Monthly Archives: May 2015

Diet Diary: Food intolerance and thyroid disorders directly proportional

The number of people detected with thyroid disorders is on the rise. This of course could be a result of increased testing and recognition of the condition but there certainly seems to be more to it.

Mostly auto-immune in nature with underlying genetic predisposition, thyroid disorders may have something to do with the way we eat and live. Some of the common causes could be heavy metal exposure, poor gut health, chronic stress and food intolerance.

Food traditionally implicated to impact thyroid function, also called  goitrogens, include soy, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts rutabaga (Swedish turnip), kale (form of cabbage) and kohlrabi (German turnip or knol ko

hl). Goitrogens are known to suppress the function of thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can, as a result, cause an enlargement of the thyroid, known as goiter. In other words, goitrogens inhibit thyroid hormone synthesis. However, the goitrogenic effect of these food is destroyed on cooking. Also, their effect is relevant if goitrogenic food are taken in large amount as staple food.

Several studies done on goitrogenic food have demonstrated insignificant effects on metabolism. However, a recent study (2010) reported that catechins (flavonoids) in green tea extracts were goitrogenic and had an anti-thyroid effect when consumed in high doses. Dietary sources of iodine include sea water, iodised salt, seaweed and shellfish. Breast milk contains iodine to provide for infants’ requirements and lactating women require extra iodide in their diet.

A relatively newer association is seen between auto-immune thyroid disorders (both Hashimoto’s and Graves’) and food intolerance. This happens when the body reacts to certain food negatively, which can then cause an abnormal immune response. This response can lead to a cascade of events, including inflammation, difficulty in absorbing nutrients, fatigue, mood disturbances, hormonal imbalance and even auto-immune disorders. Food intolerance can disturb thyroid function and is often related to auto-immune thyroid disorders. Several scientific studies confirm an increased prevalence of auto-immune thyroid disorders in celiac population.

A recent scientific study published in the Journal of Paediatrics in 2009, conducted on about 325 children, reported that auto-immune thyroiditis was strongly associated with celiac disease. It is suggested that individuals with auto-immune thyroid disorders be screened for gluten intolerance and those with gluten intolerance to be screened for auto-immune thyroid disorders. Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, rye and oats.

A study published in 2001 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology reported that following a gluten-free diet helped in the improvement and recovery of auto-immune thyroid disease in some cases.

Minimising exposure to heavy metals, taking care of digestion and managing stress through yoga and meditation can all be useful in managing thyroid health. A word of caution – treatment or diet should not be modified without consultation with your physician.

Author is a clinical nutritionist and founder of  http://www.theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods India

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/diet-diary-food-intolerance-and-thyroid-disorders-directly-proportional/

How green tea could cut prostate cancer development in men

In a new study, scientists have revealed that a component found in green tea may help reduce development of prostate cancer in men facing high risk.

A team of researchers led by Nagi B. Kumar, Ph.D., R.D., F.A.D.A. at Moffitt Cancer Center assessed the safety and effectiveness of the active components in green tea called, “catechins” to prevent prostate cancer development in men who have premalignant lesions.

20 percent of green tea is consumed in Asian countries where prostate cancer death rates are among the lowest in the world and the risk of prostate cancer appears to be increased among Asian men who abandon their original dietary habits upon migrating to the U.S.

Laboratory studies have shown catechins inhibit cancer cell growth, motility and invasion, and stimulate cancer cell death. Green tea catechins also prevent and reduce tumor growth in animal models. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant and potent catechin found in green tea responsible for these cancer prevention effects.

The study is published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/how-green-tea-could-cut-prostate-cancer-development-in-men-2/

Suffering from ‘Piku’ syndrome? Don’t sit on it

If you ask about the one thing that Amitabh Bachchan-starrer and now a Rs.100-crore-club member ‘Piku’ has done to the Indian masses, apart from entertaining them, is bringing into the public domain a topic that is taboo in social conversations but that almost everyone experiences or has been a chronic sufferer: constipation.

The “Motion Se Hi Emotion” tagline has become such a talking point and has touched an empathetic chord in people that the unpretentious, low-budget film, that also has Deepika Padukone and Irrfan is stellar roles, has not only become a runaway hit but has brought out the ‘bowel problem’ of people out in the open.

Although there are several ayurvedic medicines and home remedies that claim to ease bowel movements, constipation is a painful reality one has to live with – sometimes for years.

According to Deepak Lahoti, senior consultant (gastroenterology) at Max Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, the Indian squat position is the best to beat the morning blues (which, in fact, actor Irrfan Khan suggests to Big B in ‘Piku’ too). “It is more effective than the western chair position to maintain a healthier bowel movement, especially if you raise your knees towards your chest,” Lahoti told IANS.

