From our Blog
Thursday 26 February 2015
Tuesday 24 February 2015
Monday 23 February 2015
How Alcohol Affects the Body
Drinking alcohol affects the body in many ways. These effects can lead to physical and mental changes that can put alcohol users and others at risk of injury or death. Possible dangers include falls, household accidents, and car crashes.
How Alcohol Moves Through the Body
When a person drinks beer, wine, or another alcoholic drink, the alcohol is quickly absorbed in the blood and then carried throughout the body. A drink of alcohol stays in the body for about 2 hours after being consumed. This period of time can vary depending on the person's weight, gender, and other factors. When a person drinks, the concentration of alcohol in the blood builds to a peak, then goes down. At first, alcohol often makes people feel relaxed and happy. Later, it can make them feel sleepy or confused.
The small intestine and the stomach absorb most of the alcohol after drinking. A small amount leaves the body through breath and urine. Eating food, especially fatty food, slows the absorption of alcohol. If people drink more alcohol than their bodies can absorb, they become drunk.
How Alcohol Affects the Liver, Brain, and Heart
Drinking too much alcohol affects many parts of the body. It can be especially harmful to the liver, the organ that metabolizes (breaks down) alcohol and other harmful substances. People who drink heavily for a long time can develop diseases such as liver inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis) or severe liver scarring (cirrhosis). Alcohol-related liver disease can cause death.
Alcohol not broken down by the liver goes to the rest of the body, including the brain. Alcohol can affect parts of the brain that control movement, speech, judgment, and memory. These effects lead to the familiar signs of drunkenness: difficulty walking, slurred speech, memory lapses, and impulsive behavior. Long-term heavy drinking can shrink the frontal lobes of the brain, which impairs thinking skills.
Drinking alcohol can affect the heart in good and bad ways. On one hand, studies have shown that moderate drinking -- up to two drinks a day for men and one drink for women -- can lower the chances of developing heart disease. On the other hand, heavy drinking -- either all at once or over time -- can damage the heart. Long-term alcohol use can also result in high blood pressure, which increases a person's risk of heart disease. However, blood pressure can go back to normal within a few months after drinking stops if there is not a lot of damage to the heart.
Male and Female Drinkers Compared
Alcohol affects men and women differently. In general, older men are more likely to drink alcohol compared with older women. But women of all ages are often more sensitive than men to the effects of alcohol. Women's bodies tend to break alcohol down more slowly. Also, women have less water in their bodies than men, so alcohol becomes more concentrated. As a result, women may become more impaired than men after drinking the same amount. That is why the recommended drinking limit for women is lower than for men.
Drinking for a long time is more likely to damage a woman's health than a man's health. Research suggests that as little as one drink per day can slightly raise the risk of breast cancers in some women, especially those who have been through menopause or have a family history of cancer. But it is not possible to predict how alcohol will affect the risk for cancer in any one woman.
Sunday 22 February 2015
There are four types of fat:
1. SATURATED FATS - have been associated with chronic illnesses such as heart disease
2. MONOUNSATURATED FATS - appear reasonably neutral
3. POLYUNSATURATED FATS - are recognized as protective.
4. TRANS FATS - have been associated with chronic illnesses such as heart disease
are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.
|Monounsaturated fat||Polyunsaturated fat|
are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.
Appearance-wise, saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature (think of butter or traditional stick margarine), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of olive or corn oil).
|Saturated fat||Trans fat|
Therefore, the greater the proportion of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in a particular fat or oil, the healthier it is.
TALLOW: (rendered beef fat) or ghee (rendered butter) are often used for frying, but these are saturated fats, so they’re among the least healthy.
BUTTER: is also a saturated fat, but has other components as well. The dairy proteins, relatively high water content and short chain fatty acids mean butter is great for browning food, but not for frying as it starts to splatter when heated to a high temperature.
