In a family, the mom might be blessed with a fit body, the dad might suffer from occasional health problems and your little bro is a health champ but you are the odd one out-repeatedly being a victim of cold, indigestion or even frequent pain in your hands and legs. You all eat the same diet and follow the same lifestyle but what makes you different from others. Have you ever wondered? It’s your immune system maybe that’s making you suffer relentlessly! A healthy immune system is not a ticket to only good health but it increases every chance that your body is safe and protected against health problems. The idea sounds superb but practically it has not been very successful to achieve mainly because the immune system is after all a ‘system’ and not a single entity. It needs excellent coordination but researchers are still not completely aware of the interconnectedness of the immune system. We talk about lifestyle changes that could better your immunity but there have not been direct scientific evidences linking both. Researchers are also focusing on other factors such as diet, exercise, age and other factors that could improve immunity which makes us believe that enhancing our overall general health is a good way to start.
Nourish your Life with a Disciplined Lifestyle
Protect your health by preventing the intrusion of health problems by following a disciplined lifestyle. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, sleep well, minimize stress, drink alcohol in moderation, avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and stay hygienic to promote better functioning of your body which includes the immune system as well. For helping you with nutrient intakes we have listed some of the highly reliable foods that help in protecting your body by playing an imminent role in your immunity.
Vitamins: Vitamins are great among which vitamin C, B6 and E work wonders on the body. Vitamin C is special in the sense that besides being one of the biggest immunity boosters, absence of it can make you prone to getting sick. Besides the ever-popular oranges vitamin C is available aplenty in foods such as broccoli, kale, spinach, bell peppers, strawberries, tangerines and grapefruit that you might never need a supplement to fulfil vitamin C requirements when you ensure regular intake of vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant present in foods such as nuts, seeds and spinach that helps the body to fight off infection. Vitamin B6 facilitates biochemical reactions in the immune system. It is present in foods such as chicken and cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, etc.) and also found in green vegetables and chickpeas.
Proteins that include both plant- and animal-based proteins such as eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, chicken, nuts, seafood, beans and lentils.
Probiotics that have become popular in recent times for their major role in promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut to promote immunity and overall health. Fermented foods such as kimchi and dairy products such as yogurt are rich in these probiotics. The demand for fermented foods is growing and for a list of all the different types of these foods and their role in body health please visit www.firsteatright.com.
Zinc found in both plant (wheatgerm, beans, nuts and tofu) and animal source as non-heme and heme respectively but the ones found in animal sources (beef and seafood) are more readily absorbed.
Beta carotene that’s found in plant sources such as carrots, spinach broccoli, mango, tomatoes and sweet potatoes
Eat a well-balanced diet composed of nutrients, include at least 5-7 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, lead a disciplined lifestyle that involves optimal activity, get adequate sleep and minimize stress for a healthy immune system. Stress can damage your health so badly and it all starts with disruption of your immune system. Curb stress from spoiling your life by engaging in meditation, listening to songs, dancing, doing physical activity or even shopping (occasionally, otherwise the expenses incurred would make you stressed too :D). Above all, sleep well refraining from technology and gadgets at least an hour before going to bed. Adults are required to sleep between 7-9 hours a day and kids between 8-14 hours a day depending on their age. Ageing decreases our immunity power. People tend to eat less and include less variety of foods that can lead to micronutrient malnutrition and it still remains questionable whether supplements can compensate for the deficiency. Supplements might be useful in providing your body with the essential nutrients but they might also lead to side effects. The best way to stay healthy is to replenish nutrient requirements with nourishing food items.
You’ve been looking forward to this birthday treat since a month-it’s happening in your favorite eatery that offers a variety of cuisines and delicacies. Choosing a la carte items at such places is a challenge as you are tempted to choose many varieties but when you go for a buffet its beyond imagination. Overloaded with choices we fill our tummies with as much food as possible to satisfy our taste buds and have the money’s worth! Once back home, all the happiness vanishes and we feel miserable after the meal with all the fats, sugars, salt and carbs making fun of us. Our body feels heavy and the stomach makes its presence felt very much by causing discomfort. The same experience could be possible by eating a bagful of your favorite potato wafers sitting in front of the television or devouring creamy pasta at the café. ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’ so, it is indeed necessary that you need to face the consequences of eating too much food in the form of bloating.
Often you feel that your tummy has swollen and you even joke that it might burst anytime due to overindulgence in tasty food-that’s bloating and it can cause ample discomfort to your body. We all know that overeating is one major cause for this but there are also other reasons such as sleeping late, eating too much junk, drinking soda or eating too much salt that can lead to this discomfort.
Optimizing Sodium Intake to Avoid Gastrointestinal Complaints
Too much sodium intake leads to water retention in the body resulting in bloating. Our present lifestyle promotes the excess intake of sodium in the form of processed foods that are overloaded with sodium-there are even some foods that are not salty but are full of sodium. Bloating is one of the leading gastrointestinal complaints worldwide which could become worse when people follow a high-fibre diet. A build-up of excess gas in the gut is because of gas-producing gut bacteria breaking down fibre. But fibre is good for health and lowering fibre levels are not recommended. What’s possible is to decrease sodium intakes without compromising on fibre. We have moderate research on this and the study by Mueller et al. was the first to examine sodium as a cause of bloating in both, low-fibre and high-fibre diets.
A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that high-fibre DASH diet increased bloating among study participants in comparison to a low-fibre control diet. Re-analysing data from a clinical trial conducted more than 2 decades ago it was evident that high sodium intake increased bloating among trial participants. The DASH diet was tested against a low-fibre control diet against three levels of sodium. DASH diet includes intake of fruits, vegetables and nuts-for more details about this diet please visit www.firsteatright.com. All the 412 participants in the trial had high BP at the start of the trial of which 36.7% of them suffered from bloating. After consuming the high-fibre DASH diet the risk of bloating increased by 41% compared to the low-fibre control diet-the effect was pronounced in men compared to women. Comparison of sodium intake between the two diets (highest level of sodium vs lowest) showed that high-sodium version of the diet increased risk of bloating by about 27% compared to the low-sodium version. This shows that reducing sodium consumption in foods might help people reduce bloating and also serve to be useful in maintaining a high-fibre diet.
Besides, too much sodium also leads to couple of other health problems such as hypertension but cutting down the consumption of salt completely is also not advisable as we need salt to maintain water balance in the body. Also, food doesn’t taste good and cannot be eaten without any salt. So, eliminate excess consumption and maintain moderate levels by choosing the right foods and exercising (sweat contains sodium and exercise brings upon sweat).
We get a glimpse of only the end product and the actual chances of seeing and learning what goes in between are almost negligible. But right from sowing and harvesting to packing and transporting food safety is extremely integral to avoid impending dangers or food-related risks. This is ensured with the help of different processes such as canning, freezing, drying, irradiation and pasteurization. All of these methods strive in their own way to safeguard the food and protect it from bacteria that might cause food poisoning. Each of the methods are explained in detail below:
This is one of the best ways to preserve shelf life until the container is sealed and intact without any hampering. Canned veggies, fruits, tuna or fish are sure occupants of our kitchen cabinets whose nutrients are preserved as good as the fresh ones until the can is in good condition. Before any food is canned it is washed and peeled to remove pesticide residues, the can is sterilized and the food is finally cooked at a high temperature to destroy bacteria and stored inside the can. There are minimum chances that nutrients might be lost while cooking at high temperature and the nutritive value of the canned food depends on how you choose them-don’t go for veggies that are canned using salt or fruits that are dipped in sugar syrup.
While freezing is a great option for storing veggies, meat and fish its highly disruptive to freeze eggs encased in shells and canned foods. Freezing is a way of storing food for as long as you want when the only downside is the quality of the food that gets impacted. This is a method which stores food at a temperature which doesn’t make way for the growth of harmful microorganisms, between 40˚F and 140˚F. Both, the nutrients and the quality of the foods remain intact for a longer time period in freezing than in any other processing method.
We have seen our grandmothers dry many foods in our verandas and I believe this is the oldest method of preserving food. Here, the moisture content is removed and the food is stored safely without the need for any refrigeration. Fruits, veggies, fish, meat, nuts and beans are mostly stored using this process. Bacteria thrive on water and when moisture is removed from these foods there is no scope for the bacteria to grow or exist. Once dried, these foods stay good at room temperature. Sometimes, we use preservatives such as salt to safeguard the foods depending on the type of food that we dry.
The very word brings to our mind a glass of pure white milk. Pasteurization is a process that’s used to heat milk (predominantly), juice and eggs to a high enough temperature such that all the harmful bacteria and enzymes that can spoil the food are killed outright. While unpasteurized foods are not good for any of us some people like pregnant women, young children, older adults and those with a weakened immune system must never ever consume any of it as this increases the risk of food poisoning.
Foods such as fruits, vegetables, spices, eggs, seafood and meats use radiant energy to prevent spoiling of food and kill any pathogens that might cause food poisoning.
All these methods are sure-shot ways to keep our food safe but we should never compromise on our way of cooking and handling the foods. The methods to keep food safe while cooking too are equally important to avoid food poisoning issues. For a detailed list of these methods and how to implement them please visit www.firsteatright.com.
