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Experts reveal health benefits of eating nuts

The Kashmir Monitor

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Turns out, eating Brazil nuts and other varieties of nuts daily may prevent weight gain and provide other cardiovascular benefits.

Two separate studies presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago tried to show the benefits of eating nuts daily.

One study analyzed the influence of eating nuts and peanuts on long-term body weight in U.S. men and women. The other study examined whether eating Brazil nuts could increase a sense of fullness and improve glucose and insulin responses.

In the analysis of nuts’ impact on weight, researchers followed health professionals who were free of chronic disease at the start of the study. They found that eating one one-ounce serving of any type of nuts or peanuts, in place of foods generally considered low in nutritional value, was associated with a lower risk of long-term weight gain and obesity.

Nut consumption was assessed through a food-frequency questionnaire submitted to participants every four years in three different established study groups of 25,394 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, 53,541 women in the Nurse’s Health Study and 47,255 women in the Nurse’s Health Study II in follow-up research.

The findings revealed that eating a daily serving of any type of nut or peanuts was associated with less risk of weight gain or becoming obese over the four-year intervals. It also showed that substituting one serving a day of any type of nuts in place of one serving of red meat, processed meat, french fries, desserts or potato chips was associated with less weight gain over the four-year intervals.

A serving of nuts is defined as one ounce of whole nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter. “People often see nuts as food items high in fat and calories, so they hesitate to consider them as healthy snacks, but they are in fact associated with less weight gain and wellness,” said first author of the study, Xiaoran Liu.

“Once people reach adulthood, they start to gradually gain about one pound a year of weight, which seems small. But if you consider gaining one pound over 20 years, it accumulates to a lot of weight gain. Adding one ounce of nuts to your diet in place of less healthy foods — such as red or processed meat, French fries or sugary snacks — may help prevent that slow, gradual weight gain after you enter adulthood and reduce the risk of obesity-related cardiovascular diseases.” she said.

In the Brazil nut study, conducted at San Diego State University in 2017 through a grant from the American Heart Association, 22 healthy adults (20 women and two men) age 20 or older with a mean body mass index of 22.3, consumed either 36 grams of pretzels or 20 grams of Brazil nuts (about five nuts) in addition to their usual diet.

The Brazil nuts and pretzels had approximately the same amount of calories and sodium. Participants ate either the nuts or the pretzels in two trials with a washout period of at least 48 hours to prevent carryover effects.

The study found, both Brazil nuts and pretzels significantly increased a sense of fullness and reduced feelings of hunger, with the greatest sense of fullness experienced by the group eating Brazil nuts compared to those eating pretzels. It also found that pretzel consumption caused a significant increase in blood glucose and insulin at 40-minutes after they were eaten, compared to the start of the trial, whereas eating Brazil nuts did not significantly increase blood glucose or insulin.

“While both Brazil nuts and pretzels increased a sense of fullness after they were eaten, eating Brazil nuts stabilized postprandial (after eating) blood glucose and insulin levels, which may be beneficial in preventing diabetes and weight gain,” said senior study author Mee Young Hong.

Brazil nuts are one of the highest known food sources of selenium, a mineral which the researchers note in previous studies may be associated with improvements in insulin and glucose responses.

“Our study allows researchers and clinicians to consider the possible beneficial role of Brazil nuts to help people feel full and maintain a healthy level of glucose, reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes,” Hong said.


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Health

Can Diabetics Eat Rice And Potatoes? Top Diabetologist Answers

The Kashmir Monitor

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Diabetes is not a battle in which we have to fight with ourselves and let win the part which makes us unhappy. It is a part of our life which we should enjoy by balancing our lifestyle. One part of enjoyment is through food, which is a very important game to play what to eat and how much to eat. If we talk about our Indian diet, the staple diet is carbohydrate based, which is rice, wheat, potatoes or sweet potatoes. These are the major sources of carbohydrate in our diet.

How to balance these important sources which gives us satiety?

As per guidelines accepted by most of the associations (FDA, ICMR, ADA, WHO, USDA), carbohydrate should be included in our major meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

In each major meal, one- fourth of our plate should contain carbohydrate which comes from rice/roti/potato/sweet potato. The carbohydrate requirement is different for different individuals who are guided by a nutritionist depending on their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and lifestyle.

