Long COVID and Healthy Lifestyles

10 tips to keeping a healthy nutrition routine

Researchers have found that adhering to a healthy lifestyle in women may protect against Long Covid. These include: healthy body weight, not smoking, exercising, sleeping well, eating a healthy diet. Symptoms of long covid are defined as having fatigue, fever, respiratory, heart, neurological, and digestive issues four or more weeks after initial SARS-CoV-2 infection. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Author: Mark A. Mahoney ( 10 Tips to keeping a healthy nutrition )

With the recent 50th anniversary of 2023 National Nutrition Month in March, it’s a good time to continue to focus on important messages and proactive actions.

Today’s column focuses on some healthful messages and actions that can be taken to help us achieve a better quality of life as well as a note on a diet that can provide us with many-varied benefits and also helps foster more environmental sustainability.

Some general overall health tips that are recommended follows:

1. Eat breakfast

Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables

Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber to your plate.

3. Watch portion sizes

Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean protein foods. Complete the meal with a serving of fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt.

4. Be active

Regular physical activity has many health benefits. Start by doing what exercise you can. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults at least two hours and 30 minutes per week.

5. Get to know food labels

Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you choose foods and drinks to meet your nutrient needs.

6. Fix healthy snacks

Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods.

7. Consult an RDN

Whether you want to lose weight, lower your health-risks or manage a chronic disease, consult the experts! Registered dietitian nutritionists can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice.

8. Follow food safety guidelines

Reduce your chances of getting sick with proper food safety. This includes: regular hand washing, separating raw foods from ready-to-eat foods, cooking foods to the appropriate internal temperature, and refrigerating food promptly. Learn more about home food safety at eatright.org.

9. Drink more water

Quench your thirst with water instead of drinks with added sugars.

10. Make an effort to reduce food waste

Check out what foods you have on hand before stocking up at the grocery store. Plan meals based on leftovers and only buy perishable foods you will use or freeze within a couple of days.

Thanks to District 10s health department in Michigan for the tips provided above.

Eating with sustainability in mind focuses on nourishing ourselves during every phase of life while emphasizing the protection of the environment. Information on one evidenced-based diet that can contribute to one’s health follows.

I Call This The Mediterranean Bowl Full Of Leafy Greens Roasted Chickpeas And Additional Vegetables Make This A Delicious Mediterranean Diet Meal

I Call This The Mediterranean Bowl Full Of Leafy Greens Roasted Chickpeas And Additional Vegetables Make This A Delicious Mediterranean Diet Meal

The Mediterranean diet

One diet that is very promising for achieving a more healthful lifestyle and also focuses on the theme of National Nutrition Month is the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes plant-based foods and healthy fats. You eat mostly veggies, fruits and whole grains. Olive oil is the main source of fat. Research shows the Mediterranean Diet can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and many other chronic conditions.

The Mediterranean Diet is also considered to be a potent intervention for reducing body weight. Several studies investigating this traditional diet have highlighted its importance in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases and mortality.

Improving our quality of life through living a healthy lifestyle is a process, not something that just magically appears. Taking good messages and messengers to “heart” are a key part of this approach. Good luck with taking a more proactive approach to better health in 2023 looking toward a life-long approach to a healthier you. Do it for yourself and your family.

Additional reference sites for science-based resources are provided at the end of this column including information on the Mediterranean diet.

Additional resources

Healthy eating for a healthy weight is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/healthyweight.

A good resource for Information on the Mediterranean diet is available at the following site:my.clevelandclinic.org

New research on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet for managing obesity is available at news-medical.net.

Are Our Diets Killing US?


” A 2010 report from the National Cancer Institute on the status of the American diet found that three out of four Americans don’t eat a single piece of fruit in a given day, and nearly nine out of ten don’t reach the minimum recommended daily intake of vegetables. On a weekly basis, 96 percent of Americans don’t reach the minimum for greens or beans (three servings a week for adults), 98 percent don’t reach the minimum for orange vegetables (two servings a week), and 99 percent don’t reach the minimum for whole grains (about three to four ounces a day). “In conclusion,” the researchers wrote, “nearly the entire U.S. population consumes a diet that is not on par with recommendations. These findings add another piece to the rather disturbing picture that is emerging of a nation’s diet in crisis.” About this blog by Sally J. Feltner, MS, PhD.

What are Nitrates?


