Often-quoted are statements such as ‘A child possesses her/his mother’s intelligent quotient and her/his father’s physical characteristics such as height and weight’ or ‘Kids inherit more of their dad’s genes’. One large-scale study of more than 7,00,000 adults reveals 83 genetic variants that control human height. Knowing the role that genes play in determining a person’s height might help to predict a person’s risk for common diseases.
Of the 83 variants:
Precision medicine is a fast-emerging field that focuses on customized healthcare, medications, treatments and products specially designed suiting every individual patient’s needs specifically. This study also makes way for further investigations that could help identify genetic variations that increase the risk of developing certain diseases and focusing on these variations would be of utmost use in precision medicine.
Genes determine our height, weight, nature, sex, color, intelligence quotient and what not! The study has explicitly shown that much more probing into genetics and nutrition can help humans uncover solutions to different problems. Protein-altering variants can help discover some of the important genes that need to coordinate in the right way for our body to function properly. Read more on nutrigenetics/nutrigenomics at www.firsteatright.com.
We believe what we see. We know that our food is prepared in an unhygienic way when there are some small insects such as mosquitoes swimming in our broth or a strand of hair present in our sabji. Other germs and bacteria present in our food go into our body unnoticed as humans don’t have microscopic eyes! This makes it difficult to know whether the food we prepare is cross-contaminated or not. There are a ‘n’ number of easy ways for bacteria to taste our food from contaminated utensils, cooking equipment and even our hand.
How many of you wash your hands and dry them in your pants? Or, even better, handle raw poultry and immediately chop some cucumbers without washing your hands? When its disgusting to read, it would be even more yucky to eat food prepared in such an unhygienic surrounding. Our kitchen is a great place for bacteria to thrive upon and enjoy some gala time. In turn, there are numerous things we wrongly do from our end that increases the risk of foodborne illness.
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspective Service completed an observational survey in which participants cooking in a kitchen were recorded to inspect their food handling safety. Results were disappointing as most participants did not comply with cross-contamination policies but allowed bacteria to spread all around the kitchen. Among the numerous mistakes made, listed below are the top ones:
Mobile Phones: We take our mobile phones with us wherever we go-office, bedroom, garden, kitchen and even bathrooms! Our mobile phones pick up bacteria from each of these places. A survey reports that 40% of participants who used their smartphones or laptops did not wash their hands before proceeding to cook food. Imagine taking your phone to the bathroom and then immediately going to the kitchen to cook food!
Pets: Pets might be a part of our family, but they are also carriers of microorganisms. Its ok to cuddle and hug your pet but remember to wash your hands thoroughly using a disinfectant after playing with your pet before you start preparing food.
Try to reduce cross-contamination whenever and wherever possible, wash your hands thoroughly each time and practice hygiene to stay healthy. Master the art of handwashing with simple tips and techniques from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Sepsis is a rare but serious complication of an infection which is life-threatening in most cases. It manifests itself when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammatory responses all over the body. This inflammation is the source of damage of multiple organ systems and death finally. Lungs, pelvis, urinary tract and abdomen are the most common infection sites.
Sepsis is highly prevalent in low- and middle-income countries and contributes vastly towards maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Globally, it affects almost 30 million people every year leading to around 6 million deaths.
Sepsis usually occurs when the patient is already hospitalized undergoing treatment for some other problem. Individuals who underwent a surgery recently, those who had a urinary catheter fitted or patients hospitalized for prolonged periods are usually liable to sepsis. While many infections can contribute towards this disease, four infections that are most-commonly associated with sepsis include:
Individuals at a Greater Risk
Our immune systems play a pivotal role in limiting infections to their place of origin and white blood cells destroy the germs causing infection. Our body responds to this infection by means of inflammation such as tissue swelling which stops the spreading of the infection. People with a weak immune system or those having severe infection can be majorly affected as it spreads through blood to other parts of the body. This can obstruct blood flow dropping blood pressure levels to dangerously low ones that can prevent oxygen supply to all organs and tissues, leading to death too!
While anyone can get an infection and any infection can lead to sepsis, certain categories of people are at an increased risk:
There is no one symptom that can be singled out as the reason for sepsis. It usually is a combination of various symptoms such as high heart rate, confusion or disorientation, rapid breathing, chill and shivering due to high temperature (fever) or low body temperature, loss of consciousness, slurred speech, nausea/vomiting and severe muscle pain.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If you were down with an infection recently and you doubt symptoms of sepsis, please contact your physician immediately. The doctor checks the body temperature, breathing rate and heart rate to verify sepsis. He/she might request for few other tests to be taken in some cases.
Once confirmed, the doctor admits the patient to the hospital and orders for the ‘sepsis six’ that includes three tests and three treatments. Tests include taking blood culture (to identify the bacteria causing the condition), blood sample and monitoring urine output. Treatments include giving antibiotics, intravenous fluids and oxygen (when levels are low).
As this condition causes damage and problems to vital organs, individuals with serious sepsis are likely to be very ill and the results can be fatal too! Even while recovering some people might experience lethargy, excessive tiredness, muscle weakness, swollen limbs, joint pain and chest pain. In most cases, the condition is treatable and leads to a full recovery with no long-term consequences attached to it.
Devouring your chocolates, pastries, mithais, extra-sugar coffees and sweetmeats fills you with pleasure and satisfaction while eating them. Once done, they become reasons for guilt and even more, factors that can elevate blood sugar levels.
Portion control must be followed at any age, especially as a person grows old. Maintaining blood sugar levels is required to avoid diabetes which is one of the key reasons for heart attack and stroke. Apart from diabetes, blood sugar levels can create a difference in our memory capability too according to a study.
There are multiple factors, both short term (high blood sugar or medication side effects) and long term (dementia) that contribute towards memory loss and preventing it depends on the factor causing memory loss. People remember a vast array of things when they are young and this slowly depreciates as they age. Memory loss becomes more and more prominent as people age. Even a survey by a reputed organization shows that 4 in 10 people face memory difficulties over the age of 65.
