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Mediterranean Diet prevents Diabetes

Could the Mediterranean diet actually help prevent diabetes? The Mediterranean Diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats from nuts and olive oil, with moderate amounts of fish, low-fat dairy, and wine, and minimal red meat and processed meats, is considered to be an especially healthy eating plan.

Previous research conducted on newly diagnosed diabetic participants showed the diet did indeed help control the sugar spikes. The previous study found the mediterranean diet eating diabetics had better glycemic control. Furthermore, they had less needs for diabetes medications when adhering to the Mediterranean diet as opposed to a simple low-fat diet.

Recently, a team of researchers in Spain conducted a study using data from a large clinical trial to determine the effects of the Mediterranean Diet on preventing the onset of Type-2 diabetes. Participants were followed for an average of 4 years. Upon completion of the study, 54 participants had developed diabetes–but the split varied significantly among groups. The researchers found that the risk of developing diabetes was reduced by 52% among both groups of people who followed the Mediterranean Diet plans compared to the low-fat control group. In analyzing diet adherence, the researchers further noted that the closer an individual followed the Med-Diet plan, the lower their risk of developing diabetes. Interestingly, the weight of all participants did not change significantly throughout the study, nor did it vary significantly among the three groups.

The participants were divided in one of three groups: adherence to the Med-Diet with 1 liter per week of extra virgin olive oil, adherence to the Med-Diet with 1 oz per day of mixed nuts, or a standard low-fat diet as a control. No calorie restrictions were imposed on any of the groups. The two Med-Diet groups were instructed to increase fruit and vegetable intake, decrease meat intake, stay away from refined sweets and unhealthy fats such as butter, and consume red wine in moderation, if desired. The control group was given general instructions to lower overall fat intake. Baseline measurements and annual follow-up involved an oral glucose tolerance test and interviews to assess diet adherence.

Interestingly, the weight of all participants did not change significantly throughout the study, nor did it vary significantly among the three groups.

This study reinforces prior study results suggesting that the Mediterranean Diet – even without weight loss – may be protective against Type-2 diabetes. The researchers suggest that future studies should focus on the Med-Diet’s effects on younger people, and point out the possible benefits of the Mediterranean Diet as an effective intervention against complications of Type-2 diabetes.

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Get Your Kids Involved

This family wellness article is provided by Nourish Interactive, visitwww.nourishinteractive.com for nutrition articles, family wellness tips, free children's healthy games, and tools.  Available in English and Spanish.

Copyright ©2009 Nourish Interactive – All Rights Reserved.

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Taking exams: revision tips

By making a plan and organising your time, you can divide your revision into manageable chunks. This will increase your chances of remembering the important facts, and help you avoid last-minute stress.

Find out what you need to know

Make your revision plan as early as possible. This will allow you to work out how much time to spend revising each day and, just as importantly, when to take breaks.

The first step is to get organised: find out when your exam is, and work out how much time you have until then.

Write a revision checklist

Start by dividing the number of days you have until the exam by the number of topics you need to revise. Ask your teacher for a list of topics, or make your own by going through your notes.

Think about any topics that will need more revision time – perhaps you covered them in more detail, or you found them more difficult.

Make a revision plan

When you know how many days you need to spend revising each topic, you'll be able to make revision part of your daily routine. However, you need to be realistic:

  • set aside time on your plan for things you need to do, like going to school and mealtimes
  • split the remaining time into half-hour slots
  • break each topic on your revision checklist down into chunks that you can cover in 30 minutes, and fill your slots with these chunks

Reading your revision notes

When going over your notes, keep in mind what you're looking for:

  • read for detail when you need to a good understanding of the text – take it slowly and ask yourself questions while you're reading
  • 'skim' to get the general idea of a large piece of text – read each paragraph quickly, and identify the main ideas in each one
  • 'scan' to look for a specific piece of information – move quickly through the text, homing in on sub-headings, names, numbers, dates and quotes

Look after yourself

Regular breaks are important if you're going to stay alert while revising. A five-minute break every half-hour is better than a 30-minute break after five hours. Get up, make a drink, tidy your room, check your email – you'll come back refreshed and ready to carry on. Breaks will also help you absorb the information and avoid overload.

