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PINEAPPLE: FORBIDDEN APPLE IN PREGNANCY?

 

The happiest moments in a family and couple’s life is that period when the wife is heavy with child. Everyone is expectant, and also,everyone has one advice to give; especially dietary. 

One of those many advice is the intake of pineapples during pregnancy;so many claims that pineapple contains ‘bromelain’ ( a protein digesting enzyme), which poses a threat of  miscarriage or induces premature labour on the woman. 

BROMELAIN 

Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme mixture derived from the stem, fruit, and juice of the pineapple plant. It has a centuries-long history of being used to treat medical ailments, primarily throughout Central and South America.

It is currently categorized as a dietary supplement, and generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Bromelain may be used alone or in conjunction with other medications. People use bromelain topically, to remove dead skin from burns, and orally, to reduce inflammation and swelling — particularly of the nasal passages.

Bromelain is also used as a digestive aid, for osteoarthritis, and to reduce soreness in aching muscles.

Potential health benefits

Bromelain and its potential health benefits have been studied extensively in multiple areas. These include:

1. Osteoarthritis 

Clinical studies found that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it an effective treatment for the pain, soft-tissue swelling, and joint stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.

The review focused on bromelain’s effectiveness in treating arthritis of the knee and shoulder. The studies analyzed varied significantly in terms of dosage. Improvements were found in some study participants given 400 milligrams of bromelain, two times daily.

 

2. Cardiovascular disease

A source  reported that bromelain was effective at treating cardiovascular diseases, such as peripheral artery disease, stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure.

Bromelain inhibits the ability of blood platelets to stick or clump together (aggregation). This may help reduce clot formation and cardiovascular events.

3. Asthma

The results of an animal study indicated that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory effects might be beneficial to people with asthma or other forms of allergic airway disease.

4. Chronic sinusitis (chronic rhinosinusitis)

A pilot study found that bromelain tablets were effective at alleviating swelling, congestion, and other symptoms associated with chronic sinusitis. Study participants were given bromelain daily for a 3-month period.

5. Colitis

An animal study found that purified fruit bromelain reduced inflammation and healed mucosal ulcers caused by inflammatory bowel disease in rats.

6. Burns

A study review found that bromelain, when used as a topical cream, was highly effective at safely removing damaged tissue from wounds and from second- and third-degree burns.

7. Cancer

A 2010 study  indicated that bromelain shows promise in combating cancer. Bromelain may have the ability to positively impact cancer cell growth, and it may help to control the key pathways supporting malignancy.

 

NUTRITION 

Positive nutritional effects have been shown in bedridden, tube-fed, nursing home patients who received a supplementary digestive aid containing bromelain plus an extract of Aspergillus niger. Total protein concentration improved significantly with the supplement (P < 0.02), which was reversed after withdrawal.

 

DOSAGE 

Two slices of pineapple contain approximately 100 mg of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), approximately the recommended daily adult intake. Commercially available bromelain supplements contain predominantly stem bromelain, as compared with fruit bromelain.

The usual dosage of bromelain is 40 mg 3 or 4 times daily. However, because bromelain is regarded as being relatively nontoxic, doses of up to 2,000 mg/day have been used.Most commercial products contain bromelain 500 mg; manufacturers suggest a dosage regimen of 500 to 1,000 mg daily.

 

PREGNANCY 

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Clinical evidence to support the traditional use of pineapple as an emmenagogue and abortifacient is limited. Previously, bromelain/trypsin (as Kimotab) was investigated for use in breast engorgement during lactation.

A cup or two of pineapple juice per week won’t do any harm to mother or foetus, rather it supplies a lot of benefits as: 

  • 2 slices of pineapple contains about 100mg of vitamin C which is a bit above the daily value for pregnant women (85mg/day). Vitamin c helps repair and prevent cell damage by warding off free radicals. 
  • Contains manganese which helps build strong bones and connective tissues 
  • Might be helpful in preventing osteoporosis in post menopausal women

 

HEALTH RISKS

Because pineapples contain a whole lot of vitamin c, overconsumption may lead to diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and heartburn for some people. 

Additionally, extremely high amounts of bromelain can cause skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive menstrual bleeding, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Bromelain can also interact with some medications. Those taking antibiotics, anticoagulants, blood thinners, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, insomnia drugs and tricyclic antidepressants should be careful not to eat too much pineapple.  

 

SOURCES: https://www.drugs.com/npp/pineapple.html

https://www.livescience.com/45487-pineapple-nutrition.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/bromelain#health-benefits

 

 

 

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BEST WAYS TO GET NUTRIENTS

As you prepare, bite, chew, cut, slice, pound, pulverize, smash, purée, blend masticate and digest, you create a series of mechanical and chemical changes that affect: A food’s nutritional value/content (i.e. the nutrients it contains) and each nutrient’s “bioavailability” (i.e. the degree to which it can be absorbed by your body).

This means:

Some nutrients are indeed best available when the foods containing them are eaten raw, while other nutrients are best available when the foods containing them are cooked, or broken down by cutting or crushing, and/or eaten alongside other foods (the unbeatable bread and beans, Akara and pap)

Here are the 10 best ways to get the most nutrition from your food.

1. Choose locally grown foods.

“Eating locally grown and “straight from the earth” maximizes the vitamins and minerals (and deliciousness) you get from your produce.

Plucking them from the soil (or vine, or bush, or tree) means separating them from their nutrient source”. The longer they’re separated, the more nutritional value they lose.

Research has shown that freshly picked fruit or vegetables lose about 15-60% of most of their vitamins and minerals if not consumed after 72 hours.

Fresh is the main deal, it beats GMO foods any day as it retains all nutrients from the soil.

2. Soak, chop, crush, blend.

“These basics of food preparation can make vitamins, minerals, and other compounds (phytochemicals) more available in a few ways:

Cutting up fruits and vegetables generally frees up the nutrients by breaking down rigid plant cell walls.

Crushing and chopping onion and garlic releases alliinase, an enzyme in these foods that helps form a nutrient called allicin. Allicin, when eaten, helps form other compounds that may protect us against disease, fight against inflammation and offer antioxidant properties.

Soaking grains and beans reduces phytic acid, which might — in part — block your absorption of iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium.

Phytic acid is known as a food inhibitor which chelates micronutrient and prevents it to be bioavailable for monogastric animals, including humans, because they lack enzyme phytase in their digestive tract.

If you’ve already been doing these things, great. Now you know why they work.

3. Store fruits and vegetables the right way.

When thinking about storage, balance two things:

Make it easy to eat your plants: Keep fruits and vegetables where you’re most likely to access them.

