Sabeka Rahman

Sabeka Rahman,B.Sc, M.Sc (Food And Nutrition). Clinical Dietitian and Nutritionist. Lubana General Hospital & Cardiac Center. Dhaka, Bangladesh.

How to treat insulin resistance naturally – Best help for it.

how to treat insulin resistance naturally

How to treat insulin resistance naturally at home?

We have all heard about the insulin hormone, specifically, it is associated with diabetes.

This is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. It is basically work on carbohydrate utilization as an energy source. But what is insulin resistance? Diabetes and other metabolic disorders develop from insulin resistance over the years.

We always want to know how to treat insulin resistance naturally. Is it possible? Yes, it is possible to some extent.

Before knowing how to treat insulin resistance naturally let’s check what is insulin resistance.

Insulin carries glucose from the bloodstream to body cells to make energy. Cells have their own internal members who open the cell membrane and receive glucose. They are called as insulin receptors. How to treat insulin resistance naturally it is very important to ensure the proper opening of these receptors.

When we take carbohydrate foods, the pancreas produces insulin to carry them into the body cells. There are two main purposes of it. One is to give body cells energy. Another one is to maintain the blood glucose level in the normal range. When we take energy as per our daily energy needs and do regular physical exercise, the insulin receptors can work efficiently.  So cells open and take glucose inside the cell and use it as an energy resource.

When we regularly take excessive amounts of carbohydrates than our actual need, an excessive amount of insulin is needed to flush the extra glucose into the body cells. And the pancreas forces itself to produce more and more insulin to manage the extra sugar in the blood. At some point, insulin receptors reject to take the glucose or the pancreas fails to produce more insulin or both happen simultaneously. In this stage, blood contains a higher amount of insulin but the cells remain hungry for glucose. This situation is called insulin resistance.

Lifestyle reversal is the key answer to the question how to treat insulin resistance naturally. Controlling calorie intake helps in this situation.

Insulin resistance and weight gain: Why insulin resistance happens?

The high flush of calories from food in carbohydrate and protein form pushes the pancreas to release more insulin. When cells have taken the maximum amount of glucose inside them, extra calories remain in the blood. More insulin is released to minimize blood glucose, but cells refuse to take and they are changed into fat cells and deposited mostly in the liver. Blood is flooded with glucose, amino acids, and insulin and insulin resistance happens. Before reversing knowing how to treat insulin resistance naturally is very important.

The primary insulin resistance sites are muscle (skeletal, smooth, cardiac), adipose tissue, leucocytes, and mammary glands (responsible for milk production in a lactating mom). These sites do not allow circulatory glucose and amino acids into the cells in a resistant state. But they remain in an energy deficit condition, the person feels hungrier and eats more. This eating stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin.

The extra insulin converts the extra calories into the fat. This is how insulin resistance causes weight gain. How to treat insulin resistance naturally you have to prevent the reasons behind it.

So it is very important to consume one’s exact amount of calories according to his/her body’s needs.

The key how to treat insulin resistance naturally lies in the cause of it. The most common reasons are:

  1. An inactive lifestyle, all day sitting, sleeping, or moving very little with no exercise.
  2. Family history.
  3. High triglycerides or low HDL in blood.
  4. High blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or above).
  5. A woman diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
  6. Women who had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth.
  7. History of stroke.
  8. Overweight or obese. BMI more than 23 (although the ideal BMI is 22, more than 23 increases the chance of having diabetes 3.6-fold.
  9. Age over 45,
  10. High fructose intake from sugar (sucrose, high fructose corn syrup) and fruits.
  11. Excessive oxidative stress and long-term inflammation.
  12. Alterations of good gut microbiota to bad microbiota increase the chance of having insulin resistance.
  13. Certain medications i.e. HIV medication, anti-psychotics, steroids etc.
  14. Some disease conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Cushing’s syndrome, and lipodystrophy syndrome (very low amount of fat in the body).

How to treat insulin resistance naturally: Symptoms

There is actually no prominent symptom that can be said a symptom of insulin resistance. It usually can be detected when a person goes for an annual health checkup or other disease treatment.

To understand how to treat insulin resistance naturally a doctor will go for some symptoms. Such as-

  1. Waistline more than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women.
  2. Velvety skin patches around the neck, it is called Acanthosis Nigricans.
  3. Irregular menstrual cycle.
  4. Blood pressure is more than 130/80 mm Hg.
  5. HDL cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dl in men and less than 50 mg/dl in women.

Effects of Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a silent abnormal body situation that can lead to various diseases. They can turn into several disease states and finally can yield the disease itself. If a person tries to know how to treat insulin resistance naturally the following symptoms should be checked:

  • Hyperglycemia (Leads to diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver or NAFLD, or both at the same time)
  • Hypertension (leads to cardiac disease, heart attack, stroke, paralysis etc.)
  • Dyslipidemia (Leads to heart disease, and liver disease).
  • Hyperuricemia (Leads to gout, and kidney stones).
  • Elevated inflammatory markers

(Leads the body from opening to bacterial/viral infections, heart disease, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or even cancer).

  • Endothelial dysfunction (related to heart disease, stroke, vascular diseases, kidney diseases), and
  • Prothrombotic state (problems related to blood clotting).
  • Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), a disease highly related to infertility in females.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is now called type 3 diabetes. It is due to chronic insulin resistance and insulin deficiency in the brain. Type 2 diabetes may enhance this disease progression.

Once the insulin resistance happens inside the body, it takes around 10 to 15 years to develop diabetes. So the importance of how to treat insulin resistance naturally is very high.