Yogesh Batra, director and senior consultant (gastroenterology) at BLK Super Specialty Hospital in the capital, agrees.

“The squat position is definitely more physiological for passing stools. It has been used by Indians for ages,” Batra said.

The reason behind this is simple.

The acute angle present between the rectum and the anal canal gets straightened and there is external pressure applied over the anterior abdominal wall for the smooth release of the stool.

One disadvantage is that it is difficult for old people with knee problems to sit for long.

“An option is to convert the western commode to semi-squat position by keeping a stool under the feet,” Batra said.

In fact, a new book titled “Charming Bowels” by Giulia Enders, who is studying in Germany for her medical doctorate in microbiology, has buttressed the claim that humans should be squatting, not sitting, on a toilet bowl.

This is because the closure mechanism of the gut is not designed to “open the hatch completely” when we are sitting down or standing up: it is like a kinked hose.

Squatting is far more natural and puts less pressure on our bottoms.

“Nearly 1.2 billion people around the world who squat have almost no incidence of diverticulosis and fewer problems with piles. We in the west, on the other hand, we squeeze our gut tissue until it comes out of our bottoms,” she writes.

Another tool in your armory to tackle constipation is to change your diet.

“Oats and high-fibre diet helps in tackling mild-to-moderate constipation. However, in case of severe constipation, you need to seek expert advice,” said Manish Kak, …continued »

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I Say Organic: A 24X7 online organic food store that delivers within a day

In the increasingly competitive organic food industry in India, a select few seem to grasp the essence of term ‘organic’. While organic food items are relatively more accessible today than five years back, basic problems such as reasonable pricing, proper certification system and efficient food delivery mechanism are still a far cry. 29-year-old Ashmeet Kapoor knew how to plug the gap.

In 2012, Kapoor started his own venture called ‘I Say Organic’, an online vegetable and fruit store, to address the growing demands and challenges in the organic food industry in India. To begin with, he understood the basic fundamentals of the business such as easy accessibility, convenience, affordability, great quality and authenticity. But there was larger, albeit a noble, idea behind this venture: Kapoor wanted to provide a sustainable livelihood to the farmers in rural India and make a proactive effort to improve their situation.This became a pressing need.

organic4 Ashmeet Kapoor

“It was not easy to convince farmers to give up what they had been doing for decades. They only knew of the traditional way of farming, and to explain them this new alternative was difficult,” said Kapoor.

Keeping this in mind, he went a step ahead and stayed in a village in UP for four months to understand the ground reality. And the reality was that more than rural electrification and water problems, the farmers wanted a self-sustaining source of livelihood that would pay them well. Once Kapoor was convinced of the challenges, he contacted other organic farmers based in UP, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, and established I Say Organic.

The company claims it eliminates middlemen to keep farmers at the centre by paying premiums directly to farmers, which helps them earn 40 per cent more than what they were earning before switching to organic. To instill a sense of trust in customers and establish a connect with the farmers involved, Kapoor said they mostly post blogs and videos on their website about farmers talking about associations with them. “We would love to organise trips for people to visit farmers’ land and open up about where our food comes from,” said Kapoor.

organic2 I Say Organic: Men At Work
organic3 The company says their products are available 24×7 through their online shop and they deliver within the same day an order is placed.

To address the issue of easy availability and convenience, Kapoor said that for anything to happen the product has to be easily available. “We broke the norm and made organic food available 7 days a week on our website. Obviously with organic, since volumes are smaller, prices are marginally higher but it is definitely not unaffordable. In the next 2-3 years, organic veggies will reach normal veggie prices. Most of what hawkers sell in slightly upmarket colonies is exactly how our products are priced. Our products are primarily available on your website because we believe that picking up the phone is more convenient,” added Kapoor.

As for certification of their organic produce, Kapoor admits there’s certainly a lack of trust among customers as there are numerous other organic brands operating in the market as well. To allay such apprehensions, I Say Organic undertakes a ‘Know Your Farmer’ initiative where they personally visit and select farmers. The company claims they build personal interactions at the farmer level and understand the intent of farmers to grow organic food. “We talk to them, we share their stories. If a customer wishes to visit, we let them go visit the farmers’ land where the produce comes from. We have the NPOP certification and will get United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification in 2 years,” adds Kapoor.

Currently, the Government of India recognises the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) accreditation programme that was implemented in 2000. It lays down the norms for organic production in India. The United States Department of Agriculture and the European Commission also recognise the NPOP system of accreditation.

