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KETOGENIC DIET: AN ASTONISHING WAY TO LOOSE WEIGHT

A client of mine asked for details of a ketogenic diet. Personally I don’t subscribe to the idea of taking lots of fat while trying to lose fat supposedly. I figured it portends more harm than good for the patient; especially in Nigeria where unsaturated fats sources (which are most ideal for a ketogenic diet) are not really available and expensive when found. So I decided to get comprehensive components, advantages and disadvantages of the diet, so let us talk about it shall we? This is quite comprehensive so kindly forgive it’s lengthy nature.

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STRESS AND NUTRITION: THE CONNECTION

A colleague of mine requested for this article 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!

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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.
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).

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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!

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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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PENIS SHRINKAGE

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).

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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.
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.
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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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 an indicator of cardiovascular disease.
Addressing Loss Of Penile Tissues (Treaatment):
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.

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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.

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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 MANAGEMENT OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

I recently accompanied my aunt to see an old relative who suffers from Alzheimer’s 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:
Like all types of dementia, Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s – 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 Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s, 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:

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:

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?

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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:

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 Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s.
*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:
*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 Alzheimer’s 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 healthyl. 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.

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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. 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.
Limit distractions:

*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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NUTRIGENOMICS: THE UNDERDOG OF NUTRITION

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:
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:

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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:
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 father’s 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.
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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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!
Sources :
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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.
.
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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HEALTH BENEFITS OF CASEIN PROTEIN

What is Casein Protein?

Derived from milk, like whey protein, casein is a naturally more abundant source of branched-chain amino acids . I guess that’s why it’s sometimes simply called “milk protein,” since around 80 percent of the protein found in cow’s milk is casein — and it also makes up 20 to 40% of human breast milk. It’s also abundant in raw sheep cheese, a pure source of casein.
Casein, like whey and other protein foods , is made up of various “building blocks” called essential and non-essential amino acids. The human body is able to make certain amino acids on its own (called non-essential) while others it cannot (called essential), making the essential kinds crucial to get through the foods you eat. Since plant foods don’t always provide the complete set of essential amino acids we need, animal foods — and sometimes convenient protein powders — are one way people make sure they cover their protein bases.
Casein protein powder is created in a lab from dehydrating parts of milk — the problem is that many forms are denatured and isolated, and may cause health issues. It is advisable to find casein protein that is from A2 beta-casein rather than A1 casein (see “Different Types of Casein Protein” below). You can usually find it in most good fitness and might come across a variety of flavors. What you’ll probably notice is that for every brand of casein protein powder available, about five different whey protein powders are also sold.

So what are the benefits of casein-protein?

LONGER LASTING:

Not all proteins are created equal. Whether it’s soy, egg, whey, animal, or casein protein, they all have their own unique advantages. Arguably, casein’s greatest strength is timing. Casein has the ability to provide your bloodstream with a slow and steady flow of amino acids that could last for hours. Muscles may not be built overnight, but drinking a glass of casein-rich milk is the ideal protein to consume right before bed, as it’ll be more helpful throughout the night than any other protein option.

GREATER GAINS
Want to build massive muscles quicker?
According to a Texas study , casein may be an important ingredient to this. Researchers took 36 males performing
heavy resistance training and found that the group consuming a whey and casein combination significantly outperformed participants who were given a combination of whey, BCAAs, and glutamine supplement. Over the course of the 10-week study, the whey and casein combination yielded the greatest increases in lean, fat-free mass. Why take only one form of protein when a combination yields much better results?

FAT LOSS:

Want to improve chances of muscle growth and fat loss? If so, you might be interested to know that a study conducted in the Netherlands found that by multiplying casein intake by two and a half times, participants were able to have a higher metabolic rate while sleeping and a better overall fat balance. Also of note is that satiety levels were 33% higher. In other words, by taking casein you’ll not only be increasing fat loss , but you’ll do so on a fuller stomach.

GREATER STRENGTH:

Ask any guy what his workout goals are and increased strength is almost always on the wish list. Often, to help get there quicker, people supplement using whey protein. In a Massachusetts study , researchers found that casein actually doubled the effect that whey protein had on legs, chest, and shoulder strength results. Researchers believe the reason for the significant difference was because of casein’s well-known anti-catabolic abilities. The next time you’re thinking of having a late-night snack, make it a casein shake.

