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DIETARY GUIDELINES : THE DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS.

DIETARY GUIDELINES

DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS (2015-2020)

Dietary guidelines simply mean a guide for a healthy diet. These guidelines for healthy eating were put forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are revised every five years (most recent being 2015-2020) to form and evaluate nutrition programs and policies. It is used as a tool to form federal food, nutrition and health policies as well as serves as a guide for professionals and the America public make healthy food choices. They reflect the importance of creating healthy eating habits in order to improve nutrition status, overall wellbeing and reduce risk of disease.  Let’s delve right n then!

Dietary Guidelines for GRAINS:

DGA GRAINS

At some point we all take grains either refined or whole! Replacing refined grains with whole grains is healthier and here is why. Refined grains contain just the endosperm which contains starch and protein, very well, but the whole grains consist of the bran (rich in fiber and nutrients), endosperm and germ (rich in vitamins and minerals), so much for refinement.

Selecting at least 6 ounces of grains with at least half of these (3 oz) whole would ensure a healthy contribution of nutrients such as essential B-Vitamins, iron, folate and fiber to the daily diet.  Some examples of whole grains include brown rice, millet, oats, buckwheat, whole wheat products, barley and so forth. Conversely, examples of refined grains include white rice and refined grain products.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans - Grains

Refined grain products include but are not limited to biscuits, cakes, cookies, cornbread, crackers, pastries and granola. However, in the early 1940’s congress passed legislation requiring that all grains passing state lines be enriched with iron, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin.

Further down the line in 1996, this legislation was amended to include folate, an essential vitamin to preventing birth defects. This means we can now get these much talked about nutrients in whole grain, fortified cereals. Isn’t that marvelous?!

 Dietary Guidelines for FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans- Vegetables

These are no new comers to such lists. Everybody has heard at some point the phrase “eat your vegetables!”. Well, we are still gonna ask you to eat them, but this time we-d tell you why you should.

Fruits contain a valuable amount of minerals, vitamins, nutrient and PHYTOCHEMIALS. I am emphasizing on photochemical because I see a lot of people consume just one particular type of fruit example, apples and then claim to eat a lot of a fruits which by that means plenty apples, hahaha. But literally the person just gets a particular set of nutrients from apple in contrast to a person that takes a variety of types and color, gets varieties of nutrient. Phytochemicals are chemical contents o fruits and vegetables that give them their characteristic color.

Asides color, these bioactive components have the potential to reduce risk of various chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity among others. These different colors connote different phytochemicals which confer different benefits. So let us do more of fruit variety (too many fruits in the grocery store to try out) than stick to a particular one.

Dutary Guidelines for Americans  Vegetables

The USDA has set a serving of vegetables at 2 cups and fruits at 2 ½ cups per day. Choosing fresh, green leafy vegetables ensures you get unadulterated vitamins as wet boiling or steaming of vegetables cause nutrients to leach into the water and subsequently lost. Also, limit vegetables that contain solid fats or added sugars such as baked beans, candied sweet potatoes, French fries, refried beans, coleslaw and French fries.

Still on the issue of VEGETABLES, dressings and ranches could work against a person trying to eat healthy by contributing unnecessary sodium and calories to the diet. To this end, we suggest healthy choices such as olive oil dressing. Another helpful option could include stir frying the vegetables in healthy vegetable oil, such as olive oil or canola oil with some garlic, ginger or onions. Yummy! Guess what I’m having for supper?

Dietary Guidelines for MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS:

DGA - Milk

I am guilty of this *covers face*. I love love love whole milk; I mean who wouldn’t? but it is not the very best. It is advised to replace whole milk products with fat-free or low fat options (preferably 1%). Milk is rich in calcium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12, calcium, potassium and when fortified, vitamins A and D.

DGA - MILKIf you do not consume milk, please choose products rich in calcium and vitamin D. Limit intake of milk products that contain added sugars and are high in fat such as whole milk and whole milk products such as cheeses, cottage cheese and whole milk yoghurt (do Greek yogurt instead), 2% reduced fat milk, ice cream, whole fat chocolate milk, custard, milk shakes, pudding and sherbets. The current recommended daily amount for milk lies at 3 cups per day.

Since milk products are important source of calcium and some are fortified with vitamin A & D, we might as well choose the fat free ones thereby helping ourselves eat healthy and also getting the nutrients we need.

 

DGA - milk

Dietary Guidelines for PROTEIN:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans - Protein

Protein foods which include seafood, poultry, eggs, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds as well as beef and pork not only provide proteins but also B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc and magnesium.

It is advised by the DGA to take a variety of these foods, not just only poultry because that’s some people idea of protein. Varieties of proteins include; lean meat, eggs, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds, soy products and poultry. These foods provide vitamins B & E, Zinc, iron and Magnesium. We must also know that we could consume these foods in an unhealthy way by adding too much fat and sodium, so we really need to be careful when cooking them.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans - ProteinTo keep fat intake low, bake, roast, grill or braise meats, poultry and seafood but avoid frying them in fat. For example try not to fry your poultry and sea foods in fat, drain all visible fat after cooking and peel poultry skin off to reduce fat content.

For the nuts; I know we are always tempted to buy/eat salted nuts which increase the intake of sodium, so let us make better choices which include unsalted nuts and unfried nuts. Because nuts and seeds are energy dense, it is advised that they be consumed in little quantities and in place of, not in addition to other,, high protein and fat foods such as beef and pork.

Limit protein foods that contain solid fats such as bacon, pork, beef, fried mat, marbled steak, poultry with skin and ggs. The current RDA for proteins is 5 ½ oz per day based on a 2000 Kcal diet.

 

Some Tips for Vegetarians:

DGA GRAINS

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians who eat animal-derived foods such as milk and eggs receive high quality protein and are more likely to meet their protein RDA. A well planned vegetarian diet helps to ensure adequate intake of nutrients such as protein, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids. All it takes is adequate knowledge and proper planning with a nutritionist. *wink*

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Uncategorized

MUSIC : NZI’S PURPOSE

music

NZI

I have a story about a little speaker. His name is Nzonzi.

Monday

Nzi's Purpose
An old couple had just walked into the local shop to buy a soundbar for their sitting room. He had watched them from atop the shelve where he and his family Of four had sat for months, gathering dust. From there he watched the old home theater on the bottom shelf get bought by the old couple. The old speaker only had about 70 Watts in him, but the old man probably won’t have all his hearing right, Nzonzi thought. It’d be a match made all the way to heaven😔.

Tuesday

Speaker
Tuesday came and Nzi watched Lami, the ugly, fat speaker get taken home by a young unhappy couple who seemed to need some music in their union. “What pressure🤔”, he thought.
All the other sound bars and speakers were getting dragged off by all sorts. He’d have given anything to be chosen by that grumpy rich woman who lugged Sam away. At least he’d live in a big house and meet lots of other cool electronics.
Their family was 5.1 channels, his father, Viz was 32” long, mother was a good subwoofer and his sister, Amy was a young sub speaker that’d sing her heart out for anyone. Combined, they could do a good 101 Watts, louder than the other speakers combined.

Wednesday

speaker
On Wednesday evening he asked his father, Vic, “daddy what’s wrong with us? Why won’t anyone pick us?”.  His father’s voice, grit with dust and old age, coughed and smiled, “We would be fine “, He said not sounding sure of himself. Nzi didn’t know the 32” soundbar had thought of ending his misery with the HDMI cable just that morning.

Sad Thursday

N
On Thursday mummy told them, amid tears, she had heard some of the store reps talking about getting new stocks and sending their family back to the store-room👩🏻

Thank God its Friday

NZI
On Friday evening, just as the truck pulled up, (the one that carried Nzi’s dismay), a young couple, all over each other walked in. Nzi could taste the sweet taste of their fresh love on his rusty tongue. “Well it doesn’t matter”, he thought.. “they won’t pick us”. There’re newer, better speakers on that truck. The Nzi family wasn’t even dusted to start with.
A clerk, sulking and dissatisfied with her job started clearing the shelves. The family of speakers saw all hopes of living in a house and adding melody to a persons day fade into a store-place of everlasting darkness. As they were being carted away, the young man of the couple called out “can we test that one?”. The saddist clerk tried convincing him of the novelty of the new comers but he would have none of it. He said he had done some research and people had really bad reviews about the other speakers. He said the Nzi family would be perfect for their new living room.

Speaker
Well, the saddist reluctantly plugged daddy in and connected Nzi and his little sister to their mother. When he turned on the switch, new energy coursed through their veins. Daddy felt alive again. Then came the music.. it was wonderful. Nzi and his sister sang their lungs out. Their mother did her thing and daddy sang like a whole choir🗣🗣🗣.
Then mummy heard the magic words “we’d take them”. Viz wept like a baby. They sang even harder. 🎶

The saddist clerk shut them off, put them in the carton and helped the beautiful couple load them into their new BMW I-something or the other. The darkness of the trunk was a welcome one, because Nzi knew soon he’d be singing to make a “truly happy” couple happier. Now, store life was history and they had their whole lives ahead of them. Maybe he would meet a pretty MacBook Laptop and hit it off with her💏, he thought smilingly 😍. Even his sister 👧🏻 was smiling and playing with the remote; what a happy day.

music
Little did he know….

