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Healthy diet helps older men maintain physical function

The Kashmir Monitor

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A healthier diet pattern is associated with 25 per cent lower likelihood of developing physical impairment with aging, finds a new study.

A person’s ability to maintain independence and to physically care for themselves is an essential part of healthy aging.

Few studies have examined how a person’s diet may allow some aging people to maintain physical function — basic everyday tasks like bathing, getting dressed, carrying groceries or walking up a flight of stairs, while others’ abilities diminish.

 

This study by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital examines the role of a healthy diet and finds that this highly modifiable factor can have a large influence on maintaining physical function. The results of the study were published in ‘Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging’.

“Diet can have specific effects on our health and can also affect our wellbeing and physical independence as we get older,” said senior author, Francine Grodstein. “What excites me about our findings is the notion that we have some influence over our physical independence as we get older.

Even if people can’t completely change their diet, there are some relatively simple dietary changes people can make that may influence their ability to maintain physical function, such as eating more vegetables and nuts,” Grodstein added.

Grodstein and her colleague Kaitlin Hagan examined data from a total of 12,658 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, tracking them from 2008 to 2012.

At the beginning of this period, all men were assessed for their ability to perform such activities as bathing/dressing themselves, walking one block, walking several blocks, walking more than one mile, bending/kneeling, climbing one flight of stairs, climbing several flights of stairs, lifting groceries, moderate activities, and vigorous activities.

The men also filled out a food frequency questionnaire with responses ranging from “never or less than once per month” to “six or more times per day.”

The team used criteria from the Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010 to assess the quality of each of the men’s diets and assign an individual score.

These criteria included six food categories for which higher intake are better (vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and legumes, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids).

One food category for which moderate intake is better (alcohol), and four categories for which lower intake is better (sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juice, red and processed meats, trans fatty acids and sodium).

Grodstein and Hagan found that higher diet scores (meaning better diet quality) were strongly associated with decreased odds of physical impairment, including a 25 per cent lower likelihood of developing impairment in physical function with aging.

An overall healthy diet pattern was more strongly associated with better physical function than an individual component or food. However, the team did see that greater intake of vegetables, nuts, and lower intake of red or processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages each modestly lowered risk of impairment.


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Health

5 natural ways to fight non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

The Kashmir Monitor

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According to the WHO, liver disease is the 10th most common cause of deaths in India. Gone are the days when liver disease was only associated with the consumption of alcohol. With the increased prevalence of obesity and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, which leads to hepatitis and eventually cirrhosis, is an emerging problem. More than a million new patients are diagnosed with liver cirrhosis every year globally, and the major causes for it are non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and hepatitis B and C. Epidemiologic studies suggest the prevalence of NAFLD in nine per cent to 32 per cent of the general population in India. Dr Palaniyamma D., Medical Advisor, The Himalaya Drug Company, says people who are overweight or obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle are at risk of NAFLD. The prevalence is especially common in those who eat highly processed food. The five best foods to be included in the diet to regulate this condition are:

Greens: Green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and sprouts help in general weight loss by preventing fat build-up in the liver.

Oatmeal: Oats are packed with dietary fibre and help a person feel full for a longer period, thus serving as a filling breakfast or snack and increasing the body’s energy levels.

 

Sunflower Seeds: These seeds are high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps protect the liver from further damage, and are a healthy snack for munching in between meals.

Garlic: This popular flavour-enhancing ingredient helps burn extra fat, which in turn helps in reducing weight.

Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acid, fish is an excellent food that improves liver function and reduces inflammation.

If NAFLD is detected and managed at an early stage, it is possible to reduce the amount of fat in the liver and prevent the condition from worsening.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the first step towards managing NAFLD. Reducing weight, eating healthy, exercising moderately, and avoiding alcohol can reduce the risk of NAFLD. Consuming alcohol does not cause NAFLD, but it can worsen the condition.