DENTAL PROTECTION:

What makes you cringe more: The thought of the dental chair or the accompanying invoice? According to a study conducted in the United Kingdom, one way to help prevent a more expensive dental visit might be to consume casein. Their research found that casein proteins have the potential to reduce or prevent the effects of enamel erosion. So if you drink a lot of fruit juices, sweeteners or sugary substances, or just can’t kick the soft drink habit, at least consider protecting your teeth by adding some casein protein to your diet.

FOODS HIGH IN CASEIN:

While you can get casein from casein supplements you can also get a substantial amount from food sources. Casein is highest in dairy products like milk, cheese, cream, and yogurt and generally diary derivatives. Casein is also found in some fish like tuna, although in much smaller quantities than dairy products.

CASEIN CONTENT IN MILK:

Milk is one of the highest sources of casein available as roughly 80% of milk proteins are casein. So if you drink an 800mls glass of milk that has roughly 12 grams of protein, you get about 9.6 grams of casein based proteins. That is quite a lot!

WHAT ARE CASEIN HYDROLYSATE AND MICELLAR CASEIN?

MICELLAR CASEIN:

Micellar casein is the least adulterated form of supplemental casein. It is left in its “intact” molecular structure. This is important as it then is digested in a series of enzymatic and nonenzymatic processes in the body to encourage slow breakdown and absorption by the body.

HYDROLYZED CASEIN:

Hydrolyzed casein is simply micellar casein that has been broken down into smaller peptides by “hydrolyzing” the bonds. This process occurs just like it does in whey where it can be broken down using enzymes or acids. If you decide to go with hydrolyzed casein for some of the reasons we mention below, definitely go with the hydrolyzed as the acid makes it incredibly bitter.
Typically, hydrolyzed casein will be substantially more expensive than micellar casein due to the processing and extra steps in manufacturing. There doesn’t appear to be any magical properties of hydrolyzed casein over hydrolyzed whey. The magic of casein lies in the micellar form so speaking honestly, if you want something hydrolyzed go with a hydrolyzed whey.

Casein AND Whey

Although it might not fly off shelves quite as quickly as whey, casein protein is actually very similar to whey in more ways than one. Like whey, casein protein comes from dairy and is actually the primary protein found in cow’s milk. Unlike whey protein, however, it digests slower due to a complex interaction with stomach acids. This results in a slower release of essential proteins and amino acids, which makes casein the preferred supplement in situations when a slow release of nutrients is beneficial (like before bed when you’re going 7-10 hours without food).
This same benefit is also thought to make casein protein a less optimal supplement post-workout (when you want nutrients quickly). However, research indicates this might not be as big of a deal as we thought. In many cases, whey and casein can be interchangeable , St. Pierre says. “Honestly, it’s pretty much an equal substitute. The research that compares whey to caseins post-workout is equivocal,” he says. You can stock up on both. But, according to St. Pierre, “Your total protein intake far outweighs anything else.” While that total amount will vary from person to person, the experts at Precision Nutrition recommend taking in 0.6-0.9 grams per pound of bodyweight depending on activity levels (more active individuals need more protein).

Casein Protein vs. Whey Protein

For athletes, or really anyone who’s pretty active, protein is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to muscle recovery, repairment and growth. While most people living in developed nations are far from suffering a protein deficiency, keep in mind that protein requirements increase the more active you become, and they’re especially high when you regularly lift weights or do other types of lengthy training.

While you might think that protein powders are only for serious lifters, bulky men or pro athletes, nearly everyone can benefit from supplementing workouts with the right mix of nutrients — and protein powders simply make this easier to do.
Whey protein and casein protein also differ in terms of their bioavailability and effects on muscle synthesis. Although whey protein has many of the same benefits, it’s believed to cause more of a fast “amino acid spike” compared to casein. When the body is flooded with more protein that it can use at one time, it’s possible for some to be flushed out through urine, oxidized or generally wasted.

However, this isn’t always a bad thing — different types of proteins have their upsides — so don’t go writing off whey protein just yet. There are certainly benefits to consuming both faster- and slower-releasing proteins; it really just comes down to your goals and schedule.

At the molecular level, within a protein source like casein various amino acids are branched together. Casein protein has a lower percentage of branched-chain amino acid compared to whey protein, which is one reason it’s slower to digest and also tends to work for longer. Because of its utilization and timing, casein increases protein synthesis a bit less than whey does.