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General ResearchLifeStyle

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS : MY SENTIMENTS

I have been in “Gods own Country” a bit and I have discovered that Genetically Modified Foods are big in the USA (well they have a knack for infusing science unto everything, God bless America). For one they’re cheaper and I can tell you they taste terrible. See, I’m a Dietitian and somehow expected to practice what I preach “rolls eyes”. Now here’s the problem, I started the trip down Nutrition Lane in a country where you could have an orange hankering and you walked to your local“junction” and bought three for 50 Naira (roughly 7 cents). Back home, we didn’t have much of a problem with Genetically Modified Foods. People simply planted, fertilizer with animal droppings and in due course plucked their healthy, ripened, fleshy and tasty fruits and vegetables.

Genetically Modified Foods

Recently there has been a huge campaign toward the healthy lifestyle, including the DGA 2020, MyPlate and so on, still I find with it an exponential increase in Genetically Modified Foods and allied products. Nothing is left to naturally mature and produce anymore, everything has to be genetically and chemically induced to produce more, shorten time of production or generally increase income. I agree there is some rationale for this including pest resistance but surely there should be more sustainable ways to do protect crops than to modify them genetically. I can’t remember the last time I had a banana I actually enjoyed in the States. Even milk here tastes watery. The organic food alternative is more expensive and inaccessible compared to the Genetically Modified Foods. It pisses me off.

Therefore, I’m going to dwell a little on Genetically Modified Foods, reasons for these alterations and all that scientific stuff that leaves our yummies tasting all goooey.

What are Genetically Modified Organisms/Foods?

Genetically Modified Foods

According to World Health Organization, ‘’’Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. ’’ The technology has been termed “modern biotechnology or gene technology or genetic engineering’’. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between non-related species. Foods produced from or using organisms are often referred to as GM foods.

GMOs and Crossbreeding

Genetically modified foods or have had their genes manipulated as opposed to the traditional cross breeding. What is cross breeding? A Crossbreed is an organism with purebred parents of two different breeds, varieties, or populations. Cross breeding is the process of breeding an organism often with the intention to create offspring that share the traits of both parent lineages, or producing an organism with hybrid vigor. Genetic engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits of these plants and organisms than previous methods such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.

A Little Background on GM Foods in the USA:

Genetically Modified Foods

Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994, when Calgene first marketed its unsuccessful Flavr Savr delayed-ripening tomato. Most genetic modifications have primarily focused on cash crops in high demand by farmers such as soybean, corn, canola and cotton. Recently I have seen them delve deeper into regular produce such as my darling banana, plantain and grapes.

Some Genetically modified foods have been engineered for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and for better nutrient profiles. GM livestock have been developed, although as November 2013 none were on the market. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) favour the use of “genetic engineering” over ‘’genetic modification’’ as the more precise term.

Why are GM foods produced at all?

Having gone through the meaning of GM Foods, I know some people would still wonder why GM Foods are produced. Asides their watery, empty taste, are GM foods safe? Are they regulated nationally? What are the issues of concern for human health? The answers to these questions have been prepared by WHO in response to the above questions and concerns from WHO Member State Governments with regard to the nature and safety of genetically modified foods. I would summarize them shortly.

 

◦ GM foods are developed and marketed because there is some perceived need or advantage either to the producer or consumer (and of course to the producers pockets) of these foods. This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both.

◦ Another major objectives for developing plants on GM organisms is to improve crop protection from pests and herbs. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistant strains and species to plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides.

◦ Resistance against insects is achieved by incorporating into the food plant the gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This toxin is currently used as a conventional insecticide in agriculture and is safe for human consumption. Genetically Modified Foods that inherently produce this toxin have been shown to require lower quantities of insecticides in specific situations, e.g. where pest pressure is high. Virus resistance is achieved through the introduction of gene from certain viruses which cause disease in plants. Virus resistance makes plants less susceptible to disease caused by viruses, resulting in higher crop yields. Now if these methods have long-term effects on consumers, would be discussed below, be patient.😒

GMOs

What are the main issues of concern for human health?

If you ask me, with my meager knowledge of science, anything that introduces an external new-to nature compound to a perfectly natural entity would have repercussions but since I have not done any research on it, the people who have posit that the three main issues debated as regards Genetically Modified Foods are their potentials to provoke allergic reaction (allergenicity), gene transfer and outcrossing.

Genetically Modified Foods

◦Allergenicity: As a matter of principle, the transfer of genes from commonly allergenic organisms to non-allergic organisms is discouraged unless it can be demonstrated that the protein product of the transferred gene is not allergenic. While foods developed using traditional breeding methods are not generally tested for allergenicity, protocols for the testing of GM foods have been evaluated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO. Therefore, no allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market. Hmmmm.. okay. If y’all say so.

 

◦Gene Transfer: GMOsGenes transferred from Genetically Modified Foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health. This would be particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes, used as markers when creating GMOs, were to be transferred. Although the probability of transfer is low, the use of gene transfer technology that does not involve antibiotic resistance genes is encouraged. All these hullabaloo and we still can’t cure cancer 🤦‍♂️

 

◦Outcrossing: The migration of genes from genetically modified foods/organisms into conventional cops or related species in the wild (referred to as “outcrossing”), as well as the mixing of cops derived from conventional seeds with GM crops, may have an indirect effect on food safety and food security. Cases have been reported where GM crops approved for animal feed or industrial use were detected at low levels in the products intended for human consumption. Several countries have adopted strategies to reduce mixing, including a clear separation of the fields within which GM crops and conventional crops are grown. Of course when have we given humans a meter and they didn’t try to take a kilometer?

◦Are GM foods safe?

Genetically Modified Foods

 

Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods. Meaning, they’re not safe but they can’t tell you so they don’t get in trouble. I’m kidding lol. But seriously, I’ve common across plenty studies that say GMOs could cause cancer and other mortal disease conditions. Of course! What do you expect when you try to manipulate something God wants you to let be 🤦‍♂️

◦ GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments based  on the Codex Alimentarius principles and, where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the basis for ensuring the safety of GM foods. Whatever you say, Alice.

Are GM foods regulated nationally?

gmoThe way governments have regulated GM foods varies. In some countries, GM foods are not yet regulated. Countries which have legislation in place focus primarily on assessment of risks for consumer health. Countries which have regulatory provisions for GM foods usually regulate GMOs in general, taking into account health and environmental risks, as well as control and trade-related issues (such as potential testing and labeling regimes). In view of the dynamics of the debate on GM foods, legislation is likely to continue to evolve. And trust me when I say all theses are done with profitability in mind first.

Well, I’m not crediting or discrediting Genetically Modified Foods, I understand the rationale behind them and you should too. That doesn’t mean you should eat the lot of them; there are reasons why they are safer and more accessible to you. When you can, please sought out and have organically grown or at lease partly organic foods. Trust me they have lots more goodness (nutrients and phytochemicals) than GMOs. If you can afford a garden, plant a few corn, tomatoes, potatoes and tomatoes. You’d love them more than most store-bought foods no matter how organic the claim. Plus you can be sure of how you grow them so that in 20 gears time there won’t have been an accumulation of some blah in your cells.

Me? I’m about to go back to Nigeria for a week just to have good old Dabinu, garden eggs, real natural watermelons and by God a natural banana/plantain! 😩

GMOs

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General Research

AGBALUMO: AFRICAN STAR APPLE

AFRICAN STAR APPLE

 

Yaaay, Its african star apple  season!. I Saw the bright yellow delight today in the fridge at home and I simply couldn’t contain myself. I sprang one open and dug my teeth into the white, gummy creamy liquid and relished every second of it. Suckling on the seeds and stripping them of their fibrous clothing. The African star apple is a fruit native to Nigeria and some other African countries. The igbos of the South-Eastern Nigeria call it “udala” while the Yorubas in the West fondly know it as “agbalumo”. This yummy udala is not just a gift to the mouth, it is also a delight to the body. Check it out.

Whats the Buzz?

African star apples serve as a good source of calcium, with each serving providing 10% of the amount you require each day. Calcium lends strength to your bones and teeth, and it may also lessen symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as cramping and abdominal bloating. The African star apple also contains 5% of the daily recommended value per serving of vitamin C and vitamin A. Additionally, one serving of star apples serves up 2 % of the iron required per day.

For the Diabetics:

The African star apples may have particular benefits for diabetics. Research published in the September 2009 edition of the African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology indicates that the leaves of udala may reduce glucose levels in diabetic rabbits, the same function that insulin serves. Take note, however, that consuming star apple leaves appear to have a toxic affect when eaten in large quantities. “More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of star apple leaves to control diabetes in humans”, according to Professor Ignatius Onimawo, a Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Medicinal Properties of Agbalumo:

african star aple

Previous studies indicate that the roots, barks and leaves of agbalumo have been employed in folk medicine for the treatment of diseases. The bark is used for the treatment of yellow fever and malaria, while the leaf is used as an emollient and for the treatment of skin eruption, stomach ache and diarrhea. The cotyledons from the seeds of Agbalumo are used as ointments in the treatment of vaginal and dermatological infections in Western Nigeria.

Phytochemical Content:

african star apple

Researchers state that: “Biological actions are primarily due to the presence of phytochemicals in a very complicated concert of synergistic or antagonistic activities. Mixtures of such chemicals show a broad spectrum of biological effects and pharmacological properties”. The African star apple has these phytochemicals in abundance as noted earlier.

