Is A Vegetarian Diet Healthy For Children?

Vegetarian diets have been shown to be safe for children; however, it is important for parents to ensure there is adequate nutrition in their children’s diet that allows for normal growth and development. This can be achieved by being conscious of food choices and their nutritional values.

Here are nutritional factors parents should keep in mind when raising children on a vegetarian diet:

  • Energy – Children have smaller stomachs than adults, so vegetarian diets must have enough energy content in each serving to fulfill their needs. Three meals and three snacks per day are recommended to sustain energy levels. It is also important to remember that healthy fats are a good source of energy and should not be restricted in children younger than two years old. Nuts, seeds (or nut/seed butters) and avocados are examples of fatty, high energy/high nutrient foods children can eat.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – Vegetarian diets generally contain a lot of omega-6 fatty acids but marginal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are important for brain, eye and nerve development. Foods like flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, and soy should be included in vegetarian diets to ensure adequate intake of omega-3s.
  • Protein – Plant-based protein can be difficult for children to digest. Therefore their intake of protein needs to be increased to meet their daily requirement. It is important to add foods such as milk or eggs, soybean products (e.g. tofu and soy milk) and other protein-rich foods to their diets. Foods such as legumes, nuts and seeds, grains, cereals, potatoes, and pasta also contribute to protein intake but to a lesser degree.
  • Iron – Heme (meat) iron is better absorbed than is non-heme (plant) iron, and children who consume only non-heme iron are at risk of iron deficiency. Vitamin C should be included in each meal to help iron absorption. Iron can be obtained by eating green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals or whole grains.
  • Calcium – Milk and other dairy products provide approximately 75 percent of the calcium in the average American diet. Calcium daily intake should be “700 mg for children one to three years, 1000 mg if they are four to eight years, and 1300 mg if they are nine years and older”. Calcium can be obtained in fortified milk products such as dairy, almond or oat milk.
  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D intake of 600 IU/day is necessary for adequate calcium balance. This is usually found in animal milk as well as soy milk or breakfast cereal fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D supplementation should be used for vegetarian children who don’t have access to enriched foods or that live in places without adequate sunlight.
  • Vitamin B12 – Only animal products have vitamin B12 so vegetarian children should consume either fortified foods (soy milk or cereals) or an oral vitamin B12 supplement.

If you are considering a vegetarian diet for your child and have any questions, please consult your doctor.

To schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6942

Dr. Atif Muhammad; Family Medicine Physician

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that mainly affects people who are middle-aged or older, but it can affect anyone at any age. There are more than three million people in the United States and 60 million people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.Typically the disease starts to develop suddenly, often without symptoms,  and once vision is lost, it is permanent. As much as 40 percent of vision can be lost before some people even notice a problem. It usually starts with loss of peripheral vision.Glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve so that the brain isn’t able to receive images from the eyes. There are two types of Glaucoma, Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma where pressure inside the eye increases on its own and damages the optic nerve and Secondary Glaucoma where another disease causes the pressure in the eye to increase and that results in optic nerve damage. Both types will eventually lead to blindness.

Early detection of Glaucoma can help to slow down the progression of the disease. Regular eye exams are very important. To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Taking Zinc Beneficial for Treating a Cold ?

Using zinc is one of the many home remedies people take when they feel like they have a common cold. Those who use it believe that it helps to shorten the duration of the cold and even lessen its symptoms.

The common cold is caused by the rhinovirus. This virus enters the body through the nasal passageway and the throat and multiplies rapidly once it is there.
The theory behind taking zinc is that it helps to prevent the virus from multiplying once it is in the body, thereby potentially shortening the duration of the cold. It also plays an important role in the body’s ability to resist infection and to help tissue repair.

The best way to take zinc is in lozenge form. It is recommended that the lozenge contain 13 to 23 milligrams of zinc and no more than four be taken per day, and not for more than four or five days. Taking too much zinc can actually suppress the immune system and can cause an upset stomach and give you a metallic taste in your mouth. While zinc is also available as a throat spray, it has side effects such as loss of the ability to smell.

