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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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LifeStyle

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

  • Dietary Fat and Weight

 

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

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

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

 

  • Protein and Weight

 

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

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

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

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

 

  • Carbohydrates and Weight

 

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

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

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

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

 

  • Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables, and Weight

 

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

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

 

  • Nuts and Weight

 

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

 

  • Dairy and Weight

 

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

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

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

 

  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight

 

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

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

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

 

  • Fruit Juice and Weight

 

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

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

 

  • Alcohol and Weight

 

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

Breakfast, Meal Frequency, Snacking, and Weight

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

Portion Sizes and Weight

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

Fast Food and Weight

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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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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LifeStyle

MENTAL HEALTH AND YOUR DIET

A lot of people question the connection between mental health and diet. The truth is that your brain (the powerhouse of the mind) and your lifestyle, diet inclusive, are inseparable! From the brain nutrients Vit B6, B12, Glucose, cholesterol and phytochemicals to the hormone cortisol, one cannot deny the connection between these two crucial sectors of human life. One study published in The British Medical Journal in 2014 found that “high levels of well being were reported by individuals who ate more fruit and vegetables”. Another recent study done by Parletta et al. (2017) found that “A Mediterranean-style diet (a diet high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.) supplemented with fish oil led to a reduction in depression among participants, which was sustained six months after the intervention”. Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, let’s delve right in!

Feed your brain:


Just like every machine, the brain must be fueled with food which provides it with essential nutrients that help it function optimally. Such foods comprise of plant based foods, healthy fats (mostly Poly and mono unsaturated fats from fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, chicken, etc) and cutting back on solid fats such as lard and butter. While saturated fats slow down cognitive function, plant nutrients support memory retention and help to keep your blood pressure low as hypertension affects your brain and heart. The star plants include beans, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, moderate red wine, legumes and poultry, among others. Basically, foods healthy for your heart would be great for your brain!

Slow down on the Alcohol:


Drinking too much does not only impair judgement and reaction short term, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also reports brain shrinkage with long term alcohol abuse. Also because typical heavy drinkers have poor diets, brain healthy nutrients such as B-Vitamins (B12, B6, Thiamin and Niacin) are often deficient in alcohol abusers! Consume in moderation. The recommended daily allowance is no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women!

Load up on Omega 3s:


Your brain needs omega-3 fatty acids to function but your body can’t produce them, hence they must be gotten from the diet. Two 2017 brain studies from the University of Illinois suggests that eating omega 3 FAs may improve memory retention and strengthen the structures responsible for fluid intelligence (responsible for solving new problems). Also, researchers at Harvard University discovered that Omega-3 FAs May interfere with the brain signals that trigger the characteristic mood swings seen in Bipolar Disorder. These studies indicate that there are possibilities that O3FAs could be used to manage and treat psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
As a plus, Omega 3s significantly decrease triglyceride levels, blood pressure and reduces blood levels of homocysteine which are associated with an increased risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease among other brain problems.Foods rich in Omega 3 FAs include soybean, canola oils, cold-water fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, certified soy products, Nuts especially walnuts and legumes. You need more than one type of Omega 3 FAs, so it would be beneficial to eat a variety of these foods when you can.

 

Fight Free Radicals with Antioxidants:


Your body produces unstable atoms, called free radicals in reaction to stress, trauma, pollution, processed foods and drugs etc. Although these unstable atoms have immune functions, too much of them can damage and and destroy normal healthy cells. Free radicals are responsible for many neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. To keep these in check, you’d need to keep them in check with antioxidants found in many vitamins and minerals naturally occurring in vegetables and fruits and many natural foods. Also, take steps to reduce environmental pollution from solvents, tobacco smoke, pesticides and exhaust fumes.
Some examples of Antioxidants include:
Vitamin E: Vitamin E has been shown to prevent free radicals damage and delay memory deficits in animal studies. In a two year study of people with Alzheimer’s, large doses of Vitamin E slowed progression of the disease. It has not been shown, however, that large doses of the vitamin can prevent Alzheimer’s in healthy people. Foods rich in Vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, wheat germ oil, peanut butter and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin A: This is another great antioxidant vitamin! Asides from helping to protect the brain from harmful free radicals, it also benefits the circulatory system and is essential for memory and learning. Foods rich in vitamin A include beef liver, fish oil and fortified foods. Others ate carrots, kale, spinach, apricots, cantaloupe, broccoli and winter squash.

