A Dangerous White Toxin We Eat Daily – No It’s Not Salt Or Sugar!

Sodium glutamate or monosodium glutamate is one of the most common additives in manufactured foods and is used widely in foods served at restaurants. It is also present in some foods naturally. It is usually in the form of a white crystalline powder and looks very similar to salt and sugar.

Monosodium glutamate is a flavour enhancer. It enhances the meaty taste of food items, and actually makes the food item tastier, and has an excitatory effect on the nerve cells, hence inducing over-eating. “By itself, MSG may be safe in very small doses but it could be harmful even in minute amounts for those who are allergic or sensitive to MSG. Large doses are certainly harmful. The point noteworthy is that MSG is mostly found in large amounts in processed food items like chips, packaged soups, canned foods, which by themselves are unhealthy and thus they must be avoided (not just because they have MSG). One must check food labels while buying any packaged stuff and avoid buying if MSG is listed”, says nutritionist Pooja Malhotra.

According to her, “Chemically, there is no difference between the one found in natural foods and the one in processed foods. Yet as an additive, it may be harmful because of the large doses or the other components in processed foods.”

Some of the food items which contain sodium glutamate are canned foods, sausages, chips, prepared soups, hot dogs, beer and many more. It is also naturally present in food items like cheese, tomatoes, peas, walnuts, wheat, etc. An excess intake of sodium glutamate has been linked to increased cravings, overeating, obesity and other metabolic disorders.

Pooja Malhotra lists the other harmful effects of consuming an excess of MSG:

1. Research says that over 2,00,000 tons of sodium glutamate is used all across the world. Excess consumption of this salt can cause problems like migraine, dizziness, hormonal imbalance, nausea, weakness, chest pain and much more.

2. Affecting our tongue receptors, sodium glutamate makes food tastier than it actually is and you want to have more and more of it leading to weight gain and obesity.

3. It makes us addicted to food in a way that we feel like eating anything and everything that we get when we feel hungry. Sodium glutamate has the same effect on the brain cells as drugs.

4. Indirect long term effects can include obesity and other metabolic disorders. Some studies have shown that there has been an increased number of cases of diabetes because of sodium glutamate in food.

5. Malfunctioning of the adrenal gland, high blood pressure or hypertension and stroke are other risks that can be caused by excessive consumption of sodium glutamate.

6. Other harmful effects include acute headache, muscle tightness, numbness, tingling sensation, flushing, weakness.

Avoid buying foods that have added MSG in them!

(Pooja Malhotra is a Delhi based Nutritionist).

Can Sleeping More Affect Your Heart?

If you thought that only less hours of sleep would affect your health, then you are wrong. Sleeping more than 10 hours per day is also associated with metabolic syndrome, raising the risk for heart diseases, according to a new study. Those who slept for over 10 hours daily were at risk of elevated waist circumference, high triglyceride levels – a type of fat, low levels of “good” cholesterol, hypertension as well as high fasting blood sugar – referred to as metabolic syndrome and associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

While sleeping more raised triglycerides levels in both men and women, in women it led to higher waist circumference, blood sugar as well as lower levels of “good” cholesterol. Conversely, getting less than six hours of sleep was associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome in men and higher waist circumference among both men and women, researchers said.

“This is the largest study examining a dose-response association between sleep duration and metabolic syndrome and its components separately for men and women,” said lead author Claire E. Kim from Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea. The study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, included data from 1,33,608 participants aged between 40-69 years. The results showed that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome was just over 29 percent in men and 24.5 percent in women.

“We observed a potential gender difference between sleep duration and metabolic syndrome, with an association between metabolic syndrome and long sleep in women and metabolic syndrome and short sleep in men,” said Kim.

Exercise Before Pregnancy Key for Healthy Motherhood

Expectant mothers who are more fit before pregnancy are at a lower risk of developing gestational diabetes, a study suggests.

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which women develop diabetes during the last half of pregnancy.

Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes after giving birth.

“Women are very careful during pregnancy with what they eat and the exercise they get. But the study shows women should engage in these healthy behaviors before they get pregnant as well,” said co-author Kara Whitaker, Assistant Professor from the University of Iowa.

For the study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, the team analyzed data from 1,333 women over a 25-year period (1985 to 2011) who enrolled in a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute study called Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA).

The women completed seven study visits after first being enrolled, reporting whether they had become pregnant or gave birth and whether they developed gestational diabetes.

The researchers also performed a fitness exam during the first study visit by testing whether the women could walk for two-minute intervals on a treadmill at increasing speeds and on steepening inclines.

Over the study period, 164 women developed gestational diabetes.

Using that information, the research team determined that pre-pregnant women with high levels of fitness had a 21 percent lower risk of developing gestational diabetes than did those with lower fitness levels.

“People interested in becoming more fit can do so by engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week — 30 minutes per day, five days per week,” Whitaker said.

“Brisk walking would constitute moderate physical activity — jogging would be considered vigorous physical activity,” she added.

Cabbage Can Help Reduce Bowel Cancer Risk

Eating vegetables has always been considered a healthy practice but now, there seems to be more reasons than one to include them in your diet. It has been discovered that vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cabbage can help in reducing the risk of bowel cancer.