Slow down nutrient loss: Heat, light, and oxygen degrade nutrients.

That’s the reason why you should store all vegetables (except those of the root variety) in the refrigerator until you need them.

  • All Fruits except berries — this includes tomatoes and avocados — at room temperature away from direct light.
  • All cut fruits and vegetables with a squeeze of lemon juice on them and in an airtight container. (Cut food products rapidly oxidizes and vitamin C, an antioxidant, slows decay). 
  • All herbs — with their amazing phytonutrients — chopped up and frozen in an ice cube tray with water. 

4. Eat most sources of water-soluble and heat-sensitive nutrients raw.

Heat breaks down vitamin B1, vitamin B5, folate, and vitamin C (heat labile), so you get more of these when you eat certain foods raw.

So, foods like: sunflower seeds, peas, beet greens, and Brussels sprouts (sources of vitamin B1), broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and avocado (sources of vitamin B5), spinach, turnip greens, broccoli (sources of folate), and bell peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts (sources of vitamin C) are generally best eaten raw to maximize absorption of these water-soluble nutrients.

For example, raw spinach contains 3 times more vitamin C than cooked spinach.

You lose water-soluble B-vitamins and vitamin C when you boil them. So, if you’d like to cook these mentioned foods, cook them at low temperature without exposing them to too much water. 

Best cooking methods to adopt includes:

blanching;

steaming;

sautéeing;

roasting; and/or

microwaving.

5. Know which foods are best when cooked.

“There’s actually a wide range of nutrient loss from cooking — anywhere from 15 to 55 percent. In most cases, you lose the most nutrients by boiling in water”.

But some foods actually deliver the most nutrients when cooked.

For example, cooking: 

  • significantly increases bioavailability of lycopene, found in tomatoes. Research shows that lycopene increases by 25 percent when tomatoes are boiled for 30 minutes. significantly increases the bioavailability of beta carotene, found in red/orange/yellow plants like tomatoes, carrots, sweet potato, and spinach. 
  • Cooking helps here by breaking down the plants’ cell walls. Cooking could also denature protein in eggs and meat, making them much more digestible.
  • makes iron and other minerals more available for absorption by decreasing oxalates, an acid that makes the minerals inaccessible by binding to them.
  • reduces certain harmful food components, such as cyanide (found in tubers) and possible anti-nutrients (found in grains and beans), making way for all the good stuff those foods have to offer.

Pro tip: If you do end up boiling veggies, keep the liquid for something like soup stock. This way you can eat those nutrients later and they’re not really “lost”.

Boiled potatoes are beneficial than French fries literally because fried foods are termed empty calories (they are more energy dense than nutrient dense).

6.Pair food strategically to maximize nutrient absorption.

“Many world cuisines put particular foods together. (Think of greens with lemon and olive oil in Italian cooking, or the complex spice blends in Caribbean, African, or South Asian cooking.)

Combining the right foods together doesn’t just taste awesome, it also helps you absorb all nutrients in the foods you eat at the right amounts.

Lets see some examples .

PAIR FAT WITH FAT:

Eat foods that contain the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K with dietary fats, which help dissolve the vitamins and ready them for absorption.

Therefore, foods like:

sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash (vitamin A),

eggs and mushrooms (vitamin D),

spinach, Swiss chard, and asparagus (vitamin E), and

kale, spinach, and broccoli (vitamin K), all go better with small-sized portions of healthy fats like:

Mixed nuts, avocado,olive oil,coconut oil; and/or butter.

It’s good to note that foods like salmon (which contains vitamin D), egg yolk and liver (vitamin A) and sunflower seeds (vitamin E) take care of themselves, since they’ve got their own healthy fat.

PAIR IRON WITH VITAMIN C:

Iron from non-animal protein  sources is known as nonheme iron. Non-Heme iron is not as well absorbed as heme iron, which is found in animal foods (such as red meat or dark poultry). To absorb the nonheme iron from our plant sources and utilize them we pair them with foods rich in vitamin C.

This works in two ways:

Vitamin C can help the plant food “let go of” the mineral.

Vitamin C can block other dietary compounds that can inhibit absorption.

Therefore foods like:

spinach, kale,soybeans, and lentils all go better with:

a squeeze of lemon juice,

orange slices,

strawberries, or

chili peppers.

Try this: Spinach salad with orange slices, strawberries, and a lemon juice vinaigrette. Or braised kale with chilis and a squeeze of lemon.

PAIR IRON AND ZINC WITH SULFUR:

Also, foods rich in iron and zinc are usually best eaten with foods rich in sulfur. Sulfur binds to these minerals and helps you absorb them better.

Therefore foods like:

liver, beef, and turkey (rich in iron)

oysters, beef, and turkey (rich in zinc)

all go better with garlic, onion, and egg yolks.

PROTEIN COMPLEMENTATION ESPECIALLY FOR VEGETARIANS 

This way is the most effective way to get all 9 essential amino acid into a vegetarian diet. 

  • Foods like beans and vegetables that are limited in methionine should be complemented with grains, nuts and seeds
  • Grains, nuts,seeds and corn are limited in tryptophan,lysine and threonine should be complemented with legumes.

By this, every meal is a win-win.

7. Keep it simple.

Keep it simple and sane.

It’s still better to eat broccoli any way you can get it than to not eat it 

because it’s not “perfect”. As Brian “Voice of Reason” St. Pierre likes to say:

It’s also important to factor in things like the quantity. 

Sometimes the cooked and raw versions of a food are equally nutritious, just in different ways. For example, raw spinach might have more iron, but it also has more of the chemicals that block your absorption of iron.

Rule of thumb: 

Water soluble vitamins (vitamins B and C) lose the most nutrients when cooked.

Fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K) lose the fewest nutrients when cooked.

“Just eat some darn vegetables already”.

8. Don’t discount frozen foods.

Does frozen broccoli have the same nutritional value as the stuff you just picked from the earth and ate raw? Maybe not. But how often do you eat raw, straight from the earth?

Research shows that processing can decrease a food’s vitamin C content by 10-90 percent. But the reality is that frozen or canned fruits and veggies come in handy when you’re busy. And a little vitamin C is better than none.

Remember, too that fiber isn’t affected much by freezing or canning. So eat your veggies … however you can get them.

