Tag Archives: Harvard School of Public Health

Glycaemic Index

Definition:
The glycemic index or glycaemic index (GI) is a number associated with a particular type of food that indicates the food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose (also called blood sugar) level. The number typically ranges between 50 and 100, where 100 represents the standard, an equivalent amount of pure glucose.

The GI represents the total rise in a person’s blood sugar level following consumption of the food; it may or may not represent the rapidity of the rise in blood sugar. The steepness of the rise can be influenced by a number of other factors, such as the quantity of fat eaten with the food. The GI is useful for understanding how the body breaks down carbohydrates  and only takes into account the available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a food. Although the food may contain fats and other components that contribute to the total rise in blood sugar, these effects are not reflected in the GI.

The glycemic index is usually applied in the context of the quantity of the food and the amount of carbohydrate in the food that is actually consumed. A related measure, the glycemic load (GL), factors this in by multiplying the glycemic index of the food in question by the carbohydrate content of the actual serving. Watermelon has a high glycemic index, but a low glycemic load for the quantity typically consumed. Fructose, by contrast, has a low glycemic index, but can have a high glycemic load if a large quantity is consumed.

GI tables are available that list many types of foods and their GIs. Some tables also include the serving size and the glycemic load of the food per serving.

A practical limitation of the glycemic index is that it does not measure insulin production due to rises in blood sugar. As a result, two foods could have the same glycemic index, but produce different amounts of insulin. Likewise, two foods could have the same glycemic load, but cause different insulin responses. Furthermore, both the glycemic index and glycemic load measurements are defined by the carbohydrate content of food. For example when eating steak, which has no carbohydrate content but provides a high protein intake, up to 50% of that protein can be converted to glucose when there is little to no carbohydrate consumed with it.  But because it contains no carbohydrate itself, steak cannot have a glycemic index. For some food comparisons, the “insulin index” may be more useful.

CLICK & SEE
Glycemic index charts often give only one value per food, but variations are possible due to variety, ripeness (riper fruits contain more sugars increasing GI), cooking methods (the more cooked, or over cooked, a food the more its cellular structure is broken with a tendency for it to digest quickly and raise GI more), processing (e.g., flour has a higher GI than the whole grain from which it is ground as grinding breaks the grain’s protective layers) and the length of storage. Potatoes are a notable example, ranging from moderate to very high GI even within the same variety.

The glycemic response is different from one person to another, and also in the same person from day to day, depending on blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, and other factors.

Most of the values on the glycemic index do not show the impact on glucose levels after two hours. Some people with diabetes may have elevated levels after four hours.

Why  GI is so Important?
Over the past 15 years, low-GI diets have been associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke, depression, chronic kidney disease, formation of gall stones, neural tube defects, formation of uterine fibroids, and cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, and pancreas. Taking advantage of these potential health benefits can be as simple as sticking with whole, natural foods that are either low or very low in their GI value.

Determination of GI of a food:
Foods with carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream tend to have a high GI; foods with carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, tend to have a low GI. The concept was developed by Dr. David J. Jenkins and colleagues  in 1980–1981 at the University of Toronto in their research to find out which foods were best for people with diabetes. A lower glycemic index suggests slower rates of digestion and absorption of the foods’ carbohydrates and may also indicate greater extraction from the liver and periphery of the products of carbohydrate digestion. A lower glycemic response usually equates to a lower insulin demand but not always, and may improve long-term blood glucose control   and blood lipids. The insulin index is also useful for providing a direct measure of the insulin response to a food.

The glycemic index of a food is defined as the incremental area under the two-hour blood glucose response curve (AUC) following a 12-hour fast and ingestion of a food with a certain quantity of available carbohydrate (usually 50 g). The AUC of the test food is divided by the AUC of the standard (either glucose or white bread, giving two different definitions) and multiplied by 100. The average GI value is calculated from data collected in 10 human subjects. Both the standard and test food must contain an equal amount of available carbohydrate. The result gives a relative ranking for each tested food.