50% of parents are dads but still 99% of research on parenting focuses solely on the mothers! This is indeed frustrating and depressing for the dads who are trying to engage themselves in as much childcare as possible to the extent that many of them are even ready to become stay-at-home fathers to devote their entire attention to the child. Gone are the days when mothers held sole responsibility for bringing up children, teaching them good behaviour, attending to their educational needs and tracking their progress in life while a dad’s primary aim was to provide strong monetary support to ensure that his family’s needs are met. How many of you remember the days when 80s and 90s kids roamed around the streets wearing t-shirts with a caption stating “MY DAD IS MY ATM”? Now, the situation has progressed or even been reversed such that moms love providing kids with money while dads take pleasure in keeping their young ones happy and content showering them with love and affection. The idea of a ‘good father’ has seen a stupendous change over the decades and dads these days are supported for being sensitive, caring and attached. Researchers have now started showing genuine interest in the role played by a dad in his child’s life and how he can contribute towards well-being of the kid.
Celebrating the Birth of the Kid: Society’s Clause on Male Gender
Maternity leaves and the politics behind them have been unending and it has been only during recent years that some blessed women have started enjoying increased maternity leaves. Paternity leaves have never been a topic of concern and dads were never expected to take leave and stay at home with the wife and child. That’s how the male gender has been groomed by their parents! Guys availing paternity leaves might be looked down as being too emotional or it is even seen as a sign of emasculation. In Australia, only one dad of every 500 moms avail this leave, in the UK 40% dads choose not to avail the leave and in the US 76% men take lesser than a week’s time off after the baby is born. But if you are curious on what’s so important about the paternity leave then you are in for a surprise!
Research tells us that fathers are happier around their kids when it comes to childcare and that’s mainly because of the different roles played by both the mum and dad in the child’s development. We might be happy that dads these days come forward to offer childcare but we don’t see many of them changing their kid’s nappies or putting them to bed. It’s mostly the mums who do such work while dads enjoy playing outside with kids or taking them around. Paternity leaves help mums take some time off their stressful routine, help the dad establish an emotional connect with the child, learn all aspects of childcare including changing nappies and also gives the woman much more strength and a positive feel to return to work and excel. Dads who take paternity leaves experience more satisfaction as they get more time to spend with their kids.
The Fruits of Increased Father-Child Time
“Daddy only” time has a significant positive impact on the baby as the child connects emotionally well with the dad and dads too experience a hormonal boost when caring for their child. Research shows that babies with emotionally engaged dads show better mental development as toddlers and are less likely to suffer from mental problems later in life compared to other babies. In older kids too, those whose fathers display emotional support are more satisfied in life and also express better relationships with teachers and other kids at school.
Kids whose dads are involved right from birth display better cognitive skills and experienced fewer behavioral difficulties. Dads who take up paternity leave develop parenting instincts as good as the mums (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/10/want-better-dads-happier-mums-and-healthier-kids-make-men-take-paternity-leave). Its even been shown that the more time working fathers spend time with children likelier they are to get more satisfaction on the job and less desire they have to shift to another organization. Men spending more time with their kids feel better about their jobs (https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2015/01/12/the-more-time-dads-spend-with-their-kids-the-happier-they-are-at-work/#37311db1cc3b).
Its also been observed that parenthood brings about increased well-being of dads compared to moms. Fathers experience elevated levels of well-being, satisfaction, competence, autonomy and uplift compared to mothers and other men without children. Men also were found to be happy caring for their kids compared to performing other daily activities. Parental leave helps dads take up more childcare activity and this helps improve the well-being of the mother too who always has the notion that there is an uneven allocation of labour between the two genders and this is in fact true. It is time that men around the world start taking Finland as an example, the only country where fathers spend more time (an average of 8 minutes more daily) with kids than mothers.
Every dad today wishes to spend more time with his kids, is ready to opt for flexi work timings, work from home jobs and even compromise on work time to be happy with his baby. By doing this, he is offering more scope for the mother to focus on her job that gives her satisfaction and a sense of completeness. There are few fathers who still believe that it’s a mother’s job to take care of the kids! Parents are looking out for a work-life balance that needs to be understood by the employer as well to reap greater benefits from his employees.
Dds, you are heading towards the right path by wanting to spend more time with your newborn and young kids which makes you happier and satisfied in life. Cheers to all the dads who love parenting and are supportive to their spouses sharing childcare jobs. It doesn’t stop with providing financial support but has to be extended to emotional support and physical presence as well.
Parenting is More Likely to Make you Happy if You’re a Man: https://psmag.com/social-justice/parenthood-more-likely-to-make-you-happy-if-youre-a-man
Finland: The Only country Where Fathers Spend More Time with Kids than Mothers: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/dec/04/finland-only-country-world-dad-more-time-kids-moms
Children Make Parents Happy, After All: https://www.economist.com/international/2019/07/10/children-make-parents-happy-after-all
The Secret of Being a Good Father: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190606-how-to-be-a-good-father-to-a-newborn-son-or-daughter
Western adaptations have taken us all by surprise in all spheres of life. Besides idli, dosa, roti and sabji people have started eating other healthy options that could benefit our body. My 5-year-old daughter is a crazy fan of flavoured yogurts besides the regular ice creams, chocolates and muffins. The interesting part here is that yogurt is healthy, tasty as well as economical-when the right choice is made. Yogurt, rich in protein, calcium and potassium is also an excellent source of live, active bacteria. Such active bacteria are called as “good bacteria” for the gut as it helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system, promotes the presence of good bacteria and results in a healthy body due to the untiring effort of the gut microbiome. Our gut bacteria holds responsibility for a major portion of health and recent research has unravelled the ravishing effects of them on human body and for more details on gut microbiome and the related health benefits please visit www.firsteatright.com.
Supermarket shelves are arranged with different varieties of yogurt that come in an array of flavours. We have got everything right from Greek and flavoured yogurt to low-fat and fruited. While we adults are confused by with the different flavours available children go into frenzy unable to make the right choice. Every flavour has an attraction and a uniqueness which makes it different from the rest. But how do you choose the right kind of yogurt that’s tasty as well as healthy? Use your discretion and choose based on different criteria such as fat percentage, flavour and more.
Cartons of plain/flavoured yogurts have arrived from the supermarket and your child is bored after a couple of days eating the same yogurt in the same style. Bring in some innovation and inspiration to your yogurt cups by following any of the given ideas below:
Mix yogurt with a handful of colourful berries, some nuts and granola for a yummy and satisfying breakfast meal.
Drink yogurt by making a smoothie using low-fat yogurt with your choice of flavour and some milk. Adjust the consistency (too thin or too thick) by adding some yogurt or milk respectively. This makes your bones stronger and you even find it easier to complete the healthy beverage. You can add fruits such as frozen strawberries, blackberries or mulberry, cinnamon and some vanilla extract along with nut butter, seeds or other nutritious toppings to make the smoothie as enriched with calcium and proteins as possible.
You can make a lip-smacking topping using some low-fat Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of seasoning of your choice such as taco and some lime juice which makes it a perfect replacement for sour cream. There is no harm in replacing sour cream with plain yogurt in your recipes.
Any yogurt has some sugar due to milk but you can enhance sweetness by mixing fresh/frozen fruits of your choice. If you really want some real taste of sugar maybe use some honey (for kids above the age of 1) or sugar substitutes but ensure to never exceed calories from sugar by more than 10% daily.
Yogurt dips are becoming our favourite these days as it is easier to make and healthier to eat. Dip carrot, pear or pineapple sticks in a succulent dip made from low-fat yogurt, cinnamon and some vanilla extract. This is the perfect replacement to your cheese dips that can shoot up calories as much as possible.
Though its interesting and nice to know the different ways in which yogurt can be used in our daily meal sticking to portion sizes is necessary here too. One cup of dairy-based fat-free or low-fat yogurt fulfils 30-45% calcium requirements. Whereas, one cup of frozen yogurt provides 10% of the daily required calcium levels. Boost calcium levels by taking yogurt in recommended portion sizes for good health.
Aluminum is the most plentiful metal found in the Earth’s crust present in our environment in combination with other elements such as oxygen, silicon and fluorine. This makes us exposed to aluminum which is not dangerous but once the levels are higher than normal it becomes extremely hazardous to health. In reality, each of us ingest some amount of aluminum daily in our lives though this might sound crazy. But once you think about the conspicuous presence of aluminum in our daily life-in the form of foods, cosmetics, baking tools and our favourite aluminum foil we begin to realize the dominant presence of this metal in our life.
Natural Presence of Aluminum
It makes us happy when our mom packs our food in glittery aluminum foil rolling the phulkas or covering the sabji but have you ever thought about the fact that using such foils can cause aluminum to seep through into your food and increase your health risk?
We have research showing that aluminum compounds are naturally present in water as a purifying agent, as an additive in processed foods where they could serve as an emulsifying agent or a food colorant, as a natural occurrence in our everyday foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, grains and dairy products and is omnipresent in commercially produced foods as they are dominated by food additives that might contain more aluminum than home-cooked foods. This metal is also found in baking trays and utensils, takeaway containers and foods such as radish, tea, spinach and mushrooms as they absorb a greater quantity of aluminum than other foods. We have research showing that the most common non-dietary intake of aluminum is in the form of deodorants and anti-perspirants and individuals might as well restrict the use of such products containing high aluminum levels and choose ones that have comparatively lower levels.
