Gaining access to the most accurate information about nutrition and healthy living can be challenging if you do not know the source of information found online and the qualifications of the writer, especially when it comes to personal blogs.
As consumers take greater charge of their self-care, this brings a new risk of nutrition misinformation playing a role in a person’s life. Nutrition misinformation is even more prevalent for wheelchair users and other people with disabilities or chronic conditions. Because they have less access to safe, accessible transportation, people with disabilities and other chronic conditions, may have less access, not more, to fewer doctors or other allied health professionals. Casual chat rooms, blogs, discussion lists, and electronic bulletin boards, while providing community support, also create opportunities for swapping erroneous information.
Wheelchair users and other disabled people prefer that less health jargon and nutrition buzzwords be used to decrease the prevalence of nutrition myths in society. It is safer for all consumers, wheelchair users, or not if health professionals stay in their lane of professional expertise. Consumers should be wary of chiropractors or fitness trainers giving information about nutrition and health concerns unrelated to their expertise. There are many opinions about dairy and its impact on the body, as well as the body’s inflammation status.
First: Benefits of Dairy
While we are not advocating dairy and there are many other sources for the nutrient benefits, there are many misconceptions surrounding dairy consumption and whether or not dairy consumption is a cause of inflammation in the body or muscle spasms in wheelchair users or others with disabilities or other chronic conditions. According to Kristen Gradney, MHA, RDN, LDN, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says dairy food can be a great source of protein, which helps build muscles needed for upper body strength for wheelchair users and to maintain muscle mass in those who may not be able to move or develop stronger leg muscles. Milk is also one way to provide calcium and vitamin D, which are important for bone health and strength. Healthy bones can help prevent fractures and breaks in a population that may be at higher risk for falls.
Milk also is a source of potassium, which is beneficial because it helps people maintain healthy blood pressure. There are many ways that wheelchair users; and those with various disabilities or other chronic conditions can manage their blood pressure. People should attempt to hold a healthy weight, participate in something related to adaptive fitness every day, consume a healthier diet, as well as cutting down on the consumption of sodium. Some other healthy lifestyle choices include not smoking as well as lessening alcohol consumption. It is also a good decision to have a good night’s sleep as well.
The dairy food group offers benefits of many nutrients in a typical diet including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12, zinc, choline, magnesium and selenium. Many dietitians like to promote that phosphorus builds strong bones and teeth, filters out waste in your kidneys, manage your body stores, and uses energy, as well as growing, maintaining, and repairing tissues and cells. Many dietitians like to promote that vitamin A protects our vision, lowers the risk of certain cancers, as well as supporting a healthy immune system. Riboflavin is a vitamin needed for growth and overall good health. It helps the body break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats to produce energy and it allows oxygen to be used by the body.
Wheelchair users, those with disabilities and other chronic conditions may experience depression and may require B12 to improve their mood. Vitamin B12 supports bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Zinc is beneficial for wound healing and immunity, which is great for wheelchair users who have frequent pressure sores and need an extra immune boost if they have secondary chronic conditions.
Lactose Intolerance and Other Health Concerns
Gradney likes to educate her clients and the community about a variety of issues related to dairy consumption. Some individuals, especially wheelchair users, those with other disabilities or other chronic conditions may have a dairy allergy to the protein in the dairy products, called whey and casein. These protein allergies cause skin rashes, anaphylactic symptoms and other reactions or “accidents” as many refer when the bowel is irritated due to dairy. Lactose intolerance is the most common allergy though. If you are having continued issues with bowel you may want to rule out a dairy allergy as this one step can be life-altering for those who gain back their lives.
There are serious issues when disabled folks experience vomiting or diarrhea when it is tougher to go to a community bathroom on your own with a disability. There are many risk factors to lactose intolerance, like increasing age, certain ethnicities, like African Americans, Hispanics or American Indians as well as Asian Americans. Infants born prematurely may have a reduced level of lactase because the small intestine does not develop lactase producing cells until late in the third trimester.
There are some small intestine problems that can cause lactose intolerance including bacterial overgrowth, celiac disease, and Chron’s disease. Some people experience lactose intolerance due to radiation therapy for cancer in your abdomen or have intestinal problems from chemotherapy, those patients have an increased chance of lactose intolerance.
There is a big misconception in society that going dairy-free might help migraines and other chronic pain. Many doctors promote that even mucous feels thicker, and while milk and dairy does feel more enflaming to the throat. Dairy does not create more mucous. Ice cream and yogurt may be comforting to a person’s throat when they may be sick. The only chronic condition that going dairy-free will help is an allergy to lactose, as well as an allergy to milk protein, both casein, and whey.
Many dietitians promote certain brands of milk that have additives that help people with lactose digestion or products that have decreased lactose. Yogurt and cheese have often been tolerated in small amounts. It is important to realize that lactase is sold over the counter and can be taken before dairy products are consumed. Vitamin D deficiency is technically linked to increased inflammation, so better intake can decrease inflammation. There is a misconception in society that dairy milk should not be consumed because of hormone levels used for dairy cows. The truth is that an insignificant quantity of rbst naturally occurs in milk, even in organic milk. It is a protein that is fragmented when consumed, similar to any other protein.
The Truth of Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Some people who are not disabled and not knowledgeable about certain disabilities believe that diet can control muscle spasms. A healthier diet has not been shown to control or manage physical disabilities. It does not manage the risk of secondary chronic conditions though. Inflammation is a sign that the immune system is fighting infection. Some inflammation could be due to germs, wounds, allergens, toxins and other causes. Continuous inflammation may harm the body’s DNA, increasing a person’s risk of cancer.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes that a basic nutritious diet can decrease inflammation. Fruits and veggies have compounds called phytonutrients that may aide people in shielding their body against inflammation. Healthy fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, may help people to lower inflammation. Research has shown that dark chocolate, red wine, green tea, turmeric, and ginger can help reduce inflammation Research has not shown how much and how often these foods must be consumed to reduce inflammation.
Dairy Free Options
Some people go dairy-free because of animal welfare concerns. Some consumers who want to go dairy-free do not like to know how some dairy farmers treat their cows.
There are a variety of dairy-free milks, like soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, and even hemp seed milk. Some grocery stores provide soy or coconut-based milk, as well as non-dairy cheese with wonderful tastes. There are a variety of vegan butter, as well as non-dairy cream cheese, as well as non-dairy sour cream and non-dairy ice cream.
Some dietitians are concerned that their clients do not get enough calcium in a vegan diet. Most dairy products are rich in calcium, but there are other sources of calcium that are free of dairy, like leafy greens, certain beans, calcium-fortified soy milk, and calcium set tofu. Some other people who want to go dairy, but are not vegan, can appreciate canned salmon. Canned salmon with the bones have calcium and vitamin D. Antioxidants are beneficial for immunity with people who have chronic conditions. Pomegranates, blueberries, grapes, tomatoes, potatoes, and mangoes are all high in antioxidants.
There are many health benefits to dairy products, like macronutrients, and specific vitamins and minerals. Lactose intolerance, casein and whey allergies are all serious reasons for consumers to go dairy-free, but there are many misconceptions about all antibiotics used in dairy products being unsafe.
There are safe ways to control body inflammation, that does not require going dairy-free. There are many options that are dairy-free as well as very healthy if you want to go dairy-free for ethical or allergy reasons.
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