Category Archives: weight loss

PCOD – why it happens, what to do

PCOD  is an increasingly common condition in young women.

When I was a student – almost 40 years ago! – it was rare, seen in significantly overweight ( which was itself uncommon!) women in their 20’s and 30’s. Now we see it in young teens, most of them of normal weight or even thin! What went wrong?

There was a recent report that there are 10 million young ladies with PCOD in India.

PCOD, like any condition, occurs when genetics, lifestyle and nutrition come together to create either wellness or derangement leading to illness. It is very obvious that our lifestyles have changed pretty drastically over the last 40 years, and so have our eating habits. Is it a wonder then, that illness should follow?

 

What happens in PCOD

  1. Increased secretion of Luteinising Hormone by the pituitary leads to impaired maturation of ovarian follicles, so that no single follicle matures and the ovum is not released. This leads to anovulation and infertility.
  2. This also leads to male features like acne, hair loss and facial hair.
  3. There is Insulin Resistance leading to obesity.

If untreated, the high levels of male hormones lead to endothelial dysfunction and high insulin level causes sodium retention which in turn leads to high levels of the hormone angiotensin II. These increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, altered lipids and coronary artery disease.

The Insulin Resistance can lead further to Type II diabetes and obesity.

The altered features can lead to anxiety and depression, and social isolation.

When the patient does conceive, it may end in miscarriage in up to 40% of pregnancies.

The risk of developing endometrial cancer is 3 times higher than in a normal woman.

 

What can be done

All these years I have been advising conventional treatment, consisting of glucose-lowering medications like Metformin, even though there is no prospective randomized double-blind study supporting the use, and cycle regulating hormones like oral contraceptive pills and male hormone antagonists like cyproterone. None of these address the root cause, which is  metabolic disorder. Nor do they prevent progression of disease.

An integrative Medicine approach does address the underlying pathology.

  1. An anti-inflammatory diet which leads to weight loss. Focus on a variety of vegetables and a limited number of fruits. Maintain adequate intake of protein and good fats.
  2. Hormone Balancing using natural, bio-identical hormones, not synthetic chemicals which the body is unable to process safely.
  3. Exercise improves insulin sensitivity.
  4. Supplements such as chromium, vanadium, Vit D, which improve glucose metabolism.
  5. Saw palmetto reduces acne, facial hair and hair loss by reducing the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
  6. Antioxidants such as omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and counter the effects of oxidative chemicals from pollution, pesticides, etc.
  7. Mindfulness, Stress Reduction, Meditation.

 

This approach can improve the quality of life and may restore normal cycles and fertility. Not to mention confidence and wellbeing.

I remember my patient AK, aged 25. She had never had regular cycles since menarche. She was not overweight but had significant facial hair and required regular maintenance. I suggested treatment and advised her to return in a couple of months. I warned her that the hair cycle is 6 months, so she should not expect instant results.

She returned in 3 weeks as she was going out of town. Her face was clean, which was unremarkable; I assumed she had recently taken care. But no, she hadn’t done anything! I was myself pleasantly surprised that she had not needed any care since starting the treatment advice.

 

A lifestyle approach is simple, safe and effective and can give lasting results.

How Inflammation Causes Disease, and What We Can Do About It

Consider the simple pimple, sunburn or mosquito bite. Minor events such as these produce inflammation. So do larger events like a sprained or broken ankle. Experts now believe chronic inflammation in the body may be linked to various forms of cancer as well as other major diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and heart conditions.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is your immune system’s natural response to an injury, like a pulled muscle, or to germs, allergens, a chemical irritant, and other threats. Your immune system reacts by releasing white blood cells and chemicals into the bloodstream that infiltrate your tissues, causing those indicators of inflammation most of us are familiar with: redness, heat, swelling, and pain.

These symptoms are created by the activity of immune cells working to break down injured and dying tissues so that new, healthy ones can replace them. This is a normal and healthy response – our bodies need to remain ready to repel an invasion or severe injury with aggressive pro-inflammatory responses such as clotting, fever, or swelling.  Too often, however, inflammation becomes a chronic condition, and, in this state, we leave ourselves more vulnerable to cancer occurrence and recurrence.

Factors that influence inflammation

A number of lifestyle factors play a role in contributing to chronic inflammation. Diet is one of its most important modulators, with foods having either “pro-inflammatory” or anti-inflammatory” properties. Not surprisingly, packaged foods that are processed with a high sugar content, as well as trans fats, are among the most potent of pro-inflammatory foods.  And the type of fat you eat just might play the biggest role of all in determining levels of systemic inflammation.