On the plus side, it better stops the body from breaking down amino acids it already has available within your muscles. Whey protein also has more sulfur than casein, which can also change the way the body uses it. Compared to casein, whey is a fast protein source, which means it provides amino acids quickly after ingestion — however they also leave the body sooner than when you consume casein.

In theory, the two should work differently to affect body composition, however not every study has shown this to be true. For example, researchers from the Metabolism Unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch found that short-term ingestion of both whey and casein after exercise resulted in similar increases in muscle protein net balance. They didn’t actually result in differences in muscle protein synthesis despite different patterns of blood amino acid responses.

If all of this chemistry seems a bit confusing, here’s the bottom line on casein vs. whey. Both casein and whey protein can supplement your workouts well and include all the essential amino acids you need, but whey has more branched-chain amino acids and, therefore, might be slightly better at facilitating muscle protein synthesis.

The good news is this: After comparing the effects of both proteins on body composition and performance in female athletes, researchers from the Exercise and Performance Nutrition Laboratory at the University of South Florida found that whey and casein had similar positive effects. Females were found to experience benefits using both supplements, including an increase in performance markers from consuming protein after resistance training and a decreased body fat composition.

SOURCES:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/casein-protein

http://dailyburn.com/life/health/best-protein-powder-whey-casein-vegan/

http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/supplements/5-benefits-of-casein-protein

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF WHEY PROTEIN

While at the gym last Friday I encountered a young man who had heard plenty about the effect of whey proteins in muscle building. He asked me to affirm and I told him the much I could. It struck me then that plenty people don’t know much about whey and it’s health benefits. Where is whey contained and what does it do for you?. Milk is made of two proteins, casein and whey and right here we are going to focus on whey. Casein would come later. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making.

Whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content. People commonly use it as a supplement, alongside resistance exercise, to help improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean tissue mass.

Whey protein is a mixture of the following:

*Beta-lactoglobulin
*Alpha-lactalbumin
*Bovine serum albumin
*Immunoglobins.

Whey Protein Types:

There are three primary types of whey protein :
Whey protein concentrate (WPC), 
Whey protein isolate (WPI), and 
Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH). 

Whey protein concentrate : WPC contains low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates (lactose). The percentage of protein in WPC depends on how concentrated it is. Lower end concentrates tend to have 30% protein and higher end up to 90%

Whey protein isolate:  WPIs are further processed to remove all the fat and lactose. WPI is usually at least 90% protein

Whey protein hydrolysate: WPH is considered to be the “predigested” form of whey protein as it has already undergone partial hydrolysis – a process necessary for the body to absorb protein. WPH doesn’t require as much digestion as the other two forms of whey protein. In addition, it is commonly used in medical protein supplements and infant formulas because of it’s improved digestibility and reduced allergen potential.

How is whey protein produced?

When milk is left over and coagulates, it eventually turns into a 5% solution of lactose in water, loaded with minerals. This leftover by-product, called whey, makes up 20% of the protein in milk, the other 80% is called casein (the curds in cottage cheese). The liquid whey is separated from the casein and sent through filters to remove all non-whey ingredients. It is then purified in a process called “ion exchange”.

The final step is removing the water from the whey by turning it into a powder at a drying tower. The protein powder is then ready to be packaged and consumed.

Possible Health Benefits of Whey Protein

There are many benefits associated with the consumption of whey protein, and researchers are constantly finding new possible therapeutic properties. Please Note that many of these potential benefits are based on single studies and more evidence is required before making definitive judgement.

Whey Protein Promotes Muscle Growth

Muscle mass naturally declines with age. This usually leads to fat gain and raises the risk of many chronic diseases associated with obessity including high blood pressure and diabetes. However, this adverse change in body composition can be partly slowed, prevented, or reversed with a combination of proper exercise and adequate diet. Strength training coupled with the consumption of high-protein foods or protein supplements has been shown to be an effective preventive strategy. Particularly effective are high-quality protein sources, such as whey, which is rich in a branched-chain amino acid called leucine which is the most growth-promoting (anabolic) of the amino acids.

For this reason, whey protein is effective for the prevention of age-related muscle loss, as well as for improved strength and a better-looking body. Whey protein has been shown to be slightly better compared to other types of protein, such as casein or soy.

Lowering Cholesterol

According to a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, “there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol at week 12 in the whey group compared with the casein (group).”

