Grab your spoons — study finds yogurt can decrease risk for osteoporosis

If you’re a fan of yogurt, then we have good news. A recent study in Osteoporosis International found that eating yogurt can help strengthen your bones and decrease your risk for osteoporosis.

According to an article in the New York Times, over 4,000 Irish adults ages 60 and older participated in the study. Researchers measured their “bone density and joint deterioration” and tested their “physical ability.” They found that compared to non-yogurt eaters, the people who ate yogurt daily had a 3 to 4 percent increase in bone mineral density. The female participants’ risk for osteoporosis decreased by 39% and males’ risk decreased by 52%.

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, then you know there are several different types of yogurt, ranging in flavor and texture. There seems to be something for everyone. However, if you haven’t cozied up to the idea of yogurt yet, here are some other benefits to eating this food that might help change your mind.

Perfect protein

According to WebMD, adults in the U.S. are encouraged to get 10 percent to 35 percent of their day’s calories from protein, which adds up to about 46 grams for women. Yogurt has about 9 grams per serving, so it’s a great way to incorporate protein into your diet. Especially if you’re an active person, protein can help build muscle and make you stronger.

Natural nutrients

Yogurt contains important nutrients such as calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium and magnesium. However, some yogurts contain unhealthy additives such as sugar. Instead of purchasing a pre-sweetened blend, try a plain non-fat yogurt and use natural sweeteners such as bananas, granola or honey to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Pleasant probiotics

You’ve probably seen brands advertise how their yogurt contains probiotics, but what does that mean? Research is still being conducted to better understand how certain strands of probiotics can benefit a consumer. However, some evidence shows that it can help boost your immune system and promote a healthy digestive track.

Better balance

Yes, yogurt can even help prevent vaginal yeast infections. The active cultures in yogurt can help decrease vaginal pH levels to a healthy level, which helps stop yeast infections and keeps them from coming back.

If you want to learn more about your risk for osteoporosis, sign up to speak with an expert at Women’s Care Florida.

Want to lower your risk for early menopause? Eat your vegetables

There are many benefits to incorporating more vegetables into your diet, such as weight loss or weight maintenance, more energy and better digestion. And now, new research suggests that women who eat a high amount of vegetable protein may lower their risk for early menopause and prolong their reproductive function.

According to Science Daily, researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst conducted an ongoing study of 116,000 women ages 25 to 45. Throughout the study, they asked participants to report how often they ate a single serving of 131 foods. They found that women had a 16 percent lower risk of early menopause when they ate approximately 6.5 percent of their daily calories as veggie protein compared to women whose intake was at 4 percent of their calories.

Not sure where you can find a good source of vegetable protein? According to Science Daily, vegetable protein can be found in foods such as whole grains, soy, and tofu. “Consuming enriched pasta, dark bread and cold cereal were especially associated with lower risk,” the article said, “while they observed no similar relation to eating animal sources of protein.”

Here’s a list of other foods high in vegetable or plant-based protein:

  • Lentils
  • Black Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Green Peas
  • Artichokes
  • Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Edamame

Early menopause is when women experience menopause before the age of 40. Even though it’s rare, women who experience premature menopause often experience other health risks associated with loss of estrogen, such as colon and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.

To learn more about how you can lower your risk of early menopause, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified OB/GYNS.

Why you should stop using artificial sweeteners

The facts are in: artificial sweeteners lead to weight gain — not loss — researchers say. Experts at Women’s Care Florida receive a lot of questions about women’s health and women’s nutrition. We advise our patients to incorporate natural foods into their diet, and to steer clear of processed ingredients and added sugar. That includes artificial sweeteners, which although advertised as healthy alternatives to sugar, actually are not.

An analysis of studies in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looked at the long-term health effects of more than 400,000 people who substituted artificial sweeteners for sugar. The results were not positive.

Researchers found that nonnutritive sweeteners were linked to modest long term weight gain, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension with regular consumption. These sweeteners trigger the same part of the brain that tells you to eat more sugary foods.

If you’re looking to lose weight, then don’t rely on sugar substitutes or alternatives. Instead, we tell our patients to work on lowering their daily intake of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than 25 grams a day or 6 teaspoons of sugar.

“The average American eats 82 grams of sugar a day. Sometimes it feels like it’s hard to avoid,” Dr. Jeffrey Puretz at  Women’s Care Florida said. “We have personalized weight loss programs that can help women get on a healthier path — one with less sugar and sugar alternatives.”

To learn more about our weight loss programs at Women’s Care Florida, click here.

Nutrition tips for menopausal women

It’s safe to say, many women dread the onset of menopause. Symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, loss of sexual libido, and more can bring about feelings of anxiety or discomfort. While you might not be able to avoid menopause completely, you can reduce and manage its symptoms through proper nutrition.

Eating the right foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can help prevent and relieve common menopause symptoms. Here are other nutrition tips that can help you manage menopause in the healthiest way possible.

Eat calcium-rich foods

The risk for bone loss and osteoporosis increases for menopausal women. Protect your bones by increasing your intake of vitamin D and calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat yogurt, orange juice, broccoli, salmon, sardines, and tofu. Also, consider talking to your doctor about calcium supplements that can help lower your risk for bone loss. Your total calcium intake, including diet and supplements, should be at least 1500 ml per day.

Consume more omega-3s and vitamin B

Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins are key to healthy brain and nervous cell function and can help manage irritability and mood swings accompanied by menopause. Eat flaxseed, walnuts, and oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon for omega-3s, and consume more lentils and lean meats to get higher amounts of B vitamins.

If you consume caffeine and alcohol, be aware that these substances can trigger hot flashes.

Avoid sugary and high-fat foods

Foods high in sugar and fat often lack nutritional value and can upset your hormonal balance to worsen menopausal symptoms. Try to limit how much desserts and sweets you consume, and stop eating processed foods high in sugar, fat, additives, and preservatives.

Try the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet, which is mainly comprised of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil can help stave off weight gain and improve heart health. Plus, these foods can reduce hot flashes and night sweats, stabilize estrogen levels, and regulate blood sugar — all of which help ease menopausal symptoms.

If you suspect you’ve entered menopause, make an appointment with Women’s Care Florida to learn more about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and other treatments that can help ease symptoms.