Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Cancer Fighting Veggie "Broccoli"

Have we ever wondered why so many emphasis and adverts is laid on the consumption of “5 a day” i.e we should try as much as possible to consume minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables per day, this is because of the benefits associated with eating them on a regular basis especially with the level of fast food and inorganic food we consumed. Today we will be talking about broccoli and its health benefits. Broccoli belongs to the cabbage family and it is normally cultivated in Italy, Italians usually refer to it as Broccolo which means cabbage sprout. Broccoli contains numerous amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients when consumed in an appropriate manner and on a regular basis.

Over 300 research studies have been conducted to understand the important role of broccoli against cancer and our health in general. Broccoli is a very good source of immune-supportive vitamin C, anti-inflammatory vitamin K, and heart-healthy folate. It is also a rich source of free-radical-scavenging vitamin A (because of the high amount of carotenoid phytonutrients in it), enzyme-activating manganese and molybdenum; very high fibre content which help to support our digestive system; heart-healthy potassium and vitamin B6; and energy-producing vitamin B2 and phosphorus. Broccoli contain large amount of this water soluble and energy-producing vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, protein, and iron; bone-healthy magnesium and calcium; and antioxidant-supportive vitamin E and selenium.

There are 3 main metabolic problems which predispose us to cancers which include: (a) Oxidative stress (b) Chronic Inflammation (c) Inadequate detoxification.
One of the recent research on broccoli confirm that it contain 3 dynamic phytonutrients (Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtian and glucobrassicin) which support our body in all the process of detoxification. The phytonutrient content of broccoli assists in activating, neutralizing and eliminating all the detrimental contaminants in our body.

Do you that broccoli may help to combat the problem of osteoporosis (weak and fragile bone) because of vitamin D deficiency? Broccoli contain a useful amount of Vitamin A in form of beta-carotene and Vitamin K, these 2 vitamins can help to keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance proportion. So if you would like to build your bone health and increase the vitamin D level in your children’s body for stronger bones, consumption of broccoli is the answer rather than getting vitamin D supplement.  

Broccoli has an anti-inflammatory phytonutrient (a flavonoid called kaempferol). In our digestive system, this phytonutrient has the ability to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances (by lowering the immune system's production of IgE-antibodies). By lessening the impact of allergy-related substances, the kaempferol in broccoli can help lower our risk of chronic inflammation.

It also has special cholesterol-lowering benefits; the fiber-related components in broccoli join together with bile acids in our digestive tract, this process further lead to excretion of bile acids from our system, resulting into low cholesterol level. It is advisable to have our broccoli steamed rather than being fully cooked or in a microwave. The vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and carotenoids contained in broccoli work to lower risk of oxidative stress in the body.

Another major benefit of broccoli is its cancer fighting content: studies done concluded that regular consumption of broccoli reduces our risk of developing prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. This is because broccoli contain a distinctive combination of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and pro-detoxification components which protect us against the afore-mentioned type of cancer. Further studies are on-going for other types of cancer.

Advice: Many of us do not consume broccoli on a regular basis, I would suggest that broccoli should be part of our regular diet; consumption of it twice or thrice a week will go a long way to improve our health and reduce our risk of developing diseases such as cancer and certain vitamins and mineral deficiency. An average of 44 calories i.e about full cup of broccoli per two (2) days is enough to provide us with a quantifiable benefit. Broccoli should be steamed for about 5 minutes so as to enjoy the flavour and other health benefits, if it is too soft or mashed most of the nutrient might have been lost during cooking.


