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CLEARING THE PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT MISCONCEPTION

protein supplements

As you may have heard, the body builds its muscle from amino acid (they are known as building blocks) . However, some athletes believe that when they consume protein supplement (such as casein or whey protein), their bodies build more muscles. This is untrue. Working those muscles is what builds them! Getting adequate protein for protein synthesis in the body is very important but taking too much of it does not make the muscles grow any bigger or faster. This is especially true when the muscles are not exercised adequately and regularly. As you might have heard, “use it or loose it, pal”.
Let me breakdown what happens when too much protein is being ingested.

sex and exercise
The body uses the surplus to replace normal daily loss from growth, healing and other anabolic activities. Any excess protein available is either stored as fat or excreted in the urine as either urinary nitrogen or creatinine. Available research has also revealed that an excessive intake of these protein supplements could stress the livers and kidneys (the organs responsible for protein synthesis).

protein supplements

However, we dietitians recommend getting required amino acids such as arginine and glutamine from your diet. Foods that are rich in these amino acids include milk, nuts, eggs, chicken, lean beef and pork and turkey. This would ensure that you consume them alongside other important nutrients.

Therefore a person can grow fat by eating too much protein and not muscles. Exercising your muscles make them bigger. Stop gulping protein supplements if you are not going to work those things!

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Diet Therapy of DiseasesWomen’s Health

CONSTIPATION IN EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFED KIDS

As a first time mother and a health practitioner, on being pregnant, I had already decided to exclusively breastfeed my baby for 6 months and continue thereafter with alongside complementary feeding because I was a nutritionist right? I had to ensure I practiced what I preached. Many experiences and drama trailed my journey to motherhood. My very first battle was with constipation.

Knowing that I was exclusively breastfeeding I became even more worried because there was little or nothing I could do to help my bundle of joy because she was to be on breast milk only for the next 6 months. Nope, maternal instinct kicked in and I knew I had to do something! Below is what I gathered from the experience.

constipation

What is Constipation?

Constipation could mean various things to different people. For some people, it means infrequent passage of stool (feces), to others; it means hard stools, difficulty in passing stool, or a sense of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, constipation is one of the most common digestive problems in the United States, affecting around 42 million Americans and is not uncommon among infants.  Constipation is a common problem that affects both all ages irrespective of race.

Causes of Constipation        

Often when a child is constipating, there is infrequent bowel movement and most times the stool is hard, dry and painful to pass.

Causes of constipation in infants include:

  • Withholding stool: This happens when a child is trying to hold his bowel movement in, due to some reasons such as stress about potty training, or not wanting to use the rest rooms in certain places (like in school), or pains while stooling.
  • A low fiber diet.
  • Side effects of certain medications.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Understanding the signs of constipation can help you detect a potential issue before it becomes a big problem.

  • Infrequent bowel movements: The number of bowel movement of a child will reduce as to the normal frequency during constipation, sometimes during the period of trying new foods which the body seems to find different from the “usual”, sometimes may cause constipation
  • Blood in the stool: If you notice streaks of bright red blood in your child’s stool, it is likely a sign that the child is pushing too hard to have a bowel movement. Pushing and passing out a hard stool may cause tiny tears around the anal walls, which can result in blood in the stool.
  • Refusing to eat: Child may feel full quickly or refuse to eat while constipating.

What Can You Do?

If you notice signs of constipation, you can try several strategies to offer your baby relief. These strategies include:

A high-fiber diet: Your child’s plate should be teeming with fresh fruits and vegetables, high fiber cereals, whole grain breads and a variety of beans and other legumes can be very helpful. Foods containing probiotics like yogurt can also promote good digestive health. If your child does not like fresh fruits much, you could try pureeing/blending it or adding them to certain meals to encourage acceptance. Besides, adding fruits and vegetables to your child’s diet early in life helps build healthy eating habits later in life.

Switch up the milk: If your baby is breastfed, you can try adjusting YOUR diet. Baby may be sensitive to something you are eating, which could be causing the constipation, though this is uncommon. Bottle-fed babies may benefit from a different type of formula (which are rich in fiber), at least until the constipation clears. Sensitivity to certain ingredients can cause constipation.

Use solid foods: Although certain solid foods can cause constipation, but others could improve it. If you recently started feeding your baby solid foods, try adding a few high fiber alternatives, such as: broccoli, pears, prunes, peaches, skinless apple. Instead of refined cereals or puffed rice, offer cooked grains, such as barely or brown rice. Whole grain breads, crackers and bran cereals also add a lot of bulk to stool, which may help clear the constipation. Beans and other legumes provide soluble fiber which cause stool to move through the body faster.

Use pureed or mashed foods: if your baby is over 6 months and has not made the transition to solid foods yet, try some of the foods listed above in their pureed form. Keep in mind that fruits and vegetables have a lot of natural fiber that will add bulk to your child’s stool. Some are better than others at helping stimulate a bowel movement.

Up the fluids:  Proper hydration is essential for regular bowel movement. While focusing on fiber, don’t forget fluids. Water is great for keeping your baby hydrated. If your child is eating plenty of high fiber food but not getting enough fluid to help flush it through the digestive tract, it could make matters worse. There should liberal intake of water, soda and sugary drinks should be limited. Usually breastfed babies get enough fluid from the breast milk. However, infants from 7-12 months need about 0.8 L/day of fluid and children of ages 1-3 require 1.3L/day.

Encourage exercise: Movement speeds up digestion, which can help move things through the body more quickly. If your child is not walking yet, bicycles and play dates would be helpful.

Massage: Gentle stomach and lower-abdominal massage stimulate the bowel to pass a bowel movement. Do several massages throughout the day, until your child has a bowel movement.

Regular Toilet Time: Encourage your growing child to use the toilet first thing in the morning. Particularly for a younger child, you may get better results by telling, not asking. Instead of suggesting, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” Simply say, “Time to go to the bathroom”.

Conclusion

Because breast milk is quite nutritious, sometimes a baby’s body absorbs almost all of it, leaving little or nothing to move through the digestive tract. Your baby may poop only once in a while—it is perfectly normal for breastfed infants to have a bowel movement once a week. Other infants just have a slower (but completely normal) gut, so they don’t go very often. But if your baby seems to be in pain, or you have any complain, call your doctor or dietitian. In rare cases, a medical problem could cause lasting, severe constipation. For kids that have progressed to eating solid foods very well, encourage them to consume more of high fiber foods and to take enough water.

 

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General Research

DIETARY GUIDELINES : THE DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS.

DIETARY GUIDELINES

DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS (2015-2020)

Dietary guidelines simply mean a guide for a healthy diet. These guidelines for healthy eating were put forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are revised every five years (most recent being 2015-2020) to form and evaluate nutrition programs and policies. It is used as a tool to form federal food, nutrition and health policies as well as serves as a guide for professionals and the America public make healthy food choices. They reflect the importance of creating healthy eating habits in order to improve nutrition status, overall wellbeing and reduce risk of disease.  Let’s delve right n then!

Dietary Guidelines for GRAINS:

DGA GRAINS

At some point we all take grains either refined or whole! Replacing refined grains with whole grains is healthier and here is why. Refined grains contain just the endosperm which contains starch and protein, very well, but the whole grains consist of the bran (rich in fiber and nutrients), endosperm and germ (rich in vitamins and minerals), so much for refinement.

Selecting at least 6 ounces of grains with at least half of these (3 oz) whole would ensure a healthy contribution of nutrients such as essential B-Vitamins, iron, folate and fiber to the daily diet.  Some examples of whole grains include brown rice, millet, oats, buckwheat, whole wheat products, barley and so forth. Conversely, examples of refined grains include white rice and refined grain products.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans - Grains

Refined grain products include but are not limited to biscuits, cakes, cookies, cornbread, crackers, pastries and granola. However, in the early 1940’s congress passed legislation requiring that all grains passing state lines be enriched with iron, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin.

Further down the line in 1996, this legislation was amended to include folate, an essential vitamin to preventing birth defects. This means we can now get these much talked about nutrients in whole grain, fortified cereals. Isn’t that marvelous?!

 Dietary Guidelines for FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans- Vegetables

These are no new comers to such lists. Everybody has heard at some point the phrase “eat your vegetables!”. Well, we are still gonna ask you to eat them, but this time we-d tell you why you should.