VEGETABLE OIL: is a term used for any (non animal-based) oil from vegetable or seed origin. Or it can be a blend of these oils. It is mainly polyunsaturated fats of different chain lengths, so it’s one of the healthier options.
CANOLA OIL: which was developed from rapeseed, was specifically developed for frying as it contains predominantly longer chain monounsaturated fatty acids and has a relatively high smoke point.
PEANUT OIL: (from peanuts) is mainly long chain omega 6 (polyunsaturated) fatty acids. It has a high smoke point and is also good for frying.
OLIVE OIL: is predominantly monounsaturated fatty acids, but has the added benefit of polyphenolic compounds which act as antioxidants and contribute to the health qualities of this oil. Olive oil does not have a high smoke point, so should only be used for low-temperature cooking.
COLD PRESSED OLIVE OIL: is the best choice, as it is not heated or processed by chemicals in the extraction of the oil from the olive. Olive oil is easily oxidised so should be stored in a dark place in a coloured bottle.
COCONUT OIL: has 85-90% saturated fatty acids. It has traditionally been used in curries, but its recent popularity with health conscious consumers has seen it added to all kinds of foods from muesli to smoothies. The predominant fatty acid in coconut oil is Lauric acid. Its shorter chain length is thought to be why coconut oil may not have the same effects on LDL (bad) cholesterol as other saturated fatty acids. But there is little evidence for any health benefits of Lauric acid at this point. To be prudent, it is best to use coconut oil occasionally as part of a healthy eating plan.
FLAXSEED OIL: (also known as linseed oil) is claimed to have similar health benefits to marine omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil contains a high proportion of α-Linolenic acid (ALA), which in theory can be converted to omega-3 fatty acids by the body. But we are not efficient at doing this and there is little evidence that flaxseed oil has the same protective effects as the omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil.
Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.
HOW MUCH FAT IS TOO MUCH?
How much fat is too much depends on your lifestyle, your weight, your age, and most importantly the state of your health. The USDA recommends that the average individual:
- Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of calories
- Limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories (200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet)
- Limit trans fats to 1% of calories (2 grams per day for a 2000 calorie diet)
Saturday 21 February 2015
How to boost your immune system?
SIMPLE STEPS TO FOLLOW
Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body — immune cells or others — is not necessarily a good thing.
How to effectively increase immune system?
1. Don’t smoke.
2. Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
3. Exercise regularly.
4. Maintain a healthy weight.
5. Control your blood pressure.
6. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
7. Get adequate sleep.
8. Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
9. Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
Don't Be Deceived!
Walk into a store, and you will find bottles of pills and herbal preparations that claim to “support immunity” or otherwise boost the health of your immune system. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is NO EVIDENCE that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease.
Demonstrating whether an herb — or any substance, for that matter — can enhance immunity is, as yet, a highly complicated matter. Scientists don’t know, for example, whether an herb that seems to raise the levels of antibodies in the blood is actually doing anything beneficial for overall immunity.
But that doesn’t mean we should discount the benefits of all herbal preparations. Everyone’s immune system is unique. Each person’s physiology responds to active substances differently. So if your grandmother says she’s been using an herbal preparation for years that protects her from illness, who’s to say that it doesn’t? The problem arises when scientists try to study such a preparation among large numbers of people. The fact that it works for one person won’t show up in the research data if it’s not doing the same for a larger group.
Scientists have looked at a number of herbs and vitamins in terms of their potential to influence the immune system in some way. Much of this research has focused on the elderly, children, or people with compromised immune systems, such as AIDS patients. And many of the studies have had design flaws, which means further studies are needed to confirm or disprove the results. Consequently, these findings should not be considered universally applicable.
Some of the supplements that have drawn attention from researchers are these:
Aloe vera. For now, there’s no evidence that aloe vera can modulate immune response. Because many different formulations and compounds have been used in studies, comparing the results is difficult. However, there is some evidence that topical aloe vera is helpful for minor burns, wounds, or frostbite, and also for skin inflammations when combined with hydrocortisone. Studies have found aloe vera is not the best option for treating breast tissue after radiation therapy.
