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Blog posts of '2018' 'May'

8 Health Benefits Of Quitting Sugar

We all know for a fact that sugary food does more harm than good and yet we find it extremely challenging to resist the temptation of having a bite or two of your favorite sweet dish/ bar. While we do have to check for the intake of excess sugar, it is also true that we can add a little amount of sugar in our diet- emphasis on little! The best way to supply sugar to our body is by consuming whole foods like fruits and veggies. The most you can have is six tablespoon of added sugar.

The benefits of quitting sugar are manifold and in some case the positive results are for all to see even in a few weeks. We bring you the 8 major benefits of quitting sugar.

  1.      Younger looking skin

Younger looking skin

The sugar in your diet is the direct determiner of the amount of sugar in your bloodstream—and studies suggest that high blood sugar levels set up a molecular domino effect called glycation. In simpler terms, glycation can hinder the repair of the skin collagen, the protein which gives the chubby look to your skin. The trouble may multiply even more as the unchecked sugar intake can reduce the elasticity of skin and cause premature wrinkles. Fortunately, the recent research suggests that cutting down your sugar intake can help lessen sagging and other visible signs of aging.

  1.      Reduces belly fat

Reduces belly fat

Everyone knows that a daily sugary-soda habit can pack on a few extra kilos, especially in the midriff. Little do we know that it can be too harmful in the latter stages of our life. Sugary drinks spikes your blood sugar, triggering a flood of insulin through the body, which hastens the process of fat accumulation in the tummy region and even the oblique muscles. The visceral fat runs deep into the abdomen and this fat is known to generate adipokines and adipose hormones- theses hormones bring on inflammation that can contribute to serious health conditions like heart disease and cancer. Hence, you shall see a significant reduction in belly fat once you choose to quit your favorite desserts and popsicles.

  1.      Lose weight faster

Lose weight faster

An increased level of insulin causes the accumulation of extra fat to your stomach; they put fat cells all over your body into calorie-storage overdrive. If you replace the refined carbohydrates and sugary foods from your diet with healthy fats, it keeps the insulin levels stable. Fewer calories get stored as fat. As a result, you experience fewer hunger pangs and a faster metabolism that makes the process of weight loss with very little struggles.

  1.      Stop worrying about diabetes

Stop worrying about diabetes

Since having fewer sweets helps you in checking weight gain, you'll also be more protected against type 2 diabetes. But eating less sugar also lowers your risk of the disease in another way: A sugar-rich diet calls for the pancreas to release lots of insulin after every meal. The excessive demand for insulin by the body would overtax insulin-producing cells, causing them to malfunction. This may eventually lead to diabetes.

  1.      Improved mood

Improved mood

Your mood will improve. A better mood is not something you might experience right away when you quit sugar, but once you are over the worst of it, you will begin to feel much better. A study has shown 40 % increase in the chance of suffering depression if a person consumes more than four cans of soda a day.

Desserts, sweet snacks, sweetened drinks, processed meats and other refined carbohydrates can often have the same effect .An overload of sugar can also short circuit the gut-brain connection to cause effects such as anxiety and even schizophrenia. Given we have an understanding about the ill-effects of indulging in sugary food; it’d be only wise to remove sugar from our diet so that the mental symptoms caused by overindulgence of sugar can be reversed. 

        6.      Stronge immune system

Stronger immune systemYour immune system will be able to function much better once sugar is out of the diet. A study that was conducted way back in 1973 found out that sugar causes our white blood cells to stop doing their job of consuming bad bacteria.A more interesting bit of information from that same study is the fact that starches did not have the same effect on the white blood cells. In light of that fact, it would also be safe to assume that grains and pseudo-grains do not eith

For an immune system to function at its strongest level possible, the ideal situation is to eliminate all added and processed sugar. As difficult as it sounds, doing our bit to quit sugar on a daily basis can eventually build enough willpower to check our sugar cravings.

       7.      Reduces inflammation and joint pain

Reduces inflammation and joint pain

Joint pain and inflammation will decrease as your sugar levels decrease. Refined and processed sugars can trigger inflammation in many ways. Besides aggravating our autoimmune disorders, the sugar gain into the body causes insulin levels to rise and insulin can cause inflammation to worsen, which inadvertently leads to muscular pains and inflammation in the joints. Hence the advisory of eating less sugar.
 