Fruits contain a valuable amount of minerals, vitamins, nutrient and PHYTOCHEMIALS. I am emphasizing on photochemical because I see a lot of people consume just one particular type of fruit example, apples and then claim to eat a lot of a fruits which by that means plenty apples, hahaha. But literally the person just gets a particular set of nutrients from apple in contrast to a person that takes a variety of types and color, gets varieties of nutrient. Phytochemicals are chemical contents o fruits and vegetables that give them their characteristic color.

Asides color, these bioactive components have the potential to reduce risk of various chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity among others. These different colors connote different phytochemicals which confer different benefits. So let us do more of fruit variety (too many fruits in the grocery store to try out) than stick to a particular one.

Dutary Guidelines for Americans  Vegetables

The USDA has set a serving of vegetables at 2 cups and fruits at 2 ½ cups per day. Choosing fresh, green leafy vegetables ensures you get unadulterated vitamins as wet boiling or steaming of vegetables cause nutrients to leach into the water and subsequently lost. Also, limit vegetables that contain solid fats or added sugars such as baked beans, candied sweet potatoes, French fries, refried beans, coleslaw and French fries.

Still on the issue of VEGETABLES, dressings and ranches could work against a person trying to eat healthy by contributing unnecessary sodium and calories to the diet. To this end, we suggest healthy choices such as olive oil dressing. Another helpful option could include stir frying the vegetables in healthy vegetable oil, such as olive oil or canola oil with some garlic, ginger or onions. Yummy! Guess what I’m having for supper?

Dietary Guidelines for MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS:

DGA - Milk

I am guilty of this *covers face*. I love love love whole milk; I mean who wouldn’t? but it is not the very best. It is advised to replace whole milk products with fat-free or low fat options (preferably 1%). Milk is rich in calcium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12, calcium, potassium and when fortified, vitamins A and D.

DGA - MILKIf you do not consume milk, please choose products rich in calcium and vitamin D. Limit intake of milk products that contain added sugars and are high in fat such as whole milk and whole milk products such as cheeses, cottage cheese and whole milk yoghurt (do Greek yogurt instead), 2% reduced fat milk, ice cream, whole fat chocolate milk, custard, milk shakes, pudding and sherbets. The current recommended daily amount for milk lies at 3 cups per day.

Since milk products are important source of calcium and some are fortified with vitamin A & D, we might as well choose the fat free ones thereby helping ourselves eat healthy and also getting the nutrients we need.

 

DGA - milk

Dietary Guidelines for PROTEIN:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans - Protein

Protein foods which include seafood, poultry, eggs, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds as well as beef and pork not only provide proteins but also B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc and magnesium.

It is advised by the DGA to take a variety of these foods, not just only poultry because that’s some people idea of protein. Varieties of proteins include; lean meat, eggs, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds, soy products and poultry. These foods provide vitamins B & E, Zinc, iron and Magnesium. We must also know that we could consume these foods in an unhealthy way by adding too much fat and sodium, so we really need to be careful when cooking them.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans - ProteinTo keep fat intake low, bake, roast, grill or braise meats, poultry and seafood but avoid frying them in fat. For example try not to fry your poultry and sea foods in fat, drain all visible fat after cooking and peel poultry skin off to reduce fat content.

For the nuts; I know we are always tempted to buy/eat salted nuts which increase the intake of sodium, so let us make better choices which include unsalted nuts and unfried nuts. Because nuts and seeds are energy dense, it is advised that they be consumed in little quantities and in place of, not in addition to other,, high protein and fat foods such as beef and pork.

Limit protein foods that contain solid fats such as bacon, pork, beef, fried mat, marbled steak, poultry with skin and ggs. The current RDA for proteins is 5 ½ oz per day based on a 2000 Kcal diet.

 

Some Tips for Vegetarians:

DGA GRAINS

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians who eat animal-derived foods such as milk and eggs receive high quality protein and are more likely to meet their protein RDA. A well planned vegetarian diet helps to ensure adequate intake of nutrients such as protein, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids. All it takes is adequate knowledge and proper planning with a nutritionist. *wink*

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General ResearchLifeStyle

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS : MY SENTIMENTS

I have been in “Gods own Country” a bit and I have discovered that Genetically Modified Foods are big in the USA (well they have a knack for infusing science unto everything, God bless America). For one they’re cheaper and I can tell you they taste terrible. See, I’m a Dietitian and somehow expected to practice what I preach “rolls eyes”. Now here’s the problem, I started the trip down Nutrition Lane in a country where you could have an orange hankering and you walked to your local“junction” and bought three for 50 Naira (roughly 7 cents). Back home, we didn’t have much of a problem with Genetically Modified Foods. People simply planted, fertilizer with animal droppings and in due course plucked their healthy, ripened, fleshy and tasty fruits and vegetables.

Genetically Modified Foods

Recently there has been a huge campaign toward the healthy lifestyle, including the DGA 2020, MyPlate and so on, still I find with it an exponential increase in Genetically Modified Foods and allied products. Nothing is left to naturally mature and produce anymore, everything has to be genetically and chemically induced to produce more, shorten time of production or generally increase income. I agree there is some rationale for this including pest resistance but surely there should be more sustainable ways to do protect crops than to modify them genetically. I can’t remember the last time I had a banana I actually enjoyed in the States. Even milk here tastes watery. The organic food alternative is more expensive and inaccessible compared to the Genetically Modified Foods. It pisses me off.

Therefore, I’m going to dwell a little on Genetically Modified Foods, reasons for these alterations and all that scientific stuff that leaves our yummies tasting all goooey.

What are Genetically Modified Organisms/Foods?

Genetically Modified Foods

According to World Health Organization, ‘’’Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. ’’ The technology has been termed “modern biotechnology or gene technology or genetic engineering’’. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between non-related species. Foods produced from or using organisms are often referred to as GM foods.

GMOs and Crossbreeding

Genetically modified foods or have had their genes manipulated as opposed to the traditional cross breeding. What is cross breeding? A Crossbreed is an organism with purebred parents of two different breeds, varieties, or populations. Cross breeding is the process of breeding an organism often with the intention to create offspring that share the traits of both parent lineages, or producing an organism with hybrid vigor. Genetic engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits of these plants and organisms than previous methods such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.

A Little Background on GM Foods in the USA:

Genetically Modified Foods

Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994, when Calgene first marketed its unsuccessful Flavr Savr delayed-ripening tomato. Most genetic modifications have primarily focused on cash crops in high demand by farmers such as soybean, corn, canola and cotton. Recently I have seen them delve deeper into regular produce such as my darling banana, plantain and grapes.

Some Genetically modified foods have been engineered for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and for better nutrient profiles. GM livestock have been developed, although as November 2013 none were on the market. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) favour the use of “genetic engineering” over ‘’genetic modification’’ as the more precise term.

Why are GM foods produced at all?

Having gone through the meaning of GM Foods, I know some people would still wonder why GM Foods are produced. Asides their watery, empty taste, are GM foods safe? Are they regulated nationally? What are the issues of concern for human health? The answers to these questions have been prepared by WHO in response to the above questions and concerns from WHO Member State Governments with regard to the nature and safety of genetically modified foods. I would summarize them shortly.

 

◦ GM foods are developed and marketed because there is some perceived need or advantage either to the producer or consumer (and of course to the producers pockets) of these foods. This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both.

◦ Another major objectives for developing plants on GM organisms is to improve crop protection from pests and herbs. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistant strains and species to plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides.

◦ Resistance against insects is achieved by incorporating into the food plant the gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This toxin is currently used as a conventional insecticide in agriculture and is safe for human consumption. Genetically Modified Foods that inherently produce this toxin have been shown to require lower quantities of insecticides in specific situations, e.g. where pest pressure is high. Virus resistance is achieved through the introduction of gene from certain viruses which cause disease in plants. Virus resistance makes plants less susceptible to disease caused by viruses, resulting in higher crop yields. Now if these methods have long-term effects on consumers, would be discussed below, be patient.😒

GMOs

What are the main issues of concern for human health?

If you ask me, with my meager knowledge of science, anything that introduces an external new-to nature compound to a perfectly natural entity would have repercussions but since I have not done any research on it, the people who have posit that the three main issues debated as regards Genetically Modified Foods are their potentials to provoke allergic reaction (allergenicity), gene transfer and outcrossing.

Genetically Modified Foods

◦Allergenicity: As a matter of principle, the transfer of genes from commonly allergenic organisms to non-allergic organisms is discouraged unless it can be demonstrated that the protein product of the transferred gene is not allergenic. While foods developed using traditional breeding methods are not generally tested for allergenicity, protocols for the testing of GM foods have been evaluated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO. Therefore, no allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market. Hmmmm.. okay. If y’all say so.

