Lemons, the bright-yellow colored fruit which adds a slightly tangy and sour flavor to your foods is actually a health booster in disguise. Weight-watchers are recommended a glass of lemon water every morning for a reason; and so is the case with people affected with liver problems and kidney stones. This little fruit is packed with vitamins (vitamin C being the most prominent one), folate, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, protein and copper. So adding just a spoonful of lemon juice is like adding all these essential nutrients to your food. With such properties in place, lemons have the ability to treat acid reflux, indigestion, acne, kidney stones, obesity and many other health problems. And that’s not all; lemons can treat dandruff, acne and improve your skin tone as well. Most of the benefits of lemons are attributed to the high vitamin C content of this fruit. And it doesn’t end here; the best part about lemons is that it is extremely low in calories. A 100-gram serving of lemons packs only 29 calories. Studies also show that lemons peels are equally healthy. They are enriched with antioxidants which fight free radicals, sky-rocketing blood sugar levels and an underactive or overactive thyroid gland.
Enough said, let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of lemons.
1. Treating indigestion
If you are dealing with indigestion or constipation, squeeze some lemon juice over your food. It is one of the most popular remedies for indigestion. Squeeze it over your salads or add it to a glass of soda or warm water and it will help you get rid of constipation in no time. You can also add some fennel seeds or mint leaves to it to enhance the flavor of the drink.
2. Dental care
Lemon has a number of benefits for your teeth. It is a bleaching agent which prevents and treats the yellowing of teeth. It also helps you fight bad breath, bacteria, gum bleeding and tooth ache naturally. For this, you can add a few drops of lemon juice to your toothpaste and rub it on your teeth. This mix is acidic so it might give you a burning sensation. If this happens, rinse your mouth quickly.
3. Hair care
Lemon juice is said to have a wide range of benefits for your hair. Applying this juice on your scalp can be very helpful in treating dandruff, hair loss, and other problems of the scalp. Applying this juice on your hair gives it a natural shine. You must apply limited quantities of lemon juice as it is a bleaching agent and can lighten the color of your hair.
4. Weight loss
One of the most important health benefits of lemons is its ability to induce weight loss. Drinking a glass of lemon water with some honey every morning can speed up your metabolism. Practicing this every day can help you shed extra pounds while working out.
5. Fights kidney stones
One of the best ways to prevent kidney stone formation naturally is regular consumption of lemons. Lemons have the highest concentration of citrate, and this prevents kidney stones from forming in the first place.
6. Reduces water retention
The lightly-colored fruit is naturally diuretic; these properties of lemons help you fight water retention effectively. This is due to the alkaline nature of lemons which help you maintain healthy pH levels in your body.
7. Powerful detox
Lemons can act as a natural detoxifying agent for your liver and your kidneys. It helps you flush out all the infection-causing bacteria from your body naturally.
8. Boosts immunity
Those who have a weaker immune system are more vulnerable to cold and the flu. Vitamin C in lemons can help them in strengthening their immune system. This helps in reducing the risk of frequent illnesses.
One fruit and so many benefits! Yes, that’s lemons for you.
Balanced protein intake better for health
Researchers suggest that excessive consumption of protein for building muscle mass could have a negative impact on the body. However, wide-range of protein is best to maintain balance. Amino acids have long been touted by the fitness and bodybuilding communities for their muscle building benefits. From ultra-bulk protein powders to lean mass-promoting snack bars, there’s no shortage of products available for those seeking a muscle boost.
However, protein’s popularity has also meant that less attention has been paid to researching its potentially negative side-effects.
According to the study published in the Journal of Nature Metabolism, excessive consumption of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) may reduce lifespan, negatively impact mood and lead to weight gain.
BCAAs stands for branched-chain amino acids. It’s a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine, and are most commonly found in red meat and dairy.
BCAAs great for adding muscle mass, but science says you could pay for it later.
Researchers have investigated the complex role nutrition plays in mediating various aspects of metabolic health, reproduction, appetite and ageing.
“While diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates were shown to be beneficial for reproductive function, they had detrimental effects for health in mid-late life, and also led to a shortened lifespan,” one of the researchers, Dr Samantha Solon explained.
“What this new research has shown is that amino acid balance is important. It’s best to vary sources of protein to ensure you’re getting the best amino acid balance.”