Benefits of the coniferous vegetable was deduced by a team of researchers at Francis Crick Institute, London. According to a report in BBC, they found that anti-cancer chemicals are produced when the vegetable is digested. The group was basically trying to find how eating vegetables can change the lining of the intestines.

According to them, a chemical known as Indole-3-carbinol is produced when you chew these vegetables. Acid in the stomach leads to changes in the chemical later and also helps in controlling the stem cells that generate bowel lining. “Make sure they’re not overcooked, no soggy broccoli,” said Dr Gitta Stockinger.

Much like the skin, the surface of the bowels also constantly regenerates. The process takes four to five days. However, it needs to be kept in check and controlled as it can lead to gut inflammation or cancer. The work that was published in Immunity revealed that the chemicals found in the coniferous vegetables are important in the process.

The mice, on which the experiement was conducted, were protected from cancer when they were put on a diet of high in indole-3-carbinol. Without this, the gut cells divided uncontrollably thereby increasing the risk of cancer.

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Improved Digestion, BP And Diabetes: Health Benefits Of Radish You Never Knew

Radish is a vegetable which is often overlooked. Radish is a root vegetable which belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables. Like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflowers and other members of the family, radish comprises characteristic oil which is the sole source of its acidic flavor. There are a number of distinct categories of radishes that differ in size and weight. Radishes are eaten raw, cooked and pickled, and have several beneficial effects on health. Recent researches have shown that radish helps to protect coronary blood vessels, potentially prevents heart disease and stroke. The presence of nitric oxide in radish is a key regulator of coronary blood vessel function. Researchers also identified trigonelline which is a plant hormone, an active component in radish that supports a cascade of changes in coronary blood vessels resulting in advanced nitric oxide production.

The benefits of radish also include healing symptoms of piles and relieving signs of constipation. One of the unknown benefits of radish is its ability to nourish and rejuvenate the skin. Radish also has the ability to treat urinary and kidney disorders, control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, limit cardiovascular diseases and, also develop body immunity. Radish can also be helpful in reducing pain, swelling and managing various respiratory disorders.

Here are some other health benefits of radish:

1. Reduce risks of cancer

Benefits of radish include helping reduce risks of cancer like colon, stomach, intestinal, oral and kidney cancers. This is because of the presence of Vitamin C, folic acid, and anthocyanins in radish – which are powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants modify genetic pathways of cancerous cells and cause apoptosis or cell death, thus preventing reproduction of cancer cells.

2. Benefits respiratory system

The anti-congestive properties in radishes prevent irritation of nose, throat, windpipe, and lungs. The main reason for these irritations is cold, infections, allergies and other causes. Radishes contain lots of vitamins and can act as disinfectants which defend respiratory system from infections.

3. Improves digestive system

The presence of fiber in radish helps in preventing constipation and removes waste through intestines. Fiber in radish helps in maintaining blood sugar levels, weight loss and reduces cholesterol. Radish health benefits are helpful for bile production. Radish juice can help preventing ulcers and inflammation.

4. Good for blood pressure and diabetes

Potassium is a vasodilator which loosens blood vessels and enhances the blood flow. Radishes are rich in potassium. They reduce blood pressure by monitoring blood flow. Consuming radish does not affect blood sugar levels as they are low on the glycemic index. The vegetable regulates the consumption of sugars in the bloodstream and is safe for diabetic patients.

5. Rich in Vitamin C

The body cannot function properly without sufficient immunity. Vitamin C is an outstanding source for boosting body immunity and, radish has a high content of Vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts metabolism and helps in the formation of collagen. Collagen strengthens blood vessel walls and prevents onset of multiple cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin C also acts against the free radicals in the body and prevents any damage to body cartilage.

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Sitting in Cars for Long Hours May Lead to Blood Clots

A new study suggests that being confined in a car or airplane for long hours may increase the risk of developing a condition called venous thromboembolism (VTE), a blood clot that forms most often in the deep veins of the leg, groin or arm. In order to assess the impact of remaining seated in cars for extended periods of time, the investigators gathered data from the aftermath of the Kumamoto earthquakes that struck Japan in April 2016. They found an “epidemic” of blood clots developing in the legs, and in numerous cases going to the lungs, in many of the people forced to evacuate, according to the study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Analysis of questionnaires from 21 local medical institutions established that 51 patients were hospitalized following the earthquakes due to VTE. Of these, 42 patients (82.4 percent) had spent the night in a vehicle. “Preventive awareness activities by professional medical teams, supported by education in the media about the risk of VTEs after spending the night in a vehicle, and raising awareness of evacuation centers, could lead to a reduced number of victims of VTE,” noted lead investigator Seiji Hokimoto from Kumamoto University in Japan.

“This is a dramatic example of the risks inherent in spending prolonged periods immobilized in a cramped position,” commented Stanley Nattel, Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

“It is an important reminder of a public health point and reinforces the need to get up and walk around regularly when on an airplane or when forced to stay in a car for a long time,” Nattel said.

