PROBIOTICS/ THE BODY’S FRIENDLY BACTERIA

Many kinds of bacteria, or very small organisms, live in the human body.  They are found all over: on our skin, in our mouths, in our guts and in our blood. 

How do we make sure that our bodies have lots of good bacteria?  First of all, we want to keep ourselves in good health.  That is the best way to help the body stay strong.  We can do so by:

1.  eating a well-balanced diet.

2.  getting regular exercise.

3.  getting enough sleep.

Bur we can do even more.  We can eat probiotics, or good bacteria.

Sources of Probiotics

You may have seen probiotics listed on the labels of some yogurts and fermented milks (buttermilk or kefir, for example) and in cottage cheese.  Those dairy foods have the most probiotics.  Good bacteria are also present in soy sauce, miso, tempeh and fresh sauerkraut.  You will also find them in the juice section, where some cartons of juice will note that probiotics have been added.  And if you look at breakfast cereals, energy or snack bars, infant formulas, bottled waters and even pizza crust, you will find probiotics in some of these foods too.

It is possible to add probiotics to the body in the form of tablets, capsules or powders.  Ask you local pharmacist to help you find the type that is best for you.

Bad Bacteria

Some bacteria can harm the body by causing problems with the skin, mouth, gums, stomach, intestines, lungs and other parts of the body.  Those are the bad bacteria, and we should try to keep away from them.  This is why, for example, we wash our hands often, don’t eat unsafe food and don’t eat from unclean dishes.

Good Bacteria

Some bacteria, however, keep our bodies healthy and working well.  Those are the good bacteria.  They already live inside our bodies, and we want to keep adding to our natural supply because they can do many good things, such as provide our bodies with vitamin K.  Good bacteria may help us avoid dental cavities, colds, skin infections, diarrhea, stomach pains and gas, some allergies and asthma.  The good bacteria are with us all the time, but we may not know how well they work to keep us in good health until they are attacked by the bad bacteria and are weakened.  Then we may not feel well.  With diabetes, the body may have other reasons for not feeling well, but adding in more good bacteria can help the body feel better.

BE iNFORMED

Are probiotics safe?  Yes!   They are a natural part of a healthy body and a safe way to help the body stay healthy.  Why not try a probiotic yogurt or a probiotic drink?  Over time, you may be pleased with what they do for you.   Some probiotics offer more benefit to the body than others.  If you can, speak to a registered dietitian about the probiotics in the food you have chosen.

Ref:  Johanna Burani, MS, RD, CDE / Diabetes and You  Fall 2012

SUPERVISED ACTIVITY

Parental involvement may keep kids from becoming couch potatoes, a study suggests.  Researchers analyzed the behavior of parents in 200 families with children between the ages of 2 and 4.  Preschoolers with less parental supervision spent an average of 30 minutes more a day watching TV, playing video games, or using a computer that kids with consistent parental oversight.  The researchers speculate that engaged parents are more likely to set and enforce limits on screen time.

Source:  Early Child Development and Care, published online June 21, 2012

BEST SHOT

ARM YOURSELF WITH PROTECTION THIS FLU SEASON

Besides sparing you fever, body aches, and days stuck on bed rest, avioding the flu virus is the best way to prevent sever illness, especially when you’re already dealing with diabetes.  Flu can lead to serious problems such as pneumonia that may require hospitalization.  Two experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pamela Allweiss, MD, MPH, and Lisa Grohskopf, MD,MPH, share flu fighting tips:

!.  Needle Necessity:  “Get a flu shot-that’s the best defense against the flu,” Allweiss says of the vaccine that people 6 months and older (especially those with any type of diabetes and no matter how well controlled) should receive once yearly.  The shot, unlike the nasal mist, contains inactivated virus particles, making it the recommended option for people with health conditions such as diabetes and for pregnant women.  Those groups are among those given priority when vaccine supplies are scarce.

2.  Time It Right:  The best time for the shot is early in flu season, which typically starts in October, peaks in January or February, and can extend into May.

3.  Better Late Than Never:  Ideally, you’d time the shot for two weeks before the virus circulates in your community.  “That gives your immune system time to recognize the virus particles and make antibodies” to fight the virus, Grohskopf says.  But getting the shot even after the beginning of flu season is better than going without.

