Some good nutrition tips
I read this information and I thought I would share it with you as it gives you some simple pointers to leading and maintaining a healthy nutrition regime.
1. Fill up on fibre
High fibre foods such as Shredded Wheat, semi dried apricots, oatcakes, fruit and vegetables add bulk to food which helps to trigger feelings of fullness without the calories. They also slow down the release of sugars into the blood stream keeping hunger at bay.
2. Dilute your drinks
The calories in drinks can soon mount up and the sugars and alcohol they contain can send blood sugars soaring resulting in increased appetite and cravings. A great way to reduce both the calorie content of your beverages and the affect they have on your blood sugars is to dilute them with still or sparkling water. Swapping lattes for instant or fresh coffee made with water and just a small amount of milk added can also save over 200 calories per coffee.
3. Focus on fats
Nuts, seeds, oils and oily fish such as a fillet of salmon can all be great sources of essential fatty acids essential for a whole host of functions from a strong immune system through to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and many cancers. However, it’s important to limit your intake of saturated fats found in cakes, biscuits, crisps, chocolate, pastries, cheese, fried and processed foods.
Go for reduced or low fat dairy foods such as skimmed milk, low fat yogurt, reduced fat cream cheese and half fat cheddar, swap fatty salad dressings for balsamic vinegar, and base most of your snacks and desserts around fruit or vegetables such as apples, oranges or carrots dipped in low fat hummus.
Hope this helps
Food labelling for Heart Failure
Nutrition labels can help you choose between products, and keep a check on the amount of foods high in fat, salt and added sugars that you’re eating.
Most pre-packed foods have a nutrition label on the back or side of the packaging. These labels usually include information on energy (calories), protein, carbohydrate and fat. They may provide additional information on saturated fat, sugars, sodium, salt and fibre. All nutrition information is provided per 100 grams and sometimes per portion of the food.
An increasing number of supermarkets and food manufacturers repeat information on calories, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt on more visible labels on the front of packaging.
Nutrition labels can also provide information on how a particular food or drink product fits into your daily diet. You can find out more in the section on Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) below.
You can use nutrition labels to help you choose a more balanced diet. For a balanced diet:
• cut down on fat (especially saturated fat), salt and added sugars
• base your meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, pasta and rice, choosing wholegrain where possible
• eat lots of fruit and vegetables: aim for at least five portions of a variety every day
• include some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, pulses, milk and dairy foods
Nutrition labels are often displayed as a panel or grid on the back or side of packaging.
So how do I know if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt?
There are guidelines to tell you if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar or not. These are:
High: more than 20g of fat per 100g
Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g – go for this one
High: more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g
Low: 1.5g of saturated fat or less per 100g – Go for this one
High: more than 15g of total sugars per 100g
Low: 5g of total sugars or less per 100g – Go for this one
High: more than 1.5g of salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low: 0.3g of salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium) – Remember a Heart Failure patients total daily intake shouldn’t exceed 2g. Remember you get 1.5g of salt just from eating food and that’s with no added salt.
Some nutrition labels on the back or side of packaging also provide information about Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs). Most of the big supermarkets and many food manufacturers also display nutritional information on the front of pre-packed food. This is very useful when you want to compare different food products at a glance.
Front of pack labels, such as the label in the above image, usually give a quick guide to:
- sugar content
- fat content
- saturated fat content
- salt content
These labels provide information on the number of grams of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt and the number of calories in a serving or portion of the food. Be aware, however, that the manufacturer’s idea of a portion may be different to yours.
Some front of pack nutrition labels also provide information about Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs). Nutrition labels can also provide information on how a particular food or
drink product fits into your daily diet. Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) are guidelines about the approximate amount of particular nutrients and calories required for a healthy diet.
Because individual requirements for calories and nutrients are different for all people, GDAs are not intended as targets. Instead they are intended to give a useful indication of how a particular nutrient or amount of calories fits into your daily diet.