Oxidative stress

Your body constantly interacts with oxygen as you breathe and your cells produce energy. Free radicals are unstable, highly reactive molecules that lose an electron as a result of this activity. Since electrons come in pairs, when molecules lose an electron they “steal” electrons from other molecules. These molecules then “steal” electrons from other molecules, starting a dangerous chain reaction called free radical damage. In large amounts free radicals damage cells indiscriminately.

If you’re body isn’t able to stop the free radical chain reaction, oxidative stress follows, causing damage to cells, cell membranes, tissues and organs.. In an attempt to repair such damages, the body calls for an immune response which in turn initiates inflammation.   Chronic inflammation can itself lead to free-radical generation. Therefore, one way to keep inflammation and oxidative stress under control is to eat a diet rich in antioxidants.  8-12 vegetable servings a day, with the occasional fruit, should do the trick.

Weight and Blood Sugar

Keeping your weight in check is crucial for preventing inflammation, as well as conditions associated with it and obesity, such as heart disease and diabetes. Research indicates that visceral fat (the fat located deep in the abdominal area) is more metabolically active than other types of fat, secreting large amounts of inflammatory cytokines.  The good news?  Maintaining a healthy weight greatly reduces and in some cases even eliminates inflammation.

The hormone insulin itself is an inflammatory agent.  So, the lower you can keep your fasting glucose and insulin levels, the less you will have to worry about them as a source of unwanted inflammation.

Stress and Sleep Deprivation

Both stress and sleep deprivation can lead to inflammation through the elevation of the hormone cortisol. (Eliaz. 2009) Chronic stress, Dr. Eliaz explains, leads to the overproduction of cortisol, the body’s most abundant stress hormone.  This rise disrupts normal hormonal function, raising blood sugar levels and contributing to the inflammatory cascade.

Excessive exercise

Everyone feels better with regular exercise. It can improve physical fitness, enhance overall well-being, and may also strengthen the immune system.  It’s tempting to be impatient and ignore our bodies’ protests, when we are trying to reach a physical goal.  But, be careful!  When combined with inadequate rest and other stresses, over exercise, sometimes called over-training syndrome, can lead to an impaired immune system and inflammation. When sufficient rest is allowed, pro-inflammatory cytokines can facilitate the healing process. That’s why we often feel better resting after a long bike ride. And why it’s best to alternate periods of exercise with periods of healing, recuperative rest.

 

Assessing Your Status

Other than some obvious signs―puffy gums, sore joints, chronic stuffiness―how can you tell if your inflammation levels are higher than they should be?   Several tests can be useful here.

C-Reactive Protein

C-Reactive Protein is a simple blood test that measures levels of C-reactive protein (CRP),  a powerful inflammatory marker. If the results are elevated, above 1.0, then it’s time to take action to bring levels down. You might want to keep running that test on a three-month interval. If you don’t have cancer but have risk factors, you may want to run the test on an annual basis as part of your regular physical exam.

Fibrinogen

An important contributor to blood clotting, fibrinogen levels rise in reaction to inflammation.  For this reason, if inflammation levels are high, it may be wise to check fibrinogen levels as well.  The Life Extension Foundation (www.lef.org) advises that optimal fibrinogen levels should range between 215 and 300 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood.  Bringing levels into normal range has the added benefit of keeping the blood flowing more smoothly, making it more difficult for metastases to develop.

Food sensitivity panel

If your inflammatory markers remain stubbornly high, consider the possibility of food allergies or sensitivities. Common allergens like casein (from dairy) and gluten (from wheat) are known to spark an inflammatory cascade in sensitive individuals. Keep in mind that as we age, foods that may not have bothered us before, like dairy and wheat, may trigger chronic low-grade inflammation.  Even seemingly innocuous foods, when eaten repeatedly, can cause a food sensitivity to develop. If you think you might have a food sensitivity, we recommend going on an elimination diet for two weeks to see how you feel.

How to Lower your inflammation levels

  1. Change your oil

The type of fat that you eat is possibly the most important dietary factor affecting the level of inflammation in your body.   There is a world of difference between healthy fats and unhealthy fats.

Fats stimulate a variety of chain reactions in your body.  Picture a run of dominoes.  When you push on the first one in line, the rest topple.  Inserting unstable or unhealthy fats into the system will eventually cause the system to collapse in the same way.