The current validated methods use glucose as the reference food, giving it a glycemic index value of 100 by definition. This has the advantages of being universal and producing maximum GI values of approximately 100. White bread can also be used as a reference food, giving a different set of GI values (if white bread = 100, then glucose ? 140). For people whose staple carbohydrate source is white bread, this has the advantage of conveying directly whether replacement of the dietary staple with a different food would result in faster or slower blood glucose response. A disadvantage with this system is that the reference food is not well-defined.

Classification:
GI values can be interpreted intuitively as percentages on an absolute scale and are commonly interpreted as follows:

Low GI…..(55 or less fructose;) …….Examples:beans (white, black, pink, kidney, lentil, soy, almond, peanut, walnut, chickpea); small seeds (sunflower, flax, pumpkin, poppy, sesame, hemp); most whole intact grains (durum/spelt/kamut wheat, millet, oat, rye, rice, barley); most vegetables, most sweet fruits (peaches, strawberries, mangos); tagatose; mushrooms; chilis.

Medium GI…..(56–69 Examples: white sugar or sucrose, not intact whole wheat or enriched wheat, pita bread, basmati rice, unpeeled boiled potato, grape juice, raisins, prunes, pumpernickel bread, cranberry juice,[10] regular ice cream, banana.

High GI….….(70 and above) Examples: glucose (dextrose, grape sugar), high fructose corn syrup, white bread (only wheat endosperm), most white rice (only rice endosperm), corn flakes, extruded breakfast cereals, maltose, maltodextrins, sweet potato , white potato , pretzels, bagels.

A low-GI food will release glucose more slowly and steadily, which leads to more suitable postprandial (after meal) blood glucose readings. A high-GI food causes a more rapid rise in blood glucose levels and is suitable for energy recovery after exercise or for a person experiencing hypoglycemia.

The glycemic effect of foods depends on a number of factors, such as the type of starch (amylose versus amylopectin), physical entrapment of the starch molecules within the food, fat and protein content of the food and organic acids or their salts in the meal — adding vinegar, for example, will lower the GI. The presence of fat or soluble dietary fiber can slow the gastric emptying rate, thus lowering the GI. In general, coarse, grainy breads with higher amounts of fiber have a lower GI value than white breads.  However, most breads made with 100% whole wheat or wholemeal flour have a GI not very different from endosperm only (white) bread.  Many brown breads are treated with enzymes to soften the crust, which makes the starch more accessible (high GI).

While adding fat or protein will lower the glycemic response to a meal, the relative differences remain. That is, with or without additions, there is still a higher blood glucose curve after a high-GI bread than after a low-GI bread such as pumpernickel.

Fruits and vegetables tend to have a low glycemic index. The glycemic index can be applied only to foods where the test relies on subjects consuming an amount of food containing 50 g of available carbohydrate.[citation needed] But many fruits and vegetables (not potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn) contain less than 50 g of available carbohydrate per typical serving. Carrots were originally and incorrectly reported as having a high GI.  Alcoholic beverages have been reported to have low GI values; however, beer was initially reported to have a moderate GI due to the presence of maltose. This has been refuted by brewing industry professionals, who say that all maltose sugar is consumed in the brewing process and that packaged beer has little to no maltose present. Recent studies have shown that the consumption of an alcoholic drink prior to a meal reduces the GI of the meal by approximately 15%.  Moderate alcohol consumption more than 12 hours prior to a test does not affect the GI.

Many modern diets rely on the glycemic index, including the South Beach Diet, Transitions by Market America and NutriSystem Nourish Diet. However, others have pointed out that foods generally considered to be unhealthy can have a low glycemic index, for instance, chocolate cake (GI 38), ice cream (37), or pure fructose (19), whereas foods like potatoes and rice have GIs around 100 but are commonly eaten in some countries with low rates of diabetes.

The GI Symbol Program is an independent worldwide GI certification program that helps consumers identify low-GI foods and drinks. The symbol is only on foods or beverages that have had their GI values tested according to standard and meet the GI Foundation’s certification criteria as a healthy choice within their food group, so they are also lower in kilojoules, fat and/or salt.

Weight control:
Recent animal research provides compelling evidence that high-GI carbohydrate is associated with increased risk of obesity. In one study,  male rats were split into high- and low-GI groups over 18 weeks while mean body weight was maintained. Rats fed the high-GI diet were 71% fatter and had 8% less lean body mass than the low-GI group. Postmeal glycemia and insulin levels were significantly higher, and plasma triglycerides were threefold greater in the high-GI-fed rats. Furthermore, pancreatic islet cells suffered “severely disorganized architecture and extensive fibrosis.” However, the GI of these diets was not experimentally determined. In a well controlled feeding study no improvement in weight loss was observed with a low glycemic index diet over calorie restriction.  Because high-amylose cornstarch (the major component of the assumed low-GI diet) contains large amounts of resistant starch, which is not digested and absorbed as glucose, the lower glycemic response and possibly the beneficial effects can be attributed to lower energy density and fermentation products of the resistant starch, rather than the GI.

In humans, a 2012 study shows that, after weight loss, the energy expenditure is higher on a low-glycemic index diet than on a low-fat diet (but lower than on the Atkins diet).

 Prevention of Diseases:
Several lines of recent [1999] scientific evidence have shown that individuals who followed a low-GI diet over many years were at a significantly lower risk for developing both type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration than others.  High blood glucose levels or repeated glycemic “spikes” following a meal may promote these diseases by increasing systemic glycative stress, other oxidative stress to the vasculature, and also by the direct increase in insulin levels.  The glycative stress sets up a vicious cycle of systemic protein glycation, compromised protein editing capacity involving the ubiquitin proteolytic pathway and autophagic pathways, leading to enhanced accumulation of glycated and other obsolete proteins.

In the past, postprandial hyperglycemia has been considered a risk factor associated mainly with diabetes. However, more recent evidence shows that it also presents an increased risk for atherosclerosis in the non-diabetic population   and that high GI diets,  high blood-sugar levels more generally,  and diabetes  are related to kidney disease as well.

Conversely, there are areas such as Peru and Asia where people eat high-glycemic index foods such as potatoes and high-GI rice without a high level of obesity or diabetes.  The high consumption of legumes in South America and fresh fruit and vegetables in Asia likely lowers the glycemic effect in these individuals. The mixing of high- and low-GI carbohydrates produces moderate GI values.

A study from the University of Sydney in Australia suggests that having a breakfast of white bread and sugar-rich cereals, over time, may make a person susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that age-related adult macular degeneration (AMD), which leads to blindness, is 42% higher among people with a high-GI diet, and concluded that eating a lower-GI diet would eliminate 20% of AMD cases.

The American Diabetes Association supports glycemic index but warns that the total amount of carbohydrate in the food is still the strongest and most important indicator, and that everyone should make their own custom method that works best for them.

The International Life Sciences Institute concluded in 2011 that because there are many different ways of lowering glycemic response, not all of which have the same effects on health, “It is becoming evident that modifying the glycemic response of the diet should not be seen as a stand-alone strategy but rather as an element of an overall balanced diet and lifestyle.”

A systematic review of few human trials examined the potential of low GI diet to improve pregnancy outcomes. Potential benefits were still seen despite no ground breaking findings in maternal glycemia or pregnancy outcomes. In this regard, more women under low GI diet achieved the target treatment goal for the postprandial glycemic level and reduced their need for insulin treatment. A low GI diet may also provide greater benefits to overweight and obese women. Interestingly, intervention at an early stage of pregnancy has shown a tendency to lower birth weight and birth centile in infants born to women with GDM.

Other factors:
The number of grams of carbohydrate can have a bigger impact than glycemic index on blood sugar levels, depending on quantities. Consuming fewer calories, losing weight, and carbohydrate counting can be better for lowering the blood sugar level. Carbohydrates impact glucose levels most profoundly,  and two foods with the same carbohydrate content are, in general, comparable in their effects on blood sugar.  A food with a low glycemic index may have a high carbohydrate content or vice versa; this can be accounted for with the glycemic load (GL). Consuming carbohydrates with a low glycemic index and calculating carbohydrate intake would produce the most stable blood sugar levels.