Blood test for insulin resistance

Now how do you test for insulin resistance? Knowing how to treat insulin resistance naturally is an important step. There are several tests to identify if someone is insulin resistant. Usually, your doctor will ask for a blood test of fasting blood glucose (FBG), HBA1c, and Homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). These test results will reveal whether you have insulin resistance or not.

HBA1c will reveal the previous 3 months’ blood glucose results while FBG will give you the instant blood glucose situation. If the result lies between the following results, you may develop prediabetes. If so, you have to go for an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to confirm it. To treat insulin resistance naturally, you may have to do the following tests.

  • HBA1c – 5.7 to 6.4 percent
  • FBG – 100 to 125 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)
  • HOMA-IR – >1.9 (for non-diabetic)

Persons who are prediabetic tend to develop diabetes within the next 5 to 10 years. HOMA-IR normal range is between 1.0 to 1.4. more than 1.9 means the person is early insulin resistant. Above 2.9 indicates significant insulin resistance.

Lifestyle Modifications to Reverse Insulin Resistance

A lifestyle intervention with a healthy diet and regular physical exercise mostly prevents insulin resistance development. How to treat insulin resistance naturally depends on the proper maintenance of a modified lifestyle.

A high carbohydrate diet and high-fat diet releases consistently glucose and free fatty acids, resulting in competition to enter the cell. High free fatty acid influx reduces the mitochondrial utilization of glucose, so cells shut down their doors to blood glucose. So reversing this situation helps to open those cell receptors to blood glucose and reduces the release of extra insulin as well.

Counting calories and balancing meals according to one person’s own energy requirement with the substitution of unhealthy food for healthy food is crucial for this reversing process.

Foods that help insulin resistance

Glycemic Index of Food

The foods that quickly increase blood glucose spikes are high glycemic index (GI) foods. Simple sugar, and refined foods have very high GI. They draw more insulin than low-GI foods.  To avoid sugar spikes, low GI food is very helpful.

Whole grain foods and unprocessed foods have low GI.  GI ranges are

  • Low GI food: 1 to 55
  • Medium GI food: 56 to 69
  • High GI food: 70 and higher.

Mixing high-GI foods with high-fiber foods can reduce the blood glucose spike. How to treat insulin resistance naturally involves small portions of high GI food at a meal. Vegetables and whole-grain foods help to control insulin resistance.

Foods made with all-purpose-flour include white bread, paratha, dumplings, pizza, pasta, noodles, crackers and potato, yam, sugar and sugary beverages like soft drinks (coke, sprite, cola etc.), white rice, french fry, etc. have very high GI. How to treat insulin resistance naturally always choose whole wheat bread, oats, brown rice, brown pasta etc.

how to treat insulin resistance naturally

Fiber from vegetables, legumes, and fruits helps to reduce high GI food intake. As fruits also contain fructose, portions should be controlled to 2 to 3 servings a day depending on a person’s daily calorie needs. They also provide a good quantity of vitamins, and minerals that are responsible for good metabolism and good health. How to treat insulin resistance naturally you have to take fruits again they must be taken within a limited range.

Always choose low salt and low sodium options in case of pickled or canned food. Canned products need to be washed thoroughly with clean water. Include an ample amount of protein (0.8 gm protein per kg ideal body weight, consult with your dietitian) and a moderate amount of oil.

Dairy

Include dairy as milk, yoghurt, cheese, curd, buttermilk, kefir etc. You must have to adjust it with daily calories. They are good source of protein and calcium. The people who are lactose intolerant can use milk substitute from soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk etc. Alterations from unhealthy to healthy food options open channels for how to treat insulin resistance naturally.

Incorporate Plant Foods

Nuts are very good food for reversing insulin resistance. A cohort study showed that women who consume at least 5 times a week reduced 27% of developing type 2 diabetes than women who rarely or never consumed nuts.

How to treat insulin resistance naturally also includes increasing plant food in daily diet. Including whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and fiber in the diet increases the intake of antioxidants, polyphenols, certain vitamins, and minerals. They also reduce the intake of high amounts of animal protein that is harmful in excessive amounts, particularly all processed food and meat products. They are proven to protect against developing and mortality from insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

 Avoid Fructose

Reduce or omit direct sugar, sugary drinks, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and heavy intake of fruits. You can find HFCS in most packaged food, in the ingredients label. All sweet deserts, soda or soft drinks, alcohol, and sweetened tea/coffee are major sources of these harmful things.

Some products claim they do not use glucose as they increase blood glucose levels, but they use fructose as a sweetener. Excessive fructose either from packaged food or from fruit source induce triglyceride (TG) or fat production directly in the liver. Excessive TG in the blood also diminishes insulin sensitivity. In case of how to treat insulin resistance naturally, you have to eliminate these causes from your food habit.

Artificial Sweetener

Artificial sweeteners mimicking the activity of sugar induce insulin surge in the blood. When they enter the intestine, they induce incretin hormones (GLP-1, GIP) which create a signal to secret insulin. It results in unnecessary insulin release and causes insulin resistance. Hence high intake of artificial sweeteners should be avoided. To increase insulin sensitivity and know how to treat insulin resistance naturally appropriate use of artificial sweeteners should be ensured.

PUFA and MUFA

A diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid and mono-unsaturated fatty acid and a very low amount of saturated fatty acid helps. The fats that are solid at room temperature are saturated fats that mostly come from animals. Avoid or limit vanaspati, margarine, lard, and beef/mutton fat as they are sources of saturated fat. How to treat insulin resistance naturally includes considering these choices.

Include olive oil, canola oil, mustard oil, and coconut oil in your food in moderation. Include fat from fish, fish oil, almonds, walnuts, cashews, and flaxseed as they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. High saturated fat increases LDL cholesterol quickly and disturbs the insulin balance also.

