Sydney: Ladies follow a Mediterranean diet to improve your heart health and reduce your risks of cardiovascular disease and death by nearly 25 percent, suggests a study.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil; moderate in fish/shellfish; low to moderate in wine; and low in red/processed meats, dairy products, animal fat, and processed foods.
Cardiovascular disease accounts for more than a third of all deaths in women around the world. While a healthy diet, including a Mediterranean diet, has been a key plank of prevention, most relevant clinical trials have included relatively few women or haven't reported the results by sex, the researchers said.
The new study, published in the journal Heart, is the first to focus on the association between a Mediterranean diet and incident CVD and death, specific to women.
"We found that a Mediterranean diet was beneficial in women, with a 24 percent lower risk of CVD and a 23 percent lower risk of total mortality," said researchers including from the University of Sydney.
The risk of coronary heart disease was 25 percent lower, while that of stroke was also lower, although not statistically significant, in those who most closely followed this diet compared with those who did so the least.
The Mediterranean diet's antioxidant and gut microbiome effects on inflammation and cardiovascular risk factors are among the possible explanations for the observed associations, the researchers said.
In addition, the diet's various components, such as polyphenols, nitrates, omega-3 fatty acids, increased fiber intake, and reduced glycaemic load, may all separately contribute to a better cardiovascular risk profile.
"However, mechanisms explaining the sex-specific effect of the Mediterranean diet on (cardiovascular disease) and death remain unclear," they note, adding that the findings reinforce the need for more sex-specific research in cardiology.
"Female-specific cardiovascular risk factors, including premature menopause, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes, or female predominant risk factors, such as systemic lupus, can all independently increase (cardiovascular disease) risk," the researchers said.
For the data analysis, the researchers included 16 published studies involving more than 700,000 women aged 18 and above.
The researchers also acknowledged various limitations to their findings, including that all the studies analyzed were observational and relied on self-reported food frequency questionnaires.
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The timing of food intake can affect weight loss in several ways. Eating at regular intervals throughout the day, rather than skipping meals or having large gaps between meals can help regulate hunger and prevent overeating.
Eating a larger breakfast, a moderate lunch, and a smaller dinner has also been shown to be beneficial for weight loss. In addition, eating a healthy snack before bedtime can help prevent late-night snacking, which can lead to weight gain. However, it is important to note that overall calorie intake and balance of macronutrients are more important than the timing of meals for weight loss.
Eating a nutritious breakfast within the first hour of waking can jumpstart metabolism and provide energy for the day. It regulates our hunger hormones and keeps us fuller and pleased for longer. Skipping breakfast can lead to overeating later in the day and slow metabolism. No matter what, don't skip meals. Skipping breakfast is frequently linked to a number of unhealthy indicators, including weight gain and decreased glucose metabolism. People frequently find that eating breakfast reduces impulsive snacking and prepares the body for a day of healthy nutrition. Your metabolism can be boosted for the day by having a well-balanced breakfast that includes high-fiber foods like berries and a decent source of protein like Greek yogurt.
Although lunch should be your largest meal of the day, the timing of lunch seems to have the least impact on weight loss (along with breakfast if consumed). This relates to the fact that the body is more effective earlier in the day at digesting food, burning calories, and controlling hormones thanks to those circadian rhythms. Eating a balanced lunch that includes protein, whole grains, and vegetables can help control hunger and keep energy levels steady throughout the afternoon. Skipping lunch can lead to overeating or making poor food choices later in the day. According to studies, the best time to eat lunch is between 12 and 2 p.m. We must, of course, keep in mind that we are all unique, so this may not apply to everyone. If you're busy or distracted, skipping lunch could be tempting, but it might lead to issues later in the day. By depriving your body of energy, skipping lunch might leave you feeling groggy or sleepy. Furthermore, you may become unusually hungry in the afternoon, leading to overeating at your final meal. Finally, listening to your internal cues to identify your hunger level and making the right option is the best strategy.
Eating a light dinner that is low in calories and high in nutrients can help with weight loss. Eating a heavy dinner close to bedtime can cause weight gain as the body is less active and burns fewer calories during sleep. Eating a late dinner may also disrupt sleep, which can lead to weight gain. The ideal time for your last meal of the day is at least three to four hours before you go to bed. A late meal or eating too late at night may increase your risk of obesity and metabolic disturbances like dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia, according to studies. Those who consumed more calories at dinner than they did at breakfast had more pronounced insulin resistance. This result implies that cutting back on dinnertime calories may eventually help lower insulin resistance. Soup, grilled chicken or fish, a big bowl of salad, multigrain roti with palak paneer, or boiling chana masala are all acceptable options for dinner.