Criticism and alternatives:
The glycemic index does not take into account other factors besides glycemic response, such as insulin response, which is measured by the insulin index and can be more appropriate in representing the effects from some food contents other than carbohydrates. In particular, since it is based on the area under the curve of the glucose response over time from ingesting a subject food, the shape of the curve has no bearing on the corresponding GI value. The glucose response can rise to a high level and fall quickly, or rise less high but remain there for a longer time, and have the same area under the curve. For subjects with type 1 diabetes who do not have an insulin response, the rate of appearance of glucose after ingestion represents the absorption of the food itself. This glycemic response has been modeled, where the model parameters for the food enable prediction of the continuous effect of the food over time on glucose values, and not merely the ultimate effect that the GI represents.

Although the glycemic index provides some insights into the relative diabetic risk within specific food groups, it contains many counter-intuitive ratings. These include suggestions that bread generally has a higher glycemic ranking than sugar and that some potatoes are more glycemic than glucose. More significantly, studies such as that by Bazzano et al.  demonstrate a significant beneficial diabetic effect for fruit compared to a substantial detrimental impact for fruit juice despite these having similar “low GI” ratings.

From blood glucose curves presented by Brand-Miller et al.  the main distinguishing feature between average fruit and fruit juice blood glucose curves is the maximum slope of the leading edge of 4.38 mmol·L-1·h-1 for fruit and 6.71 mmol·L-1·h-1 for fruit juice. This raises the concept that the rate of increase in blood glucose may be a significant determinant particularly when comparing liquids to solids which release carbohydrates over time and therefore have an inherently greater area under the blood glucose curve.

If you were to restrict yourself to eating only low GI foods, your diet is likely to be unbalanced and may be high in fat and calories, leading to weight gain and increasing your risk of heart disease. It is important not to focus exclusively on GI and to think about the balance of your meals, which should be low in fat, salt and sugar and contain plenty of fruit and vegetables.

There are books that give a long list of GI values for many different foods. This kind of list does have its limitations. The GI value relates to the food eaten on its own and in practice we usually eat foods in combination as meals. Bread, for example is usually eaten with butter or margarine, and potatoes could be eaten with meat and vegetables.

An additional problem is that GI compares the glycaemic effect of an amount of food containing 50g of carbohydrate but in real life we eat different amounts of food containing different amounts of carbohydrate.

Note: The amount of carbohydrate you eat has a bigger effect on blood glucose levels than GI alone.

How to have lower GI?
*Choose basmati or easy cook rice, pasta or noodles.
*Switch baked or mashed potato for sweet potato or boiled new potatoes.
*Instead of white and wholemeal bread, choose granary, pumpernickel or rye bread.
*Swap frozen microwaveable French fries for pasta or noodles.
*Try porridge, natural muesli or wholegrain breakfast cereals.
*You can maximise the benefit of GI by switching to a low GI option food with each meal or snack

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycemic_index
https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Managing-your-diabetes/Glycaemic-Index-GI/
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=32

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Drinking Coffee may Reduce The Risk of Prostate Cancer

While many scientists have wondered about a possible link between coffee and a lower the risk of prostate cancer, most studies to date have been relatively small and shown mixed results. But a new study followed almost 50,000 male health professionals for more than two decades.

According to the research, for the men who drank the most coffee, the risk of getting the most deadly form of prostate cancer was about 60 percent lower.

NPR reports:
“The new study shows that getting a 60 percent reduction in risk of aggressive prostate cancer requires a lot of coffee — at least six cups a day. However, men who drank three cups a day had a 30 percent lower chance of getting a lethal prostate cancer, and that’s not bad.”

Resources:
*NPR May 18, 2011
*Journal of the National Cancer Institute May 17, 2011

Posted By Dr. Mercola | June 02 2011

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The colour brown

It’s not just the fibre and vitamins; wholegrain brown rice has a compound that may protect you from high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Replacing that familiar mound of white on your plate with a brown variety may do a world of good to your heart. Nutritionists have known for a while that brown rice is healthier, and been exhorting rice eaters to choose the wholegrain brown type instead of polished white ones. Brown rice, they said, is rich in certain minerals and vitamins and dietary fibre, which are lost in white rice following milling and polishing.

