Add nutrients and flavor to your holiday meal with leafy greens.

There’s been a lot of talk about making cities, buildings and cards more “green.” But how about making your diet greener by enjoying a heaping helping of leafy green vegetables such as arugula, romaine lettuce, mesclun mix (or “spring mix”), spinach, kale, collard, turnip and mustard greens, watrecress, chard, broccoli rabe and Chinese broccoli. With so many options, it’s easy to make leafy greens a more prominent part of your plate — and there’s no better time to do so than the holiday season, when rich, sugary foods tend to dominate family meals, buffets and party menus.

green-vegetables

Green, leafy vegetables are a must-have this Thanksgiving since they give you a bigger ‘bang for your buck’: They are nutrient-dense but not energy-dense (higher in calories), so you get all the benefits of vitamins, minerals and fiber without all the calories.

How nutritious are they? For starters, they’re high in antioxidants such as vitamin A and vitamin C, and rich in vitamin K, potassium and iron. They also serve as a great source of fiber. These nutrients provide many benefits, such as boosting the immune system during those cold winter months and keeping the heart healthy. They may even work toward cancer prevention.

The natural fiber in leafy greens can help you feel satisfied longer because the nutrients remain in the stomach longer with the fiber. That satisfied feeling can also lead to decreased overall caloric consumption and, potentially, weight loss.

Why We Are Getting Fewer Nutrients

What are nutrients?
There are two types of nutrients. Macronutrients include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals found in dietary sources that fuel proper body functioning, such as vitamins A, C, B12, D, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Why is it most of us don’t get enough nutrients?
Reason #1:
We eat empty calories (foods that contain little nutritional value), such as: Heavily Processed Foods, Baked Goods, Soda, Candy, and Desserts.
Reason #2:
Most people don’t know that many aspects of daily living can increase the level of nutrients your body needs, accelerate nutrient losses, or impair proper nutrient absorption. These include:

Antacids
Certain antacids might block the absorption of nutrients such as calcium or iron. Longterm antacid use in some cases has been associated with nutritional deficiencies.

Caffeine
The tannins in coffee and tea can interfere with absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. Because caffeine has a diuretic action, it also might deplete nutrients such as vitamin B6. Caffeine can also increase emotional stress (see Emotional Stress below), increase cravings for unhealthy foods, and cause heartburn (see Antacids above).

Surgery
Recovery from surgery (like any illness or injury) requires additional nutrients, such as protein and antioxidants. Some surgical procedures (gastric bypass, intestinal resection) can also permanently affect dietary absorption of important nutrients such as vitamin B12.

Pregnancy
Mothers need additional nutrients such as folic acid in pregnancy. Nutritional deficiencies may force the mother and fetus to compete for nutrients and might lead to complications for either or both. Nutrient depletion also sets the stage for post-partum ailments such as depression.

Influenza (the Flu)
A body depleted of nutrients not only makes a better host for infectious diseases like the flu but also increases the body’s need for antioxidants (E, C, beta carotene) found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. A healthy balance of intestinal bacteria also positively influences the body’s immune system and can be fostered by a healthy diet and probiotics.

Emotional Stress
In addition to physical stress, the body might encounter increased nutritional needs (like vitamin C) due to emotional stress—which can also cause unhealthy eating. And a poor diet—lacking in protein, Essential Fatty Acids, and key vitamins—on its own can be the cause of emotional stress. Stress also restricts the body’s flow of blood (which carries nutrients) by tightening muscles.

Prescription/OTC Drugs
Corticosteroids can inhibit calcium absorption, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can deplete B vitamins, statin medications can deplete essential CoQ10, and certain weight loss drugs or “fat blockers” can reduce the absorption of other nutrients—just to name a few. Plus, some foods and nutritional supplements should be taken separately from certain medications.

Do you want more energy?

Do you want to feel better, look better, and experience a longer, more active and more fulfilled life? Do you want to have more energy throughout the day and improve the quality of your life?

By working regular, moderate exercise into your daily routine, you can have all of that and more. And, your FirstLine Therapy® (FLT) healthcare provider or lifestyle educator can create a program that’s just right for you. This program incorporates an optimal food plan, supplements, exercise, and stress relief.

Use It or Lose It

Exercise is a crucial component of re-gaining your energy. Recent research has shown that physical deterioration and lack of function associated with aging is largely due to an inactive lifestyle. We’ve all heard, “Use it or lose it,” and while many of us are “losing” physical function because we don’t exercise, we are also increasing our chances of degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.