Medicines can be useful in managing the symptoms associated with this condition. Using medications that have natural ingredients can restore the functional efficiency of the liver. Formulations containing natural ingredients such as The Caper Bush (Himsra) and Chicory (Kasani) improve the functional efficiency of the liver, protect the liver structure, boost liver health, and remove toxins from the body.

The liver carries out various functions that are critical for good health. It helps break down food, purify blood, build proteins, remove harmful substances, balance hormones, and store energy. Hence, it is advisable to consume a healthy diet and supplements containing herbal ingredients that help the liver metabolise foods, eliminate waste, and balance hormones.

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Health

Diet to help you fight symptoms of skin allergies

The Kashmir Monitor

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Adopt these guidelines manage your allergies: From consuming at least two tablespoons of flaxseeds daily to practising stress relaxation techniques or meditating.

Skin allergies are common and are characterised by red skin rashes or bumps. Some are caused by allergens induced by exposure to foods, medications, and insect stings, but the large majority of cases are not specific to any cause. Adopt these guidelines to fight symptoms and manage your allergies.

  1. Essential fatty acids are responsible for healthy cell membranes, which act as barriers to harmful things, as the passageway for nutrients to cross in and out, and for waste products to get in and out of the cell. The best-known essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6, which must be in balance for good health (and good skin). Though we all seem to get enough omega-6, most of us lack omega-3s. Some good sources are fish, walnut, and flaxseed oil. Consume at least two tablespoons of flaxseeds daily. You could sprinkle it on your salad after roasting it.
  2. Vitamin C has been shown to decrease production of histamine, reducing immediate allergy potential. Vitamin C helps relieve allergic symptoms and prevent inflammatory reactions by providing an anti-histamine-like effect.
  3. As tension and stress usually make allergies worse, practice stress relaxation techniques or meditate.
  4. People who are prone to allergies must look carefully at their intake of foods such as berries, raisins, prunes, nuts, seeds, shellfish, soybean and gluten. The right detoxification programme and correction of any liver problems can be extremely helpful for such individuals.
  5. It is important to remember that what you eat reflects on your skin. Your skin requires the right kind of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. When we improve our diet, these nutrients take time to reach the skin.
  6. So, once you bring about the required alterations in your diet or go on a restricted elimination diet, don’t expect a miracle. In addition to the diet and vitamins, you may need your physician’s help, to check if you have any severe infection or a specific allergy.

 
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Health

4 Surprising Pre-Workout Foods

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We all have our go-to pre-race foods, from a simple bowl of oatmeal to a peanut butter and banana sandwich. But those meals can be a little too filling right before boot camp. That’s where these surprising foods and drinks can help when you’re pressed for time. Read on to find out which foods you should eat to ensure an all-star workout at the gym.

Watermelon Juice

Forget Gatorade—researchers suspect that an amino acid called L-citrulline found in watermelon can provide relief to sore muscles after an intense workout. A study published earlier this year found that athletes reported less muscle soreness on days they drank watermelon juice. The same has been found of drinking cherry juice, which contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

Some runners take salt tabs when running in the heat to prevent muscle cramping, but salty food works too, according to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Researchers found that men who ate chicken noodle soup containing 1,362 milligrams of sodium before cycling in the heat retained more water and thus stayed hydrated during their workout. But note: The average recommended sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams per day.

Coffee

That afternoon cup of joe may not be such a bad idea, especially if you plan on hitting the gym after work. A 1992 study published in the British Journal of Sports Science found that runners who drank a small amount of coffee before running 1,500 meters on the treadmill ran 4.2 seconds faster than those who took a placebo. The coffee drinkers also experienced enhanced oxygen intake.

Watercress

The leafy green that’s often just used as a garnish has some surprising muscle relief powers, too. The antioxidant-rich watercress has been proven to prevent DNA damage caused by high-intensity exercise. A British Journal of Nutrition study also found that eating watercress two hours before a workout provides the same benefits as consuming it for eight weeks.

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