Friday, December 28, 2012

The truth about sugar

Sugar has earned a bad reputation as it is linked to various diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer. The truth is that sugar is not only important for your body, it is also important for your life. However, it is important to understand what kind of sugar is good for you and what is not. 

Understanding sugar 
The sugar sold in grocery stores is an unnatural substance, i.e. it is produced by industrial processes mostly from sugar cane or sugar beets. It is refined with chemicals such as sulphur dioxide, phosphoric acid, calcium hydroxide, and activated carbon, and stripped of all the natural nutrition it originally had. By refining it down to sucrose and stripping away the vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes and other beneficial nutrients, what is left is a concentrated unnatural substance that the human body is not able to handle, let alone use. 

It is interesting to note that 'raw sugar' - which most people think is natural - is also refined. Once the cane juice crystals are harvested, they are washed, boiled, filtered and dried. This process removes most of the fibre and nutrients existing in the original crystals. The sugar then becomes refined, with no nutritional value. The use of artificial sweeteners is often a case of trading one problem for another and is definitely not the path to good health. Needless to say, artificial sweeteners are more harmful than refined sugar. 

Sugar is a deadly addiction; people not only develop a strong taste for it but also develop an insatiable craving for it. The reason: refined sugar stresses the pancreas and depletes the body's supplies of chromium. A common symptom of chromium deficiency is sugar cravings. Satisfying these cravings further lowers chromium and increases cravings. What's more, refined sugar depletes your body of all the B vitamins; it leaches calcium from your hair, bones, blood and teeth. As if that is not enough, sugar also affects your body's digestion. It ferments in your stomach and stops the secretion of gastric juices, inhibiting the stomach's ability to digest. Weight gain, mood swings and irritability are a some side effects from consuming too much sugar. 

Sugar plays a major role in altering one's mood. Refined sugar has a chemical reaction on the brain by releasing serotonin - the 'feel good' hormone; this tricks the body into a temporary high, causing a rise in blood glucose levels. This 'feel good' lift is followed by the crash where you feel tired, irritable and even depressed. 

So what's good for you? 

Intrinsic sugars are natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables. These sugars are not harmful to your health nor are they fattening. Natural sugars found in honey, fruits and vegetables are unprocessed and therefore rich in fibre and nutrients. A diet high in fruits and vegetables will ensure that your body gets the small amounts of sugar it needs, while providing you with far more health benefits than refined sugar. 

Fruit for all seasons: Health benefits of papaya

Compared to other fruits, papaya has the most health benefits from cardiovascular to colon health. 

It is available all year round and every Indian market stocks it; not to mention most households that have a courtyard, will have a papaya tree. So what makes papaya such an important fruit? Let's take a look at the health benefits of papaya.

1.If you lack vitamin A, papaya is the fruit to have. It is rich in vitamin A, calcium and is a good source of potassium.

2.If you want to boost your metabolism, eat papaya as it contains vitamin B in the form of folic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-1 and riboflavin.

3.If you face discomfort with digestion, try this vibrant fruit. Papaya helps prevent constipation and helps in the digestion process.

4.If we consume food that lacks fiber, there are chances that it may not move easily through the digestive tract. These logged particles can turn infectious, which papaya can treat effectively. For instance, if the colon houses mucus and pus, papaya juice will take care of it.

5.If you are on a weight loss diet, include papaya as it is low in calories and rich in nutrients. That, coupled with its benefits of healthy digestion, makes papaya a good weight loss food.

6.If you are on a weight loss diet, include papaya as it is low in calories and rich in nutrients. That, coupled with its benefits of healthy digestion, makes papaya a good weight loss food.

7.If you are suffering from arthritis, osteoporosis, or in any pain, papaya can lessen the agony. Papaya is known for its anti inflammatory properties and helps faster healing.

8.If you are constantly nursing a cold, your immune system is low. Include papaya in your diet to fight off colds and coughs. Papaya can boost your immune system, thanks to its abundance of vitamin C.

9.Little is known about the health benefits of papaya seeds. These small jelly-like seeds have antibacterial properties; they prevent kidney failure, purge the liver and flush out toxins.

Try at your own risk, but many believe that papaya seeds with hot water work as a birth control.


When it comes to shedding those extra kilos, only exercise won't suffice. You also need to follow a balanced and healthy diet with due consideration to what your weight management goals are. 

How much harm does a skipped meal cause to the body? 

Skipping a meal is not the treatment for obesity. The body's metabolism slows down in starvation due to which it goes into a conservation mode and hence it's a natural process of the body to expend lesser energy. 