 

◦Gene Transfer: GMOsGenes transferred from Genetically Modified Foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health. This would be particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes, used as markers when creating GMOs, were to be transferred. Although the probability of transfer is low, the use of gene transfer technology that does not involve antibiotic resistance genes is encouraged. All these hullabaloo and we still can’t cure cancer 🤦‍♂️

 

◦Outcrossing: The migration of genes from genetically modified foods/organisms into conventional cops or related species in the wild (referred to as “outcrossing”), as well as the mixing of cops derived from conventional seeds with GM crops, may have an indirect effect on food safety and food security. Cases have been reported where GM crops approved for animal feed or industrial use were detected at low levels in the products intended for human consumption. Several countries have adopted strategies to reduce mixing, including a clear separation of the fields within which GM crops and conventional crops are grown. Of course when have we given humans a meter and they didn’t try to take a kilometer?

◦Are GM foods safe?

Genetically Modified Foods

 

Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods. Meaning, they’re not safe but they can’t tell you so they don’t get in trouble. I’m kidding lol. But seriously, I’ve common across plenty studies that say GMOs could cause cancer and other mortal disease conditions. Of course! What do you expect when you try to manipulate something God wants you to let be 🤦‍♂️

◦ GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments based  on the Codex Alimentarius principles and, where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the basis for ensuring the safety of GM foods. Whatever you say, Alice.

Are GM foods regulated nationally?

gmoThe way governments have regulated GM foods varies. In some countries, GM foods are not yet regulated. Countries which have legislation in place focus primarily on assessment of risks for consumer health. Countries which have regulatory provisions for GM foods usually regulate GMOs in general, taking into account health and environmental risks, as well as control and trade-related issues (such as potential testing and labeling regimes). In view of the dynamics of the debate on GM foods, legislation is likely to continue to evolve. And trust me when I say all theses are done with profitability in mind first.

Well, I’m not crediting or discrediting Genetically Modified Foods, I understand the rationale behind them and you should too. That doesn’t mean you should eat the lot of them; there are reasons why they are safer and more accessible to you. When you can, please sought out and have organically grown or at lease partly organic foods. Trust me they have lots more goodness (nutrients and phytochemicals) than GMOs. If you can afford a garden, plant a few corn, tomatoes, potatoes and tomatoes. You’d love them more than most store-bought foods no matter how organic the claim. Plus you can be sure of how you grow them so that in 20 gears time there won’t have been an accumulation of some blah in your cells.

Me? I’m about to go back to Nigeria for a week just to have good old Dabinu, garden eggs, real natural watermelons and by God a natural banana/plantain! 😩

GMOs

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Diet Therapy of Diseases

STRESS AND NUTRITION: THE CONNECTION

A colleague of mine requested for an article on stress and I thought we could all learn from it. It contains virtually a little of everything you would need to know on the connection between stress and nutrition. I guarantee you would have lots of fun. Let’s go!

Stress and the Body

Being aware of how your body works and deals with stress can help you to manage stress and stressful situations. After a stressful period the human body can go into a ‘recovery mode’ where increased appetite and food cravings become more prevalent. At the same time metabolic rates drop to conserve energy. Being aware of these patterns can help you manage your stress levels and through nutrition and diet you can help your body recover from stressful periods more rapidly and minimise negative effects like weight gain.

Cortisol and Stress

Of course we know that stress can affect your body in many ways and that your waistline is a particularly notable victim of stress. Sadly, this is true. There are several ways in which stress can contribute to weight gain. One has to do with cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. When we’re under stress, the fight or flight response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of various hormones, including cortisol. When there is more cortisol in our system, we may crave less healthy food options such as snacks containing high sugar and fat content, and this can adversely affect our nutrition and health.
Whether we’re stressed because of constant, crazy demands at work or we’re really in danger, our bodies respond like we’re about to be harmed and need to fight for our lives. To answer this need, that body experiences a burst of energy, shifts in metabolism and blood flow, and other changes.These changes can affect digestion, appetite, and nutrition in many ways.
What happens during stress?
When we go through stress, our nervous system and adrenal glands send signals to the rest of the body to help us think more clearly and be ready for a physical response if required. In effect, cortisol and adrenaline are secreted. Cortisol is chiefly known as the body’s stress hormone. Let’s take an indept look at cortisol and how it functions in relation with our diet.
 
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (steroid hormone) produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands located on top of each kidney. It is normally released in response to events and circumstances such as waking up in the morning, exercising, and acute stress. Cortisol’s far-reaching, systemic effects play many roles in the body’s effort to carry out its processes and maintain balance (homeostasis) .Cortisol curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation as detected by adrenaline. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.

 

However in modern life we can become stressed for many reasons other than impending danger and yet our bodily reactions are the same. With their pre-determined instincts, our bodies’ still prepare our minds in this instinctive way and give less priority to other, less urgent, functions. Digestion is one such function that is given a lower priority during stressful situations, this is not good as poor digestion can make us feel unwell and this in turn can be a source of stress.
Why is cortisol so important?
 
Cortisol accelerates the breakdown of proteins into amino acids (except in liver cells). These amino acids move out of the tissues into the blood and to liver cells, where they are changed to glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. A prolonged high blood concentration of cortisol in the blood results in a net loss of tissue proteins and higher levels of blood glucose.
Isn’t this bad?
 
Not exactly. By raising plasma glucose levels, cortisol provides the body with the energy it requires to combat stress from trauma, illness, fright, infection, bleeding, etc.
Obviously, this is bad from a muscle breakdown perspective; however, the body is simply trying to preserve carbohydrate stores and deliver energy when it needs it most. Acutely, cortisol also mobilizes fatty acids from fat cells and even helps to maintain blood pressure.
As it’s part of inflammatory response, cortisol is necessary for recovery from injury and healing. However, chronically high levels of cortisol in the blood can decrease white blood cells and antibody formation, which can lower immunity. This is the most important therapeutic property of glucocorticoids, since they can reduce the inflammatory response and this, in itself, suppresses immunity.
Thus, cortisol is:
*Protein-mobilizing
*Gluconeogenic
*Hyperglycemic
Whether these effects are “good” or “bad” depends on whether cortisol’s release is acute (ie brief and infrequent) or chronic (i.e continuous).

Understanding the Natural Stress Response

When a threat is perceived the hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of the brain, sets off an alarm system in the body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts the adrenal glands, located atop the kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
Of interest to the dietetics community, cortisol also plays an important role in human nutrition. It regulates energy by selecting the right type and amount of substrate (carbohydrate, fat, or protein) the body needs to meet the physiological demands placed on it. When chronically elevated, cortisol can have deleterious effects on weight, immune function, and chronic disease risk.
Stress and Nutrition: The Connection
 
Blood Sugar:
 
Prolonged stress can alter blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health concerns that can lead to greater health problems, like heart attacks and diabetes.
 
Fat Storage:
Excessive stress affects fat storage. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable, it’s linked with greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body and high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Emotional Eating:
 
Increased levels of cortisol can not only make you crave unhealthy food, but excess nervous energy can often cause you to eat more than you normally would. How many times have you found yourself scouring the kitchen for a snack, or absently munching on junk food when you’re stressed, but not really hungry?
Fast Food:

stress and nutrition

Experts believe that one of the big reasons obesity is on the rise in our society these days is that people are too stressed and busy to make healthy dinners at home, often opting to get fast foods instead. Fast food and even healthier restaurant choices can both be higher in sugar and fat. Even in the healthiest circumstances, you don’t know what you’re eating when you’re not eating at home, and can’t control what goes into your food. Because of this and because restaurants often add less healthy ingredients like butter to enhance taste, it’s safer to eat at home.
 