But that’s not the end of its goodness, it now emerges. A recent study by a team of US and Japanese scientists points to the “clinical significance” of brown rice. The researchers have found that brown rice contains a compound — which is, however, yet to be isolated and identified — that offers protection against high blood pressure and cardiovascular ailments. The compound is located in a layer surrounding the grain, called subaleurone layer, which is stripped off when the milled grain is polished to a shine. This layer lies between the white centre of the grain and the brown fibrous outer layer, and is abundant in certain beneficial carbohydrates and dietary fibre. It also accounts for a good measure of nutrients such as magnesium and iron, and vitamins like niacin, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6.

More significantly, the scientists found that a new milling process developed by a Japanese firm three years ago allows the rice to retain the subaleurone layer. Thisrice, available only in Japan, has a golden tinge and appears similar to brown rice, but tastes more like white rice as it is not tough and chewy like the other.

The scientists, led by Satoru Eguchi of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, found that when an extract of subaleurone compounds dissolved in ethyl acetate was applied to vascular smooth muscle cells cultured in a dish, it inhibited the activity of angiotensin II, a hormone strongly implicated in hypertension and atherosclerosis. Vascular smooth muscle cells are typical cells found in the walls of blood vessels. Their contraction and relaxation in tune with the local blood pressure and blood volume is responsible for the distribution of blood to different organs in the body. Excessive constriction of smooth muscle cells in normal blood vessels leads to hypertension, while in the case of heart muscles it leads to a hardening of the arteries.

“We strongly believe the compound may be present in all rice varieties (including those consumed in India), even though its strength may vary,” says Eguchi.

The researchers say that the compound apparently inhibits the production of angiotensin II by interfering with the body’s signalling mechanism that orders its conversion from angiotensin I, which is relatively harmless. Many modern drugs for blood pressure already target enzymes that trigger the production of angiotensin II.

“Our research suggests that there is a potential ingredient in rice that may be a good starting point for looking into preventive medicine for cardiovascular diseases,” says Eguchi. Such health benefits may accrue if half-milled or brown rice is included in the diet, he adds.

“Studies in the past have only partly answered what the mechanism behind this is. The particular compound which offers the benefit is yet to be identified,” Eguchi told KnowHow. The Japan-born scientist, who has been studying the beneficial effects of the subaleurone layer of rice for the last three years, says work is on to identify the compound and elucidate its chemical composition.

“This is an interesting find,” says Kanwaljit Chopra, associate professor at the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Punjab University, Chandigarh. “The study indicates the possibility of a promising drug molecule from rice for cardiovascular protection.” Chopra herself has worked on a compound called tocotrienol, which is abundant in rice and oil palm and has shown that it may have potential benefits for people suffering from diabetes-related kidney problems.

“Angiotensin II is a big villain when it comes to atherosclerosis,” she says. The Punjab University professor, however, feels there is a need for the scientists to identify the compound and repeat similar results in animals and humans before claiming that the study is a success.

Another study by a team of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health last year had shown that eating two servings of brown rice every week lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 16 per cent. The research, led by Qi Sun — who subsequently moved to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston — showed that dietary fibre, found abundantly in brown rice, helps deter diabetes by slowing the rush of sugar into the blood stream.

White rice comparison:
Brown rice and white rice have similar amounts of calories, carbohydrates, and protein. The main differences between the two forms of rice lie in processing and nutritional content.

When only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk) is removed, brown rice is produced. To produce white rice, the next layers underneath the husk (the bran layer and the germ) are removed, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm.

Several vitamins and dietary minerals are lost in this removal and the subsequent polishing process. A part of these missing nutrients, such as vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and iron are sometimes added back into the white rice making it “enriched”, as food suppliers in the US are required to do by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

One mineral not added back into white rice is magnesium; one cup (195 g) of cooked long grain brown rice contains 84 mg of magnesium while one cup of white rice contains 19 mg.

