The PreD Blog

Protein Quality and Variety Counts

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Picture of miniature cow shrinkwrapped in meat package

The building block to muscle is more than just proteins, its nutrients as well. A ‘high quality’ protein food is technically one that has all the amino acids you need, along with nutrients and healthy fats. These properties need to be available in a way that can easily be broken apart and reused by the body to nourish and strengthen it.

 

Protein is found in animal meats, such as red meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products as well as plant sources such as beans, lentils nuts seeds, whole grains and soy foods. Many plant sources are low in one or more essential amino acid but when you combine a variety of 3-5 brightly colored vegetables together, they can provide all nine of the amino acids on a protein chain. Eating a variety of ALL of these sources ensures that your body gets all the amino acids along with the nutrients it needs to build muscle, heal damaged cells, build new cells and maintain cell health and function.

 

The amount of protein a person needs depends a lot on age, size, gender and physical activity. With this said, there is no one size fits all recommendation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends women get 40-60 grams of protein a day and men to get 50-70 grams of protein a day. The average American easily meets these goals according to Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, FAHA, FNLA, CLS, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State University. Even the most protein obsessed athlete at the peak of health can only absorb 20-30 grams of protein per meal. Excess protein intake can increase the work and stress on kidneys to filter and remove proteins that are not absorbed. Kwashiorkor is the name of the condition that refers to protein malnutrition. This condition is rare and mostly non-existent in America and only found in low-income countries almost entirely in small children as a result of fad diets, ignorance or in extreme cases of protein allergies or chronic disease.

 

Here are four ways to make sure you are getting a high quality protein source to maximize your nutrition and overall health.

 

  1. Include Variety
    • Eating a variety of proteins from plants and animals ensures you get not only all the necessary amino acids, but also the other nutrients such as fiber, phytochemicals and healthy fats your body needs.
  2. Go Lean
    • Choose lean, trimmed cuts of meat, high quality low-fat dairy and plenty of plant-based proteins such as whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and soy.
  3. Max Out on Plants
    • Even meat eaters should choose legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains more often to pack in health-promoting fiber, phytochemicals, nutrients and healthy fats. Although animal proteins are absorbed first, the body requires protein packed plant based foods to provide the ongoing nutrition and amino acids long after meat proteins are absorbed.
  4. Include Fish
    • Work toward including 3-5 servings of fish a week into your routine. This high quality protein also includes healthy fats, which help with muscle recovery, inflammation and hormone balance that all contribute to overall health and building muscle.

 

Aim for 3-7 servings of a variety of high quality proteins a day. Each serving is about 100 calories. One serving is 1 ounce of meat, poultry, dairy or fish, ¼ cup of cooked beans or tofu, ½ cup sprouted whole grains, 1 egg, 1-tablespoon peanut or almond butter, or ¼ cup of nuts or seeds. Include these high quality proteins with 5-8 servings of a variety of three to five different vegetables for the best protein sources and nutrition to build cell walls, muscle fibers, and enzymes for optimal health.

Tame Inflammation

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Family lifestyle

Low-grade inflammation can operate in stealth-mode for many years until it uncovers its ugly head as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease or diabetes. Stress, bad diet, lack of sleep and sugar all contribute to inflammation. Fight this underlying issue! Clients often notice a reduction in back pain, joint pain, skin inflammation and swelling after 10 days of incorporating these foods everyday. Add these six anti-inflammatory foods and take charge to reduce inflammation.

 

  1. Cruciferous Vegetables
    • Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts are linked with lower inflammation, according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Besides the chemical properties that make cruciferous vegetables so powerful, its also packed with fiber that has resistant starches that help feed the micro bacteria flora in the gut which keeps beneficial bacteria in the gut healthy further inhibiting inflammation. Buy frozen varieties to always keep on hand and work these potent vegetables into soups, salads, pasta dishes, stir-fry and frittatas to help reduce painful joints, swelling, itching and other painful inflammation at bay.