Too Busy to Exercise

 

With all the demands of our schedules, exercise may be one of the last things on your to-do list. If so, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, from sitting in traffic, clocking hours at our desks, and plopping in front of the TV in exhaustion at the end of the day, exercise often goes by the wayside.
Caffeine and Stress

 

Caffeine is found mostly in coffee, tea, some soft drinks and chocolate. It can have negative effects on the body if taken in high quantities and habitually. Caffeine is a neurostimullator which increases heartbeat and keeps the mind alert. This makes it difficult for people taking coffee to sleep properly or even relax. Soon enough the body gets tired but still can’t go to sleep. Getting adequate sleep is an important factor in reducing stress levels. Caffeine and stress can both elevate cortisol levels, high amounts of caffeine ( which on its own can cause stress) can lead to the negative health effects associated with prolonged elevated levels of cortisol. When one ingests high levels of caffeine, you feel a mood surge and plummet, leaving a craving for more caffeine to make it soar again. This leads to insomnia, some other health consequences (such as arrhythmia) and, of course, stress. However, small to moderate amounts of caffeine can lift your mood and give you a boost.
Effects on the Body:

 

Hormones- You can feel the effects of caffeine in your system within a few minutes of ingesting it, and it stays on your system for many hours—it has a half-life of four to six hours in your body. While in the body, caffeine affects the following hormones thereby causing stress:
Adenosine: Caffeine can inhibit absorption of adenosine, which calms the body. This makes you feel alert in the short run, but can cause sleep problems later.
Adrenaline:Caffeine releases adrenaline into the system, giving a temporary boost, but possibly causing fatigue and depression later. If you take more caffeine to counteract these effects, you end up spending the day in an agitated state, and might find yourself jumpy and edgy by night.
 
Cortisol: Caffeine can increase the body’s levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which can lead to other health consequences ranging from weight gain and moodiness to heart disease and diabetes.
Dopamine– Caffeine increases dopamine levels in the system, acting in a way similar to amphetamines, which can make you feel good after taking it, but after it wears off you can feel ‘low’. This effect can also lead to a physical dependence because of dopamine manipulation.
Alcohol, Sugar, Salt and Nicotine:
 
You should aim to reduce your intake of alcohol, sugar and salt. Too much of these are never good. Consumption of these items are all known to strip the body of essential nutrients and undo the work of a healthier diet. Stop smoking! Although reaching for a cigarette may feel like instant stress relief it actually causes greater stress over time.
How to Lower Cortisol Levels With Diet (isn’t this wonderful?!?)

 

Stress and diet:
 
Stress and diet have always been linked. It is possible that someone eating a healthy, balanced diet is going to be far less stressed than someone eating a poor diet. If one is feeling overly stressed, the digestive system is probably under a great deal of strain, therefore making changes to your diet key to feeling better physically and emotionally. You can greatly help manage cortisones levels and regain your health by maintaining a suitable diet, exercise routine, sleep and stress levels. In absence of Cushing’s Disease, here are steps that help lower high cortisol levels naturally:
1. Switch to a Whole Foods, Anti-inflammatory Diet
Poorly managed blood sugar levels (especially hypoglycemia, having low blood sugar) and high levels of inflammation can contribute to high cortisol levels and other hormonal imbalances. Following an anti-inflammatory diet low in processed foods and high in antioxidants, fiber and essential nutrients is key to balancing hormones, controlling cravings and tackling stress. These same strategies can also help with adrenal support, allowing you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, boosting energy during the day and helping aid sleep.
Some of the most significant dietary contributors to inflammation and high cortisol levels include:
*High-sugar, high-glycemic diet (with many packaged foods, refined grain products, sugary drinks and snacks).
*Consuming high amounts of refined and trans fats
drinking too much caffeine and alcohol.
*Insufficient intake of micronutrients and antioxidants.
*Low fiber content of food (which makes it hard to balance blood sugar)
*Low consumption of unsaturated fats or unhealthy protein (which can lead to hunger, weight gain and high blood sugar).
Instead, switching to a low-glycemic diet, include healthy fats and proteins with every meal, and make sure to get enough fiber and phytonutrients by eating plenty fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the most useful foods for lowering cortisol and stabilizing blood sugar include vegetables; fruits; coconut or olive oil; nuts; seeds; lean proteins like eggs, fish and grass-fed beef; and probiotic foods (like yogurt, kefir or cultured vegetables).
 
2. Use Adaptogen Herbs and Superfoods:
Adaptogen herbs help naturally lower high cortisol levels in several key ways. They help balance hormones; reduce inflammation due to their strong antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial effects; they possess natural antidepressant effects; lower fatigue; and help balance blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Many adaptogens, such as mushrooms and cocoa, have been safely used for thousands of years to promote better overall health with little to no side effects.
There are at least various proven adaptogenic herbs that can help lower cortisol, including ginseng, garlic, basil and medicinal mushrooms among others.
3. On Stressful Days, Eat Little and Often (small frequent meals):
 
This will keep the metabolism ticking all day and minimise peaks and troughs in energy levels. Eat breakfast, though you may not feel hungry or believe you do not have enough time. Eating breakfast helps to kick start metabolism for the day and also helps to stabilise your blood sugar level which will in turn reduce stress. Choose fruit or fruit juice and a whole-grain cereal for maximum benefits.

 

4. Eat Well Throughout the Day
 
Be sure to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day and focus on foods containing Vitamins B and C, and Magnesium. B Vitamins can help you feel more energetic after a stressful episode. Bananas, leafy green vegetables, avocados, nuts, seeds and also meat, fish and dairy products all contain essential B vitamins.
Vitamin C: The adrenal glands contain the largest store of vitamin C in the body and are important in the production of stress hormones. Eat citrus fruit such as oranges, tomatoes, peppers, kiwi fruit, leafy green vegetables, broccoli and other foods rich in Vitamin C.
Magnesium: Magnesiumhelps to relax muscles and reduce anxiety. Increase your magnesium intake by eating nuts, especially Brazil nuts, but also hazelnuts and peanuts. Leafy green vegetables, whole grains, especially oats, brown rice and beans are also good sources of magnesium. Take a relaxing bath with a good handful of Epsom salts (available at pharmacists) as these contain magnesium that can be absorbed through your skin.
As well as trying to maximise your intake of certain foodstuffs, you should also be aware of the negative effects of others and therefore try to minimise them.




5. Opt For Green Tea:
stress and green tea
If you take a lot of coffee you may not realize the effects caffeine has on your system. However, you can reduce your stress levels and improve your mental performance throughout the day if you gradually wean yourself of large amounts of caffeine. A relatively easy and healthy way to do that is to replace coffee with decafinated green tea, which has a soothing taste and the added benefit of plenty antioxidants!

 

6. Try Sparkling Juice:
If you’re a cola drinker, you are probably experiencing the same health consequences from caffeine that coffee drinkers experience. A more healthful alternative is sparkling fruit juice, or sparkling water. You won’t only be getting a refreshing treat, but you’ll be adding water to your system, rather than detracting it (caffeine dehydrates, so drinking it is akin to un-drinking water!), and you’ll be avoiding other caffeine-related side effects.
How can a Dietitian help with stress and diet?

 

Seeing a registered health professional such as a nutritionist is essential if you want to make long-term positive changes to your diet in order to effectively manage stress. A nutritionist can provide tailored nutritional advice and support to ensure all your needs are catered for and specific goals are met. This will involve an assessment to pinpoint nutritional needs and what stress relieving foods will be the most suitable for you. As part of your assessment, your dietitian will look at triggers and contributing factors, as well as any underlying imbalances such as adrenal hormones and thyroid problems. Following this, you will be given a specific diet plan to follow, which will also outline lifestyle changes such as physical activity, which will play an important role in stress management for the long-term.
Dietetics is a subjective science and not a one size fits all so it is important to consult a professional who would treat you as “a person” as conditions applicable to others may not be applicable to your peculiar situation. Good luck.
Sources:
http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/stress-nutrition-diet.html#ixzz4WPpFBXh1
Stress System Malfunction Could Lead To Serious, Life-Threatening Disease. NIH Backgrounder September 9, 2002.
Teitelbaum, Jacob, M.D. How Stress Can Make You Gain Weight. Total Health Vol 25. no. 5. Oct/Nov 2003.
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Uncategorized

PENIS SHRINKAGE

I bet you didn’t know the penis could change its size and shape to suit certain environmental influences such as temperature and sexual arousal. These normal changes do not negatively impact the penis size and function. Additionally, redistribution or the collection of body fat surely can make the penis appear smaller than normal, although there may be no change in its real size. A healthy penis is not just about how well a male performs in the bedroom, but also about how it functions on a day-to-day basis. If the penis is not able to get erect, it could reflect problems that go beyond sex, an indicator of problems with other organs in the body (such as the heart and testes).

PENIS SHRINKAGE

Penile shrinkage or also known as shortening or atrophy refers to real decrease in penile tissues, and even its ability to function normally could also change. Shrinkage is a common condition that occurs to older age such as those age 60 have higher chances to experience penile shrinkage. Nevertheless, in some specific cases, younger men may also notice a long term change in shape and the size of their penises.

