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National Nutrition Month

March is the American Dietetic Association’s National Nutrition Month. You are what you eat and here’s some new research to prove it.

Created date

February 21st, 2012

The nutrients in your diet may affect your brain.

Most people are aware of the effects of diet on organs like your heart. But now researchers have found a link between certain nutrients and brain changes associated with Alzheimer s disease. Scientists from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore., and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University studied the blood levels of 30 different nutrients in elderly participants. Those with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B, C, D, and E had better scores on mental acuity tests. Their brains also showed less shrinkage than study participants who made less healthy dietary choices. Researchers have long suspected a link between dietary choices and the development of Alzheimer s disease, and although more research is needed, this study has taken them one step closer to finding out more.

Will Medicare soon ' expand coverage of medical nutrition therapy?

Changing your diet for the better is never easy. Registered dietitians can help by providing a service called medical nutrition therapy (MNT). Unfortunately, Medicare doesn t cover MNT for most chronic health conditions. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) wants that to change. MNT includes an assessment of a patient s dietary habits, assistance with planning and implementing changes, and evaluating the MNT s effectiveness over time. Medicare currently covers MNT for certain conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease. But the Academy is pushing for expanded coverage for other specific medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. According to the Academy, most Medicare spending is for chronic conditions, some of which can be treated with MNT. There are many scientific studies supporting the positive effect MNT has on participants dietary habits, clinical status, and quality of life. It s also been shown to be cost effective when compared to some other treatments.