Restrict Calories

Several studies have found calorie restriction induces long-term insulin regulation with good health compared with other dietary approaches. Restricting calories in a balanced way with low carbohydrate intake reverses insulin resistance in a better and long-term way.

It was found that a restricted calorie diet with or without exercise significantly improves insulin sensitivity.

Cook at Home

How to treat insulin resistance naturally includes cooking at home. Food from your kitchen is far better than packaged or processed foods. Read the labels of packaged foods and check the ingredient list. In this way, you can avoid maximum preservatives, sugars, and trans fats as well as you can preserve your health. Saturated fat and trans fat intake are highly responsible for increasing insulin resistance and mortality from metabolic diseases.

Mediterranean Diet For Insulin Resistance

Among all diet patterns Mediterranean diet is proved best diet for insulin resistance. This diet consists mainly higher content of extra virgin olive oils, nuts and seeds, red wine, fish, vegetables, and polyphenol-rich elements. Non-alcoholics can take red grapes instead of red wine as the root element is resveratrol which is beneficial for Insulin resistance.

The polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) from olive oil, seeds, and fish, anthocyanins from purple vegetables and fruits, resveratrol from grapes, and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil-derived, oleacein are the key components for reversing insulin resistance. In searching for how to treat insulin resistance naturally you can adopt this diet.

Exercise to reverse insulin resistance

Strength exercises open the insulin receptors mostly and enhance insulin uptake efficiently. Our liver is the main storage area of glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrates. Skeletal muscles also store glycogen. Regular physical activity allows the skeletal muscle to efficiently produce energy (ATP-adenosine triphosphate) from glycogen and increase the function of GLUT 4 (glucose transporter 4). GLUT 4 transports the blood glucose into the cell. Thus, how to treat insulin resistance naturally exercise can reverse insulin resistance.

If you recognize you have insulin resistance you should start exercising regularly. A simple brisk walking for around 30 – 60 minutes can help a lot. Walking exercise can significantly effective strategy against abdominal obesity and insulin resistance.

Studies have observed that insulin resistance can be reduced up to 48 hours after each exercise in the human body. 

Weight Loss

We are in an obesity epidemic right now. Not all overweight/obese individuals are insulin-resistant, but all insulin-resistant individuals are overweight/obese. The more overweight an individual, the more likely he or she is insulin resistant and at increased risk of developing all the abnormalities associated with this defect in insulin action.

Insulin resistance induces obesity. Child obesity also increasingly diagnosed with insulin resistance and diabetes. In the process of how to treat insulin resistance naturally weight loss is now recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) to reverse diabetes.

It can be achieved through bariatric surgery, low-calorie intake, or low-carbohydrate intake. Bariatric surgery is relatively effective but there is a high chance of getting post-operative complications thus making this option challenging.   

A 6-month personalized lifestyle intervention was conducted in at-risk Saudi women with insulin resistance and prediabetes who are used to leading a sedentary life. Personal dietary counseling with modest weight loss was very effective in preventing the development of diabetes.

Stress and sleep management

In modern civilization, deep night sleep is very much disturbed. This results in the destruction of the circadian rhythm. Around 7 to 8 hours night sleep is mandatory for a good metabolic response. In the process of how to treat insulin resistance naturally, you have to become careful about your sleep cycle.

Stress often reduces sleep quality. Sleep deprivation changes our hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis function and increases glucocorticoid production. It enhances the system that your body automatically produces glucose, so insulin is also produced with low levels of adiponectin level. Adiponectins are involved in controlling glucose intake. A low level of it is associated with higher food intake and abnormal body weight.

This whole process leads to insulin resistance and inflammation.

In the long run, it results in diabetes and other complications as well.

Improving sleep quality from the early night around 7/8 hours can reverse insulin resistance. This is very important in case of how to treat insulin resistance naturally. Using any kind of device should be stopped within 8 to 9 pm including mobile, pc, laptop, gaming device, TV etc. The environment of the room should be calm, no light and no sound should be there. Early and deep sleep will reduce your health stress and insulin resistance-related diseases more efficiently.

Final Thoughts

In most cases, we achieve insulin resistance over the years. It is mainly what we achieve from our faulty lifestyle and consuming higher calories continuously. Thus it has become a pandemic now. So it is very important to know how to treat insulin resistance naturally. Modifying all the causes behind it should be changed in a healthy way, so a person can benefit.

9 Harmful effects of soft drinks on human body: The hidden truth.

harmful effects of soft drinks on human body

Harmful effects of soft drinks on human body: It’s time to be concerned.

Soft drinks are very enjoyable drinks around the world. A drink that contains carbonated water, sweetener, and a natural or artificial flavor. Soft drink is a common name, but it has regional names for both carbonated and noncarbonated beverages. Mostly they are well-known as cold drinks, energy drinks, fizzy drinks, fizzy juice, pop, soda, soda pop, tonics etc.

In 1884, a drugstore owner in Lisbon Falls in the United States made the first soft drink.  (Tahmassebi et al., 2006). Soon afterward Coca-cola and Pepsi-cola and similar products appeared industrially. As manufacturing technology and marketing strategy improve, a local pharmacy product changes into a $60 billion industry product every year.

But it is now very clear about the harmful effects of soft drinks on human body. Soft drinks contain high amounts of sugar and acid. They can cause dental caries, erosion, overweight, obesity, high risk of having type 2 diabetes.

Potential risks from the harmful effects of soft drinks on human body| Check your risks now.

There are so many harmful effects of soft drinks on human body that are related to the daily high consumption of soft drinks. Usually, soft drinks contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) taken from cane sugar for sweetening the product. Soft drinks are mostly referred to as sugary soda but they also include highly sweetened fruit juices, tea, coffee, and other sugary drinks.