Have a Cup of Coffee:


Coffee has taken a beaten over the years and for good reason too, owing to one word: Overindulgence.
It has been proven that coffee reduced the production of the neurotransmitter adenosine by binding to its receptors. Adenosine being a chemical that causes feeling of tiredness, is crucial at bedtime, but otherwise is just a nuisance. This is why a cup of coffee increases alertness and focus!
Coffee also keeps your brain from reabsorbing dopamine, the body’s feel good neurotransmitter, thereby keeping you happy for longer.
However, just like every good thing, there is a limit. Once you start going over 400 mg of caffeine in a day (about 4 cups), the downside starts to outweigh the upside. Effects include migraines, insomnia, restlessness and increased ruination (caffeine is a diuretic). Also, on an empty stomach it can cause heartburn.
So the cup of coffee in the morning is great for you but be careful not to overdo it.

Sip some green tea:


Green tea contains an amino acid called the anime which aids in increasing concentration and attention while reducing fatigue and stress. It also contains antioxidants and nutrients that are directly connected to increased cognition and brain performance. Green tea is a great source of polyphenols which improve memory and learning as well.

Carotenoid it up:


Your brain love loves carotenoids. Asides being a great antioxidant, are a precursor for retinol which is wonderful for your eyes. A good source of these is carrots, another is tomatoes. Cooking makes carotenoids in tomatoes bioavailable, meaning your body can absorb it much quicker than in the raw tomatoes. Since carotenoids are fat soluble, a little olive oil in the sauce would help your body absorb more of these do-good chemicals. Do not skin your tomatoes, you’d take out much of the good stuff.

Pump up on Iron:


Iron has been found to help with cognitive functions. Children with iron deficiency tend to do worse in math, according to recent studies. Even minor levels of iron deficiency can negatively affect brain function. Iron is necessary for the production of myelin which is the insulating sheath around nerve cells, which help speed the rate at which cells convey impulses. Without appropriate myelination, the nervous system and the brain cannot function optimally. Great sources of iron include organ meats, dark chocolates, green vegetables, eggs, cereals and legumes.

Pile on the onions:


While onions are known to contain antioxidants that can remove free radicals, recent studies show that certain chemical compounds found in onions may protect the brain from stroke damage. They have polyphenols which are linked to improved cerebral blood flow and metabolism, and other flavonoids that helps protect the brain against toxins. Onions are also loaded with vitamin C, B6 and folate which help protect the brain.

Increase that Metabolism:


Everything the body does is dependent on your metabolism; from immune functions to digestion and cognition. According to a recent study by McGull University and University of Zurich researchers, metabolism in brain cells affect how information is signaled. Researchers concluded that this is why special diets can help some individuals with seizures control seizure episodes. Studies also show that maintaining a stable glucose concentration in the brain is healthier for the brain than having spikes, too high or too low levels.
To fast track your metabolism with diet and lifestyle,
1. Start off your day with breakfast to kickstart your metabolism;
2. Graze with small meals and snacks throughout the day to maintain stable metabolism and prevent spikes and valleys in blood glucose levels;
3. Eat enough, but not too much as both extremes damage your metabolism;
4. Sip a cup of coffee to help boost metabolism and
5. Engage in as much physical activity as you can.

Fiber:Asides from keeping you regular, Scientists in Great Britain found that for every 7 grams of fiber eaten per day, your risk of stroke goes down 7%!! So chow down on those fruits and vegetables, stack up on high residue cereals and grains and don’t forget to include soluble fibers from avocados, bananas, legumes and oatmeal.

Pack On the Protein:


Protein supplies the amino acids your brain needs to product neurotransmitters and feel good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.
However, just like carbohydrates and fat, excess energy from proteins are stored as adiposity and is not very healthy, so go easy on them. Also, choose healthy protein sources such as lean meats as most animal protein sources are high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Be wary of fried meats and choose grilled, boiled and poached options. Great sources include eggs and other poultry, lean beef, legumes and grains.

