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EMOTIONAL EATING: WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO NAVIGATE THROUGH IT

Sometimes we might just ask ourselves questions like:
How can I stop eating out of boredom?
“How do I resist the urge to snack all day especially when I’m stressed out?”
“How do I take control of my overeating when I feel depressed?”
“Why do I turn to food when I am happy, sad or stressed?”
If one of these questions is familiar with you, then this article is a must read for you.
This article enlightens you on emotional eating, its types and how you can understand and navigate through it.

WHAT IS EMOTIONAL EATING?
Inarguably, eating has emotions attached to it. Culturally, for kids especially, emotions depict they are hungry; if a child cries too much, it shows they’re hungry and they are fed immediately.
But, on a basic level though, ultimately, food is for nourishment, then maybe pleasure could come in, but also sometimes comfort to. The idea of using food to soothe emotions isn’t inherently a “bad thing”.
Turning to food when you’re hungry is your body saying there’s something that should be addressed, and that’s surely a coping tool.

SO WHY FOOD?
Negative emotions comes with a feeling of emptiness, and for some people, food could help them feel a sense of temporary wholeness.
Other factors might include:
• retreating from social support during times
of emotional need
• not engaging in activities that might otherwise
relieve stress, sadness, and so on
• not understanding the difference between physical and emotional
hunger
• using negative self-talking that’s related to bingeing
episodes. This can create a cycle of emotional eating
• changing cortisol levels in response to stress, leading to
cravings.

UNDERSTANDING TYPES OF EMOTIONAL EATING
There are four main avenues to emotional eating:
1) Breaking a food rule: this happens when you set a rule about some foods which you’re not supposed to eat but still find yourself eating those foods or one of them which could cause distress.
For example, you eat a cookie, feel bad about the act, but still go ahead to finish it and even more than expected.
2) Experiencing a strong emotion that reduces appetite: Like if you’re really anxious, you might feel a bit sick and not want to eat. So you eat less.
3) The backlash of restriction: happens when boredom, stress or loneliness causes you to start eating those foods you already termed “bad” in the past without control. According to research, it is more prevalent among dieters (obsessed with weight loss) than non-dieters.
4) Comfort eating: this happens when you find yourself eating to distract yourself from unpleasant or uncomfortable situations. This automatically leads to overfeeding.
The manner we were raised, either by societal values or individual perspectives affects our ability to cope effectively with what life throws at us. Your parents approach to frustration and disappointments, and how they trained you to coping with those situations matters a lot.

So what can you do to manage emotional eating?
To understand emotional eating, first you’d have to understand its roots, which could be as check lists:
1. Have you eaten enough?
The real reason behind emotional eating is still hunger. Most times, you don’t get to eat enough, so you term it ‘emotional eating’. If you don’t get enough food to eat during the day, there’ll surely be a drive to eat, and when you eat thereafter, you’re likely to eat beyond what feels comfortable. When this happens, they start out with compensatory behaviors like over-exercising and heavy restrictions which would later backfire.
What can you do? Fill your belly first! Hunger can present itself in mood, reduced energy levels, and lightheadedness.
A few tips for you to consider:
a. Eat at least 3 meals a day, and snack regularly with snacks and vegetables for easier satiety?
b. Have a balanced proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in each meal.
c. Increased your physical activity, be active!
2. Can you identify what you’re feeling?
This might seem futile for you especially if you’re used to bottling your emotions or suppressing them. You have to identify if you’re sad, depressed, if you fee self-pity, irritated etc.
3. Identify coping tools
For almost everyone, eating could be part of their coping tools, and removing it might cause a stir. So, its better to look for other coping tools to add to food.
Get a jotter and make lists as:
– people you can call when you feel emotional and want to vent or just talks (parent, friend, close pal etc.)
– Good options to relax like taking a stroll, taking a hot bath, read a book etc.
– places you go could go to calm down (e.g. your bed, outdoors, to the beach, a park etc).
– things you can say to yourself (“you’ve got this”, “this feeling will pass”).
– activities you can do to distract yourself (e.g. start a puzzle, watch a film etc).

Conclusion
Emotional eating isn’t inherently bad. Most times it’s a clue your body is giving you to respond to its urgent need, you just need to learn how to know what that need is.
If you’re looking to improve your relationship with food and manage emotional eating, you could always speak to a dietitian.