When you consider that every cell in your body is surrounded by a lipid (fat) layer that is just the right constituency to let all necessary nutrients in while allowing all the critical waste material to pass out, you can see that altering the composition of that cell membrane is risky business.  Yet, that’s exactly what unhealthy fats do.  They will “gunk up” your cell membranes and, what’s more, they initiate a domino effect that ends with a host of pro-inflammatory ecosinoids (molecules composed of fatty acids) running rampant.

Trans fats are among the worst offenders (Mozaffarian, et al. 2004)  Although they exist nowhere in nature, they line supermarket shelves in large quantities in the form of snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and vegetable shortening.   Trans fats also create free radicals that damage healthy cells and trigger inflammation.  Hundreds of studies like the one above have now confirmed the link between trans fats and inflammation.

  1. Essential fatty acids

EFAs, or essential fatty acids, are fats that the body can’t live without, and must get from food sources.  Omega-6 fatty acids start the fire of inflammation and omega-3 fatty acids put it out. Whereas our ancestors are believed to have eaten about twice as much Omega 6 fat as Omega 3 fat, many experts believe we now eat 10 to 30 times more Omega 6 fats than Omega 3 fats.  The result is an unbalanced inflammation response.

An ideal balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats would help keep inflammation under control.  Omega 3 fats act as natural anti-inflammatory drugs without the side effects. Incorporate more Omega 3 fats into your diet by adding wild salmon, halibut, sardines and occasional tuna; and by eating lots of flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts.  Salmon is a particularly rich  source of EPA and DHA, the two potent omega-3 fatty acids that douse inflammation. Add a fish oil supplement to your regimen. These are helpful in avoiding cancer.

Remember to keep your oils tightly covered in a colored glass bottle Exposure to air, light and heat oxidizes oils, rendering them rancid, and rancid oils are known to cause inflammation.

What about olive oil?

Olive oil belongs to a family of fatty acids called the Omega 9s, which provides great anti-inflammatory value.  For this and all of its other wonderful health benefits, we highly recommend the regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil.  Like other precious oils, be sure to store in a dark container.

  1. Lower your glycemic load

Refined sugar and other foods with high glycemic values elevate insulin levels and put the immune system on high alert. High insulin levels stimulate the release of pro-inflammatory compounds. A 2005 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who ate high-fiber diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains had lower levels of C-reactive protein than women whose diets consisted of primarily refined grains. (Esmaillzadeh, et al. 2006)

Yet another reason to avoid sugar and refined flour products.

  1. Flood yourselves with antioxidants

As we discussed earlier in the chapter, free radical damage is an unavoidable side effect of being alive.  But, you can mount a strong defence against the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by free radicals by keeping your antioxidant intake high.  By eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, you’ll boost your antioxidant capacity in these ways:

  • You’ll support the main antioxidant enzymes that the body produces internally – glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase .
  • You’ll get plenty of antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (Vitamin A, C, E, selenium, carotenoids, bioflavonoids) from the colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds you eat.

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant, appears most prominently in the skins of red grapes.  Scientists have noted that it exerts a variety of anti-cancer effects.  Bill Sardi, resveratrol expert and author of You Don’t Have to Be Afraid of Cancer Anymore, recommends 30-50 mg. as a preventative dose, and 300 mg. or higher for those with an active tumor.

  1. Don’t forget these key nutrients

Magnesium

Magnesium is good for so many things and inflammation is no exception.  Remember your food sources of magnesium: nuts, beans, artichokes and most green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can not only enhance immunity and cell differentiation, it can also help activate the p53 tumor suppressor gene.

It is critical to include Vitamin K2 along with Vitamin D to avoid hypercalcemia and potential arterial calcification.

  1. Monitor food allergies and sensitivities

Any time you eat a food that your body has an allergy or sensitivity to, your body views the food as a foreign invader and mounts an immune/inflammatory response. To identify and treat the allergy, an Elimination Diet removes the most highly allergenic foods from the diet. Sensitivity issues can include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, itching, mental fogginess, and cravings for that particular food.  The foods typically removed from the diet are dairy, eggs, gluten (wheat, barley, rye, and spelt), soy, corn, red meat, peanuts, nuts, citrus, and shellfish.  These foods are avoided for approximately 21 days. At the end of the 21 day period foods are added back in, one at a time, every 3-5 days while noting the potential return of any symptoms.