Penile Sensitivity

According to WebMD, penile sensitivity decreases with age. This can actually impact your size. Researcher notes that all men have what’s known as a “sensory threshold.” This is defined as the amount of stimulation that a man is able to feel. As a man ages, his sensitivity decreases, and therefore so does his sensory threshold. The sharpest decline occurs between ages 65 and 75, but the process actually begins as young as 25. So even if you don’t consider yourself an old geezer, you may be well into the throes of sensory decline. As sensitivity declines, the blood flow to your penis decreases. When blood fills the chambers along your shaft, your size fails to reach its full potential. It’s an unfortunate, but natural reality of ageing.

Some Causes

Of course, no matter what your age, your level of shrinkage can be directly influenced by your lifestyle habits. So if you’re shrugging your shoulders and thinking, “Oh well, getting old sucks,” you may not be off the hook just yet. Do you smoke? Drink? Is your diet not as nutritionally sound as it could be? Are you a serial masturbator? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you may be accelerating or increasing your own penis shrinkage. That’s because our habits can have a direct effect on our personal health.
When it comes to penis size, there are two primary variables at work: the flow of blood, and the expansion of arteries within the fibrous sheath of the erectile chambers. Poor habits can inhibit the flow of blood, while excess masturbation can lead to the accumulation of scar tissue, which hinders the expansion of those arteries.
So in many cases, even older men can slow or reverse the effects of penis shrinkage simply by foregoing the cheeseburgers, tossing out the Marlboros, beer and deleting the porn from the hard drive. When these efforts just aren’t enough though, there are other solutions.

Common Causes Of Penis Shrinkage

By now, hopefully you have an idea what is penile shrinkage and it’s possible, and it could happen to anyone. Even during heavy exercise one can experience some noticeable changes in penile shortening, but this is temporary and nothing to worry about. Penile shrinkage can happen during exercise specially with lifting heavy weights because according to experts, the body sends more blood to areas that are well-stimulated during the workout. It make sense because during exercise, you are not using the penis unless you’re doing some sort of penis exercises and this is usually temporary and does not affect size on a long term basis.

 

There are some factors that can affect penile shrinkage over a long period of time and could potentially become permanent if nothing is done to address the issue. Here are some the common issues that can cause long-term or even permanent penile shrinkage.
Reduced In Blood Flow To The Penis:
A decrease in the flow of blood to the penile tissue can bring about a decrease in size. Heart issues including atherosclerosis, cardiovascular-related health issues, and poor circulation of blood due to wearing tight clothing can deprive the penis of the blood it requires for penile tissue nourishment. Men with circulatory difficulties could also experience a decline of erectile function, as the blood that should flood the erectile chambers is inadequate.
 
Low Testosterone or Low-T Level:

 

Men who have significant declined in testosterone, or men with Low-T may also experience shortening of the penis. When in doubt about low testosterone causing the shrinkage, it is worth noting to see if there is also a reduction in the size of the testicles. Testosterone levels drop noticeably due to the process of ageing. Also, certain health conditions and chemotherapy, radiation therapy or prostate cancr treatment can impair and drop the levels of testosterone.
There are various means to boost low testosterone levels naturally. For instance, performing regular exercises like Kettlebell, and short high-intensity cardiovascular workouts can both help revved up testosterone levels. A diet rich in Zinc, Magnesium and other micronutrients also offer a boost (read our article on boosting testosterone levels for more)
Obesity:

penis shrinkage

Obesity is not just about the overall weight concerns, but the build-up of fats around the belly area, or waist size causes the penis retracts inward. As the fat tissues in the waistline goes outward as it builds up, down lower where the penis is located retract in an inward direction. This is a natural pull of tissues below the belly area causing the penis to go inside or inward resulting to a smaller and shorter penis size.
The good news is if you could start losing that fat build-up, penis size also starts to come back out. A small change of losing an inch in waist size can be a great help on gaining back that penile shrinkage or shortening!. Also, losing the unwanted extra fats around the belly can be of huge benefits to overall health, as well. Mid rif obessity is also an indicator of cardiovascular disease.

Treatment of Penis Shrinkage

The loss of penis size treatments would be based on the underlying root cause of the problem. Men who are experiencing tissue loss are highly encouraged to consult with their doctor/urologist in order to be diagnosed the real root cause of the problem. In a situation where a decreased blood circulation is the cause, lifestyle changes such as eating healthy particularly non-inflammatory diet, losing weight and maintaining it at an ideal or healthy level, and taking medications for a heart-related disease can help to restore depleted tissue. So, talk to your doctor about these matters.

 

Furthermore, men experiencing a Low-T may opt for hormone therapy. It is important to note that there are certain side effects or health risks that should be weighed in this situation when taking hormone replacement therapy. There is also natural supplementation that encourages the production of HGH(human growth hormone) that when combined with a healthy lifestyle can be effective. There are also numerous other alternatives for treating issues associated with the penile connective tissue. In some instances, men experienced significant progress when taking or having treatment with vitamin E, while in some cases, surgical procedures are required and even putting penile implant or prosthesis is recommended by the doctor.

 

 

External Means Of Penile Nourishment:
Aside from the possible solutions mentioned earlier, regularly applying certain penile cosmetics containing vital nutrients may provide additional health benefits to the penis. There are various penile creams that are formulated with specific vitamins that can enhance penile health. Some of the components included in these penis creams or oils may help the penis regenerating tissue growth.
By regular application and making it a part of a daily routine, men who have penile shrinkage issues can take the full benefits of these vital nutrients that are directly applied to the penile shaft skin. Among these common nutrients that are proven to work when applied externally includes Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E. These are also useful when it comes to antioxidants, moisturizer, and tissue-building amino acids. These vitamins are also considered natural male-enhancing nutrients.
Improving Lifestyle:
 
Your lifestyle can be dramatically improved by tweaking a few aspects of it and increasing vitality and health levels. This will help to boost your erections, make your penis seem bigger and help you to feel confident again.
*Eat more organic food and avoid packaged food that has come into contact with plastic. Some plastics actually leech chemicals which can have a dampening effect on male testosterone levels.
*Reduce your intake of white carbs and eat more vegetables, lean white meats, eggs and fish.
*Get into shape and detoxify your body in whatever way possible. You could go on a juice fast, go vegetarian for a few weeks or simply drink lots of water.
The causes of your penis shrinking are probably more to do with male hormones rather than any disease or problem you think you may have.

 

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Lastly, typical penis enlargement devices like penis pumps and penis extenders are also good when use appropriately to restore penile length due to shrinkage.
SOURCES:
 
 
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Diet Therapy of Diseases

DIET MANAGEMENT OF ALZHEIMERS DISEASE

alzheimers disease
I recently accompanied my aunt to see an old relative who suffers from Alzheimers Disease. Her state was so pitiful and she had degenerated so much that my aunt teared up. A virtual shadow of herself and unrecognizable. This hit me real bad and I decided to do something on it. I hope you are well educated  by this.
Alzheimer’s Disease:
alzheimers disease
Like all types of dementia, Alzheimers is caused by brain cell death.3 It is a neurodegenerative disease, which means there is spontaneous brain cell death that happens over a course of time.
The total brain size shrinks with Alzheimers – the tissue has progressively fewer nerve cells and connections thereby reducing it’s efficiency. There are some predisposing factors such as age, lifestyle and diet (we’d get to that later).
A recent research study found that age related decline could start as early as 45, crazy isn’t it?. The good news is that a number of encouraging research avenues indicate that risk of dementia and Alzheimers could be reduced in the early stages by a comprehensive optimum nutrition approach, yes I highlighted that on purpose until you all learn that virtually every ailment can be linked to dietThe strongest evidence to date relates to raised homocysteine levels, which both predicts risk and can cause the kind of brain damage seen in Alzheimers, caused by lack of B vitamins, especially B12 which is progressively malabsorbed with age.Homocysteine is a neurotoxin, capable of directly damaging the medial temporal lobe, which is the area of the brain that rapidly degenerates in AD. Homocysteine is easily lowered with common B vitamins, gottn from veggies and fruits.
Other nutritional solutions which research suggest can affect cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s risk include omega 3s (DHA), antioxidants such as Vitamin E (due to the inflammatory nature of Alzheimer’s) and acetylcholine which is a key part of memory function (which is usually deficient in Alzheimer’s cases).
 
