Blog Health

Urinary problems in men and saw palmetto

Urinary pattern changes are a common occurrence in men, especially those over the age of 50 years. Most of the time, urinary issues are mild and do not require any medicinal treatment. For severe cases, the doctor will recommend simple lifestyle changes, medication or in extreme cases surgery. You might be facing this issue due to various reasons like inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis), blockage in the tubes (benign prostatic hyperplasia) or simply a function of old age.

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens), is a widely used herbal treatment for urinary problems in men. It is basically referred to the extract of deep purple berries borne by palm trees, found in the southern coastal regions of America. These magical berries are made into over-the-counter herbal preparations, as an alternative treatment for curing a wide array of urinary problems.

Benefits of Saw Palmetto:
You can consider taking it if you are facing urinary issues like:

  • Frequent urination, both during day time and night time.
  • Unbearable urinary urgency that doesn’t let you control your bladder.
  • If the urine stream is slow to start.
  • Continued urine dribble even after you have finished urination.
  • Getting sensations that the bladder isn’t fully emptied, even after urinating.
  • Lack of force in the urine flow.

Despite the lack of supporting scientific data, Saw Palmetto continues to be amongst the most popular dietary supplements for men. Herbalists believe that it not only cures difficulties in urination but also works as a natural aphrodisiac. It is rich in phytonutrients that help in reducing oxidative stress by neutralizing the oxidation process. It is primarily made up of fatty acids, plant sterols, flavonoids and high molecular weight polysaccharides (sugars), that help in strengthening the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Apart from urinary troubles, you can also consume Saw Palmetto to cure medical issues related to hair loss, low sex drive, low sperm count, ongoing pelvic pain, bronchitis, diabetes, prostate cancer, prostatic hyperplasia, and migraines. This, of course, must be opted after a detailed consultation with your medical practitioner.

Precautions while using Saw Palmetto:
It’s best to avail consultation with a practicing herbalist for treating severe conditions. There are few precautions that you must consider before self-medication of this herb. For one, Saw Palmetto does not mix well with painkillers, alprostadil injections, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory drugs and hormone treatments. So, if you are taking modern or allopathic medication, do check with your medical practitioner before initiating a high dose of Saw Palmetto.

Prolonged use of this herb or an overdose of it may cause some temporary reactions. The known side-effects of Saw Palmetto include nausea, bad breath, headache, stomach pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, and constipation.

In cases of blood in urine, painful urination and other severe symptoms, it is best to consult the doctor immediately.

Since its available in the market in several forms like dried berries, liquid tinctures, capsules, liposterolic extracts and tea, the dosage would differ accordingly. Always buy the Sam Palmetto extract from reputed companies and don’t forget to read the label on the product. It should mention that contents are standardized and they contain around 90% of fatty acids and sterols. For best results, you should consider taking it for 4-8 weeks.

Despite scientifically unsubstantiated claims and reported side effects, this remarkable fruit continues to be one of the top ten herbs consumed in the world.

Food Blog Health

5 superfoods for eye health which you might not know

People are spending a longer time over computer screens, televisions and smartphones. Also, the modern lifestyle has brought several changes to the diet, which may not be good enough for the eye health. Hence, it has become imperative to include foods in the daily diet that protect and promote eye health.

While most people know that carrots are excellent for eye health because they contain high amounts of Vitamin A, there are several other foods that are equally good for your eyes. Let’s know them:

Dark Leafy Greens – Dark Leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard and collard greens contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. Your eye needs these carotenoids for optimal health. Lutein is present in the macular pigment, while zeaxanthin is present in the retina. Research shows that when your body lacks these two carotenoids, it increases the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Hence, munching on dark leafy greens can prevent eye diseases while ensuring you enjoy vision acuity.

Orange Bell Pepper – Orange bell pepper is nutritious besides tasting delicious. These peppers contain high amounts of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A or beta-carotene helps to keep eyes healthy. It protects the cornea of the eye, thereby ensuring good vision. It also helps to alleviate dry eyes. Age-Related Eye Disease Study that was commissioned by the U.S. National Eye Institute found that when people with mild to moderate age-related macular degeneration consume Vitamin A along with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, copper and zinc, the risk of the eye condition progressing reduces by 25 per cent.

