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Chronic Diseases

Plant Foods Are Good for Our Gut Bugs

Our bodies host a huge population of microorganisms, dubbed the human microbiome. In recent years, the makeup of critters in our guts has been linked to a plethora of conditions, including depression, heart disease and obesity. And now bug-friendly scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have presented initial findings from the American Gut Project, a crowdsourced initiative that analyzes people’s survey responses and fecal samples to better understand how things like diet, lifestyle and disease affect the human microbiome.

Ask the RD

Question: I have a sensitivity or allergy to tomatoes. My mouth and esophagus get itchy and sore when I eat them. Is there any way to make tomatoes less irritating? Is there a good substitute for tomatoes in recipes?
Answer: You may suffer from oral allergy syndrome (OAS), a relatively common reaction to plant foods, including tomatoes. People who have pollen allergies are more likely to have OAS (Asero 2013) because they react to similar proteins in vegetables, fruits and/or nuts.

The Importance of Exercise for Addiction Recovery

Substance use disorder can wreak havoc on people’s lives. Fitness activity can be a
transformative way for those in recovery to heal, rebuild their lives and find a community of healthy supporters.
According to a study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity in 2011, patients with substance use disorder who exercised while in recovery reported feeling greater strength, improved health, a sense of accomplishment, and increased confidence about staying clean and sober.

Study Launched on Molecular Changes Related to Exercise

In April, Louisiana State University researchers in Baton Rouge held a training for 120 scientists to kick off a national research consortium designed to create a comprehensive map of the body’s molecular responses during and after exercise. The purpose of the $170 million, multicenter, 6-year research project is to promote understanding of how physical activity improves health and prevents disease.

An Eye on Vision Health

When it comes to muscles, we rarely think about our eyes, and yet the eye is the fastest and most active muscle in the human body (VSP 2018). We say “in the blink of an eye” for a reason! While you probably don’t program “eye lifts” into your strength training routines, exercise does support healthy vision. Read on to find out more about the benefits, along with a few fun facts you can share with clients to further inspire them to keep moving.

Researchers Find a Link Between Activity Level, ALS

Made famous by legendary baseball player Lou Gehrig, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS—a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord—has affected many athletes. As such, researchers have wondered if high levels of physical activity might have something to do with the disease. Data from a new study out of Europe furthers the conversation.

Body Fat Is Better Indicator of Type 2 Diabetes

Here’s more reason to apply a battery of assessments when determining a client’s health status. Scientists have found that body fat percentage is a more accurate indicator of a person’s risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes than other popular measures like body mass index.

The Pancreas: Two Glands in One

Located behind the stomach in the upper abdomen, the pancreas is a glandular organ that has two primary “jobs.” It is both a digestive exocrine gland (secreting products via ducts) and a hormone-producing endocrine gland (secreting substances directly into the bloodstream). The pancreas excretes enzymes to break down the foods we eat, and it secretes insulin and glucagon to control blood sugar (Taylor 2018). Spongy, and shaped like a flat pear, it’s about 6–10 inches long (Columbia University Medical Center 2018).

The Subtalar Joint: An Important Link in the Kinetic Chain

You may have noticed that many of your clients are blissfully unaware of just how much work the foot and ankle complex does—unless and until, of course, an ankle sprain or tendinitis occurs. The ankle “negotiates” ground reaction forces, informing the kinetic chain in numerous ways. Among other functions, the feet and ankles help the body adapt to uneven terrain through side-to-side movement (Price 2008).

Best Foot Forward

A challenging beginning. Ezra didn’t have an easy start. Born with club feet—a congenital condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape or position—he had his first surgery shortly after birth and spent the first few years of life sleeping with corrective boots.

The Best Exercise for Alzheimer’s Disease

If you were asked to choose among cardiovascular exercise, resistance training and a combination of both to help people with Alzheimer’s disease, what choice would you make?
Researchers from the University of Connecticut wanted to understand the effects of exercise—if any—on cognitive decline in those at risk of or diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The scientists performed a meta-analysis of 19 studies (23 exercise interventions) featuring 1,145 adults aged 77 ± 7.5 years.

Strength Training May Increase Life Span

Here’s more motivation for clients to add strength exercises to their fitness programs: New research shows that strength training plays an important role in reducing risk of premature death from all causes and, specifically, from cancer—and when it comes to cancer, strength work may be even more beneficial to health than aerobic training.

Exercise’s Impact on Cancer

There are three ways to look at battling cancer. For those who don’t have it, lowering risk is the primary goal. For those who’ve had it, successfully recovering and, of course, reducing the chances of recurrence are of utmost importance. For those who currently have it, the priorities are getting rid of it and minimizing the harmful effects that both the disease and the treatment have on the body. Exercise has been shown to help with all three.

What Fitness Pros Need to Know About New Blood Pressure Guidelines

New guidelines on high blood pressure made headlines late last year because they suggest that nearly half of all Americans have hypertension—up from about one-third under previous guidelines. This is big news for fitness professionals because regular exercise is an excellent tool for regulating blood pressure. In this issue, we’ll review what you need to know about the new blood pressure guidelines.

Pillars of Functional Training for Active Aging

Healthy aging is more than the absence of disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO): “For most older people, the maintenance of functional ability has the highest importance” (WHO 2015). Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging in Vancouver, British Columbia, echoes these comments. “When looking at the healthy aging market today, the focus is all about function,” he says.

130/80 = High Blood Pressure

For the first time since 2003, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have produced a substantial report updating blood pressure recommendations. People with a reading of 130/80 are now classified as having high blood pressure. This is down from 140/90.
According to the ACC, this means 46% of U.S. adults will now be categorized as having hypertension.
Those in the “hypertensive crisis” category require medication intervention and immediate hospitalization if there is organ damage, according to the report.

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