Folic Acid for Unborn Babies
Babies born with neural tube defects may suffer from some degree of leg paralysis and bladder and bowel and problems. In some cases, babies with neural tube defects die.
The best way to decrease the chance that your baby will have a neural tube defect is to have folic acid in your system—before you’re pregnant and in the first 28 days of pregnancy.
Sources of folic acid in the diet include citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, beans, peanuts, broccoli and whole grain products. But it can be difficult to get all your needed folic acid from food. If you’re of childbearing age, the March of Dimes recommends that you take a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid—every day.
Source: The March of Dimes
Celiac Disease and Your Diet
People who have celiac disease have to avoid a protein called gluten. This means they can’t eat anything made from wheat, rye, barley and frequently oats. (Some people with celiac disease are able to eat oats, and some are not.)
Most breads, pastas and cereals are made from wheat. People with celiac disease who want to eat these foods have to search for those made with potato, rice, soy or bean flour. Food preservatives and additives may also contain gluten, so you have to read ingredients closely.
It’s important to talk with a dietitian if you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease. You’ll learn how to make the right choices when you eat in restaurants, how to get the nutrients you need, what to pack in your school or work lunches, etc.
For more information about celiac disease, visit the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders
Source: National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders
Garlic for Health?
You may have read or heard that garlic is good for you health, but is there any truth to that?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, conclusive evidence is hard to find. Some studies have shown that it may have a positive effect on blood fats and that it can act as a kind of blood thinner, reducing the risk of clotting. But the evidence is not overwhelming.
Other studies have shown that high amounts of garlic may help reduce the risk of some cancers—of the larynx, stomach, colon and rectum and the lining of the uterus.
Your best bet is probably to include garlic in your diet if you suffer no adverse effects from it, such as flatulence or stomach pain. Because most people would agree that, health benefits or not, garlic makes a meal taste good!
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, AHRQ Publication number 01-E022
Food Cravings and PMS
When your period is getting near, do you feel like you can’t stay out of the kitchen? Do you keep opening the refrigerator hoping to find something, anything there to munch on?
Food cravings are a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome. For some women, a simple dietary change can help. A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that women who took 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day decreased food cravings, mood swings, pain and water retention by 50 percent.
It’s worth giving calcium a try. We all need it anyway.
Source: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, April 1998
Take Time for School Lunches
Whatever you do, don’t buy your kids a lot of pre-packaged, processed foods for their school lunches. Sure, that kind of stuff is convenient—in the short run. But with childhood obesity reaching epidemic proportions, it’s in everyone’s best interest to take a little time to make sure the kids are getting the nutrients they need and not a lot of empty calories.
Avoid the pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches—or any of the pre-made sandwiches. Don’t pack the lunch box with those little packs of bright orange crackers. And be aware that most snack foods on the grocery shelves contain hydrogenated fats, which can increase the level of “bad” cholesterol.
Sliced turkey on whole wheat bread, apples, bananas, grapes, low-fat yogurt, reduced fat cheese…all of these are better choices. If your child likes to take a little bag of snacks, pretzels are probably your best bet.
Source: American Dietetic Association