SOURCES
https://www.healthline.com/health/emotional-eating#What-causes-someone-to-eat-because-of-their-emotions?

How to Navigate Emotional Eating

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LifeStyle

DIABETES AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: THE ULTIMATE DEATH COMBO

OVERVIEW
According to recent studies, it has been shown that 64% of people with type 2 diabetes also suffer from hypertension.
This companionship is actually an ungodly one but sadly, in most cases where adequate management is not adhered to, the combo is just inevitable.
Many underlying pathophysiological mechanisms are associated with the duo, with a few seemingly plausible ones like: sodium-fluid retention, insulin resistance in the nitric-oxide pathway and stiffening of arteries.
Diabetes and hypertension are strongly interrelated and always predisposes individuals to other cardiovascular complications like atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis.
In this article, we would throw light on both diseases, how to manage them, their symptoms and how to prevent one leading to the other.

IDENTIFYING DIABETES?
Diabetes is a complex condition that impairs the body’s ability to metabolize/use blood sugar in the body.
Globally, more than 422 million people are living with the disease. Currently, 1 out of every 17 adults are living with this disease in Nigeria.
Uncontrolled diabetes, either with medication or diet, or a combination of both therapies would lead to other disease complications like stroke and heart diseases.
There are three types of diabetes and they include: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

TYPE 1 DIABETES: this is referred to as juvenile diabetes; more common among younger people. It occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. Sadly, people living with this type of diabetes have to stay on insulin for the rest of their lives to stay alive.

TYPE 2 DIABETES: this is the most common type of diabetes. It affects how the body uses insulin. The cells in the body do not respond to insulin effectively as they would always do in time past before the onset of this type of diabetes.
Less common types of diabetes include monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.

HOW CAN I GET DIABETES?
The risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
• If you are overweight (when your BMI is above 25 kg/m2)
• If one of your parents or ancestors has diabetes
• having a high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level lower than 40 mg/dL or 50 mg/dL
• If there is an occurrence of high blood pressure in your family lineage
• having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a child with a birth weight of more than 9 pounds
• a history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
• being of African-American, Native American, Latin American, or Asian-Pacific Islander descent
• being more than 45 years of age
• having a sedentary lifestyle

HOW WILL I KNOW THAT I HAVE DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes always presents with symptoms and they include:
– excessive hunger
– excessive thirst
– excessive passing of urine; especially in the night time
– blurry vision
– you easily get tired
In some cases, symptoms might not be noticed on time.

Type 2 diabetes can be diagnosed also if an individual’s blood sugar levels are above 70-90 mg/dl. Normally, to test for diabetes, blood samples are needed. But recently, your tears could be used to test for blood glucose levels.

IDENTIFYING BLOOD PRESSURE
Hypertension is a common condition in which there is a long-term force of blood against your artery walls. This could also predispose the individual to other heart health problems.
Previous studies have recorded that hypertension (commonly called) is more prevalent in men than in women.

CAUSES OF HYPERTENSION
There are a number of risk factors which could lead to hypertension and they include:
• Age.
• Family history (hereditary)
• Ethnic background.
• Obesity and being overweight.
• Lack of physical exercise or activity.
• Smoking.
• Alcohol intake.
• Poor diet and high cholesterol.
There are no symptoms noticed with hypertension; reason why it is called the “silent killer”
People usually find out that they have hypertension when a doctor takes their reading with a sphygmomanometer.
An individual would be said to have hypertension if blood pressure levels are above 140/90 mmHg, in severe cases blood pressure levels might get to 180/120mmHg.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HYPERTENSION AND DIABETES
The duo often occurs together and might even share common causes which include:
– Obesity
– Inflammation
– Oxidative stress
– Insulin resistance
As blood glucose accumulates in the body, some vital organs that help to maintain fluid balance are affected. Organs like the kidneys are more affected because they play an important role in making sure there is no fluid retention which leads to high blood pressure.
There are three ways in which high glucose levels in the blood can increase blood pressure:
• The blood vessels lose their ability to stretch.
• The fluid in the body increases, especially if diabetes is already affecting the kidneys.
• Insulin resistance which may involve processes that increase the risk of hypertension.
It is important to note that the duo could pose huge health complications which includes:
1. heart attack or stroke
2. decreased kidney function, progressing to dialysis
3. problems with the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision loss
4. peripheral vascular disease