  • Methanolic extract of the cotyledons from the seeds of the African Star Apple led to the isolation of eleagnine, tetrahydro-2-methylharman and skatole. Eleagnine was found to be the main compound responsible for its antimicrobial activity. The antimicrobial properties of the plant could be attributed to the presence of tannin, anthraquinone and cardiac glycosides. Eleagnine was further shown to exhibit anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities.
  • Studies have demonstrated that the leaf extract of udala may not cause any adverse effect on the biochemical and haematological indices of toxicity. Moreover, the extract was found to possess anti-platelet and hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar) properties and might be employed in the management of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and diabetes mellitus, respectively. Further investigation is needed to establish the anti-platelet property of the extract.

african star apple 5

Now you have enough reason to convince yourself to indulge in the Christmas delight. But don’t forget to be careful as the juice could leave nasty residue on the lips. Also, it’s juice stains white fabric virtually irredeemably.

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Diet Therapy of DiseasesGeneral Research

KETOGENIC DIET – ASTONISHING WAY TO LOOSE WEIGHT

ketogenic diet
A client of mine asked for details of a ketogenic diet. Personally I don’t subscribe to the idea of taking lots of fat while trying to lose fat supposedly. I figured it portends more harm than good for the patient; especially in Nigeria where unsaturated fats sources (which are most ideal for a ketogenic diet) are not really available and expensive when found. So I decided to get comprehensive components, advantages and disadvantages of the diet, so let us talk about it shall we? This is quite comprehensive so kindly forgive it’s lengthy nature.

ketogenic diet

Definition:

A ketogenic diet (keto) is basically a low-carb diet, which turns the body into a fat-burner. It is similar to other strict low-carb diets, like the Atkins diet or LCHF (low carb, high fat). These diets often end up being ketogenic more or less by accident. The main difference between strict LCHF and keto is that protein is restricted in the latter. A keto diet is designed specifically to result in ketosis.

What is Ketosis?

The “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it makes the body produce small fuel molecules called “ketones”
This is an alternative fuel for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply.
Ketones are produced if you eat very few carbs (that are quickly broken down into blood sugar) and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can also be converted to glucose). Ketones are produced in the liver, from fat. They are then used as fuel throughout the body, including the brain. The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose or ketones.
ketones
On a ketogenic diet the entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels become very low and fat burning increases drastically. It becomes easy to access fat stores to burn them off. This is obviously great if the aim is to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, like less hunger and a steady supply of energy. Therefore when the body produces ketones it’s said to be in ketosis. The fastest way to get there is by fasting – not eating anything – but obviously it’s not possible to fast forever.

Ketogenic Diet:

A ketogenic diet is one that forces your body to go into ketogenic state. It has many of the benefits of fasting – including weight loss – without having to fast.
There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:
Standard ketogenic diet (SKD):
This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It usually contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs.
Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD):
This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD):
This diet allows you to add carbohydrates around workouts periods only.
 
High-protein ketogenic diet:
This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.

How to Achieve Ketosis

 
There are many things that increase levels of ketones and ketosis. Here they are, from most to least important:
Restrict carbohydrates to 20 digestible grams per day or less – a strict low-carb diet. Fiber does not have to be restricted, it is beneficial to reduce glycemic index and increase satiety.
Restrict protein to moderate levels. If possible stay at or below 1 gram of protein per day per kg of body weight. So about 70 grams of protein per day if you weigh 70 kg (154 pounds). It might be beneficial to lower protein intake even more, especially when you’re overweight, and then aim for 1 gram of protein per kg of desired weight. The most common mistake that stops people from reaching optimal ketosis is too much protein.
 
Eat enough fat to feel satisfied. This is the big difference between a ketogenic diet and starvation, that also results in ketosis. A ketogenic diet is sustainable, starvation is not.
Avoid snacking when not hungry. Unnecessary snacking slows weight loss and reduces ketosis.
If necessary add intermittent fasting. This is very effective at boosting ketone levels, as well as accelerating weight loss and type 2 diabetes reversal.
The Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
The benefits that accompany a ketogenic diet are similar to those of any strict low-carb diet. However, the effect might be even greater since protein is more restricted. This raises ketones more, and lowers insulin (the fat-storing hormone) more.

Weight loss:

 
Turning your body into a fat-burning machine has obvious benefits for weight loss. Fat burning is vastly increased while insulin – the fat storing hormone – levels drop greatly. This creates ideal circumstances in which fat loss can occur, without hunger. Around 20 scientific studies of the highest class (RCTs) show that, compared to other diets, low-carbohydratee and ketogenic diets result in more effective weight loss.
Diabetes type 2 reversal:
 
A ketogenic diet is excellent for reversing type 2 diabetes, since it lowers blood sugar levels and the negative impact of high insulin levels.
Improved mental focus:
 
Ketosis results in a steady flow of fuel (ketones) to the brain. A ketogenic diet prevents sharp fluctuations in blood glucose. This often results in the experience of increased focus and improved concentration. A lot of people specifically use keto diets specifically for increased mental performance.
Interestingly, there’s a common misperception that eating lots of carbohydrates is needed for proper brain function. But this is only true when ketones are not available. After a few days (up to a week) of keto-adaptation – during which people may experience some difficulty concentrating, have headaches and become easily irritated – the body and brain can run effortlessly on ketones. In this state many people experience more energy and improved mental focus.

Increased Physical Endurance:

 ketogenic diet
Ketogenic diets can vastly increase physical endurance, by giving constant access to all the energy of fat stores. The body’s supply of stored carbohydrates (glycogen) only lasts for a couple of hours of intense exercise, or less. But your fat stores carry enough energy to easily last for weeks or even months.
When you’re adapted to burning primarily carbohydrates – like most people are today – fat stores are not easily available, and they can’t fuel the brain. This results in constantly having to fill up by eating before, during and after longer exercise sessions. Or even just to fuel daily activities and avoid “hanger” (hungry and irritable states). On a ketogenic diet this problem is solved. As the body and brain can easily be fueled 24/7 by your powerful and abundant fat stores, you can keep going forever like the Energizer Bunny (lol, I kid). Whether you are competing in a physical endurance event, or just trying to stay focused on reaching some other goal, your body has the fuel it needs to keep you going and going even without a carbohydrate fill up.

Two problems

So how is it possible that most people believe that carbs are necessary to perform exercise? There are two reasons. To unlock the power of ketogenic diets for physical endurance, and not instead suffer reduced performance, you need:
*Enough fluid and salt (minerals and vitamins) for fluid and electrolyte replacement;
*Two weeks of adaptation to burning fat – it does not happen instantly.

Metabolic syndrome:

 
There are many studies showing that low-carb diets improve markers of metabolic syndrome such as blood lipids, insulin levels, HDL-cholesterol, LDL particle size and fasting blood sugar levels. Improvements have been shown to be even greater when carbohydrates and protein are restricted to the point of being steadily in nutritional ketosis.

Epilepsy:

 
The ketogenic diet is a proven medical therapy for epilepsy that has been used since the 1920s. Traditionally it has mainly been used in children with uncontrolled epilepsy despite medication. More recently it has also been tested successfully by adults with epilepsy, with similar good results. There are many randomized controlled trials that demonstrate the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet in decreasing seizures in patients with epilepsy.
Using a ketogenic diet in epilepsy is that usually allows people to take less anti-epileptic drugs, while remaining seizure-free. It’s not unusual to even be able to completely stop taking these drugs while staying seizure-free. As all anti-seizure medications have side effects – like drowsiness, reduced concentration, personality changes or even reduced IQ – being able to take less or no drugs can be hugely beneficial.
Myelin sheathes which are the connecting points of neurons are made up primarily of fats. This may explain why a high fat diet would cause a positive improvement on a neurological disorder.

Other benefits of the ketogenic diet includes:

Reduced hunger:
ketogenc diet
Many people experience a marked reduction in hunger. This may possibly be caused by an increased ability of the body to be fueled by its fat stores. Many people feel great while eating just once or twice a day, automatically ending up doing a form of intermittent fasting. This saves both time and money, while also speeding up weight loss.

Increased energy:

Perhaps after a few days of feeling tired (the “keto flu“) many people experience a clear increase in energy levels. This can also be experienced as clear thinking, a lack of “brain fog” or even as a sense of euphoria.

Protein Sparing Effect:

Ketosis has a protein-sparing effect, assuming that one consumes adequate quantities of protein and calories—0.7 grams per kg of body weight per day—in the first place.Once in ketosis, the body actually prefers ketones to glucose. Since the body has copious quantities of fat, this means there is no need to oxidize protein to generate glucose through gluconeogenesis.