Astragalus membranes. The astragalus product, which is derived from the root of the plant, is marketed as an immune-system stimulant, but the quality of the studies demonstrating the immune-stimulating properties of astragalus are poor. Furthermore, it may be dangerous.
Echinacea. An ocean of ink has been spilled extolling echinacea as an “immune stimulant,” usually in terms of its purported ability to prevent or limit the severity of colds. Most experts don’t recommend taking echinacea on a long-term basis to prevent colds. A group of physicians from Harvard Medical School notes that studies looking at the cold prevention capabilities of echinacea have not been well designed, and other claims regarding echinacea are as yet not proven. Echinacea can also cause potentially serious side effects. People with ragweed allergies are more likely to have a reaction to echinacea, and there have been cases of anaphylactic shock. Injected echinacea in particular has caused severe reactions. A well-designed study by pediatricians at the University of Washington in Seattle found echinacea didn’t help with the duration and severity of cold symptoms in a group of children. A large 2005 study of 437 volunteers also found that echinacea didn’t affect the rate of cold infections or the progress and severity of a cold.
Garlic. Garlic may have some infection-fighting capability. In laboratory tests, researchers have seen garlic work against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Although this is promising, there haven’t been enough well-designed human studies conducted to know whether this translates into human benefits. One 2006 study that looked at rates for certain cancers and garlic and onion consumption in southern European populations found an association between the frequency of use of garlic and onions and a lower risk of some common cancers. Until more is known, however, it’s too early to recommend garlic as a way of treating or preventing infections or controlling cancer.
Ginseng. It’s not clear how the root of the ginseng plant works, but claims on behalf of Asian ginseng are many, including its ability to stimulate immune function. Despite the claims of a number of mainly small studies, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) considers there have been insufficient large studies of a high enough quality to support the claims. NCCAM is currently supporting research to understand Asian ginseng more fully.
Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice root). Licorice root is used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of illnesses. Most studies of licorice root have been done in combination with other herbs, so it’s not possible to verify whether any effects were attributable to licorice root per se. Because of the potential side effects of taking licorice and how little is known about its benefits — if any — for stimulating immune function, this is an herb to avoid.
Probiotics. There are hundreds of different species of bacteria in your digestive tract, which do a bang-up job helping you digest your food. Now researchers, including some at Harvard Medical School, are finding evidence of a relationship between such “good” bacteria and the immune system. For instance, it is now known that certain bacteria in the gut influence the development of aspects of the immune system, such as correcting deficiencies and increasing the numbers of certain T cells. Precisely how the bacteria interact with the immune system components isn’t known. As more and more intriguing evidence comes in to support the link that intestinal bacteria bolster the immune system, it’s tempting to think that more good bacteria would be better. At least, this is what many marketers would like you to believe as they tout their probiotic products. Probiotics are good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, that can safely dwell in your digestive tract. You’ll now find probiotics listed on the labels of dairy products, drinks, cereals, energy bars, and other foods. Ingredients touted as “prebiotics,” which claim to be nutrients that feed the good bacteria, are also cropping up in commercially marketed foods. Unfortunately, the direct connection between taking these products and improving immune function has not yet been made. Nor has science shown whether taking probiotics will replenish the good bacteria that get knocked out together with “bad” bacteria when you take antibiotics.
Friday 20 February 2015
Thursday 19 February 2015
POWER UP WITH PISTACHIOS
1.The best sources of antioxidants among plant based foods, pista are also low cal.
2.The skinny nut is the lowest in fat compared to another nuts. Just a handful of pista about 30 kernels offers a satisfying 100 calorie snack.
3.A mindful snack: As they are in shell, pista take longer to eat , slowing consumption and reducing overall calorie intake by 41%.
4.Nutrient rich: they are excellent source of vitamin B 6, copper, manganeses and a good source of protein , fibre, thiamine, and phosphorus.
