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HOW TO NAVIGATE EFFECTIVELY WITH THE INTERMITTENT FASTING

 

IF simply involves switching between fasting and eating on your normal schedule.
This method could help you manage your weight and ward off chronic diseases if monitored and done effectively.

BASIC CONCEPTS
Before going into this practice, it is important to know what it entails.
Some basics to know:
– you have to skip one meal
– you can still have your favourite healthy meal while fasting
– you can drink water while fasting
– you can have no-calorie beverages while fasting. Examples include coffee, green or black tea.

So for everyone that has heard about IF or has practised it before, normally, you would skip breakfast while fasting, because it feels easier.
-But, according to a research carried out by USDA economic research service, it was noticed that skipping dinner, reduced more daily calories and lowered diet quality the least when compared to skipping breakfast or lunch.
-Also note that your night fast should be longer than 2 hours and shorter than 24 hours

TYPES OF IF
There are basically 3 popular types of IF:
– 16:8 method
– 5:2 method
– eat-stop eat method.
Others include OMAD, and warrior diet.

16: 8 METHOD


This method involves restricting your eating to just 8 hours windows in a day. you have to fast for the remaining 16 hours of that day.
– It is the most popular and preferred style
– A 2016 study found that when combined with resistance training, the 16/8 method helped decreased fat mass and maintain muscle mass in male participants.
– A more recent study found that the 16/8 method did not impair gains in muscle or strength in women performing resistance training

5:2 METHOD


This method involves eating normally for 5 days in a week, then restricting your calorie intake to 500 calories for the remaining 2 days.
– According to a 2018 study, the 5:2 diet is just as effective as daily calorie restriction for weight loss and blood glucose control among those with type 2 diabetes.

EAT-STOP-EAT METHOD
This method involves fasting for 24 hours twice or thrice a week.
– Fasting for 24 hours would lead to a metabolic shift and ause your body to use up fat
– But staying off food for 24 hours might lead to binging and overconsumption.

IF AND YOUR HORMONES
– IF positively affects the human growth hormone (HGH), especially when done adequately. These hormone levels increase when you do IF, and higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain.
– IF also increases the amount of norepinephrine in our bodies which help to breakdown body fat and facilitate it use for energy
– intermittent fasting decreases androgen markers (i.e., testosterone and the free androgen index (FAI)) while increasing sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in premenopausal females with obesity.
– fasting may prove to be a valuable tool for treating hyperandrogenism in females with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) by improving menstruation and fertility.

BENEFITS
WEIGHTLOSS: A 2014 review of scientific literature found that IF can cause 3–8% weight loss over 3–24 weeks, which is a significant amount. Also, participants lost 4-7% of their waist circumference.
CAN REDUCE INSULIN RESISTANCE: IF can help reduce insulin resistance. According to research, it can help reduce blood sugar by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%.
HEART-HEALTH: IF may help to reduce bad cholesterol, and blood triglycerides.
OXIDATIVE STRESS: IF may help reduce inflammation (a key factor in disease processes) and oxidative stress.
BRAIN HEALTH: may increase the brain hormone brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and may help in the growth of new nerves. it also may help prevent alzemheirs
DECREASE IN APPETITE: according to research, time-restricted fasting (16 8), decreased mean ghrelin levels, increased fullness in participants, and decrease the desire to eat.
Also, in the first 12 hours of fasting, there is a slight increase in ketone bodies, this helps in appetite suppression.

POSSIBLE DOWNSIDES
– Malnutrition: if not done properly, intermittent fasting could lead to serious malnutrition. some very vital micronutrients and electrolytes might be lacking in your diet if not monitored.
– Dehydration: during a fast, your body tends to release water and salt via the urine. if this water isn’t replenished, you get dehydrated.
– Bad breath: during fasting, fat is used up majorly as fuel. fat metabolism leads to acetone formation which can affect your breath
-fatigue and low energy: when fasting, especially if you are not adequately monitored, with an inadequate intake of calories, you tend to be fatigued due to a low intake of calories
5. Headaches and lightheadedness: this is most common in intermittent fasting and occurs within the first few days especially if you’re a newbie.
6. Hunger and cravings: normally you’d feel hunger cues during your fasting. they tend to be heavier if you don’t do it well.
Most of these side effects should disappear in 2 weeks,

TIPS TO NAVIGATE EFFECTIVELY
• Know your nutrient needs
• Always incorporate proteins into your eating window
• Know your energy requirements
• Always stay hydrated
• Avoid overeating/undereating
• Maintain a balanced diet
• Try out the different types of IF
• Keep track of your journey
• Adapt a suitable workout routine
• Plan meals
• Speak to a registered dietitian

WHO SHOULD NOT BE ON IF?
• If you are underweight
• If you have a history of an eating disorder
• If you are pregnant
• If you are breastfeeding
• If you are on insulin (type 1)
• Anyone with immunosuppression
• Transplant patients
• Chronic kidney diseases
• Poorly controlled diabetes (unless an endocrinologist is involved).
• Adolescents and kids
• Elderly (muscle mass)

SUMMARY
The intermittent fasting pattern of eating is quite a beneficial one with side effects that can easily be managed. But, it is important that you are monitored by health practitioners before delving into this type of diet.
Also, before starting, be sure of the type of fast that would suit your lifetyle and schedule.