Simple Tricks to Reduce Aluminum Use
Every food doesn’t contain the same quantity of aluminum as the amount present differs based on various factors such as absorption (how fast the food absorbs aluminum), soil in which the food was grown, packaging (whether aluminum-based packaging material was used) and additives (whether the food contains additives that could contain a dominant share of aluminum). In reality, it might be a difficult task to single out those foods that are rich in aluminum but following a varied diet and using a variety of brands could minimize exposure to the metal.
We have new results from German studies that mankind’s exposure to aluminum levels in foods has been decreasing but still our exposure levels are in unsafe territories. We can make simple modifications from our end to minimize exposure to aluminum-individuals can avoid preparing and storing food, especially acidic and salty ones in uncoated aluminum dishes/pots or aluminum foil. Cooking could be done in non-aluminum utensils such as glass or porcelain; aluminum foil for cooking purpose should be avoided; cook foods as much as possible at lower temperature; aluminum foil is used for wrapping foods such as veggies when grilling them but ensure to avoid using them for acidic foods such as tomatoes and rhubarb. Grilling is touted to be one of the healthiest ways to consume foods but there are also certain disadvantages to it, the list of which can be found at www.firsteatright.com.
We have theories that dietary aluminum exists as a potent risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease as there have been high levels of aluminum found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. There are even threats of neurotoxicity and breast cancer risk. To avoid any of the risks of increased aluminum levels it is simply best to eat home-cooked foods and reduce consumption of processed foods.
Nothing brings greater contentment in life than eating a tasty meal. Sorrow, stress and anxiety are a part of life that cannot be avoided but satisfying your taste buds helps us forget about any of it during that time period and sometimes even brings about more energy and a new sense of rejuvenation. Such is the power of food. Isn’t it common to see parents bribing their kids by offering them tasty treats as rewards? Such food rewards can bring upon dangerous health consequences in people and obesity is one of the biggest public health hazards. There are multiple reasons behind the widespread prevalence of obesity rates including haphazard lifestyle practices, inappropriate eating habits and exercise schedules. Though there are numerous causes it is well-known that food consumption habits and decisions play an important role in what to eat and how much to eat.
Taste is a great way of attracting peoples’ attention making them eat more and more food. but not all of us have the same taste-some like it sweet, some like it salty and there are few who like it spicy-depending on the taste buds and the proteins on the taste buds that occupy a definite place in our tongue. Read more about taste and how obesity can affect taste response at www.firsteatright.com. Though there are no differences in taste perceptions between normal and overweight individuals a study has found that obese people have greater initial taste perceptions that was greater than participants who were not obese and this declined at a more gradual rate than participants who were not obese. The sight of cake or burger seems alluring and the first bite seems heavenly but as you keep eating the charm of the food keeps decreasing. You don’t find the satisfaction of the first bite to exist at the same level through the tenth bite as well.
Consumption of more food leads to diminishing marginal taste perceptions and to find whether this differed between individuals based on their weight a group of researchers conducted a trial with 290 adults (161 had normal BMI, 78 were overweight and 51 were obese) each of whom were offered a piece of chocolate one at a time. They could eat as many as they wanted to without any restriction. Each of them consumed anywhere between 2 and 51 chocolates. It was observed that the rating of the chocolate went down with each additional piece of it consumed with no difference in taste perception between normal and overweight participants. Those who were hungrier before the study had greater taste perception and women’s taste perception declined faster than men. It was seen that obese people reported a higher satisfaction level for every additional piece of chocolate consumed compared to nonobese people showing that their taste perception is different from others. Obese individuals need to consume a greater quantity of food to experience a decline in taste perception-for instance, they ate 12.5 pieces of chocolates compared to 10 pieces eaten by normal participants before reaching satiety levels- a difference of almost 70 calories higher. This stands crucial in the case of obese individuals as they are unknowingly adding greater weight to their body. Manipulating taste perceptions is definitely needed to fix obesity problems in them
As kids we love to grow up rapidly as we are awed by the power, control and supremacy adults hold over children. There have been many times during which my 5-year-old daughter had repeatedly questioned me about growing up fast! She has even asked me to come up with a good solution for quickly growing up! Such is the inclination of kids to become adults. But as we grow up, enter college pass out, get into a decent job and start facing real hurdles in life we start revisiting our happier childhood memories and seek to become a child once again. Besides filling our life with boulders, success, failures and mixed emotions growing up/ageing brings upon various other irreversible effects-on our health, appearance and well-being-our quality of life depends on the way we handle them.
Food habits and lifestyle practices hold prominent roles in our path to weight loss and good health but along this tag our body’s metabolism too which gets slower and slower as we grow older. A slow metabolism has always been a hindrance to weight loss and there have been ample debates and suggestions to increase our body’s metabolic rate many of which are discussed at www.firsteatright.com. Ageing leads to plentiful changes happening inside our body, to the organs, to our mental health and our overall health as well. Few people remain healthy and fit even when they reach well into their 60s and 70s. For others it’s a daily struggle in life-to stay within normal weight ranges, to abstain from becoming obese, to remember things or even to do daily chores. Each of us accept the fact that people gain weight as they age. They have also blamed it on a variety of factors including low metabolic rate, decreased activity performed through the day, increased leisure time sitting around and no change in portion sizes despite increased sedentariness. But now a new study in Sweden has found that lipid turnover in the fat tissue decreases during ageing making it easier to gain weight despite our efforts to not eat more or exercise less than before.
The research team studied the fat cells of more than 50 individuals for more than 10 years during which all of them displayed decrease in lipid turnover in fat tissues (rate at which lipid in fat cells is removed and stored). It was observed that those who did not compensate for this decreased turnover by eating less gained weight by as much as 20% more. The same team studied 41 women who had underwent bariatric surgery probing into the efficiency of these women to keep their weight off 4-7 years after the surgery using lipid turnover rates. Those women who had low turnover rates before surgery were able to increase it after surgery and keep off the weight which led the researchers to believe that such people have greater chances of increasing lipid turnover rates than those who already had high rates before surgery. It is clearly seen that fat tissues play an independent role in our body regulating changes in body weight as we grow old undeterred by other processes.
So, how do we increase lipid turnover rates to burn fat? By exercising and this is what different researches also say. Increased physical activity also helps in promoting the effectiveness of surgeries. This research is extremely useful for ageing people who have been perplexed with their weight gain despite no changes to their diet and exercise. This would also help in tackling obesity and obesity-related diseases that have expanded to become a mammoth problem globally.
Even small kids know that elderly people suffer from joint pain and hip problems. Each of us are capable of different strength and energy levels some of which is genetic while most of it depends on our nutritional intake and physical activity practise. Milk, in the form of the most nutritious breastmilk, has been the first food that every child consumes after born unto this world. As kids grow milk is an indispensable part of their daily life-each of us never forget to drink our glass of milk in our favourite cup before leaving to school. But as we reach high school or college this gradually decrease replaced by other less-nutritious choices such as fruit juices, mocktails and soda.
Calcium, the most important nutrient present in dairy products such as milk gradually decreases in proportion as the consumption of other beverages increase. Human bones become stronger only up to a certain age, 30 years, after which bone mass and strength start diminishing gradually. After the age of 30 the consumption of calcium-rich foods helps in only protecting our bone mass and strength from further diminishing rather than building better bones. While this is the general scenario, results are quite different for women. Once they reach menopause their body undergoes turbulent hormonal changes and physicians definitely prescribe calcium and multivitamin supplements along with diet recommendations to prevent extreme health deterioration. Get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com who can help you with a well-balanced diet plan to meet your postmenopausal nutrient needs. In case a woman fails to supplement her body with calcium supplements she might surely face the debilitating consequences of joint pain, arthritis, increased risk of fractures and likewise. The risk of such conditions is further heightened when she is habituated to regular soda consumption.
Mind Your Beverage
Food has become fashionable and people consume food keeping fashion in mind. Pairing pizza with soft drinks or French fries with soda has become the unwritten law. During the introduction of these processed foods in India, many people objected to the adaptation of Western culture and eating trends but now, we see innumerable people, including seniors and elderly people, relishing a piece of cheesy pizza or burger paired with a fizzy beverage of their choice. We have a new study where researchers examined the effect of soda consumption on bone health and fracture risk in more than 70,000 postmenopausal women who were around 69 years. Almost 50% women were followed-up for at least 12 years during which 2,578 hip fractures occurred. Results showed that women who consumed more than 14 350-ml servings per week were likelier to experience 26% hip fracture during the study period than those who never had soda. Those who consumed more than 14 servings of caffeine-free soda were at a 32% increased risk of experiencing hip fracture.
According to the results, low or moderate consumption of soda does not increase the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women but after certain quantities of consumption, almost equal to two cans per day, the risk increased significantly. Menopause brings about slowed production of bone tissues and women face an increased risk of osteoporosis. Such porous and brittle bones make it easier for fractures to appear. Carbonated beverages and soda have already been linked to lower bone mineral density in some other studies but this is the first step to prove that soda alone can increase the risk when consumption increases by more than two sodas a day. The risk remained constant even when other factors such as use of osteoporosis meds, coffee intake, diabetes, exercise and maternal hip fracture history was taken into account. This shows that soda consumption must be added to the list of behaviour such as unbalanced diets and sedentary lifestyle that increase the chances of hip fracture.
Age has become no bar for many things both good and bad: 10-year-old kids are given employment at IT companies for their coding skills, 5-year-old children give cut-throat competition to singers in contests and even 15-year-old teens make rather surprising discoveries that are out-of-the-box and extraordinary. The MTS kid advertisement that’s shown might become a reality in near future too! Every toddler and kid is blessed with such talents that needs to be recognized and nurtured. With all these on one side, there are devastating things happening at jet speed that could ruin our quality of life on the other side. Kids are growing to be obese/overweight right from a tender age, even 2- or 3-year-old kids seem to be above normal weight ranges. Heart attacks, joint problems and leg pain, health problems that was monopolized by adults decades back are seen frequently among small children these days. Cancer too has joined the queue.
Obesity, one of the biggest concerns of the world not only has impacted the life of adults but has also endangered small children’s life. Sedentariness has become the common trend as most houses employ maids to look after kids and these children enjoy their life in the absence of parents. In course of time they become couch potatoes addicted to electronic gadgets eating processed foods to their heart’s content and living a happy idle life. Outdoor games seem to have vanished and board games are trending right now. This puts the kids at an increased risk of diseases and infections including cancer too.
A new study in Denmark on more than 3,00,000 individuals shows that heavier and taller kids are at a greater risk than their average-sized peers for developing renal cell carcinoma (RCC) as adults. There have already been studies showing obesity as a leading risk factor for cancer and an upsurge in cancer rates due to higher obesity rates. Cancers take years to develop and overweight adults are at an increased risk of RCC. Comparing two13-year-old kids with one z-score difference in BMI (almost 5.9 kg for boys and 6.8 kg for girls) and similar height showed that the heaviest boy or girl was at a 14% increased risk of RCC compared to the leaner child. While normal-weight kids at 7 and 13 years of age did not have risk of RCC later in life, kids who were normal weight at 7 years and overweight at 13 years were at a 67% increased risk of developing RCC. Also those kids who were slightly taller than average height kids at 7 years of age were at an increased risk of RCC. There have been clues in previous studies that height, being tall, increases the risk of cancer and hence the fact that RCC risk is heightened in taller children comes as no surprise. But the news here is that it’s a combination of heaviness and tallness in kids that increase the risk of RCC in kids. It is better to be safe than sorry. Curb weight gain in your children during initial stage to avoid repenting for tis effects during later stages. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to help your child lose weight in a simple, scientific and efficient way.
Celebrating with sugar treats has been the norm since ages and there is nothing wrong about it. Functions and celebrations do not happen all round the year and making kheers or sweets did not disturb the optimal health of individuals back then. But the advent of processed foods and sweetened beverages has put us in turmoil-they have been the culprits behind increasing obesity/overweight rates and attack of a diabetes epidemic among the general public all of which can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cause more health problems. Individuals have become fans of the calorie-laden doughnuts, sugar-sweetened beverages and cupcakes which occupy central place during birthday celebrations and parties. This leaves people with spiked-up glucose levels that have devastating impact on the health that various countries are thinking about levying a sugar tax apart from the exuberant number of taxes already in place while it has been implemented and in practise in few countries around the world. But this has attracted a lot many supporters and haters despite the government seeing it as a way to tackle the rising obesity crisis (the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages reduces consumption rate).
Restricting sugar intake is indeed the wise choice to escape from weight gain problems and reduce risk of health consequences. Self-control is the best way to do this but many cannot withhold their temptation as it is imprinted in their neural connection, especially in obese/overweight people as elaborated in www.firsteatright.com. But how about playing a fun game that can help you do the same? Games have in fact been added as an addiction and I don’t think many would have problems doing this. That’s the study published in the ‘Journal of Behavioural Medicine’ where the researchers developed and evaluated a ‘brain training’ game that targeted the part of the brain that inhibits impulses hoping to see beneficial changes in diet.
Virtual reality games are becoming more and more prominent being used for treating dementia and other health problems as well. Cognitive or ‘brain training’ games have been in practise for motivating people to quit unhealthy habits such as smoking but this is the first study to look into the effect of gamified inhibitory control training on weight loss. The game was designed basically depending on the number of sweets consumed by each participant and changing difficulty levels based on how well each of them resisted the temptation of sweets. Overall 109 individuals participated in the study all of whom were overweight and ate sweets. All of them attended a workshop which mainly focused on how sugar is detrimental to health, provided a list of the sugar-laden foods that should be avoided and also helped them with ways for doing so. Still, the research team strongly felt that each of them needed an extra tool to help them refrain from sugar consumption. The tool used here was the gaming platform, the training of which could help the person pursue the no-added sugar diet.
Each participant played the game daily on the computer for a few minutes every day for six weeks and then again once a week for two weeks. The game was to help shoppers put the correct items (healthy foods) on the grocery cart while avoiding choosing incorrect foods (preferably sweets). Points were given every time a shopper placed the correct item in the cart. In those who loved sweets it was seen that over 50% of them lost around 3.1% of their body weight over eight weeks. They were happy with the training and also wished to continue it even after the study. Some received a highly gamified version of the study and in those who did so, there was a better reception to it among men than women
In ancient days people used to pray for the birth of a boy child as girls were considered to be a burden to the family-as they had to be raised and married off which incurred expenses for the dad. Times have changed and its now evident that parents love to give birth to girl babies! The only thing that they pray for is for the birth of a hale and healthy baby, that’s nowadays become a rarity with the haphazard lifestyles and environmental factors affecting us. Babies are born with physical deformities, jaundice, juvenile diabetes or mental health problems such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that disrupts the quality of life of both the child and his/her parents.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be blamed on a combination of both genetic and environmental factors and one genetic factor has surprised researchers dwelling on the root cause of the disorder-DNA mutations originating in father’s sperm. Read more about autism and the effect of environmental influence on it by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. The disorder was prevalent during earlier times too but has become more prevalent owing to various factors such as improved technology to diagnose the disease and a numerous amount of environmental and genetic changes that have happened for the worse. Experts agree that autism is inherited as observations and research show that it tends to run in the families. Researchers started looking out for “epigenetic tags” that regulates which genes are switched-on or expressed. Basically, they wanted to check out the process that happens before someone is affected by autism.
Sperms are Increasingly Susceptible to Environmental Changes
Its quite easy to acquire a sample of sperms from men in comparison to eggs from women. Also, sperms are easily more affected by environmental changes that could alter the epigenetic tags in their DNA. A study on the effect of epigenetic tags on autism risk showed that several altered epigenetic patterns were found in the brains of individuals with autism showing that these tags could be linked to autism. It concluded that epigenetic changes in the father’s DNA increases the likelihood of the child developing ASD in families where there is already one child with the condition.
We also have studies linking autism risk to changes in DNA that occur in sperms and such mutations cause 10-30% of autism cases. Another risk factor that increase the frequency of mutations is the dad’s age-older the father at the time of conception higher is the chance that the sperm will result in new mutations that can lead to ASD. This made some researchers to find out whether they could match certain disease-causing genetic mutations in the DNA of kids with autism to the same mutations in their dad’s sperm. They matched the changes found in kids to the ones found in dads and concluded that the new mutations were definitely playing some part in contributing to autism. This can help scientists come up with a test to help fathers with an autistic child to know how likelier they are to have another one who could suffer from autism and also tell couples their possibility of giving birth to a child with autism.
We have more than 165 genetic mutations linked to autism and conducting tests on the dad’s sperm for some of these mutations could predict the risk of autism in his child. This could help parents make decisions based on this information-this is not only restricted to autism but also extends to other conditions such as schizophrenia, epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases.
Its bad when something goes wrong with our health and body but its worse when our health affects someone else’s well-being and intellect, especially when the other person affected is our beloved son! Its time now that we all realize the effect we have on our children and their successive generations-directly and indirectly. What we eat and how we behave teach children ample things-they follow our food habits by keenly observing what we like and don’t like and this is direct impact. But, even before these little ones are exposed to the outside world, they grow inside the mom’s womb hearing and seeing more that what we assume. Don’t misjudge your darling foetuses-they all have extra sensory power and if you don’t believe its time to read about it at www.firsteatright.com. The child not only hears and understands the mom’s feeling, emotions and voice but also starts reciprocating in its own way. Maybe that’s why most people take utmost care to keep the pregnant woman as happy as possible.
Despite repeated recommendations from physicians to stay fit through the reproductive years, women don’t pay much heed to their words and end up facing the effects of poor health and weight issues once they conceive and even after childbirth. During pregnancy, overweight and obesity might manifest in the form of other problems such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and more while after childbirth it seems that a mother’s obesity in pregnancy can affect her child’s development years (physical and mental) later in life. This is the result of a study published in the reputed journal ‘BMC Pediatrics’ where the researchers studied more than 350 moms and their kids right from pregnancy and when the kids were 3 and 7 years old. At 3 years of age they found that the kid’s motor skills were comparatively low when moms suffered from maternal obesity during pregnancy. Again, at age 7 when the boys’ motor skills were measured it was seen that boys whose mothers were obese/overweight while pregnant were almost lower by more than 5 points in their IQ score compared to that of the boys whose mothers weighed normal during pregnancy. But such difference in motor skills and IQ scores were not present for girls. The surprise element here is the striking difference seen in age-appropriate developmental assessments seen through early and middle childhood.