Egg Yolk – If you haven’t been eating eggs, it is time to incorporate them in your diet. The egg yolk is a rich source of lutein, zeaxanthin, protein and healthy fats. While egg yolk contains less carotenoids compared to green leafy veggies and brightly colored vegetables, the amount present is sufficient to maintain your eye health. Just remember that heat can destroy the carotenoids present in egg yolk. Hence, it is advisable to consume raw, soft-boiled or poached eggs along with the yolk.

Oily Fish – Oily fish like wild salmon is a powerhouse of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. The DHA in these acids is needed to maintain the retina of the eye. It protects the functioning of the retina and also offers structural support to the membranes of cells. Certain research claims that consuming Omega-3 essential fatty acids can slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration.

Bilberry – Bilberry, also known as blueberry, is one fruit that you cannot ignore if you want to promote eye health. It contains anthocyanin, which protects your vision if you experience retinal inflammation. A study published in Advances in Gerontology journal states that supplementing bilberry or blueberry on a long-term basis can prevent cataract and age-related muscular degeneration.

So, if you want to enjoy optimal eye health, include these 5 superfoods in your daily diet.

Blog Health

7 reasons to walk right now

Life is short. Why not make the most of it? To do that, overall wellness is a must-have ingredient. If you think, you would need a lot to stay well, you are wrong. Let’s face it, health related issues are very common, it will stay and so will discontentment in our minds. We can’t expect things to work exactly as we want them to. But if you are knowledgeable you would know that you can keep these at bay and still be happy! It might seem weird, if I say walking helps, but trust me you won’t disagree when you reach the end of this article.

Why should you walk?

Because you want to wear your favorite pair of jeans again – It has been proven again and again that walking helps reduce weight or at least avoid weight gain. Having a healthy diet and walking regularly helps maintain weight. However, it must be remembered that by walking we mean brisk walking. Get a walking partner or the best option is having a pet dog. That way you will never miss your walk and most of the time you will be actually running after them!

Because you love your heart – Walking is a great physical activity that helps in reducing cholesterol, high blood pressure and keeps your heart fit and fine. All it needs is 30 minutes of your time every day. Not too difficult right? With the latest smart watches or health app on phones, you can even monitor your heart rate and the amount of calories you lost!

For your overall wellness – A daily 30 minute walk definitely keeps the doctor away. It is not just good for your heart, it can prevent diabetes, reduce the risk of cancer, osteoarthritis and improves cerebral blood flow, keeping the brain active and preventing dementia.

To sleep like a baby at night – Did you know, that a rise in melatonin makes us sleepy? No wonder, we doze off when we sit in the sun in winter! So a bit of sunlight exposure is great for your body. A morning walk will ensure you get proper sleep at night.

Because you need a stress buster – Walking can very well provide you with the time you need to de-stress. What’s more, exercising/ walking releases endorphins that keep you happy. Good news for those who suffer from depression. A half an hour’s walk five days a week can keep depression at bay and help you lead a healthy, content life.

To Rediscover and mend relationships – In this age of hectic schedules, it is hard to find out time for your spouse/ partner. Take a walk together each day and see how that old feeling of companionship resurfaces. Keep the conversation flowing and rekindle the love you had for each other. After all, healthy relationships are the key to a long, happy and prosperous life.

It is affordable – The very thought of going to a gym, every day, paying a hefty amount of subscription at the end of each month without having gone even 15 days, is a pain for most of us. Walking has no such problems. You can start any day you want and there is hardly any investment apart from a pair of good walking shoes.

Now that you have no excuses left for not going for a walk, start right away! Remember starting might seem like an ordeal at first, but once you know what you are getting in return, you will not stop, ever!

Blog Health

Why do people get obese?

Obesity has become one of the most chronic diseases across the world. A study on obesity involving 700 researchers from across the world and World Health Organization revealed alarming statistics. This study on obesity is the biggest one ever conducted, and it found that one in ten men and one in seven women across the world are obese.

The study used the weight and height of about 20 million adult men and women from most countries in the world to reach its conclusions. The findings were published in The Lancet, a renowned medical journal, states that though most obese adults reside in China and the United States, the United States still leads in the number of severely obese adults. Even countries like Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa have a big population of obese people.