5.Rich in antioxidants: pistachios are packed with a variety of beneficial antioxidants and phytonutrients commonly found in tea, fruits red wine, and soy foods. They are best source of antioxidants among plant based foods.
Tuesday 17 February 2015
10 Tips For Staying Healthy In Summer
- Stay cool and hydrated. Drink water, at least two to four cups (16-32 ounces) upon rising, and similar amounts if you are going out for activities and exercise. Carry water with you in a hard plastic container (more stable polycarbonate rather than polyethylene that leaches plastic into the water). You may also use a traveling water filter. Check your local water stores or www.realgoods.com. Most people need two to three quarts of liquid per day, and more in hot weather or with sweating and exercise. Review Chapter 1 of Staying Healthy with Nutrition or Chapter 7 of The Staying Healthy Shopper's Guide for further information on Water.
- While enjoying the sun and outdoors, protect yourself from overexposure to sunlight by wearing a hat and using natural sunscreens without excessive chemicals. Carry Aloe Vera gel for overexposure and have an aloe plant growing in your home for any kind of burn. The cooling and healing gel inside the leaves will soothe any sunburn. It works great.
- Keep up or begin an exercise program. Aerobic activity is important for keeping the heart strong and healthy. If you only work out in a health club, take some time to do outdoor refreshing activities -- hiking, biking, swimming, or tennis. Reconnecting with these activities will help keep your body and mind aligned.
- Enjoy Nature's bounty – fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables at their organic best. Consuming foods that are cooling and light -- fresh fruits, vegetable juices, raw vital salads, and lots of water -- will nourish your body for summertime activities. Include some protein with one or two meals. There are a number of light, nourishing proteins that don't require cooking. Most of these complement fruits and vegetables nicely-- nuts, seeds, sprouted beans, soy products, yogurt, kefir, and cottage cheese. Fish and poultry can also be eaten.
- Take some special summer time with your family, kids, and friends who share the enjoyment of outdoors. Plan a fun trip if you're able and motivated for a day or longer -- hiking in the wild, camping, playing at the river, or a few days resting at the ocean. Rekindling our Earth connection has benefits that last beyond this season, continuing to enrich the whole of your life.
- Relax and breathe. You've been working hard. This is the season to slow the pace a bit and absorb the light that stimulates your hormonal message center. Leave your cell phone at home or take a week off from TV. In many European countries, most of the population has a month off during the summer.
- Sun teas are wonderful. Use flowers and leaves (or tea bags) in a clear half- or one-gallon glass jar filled with spring water. Hibiscus or red clover flowers, peppermint, chamomile, or lemon grass are all good choices, or use your local herbs and flowers that you learn are safe, flavorful, and even medicinal. Leave in the sun for two hours or up to a whole day. Moon teas can also be made to enhance your lunar, dreamy side by letting your herbs steep in the cooling, mystical moonlight. Add a little orange or lemon peel, or a sprig of rosemary and a few jasmine flowers.
- Nutritional supplements can support you with a greater amount of physical energy, enhancing your summer activities. The B-complex vitamins are calming to the nervous system and helpful for cellular energy production, while vitamin C and the other antioxidants protect your body from stress, chemical pollutants, and the biochemical by-products of exercise. Helpful summer herbs are Siberian ginseng as an energy tonic and stress protector, dong quai is a tonic for women, hawthorn berry is good for the heart, and licorice root will help energy balance and digestion.
- Use the summer months to deepen the spiritual awakening begun in the spring. Begin by checking your local bookstore or the web for ideas that interest you. Plan a vacation that incorporates these new interests and provides you time to read, relax, contemplate, and breathe.
- Above all, give yourself the time to truly experience Nature. This can happen, even in a city park, if you relax and let in your surroundings. When traveling, take activities for the family and your first aid kit for bites, bee stings, and injuries. Check for ticks after your hikes. Watch for overexposure, take time in the shade, and drink your water.