For those attempting to reduce weight, meal timing is a crucial component. All of the major food categories should be present in a balanced meal for you. Keep all food groups in your diet. If you want to reduce weight, choose little, regular meals rather than 3 large ones. Between meals, consume a healthy drink or a healthy snack. Also, keep track of the time you consume each meal. (Dr. Rohini Patil, MBBS, Nutritionist and CEO of Nutracy Lifestyle)
Read more►Your Guide to Eating Right As Per Ayurveda in 2023
In 2016, according to the WHO, India reported 63 per cent of total deaths due to non-communicable diseases, and 27 per cent were attributed to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Of those, heart attack and stroke are two of the most common causes of death in our country. Now those are pretty scary numbers, and they are only growing by the year.
Blame it on our family's medical history or the fast-paced lifestyle that's leading to complaints of high cholesterol, but you and I, too, are at the risk of developing heart disease. Fortunately, several factors help us lower our risk of CVD and take the high road to a healthy heart. In anticipation of World Heart Day, let's deep dive into how you can lower the risks with Ryan Fernando, Celebrity Nutritionist and Founder of QUA Nutrition -- Signature Nutrition Clinic
Q. How do walnuts help your heart health?
Ans. According to research, an important move is to consume a handful of California walnuts as part of a healthy, nutritious diet and couple it with physical activity. This may help lower your risk of heart disease and hence, deserves a spot on your plate. The polyunsaturated fats, aka good fats, and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) in these wonder nuts may improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, which are two major contributors to heart disease risk.
1,2. In addition, these nutrient powerhouses are known to help reduce inflammation and improve blood vessel function.
3. A recent scientific review published in Advances of Nutrition also suggests that food sources high in plant-based omega-3 ALA, such as walnuts, should be part of a heart-healthy eating pattern.
4. Not convinced yet? The American Heart Association (AHA) has found that including four or more servings of nuts, including walnuts every week and other foods, may help lower one's risk of heart disease. And that's not it, AHA has also certified walnuts as a heart-healthy food through its 'Heart Check Mark' programme.
Q. What is the ideal portion of walnuts one should consume?
Ans. A handful of walnuts, which is nearly 28 g, is advisable for daily consumption. This amount contains 2.5g of essential plant-based omega-3, 4g protein, and 2g fibre, all essential for overall wellness.
Q. What is the best time of the day to eat walnuts?
Ans. While walnuts can be eaten throughout the year, at any time of the day, I believe the best time to eat them is in the evenings. These contain PICO melatonin, which goes into your brain and increases serotonin levels, eventually promoting sleep.
Q. Five simple ways to include walnuts in your daily diet
Make snack time healthy with a handful of plain California walnuts, or you can amp up the flavour by sprinkling your favourite spice mix over them
Mix coarsely grounded walnuts with a portion of hung curd and turn it into a delicious creamy dip
You can also grind walnuts and add them to your curries, which are a good source of plant-based omega-3
Poha, upma, or kachumbar, walnuts add a perfect crunch for any time snacks
Walnuts are the perfect accompaniment for a low-calorie diet, and another great idea to consume is by blending them into your morning smoothie
We all deserve to choose what's best for us. And for making such decisions, you need the right information. Now that you've read about the health benefits of walnuts, it's time to go nuts about these nuts! (N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe )
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Anyone can experience fatigue at any moment, although it usually manifests itself after strenuous physical activity, a demanding workday, or both. Exercise frequently results in fatigue, which can be reduced by getting enough rest, taking a good nap, or getting a full night's sleep. Contrarily, fatigue is a persistent, uncharacteristic state of tiredness and sleepiness. It might be difficult and demotivating to maintain your regular routine when you're tired. It may be chronic (lasting longer than a month) or acute (lasting more than a month or 1 to 6 months or longer).
One's short- and long-term levels of fatigue are directly related to the food they eat. For instance, iron deficiency is linked to fatigue, reduced work capacity, and subpar academic performance. Similar to empty calorie items, foods with added sugar and solid fats like sweets and soft drinks have little nutritional benefit. As a result, you might feel full even when you haven't eaten any of the nutrient-dense foods your body needs.
In order to survive in the fundamental metabolic processes that enable core cellular functioning, we all require a balanced diet and adequate nutrition. Because of their involvement in energy-producing metabolism, DNA synthesis, oxygen transport, and cerebral functions, a balanced diet is crucial for brain and muscle function. As a result, cognitive and psychological processes are impacted, including physical and mental fatigue. Iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, and the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, and B12) all help fight weariness.
