28 June 2014

How to maintain ideal body weight?

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Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.

World Health Organization (WHO) defines overweight and obesity as follows:
  • BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight
  • BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.

What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).

(Source: WHO Fact sheet N°311, March 2013)

Causes of overweight and obesity

  • Heredity
  • Overeating
  • Minimum physical activity
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Affluent and prosperity

Assessing overweight and obesity

Compute the Body Mass Index (BMI) = Weight(kg) / Height(m)2.
  • If BMI < 25, Not Obese
  • If BMI ≥ 25, Overweight
  • If BMI ≥ 30, Obesity
Before proceeding to manage overweight, one should be clear that overweight is due to an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. The first step towards weight management is to determine the amount of weight to be reduced.

Wish to know your ideal weight?

Here is Broca‘s index. This is much simple to calculate and also more or less precise. You can compute your ideal weight by using the formula given below:

Ideal weight (kg) = Height (cm) – 100

For example: if your height is 159 cm, then your weight should be 159 – 100= 59 kgs.

Now calculate your ideal weight. Ready to shed your extra weight?????

Tips to reduce weight

What to eat?
  • High fibre foods like fruits and vegetables, dried peas and beans, whole cereals have low energy, contain nutrients and provide fullness.
  • Foods that are steame boiled, grilled, baked or shallow fried using little oil are healthier than deep fried foods.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar like soft drinks, cakes, and pastries.
Where to eat?
  • Eat only at dining table at home.
  • Avoid watching TV, playing with your mobile phone or reading books while eating
When to eat?
  • Do not skip breakfast.
  • Eat at regular times, avoid snacking.
How to eat?
  • Eat in a small plate.
  • Take small serving and eat slowly.
  • Chew food well.

To ensure success

  • Set goals to reduce weight.
  • Begin changes in eating, lifestyle, and exercise.
  • A weight reduction programme that goes with healthy eating and regular exercise is the safest.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Sean MacEntee

26 June 2014

Threat of Genetically Modified Foods

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Threat of Genetically modified foods

Genetically modified foods (GM foods) are threatening us in the news nowadays. Environmental activists, public interest groups, Ecologists and Scientists have been vigorously griping against GM foods for years. The term GM food is most commonly used to refer to crops created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques.

They have been developed in the laboratory with a desired quality like enhanced nutrient, improved resistance to microbes, pests and diseases or addition of a quality that a crop doesn’t possess or removing a particular protein that may be allergic there by alleviating its allergic properties.

Advantages of Genetically Modified Foods

  • Improve nutrient Content: Rice is a meager source of vitamin A. Hence golden rice has been invented to combat vitamin A deficiency that produces night blindness, Xeropthalmia. Golden Rice could probably supply 50% of the RDA of vitamin A from a very meek amount, if taken daily. This amount is well within the consumption habits of most young children and their mothers.
  • Toxicity or allergic reactions: Many people suffer from allergies to various food items including nuts, wheat, eggs, pulses, certain fruits, vegetables or milk products due to the presence of certain proteins. Thus GM foods are prepared keeping in mind to end these allergies.
  • Crops are more productive and have a better produce.
  • They require less herbicides and pesticides as they possess greater immunity to pests and diseases.
  • They stay ripe and unblemished for longer duration so they can be stored for longer periods causing much debate over the safety of these products.
  • They are capable of growing in regions with poor soil or difficult climates, making them available to us round the year.

Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Foods

Why should we change nature to meet up our desires?

Environmental activists, Ecologists, Scientists argue that we are breaking our nature’s eco cycle. GM foods can disturb the natural flow of our environment and the consequence will be reflected to our future generations which may have negative impact on their health.

The GM foods are all about making profit – generate a product that grows efficiently, yields a lot, stores well, available in all seasons, allure the public, making huge profits to the producers.

There is likelihood of humans developing new allergic reactions to the foods they eat.

So what can we do...

Eat foods that are labeled, like in US strong food laws exist and foods have been labeled as

USDA Organic Seal

These are safe to eat, as their genetic codes are not much altered.

Despite a lot of disagreement surrounding them, genetically modified foods have taken root in our world. As with any new technology, we citizens have the right to become informed about genetically modified foods, in order to make informed choices about their use.

But ……. Be organic…..


Image Credit: Flickr/ Jeff Kubina

10 June 2014

How to find my ideal weight?

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How to find my ideal weight?

Wish to know your ideal weight?

Probably you know that there are several formulae available to calculate your ideal weight. Here is a formula using Broca‘s index. This is much simpler to calculate and also reasonably precise.
Ideal weight (kg) = Height (cm) – 100
You need to know only your height to estimate your ideal weight.

