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.

Increase Your Water Intake for Better Health

Water intake and fluid balance are most neglected areas of better health and weight management. Because water is very important to health, our bodies attempt to maintain the proper fluid and water balance at all times. Consuming too little water can result in water retention. Increasing water intake can actually decrease water retention and bloating. It is especially important to drink water during the summer months.

How much water do I need?
Although individual variation exists, drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces each day can help you achieve your health goals.

Won’t I feel more bloated and retain more if I drink more water?
Drinking the appropriate amount of water actually reduces water retention and bloating, even during menstruation for women. Since your body is constantly regulating its fluid balance, you can overcompensate by retaining water if you are not drinking enough. Drinking more water can also help you lose those few extra pounds and aid with proper digestion.

What if I’m too busy to keep track of how much water I drink?
Here are a few tips to help you drink the amount of water you need:
- Keep a water bottle that measures fluid ounces at home or at your desk. This way the counting is done for you. All you need to worry about is finishing the bottle between the time you wake up and the time you go to bed. If a 64-oz. bottle appears too much to tackle, try a 32-oz. or 16-oz. bottle and just remember to refill it throughout the day.
- Keep post-it notes on your refrigerator or desk reminding you to drink a glass of water. – Create a buddy system with a family member, friend, or co-worker to make sure you are drinking your water.
- Add lemon, orange, or lime slices to your water to give it flavor.
- Remember to take baby steps and gradually work up.

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

Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine Recognized as Top Doctors for Women

The doctors at Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine have been recognized as the Best Doctors for Women in Chicago year after year, The Nation’s Top Doctors by US News, and Super Doctors, top 5% of Chicago metro area physicians.

Dr. Vesna Skul is a founder and the Medical Director of the Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine, a multispecialty holistic medical practice for women.

Dr. Skul is a graduate of Rush Medical College in Chicago, is a board certified specialist in Internal Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Rush University. Her career has been devoted to caring for women in all phases of their lives.

Through her work with the leadership of the American College of Physicians, she has helped shape guidelines for educational requirements of internists through all of the nation’s medical universities. This earned her, among many other teaching awards, the College’s highest recognition, the Laureate Award.

Dr. Skul speaks on a wide range of topics to professional and lay audiences around the country. Her areas of expertise within women’s health include menopause management and the integration of alternative and complementary medicine into mainstream medical practice.

She is also the Medical Director of Dr. Skul’s Center for Well-Being to enhance her patients’ natural beauty. Every patient’s individual need is addressed thoroughly, respectfully and comprehensively by a team of carefully chosen professionals.

Recognized by her peers, Dr. Skul has been among Best Doctors for Women in Chicago as reported by Chicago Magazine, for nearly a decade. In 2011 she was ranked as The Nation’s Top Doctors by US News and awarded Super Doctor in 2012 and 2013.

Dr. Skul was selected by her peers as an outstanding practicing doctor in Chicago. After an extensive nomination and research process, the results will be published in Chicago Super Doctors, a special advertising section in the September 2013 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

Dr. Danuta Hoyer is a graduate of Northwestern University and Rush Medical College. She is a board certified Internist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rush Medical College, where she has been recognized for her teaching of students and residents. She is a founding partner at Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine.

Dr. Hoyer’s areas of expertise include management issues of mature patients with multiple medical problems. She has special expertise in caring for women with neurological problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and integrates complementary and alternative medicine into her practice.

Known in the Chicago area as the “doctor’s doctor”, she has been among the best doctors in Chicago for many years. Dr. Hoyer has been among Best Doctors for Women in Chicago as reported by Chicago Magazine, for nearly a decade. In 2011 she was ranked as The Nation’s Top Doctors by US News and named Super Doctor in 2012 and 2013.

Dr. Hoyer was selected by her peers as an outstanding practicing doctor in Chicago. After an extensive nomination and research process, the results will be published in Chicago Super Doctors, a special advertising section in the September 2013 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

She balances her busy professional life with assisting her husband in raising two young sons. Dr. Hoyer finds joy in music, travel and entertaining family and friends.

Dr. Jean Walker is a graduate of the medical school at University of Illinois-Chicago/Rockford, and performed her Obstetrics/Gynecology residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. After residency, Dr. Walker joined the Rush Center for Women’s Medicine, practicing with three other internists (including Vesna Skul, MD and Danuta Hoyer, MD) before joining with Doctors Skul and Hoyer to open the Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine.

Dr. Walker’s practice philosophy is one of respecting and listening to patients, and providing exceptional medical care using conventional, alternative, minimally invasive and natural methods. She believes that to practice good medicine a doctor must first listen to her patients, providing and supporting alternative methods to optimize healthcare.

As an Obstetrician-Gynecologist, she believes in and follows a more natural supported labor and birth, and is a strong proponent of minimally invasive surgery, as a last resort.

Dr. Walker has been among Best Doctors for Women in Chicago as reported by Chicago Magazine, for nearly a decade. In 2011 she was ranked as The Nation’s Top Doctors by US News.

Dr. Walker thoroughly enjoys being an Obstetrician/Gynecologist. She believes in the work she does at the Center, and greets each day with enthusiasm and a passion for medicine.

Did you know what you eat affects how you sleep?

Research shows that people who often eat high-fat foods not only gain weight, they also experience a disruption of their sleep cycles. Try dairy foods, they contain tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other foods that are high in tryptophan include nuts and seeds, bananas, honey, and eggs. But don’t overeat before bedtime.

Cut all caffeine from your diet four to six hours before bedtime. Make sure to check your meds, some over-the-counter and prescription drugs contain caffeine.

It’s best to avoid alcohol four to six hours before bedtime. Alcohol has different effects and sometimes may help you fall asleep. Other times you may experience frequent awakenings, less restful sleep, headaches, night sweats and nightmares. If you are drinking at night, have water to dilute the alcohol’s effect.

Beware of spicy foods and heavy meals. It can lead to heartburn. Skip the high-protein snack before bedtime, they are harder to digest. Keep hydated throughout the day, but stop the fluids by 8PM.

Remember, a good time sleep, 7-8 hours helps with your weight.

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

Change Your Health with our FirstLine Therapy Metabolic Syndrome Program

The FirstLine Therapy Program is a professionally supervised, personalized lifestyle modification plan for Metabolic Syndrome. Designed by healthcare professionals, this program has been shown remarkably successful in helping individuals like you return to a path of extended health.

This is not a weight reduction program — it’s a disease reduction program. While weight loss often occurs, it’s only secondary to the primary goal helping you achieve and maintain a healthy body composition (lean-muscle-to-fat ratio) to improve health, manage disease, feel better, and reduce your risk of more serious conditions.

The Support You Need to Succeed  

FirstLine Therapy Is different. It’s structured with professional supervision to help you:
• Establish realistic, personalized goals to improve health
• Monitor your progress and help you stay on track
• Learn how to eat and shop for healthy, nutritious foods that manage food cravings
• Exercise in a way that builds muscle and gets rid of unwanted fat
• Relax and manage unhealthy stress
• Feel better and do more!

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.