 

  1. Whole Grains
    • Whole grains and the polyphenol antioxidants it contains along with zinc can help lower inflammation. Try sprouted versions, which are easier to digest and just as easy to use. Embellish vegetables with chewy cooked sprouted whole grains to reduce inflammation. Don’t be fooled by its refined counterpart, such as sugar, white flour and high fructose corn syrups, which actually feeds inflammation. Make sure the nutrition label 3-5 grams of dietary fiber per 100 calories to actually fit the definition of being a whole grain product. It’s easy to go overboard on whole grains so keep close to 3-5 servings per day to help you reach your weight loss goal.

 

  1. Legumes
  • Eating four servings of legumes such as low carb, high protein lentils can reduce inflammation. There’s a synergy of fiber, vitamins and minerals that explains this benefit. Add into soups, stews, salads and wraps or use as nutritious filler in burgers and meatloaf for extra protein and nutrients without the fat and cholesterol. Many consider legumes to be too starchy for consumption, but studies show that people who consume 2 cups of beans per week reduce their risk of all cancers by 30%. Choose less starchy varieties if your blood sugars are difficult to control. Enjoy legumes with less starchy vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats together at the same time to prevent blood sugar elevations.

 

  1. Salmon
    • Everyone is aware of the benefits of salmon but did you know that these fish contain a lot of eicosapentaenoic acid, a mega-healthy omega-3 fat that reduces inflammation. Wild caught is the best variety to buy. Use in tacos, wraps, breakfast frittatas, on sprouted grain toast with avocado, sandwiches and pasta and get them into your diet 3-5 times a week. Frozen vacuum packed varieties are frequently available and less expensive but consider canned or pre-cooked packets for convenience and use olive oil instead of heavy cloying mayo to make a salmon salad for lunch or dinner.

 

  1. Turmeric and Ginger
    • These potent tubers fight inflammation and are easy to add in your dishes. Toss roasted vegetables with turmeric, or add to curry sauces, carrot juice or sprinkle on eggs. Ginger has a potent flavor so use a little at a time in smoothies, stir-fry sauces, soups, salad dressings, sliced up to flavor tea, or add to vegetable juices for some zing. Once you get used to their flavor, you may want to keep them around and add them with a heavy hand to your cooking for their anti-inflammatory benefits.

 

  1. Nuts and Seeds
  • The benefits of pecans, walnuts and almonds have been touted in many articles but the anti-inflammatory giants of the nut world are Brazil nuts. Abundant in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, their intake is associated with reduced inflammation and improved blood lipid ratios. Seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties. Add any variety chopped or whole and mix them up for a healthy mix to snack on with your veggies or top on salads. Try nut oils as well to change things up. Drizzle walnut oil on salads or get in the habit of using extra virgin olive oil as a staple in your home. These healthy fats contain oleocanthal, a naturally occurring compound with anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen.

Get Biomarker Tested To Prevent Future Disease

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Minority GroupOur advanced biomarker testing can help detect a disease-specific mechanism and help you intervene effectively before it becomes a full-blown health issue. Our blood panel testing includes biomarkers to track the function of organs such as the liver and kidneys, the immune and metabolic systems as well as inflammation and hormone levels as well. These tests could result in big medical savings for people in their future by addressing problems before they lead to long-term organ damage and symptoms that need medical treatment.

 

Previous research on twins has suggested that about 20% of aging can be attributed to genes, so there are many other factors that can be modified to affect the disease process. The important message that people need to understand is that what happens to people at the end of life has its roots early in life. Investments in your health right now will have big payoffs as we age.

 

Here are some of the biomarkers we test and what they indicate about your health.