The most common ingredients that are used in soda or soft drinks include-

  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Carbon-di-oxide
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Citric acid
  • Caffeine
  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial flavors.

A 12-ounce sweetened soft drink will give you 150 Calories. If not fortified, they don’t give any essential nutrition for a healthy life. Diet cola or diet drinks do not give any calories but can give you other ingredients as well. Regular and excessive drinking of soft drinks is associated with side effects that you won’t actually like.

Let’s have a look at what harmful effects of soft drinks on human body may exert.

1. Soft drinks give empty calories

Soft drinks do not supply any nutrients. They provide only sugar from high fructose corn syrup. Studies show numerous times the harmful effects of soft drinks on human body. They do not give satiety because fructose cannot lower the ghrelin hormone like glucose. Besides this, soft drinks don’t contain any fiber at all. Fiber improves satiety. For this reason, such drinks give extra calories over top of all consumed calories from solid foods.

Other than calories from sugar, soda water do not give any nutrient. Children who drink soda water usually do not drink milk or plain water. As soft drinks can not be compared with milk for nutritional value, children get fewer nutrients if they take fizzy drinks.

People who regularly consume sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) gain weight much more than those who don’t drink them regularly.  One study showed that daily one serving of soft drinks increases 60% of obesity in children.

2. Another harmful effect of soft drinks on human body as they increase the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Sugar contains two chemical products, sucrose, and fructose. Every cell of our body can metabolize glucose, but fructose is metabolized by the only liver. Excessive fructose intake turns into fat in the liver. It results in the accumulation of fat around the liver and results in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Fructose overload also can cause inflammation of liver cells. It may result in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Possible harmful effects of soft drinks on human body include liver diseases also.

Large fructose intake accumulates fat around the belly. Studies have shown fructose intake is the culprit to fat storage around the belly. In this situation, blood lipid levels increase significantly, whereas glucose intake does not show a similar effect on the blood. A waistline over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women is a key indicator of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to metabolic syndrome.

Studies showed that each 100 kcal intake from soft drinks increases the waist circumference by 1.1 cm. Substituting 100 kcal soft drink with 100 kcal milk decreases the waist circumference by 1.3 cm. The choice is yours.     

High sugar intake from food and beverages leads to weight gain. This is the key factor for increasing the risk of metabolic diseases. A group of problems is called metabolic syndrome. They include obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases. Sugary drinks are the easiest way to take in extra calories that can lead to weight gain. It finally results in metabolic syndrome. So the harmful effects of soft drinks on the human body are far more serious than those sweet charming beverages.

3. High sugar increases the risk of achieving cancer

Several studies have shown that high sugar spikes blood glucose levels which increase the risk of several types of cancer. These include breast cancer, colon, kidney, esophageal, endometrial, and prostate cancer. The harmful effects of soft drinks on human body exert through cancer also.

Cancer comes hand-in-hand with diseases from metabolic syndrome like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. 

A study was conducted with over 60,000 people. It showed that 2 or more sugary drinks per week increase 87% of having pancreatic cancer among those who did not drink soda.

Women who drink lots of sugary drinks after menopause is at very high risk of endometrial cancer. The inner lining of the uterus is the endometrium. Here cancer starts.

Recurrence of cancer and death from colorectal cancer is highly associated with sugar-sweetened beverages. The harmful effects of soft drinks on human body are actually beyond our imagination.

It is estimated that almost 30% to 40% risk of all types of cancers can be reduced only by lifestyle and healthy dietary changes.

 4. ADHD of children and dementia in adults: Harmful for cognitive function

Caffeinated soft drinks contain caffeine which is a stimulant product. Its consumption between 100 mg – 400 mg leads to nervousness, jitteriness, and fidgetiness. The developing brain in children undergoes continuous pruning and myelination process. Caffeine consumption hampers these processes. The use of sodium benzoate in soft drinks leads to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Nowadays children are getting 30% of sugar regularly from soft drinks.

Both caffeine and sodium benzoate are coming from sugar-sweetened beverages. A high intake of soft drinks links with a high incidence of ADHD and low memory performance.  Children who drink carbonated beverages suffer from the harmful effects of soft drinks on human body very highly.

A 12-country study was conducted on children aged between 9-11 years. It showed children with higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with less sleep (< 9 hours/day).  Less sleep is detrimental to children’s motor skills, immune function, attention, daytime functioning, and academic performance. The harmful effects of soft drinks on human body especially on children should be a concern.

 5. Tooth decay

Sugary drinks are loaded with sugar. Carbonated beverages are full of phosphoric and carbonic acid. Both of these compounds directly contribute to the tooth decay process.

Acid melts the enamel of the tooth. Along with acid, sugar creates a favorable environment for bad bacteria in the mouth. Both factors increase the chance of dental caries. The harmful effects of soft drinks on human body are very high, also on dental health.

 6. Bone decay(osteoporosis)

The tangy taste of soft drinks comes from phosphoric acid. A single can of soft drink contains about 7 to 10 spoonsful of sugar. This high sugar cannot be tolerated usually. To diminish this highly sugary taste phosphoric acid is used.

Other harmful effects of soft drinks on human body include a high intake of phosphorus. High phosphorus in the blood activates the parathyroid hormone which pulls calcium out from the bone. Hence people who drink so many soft drinks, tend to lose their bone density. It ultimately leads to osteoporosis.

A high meat diet (which also contains high phosphorus) with` soft drinks intake makes the situation worst.

These people tend to break or experience fractures in bone easily. The harmful effects of soft drinks on human body may result in very painful experiences.