Pop in Sugar to Plop Out Memory
Human brain is a warehouse that stores information as it receives. Hippocampus is the area of the brain associated with memory and learning. Researchers focused on one part of the hippocampus, the dentate gyrus, during this study.
The dentate gyrus plays a key role aiding in transfer of information to the hippocampus. It is the region of the brain where all sensory processes merge together to form memories. The study group identified this region as the most closely related one associated with age-related memory decline. Their study completely focused on the dentate gyrus and its reaction to changing cholesterol, blood sugar and weight changes that occur as a person grows old. Study results proved that elevated blood sugar level was the only change that was directly associated with decreased activity in the dentate gyrus.
Yet another research shows that people without diabetes who have high blood sugar levels may be at risk for reduced memory levels. All this support the fact that lower blood sugar levels are much better than normal blood sugar levels when it comes to memory capability. A 2018 study in mice has proved that drugs used for diabetes could be the treatment solution for Alzheimer’s. This again shows the strong link between cognition and diabetes.
Exercise Your Right to Exercise
Changes in lifestyle strategies that improve overall body health is the critical solution to lower blood glucose levels in old and young individuals. This includes eating healthy foods rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, protein and wholegrains, preventing obesity, staying on a healthy body weight and exercising regularly. Exercise improves the ability of the body to process glucose which in turn prevents elevated blood glucose levels. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to get your customized diet plan suiting your health requirements.
Shopping for home essentials and grocery-you either love it or hate it and there is no midline between both. Whatever it is, one must eat to stay alive and one must eat nutritious foods to stay healthy. Consuming freshly prepared homemade food is the ultimate requirement for a healthier ‘you’. It is better to pay a visit to the supermarket during weekends to stock your essentials for the forthcoming week without any hassle. Beware, shopping in supermarkets is quite tempting. All the attractive chocolate wrappers, freshly-baked goods and ready-to-eat products can lure your attention and divert you off your task. Follow these tips to become better at shopping only for your required products:
Frozen & Canned Foods: If you have noticed, any supermarket does not have a window and neither are essential products stacked at the start of these shops. Rice, dhal and other essentials sit at the extreme corners of the stores which force the shopper to pass through other sections of the supermarket. During this short journey, our eyes wander everywhere, pick one or two unwanted products before you start shopping for your required ones.
Fresh produce, dairy and lean meats are stored in the outer aisles of the store while processed/packaged foods line the inner aisles. The middle aisles offer some interesting and healthy choices-frozen and canned foods that are a great way to load your body with all types of produce (Seasonal or non-seasonal) without all the salt, sugar and sauces. Most of these frozen veggies and fruits have been harvested during their peak season and immediately flash frozen to retain key nutrients and taste. That’s the reason why frozen produce is sometimes preferred over fresh produce.
The only canned veggies to avoid are carrots and beans that are stripped off their nutrients and packed with loads of salt. Canned legumes such as black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and white beans are best consumed when canned as they save your soaking and cooking time, provide you with plant protein and stock you with more fiber. Only concern here is sodium and washing these legumes in running water helps to reduce sodium content by as much as 30%.
Bend A Little
Branded food products pay more to stay on top shelves in supermarkets and obviously they are going to cost you more. It doesn’t harm to bend a little and look through the lower shelves where you can find exact alternatives matching the same quality of your branded food products (at a lot cheaper price!). Use this saved-up money to buy some more fresh produce, maybe exotic fruits that your children would love to explore.
Eat Local Produce
Canned or frozen produce is available year-round and we don’t hesitate to pick them. But when you buy fresh produce that is available during the season, it is not only fresh but also tastes better and without much protective chemicals or artificial ripening agents. Off-season produce costs more, its less sustainable, uses nonrenewable energy sources such as transport and finally doesn’t appeal you much. You must first know what produce is available in which season to choose from them. Get to know them from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Save the Flyer
Newspapers and magazines serve as advertising platforms and our local grocery stores use these to distribute flyers promoting their products. People often either throw them away or use them as paper sheets to scribble their thoughts. But, next time use this as a means to plan your weeks’ meals even before visiting the supermarket. Some stores even post their products/ads online and provide discount coupons as well!
Fill Your Stomach Before Filling Your Shopping Basket
Never visit the supermarket on an empty stomach as it triggers you to buy all that you see-baked goods, ready-to-eat foods and more. Eat well or carry some snacks with you. It is even more better to carry a shopping list which prevents unwanted shopping additions and helps you buy wholesome foods that you need. Choose recipes for the upcoming week, save the ingredients needed and use the grocery list to buy these required ones.
Online shopping options might have made a few of you lazier, but they also benefit in terms of buying the needful. Once you have the shopping list handy, all you need to do is look out for these options online and buy them with the click of the mouse.
Every single day opens up a sea of opportunities to good health-eat better, work out better, exercise more and so on. This day’s health choices might seem to be trivial at the moment, but these small decisions add up to positive behavioral changes or negative ones later in life. Given here are some great options to make use of every single opportunity to eat well and stay in shape.
Excuses are many to skip breakfast-getting late for school or office, not used to preparing breakfast or have no time to eat one. But, eating a well-balanced nutritious breakfast keeps you from overeating other meals or even binging on sugary or processed foods. People sometimes have the habit of drinking 2,3 or even 4 cups of coffee to keep themselves energized. Skip the coffee and take a brisk short walk around the block instead. Such small amounts of activities done twice or thrice a day gives you a positive frame of mind than gulping down cups of sugary coffee. Get to know interesting but simple breakfast recipes and ideas from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Utilize your lunch break wisely to invest some time in activity too. Curb yourself from eating out if the restaurant menu offers not-so-nutritious menu items and if the queues are going to be much longer. It is always suggested to pack a nutritious meal that fulfills your body needs and saves you time to take a short brisk walk around your office building.
Leaving Home from Work
The priorities you set as you leave office mold your overall health, motivation and efforts toward behavior change. You may think of going for a quick peak to your house before heading to the gym. But don’t do this unless you’re required to do so as going home may derail your workout plans due to some obligation from your family members, pending household chores or simply you may feel like relaxing in the comfort of your sofa and watch tv instead. To avoid such mishaps, take your gym bag to office and go to gym straight from office. This action of yours also helps to avoid temptations such as accompanying your co-worker for happy hours at a pub nearby or heading straight home after a hard day at office.
Preparing dinner provides you with the opportunity to store some snacks that can be utilized for the rest of the week. For example, if you are using carrots or bell peppers for dinner tonight, don’t stop with peeling the amount required for the meal but chop few extra portions that can be consumed as snacks later. Also, when something is already prepared and kept in front of your eyes, you are more likely to avoid reaching out for junk foods. For instance, you can eat sliced-up veggies dipped in hummus as a snack or a post-workout energy boost.
After a long day of eating healthy food and exercising, don’t ruin your entire efforts by going for a late-night binge on chocolates, pastries, cookies or chips. One simple way to curb this is to brush your teeth soon after dinner sending a signal to your brain and body that you are done with eating for the day.
Lastly, ensure that you get a good night’s sleep by turning off your electronic gadgets, dimming lights, meditating etc. Your clarity of thoughts, energy level and outputs depend on your sleep patterns.
Individuals love the ‘blame’ game. We blame different issues for lack of success in any of our endeavors. Obesity has reached the stature of a global epidemic and healthcare industry is completely focused on analyzing and curbing risk factors that contribute towards this epidemic, all the more in premenopausal women. While women blame genetics for their expanding waistlines, a new study has found that exercise outdoes genetics in overcoming obesity as a woman grows old.
Exercising, eating healthy and staying active is the simple truth to a healthy body weight. Some people find it easier to ensure a healthy body weight due to their DNA. Some studies show that having the right gene can create a strong impact on weight loss. Researchers showed that the APOA2 gene affects how a person’s body reacts to what he/she eats. Individuals who had this gene and who ate ample saturated fats became overweight/obese.
When the diet was high in saturated fat, people with one version of the APOA2 gene had a higher BMI than people with the other version. When the diet was low in saturated fat, the BMIs remained the same irrespective of the gene version possessed by individuals. This clearly shows that it is not the gene alone that can have a strong impact on an individual’s body weight. Only when the gene is combined with saturated fat foods, do we witness greater weight fluctuations.
Earlier studies related the influence of genetics on body mass index (BMI) right from childhood to early adulthood. But not much research exists on the effect of obesity genes later in life and if it can be overcome through exercise or eating habits.
A study on over 8200 women showed that physical activity surpassed genes in determining obesity risk and this was exceedingly high in the oldest age group (women aged 70 years or older). There is this inappropriate assumption that aged people must refrain from certain exercises and activities. Age is only a number and what counts is the fitness level of the individual. Exercise improves muscle mass, balance and bone strength in ageing individuals besides improving mood, concentration and cognition. Our genes stay with us until our death and no magic or action can change them. All that we can do is improve our healthy behavior, specifically in older adults, for maximized well-being and quality of life. Elderly people who require healthy changes to their lifestyle and eating habits can get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com.
Words are empowering, motivating and can make or break few goals in life. Group fitness classes are becoming more and more popular and instructors pump up their client’s spirit and push them to workout more by using words that convey direction, emotion and connection. Certain words improve rapport between people while certain other words enhance aggression and competition. Given below are four such words that can be replaced with effective fitness terminologies that inspire and create a positive environment to help the individual reap better results.
A fitness instructor can make or break a fitness class. Take caution and join a class that can boost your fitness interest and promote a healthy body weight as a result of regular exercising. Ensure that the class is most welcoming through consistent encouragement and the participating group thoroughly enjoys the group class that happens.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that has no cause nor cure. It is better to prevent it than to repent after acquiring it. One of the most feared diseases today, if there is one good thing that can be done to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, it is exercise.
Physical Activity to Prevent the Onset of the Disease
Already existing research and ongoing research point to the single fact that regular physical activity helps reduce memory degeneration and maintain cognitive abilities as we age. Anything good for the heart is good for the brain. Apart from reducing the risk of dementia regular exercise also puts away the risk of Alzheimer’s, one type of dementia.
Physical Activity Just After the Onset of Disease
A long-term study with around 2000 participants found that people with Alzheimer’s who were not-so physically active were four times at a risk of brain shrinkage than those who were physically active. This proves that exercise helps to deteriorate the progress of the disease. Although medications available for AD can reduce some of the symptoms, none of it can slow the progress of the disease. Making exercise a daily habit can preserve cognitive skills along with increasing your fitness quotient.
Physical Activity at the Mid-stage of Disease
Exercise at this stage helps the individual to:
Physical Activity at Last Stage of Disease
At this stage, the need of a personal therapist becomes mandatory to analyze the patient’s personal goals. The physical activity should focus on promoting mobility, independent living skills, muscle memory (needed to use a toothbrush or pencil) and strong neck muscles. Such regular and personalized care can prevent the need of a personal assistant to help the patient with the daily needs. These activities are more successful on patients who have a long history of regular exercising than on those who have led more sedentary lives.
What Type of Physical Activity are We Talking About?
While some studies insist on strength-training (weight lifting) for cognitive improvements some other studies insist on high calorie-burning activities such as cycling or running. But most studies highlight the benefits of moderate-intensity exercises (walking or aerobics) done at least thrice a week. Do what you feel like doing. Make exercise a fun activity and do what please you. Enroll in a gym, take your best friend to workout with you, join an aerobics class, go for a walk in a calm park, swim, dance or take a bike ride. If you are not used to physical activity but in your early or mid-stage of Alzheimer’s, it is best to involve yourself in activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, walking, balancing and strength training exercises. A personal trainer is of utmost help here as he/she can teach you exercises depending on your disease’s stage and the ability to perform.
Whatever activity you are involved in, practice it regularly and with proper guidance. There is nothing better than exercising to fight against Alzheimer’s.