Regular exercise not only gives you a better body shape, but it:

• Increases your body’s metabolic rate—you burn more calories even after you have stopped exercising
• Increases your body’s percent of lean muscle versus percent of body fat
• Improves your insulin sensitivity
• Lowers your cholesterol levels
• Lowers your risk of chronic disease
• Increases your energy and vitality
• Improves your quality of sleep
• Reduces stress and tension
• Elevates your mood
• Increases your mental performance

 Start at Your Own Pace and Have Fun

Go for a walk in nature or join the local gym. Choose a satisfying activity—like yoga—that’ll include all three aspects of fitness: aerobic, strength, and flexibility. Whatever type of fitness program you and your FLT healthcare provider create, incorporate what you enjoy. Have fun in the sun or hike the hills—dive into a deep pool or jog with your dog!

Contact Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine today at 773.435.1150 to start the FLT journey, so you can feel the benefits of being fit—and live a long, healthy life!

Vitamins that Can Help with Weight Loss and Management

Below is a list of vitamins that was provided by SpectraCell Laboratories that can help with weight management.

Asparagine – The amino acid increases insulin sensitivity which helps the body store energy Weight management in muscle instead of storing it as body fat.

Biotin – Boosts metabolism by improving glycemic control (stabilizes blood sugar) and lowering insulin, a hormone that promotes fat formation.

Carnitine – Carries fatty acids into the cell so they can be burned for fuel; Helps reduce visceral adiposity (belly fat).

Calcium – Inhibits the formation of fat cells; Also helps oxidize (burn) fat cells.

Lipoic Acid – Improves glucose uptake into cells, which helps a person burn carbohydrates more efficiently.

Chromium – Makes the body more sensitive to insulin, helping to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle.

Vitamin B5 – Taking B5 lowers body weight by activating lipoprotein lipases, an enzyme that burns fat cells.  One study linked B5 supplementation to less hunger when dieting.

Magnesium – Low magnesium in cells impairs a person’s ability to use glucose for fuel, instead of storing it as fat; Correcting a magnesium deficiency stimulates metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity.  Magnesium may also inhibit fat absorption.

Glutamine – Reduces fat mass by improving glucose uptake into muscle.

Cysteine – Supplementation with this antioxidant reduced body fat in obese patients.

Inositol – Supplementation may increase adiponectin levels.

Vitamin B3(Niacin) – Treatment with B3 increases adiponectin, a weight-loss hormone secreted by fat cells; Niacin-bound chromium supplements helped reduced body weight in clinical trials.

Vitamin A – Enhances expression of genes that reduce a person’s tendency to store food as fat; Reduces the size of fat cells.

Vitamin E – Inhibits pre-fat cells from changing into mature fat cells, thus reducing body fat.

Vitamin D – Deficiency strongly linked to poor metabolism of carbohydrates; Genes that are regulated by vitamin D may alter the way fat cells form in some people.

Vitamin K – Poor vitamin K status linked to excess fat tissue; Vitamin K helps metabolize sugars.

Zinc – Deficiency of zinc reduces leptin, a beneficial hormone that regulates appetite, which is reversed by zinc repletion.

FirstLine Therapy® is a Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) program that can enhance your health and prevent disease.   FirstLine Therapy® is about making choices every day that will enable you to achieve a long, full, and healthy life. Contact one of our FirstLine Therapy Lifestyle Counselors at Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine in Chicago.

Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine is located at 1 East Delaware Place, Suite 501, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Phone: 773.435.1150, Website: http://ccwm.com

Belly fat can be hazardous to health

That spare tire is nothing to hold onto because it can put you at greater risk to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, especially for middle age men and women. It’s never too late to take action. Help your body get back in healthy shape.

Our FirstLine Therapy (FLT) program will help you break the cycle that’s breaking you. FLT addresses underlying factors to improve your health in subtle ways that collectively make a big difference. Learn how to enjoy the foods you already love to help your body perform the way it should, and how just minutes of simple exercise can work wonders.

FirstLine Therapy medical food UltraMeal Plus 360° is formulated to complement a scientifically designed food plan, targeting multiple pathways in the body’s blood sugar and inflammatory processes linked to metabolic syndrome and other cardiovascular-related illnesses. So you can manage current conditions and reduce your risk to developing more serious ones. The FLT Program demonstrated greater effectiveness than diet and exercise alone.

In two landmark clinical studies, the FirstLine Therapy Program showed significant improvements in recognized risk markers for heart and blood sugar related disorders in just 12 weeks. Unlike many conventional approaches that carry greater risk of serious adverse effects, no such events have been reported with FLT. Why? Because the FirstLine Therapy therapeutic lifestyle program is research-based and the medical food contains only natural ingredients manufactured to higher quality standards.

Soon after starting the FLT program, people often report increased energy and the ability to do more of the things they enjoy. Don’t let your belly fat get in your way any longer.