SOURCES:
-https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/intermittent-fasting-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work
– https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-ways-to-do-intermittent-fasting
– https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3680567/
– https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31525701/

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General ResearchLifeStyle

ALCOHOL AND THE RISK FOR HYPERTENSION

 

Do you know what is funny? How people think alcoholic beverages can be taken without caution because most of them seem to be bitter.

So, you see people taking bottles/cans of beer, and shots of spirits at a sitting, feeling it won’t be detrimental to their health.

Our work-hard-party hard kind of lifestyle has made it possible for the risk of hypertension to be increased especially among youths. Hypertension is a lifestyle disease, so we must all be able to look at our lifestyle and make a change to it.

Also, the idea that alcohol is a stress reliever, makes it possible for people to consume without caution which in turn hurts the liver and brain, possibly leading to hypertension

WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN ALCOHOL INTAKE AND HYPERTENSION?

Alcohol is one of the modifiable ways to reduce hypertension. The link between alcohol and hypertension is clear as alcohol is a major contributory factor in hypertension

Studies have shown that taking more than three alcoholic drinks a day can increase the chance of developing hypertension in later life by up to 75%.

Alcohol has both direct and indirect links to hypertension: It can cause you to gain weight which is linked to hypertension, and it can also directly affect your blood pressure readings.

Furthermore, alcohol may stimulate adrenals which release adrenaline. When adrenaline is released, it leads to increased cardiac output, increased heart rate, and increased systolic blood pressure.

BUT RED WINE IS GOOD FOR MY HEART?

Well, several past studies have made this popular. The idea behind this is that grapes used in making red wine contain reservatol and can help keep the heart and provide other benefits. But truly, the amount of reservatol in red wine is affected by the processing, fermentation, and even aging of wine and cannot be sufficient to provide any heart health benefits as purported.

It is important to pay attention to your lifestyle: quit binge drinking, reduce or stop consumption of alcohol if you’re on blood pressure medications or have a family history, try abstinence!

SOURCES:

– https://www.medanta.org/patient-education-blog/the-truth-about-alcohol-and-hypertension/#:~:text=Drinking%20too%20much%20alcohol%20can,doubles%20the%20risk%20of%20hypertension.

– https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18259032/

– https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/24301/1/Alcohol-and-Hypertension_Factsheet.pdf

– https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4038773/#:~:text=It%20is%20possible%20that%20alcohol,oxidative%20injury%20to%20the%20endothelium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LifeStyle

IMPORTANT ALTERNATE SPICES FOR HYPERTENSIVE PATIENTS

For those who have been living with hypertension and those newly diagnosed with it, one struggle you would obviously face is the taste of your foods. Because, its well know to reduce salt intake and probably take out bouillon cubes.

The fact remains that you are supposed to reduce salt and bouillon cube intake, but your foods can still be tasty when you utilize natural herbal spices.

There are natural spices available everywhere that can be incorporated into our daily cooking, they help add aroma and even savor to our meals, but importantly so, they also help to manage blood pressure (evidence-based), so you might want to consider these spices.
With this write up, we’ll uncover some of those spices:

1. GARLIC: Garlic is rich in compounds that may be beneficial to health, especially sulfur compounds called allicin. Allicin may help to increase blood flow through the arteries and also help lower blood pressure.
According to some reviews of studies, garlic was almost as effective in reducing blood pressure as the drug atenolol.
Apart from the aftereffect on the mouth, the garlic-onion combo is quite a great one for cooking, you should try it.

2. CINNAMON: Cinnamon is an aromatic spice from the bark of a tree. It has been used in ancient times to help treat heart conditions and blood pressure.
Some studies show that taking cinnamon reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 6.2 mm Hg and 3.9 mm Hg, respectively.
The good thing about this spice is that it can be eas


ily incorporated into meals

3. GINGER: the versatility of this spice is top-notch and unmatched. It has also been used in ancient times to help manage some heart and circulation problems in alternative medicine.
Ginger can be used to manage blood pressure by acting as a natural calcium channel blocker and natural ACE inhibitor (both are blood pressure medications).