Health occupies No.1 priority in life for many and these are the ones who schedule their daily routine around their favorite workout or fitness classes. But, many of them don’t realize that working out is only one part of the entire fitness regime and it is not the workout phase but the post-workout phase that makes a person stronger. To completely maximize from your daily workout routine, follow these post-workout recovery options to achieve optimal benefits:
Recovery might be immediate after practicing a set to allow the muscles to eliminate waste products (short-term) or take a longer time (long-term) and happens after completing the workout. Sleep quality and quantity, eating the right post-workout nutrition and the clothes that you wear can promote post-workout recovery needed to help you maximize workout benefits.
While tracks and t-shirts were trending a few years back, the latest are knee-high socks, tights on both the legs and sleeves over the calves and arms. Wearing such compression clothing improve circulation and is the latest form of recovery treatment. These clothes aid in the return of blood back to the heart which in turn removes metabolic waste from muscles and advocates flow of oxygenated blood to all parts of the body.
Ample studies exist these days advocating the advantages of using a vibration platform. The vibrating motion enhances blood flow to any part of the body that is placed over the machine, the three-dimensional movement improves viscosity and enhances nervous system sensitivity. The vibration platform can also help to flush out metabolic waste from the muscles collected during workout and enhance recovery time.
Sports stores and clubs are stocked with these massage-enabling tools such as compression balls, rolling-pin-like sticks and foam rollers that help reduce muscle tightness. Conventional massage therapy works by manually seeking muscle tissue to break adhesions and allowing the muscles to slide against each other without restrictions. A foam roller does a similar job when we place a body part directly over the roller and move it back and forth. Practically, it is impossible to hire a massage person to relax one’s muscles after workout and foam rollers, compression balls and rolling sticks are used instead to provide recovery.
Sauna or Hot Tub
Heat from these improve circulation, remove metabolic waste products such as hydrogen ions and promote oxygen circulation and other nutrients that are helpful in repairing tissue.
Ice Bath or Cryogenic Chambers
It works on the same concept as using ice to heal sore muscles and pains. Ice packs, baths or cryogenic chambers are the latest and most effective way (although less-comfortable) for recovery after workout. A cryogenic chamber applies extreme temperatures (up to -135 degrees Centigrade) for a brief time. Such treatment options cool down body’s core temperature, especially during hot weather, promote healing in tissue and reduce inflammation after a workout session.
‘When’ you eat is as important as ‘what’ you eat. Post-workout snacks should contain healthy macronutrients in apt quantities to replenish lost energy stores. Consuming a post-workout snack or drink with the right mix of carbohydrates and protein can serve the purpose of replacing energy needs (carbs) and repairing tissue (protein). Evidences show that having a snack or drink with a 3 to 4.1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio within 30-45 minutes post-exercise can help the individual recover from the workout energy depletions and equip himself/herself for the next day’s workout.
Sleep is indispensable for excellent health and fitness levels. Our body produces hormones needed for tissue repair during the REM cycle of sleep. Our sleep-wake cycle detailed at www.firsteatright.com plays a major role in keeping our body healthy. So, if you decide to go for a high-intensity workout, ensure that you have time for a good night’s sleep to recover 100%.
Blending Workout Intensities
Periodization is the term used for alternating between high- and low-intensity workouts, used more in the case of athletes preparing for competitions. The workout intensity is gradually increased reaching its peak some two to three weeks before the start of competition and then gradually decreased, giving time for rest and repair before the competition starts. Non-linear periodization alters between high- and low-intensity days within the same week. For example, Monday might involve high-intensity strength-training workout, Tuesday might involve low-intensity aerobic-training workout, Wednesday might involve moderate-intensity body-weight workout, Thursday again might involve high-intensity anaerobic interval workout, Friday might be the rest day, Saturday a high-intensity strength day and Sunday a low-intensity strength day. Such non-linear workouts always allow a few days off every few weeks to allow the body to fully rest and recover from the stresses of the workout program.
Effects of Overtraining
Overtraining without rest and recovery will lead to injury or illness, both of which can keep you from doing physical activity for a prolonged period. Such lack of rest can also lead to energy-producing hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol that can decrease the ability to generate new muscle tissue. Inability to sleep, lack of appetite, prolonged illness or no positive gains/effects after exercising are symptoms of overtraining which can ruin your goals in life. Travel plans, busy office schedules or family commitment must be met with low- or moderate-intensity workout plans until you return to your normal sleep pattern that can support high-intensity exercise.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is increasing seen in kids these days and such kids are hyperactive, find it difficult to pay attention to something for prolonged time and are impulsive. These kids have a troubled childhood and face hurdles all through their adulthood as they might become involved in substance addictions and also have psychiatric problems. Read more on ADHD, its symptoms and risk at www.firsteatright.com. Medications that boast of treating ADHD problems don’t talk about their side effects and there is much confusion if they would make a substantial difference in the long run.
Is there No Cure or Treatment for ADHD?
Off late, there have been a quite a number of researches that dig into the significance of a healthy diet and its influence on ADHD. One such studies concluded that a Western diet might trigger ADHD. Some other studies investigated the advantages of consuming a Mediterranean diet for ADHD treatment.
On similar lines, one other research tried comparing the effect of micronutrients on ADHD. They found that lower concentrations of vitamins such as B-2, B-6 and B-9 were linked with ADHD with B-2 and B-6 responsible for the severity of the syndrome. Studies on ADHD till now have focused on manipulating a single nutrient at a time and it was upheld to be the best method for scientific experiments. But, the latest study argues that our human body is regulated by a range of micronutrients that may/may not interact with one another and altering just one of the nutrients at any given time is not going to serve the purpose.
The study used Daily Essential Nutrients (DENs) that contained 13 vitamins, 17 minerals and four amino acids in 93 children aged between 7 and 12 years. Almost half of them received DENs and the other half received a placebo for 10 weeks. During these 10 weeks, the research team collected information from doctors, parents, teachers and the participants themselves measuring their ADHD symptoms, functioning ability, impairment, aggression levels, mood and emotions.