Information on the GDA, and the contribution a nutrient makes towards a GDA (expressed as a percentage) can usually be found on the back or side of packaging. The % GDA can also sometimes be repeated on the front of the pack.
Traffic light colour coding, as shown in the image above, tells you at a glance if the food has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt.
- red means high
- amber means medium
- green means low
In short, the more green lights, the healthier the choice.
If you buy a food that has all or mostly green lights, you know straight away that it’s a healthier choice. An amber light means neither high nor low, so you can eat foods with all or mostly amber lights most of the time. But a red light means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugars and these are the foods we should cut down on. Try to eat these foods less often and in small amounts.
Anyway we hope you have found this useful and we will be focussing on nutrition quite a bit over the next couple of months. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
I think this is a great article on Vitamin K and Warfarin and how it all works. It is taken from a blog on the site Xtend-life.com which is an excellent site where I buy my supplements, namely Total Balance Men and Omega 3 QH Ultra.
It is a conversation between a customer of theirs and Jo their Medical Nutritionsist you gave me this link and it takes you through what you need to know. Ok it talks about there products but this is a conversation between customer and company so you would expect that oh and by the way it is worth looking at their products and probably the most refined you can get.
Hi, I just read about your new Multi-Xtra vitamin/mineral supplement. I would like to know if it is safe to take with blood thinners (Warfarin). I saw it has some vitamin K-2 and Green Tea in it. I believe these could interact with Warfarin but I don’t know if the levels are sufficient to do so or if any of the other ingredients are a problem. I already understand that the Total Balance Premium could interact with Warfarin because of some of the ingredients. Please advise. Thanks
It is true that you should recognize that there is a relationship between Warfarin and vitamin K, but often the relationship between Warfarin and vitamin K is misunderstood.
First, you should know that your liver needs and uses vitamin K to make blood clotting proteins. In doing so, vitamin K plays a role in your body’s natural clotting process. Warfarin of course works against vitamin K.
Specifically, Warfarin reduces your liver’s ability to use vitamin K to produce normally functioning forms of the blood clotting proteins. By reducing the liver’s ability to use vitamin K to produce normally functioning forms of the blood clotting proteins, Warfarin reduces your risk of forming a blood clot.
It is a common misconception that people on Warfarin should avoid vitamin K. Reducing your vitamin K intake can cause your INR (your International Normalized Ratio) to increase and may make it more difficult to control. Rather than avoiding vitamin K, you should maintain a consistent intake of vitamin K by maintaining a consistent diet and supplement regime. In other words, from week to week, you should eat the same types of foods and take the same dose of your supplement. If your vitamin K intake is consistent then you won’t have any problems with your Warfarin interaction.
A significant change in your intake of vitamin K is what can result in a significant, and potentially dangerous, change in your INR, not your intake of vitamin K alone. For example, if you reduce your amount of vitamin K, your INR will increase, making it more difficult to manage your Warfarin therapy (patients who have a low intake of vitamin K have been found to have more fluctuation in their INR).
So why would a diet LOW in vitamin K make your INR more difficult to manage? Well, suppose you have a diet that is extremely low in vitamin K. Now suppose you eat a spinach salad at dinner one night for example. Spinach salad is high in vitamin K, so you have just increased your vitamin K intake, which represents a huge change in your dietary vitamin K. The result of this will be a significant drop in your INR. Any changes to your vitamin K intake represent fluctuations in your INR.
In order to maintain a consistent intake of vitamin K, keep to a good consistent diet, and the normal regular dosage of your supplement. Remember that the critical consideration in managing Warfarin and vitamin K is keeping the levels of vitamin K constant so your doctor doesn’t have to constantly change your dosage. People and their livers vary in their responses to Warfarin and vitamin K. The key is consistency. If your doctor gives you odd doses of Warfarin, such as 5 mg on Tuesday and Thursday and 2.5 mg on Friday for example, then that is what’s needed to keep your clotting factors constant. So, don’t adjust your vitamin K to your Warfarin.