4. CARDAMOM: cardamom is another important spice in cooking that has blood pressure-lowering properties. It has a distinctly delicious and slightly sweet intense flavor which makes it unique.
Cardamom helps reduce blood pressure by acting as a diuretic.
A diuretic is a compound that helps take out the water through urination
Cardamom can easily be incorporated into cooking and baking

6. CLOVES: cloves are dried flowers of the clove try, they can be used whole or ground as a spice. Cloves contain a compound called eugenol which helps to cause vasorelaxation (i.e reduction in tension of blood vessel walls). This action thereby helps to reduce systolic blood pressure. Apart from its unique flavor and fragrance, cloves help to lower blood pressure levels.

7. BASIL: this flavorful herb contains compounds that act as antioxidants and also has the ability to provide various health benefits and reduce blood pressure
Sweet basil contains eugenol which acts as a natural calcium chain blocker
This spice contains compounds that help relax blood vessels and allow for easy flow of blood through arteries.

Looking at the above-mentioned spices, you might have come across most of them or just a few.

Your foods don’t need to be less tasty, and your blood pressure can also be managed better if you try incorporating these spices into your diet
Please note that these spices aren’t an alternative to your medications

 

SOURCES:
– https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/herbs-to-lower-blood-pressure#Managing-high-blood-pressure
– https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24921632/
– https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19505553/
– Verma T, Sinha M, Bansal N, Yadav SR, Shah K, Chauhan NS.Nat Prod Bioprospect. 2021 Apr:11(2):155-184. DOI: 10.1007/s13659-020-00281-x. Epub 2020 Nov 11.PMID: 33174095 Free PMC article.
– Medicinal Plants in the Treatment of Hypertension: A Review.
– Kamyab R, Namdar H, Torbati M, Ghojazadeh M, Araj-Khodaei M, Fazljou SMB.Adv Pharm Bull. 2021 Sep;11(4):601-617. DOI: 10.34172/apb.2021.090. Epub 2020 Nov 1. PMID: 34888207 Free PMC article.

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LifeStyle

What happens when you remove carbs

You know, the idea behind weightloss for so many people is removing a particular food group from their diet

And that food group that has suffered a lot is carbs.

You know, the advent of the keto-diet, Atkins diet, and other “ low carb diets” can make you question the health benefits of carbs in our body and even label carbs as “bad”.

Lets do that same explanation on how carbs affect weightloss and why you get to lose weight easily when you take off carbs

So, what are Carbs?

Basically, carbs are one of the three macronutrients that form a major part of our diet. Other macronutrients are protein and fats. All these macronutrients provide the body with energy usually measured in calories.

There are basically 3 types of carbs found in food and they are:
1. Refined Carbs: these type of carbs have been processed, and during the processing, some vital nutrients especially fibre has been removed, leaving just sugars. It is very easy for these types of carbs to spike your blood sugar and lead to other complications Examples include some breakfast cereals, white flour, pastries, snacks, sodas.

2. Dietary Fibres: also a type of carbs which aids easy digestion and help reduce blood glucose spikes. Examples include leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, ugwu,tete etc.

3. Starch: also found in plants and slowly release energy to the body throughout the day. Examples include potatoes, yam, plantain, whole wheat or white bread, brown or white rice.

These foods also contain varying amounts of dietary fiber which could provide extra health benefits.

Can Carbs make you Fat?
Whatever food consumed in excess would definitely lead to fat gain over a long period of fat. Whether it is from carb, protein or fat source. Each of these macronutrients contain calories.

Why do I lose weight when I cut Carbs?

1. You shed water weight
so many times when people put off so much weight over a short period of time, what happens is that they just lost water weight.
Now that sounds weird, but let me explain.

The body stores arbs in the liver as glycogen, and each gram of glycogen is stored with 3g of carbs. So, when you continue to cut out carbs, what you are doing is cutting out the glycogen store with water, not necessarily fat. Ever noticed that the weight comes back when you add carbs back?

That is because the process is a reversible one.

2. You’re on a Calorie deficit diet
Cutting out carbs means cutting out a source of calorie to the body, that will obviously lead to weight loss. Ideally if 500kcal is removed daily from the diet, it will lead to 0.5-1kg loss in weight, so you’re on a calorie deficit, you must lose weight.

The bad thing here is that this might in turn lead to muscle mass loss.

What’s the best approach to Weight-loss?
Sustainability over a long period is very important when trying to shed some pounds or when adopting a “diet”.
The best approach is to adopt a lifestyle that suits you. Calorie deficits, exercise regimes, and lifestyle modifications all go hand in hand to help lead a healthy lifestyle.

