Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Are You So Dumb To Skip Your Morning Breakfast

Serge Berstasius, freedigitalphotos.net


During my final year in school, we were busy preparing for the public exams. My father arranged special coaching to help me get more marks. I used to go early in the morning to attend the classes and still had my idlli and sambar breakfast.

The funny part is that I used to carry a flask full of Horlicks for extra strength along with my lunch to school. Word spread about my flask of Horlicks like wild fire. And kids would actually come to my class to boo at me while am drinking my Horlicks. Those were the good old days you see!

Protein rich breakfast
A new study has found that, eating breakfast which is rich in protein, increases the youngsters’ levels of a brain chemical called dopamine, which is associated with feelings of reward. This in turn reduces food cravings and overeating later in the day.

The good news is that, breakfast reduced the cravings for sweet foods and especially a protein rich breakfast, reduced cravings for high fat food. On the other hand, if the breakfast is skipped, these cravings continued to rise throughout the day.

Earlier studies have proved that, a protein rich breakfast increases satiety value. It reduces hunger and unhealthy snacking throughout the day.

How about some nice breakfast ideas?

Breakfasts that include eggs are great, because they are rich in vitamin D and the hard to get choline, a nutrient that may reduce anxiety and boost memory. Low fat dairy cottage cheese, yogurt and Quinoa a gluten free grain can add variety to your breakfast schedule.

Melinda Johnson, Director and a Professor in Nutrition talk about some amazing breakfast tips in US News. Here you go…

You can add 1 tbsp of peanut butter to whole wheat bread with a banana topping.

Strawberries, Greek yogurt, uncooked oatmeal, skimmed milk or soy milk can be blended for a delicious mug of strawberry smoothie. A drizzle of honey will enhance its taste.
Cook ¾ cups of dry oatmeal with 11/2 cups of skim milk. Add ¼ cup of chopped walnuts and 1 chopped apple. Sprinkle some cinnamon and honey. Wow!

Now these are some awesome tips. Being a South Indian I can guarantee you that idlli and sambar breakfast is healthy, tasty and nutritious and my all-time favorite. Some things don’t change you know!

Here is a YouTube video of idlli and sambar recipe.

Take care,
Swarnam





Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Coffee Promotes Brain, Eye, Breast, Heart, Stomach and Liver health- Whew!

Feelart,freedigitalphotos.net
My sanity returns with a cup of coffee. I will shout my lungs out, my kids and even the neighbors know that I had missed my cup of coffee (just kidding). And once I had my fill I am the sweetest, most well behaved person you will ever see in the universe.

So there must be something special about coffee, right? Let us begin our adventurous journey into the unknown coffee realm.

Health benefits in your cup of coffee

Studies have found that coffee consumption lowers the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer. A small study found that drinking coffee improved small blood vessel function.

Scientists unexpectedly found that coffee contains N-methylpyridium which blocks the ability of stomach cells to produce hydrochloric acid and could be a magic formula to prevent stomach irritation. This compound is generated upon roasting. The darker the roasted color of the coffee bean the more the goodness of this stomach friendly substance.

Coffee good for breast cancer

Scientists say that coffee reduces antiestrogen resistant estrogen receptor -negative breast cancer. If this sounds Greek and Latin have a word with your doctor.

Researchers say that coffee could decrease the risk of breast cancer recurring in patients taking the used drug Tamoxifen. Patients who took the pill along with two or more cups of coffee daily, reported less than half the rate of cancer recurrence, says one research study.

The goodness of coffee continues

Coffee may protect against endometrial cancer. Caffeinated coffee may reduce the risk of oral cancer. A daily cup of coffee prevents deteriorating eyesight and possible blindness from retinal degeneration due to glaucoma, aging and diabetes. In short coffee is good for your eye health. A recent study has found that decaffeinated coffee may promote liver health. 

Coffee and the brain

An international group of scientists has found way back in 2008 that coffee aroma kick starts genes in the brain and increases its efficiency. 

Decaffeinated coffee boosts memory function. An intriguing finding says that 3 cups of coffee a day enjoyed by older adults can keep Alzheimer’s disease at arm’s length. Coffee along with a sweet treat can improve brain efficiency so says a University of Barcelona research study.

Take away,

Wow! That’s an awful lot of reasons to vote for the freshly brewed cup of coffee. But remember, moderation is the best practice. While you enjoy your cup of piping hot coffee, listen to the Coffee Song by Frank Sinatra.

Take care,

Swarnam

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Can BPA In Baby Bottles Cause Lung, Wheeze And Fertility Problems in Kids

Cho Joo Young, freedigitalphotos.net 
I prefer old fashioned steel tiffin boxes for packing my kids school lunch, much to the dismay of my tween son. He is not so comfortable with the idea of huge steel tiffin boxes with the so called healthy food.  I told him some really scary stuff which I am about to tell you now. So lend an ear.

The chemical BPA in plastics
Scientists are raising the alarm that BPA a chemical found in plastics may lead to reduced lung function and persistent wheeze in kids, if they are exposed to the chemical at the very tender age, say prenatal period.

Sadly, this chemical is found in plastics such as water bottles, baby bottles, food can liners, dental sealants and other plastic materials.

