, on the other hand it is known to effectively combat chronic conditions like dementia, Parkinson, cancer and the likes. It has also proven to be beneficial to develop a strong immune system.

Laughter is contagious and knows no boundaries

Laughter is more contagious than a cough, sneeze or yawn. Often if you see someone laugh uncontrollably, it won’t be a surprise to find yourself rolling over with laughter, without knowing the cause. This shared laughter binds people together and increases the feeling of happiness among them. Laughter is universal and has no boundaries of language, age or gender.

 Laughter Triggers Changes In the Body

A good laugh is not just a good laugh after all. A good bout of laughter triggers many changes in the body, which we do not even realize. Laughing brings down the levels of the stress causing hormone- cortisol and releases the feel good substance -endorphins. It is also known to reduce blood pressure, increase heart rate and oxygen intake and improvise blood circulation. It releases the T-cells and the immunoglobulin A.

What Do These Changes Do?

The seemingly ineffective changes may seem not so very beneficial. But it is not so. The release of endorphins leaves the person feeling happy and content and reduces the perception of pain. The reduced cortisol levels, cause the reduction of any inflammation in the body and minimizes pain. The release of T-cells and immunoglobulin A boosts the immune system. The reduction in blood pressure and the increased heart rate and oxygen intake, substantially decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Studies have proven that not just physically, but genuine belly shaking laughter has positive effects on the mental wellness too. Having a positive outlook is the key to battle depression, anxiety and loneliness. Moreover laughing promotes a feeling of emotional well being and stability.

Care Conextion non emergency medical transportation in Louisville Kentucky is focused on providing the most comfortable and compassionate disability transportation, wheelchair transportation, medical transportation, handicap transportation, and elderly transportation possible to all of our clients. Our drivers are fully trained to provide the most compassionate care possible. We serve many counties in Kentucky, including Jefferson county, Oldham county, Bullitt county, Henry county, Shelby county, Trimble county, Hardin county, Meade county, Spencer county and more.  Please contact us today!

 

 

 

Encouraging Elderly to Have Adequate Nutrition

Elderly Nutrition Tip #1:  Try to opt for foods with stronger flavors but avoid excessive salt.  As we grow older we tend to lose approximately two thirds of our taste buds, which can in turn lead to a loss of both taste and smell.  This is one of the reasons why the elderly can have a loss of appetite and might not be as enthusiastic about eating their regular meals, which can put them at risk of malnutrition.  The taste buds cannot be recreated, but studies have shown that having a stronger flavor in foods, can make the meals more enjoyable again.  This can be a useful way to make sure that the elderly get adequate nutrition and definitely a preferable way than seasoning the food with more than safe levels of salt to the diet.  Having a more variety of textures in the meals can also make the food more appetizing.

Elderly Nutrition Tip #2:  The elderly and especially people dependent on wheelchair transportation should be provided with convenient and easy access to water.  Seniors and wheelchair bound people are especially susceptible to dehydration which can even result in hospitalization.  As people age, they lose their sense of thirst.  Also, if a person is immobile or depends on non emergency medical transportation for mobility, they need to have access to water easily and not have to ask for it at all times.

Elderly Nutrition Tip #3:  Being on medication also has an effect of loss of appetite in the elderly.  Being on a diet consisting of foods rich in nutrients can help to counter this effect.  Also, a person who is not very mobile or wheelchair bound needs a balanced and nutritious diet which contains adequate calories and all the necessary nutrients.  At times it may be difficult to convince the elderly or the wheelchair dependent to have large meals, so their diet should be planned such that they get the necessary nutrients and calories in the amounts that they are comfortable consuming.  They can be encouraged to eat small and frequent meals which are packed with nutrients.

One of the challenges in providing care for the elderly is to be able to maintain nutrition for the elderly that are experiencing confusion or forgetfulness, which in itself is a fairly common problem.  Assisting the elderly or those requiring disability transportation with grocery shopping helps provide fulfilling, nutritious meals while establishing set schedules of meal times helps it become routine.

Care Conextion non emergency medical transportation in Louisville Kentucky is focused on providing the most comfortable and compassionate disability transportation, wheelchair transportation, medical transportation, handicap transportation, and elderly transportation possible to all of our clients. Our drivers are fully trained to provide the most compassionate care possible. We serve many counties in Kentucky, including Jefferson county, Oldham county, Bullitt county, Henry county, Shelby county, Trimble county, Hardin county, Meade county, Spencer county and more.  Please contact us today!

 

Aerobic Activity for a Healthy Heart

Physical activity is a lot more than an energy booster and a stress reliever. It also strengthens your heart muscle, lowers your blood pressure and blood cholesterol, and burns calories.

Choose an Aerobic Activity

Choose a nonstop activity that makes your heart and lungs work harder than they do when you rest or walk normally. This aerobic exercise can improve the way your heart and other muscles use oxygen. Make it fun by exercising with a friend and choosing an activity you enjoy. Here are some ideas:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Stair climbing
  • Dancing
  • Jogging

Be Physically Active on a Regular Basis

If you haven’t been physically active regularly, get your healthcare provider’s okay first. Then start slowly.  Here are some tips:

  • Begin activity 3 times a week for 5–10 minutes at a time.
  • When you feel comfortable, add a few minutes each week.
  • Build up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. Spread this out throughout the week. For example, you can do 30 minutes of activity each day, 5 days a week.
  • Be sure to carry your nitroglycerin or any other necessary medications with you when you are physically active.
  • If you get angina during physical activity, stop what you’re doing, take your nitroglycerin, and call your healthcare provider.

Care Conextion non emergency medical transportation in Louisville Kentucky is focused on providing the most comfortable and compassionate wheelchair transportation, medical transportation, handicap transportation, and elderly transportation possible to all of our clients. Our drivers are fully trained to provide the most compassionate care possible. We serve many counties in Kentucky, including Jefferson county, Oldham county, Bullitt county, Henry county, Shelby county, Trimble county, Hardin county, Meade county, Spencer county and more.  Please contact us today!