 

Overall Fitness:

Measurements of BMI, cardiorespiratory fitness and resting metabolic rate

 

Cardiovascular Health:

Mean blood pressure, blood lipids such as cholesterol, triglycerides, apoliproteins, Homocysteine. VLDL cholesterol

 

Diabetes Risk:

Glycated hemoglobin, blood glucose, Insulin, proinsulin and proinsulin/insulin ratio, 2-hour glucose tolerance testing, HOMA-IR, C-peptide

 

Hormone Balance:

Thyroid stimulating hormone, Free T3, Free T4, Thyroid peroxidase, Estradiol, Leptin, Adiponectin, Cortisol, Progesterone, Luteinizing hormone, Follicle Stimulating hormone, Testosterone, Prostate-specific Antigen,

 

Kidney and Liver Function:

Tests to assess how well the body clears out normal waste products. Uric acid, Creatine Kinase, Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

 

Inflammation:

White blood cell and C-Reactive Protein counts, Interleukin-6, Interleukin-8, Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha

 

Nutritional Deficiencies:

Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, Ferritin, Folic Acid

Natural Hormone Therapy Tips

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happy-coupleThere are many safe and natural plant based options for women that can help with common issues associated with low estrogen such as mood swings, hot flashes, disrupted sleep, vaginal dryness, bone loss and low concentration. Experts deem that conventional hormone therapy (CHT) is still most appropriate for symptom relief and it is recommended at the lowest effective dose. For women who want a more natural solution, we’ve listed some good alternatives below. Don’t upset delicate hormone balance by self-medicating without discussing supplementation with a licensed health care professional first.

 

A few plant based foods naturally contain compounds that moderate the body’s own estrogen, called phytoestrogens. Dosing with foods can be imprecise due to variations in daily food intake and variable nutrient absorption. Further, bacteria in the gut convert some phytoestrogens to compounds with estrogen-like actions, but this conversion fluctuates depending on gut health, genetics and eating habits. Taking antibiotics can shut it down completely for weeks. So, individual effectiveness of phytoestrogens from supplements or food will vary and may work better for those currently on minimal conventional hormone support. Unfortunately studies of phytoestrogens in menopause usually test the plant compounds against a placebo rather than against CHT, so direct comparisons of effectiveness are limited.

 

A prescription-based alternative to phytoestrogen-rich foods and supplementation is bio identical hormone therapy (BHT). It consists of hormones that are identical in chemical and molecular structure to those produced in the human body. Made from extracts of wild yams or soy, it is converted in a lab and obtained through conventional pharmacies in standard doses and formulations that are FDA-approved such as Estrace and Prometrium or in custom formulations such as bi-est and tri-est through a compounding pharmacy. Custom compounding BHT allows the most flexibility in tailoring the dosage, medication form, and inactive ingredients, particularly in the case of allergies to standard ingredients. In comparison, conventional hormone therapy (CHT) is often synthetic and derived from animals. Preliminary case-based evidence studies of the effectiveness and safety of custom compounded BHT is encouraging.

 

  1. Increase phytoestrogens slowly at 40-70 milligrams per day.
    • Three of the most common phytoestrogens are:
      • Isoflavones, including genistein and daidzein most prevalent in minimally processed organic soy such as tofu and soy milk
      • Lignans, abundant in flaxseeds, should be cold milled and ground. Only use in cold foods such as salads, smoothies or cereals because heat oxidizes the healthy benefits.
      • Coumestans are plentiful in alfalfa sprouts and clover sprouts. Grow them at home if unavailable at your local store and use them in salads, sandwiches and noodle or rice bowls.

 

  1. Seek a licensed health care professional who uses accredited compounding pharmacies.
  • Verified compounding pharmacies must be accredited by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board to meet quality assurance standards.
  • Seek an expert physician or endocrinologist to fix the hormones and bring them back into balance.
  • Licensed health professional should also address sleep, stress and nutrition therapy in addition to hormone therapy for optimal health results.

 

  1. Listen and observe your body’s natural signals.
  • Be patient, because it takes time to refine the delicate balance of the body’s hormone profile, which takes 60-90 days.
  • Combinations of isoflavones and lignans, such as found in the supplement Femarelle, may be beneficial for many menopausal symptoms such as reducing the intensity and frequency of hot flashes, supporting vaginal health as well as improving sleep and brain function.
  • Getting in regular sleep with focus on 6-8 hours per night, even on the weekends, will help with improved hormone balance and function.

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