Holidays should be times of fun and enjoyment. For most people, these special days—whether it’s Christmas, Independence Day, or Thanksgiving—can seem like a perfect time to let go in order to indulge in rich foods and alcoholic drinks. But did you know that this can be harmful to your health…and possibly even life-threatening? In this post, I will discuss why and provide an overview on what you can do during these times to maintain your best health and prevent holiday illness, so that you can spend your day focusing on enjoying the occasion.
Continue reading “Staying Healthy During the Holidays”
By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH
Do you enjoy salty snacks? Or find yourself reaching for the salt shaker at the dinner table?
If you do, you are not alone.
In general, people in the U.S. eat much more sodium (salt) than they should. But why is it important to watch the amount of sodium you eat? It is because the more sodium you consume, the higher your blood pressure becomes. Some conditions, such as certain heart and kidney problems, cause the body to hold onto sodium, which causes extra fluid to build up in the body. This extra fluid forces the heart to work harder. Therefore, if you live with chronic conditions, it is especially important to control the amount of sodium you eat.
So how much sodium should you be consuming in a day? While for most people it is recommended to not go over 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium, for those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney problems, the daily limit for sodium is even lower– 1,500 mg ideally, but no more than 2,000 mg.
Pop quiz: How many milligrams of sodium are in one small teaspoon of salt?
Answer: 2,300 milligrams!
1 teaspoon of salt
2,300 mg of sodium
Surprised? What this means is that adding any salt to your meals can cause you to go over the recommended limit. So is it even possible to stay within this recommended limit? Yes–it is possible! And today I will discuss exactly how.
Continue reading “Taking Control Over Salt”
By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH
Your diet, as most people know, is a big component of healthy living. There’s even much truth to the idiom, “You are what you eat!” However, when it comes to living with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, having the right diet becomes even more important, as the foods you eat can make a huge difference not only in the symptoms you experience day to day, but also in the way your chronic conditions progress over time.
What this means is that with the right diet, when incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, you can take control of your health by helping to slow or even reverse your chronic conditions. When it comes to heart disease, being on a heart-healthy diet can protect you against further narrowing of your heart’s blood vessels and in turn help prevent further complications such as heart attack and strokes.
In this post we will discuss what types of foods make up a heart healthy diet. In a subsequent post, we will cover the essentials of a specific component of heart healthy eating–the low salt diet.
Continue reading “Eating for Heart Health”
By Phoebe Chi, MD
Fish oil. It is one of the most commonly used supplements these days, estimated to be taken by 19 million adults in the U.S. alone. In the media, claims of its health benefits are broad and ubiquitous, ranging from heart disease and cancer prevention to treatment of ADHD. However, while there is little doubt that a diet rich in omega-3 foods is beneficial, do fish oil supplements—which also provide omega-3 fats—confer the same benefits for your health? And what if you are currently on one or thinking about starting—what are the ‘right’ reasons for doing so and the potential risks to consider? And finally, what should you look for in a product?
In answering these questions today, I hope to equip you with the confidence to make the best decisions in regards to your health. If you haven’t yet and would like an introduction to omega-3 fats and their natural food sources, take a look at the first part of this article.
Continue reading “Fish Oil Supplements: All You Need to Know”
By Phoebe Chi, MD
Omega-3. Fatty fish. The benefits of fish oil. No doubt you’ve heard these mentioned before. But is it all true?
Unfortunately, because of the ongoing research on this subject and our ever-evolving scientific understanding of it, the answer might actually be no—not all that you have heard about fish oil is still considered to be true.
Therefore I would like to spend some time on this topic by doing a two-part post. While today I will present the fundamentals of omega-3 fats—what they are, how much you need, and how you can get them naturally—a follow up article will focus specifically on fish oil supplements and their benefits, with a discussion on what is known about them, what has changed, and what you need to be aware of.
My hope is that by providing these up-to-date essentials that you will be empowered and encouraged to make the best decisions for your personal health.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
• Continue reading “Omega-3 Fats: Are You Getting Enough?”