Other Brain Essential Nutrients:
Vitamin B1: Asides being a potent antioxidant and functioning as a cofactor for carbohydrate metabolism, a serious deficiency in B1 can result in dementia, confusion and memory loss! Deficiency of this vitamin is prevalent among alcohol abusers. B1 is found in yeast, meat, nuts, beans and cereals.

Folic Acid: Folic Acid (Vit B9) helps your brain get the blood it needs by inhibiting the narrowing of arteries in the neck. More studies have surfaces, showing the correlation between folic acid supplementation and a reduced chance of certain age related neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. Much like B12, folic acid deficiency may present with amnesia (forgetfulness). Folic acid is mostly found in fortified cereals, beans, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.

Vitamin B6: Just like other B-vitamins, B6 is great for cell function and energy metabolism. It is also great for circulation, which the brain needs for fuel. Vitamin B6, in conjunction with folate and B12 helps lower blood levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease. Great sources include rice, soybeans, whole grains, fish, chicken, carrots, beef, bananas and avocados.

Vitamin B12: An estimated 25% of people between ages 60 & 7O are deficient in B12, and so are nearly 40% of people eighty and older. B12 deficiency is easily mistaken for decline in mental function, including memory loss and reduction in reasoning skills, and may affect mood. B12 has shown great benefits in treatment of Alzheimer’s, dementia, sleep disorders and diabetic neuropathy. Sources include liver, salmon, cereals, yogurt and eggs.

Magnesium: Magnesium aids neuron metabolism and boosts the effectiveness of certain antioxidants. Higher magnesium intakes have also been linked to a lower risk of strokes. The best sources of magnesium include legumes, almonds, avocados, wheat bran, seafood, fruit, whole grains and green vegetables.

Vitamin C: Vit C is another powerful antioxidant. A daily dose of 1,000-2,000 mg (mostly from food) has been shown to keep the arteries healthy while an extra 500 mg may lower blood pressure. Sources include dark green leafy vegetables, kiwi, oranges, mango, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. Be careful not to take too much as large amounts have been shown to cause diarrhea and kidney stones.

Phosphorus: phosphorus is vital to growth, maintainable and repair of all body tissues, including the brain. It also helps activate B a Iranians and is a component of the storage form of energy in the brain. Phosphorus is found in potatoes, wheat, fish, meat, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Get that Exercise:
Did you know that exercising has been shown to help combat major depression? 😂 thank me later then.
Exercise releases endorphins, which are your body’s feel good chemicals that help your nerve cells send signals. They not only elevate your mood but also help protect you from feeling pain. Exercising is a great way of increasing blood concentrations of these wonderful chemicals.
Also, spicy foods which contain capsaicin (causing them burning sensation) can also prompt your brain to release endorphins.

Other great foods for your brain include oolong tea, quality dark chocolates, ginkgo, avocados, berries and wild oats!!

Get in the business of taking care of your mind and brain, theres only one of it!

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General Research

CoQ10 enzyme: uses, benefits and sources

You might have heard about even come across the Co Enzyme Q10 in supplement form or not, but did you know that you can also get CoQ10 from your diet? Let’s take a little tour and see how effective and useful this vitamin is and how much of this amazing vitamin we can actually get from our diet.

Shall we?

All you should know about CoQ10

The importance of CoQ10 cannot be over emphasized; it is so important to our cells that our liver actually make it. CoQ10  practically plays an important role in the production of energy throughout our cells; from sending messages between neurons in the brain, to moving our muscles and keeping our lovely hearts pumping. CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant (protects our cells from damage that may lead to mutations and even cancer).

Please note that: no single antioxidant can combat the effect of every free radical.

Why should I care about my CoQ10 levels?

It’s quite true that our bodies produce CoQ10, but not really enough to support optimal blood levels. We are all aware that stress can negatively affect our health; not just that, it can also lower our levels of CoQ10. Age can have an impact on our levels of CoQ10 too. CoQ10 levels peak between the ages of 19-21 and then start to drop after 21. In fact, our levels of CoQ10 drop by a whopping 65% by the age of 80!

There is a group of people that should really take CoQ10 very seriously, and they are those on statins. Statins are popularly prescribed to block the body from making cholesterol. Both cholesterol and CoQ10 use same pathways in the body, so while statins block that pathway against cholesterol, it affects the production of CoQ10 too. Statins are known to cause side effects such as muscle pain and research suggests that CoQ10 supplements can help decrease this muscle pain.