Manage your health risks by taking action now. The FirstLine Therapy Program has been clinically shown to:

• Reduce weight
• Improve blood pressure
• Improve cholesterol & triglycerides
• Improve other heart disease risks

If you want to take control of your life, contact Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine at 773.435.1150 or email us at info@fltchicago.com

An Apple a Day is Good for the Heart

A recent study from the Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center found that eating one apple a day for four weeks significantly lowered oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, which has been linked with atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease.

Researchers credit the might of the apple to its powerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants have been found to reduce inflammation, promote healthy arteries and help fight aging by preventing and repairing cellular damage. A diet high in fiber, found in fresh fruits and vegetables, can help prevent the development of chronic illness.

Body Composition and Your Health

More than 60% of the U.S. adult population is overweight and over 25% are considered obese. One out of four children and adolescents are now considered overweight or obese and are quickly headed for a lifetime of chronic disease. We are fatter than ever and the numbers continue to rise at a dreadfully high rate! Even more alarming is the fact that approximately 20% of overweight Americans may not realize they need to lose excess body fat—because they physically “appear” to be of normal weight. Despite looking thin and having a normal weight, they have altered or unhealthy body composition. What is unhealthy body composition? Generally speaking, it refers to carrying too much fat in comparison to lean tissue (e.g., muscle). It is clear that achieving healthy body composition is critically important to experiencing the joy that optimal health can bring.

The Consequences of Unhealthy Body Composition

Unhealthy body composition and excess body weight often lead to obesity, which is associated with serious health consequences including:
• Heart disease
• Stroke
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Metabolic syndrome
• Diabetes
• Back pain
• Respiratory problems
• Certain types of cancer
• Kidney disorders
• Estrogen-related problems
• Gallbladder disorders
• Excess fatigue
• Osteoarthritis
• Sleep apnea
• Urinary incontinence

Metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome) affects approximately 46% of Americans, and is characterized by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood insulin and glucose levels. People with metabolic syndrome are at greater risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. As a rule, a waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men and greater than 35 inches for women significantly increases the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Even hormone balance can be affected by unhealthy body composition, because estrogen can be produced in fat tissue. An increase in fat-to-muscle mass could therefore lead to an imbalance in estrogen. Estrogen imbalance has been associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), uterine fibroid tumors, fibrocystic or painful breasts, cervical dysplasia, endometriosis, systemic lupus erythematosis and breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers.

Body Composition is More Than Just Your Weight

Body weight alone (what the scale says) is not a definitive assessment of body composition. Even after losing weight, you might still be considered over-fat. This occurs when the weight you lose comes predominantly from muscle and not from fat—producing unhealthy body composition. Having excess fat on the inside but looking normal on the outside may result in disease risks that are similar to those who appear overtly overweight. Where fat accumulates also impacts the degree of risk. Excess fat that is concentrated near the waist—a condition generally referred to as central adiposity or an “apple” shape—greatly increases the risk of disease. The illustration on the reverse side of this sheet outlines the problems associated with this type of unhealthy body composition—just because you look thin doesn’t mean you are healthy!

Several simple, non-invasive methods are available that can estimate body composition. These include waist-to-hip ratio, skin-fold thickness, and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA).

Factors That Lead to Unhealthy Body Composition

There is no single cause of unhealthy body composition. Excessive fat accumulation can result from an imbalance between the calories you take in and the calories you burn; lack of physical activity; lifestyle influences such as a high-fat, high-sugar diet; overeating; excess alcohol intake; chronic use of corticosteroids; hormone imbalance; and other metabolic factors.

Achieving a Healthy Body Composition

As the illustration on the reverse side of this sheet outlines, a healthy body composition program helps a person lose weight and look thinner by targeting fat and preserving muscle. This is in contrast to an unhealthy body composition program, which may help a person lose weight, but can result in muscle loss without as much fat loss. By preserving lean muscle mass, a healthy body composition program reduces the risk of disease and may decrease the likelihood that fat will return after the program is complete. This is because a higher ratio of muscle-to-fat may increase the body’s metabolic rate, enabling the body to more effectively burn calories each day.

A traditional approach to improving body composition includes exercise and reduced caloric intake, but nutritional supplementation may also offer additional, significant benefits. For example, one study comparing a doctor-supervised, nutrition-based body composition program to a popular, over-the-counter diet drink showed dramatically different results. Patients on the doctor-supervised program achieved 11 pounds of weight loss from fat and they actually increased their muscle mass. The patients on the over-the-counter diet drink lost the majority of their weight from muscle rather than body fat—despite being prescribed the same foods and exercise routine as those on the doctor-supervised program. Our body composition program incorporates the nutritional support necessary to achieve fat loss and preserve muscle. It is comprehensive, yet tailored to meet your individual needs.