Make sure you include a leisure activity in your revision plan twice or three times a week. It's important to set aside time to take your mind off exams.

A healthy mind needs a healthy body, so look after yourself. Lots of sleep and regular exercise will help you stay alert. Your body needs fuel, so eat plenty of easily digestible foods – fresh vegetables and fruit will help keep your energy levels up.

Getting support

If you have any personal problems – for example, with relationships or bullying – there's help available. Try to get support before your revision suffers.

Source: Directgov. Reproduced with permission.

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Four steps for helping an overweight child

For many parents, dealing with an overweight child is a delicate issue. These four steps can put you and your child on the right path to a healthier lifestyle.

Be Supportive.

An important first step is to let your overweight child know she's OK, whatever her weight. A child's feelings about herself often reflect her parents' feelings about her. For example, if your child gets the message that you are unhappy with the way she looks, that impacts how she feels about herself. If you accept your child at any weight, and emphasize her strengths (e.g., good grades, musical talent, leadership skills), she learns how to feel good about herself. Let your child know she can talk openly with you and share her concerns about her weight. This issue may come up when she is shopping for clothes, participating in an athletic event or donning a bathing suit when it's time to hit the beach or pool. Your child probably knows better than anyone else that her weight is an issue. For that reason, she needs your support, acceptance and encouragement.

Focus On the Family.

Don't set your overweight child apart because of his weight or make a special issue out of it. Instead, make gradual, healthful changes in the whole family's physical activity and eating habits. Family involvement helps to teach everyone healthful habits and does not single out the overweight child as “being on a diet.” Changing the family environment provides your overweight child with the support he needs.

Increase Your Family's Physical Activity.

Regular physical activity, combined with good eating habits, is a must for promoting a healthy weight–and good health–among the whole family. Below are some simple ways to get the whole family moving:

  • Be a role model for your children. If your children see you enjoying regular physical activity, they're more likely to get active and stay active for life.
  • Plan family activities that are fun for everyone such as walking, dancing, biking or swimming. For example, schedule a walk with your family after dinner instead of watching TV. Make sure the activities you plan are done in a safe environment.
  • Be sensitive to your child's needs. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable about participating in certain activities. Help your child find physical activities he enjoys and that aren't embarrassing or too difficult.
  • Reduce the amount of time you and your family spend in sedentary activities such as watching TV or playing video games.
  • Find ways for you and your family to be more active throughout the day. For example, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, do some stretching during a work or school break, or encourage your child to walk to and from school, if possible.
  • If your child likes structured sports activities or classes, sign him up and support his regular participation.

Teach Your Family Healthy Eating Habits Right from the Start.

Teaching good eating habits early and by example will help children develop a healthy attitude about food–that it's enjoyable, and required for energy to keep the body running right and to grow properly. Parents should provide children with the structure of regular meals and snacks, and choose the foods offered. Parents should allow children to choose what to eat from among the foods offered and how much.

To learn more about nutrition for children, make an appointment with Nastaran. See your doctor if you think your child has a serious weight problem.

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Kids and food allergies

 

Tips for Managing Food Allergy

Get a professional diagnosis. Don't try to diagnose a food allergy yourself. If you suspect that your child has a food allergy, discuss this with your doctor. He or she can advise you accordingly and may refer you to an allergist for additional testing and treatment if needed. You should work with your doctor and/or allergist to develop an action plan for managing the allergy through indicating which foods your child should avoid, and possibly prescribing medication, such as an antihistamine or, for severe reactions, self-injectable epinephrine (EpiPen® or Twinject®).

Pass around the plan. Give your child's food allergy action plan to people who regularly see your child, including relatives, caregivers and their friends' parents.