 7. Dementia

When our brain declines to not work properly, dementia happens. A group of declining brain functions is called dementia. The most common is Alzheimer’s disease. Research showed that high blood sugar is strongly associated with an increased risk of dementia. High doses of sugary drinks can impair memories and decision-making capacity.

 8. Risk of Gout

Gout is an inflammation and painful disease of joints, especially of big toes. High blood uric acid levels crystallize in the joints and make pain. Fructose is an important agent for blood uric acid. It undergoes phosphorylation reactions which increase the uric acid levels. But glucose from other sources of food does not give the same reactions.

Sugary drinks give a high amount of fructose. It exerts both a weight-gaining effect as well as increasing uric acid levels.

A 22-year-long study among 80,000 women found that those who drink a can of sugary drink a day had a 75% higher risk of having gout. It is very low compared with those who rarely drink any soft drink at all. The result is similar among men as well. The harmful effects of soft drinks on human body are very painful when it increases uric acid level.

 9. Mortality

The most harmful effects of soft drinks on human body are increased mortality rates at an early age. The more people drink sugary beverages, the greater the early mortality risk is. The highest mortality rate is from cardiovascular disease and the lowest is from cancer.

There is a strong association between sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases. High blood triglyceride, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and cholesterol level increase with a high intake of sugar.

A 20-year-long study was done by over 40,000 people. It reveals that those who drink at least 1 sugary drink per day had a 20% high chance of getting heart disease or dying from it.

High intake of sugary beverages increases the risk of recurrence of cancer and death from it. Sugary beverage intake can be modified and can be reduced for all-types of mortality from cancer.

Bottom line

It is well established that high sugar intake is associated with various types of diseases. The harmful effects of soft drinks on human body are very concerning. It affects a variety of classes of population all over the world. But it is a modifiable problem.

If you want to avoid health hazards, live a happy healthy life, and want to lose weight and live longer, consider to reduce soft drinks intake. Change your high sugar intake from soft drinks to water, normal tea, coffee, iced tea or coffee, homemade fruit juices, etc.  

05 Importance Of Vitamin A That Are Absolutely Lifechanging|

Importance of vitamin A

5 Top most Importance of Vitamin A In Human.

 

Vitamin A (retinoids) is the first of all vitamins which is required in very slight amount daily . There are lots of importance of vitamin A in our body.We will discuss them today. This vitamin refers to three preformed compounds that exhibit metabolic activity:

  1. The alcohol (retinol),
  2. The aldehyde (retinal or retinaldehyde) and
  3. The acid (retinoic acid).

Plants contain a group of chemical compounds. They are known as carotenoids. They can yield retinoids when metabolized in the body.  There are several hundred carotenoids exist in foods as antioxidants. Only a few have significant vitamin A activity. The most important of these is β-carotene. It possesses about one-sixth of vitamin A activity compared to that of retinol.

Screenshot 2022 08 19 180011

 

Importance of Vitamin A

They can yield retinoids when metabolized in the body. Although several hundred carotenoids exist in foods as antioxidants, only a few have significant vitamin A activity.

The most important of these is β-carotene. It possesses about one-sixth of vitamin A activity compared to that of retinol.  

Preformed vitamin A are retinol and retinyl esters. They  are mostly present in animal foods. Such as meat, dairy products, and fish. Provitamin A is beta-carotenoid. It is mostly present in colorful fruits and vegetables. Both forms of vitamin A must be converted to retinal and retinoic acid after absorption. This is essential to support biological processes.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. So, it needs oil or fat for proper absorption in gut. If you try to remove all oils and fats from your diet, you may will face vitamin A deficiency diseases. It also requires protein to bind (Retinol binding protein-RBP). The person who lacks of protein in diet severely, may face vitamin A deficiency. It is a common menifestation in protein energy malnutrition (PEM). 

How importance of vitamin A affect human life?

Vitamin A is essential for different kinds of functions such as good eye health, enough growth and differentiation, reproduction and maintenance of epithelial cells. Hence importance of vitamin A is very wide in our life.

It is recorded in the history that Hippocrates (about 500 B.C.) cured night blindness. He prescribed to the patients ox liver (in honey),
which is now known to contain high quantity of vitamin A.

1. Prevention of Eye Health: Night blindness & Xerophthalmia

Our eye retina structure depends on vitamin A. Retina has photosensitive rods and cone cells. They sense and adapt through dim light.

So, we can see things in low light at night or in place where light is very low.

This process (dark adaptation) prevents a disease called night blindness. Previously this disease was epidemic worldwide. It is a preventable disease.

The earliest symptom of vitamin A deficiency is Night blindness (nyctalopia). The person faces difficulty to see in dim light since the dark adaptation time is increased. Prolonged deficiency damages a lot of visual cells. This change is irreversible.

Severe deficiency of vitamin A leads to xerophthalmia. It means dryness in conjunctiva and cornea of eyes, and skin roughness (keratinization of epithelial cells). In conjunctiva of our eyes, white triangular plaques form. It is known as Bitot’s spots.

If xerophthalmia is not treated for a long time, corneal ulceration and degeneration occur in the eyes. It follows the destruction of cornea. It is Keratomalacia. It causes total blindness.

Adequate intake of vitamin A is necessary for the prevention of blindness. Hence importance of vitamin A is very high for best eye health.

Diet rich in vitamin A and carotenoids along with fat is essential to prevent night blindness.

Advanced Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a disorder that is usually develops after age 50 years.

An antioxidant supplement (including beta-carotene) helps to reduce the development of AMD and vision loss and blindness. Importance of vitamin A is extreme not only in early life but also in late life also.

2. Vitamin A for Healthy Reproduction

Several studies have shown that vitamin A and its precursors are crucial for normal reproduction.

