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General Research

IS OBESITY RELATED TO CANCER

Does Body Weight Affect Cancer Risk?

Being overweight, obese or having a BMI over 30kgmsq (since the society wants to scrap out the word obese) seems to be  linked to an overall increased risk of cancer. According to research from the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 11% of cancers in women and about 5% of cancers in men in the United States, as well as about 7% of all cancer deaths.  

Being overweight or obese is clearly linked with an increased risk of 13 types of cancer, which includes:

  • Breast cancer (in women past menopause)
  • Colon and rectal cancer (diet related)
  • Endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus)
  • Esophagus cancer (diet related)
  • Gallbladder cancer (diet related)
  • Kidney cancer (diet related)
  • Liver cancer (diet related)
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreas cancer (diet related)
  • Stomach cancer (diet related)
  • Thyroid cancer (diet related)
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Meningioma (a tumor of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Notice that there is a correlation with diet and almost 80% of all stated cancers. Most part of your body more vulnerable to cancers are the ones exposed to whatever dietary choices you make.

Being overweight or obese might also raise the risk of other cancers, such as:

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Male breast cancer
  • Cancers of the mouth, throat, and voice box
  • Aggressive forms of prostate cancer

The bond between cancer and  body weight is stronger for some cancers than for others. For example, excess body weight is thought to be a factor in more than half of all endometrial cancers, whereas it is linked to a smaller portion of other cancers.

Understanding the link between body weight and cancers is quite complex and might tip you off balance a bit. For example, while studies have found that excess weight is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women after menopause, it does not seem to increase the risk of breast cancer before menopause. Reasons best known to science (giggles).

The time of an individual’s life in which they gain weight might also affect cancer risk. Being overweight during childhood and young adulthood might be more of a risk factor than gaining weight later in life for some cancers. For example, some research suggests that women who are overweight as teenagers (but not those who gain weight as adults) may be at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer before menopause.

More research still needs to be carried out to back up some of these claims 

 

How might body weight affect cancer risk?

Excess body weight may affect cancer risk in a number of ways, some of which might be specific to certain cancer types. Excess body fat might increase cancer risk by affecting:

  • Inflammation in the body
  • Cell and blood vessel growth
  • Cells’ ability to live longer than they normally would
  • Levels of certain hormones, such as insulin and estrogen, which can fuel cell growth
  • Other factors that regulate cell growth, such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
  • The ability of cancer cells to spread (metastasize)

Does losing weight reduce cancer risk?

Research on how losing weight might lower the risk of developing cancer is limited. Still, there’s growing evidence that weight loss might reduce the risk of some types of cancer, such as breast cancer (after menopause) and endometrial cancer.

Some body changes that occur as a result of weight loss suggest it may, indeed, reduce cancer risk. For example, overweight or obese people who intentionally lose weight have reduced levels of certain hormones that are related to cancer risk, such as insulin, estrogens, and androgens.

While we still have much to learn about the link between weight loss and cancer risk, people who are overweight or obese should be encouraged and supported if they try to lose weight. Aside from possibly reducing cancer risk, losing weight can have many other health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.

It’s important to lose body weight, but much more important to lose body fat rather than just water fat (glycogen stores). So rather than cutting out carbs with chain saws and axes, reduce the amount of trans fat and ensure you take in quality nutrients. 

 

The science around it all

Overall, the majority of hypotheses proposed over the past 20–30 years have been based around the physiological functions and pathological correlations of compounds intimately involved in general metabolism of adipose tissue or its regulation by systemic factors and the relevance of those compounds to cell proliferation or development that could contribute to abnormal proliferation and migration leading to oncogenesis (development of tumors). The more recently developed concepts to be described below adopt a wider perspective in which the interface between adipose metabolism, inflammation and carcinogenesis is mediated by newly uncovered links involving biochemical pathways which open new perspectives on the obesity/cancer relationship in a more holistic, biologically integrated manner.

 These ideas include the inflammation-induced activation of the kynurenine pathway and its role in feeding and metabolism by activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and by modulating synaptic transmission in the brain. Evidence for a role of the kynurenine pathway in carcinogenesis then provides a potentially major link between obesity and cancer. A second new hypothesis is based on evidence that serine proteases can deplete cells of the tumour suppressors Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC) and neogenin. These enzymes include mammalian chymotryptic proteases released by pro-inflammatory neutrophils and macrophages.

The kynurenine pathway represents the dominant pathway of tryptophan catabolism, accounting for the disposal of around 95% of the tryptophan not used for protein synthesis.

According to a research carried out by Jin in 2015, he stated and i quote that “the relevance of the kynurenine pathway is that not only do its components affect the regulation of metabolism, feeding and body mass, largely via the modulation of NMDA receptor activity, but they are also implicated in aspects of carcinogenesis’. Expression of the central enzyme of the pathway – kynurenine-3-monooxygenase (KMO) is greater in human hepatic carcinoma cells than controls and is known to influence cell proliferation and migration.

Other factors like insulin resistance, high glucagon and leptin levels (in obese and diabetic patients), adipokines (adiponectin) which is reduced in obese patients, highly concentrated levels of ceruloplasmin in adipose tissues of obese patients, might also increase an obese patients risk to several types of cancer. 

 

Dietary consideration 

Bowman-Birk inhibitors are relatively small proteins found in plant based foods, highly stable within the intestine and generally resistant to heating and cooking, which are known to be absorbed from the intestine into the blood. 

Several studies suggest that the presence of bowman’s birk inhibitors (BBI) are capable of inducing apoptosis in human breast carcinoma. The BBI is also capable of suppressing carcinogenic processes that include colon, oral leukoplakia, esophageal tumors, leukemia, prostatic hyperplasia and breast cancer (quite elusive though).

An overall healthy diet and lifestyle cannot be over emphasized, whether you choose a ‘only plant based diet’ or you choose to do a variety, make sure you do the right thing for your body MODERATION! 

 

Sources: https://www.nature.com/articles/cddiscovery201567

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/effects.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5952217/

 

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Uncategorized

COPPER WATER: PURPOTED BENEFITS AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Everyday, there is new research coming up about what we consume, how we consume them and even when to consume them. Recently I stumbled on a research that seemed interesting and I just couldn’t hold back but share with you all. 

“Copper water” is an emerging trend that promotes the practice of storing drinking water in a copper container or copper water bottle.

While you and I (yes, i just heard of it) may have just recently heard about this trend, it’s widely supported by Ayurveda, an Indian system of holistic medicine with ancient origins.

It’s okay to wonder if this practice is just mere bants and fad or if it has benefits at all. 

This article reviews the purported benefits and downsides of drinking copper water.

Copper water isn’t a beverage or bottled carbonated drink (the one that will do kpissh if you open it) you’ll find in the nearest supermarket or health store. Rather, you have to make it by storing drinking water in a copper container.

Copper (Cu) is a trace element, meaning that you only need minimal amounts of it.

Cu plays a role in multiple essential body functions, such as the production of energy, connective tissues, and your brain’s chemical messaging system. It’s widely found in foods like shellfish, nuts, seeds, potatoes, whole grain products, dark chocolate, and organ meat 

“Proponents of this practice state that storing water in copper containers allows the metal to infuse into the water, thus conferring benefits to the drinker”.

 

CLAIMED BENEFITS

So many  claims to support the practice include the fact  that copper water offers multiple benefits, including better heart and brain health, a “boost” in the immune system, and even weight loss, anti-aging, and tanning effects.

However, it’s unlikely that copper water provides these health effects.

“Instead, these benefits may merely reflect copper’s roles and functions in your body, given that it’s involved in energy production, pigmentation, the development of brain and heart tissue, immune system function, and angiogenesis — the formation of new blood vessels”.

ANTIBACTERIAL EFFECTS

One of copper’s benefits appears to be backed by science — its antibacterial effect.

Both old and recent evidence suggests that copper may be used as a water purification or sterilization system, as ancient Ayurveda techniques recommended 

This may be especially beneficial for those  who don’t have access to safe drinking water 

Contaminated water can contain considerable amounts of bacteria, including Vibrio cholerae, Shigella flexneri, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella typhimurium, that can cause diarrhea — one of the leading causes of death in developing countries.

Simply storing water in a copper pot or vessel may kill these harmful bacteria; i guess that’s  a good one right?

The term “contact killing” is used to describe copper’s antibacterial effect. The term explains how copper causes an aggressive and extensive damage on the cell wall of the bacteria.

Still, studies agree that water should be stored in the copper container for several hours  (about 16-48 hours) before drinking it to ensure that the antibacterial effect has been successful.

POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS 

Long-term exposure to high doses of copper may cause copper toxicity, which is characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. It may even lead to liver damage and kidney disease 

One way you may develop copper toxicity is by consuming stagnant water that flows through copper-containing pipes, which allow for high quantities of copper to leach into the water .

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than 0.47 mg of copper per cup (2 mg per liter) of water, so that the tolerable upper intake of 10mg/day is not exceeded. 

The bottom line

Copper water is simply water that has been stored in a copper container. This allows for safe amounts of copper to leach into the water.

Almost 85% of this  practice’s purported benefits aren’t backed by scientific studies. The only clear cut fact is that it could exert an antibacterial effect that may kill diarrhea-causing bacteria in contaminated water.

However, research suggests that for the leached copper to kill bacteria, the water must be stored in a copper vessel at least overnight or up to 48 hours.

Heavy metals leaching into water would lead to toxicity which would in turn have an adverse effect on your health. Unless there is a strong scientific backing, just drink your water in whatever vessel you’ve been drinking it please.

 

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Diet Therapy of Diseases

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: What you need to know

Your liver  is your largest internal organ which is responsible for digestion, detoxification, and storage of energy. 

A very little infection could lead to its damage if not treated properly. 

The term ‘liver disease’ is a compendium of many different conditions including hepatitis, liver cancer, fatty liver disease and genetic conditions like hemochromatosis. Let’s delve a little bit into a disease that could be curbed nutritionally, especially one that affects about 25% of the world’s population (Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

What is NAFLD & NASH?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat is inappropriately stored in the cells of the liver. As the name implies, this particular type of fatty liver disease occurs in people who drink little/no alcohol – while there is also fatty liver that can result from excessive alcohol consumption. Often times, it’s not stereotypical, you may drink moderately, as well as have nutrition and lifestyle habits which can still  contribute to fatty liver disease. Regardless of the cause, lifestyle changes are typically the first intervention.