Role of Nutrients and PhytoNutrients:
 
Omega-3 fats:
alzheimers disease
Omega-3 fats are mostly found in carnivorous, cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel. According to a study by Dr. Martha Morris and colleagues at Chicago’s Rush Institute for Healthy Aging, eating fish once a week reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 60 per cent.
Antioxidants:
 
Inflammatory reactions basically mean increased production of oxidants, and hence an increased need for antioxidants like vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E, all of which have been shown to be low in those with Alzheimer’s. Other bioactive components, including cysteine, glutathione, lipoic acid, anthocyanidins, and co-enzyme Q10 and melatonin may also prove important. In simple terms this means eating a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables – at least six portions a day – and oily fish and seeds.
Stress, Cortisol and Memory Loss:
alzheimers and diet
Under prolonged stress, the body produces the adrenal hormone cortisol. The research of Professor Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University has shown that although cortisol is a powerful anti-inflammatory hormone, raised cortisol can damage the brain. In studies with rats he found that two weeks of induced stress causing raised cortisol levels causes dendrites, (connections between brain cells), to shrink. He believes that brain cell loss in ageing and Alzheimer’s may be, in part, due to high levels of cortisol and recommends that corticosteroid drugs should not be used in Alzheimer’s patients for other medical problems like asthma or arthritis.
 
Why Do Some Foods Induce Memory Loss?
The brain needs its own brand of fuel (exclusively carbohydrate sources of glucose). It requires healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and adequate vitamins and minerals for optimal function. Consuming too little of these foods and too many complex carbohydrates, processed foods and sugar stimulates the production of toxins in the body. Those toxins can lead to inflammation, the build-up of plaques in the brain and, as a result, impaired cognitive function.
These effects apply to people of all ages, not just elders.
 
Foods That Induce Memory Loss:
alzheimers disease
 
Unfortunately, the foods that hamper memory are common staples in the modern diet. White breads, pasta, processed meats and cheeses, all of these have been linked to Alzheimers disease. Some experts have even found that whole grain breads are as bad as white breads because they spike blood sugar, which causes inflammation! (I know right! )
Here’s a list of foods linked to increased rates of Alzheimer’s disease:
*Processed cheeses, including American cheese, mozzarella sticks, Cheez Whiz and Laughing Cow. These foods build up proteins in the body that have been associated with Alzheimer’s.
*Processed meats, such as bacon, smoked turkey from the deli counter and ham. Smoked meats like these contain nitrosamines, which cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.
 
Beer. Most beers contain nitrites, which have been linked to Alzheimers.
alzheimers disease
*White foods, including pasta, cakes, white sugar, white rice and white bread. Consuming these causes a spike in insulin production and sends toxins to the brain.
*Microwave popcorn contains diacetyl, a chemical that may increase amyloid plaques in the brain. Research has linked a buildup of amyloid plaques to Alzheimer’s disease.
Foods That Boost Memory:
 
Changing dietary habits is never easy. However, avoiding foods that induce memory loss and eating more of the foods that boost memory improves your chances of enjoying all-around health.
Here’s the list of foods that help boost memory:
alzheimers disease
*Leafy green vegetables
*Salmon and other cold-water fish
*Berries and dark-skinned fruits
*Coffee and chocolate
*Extra virgin olive oil
*Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
Feeding Tips:
 
Now we know that Alzheimers disease patients require extra care, patience and attention. Providing a healthy diet regimen without getting it into them would be highly ineffective. Here are some ways to get through to Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Provide an adequate diet with a variety of foods.
Offer vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein foods.
Limit foods with high saturated fat and cholesterol.
Some fat is essential for health — but not all fats are healthy. Go light on fats that are bad for heart health, such as butter, solid shortening, lard and fatty cuts of meats.
 

Cut down on refined sugars:

Often found in processed foods, refined sugars contain calories but lack vitamins, minerals and fiber. You can tame a sweet tooth with healthier options like fruit or juice-sweetened baked goods. But note that in the later-stages of Alzheimer’s, if loss of appetite is a problem, adding sugar to food may encourage eating.
 

Limit foods with high sodium and minimize salt.

Most people consume more sodium than recommended, which affects blood pressure. Cut down by using spices or herbs to season food as an alternative.
As the disease progresses, loss of appetite (anorexia) and weight loss may become concerns. In such cases, the doctor may suggest supplements between meals to add calories.
Staying hydrated may be a problem as well. Encourage fluids by offering small cups of water or other liquids throughout the day or foods with high water content, such as fruit, soups, milkshakes and smoothies.
 

Possible Causes of Poor Appetite:

 
Understand that the patient is not conscious of their decisions and that you need to be tolerant of their actions.

Not recognizing food: The person may no longer recognize the foods you put on his or her plate.

Poor fitting dentures. Eating may be painful, but the person may not be able to tell you this. Make sure dentures fit and visit the dentist regularly.

Medications. New medications or a dosage change may affect appetite. If you notice a change, contact the physician.
Not enough exercise. Energy Lack of physical activity will decrease appetite. Encourage simple exercise, such as going for a walk, gardening or washing dishes.
Decreased sense of smell and taste. The person with dementia may not eat because food may not smell or taste as good as it once did.
Ways of Limiting distractions while Eating:
 
*Serve meals in quiet surroundings, away from the television and other distractions.
*Keep the table setting simple.
*Avoid placing items on the table — such as table arrangements or plastic fruit — that might distract or confuse the person. Use only the utensils needed for the meal.
*Distinguish food from the plate.
*Changes in visual and spatial abilities may make it tough for someone with dementia to distinguish food from the plate or the plate from the table. It can help to use white plates or bowls with a contrasting color placemat. Avoid patterned dishes, tablecloths and placemats.
*Check the food temperature. A person with dementia might not be able to tell if something is too hot to eat or drink. Always test the temperature of foods and beverages before serving.
*Serve only one or two foods at a time. Too many foods at once may be overwhelming. Simplify by serving one dish at a time. For example, mashed potatoes followed by meat.
*Be flexible to food preferences. Keep long-standing personal preferences in mind when preparing food, and be aware that a person with dementia may suddenly develop new food preferences or reject foods that were liked in the past.
*Give the person plenty of time to eat. Remind him or her to chew and swallow carefully. Keep in mind that it may take an hour or longer to finish eating.
*Eat together. Make meals an enjoyable social event so everyone looks forward to the experience. Research suggests that people eat better when they are in the company of others.
Keep in mind the person may not remember when or if he or she ate.
*If the person continues to ask about eating breakfast, consider serving several breakfasts — juice, followed by toast, followed by cereal.

Sources:

http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-01-02/foods-that-induce-memory-loss/
M. Morris, et al.. Consumption of fish and n-3 fatty acids and risk of incident Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol, vol 60, pp. 940-946 (2003)
S. Seshadri et al. Plasma homocysteine as a risk factor for dementia and AD. N Engl J Med, vol 346(7), pp. 476-483. (2002)
P. S. Sachdev et al.. Relationship between plasma homocysteine levels and brain atrophy in healthy elderly individuals. Neurology vol 58, pp. 1539-1541 (2002)
S. J. Duthie, et al.. Homocysteine, B vitamin status, and cognitive function in the elderly. Am J Clin Nutr, vol  75(5), pp. 908-913 (2002)
https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-food-eating.asp
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General Research

NUTRIGENOMICS : THE UNDERDOG OF NUTRITION

Nutrigenomics

                               What is Nutrigenomics:

Nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics , as the name suggests simply implies how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients (and other naturally occurring compounds like phytonutrients) in our food. Nutrigenomics has received much attention recently because of its potential for preventing, mitigating, or treating chronic disease, and some cancers, through small but highly informative dietary changes. The conceptual basis for this new branch of genomic research can best be summarized by the following five strongholds of nutrigenomics:
*Under certain circumstances and in some individuals, diet can be a serious risk factor for a number of diseases.
*Common nutrients can act on the human genome, either directly or indirectly, to alter gene expression or structure.
*The degree to which diet influences the balance between healthy and disease states may depend on an individual’s genetic makeup.
*Some diet-regulated genes (and their normal, common variants) are likely to play a role in the onset, incidence, progression, and/or severity of chronic diseases.
*Dietary intervention based on knowledge of nutritional requirement, nutritional status, and genotype (i.e personalized nutrition) can be used to prevent, ameliorate or cure chronic disease.
 