What is Obesity? – Being overweight is different from being obese. Overweight can result in obesity if steps are not taken. Healthcare professionals define obesity has having excessive adipose tissue or fat. This fat can make it difficult to move, work and even breathe. There are different ways to determine how much adipose tissue a person has. The most common method is calculating Body Mass Index or BMI. Adipose tissue is an endocrine organ that secretes different products, like metabolites, coagulation factors, lipids and cytokines. When there is excess adipose tissue, it causes more fatty acids to circulate throughout the body. This can cause inflammation, leading to insulin resistance, which can cause type 2 diabetes.

Causes of Obesity – Your weight is determined by the amount of calories you consume and the amount of energy your body expends. If you eat more calories than your body can metabolize or burn, your body will store the excess energy in the form of fat. On the other hand, if you eat fewer calories than your body burns, you will lose weight. This means that eating too much and leading a sedentary life are the common causes of obesity. However, several other factors come into play.

Genetics – If one or both parents are obese, the chances are high that a person will be obese, as well. This is because genetics determine how hormones regulate fat volume in the body.

Overeating – One of the leading causes of obesity is maintaining a fat-rich diet. People who favor saturated and trans fats and sugar rich foods tend to gain weight very easily.

Carbohydrates – While researchers still do not know how carbohydrates affect weight gain, they have found that consuming too many carbohydrates causes increase in blood sugar levels. This, in turn, stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, which causes the body to store fat, resulting in weight gain. So the more insulin secreted by the pancreas, the higher will be the weight gain.

Frequency of food consumption – Researchers have noticed that people who consume two to three large meals a day tend to be overweight or obese than people who eat four to five small meals a day. Large meals taken at bigger intervals spikes up blood sugar and cholesterol levels. While, smaller and more frequent meals make sure that insulin levels do not spike, causing the body to store fat.

Lack of physical activity – The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that leading a sedentary life is associated with gaining weight. People who have a physically active lifestyle can easily control their weight gain. Adults who exercise for about 30 minutes a day tend to be healthier and have a better control on their weight.

Obesity is a complex disease and requires a multi-pronged treatment, including medication, lifestyle changes and sometimes even surgery. It is best to consult an experienced healthcare professional to help you lose weight and effective offer long-term results.

Blog Health

How to beat Stress and boost happiness?

To have a little stress is actually productive and it propels us towards our personal as well as professional goals; but undue and high dosage of this condition over a long period can result in medical disorders like depression, hypertension and anxiety among others. Globally, one in thirteen people suffer from anxiety and depression, when you do the math it is one huge chunk of our population. According to a study by WHO, depression is the major cause of disability worldwide! These all issues have stress lurking in their roots. To a large extent, stress can be addressed by simple life style changes that include diet, sleep, exercise and social interaction, that can help you lead a healthier and happy life!

Regular exercise – Have you ever noticed how a session of sweat and physical exhaustion exhilarates you? Well the reason is that exercise releases “feel-good” chemical called dopamine in your body. Pumping it out in gym or simple running actually makes your body more adaptable and better at handling stress. Yoga is also great to combat stress as it has meditative aspect that actually calms the mind. People who exercise have a better body image which boosts confidence- another factor that can thwart negativity of stress on your body and mind.

You are what you eat – Anxiety can mess up with your digestion system. But, a good diet can regulate metabolism and other life functions in the body, so watch what you eat. The secret lies in balancing your nutrition palette. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Start your meals with salads; this ensures that you do not overeat which can lead to bloating and indigestion. Choose your meats wisely – chicken and goat have the least amount of calories and cholesterol. On the other hand, pork is heavy on calories and lamb scores high on cholesterol. Make your everyday food healthy with these simple changes:

  • Bake your food instead of deep frying.
  • Cut down on coffee, tea and aerated drinks.
  • If you are a rice eater then increase proportion of vitamins and reduce carbohydrates in your diet.
  • Never completely eliminate fats and oil from your meals. Fats are an important component for your body functions, and should be consumed in moderate quantities regularly.

Alcohol aggravates the problem – Avoid alcohol if you are prone to stress. Though it calms you initially, eventually it leads to mood swings and depression. If you tend to consume alcohol at the knock of stress, then you may be progressing towards becoming an alcoholic. So watch out!

Sleep management – A deep sleep for eight hours every day can calm your nerves and take the edge out. It refreshes your mind and gets you ready to face another day positively. Ensure that you follow a proper routine and get enough rest. Work on your sleep cycle if you have to. A warm cup of chamomile tea or a nice warm bath right before bedtime can induce sleep.

