From the Garden…It’s the Great Pumpkin!

Pumpkins aren’t just for jack-o-lanterns and pies, but they are plentiful this time of year. This low-calorie squash is rich in potassium and loaded with beta-carotene (a powerful antioxidant), and its natural sweetness brings flavor to dishes without any added guilt.

This versatile winter squash works just as well in savory dishes as it does in baked goods, but don’t get any ideas about using the one you carved. The pumpkins you use for this are too wet, fibrous, and bland to eat. Instead, buy small “sugar” or “pie” types, or larger “cheese” varieties (identified by their bluish rinds), and prepare them like butternut squash. Or you can save time and use canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin is one of the very low calorie vegetables. 4 oz. of the fruit provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. It is, however, rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins.

Something you can get from your Halloween pumpkin are the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. In addition, the seeds are concentrated sources of protein, minerals, and health-benefiting vitamins. For instance, 4 oz. of pumpkin seeds provide 559 calories, 30 g of protein, 110% RDA of iron, 4987 mg of niacin (31% RDA), selenium (17% of RDA), zinc (71%) etc., but no cholesterol. Further, the seeds are an excellent source of health promoting amino acid tryptophan.

Here’s a delicious, healthy, and easy recipe that uses pumpkin and apples which are also abundant this time of year:

Curried Apple-Pumpkin Soup


1 Granny smith apple, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 c water
2 c pumpkin puree

  1. COOK apple in butter in saucepan over medium heat until golden. Add onion, curry powder, ginger, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until softened, 4 minutes.
  2. STIR in water and pumpkin puree, adding more water if too thick. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  3. SEASON with salt, pepper, and honey to taste.

NUTRITION (per serving) 102 calories., 2 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 3.5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 33 mg sodium

Considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Heidi Ryan, the area’s first and only female bariatric surgeon.

Biking Your Way to a Healthy Lifestyle

Whether you’re 5 or 95, bike riding can turn your sedentary life into an enjoyable, active one. Pedaling for just 30 minutes per day has been shown to significantly benefit one’s health.

Studies have found that bike riding can reduce the risk of diseases such as breast and colon cancer as well as lower the risk of developing diabetes. Low-impact cycling improves strength, balance, and coordination providing long-term benefits. Strengthening your bones can prevent falls and fractures as you grow older. This enjoyable exercise also help with arthritis and osteoporosis and is done without placing much stress on the joints.

You might already know that biking is good exercise for one’s physical well being, but along with being a great all-around aerobic activity, bike riding also improves overall fitness in other areas of life as well. Regular cycling increases cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, joint mobility, improved posture, coordination, decreased body fat levels, and obesity.

Bike riding can play a significant role in improving one’s mood, as well. A scenic 30-minute trip around the block can improve your mental health—reducing depression, stress and anxiety.

Cycling is great fun, but it is important to get the right equipment for the activity. Head gear is a must, and some chose to wear kneepads and elbow pads as well.

Hopping on a bike can turn around more than just two wheels. It might just turn your life around, too.

If you are considering weight-loss surgery in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his expert team can find the perfect treatment to get you on the path to a new, healthier you!

Read more about the benefits of bicycling here:

Battling Type 2 Diabetes with Weight Loss

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes sugar to collect in the blood stream. Some people only have to make minor changes to their lifestyle after they are diagnosed. Just losing a little weight and getting some more exercise may be enough for them to manage their diabetes. Other people who have type 2 diabetes need more permanent therapy that involves taking tablets or insulin. It is then especially important to have a good understanding of the disease and know what they can do to stay healthy.

Our metabolism converts food into energy for the body to use. One of the things our bodies need for this process is insulin — a hormone that the body uses to send messages. Insulin is made by the pancreas. After you eat, the sugar levels in your blood rise, and insulin is released into the bloodstream. It then makes the cells in the liver and in muscle tissue absorb sugar from the blood. If insulin metabolism is not working properly, the sugar in our blood cannot be used in the right way. This causes blood sugar levels to rise. If blood sugar levels are too high it is called hyperglycemia.

Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Being overweight and not getting enough physical exercise
  • Smoking
  • A low-fiber, high-fat, and sugary diet
  • Some medications that affect the body’s sugar metabolism
  • Genetic factors: Some families are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

The most important thing that people who have type 2 diabetes can do to get by without medication is to lose at least a little weight – even though that may be difficult to achieve in practice. If people who are obese are unable to lose weight, weight-loss surgery may also be an option.

Read more online at:

If you are in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery to help control your Type 2 Diabetes, schedule an appointment with Dr. Heidi Ryan. She and her team of experts can help find the perfect treatment for your unique case.

Healthy Lifestyles need Healthy Carbs

When trying to eat a healthy diet whether it is to lose weight or simply to live the healthiest lifestyle you can, it can be confusing trying to understand what’s best to eat and what to avoid. Carbohydrates (carbs) can be really vexing since there are “good” carbs and “bad” carbs. What’s most important, however, is the type of carbohydrate you choose to eat because some sources are healthier than others. The amount of carbohydrates in the diet is less important than the type of carbohydrates in the diet.

Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. However, carbohydrate quality is important; some types of carbohydrate-rich foods are better than others:

  • The healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.
  • Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

Try these tips for adding healthy carbohydrates to your diet:

  1. Start the day with whole grains.
    Try a hot cereal, like steel cut or old fashioned oats (not instant oatmeal), or a cold cereal that lists a whole grain first on the ingredient list and is low in sugar. A good rule of thumb: Choose a cereal that has at least 4 grams of fiber and less than 8 grams of sugar per serving.
  2. Use whole grain breads for lunch or snacks.
    Look for bread that lists as the first ingredient whole wheat, whole rye, or some other whole grain —and even better, one that is made with only whole grains, such as 100 percent whole wheat bread.
  3. Look beyond the bread aisle.
    Instead of bread, try a whole grain in salad form such as brown rice or quinoa.
  4. Choose whole fruit instead of juice.
    An orange has two times as much fiber and half as much sugar as a 12-ounce glass of orange juice.
  5. Pass on potatoes, and instead bring on the beans.
    Choose beans for an excellent source of slowly digested carbohydrates. Beans and other legumes such as chickpeas also provide a healthy dose of protein.

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If you are considering weight-loss surgery in the Las Vegas area, contact Dr. Shawn Tsuda for an appointment. He and his team of experts can find the right treatment to get you on your way to a healthier and happier life.

The Danger of Breast Cancer from Obesity

Overweight and obese women — defined as having a BMI (body mass index) over 25 — have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight can also increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence in women who have had the disease.

Because fat cells make estrogen, the risk is increased; extra fat cells mean more estrogen in the body, and estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers develop and grow. However, the link between extra weight and breast cancer is complicated and affected by other factors as well. For example, the location of the extra weight matters. Extra fat around your belly may increase risk more than the same amount of extra fat around your thighs or hips.

There’s no magic bullet or single food that will make you lose weight quickly or keep you from getting breast cancer, but here are some tips to make your diet nutritious and help you lose weight:

  • Limit sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol.
  • Eat small portions (no more than 6 to 7 ounces a day) of lean meat or poultry.
  • Remove the skin and fat from meat, poultry, and fish.
  • Cover your plate with fresh, nutrient-dense foods. Fill two-thirds of your plate with fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and one-third or less with meat and dairy products.
  • Eat lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day and 3 ounces or more of whole grains. You will feel full longer and may be less tempted by junk food.
  • Choose non-fat milk and dairy products.
  • Go for variety. Buy a new fruit, vegetable, or whole-grain product each time you shop for groceries to keep from getting bored with your diet.
  • Drink water or drinks with no sugar added if you’re hungry between meals. Avoid soda, lemonade, sweetened iced tea, and juices.
  • Limit heavily salted, smoked, or pickled foods. They tend to have a lot of salt and nitrates.

Read more online about obesity and breast cancer risk at:
If you are considering weight-loss surgery in the Las Vegas area, contact Dr. Heidi Ryan to discuss the perfect treatment for your situation. Dr. Ryan is the first and only female bariatric surgeon in Las Vegas.

Facts about Fats

Fat is a naturally occurring component in some foods. Foods like nuts, oils, butter, and some meats can have a lot of fat while most fruits and vegetables, for example, have almost no fat. The name “fat” may make it sound like something you shouldn’t eat, but the fact is that fat is an important part of a healthy diet.

Dietary fats are essential for energy and cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones too.

There are four major dietary fats in the foods we eat:

  1. saturated fats
  2. trans fats
  3. monounsaturated fats
  4. polyunsaturated fats

The four types have different chemical structures and physical properties. The bad fats, saturated and trans fats, tend to be more solid at room temperature like a stick of butter, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be more liquid like vegetable oil.

Fats can also have different effects on the cholesterol levels in your body. The bad fats, saturated fats and trans fats, raise bad cholesterol levels in your blood. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can actually lower bad cholesterol levels and are beneficial when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

Consuming high levels of saturated or trans fats can lead to heart disease and stroke. Health experts generally recommend replacing saturated fats and trans fats with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats – while still maintaining a nutritionally-adequate diet. Make it your goal to eat a healthy diet that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sodium, sweets, sugar sweetened beverages, and red meats. Doing this will mean that your diet will be low in both saturated fats and trans fats.

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Considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area? Contact Dr. Shawn Tsuda for a consultation.

What Goes Inside Shows on the Outside – How Nutrition affects Skin Health

Skin is actually your body’s largest organ by size, and it is the organ that comes into contact with the rest of the world. Your skin holds body fluids in, preventing dehydration, and keeps harmful microbes out. Your skin is full of nerve endings that help you feel things like heat, cold, and pain. Since your skin plays such an important role in protecting your body, you should keep it as healthy as you can. Healthy skin can help you keep from getting sick or having damage to your bones, muscles, and internal organs.

Your diet can play a big role in the health of your skin. A person who has a healthy, well-balanced diet is more likely to have healthier skin than a person with a poor diet. In order to stay healthy, the skin needs water, vitamins, and minerals. Research on the best foods for healthy skin is limited; however, antioxidant-rich foods seem to have a protective effect for the skin.

Consider these skin-friendly foods:

  • Carrots, apricots, and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables
  • Spinach and other green leafy vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish

On the flip side, some foods seem to be associated with skin damage. For example, some research suggests that a diet high in processed or refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats promotes skin aging and acne.

Remember, many of the best foods for healthy skin also promote good health overall. Rather than focusing on specific foods for healthy skin, concentrate on a healthy diet in general.

If you are considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Heidi Ryan. She can help you get on the right track to a healthier, thinner you.

Read more on how to keep your skin healthy at: