Being trying all medicines? How about tweaking your diet for a change? Experts around the world have emphasized on the role of fiber in smoother bowel movements. Turns out, that it can play a highly effective role in preventing or reversing some health problems, especially chronic constipation, suggests a new study. Constipation is one of the most common condition faced by people across the world. People having fewer than three bowel movements a week are said to be constipated. Gradually, constipation has become a common problem in a sense that most of us almost think of it as routine. There are many reasons for people who experience this condition, and most of it has to do with the modern lifestyle and eating. According to a latest study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, it has been found that constipation can be caused by not eating enough fibre, certain medications, not drinking enough fluids, anxiety and ignoring the urge to pass stools. Hard stools, straining to have a bowel movement, abdominal pain, nausea and bloating, are common symptoms of constipation. Rhubarb - a vegetable commonly consumed in rhubarb crumble - has a laxative effect which can help stop symptoms. The study revealed that rhubarb has anti-diarrhea effects - meaning it stops you needing the toilet as much if you suffer from diarrhea - curtesy its tannin content. There are several preventive measures in which you can naturally treat constipation. Increasing intake of fibre such as from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains could be of great help too. Experts recommend 30g of fibre a day. However In case of severe symptoms finding blood in your stool, severe abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, one must seek immediate medical help.
Bananas are the first foods for your little child, but it is one fruit that should be taken every day by people of all ages. The sweet, soft and full of nutrition fruit is readily available all year through. There is a general perception that bananas make you fat, however, the reality is the opposite. Bananas help you develop lean muscles, boost immunity and keep your blood sugar levels under control. Let us give you 7 reasons to gorge on this fruit each day, every day: 1. Feel Happy Bananas are rich in folate or vitamin B9 therefore capable of fighting depression by releasing serotonin (an antidepressant or the happiness hormone). 2. Reduce Stress Bananas contain norepinephrine – a neurotransmitter that regulates stress levels. Eat a banana and stay calm in the most natural way. 3. Burn Belly Fat Bananas are rich in choline – a B-vitamin essentially required to burn belly fat. Also, Bananas are a good source of magnesium that helps in protein synthesis and relaxing our muscles that paves the way for a lean body. Bananas help in lipolysis by which our body releases accumulated fat. 4. Avoid Bloating Bananas are an excellent source of potassium that helps relieve water retention and also facilitate anti-bloating bacteria in the stomach. Therefore making you look less bloated. 5. Less Snacking Bananas are the go-to food for healthy snacking. Eat a banana between your meals and you’ll never hover around chips, candies, cakes. 6. Feel Full Bananas are an excellent source of resistant starch that keeps you feeling full for longer as it slowly absorbs into the bloodstream. 7. Reduce LDLs Bananas are rich in phytosterols that fight LDL (bad cholesterol levels). So next time you consume those burgers, fries, or other unhealthy trans-fatty foods, you know what to eat next.
Imagine waking up to a distorted view on a daily basis. Doesn't sound very enticing. Does it? The prolonged Delhi smog until now has left many Delhiites grim-faced, turning their lives from slightly inconvenient to utterly miserable.
From suffering from factors like minor suffocation and poor visibility, Delhiites have now been victims of frequent accidents and diseases triggered by the smog. Commuting to work every day or planning a day with friends is something that has become almost next to impossible. However, during this tight phase, it is essential for people to keep a good track of their health.
Here are some highly effective foods that definitely do the above deed and help you survive through the deadly smog. There is absolutely no difficulty involving them in one's daily diet.
- Cranberries: A highly nutritious fruit that is equipped with Vitamin C, E and A. At this time, a lot of people are deprived of sunlight which is an extremely rich source of Vitamin C, but thanks to cranberries, Vitamin C deficiency won't be a problem anymore. Another benefit offered here is the complete protection from all sorts of skin problems as caused by the smog. U.S. Cranberries with their high concentration of antioxidant & nutrients, can help build immunity and fight infections. For example, add them in your fruit smoothie or oatmeal. Else, eat dried cranberries alongside nuts and roasted almonds.
- Lemon: This fruit comes packed with a plethora of benefits. From cleansing to improving digestion, a lemon does it all. During the pollution phase, it is indeed quite essential to stay hydrated. Drinking lemon water from time to time will help maintain sufficient hydration within the body. Adding a little bit of lemon to tea can help clear throat related problems, again triggered by our dear old friend- The Delhi smog. Like cranberries, lemon can be seen as a powerful agent to fight skin problems like- skin cancer.
- Walnuts: Suffocation and congestion happen to be the two most prominent problems associated with the smog. Walnuts play an important role in cleansing congestion from lungs, thereby eradicating respiratory problems to a huge extent. Apart from the above action, walnut is known to be an effective mood booster. Hence, despite of how much the smog makes you feel low, a walnut or two will help brighten your day.
- Water: In this situation, consuming a minimum of two litres is essential. Water helps in flushing down residual toxins that have entered the body owing to the pollution. Staying dehydrated can have adverse effects on one's health, especially given the current scenario. Stomach problems as well are quite prominent at such a time. Hence in order to mitigate digestion problems, one mustn't skip drinking water.
- Jaggery: Locally known as gur , jaggery is another efficacious food agent in this case. Being richly packed with iron, it increases the hemoglobin content which simultaneously helps in increasing the supply of oxygen in blood. As a result of this, there is ample protection from the acute effects of the pollution.
The winter season has finally arrived and with it comes the chilly breeze that most of us seem to enjoy but it is also a time when a lot of us tend to fall sick. With the dipping temperatures, our body takes while to adjust to the new weather and this makes us more prone to cold, flu and throat infections. A great away to shield yourself against these infections and other allergies is to fortify yourself from within by eating the right things. Here are some Indian spices that can help you prevent winter sickness and also boost your immunity. 1. Star Anise: This star shaped spice is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C. It is effective in easing sore throats and colds. Its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial abilities can keep you away from flu and other viral infections that are common during the winter season. Place one piece of star anise in your cup of tea and let it infuse all the flavours. You can also simply add it to boiling water, let it steep for 15 minutes and then drink with honey. 2. Saffron: Apart from adding a vibrant colour to your dishes, saffron has several health benefits too. If you’re looking for an quick relief from cold, mix a few strands in milk and apply it on your forehead. This is a great way to soothe the symptoms of cold and make you feel better. 3. Turmeric: A glass of turmeric milk gulped down every day during the winter months will boost your immune system and keep you away from infections. Turmeric has antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory benefits that make you strong from within. 4. Fenugreek: Fenugreek seeds are packed with antiviral properties and have the ability to kill viruses that cause sniffles and sore throats. You can soak them in water overnight and drink up the next morning. 5. Nutmeg: This warm spice can be added to you baked good, biryanis, soothing soups and rich curries to boost the flavours. It has strong antibacterial properties that help strengthen the immune system. A cup of hot milk with nutmeg powder, a few drops of honey and crushed cardamom is sure to keep your winter blues away. 6. Cinnamon: Cinnamon has several health benefits. The spice is rich in antioxidants and has several healing properties. During the winter months, cinnamon can be teamed with ginger to beat common cold. Have it along with honey mixed in warm water every morning for effective results. 7. Black pepper: Along with a distinctive taste and pungent aroma, this spice contains various anti-oxidants that accelerate the body’s metabolism. Add it to your glass of turmeric milk to make it more effective and potent. 8. Cloves: Rich in antioxidants, cloves also have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and pain-relieving properties. Add cloves to your salad dressings, meats, soups and desserts and enjoy the intense aroma. 9. Cardamom: Also known as elaichi, these small green pods are rich sources of minerals and antioxidants that aid in blood detoxification and resolve digestive issues. The aromatic spice also contains vitamin C which boosts your immunity and protects you against common cold. Add some to your morning cup of these. These wonderful healing spices can ward off all your winter blues. Keep them handy and make the most of them while the season lasts.