9. You can still be flexible with animal source (flexitarian).

Many animal-based sources of vitamins and minerals are more bioavailable than plant-based sources (which may bind up vitamins and minerals chemically, or require a lot of steps to be converted to what our bodies prefer). For instance, as we’ve noted, the iron you get from meat is more available for absorption than the iron you get from plants:

Heme iron, found in animal protein, is encased in hemoglobin molecules, which protect the nutrient from getting degraded by other nutrients and minerals in your GI tract. That means you’re absorbing the iron intact via gut cells that are specifically designed to take up the nutrient.

Nonheme iron, from vegetable sources like spinach, starts to change the minute it comes into contact with other stuff in your intestines, meaning you can only absorb a small fraction of it.

The same is true of many other vitamins and minerals, such as calcium or vitamin A.

If you’re an exclusively plant-based eater, you might want to be flexible a little bit and add a bit of animal source to your diet from time to time.

10. Monitor your tolerance.

Nutrients don’t do you much good if there is an undetected food intolerance that keeps you from absorbing them (IBS especially or lactose intolerance).

Unfortunately, not everyone tolerates raw foods very well even if they’re technically “better for you” sometimes.

If you have GI symptoms such as gas, bloating, or problems with your stool, consider an elimination and re-introduction diet to figure out what you’re not tolerating, and see a dietitian (nutrient deficiencies are more common than you might think).

Once you eliminate and re introduce  the foods that affect you the most, you can better optimize your nutrient intake and lead a healthy life while enjoying every meal.

 

BOTTOM LINE

Each meal should be enjoyed because of the variety involved in an adequate diet. This helps to gain every nutrient there is and make you healthier on the long run. When foods are combined accurately, there won’t be any need to run to supplements at all unless in very critical cases or in  the case of prescription.

Always make sure you speak to a dietitian before making any nutritional decision . 

 

SOURCE: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-nutrients

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DAIRY: POISON OR POTION?

In a society and age where everyone has become a nutrition guru, it’s best to always look out for and rely on strong science based articles which debunk so many pseudoscience on the internet. 

IS DAIRY REALLY THE VILLAIN? 

In a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Walter Willet and some other colleagues stated thus : “A central rationale for high lifelong milk consumption has been to meet calcium requirements for bone health. Paradoxically, countries with the highest intakes of milk and calcium tend to have the highest rates of hip fractures”

Really, this is a ‘fallacious argument’- very deceptive arguments that seem convincing but lack scientific rigor. Possible truths may be found in the paper, but is there an identification of limitations? Research is not carried out based on personal bias but on neutral grounds right?

Let’s look at some potholes in this paper shall we? 

SHAKY EVIDENCE 

The paper clearly starts out by stating that there has not been any health benefits related with the HIGH intake of milk products. Well, i would like to ask this: What’s your explanation of high intake? 1 litre of milk? A  bucket of milk? Per sitting? Per month? Just state it.

We can’t deny the fact that before this new age of funny health shaky-umentaries,  there has been so much research to prove that consumption of milk and its product are beneficial to health. 

The paper even goes along to suggest that consumption of milk is related to the incidence of bone fracture through correlative data. Are you kidding me now? So many meta-analyses confirm that foods high in calcium, protein and vitamin D (especially dairy) are preventative for good bone health.

 There are obviously other sources of calcium, protein and vitamin D that are healthy and beneficial, but demonising  a particular food group just to push the vegan agenda doesn’t alright. 

Before stating the correlation of a data, so many things like vitamin D status, genetics, longevity, exercise, environmental factors, or overall diet quality should be considered – because a lot more goes into building strong bones than simply calcium.

“Aside from bone fracture risk, the authors also look at how dairy consumption links to cardiovascular disease. They state that milk is beneficial to the heart when being used as a substitute for sugary beverages (like pop or juice) and then state that milk isn’t beneficial if it replaces whole fruit, nuts, and legumes in the diet” My question is – Why do you think milk is replacing those other foods? What do you term an adequate diet?

Isn’t it one that has all food groups in right proportions and quantities?

IS THERE A ROOM FOR DAIRY INTOLERANCE?

Dairy has never posed any health problems as claimed by everyone on the internet, but really, there are some individuals that won’t be able to tolerate dairy products.

Many people are lactose intolerant (carbohydrates found in dairy) and have serious digestive problems when they consume dairy products. So it’s best they eliminate dairy products from their diets so they won’t have complications.

Some folks are also allergic to cows milk which could lead to hives, skin rash and anaphylaxis. But hey, these people are not the ALL people yes?

Dr Willet also stated that 67% of children with diagnosed intolerance to cow’s milk had reduced symptoms immediately they were switched to an alternative- soy milk (plant based). OH YES! They sure will since they were given an alternative to cow’s milk which don’t contain lactose. But really, the agenda was to kick against the consumption of cow’s milk.

If you feel better and don’t get digestive problems when you eliminate milk from your diet, no problems. But doing it out of fear? We dietitians won’t support that.

MILK AND MUCUS PRODUCTION 

The texture of any fluid determines the texture and amount of mucus produced after consumption of said fluid. 

Mucus is produced by cells within the nose, sinuses and lungs.  It consists of water, salt and various proteins that help trap germs and particles of dirt.

“There is a belief among some members of the public that the consumption of milk and dairy products increases the production of mucus in the respiratory system. Therefore, some who believe in this effect renounce drinking milk. According to Australian studies, subjects perceived some parameters of mucus production to change after consumption of milk and soy-based beverages, but these effects were not specific to cows’ milk because the soy-based milk drink with similar sensory characteristics produced the same changes. In individuals inoculated with the common cold virus, milk intake was not associated with increased nasal secretions, symptoms of cough, nose symptoms or congestion. Nevertheless, individuals who believe in the mucus and milk theory report more respiratory symptoms after drinking milk. In some types of alternative medicine, people with bronchial asthma, a chronic inflammatory disease of the lower respiratory tract, are advised not to eat so-called mucus-forming foods, especially all kinds of dairy products. According to different investigations the consumption of milk does not seem to exacerbate the symptoms of asthma and a relationship between milk consumption and the occurrence of asthma cannot be established. However, there are a few cases documented in which people with a cow’s milk allergy presented with asthma-like symptoms”. 

That being stated, lets focus on the benefits of dairy products 

BENEFITS OF DAIRY PRODUCTS 

Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese, are good sources of calcium, vitamin D and protein which helps maintain bone density and reduces the risk of fractures. Adults up to age 50 need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. Women older than 50 and men older than 70 need 1,200 mg. (For comparison, a cup of milk has 250 mg to 350 mg of calcium, depending on the brand and whether it’s whole, low-fat, or nonfat. A typical serving of yogurt (plain) has about 187 mg of calcium.) Milk is also fortified with vitamin D, which bones need to maintain bone mass.

