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It’s National Nutrition Month! Eat Right - Your Way, Every Day

March is the month to celebrate healthy eating habits and Registered Dietitians everywhere making an impact on our nation’s nutritional health. Each year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes National Nutrition Month by selecting a theme to support Americans in making informed and sound decisions with their dietary intake. In 2013 the theme is Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.

What does that this mean?

We are each unique individuals with different ethnicities, cultural practices and traditions, food preferences, and health concerns. These factors guide and influence our food choices on a daily basis. There is a common misconception that “eating healthy” means cutting out certain foods or feeling deprived. RD’s recognize that all foods can be healthfully incorporated into a well balanced, daily eating plan within a person’s energy needs.

National Nutrition Month at Swedish

In honor of National Nutrition Month, the Nutrition Services department at First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, and Issaquah has been featuring a nutrition booth in the cafeteria celebrating the health benefits of different country’s cultural cuisines. Swedish Registered Dietitians and Diet Technicians have been present each Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., providing healthful eating tips, handouts, and food samples from the featured country of the week!

The first week of National Nutrition Month highlighted foods from the Philippines. The native dishes displayed were Pompano and pinakbet:

10 things that doctors admire about their patients

Instead of only focusing on what patients need to do to improve their health, let's look at what they bring to a doctor’s appointment.

Here are 10 things that physicians love about their patients:

10. Their preparedness. One might think that doctors cringe when patients pull out “the list” of their concerns and questions. On the contrary: this adds great efficiency and still helps us to be complete in what we do. The last thing a doctor wants is for a patient to go home and worry about something they forgot to ask us.

9. Their self-discipline. I have seen many patients shed pounds, shake off cigarettes, trim down on alcohol consumption and put on those sneakers day after day. If I’m honest, I’d say that I myself exercise just so I can look these inspiring individuals in the eyes when we talk about fitness.

8. Their knowledge. I don’t always know the “latest and greatest” developments in medicine. My patients are well-informed, and not uncommonly alert me to something I need to research or bone up on. They are “iron sharpening iron.”

7. Their ...

Mother Nature’s Role in Healing Our Children

I am a pediatric hospitalist. That is, I am a pediatrician who takes care of children sick enough to be hospitalized. So my writing about the importance of children spending time outdoors and enjoying nature might be surprising. Even though I may only take care of a child for the worst few days of their life, I am still quite passionate about the fundamental role of outdoor play in a child’s health and well-being.

Even during acute illness, I find that children often heal faster when they are given more opportunities to be playful and (illness-allowing) go outdoors to allow Mother Nature to heal them from within. So needless to say, I am often amazed at how little exposure many of these children have had, even prior to becoming ill, to spend time playing outdoors and getting to know their environment.

Now especially, as the days begin to get longer, and the refreshing spring air returns to our beautiful Pacific Northwest, I start thinking about all the wonderful outdoor fun I used to have as a child, and the importance such activities had on my own health and overall sense of well-being.

I worry that children of today encounter ....

What is Gastroenteritis?

This past week, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was hospitalized with a “stomach bug”. Gastroenteritis (also called the “stomach flu”) is the second most common illness in the United States. So, chances are good that your family has been affected by gastroenteritis already this year!

What are the symptoms of gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines causing symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, cramping, and fever. If a person is not able to keep up with fluid losses from diarrhea and vomiting, then they can become dehydrated. Gastroenteritis occurs year-round and affects people of all ages. Those who are young, old, or have a suppressed immune system are more susceptible to severe gastroenteritis and to dehydration.

What causes gastroenteritis?
The majority of cases are caused by a viral infection (occasionally, a bacterial infection) transmitted through contact with another sick person or contaminated food/drink.

I have gastroenteritis, how can I feel better?
Rest and fluids! Staying hydrated is the most important step to controlling gastroenteritis. Some good options for staying hydrated include sports drinks or oral rehydration solutions (such as Pedialyte in drug and grocery stores).

I typically do not recommend any anti-diarrheal medications as this may even prolong the illness. In addition, antibiotic therapy is not helpful unless a specific bacterial cause is identified.

When should I call my doctor?
If you have questions or concerns you should always call your provider. However, things to watch for if you have gastroenteritis include:

Immune-boosting foods: what you need to know about antioxidants for your health

I felt compelled to write this post primarily because I am exhausted from witnessing those dramatic cold and flu commercials I see everywhere. We all know how to treat a cold or the flu: rest, fluids, and antioxidant rich foods. Yet many of us (I’m guilty, too) reach for Emergen-C thinking that’s all we need and give little (or no) thought to what ‘antioxidant rich’ foods may do to help. So for your health and mine, I’ve highlighted some of those antioxidant-rich foods that should be featured on our plates this season.

First – what are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes that quench free radicals (unstable harmful molecules that are the result of oxidative damage), therefore protecting your cells from damage. Free radicals can do a number on your immune system, thus blunting your ability to respond to a cold. Major antioxidants include Carotenes (beta-carotene), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium & Zinc.

Where can I get or find antioxidants?

Swedish Issaquah First Hospital in State to Offer Bavia Postnatal Massage Services

Bavia-provided-photo.jpgISSAQUAH, WASH., Feb. 1, 2013 – Childbirth is often painful and always unpredictable, but postpartum recovery doesn’t have to be. New mothers can now leave the hospital even happier with Postnatal Body Therapy™ by Bavia™. This postnatal massage service is now available at Swedish/Issaquah.

Eczema season

"It's eczema season" is an often repeated phrase for me lately.

This time of year, I always find myself seeing more patients with eczema. The common presenting complaint is a persistent rash that itches so much that it disturbs sleep. The dry, itchy patches of skin are commonly seen on the back, sides of the torso, arms and legs, but can happen almost anywhere. People with a history of allergies, asthma, or childhood eczema are even more likely to develop eczema in the fall or winter.

There are a number of contributing factors to the increased incidence of eczema in the winter:

Furnaces run more, drying out the air inside homes and buildings. We wear more clothing, increasing the friction on our skin. Hot water feels better, so we tend to spend more time in the shower or bath.

That last one sounds counter-intuitive, but ...

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