If left undiagnosed or untreated, having NAFLD could also increase a person’s risk of developing a more advanced form of liver disease, called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). 30% of those with NAFLD progress to developing NASH. So, what’s the difference? In NAFLD, there are fatty deposits throughout the liver, but little to no inflammation or liver cell damage. 

NASH on the other hand, is a form of NAFLD and is characterized by fatty deposits in the liver PLUS inflammation and liver cell damage, fibrosis (hardening of the liver) and can even lead to permanent scarring in the liver, called cirrhosis. In other words, it is more permanent and irreversible than normal NAFLD – but can still be managed with lifestyle, diet, and/or medications.

Why would someone who doesn’t consume excess alcohol still have fat deposits around their liver? There are a few risk factors that are associated with developing NAFLD and NASH including:

  • Having characteristics of metabolic syndrome – this includes factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus or insulin resistance, and large waist circumference
  • Rapid weight loss may be due to a previous illness or stringent eating patterns 
  • Obesity
  • Excessive intake of energy, in particular fat and sugar, and overall lack of balance in the diet
  • Genetic risk factors

SYMPTOMS OF NAFLD?

One of the most challenging aspects of NAFLD and NASH is that they could be asymptomatic, particularly in the early stages in which many people get little to no symptoms at all. If individuals do present with symptoms, they generally experience one or more of the following things:

  • Pain/discomfort in the upper right abdomen (where the liver is located)
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • General feeling of unwell

“In the more extreme cases, where liver cirrhosis and scar tissue develop, people may experience fluid buildup called edema or ascites, and yellowing of the skin and eyes called jaundice”. However, this is unlikely to occur in the beginning stages of NAFLD and NASH.

“Because this condition is difficult to detect with physical symptoms, it is key to manage your health by seeing your doctor regularly and having routine blood work – usually annually or every couple of years unless you are at higher risk. This is especially important for anyone with a personal history or family history of liver issues, diabetes mellitus (particularly type 2), or any of the other risk factors listed above”.

How is NAFLD diagnosed?

Doctors use routine medical check-ups in detecting liver disease, which can involve physical examination, blood work, and imaging tests. In many cases, the first signs of NAFLD pop up in blood tests. Doctors will commonly include a check for liver enzyme levels including alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). If these are elevated, your doctor may want to investigate fatty liver disease.

Other tests for diagnosing NAFLD & NASH include imaging tests such as abdominal ultrasounds, fibro scans, and CT scans to view the liver and detect fatty tissue. 

A combination of blood tests and imaging is typically enough to determine if someone has NAFLD, but your healthcare team may decide to do additional testing to identify the severity of your condition such as a liver biopsy or additional blood testing.

ARE THERE TREATMENT OPTIONS?

You have realized that drinking alcohol In moderation doesn’t stop you from developing NAFLD, so it’s wise to watch your lifestyle patterns to avoid developing this disease. Poorly managed fatty liver disease can ultimately lead to cirrhosis and increased risk of liver cancer. 

Treatment of NAFLD involves a combination of lifestyle and medication management, although some people might not require pharmacotherapy to improve their liver function.

IS THERE NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT IF I HAVE NAFLD?

A vast majority of the recommendations that exist regarding nutrition for NAFLD are focused on reducing overall weight as a means for improving liver biomarkers. However, a systematic review from 2003 revealed that a vast majority of the studies that analyzed the connection between weight reduction and NAFLD had flawed methods, making it difficult to truly connect the dots between weight loss and NAFLD, predominantly because weight loss if often not permanent, and weight cycling appears to be a possible risk factor for worsening NAFLD and progression to NASH or cirrhosis.

As earlier stated, weight loss especially if rapidly chased, could lead to development and worsening of NAFLD . Pursuing weight loss does not always mean someone is healthy! If weight loss must be involved, it should be realistic and sustainable and not some type of “crash diet” lose 30kg in 3 weeks” type of diet. 

DIETARY MANAGEMENT 

There is no standard “NAFLD diet”, but there are some key dietary concepts that are linked to better outcomes in those with non-alcoholic fatty liver which includes :

  • Reducing saturated fat intake – saturated fat is primarily found in animal products, particularly beef, pork, creamy sauces, cheese, and other high fat dairy. It is also in coconut and palm oil.
  • Reducing intake of simple carbohydrates, especially fructose – high consumption of simple sugars such as those found in pop, juice, baked goods, candy and highly processed grains can contribute to excess fat being deposited in the liver. Avoiding these foods is recommended. Enjoy these foods occasionally and continue to eat natural sugars from fruits, vegetables, and dairy.
  • Increasing consumption of unsaturated fats such as omega-3s – Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help with reducing inflammation and fat synthesis in the liver. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include fish (particularly salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel & sardines), nut, seeds, plant oils and fortified foods like omega-3 eggs.
  • Increasing fibre consumption – getting enough fibre in the diet can actually help to reduce the amount of fat we uptake into our bloodstream and carry to the liver. Fibre, particularly soluble fibre, binds to fat in the digestive track and helps us to do away with it naturally.  Yes sure- we poop it right out! Fibre also plays a key role in regulating blood sugars and gut health, both factors implicated in the development of NAFLD.
  • Reducing or eliminating alcohol intake – like mentioned earlier, we often see those with moderate alcohol intake diagnosed with NAFLD. Alcohol is very hard on the liver, so reducing intake or entirely cutting it out  is helpful.
  • Exercise – staying active always is a key component of reducing fat deposits in the liver. If you think the gym is a scary place, then you can try dancing.

THINK MEDITERRANEAN! 

To be on a safer path, following a Mediterranean-style eating plan with an emphasis on lots of plant-based foods (veggies, fruit, and whole grains) ,leaner cuts of meat like chicken, turkey, and fish. Alongside this, consuming 1-2 meatless meals that include pulses like beans, chickpeas, and lentils is a great way of displacing intake of foods higher in saturated fat, plus an excellent source of fibre which might range from fleshy fruits with pulps or leafy vegetables.

Working with a dietitian is also highly recommended if you have NAFLD, as each case is very unique and should be individualized.

Medications

“There are numerous drugs that have been studied for NAFLD – almost too many to count! Generally speaking, medications used for the treatment of NAFLD mainly target the underlying cause (or suspected cause) of NAFLD”. In particular, medications that aid in cholesterol reduction and blood sugar management are a mainstay of care for NAFLD. 

SUMMARY

If you have been recently  diagnosed with NAFLD, working with a dietitian to incorporate a balanced diet that will help to reduce fatty deposits in your liver is highly recommended!

Many health professionals would  encourage weight loss to treat NAFLD. While this might sound appropriate, please remember that weight loss without a focus on sustainable behaviours and long-term health can actually worsen NAFLD, particularly rapid weight loss. 

 

Sources: https://ignitenutrition.ca/blog/non-alcoholic-fatty-liver-disease-what-you-should-know/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

 

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LifeStyle

ENERGY DRINKS: SUPERMAN BOOSTER?

The name already implies that a gulp or say a can, would release a rush  of energy into your blood streams and make your muscles pop like when Popeye takes his spinach. 

So, I guess we could do a little bit of bisecting to know how much  energy we could benefit from these drinks. 

Energy drinks have been promoted to increase energy and enhance mental alertness and physical performance, they contain significant amounts of caffeine as much sugar as soda, or even more as the case may be. 

A can of energy drink could contain about 200mg of caffeine, which is the amount in two cups of brewed coffee. 

 

WHAT’S IN THEM? 

A typical energy drink may contain the following: carbonated water, around 40 grams of sugar (from sucrose and/or glucose), 160 mg or more of caffeine, artificial sweetener, and herbs/substances associated with mental alertness and performance but that lack scientific evidence with controlled trials (taurine, panax ginseng root extract, L-carnitine, L-tartarate, guarana seed extract, B vitamins).

Carbohydrates

“Most energy drinks contain anywhere from 27-40g of carbohydrate from sugar”. The concentration of these carbohydrates is very high ranging from 20-25%. Sport drinks typically have a concentration between 4-6%. Research once demonstrated that high concentrations of carbohydrate such as glucose, sucrose, maltodextrins, fructose, and/or galactose will slow the rate at which fluid is absorbed from the intestine into the blood. In athletes who go through strenuous and vigorous activities, fluid replacement due to sweat loss is critical, these drinks may retard the rehydration process. In addition, consuming high concentrations of carbohydrate too soon before or during exercise can result in gastrointestinal distress and may have a laxative effect.

Caffeine and Herbs

Energy drinks contain caffeine or herbal forms of caffeine like guarana seeds, kola nut and yerba mate leaves. Herbal doesn’t even mean/suggest healthier. Due to processing, it is sometimes impossible to know the exact amounts of herbal caffeine that are in the drinks. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and provides a temporary feeling of being “energized.” In 2001, there was a demonstration to show that caffeine at a dose of about 6 mg/kg body weight  has often proved effective at enhancing exercise performance lasting from 1-120 min. ‘Although this may be the case, it is not a magic bullet”. Caffeine in large doses may make some athletes feel light headed, jittery, disoriented and nauseous and may cause diuretic and laxative effects

Other herbs added may include echinacea, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, ciwujia, hydroxycitrate, ephedra and St. John’s Wort. Companies may claim they aid in boosting the immune system, weight loss and memory. These ingredients are typically in small amounts, but even in larger amounts there is little evidence that any of them can benefit performance. “Standardization and purity of these herbs is not always reliable. Mislabeled products could result in positive doping and potentially serious side effects if herbs interact with athletes medications”.

Vitamins

Some energy drinks contain quite a number of minerals and vitamins. 

A particular brand (name withheld), contains 3000% of the recommended daily value of B12, and another brand contains 250% of the daily value of B6. Quite alarming amounts if i may say. 

B vitamins are water soluble and thus excess amounts are excreted in the urine. It’s important that athletes recognize that energy drinks should not be considered a well balanced meal replacement.

COMPLICATIONS 

High concentrations of sugar contained in these energy drinks might lead to weight gain, and also, too much caffeine might lead to nervousness, insomnia, increased blood pressure, irritability, and rapid heartbeat.