Besides, an empty stomach for a long period of time also causes increased acidity and discomfort. 

Are all weight loss medications simply hoaxes? 

Appropriate pharmacotherapy can augment diet, physical activity, and behavior therapy as treatment for people patients with a high BMI. 

Medication used in treating obese people will suppress appetite, reduce fat absorption, increase energy expenditure, dieuresis, or increase the metabolic rate. 

Common side effects of medication are dryness of mouth, headache, or constipation. 

Medications for weight loss have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA). 

Some medication inhibits gastric lipase (enzyme) which reduced fats absorption from food. 

Pharmacotherapy is not a magic pill to cure obesity. A medication without lifestyle modification is ineffective. 

Besides medication, meal replacements are becoming very common; they are designed to be a part of a low calorie diet. The goal of using meal replacements is to provide structure and replace other foods likely to be higher in calorie content. 

What role does exercise play in healthy weight loss? 

Excess body fatness is a result of an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Physical activity is an extremely important part of any weight-management program. 

Exercise helps to balance the loss of LBM (Lean Body Mass). Numerous other positive side effects include strengthening cardiovascular integrity, increasing sensitivity to insulin, and expending additional energy and therefore calories. 

A combination of aerobic and resistance training is recommended. Resistance training increases LBM. 

Fat is burned from the largest concentrations of adipose tissue. Consistency is key to realizing the health and weight management benefits of exercise. 

Diet is the key factor in weight loss programme; there are many other factors which influence weight loss. 

A regular program of physical activity should be adopted by the dieter. The program should consist of simply brisk walk daily, or jogging, swimming, bicycling, sports, or a combination of activities. This would aid in both caloric expenditure and to tone and strengthen muscles. 

If there was one weight loss tip you could make a person follow, what would it be? 

Portion control - Always watch the quantities you are eating, in the long run it will not only help you prevent weight gain but would also aid in weight loss. 

How does alcohol feature in weight loss plans? 

Remember, alcohol in any form has calories - about 7Kcal per gms. Over and above alcohol is considered empty calories since it has no vitamins and minerals 

There is always a tendency to consume high fat foods along with alcohol like cheese, nuts, chips or kebabs. 

Hence be cautious when consuming alcohol. 

Wine is sweet and contains calories from sugar too. 

Alcohol is directly absorbed from the stomach unlike your macronutrients. 

What are the foods one must completely avoid to lose weight? 

There is no food that one should completely avoid since the body requires a certain amount of all nutrients, even fats as in essential fatty acids, carbohydrates for glucose, proteins for amino acids to build tissues and wear and tear, also a whole range of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. 

Eat a balanced diet when you are trying to lose weight so that you only lose weight and not health.

Eat these to prevent diabetes

Diabetes isn't known as a silent killer just for kicks. The growing number of people falling prey to this metabolic disease has raised quite an alarm worldwide. 

Being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and consumption of high calorie, sugary and fatty foods are the reasons that give rise to this lifestyle ailment. Here's a list of foods that help in preventing diabetes. 

Turmeric :

Studies claim that curcumin, a compound found in turmeric may help delay if not prevent diabetes. There more research to be done in order to determine the long-term effects of turmeric. However, early result show promise. 

Strawberries :

Strawberries look and taste delicious. So there's no reason why you should not eat them regularly. Scientists are of the opinion that consuming strawberries helps activate a protein in the body which reduces LDL cholesterol and blood lipids. Both these things play a factor in the development of diabetes. Also, scientists who conducted experiments on mice found that consuming strawberries is beneficial in lowering blood glucose levels. 

Cheese and yogurt :

By this we mean low-fat cheese and yogurt. Experts believe that the healthy bacteria found in these fermented dairy products are responsible for this healthy beneficial side-effect. 

Cinnamon :

Cinnamon has numerous health benefits. It helps in lowering fasting blood glucose. Also, it is known to lower triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity too. Sprinkle some powdered cinnamon in your coffee or toast. 

Apples :

Anthocyanin, a compound is found in abundance in apples, which helps in regulating blood sugar levels. 

Spinach :

Spinach is rich in many nutrients which makes it so healthy. A British study showed that consuming spinach daily cuts down the risk of diabetes by 14%.


According to various guidelines laid down by nutritionist and medical institutions, at least 4-5 servings of fruits needs to be consumed daily by every individual. 