The results showed that 47% of the participants who took these micronutrients improved “much” or “very much” compared to 28% of the placebo group. Almost none of them on the placebo group improved “very much” compared to those receiving DENs. Also 32% of participants taking micronutrients showed improved attention compared to 9% in the placebo group while there were no changes in hyperactivity or impulsiveness. There were improvements in mood swings, aggressiveness and emotional control in those who consumed micronutrients compared to the placebo group (41% vs 20%).
While there is no hard-core direct benefit for core ADHD, there are also no adverse side effects, is quite cost-effective and can bring about modest changes in ADHD function in only 10 weeks.
While ADHD is a complex problem, a simple micronutrient intervention such as this one can hold the key to such a huge problem.
Even while you exercise, eat a healthy diet and stay active if you find that you don’t lose weight as expected it must be the work of your hormones. Our body is in our hands and we may feel awkward to blame the hormones for physical changes, but the reality is that these contribute to different health challenges. Female sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, thyroid hormones, insulin, cortisol and leptin are the major ones contributing towards these difficult weight loss goals. Meet a reputed dietitian/nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to start your weight loss journey in a positive way. Some basic nutritional changes for these imbalances can sometimes set things right.
Opioids are a type of drug that include strong prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and even heroin. Also called as narcotics, not all are natural. While some opioids are made from the opium plant others are synthetic (man-made).
Doctors themselves prescribe opioids sometimes to relieve pain after some major surgery, when suffering from severe pain due to health conditions such as cancer and also sometimes for chronic pain. Read more on chronic pain at www.firsteatright.com. Opioids are safe to use when taken under the guidance of a doctor for a short time. Else these drugs can also be misused (consumed in huge quantities without a doctor’s prescription) and cause euphoria in addition to pain relief.
Opioids are chemically related and interact with the opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain.
Side Effects of Opioid Overuse
To avoid problems with opioids in the first place, follow your doctor’s instructions to the dot, never share your medicines with others and get in touch with your physician if you have any queries regarding the medications.
Macronutrients is the umbrella term for all foods that can be decoded into the proteins, carbohydrates or fats category. Each of these macronutrients plays a vital role in our body and the food you take tells about the macronutrient that goes to your body. Some foods contain a combination of all three macronutrients while some others contain only one or two of them.
Protein forms every tissue, hormones and enzymes that catalyze reactions in the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Altogether there are 20 amino acids which are divided into two categories-essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. While the first category must be consumed in the form of diet, the second category of amino acids can be made from other amino acids. There are both, animal and plant sources of proteins. The animal sources such as fish, eggs, poultry, dairy and beef are highly acclaimed as they contain all the nine essential amino acids, whereas plant sources such as beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains and vegetables lack at least one essential amino acid. Soy, quinoa and amaranth are the only plant sources of protein that contain all essential amino acids.
Also, most protein foods are present in combination with other macronutrients. For instance, wild Alaskan salmon contains increased levels of omega-3 fats. Beans, nuts and seeds contain all 3 macronutrients. Every half cup of beans contains 7 grams of protein and 20 grams of carbs. Unless you are a vegan, you might segregate beans as a carbohydrate. Nuts and seeds fall under the ‘fats’ category as they contain more of fats than proteins.
Carbs provide our body with the required quantities of glucose being composed of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen molecules. They can be classified as simple or complex, refined or unrefined. If the foods have only one or two sugar molecules such as milk, fruit, juice and sugar, they are classified as simple. When they contain long strands of glucose chains as in bread, cereal, rice and pasta they are classified as complex. Refined is when the food is stripped of its fiber and processed leaving it with a negligible quantity of nutrients. White rice, white bread, white pasta, white sugar and fruit juice are examples of food in this category. Unrefined is when the food remains intact (brown rice, veggies, whole grains) or retains all of its fibrous content even after processing (whole-grain bread/cereal). The best combination of foods is those that are both, unrefined and complex.
Most of these carb-packed foods contain a portion of protein as well as fats (grains, beans, veggies and dairy).
We get scared at the mention of the word ‘fat’ but fats play an important role in multiple essential functions in the body. Cholesterol & sex hormones are formed from fats, fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K need dietary fat to be completely absorbed by the body, hair and skin look and feel healthier in the presence of healthy dietary fats and above all, fats add that extra effect to any meal to make it more satisfying.
Fats are of four types, each having its own effect on the human body. Saturated and trans fat are the ‘bad’ fats that must be minimized while unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) must be maximized. Read more on fats and the foods that are rich in each of the fat types at www.firsteatright.com.
A healthy diet should contain a balanced quantity of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Each meal/snack should contain all of the macronutrients for optimal energy and nutrition. Choose foods that are unprocessed, real and whole to benefit maximum from them and also reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
Yoga is becoming the mother of physical activity with its widespread followers worldwide. Originating from India, people living in every part of the world are under the clutches of this powerful group of physical, mental and spiritual practices.
If you keenly notice, most of the strengthening and stretching exercises for back pain/injury are modifications of yoga poses. This isn’t surprising as mobility, flexibility and strength, that are critical for a healthy back, are possible through consistent yoga practice. The ten different yoga moves discussed here can relieve you of an achy back. But, it is better to confirm with your physician before you start on any of these asanas if you have severe pain.
Before you start:
This position relieves tension in your lower back and helps you warm up, if you have been sitting/standing for prolonged time periods. Kneel down on all fours keeping the shoulders over your hands and hips over your knees. Take a deep breath, tuck your toes and arch your back. Extend your arms while you push the belly towards the earth and look up. While exhaling, untuck your toes, keep your palms against the earth’s surface and round the back. Repeat this for five circles.
Apart from providing core strength to your body, the bird dog position helps strengthen your upper back, neck and lower back.
Downward Facing Dog
This position helps stretching the hips, spine and hamstrings simultaneously. It also acts as a total-body energizer and helps relieve stress.
This offers total relief from lower back pain.
Strengthening core muscles is critical to improve back stability. Plank pose tones all core muscles of the body, including abdomen, chest and low back. This position helps prepare the body for challenging arm balances.
This pose works on strengthening your core muscles extensively and improves overall balance.
