12 January 2017

Gastric cancer is preventable?

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Gastric cancer is the most common form of cancer in incidence and second leading cause for mortality among cancer throughout the world. Being vigilant about the risk factors can help you lower the risk of gastric cancer.

The causes of gastric cancer includes:

  • Genetic factors: The likelihood to contract gastric cancer is about 2-3 times higher in first-degree relatives of patients with the disease.
  • Overweight
    Image Credit: Flickr/mrd00dman
  • Overweight: Being overweight increases the risk of gastric cancer. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight is much essential to keep away from any disease.
  • Impact of Age: Usually elderly people are immune exhausted. The ability of their body to resist any infection is very less. As a result they are easily vulnerable to carcinogens and succumb to cancer.
  • Faulty food habits: Research has proven that the risk of gastric cancer could be reduced by
  • Fruits and vegetables
    Image Credit: Flickr/Olearys
    • Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Raw vegetables and fruits exert a protective effect by reducing the area of exposure of carcinogens to gastric cells.
    • Foods rich in Vitamin A, E and C reduce the risk of gastric cancer. Vitamin A,E, and C have a protective effect on gastric mucosa by helping in the rapid healing of ulcer lesions
    • A mediterranean diet includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds, fish and seafood, and small doses of red wine. Olive oil is the main source of fat. Lower consumption of milk and milk products are recommended. Adhering to Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on health. Mediterranean countries like France and Greece, Italy, Spain have relatively low incidence of gastric cancer.
    • Studies have indicated that drinking green tea lessens risk of cancer; Green tea is rich in phytochemical catechin. Catechin has an inhibitory effect on the multiplication of cancer cells and apoptosis of the cells.
    • Consuming large amount of dried, smoked, salted or pickled foods leads to the development of stomach cancer.
    • High consumption of meat, refined flour, pasta, bread and buns might influence the risk of cancer.
    • Consuming improperly preserved foods, lack of refrigeration also hikes cancer incidence.
    • Food additives are added to increase shelf life of processed foods, antibiotics or hormones given to farm animals that are reared for meat, pesticides and herbicide in plants, bisphenols that are present in packaging materials are most dangerous carcinogens.
    Physically active
    Image Credit: Flickr/Fit Approach
  • Being physically active: Risk of cancer can be avoided by being physically active. Moderate to intense physical activity according ones physical condition is recommended for 30 – 40 minutes. Sedentary behaviors like sitting for long hours, watching TV and engaging in any screened based activity should be curtailed.
  • Alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking may contribute to the transformation of the gastric tissue into tumor. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach leads to the damage of the gastric mucosa and the development of cancer cells.
  • Pernicious anemia: People with persistent pernicious anemia develop gastric cancer over time.
  • Helicobacter pylori infection: H. pylori enter our body through contaminated food and water and harbors in the mucosa of the stomach. Once H.pylori survives, causes chronic gastritis and ulcer. People with chronic gastric ulcers should be tested for H. pylori, and, if they are infected, should be treated with antibiotics to reduce the incidence of gastric cancer
“Although the mechanism of cancer remains unclear, it seems that infection with H pylori is the major driving force in the process”- Correa
Prevention is better than cure. Cancer incidence is expected to escalate in future due to urbanization and nutrition transition. Nutritional factors play a crucial role in causing cancer. People with risk factors like heredity, faulty food habits , overweight, sedentary behavior, drinking liquors, smoking , chronic ulcers should be identified and encourage to follow healthy life style. Thus battle against cancer can be won only by sticking to a healthy diet, maintaining optimal weight, promoting physical activity, limiting the intake of alcohol and refraining from tobacco.

10 January 2017

New Year’s resolution to stay fit

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The New Year, The new you…

New year's day is one of the most awaited and celebrated occasion throughout the world. We usually celebrate this occasion with our treasured ones and as mass social functions.

Happy New Year
Image Credit: Flickr/Andrew Dallos
New Year is a time for new resolutions. But, before making new-year resolutions, one should ponder about the past year resolutions made. How best we implemented those resolutions and how long we were able to pursue them? Let this New Year resolutions be in such a way that when we look at those on new year’s eve, we should be contented that we have persuaded them or achieved them.

To make this year the best yet...

We have to choose resolutions that are realistic, that adds positivity to our life and one that is easy to accomplish. Here is a list of resolutions that will add rainbow to our life both mentally and physically.
  • Eat Healthy
  • Stay Fit
  • Lead a positive and focused life.
Though these resolutions are simple, they can make a big difference in your life.