Asthma

Whey protein could improve immune response in children with asthma. A study  published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, found that children with asthma who were supplemented with whey for one month had an improved cytokine response.

Whey Protein May Lower Blood Pressure

Abnormally high blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease and numerous studies have linked the consumption of dairy products with reduced blood pressure. This effect could been attributed to a family of bioactive peptides in milk, so-called “angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors” (ACE-inhibitors). In whey proteins, the ACE-inhibitors are called lactokinins. Several animal studies have demonstrated their beneficial effects on blood pressure.

A limited number of human studies have investigated the effect of whey proteins on blood pressure anyway, and many experts consider the evidence to be inconclusive. One study in overweight individuals showed that whey protein supplementation, 54 g/day for 12 weeks, lowered systolic blood pressure by 4%. Casein  has similar effects .

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Whey Protein May Enhance the Body’s Antioxidant Defenses

Antioxidants are substances that act against oxidation in the body, reducing oxidative stress and cutting the risk of various chronic diseases. One of the most important antioxidants in humans is glutathione.

Unlike most antioxidants we get from the diet, glutathione is produced by the body. In the body, glutathione production depends on the supply of several amino acids, such as cysteine, which is sometimes of limited supply. For this reason, high-cysteine foods, such as whey protein, may boost the body’s natural antioxidant defenses . A number of studies in both humans and rodents have discovered that whey proteins may reduce oxidative stress and increase levels of glutathione 

Whey Protein is Highly Satiating (Filling), Which May Help Reduce Hunger and Aid Weight Loss.

Satiety is a term used to describe the feeling of fullness we experience after eating a meal. It is the opposite of appetite and hunger, and should suppress cravings for food and the desire to eat. Some foods are more satiating than others, an effect which is partly mediated by their macronutrient (protein, carb, fat) composition of which protein is by far the most filling of the three. However, not all proteins have the same effect on satiety. Whey protein appears to be more satiating than other types of protein, such as casein and soy.
These properties make it particularly useful for those who need to eat fewer calories and lose weight.

A study published in the journal Clinical and Investigative Medicine1 found that whey protein may help reduce weight loss among HIV-positive patients.

Recent developments on whey protein:

The beneficial effects of whey on diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in obese adults
New evidence shores up findings that whey protein, which is found in milk and cheese, could have health benefits for people who are obese and do not yet have diabetes. The study, which appears in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research, examined how different protein sources affect metabolism.
*Whey protein consumption may lead to significant decreases in body weight and body fat and significant increases in lean body mass .

*Research published in the March/April 2014 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that whey protein, either as a supplement combined with resistance exercise or as part of a weight-loss or weight-maintenance diet, may provide men and women benefits related to body composition.

*Researchers from Tel Aviv University have suggested that consuming whey protein before meals may reduce blood sugar spikes. Specifically, they state that a whey protein drink before breakfast can help control erratic glucose levels associated with type 2 diabetes.

Whey Protein Risks?

Generally, most of the complications associated with whey protein intake have to do with digestive issues, such as bloating, headaches, cramps and fatigue. None of these are generally considered life-threatening, more so than annoying complications. Most of the literature has shown that if you’re experiencing any of have these symptoms, they are most likely due to either the lactose (found more in Whey Protein Concentrate) or sweeteners used more so than the whey protein itself. With that said, there are different methods of whey production, such as ion-exchanged that can influence how well your body can utilize the protein, leading to improper digestion of the whey itself.

The biggest fear often expressed about whey protein intake is that too much protein is “bad for the kidneys.” Research though has shown this is not true at all in healthy individuals. For those with known kidney disease, high protein diets can exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Healthy individuals, without any underlying or unknown kidney disease have nothing to worry about with higher intakes of protein. What does occur with higher protein intakes is your body adapts to the increase in protein by increasing glomerular filtration rates (which means more fluid passes by your kidneys and there’s an increase in urine production).

Sources:

https://draxe.com/casein-protein/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-health-benefits-of-whey-protein/

http://www.builtlean.com/2012/03/16/whey-protein/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263371.php?page=2

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BROCOLLI AND ALL THE FUSS

I had cause to encounter this spongy vegetable recently. Well, I had seen it a lot in the movies and it didn’t leave a good impression. Managed to see it in a vegetable market in Jos and bought it. Funny enough it tasted quite pleasant and rich!.. I went ahead to find out its health benefits and here’s what I found.. Enjoy!