The weight loss approach should not be ‘all or nothing’, strict, rigid, or a quick fix. It should be what you can live with over a very long period of time.

Summary
Losing weight isn’t a do or die affair, you don’t need to take out any food group to achieve that, we could always work together and attain your desired/ideal body weight.

Sources:
https://paleoleap.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-water-weight/
https://www.menshealth.com/health/a26361054/water-weight/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7332312/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320603#ways-to-lose-water-weight
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/why-we-need-to-eat-carbs/#:~:text=In%20the%20absence%20of%20carbohydrates,%2C%20you’ll%20gain%20weight.

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LifeStyle

IS MY THYROID KEEPING ME FROM LOSING WEIGHT?

Identifying the actual reason why you’re not losing weight is the beginning of a successful weight loss/health journey

Weight loss might be the major complaint, but you might be at risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes if not placed on a healthy diet.
With this article, we’ll be looking at one major reason why you might not just be losing weight accordingly.

THE THYROID GLANDS
The thyroid glands are located just in front of your neck. They produce hormones that help regulate metabolic rate controlling the heart, muscles, and other important parts.
The thyroids get their information from the pituitary gland which helps to stimulate their hormone release to help in bodily functions
The thyroid glands could either overproduce hormones (hyperthyroidism) or it could underproduce (hypothyroidism). When it does either of these, it affects your weight entirely.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE THYROID GLANDS MALFUNCTION
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid glands are under-producing hormones. This comes with symptoms such as weight gain (finding it difficult to lose weight), slower heart rate, more frequent and stronger heart rate, dry skin, and hair.
With hypothyroidism, the way your body processes energy is quite slow, making it hard for you to put off extra weight. If not supervised, you might just get frustrated on the long run, see how your dietitian can help you out:

HOW YOUR DIETITIAN AN HELP YOU
– Your dietitians duty is to help you plan out adequate number of calories and merge it with exercises that would help enhance your metabolism
– Your dietitian aims to make sure you have the important nutrients that are depleted in you, especially if you have hypothyroidism. Nutrients like iodine, vitamin D, selenium, and B12 are mostly affected when the thyroids malfunction
– Also, he/she makes sure every goitrogen ( substances that interfere with how thyroid hormones are utilized) present in your diet is totally removed. Goitrogens include soy, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Furthermore, you can help support your thyroids by incorporating these into your diet

Nutrients to support thyroids:
Iodine: fish, cheese, milk, seaweed
Sodium: iodized salt
Potassium kiwi, potatoes, banana
Selenium: fish,
Tyrosine: eggs, plan cut beef
Zinc- liver, oyster

MEDICAL TREATMENT
Diet alone won’t help manage your underactive thyroids, because without medical treatment, dietary management won’t be effective
So, your doctor would most likely place you on an oral synthetic thyroid hormone (levothytoxine) that would help replace the amount of hormone your body is no longer producing.

The absorption of this might be tampered with if you take supplements that contain iron, or calcium, and even some antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide.

The thyroid gland is the major support system that determines how much energy is used up or stored in your body. When it malfunctions, it totally can affect your weight. It is important to speak to your doctor when you notice struggles with losing weight for a correct diagnosis.

Sources:
1.https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070112p40.shtml
2. Biondi B, Klein I. Hypothyroidism as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Endocrine. 2004;24(1):1-13
3. Dean S. Medical nutrition therapy for thyroid and related disorders. In: Mahan KL, Escott-Stump S, eds. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2008: 711-724
4. Rayman MP. Selenium and human health. Lancet. 2012;379(9822):1256-1268
5. Messina M, Redmond G. Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature. Thyroid. 2006;16(3):249-258

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REASONS YOU ARE NOT GAINING WEIGHT

Normally, everyone is more concerned about losing weight, so more attention is given to them than those that wants to gain weight. And it also seems like those who wants to gain weight has been neglected by all.

So lets see some reasons why you might not be adding weight adequately and lets also see if there are implications with low weight.

1. WRONG CHOICE OF FOODS: for some people, high fatty foods would help them gain weight, so they jump on deep fried foods, ice creams, junks, chocolates etc. These foods might contain trans fats which might even be very detrimental to you health. So instead of making you add weight adequately, they might just get your stomach bulged.

Foods to include in your diet to help gain weight: nuts, milk, fatty fruits like avocado, energy dense fruits like banana, apples, coconut etc.

