Registered Dietician, A Healthcare Career

The National Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for registered dietitians will increase by 20 percent over the next decade. In particular, the demand for dietitians specializing in geriatric nutrition is expected to rise as the population ages, and the demand for dietitians in nursing homes and long-term care facilities increases. With new government health care policies focusing on disease prevention and wellness, dietitians will take on a larger role in the health care industry. Heart disease, diabetes and obesity-related health problems, which often are the results of poor nutrition, are leading causes of illness and premature death. The work of a dietitian is to prevent and reverse these conditions in patients through individually designed diet programs. The title of registered dietitian (RD) is conferred by the American Dietetic Association, and it is a nationally recognized professional title. Registered Dietitians must meet rigorous education and training requirements to qualify for the RD designation.

Dietician Job Description:

A registered dietitian assists individuals and communities in reaching nutritional goals through individual and group meal planning. The disabled, infirmed and those with special medical conditions depend on the expertise of a dietitian to develop healthful eating plans designed to meet their specific nutritional requirements.

Work Environment:

Dietitians may work in hospital settings or in outpatient clinics. School districts, and government programs, such as the preschool program Head Start, employ dietitians to develop menus for their breakfast and lunch programs. A dietitian may also work for a private medical practice or work as a self-employed consultant. Universities, businesses in the food industry, and pharmaceutical companies employ dietitians to perform research and assist in product development. Registered dietitians are also qualified to work as educators in the area of public health.

How to Become a Registered Dietician:

The minimum education requirement for the RD credential is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and successful completion of a nutrition program approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. A typical program includes coursework in human development, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, and social science in addition to menu planning and food science. RD Candidates must complete an internship, six-months to one-year in length, and successfully pass a national examination administered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics credentialing agency. To maintain their credentials, registered dietitians must complete 75 hours of continuing education coursework every five years.

Registered Dietitian Salary:

Salaries for registered dietitians in the United States vary among geographic regions. For those with less than five years of experience, the national average annual salary in 2009 was between $51,100 and $62,200. Registered dietitians with more experience, and those employed in a supervisory capacity, can expect salaries in the mid- to- upper $80,000 range.

What is the Difference Between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

While all dietitians are nutritionists, not all nutritionists are dietitians. There is no national certification for a nutritionist; as a result, qualifications vary widely from state to state. Some states do offer a nutritionist certification, while some states do not regulate the title, and anyone can call himself or herself a nutritionist. While both occupations engage in diet and meal planning, a registered dietitian has a more complete knowledge of the science behind the nutrition.

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Ultimate Superfoods

Superfoods are nutrient- packed fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish that deliver a powerful dose of disease- fighting substances, cleansing the body of toxins and neutralizing cell-damaging free radicals. A diet rich in plant-based chemicals, phytochemicals, can slow the aging process, increase longevity, protect against cancer, and prevent heart disease. Oils in nuts and some fish also have strong disease-fighting properties, earning them the superfood label. While studies have long shown the healthful benefits of including a lot of fruits and vegetables in a diet, and eating coldwater fish, researchers are now beginning to identify the specific elements that fresh produce, fish, and nuts bring to the plate.

Superfruits and Berries

High on the list of anti-oxidant foods are fruits and berries that fall in the blue-purple and red family of colors. Blueberries, blackberries, acai berries and plums get their color from Anthocyanins, which have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, and may even prevent the formation of tumors, by interacting with other phytochemicals to inhibit the production of enzymes that stress the body’s cells. Citrus fruits, and melons such as cantaloupe, are high in vitamin C, making them superfruits that give a boost to the immune system and help protect against, and reduce the severity of, the common cold. New research suggests that vitamin C is also effective in preventing arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries caused by the buildup of plaque along artery walls. Arteriosclerosis can lead to heart attack and stroke. Studies have also shown Vitamin C is effective in cancer prevention, and it may improve the condition of those suffering from macular degeneration, deterioration of the retina that leads to a severe loss of vision.

The Healthful Benefits of Nuts and Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to normal body functions and a dietary necessity, as the body does not produce these on its own. Fatty coldwater fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, and sardines are rich in omega-3s. Nuts are also a good source, with walnuts containing the highest level of this nutrient. Pistachios and almonds are also good choices. They are not as rich in omega-3 fatty acids as walnuts, but they are lower in calories. Women suffering from hot flashes, and other symptoms of menopause, report that consuming one ounce of walnuts every other day relives their discomfort. Omega-3s lower the triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, promoting heart health. They have also been found to reduce inflammation, the body’s response to physical and mental stressors. While some inflammation is normal and necessary — consider the body’s response to a cut, the redness and swelling is how the body battles harmful pathogens — continued inflammation wears on the body, accelerates aging, and is linked to many ailments once considered unavoidable consequences of growing old. New research is showing that omega-3 fatty acids can alleviate the joint pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis, boost the effectiveness of anti-depressant medications, and may even prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Leafy Greens

Kale, collards, Swiss chard, and spinach are nutrient-dense vegetables that add important vitamins, minerals, and fiber to a diet. Because they are extremely low in calories and are very filling, there is no danger of eating too much of these healthy foods. They add bulk to a diet, facilitating movement along the digestive tract, and they release sugars into the blood gradually, preventing unhealthy insulin spikes. Vitamins found in leafy greens work to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidation allows LDL cholesterol to go directly to arteries in the body where it accumulates and causes inflammation.

