How To Benefit From A Low-Glycemic Diet

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts in the comments section below…..

didyouknow?A lower-glycemic-index diet reduces sudden increases in blood sugar. To get the benefits of such a diet without having to look up the glycemic index of foods, cut back on white flour and white rice, white potatoes, and added sugars.

The glycemic index is a number that indicates how rapidly the body digests a particular type of food and converts it into blood sugar (glucose). The lower the number, the slower the carbohydrate-to-blood sugar conversion. A lower-glycemic-index diet may offer important health benefits for men, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, explains the April 2015 Harvard Men’s Health Watch.

Anyone can benefit from the driving force behind the glycemic index simply by avoiding highly processed foods, like white bread, white rice, and sugary desserts. These raise blood sugar rapidly, but are also independently tied to poorer health.

“Eating a minimally processed diet is going to cover a multitude of sins,” says Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital and a leading expert on the glycemic index.
Spikes in blood sugar from eating foods high on the glycemic index have been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Some research suggests that eating a diet that emphasizes low-glycemic-index foods can improve health, although this hasn’t yet been definitively proven.

But in the meantime, eating lower-glycemic-index foods can still contribute to a more healthy diet. Here are a few suggestions from

Dr. Ludwig for eating lower on the glycemic index:

* Eat grains that are as minimally processed as possible, such as brown rice, or unconventional whole grains like bulgur, millet, farro, and wheat berries.

* Instead of starchy white potatoes and white rice, eat sweet potatoes or whole-grain pasta.

* Reduce added sugars. Although caloric sweeteners like white table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are only moderately high on the glycemic index, they are independently associated with obesity and heart disease.

Read the full-length article: “Healthy diet: Is glycemic index the key?”

Also in the April 2015 issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch:

* Tips for selecting a high-quality hospital

* Living with atrial fibrillation, a common but treatable heart condition

* Secrets to a healthy retirement

The Harvard Men’s Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/mens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Small Businesses Can Benefit From Workplace Wellness Programs

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exerciseballWorkplace wellness programs present a good opportunity for small businesses, according to studies published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine from the Colorado School of Public Health.

Two workplace wellness studies were conducted on the Pinnacol Assurance health risk management (HRM) program. For the studies, Pinnacol Assurance, a Colorado workers’ compensation insurer, offered its small business policyholders (employers with less than 500 employees) the opportunity to participate in the HRM program free of charge including implementation support. The purpose of the HRM studies were to determine if workplace wellness programs could improve the health and productivity of employees. Pinnacol Assurance partnered with Well Nation® (formerly known as Trotter Wellness®) to administer the wellness program.

Between 2010 and 2014, more than 260 employers enrolled in the HRM program, and 6,507 employees participated. According to the study, one-third of participants were overweight, one-quarter were obese, one-fifth reported depression, and another fifth had chronic fatigue.

For the first study published in 2014, the HRM program reported a return of $2 for every dollar spent in just the first year despite being conducted in Colorado (one of the healthiest states in the nation) and largely comprised of small businesses under 50 employees. The HRM program also demonstrated reductions in ten health risk factors including obesity, poor eating habits, poor physical activity, tobacco use, high alcohol consumption, high stress, depression, high blood pressure, high total cholesterol, and high blood glucose.

Previous research indicates that only one-third of small businesses offer some sort of wellness program. Traditionally, small employers have been reluctant to implement wellness programs due to the barriers they often face such as cost, time, and the necessary resources and manpower to manage a program.

At the completion of the four-year program, the second study published in 2015, showed that the barriers small businesses face when implementing a workplace wellness program can be overcome. Of the 260 employers who enrolled in the HRM program, 71 percent continued more than one year. And of those employers, 97 percent reported that worker wellness improves safety.

“Our success with medium to large companies has been well documented but it is nice to see research indicate that small businesses are open to implementing successful wellness programs if the program is easy to set up, simple to use, and resources are readily available,” said Margo Trotter, RN, BScN, MHSc, President, Well Nation®. “Over time, wellness programs can offer tangible rewards for small employers such as increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, lower health care insurance costs, and increased employee morale and satisfaction.”

About Well Nation®

Founded in 2003, Well Nation® is a privately-held Wisconsin-based company that serves companies of all sizes throughout North America by assisting them in controlling their health risk related costs. To learn more, visit http://www.wellnation.com.

Whole Grains May Benefit Your Heart

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healthyheartWhole-grain foods offer nutritional benefits beyond just the fiber from the outer layer. The nutrients and compounds from all parts of the grain offer a wide range of cardiovascular benefits and have been linked to longer life.

Foods made from whole grains, the hard, dry seeds of plants, have been a nutritional staple for thousands of years. They provide a wealth of heart-healthy nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, good fats, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, according to the April 2015 Harvard Heart Letter.

Eating whole grains instead of highly processed grains has a wide range of health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol, and reducing chronic inflammation. “It is likely that all the components of whole grains work in concert to confer these benefits,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In two long-running studies, Dr. Hu and colleagues found that people who ate about two-and-a-half servings of whole grains a day were about 5% less likely to die of any cause than those who ate smaller amounts. (In this study, one serving of whole grains was one ounce, or 28 grams.) For each additional daily serving, people were about 9% less likely to die of heart disease. The researchers also found that replacing refined grains and red meats in your daily diet with an equal amount of whole grains can potentially lengthen life by 8% to 20%.

The typical American diet is loaded with highly refined grains that have been stripped of many of their nutrients and milled into a fine-textured carbohydrate. These low-quality carbohydrates, which include white rice, white bread, pastries, and other products made from white flour, are easier to cook and store than whole grains. But they lack the nutritional clout of their whole-grain cousins, even when they have been fortified with added vitamins and minerals.

Refined grains also lack dietary fiber, the part of plant foods that the body cannot digest. As fiber moves through the digestive system, it absorbs water and helps the body eliminate food waste more quickly. Fiber helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. It’s also filling, which helps people eat less and perhaps lose weight, which also carries cardiovascular benefits.

Read the full-length article: “Reaping gains from whole grains”

Also in the April 2015 Harvard Heart Letter:

* Yoga’s health advantages may extend to the heart

* Smartphone apps for blood pressure

* High blood sugar’s effect on the brain

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).