Now, if you are on Warfarin and only just thinking of taking Total Balance or Multi Xtra, then my advice would be to consult your doctor about your wish to take this supplement simply so that he can then adjust your Warfarin dose accordingly. This is actually a good thing as it is a potential to perhaps lower your Warfarin dose, and discuss with your doctor other more long-term and natural approaches. For example, depending on your exact condition and health status of course, I would highly recommend discussing with your doctor the possibility of looking at not only Total Balance, but also Omega 3/DHAs (high dose fish oil can have a similar blood thinning effect) at 4-6 per day of our brand, plus our Cardio-Klenz supplement which has many cardiovascular benefits as well as helping blood consistency. These would be very beneficial for you and may, along with a good diet, help you to lessen your need for Warfarin at the same time.
If you decided to look at such a regime, and are currently on a normal dosage of Warfarin, my advice would be to start at a lower dose of Total Balance initially:
Total Balance 4-5 per day Premium (3 per day Standard; or 2 of Multi Xtra). Note: If you were not on warfarin you are strongly advised to take the full daily recommended dose right from the outset.
Omega 3/DHAs at 2-3 per day;
Cardio-Klenz at 4 per day.
Then gradually increase these dosages up to the recommended daily dose levels as your Warfarin decreases, if your condition warrants this.
Finally, regarding the other ingredients in Total Balance, such as ginkgo, policosanol, n-acetyl-glucosamine. It is true that, like vitamin K, attention needs to be paid to the dosages. However, again the dosages in Total Balance are all low compared to what would cause interaction. Only excesses in vitamin K, or any of these other ingredients, may potentially cause problems. In the low dosages in Total Balance, and careful dosing of both your medication and supplementation, as suggested above, whilst still on Warfarin, there is no indication of interaction.
I just want to make clear these are the opinions of Xtend-Life and no before you ask I am not in the pay of them, I just think this is a cracking blog post.
Don’t forget your Carer – Their replenishment
We will be running a twelve part programme of web articles on making your carer aware that they are important as well. We will publish 12 articles during the twelve days of Christmas as per the traditional twelve days of Christmas.
I am sure as Heart Failure Patients we sometimes forget about our Carers needs and now is the time to focus in on their needs not yours. Get them to read Pumping Marvellous between now and Christmas.
Stress can affect eating habits in different ways. Some people will eat anything they can get their hands on, particularly carbohydrates. Others tend to go into a “starvation” mode and not eat much at all. These are both normal reactions, as our bodies behave differently when we are chronically stressed. However, neither of these responses will help relieve stress or contribute to a healthy body and mind.
Maintaining good eating habits is tough for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for a caregiver. Often your loved one is on a special diet or has a particularly selective appetite. There may be other family members to feed, and your time and energy are certainly limited. But you’ve still got to eat right. Good eating is a habit that you have to consciously cultivate. It begins at the shops. Learn to read labels. Start buying foods that benefist your body and mind. If you don’t bring it home, you can’t eat it.
You can train yourself to eat right, one food at a time. Your goals should include foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium (salt), and lots of fruit and vegetables every day, whole-grain/high-fiber foods, lean meats, poultry, fish (at least twice per week), and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. You should also use monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Also, cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars and salt. If you’re not going to eat much, at least eat smart. Foods that have a lot of “bang-for-the-buck” include deeply colored fruits and veggies (e.g., spinach, broccoli, carrots, berries and peaches), whole-grain/high-fiber foods (e.g., whole-wheat, oats/oatmeal and brown rice), oily fish (e.g., salmon, trout and herring).
Vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and fibre — and they’re low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by lowering your blood pressure. Eat deeply colored vegetables and fruits because they tend to be higher in vitamins and minerals than others, such as potatoes and corn.
Super Heart Foods for Health
Below you will find some super foods for a Healthy Heart. Please note that if you are on Warfarin then remember eat regularly not in bursts to maintain your INR in range.