Improving bone health:

Poor vitamin K intake is linked with a high risk of bone fracture. Just one cup of chopped broccoli provides 92 micrograms of vitamin K, well over 100% of your daily need. Consuming an adequate amount of vitamin K daily, improves bone health by improving calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium. Broccoli also contributes to your daily need for calcium, providing 43 milligrams in one cup. Antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form (in fresh produce as opposed to supplement form) can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.

Protection from chronic disease:

According to theDepartment of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program of the University of Kentucky, high fiber intakes are associated with significantly lower risks of developingcoronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.
Increased fiber intake has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve. insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for obese individuals.

Fighting cancer:

Eating a high amount of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of cancer; namely lung andcolon cancer. Studies have suggested that sulforaphane, the sulfur-containing compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite, is also what gives them their cancer-fighting power. Researchers have found that sulforaphane can inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC), known to be involved in the progression of cancer cells. The ability to stop HDAC enzymes could make sulforaphane-containing foods a potentially powerful part of cancer treatment in the future. Sulforaphane is now being studied for its ability to delay or impede cancer with promising results shown inmelanoma, esophageal, prostate andpancreatic cancers.Another important vitamin that broccoli contains,folate, has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer in women. Adequate intake of dietary folate (in food) has also shown promise in protecting against colon, stomach, pancreatic and cervical cancers. Although the mechanism of protection is currently unknown, researchers believe that folate’s protective effects have something to do with its role in DNA and RNA production and the prevention of unwanted mutations. There is no evidence that folate in supplement form provides the same anti-cancer benefits.

Broccoli’s Anti-Inflammatory Benefits:

When threatened with dangerous levels of potential toxins, or dangerous numbers of overly-reactive, oxygen-containing molecules, signals are sent within our body to our inflammatory system, directing it to “kick in” and help protect our body from potential damage. One key signaling device is a molecule called Nf-kappaB. When faced with the type of dangers described above, the NF-kappaB signaling system is used to “rev up” our inflammatory response and increase production of inflammatory components (for example, IL-6, IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, iNOS and COX-2). This process works beautifully in temporary, short-term circumstances when healing from injury is required. When it continues indefinitely at a constant pace, however, it can put us at risk for serious health problems, including the development of cancer.

Research studies have made it clear that the NF-kappaB signaling system that is used to “rev up” our inflammatory response can be significantly suppressed by isothiocyanates (ITCs). ITCs—the compounds made from glucosinolates found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables—actually help to shut down the genetic machinery used to produce NF-kappaB and other components of the inflammatory system. These anti-inflammatory benefits of ITCs have been demonstrated in the laboratory, and with consumption of the ITCs themselves. While they have yet to be demonstrated on consumption of broccoli in an everyday diet, we fully expect future research to show anti-inflammatory benefits from the routine consumption of broccoli (and its glucosinolates), not just from consumption of ITCs.
As mentioned earlier in this section, chronic inflammation can sometimes get triggered by overexposure to allergy-related substances. In this context, broccoli has yet another anti-inflammatory trick up its sleeve, because it is a rich source of one particular phytonutrient (a flavonol) called kaempferol. Especially inside of our digestive tract, kaempferol has the ability to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances (by lowering the immune system’s production of IgE-antibodies). By lessening the impact of allergy-related substances, the kaempferol in broccoli can help lower our risk of chronic inflammation.

Broccoli’s Antioxidant Benefits:

Amongst all of the commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of a premiere antioxidant nutrient—vitamin C. This central antioxidant vitamin can provide longer-term support of oxygen metabolism in the body if it is accompanied by flavonoids that allow it to recycle. Broccoli provides many such flavonoids in significant amounts, including the flavonoids kaempferol and quercitin. Also concentrated in broccoli are the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. All three of these carotenoids function as key antioxidants. In the case of lutein and beta-carotene, broccoli has been shown not only to provide significant amounts of these antioxidants but to significantly increase their blood levels when consumed in the amount of three cups. Other antioxidants provided by broccoli in beneficial amounts include vitamin E and the minerals manganese and zinc.