      8.    Improved oral health

Improved oral health

 

 

 If you are a parent of a kid, this is something that we would like to have your attention to. Both kids and adults have a weakness for sugar but if we look at the benefits of quitting sugar strictly from the children’s perspective, we can get more oral improvements. Your mouth and dental health will begin to improve immediately. When we consume sugar, the first point of contact is obviously the teeth. The bacterium which is already present in our mouth feeds on this sugar and produces the acid. This acid deteriorates the enamel of the teeth which starts a horrid cycle for your mouth. Cavities, gum disease and gingivitis are well on their way. We would further like to add that brushing immediately after consuming sweets would only make your enamel softer and susceptible to getting washed away

Is Dark Chocolate Good For The Heart? - A Complete Guide

The old and young alike love chocolate. Made from cocoa, which contains polyphenols, it may act as antioxidants that lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and reduce blood pressure. Some experts are of the opinion that eating some chocolate regularly can decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Cocoa is the source of epicatechins and catechins, which are similar to the polyphenols found in green tea; and quercetin, which is found in fruits and vegetables.

The reason why milk chocolate differs in taste from the dark chocolate is due to the processing made methods that remove polyphenols from the milk chocolate. It is the polyphenols due to which the dark chocolate boasts of their signature bitter taste and high amounts of antioxidant.

Is Dark Chocolate Good For The Heart

Research on Chocolate

Back in 2006, a research had shed light on consuming chocolates and how it correlated with cardiovascular disease risk in large populations. It was eventually found that there is indeed a correlation between the two.  People who consumed more chocolate were found to be at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.  However, one should not be gleeful about these findings as they can only lead to confounding factors. If people who eat chocolate also engage in other activities or an exercise routine to decrease their risk of cardiovascular exercises then these research studies may well fall flat and inconclusive

Cocoa does seem to be beneficial and has positive effects on the function of blood vessels, so it's likely that chocolate could help people with high blood pressure. With the completion of several studies on what kind of effect chocolate has on blood pressure, many (but not all) of them established the fact there is a dip in blood pressure readings among subjects who had high blood pressure.

Problems with These Studies

Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems. The studies that showed a drop in blood pressure after consuming dark chocolates were mostly open-label studies. That means both the subjects and researchers knew what they were taking and why they were taking it. That's a big issue because when people know that the substance they're taking may improve their health, they're more likely to show health improvements that have nothing to do with that substance (it's called the placebo effect).

The other problem with this test was its lack of consistency in results since different brands of chocolate were used in various studies. As we all know that the processing method may have considerable variations. Therefore, the quality and amounts of antioxidants could have differed.

Polyphenols, the ones that are found in chocolate may be able to bring down the cholesterol levels. Two different studies published in 2010 and their subsequent finding showed some promise that cocoa is capable of reducing LDL cholesterol and cause an increase in HDL cholesterol (the good kind).

But they were small studies. To see how much affect cocoa really has on cholesterol levels, there is a need for a bigger and a more diverse study.

Cocoa is also a source of xanthines (theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine) and another compound called phenylethylamine albeit in small amounts. But these compounds seldom have any impact on your health as chocolate contains very small quantities of the same

Eating a bit of dark chocolate may help to keep your blood pressure in normal levels but again the evidence for the same is not all that strong. It is therefore advised to check your intake of dark chocolate.

While it is true that a small quantity of dark chocolate (less than 100 to 200 calories based on your daily need) should not be perceived a form of medication to lower blood pressure. Besides, there are other lifestyle and dietary factors involved.

Dark Chocolate

What you must keep in mind while going for dark chocolates.

Skip the Nougat

You should look for pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts, orange peel or other flavorings. Avoid anything with caramel, nougat or other fillings. The downside of these fillings is that they keep adding sugar and fat that may wipe off the benefits of eating chocolate.

Avoid Milk chocolates

It may taste good but some research shows that washing your chocolate down with a glass of milk could prevent the antioxidants being absorbed or used by your body.