CAN THIS BE PREVENTED?
Yes! Lifestyle factors are very crucial in the management of both diabetes and hypertension.
These lifestyle factors should be adhered to strictly in order to prevent the onset of the duo
1. A HEALTHY DIET: people who already live with diabetes or hypertension should seek advice from their dietitian to help manage their symptoms in order to avoid an escalating situation.
This advice would include:
– eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
– focusing on high-fiber foods, including whole grains
– limiting (not avoiding) the amount of added salt and sugar
– avoiding or limiting unhealthful fats, such as trans fats and
– avoiding the intake of refined carbs.
2. AVOID ALCOHOL AND SODA DRINKS: high alcohol intake increases the risks of developing these diseases. Surprisingly, people always have the mind-set that alcoholic drinks are healthier options when compared to soft drinks. Both are actually not recommended if these diseases are present.
3. STOP SMOKING: smoking tobacco increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Smoking could lead to poor blood flow and could damage the heart and lungs.
4. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT: losing weight is actually helpful in preventing the onset of diabetes and hypertension. Losing 3-5% of your weight can improve blood sugar readings.
5. BE ACTIVE: at least 150 minutes of intense exercise could help lower blood pressure levels and blood glucose levels as it helps in good blood circulation.
Note that only diet would not help in the management of diabetes and hypertension or the duo. Medications also are important factors in the management.
Also note that herbs, supplements and concoctions won’t help to eradicate this duo but might even pose greater health risks to the individual.

TAKE HOME
High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes often occur together and tend to share same risk factors.
It’s very important to pay attention to lifestyle modifications if you are living with both diseases or just one of them.
In the management, it’s important to have a doctor and dietitian co-manage your symptoms as diet and medication play a huge role in the management of these diseases.

  1. SOURCES: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317220#outlook
    https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/high-blood-pressure#:~:text=Diabetes%20damages%20arteries%20and%20makes,heart%20attack%2C%20and%20kidney%20failure.
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/20786204.2004.10873136

 

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LifeStyle

GOUT

OVERVIEW
Ever felt a reddish and tender pain on your big toe or even both?
If yes, then you should go through this article.
Gout is a type of arthritis that forms as a result of formation of crystals in and around the joint.
It is actually the most common type of inflammatory arthritis. It affects one join at a time (especially the joint at the big toe).
Gout is actually an ancient disease; the Egyptians actually noticed it first.
Gout mostly occurs when there are excess amounts of uric acid deposited in the urine and kidneys.
There is no cure for gout, but it can be managed effectively with the right approaches.
It is most common in the big toe, and is also common in the mid foot, ankle, and knee

WHAT SYMPTOMS SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR?
Acute gout flare mostly come as a rapid onset of pain at the site of the affected joint followed by warmth, swelling, reddish discoloration, and marked tenderness.
Sometimes most people, the pain is so intense that even if a paper touches it, you feel so much paper.
Symptoms in the affected joint(s) may include:
• Pain, usually intense
• Swelling
• Redness
• Heat

CAUSES
the accumulation of uric acid known usually as hyperuricemia is the cause of gout. When this happens, uric acid crystals are formed then they build up in joints, fluids and tissues.
What increases your chances for gout?
You’re more likely to develop gout If the following is present:
• Being male
• Being obese
• Having certain health conditions, including:
• Congestive heart failure
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Insulin resistance
• Metabolic syndrome
• Diabetes
• Poor kidney function
• Using certain medications, such as diuretics (water pills).
• Drinking alcohol. The risk of gout is greater as alcohol intake goes up.
• Eating or drinking food and drinks high in fructose (a type of sugar).
• Having a diet high in purines, which the body breaks down into uric acid. Purine-rich foods include red meat, organ meat, and some kinds of seafood, such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna.

ARE THERE POSSIBLE TRIGGERS?
Sometimes these crystals might not go into your joint cavities, and sometimes they might. Possible reasons why they would include:
• a knock or injury to the joint
• an illness that may make you feverish
• having an operation
• having an unusually large meal, especially a fatty meal
• drinking too much alcohol
• dehydration
• starting urate lowering therapy, especially at a high dose, or not taking your treatment regularly each day.