If you are diabetic, we are sure that this question has popped up in your head, "is it safe to have fruits?" "Yes, diabetics can have fruits, provided the sugar level of the patient is in control, but these fruits must be consumed in a limited quantity. Diabetics need an equivalent serving of fruits on a day to day basis. One needs to be careful about not going overboard with fruits like bananas, litchis, chickoo, and custard apples." To help diabetic patients, she lists down some fruits which will not affect blood sugar level, provided they're consumed in moderation. 

Foods for diabetics:

Black jamun

Undoubtedly, this is one of the best fruits for diabetics. It is known to improve blood sugar control. Seeds of these fruit can be powdered and consumed by patients to control diabetes.

White jamun

Diabetic patients can consume jamun fruit daily, to control their sugar levels. White jamuns are also high in fibre.


Similar to jamuns, starfruits are good for diabics too as they help improve blood sugar control. But caution needs to be exercised in case the person has diabetes nephropathy.


Guava controls diabetes and it is good for constipation. Guavas are high in vitamin A and vitamin C and contain high amounts of dietary fiber. This fruit has a reasonably low GI.


Their GI value is 20 (or even less in some varieties) which makes it a good healthy snack for diabetes patients at any time of the day.


These tasty fruits are a great healthy treat, with a low GI and good for diabetics.


Numerous variety of berries are available throughout the world and almost all seem to be a rich source of antioxidants. Diabetics can include a serving of different berries to keep their sugars in check. To name a few: Strawberries, blueberries and blackcurrants, raspberries, cranberries, chokeberries, blackberries, and acai berries are good for diabetes patients.


Apples contain antioxidants, which help to reduce cholesterol levels, cleanse the digestive system, and boost the immune system. Apples also contain nutrients that help in the digestion of fats.


Good for diabetics, pineapples also benefit the body as they are rich in anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.


These delicious fruits are a good snacking option for diabetics as they are rich vitamins and fibre.


They are good for diabetics because they are rich in vitamin and other minerals.


These citrus fruits can be consumed on a daily basis by diabetics, as they are rich in vitamin C.


Although watermelons have a high GI value, their glycemic load is low, making them good fruits for diabetes patients. However, consume in moderation.


It is a good option for diabetics as it slows down the blood sugar peak.


These tiny red rubies help diabetic people improve their blood sugar statistics.

This fruit is high in the Glycemic Index, but has a good amount of fibre. Therefore, within moderation, it can easily be included in the diet of a diabetic.


Jackfruit contains vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and magnesium among many other nutrients. Good for diabetes as they improve insulin resistance.


A fruit loaded with vitamin C and fiber, Amla is a healthy addition to the diabetic diet.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What is diabetes mellitus?

Firstly, diabetes mellitus and diabetes is one and the same thing, expect that colloquially we say diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a condition where the blood glucose or sugar level is high. In some cases of a diabetes mellitus patient, the pancreas fails to produce insulin that carries the glucose to the cell which in turn produces energy. In other cases the person going through diabetes mellitus does not use insulin well.

Type of diabetes

There are two types of diabetes mellitus:

Type 1 diabetes mellitus - Here diabetes mellitus is hereditary. It is known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset diabetes, which is characterized by a lack of insulin production.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus - This is caused by lifestyle changes like regular consumption of unhealthy food plus sedentary life and increase in weight. It is also called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is caused by the body's ineffective use of insulin.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that comes on during pregnancy. It is often diagnosed on screening tests done between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. According to the American Diabetes Association gestational diabetes affects 4% of all pregnant women. While doctors aren't sure what causes gestational diabetes, it is believed that hormones from the placenta may block the action of insulin in the mother, leading to abnormally high levels of sugar in your blood.

What is pre-diabetes?
Dr. Shalini Jaggi, Senior Consultant with Action Diabetic Centre explains the term pre-diabetes, "When one's sugar levels are higher than normal but not as high to be treated as diabetes that is known as pre-diabetes. People who have a fasting plasma blood glucose in the 100-125 mg/dl range are defined as having impaired fasting glucose and a post prandial blood sugar between 141-199 are defined as having impaired glucose tolerance. These together are defined as pre-diabetes."

Causes of diabetes: 

The symptoms of pre-diabeties are:

- Feeling hungry often
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Slow healing of wounds, weakness, and blurry vision
- Infection of the gums, skin, vagina and bladder

Diet tips to fight pre-diabetes

Dr. Shalini says, "Since pre-diabetics are at a risk of developing diabetes, they should also take appropriate measures when it comes to their diet. They should have small meals, eat moderately, have foods that are low in fat and carbohydrate content. Further, in addition to the diet, they should indulge in some kind of daily exercise or outdoor activity."