2. HYPERTHYROIDISM: this happens when your thyroids become so overactive. The thyroid glands are responsible for controlling metabolism (especially for weight gain and loss) in the body. When they are overactive, it means that energy from food is broken so fast, thereby making it hard for the body to utilize energy. You will need extra hands to achieve weight gain if you are on this table. A dietitians place cannot be overemphasized

3. TYPE 1 DIABETES: In type 1 diabetes, the cells that produce insulin are totally destroyed leading to a spike in blood glucose. Wen type 1 diabetes is left unmanaged for a long while, it could lead to excess glucose flowing in the blood; the body has to excrete this excess glucose through the urine. When this happens constantly, unintentional weight loss sets in

4. INFLAMMATORY DISEASES: This is the umbrella term for anything disorder that affects the small intestine especially. These disorders most times comes with diarrhea, and this automatically leads to unintentional weight loss

In all of this, it is important to work with a dietitian so they can address whatever underlying issue is the reason for your unintentional weight loss. Addressing them with drugs alone or just eating anything that comes your way wont give a reasonable result.

SOURCES:

– https://www.healthline.com/health/why-cant-i-gain-weight

https://www.healthline.com/health/hyperthyroidism

– https://thegeriatricdietitian.com/why-am-i-not-gaining-weight/

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LifeStyle

IS INTERMITTENT FASTING THE NEW GO-TO DIET TRICK?

It seems like the trend now is fasting, we’ve come a long way in the nutrition space and there has been so many takes on how to lose weight or help with some chronic diseases.
So the question is: will fasting help me lose weight, manage diabetes and other chronic diseases?

Absolutely! It would, but is it sustainable and convenient?
Is it suitable for everyone? What are the merits and demerits of fasting?
These are the questions we’ll love to use this article to answer, but before then;

WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction is any schedule for meals that involves a cycle between voluntary fasting and non-fasting periods. It can include an alternate day fasting, periodic fasting or daily time restricted fasting.

Apart from the religious type of fasting, there are 3 main types of intermittent fast:
5:2 Diet: this type of fasting involves that you fast for 2 days per week and you’ll be allowed to take 25% of your daily caloric needs, while you eat normally for 5 days.
Alternate day fasting: you have to skip a day and eat the other day. So, you eat on Monday and skip Tuesday, eat Wednesday and skip Thursday, and it goes om like that. You’re still allowed to just 25% of your normal daily calories per day In this type of regimen.
Time restricted fasting: this type involves fasting for 8-12 hours of the day and eating during the remaining time frame. For this, you are not restricted to having just 25% of your daily calories. Apart from the above mentioned, there is the warrior diet also.

IS INTERMITTENT FASTING REALLY EFFECTIVE?
A study found that participants consumed 35% fewer calories and lost an average of 7.7 pounds (3.5kg) after alternating between 36 hours of fasting and 12 hours of unlimited eating over 4 weeks. For some studies, there was not any significant weight loss between the fasting group and moderate calorie group
There are quite a number of side effects of intermittent fasting especially when it is abused and they include: extreme hunger pangs, lightheadedness, reduced concentration, fatigue and nausea. All these put together might just make the regimen to be effective only for a short time.
Furthermore, people might tend to eat more than required on days that they are free to eat would result to no weight loss.

CAN I TRY GOING ON AN INTERMITTENT FAST?
For some groups, intermittent fasting is advised at all, you can still achieve your health goal without having to do marathon fasts
If you have diabetes, on routine medication, pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not do intermittent fasting.
You really should not go on a long fast, or skip meals so you would lose weight or manage your blood sugar levels. The caveat is that when your body doesn’t take in any food, obviously calories would be depleted and other nutrients, thereby leading to a decrease in blood sugar, so it is not magical

You can stick to healthy and mindful eating and still achieve perfect glucose levels and still lose weight without any type of side effects, so why go on a regimen with side effects?

SOURCES

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5959807/

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LifeStyleUncategorized

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY HISTORY OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL

Globally, deaths arising from raised cholesterol levels reads at 2.6 million and this is sad. What’s sadder is the fact that about 10% of these people didn’t realize they have it; even the ones still alive.

Cholesterol might either be termed good or bad and many factors can influence the levels of cholesterol in your blood especially genetics.

Apart from lifestyle, diet and exercise, genetics could be a risk factor for increased cholesterol levels. If a family member has high cholesterol levels, there is every tendency you might have it especially if you don’t pay attention to lifestyle matters.

This phenomenon is termed “familial” since it runs in a family.

SOME FACTS ABOUT FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA

– 1 person in every 500 persons has it

– Doesn’t have symptoms, but these signs like deposits of cholesterol in skin and tendons could be notice

– Only 10%-20% of people with it know they have it

– Individuals with familial hypercholesterolaemia will pass it on to their children

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA AND NORMAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA?