See an Accredited Practicing Dietitian. An APD like Nastaran can help you and your child identify foods and ingredients to avoid, and develop an eating plan to ensure your child gets all the nutrients needed to grow and develop properly. For example, if your child is allergic to milk, the dietitian will recommend other calcium-containing foods and beverages.

Always read food labels. Always read food labels to see if the product contains any of the eight major allergens, or other ingredients your child is allergic to. Since food and beverage companies continually make improvements, read the label every time you purchase a product. Teach your child how to read labels, too.

Get support at school. Meet with staff at your child's school to review and distribute your child's food allergy action plan. At minimum, involve your child's primary teacher, the school nurse (if there is one), and key food service staff. Make sure all supervisory staff your child sees during the school day and during after-school activities have a copy of the plan. It is highly recommended that school administrators, teachers, and even food service staff are aware of the food allergy action plan in the absence of a school nurse.

Be cafeteria cautious. Go over the school lunch menu with your child to identify foods to avoid. Work with food service staff to plan substitutions or pack a lunch for your child to take to school. Remind your child not to share or trade food with others and make sure they know which staff can help if they have questions about a food, or if they have a reaction to a food. Be sure your school food service staff has copies of the School Foodservice and Food Allergies information sheet and review it with them when you talk to them about your child's food allergies.

Ask questions when eating out. Most life-threatening allergic reactions to foods occur when eating away from the home. Explain your child's situation and needs clearly to your host or food server—and teach your child to do the same when you're not with them. If necessary, ask to speak with the chef or manager. Some fast food restaurants provide a list of the ingredients in their menu items, as well as information on whether any of the eight major allergens are present.

Keep an allergy-safe kitchen. Rather than singling out your food-allergic child, prepare allergy-free recipes the whole family will enjoy.

Make peers “allergy allies.” Encourage your child to talk openly with friends and classmates about their allergy, what foods they must avoid, and what could happen to them if they don't. Suggest that your child enlist their friends in helping them “stay on the alert” for foods in question so they won't get sick.

Most importantly, be ready for emergencies. Teach your child the possible symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), such as difficulty breathing or swallowing, or tingling in the hands, feet, lips or scalp. If they experience symptoms after eating a food, make sure they know to immediately call 0-0-0 and, if prescribed by your allergist, use their medication to treat the reaction. If possible, have your child wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace that identifies the specific allergy. Every few months, “role play” an allergic reaction to make sure your child knows what to do.

For more information and resources on managing food allergies see Nastaran or your doctor.

Source: International Food Information Council

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When and how to make a referral

A referral to Nastaran Habibi should be made when your patient needs more intensive dietary, nutritional and lifestyle behavior education than you can provide in your office environment. Nastaran can help particularly when the patient is in the preparation, action or relapse stages of change.

A consultation generally includes a diet and lifestyle assessment, and nutrition education and counselling. Nastaran will review your patient’s medical and social status, including biochemistry and othe relevant test results, dietary and family history and home environment. In addition she will take anthropometric measurements and collect information on the patient’s individual food preferences and cultural, socio-economic and lifestyle needs. Taking into account the patient’s own goals, knowledge, skills and access to resources, Nastaran will custom design a program for your patient based on the principles of Medical Nutrition Therapy. She integrates self-management training regarding information on nutrient content, food choices, and meal preparation based on each patient’s particular and unique circumstances. Initial appointments are more than 1 hour.

What happens next:

  • You will receive a formal report assessing your patient’s nutritional, physical activity and lifestyle status including Nastaran’s recommendations for improvement, possible barriers to success and guidelines for evaluating progress.
  • During the 45-90 minute follow-up visits, Nastaran will review your patient’s progress, provide further education, encourage continued adherence to the plan and identify any obstacles to success.

In order for your patient to qualify for a Medicare rebate, referral must be through an Enhanced Care Plan. Referrals outside Medicare will still qualify for a Health Fund rebate.

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