Eat healthy

Eat healthy
Image Credit: Flickr/.craig
Follow a diet plan that is balanced and the one that suits your health condition. “One size fits all” is an old adage. Hence your eating pattern should be customized based on your height, weight, food preferences, aversions, the type of profession and socio economic status you fit in to. The powerful mantras for a healthy lifestyle is to include more whole grain cereals, pulses and millets, add plenty of seasonal vegetables and fruits, drink in moderation.

Stay Fit

Stay fit
Image Credit: Flickr/ Oregon State University
Everyone must keep us fit. Regular exercising twice a day at least for 30 minutes makes our body trim and fit. In a situation where everyday a new disease has been diagnosed it is crucial to keep us fit to defend us from deadly diseases. Exercising burns extra calories from our body, makes our muscles relaxed, flexible and supplies abundant fresh oxygen to our brain. Exercise can be in the form of walking, jogging, running, swimming and yoga that we enjoy and cherish.

Stay positive

Stay Positive
Image Credit: Flickr/Anthony Will photos
Mental health and physical health needs to go hand in hand for a successful person. Good sleep is important for a sound mind. Growth hormones are secreted only when we sleep. These hormones are much essential for repairing damaged cells and removing toxins from our body. Sleep deprivation leads to difficulty in making decisions, solving problems, controlling emotions and behavior. Spending quality time with family and friends lightens and relaxes us. Keeping pets, gardening, reading books, and listening to soothing music also makes one physically, mentally and emotionally stay balanced. Thus by sticking to this simple, and valuable resolutions one can remain healthy and positive throughout life.

A journey of thousand miles begins with single step”. It is necessary at this juncture to remember the above quote of Lao Tzu to kick start your new year’s resolution.

2 January 2017

Fructose in Fruits is a Villain: Myth and fact

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In the medieval times, fructose was much restricted as a source of sugar to man and it was from unprocessed foods like fruits, honey, dates, and molasses. Fructose content of vegetables, meat and milk were also too meager and thus our forefathers had very slim chances of ingesting fructose, until sugar was manufactured in Industries.

Fructose in Fruits is a Villain: Myth and fact
Source: Euridice Martinez Steele et al. BMJ Open 2016.

Fresh fruit contains plenty of fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and water that are not present in the natural sugar we consume today. It has been cited by scientists that consuming plenty of fruits is associated with lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-associated diseases. Phytochemicals present in fruits provide immunity against various disease and helps in treating age related, degenerative diseases. Each phytochemical has a distinct disease shielding property and aids in keeping disease away.

Fibre in fruit helps in the slow release of fructose in the blood there by preventing rapid spike of blood sugar leading to hyperglycemia. Fruits give a feeling of fullness and limits overeating by provide satiety value. Insoluble fibres are beneficial by producing friendly microbiomes and helps in managing a healthy gut. The water in the fruit is pure and enriched with vitamins and minerals which are indispensable for growth, repair and maintenance of tissues. Unlike processed foods, fruits pass down the digestive system slow and steady and aids in sustained normoglycemia.

Natural sugar contains only empty calories. Eating too much sugar leads to obesity related diseases. Fructose in processed foods like sugary, carbonated drinks, biscuits, pastries and sweets comes from HFCS or sugar. Soft drink consumption has increased dramatically in the past few years.

In 2014, about 39% adults, aged 18 years and older were overweight. Worldwide prevalence of obesity doubled between 1980 and 2014, with 11% of men and 15% of women being classified as obese. About 42 million children aged under 5 years were overweight or obese in 2015, an increase of about 11 million during the past 15 years (WHO report, 2015).

Frequent consumption of high fructose containing foods leads to hyperglycemia. Repeated hyperglycemia leads to insulin resistance and triggers diabetes. Fructose is metabolized only in liver. One of the end products of fructose metabolism is triglyceride, a type of lipid. Excessive accumulation of triglyceride leads to hyperlipedemia, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, cancers, and hypertension.

Thus it is necessary to create awareness to the society to limit the intake of processed foods containing sugar. This awareness can be carried out through educational campaign at institutional level, community level, food service outlets, and through individual brain storming. By reading labels in the food packets about sugar content, one can reduce the consumption of high calorie dense foods. Nutrition education can be focused to choose a healthy food that is balanced in all the essential nutrients, to eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat milk, to eat less refined foods, salty foods and oily foods.

8 August 2016

Live foods that make us vibrant, vivid and energetic

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Throwing light on live foods ...

The more we take in solar electrons as a result of our dietary intake of live foods, the better we are able to absorb electrons from the sun and solar system - Gabriel Counsens
The term “live food” may refer to fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouted nuts and grains. Sometimes whole, unpasteurized, organic milk products are also accepted as live foods. To be truthful, live food literally breathes.