The recent studies have sufficient evidence that show cocoa can provide powerful health benefits, especially against cardiovascular disease.

However, this does not warrant eating chocolates like a staple food item round the year. Because it has calories and an irresistible taste that could trigger overeating.  One proper way of consuming chocolates would be having a square or two after dinner. With such rise in popularity of dark chocolates, the market has mostly resorted to selling and marketing cheap variants of the same. To help you choose the best dark chocolate in town, we suggest you go for organic, dark chocolate that contains 70% or higher cocoa content. They are also known to contain very less amount of sugar.

Also, dark chocolate is often flavored with spices, extracts, and oils to improve its taste. Vanilla is commonly used as a flavoring agent I dark chocolates. Unfortunately, the natural and artificial flavors in dark chocolate cannot be checked on the food label. Once again you should choose dark chocolate that is organic. That way you can be sure the flavors are not artificial

Lecithin is an optional ingredient in dark chocolate. They are basically added as an emulsifier in store-bought chocolates. It keeps the cocoa and cocoa butter from separating and helps blend flavors.

It is commonly derived from soybeans, so you may see it listed as soy lecithin on the label. Soy lecithin is used in a minimal amount and hence it ensures that the dark chocolate does not pose health concerns or any kind of sub-standard in quality. When you're selecting a brand, keep in mind that lecithin isn't absolutely necessary to make chocolate.

Therefore, the takeaway from this article is that the consumption of dark chocolates should be done only as much as necessary to meet the health parameters.

12 Best Foods To Eat After 40

As we age, our body has to deal with the challenges of chronic disease, keeping the weight in check, maintain blood pressure and what not! But contrary to what you may believe, your health isn’t doomed to hit the lows and put you on the list of “overage”, “overweight group of people. Agreed that your body’s metabolism may not be in its prime like it used to when you were in your 20’s but make no mistake, you still have the leverage to stay and look youthful with the help of few tweaks in your diet.

If you choose to eat food that provide nourishment to the body after a certain age, it would also help you to equip your body in fighting some of the most critical diseases like cancer and they can also be effective in neutralizing the signs of aging like saggy skin and wrinkles. Read on to know more about these superfoods!

1. Plant-based milk- The first thing that you need to do once you hit the 40 mark is cut foods that cause bloating and makes your tummy rotund. Since our body cannot break down the lactose as efficiently after in the 40’s and thereafter, we are not able to digest food and this causes gas and bloat. Therefore opt for healthier alternatives like plant-based milk.

2. Eggs- Making an omelet? Forget separating the white from the yolk and embrace the whole egg! The healthy fats within the yolks can help you feel fuller longer and curb cravings. We often fail to realize that eggs also contain choline (present in the orange part of the egg), rather than the whites, that most dieters tend to avoid. Next time you’re whipping up a scramble, crack the whole egg, yolk and all, into the pan.

3. Blueberries- Blueberries are your ultimate source of antioxidants. Besides fighting the sign of aging, blueberries also fends off tendency of getting affected by flu. The indigo orbs are effective against the weight-inducing free radicals. As for the available options to eat blueberries it can always be eaten in delicious whole-grain pancakes or you can simply eat the fruit as belly-filling snack.

4. Onions- The Indian household has been known for their generous use of onion in almost every recipe, and for a good reason. Onion could be your most easily available super-food after 40’s. Not only is it packed with taste and aroma to make a bland dish into a scrumptious bite, onions are also stellar at combating cancer. Red onions are packed with quercetin and anthocyanin which can ward off cancer colon and breast cancer. Onions also have the ability to annihilate the cancer cells and they can also disrupt the process of cell growth.

5. Chickpeas- The taste of chickpeas simply blows everyone away in all its form and cooking. Most importantly, half a cup of chickpeas/garbanzo serving in about 8 grams of fiber would actually help you in meeting the FDA recommendation of having 25 gm fiber each day. While we always have the “masala chole” as the go-to recipe that satiates our taste buds, chickpeas can also be enjoyed in its Middle Eastern avatar known as “hummus”. To make a mouth-watering hummus, all you need to do is mash the boiled chickpeas, blend them with a bit of tahini, lemon juice and salt to taste.

