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Diet Affects Colon Health

Katie Routh, Dietitian

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in cancers that affect men and women. The colon is the final part of your digestive tract. Since it’s part of the digestive system, the food you eat is an important factor in the health of your colon. Do you want to keep your colon healthy? 
• Eat a nutrient-dense diet
• Include more fiber-rich foods

Eating a nutrient-dense, high fiber diet not only keeps the walls of your colon strong, but it can also prevent hemorrhoids or pouches in your colon. Katie Routh, Ringgold County Hospital dietitian adds, “It also may prevent colon polyps, and potentially, cancer.” A typical American diet is low in nutrient density with larger portions of processed meats and refined grains, such as breads and cereals. “Our mid-western diet tends to be lower in nutritional value,” says Katie.

Fiber-rich foods, like fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds, are also more nutrient-dense.
And the fiber keeps you regular and controls the amount of bacteria in your colon. “The nutrients in those foods also may be beneficial in preventing digestive diseases as well as other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and help you manage your weight,” says Katie. When increasing fiber in your diet, do it gradually, and drink plenty of water.

Katie Routh: Eating for good health

Katie Routh enjoys consulting with patients individually

Some people seem to grow up knowing what they want to do in life. According to Katie Routh, the dietician at Ringgold County Hospital, she is one of those people. “As a kid, I was always interested in nutrition,” she said. “When I was growing up, I baked and cooked a lot with my grandmother.”
A Ringgold County native, she thought about a career in nursing, but decided that the nutrition side of health care was where she wanted to focus. She has her Bachelor of Science in dietetics and is accredited through Iowa State University.

Being a dietician at a hospital involves visiting patients while they’re in the hospital. “I look at their lab work and their medications and help them get the nutrition they need while they’re in the hospital. I also help the dietary manager with menu planning and sign off on all the menus,” said Katie.  In addition to caring for people staying in the hospital, Katie does a lot of outpatient counseling. “I really like the counseling part of my job. I talk to people with diabetes, heart disease, and people who are interested in weight loss,” she said. The majority of her consultations are with diabetes patients. “Some have had the disease for years, but they’ve never really had any education on how their eating habits affect it. Some have just discovered they have diabetes and are trying to control it with better nutrition.”

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is the advice of nutritionists everywhere and Katie agrees. In winter, if you can’t find fresh, frozen is a good option. Growing your own vegetables is the best of all. “The healthiest people I know are gardeners!”

Katie has been in her position at RCH for just over two years. She came back to work after her third child was born. She is very practical when it comes to providing advice for good nutrition. “Follow the 80/20 rule,” she advises. “Be a healthy eater at least 80% of the time. Splurge on treats only 20% of the time. After a splurge, start right away again on eating well. But don’t feel like you have to eliminate any food forever. Just watch your portions.” She adds that eating well is really a lifestyle, not a diet. It’s a permanent change you can live with. “Just relax and make healthy choices!”

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Meeting Goals with Coaching

health-coaching-barberLinda Barber is no stranger to Ringgold County Hospital. She’s now retired, but for 23 years she was the front desk receptionist and the first person many patients met when they came to the hospital. There have been a lot of changes at RCH since she retired, including the addition of a Health Coach in the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic. Linda has been working with coach Leslie Dredge-Murphy, RN for almost a year.
“As long as I’ve been alive, I’ve been overweight,” said Linda. “I’ve tried just about everything over the years, and I just couldn’t get a handle on it.”

Leslie suggested she keep a journal of everything she eats each day as well as tracking her daily exercise. “I’d never done that before. I bring in my journals every week when we meet so she can see what I’m doing. She keeps me accountable.” It’s working. Slowly and steadily Linda is losing weight and meeting her goals. She currently weighs less than she has in many years. When asked what the real secrets to her success are, she said simply, “Journaling, accountability, and exercise.” She exercises twice a day and averages 6,000 steps each day. “I’m on a low-carb diet, but I eat what I want,” she explained. “I just keep track of it now in my journal. Dieting alone just didn’t work for me. It’s the exercise that’s making the big difference.”