Increasing the daily intake of zinc may help to prevent a cold.  Some foods where zinc  is found include:
• Shellfish
• Beans
• Dairy products
• Red meat
• Nuts

It is important to note that drinking coffee, tea or taking certain medications can inhibit the absorption of zinc by the intestines.

It is a good idea to speak with your physician before taking it to make sure that is safe for you. If you would like to be seen by a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center you may call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that occurs in women of reproductive age. It affects 1 in every 10 women living in the United States.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown; however, several factors are believed to contribute to the disorder. Factors that may play a role in the development of PCOS are genetics, low-grade inflammation or producing excessive amounts of androgens (male hormones) or insulin.

Those affected by PCOS often develop hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems, which can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Acne
  • Hirsutism ( Excessive hair on the face or in areas where only men normally have hair)
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Thinning hair (Male pattern baldness)
  • Skin tags
  • Darkening of skin (Especially in areas such as the groin, underneath the breast and neck creases)

PCOS is linked to other health problems.  Women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome are at risk of complications such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage or premature birth
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Depression and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea

There is no single test used to diagnose PCOS.  Your doctor may take into consideration your medical history and recommend blood tests, pelvic examinations or ultrasounds to rule out other causes for symptoms.

Treatment for PCOS is focused on managing complications.  Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medication or cosmetic procedures to improve symptoms.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call  718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Jamaica Hospital would like to join the national effort to increase awareness about birth defects and what can cause them.

While not all birth defects are preventable, there are certain healthy behaviors that can be practiced to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips for preventing birth defects:

  • Take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Folic acid is important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. Most vitamins contain the recommended amount of folic acid, but women should check the label to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid.
  • Speak with your healthcare provider before you begin or stop taking any medicine. If you are planning to become pregnant, discuss your current medicines with a healthcare provider, such as your doctor or pharmacist. Creating a treatment plan for your health condition before you are pregnant can help keep you and your developing baby healthy.
  • Remain up to date with all vaccines, including your flu shot. Vaccines help protect you and your developing baby against serious diseases. Get a flu shot and whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.
  • Attempt to reach a healthy weight before getting pregnant. Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. If you are overweight (or underweight), speak with your healthcare provider about ways to maintain a healthy weight before you become pregnant.
  • Avoid harmful substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy can harm the developing baby and can cause certain birth defects. Alcohol can also cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy. Using certain drugs during pregnancy can cause health problems for a woman and her developing baby.

By following these recommended tips, you will be doing what is best for you and your baby.

Speak to your doctor about other ways to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center, please call 718- 291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is The “Stress Hormone” Cortisol Causing You To Gain Weight?

Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world.  It can be a contributing factor in other diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, and dementia. Overeating is often cited as the only reason people are obese. In discussions about weight gain and obesity, many people seem to think that it is purely a function of willpower.

Since what we weigh is, normally, attributed to what we eat we must ask the question:

Is over-eating the only reason a person becomes overweight?

Human behavior is driven by various biological factors like genetics, hormones, stress and neural circuits.  Eating behavior, just like sleeping behavior, is driven by biological processes. Therefore, saying that behavior is a function of willpower is way too simplistic.

Studies have shown that when we are stressed or during tension filled times our body increases its production of the “stress hormone” Cortisol. The increase in Cortisol may be the culprit causing you to overeat.

According to http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#,increased levels of the stress hormone  cortisol causes higher insulin levels which then cause your blood sugar to drop making you crave sugary, fatty foods. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite.

