Many states India have rice as staple food. In fact, rice is widely consumed in most parts of the world. But there are a number of myths attached with rice which make it difficult for people to consume rice without apprehensions. People have had many doubts about rice, like if white rice is healthier than brown rice, can eating rice lead to weight gain, is it okay to eat rice at night, etc. Previously, we have written about how celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar supports eating rice and how you can eat a simple meal like dal chawal even at night. Speaking of the nutrient content of rice, white rice has high carb content. A cup of white rice contains around 35 gms of carbohydrates. A cup of rice will have around 165 calories and 3-4 gms of proteins. Like most carbs, rice too gets ultimately broken down into glucose in the gastrointestinal tract. White rice contains less fibre as compared to brown rice. Brown rice even contains more vitamins and minerals. Brown rice contains manganese, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Let’s take a look at popular myths about rice you should never believe
Myth 1: Rice contains gluten
It is a very popular myth that rice has gluten. But the fact remains that rice is gluten-free and does not cause allergies which are associated with other grains. Foods which have high gluten are considered to be unsafe for people with diabetes and those who are on a weight loss regime.
Myth 2: Rice is fattening.
This myth is probably the reason why the trending fad diets today do not include rice consumption at all. However, this is not true. Why would Rujuta suggest eating rice as safe and healthy? Rice is easy to digest, is low in fat and is also cholesterol free. It contains carbs and is thus a good source of energy.
Myth 3: Rice has no protein.
Protein is the second most abundant nutrient in rice. 1 cup of rice contains around 3-4 gms of protein. This amount is high as compared to other grains.
Myth 4: Rice has high salt.
This is just a myth. Sodium content in rice is quite low.
Myth 5: Eating rice for dinner makes you fat
The fact is that rice is easy to digest and is helpful in improving quality of sleep. It increases leptin sensitivity. Leptin is produced by a fatty tissue which regulates fat storage in the body. Moreover, foods high in carbs can be eaten at night as they get metabolised into glucose. At night, glucose gets more readily converted into energy at night. When grains like rice are consumed during the day, the glucose converts into fat more readily.
Myth 6: Rice is difficult to digest
Exactly the opposite of this myth is actually true. Enzymes which are secreted in the human digestive tract are good at digesting rice. Rujuta is of the belief that rice is a prebiotic, which is a food for probiotic. Rice can help in having a strong gut and helps in keeping constipation at bay. As per Aryuveda, rice is suitable for all kinds of constitutions or doshas – pitta, vata and kapha.
Myth 7: Brown rice is healthier than white rice
Brown rice maybe considered healthier because of their high fibre content. This is the reason why fitness experts promote consumption of brown rice over white rice. But excessive fibre in brown rice can interfere with absorption of certain minerals in the body like zinc. These minerals are important for insulin function in the body. Hand-pounded single polished white rice is perfectly healthy to consume.
Myth 8: Diabetics should not have rice
Here in India, people eat rice along with dahi, sabzi, dal or ghee. Eating rice in such combinations reduces glycemic index of meals. Thus, it is completely safe for diabetics to have rice. But it is given here that this doesn’t imply that people with diabetes can have as much as rice as they want. Excess of anything is bad and even rice consumption is fine until it is done in limited quantities.
Beware of the silent killer
By Dr Sudhir Koganti
One may wonder what all this fuss about high blood pressure is. Hypertension causes many cardiovascular diseases that include stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and dementia, thus putting a huge burden on healthcare globally due to morbidity, mortality and associated costs. Last but not least, the public need to be aware of the correct treatment for high blood pressure.
Every year, the World Hypertension Day is celebrated on the 17th of May to increase awareness about this silent killer among general public. International Society of Hypertension along with World Hypertension League has designated the month of May as “May Measurement Month.”
The aim of this initiative is to screen as many people as possible that are over the age of 18 years for suspected hypertension. This strategy would greatly enhance in identifying silent or undiagnosed hypertensives so that they can be targeted with guideline directed lifestyle, dietary advice and treatment.
Awareness on the lower threshold of blood pressure reading required to label an individual as hypertensive is also required. American Heart Association guidelines released in 2017 clearly stipulate that a blood pressure reading of over 130/80 is now considered as stage 1 hypertension. However, the job of a cardiologist doesn’t stop with diagnosis but actually starts there. Once someone is labelled as hypertensive, it needs to be established if it is true or an entity called white coat hypertension.