Thank you

What Is Your Body Shape Saying About Your Health

In my home country those days, anyone with extra body fat (overweight or obese), having access to eat as much as they like with varieties of assorted meats and different fatty foods is seen to be healthy and wealthy, but in developed world this is a different story entirely, obesity and overweight is seen as a medical problem which poses greater risk to health, longevity and health care system. Fat is stored in different parts of our body mostly around the vital organs in the abdomen and under the skin, depending on where the fat is stored the higher its risk to health . Visceral fats also known as belly/abdominal fat increase our risk to heart diseases and type 2 diabetes when compared to fats around our hips or bottom. Find below the ideal waist measurement for good health

Men in cm ( Inch)
Women in cm ( Inch)
≤ 94cm (37)
≤ 80cm (31.5)
94 – 102cm ( 37 – 40)
80 - 88cm (32 – 35)
Very High
≥ 103 (40)
≥ 89cm (35)

There are basically 2 types of body shapes described scientifically in relation to health; these are pear (fat is stored around the hips) and apple (fat is stored around the waist/middle) body shapes, anyone who is overweight with apple-shaped body has a higher risk of health problems when compared to pear-shaped overweight individual.

We can determine our health status by calculating our body mass index (BMI). BMI is an appropriate way of knowing if one is overweight or obese. It is calculated using our weight and height ratio (weight/height2). BMI provides us with an assessment of our body fat and predict our risk to diseases that come with extra body fat.

Below 18.5
18.5 -24.9
25 – 29.9
Above 30

Although BMI has been recognised globally to be accurate but it has some limitations such as:
·         Overestimating the body fat of athletes and others who have a muscular build.
·         Underestimating the body fat of older people and others who have lost muscle.
As our BMI increases from the normal range, our risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers also increases.
The good news is that every small effort counts, we can change our lifestyle by being mindful of what we eat and doing regular physical exercise, this will help lower our risk to developing this disease.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

You need to read this!!! Consumption of Walnuts Linked to Heart and Brain Health

Walnuts belong to the tree nut family such as cashew nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecan, macadamia, pine and Brazil nuts, and are popularly grown in California.  It takes about a decade and half (15years) to grow before producing fruits and last for an average of 45years. Virtually all these nuts have health benefits but walnuts have twice the amount of antioxidants when compared to others. Walnuts is said to be high in protein, vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, trace minerals, lecithin and oils. Walnuts stands out because of the type of fats found in them (polyunsaturated fatty acids i.e good fats), the amount of Omega 3 and are cholesterol free with very low amount of sodium.

Calories in Walnuts: About 28g will give us 183 calories of which 153 is fats (the good fats) 

Vitamins and Minerals:  Walnuts possess a large amount of vitamins B6, folate, thiamine and useful amount of vitamin E; It is also rich in magnesium, phosphorus and Iron.

Fatty acids in Walnuts: Omega 3 and Omega 6 are the two essential fatty acids required by our body for cell growth, immune functions, blood clotting and also play an important role in disease prevention. This fatty acids can only be gotten from our diet because our body can't make them.

The health benefits of walnuts

I am sure most of us rarely consume this nut; but by the time you finished reading this, you will see the health benefits in them and why it is important to include them in our diet.

Walnuts is exceptionally good for Heart Health
Studies done around the world such as in Spain, New Zealand, United State and Australia found out that consuming a useful about of  walnuts lowers the cholesterol level by decreasing the LDL level (bad cholesterol) and increase the HDL (good cholesterol ) level, thus reducing our risk to heart disease. Walnuts also contain a large amount of alpha-linoleic acid, which is beneficial for sustaining heart health.
Improves Brain Health and Functioning 
According to a study done by Purdue University, it was discovered that eating a useful amount of walnuts boost brain functioning, because of the high content of the Omega 3 fats in them. Low level of Omega 3 was linked with depression, decline in cognitive function behavioural problems and learning disorder in children. So it is very important for us to always include this nut in our diet
Walnuts aid sleep 
I am sure many people suffer from insomnia (lack of sleep), it has been discovered that taking about 6 walnuts after dinner would give you a sound sleep because it elevate the level of melatonin (the hormone that induces sleep) instead of taking sleeping pills which poses side effects to your system, why not try improving your diet by adding walnut and check out the difference.
Prevents Breast and Prostate Cancer
A study conducted by Marshall University school of medicine, West Virginia discovered that consumption of 14 whole walnuts can supply enough phytosterol and antioxidants to combat breast cancer. 
The antioxidants properties of walnuts and its anti-inflammatory properties help to lower risk of chronic oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation, which when combined, pose the greatest threat for cancer development. It also helps to combat aging and neurological diseases.
Prevents Diabetes
A research conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health, proved that 30% women who ate 30 g of walnuts 5 times a week were at a lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Help reduce stress
A published journal of the American College of Nutrition reports that the Omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts help in reducing and managing stress, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and lowers blood pressure resulting from stress.
 Benefits for skin
The walnut’s oil protects the skin from dryness and returns its natural moisture. It is also used as base oil in many cosmetics and massage oils used for aromatherapy and massage therapy. The vitamin E found in walnuts is also very beneficial for the skin.
Warning- Anything done in excess poses its own risk, it has been discovered that excessive consumption of walnuts could lead to risk of developing kidney stone because of the oxalate contents in it (oxalate contributes to kidney stone formation).
Daily Recommendation: For healthy consumption, 5- 7 whole walnuts or 10 -14 halves of walnuts has been recommended for daily consumption.