ARE THERE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Oh sure!
With self-management and medications, gout can be effectively treated. You can achieve this If you:
1. Manage the pain of a flare: Treatment for flares consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, steroids, and the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine
2. Get physically active: every minute of activity counts. It is at least better than doing nothing. It is recommended that you do at least 15 minutes of physical activities daily.
3. Eat a healthy diet: foods high in purines are most commonly the triggers for gout flares. Avoiding them could totally help to alleviate pains and soreness in gout. Foods that has high levels of purines includes red meat, seafood like shellfish, limit the intake of alcohol or totally give it up.
4. Protect your joints: low impact types of exercises which won’t lead to joint injuries are preferred. Swimming, bicycling and skipping are actually very good options for exercises.

SOURCES: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/ss/slideshow-gout
https://www.hss.edu/conditions_gout-risk-factors-diagnosis-treatment.asp
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gout/
https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/gout/

 

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THE LINK BETWEEN YOUR GUT AND HORMONES

The talk about gut health and hormones isn’t yet hitting the internet as it should. Rather, everyone is more concerned about their shape and the size of their belly. Your gut and hormones are intrinsically connected and affect your health in ways you can’t imagine.
This write up helps explain the link between your gut and hormones.

What Is The Estrobolome?
The estrobolome is a collection of bacteria in the gut which is capable of metabolising and modulating the body’s circulating estrogen. It is the bacteria in the gut, and the estrobolome, that affects estrogen levels, which in turn can impact weight, libido and mood. The estroblome modulates the enterohepatic circulation of estrogens and affects circulating and excreted estrogen levels.

Hormones And Gut Health: Why should I care about my Gut Health?
Scientific research has demonstrated that gut microbes regulate many aspects of human physiology, including intestinal permeability, the absorption of nutrients from food, and immunity.

Optimising our gut health is key to keeping our hormones in balance. Gut health is so important because the microbiome has many functions as listed below:
• Aids the synthesis and regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters
• Facilitates absorption of macro and micronutrients
• Has an essential role in the immune system
• Contributes to regulation of estrogen levels in the body
Estrogens are primarily made in the ovaries and adrenal glands. There are three different types, which are Estradiol, Estriol, and Estrone. All of which have vital roles in the body. In women, estrogens help regulate body fat, are essential to female reproductive function, cardiovascular health, bone health, and brain function (including memory). In men, estrogens aid in the maturation of sperm and maintenance of libido, oh yes! Male folks has estrogen too.
When the gut microbiome is healthy, the estrobolome is producing optimal levels of an enzyme called betaglucuronidase – there is an imbalance in estrogen when there is too much production of this enzyme.
Betaglucuronidase also has an important role in breaking down complex carbohydrates and the absorption of bilirubin and flavonoids. A healthy, diverse gut microbiome with a rich collection of different bacteria is critical for hormonal balance.
A healthy estrobolome minimises reabsorption of estrogen from the gut allowing safe removal as waste in stool and urine again ensuring hormone balance.
Gut dysbiosis is an imbalance of the gut bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Elevated betaglucuronidase levels are associated with conditions including:
• Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Obesity
• Metabolic syndrome
• Estrogen-related cancers (breast and prostate)
• Endometriosis
• Infertility
• Mood swings (the feel good hormones are produced in the gut, if the gut is not healthy, it sends wrong signals)
• Heart disease
Unfortunately, gut dysbiosis and gut microbiome imbalance are very common and the delicate balance of the microbiome and estrobolome can be affected by many different factors which include genetics, age, weight, diet, alcohol, antibiotics, environmental pollutants and more.

Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
There are many signs of an unhealthy gut, which can often be misdiagnosed as something else.
• Digestive issues (bloating, gas, diarrhoea or constipation)
• Weight changes
• Food sensitivities
• Fatigue
• Skin irritation
• Autoimmune conditions
• Hormonal imbalance

Factors that affect Gut Health And Hormone Balance
To correct hormone imbalance, there are ways to ensure that the gut stays healthy and those ways include:
1. Dietary considerations
“The food we eat not only feeds our cells, but also determines what kind of inner garden we are growing in our guts.” – Dr. Mark Hyman.
Well, the saying “you are what you eat” comes to limelight here. Diet plays a vital role in shaping our gut microbiome. A low GI (glycaemic index) diet which contains a diverse range of fruit, vegetables and fibre, high in phytonutrients – the so-called ‘rainbow plate’ – can encourage microbial diversity.
It is important to go moderate on what is referred to as ‘white carbs’ such as pasta, rice and potatoes which contain resistant starch; a type that promotes healthy gut. Cutting them out totally would mean cutting out the sources of resistant starch.
Bear in mind that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, contain compounds that ease detoxification of estrogen. The supplement DIM (diindolylmethane) contains concentrates of such compounds and can be effective in lowering more toxic estrogen byproducts.
Prebiotics and probiotics should also be considered. Prebiotic foods such as garlic, onion, asparagus and bananas provide the material that gut bacteria like to feed on. Probiotic foods such as kefir, kombucha, kimchi, plain yoghurt and other fermented foods are really useful for introducing beneficial bacterial strains, like lactobacillus, to the gut.
It’s important to note that the supplement calcium D glucarate is a betaglucuronidase inhibitor and allows estrogen to remain conjugated, and therefore safely eliminated by intestinal detoxification.
2. Your environment matters a lot
Phytoestrogens from plants such as soya, tofu and tempeh are consumed as food while others are synthetically manufactured and called Xenoestrogens. These are found in common household products such as fragrances, pesticides and plastics, and can easily be obtained from the environment around us. It is important to find ways of reducing these toxic substances that impact our health and find more environmentally friendly solutions. Xenoestrogens are absorbed by the body and stored in liver and fat cells. They act synergistically with endogenously produced estrogens and influence cell proliferation and disrupt the delicate balance of hormones.
3. Antibiotics
So many people abuse antibiotics, if not prescribed, please desist from using them. The use of antibiotics disrupts the ecology of the gut microbiome, and can cause overgrowth or dysbiosis. A study by the University of Copenhagen found that six months after stopping antibiotics, most healthy people can recover the microbiome composition and function. However, the gut can still lack some of the beneficial bacteria and we then need to reintroduce the good guys!
4. Alcohol
No one really wants to hear that overconsumption of alcohol is detrimental to the health. Our society has made it look like consuming alcohol doesn’t make you vulnerable at all. But alcohol consumption can have a negative impact, not only on the gut microbiome but also on the liver and its ability to detoxify. This contributes to estrogen dominance symptoms and an increased risk of estrogen related cancers. Its festive season and you must unwind with friends and families, so we won’t put a knife to your throat not to take alcohol. 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men( 1 drink equates 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits and liquor). A single large glass of wine can contain up to 3 units of alcohol!
5. Physical activity
Physical activity can never be overemphasised. Exercise is an excellent way to support the detoxification that happens in the liver. Regular, moderate intensity exercise can lower levels of circulating estrogens. It can also reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, which can have a negative impact on our sex hormones. However, we do need to be mindful of individuality as different people have different stress levels/thresholds. Activities that stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system or the body’s ‘rest and digest’ mode, such as yoga, are also very beneficial to hormonal health and keeps the hormones balanced.
Summary
Lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity and stress management all play important roles in helping to balance your estrobolome and also ensuring that we keep our hormones balanced and optimal.

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General ResearchLifeStyle

EVER HEARD OF WATER WEIGHT?

So much obsession about weightloss nowadays drives people to indulge in all sorts of practices to aid rapid weightloss. So many “road-side” nutritionist has leveraged on this to device different means to boycott the body’s normal physiology.

The most common one is the “keto” diet which involves using chainsaw to almost totally “cut-out” carbs so there can be a rapid and drastic weightloss.

Truly, when you cut out carbs, weightloss occurs rapidly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve lost fat.

At the initial stage of every weightloss journey, especially the drastic and fast types, what is lost is “water weight”, and after this, weightloss tends to slow down significantly and the individual involved goes into a plateau faster than required.

What happens during a weightloss is the change in muscle mass, amount of fat, water and an “let-out” of gases; if exercise is involved.

Fat, carbs and even protein doesn’t lead to weight gain but an excess of calories coupled with a deficit of physical exercise.

WHAT IS WATER WEIGHT?