Why we should consider portion size and follow food plate?

To understand the answer of above question we should know what glycemic index (GI) is and glycemic load. Glycemic index is a score given to different food item which indicates the effect of a carbohydrate rich food to raise our blood glucose level. It is scored between 0-100 which is categorized into 3 categories a. High (70 & above) b. Medium (56 to 69) and c. Low (55 & less). We should prefer taking low GI food. In today’s scenario, not only glycemic index of food is seen but glycemic load of a particular food is taken into consideration for example potato has high glycemic index but low glycemic load.

Glycemic load is to quantify the overall glycemic effect of a portion of food. The higher the glycemic index and glycemic load, higher will be the capacity of the food to elevate blood sugar level. One should know the glycemic index, glycemic load and carbohydrate content in our staple food sources. The table provides this information in 100g of these food items.

The glycemic index of our major carbohydrate sources is high but the glycemic loads of these food items are not high considering the portion size. Also, if we add fibre sources (Vegetables & fruits) it decreases the rapid digestion of glucose.

It is important to understand the quantity and quality of food that can be consumed as there are numerous myths related to diet in diabetes.

(Dr. Sujeet Jha is the Director of Institute of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Max Healthcare)

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Obesity may cause depression even in absence of health issues

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Overweight and obese people may be at increased risk of depression, even in the absence of other health problems, warns new research.

The research, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, showed that the psychological impact of being overweight causes depression, rather than associated illnesses such as diabetes.

“Our research shows that being overweight doesn’t just increase the risks of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease; it can also lead to depression,” said study co-author Elina Hypponen, Professor at the University of South Australia.

For the study, the researchers looked at UK Biobank data from more than 48,000 people with depression, comparing them with a control group of more than 290,000 people born between 1938 and 1971, who provided medical and genetic information.

Hospital data and self-reporting were used to determine whether people had depression.

The team used a genetic research approach to explore the causal link between the two conditions.

They separated out the psychological component of obesity from the impact of obesity related health problems, using genes associated with higher BMI but lower risk of diseases like diabetes.

“These genes were just as strongly associated with depression as those genes associated with higher BMI and diabetes. This suggests that being overweight causes depression both with and without related health issues – particularly in women,” Hypponen said.

“Our robust genetic analysis concludes that the psychological impact of being obese is likely to cause depression. This is important to help target efforts to reduce depression, which makes it much harder for people to adopt healthy lifestyle habits,” said Jess Tyrrell of the University of Exeter Medical School in Britain.

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Why music is used as a potential sleep aid?

The Kashmir Monitor

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Besides its potential to help reduce anxiety as well as the negative effects of physical pain, a new study suggests that music might serve as a cheap, non-pharmaceutical sleep aid for people facing difficulty in getting proper sleep. Sleep loss is a widespread problem and poses serious physical and economic consequences. However, there is a lack of systematic data on how widely it is used, why people opt for music as a sleep aid, or what music works.

The study found that music both stimulates sleep and blocks an internal or external stimulus that would otherwise disrupt sleep. “The study offers new understanding into the complex motivations that drive people to reach for music as a sleep aid and the reasons why so many find it effective,” said researchers including Tabitha Trahan from the University of Sheffield in the UK.

Further, to understand why people opt for music as a sleep aid, or what music works, the team investigated music as a sleep aid within the general public via an online survey that scored musicality, sleep habits, and open-text responses on what music helps sleep and why.

They examined 651 adults, who provided new evidence into the relationship between music and sleep in a population that ranged widely in age, musicality, sleep habits and stress levels. The results, published in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that 62 per cent use music to help them sleep. Even those who do not suffer from sleep disorders use music in their everyday lives to help improve the quality of their sleep experiences.

Studies have shown that music has many promising neurological and physiological effects that may be indicative of its effective use in the fight against sleep loss.
The subjective psychological benefits of music have also been linked to chemical changes observed via hormone levels as music increased oxytocin and accordingly levels of relaxation as well as decrease negative thoughts, the study noted.

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