This works wonders on the back muscles and relieves the tired back instantaneously. It helps soothe your brain, stress and depression. Apart from yoga, there are various other mind-relaxing techniques mentioned at www.firsteatright.com that can help to alleviate stress.
Supine twist position relieves the lower back pain and helps loosen your shoulders.
This position increases motion of the femur in the hip socket and prepares your body for backbends.
Legs Up the Wall
While increasing blood flow to the legs, it allows the lower back muscles to completely relax.
Muscle mass decreases as a person grows old and this affects physical function leading to decreased quality of life and sometimes premature death too. This loss in muscle mass is greatly due to the inability of the aging muscle to increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis in response to nutritional stimuli. When some intervention is used to supersede this anabolic resistance, it may help to slow/prevent the deterioration of muscle mass in the elderly population.
Sarcopenia is the decline of the skeletal muscle tissue with age and certain evidence point to the fact that omega-3 fatty acids might be useful in treating sarcopenia. The study involved sixteen older adults who were healthy, not obese, not involved in regular physical activity, were not habituated to consuming fish-oil supplements, were not under medication that could affect muscle protein metabolism, did not consume tobacco products and were not in the habit of drinking excessive alcohol.
After the initial screening, subjects were assigned to either omega-3 fatty acid or corn oil group. These subjects were similar in age, sex, BMI, body composition, health and metabolic status. The research proved that omega-3 fatty acids and not corn oil supplementation increases muscle anabolic signaling activity. Although the exact mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids act on the muscle protein synthesis process is not entirely clear, results indicate the advantages of including omega-3s in your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in plentiful in different kinds of fish, help to improve blood vessel health, cell membrane strength and prevent heart attack and stroke. The detailed description on the numerous sources of this fatty acid is available in the website www.firsteatright.com. Hence it is recommended that older adults consume omega-3 fatty acid supplements to promote heart health and prevent muscle deterioration.
One might wonder what is the connection between food poisoning and flu? The simple reason for the connection is that often the symptoms are similar if not identical.
Bacteria in Food
Not all bacteria in food are harmful, some are bad while some others are good for the gut and essential to produce certain foods (for instance, bacteria species help in the production of delicious and tasty yogurts). Foods such as meat, poultry and egg products are not sterile when we purchase them, and we need to ensure that they are properly cooked, stored and handled to prevent any foodborne illnesses.
While flu and food poisoning are two entirely different infections, their symptoms are similar. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever are common symptoms of food poisoning. Due to the similarities between the two infections, people often assume food poisoning to be the root cause of the problem and wait for a while before turning up at the doctor’s clinic. Symptoms can occur anytime between 4 hours to one week after consuming the food and can last anywhere between 24 hours and one week which is another cause for the symptoms of food poisoning to go unnoticed.
Foodborne illness attacks certain groups of people vigorously. Pregnant women, elderly people, infants, children and individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease or transplant patients are at an increased risk. Such people need immediate medical attention, otherwise the effects of foodborne illness can also be fatal.
Reasons for Food Poisoning
If you have any doubts that you have been affected by food poisoning, it is better to seek medical attention, if required. If symptoms persist for more than 24 hours or if you are among the individuals in the high-risk category, it is advisable to seek medical attention immediately.
If you have guessed the root cause of the infection, take precautionary measures. If the food you ate at home is the culprit, label it as harmful so that rest of your family members don’t consume it. If the food you ate in a restaurant can be attributed to the infection, keep the health department informed. But, if you feel that the poisoning has occurred over a period of time, you cannot do anything about it and you can only take precautionary food preparation measures to avoid it in the future.
Techniques to Avoid Foodborne Illness
The four keywords clean, separate, cook and chill must help you prevent food poisoning. Before and during food preparation ensure to keep your hands and the cooking surface hygienic by washing them frequently and correctly. Always keep raw meat set aside from other food items while preparing meals. Use a food thermometer whenever you cook raw meat, poultry, egg products and fish cooking them to the right temperature (and maintaining it at 140oF after cooking) to kill any harmful bacteria that might be present. Techniques to handle a food thermometer are mentioned at www.firsteatright.com. Also make sure that you refrigerate any perishable food within two hours of cooking and store it properly to curb the presence of any harmful bacteria, thereby assuring you of a healthy and safe body.
Going through a workout session successfully by overcoming exhaustion is a strenuous task. When iron levels are incompetent, it is an even more difficult task. A worthy workout session needs energy to start your exercise regime in the first place, sail through it smoothly and finish it in style. If you want to know how iron fits in between all these and how you can improve iron intake, please read further below.
Oxygen-Carbon Dioxide Cycle
Iron acts as the carrier between oxygen and carbon dioxide helping to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and expelling the excess carbon dioxide out of the body. Oxygen is the gas needed for our survival and any complaints of fatigue, dizziness, headache, pale skin, brittle nails, frequent cold and nail color changes are indicative of iron deficiency anemia for which the individual needs to get tested immediately. Statistics show that almost 50% of the women living in our nation suffer from iron deficiency which is a pathetic situation that needs immediate attention.
Advantages of being a Carnivore
While we advocate the advantages of eating a plant-based diet, non-vegetarians hold an advantageous position over plant eaters when it comes to iron. That’s because, meat contains more iron than plant-based foods and iron from plants (non-heme iron) is only half absorbed compared to the iron absorbed from meat (heme iron). Hence, vegetarians need to consume twice as much iron as non-vegetarians to fulfill iron requirements. While meat eaters can consume 8-18 mg of iron per day (menstruating women need 18 mg due to blood loss every month), vegetarians need 14-33 mg per day to stay free from iron deficiency.
The Golden Foods that Contain Iron
All pulses (black beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas) are protein-rich nutrients that are also filled with antioxidants. Other sources of iron include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, turkey breast, salmon, mussels, oysters, salmon and tuna. Antioxidants safeguard our body against the action of free radicals and for detailed information on this, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Avoid Coffee & Tea to Increase Iron Absorption
While there is no research that directly links coffee and tea intake to increased anemia, it is better that you decrease the consumption of these beverages if you wish to absorb iron into your body. This is because, you decrease the absorption of iron by as much as 40% when you drink coffee and by as much as 70% when you drink tea.