Office kitchens are gross. People always leave their dirty mugs and plates on the surfaces. They leave their cafetiere slop in the sink. They don’t wipe up spilt milk. But it turns out that possibly the most minging thing about communal kitchens is the stash of office teabags. The average bacterial reading of an office teabag is 3,785 – compared to only 220 for a toilet seat. According to a study carried out by the Initial Washroom Hygiene, other mega-grim items include kettle handles (2,483), rims of used mugs (1,746) and fridge door handles (1,592). Oh God, so much bacteria everywhere. Not many of us think about washing our hands after touching the office fridge…but maybe it’s time (especially as it’s peak flu season). In fact, in a poll of 1,000 workers, 80% said they wouldn’t think of washing their hands before making a brew for colleagues. ‘If you stop to think about the number of different hands that touch things such as the kettle handle, tea bag box lid, mugs, and so on, the potential for cross contamination really adds up,’ says Dr Peter Barrett of Initial Washroom Hygiene. ‘Using anti-bacterial wipes on kitchen surfaces and regularly cleaning your mug can pay huge dividends in terms of maintaining a healthy workforce.’
Dentures put wearers at risk of malnutrition because they cause wearers to avoid healthy foods which are difficult to chew, a major study has shown. Researchers at King’s College London found the same was true for people with teeth loss, who also struggle to chew food properly.
In both cases, tooth loss and wearing dentures was associated with joint and muscle frailty which can leave people at risk of bone breakages and falls.The scientists said that people with dentures, or fewer teeth find it difficult to eat foods such as fibrous fruits and vegetables, nuts and meat, which are essential for good nutrition. Although dentures improves chewing function, the bite force is much weaker than that of natural teeth, meaning users often avoid certain foods.
“Persons with inadequate dentition are less likely to eat hard food that is difficult to chew, for example, some of the fresh fruits and vegetables, apples, pears, carrots, nuts etc,” said Dr Wael Sabbah, from King’s College London Dental Institute. “They could also have difficulties in eating some cooked food such as meat, depending on the way it is cooked.” Around 11 million people wear dentures in Britain. Although just six per cent of people now have no teeth compared to 37 per cent in 1978, 74 per cent have needed at least one tooth extracting. The study examined the health of more than 1,800 people who had an average age of 62, and were categorised into three groups; having at least 20 teeth, denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth, and people and non-denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth. Researchers tested all groups for strength, frailty, BMI and oral health and interviewed about their nutritional intake. The group that had less than 20 teeth and did not use dentures, and those who used dentures, were found to have consumed the least amount of nutrients, compared to recommended daily amounts. They were also found to be more frail.
Denture wearers and those with fewer teeth were 32 per cent more likely to be frail and 20 per cent more likely to be nutritionally deficient. The researchers say the study demonstrates how important oral health is in preventing tooth loss which can cause nutritional deficiencies in later life. Nutrients are crucial to maintain muscle mass and stave off musculoskeletal frailty. “Few studies have examined the relationship between oral health, the number of teeth and general frailty,” added Dr Sabbah. “One of the important findings of the study is the significant relationship between the condition of teeth and deficiency in intake of essential nutrients, regardless of the use of dentures. “To date, the majority of efforts to improve frailty have focused on nutrition strategies, including health education, while the influence of teeth on dietary restraint of the elderly has been neglected. “The findings of this analysis, along with that reported in earlier research, suggest that the use of denture could be a neglected intervention that could potentially have a preventative impact on musculoskeletal frailty. “The results also highlight the importance of developing oral health policies to ensure older adults maintain functional dentition throughout their life.”