Because she’s retired, she has the time to exercise in the morning and again in the afternoon. Instead of the 4:30 wake-up call she was accustomed to when she was working, she now takes it easy and stays in bed until 5:30. “I have so much more energy now. I don’t get winded when I’m walking anymore,” she said. Linda is a real advocate for the health coaching program and Leslie Dredge-Murphy in particular. “I would definitely recommend her – in fact I already have! She’s been very good for me. I don’t want to quit!” She added that she really appreciates what the hospital is doing by providing this service. “We have a weight loss group that meets once a month and more people are becoming involved. With more encouragement, it makes it even better for everyone!”With two sons and their families nearby, a new house under construction, and plenty of friends and activities, Linda’s new-found energy is helping her stay active.

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If you, or someone you know, is interested in health coaching services through RCH’s Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, call 641-464-4534 for an appointment. The service is free to Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patients.

Knowledge is power!

Katie RouthRinggold County Hospital and the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic are here for you when you’re sick, injured, and in need of quality health care. We’re also here for you when you’re not sick! We are your source for healthy living information and your partner in good health.

Katie Routh is happy to be back to her hometown of Mt. Ayr. A registered dietician, she works with Ringgold County Hospital patients both in and out of the hospital. While they’re in the hospital, she assesses their nutritional states and ensures that the food they’re eating is appropriate and assisting in their recovery. She takes a holistic view of her patients and recognizes that nutrition is an important part of the healing process. Her services are also available to outpatients and she works regularly with diabetics and those wanting to lose weight. “I enjoy helping people overcome their struggles,” she said. “It’s great being able to teach and show people that it’s possible.”

Health-CoachLeslie Dredge-Murphy is also helping Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patients meet their healthy living goals. Her services are free to clinic patients and together they work to define individual success. Whether it’s weight loss, disease management, increased exercise capabilities, even quitting smoking, she is a coach and partner to help each patient meet their goals. “It’s all driven by our patients,” she said. “We can work on anything that’s holding them back from living a healthy life. We’re really promoting preventive care. It’s important to encourage healthier lifestyles.”

Walking is the easiest form of exercise to stay fit. It’s convenient because it can be done almost anywhere and anytime, whether you’re walking to class or down the street. In comparison to other exercise methods, walking puts less strain on the lower back and creates less stress on your joints such as your hips, knees, and ankles. Because it doesn’t require expensive equipment, walking is available to everyone. You can use your walking time as a social event and catch up with friends and family members. Along with physical benefits, walking can improve your mood, relieve stress, and alleviate depression.

Physical benefits of walking:

  • Aids in weight loss; burns body fat
  • Strengthens bones; reduces risks of bone fracture and lessens severity of osteoporosis
  • Strengthens heart and improves efficiency
  • Improves overall fitness
  • Lowers blood pressure; reduces cholesterol levels
  • Improves efficiency of lungs
  • Raises metabolism even while you rest
  • Helps control appetite
  • Increases energy

So don’t wait, get marching!

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New Dietary Guidelines

New dietary guidelines were unveiled recently that called on Americans to cut down on meat, salt, and sweets. The new guidelines recommend consuming less than 10 percent of one’s daily calories from added sugar—including that found in seemingly healthy foods, such as yogurt. Limiting saturated fat was also recommended—a chief source is meat. Eating less meat is associated with reduced cases of heart disease and stroke, the report said. The report also singled out teenage boys and adult men as eating excessive meat and other proteins, and said they “need to reduce overall intake of protein foods by decreasing intakes of meats, poultry, and eggs and increasing amounts of vegetables or other under consumed food groups.”

But for many people, the report said, eggs are a good source of nutrition, and not as big a worry on cholesterol as previously believed. Americans are also advised to eat more fruits and vegetables and work out more. The recommendation on sodium is now 2,300 milligrams per day for healthy adults and 1,500 milligrams per day for those with high blood pressure or those in danger of developing high blood pressure. The number of Americans at risk of developing high blood pressure has increased over the past five years. Now, two-thirds of the population is at risk. Back in 2010, only half the population was at risk. The increase in people with high blood pressure is another reason to “know your numbers.” Everyone is encouraged to stop by the RCH lobby between 7-10:00 a.m. February 15-19, 2016 for free blood pressure screenings.

Source: American Heart Association