Reduction in Blood Insulin Level:

ketogenic diet

Another benefit has to do with the low levels of insulin in the body, which causes greater lipolysis and free-glycerol release compared to a normal diet when insulin is around 80-120 mmol/dm. Insulin has a lipolysis-blocking effect, which can inhibit the use of fatty acids as energy. Also, when insulin is brought to low levels, beneficial hormones are released in the body, such as growth hormone and other powerful growth factors.
Low Appetite:
Another small but very important benefit of the ketogenic diet is that when in the state of ketosis, ketones, along with a high protein intake, seem to suppress appetite. A high-carbohydrate diet, on the other hand, increases hunger levels. Because you have to consume a lot of fat on a ketogenic diet, which hold 9 calories per gram, you are not getting much food volume. It’s not mandatory to be hungry on a reduced-calorie diet.
What About The Anticatabolic Effects Of The Ketogenic Diet?
Every reduced-calorie diet is catabolic, meaning the diet can cause initiate muscle break down. ‘This is largely due to the fact that you are consuming less energy, so your body relies on other tissue (i.e., protein) to serve as an energy source. Added to that, some dieters do copious amounts of aerobic exercise when dieting, which can cause further breakdown of muscle. The brain can also call on protein to create more glucose for energy needs—a process called gluconeogenesis.
Ketosis is different, because, when in the state of ketosis, the brain will prefer ketones over glucose. For the dieter this is good! The body will not have to break down protein for energy. In turn the body will be forced to use its fat reserves, a.k.a. your love handles, for its energy. This is why a low-carb diet is such a good method of dieting.
Where Is The Scientific Data?
Fatty acid production in fat tissue is stimulated by epinephrine and glucagon, and inhibited by insulin. Insulin is one of the hormones the pancreas secretes in the presence of carbohydrates. Insulin’s purpose is to keep blood glucose levels in check by acting like a driver, pushing the glucose into cells. If insulin were not to be secreted, blood glucose levels would get out of control.
Glucagon is on the other side of the spectrum; it is insulin’s antagonistic hormone. Glucagon is also secreted by the pancreas when glucose levels fall too low. This usually happens when a person skips meals, or does not consume adequate amounts of carbohydrates for an extended period of time. When this happens, glucagon is secreted by the pancreas to break down stored glycogen in the liver into a more usable form, glucose.
When the body’s glycogen stores begin to get depleted, rates of beta-oxidation increase, resulting in the mobilization of free fatty acids from fat tissue. This is where the metabolic state of ketosis comes in. During beta-oxidation, ketone bodies are released from the liver—because they cannot be utilized by the liver—and travel to the brain to be used for fuel. The free fatty acids can then be turned into a usable energy substrate.
Potential Side Effects of Ketosis
Can ketones get too high, dangerously high? Not under normal circumstances.
For most people it’s quite a challenge to even get to optimal ketosis. Getting into dangerously high ketone levels (more than 8 – 10 mmol/l) is most often simply impossible. The main exception is type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. In type 1 diabetes, it’s very possible to get dangerously high ketone levels – just by forgetting to take your insulin injection. There are also other situations like breastfeeding and taking type 2 diabetes medications called SGLT-2 inhibitors25 that in rare situations can result in too high ketone levels.
This will result in feeling sick, nauseous and very weak. It can lead to a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis. There’s a simple treatment if you suspect this may be happening: eat some carbohydrates right away (e.g. a couple of fruits or a sandwich, a soft drink or a glass of juice). If you have type 1 diabetes take more insulin. Then contact emergency medical services if you do not immediately start feeling better.
Dry mouth and Increased thirst:

Unless you drink enough and get enough electrolytes (minerals and vitamins), you may feel a dry mouth. Try a cup of tea or two daily, plus as much water as you need.

Increased urination:
Another ketone body, acetoacetate, can end up in the urine. This makes it possible to test for ketosis using urine strips. It also – at least at startup – can result in having to go to the bathroom more often (Polyuria). This is the main cause of the increased thirst (above).

Keto breath:

This is due to a ketone body called acetone escaping via our breath. It can make a person’s breath smell “fruity”, or similar to nail polish remover. This smell can sometimes also be perceived from sweat, when working out. It’s often a temporary situation.
The Keto Flu:
While ketosis is normally safe, it is common to experience some time-limited side effects.
People transitioning from sugar-burning to fat-burning mode often initially experience a side effect referred to as the keto flu, since symptoms are similar to those of the flu: fatigue, nausea, headaches, cramps, etc. There are two main therapies that can prevent or alleviate these symptoms:
  1. Drink water with salt and lemon – alternatively have a daily cup of bouillon.
  2. Gradually reduce carbohydrate intake – abrupt abstinence results in severity and duration of symptoms. When starting on a ketogenic diet, it is typical to experience both fuid and electrolyte loss. This occurs because carbohydrates retain water and salts in the body, so when you stop eating carbs your body loses this water. If the keto flu is happening due to too little hydration, it might help to drink a glass of salt water with a little bit of squeezed lemon (for taste). When carbohydrates are suddenly removed from the diet, the brain can run slightly low on energy before it learns to use ketone bodies for fuel instead of the usual glucose. This means that if you drastically reduce carbs from one day to another, you may get symptoms of such as tiredness, nausea and headaches. Replacing fluids and electrolytes as described above can alleviate the symptoms. Or by instead gradually lowering carb intake over a period of a week or more, the body gets used to burning fat and ketones instead of glucose and there will usually be no symptoms. If you do not wish to gradually reduce carbs, make sure to get enough fluid and salt (like 1-2 cups of bouillon per day) to minimize symptoms. After a week or so the body is usually adapted to a ketogenic diet.
Blood Lipid Profile:
Blood-lipid profile is also a concern on the ketogenic diet due to the staggering amounts of saturated fats in the diet, although the diet can be centered around healthier unsaturated fats—which isn’t as fun as eating an egg and cheese omelet, fried in butter, with bacon on the side.
This is still under debate though as various people get different results during a ketogenic diet; some people following the ketogenic diet will experience a drop in cholesterol levels, but for some people, cholesterol levels will increase.
Micronutrient Deficiencies:
In a ketogenic diet regimen, carbohydrates are restricted to less than 50 grams a day, therefore micronutrient deficiencies could occur. Thiamin, folate, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium are typically inadequate in low-carb diets because grains which are major source of these micronutrients are restricted. The best thing to do to avoid this is to make sure you take high-quality multivitamin supplements to ensure 100 percent supply of the daily recommended values. Also supplementing with a fiber supplement is a good idea to make sure your plumbing doesn’t get clogged.
Ketoacidosis:
Ketoacidosis occurs when the level of ketones in the blood gets out of control, which poses a severe health risk especially for diabetics. When massive quantities of ketones are produced, the pH level of the blood drops, creating a high-acidic environment. Non-diabetics need not fear, as the regulated and controlled production of ketone bodies allows the blood pH to remain within normal limits.
 

Foods to Avoid:

Any food that is high in carbohydrates should be limited. Here is a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:
  • Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
  • Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
  • Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
  • Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
  • Some condiments or sauces:Especially those that contain sugar and saturated fat.
  • Unhealthy fat: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
  • Alcohol: Due to its high empty calorie content, many alcoholic beverages (if not all) can throw you out of ketosis.
  • Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in synthetic sugars, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods are also usually highly processed.

Foods Allowed:

You should base the majority of your meals around these foods:
  • Meat: Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey.
  • Fatty fish: Such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel. These fishes are high in omegaa 3 fatty acids which are quite heart healthy.
  • Eggs: Look for pastured or whole eggs.
  • Cheese: Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella).
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • Healthy oils: Primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
  • Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
  • Low-carb veggies: Most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Many keto activists advise that number to be 30 grams of carbohydrates but most individuals can still maintain ketosis while consuming the 50 grams and this allows for a little more leeway in the diet since you can increase the consumption of vegetables and a variety of flavoring’s that contain a few grams of carbohydrates.
  • Condiments: You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.
Sources:
The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Performance by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek.
https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto
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Diet Therapy of Diseases

STRESS AND NUTRITION: THE CONNECTION

A colleague of mine requested for an article on stress and I thought we could all learn from it. It contains virtually a little of everything you would need to know on the connection between stress and nutrition. I guarantee you would have lots of fun. Let’s go!

Stress and the Body

Being aware of how your body works and deals with stress can help you to manage stress and stressful situations. After a stressful period the human body can go into a ‘recovery mode’ where increased appetite and food cravings become more prevalent. At the same time metabolic rates drop to conserve energy. Being aware of these patterns can help you manage your stress levels and through nutrition and diet you can help your body recover from stressful periods more rapidly and minimise negative effects like weight gain.

Cortisol and Stress

Of course we know that stress can affect your body in many ways and that your waistline is a particularly notable victim of stress. Sadly, this is true. There are several ways in which stress can contribute to weight gain. One has to do with cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. When we’re under stress, the fight or flight response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of various hormones, including cortisol. When there is more cortisol in our system, we may crave less healthy food options such as snacks containing high sugar and fat content, and this can adversely affect our nutrition and health.
Whether we’re stressed because of constant, crazy demands at work or we’re really in danger, our bodies respond like we’re about to be harmed and need to fight for our lives. To answer this need, that body experiences a burst of energy, shifts in metabolism and blood flow, and other changes.These changes can affect digestion, appetite, and nutrition in many ways.
What happens during stress?
When we go through stress, our nervous system and adrenal glands send signals to the rest of the body to help us think more clearly and be ready for a physical response if required. In effect, cortisol and adrenaline are secreted. Cortisol is chiefly known as the body’s stress hormone. Let’s take an indept look at cortisol and how it functions in relation with our diet.
 
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (steroid hormone) produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands located on top of each kidney. It is normally released in response to events and circumstances such as waking up in the morning, exercising, and acute stress. Cortisol’s far-reaching, systemic effects play many roles in the body’s effort to carry out its processes and maintain balance (homeostasis) .Cortisol curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation as detected by adrenaline. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.

 

However in modern life we can become stressed for many reasons other than impending danger and yet our bodily reactions are the same. With their pre-determined instincts, our bodies’ still prepare our minds in this instinctive way and give less priority to other, less urgent, functions. Digestion is one such function that is given a lower priority during stressful situations, this is not good as poor digestion can make us feel unwell and this in turn can be a source of stress.
Why is cortisol so important?
 
Cortisol accelerates the breakdown of proteins into amino acids (except in liver cells). These amino acids move out of the tissues into the blood and to liver cells, where they are changed to glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. A prolonged high blood concentration of cortisol in the blood results in a net loss of tissue proteins and higher levels of blood glucose.
Isn’t this bad?
 