It may be tempting to let your kids stay up late playing games on their smartphones, but using digital devices before bed may contribute to sleep and nutrition problems in children, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. After surveying parents about their kids’ technology and sleep habits, researchers found that using technology before bed was associated with less sleep, poorer sleep quality, more fatigue in the morning and —in the children that watched TV or used their cell phones before bed — higher body mass indexes (BMI). Caitlyn Fuller, medical student, said the results — published in the journal Global Pediatric Health — may suggest a vicious cycle of technology use, poor sleep and rising BMIs. “We saw technology before bed being associated with less sleep and higher BMIs,” Fuller said. “We also saw this technology use being associated with more fatigue in the morning, which circling back, is another risk factor for higher BMIs. So we’re seeing a loop pattern forming.” Previous research has found associations between more technology use and less sleep, more inattention, and higher BMIs in adolescents. But even though research shows that 40 percent of children have cell phones by fifth grade, the researchers said not as much was known about the effects of technology on a younger population. Fuller said that because sleep is so critical to a child’s development, she was interested in learning more about the connection between screen time right before bed and how well those children slept, as well as how it affected other aspects of their health. The researchers asked the parents of 234 children between the ages of 8 and 17 years about their kids’ sleep and technology habits. The parents provided information about their children's’ technology habits, sleep patterns, nutrition and activity. The researchers also asked the parents to further specify whether their children were using cell phones, computers, video games or television during their technology time. After analyzing the data, the researchers found several adverse effects associated with using different technologies right before bed. “We found an association between higher BMIs and an increase in technology use, and also that children who reported more technology use at bedtime were associated with less sleep at night,” Fuller said. “These children were also more likely to be tired in the morning, which is also a risk factor for higher BMIs.” Children who reported watching TV or playing video games before bed got an average of 30 minutes less sleep than those who did not, while kids who used their phone or a computer before bed averaged an hour less of sleep than those who did not. There was also an association between using all four types of technology before bed and increased cell phone use at night, such as waking up to text someone, with watching TV resulting in the highest odds. Fuller said the results support new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about screen time for children. The AAP recommends that parents create boundaries around technology use, such as requiring their kids to put away their devices during meal times and keeping phones out of bedrooms at night. Dr. Marsha Novick, associate professor of pediatrics and family and community medicine, said that while more research is needed to determine whether multiple devices at bedtime results in worse sleep than just one device, the study can help pediatricians talk to parents about the use of technology. “Although there are many benefits to using technology, pediatricians may want to counsel parents about limiting technology for their kids, particularly at bedtime, to promote healthy childhood development and mental health,” Novick said. Dr. Steven Hicks, assistant professor of pediatrics, and Eric Lehman, biostatistician, also participated in this study. This research was supported by the Bedrick Family Medical Student Research Program Award and the Penn State Clinical and Translational Research Institute.
Chocolates are irresistible and many health experts have pronounced them as healthy in some ways or the other. However, looks like scientists have a found a way to make chocolates a bit tastier. According to a study published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, different conditions that can put strain on cocoa trees can bring out a better version of chocolates. Cocoa trees grow in hot and humid climates near the equator. Traditionally, these trees are raised together in mixed groves with other types of trees and plants that can cool the air and provide vital shade. The system, called agroforestry, provides a low-stress environment, increases nutrients in the soil and helps maintain ground water levels. However, to gain higher yields, growers sometimes plant cocoa trees in solitary, 'monocultural' groves in which the trees are exposed to stressful conditions. In response to the stress, trees produce antioxidants that can potentially counteract the damage, but these compounds also could change the quality characteristics of the beans. The researchers happened to harvest beans from five cocoa tree farms in Bolivia at the beginning and end of the dry season, which runs from April to September. The trees were raised in full-sun monoculutral groves or in agroforest settings. The beans were fermented and dried, then analysed. The research team detected only minor differences in the chemical composition among the beans harvested from the farms during the same weather conditions. Slightly more phenols and other antioxidant compounds were detected in beans taken from monoculturally grown trees than those that came from trees grown with agroforest methods, but the differences were not significant. The larger contribution to chemical composition was the weather. Overall, the antioxidant content increased and fat content of the beans decreased during the dry season as the temperatures rose and soil moisture dropped.