 

How much CoQ10 do we need?

Apparently, there are two (2) principal ways in which we can help our bodies to rebuild their natural CoQ10 levels: through the food we eat and by taking a CoQ10 supplement.

Research says a reasonable amount of about 90mg-200mg/day is the recommended daily intake of CoQ10. For older people or in severe cases, 300mg-600mg daily is recommended.  Although CoQ10 is found in food, we are normally unable to reach even the lower end of these suggested levels through diet alone. This is because the foods that are highest in CoQ10 are not usually part of our diet and sometimes, over consumption of some of those foods that contain CoQ10, might pose a huge threat on our health.

CoQ10 Food Sources

Since CoQ10 plays such an important role in energy production, you will find it in the highest concentrations in organ meats such as animal liver and heart. CoQ10 is also found in beef, pork, chicken, and fatty fish such as tuna, with beef having the highest amounts.

While the highest levels of CoQ10 are found in animal products, oils such as soybean, corn, and olive are also good sources. Fruits and vegetables have significantly low amounts of CoQ10.

 

FOOD                                       mg/ serving

Pork Heart……………………………. 10-24/ 3 oz

Beef heart…………………………….. 9.7/ 3 oz

Beef liver …………………………….. 3.3-4.2/ 3 oz

Pork liver……………………………… 1.8-4.5/ 3 oz

Beef muscle ………………………….. 3.1/ 3 oz

Pork muscle ………………………….. 1.7/ 3 oz

Chicken muscle………………………. 0.7-2.1/ 3 oz

Soybean oil………………………….. 0.7-3.8/ tablespoon

Corn oil ……………………………….. 0.2-1.7/ tablespoon

Olive oil ………………………………. 0.05-2.1/ tablespoon

Peanuts ……………………………….. 0.8/ oz (28 peanuts)

Sesame seeds ………………………… 0.5-0.6/ oz

Pistachio nuts………………………… 0.6 / oz (49 pistachio).

Source: https://www.qunol.com/blogs/blog/are-you-getting-enough-coq10-from-your-diet

 

Tips for getting more CoQ10 in your diet

  • Do you find yourself snacking on the go? No problems, just replace that candy bar or bag of chips with a handful of nuts or seeds.
  • Try adding more liver to your diet; pregnant women should be careful about liver consumption to avoid vitamin A toxicity.
  • Incorporate foods that are higher in CoQ10 into one meal.

CoQ10 is a vital nutrient with many benefits, but we are generally unable to grab the amounts of CoQ10 recommended by some researchers from diet alone. Even if we include a lot of CoQ10 food sources, it would be almost impossible to reach the levels suggested to support cardiovascular health. Those with lower levels of CoQ10 due to age, stress, and statin use may also be unable to get enough CoQ10 in their diet to rebuild their levels. While including CoQ10-rich foods in our diets can help, adding a CoQ10 supplement to our regimen is the best way to ensure we are supporting our levels and utilizing this vitamin optimally.

 

 

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LifeStyleUncategorizedWomen’s Health

Breastfeeding and its hormones

There are obviously benefits attatched to breastfeeding that you already know; so lets see the ones you might not be aware of:

I’m sure many new parents aren’t prepared for the effect that having a new baby can have on their desire for lovemaking and intimacy.

Keeping it together is really hard trust me.

There are hormones responsible for some behavioural changes after childbirth and lactation period.

Lets pick these hormones and see how they play a major role in sexuality.😉

🍌ESTROGEN: All women have low levels of estrogen for the first couple of months after giving birth. Continued breastfeeding extends this period for at least six months and for some women the lower levels may last as long as they are breastfeeding. Lower estrogen levels may cause vaginal dryness, tightness and tenderness. You could apply water based lubricants during lovemaking.😁

🍉OXYTOCIN: The milk ejection reflex is triggered by the release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is also released in men and women at the time of orgasm and is recognized to increase bonding.  If mother, or her partner, has concerns about milk ejection during lovemaking she can feed the baby or express beforehand to reduce milk flow. Direct pressure with the heel of the hand to the nipple can stop milk ejection or the couple can keep a towel handy to deal with leaking milk.