  • Dangers with alcohol: so many recent energy drinks over the counter are mixed with alcohol; which is even a greater danger especially for people who are involved in binge drinking. Studies suggest that drinking this type of cocktail leads to a greater alcohol intake than if just drinking alcohol alone. “This may be because energy drinks increase alertness that masks the signs of inebriation, leading one to believe they can consume even more alcohol”. High consumption of energy drinks—especially when mixed with alcohol—has been linked to adverse cardiovascular, psychological, and neurologic events, including fatal events. 
  • Lack of regulation: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate energy drinks but enforces a caffeine limit of 71 mg per 12 ounces of soda; energy drinks typically contain about 120 mg per 12 ounces. “However, energy drink manufacturers may choose to classify their product as a supplement to sidestep the caffeine limit”.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION 

Being optimally “energized” requires a suitable level of physical activity, adequate sleep, effective fueling and hydration strategies, and probably other unknown factors that affect neurochemicals in the brain. An energy drink alone will never make up for all of these elements.

Its advisable to always look out for the ingredients in any energy drink as an athlete, know their contraindications especially if you’re on medications and  if they contain herbs, be sure if the ingredients are safe and legal. 

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENERGY DRINKS AND SPORTS DRINKS?

Truly, so many people get confused on which to pick for effective athletic performance. But, unlike energy drinks, sports drinks do not contain herbs, caffeine and excess amounts of sugar.

Sports drinks go through extensive research and so provide alternatives to plain water for athletes to rehydrate after performance. 

During intense aerobic exercise, the body’s preferred source of fuel is carbohydrate (rather than fat or protein) due to the efficiency of energy transfer to fatigued muscles. 

“The majority of sports drinks are formulated to deliver carbohydrates, electrolytes and fluids in such a way that will minimize stomach upset and maximize intestinal absorption”. “When compared with water, the flavor of sports drinks typically entices athletes to drink more, thus aiding the hydration process”.

BOTTOM LINE 

If you’re concerned about being fatigued always, consider healthier means to boost your energy. Get enough rest, hydrate, exercise more, stick to a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

If this does not work, then consider seeing a doctor.

 

 

 

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General ResearchMen’s Health

NITRIC OXIDE AND PERFORMANCE

 

You may have heard of nitric oxide supplements, which claim to increase workout performance and boost your productivity in general and even enhance endurance in za oza room. You might even find some inside your pre-workout formulas too.

SO WHAT IS, OR WHAT DOES NITRIC OXIDE DO?

“Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas that the body produces, and it helps with blood flow (vasodilator) and could also act as a neurotransmitter. Nitric oxide supplements are formulated in order to try to increase the amount of nitric oxide in your blood, which might in turn help increase blood flow to working muscles and help reduce time to fatigue during a workout..

(To be clear, nitric oxide is very different from nitrous oxide, a.k.a. the stuff that gets you high.)

Theoretically, NO supplements could do wonders for your fitness routine. But in terms of scientific evidence, well, let’s just keep our fingers crossed…

So many questions might be running through your mind now like: Are nitrous oxide supplements safe? Do they work? First off, some of those supplements might not actually be nitric oxide—so be careful with which ones you’re buying. “While companies may label them as ‘nitric oxide’ supplements and boosters, they really don’t contain any nitric oxide. For example, Some ‘boosters’ could  contain compounds such as L-arginine

While the L-arginine in your body is involved in nitric oxide production, research is mixed as to whether taking it in supplement form will increase nitric oxide production, and if it could, whether that would actually enhance exercise performance and improve health.

“It’s also important to note that many booster supplements may contain additional ingredients that are not well researched or well regulated, so it’s wise to read labels carefully and seek professional advice before popping them pills.

If you’re looking to still give nitric oxide a try, here’s what you should know.

FUNCTIONALITY.

In the body, nitric oxide is secreted by the endothelial cells, which line the inner walls of the blood vessels, and it communicates with the smooth muscle cells, triggering them to relax. This blood flow regulation plays a role in multiple body functions, including maintaining erections and controlling blood pressure.

NO supplements, however, don’t actually contain nitric oxide. Instead, they contain ingredients (or substrates) that are thought to give your body a nudge to produce more nitric oxide, such as L-arginine and L-citrulline.

“If you’re ingesting nitrate or L-arginine, the idea is that it’s supposed to stimulate the synthesis of nitric oxide in the endothelial cell. So the more substrates there are, the more NO can be produced,”

Because blood is responsible for the transportation of oxygen to working muscles, the reasoning is that the increased blood flow caused by taking NO supplements might help you work out for a longer period of time and speed up recovery time. Proponents also claim that increased blood flow might make your muscles bigger and more pronounced.

EFFICACY OF NO SUPPLEMENTS

Honestly, me self nor know. There’s simply not enough evidence to suggest that they do.

Seemingly, the idea is that these supplements will increase NO, and then because of that, it’ll support the process of vasodilation, and obviously, the downstream  effect of vasodilation would be this massive increase in blood flow, which leads to increased exercise performance and enhanced recovery. “But most, if not all, of [these purported benefits] have not been supported by available evidence.”

In studies that have shown a link between improvements in performance and nitrate levels in the blood, such positive results could simply be a result of extensive training, as exercise itself enhances NO activity. Plus, dietary nitrate comes from other sources, like vegetables, and most studies don’t control for this.

Even if there are benefits to NO supplementation, it’s unclear whether they would apply to everyone. A review of 42 studies related to the effects of dietary ingredients linked with NO and exercise performance found mixed results: the review concluded that while NO supplements may “improve tolerance” to aerobic and anaerobic exercise in people who either aren’t in shape or are moderately trained, there seems to be no benefit in highly trained people.

 

BEETS AND IMPROVED WORKOUT?

 A few studies have shown that nitrate supplementation through beetroot juice can be effective at increasing endurance and overall power. One study found a link between 15 days of beetroot juice supplementation and an increase in power max during moderate–intensity cycling tests. While more research is required, it might interest you to note that of the ingredients that may have an impact on NO levels and exercise performance, beetroot juice is the most promising.

“Beets are the highest dietary source of nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Because of their natural nitrate content and it’s ability to convert to nitric oxide so well, beets have been shown through many studies to support the heart, especially by improving blood pressure,”.

Beets are also linked to other nitric oxide benefits, including improvements in both increasing strength and endurance performance as well as improvements in cognition during exercise, lower inflammation levels, greater antioxidant function, improved cognition.

Plus, beets are also good for your heart and muscle recovery, and are a good source of fiber. 

It’s important to note that blood nitrate levels peak within 2–3 hours. Therefore, to maximize their potential, it’s best to consume beets 2–3 hours before training or competing

 

SIDE EFFECTS OF NITRIC OXIDE SUPPLEMENTS

Even though the jury’s out on whether NO supplements really do improve performance, Bloomer says if you want to try them at a low dosage, go ahead. That said, if you’re prone to hypotension (or low blood pressure), you might want to skip them, as they could leave you feeling lightheaded or dizzy.

You should note that high dosages of NO supplements could put your kidney function at risk, particularly if you already have a nitrate-heavy diet. In such cases, “it might actually cause a reduction in performance, because your kidneys are too stressed out trying to process all this extra nitrate. To be on the safe side, just stick to the dosage stated on the package.

DOES NITRIC OXIDE HELP SEXUALLY OR BOOST LIBIDO

Since Nitric oxide itself plays a  substantial role in initiating and sustaining erections in males, and since it also increases blood flow to the penis, which can help a man maintain his erection, it could increase performance in bed and help you go longer. But there are other intrinsic factors to this.

A recent study did show that L-arginine supplements might enhance the effects of a common erectile dysfunction drug, but studies on people without dysfunction is limited, so general benefits aren’t totally known.

IS NITRIC OXIDE DANGEROUS FOR YOUR LIVER?

“While research isn’t conclusive, the answer to this may depend on whether you’re ingesting high amounts of synthetic nitrates and nitrites from processed meats or eating nitrates naturally from vegetables,”.

The World Health Organization and American institute for cancer research advise against any intake of processed and cured meats, and most contain sodium nitrates and nitrites. “Some research has linked sodium nitrates to free radical damage to cells including those in the liver, however much of this research has been conducted on animals with human studies being based on correlation rather than causation,” she says.

 

FOODS THAT ARE HIGH IN NITRIC OXIDE

Beetroot juice contains a notable amount of nitric oxide, and there is research to show that drinking it before competition can help with performance. One study found cyclists who drank beetroot juice two to three hours before exercise increased peak power and pedaling velocity. Another review also shows that beetroot juice can increase overall endurance and power for athletes.

It could also be found in leafy greens and other vegetables, but in smaller amounts. Vegetables are rich in nitrates, and high nitrate intake is associated with higher nitric oxide levels in the body, reason why incorporating veggies to your diet is important; so long as you have a healthy oral microbiome. Regular use of antibacterial mouthwash actually kills the bacteria that aid in production of nitric oxide from nitrates (and may impact the bacterial balance in your lower digestive tract),”.

There are a few vegetables with nitric oxide, but the ones with the highest nitrite content are beets which tops the list, as well as celery, chard, watercress, lettuce, spinach, and arugula. The next group with the greatest amount includes cucumber, celeriac, Chinese cabbage, endive, fennel, kohlrabi, leeks, and parsley.

 

IS DAILY INTAKE OF NITRIC OXIDE ADVISED?

Consuming nitrates through food is totally encouraged. The research on beet juice and beet powder shows the best success in improving exercise performance and heart health with daily consumption of at least 2 weeks. “Nitrate content may be an additional reason high vegetable intake is associated with better heart health, too,”

When it comes to supplements containing ingredients other than pure beet or vegetable powder, you want to be careful. Supplements are not well regulated for safety, purity, potency or effectiveness of claims, so if you do choose another “nitric oxide booster” pick one that is third party tested, preferably by NSF for Sport or Informed Choice for Sport.

To be candid, from a professional view, I don’t think you should supplement daily. No dietitian would recommend it. There isn’t much research on these supplements, so it’s difficult to assess what the long term side effects might be. Instead, just eat your darn veggies  or beets to get your nitric oxides you must. 

SOURCES: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-beets#section3

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General Research

GRANOLA: CEREAL OF THE YEAR

Granola is a breakfast food and snack food consisting of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, spices, honey or other sweeteners such as brown sugar, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until it is crisp, toasted and golden brown. Dried fruit, such as raisins and dates, and confections such as chocolate are sometimes added. Granola is often eaten in combination with yogurt, honey, fresh fruit (such as bananas, strawberries or blueberries), milk or other forms of cereal.

