Talks on Wellness & Nutrition, part 3

"Wellness is the interactive process of becoming aware of and practicing healthy choices to create a more balanced lifestyle."  It is a very simple philosophy yet it is so difficult to achieve, especially in this age of instant food, video games, quick-service restaurants, and a multitude of food supplements in the market today.

Photo from www.healthadvanced.com

Before we could even begin on this journey to wellness, a thorough self-evaluation is required to be able to find one's ideal combination of diet and physical activities to reach the pinnacle of good health.

"Healthy Lifestyle Through Proper Nutrition"
Part 3 - Talk and Slide Presentation by Dr. Nina Sy-Quia Sioson, MD, DFM, MSCN

This is the third part of my special feature on the parent seminar I attended at my son's school, DML Montessori.  The invited speakers, Ms. Joan Sumpio (from part 1 and part 2) and Dr. Nina Sioson, shared so much about nutrition and wellness that even after two posts, I am only half-way through my notes with a wealth of information that I have gathered.  But I guess the more important thing now is how I would be able to apply what I've learned in my daily family life. So on to Dr. Sioson's presentation.

First is self-assessment. Many of the parents in the audience found themselves wanting of diet solutions. Now for those who know how I look would probably slap me silly for even considering taking these self-assessment and measurements below. Believe me, I also need to do this as I am trying, all my life, to gain weight!  And I really don't feel physically fit at this point in my life so I need this guide.

What shape are you?

Measure yourselves and get your BMI (Body mass index is defined as the individual's body weight divided by the square of his or her height), as instructed below.  This way, you know where you're at, and your wellness and nutrition plan will then follow.

You can also check this site to enter your weight and height and automatically get your BMI.  So, are you 'normal', 'underweight', or 'obese'?

Dr. Sioson also correlates maintaining a healthy weight with normal blood pressure. As your weight goes up, your blood pressure usually follows.  And to prevent having high blood pressure, aside for watching your weight, a good balance of exercise and nutrition is vital.
120/80 = maximum bp
Blood pressure below 120/180 is considered optimal for adults.  At 130/85 or higher is considered elevated (high).

What's in the food we eat?

To better illustrate this, Dr. Sioson presented the main components of what we eat and how it affects our body and craving for food.

1. Carbohydrates - main source of energy; should comprise 55% - 60% of our daily intake
(remember the food pyramid in part 1?)

  • Simple sugars - ideally, have 2 to 3 servings of fruits a day
  • Go for more complex carbs
  • Eat fruits in their natural state rather than juicing it - for better control of sugar content
How to measure:   1 serving = 1 fist size (use your own fist as a guide)

2. Fiber - it's a substance in plants; it aids in digestion; 25g - 30g per day is recommended
You can get fiber from whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables. There are two types, and it's best to have a combination of both:
  • Soluble Fiber - retains water and turns into gel; delays absorption of fats and sugar, i.e. oats, lentils, nuts, some fruits and veggies
  • Insoluble Fiber - produces bulkier stools; speeds up elimination, i.e wheat bran, whole grains, some veggies
  • Other benefits (see slide below)

Dr. Sioson, however, warned that taking supplements together with fiber will hold back absorption of your supplements.  So it would be better to take them at different times during the day. Moreover, too much fiber "can cause both diarrhea and constipation".

3. Proteins - major component of muscle, bones, hair, nails, and other organs; vital for growth and repair; building blocks of body chemicals; should comprise 10% - 15% of our daily intake

As questions regarding vegetarians were raised, the doctor pointed out that their protein will mainly come from their consumption of grains like rice, and legumes.  But in terms of amino acids, animal protein remains superior.

4. Fats - major kinds of fats we eat are saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and hydrogenated (trans fatty acids)
  • Saturated fats - found in animal products, i.e. butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, fatty meats
  • Omega-3 fatty acids - found in oily fish like salmon and cod, and flax seed
  • Trans fatty acids - found in fried foods, margarine, commercial baked goods and processed foods (used to prolong shelf life)
 (HDL - good cholesterol; LDL - bad cholesterol)

Again, we were all reminded to read labels. Especially take note of products claiming "Zero Trans fat". According to Dr. Sioson, products can claim "0 Trans fat" if it contains less than .5 mg per serving.

Did you know...?

... taking too much fiber by the elderly will give them a tendency not to move bowel, or slow down movement

... having a 'Low-carb-High-protein' diet may harm patients with pre-existing kidney disease

... a low-fat diet is not safe for everyone as it should tailor-fit the needs of the individual

... complex carbs promote a feeling of fullness, prevents dehydration and reduces caloric intake

... the faster the oils become rancid, the better -- which means it's more natural

Speaker 2 - Dr. Nina Sy-Quia Sioson, MD, DFM, MSCN
Diplomate in Family Medicine with Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition.  She is a Nutrition Support Consultant at The Medial City, St. Luke's Medical Center, and The Health Cube. A volunteer at the Carewll Cancer Foundation; a member of the Medicine Faculty at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health; Secretary and Head of the Committee on Continuing Professional Education of the Philippine Society for Parental and Enteral Nutrition.

About antioxidants & Tips to Healthy Eating (part 4)
Read back:
Talks on Wellness and Nutrition (part 1)
Nutrition in Life Cycles (part 2)