During your 45-minute one-on-one consultation, your London Drugs Patient Care Pharmacist will begin with a review of your usual eating habits and lifestyle and any concerns you may have. They will then perform a complete body composition analysis that helps you see beyond your weight. Your session will conclude with tips and resources, as well as a personalized eating and physical activity plan towards a healthier lifestyle.
Visit www.londondrugs.com/nutritionclinics to learn more.
For those who are resolving to make their health a priority in 2016, there are a wide variety of new trends plus a host of tried-and-true healthy behaviors that can help keep motivation high and goals on track.
London Drugs Pharmacist, Jason Chan-Remillard, points out some of the top wellness trends for 2016 and offers some tips for adopting healthy behaviors in the New Year.
Wearable tech is everywhere right now and will gain even more traction in 2016 with new features and functionality. Everything from fitness trackers to smart watches and even heart rate monitors are being used to analyze physical wellness.
“These devices are changing the way we plan and manage our workouts, monitor our health and can help motivate us to achieve our wellness goals,” says Chan-Remillard.
London Drugs sees wearable tech as such a critical component of health that they specifically trained their Patient Care Pharmacists on wearable tech options and began hosting Health Tech demo days for customers in their stores. Pharmacists also lead by example in this area, wearing the Fitbit HR during London Drugs’ Nutrition & Healthy Weight Clinics.
“Understanding wearable technology helps us promote wellness. It is now an integrated component of monitoring health and it is a technology we know helps many of our patients,” says Chan-Remillard.
Fitbit earned the spot as the top app in the App Store over Christmas. The newest Fitbit, Fitbit Surge, can not only count steps, but also tracks pace, distance, elevation climbed, heart rate, calories burned and is even able to sync to the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Scale.
Other wearable tech products like iHealth track blood pressure.
“This is an important advancement because things like high blood pressure aren’t easily-detected, but if left untreated, over time can increase your risk of stroke and heart attack,” says Chan-Remillard.
You are made of approximately 10 trillion body cells. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, your body is host to many trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts, viruses and fungi. These live all over and in your body, with a large contingent found in your “gut,” also known as the gastrointestinal system. The gut runs a complex path from the mouth to the esophagus, stomach, small then large intestine, and finally the rectum and anus. The roughly 100 trillion microorganisms that inhabit the gut (mostly in the large intestine) exist “symbiotically” with humans. This means we provide them with a place to live and they help us digest certain foods, help provide a balance against unhealthy microorganisms, create vitamins K and biotin, and perhaps, even help regulate our body weight. These trillions of organisms can even be considered an essential organ in the body, as important as any other.
You may already be aware that bacteria digest foods we don’t break down well. Beans are indeed a “musical fruit” as gut bacteria process the stachyose (a natural sugar) that was not digested by the human gut. In fact, this sugar and other carbohydrates such as fiber, are important foods for your gut bacteria. The addition of “prebiotics” to foods such as yogurt and bread is intended to support the growth of these bacteria.
You may also have heard how important the balance of “good” to “bad” microbes is. Indeed, of the trillions of organisms in our bodies, not all are beneficial for us. A good example is Clostridium difficile. This bacteria is fairly widespread in nature but only causes problems under certain circumstances, such as, for example, when you take an antibiotic to treat an infection. In this case, the drug destroys some of the normal, helpful bacteria as well as the bacteria causing the illness. Without enough healthy bacteria, C. difficile can grow out of control. For this and other reasons, it is very important not to overuse antibiotics.
Bacteria also help with our nutrition. One example of this is vitamin K. This vitamin is required for normal blood clotting. Foods, such as leafy green vegetables, provide about half the vitamin K required for healthy adults while gut bacteria (good old E. coli) produce the rest. Interestingly, newborns lack the bacteria in their intestines to produce vitamin K so they are usually given vitamin K supplements, either as a shot or by mouth, before discharge from the hospital.
The idea that weight could be affected by gut microbes, particularly bacteria, has been gaining traction in recent years. Studies have been done on mice and on humans, and while there are no absolutes yet, it appears that leaner mice and people have different types of gut bacteria as well as a more diverse population- that is, more types of bacteria. And at least one study suggests that a high fiber, low fat diet is more supportive of microbes that promote a healthy body weight.
The Human Microbiome Project (HMP), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, was established in 2008, with the mission of defining our microbial community and analyzing its role in human health and disease. This project is made possible with the help of thousands of volunteers who send in samples from their skin, mouth, feces and other sites. At least 10,000 different microbes have been identified. As the research proceeds, it will be possible to better understand which microbes are most useful for human health and perhaps how to help them flourish in our systems.
Stay tuned for more exciting developments about the “forgotten organ.” Anticipate a future where we think about our health and the health of trillions of our closest friends.
Barbara Allan RD
Certified Diabetes Educator
Almost everyone has heard of omega-3 oils, the oils that are good for you in so many ways. Some omega-3 oils are plant-derived, usually from flax seeds, but more and more, research is showing omega- 3 oils from wild salmon and krill to have superior health benefits.
There is plenty of talk about the perils of sugar and indeed, most health experts think we consume too much of it. What is the evidence that we are eating too much, and if so, how much is safe? Is any amount of sugar OK?
Sugar is a concern because it is a source of “empty” calories, that is, calories that contribute to one’s body weight without providing any nutrition. Furthermore, empty calories may displace more healthy foods, leading to deficiencies. Sugar is also a concern as it is a contributor to the increase in obesity being observed around the world. In 2009 the American Heart Association (AHA) drew links between sugar and cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, insulin resistance and diabetes. The recent EPIC diet and cancer study linked added sugars to brain, uterus, prostate and pancreatic cancer.
It’s a topic that many doctors don’t want to touch: Fraught with political incorrectness, the subject of body fat is just too sensitive for many health professionals to mention. As a result, most people remain unaware of just how detrimental excess fat (especially around the midsection) can be to the health.
When excess fat accumulates, it begins to secrete toxic chemicals known as adipokines. These are believed to contribute to the development of many health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.