Considered as a group, the vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and carotenoids contained in broccoli work to lower risk of oxidative stress in the body. The ability of these nutrients to support oxygen metabolism and avoid excess formation of overly reactive, oxygen-containing molecules makes them equally helpful in lowering risk of chronic inflammation and risk of cancer. If cancer development is compared to a 3-legged stool, the antioxidant benefits of broccoli can be viewed as weakening one leg of the stool, namely the leg called “oxidative stress.” We’ve already seen how the glucosinolates and omega-3 fats in broccoli can be viewed as helping to weaken a second leg of the stool (chronic inflammation).

Enhancing Detoxification:

Most toxins that pose a risk to our cells must be detoxified in our body by a 2-step process. What’s remarkable about broccoli is its ability to alter activity in both of these two detox steps. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from the glucosinolates in broccoli are well-documented modifiers of the first step in detoxification (called Phase I). In fact, some ITCs like sulforaphane can actually help shut down the genetic machinery that produces certain Phase I enzymes. ITCs are equally capable of altering the activity of enzymes involved in the second step of detoxification (called Phase II). From research in the field of genetics, we know that ITCs can help bridge gaps in Phase II activity when it is insufficient. Taken in combination, the impact of ITCs on Phase I and II detox events is unique—and equally unique is the presence of glucosinolate compounds in broccoli that can be used to make ITCs. Glucosinolates like glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are simply not found in other foods in the same combination and concentration that is offered by broccoli. By helping to promote as well as regulate detox activity in our cells, the ITCs made from broccoli can help prevent insufficient detoxification of dangerous substances that threaten our cells.

Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body’s detoxification system, and researchers have recently identified one of the key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli. This dynamic trio is able to support all steps in body’s detox process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are the detox-regulating molecules made from broccoli’s glucosinolates, and they help control the detox process at a genetic level.

Broccoli and Digestive Support

The digestive support provided by broccoli falls into two basic categories: fiber support, and ITC (isothiocyanate) support. At approximately 1 gram of dietary fiber for every 10 calories, you don’t have to eat much broccoli to get a large amount of your daily requirement! For 100 calories—only 5% of a 2,000-calorie diet—you get about 10 grams of fiber, or 40% of the Daily Value (DV). And, 250 calories of broccoli (about 12% of a 2,000-calorie diet) will give you the full daily requirement for this important nutrient! Few components of food support our digestive system as well as fiber. The speed that food travels through us, the consistency of food as it moves through our intestine, and bacterial populations in our intestine are all supported as well as regulated by dietary fiber.

Alongside of broccoli’s dietary fibers are its glucosinolates. These phytonutrients are converted by our bodies into isothiocyanates (ITCs). ITCs—and particularly sulforaphane—help protect the health of our stomach lining by helping prevent bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori or too much clinging by this bacterium to our stomach wall. Broccoli sprouts appear to have especially strong stomach support properties in this regard.

Broccoli and Cardiovascular Support

Although research in this area is still in the early stages, anti-inflammatory substances found in cruciferous vegetables are becoming the topic of increasing interest with respect to heart disease. One particular focus here involves the anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane, one of the isothiocyanates (ITCs) derived from the glucoraphanin in broccoli. In some individuals susceptible to high blood sugar, sulforaphane may be able to prevent (or even reverse) some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be cause by chronic blood sugar problems. Decreased risk of heart attacks and strokes may also eventually be linked in a statistically significant way to intake of broccoli and its glucoraphanin.

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A second area you can count on broccoli for cardiovascular support involves its cholesterol-lowering ability. Our liver uses cholesterol as a basic building block to product bile acids. Bile acids are specialized molecules that aid in the digestion and absorption of fat through a process called emulsification. These molecules are typically stored in fluid form in our gall bladder, and when we eat a fat-containing meal, they get released into the intestine where they help ready the fat for interaction with enzymes and eventual absorption up into the body. When we eat broccoli, fiber-related nutrients in this cruciferous vegetable bind together with some of the bile acids in the intestine in such a way that they simply stay inside the intestine and pass out of our body in a bowel movement, rather than getting absorbed along with the fat they have emulsified. When this happens, our liver needs to replace the lost bile acids by drawing upon our existing supply of cholesterol, and as a result, our cholesterol level drops down. Broccoli provides us with this cholesterol-lowering benefit whether it is raw or cooked. However, a recent study has shown that the cholesterol-lowering ability of raw broccoli improves significantly when it is steamed. In fact, when the cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed broccoli was compared with the cholesterol-lowering ability of the prescription drug cholestyramine (a medication that is taken for the purpose of lowering cholesterol), broccoli bound 33% as many bile acids (based on a standard of comparison involving total dietary fiber).