Retinol and Retinoic Acid both are necessary for normal reproduction. They act like a hormone and regulate gene expression.  Retinoic Acid (RA) actively participates in proper genetic formation of sperms in both neonatal and adult testis.

Male genital tract construction and maintenance depends on Vitamin A. The whole process of sperm formation (spermatogenesis) is also dependable on adequate vitamin A in blood. 

 Thus, deficiency of vitamin A can lead to male infertility.

In female, vitamin A deficiency (VAD) reduces the egg quality.  It also affects on reproduction by impaired implantation of egg.

During pregnancy, the normal structure of fetus is dependent on vitamin A supply form mother. The organs, limbs, skin, skeleton, nervous system, hair, eyes all can develop well in the presence of vitamin A. In pregnancy period deficiency of vitamin A may result in malformation of baby. So, importance of vitamin A is very high for an optimum reproductive health.

Actually in term of fertility for both male and female importance of vitamin A is absolutely undeniable.

3.Importance of Vitamin A in Healthy Immune System

Vitamin A involves in production of glycoprotein through a series of reactions.

Glycoproteins are incredibly diverse and serve many functions in the body including cell aggregation and cell recognition.

Some provide structure e.g. Collagens, others are involved in immunity e.g. immunoglobulins (such as IgG). They produce mucins which are secreted into mucus of the respiratory and digestive tracts. These specific mucins allow mucus to serve as an effective lubricant.

The mucous barriers in human eyes, lungs, gut and genitals help trap bacteria and other infectious agents.

Glycoproteins also function as a structural component of several hormones. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is one example. This hormone involves in development, growth, puberty, and reproduction.

Vitamin A is also essential for the production and proper function of white blood cells.

They help capture and clear bacteria and other pathogens from your bloodstream.

The red blood cell recognition is possible for the presence of glycoprotein in its cell surface.

Vitamin A deficiency increases the chance of respiratory and diarrheal infections.

The skin becomes rough and dry. Keratinization of epithelial cells of gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract and respiratory tract is very common. This leads to increased bacterial infection.

Vitamin A deficiency  also leads to the formation of urinary stones.

Thus vitamin A deficiency reduces the quality of healthy immune system.

The mortality rate is high in vitamin A deficient Infants, young children and pregnant women. Particularly In populations where vitamin A availability from food is low.

The importance of vitamin A is very wide in maintaining our health.

4. Importance of Vitamin A in Cancer And Chronic Diseases Prevention.

Vitamin A play a crucial role in regulating the differentiation and proliferation of epithelial cells. They are potent inducers of programmed cell death that are beyond repair (apoptosis).

The carcinogen-induced damage to DNA of regulatory genes causes the development of cancers. Most of the results from experimental studies indicate that retinoids are effective in preventing or suppressing cancers. 

Carotenoids has highly reactive conjugated double bonds. They act as free radical traps or antioxidants. In this way they play an important role in the prevention of  cancers. Among all carotenoids, beta-carotene is most strong antioxidant. They are mainly found in all fruits and vegetables specially in colored ones.

Higher vegetables and fruits in daily food habit lowers the risk of several cancers. It is also very beneficial to prevent heart diseases.

It is also the importance of vitamin A to prevent heart diseases.

Lower dietary vitamin A intake results in a higher risk to develop cancer.

Daily consumption of fruits and vegetables is proved that it helps to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.

Specially cancer is strongly prevented with regular intake of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Particularly the cancer of the esophagus, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, stomach, colon, and rectum. In case of prevention of all kinds of cancers importance of vitamin A is utmost high.

5. Other Health Benefits of Vitamin A

Although vitamin D, calcium and protein are the key nutrients in growth and maintenance of bone health. But vitamin A is also needed to maintain a healthy bone structure.

Lower blood levels of vitamin A increases the risk of bone fractures.  The people with healthy levels of vitamin A are in lower risk of bone fractures.Along with all other health benefits importance of vitamin A is also high in case of good bone health.

Vitamin A Toxicity

The importance of vitamin A in our life is vey high. This vitamin is fat soluble so we cannot excrete it through urine. So, we have to be aware of vitamin A toxicity.

Excessive consumption of vitamin A leads to toxicity. The symptoms of hypervitaminosis A include

  • dermatitis raised intracranial tension,
  • enlargement of liver,
  • skeletal decalcification,
  • tenderness of long bones,
  • loss of weight,
  • irritability,
  • loss of hair,
  • joint pains etc.

Elderly people are more prone to vitamin A toxicity. So overdoses must be avoided.  

Total serum vitamin A level (normal 20–50 micro g/dl) is elevated in hypervitaminosis A. Higher concentration of retinol increases the

synthesis of lysosomal hydrolases. The manifestations of hypervitaminosis A are attributed to the destructive action on the cell membranes. Importance of vitamin A level maintaining is high to prevent toxicity.

Food Sources

   
Food mcg RAE
per serving
Percent
DV*
Beef liver, 3 ounces 6,582 731
Sweet potato, 1 whole 1,403 156
Spinach, boiled, ½ cup 573 64
Pumpkin pie, packed, 1 piece 488 54
Carrots, raw, ½ cup 459 51
Herring, Atlantic, pickled, 3 ounces 219 24
Ice cream, French vanilla, soft serve, ⅔ cup 185 21
Milk, skim, with added vitamin A and vitamin D, 1 cup 149 17
     

Cheese, partly skimmed, ½ cup

133 15
Peppers, sweet, red, raw, ½ cup 117 13
Mangoes, raw, 1 whole 112 12
Breakfast cereals, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin A, 1 serving 90 10
Egg, hard boiled, 1 large 75 8
Black-eyed peas (cowpeas), boiled, 1 cup 66 7
Apricots, dried, sulfured, 5 apricots 63 7
Broccoli, boiled, ½ cup 60 7
Salmon, cooked, 3 ounces 59 7
Tomato juice, ¾ cup 42 5
Yogurt, low fat, 1 cup 32 4
Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids, 3 ounces 20 2
beans, canned, plain or vegetarian, 1 cup 13 1
squash, boiled, ½ cup 10 1
Chicken, breast meat, roasted, ½ breast 5 1
Pistachio nuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce 4 0
*DV = Daily Value.