WHICH DAIRY IS PREFERRABLE?

The American Heart Association still recommends adults stick to fat-free or low-fat dairy products. But new research suggests full-fat dairy might not be much of a threat to heart health. A report presented at the 2018 Congress of the European Society of Cardiology looked at 20 studies involving almost 25,000 people, and found no association between the consumption of most dairy products and cardiovascular disease.

Some science has even suggested that the right kind of dairy may prevent heart disease. A study involving 2,000 men published by the British Journal of Nutrition found that those who ate plenty of fermented dairy products like yogurt and cheese had a smaller risk of coronary artery disease than men who ate less of these products. This supports earlier studies that showed that fermented dairy products have more healthful effects on blood lipid profiles and the risk of heart disease than other dairy products.

 

BOTTOM LINE 

On the issues of overall health benefits, dairy products {especially milk) are neither poison or potion. The right quantity added to your daily diet is important in benefiting from vital nutrients for every day activities and function. 

 An adequate diet cannot be over emphasized; elimination or demonising food groups won’t solve any problems.

 

SOURCES: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/dairy-health-food-or-health-risk-2019012515849

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1903547

https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-other-adverse-reactions/milk-mucus-and-cough

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16373954

https://ignitenutrition.ca/blog/is-dairy-deadly/?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social&utm_source=meetedgar.com

 

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COVID19 AND NUTRITION: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

 

 

 

It’s obvious everyone wants to know if any dietary approaches or particular types of food could help prevent or even manage the incidence of the very dreaded COVID19.

Well, I’d burst your bubbles by saying ‘ there is NO FOOD’ or dietary approach to help prevent the spread. 

Kindly note that several pieces of advice and news would fly about on how to prevent the virus, but please heed only to verified health platforms such as : NHS, CDC, and WHO.

Everyone is encouraged to follow advice from the government and health sectors as social distancing, safe hygiene as washing of hands with soap and using alcohol based sanitizers, and self quarantining.

Frequently asked questions about the virus are: 

 

  • CAN I BOOST MY IMMUNE SYSTEM THROUGH DIET?

 

Simply put, you cannot “boost” your immune system through diet, and nonspecific food or nutrients will prevent you from catching COVID 19. Good hygiene practices remain the best means to avoiding infection.

So many nutrients are involved in the normal functioning of the immune system, so just make sure you maintain a healthy balanced diet to support proper immune function. No food is preferred above the other but nutrients as: copper, vitamin A, B6, B12, vitamin C and D helps in maintaining the immune system. 

 

  • SHOULD I TAKE VITAMIN D AND C SUPPLEMENTS?

 

Most of your vitamin D comes with the help of the sun as it activates the vitamin D in your skin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and also helps the immune system function well by stimulating the production of white blood cells and antibodies that bind invading microbes in the system. There is really no need to shove supplements and pills down your neck during this endemic, overdose of vitamins would lead to toxicity (hypervitaminosis) which could also lead to fatal health conditions: you don’t want to enter into trouble in these times of trouble do you?

 It’s more advisable that your nutrients come from your diets.

 Food sources of vitamin c include:cantaloupe, kiwi, papaya, pineapple, citrus fruits, strawberries, watermelon etc. 

 

  • SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT FOOD SAFETY AND COVID19?

 

Whatever safe hygiene methods you have followed in the past concerning food handling and processing, just keep at it. There is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted when handling or preparing food. 

STOCK UP ON NUTRITION-packed foods that will stay fresh for a week or longer: 

  1. Breads- whole wheat, white, brown bread, bagels.
  2. Grains- instant oatmeal, quick cooking pasta, couscous, 
  3. Vegetables- sturdy fresh veggies as broccoli, celery, potatoes.
  4. 100% juice
  5. Milk 
  6. Chicken-frozen or canned 
  7. Legumes- chickpeas, blackbeans 
  8. Seafoods- frozen shrimp, canned tuna, sardines, salmons. 

Make sure you don’t use this period to indulge wrongly, you could go into emotional eating and gain some extra pounds.

 

BOTTOM LINE

Practicing safe hygiene matters a lot in this period, wash your hands always with soap after coming in contact with animate and inanimate things.

Wash utensils properly and make sure your foods are cooked properly with adequate amount of heat.

 

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ARTERIOSCLEROSIS/ATHEROSCLEROSIS

OVERVIEW

Arteriosclerosis occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (arteries) become thick and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but over time, the walls in your arteries can harden, a condition commonly called hardening of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on your artery walls (plaque), which can restrict blood flow.

This plaque makes your arteries clogged up and could lead to other heart diseases. 

The plaque can burst, triggering a blood clot. Although atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem, it can affect arteries anywhere in your body. Atherosclerosis may be preventable and is treatable.

 

SYMPTOMS

Atherosclerosis develops gradually. Mild atherosclerosis usually doesn’t have any symptoms.

You usually won’t have atherosclerosis symptoms until an artery is so narrowed or clogged that it can’t supply adequate blood to your organs and tissues. Sometimes a blood clot completely blocks blood flow, or even breaks apart and can trigger a heart attack or stroke.

Symptoms of moderate to severe atherosclerosis depend on which arteries are affected. For example:

 

  • HeartArteries: chest pain or pressure (angina).
  • BRAIN:sudden numbness or weakness in your arms or legs, difficulty speaking or slurred speech, temporary loss of vision in one eye, or drooping muscles in your face. These signal a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which, if left untreated, may progress to a stroke.
  • ARMS AND LEGS:symptoms of peripheral artery disease, such as leg pain when walking (claudication).
  • KIDNEYS: you develop high blood pressure or kidney failure.

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop atherosclerosis from worsening and prevent a heart attack, stroke or another medical emergency.

CAUSES

Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may begin as early as childhood. Although the exact cause is unknown, but it may start with damage or injury to the inner layer of an artery. The damage may be caused by:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. High cholesterol
  3. High triglycerides, a type of fat (lipid) in your blood
  4. Smoking and other sources of tobacco
  5. Insulin resistance, obesity or diabetes
  6. Inflammation from diseases, such as arthritis, lupus or infections, or inflammation of unknown cause

Once the inner wall of an artery is damaged, blood cells and other substances often clump at the injury site and build up in the inner lining of the artery.

Over time, fatty deposits (plaque) made of cholesterol and other cellular products also build up at the injury site and harden, narrowing your arteries. The organs and tissues connected to the blocked arteries then don’t receive enough blood to function properly.

Eventually, pieces of the fatty deposits may break off and enter your bloodstream.