Water weight is when the body retains so much water in spaces; sometimes it could cause bloating.

60% of your body is made up of water, so when you lose weight, water reduces first.

Carbs are responsible for retaining water, when you remove them, you remove the body’s ability to retain water and not excess calories.

The body has a means of storing excess energy; its stores it as glycogen and this glycogen is stored with lots of water. When there is a need for carbs during the body’s metabolic duties, thr body automatically sources out carbs from its storage form in the liver and skeletal muscles. This process involves releasing lots of water thats stored with the glycogen which automatically leads to weightloss.

Going by figures, 1g of carbs requires 3-4g of water to store and process it; so when you eat 3 slices of white bread (6g of carbs per slice), you’ve just added 18-24g of water to your body.

RISKS?

The risk involved in cutting out carbs from the diet are mostly related to the gut microbes. Carbs contain resistant starch which provides a healthy environment for the microorganisms present in the gut.

Also, carbs are the major source of energy to the body and fuel to the brain as the brain needs glucose to function properly. Glucose is the major building block for neurotransmitters in the brain and when there is a deficit, there is a break in communication among neurons.

Lack of glucose could lead to seizures and coma, as often seen in “ketoers”

TAKE HOME

To achieve a healthy weightloss, exercise and a mild calorie deficit supervised by a registered dietitian is key.  You didnt gain that weight in 1 month, so losing it in one month is quite unhealthy.

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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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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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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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Hypertension: alternate spices

19 natural salt alternatives

Herbs and spices

Every now and then, so many people get scared of the common table salt because it seemingly is a dreaded name when it comes to heart problems.

There are better options which alternate the sodium chloride with potassium chloride; but this alternatives might also pose a huge threat on the kidneys when abused.

Salt (whether potassium or sodium) isn’t bad; but the right balance between minerals is really important.

The right levels of sodium helps your muscles contract. They also help regulate fluid levels to prevent dehydration.

Adequate amount of potassium helps coordinate normal heart rythms.

Herbs and spices are the healthy go-to nowadays when it comes to seasoning foods; both local and intercontinental.

Lets take a look at a list of  preferably healthier alternatives when it comes to seasoning.

1. Mint leaves

It has a bit of the menthol feel in the mouth.

  • Uses: Great in salads, on pasta or in couscous. It’s tasty with carrots, peas or broad beans.
  • Could also be used in smoothies.

2. Rosemary

  • Rosemary
  • Taste: An aromatic herb with a pine-like fragrance. Use sparingly; it can overpower other flavours.
  • Preparation: Roast whole sprigs with root vegetables (carrot, parsnip, sweet potato). If using dried rosemary, crush it first.
  • Uses: Add to roast or grilled meats, bread, homemade pizza, tomato sauce, beans, potatoes or egg dishes.

3. Nutmeg

  • NutmegTaste: Sweet and pungent flavour. Works well in baked foods with cinnamon and cloves.
  • Preparation: Freshly grated nutmeg has a much better flavour than ground.
  • Uses: Add nutmeg with black pepper to homemade white and cheese sauces. It also adds warmth and flavour to homemade potato, cabbage and cauliflower soups.
  • Could also be added to your local jollof rice.

4. Basil

  • BasilTaste: Sweet and peppery.
  • Preparation: Fresh basil retains more flavour and aroma than dried.
  • Uses: Basil is traditionally used in Mediterranean cooking, in tomato-based pasta sauces, pizzas and bolognese. Use lemon, Thai and holy basil in South Asian and Thai dishes.

5. Cardamon

  • Cardamon
  • Taste: A warm, aromatic spice.
  • Preparation: Add whole cardamom pods to your dishes or use the seeds inside, either whole or ground.
  • Uses: Commonly added to Asian spice mixes and curry pastes. Cardamom also works well in baked goods and sweet breads, with cloves and cinnamon, for a taste of Scandinavia.

6. Chilli/Cayenne

  • ChilliTaste: Chillis vary quite a lot in strength, so add a little at first and taste your dish. Cayenne is a specific type of chilli.
  • Preparation: Chilli can be bought whole (fresh or dried), as dried flakes, powder, or as hot sauce. Chilli sauce may be high in salt (or sugar in the case of sweet chilli sauce), so stick to powder, flakes or whole chillies.
  • Uses: It works well in most dishes, including vegetable or seafood stews or vegetable soup. Please don’t add too much of this pepper😢 so it wont end in tears.