Nutrients to Boost Iron Absorption
Vitamin C helps to absorb as much iron as possible from foods. The secret to this is to consume vitamin C-rich foods alongside non-heme iron-rich foods for maximum absorption of iron by the human body. This is a boon for vegetarians to increase their iron absorption. For example, squeeze lime (vitamin C) over broccoli, add few slices of berries over iron-fortified cereal or add tomatoes to iron-rich lentils and rice to enhance iron absorption by the body. Use vitamin C sources such as oranges, bell peppers, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and strawberries wisely with non-heme iron foods for maximum benefit.
Never choose supplements over iron-rich foods unless prescribed by your physician. The multivitamins that you consume have the ability to provide sufficient iron to your body and ensure that you take no more than 45 mg of iron daily unless guided by a professional. This is because, increased quantities of iron in the body can be toxic for some people, such as those suffering from a condition known as hemochromatosis. Stomach upset and constipation is also possible in certain cases.
Mosquitoes trouble us in multiple ways-biting, sucking blood and causing diseases. The recent double trouble of these mosquitoes is the spread of the Zika virus. In the year 1947, scientists identified a new virus in the rhesus monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda and hence, named it as Zika virus. While the first case in humans was recorded in the year 1952, the first large epidemic outbreak happened in humans in the year 2007 and yet again in 2014. In July 2015, Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Yet again in October 2015, Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly.
Signs & Symptoms
Incubation period of Zika virus is not precisely known, but is said to be for a few days. Symptoms are usually mild and occur for a period of 2-7 days. Common symptoms include rashes, itching all over the body, fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and lower back pain.
Zika virus is primarily transmitted to individuals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Unlike mosquitoes that spread malaria, affected mosquitoes (Aedes mosquito) bite during the early morning hours and late afternoon/evening and are the same ones that spread dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Read more on diseases spread through mosquitoes at www.firsteatright.com.
Although a small number of cases of sexual transmission have been reported, the risk is said to be pretty low.
The virus is diagnosed through a series of blood tests on blood and other body fluids such as urine, semen and saliva. Treatment is not mandatory when infection is mild. Individuals affected with this virus should take plenty of rest, drink ample fluids and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, it is better to seek help of a physician.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause congenital brain abnormalities in which microcephaly is also included. Microcephaly is a condition wherein the baby has an abnormally small head and can have abnormal brain development and is also known as congenital Zika syndrome.
It is recommended that pregnant women avoid travelling to places that are at an increased risk of Zika virus transmission and also postpone travel plan to places at a moderate risk of Zika virus transmission until after pregnancy. Pregnant women are advised to follow safer sex or better abstain from sexual activity throughout their pregnancy period.
Women Trying to Get Pregnant
If you are trying to conceive, it is better to safeguard yourself from mosquito bites. Also try to avoid becoming pregnant in areas that have a high prevalence of Zika virus. If in case you ought to travel to areas where the prevalence of Zika virus is high, avoid getting pregnant for at least up to 8 weeks after coming back.
An individual’s backbone or spine consists of 26 bones called vertebrae. Between every two vertebrae are soft disks that contain a viscous substance and these discs keep the vertebrae intact. Just like our bones, these discs degenerate or break as a person ages. The discs also lose their cushioning property resulting in pain whenever the back is stressed.
A herniated disc is one that cracks leading to the viscous substance in the disc to spill and affect the nearby nerves. This can cause pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. But in some people, none of these symptoms exist and most of the time this problem can be treated without the need for any surgery.
Whenever the disc presses a nerve the individual experiences pain on one side of the body. The exact location of pain depends on the location of the herniated disc.
When there is a disc slip in the cervical section of the spine, it leads to pain in the neck and arms. You would experience pain moving your neck, near the shoulder blade, stinging pain down the arm and into the fingers along with a feeling of numbness in the shoulder, elbow, forearm or fingers.
A disc slip in the lumbar section of the spine results in pain (commonly known as sciatica as it pushes on the sciatic nerve) in the back and legs. This causes pain or numbness in the leg, hip, buttocks, calf or sole of the foot and weakness in either leg.
Intensity of the symptoms depends on your activity levels. Too much strain can cause greater pain from a herniated disc while resting can decrease its impact. Actions such as coughing, sneezing, sitting, driving or bending forward can worsen the pain as pressure is exerted on the nerve.
Growing older brings a lot of health issues along with it. The disks in the spine grow old and become weaker. Other causes for a herniated disc include lifting heavy objects, being overweight, being middle-aged or above middle age, doing actions that involve repetitive bending or twisting, sitting in the same position for a very long time, sedentary lifestyle and smoking.
Although there is nothing that can be done from our side to prevent a herniated disc as it comes with age, it can be delayed by living a healthy lifestyle. Stay on a healthy weight, exercise regularly, do back-strengthening exercises, don’t repeat one single movement (bending, for instance) repetitively, stand up and walk around every hour when you sit for long hours at work and adhere to safe lifting and bending techniques. Visit the website www.firsteatright.com to get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist who can help you start living a healthy lifestyle.
Physical therapy, steroid injections, surgery and precautionary measures are some options that can help cure a herniated disk. Although most people affected with this problem get better in 4 weeks’ time, it is advisable to visit your doctor if it prolongs beyond that.
There are a very few people who are not tempted by the inviting aroma of a cup of hot freshly brewed coffee! Coffee is loved by people in India, especially South India. Some cannot live without coffee, it is almost an addiction to them and some others feel energized and geared up only after drinking some coffee. Too much caffeine from coffee consumption is bad for health and its side effects are mentioned at www.firsteatright.com. Here are some interesting facts that would be adored by all coffee lovers:
Anytime during the day, morning, afternoon or evening, runners need to balance run time with meal time to keep their stomach comfortable, devoid of hunger but full of energy. If the right food choices are made, snacking can be an integral part of meal plan for runners. Snacking is like adding fuel to energy levels and must be a part of their internal equipment.