Are there any sugar substitutes for diabetics?

Yes, there are a few ways one can replace sugar and still control blood sugar levels. Honey, figs and raisins are sweet and healthy. Diabetics can also try out jaggery but watch out; you don't want to go overboard with jaggery. It should be consumed in moderation.

Should you avoid rice if you are diabetic?

The good news is, Indians with diabetes can consume rice. But it has to be two kinds of rice, Swarna and Mahsuri rice. 'In fact, two types of rice commonly consumed by India's middle classes have now been found to have the lowest Glycemic Index (GI) — the measure of its ability to raise blood sugar levels after eating - when compared with 233 other types of rice consumed around the world'. What is food without rice!

A word of caution for women

It's a known fact that men with diabetes are most likely to be impotent. But latest research reveals that women with diabetes are on the cutting board too. 'Based on a survey of nearly 2,300 California women aged 40 to 80 years, researchers found that more than a third of those on insulin treatment said they were "moderately" or "very" sexually dissatisfied.' These women complained about lack of lubrication and orgasm.
Can cosmetics spike diabetes?

Apparently it is true; according to recent study, cosmetics can spike diabetes. The biggest culprit is phthalates, an endocrine disrupting chemical present in different cosmetic products. 'Researchers found that women with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to have diabetes.' Researchers have scratched the surface on this latest find, wonder what the next step in this field have for us.

Diabetes and its treatment

Diabetes is a condition that causes high blood sugar. It cannot be completely cured but it can definitely be managed. There are basically two types of diabetes, the first being Type 1 diabetes, wherein the body's immune system destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Due to low insulin level, it is treated with daily insulin injections and a healthy diet. The second type is Type 2 diabetes, here the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin efficiently. It is treated by implementing a diet modification, exercise plan or oral medication.

Time-to-time medication

Medicines and injections are very important to manage your diabetes level. Whichever medicines your doctor prescribes for you, take detailed information about its dosage, and follow it the way advised by your doctor. Whenever you make any appointment with any healthcare professional, take the list of all the medicines you have been advised to manage your diabetes level, to avoid any medicinal complications.

Diet for diabetes

Dr. Sanjiv Bhambani, Endocrinologist and Diabetologist with Moolchand Medcity shares the pillars of good health for diabetics, "Disciplined and responsible eating habits can help a diabetic control their blood sugar levels. There is no real harm with snacking when you are hungry but the key is to snack on healthy alternatives. A diabetic diet should be high on fiber, must contain milk without cream, buttermilk, fresh seasonal fruits, green vegetables, etc."

List of dos and don'ts for diabetics

- Drink tomato juice with salt and pepper ever morning on an empty stomach.
- Per day calorie intake should be between 1,500-1,800 calories with a proportion of 60:20:20 between carbohydrates, fats and proteins, respectively.
- Artificial sweeteners can be used in cakes and sweets for diabetic people (in moderation).
- Keep a check on over-intake of dry fruits.
- Diabetics should eat 3 meals in a day with a good meal plan.
- Have lots of fluid.
- Have at least two seasonal fruits and three vegetables in a diet plan.
- Limit intake of alcohol.
- One teaspoon of methi seeds soaked overnight in 100 ml of water is very effective in controlling diabetes.
- Intake of 6 almonds (soaked overnight) is also helpful in keeping a check on diabetes.

How is diabetes linked to feet and leg problems?

Dr. Sanjeev says, "Foot problems in diabetics result from poor circulation, nerve damage and decreased resistance to infection. High blood sugar level over a long period may affect blood vessels and nerves. There are various conditions that affect people with diabetes that may result in leg and foot problems."

What are the signs of tissue and skin damage?

He says, "In diabetic patients blood glucose is high and body loses fluid. Due to insufficient fluid skin gets dry. Dry skin tends to crack or split more easily and wounds heal more slowly in diabetics. Thus skin conditions should be treated as soon they're noticed, to prevent them."

There are various signs of tissue and skin damage, which can be categorized as:

Dry skin is one of the most common symptoms among diabetes due to loss of body fluid and frequent urination. 

Itchy skin could be another prior symptom which can be triggered by poor blood flow. Itching can be confined to one spot or may occur in many parts of the body especially in lower legs and feet. 