BPA can also affect fertility
Earlier studies say that BPA during pregnancy may cause permanent reproductive problems for the girl babies. When experimented on mice, this chemical produced changes in the genes which caused the uterus to over respond to estrogen.

Now this can lead to fertility problems, advanced puberty, altered mammary development and reproductive function. Not only that, it can lead to a variety of hormone related cancers. This BPA can also affect testicular function if the baby is exposed to the chemical when its inside the womb.

Take away,

It would be wise to avoid the use of plastics and tinned foods as much as we can. You forgot about my son, I did not tell him in such detail. I told him the smallest and the scariest story about plastics you've ever heard. Now he is happy with his huge old fashioned lunch box.
Take care,

Swarnam

Saturday, October 4, 2014

3 Research Proven Ways to Obtain Positive Body Image

Bigjom,freedigitalphotos.net



I used to be very insecure about my body image. But once I understood the fact that I am a masterpiece made by the creator of the universe. My attitude towards my body image changed. Instead of feeling insecure, I began to follow a healthy diet, exercise and have a positive self-image about myself. And that surely did wonders to my self-esteem. Hope this understanding helps.

Self-acceptance works wonders

Women who accept and tolerate their imperfections appear to have a more positive body image despite their body mass index. This acceptance helps them to deal with personal disappointments and setbacks in a better way. So says a recent research study.

Self-compassion vs Self-esteem

Scientists say that self-compassion might be an important means to increase positive body image. When you compare self-esteem and self-compassion, self-compassion stands out because it helps women to feel more secure about their body image. Self-esteem on the other hand comes from evaluating oneself as above average and magnifies the perceived short comings.

How to have a positive body image

It seems that women with high familial support and limited pressure to achieve the thin and beautiful idea have a more positive body image.

Body dissatisfaction is known to be correlated with and predictive of binge eating, low self-esteem, depression and use of unhealthy weight control behaviors.


It would be great if women are taught effective coping skills which foster a positive body image, by the way of exercise and healthy diet and a wee bit of self acceptance, so say health professionals. And as in my own case a bit of faith in the almighty too helps. I have added a YouTube video of Britt Nicole about self acceptance. It's really great. Have a look

Take care,
Swarnam

Monday, September 29, 2014

How Can Exercise Boost Your Mental Fitness

marin,freedigitalphotos.net 
Exercise is as important to you as your very breath, to put it simple your breath of life. I hope I have talked 1003 times about exercise, but scientists are finding more benefits on a day to day basis. So here we go again.

Exercise protects from stress-induced depression

It is a known fact that exercise is good for depression. You feel refreshed after a nice long walk. The process was unknown until scientists came out with astonishing findings.

Research done on mice shows that, exercise training induces changes in skeletal muscle, which can purify or gets rid of the blood of a substance that accumulates during stress and is harmful to the brain. Wow!

According to WHO an estimated 350 million people are affected by depression. That’s a scary statistic. Physical exercise induces protective biochemical changes in the brain that protects the brain from being damaged during stress, says scientists.

Exercise increases the powerhouses of the cell

Exercise on a regular basis increases the number of mitochondria in muscle cells. These mitochondria are responsible for generating energy. As we all are aware exercise has plenty of physical health benefits.
But a research study says that exercise boosts mitochondria not only in the body, but also in the brain. This makes the brain more resistant to fatigue. 

The boost in mitochondria could also help to treat mental disorders. Exercise could be the heaven sent an answer for psychological disorders, genetic disorders and neurodegenerative disorders. It could also be used as a therapeutic option to reduce the effect of ageing. How good is that?

So, switch into your workout gear and hit the gym.

Take care,
Swarnam


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Alert! Low Iron Intake During Pregnancy Can Increase Autism Risk in Infants

Patrisyu,freedigitalphotos.net 
My balcony garden was so frail and dry while my neighbor’s garden was full of life and bursting with color. So I prayed God, what’s the problem with my garden? I heard God say Swarnam, add some nutrients to your plants. I bought some nice organic manure and added. The result- my garden was bursting with colors.

In the same way nutrient intake during pregnancy is a must for the healthy development of the fetus. Researchers found that moms of kids with autism were less likely to remember taking iron supplements before and during pregnancy. Though more research is needed, it is better to be careful.

Iron supplements

Folic acid and iron are involved in fetal brain development. The body needs iron to make hemoglobin and for a healthy immune system. But during pregnancy extra iron is needed for the growing baby.

Health advisers say that Iron prevents preterm delivery, low birth weight and infant mortality.  Pregnant women need approx. 27 mg of iron per day, whereas non pregnant women need 18 mg per day.
Iron rich sources

You can find iron naturally in red meat, lean beef, chicken, oatmeal, lentils, kidney beans, chick peas, pumpkin seeds, tofu, spinach, prune juice and raisins.
Folate can be found in asparagus, bran flakes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, chick peas and dried beans.

Before I go I just want to let you know about a latest research study. It says that children who were conceived either less than one year or more than 5 years after the birth of the elder sibling were more likely to be diagnosed with autism than children conceived following an interval of 2-5 years.

So eat healthy and stay happy.

Take care,

Swarnam