Its maybe because fetal development is affected by factors such as inflammation, metabolic stress, hormonal disruptions and high amount of insulin and glucose that become prominent when the pregnant woman is obese. We also have results from other studies where it was observed that kids with high IQ scores were born to those moms who consumed more of certain fatty acids found in fish. Nature does affect kids’ inborn IQ and health but nurture plays a determining role in moulding their knowledge-providing them with educative books, toys, a nurturing home environment and the way parents interact with children did play a positive role in enhancing the IQ levels and lessen negative effects of obesity. Firstly, try to stay in shape or get into normal weight before getting pregnant. If you have conceived even before you could do this at least try to eat a well-balanced diet that’s full of colourful fruits and vegetables, take your prenatal supplements, eat enough fatty acids and stay active. Have an open discussion with your physician regarding your weight issues, follow-up on the diet with them, stick with minimal weight gain levels prescribed and give your child the best home environment to minimize the effect of your weight on their development.
A fat child was not a common sight earlier but these days it’s a society that bears equal number of normal as well as obese/overweight kids. Another beauty is that, there are an equal number of parents too who are above normal weight ranges. Does this imply anything? Definitely! Maternal or paternal obesity increases the risk of obesity in the offspring and when both parents are obese, the risk is doubled. The newborn child can be sure that he/she is at a definite risk of weight gain during growing years if he/she doesn’t stick to appropriate lifestyle measures. Poor kids face the debilitating risk of overweight because of their parents’ attitude in life sometimes.
Once born into the world, the child considers his/her parents as a superhero mimicking their attitude and behaviour. Eating habits and lifestyle attitudes too are copied. Parents who eat healthy food rich in fruits and vegetables nurture the essence of nutritious food in their kids too. If not, these children grow up eating foods that they like unfazed by the calories, nutrient contents and health surrounding it. Not engaging in daily physical activity, regular exercising schedule and a sedentary lifestyle puts all the family members at a higher risk of weight gain. Whereas, families who engage in outside play making it a joyous affair reap potential benefits.
Kids, adolescents and young adults who have been obese since childhood through to middle age are twice at an increased risk of facing difficulty with daily tasks such as lifting, climbing stairs or even shopping by the age of 50. Nutritionists and physicians advice individuals to lose their excess weight before 30 years of age or at least by 40 years as it proves to be a tough task to lose weight as one grows old. Blame it on metabolic rates, your lifestyle, food intake or reduced exercising capacity. Metabolism plays a crucial role in body weight and there are questions on whether we could change our body’s metabolism. Get an answer by visiting www.firsteatright.com.
On analysing data from more than 8,000 individuals it was clearly proved that obesity at any age in adulthood is linked to a greater risk of poor physical functioning at the age of 50. For instance, when a woman weighs 8 kg more than her expected weight for her height, she is at a 32% increased risk of poor physical functioning. Longer the obesity duration greater is the physical functioning risk. Individuals who become obese in middle age face minimal risk-for instance, men who enter obesity between 45 and 50 years of life face a 50% increased risk whereas for women it is more than 75%. That’s primarily because individuals who are obese for a longer time are also likelier to have a higher BMI by the age of 50. This study result is of extreme importance as it helps in predicting the impact of obesity in the quality of life of individuals over 50 years. Trouble bending, walking or even dressing shows that the person might become a dependent in the ensuing years if the same situation continues to worsen. Individuals need to take better care of themselves right from early years to lead an independent life even during their old age.
It seriously irritates and hampers your productivity when you don’t sleep well. Eyes are tired, the mind is not fresh, your body drags you all through the day without josh and your entire day’s productivity is not fulfilled. Minimal sleep aggravates mood changes and anxiety both of which can invoke memory-related problems. Insufficient sleep remains the number one cause of forgetfulness.
Enriched memory skills serve as a powerful tool in various spheres of life. On the other hand, being forgetful reduces quality of life, makes things more complicated and brings about a constant sense of frustration and worry. For instance, if you are a very forgetful person you might even miss out on your wallet while going out. A similar incident happened to my husband who is one of the most forgetful persons in life. It was my birthday and we had all gone out to enjoy a peaceful dinner meal. Halfway through he suddenly remembered that he had once again missed to take his wallet along. So, we returned all the way back home which resulted in waste of time, energy, increased hunger and all of our moods were totalled dampened. But now researchers have come up with a solution to solve the miseries of forgetfulness to some extent.
Unable to retrieve something? Its better to wait until the later part of the day. This is the latest result from a study on mice that seems to be in possession of a gene that influences memory recall on different times of day also increasing forgetfulness at certain other times. Memory is a critical aspect that needs perfect studying and understanding as the biology of forgetting is complicated-it is rather difficult to differentiate between not knowing and not recalling. For instance, researchers feel that forgetting comes into picture mainly because individuals don’t take much care to truly learn something that’s been taught newly. For instance, you have met someone recently and looking forward to being friends with them. The first thing we do is to exchange our names but the very minute after knowing it you are unable to remember-this is mainly because you are not able to recall the information from where it is stored in the brain. This could have frequently happened to most of us-we sing a song but very frequently forget the lyrics during the process thereby humming to the music or fitting our own lyrics instead.
To test the recall capability, a group of researchers innovated a memory test that could differentiate between not learning versus knowing but not being able to remember. The research team evaluated the memory capability of young adult male and female mice. Each of the mice were allowed to explore a new object during the ‘learning’ or ‘training’ phase. During the ‘recall’ phase the researchers looked for how long the mice touched the displayed object when it was reintroduced. Results showed that mice spent less time touching those objects that they were previously introduced to earlier. Such objects were once again recalled during different times of the day to judge the mice’s memory capability. The experiment was repeated with both healthy mice and those without BMAL 1-a protein that ensures the functioning of various genes. This protein is found in low levels before a person gets out of bed and at high levels before he/she goes to sleep, in general later part of the day. Results showed that mice that trained just before they woke up and tested immediately after they went to sleep recognized the objects. Another group of mice trained just before waking up but 24 hours later could not remember the objects. Both, healthy mice and those without BMAL 1 showed similar results with the difference that mice without the protein showed increased signs of forgetfulness before waking up. This was seen in their capacity to recognize objects or other mice as well.
Its not something new that the body’s circadian cycle, one that regulates sleep-wake cycle, also has a definite impact on memory and learning. Its not seen clearly that circadian clocks regulate memory recall too. Read more about circadian cycle and its effect on human health from the website www.firsteatright.com. The next step is for the researchers to identify ways to boost memory retrieval through the protein pathway and use this to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s.
“What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice”-Though the poem might go like this, in real life each of have different taste perceptions-some like sweet, some like spiciness and some others like both. But there are almost none who likes the taste of bitterness. Even uttering the word ‘bitter’ brings upon a frown in out face and we are instantly reminded of the vegetable that stands true to its name-bitter gourd! The ‘bitter’ part in bitter gourd says it all and we need no further explanation on this. With many people in the world going vegan or pursuing a vegetarian diet, plant-based foods are gaining popularity worldwide. Besides, when we decide to start eating healthy food, the obvious choice is to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and pulses. It is also necessary to know that many people are not great fans of vegetables, especially those that taste bitter such as bitter gourd and broccoli.
Broccoli cannot be compared to bitter gourd on any given day but some individuals are extremely sensitive to different tastes, in the sense that they have very high sense of taste, which makes vegetables such as broccoli taste extremely bitter and inedible. Read more about such elevated sense of taste and how this affects the nutrient intake of such individuals by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. But its better to give broccoli a second chance in your life to avoid the bitter consequences of nutrient inadequacy later. But according to a new study, adding broccoli to diet rather than changing your mind will in fact change the taste of the food. This is not magic but due to the action of proteins of found in saliva.
Do you know that the food we eat interacts with the saliva first even before it interacts with the taste receptor cells? Saliva is home to more than 1000 proteins and each of them influence stimuli even before the food is tasted. The food we eat marks a signature in the salivary proteome and these proteins regulate the sense of taste. We already know that any changes made to the diet changes the proteins present in the saliva and this research shows that the proteins in the saliva bring about changes in taste. We might not like the taste of bitter gourd or broccoli but introducing the foods repeatedly might improve their taste as the proteins are regulated meanwhile. This is applicable to kids as well-that’s why we reintroduce foods to kids even though they might not like the piece of carrot or drumstick provided. By repeatedly familiarizing foods kids’ taste buds get regulated and they start accepting all kind of veggies.
If you want to know how much is good enough, we cannot suggest a specific number for repeating the specific food but only tell that including them repeatedly at successive intervals would definitely change taste perception. This could bring about optimal changes in many people’s diet plan as repeatedly telling that something is good would not make it good in any way but repeatedly tasting the food would help the person understand that’s its indeed edible.