7. Cinnamon

  • CinnamonTaste: Mostly used in sweet treats like cake and apple crumble, but works with savoury dishes too.
  • Preparation: Sold as cinnamon sticks (grate or add whole to dishes like curries or stews) or ground.
  • Uses: Cinnamon is an important spice in Turkish and Middle Eastern cooking, where it is used to flavour chicken and lamb dishes. Use it to deepen the flavour of cottage pie, curries, tagines, casseroles, roast vegetables, bolognese sauce or stewed fruit.

8. Chives

9. Coriander

  • CorianderTaste: Coriander leaves have a distinct earthy and lemony flavour, while coriander seeds have a warm, spicy, citrus flavour when crushed.
  • Preparation: Use coriander leaves raw or add to foods at the end of cooking. Coriander seeds are commonly used in Indian dishes. Fry them in a dry pan and add them whole or crushed.
  • Uses: Add coriander leaves to salads, soups (eg carrot and coriander soup), salsas, curries and fish and chicken dishes, or combine it with lime and chilli in stir fries.

10. Dill

  • DillTaste: Dill has a strong taste, often compared to fennel, star anise and celery.
  • Preparation: Use fresh rather than dried if possible – use the leaves only and discard the stem.
  • Uses: Popular in Russian, Eastern European, Greek and Scandinavian cooking, dill is a welcome addition to cottage cheese, low-fat cream cheese, omelettes, seafood, steak, potato salad and cucumber dishes. Try adding dill to broad beans and rice and serve with koftas (made from lean minced meat), as found in Iranian cooking.

11. Cumin

  • CuminTaste: Earthy and smoky.
  • Preparation: Fresh cumin seeds, dry roasted and then ground, provide a richer flavour than cumin powder.
  • Uses: After black pepper, cumin is the most-used spice worldwide. Goes well with indian and Mexican dishes.

12. Ginger

  • GingerTaste: Peppery, lemony and slightly sweet, with a sharp aroma.
  • Preparation: Buy ground or fresh (as a ginger root, which can then be chopped or grated).
  • Uses: Ginger enhances sweet and savoury dishes. Fresh ginger can be grated into stir fries and curries during cooking, or sprinkled over meat before baking or barbecuing.

13. Oregano

  • OreganoTaste: Oregano has a warm, aromatic, slightly bitter taste and a potent aroma.
  • Preparation: Fresh oregano leaves can be chopped into foods or added whole.
  • Uses: Popular in Greek and Mediterranean cooking. Use it to marinate meats, poultry and seafood before grilling, in egg dishes, breads, casseroles and salads. It’s also great in spaghetti bolognese and tomato salsas.

14. Paprika

  • PaprikaTaste: Paprika is milder and sweeter than cayenne pepper.
  • Preparation: Available as a red powder made from ground sweet and hot dried peppers.
  • Uses: For a Hungarian twist, team paprika with caraway, coriander, cinnamon and dill. Combine with garlic for a Spanish flavour. Paprika goes well with lamb, chicken and fish dishes, on baked sweet potato wedges, or in beans or scrambled egg.

15. Parsley

16. Sage

  • SageTaste: From the Mediterranean coast, sage is like rosemary, with more lemon and eucalyptus.
  • Preparation: Best used fresh and in small amounts. Unlike some herbs, sage does not lose its flavour with prolonged cooking.
  • Uses: Sage is traditional in Italian and French cooking, added to meats, poultry and stuffing, and is often chopped and stirred into pasta and gnocchi.

17. Tarragon

  • TarragonTaste: Adds a distinctive, bittersweet liquorice-like flavour to foods, and has an aroma similar to star anise.
  • Preparation: Tarragon should be added near the end of cooking time, as heat reduces its flavour.
  • Uses: Native to Siberia and western Asia, tarragon is a key herb in French cooking. It goes well with poultry, fish, egg dishes, beef and vegetable soups. It can also be added to salad dressings.