The granola cereal is quite healthy since it contains oats, nuts and seeds; but it is also important to note that it contains some ingredients as chocolates, oils and syrups which may be high in added sugars and fats. 

History

The names Granula and Granola were registered trademarks in the late 19th century United States for foods consisting of whole grain products crumbled and then baked until crisp, in contrast to the, at that time (about 1900), contemporary invention, muesli, which is traditionally neither baked nor sweetened.

Granula was invented in Dansville, New York by Dr. James Caleb Jackson at the Jackson Sanitarium in 1863.

 Granula was composed of Graham flour and was similar to an oversized form of Grape-Nuts.

Nutritional Benefits 

Granola is calorie-dense, as well as rich in protein, fiber, and micronutrients. In particular, it may provide iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamin E.

However, its nutritional profile varies widely depending on the specific ingredients used.

 

Nutrients ½ cup of kellogs low fat granola (50g) ½ cup of gyspy crunch low fat granola (50g)
Calories 195 260
protein 4.4g 7g
fat 2.9g 13g
carbs 40.5g 28g
fibre 3.5g 4g
sugar 14.2g 12g

 

The table clearly gives a comparison between two brands of granola and shows how Certain brands may have more calories, protein, fiber, fat, or sugar than others.

Benefits of granola

Although there’s little scientific research on granola itself, common ingredients, including oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, and almonds, are linked to numerous health benefits.

Filling and high in fiber

Most granola is rich in protein and fiber, which both contribute to fullness.

Protein even influences levels of important fullness hormones like ghrelin and GLP-1 ( The main actions of GLP-1 are to stimulate insulin secretion (i.e., to act as an incretin hormone) and to inhibit glucagon secretion, thereby contributing to limit postprandial glucose excursions. It also inhibits gastrointestinal motility and secretion and thus acts as an enterogastrone and part of the “ileal brake” mechanism)

High-protein ingredients in granola may include nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews, and seeds like hemp, pumpkin, and sesame.

Additionally, high-fiber foods like oats, nuts, and seeds slow down the emptying of your stomach and increase digestion time, which can help you feel fuller for longer — and may aid appetite control.

Other potential health benefits

Granola may also:

Improve blood pressure. High-fiber ingredients like oats and flax seeds have been shown to help in the management of high blood pressure 

Reduce cholesterol levels. Oats are a good source of beta glucan, a type of fiber that works to reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, two risk factors for heart disease 

Reduce blood sugar. Whole grains, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds may help manage and control blood sugar levels, particularly in people with obesity or prediabetes 

Improve gut health. Granola has been found to increase levels of healthy gut bacteria, compared with refined breakfast cereals

Provide many antioxidants. Ingredients such as coconut, chia seeds, and Brazil nuts are good sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants like gallic acid, quercetin, selenium, and vitamin E

Downsides of granola

Although granola contains several healthy ingredients, it can be high in calories and packed with added fats and sugars.

Fats like vegetable oil, coconut oil, and nut butters are often included to help bind the ingredients, add flavor, and aid in the toasting process.

However, these can supply excess calories. Eating more than the specified portion may lead to unwanted weight gain, increasing your risk of obesity and metabolic disease.Additionally, its ideal to limit your sugar intake to 10% of your total daily calories, which equates to about 12 teaspoons (50 grams) of sugar for someone following a 2,000-calorie diet .Some granolas might contain nearly 4 teaspoons (17 grams) of sugar in a single serving. Because it’s common to eat more than the standard serving size, you could be getting a substantial amount of sugar in just one bowl.

It is important to watch out for ingredients like chocolate chips, honey, and dried fruit with added sugar.

SUMMARY

Granola may prompt weight gain if eaten in excess, as it can be high in calories from added fats and sugars. What’s more, sugar is linked to chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

How to choose a healthy granola

Because ingredients vary widely by brand, it’s important to read nutrition labels carefully when shopping for granola.

Check the ingredient list, avoiding products that list sugar or sweeteners —including natural sweeteners like honey — within the first few ingredients.

Instead, the first few ingredients should be whole foods, such as oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

You may also want to look for varieties high in protein and fiber. Aim for at least 3–5 grams of fiber per serving 

What’s more, you should carefully consider serving sizes, which vary from 2 tablespoons (12.5 grams) to 2/3 cup (67 grams). Particularly small serving sizes can be misleading, as you’re likely to consume more than that amount.

Finally, you can make granola yourself to minimize or eliminate added sugar and fat. However, remember that nuts and seed are still calorie-dense, so be sure to watch your portions even for homemade varieties.

The bottom line 

Granola is a nutritious, filling cereal.

However, many varieties are high in calories and packed with excess sugar, which can harm your health.

Be sure to carefully read labels, choosing products with whole ingredients — like raisins, seeds, and nuts — that are high in protein and fiber.

No one should deceive you into using it as a super food to aid weight loss or cure diabetes or other non communicable diseases.

Sources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17928588/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-granola-healthy#Meal-Prep:-Everyday-Breakfast

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granola

 

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LifeStyle

Beyond restrictions, willpower and intensity: Diet quality and quantity matters

It’s no news that the amount of calories people eat and drink has a direct effect on their weight: Calories in = Calories out, and weight stays stable. Calories in > Calories out , weight goes up. Less calories in, and well, weight goes down.

 But what about the type of calories: Does it matter if they come from specific nutrients-fat, protein, or carbohydrate? Specific foods-whole grains or pop-corn? Specific diets-the Mediterranean diet or the “Keto” diet? And what about when or where people consume their calories: Does eating breakfast make it easier to control weight? Does eating at fast-food restaurants make it harder?

There’s ample research on foods and diet patterns that protect against heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. The good news is that many of the foods that help prevent disease also seem to help with weight control-foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. And many of the foods that increase disease risk-chief among them, refined grains and sugary drinks-are also factors in weight gain. Conventional wisdom says that since a calorie is a calorie, regardless of its source, the best advice for weight control is simply to eat less and exercise more. Yet emerging research suggests that some foods and eating patterns may make it easier to keep calories in check, while others may make people more likely to overeat.

 

Let’s briefly review the research on dietary intake and weight control, highlighting diet strategies that also help prevent chronic disease.

 

 

  • Macronutrients and Weight: Do Carbs, Protein, or Fat Matter?

 

It really looks like the percentage of calories from carbs, fats or proteins do not really contribute to weight gain. So, the quantity of macronutrients you consume per day might not be directly proportional to the weight you add-on. In saner climes, there may be some benefits to a higher protein, lower carbohydrate approach, or even a high fat, low carb approach. For chronic disease prevention, though, the quality and food sources of these nutrients matters more than their relative quantity in the diet. And the latest research suggests that the same diet quality message applies for weight control.

 

  • Dietary Fat and Weight

 

Low-fat diets have long been touted as the key to a healthy weight and to good health. But the evidence just isn’t there: Over the past  years globally and especially in western countries, the percentage of calories from fat in people’s diets has gone down, but obesity rates have skyrocketed.  “Carefully conducted clinical trials have found that following a low-fat diet does not make it any easier to lose weight than following a moderate- or high-fat diet”. In fact, study volunteers who follow moderate- or high-fat diets lose just as much weight, and in some studies a bit more, as those who follow low-fat diets. And when it comes to disease prevention, low-fat diets don’t really appear to offer any special benefits except in very strict conditions. 

“Part of the problem with low-fat diets is that they are often high in carbohydrates, especially from rapidly digested sources, such as white bread and white rice. And diets high in such foods might further increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease”.

For good health, the type (in terms of quality) of fat people eat is far more important than the amount , and there’s some evidence that the same may be true for weight control. Studies have shown clearly that over consumption of trans fat and saturated fats would lead to heart and possibly other non-communicable diseases, but not the same with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which offer health benefits.

 

  • Protein and Weight

 

Although  high-protein diets seem to perform equally well as other types of diets, they still tend to be low in carbohydrate and high in fat or sometimes vice versa as the case may be, so it is difficult to tease apart the benefits of eating lots of protein from those of eating more fat or less carbohydrate. But there are a few reasons why eating a higher percentage of calories from protein may help with weight control:

  • More satiety: People tend to feel fuller, on fewer calories, after eating protein than they do after eating carbohydrate or fat.
  • Greater thermic effect: It takes more energy to metabolize and store protein than other macronutrients, and this may help people increase the energy they burn each day. About 30-35% is metabolised almost immediately.
  • Improved body composition: Protein seems to help people hang on to lean muscle during weight loss, and this, too, can help boost the energy-burned side of the energy balance equation. 

“Higher protein, lower carbohydrate diets improve blood lipid profiles and other metabolic markers, so they may help prevent heart disease and diabetes”. But some high-protein foods are healthier than others: High and uncontrolled intakes of red meat and processed meat are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.

Replacing red processed meat with nuts, beans, fish, or poultry seems to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.  And this diet strategy may help with weight control, too, according to a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health.

 

  • Carbohydrates and Weight

 

Lower carbohydrate, higher protein or even lower carbs, moderate protein and high fat diets may have some weight loss advantages in the short term.  Yet when it comes to preventing weight gain and chronic disease, carbohydrate quality is much more important than carbohydrate quantity.

‘Milled, refined grains and the foods made with them-white rice, white bread, white pasta, processed breakfast cereals, and the like-are rich in rapidly digested carbohydrates. So are potatoes and sugary drinks. The scientific term for this is that they have a high glycemic index and glycemic load. “Such foods cause fast and furious increases in blood sugar and insulin that, in the short term, can cause hunger to spike and can lead to overeating-and over the long term, increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease”. 

Are there Specific Foods that Make It Easier or Harder to Control Weight?

There’s growing evidence that specific food choices may help with weight control, but does not suggest that one food will help in weight loss or gain (super food). The good news is that many of the foods that are beneficial for weight control also help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. There are a number of foods and drinks that contribute to weight gain—chief among them, refined grains and sugary drinks—also contribute to chronic disease.

 

  • Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables, and Weight

 

Whole grains-whole wheat, brown rice, barley, and the like, especially in their less-processed forms-are digested more slowly than refined grains. So they have a gentler effect on blood sugar and insulin, which MAYhelp keep hunger at bay. The same is true for most vegetables and fruits. These “slow carb” foods have bountiful benefits for disease prevention, and there’s also evidence that they can help prevent weight gain.