When the bran layer is removed to make white rice, the oil in the bran is also removed. Rice bran oil may help lower LDL cholesterol.

Among other key sources of nutrition lost are small amounts of fatty acids and fiber.

You may click to see:Neutrition facts & analysis of brown rice

This leaves no room for doubt that brown is better.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Healthy Heart

Introduction:
Why do you need to keep a healthy heart?

Heart disease is the number one  cause of death in men and women, greater than the next five causes of death combined!

According to the latest estimates by the American Heart Association, over 64 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Fortunately, there are ways to significantly lower your chances of developing heart disease and reverse the effects of a current heart condition you may or may not be aware of. Lower cholesterol, triglycerides, homocysteine and CRP levels are a start to promoting healthy hearts.

Healthy Heart Guide  educates people about the risk factors of heart disease, attempting to persuade them to adopt a healthier lifestyle .

Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, making lifestyle changes can help you live a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life.

Essential Blood Tests :
Find out the risk factors for developing heart conditions:

*Risk Factors Heart Disease :
*Cholesterol Levels :
*Homocysteine Levels :
*Triglyceride Levels :
*C-Reactive Protein :

Lowering Your Risks:
Specific Ways to Promote a Healthy Heart
:


*Cholesterol Ratio

*CRP Blood Test
*Diet For Lowering Cholesterol
*Homocysteine and Heart Disease
*LDL Cholesterol Heart Disease
*Lowering Triglycerides
*Natural Blood Thinners

Being active:
Being active Being active is absolutely essential for a healthy heart – for the simple reason that your heart is a muscle. Even if you haven’t been active for some time, your heart can become stronger, so that it’s able to pump more efficiently giving you more stamina and greater energy. Becoming more active will also improve the ability of your body’s tissues to extract oxygen from your blood, help you

maintain healthy levels of blood fats and speed your metabolism. Three types of exercise are needed in order to become fitter and healthier. These are aerobic, resistance training and flexibility. All three are vital for all-round fitness.

Aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise:
Particularly important to prevent coronary heart disease is aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. This is any kind of activity that increases your breathing rate and gets you breathing more deeply. These activities include: walking, running, swimming, dancing or any of the aerobic (cardiovascular) machines at the gym such as the rowing machine, treadmill, stepper or elliptical trainer.

These are designed to increase the strength of your heart muscle by improving your body’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood and transport it to the rest of the body. Aerobic exercise also enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently and to burn (or metabolise) fats and carbohydrates for energy.

These are designed to increase the strength of your heart muscle by improving your body’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood and transport it to the rest of the body. Aerobic exercise also enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently and to burn (or metabolise) fats and carbohydrates for energy.
Stretching:
Stretching helps relax and lengthen your muscles, encourages improved blood flow, and helps keep you supple so you can move more easily. Experts say it’s good to stretch for 5-10 minutes every day. There are a number of simple stretches which you’ll find in virtually any book about exercise or can be taught by the instructor at the gym.

If you want more organised stretching, yoga and Pilates are safe and gentle for people with heart problems, as they help calm the mind and body and reduce stress. That said, there may still be some exercises or postures that are not recommended if you have heart disease, so check with your doctor first and tell your instructor if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.

Getting started:
There’s no need to join a gym or take part in organised sport, unless you want to, of course. Simply incorporating more activity into your daily life and doing activities like walking, gardening, cycling can be just as effective as a structured exercise programme.

Your aim should be to be moderately active for 30 minutes most days of the week. If you find it hard to fit this into your life, split it up into shorter periods. You should feel that your heart rate is increasing, you are breathing more deeply and frequently. You should be able to walk and talk at the same time – if you can’t then the activity is too strenuous.

Safety first:
If you experience any or all of the following, stop exercising and consult your doctor.