The company says their products are available 24×7 through their online shop and they deliver within the same day an order is placed. I Say Organic takes a minimum order of Rs 300 from customers residing in Delhi, while it’s Rs 500 for outside Delhi NCR. Orders can be placed on their website from between 9 am-2 pm and 4 pm-9 pm.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/with-i-say-organic-organic-food-now-available-24×7-and-delivery-within-a-day-ashmeet-kapoor/

Drinking over 5 cups of espressos dangerous for health

If you are consuming more than five espressos worth of caffeine every day, you are putting you health a risk.

According to the European Food Safety Authority, excess caffeine consumption could cause problems like increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, tremors, nervousness, insomnia and panic attacks, reported the BBC.

As per the report, if healthy adults were 400mg a day, they were still in the safe zone with no health consequences. For pregnant women, the limit is 200mg a day due to the impact on the growing foetus, while in kids 3mg per day for every kilogram the child weighs was been recommended.

The researchers also found that there was no extra risk caused by combining caffeine and alcohol.

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Diet Diary: The Chinese food syndrome — sensitivity to MSG

health, express health, rxpress, MSG, ajinomoto, chinese food, Monosodium Glutamate, FDA, US Food and Drug Administration Headache, tightness in the chest, stiffness or generalised weakness of limbs, light headedness, facial flushing, profuse sweating, heartburn, gastric discomfort and burning sensation (face, upper back, neck or arms), heart palpitations, anxiety, excessive urination, thirst, stomach ache, vomiting, attacks mimicking epileptic seizures in children, asthma, depression; if you have experienced any of these symptoms after eating Chinese food, then the chances are you are sensitive to Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG).

These symptoms are generally transitory but it has been shown that women are more likely to experience “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” than men. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), commonly known as ajinomoto, is the most widely used food additive that is valued for its flavour enhancing properties. It is a sodium salt of glutamate, an amino acid (building block of proteins) that occurs naturally in cheese, fish, meat, peas, tomatoes, mushrooms and milk. The body uses glutamic acid as a fine-tuner of brain function as well as a protein building block.

MSG, a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Japanese and other Asian cuisines, is now extensively used in meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables in restaurant cooking.

Research has shown that MSG intolerance may not be as common as previously thought with symptoms being subjective and transitory with no documented long-term effects. As a precautionary measure, however, one must read labels or check with chefs or restaurant staff.

Concerns regarding safety have always surrounded MSG, in spite of its great popularity among chefs and the food industry. Numerous international scientific evaluations undertaken over many years, involving hundreds of studies have placed MSG on the GRAS (generally regarded as safe) list of food additives approved by the US FDA. Because of individual sensitivity issues, food labels are required to indicate the presence of MSG. The phrase “contains glutamate” appears on labels of foods containing MSG. While MSG may be considered safe for children, it may be prudent to limit MSG intake during pregnancy.

MSG is not an allergen, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The US Food and Drug Administration has found no evidence to suggest any long-term, serious health consequences from consuming it.

In healthy MSG-intolerant people, the sensitivity symptoms tend to occur within an hour of eating, with severity being dose dependent. Caffeine and vitamin B6 are known to counter the effects of MSG.

Do’s and don’ts
* Carefully read labels of processed foods to determine the presence of glutamate.
* Supplement with at least 50 mg of B1, B2 and B6 daily if they consume significant amounts of processed foods, as vitamin B6 also helps alleviate the symptoms of MSG sensitivity.
* Order food without MSG, when eating out.
* Check with a qualified professional, if the problem persists.
* Individuals who develop tightness of the chest must seek medical advice so that serious problems are not overlooked.

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Infections can also affect your IQ

In addition to harming your physical heath, severe infections of any type can affect your mental capacity as measured on an intelligence quotient (IQ) scale, a new research has found.

The researchers found that infections in the brain affected the cognitive ability the most, but many other types of infections severe enough to require hospitalisation can also impair a patient’s cognitive ability.

“Our research shows a correlation between hospitalisation due to infection and impaired cognition corresponding to an IQ score of 1.76 lower than the average,” said senior researcher Michael Eriksen Benros from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Anyone can suffer from an infection, for example in their stomach, urinary tract or skin and the results of this study suggests that a patient’s distress does not necessarily end once the infection has been treated.

“It seems that the immune system itself can affect the brain to such an extent that the person’s cognitive ability measured by an IQ test will also be impaired many years after the infection has been cured,” Benros explained.

In the largest study of its type, 190,000 people in Denmark, born between 1974 and 1994, participated. They had their IQ assessed between 2006 and 2012. Thirty five percent of these individuals had a hospital contact with infections before the IQ testing was conducted.