Written by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 17, 2022

Beet juice may boost stamina to help you exercise longer, improve blood flow, and help lower blood pressure, some research shows.

Why? Beets are rich in natural chemicals called nitrates. Through a chain reaction, your body changes nitrates into nitric oxide, which helps with blood flow and blood pressure.

Nitric oxide plays a major role in the dilation of blood vessels thus increasing blood flow It is also vital for maintaining healthy blood pressure and platelet function.

Nitric oxide production in the body decreases with age. Low levels are associated with heart disease, cognitive decline, and dementia. This can result in endothelial dysfunction (inner walls of arteries). The vessels cannot dilate properly or widen, leading to or increasing blood pressure and sometimes atherosclerosis, heart attacks, abnormal clotting, strokes and sudden cardiac death.

Beet Juice Nutrition

One cup of raw beets has 58 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrates. A cup of beet juice is usually around 100 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates.

Beets are good sources of folate, potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, as well as nitrates.

Other good food sources of nitrates include spinach, radishes, lettuce, celery, and Chinese cabbage.

Raw or cooked beetroot offers about 8–10% carbs.

Simple sugars — such as glucose and fructose — make up 70% and 80% of the carbs in raw and cooked beetroots, respectively.

Beetroots are also a source of fructans — short-chain carbs classified as FODMAPs. Some people cannot digest FODMAPs, causing unpleasant digestive symptoms.

Beetroots have a glycemic index (GI) score of 61, which is considered medium. The GI is a measure of how fast blood sugar levels rise after a meal.

On the other hand, the glycemic load of beetroots is only 5, which is very low.

This means that beetroots should not have a major effect on blood sugar levels because the total carb amount in each serving is low.


Beetroots are high in fiber, providing about 2–3 grams in each 3/4-cup (100-gram) raw serving.

Dietary fiber is important as part of a healthy diet and linked to a reduced risk of various diseases .

Is Food Addictive?

Fatty and sugary foods train your brain to hate healthier options: Yale study

People crave fatty and sugary foods when they consume them daily — and the pattern can be hard to break, researchers at Yale University and the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Germany have determined in new research.

The study, published online Wednesday in the journal Cell Metabolism, found eating a snack high in fat and sugar every day alters the reward circuits in human brains to create lasting preferences.

Participants were divided into two groups and told to continue their normal eating habits, except for one major difference.

Researchers gave one group yogurt high in fat and sugar twice daily for eight weeks, while the other group received a low fat lowl-fat, low-sugar version.

At the end of the eight weeks, participants were offered puddings with varying fat contents and apple juice containing differing sugar levels and told to rate them for fattiness, creaminess, oiliness, sweetness, desire and satisfaction.

Scientists found the group that was used to eating the yogurt higher in sugar and fat didn’t enjoy the healthier options as much as they had before the study.

The participants also underwent MRI scans to track brain activity while drinking milkshakes, which showed increased activity for the high-sugar, high-fat group, but not for the other group.

“Let’s say a new bakery opens up next to your work and you start stopping in and having a scone every morning. That alone can rewire your basic fundamental dopamine learning circuits,” Dana Small, the study’s senior author and director of Yale University School of Medicine’s Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center, told NBC News.


The authors likened the findings to the effects of addictive drugs, saying exposure to foods high in sugar and fat indicates that habitual factors contribute to obesity — not just genetic and environmental influences, as previously thought.The study found those eating food higher in fat and sugar continued to crave it.

In discussing food addiction, it’s the link between the gut and the brain. “When highly processed food is ingested, the body is flooded with heavy loads of salt, sugar and fat, as expressed in his book “Salt, Sugar Fat, by Michael Moss. Once ingested, they race along the same pathways, using the same neurological circuits to reach the brain’s pleasure zones…responsible for enjoyable feelings for what it thinks is the right thing for the body.”

Michael Moss, Salt, Sugar, Fat. How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Random House Trade Paperback Edition, 2014

Vitamin B12: The Facts At a Glance

Important Facts about Vitamin B12
Sally Feltner MS, PhD Diet and Health, General October 15, 2020 2 Minutes
March 27, 2019 by foodworksblog Leave a comment

Vitamin B12 is often overlooked as to its importance to human health. Vitamin B12 is needed for the metabolism of another vitamin, folate as well as fatty acids to maintain the insulating layer of myelin surrounding nerve fibers. When myelin degenerates, neurological symptoms occur that include numbness, tingling, memory loss and disorientation. If not treated, it can eventually cause paralysis and death. On the other hand, a deficiency is rare, but can be a public health concern due to marginal B12 status due to either low intake or problems with absorption as often found in the older adult. This deficiency may also occur in people who attempt to practice a strict vegan diet as this vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products.Vegan diets are a concern due to B12 found only in animal foods. Severe deficiencies have been found in breast – fed infants of vegan women and marginal deficiencies for all vegans if supplemental or fortified foods are not consumed in the diet.