Here are some easy tips on using diet and nutrition to beat tiredness and stay upbeat:
Add Protein to You Diet
Protein helps keep up stamina levels and build endurance. Because it helps your muscle to repair wear and tear, and reduces muscle loss, it ensures your body has enough muscle to sustain everyday living. This is the reason why athletes or those with active lifestyles swear by protein intake through their diet or supplements.
Hydration is The Key
One might wonder, how a calorie less, flavourless liquid like water help with energy levels. Dehydration causes symptoms such as fatigue and tiredness. Even mild dehydration can alter a person's mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly, research by the University of Connecticut has found. Effect of dehydration on concentration, fatigue and anxiety is even more profound for women.
Cut Down on Caffeine
'Do not talk to me till I have had my morning coffee', does this internet meme sound familiar? Caffeine lovers, especially those who cannot start their days without a generous "energizing" dose of coffee or tea, are actually pushing themselves towards greater fatigue over the course of the day. Coffee might act as a temporary brain stimulant raising your energy level and focus for a short term, but can quickly result in an energy crash later. Moreover, it can build dependence and interference with the natural circadian rhythm, or sleep cycle. In all, for every cup of coffee, drink two extra cups of water.
Cheers to Alcohol, Invitation to Fatigue
A full alcohol glass might leave your energy levels half empty. Not only does it dehydrate your body and disturb sleeping and eating patterns, the alcohol raises the body's level of epinephrine, a stress hormone that increases the heart rate and generally stimulates the body, which can result in nighttime awakenings, according to Harvard Health Publishing. If you are going out or staying in every other night, reduce your alcohol intake. Do the same for smoking.
Eating processed foods, ordering in frequently, and whipping up sugar-laden recipes on the regular can reduce the nutrients going in your body, and disproportionately imbalance your meals. Take the calorie intake prescribed for your age, gender and activity level, and do not go for fad/extreme diets in the name of weight loss or spot reduction. Food is your body's fuel and tiredness is inevitable if it is not getting enough quantity and/or good quality.
A healthy diet requires physical activity, enough sleep, mental peace, and relaxation. Vital vitamins and minerals can be obtained naturally from a variety of sources, such as fruits, vegetables, and meat. The essential nutritional requirements vary from person to person due to factors including age, gender, and medical circumstances like pregnancy and lactation. In addition, conditions, lifestyle decisions, and restrictions all play a role. (Dr. Vivek Srivastava, Senior Vice President, Zeon Lifesciences)
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One of the country's busiest seasons, Navratri also brings with it a tradition of fasting and feasting. In addition to fasting on nine auspicious nights, many mouthwatering dishes are also cooked, including sabudana khichdi, fruit chaat, and kheer to kuttu ki poori and aloo kadhi.
Adults are advised to fast occasionally as it gives their digestive systems a break and aids in the body's detoxification process. However, if necessary precautions are not followed regarding the type of foods consumed, particularly if the person has diabetes, fasting and consuming a restricted diet for 9 to 10 days consistently can endanger one's health.
Dr Sunil M Jain, Endocrinologist, TOTALL Diabetes Hormone Insitute, Indoresays, "Diabetes management during Navratri fasting is important owing to the change in food patterns, nature of the fast, and the food items allowed. People with diabetes must eat at regular intervals to maintain optimum blood glucose levels and consume foods, which have a low glycemic index, before beginning the fast. It is key to check blood glucose levels a few times during the day. Today, there are continuous glucose monitoring devices that are easily accessible and do not involve any pricks. These devices show real-time glucose results and a directional trend arrow showing where glucose levels are headed, that help make informed dietary decisions by the person."
Here are some suggestions for navigating the holidays without jeopardising your health, even if managing diabetes is more difficult when fasting is followed by a feast.
Eat The Right Foods
Due to the dietary restrictions and altered food patterns, it is possible that blood sugar levels could fluctuate. Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor about your plan for fasting, which should include the number of fasting days, eating frequency and timings, and foods that can be consumed, as that will help regulate glucose fluctuations and boost overall health. One can opt for foods rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, protein, and fiber, which facilitate in controlling blood glucose levels.
Consumption of roasted makhana, nuts, and pumpkin cutlets can make for good snackable satiety during fasting, as they also meet protein requirements. Additionally, vitamin C and fiber-rich fruits such as orange and kiwi are good for consumption as they help manage the insulin fluctuations in the body.