Digital Sclerosis due to excess production of collagen among Type 1 diabetic patient results in waxy, tight skin on toes, fingers and hands. Dryness, burning, numbness and skin ulcers could be due to neuropathy when nerves are damaged. Patient suffers from pain in the lower extremities, burning and numbness. As a result, nerves in the legs and feet may not release sweat which is required to keep skin soft and moist."

What is the link between morbid obesity and diabetes?

This is a question that has several obese people worried; Dr. Sanjeev makes the link between obesity and diabetes: "Obesity is defined as having a BMI greater than 27 (as per Indian body structure). Approximately two-thirds of adults with Type 2 diabetes are obese. Diabetics are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, and obesity further increases this risk. Obesity also increases other diabetes complications including end-stage kidney disease. Other complications may include sleep apnea syndrome, arthritis and fatty liver disease."

Stats on the cases of diabetes and limb amputations...

The picture is unflattering; here's what the diabetologist reveals, "All over the world in every 30 seconds, a leg is lost to due to diabetes. 15% of the total diabetic population develops foot ulcers. All over, 85% of all diabetes-related amputations are preceded by foot ulcers. Thus it is advisable that patients should daily inspect their feet and consult the doctor as soon as they find an ulcer or an infection in the foot."

What is retinopathy?

Prolonged uncontrolled blood sugars produce changes in the blood vessels all over the body. The damage caused to blood vessels of the retina is called Diabetic Retinopathy. It is a microvascular complication of diabetes, which if not diagnosed and treated early, can lead to blindness."

Signs and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy

So how do we spot it?  "Unlike other common eye problems, there are no presenting signs or symptoms of diabetic retinopathy in the early stages. So, the patient may not even be aware that he is developing changes in the retina, unless he gets his fundus (retina) specifically checked by his ophthalmologist," says the doctor.

Important test for diabetes prevent and control

- First, get your blood pressure checked - your risk of developing high blood pressure doubles if you have diabetes. The ideal number: Below 130/80

- A foot exam: Pressure sores, cuts or ingrown nails can lead to infections and gangrene. Left untreated, an infection may lead to amputation. Daily self-exams are recommended.

- Every three to six months, depending on your type of diabetes and how well you're controlling your blood sugar levels, have:

- A glycosylated haemoglobin (or haemoglobin A1C) test: This measures how well you have maintained blood sugar control for the last two or three months.

Once a year, have:

- A urine microalbumin test: This measures the amount of protein (albumin) in your urine, which indicates kidney damage.

- A blood fat (lipid) profile: Lipids are the cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. If you have raised cholesterol and raised triglycerides you have an increased risk of CVD.

- Dilated Eye Exam: If you have diabetes, your ophthalmologist or optometrist should perform a dilated eye exam, in which the pupils are widened with drops, to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tips to soothe your eyes

Spending umpteen hours in front of a laptop or PC is bound to cause eye strain, sooner or later. So, does your vision get blurry after working on the computer for a few hours?

Do you suffer from frequent headaches while working? Are you having trouble reading street signs? If yes, there's no doubt your eyes are getting strained. Read on to find out how to combat the problem.

Increase eye flexibility
Whenever your eyes are tired or the edges of your vision blur, do a couple of eye flexibility exercises. Move your eyes up and down and from side to side in an open space. Move your eyes slowly, as if you are making an '8'. Gently massage the areas around your eyes to relax the muscles.

Take a break
Looking at the computer continuously is bad. You need to take breaks in between, even if it means keeping a reminder on your phone. Go for a short walk around the office. If you can't, look out of the window and do some flexibility and strength exercises.

Get some light
Go out in the sun (not in the scorching heat, but warm sunlight), close your eyes and slowly turn your head from side to side with the sun shining on your face. It is relaxing.

Eye-strengthening exercises
These require practice and gradually, they will reduce the blurring. Begin by holding your thumb a few inches in front of you. Focus first on your thumb and then on something that's at a distance of 20 feet. Focussing your eyes simultaneously on short and long-distance objects strengthens them. Also, blink rapidly when your eyes are weary. This helps the muscles to relax and also reduces blurred vision.

Adjust screen settings
Decrease the brightness of your computer screen and increase the font size. The longer we spend on devices, the more our eyes get strained. Do not neglect your eye problems for long.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Here are a few natural food items that can help you remain young and healthy

Looking young is the foremost priority of most people these days. Not just women, even men are wary of ageing. Instead of using the number of anti-ageing creams that have flooded the markets, one can go the natural way and opt for fruits and vegetables to help fight all age-related problems. Here are a few superfoods that can help control ageing and make you look younger.