Nutrigenomics as a branch of Nutrition:

Nutrigenomics
The promise of nutritional genomics is personalized medicine and health based upon an understanding of our nutritional needs, nutritional and health status, and our genotype. Nutrigenomics will also have impacts on society from medicine to agricultural and dietary practices to social and public policies and its applications are likely to exceed that of even the human genome project. Chronic diseases (and some types of cancer) may be preventable, or at least delayed, by balanced, sensible diets. Knowledge gained from comparing diet/gene interactions in different populations may provide information needed to address the larger problem of epidemics and malnutrition.
Nutrition and Genes:

nutrigenomics

“Personalised” nutrition hinges on a two-way relationship between nutrients and genes. On the one hand, the nutrients we consume can affect the way our genes are expressed; on the other, our genes are able to influence how our bodies respond and utilize to nutrients.
The goal for nutrigenomic scientists is to unravel this complex interaction so that tailored diets can be developed which complement a person’s unique genetic profile. Not only will this optimise the health of the individual, but it may also work on a larger scale to help prevent society-wide diseases such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and malnutrition.
A perfect example of genetically predisposed disease is inflammatory bowel disease (or IBM). Inflammatory bowel disease refers to both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, two inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammatory bowel disease has a complex aetiology; a genetically determined susceptibility interacting with environmental factors, including nutrients and gut microbiota.
 
Diet and Exercise:
nutrigenomics
Exercise modulates genes involved in energy metabolism, insulin response and inflammation. Dietary nutrients modulate the same genes. Both can stimulate BDNF (Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor). Together, they bring energy provision to the brain, improving neuronal function and brain plasticity. It’s a synergistic relationship — they work in tandem, not alone. For instance, combining exercise with a DHA-enriched diet enhances cognitive function; coupled with a flavonoid-rich diet, it protects the brain from inflammation and cell death. Even with a diet rich in saturated fats, exercise can reduce the decline in brain plasticity induced by a poor diet.
While there’s on-going research on food, cooking and diets, our bodies remain hard-wired to environmental changes that once predicted our survival or extinction. Poor dietary and exercise lifestyle affects us deeply. And this “gene” gets passed down from generation to generation. So that old saying “you are what you eat” may need rephrasing. Perhaps, “You are what your fathers’ ate” is more fitting. The better informed we are about our food choices, the better we can preserve not only our own health, but that of future generations.
Nutrigenomics
A large number of different dietary approaches have been studied in an attempt to achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss among individuals with overweight and obesity. Restriction of energy intake is the primary method of producing a negative energy balance leading to weight loss. However, owing to the different metabolic roles of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids in energy homeostasis, diets of similar overall energy content but with different macronutrient distribution can differentially affect metabolism, appetite and thermogenesis. Evidence increasingly suggests that the fuel values of calories provided by distinct macronutrients should be considered separately, as metabolism of specific molecular components generates differences in energy yield. The causes of variation in individual responses to various diets are currently under debate, and some evidence suggests that differences are associated with specific genotypes. Recent research suggests there are roles played by the macronutrient composition of food on weight management. There are indications that personalized nutrition is a wholesome package consisting of interactions of macronutrient intake and genetic background and its potential influence on dietary intervention strategies.

Sources:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/7129758
Martinez, J. A. Body-weight regulation: causes of obesity. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 59, 337–345 (2000).
CASISIPubMedArticle
Galgani, J. & Ravussin, E. Energy metabolism, fuel selection and body weight regulation. Int. J. Obes. (Lond.) 32, S109–S119 (2008).
http://www.nature.com/nrendo/journal/v10/n12/full/nrendo.2014.175.html
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Uncategorized

HOW TO DEAL WITH MENOPAUSE

Okay, some years back I noticed my mum got irritable. I mean a real monster to live with. I thought she got tired of living with us. Then it clicked. She was going through the great change and instantly I felt pity for her. Just recently a friend complained of same from an aunt and bearing on the general conception that every ailment of man hinges on diet and can be helped by the same.
What is Menopause :
Menopause is basically when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
Periods usually start to become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop altogether. Sometimes they can stop suddenly. Menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline.
However, around 1 in 100 women experience the menopause before 40 years of age. This is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency.
Symptoms of Menopause:

Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities (makes sense now!).
Common symptoms include:
*Hot flushes
*Night sweats
*Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
*Difficulty sleeping
*Depression or anxiety
*Low libido
*short term memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around four years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
Dietary Approaches to Managing Menopause:
Sugar Consumption:

Hormonal fluctuations can affect the body’s ability to maintain stable blood sugar levels, so reducing sugar intake is a major component to weight loss and maintenance. But an all-or-nothing approach is not the way to go when it comes to the sweet stuff, says Gibbs. While the women in her study who reduced their sugar intake lost the most weight, and had maintained that loss 4 years after the study began, she’s quick to say that these women reduced their sugar intake—they didn’t eliminate it altogether, which is a tough habit to keep up with (and can lead to binges). Refined sugars, like those in cookies and cakes, are the ones you should reduce. Keep the natural sugars that are found in fruit as your main source of sweetness.

Fat Free Foods:
Fat-free or reduced-fat foods are bad news for post menopausal women for a few reasons.
1.) They keep you from eating the healthy fats your body needs to combat heart disease, which postmenopausal women may be at increased risk of due to a combination of reduced estrogen, poor diet, and lack of exercise.
2.) With many fat-free foods, including salad dressings and peanut butter, you’re gaining in sugar what you’re losing in fat, which is not good for weight control, energy, and overall health. Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, a Boston-based nutritionist who works with postmenopausal women on weight management issues, advises sticking with minimally processed, plant-based sources of fat that are rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, and omega-3s, such as nuts, fish, and avocados. These fats are even correlated with colon cancer prevention; some studies have shown an increased risk of this type of cancer among postmenopausal women who do not use hormone replacement therapy.

Calcium Supplementation :

It’s often advisable to get your nutrients (calcium inclusive) from natural foods e.g diary and diary products. Supplements are to be reserved for increased requirement cases such as osteoporosis and other bone issues and may not be necessary for a woman on a healthy diet. Excessive calcium intake carries health risks including kidney stones, constipation, and probably heart disease. Women are wise to protect their bones with a calcium-rich diet including foods like dark green leafy vegetables and dairy (even nondairy milks like almond or coconut milks are fortified with calcium). Another way to protect yourself is with resistance-based exercises that put bones under healthy stress to maintain their strength.
Red Wine:

How much wine is in a “glass” of wine? Many people “forget” that the actual serving size is a half-cup in a liquid measure. This means that many of us inadvertently exceed the recommendation of no more than one glass of an alcoholic beverage per day to reduce stroke risk and lower breast cancer risk, both issues of high concern for postmenopausal women. “Red wine in moderation isn’t necessarily bad for you, but it’s not the health food many women think it is,” says Kennedy. And for the record, the serving size for beer is 355 ml, and for hard liquor or spirits, the serving size is 44 mls.
Limit Fat Intake:
As age advances, there’s an increase in risk of certain diseases such as heart problems and diabetes usually due to hormone imbalances. The plan is not to cut fat totally out but to limit intake to healthy unsaturated sources. Fat should provide 25% to 35% or less of your total daily calories. Also, limit saturated fat to less than 7% of your total daily calories. Saturated fat raises cholesterol and boosts your risk for heart disease. It’s found in fatty meats, whole milk, ice cream, and cheese. Limit cholesterol to 300 milligrams or less per day. And watch out for trans fats, found in vegetable oils, many baked goods, and some margarine. Trans fat also raises cholesterol and increases your risk for heart disease.
Viewing Soy as a Miracle Food:

Soy is often touted a postmenopause wonder; it’s a plant-based source of protein and fiber that contains compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in your body. In its whole-food forms, like edamame, tofu, or miso, soy does deliver on these healthful promises. But seeing “soy” or “soy protein” on a food label doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthy food. Protein powders or other highly processed soy products are far more concentrated than natural soy, and they can be risky for women with thyroid issues or a history of breast cancer because their hormone-like properties can raise the risks of estrogen-based cancers. (Stick with these protein powders for your smoothies). Although by acting in a similar way to oestrogen, they may help in keeping hormones a little more in balance. A high intake of phytoestrogens is thought to explain why hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms rarely occur in populations consuming a predominantly plant-based diet.It just should not be over done.
Pump up Your Iron:
Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods a day. Iron is found in lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and enriched grain products. The recommended dietary allowance for iron in older women is 8 milligrams a day.