Obesity is rocking the world affecting a greater number of people each day putting them at an increased risk of health-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. We now know about this very well, thanks to the repeated articles that appear on magazines, newspapers and even on radios and television. What remains in the dark is the relationship between obesity and abnormal bowel habits. As a society, we hesitate to discuss about bowel habits and refuse to disclose details about it to anyone, even our parents or spouse. We take it to be our personal burden and fight in isolation against inappropriate bowel habits. Its common to blame our eating habits and food practices for repeated recurrence of diarrhoea and other irregular bowel habits and there is no denial in this regard. We also have a number of studies associating between obesity and bowel habits but all of them lacked sufficient evidence for showing that diet or other factors too had a role to play.
A research team monitored the bowel health of more than 5000 participants aged above 20 years without any history of irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer and celiac disease. Each of their BMI measurements were taken and the bowel habits of every participant who had a BMI linked to being underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese and severely obese was taken. Results showed that participants who were obese or severely obese were 60% likelier to experience chronic diarrhoea compared to those who had normal bowel habits or constipation-this was observed after controlling for dietary, diabetes, laxative use, physical activity and demographic factors. Such increased diarrhoea risk in obese individuals could be due to chronic low-grade inflammation.
Multiple other studies too show that the prevalence of diarrhoea in obese people is higher compared to normal-weight individuals. A population-based survey showed the prevalence rate of diarrhoea to be around 30% compared to 17% in normal-weight counterparts. Another study in France showed that functional diarrhoea was linked to BMI in females but not in males. In a group of 1001 Swedish individuals the occurrence of diarrhoea, the urgency to pass stools and nocturnal urgency were dominantly seen among obese participants.
Its been observed that such increased diarrhoea prevalence in obese individuals could be due to changes in bile acids resulting in bile acid diarrhoea, increased colonic transit, greater mucosal permeability or inflammation of the intestine. Even intake of meds such as metformin (for PCOS or diabetes) by obese individuals can result in diarrhoea. This shows that diet changes and medical displacements cannot explain the relationship between obesity and chronic diarrhoea and simply bringing in changes to diet doesn’t displace the risk of chronic diarrhoea. Trying to eliminate obesity by taking precautionary steps in the first place is the best solution. If the individual is already obese, it is highly recommended to take the necessary action to bring about weight loss. Get in touch with reputed dietitians and nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to eliminate the risk of obesity and its related effects with healthy diet programs.
As adults, we feel blessed and happy to stay on a healthy weight range, even more glad when we measure below recommended weight numbers keeping in mind the figure-hugging dresses that look lovely on us. But the same underweight trend doesn’t seem to please us when its evident on our newborn. The society sticks by certain rules and regulations and expects each of us to follow it to the dot. Babies are no exceptions to this-we encourage our little ones to look fat and plump; a normal-weight child isn’t adorable as per society norms and an underweight infant is a sin! Mothers of underweight children are constantly reprimanded to feed them with fat-enriched foods. Looks aside, in what else ways does an underweight infant face trouble?
As soon as the baby is born, his/her height, weight, head circumference and APGAR score measurements are taken to determine the infant’s health. Any deviation from normal ranges calls for attention as it can affect the growth of the child in different ways. That’s why the pregnant mother-to-be is regularly advised to eat healthy food in healthy portions to help the baby grow normally inside the womb-not too much or too little as either comes with its own set of problems. Heavy foetuses increase the likelihood of C-section deliveries and bring about health consequences to the child in different ways. Likewise, we now have evidence that low birth weight kids are likelier to suffer from cardiovascular risk factors as they grow up.
Cardiovascular disease was initially thought to be a man’s disease as mostly it was men who suffered from it but now women are equally victimized by the problem. Again, cardiovascular disease which was assumed to be an adult’s health problem seems to break this rule too as many of the risk factors are observed in a greater number of children in the recent years. Researchers from the West Virginia University assessed data of 20,000 kids born full term studying in the fifth grade. Every child’s birth weight, his/her BMI in fifth grade, triglyceride levels and cholesterol types were monitored and noted down. Children with low birth weight suffered from higher triglyceride levels and higher levels of bad cholesterol compared to good cholesterol even after considering various factors. Such levels are direct implications of higher risk of heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease, atherosclerosis and other similar conditions. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol have different implications on the body-for more information on cholesterol, its types, the different foods rich in different types and all other details please visit www.firsteatright.com.
Such complications can be avoided by attending to the fetus’ growth inside the womb. Take adequate care during pregnancy to reduce the chances of suboptimal foetal growth. But once the baby is born and it measures to be a low birth weight infant its not necessary to give up on it and lose hope. Feed them properly, keep monitoring their growth, educate them on the need for nutritious and healthy eating habits, exercise and avoidance of smoking/drinking as they grow. Such habit formations go well into adulthood and become your child’s regular lifestyle practices.
Choosing healthy ingredients and having adept knowledge about different possible recipes and their cooking procedures is not all. Hygiene is first and foremost important to prevent the chances of food poisoning through the spread of bacteria while cooking, preparing or storing food. How much aware are you about the fact that bacteria that result in food poisoning are most active between 40˚ and 140˚F? We can brand something as ‘safe to eat’ once it reaches the specific internal temperature at which all the harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning are killed. Most of us ‘predict’ that food is cooked with its change in color and texture but how sure can you be that its safe to eat without knowing the exact temperature of the cooked food? Ensure to practice the following steps to confirm that the food is thoroughly cooked.
Use a food thermometer: Making use of a food thermometer is the best way to ensure that food is cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. Chicken, duck and pork must be cooked up to a temperature of 167 ˚F double checking that there is no tinge of pink left in the meat. Beef and lamb can be served as rare until the outside has been properly cooked helping clear away the bacteria present on the surface. Please don’t wash raw meat and poultry before cooking as this causes bacteria to spread around the sink, utensils that we use and other surfaces. Its only cooking and not washing that kills any bacteria present in these. Get more details about using a food thermometer from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Keep it Hot: We generally use a casserole to ensure that the prepared food stays hot for a long time even after cooking. Once food starts to cool down the risk of bacterial growth increases due to the dip in temperature that provides the right environment for the bacteria to thrive. So, our practice of using something to keep food warm is definitely appreciable and noteworthy but that’s not enough. Bacteria tend to multiply in the danger zone between 40˚F and 140 ˚F and hence, it is essential that cooked food is maintained at a temperature above 140 ˚F with the help of a chafing dish, warming tray or a slow cooker.
Reheat leftovers: Food is usually prepared keeping into account the number of people who would be present during the meal. All days are not the same and sometimes, there is an occasional chance of leftover food that gets stored inside the refrigerator. When you wish to use it, please reheat it to 165 ˚F or higher.
There are four basic steps to food safety:
We long for fresh air and a pleasant day in a serene place after living amidst rushing traffic & polluted roads. We go to hill stations to experience chillness or visit our villages for greenery. The presence of blooming flowers and clean air has become a dream for those living along the countryside with such heavy traffic in the roads-every family these days owns a car and a two-wheeler! There is more carbon dioxide present in the Earth than in the 1960s and people are ready to pay huge sums to breathe clean air for an hour! Air pollution is one of the biggest problems today that has a direct impact on asthma rates and respiratory problems. We have numerous studies prompting on the impact of air pollution on the health of individuals and now we are going to look at its impact on the future generation! For more details on how air pollution affects quality of life of adults please visit www.firsteatright.com.
The Pressing Issue of Depression Due to Air Pollution
Are you planning to buy a home in one of the busiest roads in town? You might be overwhelmed with your purchasing power to procure a high-rise building that’s close to the major areas in the city connecting all important places and existing as a piece of cake for any buyer. But maybe, after reading this article you will think twice before choosing to buy it. We have research quoting that children who lived in areas with high air pollution levels as kids are likelier to develop major depression by the age of 18. Such kids are 3-4 times at an increased risk of depression at 18 when they are exposed to dirty air by the age of 12. According to researchers 75% of mental problems start during childhood as it is during this time that the brain is developing rapidly and being exposed to impure air at such a tender age surely raises the risk.
Another research shows that short-term exposure to intense air pollution was linked to exponential growth of psychiatric disorders in kids a couple of days later. The same study also found that those kids living in disadvantaged neighborhoods are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution compared to other kids in the form of anxiety and suicidality. On second thoughts it seems that pollutants and the surrounding neighborhood stressors could in turn have an effect on the psychiatric symptom’s severity and frequency. The main focus of the study was on finite particulate matter known as PM2.5. These are microscopic particles that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that can get into the lungs, pass into other organs and bloodstream resulting in inflammation, irritation and respiratory problems. Prolonged exposure of the matter can even lead to cancer and heart attack. It was seen that increase in PM2.5 levels immediately led to psychiatric visits in the next couple of days many of which pertained to adjustment disorder and suicidal thoughts. While this study focused specifically on PM2.5 there are quite a few others that have found a link between air pollution and mental health. The study published in ‘Environmental Research’ found that high traffic related air pollution (TRAP) causes increment in generalized anxiety. Another study published in the same journal found that exposure to TRAP during early life and childhood was linked to depression and anxiety symptoms in 12-year-old kids.