Thank You

Healthlist, WHfoods and MeD India

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Consumption of Walnut Boost Sperm Quality in Men

A recent study from the University of California by Dr Robbins and her team on the relationship between polyunsaturated fatty acids (this fatty acids is critical for sperm maturation and membrane function) and increase in sperm quality.

Dr Robbins and her team selected 117 healthy men between the ages of 21 to 35 to conduct this study, they were divided into 2 groups, half of the men were given 75g of walnuts daily (experimental group) while the other group (control group) were not given walnut with their normal diet.
Both groups were monitored regularly, after 12 consecutive weeks; there were no significant changes with the men’s body-mass index (BMI), body weight, and activity level.

The group that had 75g of walnut added to their regular diet experienced an increased levels of omega-6 and omega-3 (ALA) fatty acids with a significant improvement in sperm vitality, motility, and morphology. 

Although there were minimal changes in the chromosomal abnormalities of the experimental group while the control group experienced no changes.

Although this research indicates that eating 75 grams of walnuts per day can positively affect a young man's sperm quality, it is still unknown whether the benefits would apply to young men with fertility problems and whether they would actually translate into increased fertility. Further research is needed on this.

Thank you

MeD India

Thursday, 17 October 2013

How Often Should we Shower?

In developing countries, there are still many people going to the stream to fetch water before they can make use of it for their household chores such as cooking, cleaning and bathing babies while the adults go to the river for their bath, this is a different story in developed world where every home has an inbuilt shower that releases hot and cold water at the same time, most of these showers are made of closed-circuit system (i.e water used from the showerhead has been designed for reuse again into the showerhead).

There is this cooling effect we all experienced when we have just had a shower which is revigorating, but the question is how often should we shower and what are the benefits/risks associated with it. 
I remembered when one of my friends in the UK was advised not to be bathing her little girl everyday but every fortnightly because she is having dry skin, I was curious until I came about this post which broadens my understanding.  

Obviously having a regular shower is good for our health and makes us clean but there are ways we go about this that may put our skin health at risk, some of us believe in scrubbing out every dead cells in the body and killing all the germs by using hot water and a large dose of soap. It has been discovered scientifically that using plain fragranced soap has no effect on skin-borne bacteria rather it disrupts the action of microcolonies of the skin flora and fauna, thus shifting them to the immediate environment such as the shower. The protective layer of the skin called stratum corneum is made up of dead skin cells, which act as a defense to our underlying healthy skin. The cells of the stratum corneum are bounded together with lipids (fatty compounds); these lipids help in keeping our skin moisturized by trapping moisture inside them (Just like when a cold butter is covering water from being released out).

When we have a very hot shower with soap and scrubbing sponge we adversely exposed our skin by eliminating the protective dead cell layers, leaving the delicate healthy layer susceptible to detriment (the soap and hot water with the scrubber dissolves off the lipids). The more bath we have the more we are exposing this outer layer and the more we are depriving the delicate layer of the natural oil our skin produces, by doing this on a regular basis we tend to create a dry, cracked and irritated skin. Also when we finished having our bath we used towel to clean our body which damages the cells more.