You have the power to shape your body for better health. Take the first step to achieving healthy body composition. Contact Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine at 773.435.1150 and ask about our FirstLine Therapy program.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of interrelated clinical symptoms that increase an individual’s risk for many chronic diseases including atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes. In addition to increasing susceptibility to cardiac disease, Metabolic Syndrome confers increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that is rising and is associated with an increased risk of cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. Incidence of certain malignancies, including colorectal and prostate cancer, increases with the presence of Metabolic Syndrome. Polycystic ovary syndrome, the most common endocrinopathy of reproductive age women, is strongly associated with Metabolic Syndrome. Furthermore, sexual dysfunction, gout, chronic renal disease, and microalbuminuria have each been associated with Metabolic Syndrome.

Approximately 34% of adults in the US meet criteria for Metabolic Syndrome diagnosis, and individual propensity for developing Metabolic Syndrome increases dramatically with age. Due to the prevalence of obesity and the aging population, and given the relationship among Metabolic Syndrome, and cardiovascular disease, a long-term solution is urgently needed.

Although pharmaceutical treatment options are available for managing symptoms related to Metabolic Syndrome, lifestyle change programs are the recommended first line of therapy for the prevention or management of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosis

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that increase the risk for cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes and is diagnosed when at least 3 of the following are present: 1) Elevated waist circumference:
Men — Equal to or greater than 40 inches (102 cm)
Women — Equal to or greater than 35 inches (88 cm)

2) Elevated triglycerides:
Equal to or greater than 150 mg/dL

3) Reduced HDL (“good”) cholesterol:
Men — Less than 40 mg/dL
Women — Less than 50 mg/dL

4) Elevated blood pressure:
Equal to or greater than 130/85

At Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine, we offer a 12 week lifestyle program – FirstLine Therapy to help combat Metabolic Syndrome. Your initial will begin by meeting with one of our physicians who are board certified internists. Weekly sessions with CCWM health coaches will counsel patients regarding our Therapeutic Lifestyle Program. Our Lifestyle educators work as a team with our physicians, providing hands-on support to patients. You will have a Stress and Cardiovascular Risk Assessment. We will review your findings and determine your health goals in order to establish your course of lifestyle therapy.

Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine provides formulas that promote healthy blood lipid levels, circulatory and blood vessel function and support, and overall heart health. Body composition analysis will be given by one of our health coaches. This is the clinical assessment of tissue and fluid distribution in the human body. The body is modeled as a series of tissue and fluid compartments. It is an integral part of a health and nutrition assessment. A BIA (Bio-Impedance Analysis) will be conducted on patients throughout the weeks to determine your body fat, water content, and muscle mass. The body composition information is indicative of one’s current state of well-being.

Patients have seen tremendous results from our FrirstLine Therapy program – lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, loose body fat and weight, have more energy and improving their overall health.

Contact one of our healthcare providers at Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine at 773.435.1150 or email us at info@fltchicago.com for more information on our FirstLine Therapy program.

Holistic Health prevents illness and supports higher levels of wellness.

“Holistic Health supports reaching higher levels of wellness as well as preventing illness. People enjoy the vitality and well-being that results from their positive lifestyle changes, and are motivated to continue this process throughout their lives.” – Susan Walter, American Holistic Health Association

The National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and Arthritis Foundation now recommend lifestyle interventions (lifestyle medicine) as the “first line of therapy” for treating and reducing the risk of common conditions. Our FirstLine Therapy program can start you on the road to wellness. Call the Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine for an appointment at 773-435-1150 to see how we can work together for a healthier you!

Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine is a Group Practice founded on the principle of respect for the patient. Their approach is multidisciplinary, holistic and evidence based. They specialize in Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology with many related services and are practice gender-specific medicine with an emphasis on patient education.

Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine is located at 1 E. Delaware Place in Chicago, Illinois.

Low Fat Thanksgiving Recipe – Brown Rice with Apricots and Almonds

Here’s a healthy recipe you might consider in place of traditional Thanksgiving stuffing.

Brown Rice with Apricots and Almonds
Make your stuffing with wholegrain rice instead of bread and you’ll trim 61 calories and 7 grams of fat. Not only will these grains help keep you full, but they’ve also been shown to blast ab fat.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 3/4 cups medium-grain brown rice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Preparation and Cooking
Combine chicken broth and 1 3/4 cups water in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add rice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 40 minutes. Prepare onions, 10 minutes before rice is finished, heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add apricots, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir well and remove from heat. Once rice is cooked, remove from heat. Let stand covered 5 minutes. Uncover and toss with onion mixture, parsley, and almonds. Serve.

Nutritional Information
Makes 8 servings. Per 1/2-cup serving: 204 cal, 4 g fat (1 g sat), 37 g carbs, 203 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein