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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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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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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Sugary snacks and drinks are abundant on supermarket and retail shelves. While it is possible to enjoy these on occasion, regular consumption is an easy way to go over your required calorie intake, and too much sugar can lead to a variety of health problems.
According to the studies, your sugar intake should not exceed 5 per cent of your total daily calories. This means that a typical adult's sugar intake should not exceed 30g per day. The most harmful type of sugar is free sugar, which is found in fizzy drinks, fruit juices, biscuits, cakes, and chocolate.
There is also a 'no sugar diet,' which eliminates all sugar, including those found in otherwise healthy foods like fruit and dairy. This is not recommended because fruits are high in fibre and micronutrients. Myprotein India, a leading sports and nutrition brand, experts explain the benefits of a low sugar diet and how to reduce sugar intake to stay healthy.
What are the Benefits of Reducing your Sugar Intake?
Eating a large number of sugary foods may mean you gain weight. Sugar has a low effect on satiety meaning you will not feel full after eating sugary snacks. This means it's much more likely you will exceed your required daily calorie amount which may lead to weight gain in the long run. Switching your food choices for those with a higher protein and fibre content may result in weight loss.
Large amounts of sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth. If you want to stay fit and healthy and avoid a toothless smile, its best to make sure you are not going overboard with your sugar intake. Specifically, free sugars are the ones that do the most damage and put your dentist in a bad mood.
How to Follow a Low Sugar Diet
There are a number of things you can do to reduce your daily sugar intake and many of them may result in improved dietary habits in general. Using the tips below will help to reduce your daily sugar intake and improve the quality of your diet.
Take Notice of Food Labels
It can often be surprising just how much sugar is in your preferred drinks and snacking options and sugar can often be in foods you wouldn't expect. Being attentive and making sure to read the food labels can be an informative process helping you make the right choices when it comes to meals, snacks, and drinks.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
Your favourite fizzy drinks may well be loaded with sugar well worth looking for the 'diet' counterparts. Not just the typical soda drink though, drinks often marketed as 'healthy' or 'low fat' may also contain a fair amount of sugar.
Things like 'healthy' smoothies or fruit juices can also have a substantial amount of sugar and whilst trying to pick a healthy option you could inadvertently add unnecessary sugar to your diet.
Go Easy on Condiments
Ketchup and brown sauce contain a substantial amount of sugar. Making sure you don't go overboard with the ketchup serving size and reducing the number of meals that you add sauce to can help reduce your overall sugar intake.
Plan Your Meals Ahead
Planning your meals in advance has many benefits. As well as allowing you to monitor your calories, planning your meals can be cost-effective and kind to your wallet.
Importantly for sugar intake, planning ahead can also help to avoid the last-minute unhealthy processed choice on the shelf. Although they can be convenient when time is limited, these processed foods often have a high sugar content, which is why it's recommended to cook your own with fresh and wholegrain ingredients.
Planning ahead also allows you time to check your labels for sugar content and fit in sweet treats here and there.
Don't Shop When Hungry or Tired
Traipsing the shops after a long day at work when you're tired and hungry can make the sugary snacks hard to resist. Especially those placed next to the checkout.
Shopping after a healthy meal (containing fibre and protein) can help you fight off the temptation of fighting the food choices that can have a negative impact in the long run. Once it's bought and in your cupboards, at home, it's much harder to resist the sugary snacks whilst watching your favourite box set.
To conclude, reducing the sugar intake in your diet can lead to improved body composition and reduce the likelihood of tooth decay and long-term diseases. Following the tips above can help reduce your intake in a sustainable way, while still enjoying tasty food. (N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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Sydney: Young men with a poor diet saw a significant improvement in their symptoms of depression when they switched to a healthy Mediterranean diet, a new study has shown.
Mediterranean diet, which consists of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and grains, caused significant impact on young men's mental health.
According to researchers from the University of Technology Sydney, the study is the first randomised clinical trial to assess the impact of a Mediterranean diet on the symptoms of depression in young men aged 18-25.
The team conducted a 12-week randomised control trial, where the men were asked to switch to foods rich in colourful vegetables, legumes and wholegrains, oily fish, olive oil and raw, unsalted nuts from their regular as well as fast foods.
The findings, published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggested that doctors should recommend patients to a nutritionist or dietician as part of their treatment plan, the researchers said.
"The primary focus was on increasing diet quality with fresh wholefoods while reducing the intake of 'fast' foods, sugar and processed red meat," said researcher Jessica Bayes, a candidate in the UTS Faculty of Health.
"There are lots of reasons why scientifically we think food affects mood. For example, around 90 per cent of serotonin, a chemical that helps us feel happy, is made in our gut by our gut microbes.
"There is emerging evidence that these microbes can communicate to the brain via the vagus nerve, in what is called the gut-brain axis," Bayes said.
"The results showed that nearly all our participants stayed with the programme, and many were keen to continue the diet once the study ended, which shows how effective, tolerable and worthwhile they found the intervention," the researchers said.
The study "suggests that medical doctors and psychologists should consider referring depressed young men to a nutritionist or dietitian as an important component of treating clinical depression", she said. (Agency)
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Healthy adults who eat a diverse diet, with at least 8-10 grams of soluble fibre such as grains, beans, lentils, nuts and some fruits and vegetables daily, have fewer antibiotic-resistant microbes in their guts, according to a study.
Microbes that have resistance to various commonly-used antibiotics such as tetracycline and aminoglycoside are a significant source of risk for people worldwide, with the widely held expectation that the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) - the term that refers to bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are resistant to antibiotics - is likely to worsen throughout the coming decades.
Antimicrobial resistance in people is largely based in their gut microbiome, where the microbes are known to carry genetically encoded strategies to survive contact with antibiotics.
"And the results lead directly to the idea that modifying the diet has the potential to be a new weapon in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. And we're not talking about eating some exotic diet either, but a diverse diet, adequate in fibre," said research molecular biologist Danielle Lemay at the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.
In the study, published in the journal mBio, the researchers found that regularly eating a diet with higher levels of fibre and lower levels of protein, especially from beef and pork, was significantly correlated with lower levels of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARG) among their gut microbes.
Those with the lowest levels of ARG in their gut microbiomes also had a greater abundance of strict anaerobic microbes, which are bacteria that do not thrive when oxygen is present and are a hallmark of a healthy gut with low inflammation. Bacterial species in the family Clostridiaceae were the most numerous anaerobes found.
But the amount of animal protein in the diet was not a top predictor of high levels of ARG. The strongest evidence was for the association of higher amounts of soluble fibre in the diet with lower levels of ARGs.
"Surprisingly, the most important predictor of low levels of ARG, even more than fibre, was the diversity of the diet. This suggests that we may want to eat from diverse sources of foods that tend to be higher in soluble fibre for maximum benefit," Lemay added.
On the other hand, those people who had the highest levels of ARG in their gut microbiomes were found to have significantly less diverse gut microbiomes compared to groups with low and medium levels of ARG.
"Our diets provide food for gut microbes. This all suggests that what we eat might be a solution to reduce antimicrobial resistance by modifying the gut microbiome," Lemay said. (agency)
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