Not exactly. By raising plasma glucose levels, cortisol provides the body with the energy it requires to combat stress from trauma, illness, fright, infection, bleeding, etc.
Obviously, this is bad from a muscle breakdown perspective; however, the body is simply trying to preserve carbohydrate stores and deliver energy when it needs it most. Acutely, cortisol also mobilizes fatty acids from fat cells and even helps to maintain blood pressure.
As it’s part of inflammatory response, cortisol is necessary for recovery from injury and healing. However, chronically high levels of cortisol in the blood can decrease white blood cells and antibody formation, which can lower immunity. This is the most important therapeutic property of glucocorticoids, since they can reduce the inflammatory response and this, in itself, suppresses immunity.
Thus, cortisol is:
*Protein-mobilizing
*Gluconeogenic
*Hyperglycemic
Whether these effects are “good” or “bad” depends on whether cortisol’s release is acute (ie brief and infrequent) or chronic (i.e continuous).

Understanding the Natural Stress Response

When a threat is perceived the hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of the brain, sets off an alarm system in the body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts the adrenal glands, located atop the kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
Of interest to the dietetics community, cortisol also plays an important role in human nutrition. It regulates energy by selecting the right type and amount of substrate (carbohydrate, fat, or protein) the body needs to meet the physiological demands placed on it. When chronically elevated, cortisol can have deleterious effects on weight, immune function, and chronic disease risk.
Stress and Nutrition: The Connection
 
Blood Sugar:
 
Prolonged stress can alter blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health concerns that can lead to greater health problems, like heart attacks and diabetes.
 
Fat Storage:
Excessive stress affects fat storage. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable, it’s linked with greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body and high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Emotional Eating:
 
Increased levels of cortisol can not only make you crave unhealthy food, but excess nervous energy can often cause you to eat more than you normally would. How many times have you found yourself scouring the kitchen for a snack, or absently munching on junk food when you’re stressed, but not really hungry?
Fast Food:

stress and nutrition

Experts believe that one of the big reasons obesity is on the rise in our society these days is that people are too stressed and busy to make healthy dinners at home, often opting to get fast foods instead. Fast food and even healthier restaurant choices can both be higher in sugar and fat. Even in the healthiest circumstances, you don’t know what you’re eating when you’re not eating at home, and can’t control what goes into your food. Because of this and because restaurants often add less healthy ingredients like butter to enhance taste, it’s safer to eat at home.
 
Too Busy to Exercise

 

With all the demands of our schedules, exercise may be one of the last things on your to-do list. If so, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, from sitting in traffic, clocking hours at our desks, and plopping in front of the TV in exhaustion at the end of the day, exercise often goes by the wayside.
Caffeine and Stress

 

Caffeine is found mostly in coffee, tea, some soft drinks and chocolate. It can have negative effects on the body if taken in high quantities and habitually. Caffeine is a neurostimullator which increases heartbeat and keeps the mind alert. This makes it difficult for people taking coffee to sleep properly or even relax. Soon enough the body gets tired but still can’t go to sleep. Getting adequate sleep is an important factor in reducing stress levels. Caffeine and stress can both elevate cortisol levels, high amounts of caffeine ( which on its own can cause stress) can lead to the negative health effects associated with prolonged elevated levels of cortisol. When one ingests high levels of caffeine, you feel a mood surge and plummet, leaving a craving for more caffeine to make it soar again. This leads to insomnia, some other health consequences (such as arrhythmia) and, of course, stress. However, small to moderate amounts of caffeine can lift your mood and give you a boost.
Effects on the Body:

 

Hormones- You can feel the effects of caffeine in your system within a few minutes of ingesting it, and it stays on your system for many hours—it has a half-life of four to six hours in your body. While in the body, caffeine affects the following hormones thereby causing stress:
Adenosine: Caffeine can inhibit absorption of adenosine, which calms the body. This makes you feel alert in the short run, but can cause sleep problems later.
Adrenaline:Caffeine releases adrenaline into the system, giving a temporary boost, but possibly causing fatigue and depression later. If you take more caffeine to counteract these effects, you end up spending the day in an agitated state, and might find yourself jumpy and edgy by night.
 
Cortisol: Caffeine can increase the body’s levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which can lead to other health consequences ranging from weight gain and moodiness to heart disease and diabetes.
Dopamine– Caffeine increases dopamine levels in the system, acting in a way similar to amphetamines, which can make you feel good after taking it, but after it wears off you can feel ‘low’. This effect can also lead to a physical dependence because of dopamine manipulation.
Alcohol, Sugar, Salt and Nicotine:
 
You should aim to reduce your intake of alcohol, sugar and salt. Too much of these are never good. Consumption of these items are all known to strip the body of essential nutrients and undo the work of a healthier diet. Stop smoking! Although reaching for a cigarette may feel like instant stress relief it actually causes greater stress over time.
How to Lower Cortisol Levels With Diet (isn’t this wonderful?!?)

 

Stress and diet:
 
Stress and diet have always been linked. It is possible that someone eating a healthy, balanced diet is going to be far less stressed than someone eating a poor diet. If one is feeling overly stressed, the digestive system is probably under a great deal of strain, therefore making changes to your diet key to feeling better physically and emotionally. You can greatly help manage cortisones levels and regain your health by maintaining a suitable diet, exercise routine, sleep and stress levels. In absence of Cushing’s Disease, here are steps that help lower high cortisol levels naturally:
1. Switch to a Whole Foods, Anti-inflammatory Diet
Poorly managed blood sugar levels (especially hypoglycemia, having low blood sugar) and high levels of inflammation can contribute to high cortisol levels and other hormonal imbalances. Following an anti-inflammatory diet low in processed foods and high in antioxidants, fiber and essential nutrients is key to balancing hormones, controlling cravings and tackling stress. These same strategies can also help with adrenal support, allowing you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, boosting energy during the day and helping aid sleep.
Some of the most significant dietary contributors to inflammation and high cortisol levels include:
*High-sugar, high-glycemic diet (with many packaged foods, refined grain products, sugary drinks and snacks).
*Consuming high amounts of refined and trans fats
drinking too much caffeine and alcohol.
*Insufficient intake of micronutrients and antioxidants.
*Low fiber content of food (which makes it hard to balance blood sugar)
*Low consumption of unsaturated fats or unhealthy protein (which can lead to hunger, weight gain and high blood sugar).
Instead, switching to a low-glycemic diet, include healthy fats and proteins with every meal, and make sure to get enough fiber and phytonutrients by eating plenty fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the most useful foods for lowering cortisol and stabilizing blood sugar include vegetables; fruits; coconut or olive oil; nuts; seeds; lean proteins like eggs, fish and grass-fed beef; and probiotic foods (like yogurt, kefir or cultured vegetables).
 
2. Use Adaptogen Herbs and Superfoods:
Adaptogen herbs help naturally lower high cortisol levels in several key ways. They help balance hormones; reduce inflammation due to their strong antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial effects; they possess natural antidepressant effects; lower fatigue; and help balance blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Many adaptogens, such as mushrooms and cocoa, have been safely used for thousands of years to promote better overall health with little to no side effects.
There are at least various proven adaptogenic herbs that can help lower cortisol, including ginseng, garlic, basil and medicinal mushrooms among others.
3. On Stressful Days, Eat Little and Often (small frequent meals):
 
This will keep the metabolism ticking all day and minimise peaks and troughs in energy levels. Eat breakfast, though you may not feel hungry or believe you do not have enough time. Eating breakfast helps to kick start metabolism for the day and also helps to stabilise your blood sugar level which will in turn reduce stress. Choose fruit or fruit juice and a whole-grain cereal for maximum benefits.

 

4. Eat Well Throughout the Day
 
Be sure to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day and focus on foods containing Vitamins B and C, and Magnesium. B Vitamins can help you feel more energetic after a stressful episode. Bananas, leafy green vegetables, avocados, nuts, seeds and also meat, fish and dairy products all contain essential B vitamins.
Vitamin C: The adrenal glands contain the largest store of vitamin C in the body and are important in the production of stress hormones. Eat citrus fruit such as oranges, tomatoes, peppers, kiwi fruit, leafy green vegetables, broccoli and other foods rich in Vitamin C.
Magnesium: Magnesiumhelps to relax muscles and reduce anxiety. Increase your magnesium intake by eating nuts, especially Brazil nuts, but also hazelnuts and peanuts. Leafy green vegetables, whole grains, especially oats, brown rice and beans are also good sources of magnesium. Take a relaxing bath with a good handful of Epsom salts (available at pharmacists) as these contain magnesium that can be absorbed through your skin.
As well as trying to maximise your intake of certain foodstuffs, you should also be aware of the negative effects of others and therefore try to minimise them.




5. Opt For Green Tea:
stress and green tea
If you take a lot of coffee you may not realize the effects caffeine has on your system. However, you can reduce your stress levels and improve your mental performance throughout the day if you gradually wean yourself of large amounts of caffeine. A relatively easy and healthy way to do that is to replace coffee with decafinated green tea, which has a soothing taste and the added benefit of plenty antioxidants!

 

6. Try Sparkling Juice:
If you’re a cola drinker, you are probably experiencing the same health consequences from caffeine that coffee drinkers experience. A more healthful alternative is sparkling fruit juice, or sparkling water. You won’t only be getting a refreshing treat, but you’ll be adding water to your system, rather than detracting it (caffeine dehydrates, so drinking it is akin to un-drinking water!), and you’ll be avoiding other caffeine-related side effects.
How can a Dietitian help with stress and diet?