Don’t narrow your mind down to the fact that the calories from whole grains, whole fruits, and vegetables disappear. What’s likely happening is that when people increase their intake of these foods, they cut back on calories from other foods. Fiber may be responsible for these foods’ weight control benefits, since fiber slows digestion, helping to curb hunger. Fruits and vegetables are also high in water, which may help people feel fuller on fewer calories.

 

  • Nuts and Weight

 

“Nuts pack a lot of calories into a small package and are high in fat, so they were once considered taboo for dieters or even anyone who wants to stay healthy. But as we may have it, studies find that eating nuts does not lead to weight gain and may instead help with weight control, perhaps because nuts are rich in protein and fiber, both of which may help people feel fuller and less hungry. People who regularly eat nuts are less likely to have heart attacks or die from heart disease than those who rarely eat them, which is another reason to include nuts in a healthy diet. 

 

  • Dairy and Weight

 

“The U.S. dairy industry has aggressively promoted the weight-loss benefits of milk and other dairy products, based largely on findings from short-term studies it has funded. But a recent review of nearly 50 randomized trials finds little evidence that high dairy or calcium intakes help with weight loss. Similarly, most long-term follow-up studies have not found that dairy or calcium protect against weight gain, and one study in adolescents found high milk intakes to be associated with increased body mass index. 

One exception is the recent dietary and lifestyle change study from the Harvard School of Public Health, which found that people who increased their yogurt intake gained less weight; increases in milk and cheese intake, however, did not appear to promote weight loss or gain. It’s possible that the beneficial bacteria in yogurt may influence weight control, but more research is needed.

Yoghurt tends to keep the gut health at check and easily filling with less calorie, it could proffer solutions to the weight loss saga.

 

  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight

 

There’s convincing evidence that sugary drinks increase the risk of weight gain, obesity, and diabetes:  A systematic review and meta-analysis of 88 studies found “clear associations of soft drink intake with increased caloric intake and body weight.”  In children and adolescents, a more recent meta analysis estimates that for every additional 12-ounce serving of sugary beverage consumed each day, body mass index increases by 0.08 units.  Another meta analysis finds that adults who regularly drink sugary beverages have a 26 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely drink sugary beverages.  Emerging evidence also suggests that high sugary beverage intake increases the risk of heart disease. 

Like refined grains and potatoes, sugary beverages are high in rapidly-digested carbohydrates. Research suggests that when that carbohydrate is delivered in liquid form, rather than solid form, it is not as satiating, and people don’t eat less to compensate for the extra calories. Liquid calories might tend to increase weight more than solid due to its low levels of satiety after consumption.

It really even seems that the number of overweight people had their fair share from sugary drinks than solid foods. A research conducted a while ago noticed that most overweight people really didn’t eat much solid foods but rather drank sugary drinks in their bottles.

 

  • Fruit Juice and Weight

 

It’s important to note that fruit juices are not a better option for weight control than sugar-sweetened beverages ( who even suggested that?). Ounce for ounce, fruit juices-even those that are 100 percent fruit juice, with no added sugar- are as high in sugar and calories as sugary sodas. So it’s no surprise that a recent Harvard School of Public Health study, which tracked the diet and lifestyle habits of 120,000 men and women for up to 20 years, found that people who increased their intake of fruit juice gained more weight over time than people who did not. Pediatricians and public health advocates recommend that children and adults limit fruit juice to just a small glass a day, if they consume it at all.

It’s better to take fruits in their fresh form than their processed and packaged form.

 

  • Alcohol and Weight

 

Even though most alcoholic beverages have more calories per ounce than sugar-sweetened beverages, there’s no clear-cut evidence that moderate drinking contributes to weight gain. It probably would lead to a protruded tummy because of the fact that the liver metabolizes it first after a meal and stores visceral fat during the process. While the recent diet and lifestyle change study found that people who increased their alcohol intake gained more weight over time, the findings varied by type of alcohol.  In most previous prospective studies, there was no difference in weight gain over time between light-to-moderate drinkers and nondrinkers, or the light-to-moderate drinkers gained less weight than nondrinkers. If you’ve seen heavy alcoholics in Nigeria, they’re actually lanky and look like a bag of bones. 

Breakfast, Meal Frequency, Snacking, and Weight

There is some evidence that skipping breakfast increases the risk of weight gain and obesity, though the evidence is stronger in children, especially teens, than it is in adults. Meal frequency and snacking have increased over the past years globally. -on average, children and most teen-adults get 27 percent of their daily calories from snacks, primarily from desserts and sugary drinks, and increasingly from salty snacks and candy. But there have been conflicting findings on the relationship between meal frequency, snacking, and weight control, and more research is needed.

Portion Sizes and Weight

“Since the 1970s, portion sizes have increased both for food eaten at home and for food eaten away from home, in adults and children. Short-term studies clearly demonstrate that when people are served larger portions, they eat more. There is an intuitive appeal to the idea that portion sizes increase obesity, but long-term prospective studies would help to strengthen this hypothesis.

Fast Food and Weight

Fast food is known for its large portions, low prices, high palatability, high sugar content, high fat content, reheating oil and high monosodium glutamate content; and there’s evidence from studies in teens and adults that frequent fast-food consumption contributes to overeating and weight gain. 

It’s really important to focus on home cooked meals than the ones from fast foods

 

The Bottom Line: Healthy Diet and Lifestyle Can Prevent Weight Gain and Chronic Disease

Weight gain in adulthood is often gradual, about a pound a year -too slow of a gain for most people to notice, but one that can add up, over time, to a weighty personal and public health problem. There’s increasing evidence that the same healthful food choices and diet patterns that help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions may also help to prevent weight gain:

Choose minimally processed, whole foods-whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthful sources of protein (fish, poultry, beans), and plant oils.

Limit sugar beverages, refined grains, potatoes, red and processed meats, and other highly processed foods, such as fast food.

Though the contribution of any one diet change to weight control may be small, together, the changes could add up to a considerable effect, over time and across the whole society. Since people’s food choices are shaped by their surroundings, it’s imperative for governments to promote policy and environmental changes that make healthy foods more accessible and decrease the availability and marketing of unhealthful foods.

 

Source: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/diet-and-weight/#:~:text=Choose%20minimally%20processed%2C%20whole%20foods,foods%2C%20such%20as%20fast%20food.

 

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General Research

BEANS: TYPES. BENEFITS AND RECIPE

 

Back in college years, a senior would take his guitar and always sing “i love beans, i love beans oh” and we’d look at him in awe with questions like- same beans that makes anyone purge, and even gives heartburn to some?

Oh well, but really, those tiny little seeds called beans are quite nutritious and serve a great deal of health benefits to its consumer. 

Let’s take a little survey on some types of beans, shall we? 

 

 

  1. BLACK BEANS 

 

      ” The black turtle bean is a small, shiny variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) especially popular in Latin American cuisine, though it can also be found in the Cajun and Creole cuisines of south Louisiana”. Like all varieties of the common bean, it is native to the Americas[2], but has been introduced around the world. It is also used in Indian cuisine, Tamil cuisine, where it is known as karuppu kaaramani and in Maharashtrian cuisine, where it is known as Kala Ghevada.

Virtually 70% of the calories contained in black beans are from carbohydrates, and most of these carbs are in the form of starch. Interestingly, this starch is the “resistant starch” which doesn’t digest easily and passes through our upper digestive system without being broken down into simple sugars. So there is no fear of an increase in blood sugar.

 

NUTRITION 

According to the National Nutrient Database one-half cup (86g) of cooked black beans contains approximately:

Energy: 114 kilocalories

Protein: 7.62 g

Fat: 0.46 g

Carbohydrate: 20.39 g

Fiber: 7.5 g                                                         

Sugars: 0.28 g

Calcium: 23 milligrams (mg)

Iron: 1.81 mg

Magnesium: 60 mg

Phosphorus: 120 mg

Potassium: 305 mg

Sodium: 1 mg

Zinc: 0.96 mg

Thiamin: 0.21 mg

Niacin: 0.434 mg

Folate: 128 msg

Vitamin K: 2.8 mg

Like other legumes, Black beans also offer a variety of phytonutrients like saponins, anthocyanins, kaempferol, and quercetin, all of which possess antioxidant properties.

 

RECIPES 

  • Make a hearty black bean soup by blending cooked black beans with onions, tomatoes, and your favorite spices
  • Add black beans to burritos
  • Blend cooked black beans with garlic, onion, fresh cilantro, and lime juice for a quick and easy bean dip
  • Mix black beans, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, sharp cheddar cheese, and salsa together for a simple taco salad.   Try these healthy recipes using black beans:
  • Black bean burgers with chipotle mango guacamole
  • Poblano chilaquiles
  • Veggie fajitas
  • Healthy two-grain southwest salad
  • Heart-healthy chipotle chili

 

 

2.  BLACK EYED PEA (COWPEA)

 

Commonly referred to as white beans or iron beans by Nigerians, Cowpea is a food and animal feed crop grown in the semi-arid tropics covering Africa, Asia, Europe, the United States, and Central and South America. It originated and was domesticated in Southern Africa and was later moved to East and West Africa and Asia.

The grains contain 25% protein and several vitamins and minerals. The plant tolerates drought, performs well in a wide variety of soils, and being a legume replenishes low fertility soils when the roots are left to decay.

 

NUTRITION 

One cup (170 grams) of cooked black-eyed peas contains the following nutrients (1Trusted Source):

Calories: 194

Protein: 13 grams

Fat: 0.9 grams

Carbs: 35 grams

Fiber: 11 grams

Folate: 88% of the DV

Copper: 50% of the DV

Thiamine: 28% of the DV

Iron: 23% of the DV

Phosphorus: 21% of the DV

Magnesium: 21% of the DV

Zinc: 20% of the DV

Potassium: 10% of the DV

Vitamin B6: 10% of the DV

Selenium: 8% of the DV

Riboflavin: 7% of the DV

 

RECIPES 

  • Could be cooked alongside palm oil, fish and vegetable
  • Could be blended then fried and used to make akara (beans cake) or blended and boiled in nylon or bowls and used to make moi moi (beans pudding). You can go totally local by adding pap, oats, or bread to this recipe. Yummy! 

In addition to the nutrients listed above, black-eyed peas are high in polyphenols, which are compounds that act as antioxidants in the body to prevent cell damage and protect against disease.