•Chest pain
•Dizziness, light-headedness or confusion
•Nausea or vomiting
•Cramp-like pains in the legs (intermittent claudication)
•Pale or bluish skin tone
•Breathlessness lasting for more than 10 minutes
•Palpitations (rapid or irregular heart beat).
•Continued fatigue (lasting for 24 hours or more)
•Fluid retention (swollen ankles, sudden weight gain)

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/heart/prevention_activity.shtml

Your Guide to Heart Health & Lowering Your Risk of Heart Attack & Stroke

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Boil and Bubble, Rice is the Trouble

Refined carbohydrates in white rice and white bread are more harmful than a fatty diet. Hari Pulakkat reports

.CLICK & SEE

Cheese burgers are bad for health, nutritionists have always said. Cheese and red meat, according to conventional medical wisdom, are not the healthiest of foods. Current research supports this statement but with a twist. It now turns out that it’s not just the cheese or meat that is the cause of worry but also the bread.

Saturated fat has been implicated in cardiovascular disease for a long time now, and with good reason. Too much fat in the diet increases triglycerides and LDL (low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol), and both raise your chances of falling prey to a heart attack. A fatty diet also reduces HDL (high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol) levels, and low HDL is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. But then if you cut saturated fat in your diet and substitute it with refined carbohydrates, you are actually worse off.

Many recent studies have shown that refined carbohydrates are some of the worst things you can eat. They can lead to type 2 diabetes if eaten consistently in large quantities. This applies not only to sugar but also staple items such as white rice and white bread. In fact, a recent study at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) showed that by just substituting white rice with brown rice, you can cut the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 16 per cent. According to Qi Sun of the department of nutrition at the HSPH, “White rice is eaten in large quantities in many parts of Asia. It is not good for health.”

In white rice, the germ and bran of the grain are removed. What remains is the endosperm, the least nutritive part of rice. The bran and germ contain dietary fibre and magnesium, both important in controlling diabetes. They also contain vitamins and other important minerals. Lack of nutrition, however, is not the only reason why white rice is unhealthy.

“White rice has a high glycemic index and glycemic load,” says Sun. “High glycemic index foods are known to increase the risk for diabetes.” Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the food raises glucose levels. White rice has a glycemic index of around 65 while it’s 55 in the case of brown rice.

It is well known that high glycemic index foods are bad, and the Harvard study showed just how bad. Eating just 150 grams of white rice per week increased your chances of getting type 2 diabetes by 17 per cent, while eating just two servings of brown rice a month lowered the same by 11 per cent. Introducing a variety of whole grains in the diet lowered the risk of diabetes by as much as 36 per cent.

The link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease is more complex, but it is becoming clear that fat is not as bad as scientists once thought. Research findings in this regard, however, are somewhat contradictory. Several studies have shown no increase in risk for cardiovascular disease with moderate fat consumption, while some others show an increased risk. A recent meta-analysis by the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California found no link at all between fat consumption and heart disease.

A meta-analysis is an analysis of all large amounts of research in the field. The Oakland meta-analysis looked at the dietary habits of 3,50,000 people between five and 23 years, for which data was already published.

It found no evidence of increased cardiovascular risk with fat consumption, but it of course does not mean there was no risk. As the authors argued in a paper published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, what is eaten with the fat was very important in how the diet influenced health.

The argument against fat was based on the fact that it raised total cholesterol levels. Total cholesterol level is not a useful indicator of cardiovascular health. Fat increases LDL and HDL levels at the same time, and one cancels the negative effect of the other. “More data are needed to elucidate whether cardiovascular disease risks are likely to be influenced by specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat,” the authors wrote in the paper. The authors also saw a publication bias against results that showed no link between fat and heart disease – that is, papers that showed fat was bad were more likely to get published in journals.

A few studies used in the analysis strongly reject a fat-heart disease link. One study two years ago, again from the HSPH and conducted on 322 individuals, was particularly striking. It looked at the lipid profiles of people on three different kinds of diet: a low-fat, low-calorie diet; an unrestricted diet; and a low-calorie but otherwise unrestricted diet. Those who were on the third regime had the healthiest lipid profile in their blood, although they ate the maximum fat. Of course, they ate the least amount of carbohydrates.

So, rice lovers, make that change. Be it a Sunday lunch or a family feast, keep that familiar mound of white off your plate.

You may click to see->
carbohydrates in rice

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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