1. Avocado - Apart from being high in Vitamin E, avocados are rich in antioxidants which help protect the skin. Avocados help in regenerating skin cells which makes your skin look fresh, giving a more youthful complexion. 

2. Kidney beans - These pulses are full of fibre and potassium which help reduce the cholesterol levels and thus reduce the risk of any heart disease. But their major health benefit is that they are packed with proteins. 

3. Dark chocolate - Any chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa is full of proteins and Vitamin B. Regular small bites into this chocolate will help burn fat and improve your skin and hair. 

4. Broccoli - Broccolis are a great source of fibre and Vitamin C which not only help control weight, but also help to fight heart diseases. 

5. Blueberries - Blueberries are rich in Vitamin C, which help in easy circulation of blood. Blueberries also contain certain minerals which help control the anti-ageing process. High in potassium, these berries help fight puffiness. 

Weight loss food


'Walnuts serve as a delicious-tasting, low cholesterol weight loss food. To fully enjoy the benefits of walnuts for weight loss, it is important to remember that these nuts are a high-calorie food that should be eaten in moderation. Make sure to add only 1.5 ounces (about 20 walnut halves) for maximum benefit to your daily menu.'

Add them to your salads. This is probably the best way to include them. Don't make your own salads? Just take them out of your bag and sprinkle them over the salad at work or restaurant. You'll feel fuller for longer and the salad will have a far more interesting texture.


Loaded with important nutrients like monosaturated fats, vitamin E, folic acid, protein and dietary fibre, almonds are your answer for dipping energy levels and quick healthy snacks. These filling, snackable bites can help keep your blood sugar steady.

A study from the University of Toronto found that people who ate almonds with white bread didn't experience the same blood sugar surges as those who ate just the slice. And the higher blood sugar levels rise, the lower they fall; that dip leads to hunger, causing people to overeat. Plus, blood sugar changes cause the body to make insulin, which can increase abdominal fat


Apple is one of the best weight loss foods. Apples are a sweet and crunchy snack full of all sorts of nutritional goodness, and they taste good on their own and in salads, desserts, and savory dishes, too.

A study from Penn State University at University Park revelaed that people who chomped an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack.

Black beans:

Beans have always been the undervalued protein that could work best when used as a substitute for meat. They stay in your digestive system longer and add to the feeling of fullness and a satisfied feeling, aiding weight management. They contain soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, and a type of fat-burning carb called resistant starch. Black beans are really one of the greatest weight loss foods.

According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, bean eaters weigh less and have slimmer middles.


The simplest way to prepare cauliflower is to boil it and add pepper and salt. But this flowery vegetable is an enemy for toxic compounds in your body. The cauliflower is rich is indoles, glucosinolates and thiocyanates that bumps off all the toxic waste in your body.

Cauliflower is low in calories while still offering filling fiber. This veggie is also super versatile and can make a great replacement for heavier foods..


Everything is nice about this spice. Just 1/2 teaspoon each day can help control your blood sugar and prevent the postmeal insulin spike that can trigger your body to store fat rather than burn it. You can also use cinnamon to bring out the natural sweetness in foods, rather than adding calories from sugar. All spices help you trim down when used to add flavor to foods instead of oil, butter and calorie-laden condiments.


Raise your mug to higher metabolism! The caffeine in coffee can raise your resting metabolic rate by about 15 percent, and the effect can last up to four hours—that adds up to 30 to 50 calories burned per day. Plus, people who sip 3 to 4 cups of regular or decaf coffee per day are 30 percent less prone to type 2 diabetes. Chlorogenic acid, found in coffee, may help prevent insulin resistance, which can lead to obesity and diabetes.


Eggs are a good source of vitamins, proteins and minerals. As said by nutrition experts, eggs are not only a great source of nutrition, but also very useful to help lose weight. When combining eggs with other dishes you will limit the consumption of complex carbohydrates in the body. Your hunger and food cravings will occur less frequent. Egg itself is sufficient in helping in weight loss.


Like other types of vegetables, cooked raddish contains approximately 3 grams of fiber per half cup to help you stay full and satisfied. Raddishare considered as starchy vegetables, so it is recommended to be eaten in place of rice, bread or other starchy foods.


Garlic help prevent various cancers, fight cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and respiratory problems. Garlic also helps fight various infections.

Overweight people who sprinkled their food with the zero-calorie spice lost an average of 30 pounds in six months, compared to only a 2-pound loss in the control group. Strong flavors like garlic may make food more enjoyable so you feel fuller faster.