In addition, the smooth lining of the plaque may rupture, spilling cholesterol and other substances into your bloodstream. This may cause a blood clot, which can block the blood flow to a specific part of your body, such as occurs when blocked blood flow to your heart causes a heart attack. A blood clot can also travel to other parts of your body, blocking flow to another organ.

 

RISK FACTORS

Hardening of the arteries occurs over time. Besides aging, factors that increase the risk of atherosclerosis include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking and other tobacco use
  • A family history of early heart disease
  • Lack of exercise
  • An unhealthy diet

COMPLICATIONS 

The complications of atherosclerosis depend on which arteries are blocked. For example:

  1. Coronary artery disease- When atherosclerosis narrows the arteries close to your heart, you may develop coronary artery disease, which can cause chest pain (angina), a heart attack or heart failure.
  2. Carotid artery disease. When atherosclerosis narrows the arteries close to your brain, you may develop carotid artery disease, which can cause a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.
  3. Peripheral artery disease. When atherosclerosis narrows the arteries in your arms or legs, you may develop circulation problems in your arms and legs called peripheral artery disease. This can make you less sensitive to heat and cold, increasing your risk of burns or frostbite. In rare cases, poor circulation in your arms or legs can cause tissue death (gangrene).
  4. Aneurysms. Atherosclerosis can also cause aneurysms, a serious complication that can occur anywhere in your body. An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of your artery.

 

Most people with aneurysms have no symptoms. Pain and throbbing in the area of an aneurysm may occur and is a medical emergency.

        5. Chronic kidney disease. Atherosclerosis can cause the arteries leading to your kidneys to narrow, preventing oxygenated blood from reaching them. Over time, this can affect your kidney function, keeping waste from exiting your body.

 

PREVENTION

A healthy lifestyle modification targeted at tackling the symptoms or even keeping them away would help prevent atherosclerosis. Lifestyle changes like these would help:

Quitting smoking (cannabis, cigarettes)

Eating healthy foods and keeping away from saturated fats, trans fats and highly processed foods.

Exercising regularly

Maintaining a healthy weight

Adopt lifestyle changes that are manageable by you on a long run.

 

Sources: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350569

 

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LifeStyle

DIABULIMIA: THE KILLER EATING DOSORDER

OVERVIEW

It’s really saddening to hear what extreme measures people take just to lose weight. You would be shocked to hear that some people would stop taking their insulin shots so they could shed some weight. Let’s talk about diabulimia today shall we?

Diabulimia (a portmanteau of diabetes and bulimia) is an eating disorder in which people with type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need or stop taking it altogether for the purpose of weight loss (occurs especially among teenage girls). Although no official diagnosis by the medical or psychiatric communities but the phrases “disturbed eating behavior” or “disordered eating behavior” (DEB in both cases) and disordered eating (DE) are quite common in medical and psychiatric literature addressing patients who have type 1 diabetes and manipulate insulin doses to control weight along with exhibiting bulimic behavior. 

Starting insulin could mean weight gain for some people,  but omitting insulin shots to help reduce this weight would just put you in more dangers of glucose spiking and symptoms of diabetes (frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger etc). 

But really, every growing child should gain weight, and remember that type 1 DM affects majorly children. 

Without insulin, the body technically has 14 days to live, during this period, one might go into diabetic ketoacidosis, degeneration of nerves and break down of organs also occurs during this period of dangerous eating disorder.

RISKS INVOLVED 

Diabulimia complications are a mix of those that come with diabetes and eating disorders:

  • High blood sugar levels
  • Sugar in your urine
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle loss
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • High cholesterol
  • Bacterial skin infections
  • Yeast infections
  • Skipped or abnormal periods
  • Staph infections
  • Damage to the blood vessels in your eyes (retinopathy)
  • Numbness in your hands and feet from nerve damage
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Thicker arterial walls (atherosclerosis)
  • Liver disease
  • Low sodium and potassium levels
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death

SIGNS 

The first and most obvious sign of diabulimia is losing weight without trying. Other signs include:

  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Feeling thirsty a lot
  • Thinking or talking a lot about body image
  • Blood sugar records that don’t match up with hemoglobin A1c readings
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Secrecy about blood sugar, insulin, food, or eating habits
  • Canceling doctors’ appointments
  • Eating more often, especially sugary foods
  • Delayed puberty
  • Stress within the family
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Sweet-smelling breath (a sign of ketoacidosis)
  • Exercising a lot

WHAT TO DO?

Every eating disorder is a mental illness and so is diabulimia,   It’s advisable to seek nutritional, medical and psychological help from professionals.

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General Research

ADRENAL FATIGUE: What it really is

OVERVIEW

Adrenal fatigue is a collection of nonspecific symptoms ranging from body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and some digestive problems. These complaints somewhat mimic signs of adrenal diseases, syndromes and medical conditions.

Proponents always paint adrenal fatigue as a mild form of adrenal dysfunction, but it isn’t an accepted medical diagnosis. 

According to Mayo clinic, adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed by blood tests and special stimulation tests that show inadequate levels of adrenal hormones. 

The unproven theory behind adrenal fatigue is that your adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of perpetual fight-or-flight arousal. As a result, they can’t produce quite enough of the hormones you need to feel good. Existing blood tests, according to this theory, aren’t sensitive enough to detect such a small decline in adrenal function — but your body is.

Most frustrating situation ever is having signs and symptoms wrongly diagnosed by unqualified practitioners. 

Unproven remedies for so-called adrenal fatigue may leave you feeling sicker, while the real cause — such as depression or fibromyalgia — continues to take its toll.

 

THE CONCEPT OF ADRENAL FATIGUE

Symptoms associated with ‘adrenal fatigue’ include fatigue, unexplained weight loss, low blood pressure and lightheadedness, darkening of the skin, loss of body hair, body aches, hormone imbalance, poor digestion, insomnia, sleep disorders, lowered immune system, inability to cope with stress and loss of concentration. 

According to a systemic review of adrenal fatigue literature, published in the journal of BMC Endocrine Disorders, with 58 analysed studies, testing used in most studies included direct awakening cortisol, cortisol awakening response and salivary cortisol rhythm.

Researchers found conflicting results and concluded there is no firm evidence that the condition exists. 

It is very important to note and understand the difference between adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue, sometimes, the symptoms seem to overlap and look alike. People with adrenal insufficiency often experience joint pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dry skin asides fatigue.Adrenal insufficiency is diagnosed by a physician through ACTH Simulation and Insulin-Insulin Hypoglycemia tests.  