The B-complex vitamins in broccoli can also make a major contribution to our cardiovascular health. Especially with respect to excessive formation of homocysteine—an event which raises our risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack—B-complex vitamin deficiency intake can pose a major risk. Three B vitamins especially important for lowering our risk of hyperhomocysteinemia (excessive formation of homocysteine) are vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate. By making an important contribution to our B6 and folate intake, broccoli can help us lower our risk of excessive homocysteine formation and cardiovascular problems that are related to excess homocysteine.

Other Health Benefits Provided by Broccoli:

Three other areas of health benefits are important to mention when considering broccoli and its unique combination of nutrients. The first area is eye health. Two carotenoids found in significant concentrations in broccoli—lutein and zeaxanthin—play an especially important role in the health of the eye. In fact, no tissue in the body is more concentrated with lutein than the area in the outer portion of the retina (called the peripheral retina). Similarly, in the macula near the central portion of the retina, zeaxanthin is uniquely concentrated. Risk of problems involving the macula of the eye (for example, macular degeneration) and problems involving the lens area of the eye (for example, cataracts) have both been show to lessen with intake of foods (including broccoli) that provide significant amounts of the lutein and zeaxanthin carotenonids.

A second area is skin support, including support of sun-damaged skin. Here it is the glucoraphanin found in broccoli—converted into sulforaphane by the body—that has received the most research attention. Since skin cells can carry out the process of detoxification, it may be detox-related benefits of sulforaphane that are especially important in helping to counteract sun damage.

A third area of increasing research interest involves the metabolism of vitamin D. Broccoli is not a source of this vitamin, but it is an excellent source of vitamin K and also of vitamin A (in one of its precursor forms, beta-carotene). Many individuals have large vitamin D deficiencies that cannot be remedied through diet alone, and these deficiencies require sizable amounts of vitamin D to be provided through dietary supplementation. When large supplemental doses of vitamin D are needed to offset deficiency, ample supplies of vitamin K and vitamin A appear to help keep our vitamin D metabolism in the proper balance. Assuring adequate intake of vitamins K and A alongside of vitamin D supplementation may turn out to be important in achieving optimal vitamin D supplementation results and avoiding potential problems related to supplementation. Broccoli may turn out to play a particularly helpful role in balancing this set of events by providing its unusually strong combination of both vitamin A and vitamin K.

Broccoli as a “Goitrogenic” Food

Broccoli is sometimes referred to as a “goitrogenic” food. Yet, contrary to popular belief, according to the latest studies, foods themselves—broccoli included—are not “goitrogenic” in the sense of causing goiter whenever they are consumed, or even when they are consumed in excess. In fact, most foods that are commonly called “goitrogenic”—such as the cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli, kale, and cauliflower) and soyfoods—do not interfere with thyroid function in healthy persons even when they are consumed on a daily basis. Nor is it scientifically correct to say that foods “contain goitrogens,” at least not if you are thinking about goitrogens as a category of substances like proteins, carbohydrates, or vitamins. With respect to the health of our thyroid gland, all that can be contained in a food are nutrients that provide us with a variety of health benefits but which, under certain circumstances, can also interfere with thyroid function. The term “goitrogenic food” makes it sound as if something is wrong with the food, but that is simply not the case. What causes problems for certain individuals is not the food itself but the mismatched nature of certain substances within the food to their unique health circumstances.

Possible health risks of consuming broccoli
If you are taking blood-thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin), it is important that you do not suddenly begin to eat more or less foods containing vitamin K, which plays a large role in blood clotting.

It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.

Some Sources:

Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.

Angeloni C, Leoncini E, Malaguti M, et al. Modulation of phase II enzymes by sulforaphane: implications for its cardioprotective potential. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jun 24;57(12):5615-22. 2009.

Banerjee S, Wang Z, Kong D, et al. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane enhances chemosensitivity of multiple chemotherapeutic agents in pancreatic cancer. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane enhances chemosensitivity of multiple chemotherapeutic agents in pancreatic cancer. 2009.

Bhattacharya A, Tang L, Li Y, et al. Inhibition of bladder cancer development by allyl isothiocyanate. Carcinogenesis. 2010 Feb;31(2):281-6. 2010.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/09/broccoli-benefits.aspx

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