The DV for vitamin A is 900 mcg RAE for adult requirement and children of 4 years and older.

  • 1 mcg RAE = 1 mcg retinol,
  • 2 mcg beta-carotene from supplements,
  • 12 mcg beta-carotene from foods,
  • 24 mcg alpha-carotene,
  • or 24 mcg beta-cryptoxanthin.

Foods those contain 20% or more of the DV of vitamin A are considered to be high sources of a nutrient. But the foods containing lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet.

Final Thoughts

We may take vitamin A and carotenoids from foods regularly; we need to keep in mind that this vitamin needs a carrier to proper absorption and use in our body. Most important carriers are fats and oils and protein. Here first-class protein is the primary choice, even second-class protein may help. So, our diet must be rich in all kinds of foods that can meet our each type of nutritional needs.   

 

Management of diarrhea: BRAT DIET

causes of diarrhea sudden or chronic

During hot humid summer, diarrhea occurs more frequently than in any other season in Bangladesh. There could be so many reasons behind having diarrhea such as bacterial, viral, fungal infections, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D), excessive sugar intake, malnutrition, bariatric surgery, medicinal side effects, etc.

Diarrhea is a symptom of any other disease, so why it happens should be identified. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are to two most dangerous impacts of diarrhea which could be fatal. If not treated, diarrhea can take away one’s life as well. The first life-saving treatment for diarrhea is taking Oral Rehydration Saline (ORS). In maximum cases, diarrhea stops within 24 hours.

During diarrheal episodes, some foods should be excluded to calm down the irritated Gastrointestinal Tract (GI Tract). Hyperosmotic carbohydrates (Lactose, Fructose, Sucrose, Sugar alcohol) increase the GI Tract irritability so diarrhea cannot be reversed easily. So, the diet should be hypo-osmotic carbohydrate-rich. In this way, the gut feels cool. This is called as BRAT Diet. This diet provides a very good amount of sodium, and potassium with a boosted source of energy. At the same time, they make the stool tighter to stop diarrhea.

BRAT:

B- Banana (Unripe and ripe both types of bananas)

R- Rice (Soft bland cooked rice, puffed rice or Muri, flattened rice or Chira)

A- Apple (Raw or cooked apple, applesauce)

T- Toast (Toast biscuits, Bread toast)

What you can eat:

  • During diarrheal episodes, you should choose pectin-rich banana, apple, and potato. All of them help to solidify the loose stool.
  • Mashed unripe banana, ripe banana anyone you can choose. You can make cutlets with unripe bananas and chicken meats.
  • Rice is a very good food at this time. But it must be in bland form. In Bangladesh, it is known as “Jau vat”. It could be prepared with mashed potato and added salt. The liquid texture of rice and pectin of potato helps to meet the energy and electrolyte requirements.
  • Soaked flattened rice or puffed rice (Muri) can be easily taken as snacks. Banana can be taken also, but milk should be avoided.
  • Toast biscuits and bread toasts are very useful at this time to control loose motion.
  • In the BRAT diet, you can add very low oiled fish, egg, and skinless chicken with rice or toast.
  • The egg can be taken as poached or boiled form.
  • Coconut water is a very good juice that can balance the electrolyte imbalanced situation. But it is important to take oral saline to manage electrolyte imbalance. Coconut water can be taken as a good water source.
  • The chicken clear soup is a very good source of protein, water, and electrolytes. It is a very good beverage during diarrheal episodes.
  • Along with all other foods, saline and beverages, you have to take water as well.
  • If you take antibiotics your beneficial gut microbes get killed. So, the guts’ normal environment becomes irregular and electrolyte absorption becomes disrupted. At this time yogurt is a beneficial food because it is a natural prebiotic. It helps to absorb electrolytes on the colonic surface.   

What to avoid:

  • Dairy products and milk
  • Deep-fried food
  • Oily food
  • Spicy food
  • Packaged and processed food
  • Raw vegetables and salad
  • Corn
  • Onion
  • All types of citrus fruits except banana and apple
  • Tea, coffee
  • Soft drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweetener (Sorbitol)
  • Sardine fish
  • Any food that is prepared with sugar
  • Chocolate

In most diarrheal cases taking lots of liquid food, BRAT Diet, and ORS, loose motion recovers easily.

When to see a doctor:

Sometimes it is very important to see a doctor if the repeated episodes of diarrhea aren’t going to stop. You have to notice the followings-

  • If diarrhea persists for more than two days.
  • High fever (more than 102F)
  • Severe stomach ache.
  • Bloody stool.

In the case of small children, if the following symptoms are present you have to rush to your doctor.

  • If the baby doesn’t feel better than before.
  • If the fever goes more than 102F.
  • If the baby doesn’t urinate more than 2-3 times within 24 hours or if he/she stops urinating completely.
  • When the baby cries if there is no water in the eyes.
  • If pinching on the skin doesn’t go back to a smooth surface immediately.

The right kind of food can help you to heal back quickly. So, you have to choose the right kind of food. You have to eat a BRAT diet for 2 to 3 days continuously and omit all other kinds of foods then you can feel better than before. But it shouldn’t be continued for long. If it is continued for long the person may face malnutrition. So, the patient must go back to his/her normal diet as soon as the diarrhea is healed.      