OTHER POTENTIAL EXPLANATIONS: 

These might include thr belief that the hallmark symptom of adrenal fatigue, which is fatigue may just be related to other diseases or presence of long term stress factors. For example, conditions that might mimic symptoms of AF include anaemia,  thyroid disease, growth hormone deficiency, depression, fibromyalgia, menopause etc.

It is adviceable that registered dietitians explore symptoms, medical history and lifestyle factors during nutrition assessment of a patient inquiring about adrenal fatigue. 

PROPOSED INTERVENTION: 

This includes moderate exercise, an adequate diet that supports adequate blood sugar regulation (diets rich in pulses, whole wheat, complex carbohydrates and protein (both plant and animal sources), adequate sleep, stress relief and management techniques.

Avoiding alcohol and caffeine is adviceable as they can trigger the production of cortisol which could cause a spike in insulin production and increase stress levels.

ADRENAL CONDITIONS:

There are so many conditions related to the adrenal glands, but to mention a few important ones, we have: 

  1. Addisons disease: primary adrenal insufficiency caused by insufficient steroid hormone production despite adequate adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels. Low ACTH hormone levels are caused by a problem associated with the pituitary gland and are considered secondary adrenal insufficiency. Symptoms include low blood pressure, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, dysregulation of blood glucose, darkening of skin. 
  2. Adrenal insufficiency: this happens when the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol; symptoms include fatigue and muscle weakness.
  3. Adrenal crisis: is caused by chronic adrenal insufficiency, addisons disease, tumors and severe sepsis. Symptoms include abdominal pains, confusion or loss of consciousness, loss of appetitie, dehydration.
  4. Cushings syndrome: this occurs when there is excessive levels of cortisol in the blood stream as a result of exogenous or endogenous factors. 

           Exogenous: steroids

           Endogenous: adrenal or pituitary gland 

tumour.

           Symptoms include weight gain, depression, 

           mucle loss. 

  1. Primary hyperaldosteronism: occurs when the adrenal glands produce too much of the hormone aldosterone (causing hypertension and low blood potassium levels), it can be caused by hyperactivity in one or both adrenal glands or sometimes related to an adrenal tumour.

Symptoms include high blood pressure, heartache, fatigue, low potassium levels and numbness.

Notice how fatigue is a symptom of all adrenal conditions? Stress management techniques should be learned and maintained by all and sundry to avoid stories that touches.

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Acidosis: causes, symptoms and treatment

Have you ever had a disruption in your bowels after taking a food you knew you shouldn’t have? 

That same way your face stays all day trying to live with the pain and discomfort is the same way your system feels when there is acidosis.

Metabolic acidosis happens when the chemical balance of acids and bases in your blood goes haywire. Most times, it might happen that your body:

  • Is making too much acid
  • Isn’t getting rid of enough acid
  • Doesn’t have enough base to offset a normal amount of acid

When any of these happen, chemical reactions and processes in your body don’t work right.

Although severe episodes can be life-threatening, sometimes metabolic acidosis is a mild condition. You can treat it, but how depends on what’s causing it.

Causes of Metabolic Acidosis

Different things can set up an acid-base imbalance in your blood

Ketoacidosis: When you have diabetes and don’t get enough insulin and get dehydrated, your body burns fat instead of carbs as fuel, and that makes ketones. Lots of ketones in your blood turn it acidic. People who drink a lot of alcohol for a long time and don’t eat enough also build up ketones. It can happen when you aren’t eating at all, too. Also, a prolonged keto diet could lead to build up of ketones if not supervised well; especially if it’s for the wrong purposes. 

Lactic acidosis: Lactic acid build up occurs when there is enough oxygen in the muscles to breakdown glycogen and glucose . This acid can build up, too. It might happen when you’reexercising intensely. Big drops in blood pressure, heart failure, cardiac arrest, and an overwhelming infection can also cause it.

Renal tubular acidosis:  This medical condition happens when there is accumulation of acid in the body due to the kidney’s failure to appropriately acidify urine. Healthy kidneys take acids out of your blood and get rid of them

Have you ever had a disruption in your bowels after taking a food you knew you shouldn’t have? 

That same way your face stays all day trying to live with the pain and discomfort is the same way your system feels when there is acidosis.

Metabolic acidosis happens when the chemical balance of acids and bases in your blood goes haywire. Most times, it might happen that your body:

  • Is making too much acid
  • Isn’t getting rid of enough acid
  • Doesn’t have enough base to offset a normal amount of acid

When any of these happen, chemical reactions and processes in your body don’t work right.

Although severe episodes can be life-threatening, sometimes metabolic acidosis is a mild condition. You can treat it, but how depends on what’s causing it.

Causes of Metabolic Acidosis

Different things can set up an acid-base imbalance in your blood

Ketoacidosis: When you have diabetes and don’t get enough insulin and get dehydrated, your body burns fat instead of carbs as fuel, and that makes ketones. Lots of ketones in your blood turn it acidic. People who drink a lot of alcohol for a long time and don’t eat enough also build up ketones. It can happen when you aren’t eating at all, too. Also, a prolonged keto diet could lead to build up of ketones if not supervised well; especially if it’s for the wrong purposes. 

Lactic acidosis: Lactic acid build up occurs when there is enough oxygen in the muscles to breakdown glycogen and glucose . This acid can build up, too. It might happen when you’re exercising intensely. Big drops in blood prrssure,  heart failure, cardiac arrest, and an overwhelming infection can also cause it.

 

Renal tubular acidosis:  This medical condition happens when there is accumulation of acid in the body due to the kidney’s failure to appropriately acidify urine. Healthy kidneys take acids out of your blood and get rid of them in your pee. Kidney diseases as well as some immune system and genetic disorders can damage kidneys so they leave too much acid in your blood.

Hyperchloremic acidosis. Severe diarrhea, laxative abuse, and kidney problems can cause lower levels of bicarbonate, the base that helps neutralize acids in blood.

Respiratory acidosis also results in blood that’s too acidic. But it starts in a different way, when your body has too much carbon dioxide because of a problem with your lungs.

Symptoms

Although symptoms can differ, someone with metabolic acidosis will often:

  • Breathe fast
  • Have a fast heartbeat
  • Have a headache
  • Be confused
  • Feel weak
  • Feel tired
  • Have little desire to eat
  • Feel sick to their stomach
  • Throw up

Fruity-smelling breath (kasmaul breathing)is a classic symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

If you have these symptoms, call your doctor or visit the hospital immediately.  

Testing

Tests like anion gap, arterial blood gases and urine tests could help figure out if any of these acidosis occurs.

 

Prevention

You can’t always prevent metabolic acidosis, but there are things you can do to lessen the chance of it happening.

Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic fluids. Your pee should be clear or pale yellow.

Limit alcohol. It can increase acid buildup. It can also dehydrate you.

Manage your diabetes, make sure you adhere to drug use by physician and also diet regimen by dietitian.

Follow directions strictly when you take your medications and do not self medicate no matter how small and familiar the symptoms might be.

 

Treatment

You treat metabolic acidosis by treating what’s causing it. If you don’t restore the balance, it can affect your bones, muscles, and kidneys. In severe cases, it can cause shock or death. DKA can put you in a coma.

The earlier you’re treated, the better. Common treatments include:

  • Detoxification, if you have drug or alcohol poisoning
  • Insulin, if you have DKA
  • IV fluids, given by needle through a vein in your arm
  • Sodium bicarbonate, by IV

You might have to go to a hospital.
your pee. Kidney diseases as well as some immune system and genetic disorders can damage
kidneys so they leave too much acid in your blood.

Hyperchloremic acidosis. Severe diarrhea, laxative abuse, and kidney problems can cause lower levels of bicarbonate, the base that helps neutralize acids in blood.

Respiratory acidosis also results in blood that’s too acidic. But it starts in a different way, when your body has too much carbondioxide  because of a problem with your lungs.

Symptoms

Although symptoms can differ, someone with metabolic acidosis will often:

  • Breathe fast
  • Have a fast heartbeat
  • Have a headache
  • Be confused
  • Feel weak
  • Feel tired
  • Have little desire to eat
  • Feel sick to their stomach
  • Throw up

Fruity-smelling breath (kasmaul breathing)is a classic symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

If you have these symptoms, call your doctor or visit the hospital immediately.  

Testing

Tests like anion gap, arterial blood gases and urine tests could help figure out if any of these acidosis occurs.

Prevention

You can’t always prevent metabolic acidosis, but there are things you can do to lessen the chance of it happening.

Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic drinks, avoid fizzy drinks. Your pee should be clear or pale yellow.

Limit alcohol. It can increase acid buildup. It can also dehydrate you.

Manage your diabetes, make sure you adhere to drug use by physician and also diet regimen by dietitian.

Follow directions strictly when you take your medications and do not self medicate no matter how small and familiar the symptoms might be.

 

Treatment

You treat metabolic acidosis by treating what’s causing it. If you don’t restore the balance, it can affect your bones, muscles, and kidneys. In severe cases, it can cause shock or death. DKA can put you in a coma.

The earlier you’re treated, the better. Common treatments include:

  • Detoxification, if you have drug or alcohol poisoning
  • Insulin, if you have DKA
  • IV fluids, given by needle through a vein in your arm
  • Sodium bicarbonate, by IV

You might have to go to a hospital.

 

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Uncategorized

Diet Trends: The ups and downs

DIET TRENDS

The previous year came with quite a handful of FAD diets, we don’t know what this year would bring us but lets take a review on those diets that got so much attention last year, shall we?

No carbs? No food? Which plans work best for weight loss and overall health

When it comes to diets and diet trends, the choices can be dizzying. With so many ways to lose weight, and so many online influencers and supplement peddlers out there, it’s hard to decipher which methods are healthy and actually work.

1. Ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. The goal of the diet is to maintain a state of ketosis, which means that by eating fewer carbs, the body’s fat-burning system relies mainly on fat instead of sugar for energy.

This concept is actually nothing new. There’s a lot of research, going back to the early 1900s, that ketogenic diets help with certain neurologic conditions like epilepsy in children. But it’s relatively a new strategy for weight loss.

Benefits

If your weight loss goals are more immediate, a ketogenic diet may be able to help you achieve those results. It’s been shown to be very effective for short-term weight loss — more so even than low-fat diets.
Additional benefits may include preventing certain types of chronic disease. There’s been some suggestion that there may be benefits as far as other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and even brain cancer. No definitive studies to prove this yet though.

Setbacks

Some health experts believe eating a large amount of fat and protein from animal sources can increase your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
On the ketogenic diet, you can, for instance, eat all the bacon, red meat and sausages you want; that obviously goes against what we’ve always known to be healthy, we have to be careful about the effect of this diet on people with liver, kidney and heart disease.
The diet is also really strict. It’s an extreme diet, cutting out almost all carbohydrates, which may in turn risk the gut microbiota. That means giving up or limiting conventionally healthy foods like fruit, whole grains and some vegetables which help keep the gut healthy.
Very low-carbohydrate diets may also be associated with more side effects than a low-fat diet, including headaches, fatigue and bad breath.

2. Whole30 diet
The Whole30 diet is a commercial diet marketed as a  30-day nutritional reset.; so they claim.
During those 30 days, you are to avoid sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes and dairy. The diet does permit meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruit, and natural fats like vegetable oils, coconut oil and tree nuts.

Benefits

What’s nice is that the Whole30 has a built-in support system on social media. That can be helpful for people who need to keep themselves accountable. Also, there’s no counting or restricting calories.

Setbacks

The company behind the Whole30 diet claims that it can improve or “cure” many medical problems, such as asthma, depression and Lyme disease, but the claims are unfounded; there’s no independent research to verify them.

3. Low-FODMAP diet

Some people are sensitive to certain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the intestines and can cause bloating. These carbs are known as fermentable oligo, di, monosaccharides and polyols — or FODMAPs — and are found in certain grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.

A low-FODMAP diet is often recommended for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common disorder that causes symptoms like cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea and/or constipation.

Benefits

Studies demonstrate a definite improvement in IBS symptoms in people who use the low-FODMAP.
Many patients with IBS who have done really well on this diet and even go into remission has been recorded.

Setbacks

The low-FODMAP diet is not a weight loss diet. It’s really just for people with IBS.So the studies haven’t shown any benefit for people who don’t have IBS.
It’s also not very easy to follow because the list of low-FODMAP foods is not intuitive. For example, broccoli is a low-FODMAP food, and cauliflower is a high-FODMAP food. So you have to have the list of foods with you at all times.

4. Intermittent fasting diet (time-restrictive eating)
Intermittent fasting is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating very little or nothing, and eating regular meals.

Some people intermittently fast for 16 hours a day and then eat all their food in an eight-hour time span; others fast for 24 hours at a time, maybe twice a week. This plan isn’t specific about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.

Benefits

The intermittent fasting diet works well for people with busy schedules because it doesn’t really require planning.
It is quite easy to adhere to if you are very diligent; because it doesn’t restrict and food groups at all.