6. Almonds- You cannot find a better, wholesome, portable, “anytime snack” than almonds. What’s more? They are rich in monostaurated and polyunsaturated that can lower LDL cholesterol. Like mentioned before, almonds can be munched in any part of the day but if you choose to eat them before hitting the gym to stay in shape. The reason; almonds are brimming with amino acid L-arginine that helps in burning the fats and carbs at the time of working out.

7. Spinach- Adding high volume leafy greens like spinach is always a good idea if achieving sculpted body is your goal. Spinach is rich in vitamin E as well as the amino acid betaine and the nutrient choline, which work together to turn off fat-storing genes in the liver.

8. Carrot- Did you know that a medium sized carrot contains 203 percent of your daily recommended Vitamin A? Theis keeps the skin youthful and our vision sharp like a 20 year old! Carrots are also a rich source of beta-carotene which also happens to be a form of the active ingredient Retin-A , which helps in fighting dark spots, wrinkle and acne.

9. Watermelon- We all know that watermelon is one of the finest summer fruits. The high concentration of water in watermelons helps in reducing the water retention, the reason why most of us struggle with puffy eyes. Moreover, watermelon is low on sugar, which means there is no point in worrying about glycation, a chemical reaction that comprises collagen and leads to wrinkles.

10. Honey- Instead of using an artificial source of sweetening the food, honey should be used in all the sweet diets and recipes as it contains minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc that help boost your immune system and overall well-being.

11. Olive Oil- Contrary to the notions of the fitness conscious people, olive oil helps in cutting down the calories to boost weight loss and improve overall health. Olive oil has benefits of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, which are found in leafy vegetables. In addition to aiding weight loss, it also keeps the heart diseases at bay.

12. Ginger- It has been part of the ancient remedy for intolerable stomach troubles. Ginger is a natural pacifier for all the rumbles and pain in your gut. But its benefits are not limited to set your body free from nausea and bloat. Ginger, a root spice has also been linked to reducing cancer risk and bringing down the levels arthritis symptoms. It becomes a contributor to so many health benefits for its gingerols, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-disease compounds.

Decoding Diabetes; Its Symptoms, Risks And Complications At Early Stage

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar also called as blood glucose is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food which you eat. A hormone called Insulin made by the pancreas helps glucose from food get into cells to be used for energy.  The insulin resistance is also one reason for diabetes. When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to the cells or cells does not respond to the insulin, this condition is called insulin resistance. Over a period of time having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Anyway, Diabetes has no cure, you can take a step to control your diabetes and stay healthy. Sometimes diabetes called as “a touch of sugar”. These terms suggest that someone doesn’t have diabetes nor has a less serious case. In fact, every case of diabetes is serious.

DECODING DIABETES SYMPTOMS

Signs and Symptoms of diabetes

The most common symptom of untreated diabetes include

  •        Increase urination
  •        Increase of thirst
  •        Intense hunger
  •        Weight gain & unusual weight loss
  •        Fatigue
  •        Cuts and bruises that do not heal
  •        Male sexual dysfunction
  •        Numbness and tingling in hands and feet

Several other signs and symptoms can mark the diabetes onset. But they are not specific to the disease. In addition to knowing more than above Blurry vision, Itchy skin, Headache. If the high level of blood glucose sustains itself over a period of time, it leads to glucose absorption in the eye; this leads to changes in its shape which results in vision changes. A number of skin rashes that can develop in disease

Diabetic Emergencies

Low blood sugar is common among the diabetic patients. Most of the cases are mild and are not treated as medical urgencies. The effects can range from feeling of unease, trembling and increased appetite in mild cases to more serious issues i.e. sweating. Sometimes changes in behaviors like confusion, aggressiveness, unconsciousness, and seizures can also be noticed in severe cases.  Only in the rare cases is the brain damage reported. Moderate low blood glucose may easily be mistaken for drunkenness. In some cases rapid breathing and sweating, cold, pale skin are characteristic of low blood sugar but not definitive.  Drinking high sugar substance and eating sugar content are self-treated to moderate cases. In severe cases can lead to unconsciousness and person should be treated with injecting glucagon.