  1. Spice up your life

Widely used in Eastern cuisine to flavor most foods and used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, scientists now recognize its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory active ingredient:   curcumin.    Research in the last 50 years has repeatedly shown curcumin’s ability to suppress the COX-2 and LOX enzymes and to inhibit metastasis, or tumor spread. (Aggarwal, et al. 2006) (Bachmeier, et al. 2008)

In a mouse study of breast cancer, 68% of the mice that received curcumin showed no or very few lung metastases,.  The animals that did not receive curcumin were not so fortunate.  83% showed extensive metastases.  (Bachmeier, et al. 2007)

Curcumin has shown such power as an anti-inflammatory, anti-metastatic, and apoptosis-inducing agent, that it’s been the subject of several clinical trials at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  Not bad for a kitchen spice!

Curcumin is found in turmeric – haldi. So is it enough to add haldi to your food? Sadly, no. Pure turmeric powder has a curcumin concentration, averaging 3.14% by weight.

Boswellia and Ginger are powerful natural anti-inflammatory food ingredients.

  1. Exercise

Exercise does more than help you maintain a healthy weight. While activity throughout a person’s lifetime is important, activity at any age can help lower cancer risk. A 2002 study from the Emory School of Medicine found that people ages 40 and older who exercised four to 21 times a month experienced decreased or lower levels of C-reactive protein. (Abramson and Vaccarino. 2002)

  1. Bringing down elevated fibrinogen

Omega 3 oils found in flax and chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, anchovy and halibut, will not only help to lower elevated cr-p levels, they exert a mildly thinning effect on the blood, bringing down elevated fibrinogen levels.  Since “thicker” blood helps cancer to proliferate, some former cancer patients use nattokinase, an enzyme extracted from a fermented Asian soy dish called natto, to keep fibrinogen levels at a moderate level.  Garlic, Vitamin C and the enzyme bromelain are also helpful in this regard.

TO DO LIST

  1.  Monitor your levels of inflammation by asking your doctor to check your blood levels of c-reactive protein and fibrinogen.  Thermography is also available in some communities to examine inflammation patterns in the breasts.
  2. Change your oil to keep inflammation levels under control.  Choose monounsaturated oils such as olive oil (extra virgin) for cold or low heat use and coconut oil for higher heat use.  Avoid Omega 6 “supermarket” oils, especially the “big four” genetically modified ones: corn, soy, canola and cottonseed.  Eat wild fatty fish, flax or chia seeds, and/or take a fish oil supplement regularly.
  3. Keep glucose and insulin levels under control, as they are both highly inflammatory.
  4. Be alert for food allergies and sensitivities as a cause of systemic inflammation, and test for these, if suspicious.
  5. Use culinary herbs and spices liberally in your cooking, as virtually all herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory effects,  particularly turmeric, ginger and boswellia.
  6. Get sufficient rest and exercise in moderation.
  7. Have a nice day!

 

From Helayne Waldman This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.”

Protein requirement chart

Protein is an essential component of a healthy balanced diet. When aiming for weight loss, for those are very active, for women who may be pregnant or lactating, the requirement is higher, often considerably higher.

It is very challenging to meet the need through a vegetarian diet, though, and supplementation may be the only answer. How do you know if you need supplementation?

Check out the chart below to see how much protein you should be eating each day. If you don’t see your weight, just use this formula to calculate your daily protein: Your weight in kilograms, multiplied by 0.8 (not very active), 1.3 (active or pregnant), or 1.8 (extremely active), depending on how much exercise you get.

Weight (kg)

Protein per day (not very active) Protein per day (active or pregnant) Protein per day (extremely active)
45.5 36.4 g 59.2 g 81.9 g
47.7 38.2 g 62 g 85.9 g
50 40 g 65 g 90 g
52.3 41.8 g 68 g 94.1 g
54.5 43.6 g 70.9 g 98.1 g
56.8 45.4 g 73.8 g 102.2 g
59.1 47.3 g 76.8 g 106.4 g
61.4 49.1 g 79.8 g 110.5 g
63.6 50.9 g 82.7 g 114.5 g
65.9 52.7 g 85.7 g 118.6 g
68.2 54.7 g 88.7 g 122.8 g
70.5 56.4 g 91.7 g 126.9 g
72.7 58.2 g 94.5 g 130.8 g
75 60 g 97.5 g 135 g

Based on these numbers, do you get enough protein per day? If not, consider supplementing with a high quality supplement. Your body will thank you.

To calculate – not estimate – how much protein you’re actually getting, it helps to use a food diary such as MyFitnessPal. It is only when we have accurate numbers about intake, can we take remedial measures.