If high levels of cholesterol occur in any relative of yours, such as a parent, sibling, or grandparent, you’re more likely to have it yourself. This occurrence is totally due to the passing on of genes from parents to children that increase levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Familial hypercholesterolaemia is more like an inherited form of hypercholesterolaemia. People with this type of conditions normally would have high cholesterol levels even with a lifestyle modification. Simply because they don’t have the capacity to regulate their cholesterol levels as other individuals.

There is every tendency that people with familial hypercholesterolaemia might not be able to control their cholesterol levels with just diet and exercise alone, but with medications too.

You should also note that not everyone with a high risk of developing high cholesterol actually has their cholesterol levels sky rocketing.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA

One of the major ways to ascertain if you have high cholesterol levels especially if it’s a familial case is through a lipid screening test. This measures the amount of cholesterol in your blood.

Ideally, signs to look out for in adults are cholesterol levels above 190mg/dl and levels above 160mg/dl in children.

In addition, your doctor might help detect physical signs, which might not be common to everyone. These signs includes:

– Bumps or lumps around your knees, knuckles, or elbows

– Swollen or painful Achilles tendon

– Yellowish areas around your eyes

– A whitish grey colour in the shape of a half-moon on the outside of your cornea

WHAT CAUSES FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA?

This type of cholesterolaemia is a genetic one meaning it is hereditary and is caused by a defect on chromosome 19.

Your body finds it difficult to remove LDL cholesterol from the body making it easy for the narrowing of vessels which might possibly lead to atherosclerosis. You just need to get an abnormal gene from one family member to get this disease.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS AND HOW DO I MANAGE THEM?

1. OBESITY OR HIGH WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE: Both obesity and a high waist circumference can increase your risk for high cholesterol.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, while a high waist circumference is 40 or more inches for men and 35 or more inches for women.

If you have a family history of hypercholesterolaemia, then you should be careful so fat wont be unevenly distributed in your body. When fat accumulates in only one part of the body, especially in the abdominal region, it can lead to an increased risk of developing hypercholesterolaemia and other cardiovascular complications.

2. ELEVATED BLOOD SUGAR

As someone with a family history of hypercholesterolaemia, you should also be aware of your glucose levels as high levels of glucose can increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol, damage the lining of arteries and also increase your risk of fatty deposits building up in your arteries.

Lifestyle choices, like diets high in soda, candy, or other foods containing large amounts of sugar, can also contribute to high blood sugar levels.

Reducing your intake of these things that contribute to an increased glucose level is key to reducing the risks of high cholesterol levels. An increased fibre intake of at least 30-35g of fibre daily would help to keep glucose levels in check.

3. LIFESTYLE FACTORS

If you have a family history of high cholesterol, you should consider some modifications to your lifestyle as it totally affects your chances to also get the disease. Diet, exercise and social vices are risk factors associated with high cholesterol. They can be controlled by modifying your lifestyle.

– Eating a diet high in saturated and trans fats can increase your cholesterol levels. These highlighted foods should be taken away from your diet totally or restricted to the barest minimum if you have a history of high cholesterol in the family.

• red meat

• full-fat milk and yogurt

• fried foods

• highly processed sweets

More so, adding foods that are cholesterol reducing would help reduce the risks of developing high cholesterol. Foods like nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, green vegetables, lentils, oatmeal, whole grain breads, low-fat dairy, low-fat meats, such as poultry are helpful.

– Exercise has the tendency to help increase your HDL cholesterol and decrease your LDL cholesterol. If you can aim at 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise weekly, then you’re on journey to increasing you HDL levels which helps to reduce risk for developing high cholesterol and other coronary diseases.

If you just want to start, you can try out walking a distance first before doing other types of exercise so as not to get fagged out easily.

– Tobacco Smoking damages the wall of your blood vessels and is detrimental to your heart health. This makes it more likely for fat deposits to build up, thereby increasing your risk of high cholesterol levels.

CONCLUSION

Apart from other risk factors, genetics is a major risk factor related to high cholesterol levels. It is very important to be aware of this condition especially if it runs in your family and also aware of measures to curb its progression.

SOURCES

1. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/is-high-cholesterol-hereditary#outlook

2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/when-very-high-cholesterol-runs-in-the-family-

3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000392.htm#:~:text=Familial%20hypercholesterolemia%20is%20a%20genetic,of%20LDL%20in%20the%20blood.

4. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ARE MY THYROID GLANDS CAUSING MY WEIGHT TO FLUCTUATE?

Ever wondered if any of your internal organs could affect your weight? Maybe due to its overactive nature or underactive nature?