Advice: This is not a recommendation but an advice, it is good to air dry after bath but if we can’t wait, we can make use of soft towel to pat dry our body and moisturise immediately, although because we are different with different skin type this may not be for everyone. It’s also good to skip bath once in a while and when having a shower make sure you use mild soap with warm water but above all, maintain a healthy and clean skin and drink clean water regularly.

Thank you


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Having Breakfast is it Important to Our Health?

Do you know that having a healthy breakfast every morning set you on a good note for the day; various studies done also showed us that it reduces the chance of becoming obese while maintaining healthy weight.
Having a regular healthy breakfast has been associated with a lots of benefits, hence doctors and researchers declared it as” the most important meal of the day”.

Benefits of Breakfast
Having healthy breakfast increases concentration, performance and attention

Most of us have a good reason for skipping breakfast because of our busy schedule, but we are missing a lot from doing so. Studies done in the UK and in America shows that breakfast has a lot to do with our performance during the day, it helps to boost our brain performance by maintaining an adequate level of sugar in the bloodstream the source of most of our energy. Skipping breakfast is associated with low level of visual perception, spatial memory, verbal fluency and concentration. “Eating healthy breakfast such as whole-grain cereal is linked with improved cognitive performance in the morning say Dr Campbell”.

Weight Loss: Healthy breakfast increases weight loss and reduce weight gain.
Most of us always believe that skipping breakfast will help us to lose weight but this is totally a wrong mind-set, I remember when I noticed I have added some extra weight I decided to be skipping breakfast so as to lose weight and eat at lunch time but I discovered that the amount of food I was consuming was far more than what I would have eaten normally because I was hungry. I would reach out to the next available chocolate bar or high-sugar refined carb for a quick sugar rush, and I noticed at the end of the day that I was even adding more weight rather losing weight. Studies have shown that insulin (hormone that makes our body to absorb glucose from the blood) level rises during our next meal when we skip breakfast, because we are hungry so we compensate ourselves with an extra meal/chocolate bar because of the meal we missed in the morning, this later get stored up in the body as fats because it takes time before our body can get them broken down and be absorbed into the system, while this process is going on we would have reached for the next meal.

Increase vitamin, mineral and fibre: Most of the cereal manufacturers now fortify them with added vitamins and mineral, when we have a healthy breakfast such whole-grain cereals with low-fat dairy we tend to get eat what we may not have time to eat during the day.

Healthy breakfast linked with reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease
Study conducted at the Harvard University demonstrated that men who skip breakfast and eat late at night are at higher risk of developing heart disease symptoms these may spark changes in their metabolic system which could lead to heart disease. Dr Leah Cahill said: “When you are fasting, your body changes into a protective drive, increasing your blood pressure, increasing your insulin level and cholesterol.  When you skip breakfast you are adding extra strain to your body combine with the fasting you have been doing all night, which if not controlled or regulated could over the years  lead to insulin resistance – which leads to diabetes – or high cholesterol or high blood pressure, which can all lead to heart disease.

Having healthy breakfast has also been associated with good moods. Have ever noticed when you are hungry how your moods changes, you become grouchy and tired. There is a link between healthy breakfast such as carbohydrates found in whole-grain, and enriched cereal and mood. The connection between carbohydrates and mood is all about tryptophan, a non-essential amino acid. As more tryptophan enters the brain, more serotonin is synthesized in the brain, and mood tends to improve. Serotonin, known as a mood regulator, is made naturally in the brain from tryptophan with some help from the B vitamins. Foods thought to increase serotonin levels in the brain include fish and vitamin D.
While tryptophan is found in almost all protein-rich foods, other amino acids are better at passing from the bloodstream into the brain. So you can actually boost your tryptophan levels by eating more carbohydrates; they seem to help eliminate the competition for tryptophan, so more of it can enter the brain. But it's important to make smart carbohydrate choices like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which also contribute important nutrients and fiber.

Public Health Nutrition 4 (6A) 1429 - 1431
The Telegraph