The absorption of B12 from food requires adequate levels of stomach acid, intrinsic factor (produced in the stomach) and pancreatic secretions. Even though it is a water-soluble vitamin, the body stores and reuses it more efficiently that it does other water soluble vitamins. Poor absorption of vitamin B12 can result from a condition called pernicious anemia. It is an autoimmune disease in which the cells in the stomach that produce intrinsic factor are destroyed. This can be treated by using injections or megadoses of the vitamin. When this occurs, intrinsic factor is not necessary since synthetic B12 found in supplements are used that bypass the digestive system.

Primary Food Sources
Fish, seafood
Milk and cheese
Ready to eat cereals

Highlights and Comments
Older people, those with previous stomach surgery, and vegans are at risk for deficiency.
Some people become B12 deficient because they are unable to absorb it (pernicious anemia).
Vitamin B12 is found in animal products and microorganisms only.

Source: Smolin, Lori A. & , Grosvenor, Mary B. Nutrition, Science and Applications, Third Edition
Judith E. Brown, Nutrition Now, 7th Edition

How Fish Oil Prevents Heart Disease?

Fat is a key nutrient in our diet and is often the first thing you may note on a food label. Most foods contain a mixture of many different types of fat: the commonest are saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats. Polyunsaturated fats are divided into two major families: omega-6 and omega-3’s. Are some good and some bad.? This conundrum is often debated among nutritionists and still a definitive answer remains elusive.

What exactly are the omega-6 and omega 3 fats?
We have to begin with the polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, linoleic (omega-6) (LA)  and alpha linolenic acids (omega-three) (ALA). They are called essential because they cannot be made in the body and must be acquired from the diet.
Linoleic acid (LA) is required for growth, healthy skin and normal functioning of the reproductive system and is a structural part of cell membranes.  Foods high in omega 6 fats include unhealthy foods like processed snacks, fast foods, cakes, fatty meats, and cured meats. Other omega 6 foods are healthy including tofu, walnuts, and peanut butter. They are also prevalent in vegetable oils, like corn oil, safflower, sunflower and soybean oils. Linoleic acid is converted in the body to another fatty acid called arachidonic acid (AA). Food sources of AA include meat, poultry, and eggs.
Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is also a structural compound of cell membranes and found in high amounts in the brain. Alpha linolenic acid is found in walnuts, dark, leafy green vegetables, flaxseed and chia seeds, canola and soybean oils. However, this post is primarily associated with fish oil and heart risks.
ALA is converted in the body to two more fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DHA) which is what you find on fish oil supplement labels. This conversion rate of ALA to EPA can be slow and may depend on many factors, one being the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
EPA and DHA are found in fish, krill, and algae oil capsules as well as in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout. The AI for omega-3 fatty acids is 1.6 grams (men) and 1.1 g (women).
Arachidonic acid and EPA are necessary for making hormone-like compounds called eicosanoids, hormone-like compounds that participate in regulation of blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation, and a host of other important body functions.

So, the major players so far are: LA, ALA, AA, EPA, and DHA.

What is the omega-6/omega-3 ratio?
It is not enough to consume adequate levels of omega-3 fats but to avoid over-consumption of omega-6 fatty acids. Most modern diets contain excessive amounts of omega-6s and insufficient amounts of omega-3s. Americans regularly eat vegetable oils but eat fish infrequently, so we end up with many more omega-6s and fewer omega-3s.
The optimal 6 to 3 ratio approaches 4:1 that may be difficult for some people in our current food environment to achieve, so we try for 4:1 in hopes of realistically attaining less than 10:1. On average in the U.S., the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is a disastrous 16:1. Soybean oil, an omega-6 is so ubiquitous in the food supply that an astounding percent of calories from fat in the American diet (especially processed foods) are estimated to come from this single omega-6 source.