Eric Smith comes from the part of Ohio where fizzy soft drinks are called “pop.” He also called them his beverage of choice — for lunch, dinner and snacks. So when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in November 2016, Smith knew he was going to have to cut down. In fact, he cut out all sugary soft drinks and switched to water. He stopped eating fast food, white bread and other junk and, in the space of a few months, he turned around his diabetes and has normal blood sugar now. On Tuesday, a large study confirmed what Smith and other people like him have found — a strict weight-loss diet can reverse the progression of Type 2 diabetes and bring many people back to normal. “I was drinking maybe six cans of pop a day if you averaged it out,” said Smith, a 40-year-old bookkeeper. “Every meal I would have one, maybe two with lunch, two with dinner. If it wasn’t pop it was a sugary drink somewhere.” And Smith was, like so many Americans, obese. “I was up to 390,” he said. He joined the Cleveland Clinic's Lifestyle Essentials program, which includes a series of six appointments to help people learn how to improve their habits. By changing his diet and adding in just a little exercise, he’s dropped weight and controlled his blood sugar. “I am down to 345, 350 right now,” Smith said, and his blood sugar is in the normal, healthy range. It’s more evidence that weight loss alone can control diabetes, which kills more than 70,000 Americans every year. Other studies have shown that weight-loss surgery can help reverse diabetes. But that’s an extreme option. The study released Tuesday showed people can do it with diet. “If this study shows that a low-calorie diet is an effective and practical way to put Type 2 diabetes into remission, now and in the longer-term, it could completely transform the way Type 2 diabetes is treated,” said Diabetes UK, a charity for people affected by diabetes that paid for and sponsored the study. “Bariatric surgery can achieve remission of diabetes in about three-quarters of people, but it is more expensive and risky, and is only available to a small number of patients,” said Roy Taylor of Britain’s Newcastle University, who helped lead the study. “The weight loss goals provided by this program are achievable for many people,” Taylor said. The Britons in the study went on a much stricter weight-loss diet than Smith’s do-it-yourself regime, managed with the help of the Cleveland Clinic.
“If this study shows that a low-calorie diet is an effective and practical way to put Type 2 diabetes into remission, now and in the longer-term, it could completely transform the way Type 2 diabetes is treated.”The British researchers recruited and tested nearly 300 people who agreed to be randomly assigned to a strict diet program, or the usual care, which includes weight-loss counseling, but they stayed on their diabetes medications. Everyone was overweight and had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the past six years Half the patients went off all their diabetes and blood pressure medications and followed a strict diet. “The low-calorie diet of 800 calories a day is made up of four soups or shakes. These have all the essential vitamins and minerals,” Diabetes UK said. “Our findings show that, at 12 months, almost half of participants achieved remission to a nondiabetic state and off anti-diabetic drugs,” the researchers wrote in their report in the Lancet medical journal. After three to five months of this liquid diet, volunteers gradually were allowed to eat small amounts of normal food. “The diet was very difficult. I can’t say otherwise,” said Isobel Murray, 65, of North Ayreshire in Scotland. She was the first patient to try the diet. “Having just liquid rather than actual food for such a long time (17 weeks in total) is odd,” Murray added in a statement. “And as part of the trial I had to come off all my medication, which was initially a little daunting. But I was absolutely determined.” Liquid diets can be very effective for weight loss but they are difficult to follow. “I made a lot of sacrifices,” Murray said. “My husband did all the cooking and food shopping. My husband and any guests would eat in the dining area and I ate separately in the living room. It was also around the time my first grandchild was born, but I still stuck to it,” she added. “Having a liquid diet made it easier in some ways, as I didn’t have to think about food. I also had great support from all my family and friends.” Smith also got support from friends and family, and he’s enlisted his 14-year-old son, Ashton. They had been in the habit of stopping for fast food after Ashton's wrestling practice. “Before, he ate what I ate. What I ate or what I bought, he did. Now he still does that,” Smith said. “Before I didn’t eat breakfast. Now I am trying to eat something. It may be a protein bar during the week but on the weekend we’ll have eggs, maybe wheat toast, or have some oatmeal,” he added. “Lunch — some kind of chicken and a salad. He may have a chicken sandwich but I usually eat my chicken on the salad. Dinner we’ll have chicken or turkey or sometimes a pork chop. We’ll have salad, we’ll try to have a vegetable with it or maybe rice or a small potato with it.” It’s not as easy as grabbing a burger at the drive-thru, but Smith was determined to change his life. “It’s hard. I figured out where I get home earlier than he does from practice so I start cooking ahead of time. Monday I can start prepping for on Sunday, which is great,” he said. “You get a plan, you plan your meal ahead of time and know what you are going to cook.” In Britain, the people who lost the most weight were more likely to see their blood sugar levels go down. About a quarter of those who tried the diet lost more than 30 pounds, the researchers found. “Additionally, nearly half of the weight management group (68 out of 149) achieved diabetes remission at one year, compared with six (4 percent) in the control group,” the team wrote. “On average, participants in the weight management group shed 10 kg (22 pounds) of body weight compared to (two pounds) in the control group.” While diabetes symptoms disappeared, patients are not considered cured. It’s been shown if people regain weight, the diabetes comes back. About 30 million Americans have diabetes, mostly Type 2, in which the body gradually loses the ability to produce or use insulin to turn food into energy. That’s more than 9 percent of the population. And more than a third have blood sugar so high they’re almost diabetic. About three-quarters of Americans are overweight or obese, both conditions that often cause diabetes. Diet, exercise, medication or insulin can all help control diabetes, but if it’s poorly controlled, it can cause damage that leads to heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, amputations or blindness. Studies have shown that bariatric surgery can improve blood sugar control in obese people with diabetes. Some can even stop taking medications. That’s the goal for the people in the British study. “The big challenge is long-term avoidance of weight re-gain,” Taylor said. The volunteers will be studied for four years to see if they can control their diabetes long term. And that’s Smith’s goal, too. After a divorce last year, he has sole custody of Ashton. “The big turnaround was being divorced, being diabetic, being overweight. It was like, I am all he has,” Smith said. “I need to be healthy for him and make sure I am staying around for him.”