 

Seeing a registered health professional such as a nutritionist is essential if you want to make long-term positive changes to your diet in order to effectively manage stress. A nutritionist can provide tailored nutritional advice and support to ensure all your needs are catered for and specific goals are met. This will involve an assessment to pinpoint nutritional needs and what stress relieving foods will be the most suitable for you. As part of your assessment, your dietitian will look at triggers and contributing factors, as well as any underlying imbalances such as adrenal hormones and thyroid problems. Following this, you will be given a specific diet plan to follow, which will also outline lifestyle changes such as physical activity, which will play an important role in stress management for the long-term.
Dietetics is a subjective science and not a one size fits all so it is important to consult a professional who would treat you as “a person” as conditions applicable to others may not be applicable to your peculiar situation. Good luck.
Sources:
http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/stress-nutrition-diet.html#ixzz4WPpFBXh1
Stress System Malfunction Could Lead To Serious, Life-Threatening Disease. NIH Backgrounder September 9, 2002.
Teitelbaum, Jacob, M.D. How Stress Can Make You Gain Weight. Total Health Vol 25. no. 5. Oct/Nov 2003.
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Women’s Health

VAGINISMUS: DEFINITION, CAUSES AND TREATMENT

 

         Definition

According to Wikipedia, “Vaginismus, sometimes called vaginism and genito-pelvic pain disorder, is a condition that affects a woman’s ability to engage in vaginal penetration, including sexual intercourse, manual penetration, insertion of tampons or menstrual cups, and the penetration involved in gynecological examinations (pap tests)”.

 

Types of Vaginismus:

 
Vaginismus can be experienced by women at any age or time in life. There are two major classifications:
* Primary vaginismus and
*Secondary vaginismus.
The medical community typically uses these terms to indicate the time of onset. These labels assist the professionals and researchers in diagnosis and classification. For the individual woman, the distinction between the two types tend to be of low significance. The good news is that both are highly treatable.
Primary Vaginismus:
 
Primary vaginismus usually refers to the experience of vaginismus with first-time intercourse attempts. Usually, primary vaginismus will be discovered when a woman attempts to have sex for the very first time. The spouse/partner is unable to achieve penetration and it is like he “bumps into a wall” where there should be the opening to the vagina, making entry impossible or extremely difficult. Primary vaginismus is a common cause of many sexless, unconsummated marriages. Some women with primary vaginismus will also experience problems with tampon insertion or having gynecological exams.
Primary vaginismus is often idiopathic.

Secondary Vaginismus:

 
Secondary vaginismus usually refers to the experience of developing vaginismus a little later in life, after a period of pain-free intercourse. Medical conditions such as yeast infections, cancer, trauma (such as rape) or thinning of the vaginal walls due to menopause can trigger the vaginismus condition. Vaginismus should be considered when a woman continues to experience ongoing sexual pain after her medical problem has been treated and healed. A woman’s ability to experience orgasms can also be affected as a sudden pain spasm may abruptly terminate the arousal buildup toward orgasm (we would all agree that this can be a nuisance). Some women with secondary vaginismus may also experience difficulty with gynecological exams or tampon insertion due to involuntary tightness.

Variations in the Classifications:

 
Note that these definitions can be a bit restrictive in some cases. For example, some women are able to tolerate years of uncomfortable but bearable intercourse with gradually increasing pain and discomfort that eventually becomes so pronounced that sex is no longer bearable. Women may also experience years of intermittent difficulty with entry or movement and have to constantly be on their guard to try to control and relax their pelvic area when it suddenly “acts up.”
Vaginismus has a wide range of manifestations, from impossible penetration, to intercourse with discomfort, pain or burning, all resulting from involuntary pelvic tightness.
Other Classifications:
 
Beyond the above basic classifications, physicians and specialists may use other medical terms referring to vaginismus such as:
Apareunia is a general term that refers to a condition where one is unable to have sexual intercourse. Vaginismus is one type of apareunia (if it is completely preventing penetrative intercourse).

Causes of Vaginismus

 
Some common triggers for Vaginismus include:
*Fear of pain associated with penetration, particularly the popular misconception of “breaking” the hymen upon the first attempt at penetration, or the idea that vaginal penetration will inevitably hurt the first time it occurs.
*Chronic pain conditions and harm-avoidance behaviour.
any physically invasive trauma (not necessarily involving or even near the genitals)
*Generalized anxiety
*Stress
*Negative emotional reaction towards sexual stimulation, e.g. disgust both at a deliberate level and also at a more implicit level.
*Strict conservative moral education, which also can elicit negative emotions.
Etiology:
The pain experienced during vaginismus is caused by the involuntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles – specifically the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle group – leading to generalized muscle spasm and temporary cessation of breathing. Most times this is involuntary and psychological.
Treatment:
Vaginismus is highly treatable. Successful vaginismus treatment does not require drugs, surgery, hypnosis, nor any other complex invasive technique. It is mostly psychological in nature. Effective treatment approaches combine pelvic floor control exercises, insertion or dilation training, pain elimination techniques, transition steps, and exercises designed to help women identify, express and resolve any contributing emotional components.
Sex Therapy & Counseling:
Education typically involves learning about your anatomy and what happens during sexual arousal and intercourse. You’ll get information about the muscles involved in vaginismus too. This can help you understand how the parts of the body work and how your body is responding. Counseling may involve you alone or with your partner. Working with a counselor who specializes in sexual disorders may be helpful. Relaxation techniques and hypnosis may also promote relaxation and help you feel more comfortable with intercourse.
Vaginal Dilators:
Your doctor or professional may recommend learning to use vaginal dilators under the supervision of a professional.
Place the cone-shaped dilators in your vagina. The dilators will get progressively bigger. This helps the vaginal muscles stretch and become flexible. To increase intimacy, have your partner help you insert the dilators. After completing the course of treatment with a set of dilators, you and your partner can try to have intercourse again.

 

Kegel Exercises:
To perform Kegel exercises, repeatedly tighten and relax your pelvic floor muscles, which control your vagina, rectum, and bladder. You can locate these muscles when you’re urinating. After you begin to urinate, stop the stream. You’re using your pelvic floor muscles to do this. You may feel them tighten and move. These muscles move as a group, so they all contract and relax at the same time.
Practicing these exercises helps you control when your muscles contract and relax. Follow these steps:
  1. Empty your bladder.
  2. Contract your pelvic floor muscles, and count to 10.
  3. Relax your muscles, and count to 10.
  4. Repeat this cycle 10 times, three times a day.
  5. To successfully strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, don’t engage the muscles of your abdomen, buttocks, or thighs when doing these exercises.
After a few days, insert one finger, up to about the first knuckle joint, inside the vagina while doing the exercises. It’s a good idea to clip your fingernails first and use a lubricating jelly. Or do the exercises in a bathtub, where water is a natural lubricant. Start with one finger and work your way up to three. You’ll feel the vagina’s muscles contracting around your finger, and you can always take your finger out if you’re not comfortable.
This approach is called progressive desensitization and the idea is to get comfortable with insertion.
Sources:
 
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Uncategorized

PENIS SHRINKAGE

I bet you didn’t know the penis could change its size and shape to suit certain environmental influences such as temperature and sexual arousal. These normal changes do not negatively impact the penis size and function. Additionally, redistribution or the collection of body fat surely can make the penis appear smaller than normal, although there may be no change in its real size. A healthy penis is not just about how well a male performs in the bedroom, but also about how it functions on a day-to-day basis. If the penis is not able to get erect, it could reflect problems that go beyond sex, an indicator of problems with other organs in the body (such as the heart and testes).

PENIS SHRINKAGE

Penile shrinkage or also known as shortening or atrophy refers to real decrease in penile tissues, and even its ability to function normally could also change. Shrinkage is a common condition that occurs to older age such as those age 60 have higher chances to experience penile shrinkage. Nevertheless, in some specific cases, younger men may also notice a long term change in shape and the size of their penises.

Penile Sensitivity

According to WebMD, penile sensitivity decreases with age. This can actually impact your size. Researcher notes that all men have what’s known as a “sensory threshold.” This is defined as the amount of stimulation that a man is able to feel. As a man ages, his sensitivity decreases, and therefore so does his sensory threshold. The sharpest decline occurs between ages 65 and 75, but the process actually begins as young as 25. So even if you don’t consider yourself an old geezer, you may be well into the throes of sensory decline. As sensitivity declines, the blood flow to your penis decreases. When blood fills the chambers along your shaft, your size fails to reach its full potential. It’s an unfortunate, but natural reality of ageing.

Some Causes

Of course, no matter what your age, your level of shrinkage can be directly influenced by your lifestyle habits. So if you’re shrugging your shoulders and thinking, “Oh well, getting old sucks,” you may not be off the hook just yet. Do you smoke? Drink? Is your diet not as nutritionally sound as it could be? Are you a serial masturbator? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you may be accelerating or increasing your own penis shrinkage. That’s because our habits can have a direct effect on our personal health.
When it comes to penis size, there are two primary variables at work: the flow of blood, and the expansion of arteries within the fibrous sheath of the erectile chambers. Poor habits can inhibit the flow of blood, while excess masturbation can lead to the accumulation of scar tissue, which hinders the expansion of those arteries.
So in many cases, even older men can slow or reverse the effects of penis shrinkage simply by foregoing the cheeseburgers, tossing out the Marlboros, beer and deleting the porn from the hard drive. When these efforts just aren’t enough though, there are other solutions.