Keep in touch – We humans are social beings and this is why it is important that we socialise and keep in touch with our loved ones. Sharing your problems with others and a simple conversation can go a long way in relieving stress. Make an effort to reach out and spend some quality time with others. This will distract you from your own problems and give your mind a break from the mundane issues and routine life problems!

These five simple changes can help you manage stress effectively. If stress is causing sleeplessness, anxiety and limits your functionality in any way, then do not hesitate to contact a medical practitioner. Remember a healthy mind leads to healthy body and vice versa.

Food Blog Health

How soda negatively impacts your health?

From a child to a middle-aged person, everyone loves soda. No social gathering is complete without drinking aerated drinks. But if you’ve been reading magazines and research reports, you would know how bad these aerated and artificially sugared drinks are for your health. Most of them are nothing but water with heaps of sugar and a lot of CO2, devoid of any nutritional value! Despite knowing all the drawbacks, have you tried to dig more into its negative impacts on your health? Let’s have a look.

Unexpected spike in sugar levels, type 2 diabetes – 20 minutes after drinking soda, your blood sugar level spikes leading to insulin burst. In response to this, your liver starts turning any sugar into fat. After 45 minutes of gulping down a glass of soda, caffeine from the drink is completely absorbed, resulting in a rise in blood sugar levels and blood pressure. People who regularly consume sugary drinks, for example, 1 or 2 cans per day, have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely consume such drinks.

Reproductive problems – Nearly all the soda cans made of aluminum are lined with bisphenol A (BPA), an epoxy resin used to keep the acids in soda reacting from metals. BPA is a strong chemical which interferes with hormones and may lead to obesity, diabetes, infertility and some forms of reproductive cancers too!

Obesity – According to a research by Harvard, soda is closely related to the obesity epidemic. They have calculated that each additional soda consumed increases the risk of obesity 1.6 times. It also leads to an increase in cholesterol, liver fat, skeletal fat and triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat, leading to obesity. Even diet sodas that contain artificial sweeteners are equally bad. They induce hormonal responses that cause weight gain.

Tooth decay – Aerated drinks contain phosphoric acid, which is usually used in industrial cleaners. This acid erodes the tooth enamel leading to cavities. This acid when coupled with acid produced from bacteria, doubles the threat to tooth enamel. As a result, multiple teeth problems like pain, temperature sensitivity, cracking, transparency and darkening of the teeth emerge. Moreover, the caramel dye used to add color to these drinks contributes to yellowing of teeth.

Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a condition where your skeletal system starts weakening. The phosphoric acid content of the soft drinks increases the phosphate levels and lowers the calcium levels in your blood. When calcium in the blood is low and phosphate is high, the calcium is pulled out from your bones, which leads to Osteoporosis.

Heart diseases – The presence of a high percentage of fructose corn syrup, a cheap replacement for cane sugar, increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, which leads to heart disease and diabetes. This metabolic syndrome is also associated with elevated fasting triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, central obesity and low levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. In a study following 40,000+ men for two decades, it was found that those who drank one sugary drink per day had a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack, as compared to men who rarely consumed sugary drinks.

Accelerated aging – Regular, as well as diet colas, contain phosphoric acid and phosphates which are responsible for improving their shelf life and adding the tangy flavor. Too much phosphoric acid can also lead to kidney stones, heart problems, osteoporosis, muscle loss and accelerated aging.

Apart from the above, sodas can also damage the liver and increase the risk of liver cirrhosis; and lead to an increased risk of gout, dementia and cancers.

So, the next time you gulp down these sugary treats, you know what diseases you are inviting!

Food Blog Health

5 best drinks for your health

It goes without saying that water is the best drink for optimal health. The U.S. Institute of Medicine states that an average man should drink around 15 cups or 125 ounces of water while women should consume 11 cups or 91 ounces of water each day. However, this is just an average as a majority of people gets 80 per cent of their daily water needs from beverages and 20 per cent from food. So, it is prudent to select the best drinks for your health.

While some of the best drinks for optimal health are water-based, there are few that are not filled with water, but can benefit your health and wellbeing significantly.

Lemon Water – If you have been guzzling down calorie-filled sodas, you will find water bland and tasteless. You can add flavor to your drinking water by adding slices of fresh lemon. A study reveals that drinking lemon water can help reduce systolic blood pressure. But, there are more benefits of lemon water. It functions as a digestive aid and helps to detoxify the body by flushing out toxins and waste more efficiently. Lemon is replete with Vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant and an immune booster. The acidity of lemon juice eliminates bad bacteria from the mouth, thereby helping to freshen breath and prevent oral infections.

Green Tea – Over the years, green tea has become an indispensable beverage in households that value health and well being. Besides relieving indigestion, green tea is also known to prevent complications arising out of osteoporosis. One research found that regular consumption of green tea can positively affect bone mineral density, thereby reducing risk of fractures due to osteoporosis. Green tea is an antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress and stimulates the activity of antioxidant enzymes to ensure bone health.

Kombucha – This is a fermented tea-like beverage that has high content of probiotics. The healthy bacteria present in this fermented drink minimize bloating, prevent proliferation of candida and yeast and soothe the gut to ensure optimal digestion. It is believed that Kombucha has the ability to boost mental clarity, making a person feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Cranberry Juice – A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that drinking cranberry juice can ward off recurring urinary tract infections in women. Cranberry juice contains a component called non-dialysable material that prevents bacteria from adhering to the gums. This, in turn, prevents gum disease. However, bear in mind that cranberry juice has high sugar content and hence, you shouldn’t be looking to consume more than six to eight ounces a day. It is advisable to pick up 100 per cent cranberry juice from health stores.

Coconut Water – Coconut water is nature’s answer to oral rehydration. It naturally contains phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, calcium and potassium. In addition, water of a tender coconut contains B vitamins, ascorbic acid, zinc, selenium, iodine and sulfur. This is just the drink you need on a hot summer’s day to replenish the lost salts and revitalize your body. If you want to avert diseases and health-related issues, make these five drinks a part of your daily life along with regular exercise. You will love the endless energy and vitality that these beverages can impart.

Food Blog Health

Nutrition diva: 5 ways to slow aging

While aging is inevitable, it does not mean that you have to sit down and do nothing about it. In fact, you can slow down the aging process. The secret lies in eating right. Consuming the right food means your body gets the nutrition it requires to function optimally and perform repairs at the cellular level. When you start treating your body with love and respect, it will respond and you will notice that the aging process actually slows down. You will feel more energized and be able to do many things that previously you couldn’t because of your unhealthy food choices.

Here are five foods that can slow the aging process and help you stay young for a longer period of time.

Blueberries – Not only are blueberries delicious, but they are also replete with antioxidants. According to the oxidative stress theory, free radicals damage the body at the cellular level, thereby impairing their functioning and hastening the process of aging. In fact, free radicals are responsible for a number of age-related disease, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even certain types of cancer. One study states free radical damage to lipids, proteins and DNA increases as the body ages. But, when you provide your body with adequate antioxidants, like from blueberries, it will slow down the aging process.

Dietary Fiber – When you consume whole grains, fruits, veggies and legumes, you are consuming dietary fiber. This fiber ensures your digestive system works optimally and you do not suffer from constipation. On the other hand, if you shun dietary fiber and consume a diet that is high in fat and calories, you will be at a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers – conditions that are associated with being overweight and obese. Research shows that eating food that is rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can keep your cholesterol in check and prevent age-related diseases as it keeps your weight under control.

Natural Yogurt – Bone loss is a major concern as the body ages. It can lead to osteoporosis. While women are more susceptible to osteoporosis, even men can get it. By consuming natural yogurt regularly, you can minimize bone loss. Also, yogurt contains beneficial bacteria that keep your digestive system running optimally.

Nuts – Almonds, cashew nuts, peanuts and macadamia nuts, are one of the healthiest foods out there if you are looking to slow down the aging process. They are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, unsaturated fat, proteins and fiber. Consuming nuts on a regular basis will keep your heart healthy and prevent onset of diseases that come with age. You will also have the energy to be physically active.

Broccoli – Remember how your mother used to force you to eat broccoli. Your mother was right in doing so. Broccoli is filled with antioxidants, fiber and different types of vitamins to ensure your body gets the nutrients to fight the natural aging process. As a result, consumption of broccoli slows down the aging process, allowing you to maintain a youthful body and mind.