In a bid to lose weight many of us fall for several myths and assumption along the way. One of them is avoiding fats. Did you know? Fats are one of the three macronutrients which is essential to sustain a healthy life. Fats helps developing nerve sheath coating, human tissues are made up of fat, hence ruling out fats completely from the diet can never be a good idea. According to a latest study, a high-fat diet may also aid healthy weight loss. The study has identified a pathway to prevent fat cell fat cells from growing larger that leads to weight gain and obesity. According to the U.S based study published in journal e life, conducted by Washington University in St. Louis U.S; by activating Hedgehog pathway in fat cells in mice- you could feed the animals a high –fat diet without making them overweight. According to the researchers, the pathway discovered by the team may act as a new therapeutic target for treating obesity. The researchers explained that the fat accumulation is mainly due increased fat cell size and each fat cell grows bigger so that it can hold larger fat droplets When the fat cells begin to expand, that is when the person tends to gain weight- as opposed to having more fat cells. The team focused on the so-called Hedgehog protein pathway that is active in many tissues in the body. For the animal study, the group of researchers engineered mice with genes that activated the Hedgehog pathway in fat cells when those animals ate a high-fat diet. The findings revealed that after about eight weeks of eating the high-fat diet, control animals whose Hedgehog pathways had not been activated became obese. On the other hand, mice that had been engineered with genes to activate the pathway were fine in terms of their weight gain. They did not gain any more weight than those control animals that consumed normal diets. The researchers believe that the Hedgehog pathway could have prevented obesity by inhibiting the size of the fat cells and prevented them from collecting and storing fat droplets Here is a list of benefits that you could derive from eating good fats derived from nuts, lean meat, fish, avocados and ghee.
- High fat diet is extremely satiating and also keeps your blood sugar level stable. When you embark on low fat diet in an attempt to lose weight, you may end up hungry and dissatisfied, thus ending up craving for sugary snacks.
- Increased fat intake promotes a healthy gut too. Healthy fats work with your gut bacteria to protect the gut barrier that works hard to regulate your immune response and flush out all the toxins and chemicals.
- Good fats are good for brain health; our brain is composed of omega-3 fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A deficiency of fats can lead to stress, anxiety and other mood disorders. So, feel good about adding good fats to your diet and vice versa!
- Eating good fats will not make you fat. If you choose to eat healthier fats, in controlled portions, your body will eventually learn to burn fat, instead of energy, further inducing weight loss. A high-fat diet can also curb hunger and cravings that mostly leads to overeating.
- Fat is a crucial element for your body's absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins. Adding fats to your diet will help boost the absorption of vitamins that further help in strengthening your bones, boosting your immune system and protecting your heart health.
- High fat diet benefit includes boosting energy levels. Good fats keep you on your toes throughout the day without having to feel hungry. If you eat a diet centered on carbohydrates, one experiences raises in insulin levels. This rise in insulin levels will make you feel tired and lethargic.