🍆PROLACTIN: Prolactin levels increase when baby is breastfeeding or mother is expressing milk. . Prolactin is also a part of the hormonal cascade involved in lovemaking. It counteracts the effect of the hormone dopamine which is responsible for sexual arousal and provides the body with a feeling of sexual gratification. The release of prolactin during breastfeeding creates a feeling of calm and relaxing.

🌶TESTOSTERONE : This is an androgen hormone which is usually thought of as a male hormone. It is also naturally occurring in the female body where it is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone appears to contribute positively to the health of vaginal tissue and to contribute to genital sexual arousal.

Well, the hormones involved during breastfeeding might dampen sexual desire in the early months of childbirth, support from the male spouse is very important.  Some mothers feel that stopping breastfeeding might reduce tendencies of high libido, and shr might also feel unhappy that she’ll deprive her infant its right, which might reduce her desire for lovemaking.

You really need to sit down as a couple and balance things between breastfeeding , parenting and being a couple.

Find time for parenting and merge it with time for intimacy😎.

Life is not hard.

Source: https://www.lllc.ca/thursdays-tip-breastfeeding-and-hormones-sexuality

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General ResearchLifeStyle

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: BETTER OPTIONS?

There seems to be a lot of debate out there about artificial sweetners.

Some research says its good for weightloss and as a good substitute for table sugars, while some say it would increase the risk of  cancer and also increase blood sugar level.

Well, lets dive into this troubled waters and see what we can pull out of it shall we?

 

What Are Artificial Sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners, or sugar substitutes, are chemicals added to some foods and beverages to make them taste sweet.

They tend to provide a taste that seems 1,000 times sweeter than regular sugar.

Although some sweeteners contain calories, the amount needed to sweeten products is so small that you end up consuming almost no calories.

They are mostly used in beverages and drinks since they provide zero calories.

 

How Do Artificial Sweeteners Work?

The surface of your tongue is covered by many taste buds. Each taste bud contains several taste receptors that detect different flavors ( sweet, sour, salty).

Each time you eat, the different food molecules contact your taste receptors.

When the food molecule meets with the receptor, it (receptor) sends a signal to your brain, allowing you to identify the taste

For example, the sugar molecule fits perfectly into the taste receptor for sweetness, like a missing pixzle piece  allowing your brain to identify the sweet taste.

The molecules of artificial sweeteners are similar enough to sugar molecules that they fit on the sweetness receptor.

However, they are generally too different from sugar for your body to break them down into calories. This is why they have a sweet taste without the added calories.

Only a minority of artificial sweeteners have a structure that your body can break down into calories. Because only very small amounts of artificial sweeteners are needed to make foods taste sweet, you consume virtually no calories.

Reason why they won’t provide calories (energy) is because your body cannot break them down.

What Are the Names of Artificial Sweeteners?

The following artificial sweeteners are allowed for use in the US and/or the European Union:

Aspartame: 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Aspartame is known under the brand names Nutrasweet, Equal or Sugar Twin.

Acesulfame potassium: 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Acesulfame potassium is suited for cooking and baking and known under brand names Sunnet or Sweet One.

Advantame: 20,000 times sweeter than table sugar, suited for cooking and baking.

Aspartame-acesulfame salt: 350 times sweeter than table sugar, and known under the brand name Twinsweet.

Cyclamate: 50 times sweeter than table sugar. Cyclamate is suited for cooking and baking. However, it’s been banned in the US since 1970.

Neotame: 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar. Neotame is suited for cooking and baking and known under the brand name Newtame.

Neohesperidin: 340 times sweeter than table sugar. It is suited for cooking, baking and mixing with acidic foods. It is not approved for use in the US.

Saccharin: 700 times sweeter than table sugar. It’s known under the brand names Sweet’N Low, Sweet Twin or Necta Sweet.

Sucralose: 600 times sweeter table sugar. Sucralose is suited for cooking, baking and mixing with acidic foods. It’s known under the brand name Splenda.

There’s also a new guy om the block called ‘allulose’ made from grains.

Effects on Appetite

Some people believe artificial sweeteners might actually increase appetite and promote weight gain .

Because they taste sweet but lack the calories found in other sweet-tasting foods, they’re thought to confuse the brain into still feeling hungry after consumption.

Additionally, some scientists think you’d need to eat more of an artificially sweetened food, compared to the sugar-sweetened version, in order to feel full; well, who knows?