Common Causes Of Penis Shrinkage

By now, hopefully you have an idea what is penile shrinkage and it’s possible, and it could happen to anyone. Even during heavy exercise one can experience some noticeable changes in penile shortening, but this is temporary and nothing to worry about. Penile shrinkage can happen during exercise specially with lifting heavy weights because according to experts, the body sends more blood to areas that are well-stimulated during the workout. It make sense because during exercise, you are not using the penis unless you’re doing some sort of penis exercises and this is usually temporary and does not affect size on a long term basis.

 

There are some factors that can affect penile shrinkage over a long period of time and could potentially become permanent if nothing is done to address the issue. Here are some the common issues that can cause long-term or even permanent penile shrinkage.
Reduced In Blood Flow To The Penis:
A decrease in the flow of blood to the penile tissue can bring about a decrease in size. Heart issues including atherosclerosis, cardiovascular-related health issues, and poor circulation of blood due to wearing tight clothing can deprive the penis of the blood it requires for penile tissue nourishment. Men with circulatory difficulties could also experience a decline of erectile function, as the blood that should flood the erectile chambers is inadequate.
 
Low Testosterone or Low-T Level:

 

Men who have significant declined in testosterone, or men with Low-T may also experience shortening of the penis. When in doubt about low testosterone causing the shrinkage, it is worth noting to see if there is also a reduction in the size of the testicles. Testosterone levels drop noticeably due to the process of ageing. Also, certain health conditions and chemotherapy, radiation therapy or prostate cancr treatment can impair and drop the levels of testosterone.
There are various means to boost low testosterone levels naturally. For instance, performing regular exercises like Kettlebell, and short high-intensity cardiovascular workouts can both help revved up testosterone levels. A diet rich in Zinc, Magnesium and other micronutrients also offer a boost (read our article on boosting testosterone levels for more)
Obesity:

penis shrinkage

Obesity is not just about the overall weight concerns, but the build-up of fats around the belly area, or waist size causes the penis retracts inward. As the fat tissues in the waistline goes outward as it builds up, down lower where the penis is located retract in an inward direction. This is a natural pull of tissues below the belly area causing the penis to go inside or inward resulting to a smaller and shorter penis size.
The good news is if you could start losing that fat build-up, penis size also starts to come back out. A small change of losing an inch in waist size can be a great help on gaining back that penile shrinkage or shortening!. Also, losing the unwanted extra fats around the belly can be of huge benefits to overall health, as well. Mid rif obessity is also an indicator of cardiovascular disease.

Treatment of Penis Shrinkage

The loss of penis size treatments would be based on the underlying root cause of the problem. Men who are experiencing tissue loss are highly encouraged to consult with their doctor/urologist in order to be diagnosed the real root cause of the problem. In a situation where a decreased blood circulation is the cause, lifestyle changes such as eating healthy particularly non-inflammatory diet, losing weight and maintaining it at an ideal or healthy level, and taking medications for a heart-related disease can help to restore depleted tissue. So, talk to your doctor about these matters.

 

Furthermore, men experiencing a Low-T may opt for hormone therapy. It is important to note that there are certain side effects or health risks that should be weighed in this situation when taking hormone replacement therapy. There is also natural supplementation that encourages the production of HGH(human growth hormone) that when combined with a healthy lifestyle can be effective. There are also numerous other alternatives for treating issues associated with the penile connective tissue. In some instances, men experienced significant progress when taking or having treatment with vitamin E, while in some cases, surgical procedures are required and even putting penile implant or prosthesis is recommended by the doctor.

 

 

External Means Of Penile Nourishment:
Aside from the possible solutions mentioned earlier, regularly applying certain penile cosmetics containing vital nutrients may provide additional health benefits to the penis. There are various penile creams that are formulated with specific vitamins that can enhance penile health. Some of the components included in these penis creams or oils may help the penis regenerating tissue growth.
By regular application and making it a part of a daily routine, men who have penile shrinkage issues can take the full benefits of these vital nutrients that are directly applied to the penile shaft skin. Among these common nutrients that are proven to work when applied externally includes Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E. These are also useful when it comes to antioxidants, moisturizer, and tissue-building amino acids. These vitamins are also considered natural male-enhancing nutrients.
Improving Lifestyle:
 
Your lifestyle can be dramatically improved by tweaking a few aspects of it and increasing vitality and health levels. This will help to boost your erections, make your penis seem bigger and help you to feel confident again.
*Eat more organic food and avoid packaged food that has come into contact with plastic. Some plastics actually leech chemicals which can have a dampening effect on male testosterone levels.
*Reduce your intake of white carbs and eat more vegetables, lean white meats, eggs and fish.
*Get into shape and detoxify your body in whatever way possible. You could go on a juice fast, go vegetarian for a few weeks or simply drink lots of water.
The causes of your penis shrinking are probably more to do with male hormones rather than any disease or problem you think you may have.

 

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Lastly, typical penis enlargement devices like penis pumps and penis extenders are also good when use appropriately to restore penile length due to shrinkage.
SOURCES:
 
 
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General Research

AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHEESE

Health Benefits of Cheese
Cheese contains a host of nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12. The high-quality protein in cheese provides the body with essential building blocks for strong muscles. For the lactose intolerant, many cheeses, particularly aged cheeses such as Cheddar and Swiss, contain little or no lactose and are often well tolerated.
It is recommended that individuals ages 9 and older consume at least 3 servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day; children aged 4-8 years need 2-1/2 cups per day. One serving of cheese is one and one-half ounces of hard cheese, one-third cup for grated cheese and two ounces for processed cheese.

Satiety and Weight Loss:

Cheese is a great source of protein and calcium. Since protein curbs hunger and improves satiety after meals and snacks, cheese can aid weight loss. As part of a well-rounded eating plan, the protein in cheese can slow down the absorption of carbohydrates eaten at the same meal or snack and therefore help balance your blood-sugar levels and improve mood as well.

Dental Care:

Cheese has a very high calcium content, the first and foremost thing needed for strong teeth. Its low content of lactose is also beneficial for the teeth as any form of sugar (glucose, maltose or lactose) in food can harm the teeth.
 
Bone Health:
health benefits of cheese
Apart from having a very high calcium content, cheese is also rich in vitamin-D, which is very good for children, women (particularly when pregnant or lactating) and elderly people, for the formation and strengthening of bones and cartilage. The vitamin-D in cheese aids the proper absorption and distribution of calcium.
Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis is mainly a deficiency disease caused by a deficiency of calcium (non-absorption), resulting in a decrease in bone mineral density. This is particularly seen in women who have undergone menopause, elderly people and malnourished children. This can be treated with protein, calcium and a vitamin-D-rich diet. Calcium alone will not help much, because the problem is with its absorption and its utilization for bone formation. These three components are found in abundance in cheese. Therefore, cheese can form an ideal part of a diet for those suffering from osteoporosis.
Hypertension:
Sodium and cholesterol are the two elements mainly considered harmful for hypertension and hypertensive people are advised to avoid them. In this way, cheese should be viewed critically. The fat content of the cheese depends very much on the quality of the milk, whether it is full fat or full cream, low fat or fat free. In general, high-fat cheeses are more popular, since they tend to taste better. But, keeping in view the public demand and health concerns, low-fat cheeses are also being introduced to the market. This means that you need to be choosy while picking cheese for your home and diet.

 

Weight Gain:
health benefits of cheese
Cheese is an excellent food for weight gain also. Cheese is full of proteins, fats, calcium, vitamins and minerals. Protein is needed for muscle formation and growth, fats for fat-based processes in the body, calcium for heavier and stronger bones and vitamins and minerals for improved metabolic function.
 
Other Benefits:
Recent research shows that cheese contains conjugated linoleic acid and sphingolipids which help prevent cancer. It contains a lot of vitamin-B which develops in it during the fermentation process. Vitamin-B is very good for maintaining many functions in the body and also for protection against diseases like Beriberi. It also enhances blood formation, strengthens the liver, and facilitates the absorption of nutrients in the body. In women, it can also offer some relief from PMS symptoms. Cheese contains additional nutrients like zinc and biotin. Zinc has several functions in the body: It aids in tissue growth and repair, prevents and treats macular degeneration, protects your skin, and helps keep your nails strong. Both zinc and biotin are also important for hair health.

Caution:

It could Trigger IBS and Celiac Disease:
The dairy in cheese makes it a trigger for some IBS sufferers. Aged cheeses are also common triggers for those who suffer frommigraines. People with celiac disease must check all cheese labels carefully, as some cheeses — including all blue cheeses — are made with bread mold.
Fat Content:
For the past 30 years or so, saturated fat—found in meats, eggs, cheese, butter, whole milk, lard and some oils—was considered a primary cause of heart disease. New research, however, is showing that saturated fat has a minimal impact on heart disease risk, which is changing the “saturated fat is bad” paradigm and allowing people to enjoy cheese and other saturated fat containing foods. Further research is needed to purpot this anyway. Even if saturated fat is less of a concern, calories still matter. To reduce calories, you can grate or sprinkle harder cheeses over your dishes or use small amounts of aromatic and sharp cheeses for their delicious cheese flavor. Many reduced-fat varieties of cheeses are also available.
Sodium Content:
Although the sodium content of cheese varies according to the amount of salt added to the milk prior to cheese formation, it is never low enough to be recommended for hypertensive people, as salt is an inevitable part of cheese. In general, cheese is not recommended for people suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure). Although low sodium and low fat cheese is helpful in reducing homocysteine, an agent which is often related with heart diseases, this fact still does not make it recommendable for hypertensive people. Another thing in cheese that can help hypertensive people is the vitamin-B content, if they do choose to eat it.