Food for the heart: spinach
We should all be eating as much spinach as Popeye, according to the British Dietetic Association, who cannot speak highly enough about the health benefits of this super food. Ursula Arens, a dietician and spokesperson for the BDA, says, “We can’t bang the drum enough in praise of spinach. As a nation we eat very few dark green things and this is jam packed with nutrients”.
The dark green, leafy vegetable (and its cousins such as kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, and spring greens) is high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may protect against cardiovascular disease; it’s also a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Spinach is also rich in folate, which helps reduce the blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. An emerging risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease is a high level of homocysteine.
The BDA recommends eating a portion a day of your favourite dark green, leafy vegetable and says it does not matter if you eat it raw, boiled or fried.
Food for the heart: salmon
Nutritionist Kathleen Zelman, WebMD’s director of nutrition, says she’s a “huge salmon fan”. “Salmon is widely available, affordable, fast, and easy”, she says.
Oily fish such as salmon (as well as mackerel, herring, and sardines) contain high levels of Omega-3s. This “healthy fat” is believed to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by lowering the levels of triglycerides in the body-blood fats linked to heart disease and diabetes.
Research has also found that Omega-3 fatty acids prevent blood clots by making platelets less likely to clump together and stick to artery walls. Blood vessels are also less likely to constrict, making the heart less vulnerable to life-threatening irregular heart rates.
The British Heart Foundation recommends eating at least two servings of fish (including one of oily fish like salmon) a week; a serving is between 85 grams and 170 grams.
Food for the heart: soya protein
Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals, soya protein is a good alternative for red meat, says Ms Arens. It is also lower in fat and higher in fibre than many meat choices.
In people with high cholesterol, studies show that soya protein, when eaten with a healthy low-fat diet, lowers cholesterol. In fact, researchers found that people who ate a diet of several cholesterol-fighting foods lowered their cholesterol as much as people who took medicine.
Both the BDA and the BHF encourage eating at least 25 grams of soya protein daily. You can get your soya from soyabeans (they taste a bit like Oriental broad beans and are sold frozen in supermarkets), soya nuts, soya milk, soya flour, energy bars, fortified cereal, tempeh, and tofu.
Food for the heart: porridge
Grandma may have known what she was doing when she served up a piping hot bowl of porridge every morning, says Ms Arens. A daily serving of porridge contains only about 130 calories while delivering five grams of heart-healthy fibre that helps to lower cholesterol and keep body weight at a healthy level.
Ms Arens says, “It’s really good for you. It releases energy slowly and will fill you up for a long time, meaning you won’t nibble unhealthy snacks between meals. Just don’t add extra cream, sugar or honey”.
Porridge oats and other whole grains such as whole wheat, barley, rye, millet, quinoa, brown rice, and wild rice also help reduce the risk of diabetes, which in itself is a risk factor for heart disease, says Ms Zelman.
It’s important to use whole grains, not refined grains, says Ms Zelman, “so you get the whole package”. Refined or processed grains lose their nutrients and fibre.
You can also get your whole grains from whole grain breads and pastas.
The daily recommendation for fibre intake is between 21 and 38 grams, depending on your sex and age, according to the BDA.
Food for the heart: blueberries
Tasty blueberries are considered a “super food” because they contain high levels of antioxidants.
Ms Arens says, “Blueberries and other types of British berries, like blackberries and blackcurrants, are high in antioxidants. There’s been particular interest in blueberries helping with eyesight and reducing the rate of age-related macular degeneration”.
Antioxidants help neutralise harmful byproducts of metabolism called free radicals that can lead to cancer and other age-related diseases. Anthocyanin, the antioxidant that is thought to be responsible for this major health benefit, can also be found in blackberries, black raspberries, blackcurrants, and red grapes.
Researchers believe that the antioxidants in blueberries work to reduce the build up of “bad” LDL cholesterol in artery walls that contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Studies have shown that blueberries rank very high in antioxidant activity — number one when compared with 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables.
Ms Arens says that, when in season, we should try to eat a portion of berries a day.