Setbacks

In a 2018 U.S. News & World Report article where 40 diets were ranked, intermittent fasting was one of the lowest on the list.
The criticism is mostly based on the fact that there’s no guide on what to eat during the nonfasting days. People could end up eating really unhealthily on those days; I had to speak to someone once, and he said he uses 2 sharwama and a bottle of coke to break his fast without putting into consideration the items in the shawarma and their calories.

This diet is also not recommended for people with diabetes because fasting could lead to low blood sugar that may require medication adjustment. People who have a history of eating disorders should also steer clear of this diet, and long-term compliance can be an issue as well.
Fad diets and going to extremes by cutting out major food groups — like carbs — simply aren’t sustainable strategies.

5. The Mediterranean diet

A Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil and very little red meat.

Benefits

This diet was tied for No. 1 — along with the DASH diet below — for the best overall diet in 2018 by U.S. News & World Report in large part due to its many health benefits. Studies have shown reductions in fatal heart attacks, strokes, cancers, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s for people who follow a Mediterranean diet.

Setbacks

There are not any known health drawbacks. It should be noted with caution that some of the studies are short-term, and the exact reason for the health benefits is not clear.

6. The DASH diet

The DASH diet is designed to lower high blood pressure. The acronym in the name stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It’s a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products, and low in snacks, sweets, meats, and saturated and total fat.

DASH also stresses limiting salt intake. Definitely, an intake of not more than 2,300 mg a day of salt, but ultimately you should strive to stay under 1,500 mg daily.

Benefits

Tied for No. 1 alongside the Mediterranean diet in U.S. News & World Report, a low-sodium DASH diet has been proven to decrease blood pressure. It also reportedly decreases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and possibly lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Setbacks

Although the DASH diet was not developed specifically as a weight-loss diet, it may cause some weight loss (which could also be seen as a benefit). And some people might find that limiting salt makes food taste bland.
The good news is that there are plenty of other healthy options for flavoring, like herbs, spices and citrus juices.

7. The MIND diet

The MIND diet, which stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, developed at Rush University Medical Center, combines foods from the Mediterranean and DASH diets. It focuses on 10 food groups that support brain health, including leafy greens, berries, poultry, beans and nuts.

Benefits

The diet has been shown to benefit brain health and protect against dementia, according to a few studies.
In fact, the MIND diet can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent in people who adhere to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who follow it moderately well.

It may also help substantially slow cognitive decline in stroke survivors, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2018.
Those are big reasons why MIND has been ranked No. 5 in U.S. News & World Report’s list of best diets for three consecutive years.
Setbacks

There aren’t any health risks with MIND, but like the Mediterranean diet, the food needed to follow the diet can be costly.
To diet or not to diet

Fad diets and going to extremes by cutting out major food groups — like carbs — simply aren’t sustainable strategies.
For long-term weight maintenance and overall health, you should adhere to the following sensible approaches to a healthy diet:
• Choose whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
• Eat fewer processed or packaged foods, like hot dogs, chips or artificial sweeteners.
• Spend more time in the produce section of the grocery store rather than the packaged food aisles.
• Get more fiber, since the conventional diet is generally sorely lacking in fiber.
• Avoid foods with unrecognizable and unpronounceable words on the list of ingredients.
Diets are not one-size-fits-all, so what works for one person may not work for another. It’s best to figure out your individual weight loss goals and nutrition priorities by talking with your  registered dietitian.
And focus on making other lifestyle changes for yourself and your family, including getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly and managing stress. All of those things will help not only with maintaining a healthy weight, but with your overall health and well-being with physical activity.

Really, the questions we should ask before embarking on any of these diets is if they are sustainable over a long period of time.

 

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CONSTIPATION:ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Constipation is broadly defined as an unsatisfactory defecation characterized by infrequent stools, difficult stool passage or both.

PHYSIOLOGY OF COLONIC FUNCTION
Water absorption
The colon receives approximately 1.5 L of liquid effluent daily from the small intestine, with 200 mL to 400 mL excreted in the stool. The functions of the colon are to absorb fluid from residual food and transport waste to the rectum, where it is expelled or stored until defecation is convenient.
The amount of fluid contained in a diet determines the state of one’s stool.
Removal of water from the fecal slurry is time dependent and actively regulated, and can be substantially increased in dehydration states. Sodium is actively reabsorbed from luminal content through several active transport channels, with water following passively in response to osmotic gradients. Conversely, colonic secretion is mediated through chloride channels (eg, cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator [CFTR]), which are generally quiescent, leading to a net reabsorption of electrolytes and fluid. Thus, stool that remains in the colon longer will become drier, which can lead to scybalation (pebble-like stools) and impaction if the stool becomes too large and hard to pass through the anal canal.

POOR DIET AND CONSTIPATION
If stool remains in the colon for too long, it could become dry and hard.
A diet that contains enough water and fiber would help moisten the faeces and make it easier to pass through the anorectal region.
Fiber-rich foods are generally made from plants. Fiber comes in soluble and insoluble forms. The soluble fiber can dissolve in water and creates a soft, gel-like material as it passes through the digestive system.
Insoluble fiber retains most of its structure as it goes through the digestive system. Both forms of fiber join with stool, increasing its weight and size while also softening it. This makes it easier to pass through the rectum.

Stress could also be a factor that would lead to constipation, other routines that would slow muscle contraction of the colon could also lead to hardening of stool.
Underlying medical problems
Possible medical conditions that could lead to constipation:
• certain diseases, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes
• problems with the colon or rectum, including intestinal obstruction, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or diverticulosis
• overuse or misuse of laxatives (medications to loosen stools)
• hormonal problems, including an underactive thyroid gland

SIGNS OF CONSTIPATION
-An excruciating pain experienced while trying to defecate.
– bowel movements restricted to 3 per week.
-feeling of fullness after passing stool.
– passing hard dry stools.
– feeling like your rectal areas are blocked.

MANAGEMENT OF CONSTIPATION
– Drink more water. At least 3 litres per day.
– Add more fiber to your diet; either soluble or insoluble fibre. Examples include wheat, bran, dark green leafy vegetables, oats, seeds, some fruits with roughages.
– Do exercises.
– Eat probiotic and prebiotic containing foods or you can use their supplements. Examples of foods in this category include plain yoghurt, banana, onions and garlic.
– Over the counter drugs like bulking agents
– Try magnesium citrate
– Eat prunes: prunes contain the sugar alcohol sorbitol which has a laxative effect. About 7 pieces twice a day is recommended (50g).
Constipation could be uncomfortable for anyone, these home remedies suggested would really help get you relieved, but if symptoms persists, see your doctor (as every drug would indicate).

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