Furthermore, investigations may have to be carried out to see if hypertension is secondary to a cause. Once diagnosed, a decision needs to be taken if lifestyle modification can be adopted or treatment needs to be initiated early.
Lifestyle modifications include six key steps and they are:
• Get expert advice from your doctor to help you understand your results;
• Lower salt/sodium to prevent excess fluid in the blood, which strains blood vessels;
• Eat more fruits and veggies – particularly potassium-rich ones – to balance out sodium in the blood;
• Exercise – it makes the heart stronger, putting less strain on blood vessels;
• Quit smoking – constituents of tobacco smoke damages blood vessel linings; and
• Monitor your blood pressure at home
As per studies and data, thousands of people are on wrong treatment for hypertension with a class of drugs called Betablockers (Atenolol, Metoprolol etc) being prescribed as first line or second line agent.
Betablockers have been phased out as first line or second line drugs to treat hypertension a while ago, unless there is concomitant coronary artery disease or heart failure. In fact, the same holds for other concomitant conditions too such as kidney disease, stroke etc.
Essentially, the key message is one prescription does not fit all and it need to be tailored to the individual in a dedicated specialist clinic. People need to actively undergo blood pressure screening of themselves.
They need to nudge their relatives and friends in the month of May and seek expert advice on how to manage and monitor this silent killer over the long run to lead an active and healthy life. (Writer is Consultant Cardiologist, Citizens Hospitals, Nallagandla, Serilingampally)
Dr Sudhir Koganti
Jawless fish may hold key to effective brain cancer treatment
A chemical found in jawless parasitic fish can be used to deliver anti-cancer drugs directly to brain tumours, as well as lead to more effective treatments for trauma and stroke, a study has found.
The research, published in the journal Science Advances, found that molecules from the immune system of the parasitic sea lamprey may also be combined with a wide array of other therapies, offering hope to treat disorders like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or even traumatic injuries.
“We believe it could be applied as a platform technology across multiple conditions,” said Eric Shusta, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.
When injected into the bloodstream, many drugs cannot reach targets in the brain as the blood-brain barrier prevents large molecules from leaving the blood vessels in the brain, researchers said.
In conditions such as brain cancer, stroke, trauma and multiple sclerosis, however, the barrier becomes leaky in and around the disease locations, researchers said.
The study found that leaky barrier offers a unique point of entry, allowing molecules to access the brain and deliver drugs precisely on target.
“Molecules like this normally couldn’t ferry cargo into the brain, but anywhere there’s a blood-brain barrier disruption, they can deliver drugs right to the site of pathology,” Shusta said in a statement.
Researchers said that the technology takes advantage of the fact that many diseases disrupt body’s natural defense mechanism – the blood-brain barrier, which lines the blood vessels of the central nervous system, protecting the brain from circulating toxins or pathogens.
They also linked the molecules to a chemotherapy called doxorubicin. The treatment prolonged survival in mouse models of glioblastoma, an incurable cancer.
“This could be a way to hold therapies in place that don’t otherwise accumulate well in the brain so they can be more effective,” said Ben Umlauf from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“There are several disease processes that disrupt the blood-brain barrier and we could conceive of delivering a variety of different therapies with these molecules,” said John Kuo from the University of Texas in the US.
Life expectancy linked to a person’s walking speed
People who walk slowly have a lower life expectancy than those who walk fast, a recent study has claimed. According to the study published in the Journal of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, those with a habitually fast walking pace have a long life expectancy across all levels of weight status – from underweight to morbidly obese.
Underweight individuals with a slow walking pace had the lowest life expectancy (an average of 64.8 years for men, 72.4 years for women). The same pattern of results was found for waist circumference measurements.
Professor Tom Yates, the lead author of the study, said, “Our findings could help clarify the relative importance of physical fitness compared to body weight on the life expectancy of individuals. In other words, the findings suggest that perhaps physical fitness is a better indicator of life expectancy than body mass index (BMI) and that encouraging the population to engage in brisk walking may add years to their lives.”
Dr Francesco Zaccardi, co-author of the study, said, “Studies published so far have mainly shown the impact of body weight and physical fitness on mortality in terms of relative risk, for example, a 20 per cent relative increase of risk of death for every 5 kilograms per metres squared increase, compared to a reference value of a BMI of 25 kilograms per metres squared (the threshold BMI between normal weight and overweight).”
Last year, Professor Yates and his team showed that middle-aged people who reported that they are slow walkers were at higher risk of heart-related disease compared to the general population.
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