People with five or more hospital contacts with infections had an IQ score of 9.44 lower than the average.

“Infections can affect the brain directly, but also through peripheral inflammation, which affects the brain and our mental capacity,” Benros pointed out.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Chinese herbal soup curbs fatigue in cancer patients

A traditional Chinese medicine, a soup containing 12 herbs has been found to significantly reduce fatigue suffered by cancer patients within two-three weeks of the treatment, new study says.

The researchers tested the safety and efficacy of the herbal mixture Ren Shen Yangrong Tang (RSYRT).

Yichen Xu and colleagues from Peking University School of Oncology in Beijing, China, along with Xin Shelley Wang from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, US, assessed the level of fatigue in cancer patients before and after RSYRT therapy.

Patients took RSYRT twice a day for six weeks. The researchers found that RSYRT was both effective and safe, with no evidence of toxicity in any of the patients treated.

Fatigue is one of the major challenges in cancer care. According to traditional Chinese medicine, fatigue is characterised by a deficiency in Qi, a physical life force related to the energy flow of the body. RSYRT is intended to improve Qi deficiency.

The results appeared in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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What to do after a snakebite? Dos, don’ts and everything you want to know

As per the WHO figures, a million people are bitten by snakes in India per year and fifty thousand out of them die. The main victims are the young farmers, the breadwinners of the cultivator family. Others who are at risk are the construction workers, trekkers and campers. In conversation with Dr Vijay Muralidhar Sonar who has been treating the victims of snakebite for the past fifteen years in the city of Ahmednagar. He is an MBBS and MD, anesthesia from BJ Medical College Pune, India. He has been practicing general and emergency medicine. He treats about 150 snakebite victims a year.

In India, how many types of snakes do we have?
We have 250 species of snakes in India, fifty from those are venomous and five are very dangerous for humans. Four of them are responsible for most of the killer bites – common cobra (called naga), saw scaled viper, common krait (manyar) and Russell’s viper. The concept of the Big Four is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Humpnosed pit viper, also called hypnale was considered as harmless to humans but is capable of causing uncontrolled bleeding and sudden kidney failure leading to death. The current anti-venom serum (AVS) does not give protection against the bite of this viper. Sea snakes are also poisonous to humans.

Which of those five dangerous ones is the most dangerous?
If you ask me it is the common krait, for its bite has hardly any local symptoms – no swelling, no bleeding and no pain. It is a very peculiar snake, in the villages it comes out in the dead of the night to explore for food (rats) and bites people who sleep on the floor. This can happen to people camping outdoors. The problem with Krait bite is that sometimes one cannot even ‘see’ the wound and in many cases people, especially the children are unaware that they are even bitten. The bite of krait is deceptive, while the local symptoms are minimum it has severe degree of venomation (injection of venom into human body). In most of the cases the victim gets severe stomach pain and vomiting and even if he/she is taken to a doctor, the victim is treated for the stomach pain. By morning the neurotoxin spreads in the body and the victim dies of respiratory failure. We always advise people to sleep on a cot, or while camping outdoors use mosquito nets to keep the reptiles away. Russell Viper is also very dangerous for it injects maximum venom in its victim and has less number of dry-bites.

snakebite1

snakebite2

So the venom of a snake attacks the nerves?
Venom of a snake …continued »

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Declining mobility caused brittle bones in humans: Study

Rather than urbanisation or diet, rise of agriculture and fall in mobility has led to lighter, brittle bones among humans today, interesting research has found.

The study of the bones of hundreds of humans who lived during the past 33,000 years in Europe sheds light on a monumental change that has left modern humans susceptible to osteoporosis, a condition marked by brittle and thinning bones.

At the root of the finding is the knowledge that putting bones under the “stress” of walking, lifting and running leads them to pack on more calcium and grow stronger.

Earlier humans had stronger bones and that weight-bearing exercise in modern humans prevents bone loss.

“By analysing many arm and leg bone samples from throughout that time span, we found that European humans’ bones grew weaker gradually as they developed and adopted agriculture and settled down to a more sedentary lifestyle,” said Christopher Ruff from the Johns Hopkins University’s school of medicine.

Modern lifestyles have famously made humans heavier, but, in one particular way, noticeably lighter weight than our hunter-gatherer ancestors: in the bones.

“The decline continued for thousands of years, suggesting that people had a very long transition from the start of agriculture to a completely settled lifestyle,” Ruff said.

Better bones are still achievable, at least for younger humans, if they recreate to some extent the lifestyle of their ancestors, notably doing a lot more walking than their peers, the authors said.

The paper appeared in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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