Good Vs Bad

Cholesterol, a fatty substance that circulates in the blood is an important component of human cells.

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It plays a major role in the production of vitamin D, bile acids that aids in digestion and absorption of the vitamins and in the formation of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Our body produces about 75% of cholesterol and we achieve the remaining 25% through food.

Cholesterol floats around your blood in two different forms: the Low-density lipoprotein, LDL and High-density lipoprotein, HDL cholesterol.

Cholesterol risk

Everyone should know their LDL and HDL levels because they provide you a more specific estimate of the risk of developing arterial blockages. People with elevated levels of LDL are more likely suffer from heart attacks. Every 10mg increase in LDL per decilitre (dL) of blood, the risk of heart attack increases by almost 20%. Higher level of HDL, the good cholesterol, will lower the risk of cardiac events.

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Your body requires some amount of cholesterol to function, but in LDL cholesterol in higher levels along with other substances can deposit as plaque within the walls of the arteries, causing these pipes get narrower and less flexible. This condition is called “atherosclerosis.”  If a clot forms it will block the narrowed artery that results in a heart attack or stroke.

It is apparent that as your blood cholesterol rises, your risk for heart diseases also increases. High blood pressure, diabetes and smoking will further increase the risk.

Do you know that high cholesterol, the major risk factors of heart attack and stroke can be controlled?

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Regular exercise and right type of diet will help increase the HDL cholesterol and reduce the LDL cholesterol at the same time.

Start your aerobics now and within 2 months you will see an increase in HDL by 5%. Any exercise that increase your heart rate like: brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, dancing will help increase the HDL in the blood.

Why is HDL that very important?

HDL, the good cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries. Enjoy your brisk exercise every day, 30 minutes, to reap the benefit of HDL.

Saturated foods not only high in calories but also will increase the blood LDL cholesterol.

Limit the consumption of foods high in saturated fat, trans-fat and cholesterol, like:

  • Desiccated coconut, Coconut oil, palm oil, cheese, cocoa butter that are high in saturated fats
  • Margarine a partially hydrogenated, is high in trans-fat that elevates the LDL cholesterol and lowers HDL cholesterol.
  • Butter, animal fats (tallow (beef fat), lard (pork fat), duck fat, goose fat), beef, lamb, pork, chicken with skin, whole milk are high in saturated fats and cholesterol as well.
  • Baked foods are high in saturated fats and trans-fats. Some food labels may show low in cholesterol. But they may contain more trans-fat and saturated fat. So, read the food label before you add on to your cart.

American Heart Association recommends 5-6% of calories from saturated fat. That means 13g / 120 calories from saturated for 2000 calories a day.

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Swap out high saturated fats for their lower-fat counterparts, like skimmed milk, lean meat, chicken without skin, and fish. Do you know celery helps reduce the LDL cholesterol.  A handful of nuts everyday, will help increase the HDL cholesterol and decrease the LDL cholesterol in the blood!

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Use sunflower, safflower, olive oil for cooking. Extra virgin olive oil will help control blood glucose and cholesterol after meal. Sounds great!

The best alternatives to replace saturated fats:

  • Whole grains
  • Lean meat, poultry without skin, fish
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products

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References:

http://www.webmd.com/

http://www.heart.org/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/

Break the cycle

Cut back the “sit” time: Increase your “fit” time

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Many say, “ I don’t have time to exercise.”  It is a total lie…. Yes, you know the fact, but you refuse to accept!  Recent years, many people became overweight through a slow, gradual weight gain of 1 or 2 kg per year, especially, children. This demonstrates a slight imbalance of energy that results in weight gain over time, leading to health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Need to extend yourself, everyday!

Break the cycle

Is life all about work, eat and sleep? Not exactly! There is something more important, you need to concentrate everyday-“Physical activity!” You must use your body tools everyday. You need to clean them and set them back in the right position, so that they are ready for movement, the next day. Movement is an opportunity! Seek opportunity to choose standing over sitting, walking over driving, and climbing the stairs instead of using elevator!

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Any movement count as physical activity: dancing, skating, gardening, cycling, climbing stairs, scrubbing floors, washing the car by hand, playing with kids. Anything that gets you moving, really is considered a good physical activity. In addition, you feel happy! Weave activity into your day by bicycling or brisk walking to commute to work, to go to the store, market, to drop and pick-up your children from school.

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You can maintain / reduce your weight when you are careful in how much you eat and how much you expend. It is about the awareness and making the better choices on both food and physical activity.

If you are taking insulin or under medication, do not go for vigorous exercise. Consult the doctor and exercise physiologists to learn if there is any specific exercise restrictions, before you start moving.

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Cutting back on “sit” time is just as important as increasing “fit” time.

Mind & Body

Try to meditate atleast 5-10 mins every day. Observing your breath by closing your eyes will help shift the mind from worries to a relaxed state.

Strike an energy balancing act: 

  • For energy balance and optimal weight, focus on nutrient dense foods like, fruits & vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy, whole grains and of course physical activity! 
  • Eat Breakfast
  • Practice portion control. Your plate should be half fruits & vegetables, a quarter lean protein/beans and a quarter whole grains.
  • Increase your water intake and decrease the sugary beverages.
  • Choose only one serving of dessert.

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If you take in less energy than your body requires, you lose weight. When you take in more than your body needs, you gain weight. You will be able to maintain a perfect weight by balancing your energy. Step outside when you can, for fresh air, sunlight and physical activity. Family activities makes the whole family fit & happy.

Movement is an opportunity not an inconvenience.

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References

Flashy fruits & vegetables: To strike out cancer!

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If you are concerned about lowering the risk of cancer, take comfort in the fact that “Some simple lifestyle changes can make big difference.” Yes, the primary prevention of cancer is through better lifestyles like  healthy eating, regular physical activity, smoking cessation, alcohol moderation, UV-exposure reduction and screen to precancerous lesions.

Maintain a healthy weight

A BMI of 25 or less is optimal. Waist size should also be considered, for higher the amount of body fat deposited in and around the waist signifies higher risk of cancer. Having too much belly fat is linked with an increased risk of colorectal, prostate pancreas, edometrium( linging of the uterus) and breast cancer ( in women past menopause). Higher intake of dietary fat & alcohol and low level of exercise is the leading cause of colorectal and prostate cancer in men. Men tend to accumulate more fats than women!! It is obvious that all men should lose the belly fat to reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  In women, though estrogen levels dip during the menopause, far more women experiences the symptoms of estrogen dominance-the increase in hunger and  the decrease in metabolism,  that leads to fat gain around the waist! Gaining weight after menopause will increase the risk of breast cancer in women. So, after 40 years, women should focus on small-frequent -healthy meals with regular physical activity to maintain their weight. 

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If you are overweight or obese, no worries…………. Just work to lose the weight! Excess body fat can be reduced by lowering the number of calories you consume (lowering the portion size), choosing a low-fat diet, and increasing the physical activity!

Regular physical activity will help reduce your risk of cancer and recurrence through several powerful and synergistic mechanism. Strive for at least 30 mins of moderate aerobic exercise. Combining aerobic and resistance exercise will have a wonderful effect on glycemic control in individual with type 2 diabetes. Enjoy performing some light stretching exercises often.

EXERCISE IS LIKE A SEAT BELT THAT CAN REDUCE YOUR CANCER RISK”

Eat healthy food

Healthy selections at the grocery stores and at mealtime will help reduce your cancer risk.

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  • Fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses are generally low in calories and fat. They are considered the good food choices that help you control your weight and reduce your cancer risk. They are also rich in vitamins & minerals that strengthen the immune system. Dark colored beans, vegetables & fruits are high in antioxidants which prevent the cell damage that leads to cancer. The fibers, linked to reduce the cancer risk! Scientists at Cancer Prevention Institute of California have found that a diet high in fruits & vegetables may significantly reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Eating lots of vegetables, especially cooked tomato-based foods, rich in lycopene, can lower the risk of prostate cancer in men. Watermelon, grapefruit, red & pink guava are also good sources of lycopene. Aviary Photo_130279416386388766
  • Berries are high in antioxidant properties. Blueberries rank number one in terms of their antioxidant power. Antioxidants neutralizes the free radicals, an unstable compounds that damage the cells and lead to diseases including cancer.  Aviary Photo_130298342051170378Grab the blue berries!  
  • Eating a diet high in fiber can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Dietary fibers protect against breast cancer through inhibition of the intestinal reabsorption of estrogen.
    • Soluble fiber has been shown to be more effective in controlling the blood glucose, insulin, which have been positively related to the risk of breast cancer.
    • Insoluble fiber are more effective in binding and excreting estrogen. 

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  • Nut eaters are less likely to die of cancer! The unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and other nutrients from heart-healthy peanuts, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios are not only cardio protective, also anti-carcinogenic, and with antioxidant properties, that aid in lowering the cholesterol, inflammation and reducing the risk of cancer. Nuts are goods sources of selenium, that helps destroy cancer cells and aid cells repair their DNA. Enjoy a handful of nuts with fresh green salads rich in fibers, vitamins & minerals and antioxidants.

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  • Choose wholegrain, for refined foods are high in GI, the glycemic index. Research has shown that women even with BMI < 25, had an increased risk of breast cancer with an increasing amount of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates!!!
  • Limit eating processed meat like – smoked, cured, salted, added preservatives, for the diet high in processed meat is linked to bowel cancer!
  • Controlling the intake of foods high in calories, fats and sugar will help reduce the risk of bowel and breast cancers!
  • Culinary herbs like garlic, mint, basil, oregano, cilantro (coriander leaves), chives, parsley not only add flavor and color to meals, they also help to prevent and manage heart disease, cancer and diabetes!Aviary Photo_130298358633601086IMG_7098
  • Choose baking, boiling, steaming or stir frying as healthy cooking options, for they limit the use of fat and reduce the risk of being overweight! Broccoli is a good source of cancer-protective flavonoids. Micorwaving destroys 90% of its flavonoids. So, it is wise to steam it, or stir fry this vegetable to hold the cancer preventing flavonoids.

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Go moderate on alcohol.

Alcohol is a known cause of mouth, throat, liver, colon and rectum cancers. People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than a drink per day.

Protect yourself from the sun

Many skin cancers are caused by excess exposure to UV rays from the sun or other sources. Stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun rays are strongest. Avoid tanning beds, for these are just as damaging as UV rays.

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Don’t use tobacco

Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths. It has been linked to various types of cancer, including the cancer of lung, bladder, cervix and kidney. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.

Good, if you don’t smoke. But exposure to second hand and sidestream smoke might increase the risk of lung cancer! So, provide a safe, enjoyable and accessible environments for yourself and your family.

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You have the power, to reduce your cancer risk, by having a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.Aviary Photo_130298303425323766

References

  • Yikyung Park, Louise A Brinton, Amy F Subar, Albert Hollenbeck, and Arthur Schatzkin. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women: the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr September 2009 vol. 90 no. 3 664-671
  • Wanqing Wen, Xiao Ou Shu, Honglan Li, Gong Yang, Bu-Tian Ji, Hui Cai, Yu-Tang Gao, and Wei Zheng. Dietary carbohydrates, fiber, and breast cancer risk in Chinese women. Am J Clin Nutr January 2009 vol. 89no. 1 283-289
  • Martin Lajous, Marie-Christine Bourton-Ruault, Alban Fabre, Francoise Clavel-Chapelon, and Isabelle Romieu. Carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in a prospective study of French women. Am J Clin Nutr May 2008 vol. 87 no. 5 1384-1391
  • Ernest H Rosenbaum, M.D. David Spiegel, M.D. Patricia Fobair, L.C.S.W., M.P.H. Hollyl Gautier, R.N. With Louise Maffitt, B.F.A. Everynone’s Guide to Cancer Survivorship; A Road Map for Bette Health. 2007
  • www.cancer.ie
  • http://www.aicr.org

Why eat Fungus?

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If you are like millions of weight watchers, with a fat-phobia and counting calories, here is an interesting weight losing tip!  Make room for mushroom and it is definite that you can maintain a pretty decent, healthy weight.

Mushroom – to lose weight? 

In the game of weight loss, the pretty & tiny sponge like mushroom is one of the powerful player.  Mushroom substituted for meat, aid in weight loss!  Sounds great. Isn’t?

Yes, 100 g of mushroom has only 25 kcal when compared to a grilled – lean beef of same weight that provides 175 kcal!

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A one-year randomized clinical trial by researchers at the Weight Management Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that substituting white button mushrooms, for red meat can be an useful strategy for enhancing and maintaining weight loss.

Increasing intake of low-energy-density foods like mushrooms, in place of high-energy density foods, like lean ground meat, can be an effective method for reducing daily energy and fat intake, while feeling full and satiated after the meal.

Lets make room for mushrooms, for their prominent flavor and health benefits. You can definitely make a difference in your health from this dainty mushrooms’ copious supply of favorable nutrients.

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Many think mushroom is not good for health because it is not green.   Surprisingly,  It has more potassium than a banana, which helps to maintain the rhythm of our heart!  It’s really a very valuable food for diabetic and heart patients, for its least quantity of carbohydrate and fat.   A tiny yet exquisite, is a wise addition to your plate!

The glutamic acid found in mushroom, is an amino acid, a natural flavor enhancer that entice even the most fussy eaters, to relish this low-energy- density fungus.   It is also formed naturally in the body, from other amino acids that you consume through a balanced diet.  Dairy products, meat, fish, eggs and cocoa are the other natural foods that are good sources of glutamic acid.

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Broccoli, mushroom with garlic

If you do not eat enough protein foods, you may not be able to get sufficient amount of glutamic acid.  Glutamic acid with glucose is one of the principal fuels for the brain. It helps get rid of ammonia, a metabolic by-product that is  toxic to both brain and muscle cells, from our body.Aviary Photo_130298985520354896

Mushrooms are available in different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors!  Portabella, shitake, enoki, oyster mushrooms are very common that are available in the grocery stores.

Mushroom, not only aids in weight loss, as a super food it helps prevent cancer and heal infection, too!  Studies have proven that Shitake mushroom will lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and heal infections. 

Mushroom is packed with selenium, copper and zinc. A real powerpack!

Selenium a powerful antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals and prevents the body from chronic diseases.  Along with vitamin E, selenium aids in the prevention of skin damage, too!  

The absorption of iron in the body relies on copper.  Iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all cells in the body.

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Zinc supports the metabolic rate, the speed at which our body creates and use up the energy.  Shitake and Crimini  mushrooms are good sources of zinc. 

I know that you are already convinced to have a room, for this tiny, cute mushrooms………………………..

 

Mushroom is great for what it is. Low in calorie and good for weight loss!  At the same time, it is low in protein also!  It has only 3-4% protein when compared to beans, 8-13% and red meat, 25-35%. However, this is easy to compensate.  Combination of mushroom with beans (like red kidney beans, black beans, soybeans), lean red meat, poultry and fish will provide one of the best tasting protein!  

Black bean with mushroom is heart healthy!  How about a bowl of brown rice with mushroom & kidney bean curry, for lunch? Sounds great!  

To conclude, I’d like to say that mushroom is highly nutritious, low in calorie that aids in weight loss and at the same time would also like to emphasis on exercise that is equal to diet when it comes to losing weight.  Aerobic exercise has important cardiovascular and metabolic implications.  The age-old advice, “Eat less and move more to lose weight, still holds true!

References:

  • Boston University Medical Center (2013, April 22). Mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130422132801.htm
  • Leslie M Klevay, MD, SD in Hyg: “Lack of a Recommended Dietary Allowance for Coppermay be Hazardous to Your Health,” J Am Coll Nutr August 1998 vol. 17 no. 4 322-326
  • D. Craig Willcox, PhD, Bradley J. Willcox, MD, Hidemi Todoriki, PhD, Makoto Suzuki, MD, PhD: “The Okinawan Diet: Health Implications of a Low-Calorie,Nutrient-Dense, Antioxidant-Rich Dietary Pattern Low in Glycemic Index,” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 28, No. 4, 500S–516S (2009)
  • www.medicalnewstoday.com
  • http://www.eatright.org