Keep Track of Your Counts
Knowing when to check your blood glucose levels during fasting is key. Keeping a home glucose monitoring system will help you track your glucose levels from time to time. Today there are sensor-based devices such as Freestyle Libre, that provide actionable trends and patterns that help you make better decisions about your health. It is also important to monitor glucose levels during fasting, to ensure you avoid a hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia attack.
Dehydration during fasting is troublesome for those with diabetes. Consumption of at least 2 to 3 liters of water is a must while fasting. Buttermilk without salt and low-calorie drinks like nimbu pani, green tea, mint water, cardamom tea, smoothies, and coconut water can help combat dehydration during Navratri. It is better to have fruits like apples in the smoothie instead of bananas. You can also add 2 tsp of flaxseeds and chia seeds to your smoothie as they help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and diabetes complications.
People with diabetes can exercise during fasting, however, it needs to be done at a low pace. It is important to not strain yourself during this time. One can go for short walks and include stretching exercises in their routine. You can also ditch the exercises during Navratri and enjoy yourself to the tunes of Garba.
Eating an hour before Garba will not make you feel heavy during the dance and will also ensure that you are not low on energy. For people with diabetes, having a combination of proteins and the right carbohydrates keeps you going for a long period. You can opt for a dry fruit milkshake or a buckwheat pancake with some cottage cheese cubes in such cases.
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During the monsoon, there is an increased chance of getting a cold or other gastrointestinal infections, particularly for pregnant women. You should take steps to ensure that your food is taken care of in addition to the standard precautions like frequently washing your hands and avoiding contact with ill people. The following advice can help you stay healthy throughout the monsoon season.
Home Cooked Food
As the weather cools down and the rains begin, our appetites change and we start craving comfort food. However, for pregnant women, it's important to be careful about what they eat during this time. While there are many tempting options available, home-cooked food is always the best choice for a pregnant woman's diet during monsoon.
Not only is it more nutritious, but it's also less likely to contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Instead of reaching for deep fried snacks or fast food from outside, you can enjoy tasty and nutritious quick meals that are cooked at home. For example, roughly diced boiled potatoes that are seasoned with some salt and pepper work perfectly, these could even work great when mixed with some curds and sprinkled with just a little bit of sev for some crunch.
Pregnant women must take care of hydration, this is especially true during the monsoon season as we do tend to consume less water due to the wet and humid climate. Dehydration, however, is a dangerous condition to have during pregnancy as it can can lead to complications such as urinary tract infections, preeclampsia, and preterm labour, and hence, must be avoided at all costs.
While water is always the best choice for staying hydrated, pregnant women can also opt for homemade fruit juices, coconut water, and buttermilk. It is important to avoid sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol, as these can actually worsen dehydration.
Pregnant women should also consume fibre-rich food, which will help to regulate digestion and prevent constipation, which is a common problem during pregnancy. By following these simple tips, pregnant women can stay healthy and comfortable throughout the monsoon season.
Eating Fresh Food
During pregnancy, pregnant women frequently experience cravings for specific meals, but it's crucial to make sure that these cravings are healthful. Prepackaged sugary or fried foods may appeal to some women's cravings, but they also raise the risk of gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain, thyroid problems, and other metabolic diseases.
Instead, women should concentrate on eating nutrient-dense fresh fruits and vegetables, which are crucial for preserving pregnancy wellness. They also aid in blood sugar regulation, which helps lessen cravings for sweet meals.
During the monsoon season, there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are easily available. Oranges, berries, spinach, sweet limes, cabbage, grapefruits and many more such fruits and veggies are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Pregnant women should take advantage of this by including them in their diet.
This will not only help them to stay healthy, but it will also ensure that their baby gets the nutrients it needs. As a precaution, pregnant women are advised to avoid consuming raw foods during the monsoon season. Generally, raw foods can contain bacteria and microorganisms that cause food poisoning. Therefore, pregnant women should eat cooked food instead of raw food during the monsoon season.
While monsoons are refreshing, it is advisable to take safety measures to avoid contracting any food-borne infections or other health dangers. The health of the mother and unborn child is extremely vulnerable during pregnancy, and it is crucial to ensure the ideal growth of the child.
Expectant moms should take enough protein, calcium, iron, vitamins, folic acid, and iodine in their meals in addition to maintaining a healthy diet and nutrition. A healthy and safe pregnancy will be ensured by taking all of these additional safety measures throughout the monsoon season. (Rohit Shelatkar, VP at Vitabitotics, Fitness & Nutrition Expert)
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