Well, it is actually possible for an organ to affect your metabolism, growth and weight patterns and that organ is the thyroid.

Globally, 1.6 billion people are currently at risk of developing thyroid related diseases.

In this write-up, we’re going to see how the thyroid affects weight, for those who want to gain weight or lose it, if your thyroids are mal-functional, then you might just experience some difficulties with your weight.

WHAT IS THE THYROID?
The thyroid gland looks like a butterfly and is  located at the front of the neck right below the voice box (larynx).

The thyroid is small, but functions and affects all other organs in the body. It is involved in the regulation of fat and carbohydrate metabolism, respiration, body temperature, brain development, cholesterol levels, the heart and nervous system, blood calcium levels, menstrual cycles, skin integrity, and more.

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE THYROIDS?
The thyroid controls almost every major metabolic function in the body.
The hormones present in the thyroid glands are responsible for the regulation of the metabolic rate of all cells, as well as the processes of growth of cells, tissue differentiation, and reproductive function.
These hormones are also necessary for (and promote) protein metabolism when enough carbohydrates and fats are available.

When the amount of thyroid hormones is excessive or when energy from food is deficient, thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) promote protein breakdown. This processes in turn totally affects weight management.

WHY AM I FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO LOSE/GAIN WEIGHT

HYPOTHYROIDISM
It would be difficult for you to lose weight if you have the condition called hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by an autoimmune response known as Hashimoto’s disease (a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid) or autoimmune thyroiditis (inflamed thyroids).

What happens in this disease is that your body mistakenly sees its own tissues as an invader and starts fighting against it. This process prevents the thyroid from releasing adequate hormones for the proper functioning of the body.

The lack of these hormones can slow down metabolism and cause weight gain, fatigue, dry skin and hair, and difficulty concentrating. Hypothyroidism affects women more than it affects men and is common in middle aged people. Also, women may also experience thyroid inflammation after pregnancy.

Some symptoms associated with hypothyroidism includes:
• tiredness, fatigue, lethargy
• depression and losing interest in normal activities
• forgetfulness
• dry hair and skin
• puffy face
• slow heart rate
• intolerance to cold
• constipation
• brittle nails
• muscle cramping
• changes in menstrual cycle

HYPERTHYROIDISM
A very common condition related with thyroid is hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism is caused by an autoimmune response of the body in the form of Graves’ disease.

In Graves’ disease, the body produces too much of thyroid hormones and makes it seems like your body is revving so fast in response to these hormones.

This could also lead to weight loss, high blood pressure, and a rapid heartbeat. Graves’ disease also disproportionately affects women and typically presents before the age of 40.
Hyperthyroidism as an autoimmune diseases and have strong genetic links which are also associated with other autoimmune diseases as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and celiac disease.

The most common symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism includes:
• racing heart and palpitations
• trouble sleeping
• tremor and nervousness
• weight loss
• hair loss
• muscle aches and weakness
• diarrhea and over-active digestive system
• sweating and trouble tolerating heat
• exophthalmos (bulging eyes)

A goitre is the most common and evident symptom of chronic hypothyroidism. Some might have it, but not all.
Also, chronic or severe disease can manifest with dull facial expression, drooping eyelids, hoarse speech, thinning or dry and brittle hair, dry skin, myxedema (swelling of the skin and soft tissues), menstrual disorders, constipation, depression, anemia.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY THYROID IS UNDERACTIVE/OVERACTIVE?
You can go for a thyroid function screening if you’re up to 40. A blood test is used to measure thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
Gender. Majorly occur in women, especially those who had small weight at birth
Age.

Risk of hypothyroidism increases with age.
Genetics.
Psychological stress
Smoking
Iodine: excess dietary iodine intake and iodine-rich medication (amiodarone) may lead to hyperthyroidism.

IS HYPOTHYROIDISM/HYPERTHYROIDISM TREATABLE?
Yes it can’t! It can be treated medically by a hormone replacement therapy, administering oral thyroid hormones, and addressing iodine deficiency with potassium iodide.

CAN I STILL MANAGE MY WEIGHT WHILE WITH A DYSFUNCTIONAL THROID HORMONE?
Certainly you can! With the right approach, and evaluation of your hormones by specialists, also treating every imbalance, you can still lose or gain weight. Knowing the right type of dietary choices, the foods allowed and the foods to avoid makes it easy to lose weight.

A dietitian would help calculate your caloric needs and place you on a sustainable dietary pattern to help achieve your goals with your hormone therapy and exercise regimen.