Dirty air has a bad impact on quality of life, shortens lifespan and makes the living period disdainful for many yet the action taken to control air pollution is bad. Also, air pollution is only one of the threats to mental and physical health and there are plenty other environmental issues that cause anxiety, depression, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Rather than simply putting the entire blame on the government people should also take action from their end to minimize air pollution levels by planting trees, avoiding smoking, abstain from cutting down trees and engaging in carpooling or using public transportation whenever and wherever possible. This helps in safeguarding the health of our future generations.
A newborn infant gets to drink or eat nothing other than breast milk for the first six months of life after which his/her life is open to food choices that become more and more diversified as the little one grows up. Right around the sixth month, these infants are fed on a variety of foods including porridge, mashed vegetables and fruits-the choice of these infants help us determine their preferences and choices regarding taste and various foods right from this stage of life. Aren’t these kids delighted to swallow down a spoonful of gripe water that tastes sweet and annoyed (showing 100 different expressions simultaneously) when they are fed a spoonful of mashed broccoli? Without any experience or nurture these kids have evolved to avoid bitter food right from the start of their life! Science tells us that an aversion to bitter food is an inborn quality residing within every individual which is a key feature for survival-it helps us avoid toxic plants and foods that are not edible. Also, breast milk contains lactose, a sugar and that’s probably why children are more inclined towards choosing sugary and sweet foods comparatively. Moreover, we have only one or two receptors for sweet but more than a dozen of them to identify bitterness. All vertebrates including humans have taste receptors-it’s only the placement and number of receptors that vary between them. For instance, the number of taste receptors on the whiskers of a catfish is tremendous-almost 1000 times more than that present in humans while whales and dolphins that swallow foods as a whole have almost no taste receptors.
It isn’t a rarity to find different kinds of people as given below:
Which Kind of Taster are You?
Basically, there are five different tastes including sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (meaty dish).
There are always two sides of a coin-on one side are the sweet lovers and on the other side are those who don’t really care about sweets. Maybe, when someone does not care about sugary foods, he/she can be called a supertaster-a person who has inherited more taste buds than the average person and hence tastes flavors more intensely. They have more papillae (bumps on the tongue that house the taste buds), taste buds, stronger likes and dislikes towards foods and foods usually have a stronger flavor when tasted by these people. That’s the reason why some people are extremely choosy and pickier about their food choices. Broccoli is slightly bitter and grapefruit is indeed not so sweet but for a supertaster both of them have an extremely bitter taste. Supertasters prefer mild food over spicy food and avoid strong desserts as much as possible. This might also be a reason why a supertaster is slim compared to other people!
Non-tasters are those who have low papillae density (https://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-03/fyi-why-does-some-food-taste-bad-some-people-and-good-others/), love to attack hot spicy foods and generally require more seasoning and garnishing to make the food tastier and attractive. Average tasters come in between supertasters and non-tasters and these are the group of people who like most foods. They don’t cringe at the sight of bitter food nor do they load their plate with oodles of seasoning to bring in flavor to some bland dish. The terms supertasters and non-tasters are attributed to Linda Bartoshuk who used a well-known bitter tasting chemical called 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) to segregate people into these different categories. She found that almost 25% people were extremely sensitive to the chemical while another 25% were totally unaware of it. Such sensitivity causes supertasters to avoid many different vegetables because of the bitter taste. While this might sound less nutritive those with the lowest PROP threshold are said to be the thinnest and those with the highest threshold are said to be the heaviest. Supertasters avoid sweet and high-fat foods and also have a lower BMI while non-tasters clearly choose to eat high-fat and sweet foods.
All of our brains recognize the same five tastes but it’s the variation in the chemicals that trigger different signals that varies from person to person. You might have a sweet tooth, a passion for spicy foods or wiling to eat anything in between. Find out to which category you belong!
The Genetics of Taste: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-genetics-of-taste-88797110/
Beyond Taste Buds: The Science of Delicious: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2015/12/food-science-of-taste/#close
The universe is filled with people busy doing nothing or doing many things simultaneously. If you are one of those juggling frenzy work schedules (working around 14 hours every day), focusing on part-time jobs along 9-5 work schedules, attending correspondence classes along with office work or constantly on wheels owing to office commitments, your wish to lose weight might seem to be a distant dream and a futile scream-at least from your point of view! Some might use these back-to-back commitments as an excuse to stray away from exercise commitments. Busy or not, your body weight doesn’t pity you for your restricted time availability.
Life is a crazy wheel that spins incessantly until your death. Whether you are busy at work, occupied with household chores at home or a socially-active person, it is understandable that life doesn’t seem simple enough to fit exercise routines in between your over-packed responsibilities but exercise can be your stress-buster that helps you sail through busy work routines. There are a few adept ways in which you can skillfully balance exercise routines and other commitments.
Simple Tips to Ensure that Your Exercise Routine Clicks
Be a Smart Worker: How long you work out doesn’t determine how much you lose weight. The intensity and accuracy of the physical activity speaks much more than the tick of your clock. Use your restricted time effectively by actively engaging in vigorous-intensity workouts.
Be an Early Bird: An early-morning workout leaves space for no excuses that might crop up during the rest of the day. Physical activity in the morning keeps you pumped up with energy to handle the day’s events and also avoids busy schedules and tiredness from obstructing your weight loss plan. It is never easy to creep out of your cozy bedsheets just to walk or jog. But once you follow this practice for a couple of days, it becomes a part of your routine.
Please Don’t Eat Out: Meals consumed outside fill your calorie requirements for a day in one meal. The portion sizes offered in most restaurants can easily satisfy hunger needs of two people. Dine out less-frequently and when you eat a meal at any restaurant ensure that you share it with another person.
Weekends are no Excuses: Its time to grow up! Instead of lazing away during the weekend why don’t you use the weekend to make up for the lost weekday workout schedules? You can even plan for a workout date with your bestie or a group of like-minded friends who would love to join you for a refreshing exercise session at the start of the weekend. Maybe it sounds bizarre for those who are used to late-night partying but there is not a better way to start your weekend than by exercising.
Stand When you Can: There have been articles and research studies buzzing around the fact that sitting too long can affect health. But now, we also have research studies showing that standing continuously is equally bad for health. Its not possible to stand and work until your company provides you with a standing desk. But you can surely stand and do simple workout while watching television, be on the move while speaking with your friend/family over the phone or even arrange for walking meetings at office. Walking meetings are the latest trend which have ample benefits on an individual apart from helping him/her move more. If you are inquisitive and ardent enough to read about the other benefits you must surely take a look at them at www.firsteatright.com.
Divide & Conquer: If you cannot squeeze in 30-60 minutes of exercise time together there is nothing wrong in breaking up your workout schedules. Plan for three 10-minute schedules spacing them at three different times of day-morning, noon and night. If you can do it even for five days a week this would have a significant impact on your health. Do simple workouts whenever you get time. It might even be for 2 minutes. But when you fit in five 2-minute workouts during the day you have achieved an extra 10-minute workout altogether.
Every Effort Counts: Try to do away with the concept of ‘all or nothing’. Many people either strike to achieve 100% perfection in their diet and exercise plans or ditch them altogether. There is no hard and fast rule that if you have missed a day’s exercise session you can miss out on your diet too. Every small action counts. Rather, when you miss your workout maybe you can go for a smaller portion of meal and take a fruit along with it. Nobody is perfect in this world and the truth remains that none can live perfect forever. Try to accommodate your exercise routines wherever possible and bring in small tweaks to them when time demands.
Conflicts surrounding Body Mass Index measurements and its authenticity are only expanding but never are we able to reach a conclusion. The face can be the index of the mind and eyes can mirror our souls but never do our body physique/weight reflect our health and fitness levels. Up to 30% of obese adults are metabolically healthy which leaves us pondering about the definition of ‘metabolically healthy.’
Obese individuals are called ‘metabolically healthy’ when they are characterized by having low abdominal adiposity, low inflammation levels, low risk for metabolic abnormalities and high insulin resistance. On one side we insist on the fact that there is nothing called as ‘fat but fit’ while on the other side there are studies that show that individuals can be obese as well as metabolically healthy too or be of normal weight but comprise of an unhealthy metabolic profile.
Abdominal adiposity and low fitness levels have been associated with a host of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, dementia and increased mortality rates. Waist circumference remains as a clear indication of excess body fat surrounding the abdomen. Researchers even guess that it is abdominal fat but not total body fat that causes inflammation as well as induce a host of diseases.
Abdominal Adiposity Study
The research team sifted through previously available data of more than 10,000 individuals and requested for their waist circumference, weight measurement, height and blood samples to measure their level of C-reactive protein. Results showed that increased fitness levels were associated with a smaller waist circumference and low inflammation levels irrespective of BMI values. This clearly indicates that a person’s fitness level decreases abdominal fat and inflammation levels which in turn elevate metabolic health of the person.
Staying on a healthy weight is necessary but it is also necessary to control your LDL cholesterol levels, total cholesterol levels and abdominal adiposity to be a ‘fit’ person. If you are one of those people struggling to fulfill these criteria, get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com. These RDNs are sure to work with you catering to your body conditions and fulfill your requirements in the healthy way.