A rare but equally severe possibility involves extremely high blood glucose level without the presence of ketones.

Complications

Diabetes increases the risk of long-term complications. The complications of disease start after many years (10-20) but may be the first symptom in those who have sometimes not received a diagnosis before that time.

Most of the long-term complications are related to damage to the blood vessel. This complication also doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease. 75% of deaths in diabetics are due to Stroke and coronary artery disease.

Due to damage to the blood vessels, the primary complications of it include damage to eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Damage to the eyes, known as diabetic retinopathy, is caused by the damage of blood vessels in the retina of the eye, and which results in the gradual vision loss and sometimes blindness.

Damage to the kidney is known as diabetic nephropathy, can lead to the tissue scarring, chronic kidney disease, and eventually urine protein loss. In some cases, it required dialysis or kidney transplantation. Damage to the nerves of the body is known as diabetic neuropathy. The most common complication of disease, the symptoms include altered pain sensation, tingling pain, and numbness. This can lead to damage to the skin. Diabetes-related foot problems like diabetic foot ulcers may occur and cannot be treated so easily.

DECODING DIABETES

Causes

Diabetes is classified into four categories type1, type2, Gestational diabetes and other specific types. The other specific types are the collection of few individual causes.

Type 1:

The first pointer of Type 1 diabetes is the loss of the Insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreatic islets that are called as insulin deficiency. This type can be further classified as immune-mediated. The maximum of type1 is of the immune-mediated nature, in which a T cell-mediated autoimmune attack leads to the loss of beta cells and thus leads to insulin. In North America and Europe, it causes approximately 10% of diabetes cases. Most of the people who are affected are healthy and of a healthy weight when onset occurs. Responsiveness and sensitivity to insulin are usually normal, especially in the early stages. Though Type 1 diabetes was initially named as “juvenile diabetes” as they affected the children most, it also affects the adults. 

Brittle diabetes is also known as labile diabetes or unstable diabetes. Traditionally, this term describe the recurrence and dramatic swings in glucose levels. This level occurs quite often without any apparent reason in insulin-dependent diabetes. This term, however, should not be used because they are no biological basis. Still, type 1 can be accompanied by unpredictable and irregular high blood pressure, frequently with ketosis and some cases with serious low blood sugar levels. Other complications include an impaired counter-regulatory response to the low blood pressure, gastroparesis, endocrinopathies and infection. These phenomena are believed to occur in type 1

Type 2

Type 2 Diabetes is combined with relatively reduced insulin secretion, which is characterized by insulin resistance. This involves the insulin receptor due to the defective responsiveness of body tissues to insulin. However, the major defects are not known. Due to the known defect, some cases are classified separately. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

In the beginning stage of type 2, the predominant abnormality is reduced insulin sensitivity. During this particular stage, high blood sugar can be reversed by a variety of measures and medications that frequently improve insulin sensitivity or sometimes reduce the liver’s glucose production.

Type 2 is majorly due to the lifestyle factors and genetics. A number of lifestyle factors are known to the development of type 2, which includes obesity, poor diet, stress, urbanization, lack of physical activity. Excess body fat is associated with 100% of prime Indians and Pacific Islanders, 60-80% of cases in those of European and African descent, 30% of cases in those of Chinese and Japanese descent. Even those who are not obese often have a high hip-waist ratio.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is similar to Type 2 symptoms in many ways in terms of symptoms as they involve a  a combination of relatively inadequate responsiveness and secretion. Mainly it occurs in about 2-10% of all pregnancies and may disappear after delivery or sometimes it improves. However, after pregnancy, approximately 5-10% of women with gestational diabetes are found to have type 2 commonly. Gestational diabetes is fully treatable but requires careful medical supervision throughout the completion of pregnancy stages. Management may include blood glucose monitoring, dietary changes, and insulin may be required in some cases.