So stay informed and stay healthy.

 

Natural Ways to Control Your Blood Sugar

It’s Ramzan, time for fasting and also for feasting! Sadly, often time to gain weight!

What if you’re diabetic? Here’s how to eat and still control blood sugar levels.

1.Increase Your Fiber Intake

Try to include both soluble and insoluble fiber in your daily diet. Berries, nuts, vegetables and beans like rajma and chowli are a great way to slip in the fiber daily. Aim to include 40 to 50 grams of fiber in your daily regimen for every 1,000 calories you eat. You may want to start measuring the foods you eat each day until you are able to estimate how much fiber and carbohydrates you are eating.

2.Reduce Your Net Carbs

A low-net-carbohydrate diet reduces the stress on your body, reduces inflammation and reduces the amount insulin required to use the energy from the food you eat. You’ll want to reduce the number of net carbs you eat, for most people this ranges between 50 and 80 grams per day.This is calculated by taking the grams of carbs you’ve eaten and subtracting the number of grams of fiber. In this way a high-fiber diet also helps you to lower the amount of insulin you need to utilize your food for fuel.

3.High-Quality Fats

When you reduce your carbohydrates, what are you going to replace them with? Your best alternative is high quality, healthy fats necessary for heart health, feeding your brain and to modulate genetic regulation and prevent cancer. The idea that fats are bad for you, is OUTDATED.

Healthy fats include:

Avocados Coconut oil Organic butter from organic grass-fed milk
Organic raw nuts Olives and Olive oil Grass-fed meat
Organic pastured eggs Palm oil

4.Exercise

Exercise helps your cells become  sensitive to leptin. This reduces your potential resistance to insulin and therefore your risk of diabetes.

5.Hydration

When you become dehydrated, your liver will secrete a hormone that increases your blood sugar. As you hydrate blood sugar levels lower naturally.

Stay well hydrated by monitoring the color of your urine during the day. The color should be light yellow. Sometimes your first indication your body requires more water is the sensation of being hungry. Drink a large glass of water first and wait 20 minutes to determine if you’re really hungry or you were thirsty.

6.Reduce Your Stress

When you become stressed your body secretes cortisol and glucagon, both of which affect your blood sugar levels. Control your stress levels using exercise, meditation, yoga, prayer or relaxation techniques. These techniques may reduce your stress and correct insulin secretion problems. Combined with strategies that reduce your insulin resistance, you may help to prevent diabetes.

7.Sleep

Enough quality sleep is necessary to feel good and experience good health. Poor sleeping habits may reduce insulin sensitivity and promote weight gain.

Diabetes is not a sentence! It’s easily reversed.

How Diabetes can break your Heart

Diabetes is a chronic illness and can cause fear once slapped with the diagnosis. Fear of complications like kidney, eye and limb damage. What is less well known is that diabetes also raises the risk of heart disease by four to five times compared with people without the disease. The treatment goals for people with diabetes are more strict than those for people without diabetes. In a study, out of 20,000 Indian patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, 60% had coronary artery disease .
Even when glucose levels are under control it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s because people with diabetes may have the following conditions that contribute to their risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
• High blood pressure
When patients have both hypertension and diabetes, which is a common combination, their risk for cardiovascular disease doubles.
• Abnormal cholesterol and high triglycerides
Patients with diabetes often have unhealthy cholesterol levels including high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high triglycerides.
• Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and has been strongly associated with insulin resistance. Obesity and insulin resistance also have been associated with other risk factors, including high blood pressure.
• Lack of physical activity is another major risk factor for insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. For overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 min/week.
• Poorly controlled blood sugars (too high) or out of normal range
Diabetes can cause blood sugar to rise to dangerous levels.
• Smoking puts individuals, diabetic or not, at higher risk for heart disease and stroke.

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The ABC’s of diabetes control
Having diabetes increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. If you have diabetes, you should pay close attention to the factors which can increase your risk for heart trouble. These are often referred to as the “ABC’s:
• hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) blood sugar test
• Blood pressure
• Cholesterol.
“ABC” Goals
HbA1c Less than 5.5%
Blood pressure Less than 130/80 mm Hg
LDL (bad) cholesterol Less than 100 mg/dL
Triglycerides Less than 100 mg/dL
HDL (good) cholesterol More than 50 mg/dL in men and 60 mg/dL in women
And also
Fasting Serum Insulin 2 – 5 IU/ml

HbA1C above 6% indicates higher risk of Kidney Failure. Above 4.6%, risk of CVD doubles for every 1% rise in HbA1C, which measures blood sugar control over the preceding 3 months. In a French study, people with Diabetic Retinopathy averaged an FBS of 130mg% and HbA1c OF 6.4% over a period of 9 years. While those without eye damage averaged an FBS of 108mg% and an HbA1C of 5.7%.