The gut bacteria in your stomach has the power to influence your mood, affect your immune system and alter your metabolism. In short, it has the reigns over you and your life. There are millions of bacteria inside the human gut and these exist with viruses and fungi to form the microbiota or microbiome. Not all bacteria and viruses are bad. There are many of those that are healthy for our body helping us to keep ourselves in tip-top condition. Not every human has the same set, combination or an equal number of these gut microbiomes. Each of us have our own unique combination of bacteria, fungi and viruses whose existence is determined by a number of factors such as our mom’s microbiota, the environment that we are born into and also depend upon our diet and lifestyle. While these microorganisms are present all over the body its those that exist in the gut that have a bigger share on our health and wellness.
Gut bacteria are predominantly present in our digestive system lining the intestines and colon. The quantity of these organisms and their quality too play an important role in affecting our health. There are research evidences showing that the gut bacteria in healthy people are different from those with diseases. Such people with illnesses have too little or too much of a particular type of bacteria which prevents the equal presence of other types of microorganisms. As we know, some are protective of our health while others promote illness. Having too much of illness-promoting bacteria or too little of health-promoting ones both result in disastrous consequences on our health. If you wish to get healthy gut bacteria the key to it lies in your diet and www.firsteatright.com is the perfect place to start working on this goal of yours.
One of the common side effects of such imbalance is inflammatory bowel syndrome where these individuals have lower levels of anti-inflammatory gut bacteria. The unhealthy bacteria has the ability to make our body affect our own intestines thereby paving way for diseases with open hands. Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) is a common disease occurring due to excess bacterial growth in the small intestine. This is very commonly seen in females, those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and digestive problems.
Domination of SIBO
SIBO occurs due when bacteria travel from anywhere in the digestive tract to the small intestine or there is excess presence of bacteria due to unforeseen multiplication of these tiny specimens. A new study says that small intestine bacteria overgrowth is commonly seen in those with restless leg syndrome (RLS). Generally, SIBO occurs in not even 15% of the people living worldwide but the study that focused on people with RLS showed that all 7 of the volunteers with RLS tested positive for SIBO. Though the study was a small-scale one the positive results on all the participants showed the effectiveness of the bacteria on people with RLS.
RLS is a condition that causes the affected individual to suffer from an overwhelming irresistible urge to move the legs and causes involuntary jerking of the arms and legs too sometimes. The symptoms are worse experienced after a definite period of rest, inactivity, after lying down or sitting down and are mostly present during late evenings or nights. Walking, moving around or staying active has the ability to minimize these symptoms or even totally relieve pain sometimes. While there are many who believe that a chemical called dopamine (responsible for muscle movement) might be the root cause for such involuntary actions there are other researchers who feel that RLS might be the result of iron deficiency. The researchers are taking this study a step further analyzing fecal samples for microbial composition. The participants were requested to fill a questionnaire concerning sleep and SIBO symptoms.
Another study showed that of the 32 RLS participants who were tested, 69% tested positive for SIBO and 28% tested positive for IBS. The researchers put down three positive theories for such results. Firstly, it could be because RLS patients are immunocompromised or genetically predisposed putting them at a higher risk of SIBO. Secondly, it could be due to autoimmune changes or thirdly, SIBO inflammation can lead to CNS iron deficiency thereby increasing the risk of RLS. But these need further research to prove anything.
Breathing is the essence of living and our nose aids in this important process. The air we breathe might not be pure due to multiple reasons in which we might also be a part of some reason (such as contributing to air pollution in some way) but this is a bigger problem that needs the entire country’s attention. Whereas, any problems with our nose that obstructs breathing can be corrected when we take efforts from our side. Some people love the windy weather, some embrace winter for its chillness and pleasantness but there are a handful of people like me who are fans of the bright sunshine and don’t find it a problem even when the scorching sun never fails to traumatize our mood, dampen our spirits and cause us to sweat profusely. I don’t sweat much and maybe you think that’s the reason but no! each of us love or hate things mostly due to various selfish reasons and my happiness in seeing the sun also falls under this ‘selfish’ umbrella. I suffer from sinusitis and even after a septal correction breathing through my nose is a great pain in my daily life when its cold out there.
If you are often sneezing, suffering from a lingering headache due to cold, have troubles without your handkerchief (that takes care of your runny nose) or the swollen red eyes prevent you from focusing on any task at hand it is essential to seek medical help immediately as all of these are symptoms of sinus. Sinusitis is a chronic allergy and a painful condition when the hollow spaces near the nasal passages are inflamed due to infection by germs. Such inflammation is the first step towards runny nose, headaches and swollen eyes. Its never possible to keep sneezing continuously and be 100% productive. Just imagine sitting at a company team lunch with a kerchief over your nose during the entire time-this is awkward not only to you but also to the other people sitting around you! How about driving a vehicle or overtaking one when your nose constantly keeps sending our watery liquid or you sneeze like a dozen times in a minute? Its sounds dangerous! Irritation and discomfort are the foremost effects of a sinus problem but a struggle to breathe while trying to lie down and sleep is an even bigger problem that needs your attention.
Doubting the Antibiotic Effect?
The night we experience breathing struggle makes us promise to pay a visit to the physician the next day who prescribes certain medications that might include antibiotics to clear your congestion. Definitely you feel better but there are chances that the problem recurs all through the winter season debilitating your health and wellness. Research even tells that sinus infections are not really cured by antibiotics prescribed. A British study that focused on the effects of antibiotics and steroid sprays for acting against nose block showed that these were not in any significant way better than the dummy drugs dispensed for the control group individuals in treating sinus. It even suggested that physicians must focus on effective remedies such as over-the-counter painkillers for bringing in relief for the patients (https://www.smh.com.au/world/antibiotics-dont-fix-sinus-infections-20071205-1f1f.html).
Revisiting Grandma’s Medications
We are never in short of home remedies but these too come in handy in times of dire need. Though they might not be a permanent cure these remedies do provide temporary relief and are worth the efforts taken!
Water: Start your day with a glass of warm water and stay hydrated through the day to thin mucus in the nasal passage making it easier for the congested sinus to drain out easily. Any warm liquid aids in relieving the congestion and it is always reliable to sip some warm water or herbal tea that can provide you with relief.
Ginger & garlic: Ginger, a spice popular in our country, comes as a welcome relief to those suffering from common cold and sinus. Boiling a piece of ginger in hot water while preparing tea helps in decongesting the nasal passage. One can also simmer chunks of ginger in hot water for around half an hour, soak up a piece of cloth in the water and apply it on your face (ensuring that it does not burn your forehead) for some 15 minutes to help the sinus drain.
Garlic does more than simply add flavour to foods-it packs your body with good health. Eat 3-5 pieces of garlic daily to boost immunity, stay away from viral diseases and alleviate congestion (boil water, add garlic pieces to it and steam).
Steam: Every time when I complained of cold during my younger days my mother would make me steam with a towel over my head. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil in boiling water helps to kill bacteria that cause congestion. Once water starts boiling, its helpful to cover your head and the bowl with a thick cloth to ensure that the steam doesn’t escape off. Do this for some 15 minutes repeating the inhalation procedure at least thrice a day.
Sip herbal tea: A cup of chai is refreshing during anytime of the day for anyone. Sipping on some hot herbal tea provides soothing relied especially when you suffer from cold and sinus problems. Prepare your own herbal tea with water, crushed pepper, cloves, basil, ginger and tea powder. The ingredients have anti-inflammatory effects. You can also prepare black tea with other herbs such as lemongrass to improve your immunity and act as a relief to congestion.
Milk: While milk consumption decreases as a person grows old relying on beverages such as coffee and tea, milk with turmeric remains the tried-and-tested method to relieve any kind of inflammation as milk provides immunity and turmeric has anti-bacterial properties.
Citrus fruits: While individuals are suggested against consuming citrus fruits in real life fruits such as oranges and lemons are rich sources of nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants that help in boosting immunity and keeping your body safe from viral infections and flu.
Massage: You can give yourself a massage by making use of the four pairs of sinuses located in your face. There are three massage points but the most commonly used one is the sphenoid/ethmoid-the sphenoid sinus point is located just behind the nose and between the eyes while the ethmoid sinuses are located in the ethmoid bone that divides the nasal cavity from the brain. Massage by placing the index finger on both sides of the bridge of the nose applying pressure on the area with the fingers for 15 seconds. Stroke downward along the bridge using your fingers repeating this for about 30 seconds.
Suffering From a Sinus Infection? Here’s What you Should Include in your Diet: https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/suffering-from-a-sinus-infection-heres-what-you-should-include-in-your-diet-6109571/
What to Eat & What to Avoid if you are Suffering from Sinus? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/what-to-eat-and-what-to-avoid-if-you-have-sinus/articleshow/68684677.cms
Home Remedies for a Stuffy Nose: https://www.readersdigest.ca/health/conditions/home-remedies-stuffy-nose/
Antibiotics ‘Don’t Fix Sinus Infections’: https://www.smh.com.au/world/antibiotics-dont-fix-sinus-infections-20071205-1f1f.html
3 Massage Techniques to Get Relief from Sinus Pain: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/home-remedies/3-massage-techniques-to-get-relief-from-sinus-pain/articleshow/70934673.cms
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