4.  The vaccine isn’t perfect- some people who get the shot still get the flu.  “We know the flu shot can’t cause the flu,” Grohskopf says.  You may have soreness or redness at the injection site and , rarely, tiredness, minor muscle aches, or an elevated temperature for a few days after the shot.

5.  The Usual Suspects:  Regular hand washing, sneezing into a tissue or the crook of your elbow, avoiding crowds, and keeping up a plan of healthful eating, exercise and medication are other ways to evade the virus-and to avoid spreading it.

6.  Already Ill?  For flu relief, especially for young children, seniors, and people with heart disease or other complications, contact your health care provider as soon as symptoms such as fever, cough, and body aches occur.  “Antivirals are most effective within the first 48 hours of contracting the virus,” Allweiss says.  The CDC suggests that providers begin prescription antivirals right away in high-risk people when flu is suspected-don’t wait for a flu test.

7.  Sick-Day Plan:  Check with your provider about general sick-day guidelines for dosing your medications, fueling your body with food, and drinking enough water.

 

Ref: Diabetes Forecast 10/12   pg. 31/Kelly Rawlings

 

 

JUST SAY “OM”….

Yoga isn’t all handstands and chanting.  Find out why it’s a great fitness choice, even for injured or otherwise achy bodies.

Get rid of your preconceived notions about yoga.  It’s not just for women, doesn’t require you to contort your body into a pretzel and isn’t the exercise equivalent of taking a nap.  If you’re looking for a gentle form of fitness, dealing with nerve damage or pain, recovering from an injury, it’s a good alternative to high-impact sports.

Take for instance, mountain pose, which simply requires you to stand (though you can sit if you need to) and focus on posture and breath.  Or the shoulder rolls you can do while seated.  Carol Krucoff, an experienced registered yoga teacher at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, N.C. has taught yoga to people in wheelchairs and people with amputations: “If you can breathe, you can do an appropriate yoga practice,” she says.

Like most forms of exercise, yoga may be good for your blood glucose, too.  A small study published in the January issue of the INTERNATIONAL YOGA JOURNAL found that women’s fasting and post-meal blood glucose dropped after a six-week yoga program.  The researchers couldn’t establish that yoga caused the improvements, but a 2010 position statement by the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Sports Medicine explains why muscle-buildling exercises such as yoga may improve blood glucose levels: An increase in muscle mass may use up more excess glucose.  Plus, practicing yoga isn’t likely to suddenly drop your blood glucose as much as other exercise does.

Of course, the blood glucose-lowering effects you get from yoga will vary based on which form you practice and your physical limitations.  But you may be able to improve your glucose control simply by how you breathe.  A study in the May/June issue of the INDIAN JOURNAL OF ENDOCRINOLOGY AND METABOLISM found that people who followed a yogic breathing program lowered their fasting and post-meal blood glucose after only three days.

As for its other beneficial effects on the body, yoga has the trifecta: It stretches, strengthens, and de-stresses.

Ref: Diabetes Forecast Magazine 10/12

Are Probiotics Safe?

Are probiotics safe?  You may have seen probiotics listed on the labels of some yogurts and fermented milks (buttermilk or kefir, for example) and in cottage cheese.  Those dairy foods have the most probiotics.  Good bacteria are also present in soy sauce, miso, tempeh and fresh sauerkraut.  You will also find them in the juice section, where some cartons of juice will note that probiotics have been added.  And if you look at breakfast cereals, energy or snack bars, infant formulas, bottled waters. and even pizza crust, you will find probiotics in some of these foods, too.  It is also possible to add probiotics to the body in the form of tablets, capsules or powders.  Ask your pharmacist to help you find the type that is best for you.

C’mon, Get Happy!

When it comes to living longer, our mood matters.  Scientests measured the happiness levels of more than 3,800 British men and women ages 52 to 79 over the course of a single day and learned that being happy promoted longevity.  After age, health, and lifestyle factors were accounted for, people who saw the world through rose-colored glasses had a 35 percent lower risk of dying over the five-year study than those with the lowest happiness levels did.  Happiness quotient didn’t just affect healthy participants; those with chronic illnesses also lived longer when they were cheerful.

Source: Procedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online Oct. 13, 2011