An Integrative medicine approach will help not just control your diabetes but actually reverse it, so that you are healthy Again. No more diabetes! No more drugs, no more doctors!

How to Reverse Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes rates are skyrocketing. Complications lead to heart attacks, strokes, amputations, blindness, kidney failure, and memory loss. The #1 cause of death for people with diabetes is from cardiovascular disease.

Almost 20% of people over age 65 have type 2 diabetes. Diabetics have a lifestyle that doesn’t match their genetic needs; change their lifestyle and their diabetes problem usually goes away.

I offer programs that have helped patients bring their blood sugar levels back to normal. Even patients on insulin, with advanced diabetic complications have become medication-free and achieved normal blood sugar control.

So What Changes Have Helped Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

There is no single choice and no magic bullet to correct this problem. But the combination of three activities is remarkably helpful:

  1. Add activity daily
  2. Avoid refined carbs and sugars
  3. Eat more smart foods

Activity

Daily activity is essential. You may wonder, why I start with activity instead of food. Let’s start with what causes this problem in the first place.

When you eat food, the food energy is absorbed as sugar (glucose). This becomes stored in your muscle cells as glycogen, available as energy for your next work out. The problem is that if you keep eating, but you don’t burn it, the muscle cells become overloaded with glycogen. Insulin pushes this glucose into muscle cells. When muscle cells shut their doors and don’t respond, your tissues become resistant to insulin’s message to store energy. The energy next travels to your liver and is stored as liver fat, plus converted into artery clogging triglycerides. At some point, blood sugar levels jump into the “high blood sugar zone”, and your body becomes ineffective at lowering blood sugar after you eat. High blood sugar levels accelerate every aspect of aging—your brain shrinks, your arteries grow plaque, your cancer risk grows and your health falls apart.

So if the first step to insulin resistance is excessive glycogen storage in muscle cells, then removing glycogen through exercise is an incredibly effective way to bring blood sugar regulation and your health back to normal. Most people need at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day to deplete sugar stored in muscle tissue.

Avoid Refined Carbs and Sugar

The second treatment is to decrease blood sugar from entering the blood stream. The simple way to do this is to avoid high glycemic load foods. Glycemic load refers to the amount of sugar that reaches your blood stream from one serving of a specific food. The simple way to avoid a jump in blood sugar levels is to eliminate all sugar, grains, and anything made with flour from your eating plan. A few other high glycemic load foods that should be avoided are: potatoes, bananas, dried fruit, and fruit juice.

Eat More Smart Foods

So what should you eat? The focus is to eat every day at least:

  • Five servings of smart fat (avocado, nuts, olive or nut oil, coconut products, dark chocolate, cold water fatty fish)
  • Five servings of clean protein (grass-fed beef, cage-free and organic-fed poultry and eggs, wild fish, beans, organic soy products, and organic yogurt.
  • And ten servings of low-glycemic fiber (from vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and dark chocolate)
  • Plus, add extra spices and herbs for flavor and to lower inflammation.

The reality is that you can prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes and also help your heart, brain, and waistline by adding smart foods and following these simple concepts every day.

Monk Fruit Sweetener

With many people now avoiding sugar, natural alternative sweeteners have become important. One popular sweetener is monk fruit extract. It is natural, contains zero calories and is 100–250 times sweeter than sugar. It is also thought to have antioxidant properties.

Monk fruit, also known as “luo han guo” or the “Buddha fruit”,is a small, round fruit grown in Southeast Asia. Monk fruit has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, but the FDA didn’t approve its use as a sweetener until 2010.

Monk fruit sweetener is created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing it and collecting the juice, which is then dried and turned into a concentrated powder.

This is what monk fruit looks like:

Monk Fruit on Mat

 

Monk fruit extract actually gets its intense sweetness from unique antioxidants called mogrosides. During processing, mogrosides are separated from the fresh-pressed juice of the monk fruit. Therefore, monk fruit sweetener does not contain fructose or glucose.

Depending on the amount of mogrosides present, monk fruit extract can provide a level of sweetness around 100–250 times greater than table sugar. In fact, many manufacturers mix monk fruit sweetener with other natural products such as inulin or erythritol to reduce the intensity of the sweetness.