Live foods that make us vibrant, vivid and energetic

Raw, vegan foods are packed with plentitude of oxygen in their cellular structure. This oxygen is derived through naturally occurring photosynthesis. Cooking of these healthy vegan food expels all oxygen content and our food is in an exhausted form.

Dr. Edward Howell, author of "Enzyme Nutrition", reports that when a food is heated to 118 degrees for 1/2 hour all of its enzymes are destroyed. Oxygen within the live raw foods escalate the ability of the nutrients to be better absorbed, assimilated and utilised by our body. Research studies have concluded that the increased hemoglobin levels of anaemic patients increased to significant levels after consuming oxygen-rich foods.

The naturally occurring nutrients, phytochemicals and pure, filtered water found in living foods make us vibrant, vivid and energetic and can never be sufficiently replaced by cooked and processed foods. Also they protect our body by providing immunity and by removing the toxins that had accumulated in course of time.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are the main source of live foods to your diet. Kick off your day with simple breakfast of fresh fruit which is much more vitalising than a huge load of cereals, heavy oily bacons and eggs. A person who does not eat live foods is likely to suffer from lassitude, excessive weight, heartburn, bloating and intestinal distress.

List of fresh raw foods for your awareness

  • Greens like coriander, mint, curry cabbage, celery, wheat grass, lemon grass
  • Vegetables like carrot, beet root, tomato, cucumber, ladies finger, broccoli, bell pepper, cauliflower, yellow pumpkin
  • Sprouted foods afford the most concentrated natural source of vitamins, minerals, and aniniacids
  • All fresh fruits that are available during season
  • Nuts and oil seeds
Most people after eating a cooked food meal feel their energy drop, even to the point of needing a nap whereas after eating a live food meal one will feel satisfied and energized.

Be cautious! Some vegetables should always be cooked. As your digestive system gets adjusted, certain raw vegetables can become a part of your daily diet.

Stay energetic! Stay Perky!

19 July 2016

6 Vital Nutrients for Women and Their Sources

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Nutrition plays a vital role throughout a women’s life cycle for appropriate development. Adequate nutrition promotes proper growth of a woman from conception through infancy to adulthood.

As women undergo complex changes over the years, their bodies need an array of nutrients. Eating a balanced diet may provide her all the essential nutrients but due to her hormonal changes certain nutrients may be needed at higher levels at different stages of her life.

Let’s know about the 6 vital nutrients a woman needs and their sources ...

6 Vital Nutrients for Women and Their Sources

Complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are crucial in a healthy diet plan. They provide energy for your brain, muscles and every cell in your body. They also contribute fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans are excellent sources of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates in these foods promote steady digestion and absorption there by giving a feeling of satiety.

Dietary Fibre

Dietary fibre has multitude of benefits. It aids in weight management, reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Soluble fibre is important for lowering cholesterol and may help keep blood sugar levels steady. Insoluble fibre can be fermented by gut bacteria, producing substances that appear to be great for gut health. Providing ‘food’ for gut bacteria can also help increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut and thereby improving body’s immunity.

Calcium

Calcium is pivotal for healthy bones. By taking enough sources of calcium when young, can prevent the debilitating disease osteoporosis when you are old. Risk of this brittle bone disease becomes higher when your bones are deficient in calcium. Dairy products are highlighted as the best source of calcium but other sources include small boned fish (sardines, anchovies), green leafy vegetables, soya milk, tofu, nuts and oil seeds.

Folic acid

Folic acid (Vitamin B9) is indispensable during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida in babies. Thus health experts recommends to take folic acid while planning for a baby and during pregnancy. Folate is also good for the immune system, energy production, preventing anaemia and may also help to protect against heart disease and stroke. Cereals, citrus fruits, lentils, some greens are prime source of folic acid.

Iron

Iron is the principal nutrient needed throughout the life. Iron is essential for the synthesis of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen from lungs and supplies all over the body. The mineral is also part of many enzymes and is integral to the immune system. Women need more iron to make up for their menstrual loss. During mensus, 1 ml of iron is lost every day. Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia include feeling weak, tired, breathless, unable to focus and more susceptible to infection. Good sources of iron include non-vegetarian foods like chicken, meat, egg yolk, greens, legumes, dried fruits and nuts.

Omega three fatty acids

Omega three fatty acids are vital for the development of a baby’s brain, which makes them a key nutrient for pregnant women. Better intake of omega-3 during pregnancy may help to ensure the baby develops a healthy brain and nervous system and possibly reduce the risk of having a premature baby. Omega­3 fats reduces LDL cholesterol levels and makes heart healthy, curbs arthritis and depression. Oily fishes, walnuts, avocado, flax seeds are incredibly rich in omega­3 fatty acids.