Example

If your height is 159 cm, then your ideal weight can be calculated as follows:
Ideal weight = 159 – 100 = 59 kgs
Now you can calculate your ideal weight without much fuss. How about you? Do you maintain your fitness to be in the ideal weight range? Underweight? Obese?


Image Credit: Flickr/ Rafael Peñaloza

6 June 2014

Avoid junk foods, Enhance dietary choices

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Avoid junk food and enhance dietary choices

Junk food refers to fast foods which are easy to prepare and quick to munch. They are zero in nutritional value and often high in fat, salt, sugar, and calories. Eating fast foods for meals or snacks is especially popular with adolescents and young adults.

Common junk foods include salted snack foods, fried fast foods, and carbonated drinks. Today, fast-food menus are crowded with large burgers, large fries, and large carbonated drinks. These are a minefield of heavily packed calorie bombs waiting to explode in your belly. And most come with an exclusive bonus of salt and dangerous fat that are programmed to harden up your arteries.

Consumption of fast foods is gradually becoming an emerging trend. It is a major source of energy, dietary fat and animal protein though it was shown to be a poor source of micronutrients which consequently increases the vulnerability to the already high prevalence of non-communicable diseases.

With the westernization of the diet, many chronic diseases would progress, first as obesity (a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases including type II diabetes, stroke, hypertension and certain types of cancers) followed by diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The primary temptation for junk foods, according to consumers, is the taste factor; second most popular reason given for eating these foods is their time factor, attractiveness, packing and advertising particularly among children and adolescents.

How to enhance dietary choices?

Health Canada (2010) recommends the following to enhance family dietary choices:
  • Consume at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.
  • Eat vegetables and fruit in their purest forms, with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
  • Choose primarily whole grain products.
  • Drink 500 ml (2 cups) of milk daily.
  • Instead of eating meat products for protein, occasionally substitute them for beans, lentils, and tofu.
  • Eat at least two servings of fish each week, such as char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout. (Furhman, 2005).

4 June 2014

Cherish the fibre in your diet

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Cherish the fibre in your diet

Dietary fibre is generally defined as plant material, mainly derived from plant cell wall that resists the action of digestive enzymes in the gut. They are present in whole cereals, pulses, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Dietary fibres are commonly classified by its water soluble property into insoluble and soluble fibre.

Fruits and vegetables contain soluble fibre where as legumes, pulses contain insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibres are very slowly digested, absorbed and fermented by colonic bacteria producing fatty acid and gas in the gut. Legumes are called flatulence producers as they produce gas when consumed in appreciable amounts.

Properties of dietary fibre

  • Water holding capacity:
    Dietary fibres are sturdily hydrophilic and hold water in between their cells. Thus increasing the viscosity and gel forming capacity of fibre. This phenomenon may explain the delayed gastric emptying associated with ingestion of fibres. Gels also lubricate the stools.
  • Binding ability:
    Dietary fibre is capable of trapping bile acids, cholesterol, certain toxins in between them and eventually evacuating with the feces.
  • Bulking ability:
    Insoluble fibre such as cellulose and lignin are mostly unfermentable by the colonic microflora and increase faecal bulkb by their particle formation and water holding capacity.
  • Fermentablity:
    Soluble fibres are fermented by colonic bacteria and butyric acid is released which is much essential for Vitamin K production.
  • Therapeutic effects of fibre
  • Constipation :
    Water holding capacity and bulking capability of fibre serves to slow down gastric emptying and colonic transit time by increasing weight and volume of stool. Stool volume also widen the lumen of colon thereby decreasing intraluminal pressure. Thus help to alleviate constipation.

Reduces cholesterol level

Diets rich in fibre decrease the total serum cholesterol and low density lipo protein level. A lower cholesterol ratio is associated with lower risk of heart disease.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diets rich in fibre and complex carbohydrates slow the absorption of carbohydrates there by decreasing the rapid increase of sugar after a meal. They also obviate the need for insulin or oral hypo glycemic drugs.

Colon Cancer

Consumption of fibre rich foods increases the growth of the friendly bacteria while decreasing the growth of harmful Ecoli, clostridia, and bacteroids. Carcinogens are also excreted trapped between the fibre cells.

Obesity

Consuming a diet rich in fibre increases the satiety value, thereby giving a feeling of fullness and preclude from eating a heavy meal. Thus the average consumption of dietary fibre should be at least 25 – 40 g per day per person as suggested by American Dietetic association.


Image Credit: Flickr/ Robert Huffstutter