Monk fruit extract is now used as a stand-alone sweetener, as an ingredient in foods or drinks, as a flavor enhancer or as a component of other sweetener blends.

Monk Fruit Sweetener could aid in Weight Management.

Some studies have shown that the mogrosides have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which are likely to contribute to other health benefits, including the prevention of cancer and complications in diabetes.

Is Monk Fruit Sweetener Safe?

There aren’t many studies available on monk fruit sweetener in humans. However, it is generally recognized as safe.It has been used as a food for hundreds of years, and there have been no reported negative side effects from consuming monk fruit sweetener.

Take Home Message

Although more research is needed, monk fruit sweetener appears to be a safe and healthy sweetener. It is a natural, calorie-free alternative to sugar and other sweeteners, and may even provide health benefits.

There are always simple, natural ways to avoid sugar and help in the fight against diabetes.

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Seaweed and sea vegetables have many benefits.

 

 

but, like the vacation we talked about is like what you said?

 

Are you fond of eating seaweed? Or maybe you’re never tried it. Aside from being an anti-cancer fighting food, these nutritional benefits may persuade you to become an advocate of eating ocean vegetables:

  • Seaweed has an alkalizing effect. Much of what is eaten today is acidic in nature and that’s definitely not beneficial for health. In order to help restore your body’s pH level, you need to eat more alkaline foods such as seaweed.
  • It may be better than milk. Seaweed is ten times richer in calcium than your favorite milk!
  • It helps purify our blood. The chemical composition of these ocean vegetables is similar to that of blood plasma; hence, eating seaweed is a great way to keep your blood free from toxins.
  • It is rich in chlorophyll, especially the green seaweed. Chlorophyll is the green pigment coloration that makes sea vegetables green. Chlorophyll is a natural and powerful detoxifying agent that helps eliminate toxins and other waste pollutants from your body.
  • It can help you achieve a shaped body. Since seaweed is naturally rich in iodine, it helps your thyroid gland to maintain a healthy metabolism which is needed in regulating your body weight. Eating ocean vegetables can help you lose weight because it breaks the chemical bonds of fat cells.
  • It can support you in stressful times. Seaweed contains magnesium, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin which are necessary for producing enough energy to face the stressful and tough day ahead.

Eat healthy to Stay healthy.

What is BPA and Why is it Bad for You?

Woman Inspecting Oil Bottle With Magnifying GlassBPA is an industrial chemical that is added to many products.

These days, BPA-containing plastics are commonly used in food containers, baby bottles and other things.

BPA is also used to make epoxy resins, which are put on the inner lining of canned food containers to keep the metal from corroding and breaking.

 

Canned FoodsCommon products that may contain BPA include:

  • Items packaged in plastic containers.
  • Canned foods.
  • Toiletries.
  • Feminine hygiene products.
  • Thermal printer receipts.
  • CDs and DVDs.
  • Household electronics.
  • Eyeglass lenses.
  • Sports equipment.
  • Dental filling sealants.

Many manufacturers have now switched to BPA-free products, in which BPA has been replaced by bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF),but these may disrupt the function of your cells in a way similar to BPA. Thus, BPA-free bottles may not be the solution.

The main source of BPA exposure is through your diet.

Another study had participants eat one serving of either fresh or canned soup daily for 5 days. Urine levels of BPA were 1,221% higher in those who consumed the canned soup.

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that BPA levels in breastfed babies were up to 8 times lower than those measured in babies fed liquid formula from BPA-containing bottles.

Scientist Holding Plastic Water Bottle

BPA’s Biological Mechanisms

1. BPA has a similar structure as the hormone estrogen. It may bind to estrogen receptors and affect the function of your body.

2. Several studies have shown that BPA can negatively affect many aspects of both male and female fertility.

3. BPA exposure during early life may influence birth weight, hormonal development, behavior and cancer risk in later life.