Foods to avoid for hypothyroidism includes:
– refined carbohydrates and caffeine
– energy bars and genetically modified organisms (GMO) foods
– gluten-containing foods, such as wheat, rye and oats
– cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale.
– Soy and millet

Foods to include in hypothyroidism:

-vitamin B12 food sources like sardines, salmon, organ meats such as liver, muscle meat, and dairy

– foods rich in iodine like seaweed, iodized salt,
– Whole grains
– Legumes, eggs (especially egg white), nuts, nut butter
– Oily fish, flaxseeds, extra virgin olive oil and avocados will help balance your lipid

-brazil nuts, crabs and tuna fish which contain selenium
– incorporate healthy bacteria (probiotics) from pap, yoghurt. Kimchi and sauekrat

Foods to include in hyperthyroidism includes:
• non-iodized salt
• coffee or tea (without milk or dairy- or soy-based creamers)
• egg whites
• fresh or canned fruit
• unsalted nuts and nut butters
• homemade bread or breads made without salt, dairy, and eggs
• popcorn with non-iodized salt
• oats
• potatoes
• honey
• maple syrup
• Cuciferous vegetables might reduce how your body uses iodine and they include: bamboo shoots, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cassava, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, mustard, rutabaga

It is important to do away with the following seafood and seafood additives:
• fish
• seaweed
• prawns
• crabs
• lobster
• sushi
• carrageen
• agar-agar
• algae
• alginate
• nori
• kelp

Other foods that contain iodine includes:
• milk and dairy
• cheese
• egg yolks
• iodized salt
• iodized water
• some food colorings

Furthermore, foods that contain gluten, soy and caffeine should be avoided as they cause inflammation and can interfere with hyperthyroidism treatments.

It’s also important to note that, following a strict exercise regimen with your eating pattern is important. People with hypothyroidism would gain from lifting weights and dumb bells, and strength training.

DO I NEED TO GO ON A SPECIAL TYPE OF DIET?
One of the major concern in managing hashimoto’s disease is to look for a suitable type of diet to help manage and relieve symptoms. Hashimoto disease (hypothyroidism) is an auto-immune disease (ATD), so is gluten sensitivity and gluten intolerance. Research has shown the possibilities of using a gluten free diet in managing hashimoto’s disease as it helps to reduce the amount of thyroid antibodies.
A gluten diet involves the elimination of some certain types of foods that contain the protein gluten. Foods include wheat and its derivatives, bran and rye. This foods most times are re-introduced after symptoms has been optimally managed.

FOOD SUPPLEMENST AND INTERACTIONS
People with hashimoto’s are likely to de deficient in certain nutrients like vitamin B12 and vitamin D and would gain from supplementing with these nutrients.
Also, some anti-inflammatory supplements like selenium, fish oil, magnesium and zinc would also be beneficial to people with hashimoto’s as they help improve thyroid functions, reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
Remember that supplements are not meant to replace a nutrient dense and healthy diet.
For those on thyroid medications, it is important to note their interactions with some nutrients. Calcium supplements and chromium picolinate (used in weight loss and glucose control) both interfere with proper absorption of thyroid medications.
They should be both taken 4 hours apart from the time of administering thyroid medications as both can’ be stopped but are important in individuals with poor thyroid functions.

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
– Stay active
– Get rest when you’re tired. Don’t push it
– Stay hydrated always
– Stay away from caffeine and alcohol as much as you can
– Try yoga if you can
– Spend time outside
– Engage in stress reducing activities when you can.

SOURCES
1. Mahan LK & Escott-Stump S. Eds. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 11th ed. Saunders Publishing, Philadelphia, PA. 2004.
2. Beers MH, Berkow R eds. Merck Manual. 17th ed. Merck Research Laboratories. Whitehouse Station, NJ. 1999.
3. Teas J, et al. Seaweed and soy: companion foods in Asian cuisine and their effects on thyroid function in American women. J Med Food 2007;10:90-100.
4. Canaris GJ, Manowitz NR, Mayor G, Ridgway EC. The Colorado thyroid disease prevalence study. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(4):526-534.
5. Graves’ Disease. Bethesda, MD: National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2008. NIH Publication No. 08-6217.
6. Biondi B, Klein I. Hypothyroidism as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Endocrine. 2004;24(1):1-13.
7. Duntas LH, Brenta G. The effect of thyroid disorders on lipid levels and metabolism. Med Clin North Am. 2012;96(2):269-281.
8. Dean S. Medical nutrition therapy for thyroid and related disorders. In: Mahan KL, Escott-Stump S, eds. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2008: 711-724.
9.https://www.medicinenet.com/cancer_101_pictures_slideshow/article.htm
10.https://www.healthline.com/health/hyperthyroidism-diet#takeaway

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LifeStyle

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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