Avocados receive a lot of flack for being high on fat content. However, these are a great source of good fats. Not a popular fruit in India, avacado is a fruit you can count on for boosting your energy.

The fat content, although seemingly high, is actually what satisfies the stomach most. Instead of mayo, the list suggests using avocado on a sandwich to get that creamy, moist texture.

Olive oil:

Like avocados, olive oil has healthy fat that increases satiety, taming your appetite. But that's hardly its only slimming feature. Research shows it has anti-inflammatory properties, and chronic inflammation in the body is linked to metabolic syndrome. Drizzle your salad with olive oil and you'll increase the antioxidant power of your veggies, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition notes.

Sweet Potato:

Yams are packed with antioxidants (like carotenoids), vitamins and minerals. They are quite low on the glycemic scale, meaning you'll digest them slower and stay full longer. Moreover, nutritionally-dense yams in your diet can trigger the satiety center in the brain quickly, make you feel full faster. If you want to lose some pounds, yams should be included in your diet.


They look like rubies and we believe that they are as precious as them too. Pomegranates reducesarthritis, increase your immunity, and improve fertility. Long known for its antioxidant properties, the humble pomegranate is a heart patient's best friend.

Using pomegranate seeds instead of nuts on salad, or eating on their own, prove to be incredible.

Red bell peppers:

This vegetable adds flavour whether it is baked, roasted, cooked or stuffed. Capsicums help to break down waste that is in the blood, hence a prefect veggie for those suffering with kidney disease.

These are sources of vitamin C, and adequate intake of the nutrient has been associated with having a smaller waist. Plus, C has been shown to bolster immunity and prevent cell damage.


Whenever you munch, your body releases a hormone called cholecystokinin, which tightens the valve between your stomach and your intestine. As a result, CCK boosts feelings of fullness—making you less apt to overeat.

Tomatoes contain oligofructose, a fiber that helps sustain the effects of CCK in your stomach. Bonus: Lycopene, a compound found in tomatoes, has been shown to protect you against sunburn and may help reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Friday, December 21, 2012


The term coronary heart disease covers a group of clinical syndromes arising particularly from failure of the coronary arteries to supply sufficient blood to the heart. They include angina pectoris, coronary thrombosis or heart attack and sudden death without infarction. 

There has been a marked increase in the incidence of heart disease in recent years. Heart attacks have become the number one killer in western countries. They rank third in India , after tuberculosis and infections. The disease affects people of all ages and both sexes, although it is more common in men than in women, especially in those aged 40-60 years. 

The heart, the most vital organ in the body, is a muscle about the size of a clenched fist. It starts working even before birth inside the womb. Weighing about 300 grams, it pumps about 4,300 gallons of blood every day through the body and supplies oxygen and nourishment to all the organs. It beats 1,00,000 times a day, continually pumping the blood through more than 60,000 miles of tiny blood vessels. The heart, in turn, needs blood for its nourishment, which is supplied by coronary arteries. 

In the event of narrowing or hardening of the arteries on account of their getting plugged with fatty substances, the flow of blood is restricted. The heart then does not get sufficient oxygen. This condition is known as ischaemia of the heart or angina pectoris, which is a latin word meaning pain in the chest. It is actually a cry of the heart for more blood. In this condition, exercise or excitement provokes severe chest pain and so limits the patients physical activity. It serves as a warning to slow down and prompt preventive measures will prevent a heart attack. 

If the narrowed arteries get blocked due to a clot or thrombus inside them, causing death of that portion of the heart which depends upon the choked arteries, it is called a heart attack or coronary thrombosis. It may lead to death or heal, leaving a scar. Patients with healed lesions may be severely disabled or may be able to resume normal life with restrictions in their physical activities. A high proportion of cases of sudden death occur in persons who have had angina pectoris or coronary thrombosis. 

The coronary arteries get narrowed due to various chemical deposits on their inner linings. These are caused by inherited or acquired defects in the metabolic processes of the body with regard to intake and absorption of various substances. A diet rich in fatty foods, especially animal fats, causes fatty substances to settle in the coronary arteries, thus blocking and narrowing them. The process of silting up of arteries is known as arterioscelrosis and is a major degenerative change affecting the circulatory system. 

A common symptom of heart disease is shortness of breath, which is caused by the blood being deprived of the proper account of oxygen. Another common symptom is chest pain or pain down either arm. Other symptoms are palpitation, fainting, emotional instability, cold hand and feet, frequent perspiration and fatigue. All these symptoms may be caused by many other disorders. Appropriate tests and studies are, therefore, essential to establish the true nature of these symptoms. 