18. Thyme

  • Thyme
  • Taste: A strong earthy, slightly minty flavour with a subtle aroma. Lemon thyme is another variety and goes well in soups and vegetable dishes.
  • Preparation: Depending on the variety you’re using, thyme can be finely chopped or added as a whole sprig. Unlike most herbs, thyme needs a long cooking time to release its full flavour.
  • Thyme:Thyme works well with other herbs like rosemary, parsley, sage, savoury and oregano. It can flavour most meats, including chicken and game (as a marinade or in a sauce) and is a tasty addition to roast vegetables. Pair thyme with paprika, oregano and cayenne pepper for Cajun cuisine, and with cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper for Caribbean meals.

19. Turmeric

  • TurmericTaste: Has a distinctive yellow colour so is sometimes used as a cheaper alternative to saffron, although it tastes quite different.
  • Preparation: Turmeric is an ingredient of curry powder and is in many South Asian dishes.
  • Uses: For a hint of North Africa, use turmeric
  • with ginger in meat and vegetable dishes, or flavour rice with it. A little turmeric goes a long way; as it cooks, its flavour intensifies.

It’s really a healthier option to stick to these herbs and spices whenever you’re cooking because they really don’t pose any health threats as they are natural.

A pinch of salt, with any of these herbs would still bring out the savoury taste of any local or intercontinental dish.

 

Source: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/herbs-and-spices

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Lemon and water: myths debunked

Lemon water might not be the magical drink that some make it out to be.

Even though the duo could be a  pretty great alternative to sugary sodas, juices, and energy drinks, many high claims about its accelerated weight loss or boosting liver function are exaggerated at best and inaccurate at worst.

Lets see these six myths about the benefits of lemon water that just aren’t true.

Shall we?

MYTH 1: Lemon water will help speed up your weight loss efforts.

Some funny roadside nutritionist and social media influencers claim water with lemon is the secret to speeding up your weight loss process, but these claims are often inflated.

The bitter truth is that; the duo of lemon and water wont help speed up weight loss.

Lemons contain a fibre called pectin; this fibre  can help you feel full and satisfied without additional calories. By squeezing a medium sized lemon into your water,  only trace amounts of this fiber – (which mostly exists in the rind and  not the juice) remains – thus doing little to nothing for your satiety levels.

MYTH 2: It helps “wake up” your digestive system.

Staying hydrated with  3-3.5 litres of water daily is what your digestive system needs;  adding lemon won’t make a huge difference. I’m sorry to burst your bubbles.

Water helps break down food particles in our system making it easy for digestion and action of enzymes.

Although the lemon could add some flavor or zest to your drink, plain water could essentially provide the same digestive benefits.

Adding lemon to your water should be because you find plain water boring.

MYTH 3: It cleanses or “detoxifies” your body.

If you’re hoping that lemon would help detoxify your system when you add them to your diet, maybe you should rethink because, there’s really no need for that.

“This claim really does not have any scientific back up so i wonder why people really embark on it at all. According to a research, lemon water might even deprive you of some nutrients.

In most cases, your body handles its detoxification process so far as your internal organs are in right working conditions.

MYTH 4: Lemon water will help balance your pH levels.

You got to be kidding me now.

Well, the pH level of your body determines the proper functioning of your liver and kidneys; but adding lemon water to your diet has no significant role in balancing the pH of your body really.

According to Web MD, “Nothing you eat is going to substantially change the pH of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant”

MYTH 5: It will boost your metabolism.

Lemon water doesn’t actually have much of an impact on your metabolism.

Your body’s metabolism rate wont be doubled or tripled simply because you added lemon to your diet.

Theories that back up metabolism boosting effects are really exaggerated because its a very temporary one.

MYTH 6: Lemon juice will help your skin look younger.

Lemon water contains vitamin C, which can serve as a natural skin brightener and can help to rid skin of antioxidants and damage.

But you’d likely have to drink a lot of lemon water to reap these benefits in any measurable way. Lemons contain the most vitamin C in their peel, which typically isn’t what you drink. You’d actually get more vitamin C from freshly squeezed orange juice.

Myth 7: lemon water would help against skin acne

According to an interview by insider with board-certified dermatologist Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD,  you can develop a rash called phytophotodermatitis when lemon water is applied to the skin and it is then exposed to direct sunlight.

I hope this changes your perspective.

 

Source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.insider.com/does-drinking-lemon-water-really-work-2018-11

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