References:

1. Medical Nutrition Therapy

Krause’s Food And Nutrition Therapy, International Edition.

2. Diarrhea.

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diarrhea

3. Bland Diet

Sara-Bethany S. Weir; Hossein Akhondi.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538142

Cashew nuts Benefits

anacardium, cashew, cashew nuts-3523449.jpg

Among all kinds of nuts cashew nut is very popular one. Cashews are low in Omega-3 fatty acids, but rich in omega-9 fatty acids. They are a good source of protein, iron, magnesium and other minerals. Cashews are lower in fat than many nuts and somewhat higher in carbohydrates. The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cahew is 0.11 while it is recommended below 10 by World Health Organization(WHO).

It contains higher amounts of selenium and vitamin E which are anti-oxidants by nature. They reduce the free radical oxidation process, so that they can act as strong anti-cancerous agents.

 

Cashew has rich amount of iron and zinc. It has protein also. Those who are vegan, they can incorporate cashew as a source of protein in their diet. Its calcium and magnesium content increases the cognitive capacity as well as increases blood HDL and decreases LDL level. But in case of reducing weight and diabetes control, cashew has no significant function.

One serving (approx. 17 no) of cashew contains:

Energy: 155 Kcal

Fat: 12 gm

Protein: 5 gm

Carbohydrate: 9 gm

Fiber: 1 gm

Vitamin E: 1% (RDI)

Magnesium: 20% (RDI)

Several studies say that cashew can reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome.Its magnesium and calcium can play a significant role in our proper bone metabolism,so that it can help us to prevent osteoporosis and osteomalasia.

Benefits of Nuts

almond, fruit, seeds-3523569.jpg

Benefits of Nuts

There are various kinds of nuts worldwide. It can be taken simply as snacks, or can be taken with dessert or any kind of food. It is very popular snacks among health-conscious people. It is very tasty again it is very nutritious food also. There are so many kinds of nuts. Some of them are pea-nuts, almonds, cashew nuts, pistachio, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, pecans, macademia nuts etc.

Nuts are rich in protein, EFA (omega 3 & omega 6 fatty acids), different kinds of vitamins and minerals. Usually, we have to take EFA’s from marine sources. But nuts make it easy to people to derive them from plant sources. One serving nut is about 1 oz (28 gm) nuts.

Almonds:

Almonds are an extremely good source of calcium. Those who have lactose intolerance can easily take almonds as a source of calcium. This mineral is very important to maintain our bone metabolism. It is a must mineral for good bone and tooth health.

The essential fatty acids of almonds can reduce bad cholesterol LDL, and helps to increase good fat HDL in our bloodstream. Several studies say nuts contain a good amount of fibers, so they can reduce the postprandial blood glucose level significantly. So it is very helpful to control hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes also. It can also reduce the level of inflammation in our bodies.

One serving (around 22 no) of almonds contains:

  • Calorie: 161 Kcal
  • Fat: 14 gm
  • Protein: 6 gm
  • Carbohydrates: 6 gm
  • Fiber: 3.5 gm
  • Vitamin -E: 7.37 mg
  • Calcium: 76.3 mg
  • Magnesium: 76.5 mg
  • Potassium: 208 mg

As almonds contain fiber it helps to reduce weight and their vitamin-mineral content increases bowel movement and cognitive functions. It has vitamin E that makes our skin and hair glowing and healthy.

Carrot Nutrition:

Baby carrots

There are so many types of vegetables in the market. In winter season carrot is available in market abundantly. Colorful vegetable means a lot of vitamins and minerals. Today we will go to discuss about carrot’s nutritional values.

A 7.5-inch-long carrot contains about-

Energy 72 kcal

Fat 68 gm

Protein negligible

Sodium 233 mg

Potassium 51 mg

Calcium 32 mg

Phosphorus 24 mg

Iron 10 mg

Beta-Carotin 20,253 micro gm

Carrot also contains Thiamin, Riboflavin, Pyridoxin, Cyanocobalamin, Pantothenic acid and vitamin K. So only one carrot can provide so many of our required nutrients in an instance. Let’s see what other things a carrot can do.

Eye sight:

Carrots super power is it can help us in maintaining a very good health of our eye sight. It helps us to prevent so many kinds of eye problems such as Xerophthalmia, Night blindness, Cataract etc. Carrot contains Lutein which reduces the chance of blurry eye sight with age. With increasing age, it is becoming hard to read and write without glasses. One carrot daily can help you to reduce the problem.  

To Prevent Cancer:

Carrot contains carotenoids and anthocyanin. Both of them causes the color of carrot. They act as anti-cancer agent. So include a carrot in your daily food habit, it will help you to prevent cancer.

Heart Health:

Carrots anti oxidents are very useful to prevent heart diseases. Hypertensive people can eat a carrot to prevent getting high pressure as it contains a good amount of potassium. Potassium helps to control the high pressure.

Bowel health:

Carrot contains a good amount of fiber. Fiber is very helpful for a regular bowel movement. A carrot can help you if you have constipation issues and can prevent Piles and other gastrointestinal diseases.

Bone Health:

Vitamin K and calcium both are required for a good bone metabolism. Both of them are present in carrot. So they can help us to maintain a good bone also.

Anti-aging property:

There are so many kinds of anti-aging cosmetics in market. We rush for them regularly. Do you know carrot itself is an anti-aging food? If you are concerned about your aging and look, you easily can incorporate one carrot in your daily diet.

We can take carrot both in raw and cooked form. But it is much better to take it in raw form so that the vitamins can remain intact. Diabetic patients can take carrot in small amount daily. But renal patients should have to cautious about carrot intake because it contains potassium. All other people can take carrot daily without any problem.

Be happy, be healthy.