Although these theories are plausible, there’s mo back up claim whatsoever to them.

Effect on weight

Well, we have seen that artificial sweetners do not contain calories at all, so obvioulsy they wont increase your risk of gaining extra pounds.

But once they increase your sugar cravings, its better you stick to water than that can of soda.

 

Effects on diabetes

Artificial sweetners would reduce your intake of refined sugar, thereby making it easy for your insulin levels to work. It doesnt have any adverse effects on your glucose yes, but it is better you seek advice from your dietitan or doctor before using them.

Effect on gut health

The health of your gut totally determines if you would be vulnerable to certain illness.

Once your gut is not happy with you, you are at risk of poor blood sugar control,  weakened immune system, and disrupted sleep.

Some studies suggest that selected sweetners could disrupt the health of your gut by affecting the balance of gut bacteria.

Artificial sweetners and cancer

Apart from cyclamate which was banned in 1970 in America, no other other study has linked artificial sweetners with cancer.

 

Artificial sweetners and Dental health

Unlike sugars, artificial sweetners do not react with bacteria in your mourh to form acids. So, they dont affect your dental health negatively.

  1. Some sweetners could cause headaches, seizures or depression in some individuals while leaving out others.

 

Safety and side effects

Artificial sweetners are safe to use but should not be consumed by individuals with phenylketonuria or those allergic to sulfonamides.

 

Take home Message for all

The use of artificial sweetners pose no threats to the health if used as alternatives to sugars.

Some risks attatched to it might be severe or different in individuals, so its best  to seek advice before selecting a sweetner.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/artificial-sweeteners-good-or-bad#section12

 

 

 

 

 

 

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General ResearchLifeStyle

COCONUT: SUPER STAR?

The society we live in basically picks a food and put a cape on it with the idea that such food is a SUPER FOOD and it can work wonders. I wonder how we got here though. Lets take a little peek at one of those foods today shall we?

 

Coconut oil,  is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera).

It contains high-levels of saturated fat and so is slow to oxidise reducing possiblities of rancidification.

There are two major process of producing coconut oil from the kernel which are: WET AND DRY PROCESS.

PRODUCTION

1. DRY PROCESS: Dry processing requires that the meat be extracted from the shell and dried using fire, sunlight, or kilns to create copra.[2] The copra(dried kernel nut) is pressed or dissolved with solvents, producing the coconut oil and a high-protein, high-fiber mash.

2. WET PROCESS: The all-wet process uses coconut milk extracted from raw coconut rather than dried copra. The proteins in the coconut milk create an emulsion of oil and water. The more problematic step is breaking up the emulsion to recover the oil. This used to be done by prolonged boiling, but this produces a discolored oil and is not economical. Modern techniques use centrifuges and pre-treatments including cold, heat, acids, salts, enzymes, electrolysis, shock waves, steam distillation, or some combination thereof.

 

FATTY ACID CONTENTS OF COCONUT OIL

Caprylic saturated: 7%

Decanoic saturated : 8%

Lauric saturated : 48%

Myristic saturated : 16%

Palmitic saturated :9.5%

Oleic monounsaturated : 6.5%. Facts show that coconut oil contains a whooping amount of saturated oil and should be consumed moderately.

 

COCONUT OIL

Nutritional value per 100 g

Energy 3,730 kJ (890 kcal)

Fat…………………99 g

Saturated…….. 82.5 g

Monounsaturated….. 6.3 g

Polyunsaturated……. 1.7 g

VITAMINS Quantity %DV†

Vitamin E……….. 1% 0.11 mg

Vitamin K……….. 1% 0.6 μg

MINERALS Quantity %DV†

Iron……………… 0% 0.05 mg

Other constituents Quantity

phytosterols …………….86 mg.

Coconut oil is usually termed Medium chain triglyceride and the benefit of this MCT is that it requires very little energy for absorption into the body and it readily diffuses from the GI tract to the portal system instead of going through the lymphatic system.

It is used for weight management in underweight children and also in children with infantile cholestasis so the oil diffuses directly to the portal vein.

 

Other uses of coconut oil are for hair growth by women, as alternate fuel source in some countries.

Know that there is SUPER FOOD, every food is good in its own way and could be harmful to the body if taken in excess .

 

 

Source: wikipedia.

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