How Do Eicosanoids Affect Health?
Omega-6 fatty acids produce eicosanoids that tend to favor higher blood pressure, more blood clotting, and inflammatory compounds in the body.  They are often referred to as “bad” eicosanoids.
Omega-3 fatty acids produce eicosanoids with opposing healthier effects, i.e., lower blood pressure, less blood clotting, and anti-inflammatory effects.  They are often referred to a “good” eicosanoids.
Eicosanoids from omega-3 EPA can diminish the effects of the “bad” eicosanoids by producing opposing compounds that will help tip the ratio back to a more favorable eicosanoid environment in the cell.
Another way to improve the fatty acid ratio is to help block excess arachidonic acid formation. By making sure your body has an adequate amount of EPA that acts as an inhibitor of the enzyme that can produces the “bad” eicosanoids.   The higher the EPA in the diet, the more the enzyme is inhibited, and the less “bad” eicosanoids are produced.
The problem with vegetable oils
“Vegetable oils that turn rancid easily have been used since lard was designated as having a high saturated fat content when the low-fat craze to prevent heart disease was in full swing. The troubled history of these oils has never been resolved.  In a series of workshops in the 1980’s, it was observed that using diets high in soybean oil showed subjects dying of cancer at very high rates. Gallstones were also associated with diets high in vegetable oils. Subsequent research demonstrated that these oils that are high in omega-6, compete with the healthier omega-3’s found in fish virtually at important spots in every cell membrane throughout the body, including those in the brain.” (Nina Teicholz,

The Big Fat Surprise
The vast amount of omega-6 that has entered our food supply via vegetable oils appear to have literally swamped the omega-3’s (the supply of which has remained relatively constant over the past century. (Teicholz,  page 275-6). Conversely, the American Heart Association encourages Americans to eat more vegetable oils due to their ability to lower LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol.)
Nonetheless, excessive intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, has several risks. The double bonds in the fatty acid molecules are very reactive. They tend to react with oxygen, forming chain reactions of free radicals. These free radicals can cause cell damage, which is one of the mechanisms behind aging and the onset of cancer.

If you want to improve your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, it’s probably a bad idea to eat a lot of omega-3 to compensate. Having a relatively low, balanced amount of each is best. Using olive oil in salad dressings and coconut oil for cooking is recommended. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat and coconut oil is more stable since it has more saturated fat content. Neither are part of the omega-6 or omega-3 families.

What to Take Away from all this:
Linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid, and α-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, are considered essential fatty acids because they cannot be made in the body by humans.
Both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are important structural components of cell membranes, serve as precursors to eicosanoids and provide a source of energy. Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in particular exert anti-inflammatory effects; it is recommended to increase their presence in the diet.
The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can be synthesized from ALA, but due to low conversion efficiency, it is recommended to consume foods rich in EPA and DHA or consume fewer omega-6 foods.

Medscape News

Can taking vitamin D supplements help prevent dementia?

Scientists say there may be an interesting link between vitamin D supplements and dementia.

  • Researchers assessed the association between vitamin D supplementation and the incidence of dementia.
  • They found that vitamin D supplementation was linked to a lower dementia incidence.
  • Further studies are needed to certify the results.

Over 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, which is expected to rise to 139 million by 2050Trusted Source. There are currentlyTrusted Source no medications that can stop or reverse the condition.

Interventions that can affect dementia risk factors are being explored to slow disease progression. One such risk factor is vitamin D deficiency.

Some studies have found that vitamin D may aid the clearance of amyloid beta aggregates—one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, studies have produced conflicting results on whether vitamin D improves cognitive function.

Other studiesTrusted Source show that low vitamin D levels are linked to a greater risk of dementia and AD.

Further studying the link between vitamin D supplementation and cognitive decline could help develop preventative strategies for dementia.

Recently, researchers assessed the link between vitamin D supplementation and incident dementia. They found that vitamin D supplementation is linked to lower incidence of dementia.

The study was published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease MonitoringTrusted Source.

Note: A word of caution – please discuss news like this with your primary care physician or a certificated registered nutritionist. We also make Vitamin D from sun exposure. It is also found in fortified milk, some fish, and fortified cereals.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and stored in the body. The consequences of overdose are: metal retardation in children, abnormal bone growth and formation, nausea, diarrhea, irritability, deposition of calcium in organs such as kidney, liver, and heart.

Toxicity is possible with long-term use of 10,000 IU daily. Judith E. Brown, Nutrition Now, 7th Edition.

Sally Feltner, MS, PhD.