Here are some additional factors thought to be the leading causes of weight gain, obesity and metabolic disease that have nothing to do with willpower:

  • Genetics – Obesity has a strong genetic component. Offspring’s of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than offspring’s of lean parents.
  • Insulin – Insulin is a very important hormone that regulates energy storage, among other things. One of the functions of insulin is to tell fat cells to store fat and to hold on to the fat they already carry.  When insulin levels elevate, energy is selectively stored in fat cells instead of being available for use.
  • Medications – Certain medications can cause weight gain as a side effect. Some examples include diabetes medication, antidepressants and antipsychotics. These medications don’t cause a “willpower deficiency,” they alter the function of the body and brain, making it selectively store fat instead of burning it.
  • Leptin –This hormone is produced by the fat cells and is supposed to send signals to the hypothalamus (the part of our brain that controls food intake) that we are full and need to stop eating. The problem for some is their leptin isn’t working as it should because the brain becomes resistant to it.  This is called leptin resistance and is believed to be a leading factor in the pathogenesis of obesity.
  • Thyroid Disease – Thyroid hormone regulates our metabolism. Too little hormone slows the metabolism and often causes weight gain.
  • Cushing syndromeOccurs when your body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol for a long time. Cushing syndrome, sometimes called hypercortisolism, may be caused by the use of oral corticosteroid medication. The condition can also occur when your body makes too much cortisol on its own.

A doctor can determine if any of these conditions or treatments is responsible for your obesity.  If you would like to see a physician, please contact the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center to schedule an appointment. 718-206-7001.

 

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Having An Annual Physical Exam Important ?

It’s the beginning of a new year which is a perfect time to make a promise to take bettercare of yourself.  What better way to do this than by scheduling an appointment for a regular medical check-up. Even if you feel fine, it is a good idea to see your medical doctor to ensure that you don’t have any underlying health issues. The American Medical Association is now recommending that physical exams be performed once every five years for people between 18 and 40 years of age and every three years after the age of 40, as long as there are no chronic illnesses that require  more frequent check-ups.  After the age of 55, an annual exam is probably a good idea.

There are many reasons that having a physical exam is something that everyone should make time to do.  These include:

• Prevention of illnesses
• Monitoring the risk of chronic disease
• Identify illnesses that don’t have symptoms
• Monitoring your weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and basic body chemistry
• Adjusting your lifestyle to best suit your rage
• Keeping an ongoing relationship with your physician

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Make Your Mental Health a Priority This New Year

Tis’ the season for New Year Resolutions!  We are all talking about shedding some holiday pounds, keeping ourselves more organized or just living our best lives in 2019.  While striving towards those goals, why not included your mental health in this years resolutions?

Did you know that mental illness affects millions of Americans, yet not surprisingly, many of those who need help do not receive it. There are many reasons why – it could be due to limited availability of services, or a strong distrust of others, or those who are mentally ill might have such a sense of hopelessness that they do not seek care.

While all of these are factors as to why someone doesn’t seek support, perhaps the biggest single reason is a sense of fear and shame associated with admitting help is needed. This sense of shame is very common and it is only reinforced by society, which has attached stigmas to mental illness. The beliefs the public has about mental illness leads those who need help to avoid it so they are not labeled as “crazy” and have their condition negatively affect their personal relationships and career goals.

Getting society to overcome the stigmas associated with mental illness is the key to having more individuals come forward, but unfortunately negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are common. These stigmas can lead to obvious and direct discrimination, such as someone making a negative remark about mental illness or it may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding an individual because they assume they could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to mental illness.

Those with mental illness should never be ashamed of their condition and here are some reasons why:

  • According to the World Health Organization, one out of four people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.
  • Shame is pretty much guaranteed to make things worse. Feelings of shame are proven to have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health
  • Mental illness is no one’s fault. No one asks to have a mental illness and it is definitely not a choice we make.
  • We’re not ashamed when our bodies get sick, so why should we be ashamed when our minds aren’t in top form.
  • There is no normal – our minds are complex things and no single brain is the same
  • Our mental health doesn’t define us. Don’t let your mental illness become who you are, it is just one aspect of you.

It’s time to speak out against the stigmas associated with mental illness and reframe the way we see it. Getting help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.

Flushing Hospital advises anyone who feels they need help to get it.  Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief and help you in life.

To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.