Incorporating these healthy foods in a diet requires a new way of looking at meal planning. Rather than select a meat entrée, and then add fruits and vegetables as side dishes, begin with superfoods as the main course. Center dinner around a large salad of dark greens, chopped vegetables, slivered nuts, and berries. Meat and dairy products should be included as small accompaniments. Fruit is a natural snack food. Keep a variety of fresh superfruits in the house for a quick bite. For an easy breakfast, combine fresh berries with non-fat yogurt and a little milk in a blender to make a satisfying fruit smoothie.

While many of the healthful compounds found in superfoods are available in pill form, it is specific combinations of phytochemicals that produce health benefits. Many of these chemicals have yet to be identified by researchers, and therefore cannot be found in dietary supplements. Consuming superfoods as nature grew them will provide the maximum health benefits, and the maximum taste.

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Healthy Easter Basket Ideas

Healthy Easter BasketDuring the Easter season it’s practically impossible to find gifts that aren’t full of sugar and fat. From malted milk eggs to chocolate bunnies, it seems as if it has become the holiday of candy. However with a little creativity, there are several healthy alternatives for your Easter ideas. Rather than picking out a standard candy-filled basket at the store, consider giving the gift of a personalized Easter basket. Adults and kids both enjoy knowing the items in the basket have been chosen just for them. Making the arrangement yourself means the items in the basket are not only healthy but very fresh. There are several fun Easter ideas that are easy and will cost you about the same as one of those ready-made baskets sold by the dozens.

Healthy Easter Basket Ideas for Kids:

The fun size candy bars and pastel wrapped chocolates can be tough to compete with when it comes to healthy alternatives for kids. But, not impossible. The colors, sweets, and snacks that kids love are all part of healthy, personalized Easter baskets. For starters, look for carrots with the leafy stem still attached. Local farmers markets and organic grocery stores have these. Kids love to chew on the carrots like their favorite cartoon bunny. Include single serving sized natural peanut butter and vegetable dip. Instead of jelly beans, try craisins and multi-colored raisins. They are just as tasty as jelly beans but are much healthier because they are packed with fiber. Include some trail mix by mixing nuts, sesame sticks, and sunflower seeds together. This power packed protein snack is great for active kids. Of course, another great source of protein is hard boiled eggs which are in abundance at Easter time. So definitely add those to the rest of the healthy snacks in the basket. Throw in a stuffed animal or a little game and the Personalized Easter Baskets are complete. The kids will never miss the candy.

Healthy Easter Basket Ideas for Adults:

Adults from the start are a little more receptive to healthy alternatives to Easter candy. They know they should be eating the “healthy stuff.” Help them stay on track with a personalized Easter basket full of healthy alternatives and delicious snacks. After all, swimsuit season will be here before they know it. Some Easter ideas can be as easy as filling the basket full of ingredients for the perfect salad. Include fresh herbs, healthy salad dressing, gourmet cheese, mixed nuts, and maybe even a few pears. Hard boiled eggs are perfect here too. The extra protein is perfect in a salad. Throw in a few seasonal flowers and your personalized Easter basket is complete. Your friends might even start eating more salads because they will surely have leftovers of the delicious ingredients. Encourage healthy living by proving salad is much more than lettuce!

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Addiction Recovery

Finding out that your loved one has an addiction problem is devastating. Having an addiction problem yourself is life threatening. Ignoring the problem is not going to result in it fixing itself. Eventually you or your loved one will pay the ultimate price through avoidance. If you or your loved one has an addiction problem the first step is to admit there is a problem and to seek help. Contacting a Recovery Center can get you or your loved one the help needed to get sober and learn how to maintain that sobriety in the real world. Continue reading

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Strange Foods

When you were a kid you always found vegetables disgusting and hated them, most kids do anyways. As you got older some grew on you and some didn’t, but vegetables should be a part of everyone’s diet. No matter how disgusting you thought vegetables were as a kid, or even as an adult, they have nothing on these 7 strange and disgusting foods that are actually extremely healthy for you. Some of these may make some people sick just thinking about them, but these foods are popular in many parts of the world, and the nutritional value found within each one easily justifies why they are eaten and loved by so many. Continue reading

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