The current research examined the impacts that dietary BCAAs and other essential amino acids such as tryptophan had on the health and body composition of mice.
“Supplementation of BCAAs resulted in high levels of BCAAs in the blood which competed with tryptophan for transport into the brain,” explained one of the researchers, Professor Stephen Simpson.
“Tryptophan is the sole precursor for the hormone serotonin, which is often called the ‘happiness chemical’ for its mood-enhancing effects and its role in promoting sleep. But serotonin does more than this, and therein lay the problem,” he added.
Dietitian and public health nutritionist Dr Rosilene Ribeiro recommend eating a wide range of proteins.
It’s important to vary protein sources in order to get a variety of essential amino acids, through a healthy and balanced diet rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
BCAAs are essential amino acids present in protein-containing foods, with red meat and dairy being the richest sources. Chicken, fish and eggs are also nutritious sources of BCAAs.
Vegetarians can find BCAAs in beans, lentils, nuts and soy proteins.
Know the severity of falling sick in the morning
While sickness comes irrespective of the time, the severity of afflictions ranging from allergies to heart attacks differs in the morning from that in the night highlighted a new study. The study was published in the Journal Trends in Immunology which compiled studies, predominantly in mice, that looked at the connection between circadian rhythms and immune responses.
The body reacts to cues such as light and hormones to anticipate recurring rhythms of sleep, metabolism, and other physiological processes. The numbers of white blood cells, in both humans and mice also oscillate in a circadian manner.
Taking into account the above-mentioned facts, researchers in the study found that:
Heart attacks in humans are known to strike most commonly in the morning, and research suggests that morning heart attacks tend to be more severe than at night.
In mice, the numbers of monocytes, a type of white blood cell that fights off bacteria, viruses, and fungi –are elevated in the blood during the day. At night, monocytes are elevated in infarcted heart tissue, resulting in decreased cardiac protection at that time of day relative to morning.
Parasite infections are time-of-day dependent. Mice infected with the gastrointestinal parasite Trichuris muris in the morning have been able to kill worms significantly faster than those infected in the evening.
Allergic symptoms follow a time-of-day dependent rhythmicity, generally worse between midnight and early morning. Hence, the molecular clock can physiologically drive innate immune cell recruitment and the outcomes of asthma in humans, or airway inflammation in mice, the review notes.
“Investigating circadian rhythms in innate and adaptive immunity is a great tool to generally understand the physiological interplay and time-dependent succession of events in generating immune responses,” said senior author Christoph Scheiermann, University of Geneva.
ICMR develops affordable quick test kits for diagnosing genetic bleeding disorders
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has developed a cost-effective and rapid point-of-care test kit for diagnosing genetic bleeding disorders such as haemophilia A and Von Willebrand disease (VWD).
Diagnostics which are currently available require special equipment and are expensive.
“Both Haemophilia A and VWD are under diagnosed disorders in our country. There are only handful of comprehensive diagnostic centres for bleeding disorders,” an official at ICMR said.
“Lack of awareness and diagnostic facilities, high cost of tests are some of the factors for under-diagnosis of bleeding disorders in our country,” he said.
According to the ICMR, the kit is the world’s first point-of-care test for specific diagnosis of any common bleeding disorder and costs less than Rs 50 in comparison to existing conventional test that cost around Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000.
The newly developed kit would help in diagnosis within 30 minutes of blood sample collection. Also, this will be available at any level of health care system including primary health care centres (PHCs) since it does not require any special expertise or infrastructure.
Worldwide, incidence of Haemophilia A is 1 per 10,000 male births and that of VWD is around 1 per cent of the general population.
“In India, there is no epidemiological data. We may have roughly 80,000-1,00,000 severe Haemophilia cases in our country, but the total number registered with Haemophilia Federation India (HFI) is only around 19,000,” the official said.
Patients with severe Haemophilia A or VWD can have life threatening spontaneous or post-traumatic bleeding like brain haemorrhage and gastrointestinal bleeding. In emergency medical setting, it is important to have a quick diagnosis of bleeding disorders for treatment.
This rapid test kit can be used for the diagnosis of menorrhagia cases/ post-partum haemorrhage (PPH), gynecological complications among others.