 

 

3. CANNELLINI BEANS 

 

Cannellini beans are a type of kidney bean known for their large size and creamy white hue. They’re especially popular in Italian fare, particularly in Tuscany, and have a subtle nutty flavor. When cooked, they take on a pleasant, almost fluffy texture.

“Cannellini beans can be substituted for other, similar white beans. Whether you’re trying to eat more plant-based protein or you just enjoy their taste and texture, cannellini beans are an excellent healthy choice”.

 

NUTRITION 

One cup of cannellini beans, boiled and cooked without salt, contains 

  • calories- 225kcals
  • protein- 15.4g, 
  • fat-0.9g 
  • carbohydrates-40.4g 
  •  sugar-0.6g 

Cannellini beans contain a wealth of B vitamins, including B12. They also provide iron, potassium, zinc, and other essential minerals.

 

RECIPES

Beans: 

  • 1.5cups: dry cannellini beans, soaked in water 8 hours overnight 
  • 1.5 cups garlic, coarsely chopped 3 cloves fine sea salt 
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 2 tbsp onion, finely diced 1 garlic, minced 3 cloves diced tomatoes
  •  1-28oz can dry white wine
  •  1/2 cup dried dill 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp feta cheese,
  •  crumbled 6oz salt and pepper to taste                   
  •   Dill Oil: fresh dill, 
  • loosely packed 1 cup lemon zested and juiced
  •  1 extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup 
  • sea salt 1/4 tsp

Direction

Prep Time: 25 minutes   Cook Time: 90 minutes   Yield: 6 servings

For the tomato baked beans:

  1. Add soaked beans and 4 cups of water to a large pot over high heat. Add chopped garlic and fine sea salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, and allow to simmer for 30-60 minutes, or until the beans are tender.

        2.While the beans are cooking, make the tomato sauce: Add olive oil to an oven-safe enamel pot over medium-              high heat. Add chopped onion and minced garlic, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add                  canned tomatoes (including juice), wine, and dried herbs. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for about 10-            15 minutes, until slightly thickened and saucy.

        3.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the beans are cooked, drain and add them to the pot with                 the tomato sauce. Toss to combine the beans and sauce. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over the surface of                     beans, and then place the pot in the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until feta crumbles are melted and            sauce is bubbling.

Allow to cool, and serve with a drizzle with lemony dill oil (recipe below) and some crusty, whole grain bread. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

For the lemony dill oil:

Add all ingredients to a blender and process until a thin pesto-like texture has been achieved. Drizzle over beans upon serving.

 

4. FAVA BEANS 

 

Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are one of the oldest cultivated crops. Unlike other beans, fava beans are eaten when they’re still young—additionally, immature pods and leaves are edible as long as you don’t suffer from favism. They’re popular in soups, steamed inside their pods, mashed, and fried.

 

NUTRITION 

Raw mature fava beans are

  •  11% water, 
  • 58% carbohydrates, 
  • 26% protein, and 
  • 2% fat
  •  341 calories 
  • Folate (106% DV) and dietary minerals, such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and
  •  iron (range of DV 52 to 77%), have considerable content (table).
  •  B vitamins have moderate to rich content (19 to 48% DV).

 

RECIPE 

Fava bean salad with fennel and radish.

  • 1 cup of shelled fava beans 
  • 1.5 tbsps of fresh lemon juice 
  • 1.5 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper 
  • ⅛ tsp salt 
  • 2 cups of thinly sliced fennel bulb 
  • 2 cups of arugula leaves
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced radish 
  • ¼ cup walnuts toasted and chopped 
  • 1.5 ounces singing brook. 

Directions 

Step 1

Remove shells from beans. Place beans in a large pot of boiling water; cook for 20 seconds. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain well. Remove and discard tough outer skins from beans.

Step 2

Combine juice, oil, pepper, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add beans, fennel, and arugula; toss to coat. Place about 3/4 cup fennel mixture on each of 6 plates. Sprinkle evenly with radish, walnuts, and cheese.

 

 

5.  LIMA BEANS 

 

Also known as butter beans, lima beans are native to Central and South America—in fact, Lima, Peru, is their namesake. Lima beans are usually seen in dishes such as succotash, or simply boiled with a salty piece of meat. They’re particularly high in potassium, and like other legumes, can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

The pod of the lima bean is flat, oblong and slightly curved, averaging about three inches in length. Within the pod are the two to four flat kidney-shaped seeds that we call lima beans. The seeds are generally cream or green in color, although certain varieties feature colors such as white, red, purple, brown or black.

 

NUTRITION 

According to USDA, ½ cup of Lima beans contains: 

  • Calories: 88
  • Fat: 0.7g
  • Sodium: 6.2mg
  • Carbohydrates: 15.7g
  • Fiber: 3.8g
  • Sugars: 1.2g
  • Protein: 5.3g

Lima beans are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them.

 

RECIPE 

Rosemary Olive Oil White Bean Dip

  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

Direction 

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and going together 
  2. Serve with raw vegetables or whole grain crackers. 

 

6.GARBANZO BEANS 

Also known as chickpeas, garbanzo beans, are, of course, the building blocks of Mediterannean and Middle Eastern staples such as hummus and falafel. They were first cultivated in the Middle East around 7,500 years ago, and have remained popular for their versatility and high protein levels. They’re a well-known meat substitute, and they can also be roasted, eaten cold, or ground into flour and baked.

 

NUTRITION 

Serving Size 100 g

Calories 378

% Daily Value *

Total Fat 6g                                         8 %

Saturated Fat 0.6g                             3 %

Sodium 24mg                                         1 %

Total Carbohydrate 63g                     23 %

 Dietary Fiber.        12g                        43 %

Sugar                      11g

Protein                    20g                        40 %

Vitamin D              0.00mcg                 0 %

Calcium                  57.00mg                 4 %

Iron                          4.31mg                 24 %

Potassium              718mg                   15 %

 

Chickpeas contain a soluble fiber called raffinose, a type of oligosaccharide that is fermented in the colon by beneficial bacteria called Bifidobacterium. As bacteria break down this fiber, a short chain fatty acid called butyrate is produced. Butyrate plays a role in reducing inflammation in the cell wall of the colon, promoting regularity in the intestines, and possibly preventing colorectal cancer by promoting cell apoptosis (death).

 

RECIPE 

Chickpea meatballs with crunchy romaine salad 

  • 3 cups torn romaine lettuce (about 3 oz.) 
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 
  • 1 cup chopped English cucumber 
  • 1 cup quartered grape tomatoes (about 5 oz.)
  •  1/3 cup slivered red onion 3 garlic cloves, 
  • divided 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 5 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), 
  • divided 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 
  • divided 1 1/8 teaspoons kosher salt, 
  • divided 1 (15-oz.) can unsalted chickpeas, 
  • drained 1/2 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  •  1 large egg

 

Direction 

Step 1

Combine lettuce, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, and onion; set aside.

Step 2

Grate 1 garlic clove. Whisk together lemon juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons water, pepper, grated garlic, 3 tablespoons tahini, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 3/8 teaspoon salt; set dressing aside.

Step 3

Chop the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Process chickpeas in a food processor until almost ground, about 15 seconds. Add panko, cumin, paprika, chopped garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons tahini, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt; process until almost smooth, about 15 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add egg; pulse just until combined, 5 to 6 times. Shape mixture into 20 balls (about 1 slightly heaping tablespoon each).

Step 4

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil; swirl to coat. Add chickpea balls to the skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over and crisp on the outside, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve chickpea balls with salad; drizzle with tahini dressing. Serve immediately.

 

7.GREAT NORTHERN BEANS 

Great northern beans are a variety of white beans known for their creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. They’re popular in soups, stews, and casseroles, as they retain moisture well, and can maintain their shape after boiling.

 

NUTRITION 

NUTRITION

Serving Size: 1/2 cup (130g)

Calories 90

%DV*

Total Fat 0g 0%

Saturated Fat 0g 0%

Trans Fat 0g -%

Cholesterol 0mg 0%

Sodium 460mg 19%

Potassium 280mg 8%

Carbohydrate.  17g 6%

Dietary Fiber 6g 24%

Protein 6g

Sugars 0g

Vitamin A 0%

Vitamin C 0%

Calcium 6%

Iron             8%

 

RECIPE 

White beans and  collard greens soup 

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  •  3 garlic cloves, 
  • minced 1/2 cup pinot grigio or other light white wine 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  4 cups finely shredded collard greens (about 6 ounces) 
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme 
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

 

Direction 

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add wine, pepper, and salt. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add greens, thyme, and broth. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes or until the greens are tender. Add beans; simmer for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

 

8. KIDNEY BEANS 

kidney beans can be white, light, or speckled, and they aren’t the same thing as red beans (More on that later). Kidney beans are best known for their appearances in chili or alongside rice, Cajun-style.

 

NUTRITION

 (per 100g or 3.5 ounces)

Calories: 127

Water: 67%

Protein: 8.7 grams

Carbs: 22.8 grams

Sugar: 0.3 grams

Fiber: 6.4 grams

Fat: 0.5 grams

 

Apart from its ability to provide slow burning complex carbohydrates, kidney beans can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores. Particularly for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency, boosting iron stores with kidney beans is a good idea—especially because, unlike red meat, another source of iron, kidney beans are low in calories and virtually fat-free. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. And remember: If you’re pregnant or lactating, your needs for iron increase. Growing children and adolescents also have increased needs for iron.

 

RECIPE 

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  1 large onion, chopped 
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2-in.)
  •  1 bay leaf 
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  •  1 tablespoon ginger
  •  1 teaspoon fennel
  •  1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
  • 3 green cardamom pods, cracked open 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  •  1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  •  1/2 teaspoon garam masala 
  • 1 can (14.5-oz.) whole peeled plum tomatoes, without juice
  •  1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced About
  •  1 tsp. salt 
  • 6 cups cooked red kidney beans (about four 14-oz. cans), rinsed and drained 
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2- to 1-in. florets 
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  •  1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped 
  • 6 to 8 cups hot cooked brown rice

Direction 

Step 1

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed 4- to 5-qt. pot or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and fry, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Stir in cinnamon, bay leaf, garlic, ginger, fennel, cumin, and cardamom and fry, stirring, 2 minutes. Add cayenne, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala and fry, stirring, 1 minute. Shred tomatoes into a pot with your fingers. Stir in serrano chile, salt, kidney beans, cauliflower, and 1 1/2 cups water. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and liquid has thickened into a velvety-looking sauce (add more water if necessary).

