Contemporary disorders related to alteration in gut flora

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Contemporary disorders related to alteration in gut flora

“All diseases begins in the gut” – Hippocrates.

Our human body is a home for about trillions of bacteria and other microbes collectively called microbiome. They perform countless tasks like helping in digestion, combating infection, synthesizing certain vitamins and organic acids. The composition of the human micribiome varies from person to person based on factors such as diet, health, geographical locality, heredity and is also predisposed by environment and hygiene. Increased consumption of antibiotics, harsh chemicals like preservatives destroy guts beneficial flora and creates avenue to the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

Pathogenic microbiomes release harmful toxins that severely alter our metabolic cycle. These toxins assault our body’s immune system and initiate chronic low grade inflammation leading to insulin resistance, obesity, liver diseases, heart diseases and much more.

In the recent past, scientists have unearthed a link between gut health and brain health. Hence, a new addendum to the arena of psychobiotics is that gut microbes facilitate in treating people with chronic depression and anxiety along with gastrointestinal disturbance.

A simple way to improve your gut heath is by taking a healthy diet. Fiber rich foods are excellent source of microbiomes. Healthy microbes consume the same food as we do and the pathogens consume the unhealthy food we eat. For example healthy gut bacteria, Escherichia coli thrive on the butyric acid released by the fermentation of fibre where as Helico bacter pylori one of the causative organism of gastric ulcer and cancer thrives on simple sugar and lipid in the gut. They also releases toxin like ammonia that are toxic to human cells.

High fibre foods that aids in the growth of Probiotics

  • Whole grains like wheat, barley, legumes, flax seed, chia seeds.
  • In the list of vegetables include, tubers, green beans, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, onion, garlic and sprouts. Nuts like almond, walnut improve the gut population.
  • Fruits containing ample of vitamin C like guava, amla, orange, berries, grapes favour the growth of microbiomes.
Last but not least include plenty of fermented foods like lassi and fermented soya milk.

According to hygiene hypothesis, exposure to bacteria and virus in your environment can boost your immunity against diseases.

Avoid antibiotics as far as possible, processed foods, chemicals like stablisers and preservatives, chlorinated and fluorinated water.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Martin Jordan

Why water is an indispensable nutrient?

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Why water is an indispensable nutrient?

Water matters much for a clean bill of health. Water is the most copious compound and the dynamic participant of all biochemical reactions that take place inside the body. From digestion to absorption, energy production to elimination, joint lubrication to circulation and even reproduction requires ample quantity of water.

Water is an indispensable nutrient required for existence, accounting for about 50–60% of total body mass. To be well hydrated, an average sedentary adult man must consume at least 2,900 ml (fluid per day) and the average sedentary adult woman at least 2,200 ml (fluid per day) in the form of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages, soups and foods.

The Nationwide Food Consumption Surveys indicate that a segment of the population may be chronically mildly dehydrated. Several factors may enhance the probability of chronic mild dehydration, including a poor thirst mechanism, dissatisfaction with the taste of water, participation in exercise and environmental conditions. Dehydration of as little as 2% loss of body weight results in impaired physiological and performance responses.

The national research council recommends fluid intake of 1 ml/kCal energy requirements for an adult living under normal conditions. Hence, a reference man will need 2900 ml and a woman will need 2200 ml fluid per day. Water requirement during exercise, pregnancy and lactation increases with activity.

Early symptoms of dehydration includes

  • head ache,
  • fatigue,
  • loss of appetite,
  • heat intolerance,
  • dry mouth and eyes,
  • light headedness,
  • burning sensation in the stomach,
  • muscle cramps,
  • painful urination and
  • dark urine with strong color.

A person should stay more hydrated when he

  • performs exercises,
  • lives in high temperature,
  • lives in high altitude,
  • consumes high fibre diet,
  • consumes medicines on a regular basis and
  • when there are increased fluid losses like perspiration, diarrhea, vomiting.

Adverse effects of prolonged dehydration

  • Renal stones
  • Diminished mental performance, irritation, inability to focus
  • Diminished physical activity, feeling sluggish
  • Decreased saliva secretion
  • Frequent episodes of urinary tract infection, urinary tract cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer
  • Increased risk of overweight and obesity

Individuals should be concerned about the total water intake similar to dietary intake and simple technique like observing the colour of the urine can help them to maintain their hydration status. Nowadays soft drinks have an impact on the diet, fluid and nutrient intakes more than in previous generations due to their easy availability, affordability, changing food trends and advertising by food venders. The importance of water intake as a fluid should be emphasized to the present generation to avoid various disorders that emerge due to water imbalance.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Philografy

Healthy way to reduce your waist

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Healthy way to reduce your waist

Overweight is the consequence of disparity between energy intake and energy expenditure. You can battle against it by reducing the former and/ or increasing the latter. Overweight is one of the disposing factors to chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, arthritis which has a massive impact on one's well being and efficiency.

There are various bio active components in food that can help us to control our body weight by increasing the energy expenditure. Such foods are called as thermogenic foods. Few examples of such foods are cinnamon, capsicum, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice.

Cinnamon popularly called as sweet wood has been proved by extensive research as a thermogenic food. Prolonged use of cinnamon bark at effective levels helps in reducing weight. Cinnamaldehyde, a pungent compound in cinnamon is found to be the bioactive component that increases energy expenditure and decreases body fat.

  • Cinnamon reduces the secretion of hunger hormone gherlin, a growth hormone secreted by hypothalamus, curbs craving for food and controls voracious eating.
  • Cinnamon decreases the activity of starch digesting enzymes, slows down gastric emptying rate and gives a feeling of fullness. At the same time food is steadily digested and absorbed.
  • Moreover burns the fat cells present in adiposities for energy expenditure.
If you opt to trim down by consuming cinnamon, then use Ceylon cinnamon which doesn’t have any toxins where as Chinese cinnamon is more virulent than Ceylon cinnamon and contains a toxin called coumarin.

Ceylon cinnamon appears as quills, thin and sweet in taste where as Chinese cinnamon appears as thick individual bark and is bitter in taste. It is advisable to consume less than half a spoon of cinnamon powder either as decoction, with butter milk, or with honey.

Want to waste your waist?
Do not wait, start now..........
Because prevention is better than cure.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Jonathan Rolande