The basic causes of heart disease are wrong food habits, faulty style of living and various stresses. The famous Framingham Heart Study of the National Heart and Lung Institutes identified seven major risk factors in coronary heart disease. These are : (I) elevated blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and other fatty substances, (ii) elevated blood pressure (iii) elevated blood uric acid levels ( mainly caused by a high protein diet), (iv) certain metabolic disorders, notably diabetes, (v) obesity, (vi) smoking, and (vii) lack of physical exercise. Any one or a combination of these risk factors can contribute to heart disease. Most of them are of dietary origin. These risk factors can be controlled by changing ones life style and re-adjusting the diet. Constant worry and tension stimulates the adrenal glands to produce more adrenaline and cartisons. This also contributes to constricted arteries, high blood pressure and increased work for the heart. 

Dietary Cure 

The fundamental factor in all heart diseases is the diet. A corrective diet designed to alter body chemistry and improve the quality of general nutritional intake can, in many cases, reverse the degenerative changes which have occurred in the heart and blood vessels. 

The diet should be lacto-vegetarian, low in sodium and calories. It should consist of high quality, natural organic foods, with emphasis on whole grains, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods which should be eliminated are all white flour products, sweets, chocolates, canned foods in syrup, soft drinks, squashes, all hard fats of animal origin such as butter, cream and fatty meats. Salt and sugar should be reduced substantially. 

Most flesh foods have a high sodium content and some meats are also very fatty. They are also highly acid-forming and create a high level of toxic matter in the system. They should be avoided by patients with a heart disease. The patient should also avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and tobacco. Tea and coffee contain caffeine which has a toxic effect on the heart and nervous system. Caffeine is a strong cardiac stimulant, which if taken regularly can cause palpitation or disturbances of heart rhythm. 

Alcohol damages the liver and overstimulates the heart. It also alters the blood sugar level and depletes the body's vitamin B reserve. Nicotine has a toxic, irritant effect on the heart muscles and disturbs the blood sugar level. 

The diet of the patient with heart disease should consist of nutrients as near to their whole natural state as possible so as to ensure an adequate intake of essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Fruits and vegetables should form a large part of the diet and should be taken in their fresh raw state whenever possible. Grapes and apples are particularly beneficial. The essential fatty acids which reduce serum cholesterol levels and minimise the risk of arterioscelerosis can be obtained from sunflower seed oil, corn oil or safflower oil. Several studies have indicated that garlic can reduce the cholesterol level in persons whose body normally cannot regulate it. Another important cholesterol lowering herb is alfalfa. Lecithin helps prevent fatty deposits in arteries. Best food sources are unrefined, raw, crude vegetable oils, seeds and grains. 

Patients with heart disease should increase their intake of foods rich in vitamin E, as this vitamin promotes heart functioning by improving oxygeneration of the cells. It also improves the circulation and muscle strength. Many whole meal products and green vegetables, particularly the outer leaves of cabbage, are good sources of vitamin E. The vitamin B group is important for heart and circulatory disorders. The best sources of vitamin B are whole grains. 

Vitamin C is also essential as it protects against spontaneous breaks in capillary walls which can lead to heart attacks. It also guards against high blood cholesterol. The stress of anger, fear, disappointment and similar emotions can raise blood fat and cholesterol levels immediately but this reaction to stress can do little harm if the diet is adequate in vitamin C and panthothenic acid. The richest sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits. 

The following is the suggested diet for persons suffering from some disorder of the heart : 

Upon arising : Lukewarm water with lemon juice and honey. 

Breakfast : Fresh fruits such as apples, grapes, pears, peaches, pineapples, oranges, melons, one or two slices of whole meal bread and skimmed milk. 

Mid-morning : Fresh fruit juice or coconut water. 

Lunch : Combination salad of vegetables such as lettuces, cabbage, endive, carrots, cucumber, beetroot, tomato, onion and garlic, one or two slices of wholemeal bread or chappatis and curd. 

Mid-afternoon : Fresh fruit juice. 

Dinner : Fresh vegetable juice or soup, two steamed or lightly cooked vegetables, one or two whole wheat chappatis, and a glass of butter-milk. The patient should also pay attention to other laws of nature for health building such as taking moderate exercise, getting proper rest and sleep, adopting the right mental attitude and getting fresh air and drinking pure water.