Step 2

Season beans with salt. Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve hot over brown rice, with plain yogurt on the side if you like.

Step 3

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving of curry.

 

9.LENTILS 

Another ancient legume, lentils are native to Central and West Asia but popular around the world. They work excellently in soups and stews, such as dal, but they can also be fried, baked, stuffed into breads, or ground into flour. Like other beans, lentils are nutritionally rich, particularly when it comes to protein, folate, thiamine, and iron.

 

NUTRITION (1 cup- 198g)

Calories: 230

Carbs: 39.9 grams

Protein: 17.9 grams

Fat: 0.8 grams

Fiber: 15.6 grams

Thiamine: 22% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)

Niacin: 10% of the RDI

Vitamin B6: 18% of the RDI

Folate: 90% of the RDI

Pantothenic acid: 13% of the RDI

Iron: 37% of the RDI

Magnesium: 18% of the RDI

Phosphorous: 36% of the RDI

Potassium: 21% of the RDI

Zinc: 17% of the RDI

Copper: 25% of the RDI

Manganese: 49% of the RDI

 

RECIPES

Lentil cake with mint yoghurt 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 
  • divided 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  •  1 tablespoon minced garlic 
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 2 large eggs 1 (17.6-oz.) pkg. 
  • steamed brown lentils (such as Melissa’s)
  •  2 cups packed baby arugula
  •  2 cups packed baby spinach
  •  3/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •  2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  •  3 tablespoons chopped unsalted pistachios

Direction

Step 1

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Place onion mixture, oats, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, eggs, and lentils in a food processor; pulse 3 to 4 times. Shape mixture into 12 patties.

Step 2

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil in a pan over medium-high. Add 6 patties to the pan; cook for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan. Repeat with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining 6 patties.

Step 3

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add arugula and spinach; toss.

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, yogurt, juice, and mint in a bowl. Divide arugula mixture among 4 plates; top each serving with 3 patties and 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture. Sprinkle evenly with pistachios.

 

10.LIMA BEANS 

Also known as butter beans, lima beans are native to Central and South America—in fact, Lima, Peru, is their namesake. Lima beans are usually seen in dishes such as succotash, or simply boiled with a salty piece of meat. They’re particularly high in potassium, and like other legumes, can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

 

NUTRITION 

Serving Size

1 cup (170g)

Calories 209

% Daily Value *

Total Fat 0.5g             1%

Saturated Fat 0.1g 1%

Trans Fat 0g

Cholesterol 0mg 0%

Sodium 28.9mg 1%

Total Carbohydrate 40.2g 13%

Dietary Fiber 9.2g             37%

Total Sugars 2.8g               6%

~ No added sugar data collected ~

Protein 11.6g                         23%

Vitamin C 17.2mg             19%

Vitamin D 0mcg               0%

Iron 4.2mg                         23%

Calcium 54.4mg               4%

Potassium 969mg             21%

Phosphorus 221mg 18%

 

RECIPE 

Smoky turkey and sweet potato chili 

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  •  1 cup Mexican beer 
  • 1 cup dried pinto beans
  •  1 1/2 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 medium-size green bell peppers, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 (8-oz.) package dried lima beans l large onion, coarsely chopped 
  • 5 cups unsalted chicken cooking stock 
  • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch peeled sweet potato cubes 
  • Garnishes: green onions, cilantro, sweet mini pepper slices

Direction 

Step 1

Season turkey with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté turkey in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until browned. Transfer mixture to a 6-qt. slow cooker.

Step 2

Add tomato paste to skillet, and cook, stirring often, 30 seconds. Add beer, and bring to a boil, stirring to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Boil 2 to 3 minutes or until reduced by half; stir into turkey mixture. Add beans and next 8 ingredients; stir in stock. Cover and cook on HIGH 7 hours. Stir in sweet potatoes; cover and cook on HIGH 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.

 

11.NAVY BEANS 

Navy beans (haricot beans ) , the legume of choice for baked beans, are a type of white bean native to (and domesticated in) the Americas. Unfortunately, navy beans don’t get their name from their color. Rather, they were frequently served to soldiers in the U.S. Navy. You’ll mostly see them in baked beans, but they’re also popular soup beans.

 

NUTRITION 

One cup (182 grams) of cooked navy beans contains roughly (43):

Calories: 255

Protein: 15.0 grams

Fiber: 19.1 grams

Folate (vitamin B9): 64% of the RDI

Manganese: 48% of the RDI

Thiamine (vitamin B1): 29% of the RDI

Magnesium: 24% of the RDI

Iron: 24% of the RDI

 

RECIPE 

Navy bean soup

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups dried navy beans (about 1 pound) 
  • 6 cups warm water 
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled 3 whole cloves
  •  2/3 cup chopped celery
  •  3 thyme sprigs 
  • 3 parsley sprigs 
  • 3 smoked ham hocks (about 1 1/3 pounds)
  •  1 bay leaf
  •  3 cups chopped kale
  •  2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
  •  1 1/2 cups chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion 
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced carrot 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  •  3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Direction 

Step 1

Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain beans; rinse and drain.

Step 2

Return beans to pan; cover with 6 cups warm water. Stud whole onion with cloves; place in pan. Add celery, thyme, parsley sprigs, ham hocks, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Step 3

Discard onion, thyme, parsley sprigs, and bay leaf. Remove ham hocks from pan; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones; finely chop to yield 1/3 cup meat. Discard bones, skin, and fat. Add meat, kale, potato, chopped onion, carrot, salt, and pepper to pan; stir well. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until beans and vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley.

12.PINTO BEANS 

These brown, speckled beans are one of the most popular varieties around, especially in the Americas. They’re usually eaten whole, in a situation like a soup or chili, but they’re also popular mashed and then refried. Pinto beans are especially high in protein, manganese, fiber, and folate, and eating them can lower cholesterol, according to the American Society of Nutrition.

 

NUTRITION 

One cup (171 grams) of cooked pinto beans contains roughly (40):

Calories: 245

Protein: 15.4 grams

Fiber: 15.4 grams

Folate (vitamin B9): 74% of the RDI

Manganese: 39% of the RDI

Copper: 29% of the RDI

Thiamine (vitamin B1): 22% of the RDI

 

RECIPE 

Cheesy, smoky pinto beans 

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted pinto beans, rinsed, drained, and divided 
  • 1/3 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  •  1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  •  1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded and divided (about 1/2 cup)

Direction. 

Place half of beans in a bowl; coarsely mash with a fork. Place mashed beans, remaining half of beans, chicken stock, paprika, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 ounce cheese until melted. Divide bean mixture among 4 plates; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 ounce cheese.

 

13.RED BEANS 

Dude sure looks like kidney beans, but if you take a closer look, its shorter in size. Also known as adzuki beans, they are a type of mung bean (green gram, maash or moong). In East Asia, where they were cultivated, red beans are often sweetened and incorporated into desserts (Pastries stuffed with red bean paste, for example), but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them in savory dishes just as well. 

 

NUTRITION 

For a Serving Size of 0.25 cup (50g)

Calories 170 Calories from Fat 4.5 (2.6%)

% Daily Value *

Total Fat 0.5g

Sodium 10mg           1%

Carbohydrates 30g

Net carbs 27g

Fiber 3g           12%

Protein 12g

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin A 0μg             0%

Vitamin C 3.6mg 7%

Calcium 80mg             8%

Iron 2mg           25%

 

RECIPE 

Vegetarian red beans and rice 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried red beans 
  • 3/4 pound frozen meatless smoked sausage, thawed and thinly sliced
  •  3 celery ribs, chopped 
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning Hot cooked long-grain rice Hot sauce (optional) 
  • Garnish: finely chopped green onions, finely chopped

Direction

Step 1

Combine first 8 ingredients and 7 cups of water in a 4-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 7 hours or until beans are tender.

Step 2

Serve red bean mixture with hot cooked rice, and, if desired, hot sauce. Garnish, if desired.

 

14.SOYBEAN

Soybeans might just be the most versatile bean out there: Just ask tofu, soy milk, soy meal, soy flour, miso, and liquid amino. Originating in East Asia, soybean cultivation predates written records, putting the protein-packed beans up there with garbanzo beans and lentils. That protein content makes them popular meat and dairy substitutes, but soybeans are also great on their own.

 

NUTRITION 

One cup (172 grams) of cooked soybeans contains roughly (34):

Calories: 298

Protein: 28.6 grams

Fiber: 10.3 grams

Manganese: 71% of the RDI

Iron: 49% of the RDI

Phosphorus: 42% of the RDI

Vitamin K: 41% of the RDI

Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 29% of the RDI

Folate (vitamin B9): 23% of the RDI

The amino acid composition of soybean protein complements that of cereals. Also, the high biological value of soy proteins increases their value as feedstuff.

Trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibitors in flours lower protein digestibility. However, despite demonstrated growth inhibition in animals, due to antinutrients, methionine supplementation in infants is useful only when dietary protein intake is marginal. 

 

RECIPE 

Spicy yellow soybean, lentil and carrot curry

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 1/3 cups finely chopped onion 
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  •  4 cups vegetable broth, divided 
  • 2 cups finely chopped carrot 
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  •  1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 cup dried small red lentils
  •  1 (15-ounce) can yellow soybeans, rinsed and drained
  •  1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 6 tablespoons plain fat-free yogurt Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

Directions 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in curry paste; cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup broth, carrot, ginger, red pepper, and garlic; cook for 6 minutes or until carrot is tender, stirring occasionally. Add 3 1/2 cups broth, lentils, and soybeans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in cilantro, salt, and black pepper. Divide evenly among 6 bowls; dollop with yogurt. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Beans contain a variety of nutrients and fibers with potential anticancer effects.

Fibers, such as resistant starch and alpha-galactosides, pass undigested down to your colon, where they’re fermented by friendly bacteria, resulting in the formation of Short chain fatty acids.

Short chain fatty acids like butyrate may improve colon health and lower your risk of colon cancer.

 

CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER 

Beans is inarguably one healthy food filled with loads of goodness, fibre, phytochemicals and other nutrients.

Could be used in different cuisines and for different purposes.