 

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Diet Therapy of Diseases

DIET MANAGEMENT OF ALZHEIMERS DISEASE

alzheimers disease
I recently accompanied my aunt to see an old relative who suffers from Alzheimers Disease. Her state was so pitiful and she had degenerated so much that my aunt teared up. A virtual shadow of herself and unrecognizable. This hit me real bad and I decided to do something on it. I hope you are well educated  by this.
Alzheimer’s Disease:
alzheimers disease
Like all types of dementia, Alzheimers is caused by brain cell death.3 It is a neurodegenerative disease, which means there is spontaneous brain cell death that happens over a course of time.
The total brain size shrinks with Alzheimers – the tissue has progressively fewer nerve cells and connections thereby reducing it’s efficiency. There are some predisposing factors such as age, lifestyle and diet (we’d get to that later).
A recent research study found that age related decline could start as early as 45, crazy isn’t it?. The good news is that a number of encouraging research avenues indicate that risk of dementia and Alzheimers could be reduced in the early stages by a comprehensive optimum nutrition approach, yes I highlighted that on purpose until you all learn that virtually every ailment can be linked to dietThe strongest evidence to date relates to raised homocysteine levels, which both predicts risk and can cause the kind of brain damage seen in Alzheimers, caused by lack of B vitamins, especially B12 which is progressively malabsorbed with age.Homocysteine is a neurotoxin, capable of directly damaging the medial temporal lobe, which is the area of the brain that rapidly degenerates in AD. Homocysteine is easily lowered with common B vitamins, gottn from veggies and fruits.
Other nutritional solutions which research suggest can affect cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s risk include omega 3s (DHA), antioxidants such as Vitamin E (due to the inflammatory nature of Alzheimer’s) and acetylcholine which is a key part of memory function (which is usually deficient in Alzheimer’s cases).
 
Role of Nutrients and PhytoNutrients:
 
Omega-3 fats:
alzheimers disease
Omega-3 fats are mostly found in carnivorous, cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel. According to a study by Dr. Martha Morris and colleagues at Chicago’s Rush Institute for Healthy Aging, eating fish once a week reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 60 per cent.
Antioxidants:
 
Inflammatory reactions basically mean increased production of oxidants, and hence an increased need for antioxidants like vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E, all of which have been shown to be low in those with Alzheimer’s. Other bioactive components, including cysteine, glutathione, lipoic acid, anthocyanidins, and co-enzyme Q10 and melatonin may also prove important. In simple terms this means eating a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables – at least six portions a day – and oily fish and seeds.
Stress, Cortisol and Memory Loss:
alzheimers and diet
Under prolonged stress, the body produces the adrenal hormone cortisol. The research of Professor Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University has shown that although cortisol is a powerful anti-inflammatory hormone, raised cortisol can damage the brain. In studies with rats he found that two weeks of induced stress causing raised cortisol levels causes dendrites, (connections between brain cells), to shrink. He believes that brain cell loss in ageing and Alzheimer’s may be, in part, due to high levels of cortisol and recommends that corticosteroid drugs should not be used in Alzheimer’s patients for other medical problems like asthma or arthritis.
 
Why Do Some Foods Induce Memory Loss?
The brain needs its own brand of fuel (exclusively carbohydrate sources of glucose). It requires healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and adequate vitamins and minerals for optimal function. Consuming too little of these foods and too many complex carbohydrates, processed foods and sugar stimulates the production of toxins in the body. Those toxins can lead to inflammation, the build-up of plaques in the brain and, as a result, impaired cognitive function.
These effects apply to people of all ages, not just elders.
 
Foods That Induce Memory Loss:
alzheimers disease
 
Unfortunately, the foods that hamper memory are common staples in the modern diet. White breads, pasta, processed meats and cheeses, all of these have been linked to Alzheimers disease. Some experts have even found that whole grain breads are as bad as white breads because they spike blood sugar, which causes inflammation! (I know right! )
Here’s a list of foods linked to increased rates of Alzheimer’s disease:
*Processed cheeses, including American cheese, mozzarella sticks, Cheez Whiz and Laughing Cow. These foods build up proteins in the body that have been associated with Alzheimer’s.
*Processed meats, such as bacon, smoked turkey from the deli counter and ham. Smoked meats like these contain nitrosamines, which cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.
 
Beer. Most beers contain nitrites, which have been linked to Alzheimers.
alzheimers disease
*White foods, including pasta, cakes, white sugar, white rice and white bread. Consuming these causes a spike in insulin production and sends toxins to the brain.
*Microwave popcorn contains diacetyl, a chemical that may increase amyloid plaques in the brain. Research has linked a buildup of amyloid plaques to Alzheimer’s disease.
Foods That Boost Memory:
 
Changing dietary habits is never easy. However, avoiding foods that induce memory loss and eating more of the foods that boost memory improves your chances of enjoying all-around health.
Here’s the list of foods that help boost memory:
alzheimers disease
*Leafy green vegetables
*Salmon and other cold-water fish
*Berries and dark-skinned fruits
*Coffee and chocolate
*Extra virgin olive oil
*Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
Feeding Tips:
 
Now we know that Alzheimers disease patients require extra care, patience and attention. Providing a healthy diet regimen without getting it into them would be highly ineffective. Here are some ways to get through to Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Provide an adequate diet with a variety of foods.
Offer vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein foods.
Limit foods with high saturated fat and cholesterol.
Some fat is essential for health — but not all fats are healthy. Go light on fats that are bad for heart health, such as butter, solid shortening, lard and fatty cuts of meats.
 

Cut down on refined sugars:

Often found in processed foods, refined sugars contain calories but lack vitamins, minerals and fiber. You can tame a sweet tooth with healthier options like fruit or juice-sweetened baked goods. But note that in the later-stages of Alzheimer’s, if loss of appetite is a problem, adding sugar to food may encourage eating.
 

Limit foods with high sodium and minimize salt.

Most people consume more sodium than recommended, which affects blood pressure. Cut down by using spices or herbs to season food as an alternative.
As the disease progresses, loss of appetite (anorexia) and weight loss may become concerns. In such cases, the doctor may suggest supplements between meals to add calories.
Staying hydrated may be a problem as well. Encourage fluids by offering small cups of water or other liquids throughout the day or foods with high water content, such as fruit, soups, milkshakes and smoothies.
 

Possible Causes of Poor Appetite:

 
Understand that the patient is not conscious of their decisions and that you need to be tolerant of their actions.

Not recognizing food: The person may no longer recognize the foods you put on his or her plate.

Poor fitting dentures. Eating may be painful, but the person may not be able to tell you this. Make sure dentures fit and visit the dentist regularly.

Medications. New medications or a dosage change may affect appetite. If you notice a change, contact the physician.
Not enough exercise. Energy Lack of physical activity will decrease appetite. Encourage simple exercise, such as going for a walk, gardening or washing dishes.
Decreased sense of smell and taste. The person with dementia may not eat because food may not smell or taste as good as it once did.
Ways of Limiting distractions while Eating:
 
*Serve meals in quiet surroundings, away from the television and other distractions.
*Keep the table setting simple.
*Avoid placing items on the table — such as table arrangements or plastic fruit — that might distract or confuse the person. Use only the utensils needed for the meal.
*Distinguish food from the plate.
*Changes in visual and spatial abilities may make it tough for someone with dementia to distinguish food from the plate or the plate from the table. It can help to use white plates or bowls with a contrasting color placemat. Avoid patterned dishes, tablecloths and placemats.
*Check the food temperature. A person with dementia might not be able to tell if something is too hot to eat or drink. Always test the temperature of foods and beverages before serving.
*Serve only one or two foods at a time. Too many foods at once may be overwhelming. Simplify by serving one dish at a time. For example, mashed potatoes followed by meat.
*Be flexible to food preferences. Keep long-standing personal preferences in mind when preparing food, and be aware that a person with dementia may suddenly develop new food preferences or reject foods that were liked in the past.
*Give the person plenty of time to eat. Remind him or her to chew and swallow carefully. Keep in mind that it may take an hour or longer to finish eating.
*Eat together. Make meals an enjoyable social event so everyone looks forward to the experience. Research suggests that people eat better when they are in the company of others.
Keep in mind the person may not remember when or if he or she ate.
*If the person continues to ask about eating breakfast, consider serving several breakfasts — juice, followed by toast, followed by cereal.

Sources:

http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-01-02/foods-that-induce-memory-loss/
M. Morris, et al.. Consumption of fish and n-3 fatty acids and risk of incident Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol, vol 60, pp. 940-946 (2003)
S. Seshadri et al. Plasma homocysteine as a risk factor for dementia and AD. N Engl J Med, vol 346(7), pp. 476-483. (2002)
P. S. Sachdev et al.. Relationship between plasma homocysteine levels and brain atrophy in healthy elderly individuals. Neurology vol 58, pp. 1539-1541 (2002)
S. J. Duthie, et al.. Homocysteine, B vitamin status, and cognitive function in the elderly. Am J Clin Nutr, vol  75(5), pp. 908-913 (2002)
https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-food-eating.asp
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