While you can eat a small snack anytime during the day, it works to your advantage if you time it just before or after a run. The right foods consumed in the right quantity provides the perfect fuel for performance. Instead of eating three large meals, break it into smaller ones that you eat frequently to provide adequate body fuel and brain fuel along with improved water levels in the body.
Snacks taken just before the running event increase blood glucose levels and muscle carb stores that are essential for harder, time-consuming events. Your snack should depend on the time available for digestion. If you have two hours ahead of your event, you can go for a bowl of cereal or peanut butter sandwich or a small smoothie with muffin (a very small one indeed). Almost 50-75 grams of easily-digested carbs can be consumed some two hours before a run and this helps the athlete delay fuel depletion during the run and prevents hunger too.
In reality, you need to fuel up an hour before a run which means you consume a lighter snack, such as a sports drink, handful of dry cereal, a slice of toast with honey or waffle with jam. Remember to eat only 15-25 grams of carbohydrates when you have only an hour before a run. Some other alternatives include carbohydrate gel or half an energy bar for easy digestion.
After the event, reload muscles with fuel and your body with fluid and electrolytes. It is advisable that runners refuel and cool together. Remember the three “R’s”-repair, restore and replete that can be fulfilled with a combination of protein and carbohydrate-containing foods within fifteen minutes after the run. Always have a combination of foods, you can choose a fruit and yogurt instead of only consuming the fruit.
Restrict protein intake to 12-15 grams and carbohydrates intake to 35-50 grams to prevent overeating and keeping your weight in normal ranges. Always check the food labels to find out if the portions are feasible or not because anything might seem to be good when you are famished after a hard run. Suitable post-run snacking options include:
Rainbow-colored vegetables and fruits occupy center-table in any healthy meal plan. Now, colored rice has also gained limelight along with these. Scientists are researching the use of brown, purple and red rice in averting diabetes.
Glucose management and intake play a critical role in monitoring the health of individuals with diabetes. These people don’t have the ability to produce insulin by themselves and this can lead to elevated glucose levels in the blood. When insulin levels are not properly managed, diabetes can end up in heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage of the individual.
Testing the Mice Cells
Scientists tested the impact of brown, red and purple rice bran on mice fat cells to test the impact on diabetes. The study showed that colored rice increased glucose uptake in mice fat cells that were fed with these bran extracts. The glucose levels also depended on the color of the rice bran: it doubled with purple bran extracts and tripled when mice fat cells were exposed to red rice bran extracts. If you want to know the nutritional content present in different colored rice, you can get information on them at www.firsteatright.com.
Hence, while colored rice shows significant positive changes in the diabetes values of individuals, scientists proclaimed that further research might be needed to know its positive effects on humans as well.
Contaminated food or water paves way for pathogenic parasites, bacteria, chemicals and toxins causing more than 200 diseases ranging from diarrhea to cancer. The high-risk group includes children, elderly people, pregnant women and individuals with lowered immunity. Updating yourself on the food safety practices to follow while preparing food reduces your risk of food poisoning and helps you stay healthy. Follow these guidelines to ensure food safety:
Keep Everything Clean
Make it a point to wash your hands before food preparation, after handling raw meat or poultry, after touching face or hair and after sneezing, coughing or using the bathroom. Hand washing techniques are clearly explained in detail in the website www.firsteatright.com. Replace your kitchen sponge for a washcloth as it is easier to launder. None of us love to clean the fridge. But keep your fridge all neat and tidy by cleaning it every few weeks. This helps to remove potentially hazardous residue from raw meat and poultry, soil from vegetables and also helps you get rid of spoilt leftovers that can otherwise make you sick.
What Goes onto the Top & What Goes onto the Bottom?
Place ready-to-eat foods at the top counter of the fridge. Keep foods such as raw meat and poultry that may ooze bacteria-laden juices at the bottom of the fridge to minimize contamination. Also store food in containers or in paper bags to avoid cross-contamination and use foods within a couple of days of purchase.
Use a Thermometer to Check Internal Temperature
One out of every four hamburgers turn brown before it’s fully cooked. Hence it is safest to use a food safety thermometer to check the internal temperature of the cooked food instead of relying totally on the color of the food. Accurate temperature readings can be fetched by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Avoid inserting the thermometer into the bones or the bottom of the pan as these can give a false temperature reading. Use an alcohol swab to clean the thermometer after use and keep it a point to reheat leftovers until they’re piping hot.
Keep Hot Foods Hot & Cold Foods Cold
During hot summer days, keep the food items in a cooler on your ride back home from the supermarket. Pick out cold and frozen foods as the last shopping items in your shopping list. Thaw foods inside the fridge and not on the counter. Keep hot foods piping hot until served and cold foods very cold as intermediate temperature foods are in the “danger zone” at which microbes can multiply rapidly.
Wash Food Materials with Running Water
Don’t hesitate to clean water filters, coffee makers and refrigerator water dispensers with a 50-50 water and white vinegar solution to prevent mold buildup. Always purchase raw foods from clean sources and wash the produce before chopping and eating. Food safety is important for any of us. If you even have the slightest doubt that some food is unsafe to eat, just don’t consume it. It is much more better to throw it out.
Knowing how to stop bleeding in an injured person can save the life of the individual. People often bleed to death in less than 3 minutes with bad injuries. Techniques to control bleeding can be taught with virtually nothing. When equipped with such knowledge, you can help in times when you are the first one on the scene to a car accident, kitchen knife injury, hunting accident or a traumatic farm injury. Read more on trauma care at www.firsteatright.com.
Before you help someone, assure your own safety as none of us want to put our life in danger in order to help another person. Next, to relieve a bleeding person in distress, follow the ABCs of response to a bleeding injury.
A for alert. Call ambulance 102
B for bleeding. Find the injury that is the root cause for bleeding.
C for compression. Stop bleeding by applying pressure to the bleeding area with a clean cloth or wound packing.
It is generally advised to lock your elbows and push on the area to stop bleeding. But this method is not effective for chest or abdomen bleeds.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.