But one thing is very obvious from this write up and that is the fact that out of 14 different species of beans, all of them have a higher amount of carbohydrate than protein.

 

SO?

No one should talk you into eating just beans because you are battling with spikes in your blood glucose.

Remember the incidence of flatulence that comes with eating beans, enjoy the new recipes.

 

Sources: https://www.myrecipes.com/ingredients/types-of-beans

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthiest-beans-legumes

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=52

 

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Diet Therapy of DiseasesUncategorized

GASTROPARESIS

GASTROPARESIS

As a saying goes thus : “ to eat is human, to digest is divine; a number of people find it difficult to utilize their digestive tracts after enjoying a sumptuous meal. Really, it’s saddening to be afraid to eat that very delicious meal because you know you would probably be bloated or even constipated. So, what to do? 

Let’s take a look at this exciting digestive disorder called gastroparesis, shall we?

Gastroparesis (abbreviated as GP) represents a clinical syndrome characterized by sluggish emptying of solid food (and more rarely, liquid nutrients) from the stomach, which causes persistent digestive symptoms especially nausea and primarily affects young to middle-aged women, but is also known to affect younger children and males.

It’s thought to be the result of a problem with the nerves (vagus) and muscles that control how the stomach empties.

Sadly, If these nerves are damaged, the muscles of your stomach might become dysfunctional and the motility of food can slow down.

“While delayed emptying of the stomach is the clinical feature of gastroparesis, the relationship between the degree of delay in emptying and the intensity of digestive symptoms does not always match”. For instance, some diabetics may exhibit pronounced gastric stasis yet suffer very little from the classical gastroparetic symptoms of: nausea, vomiting, reflux, abdominal pain, bloating, fullness, and loss of appetite. “Rather, erratic blood-glucose control and life-threatening hypoglycemic episodes may be the only indication of diabetic gastroparesis. In another subset of patients (diabetic and non-diabetic) who suffer from disabling nausea that is to the degree that their ability to eat, sleep or carry out activities of daily living is disrupted gastric emptying may be normal, near normal, or intermittently delayed”. In such cases, a gastric neuro-electrical dysfunction, or gastric dysrhythmia (commonly found associated with gastroparesis syndrome), may be at fault.

 

DIABETES AND GASTROPARESIS 

Over time, diabetes can affect many parts of your body (especially nerves). One of those is the vagus nerve, which controls how quickly your stomach empties. “When it’s damaged, your digestion slows down and food stays in your body longer than it should”.

Although it’s more common in people with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 can also get it.

 

From a study carried out by Phillips LK et al., 2015 : 

Glucose and gastric emptying: bidirectional relationship. The rate of gastric emptying is a critical determinant of postprandial glycemia. Glucose entry into the small intestine induces a feedback loop via CCK, peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which are secreted from the intestine in response to nutrient exposure. GLP-1 and gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) induce the release of insulin, and GLP-1 inhibits glucagon secretion, which attenuates postprandial glycemic excursions. Amylin, which is co-secreted with insulin, also slows gastric emptying. At the same time, the blood glucose concentration modulates gastric emptying, such that acute elevations of blood glucose levels slow gastric emptying (effects are evident even within the physiological range) and emptying is accelerated during hypoglycemia.

 

DIAGNOSIS 

Diagnosis of gastroparesis begins with a doctor asking about symptoms and past medical and health experiences (history), and then performing a physical exam. Any medications that are being taken need to be disclosed.

Tests will likely be performed as part of the examination. These help to identify or rule out other conditions that might be causing symptoms. Tests also check for anything that may be blocking or obstructing stomach emptying. Examples of these tests include:

  • a blood test,
  • an upper endoscopy, which uses a flexible scope to look into the stomach,
  • an upper GI series that looks at the stomach on an x-ray, or
  • an ultrasound, which uses sound waves that create images to look for disease in the pancreas or gallbladder that may be causing symptoms.

 

SYMPTOMS 

The digestive symptom profile of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, reflux, bloating, early satiety, and anorexia can vary in patients both in combination and severity.

Others may include weight loss/weight gain, constipation and/or diarrhea, wide glycemic fluctuations in diabetics, belching and bloating-again, developing soon after meal ingestion and lasting for hours-along with visible abdominal distention. The distention and bloating may push up against the diaphragm making breathing uncomfortable.

“A poorly emptying stomach additionally predisposes patients to regurgitation of solid food, as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)”. The reflux may range from mild through to severe. GERD complications can create esophageal spasm (also called non-cardiac chest pain) and can add to the burden of chronic pain. In severe cases, reflux aspiration pneumonitis compounds the clinical picture.

 

CAUSES

Reports from one tertiary referral center found that out of their 146 patients with gastroparesis: 36% were idiopathic (unknown causes), 29% were diabetic, 13% were post-surgical, 7.5% had Parkinson’s disease and 4.8% had collagen diseases. Any disease of metabolic, neurological (psychiatric, brainstem, autonomic including sympathetic and parasympathetic or enteric), or connective tissue (autoimmune) origin has the potential to disrupt gastric neural circuitry.

Apparently, diabetes is the most common known cause of gastroparesis. It can damage nerves — including the vagus nerve, which regulates your digestive system — and certain cells in your stomach.

Other causes of gastroparesis include:

Related Disorders

A stomach motor disturbance known as “dumping syndrome” whereby food or liquids empty too quickly from the stomach can present with similar symptoms as are found in gastroparesis. Other disorders that may clinically present as gastroparesis (gastritis, gastric ulcers, pyloric stenosis, celiac disease, and GI obstructions) need to be ruled out.

 

TREATMENT 

You may find these tips helpful:

  • instead of 3 meals a day, try smaller, more frequent meals – this means there’s less food in your stomach and it will be easier to pass through your system
  • try soft and liquid foods, or even semi solid foods which are easier to digest. In severe cases, broths might be advisable. 
  • Masticate well before swallowing ( i tried to check how long it’ll take to carefully grind a spoon of rice and i got 21seconds; you should try eating slowly. winks).
  • drink non-fizzy liquids with each meal

It may also help to avoid certain foods that are hard to digest, such as apples with their skin on or high-fibre foods like oranges and broccoli, plus foods that are high in fat, which can also slow down digestion.

 

MEDICATIONS 

Use of drugs like domperidone, erythromycin, anti-emetics. Also note that these drugs might have side effects so it’s important to discuss with your doctor before using them. 

Domperidone should only be taken at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time because of the small risk of potentially serious heart-related side effects.

Other options like electric stimulation, botulinum toxin injections, a feeding tube, surgery

 

FOOTNOTE FOR DIABETICS

The nerves to the stomach can be damaged by high levels of blood glucose, so it’s important to keep your blood glucose levels under control if you have diabetes.

Your doctor alongside a dietitian can advise you about any changes you may need to make to your diet or medicine. For example, if you’re taking insulin, you may need to divide your dose before and after meals and inject insulin into areas where absorption is typically slower, such as into your thigh.

 

SOURCES: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gastroparesis/

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/gastroparesis/

https://aboutgastroparesis.org/signs-symptoms.html/diagnosis-tests.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6028327/

https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-1-diabetes-guide/diabetes-and-gastroparesis#1

 

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Diet Therapy of Diseases

ACHALASIA: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS

Achalasia is a rare disorder of the food pipe (oesophagus), which can make it difficult to swallow food and drink.

Normally, the muscles of the oesophagus contract to squeeze food along towards the stomach. A ring of muscle at the end of the food pipe then relaxes to let food into the stomach.

The upper esophageal sphincter is a muscular valve that is located at the upper portion of the esophagus, which is typically about 8 inches long.

Unlike the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which opens and closes without our conscious effort, the upper esophageal sphincter is under our conscious control. We can control when it opens. For example, we can open the upper esophageal sphincter by swallowing foods or liquids.​

In achalasia however, there is a failure of organized esophageal peristalsis causing impaired relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, and resulting in food stasis and often marked dilatation of the esophagus

Obstruction of the distal esophagus from other non-functional etiologies, notably malignancy, may have a similar presentation and have been termed “secondary achalasia” or “pseudoachalasia“.

SYMPTOMS 

Patients may present with: 

  • dysphagia for both solids and liquids: this is in contradistinction to dysphagia for solids only in cases of esophageal carcinoma 
  • chest pain/discomfort
  • eventual regurgitation
  • drooling of vomit or saliva
  • gradual but significant weight loss

CAUSES

Almost thought to be familial, but is also thought to happen when the nerves in the oesophagus become damaged and stop working properly, which is why the muscles and ring of muscle don’t work. It could also be as a result of the body’s immune system attacking healthy cells (autoimmune condition).

PATHOLOGY

“Peristalsis in the distal smooth muscle segment of the esophagus may be lost due to an abnormality of the” Auerbach plexus” (responsible for smooth muscle relaxation), resulting in weak, uncoordinated contractions that are non-propulsive”. The abnormality may also occur in the vagus nerve or its dorsal motor nucleus.

The lower esophageal sphincter eventually fails to relax, either partially or completely, with elevated pressures demonstrated manometrically . Early in the course of achalasia, the lower esophageal sphincter tone may be normal or changes may be subtle.

 

TREATMENT OPTIONS 

MEDICATION: Medicines like nitrates or nifedipine can help relax the muscles in your oesophagus and make swallowing less painful and difficult.

Botox injection and balloon dilation could also be useful.

 

DIETARY MANAGEMENT 

The management of the patient with achalasia and nutritional problems is very similar to that of patients with dysphagia due to neurologic disease or esophagogastric cancer. Oral feeding has relevant psychosocial significance to patients and their families, and should be continued whenever possible. In some patients, oral intake is often not adequate even in the absence of significant swallowing difficulties. In mild to moderate achalasia, nutrition is generally mildly affected and, if the family encourages the patient to follow dietary modifications, loss of weight and malnutrition rarely occurs.

Dysphagia diets should be highly individualized, including modification of food texture or fluid viscosity. Food may be chopped, minced, or puréed, and fluids may be thickened.

If a patient is unable to eat or drink or to consume sufficient quantities of food, or the risk of pulmonary aspiration is high, tube feeding should be provided. If there is a possibility for surgical myotomy, enteral nutrition via a nasal feeding tube will be adequate as a provisional measure, considering that a malnourished patient is always at major risk for postoperative complications.

 

SOURCES : https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/achalasia/

https://radiopaedia.org/articles/achalasia

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3108680/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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