4. Higher BPA levels seem to be linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

5. BPA May Raise Your Risk of Obesity

6. BPA May Cause Other Health Problems

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Premature delivery
  • Asthma: Early childhood exposure to BPA was linked to wheezing in later childhood.
  • Liver function: Higher BPA levels were linked to a 29% higher risk of abnormal liver enzyme levels.
  • Immune function: BPA levels may be linked to worse immune function.
  • Thyroid function: Higher BPA levels were linked to abnormal levels of thyroid hormones.
  • Brain function: African green monkeys exposed to BPA levels judged safe by the EPA showed loss of connections between brain cells.
How to Minimize Your Exposure to BPA

Glass Bottles

  • Avoid packaged foods: Eat mostly fresh, whole foods. Stay away from canned foods or foods packaged in plastic containers, especially if labeled with recycling numbers 3, 7 or the letters “PC.”
  • Drink from glass  or metal bottles and use glass baby bottles instead of plastic ones.
  • Stay away from BPA products: As much as possible, limit your contact with receipts, and do not use plastic wrap to store or transport food.
  • Don’t microwave plastic: Microwave and store food in glass rather than plastic.
  • Be careful when washing plastics: Avoid using harsh detergents when washing plastic containers, and do not wash them in the dishwasher.
  • Don’t buy plastic baby toys: Opt for toys made from natural materials rather than plastic, especially for toys that your little one is likely to suck or chew on.
  • Buy powdered infant formula: Some recommend powders over liquids from BPA containers, as liquid is likely to absorb more BPA from the container.
  • Switch to organic toiletries: These include organic shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database is a good resource to help you find products free of BPA or other dangerous chemicals.
  • Purchase safe hygiene products: Replace conventional tampons and sanitary pads with safer alternatives, such as the organic ones from Natracare.

Adapted from Alina Petre, MS, RD

Be Informed, Stay Healthy.

The Ketogenic Diet 101: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits.

Over 20 studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve health.Ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.

Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has numerous health benefits.

Ketogenic Diets Can Help You Lose Weight

Weight Scale

A ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for disease. In fact, research shows that the ketogenic diet is far superior to the recommended low-fat diet. What’s more, the diet is so filling that you can lose weight without counting calories.

Ketogenic Diets for Diabetes and Prediabetes

Blood Glucose Meter and Strips

The ketogenic diet can help you lose excess fat, which is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome. One study found that the ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by a whopping 75%.

Another study in patients with type 2 diabetes found that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop all diabetes medications.

Other Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet actually originated as a tool for treating neurological diseases, such as epilepsy.

Studies have now shown that the diet can have benefits for a wide variety of different health conditions:

  • Heart disease: The ketogenic diet can reduce risk factors like body fat, HDL levels, blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Cancer: The diet is currently being used to treat several types of cancer and slow tumor growth.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: The diet may reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s and slow down the disease’s progression.
  • Epilepsy: Research has shown that the ketogenic diet can cause massive reductions in seizures in epileptic children.
  • Parkinson’s disease: One study found that the diet helped improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome: The ketogenic diet can help reduce insulin levels, which may play a key role in polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Brain injuries: One animal study found that the diet can reduce concussions and aid recovery after brain injury.
  • Acne: Lower insulin levels and eating less sugar or processed foods may help improve acne.
Foods to Avoid

In short, any food that is high in carbs should be limited.

Here is a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:

  • Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
  • Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
  • Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
  • Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, butternut squash, etc.
  • Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
  • Some condiments or sauces: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
  • Unhealthy fat: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
  • Alcohol: Due to its carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
  • Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.
Foods to Eat

Thumbs Up Man With Salmon Avocado and Almonds

You should base the majority of your meals around these foods:

  • Meat: Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey.
  • Fatty fish: Such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.
  • Eggs: Look for pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.
  • Butter and cream: Look for grass-fed when possible.
  • Cheese: Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella).
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • Healthy oils: Primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
  • Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
  • Low-carb veggies: Most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Condiments: You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.

Always try to rotate the vegetables and meat over the long term, as each type provides different nutrients and health benefits.

As vegetarians, we can substitute sprouts, paneer, tofu and various beans. However, these cannot provide protein in the desired amounts, without a corresponding increase in the amount of carbs consumed. I have found that supplementation with a good quality protein is essential.

Cheese

 Great snacks for a keto diet include pieces of meat, cheese, olives, boiled eggs, nuts and seeds, and dark chocolate.

Just avoid the roti and chawal, and go for dal, sabzi, salad, cheese, meats and curries. That’s what I did and I have lost 12 kg so far.

A Ketogenic Diet is Great, But Not For Everyone

A ketogenic diet can be great for people who are overweight, diabetic or looking to improve their metabolic health. It may be less suitable for elite athletes or those wishing to add large amounts of muscle or weight. And, as with any diet, it will only work if you are consistent and stick with it in the long-term.

That being said, few things are as well proven in nutrition as the powerful health and weight loss benefits of a ketogenic diet.

From Rudy Mawer, BSc, CISSN |