Though it may be transient, Gestational diabetes which is untreated can damage the health of the mother and fetus. Risks to the baby include high birth weight, congenital heart, skeletal muscle malformations, central nervous system abnormalities, and increased levels of insulin in the fetus’s blood may inhibit fetal surfactant production and cause respiratory distress syndrome. In several cases, perinatal death may occur, most commonly as a result of poor placental perfusion.  In some, in cases, Labour induction may be indicated with decreased placental function.

Other types

Prediabetes is characterized by a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than the normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2. Many people destined to develop type 2 after a spending many years in a state of prediabetes.

Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults is a condition in which type 1 mostly develops in adults. Adults with Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults are frequently initially misdiagnosed as having type 2 based on their age rather than their cause.

In some cases, diabetes are caused by the body’s unresponsive tissue receptors to insulin even when insulin levels are normal, which actually separates it from type 2 and this condition is uncommon. Any kind of disease which causes extensive damage to the pancreas may lead to diabetes.

Other forms of diabetes include cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, congenital diabetes which is due to genetic defects of insulin secretion, several forms of monogenic diabetes and steroid diabetes induced by high dose of glucocorticoids.

Diagnosis

As per the World Health Organization people with fasting, glucose levels from 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/l(110 to 125 mg/dl) are considered as impaired fasting glucose. People with plasma glucose at and more 7.8 mmol/l (140mg/dl) but not over 11.1 mmol/l (200mg/dl) after two hours 75 g oral glucose load are considered as impaired glucose tolerance.

Prevention

There is no prevention for type 1. 85-90% of all cases are of type 2 which can often be prevented or delayed by maintaining a normal body weight, consuming a healthful diet and engaging in physical activity. Higher levels of physical activity more than an hour per day can reduce the risk of diabetes by 28%. Dietary charges known to be effective in helping to prevent disease include maintaining a rich diet in whole grains and fit and choosing good fats like polyunsaturated fats found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils.

Limiting eating less red meat and sugary beverages and other sources of saturated fat can help prevent the disease. Tobacco smoking is also associated with an increased risk of diabetes, so smoking cessation can be an important preventive measure as well.

The difference between type 2 and the main modified risk factors (unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, excess weight and tobacco use) it is similar in all regions of the World.

 

5 Beverages That May Not Be Good For Your Health

There are times when we tend to consume various beverages on a daily basis assuming that they'd be healthy for us. However, that might not be the case always. Be it milkshakes or fizzy drinks, almost all of these contain artificial flavors and sweeteners that can prove to be quite harmful to our overall health. We bring you the list of 5 beverages that could probably do more harm than good to your body.

5 Beverages That May Not Be Good For Your Health

Read on to know more about them.

  1.      Sweetened Nut Milk

 

Nut milk is known to be packed with rich vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium. But one can also not deny the fact that the nut milks available in the market are made using artificial sweeteners that hardly contribute to health and wellness. Only the organic nut milk is considered to be the purest and richest in terms of vitamins and minerals.

2. Market Smoothies

 

This one is for all the smoothie lovers out there! Having a smoothie gets full marks as your favorite drink gets full marks as an alternative to unhealthy drinks and they indeed provide the body with essential vitamins and minerals. However, the ones available in the market usually have additional preservatives which can cut down the nutritional value of the beverage. A better and more economic way of enjoying the smoothies would be making them at home itself. Not only will it save you a few bucks, it’d also be most natural and a hygienic drinks to consume.

3. Fizzy Drinks

 

When it comes to being unhealthy, fizzy drinks top the charts. This is primarily because fizzy drinks are loaded with artificial sweeteners and flavors. Switch to homemade juices and smoothies instead of gulping your favorite soft drinks.

4. Diet Soft Drinks

                 

If you are one of those who maintain strict diet regimen and believes in having diet soft drinks over regular aerated drinks, thinking that they are comparatively healthier then it's time for you to get a reality check. Contrary to the views that you hold, the diet versions of soft drinks are actually loaded with artificial sugars which could possibly lead to weight gain and other health-related issues.


5. Packaged Fruit Juice


Fruit juices have always been the go-to and healthy fluid as they are rich in minerals, vitamins, and healthy dietary fibers. Well, that's what we think! The packaged fruit juices which are available in the market are not really healthy as they contain sugar and flavoring agents.