Get enough fiber:Help yourself to foods high in fiber, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Most adult women should get about 21 grams of fiber a day. This helps to keep your gut healthy and eases bowel movement.
Associated Care Plans:
Eating your Feelings:
The transition into menopause can be emotionally intense, and many women fall into the habit of eating to self-soothe during that tumultuous time. Those habits can remain in place postmenopause, leading to weight gain, low energy, and unmanaged emotions. The first thing to do is recognize that what you are passing through is totally normal and try to replace food with healthier, mind stimulating habits. Exercising, talking to friends, volunteering in your community, practicing mindfulness meditation or yoga, and working with a therapist are all great strategies for emotional wellness.
Dry skin
Legumes, nuts and seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, almonds contain vitamin E, zinc and calcium. These nutrients and the oils in nuts and seeds may help prevent dry skin and normalise hormone levels.
Depression and irritability:
Ensure you eat enough protein foods which contain the amino acid tryptophan. You can find it in turkey, cottage cheese, oats and legumes. Tryptophan helps manufacture the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin helps moods and may help control sleep and appetite which can make you feel better in yourself. Other useful strategies to help you feel less irritable are to eat breakfast and not miss meals to balance your blood sugar.
Hot flushes
Avoid foods that are likely to trigger or worsen hot flushes and night sweats. For instance, avoid stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and chocolate and spicy foods, especially at night – they’re notorious for setting off hot flushes. A high intake of tryptophan containing foods could also help in abating hot flushes.
Tiredness:
Avoid snacking on sugary foods – all too often a sharp rise in your blood glucose level may be followed by a sharp dip which leaves you feeling tired and drained. Choose fresh fruit with a few nuts instead.
Finally, I may never have a personal experience on this subject but motivation and conscious decision to avoid triggers and fall outs of menopause would definitely help a great deal. Embrace the natural process you are going through and determine to make the best of it. Eat healthy, lots of exercise and water and stimulate your mind and you would find little or no consequence in menopause. Goodluck!
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KIDNEY STONES

I recently knew two people that suffered from kidney stones. They were in agonizing pain. So I decided to look into it a bit. 
What are the functions of the kidneys? The kidneys filter the blood to remove excess mineral salts and other dissolvable wastes. The kidneys also produce the urine that dissolves these wastes and excretes them through the urinary tract. Kidney stones form when the urine becomes so saturated with certain minerals that no more of it can dissolve into the urine (like trying to dissolve too much sugar in your iced tea). The undissolved portion of the minerals form crystals that then clump together and grow into hard stones. Kidney stones usually develop in the kidneys. However they can form anywhere in the urinary tract. This condition is medically known as urolithiasis or nephrolithiasis.

When kidney stones are small, they may pass unnoticed with the urine. Sometimes, they grow too large to pass easily through the urinary tract, and some stones have rough or sharp edges. When these stones are passing through the urinary tract, it can cause pain. In some cases, kidney stones cannot pass on their own, and treatment with specialized medical equipment, dietary adjustments or surgery may be necessary.

For most people, kidney stones can recurr. Therefore, a major part of the treatment for this condition is aimed at preventing recurrences. There are various types of kidney stones. Because treatment for each differs, it is important for the professional to determine the stone’s mineral content and to identify any medical conditions that may have contributed to stone formation. Preventive treatment may be with medications and/or changes in the diet.

About 80% of all kidney stones are composed of calcium and other minerals, usually a combination of calcium and oxalate. In some cases dietary adjustments help to prevent the recurrence of these types of stones.

How does diet affect the risk of developing kidney stones?
Kidney stones can form when substances in the urine—such as calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus—become highly concentrated. The body uses food for energy and tissue repair. After the body uses what it needs, waste products in the bloodstream are carried to the kidneys and excreted as urine. Diet is one of several factors that can promote or inhibit kidney stone formation. Certain foods may promote stone formation in people who are susceptible, but scientists do not believe that eating any specific food causes stones to form in people who are not susceptible. Other factors that affect kidney stone formation include genes, environment, body weight, and fluid intake.

The best way to prevent kidney stones is to make sure you drink plenty of water each day to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Keeping your urine diluted helps to stop waste products getting too concentrated and forming stones.
One can tell how diluted their urine is by looking at its colour. The darker your urine is, the more concentrated it is.
Your urine is usually a dark yellow colour in the morning because it contains a build-up of waste products that your body has produced overnight.
Drinks such as tea, coffee and fruit juice can count towards your fluid intake, but water is the healthiest option and is best for preventing kidney stones developing.
You should also make sure you drink more when it’s hot or when you’re exercising, to replenish fluids lost through sweating.
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Diet

If your kidney stone is caused by too much calcium crystals, you are advised to reduce the amount of oxalates in your diet.
Oxalates prevent calcium being absorbed by your body, and can accumulate in your kidney to form stones.
Foods that contain oxalates include:
*beetroot
*asparagus
Arhubarb
*chocolate
*berries
*leeks
*parsley
*celery
*almonds, peanuts and cashew nuts
*soy products
*grains, such as oatmeal, wheat germ and wholewheat
*Garden eggs (although in small amount) 
Don’t reduce the amount of calcium in your diet unless your dietitian advises you to. This is because calcium is very important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. 
To avoid developing a uric acid stone, you should reduce the amount of meat, poultry and fish in your diet. You may also be prescribed medication to change the levels of acid or alkaline in your urine.

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How does animal protein in the diet affect kidney stone formation?
Meat and other animal protein—such as eggs and fish—contain purines, which break down into uric acid in the urine. Foods especially rich in purines include organ meat, such as liver. People who form uric acid stones should limit their meat consumption to 600 grams each day.

Animal protein may also raise the risk of calcium stones by increasing the excretion of calcium and reducing the excretion of citrate into the urine. Citrate prevents kidney stones, but the acid in animal protein reduces the citrate in urine.

How does calcium in the diet affect kidney stone formation?
Calcium from food does not increase the risk of calcium oxalate stones. Calcium in the digestive tract binds to oxalate from food and keeps it from entering the blood, and then the urinary tract, where it can form stones. People who form calcium oxalate stones should include 800 mg of calcium in their diet every day, not only for kidney stone prevention but also to maintain bone density. A cup of low-fat milk contains 300 mg of calcium. Other dairy products such as yogurt are also high in calcium. For people who have lactose intolerance and must avoid dairy products, products such as orange juice fortified with calcium or dairy with reduced lactose content may be alternatives. Calcium supplements may increase the risk of calcium oxalate stones if they are not taken with food.

How does oxalate in the diet affect kidney stone formation?
Some of the oxalate in urine is made by the body. However, eating certain foods with high levels of oxalate can increase the amount of oxalate in the urine thereby increasing risk of kidney stone formation, where it combines with calcium to form calcium oxalate stones. 

Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods. If you tend to form calcium oxalate stones, it is recommended that you restrict foods rich in oxalates. These include rhubarb, beets, okra, garden eggs, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate and soy products.

Choose a diet low in salt and animal protein. Reduce the amount of salt you eat and choose nonanimal protein sources, such as legumes. Consider using a salt substitute.
Continue eating calcium-rich foods, but use caution with calcium supplements. Calcium in food doesn’t have an effect on your risk of kidney stones. Continue eating calcium-rich foods unless your dietitian advises otherwise. Ask your doctor before taking calcium supplements, as these have been linked to increased risk of kidney stones. You may reduce the risk by taking supplements with meals. Diets low in calcium can increase kidney stone formation in some people.
Ask a doctor to refer you to a dietitian who can help you develop an eating plan that reduces your risk of kidney stones.

Medications

Medications can control the amount of minerals and acid in your urine and may be helpful in people who form certain kinds of stones. The type of medication your doctor prescribes will depend on the kind of kidney stones you have. Here are some examples:

Calcium stones. To help prevent calcium stones from forming, your doctor may prescribe a thiazide diuretic or a phosphate-containing preparation.
Uric acid stones. Your doctor may prescribe allopurinol (Zyloprim, Aloprim) to reduce uric acid levels in your blood and urine and a medicine to keep your urine alkaline. In some cases, allopurinol and an alkalizing agent may dissolve the uric acid stones.
Struvite stones. To prevent struvite stones, your doctor may recommend strategies to keep your urine free of bacteria that cause infection. Long-term use of antibiotics in small doses may help achieve this goal. For instance, your doctor may recommend an antibiotic before and for a while after surgery to treat your kidney stones.
Cystine stones. Cystine stones can be difficult to treat. Your doctor may recommend that you drink more fluids so that you produce a lot more urine. If that alone doesn’t help, your doctor may also prescribe a medication that decreases the amount of cystine in your urine.
It is very important that a person with kidney stones to see a dietitian. Dietary adjustments go a long way to not only treat but prevent recurrences and rejuvenate the kidneys.

God bless and heal you and happy birthday to me!!

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