Clinical Nutrition

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Scientists have found many other connections between diet and disease. In a clinical study of 20,000 men, for example, eating one fishmeal per week was linked to a 52% reduction in the risk of sudden death from a heart attack. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can protect the heart from fatal arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm).

In another clinical study of more than 42,000 women, those who ate lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and only lean meats lived longer. High intake of fruits, vegetables, and legumes is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease. There are many ongoing studies regarding clinical nutrition. Some interesting results show that:

○ Diets high in folate (found in leafy greens, dry beans and peas, fortified cereals and grain products, and some fruits and vegetables) may lower risk of stroke and heart disease.

○ Eating small amounts of fish when pregnant may protect against early delivery and low birth weight infants. Some fish may contain higher amounts of mercury, and should only be eaten in moderation. Ask your obstetrician which types of fish are best for you when pregnant. Taking iron supplements improves aerobic training ability in iron depleted women.

○ Lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids) in the diet may reduce risk of cataracts.

○ Lutein from dietary sources (such as kale and spinach) may protect against colon cancer.

○ Flavonoids (found in apples, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, onions, and teas) may protect against cancer.

○ Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish (such as herring, tuna, and salmon) help reduce inflammation and help prevent certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

○ Vitamin E (in the diet from fruits and vegetables) may reduce the risk of angina (chest pain) and heart attack in people with atherosclerosis.

○ A higher ratio of sodium to potassium is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

In hospitals, nutrition is used to improve the overall health of patients with a wide range of conditions. Examples of these conditions are AIDS, cancer, osteoporosis, lung disease, obesity, burns, metabolic disorders, and kidney, liver, and pancreatic disorders. Patients who need surgery are also supported with clinical nutrition.

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