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Exercise Therapy Best Bet for Knee Pain

Supervised exercise therapy is more effective at reducing pain and improving function than usual care for patients with severe knee pain, according to a new study.

The study has been published online in the ‘British Medical Journal’.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a condition in which pain occurs at the front of the knee during or after exercise and is a common reason to visit the doctor. Women are more likely to be affected than men, and symptoms usually start during adolescence when participation in sporting activities is high.

To reach the conclusion, researchers based in the Netherlands investigated the effectiveness of supervised exercise therapy compared with usual care in 131 patients aged between 14 and 40 years with patellofemoral pain syndrome.

After analyses, the boffins found that a higher proportion of patients in the exercise group than in the control group reported recovery.

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Eating This One Thing May Prevent Cancer

While berries, rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, have been known to improve the digestive system, help in weight loss, scientists have now found that they also have anti-cancer properties.

Berries naturally produce pigments that give them the red, blue and purple colour, known as anthocyanins.

These increase the function of the enzyme sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) in cancer cells, regulation of this enzyme could open up new avenues for cancer treatment, revealed the researchers from the University of Eastern Finland.

Sirtuins are enzymes regulating the expression of genes that control the function of cells through key cellular signalling pathways.

Ageing causes changes in the sirtuin function and these changes contribute to the development of various diseases.

Sirtuin 6 is a less well-known enzyme that is also linked to glucose metabolism.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, also found a new cyanidin anthocyanin in berries.

“The most interesting results of our study relate to cyanidin, which is an anthocyanin found abundantly in wild bilberry, blackcurrant, and lingonberry,” said lead author Minna Rahnasto-Rilla, from the varsity.

Cyanidin increased SIRT6 enzyme levels in human colorectal cancer cells, and it was also discovered to decrease the expression of the Twist1 and GLUT1 cancer genes while increasing the expression of the tumor suppressor FoXO3 gene in cells.

The researchers also designed a computer-based model that allowed them to predict how different flavonoid compounds in plants can regulate the SIRT6 enzyme.

The findings indicate that anthocyanins increase the activation of SIRT6, which may play a role in cancer pathogenesis.

The study also lays a foundation for the development of new drugs that regulate SIRT6 function, the researchers said.

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Air Pollution Exposure Can Change Your Heart Structure

Regular exposure to even low levels of air pollution may cause changes to the heart similar to those in the early stages of heart failure, a study warns. The researchers from the Queen Mary University of London in the UK studied data from around 4,000 participants in the UK. “We saw significant changes in the heart, even at relatively low levels of air pollution exposure,” said Nay Aung, who led the data analysis published in the journal Circulation.

Volunteers provided a range of personal information, including their lifestyles, health record, and details on where they have lived. Heart MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was used to measure the size, weight, and function of the participants’ hearts at fixed times.

There was a clear association between those who lived near loud, busy roads, and were exposed to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or PM2.5 – small particles of air pollution – and the development of larger right and left ventricles in the heart. The ventricles are important pumping chambers in the heart and, although these participants were healthy and had no symptoms, similar heart remodeling is seen in the early stages of heart failure, researchers said.

Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart, they said. For every one extra microgramme per cubic meter of PM2.5 and for every 10 extra microgrammes per cubic meter of NO2, the heart enlarges by about one percent, the study shows. Globally, coronary heart disease and stroke account for approximately six in ten (58%) deaths related to outdoor air pollution, the researchers said.

This research could help explain exactly how and why air pollution affects the heart. In the study, average annual exposures to PM2.5 (8-12 microgramme per cubic meter) were well within UK guidelines (25 per cubic meter), although they were approaching or past World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines (10 microgramme per cubic meter).

“Air pollution should be seen as a modifiable risk factor. Doctors and the general public all need to be aware of the their exposure when they think about their heart health, just like they think about their blood pressure, their cholesterol and their weight,” said Aung.

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Eating Fish Twice a Week ‘Can Help Prevent Eye Disease’

Want to keep your vision clear as the years go by? Put fatty fish on your menu, at least twice a week, says a new study.

Researchers have found that eating fish, like salmon and tuna at least twice a week can help prevent devastating eye disease? The age-related muscular degeneration which is said to be the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

Over time the back part of the eye can degenerate, causing the disease, which can also be triggered by new blood vessels growing and bleeding in the region.

And, according to the study by Tufts University, the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish offers protection against the eye disease, the British media reported.

For their study, the researchers questioned 3,000 people about their general diet and then monitored the development of the condition over eight years. Half of the volunteers were given some form of a daily supplement, including antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and beta-carotene.

The findings showed show that progression to both the dry and wet forms of advanced disease was 25 percent less likely among those who ate a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

And, those who took the antioxidants, as well as zinc and beta-carotene, were 50 percent more likely to develop the advanced disease, according to the study published in the ‘British Journal of Ophthalmology’.

The study also found that eating foods like wholegrain bread, which release sugar slowly into the bloodstream, could protect against the disease developing.

Substituting five slices of white bread for wholegrain every day could cut the chance of the disease progressing over five years by eight percent, the researchers found.

Combining high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and a low carbohydrate diet can reduce the risk of progression to advanced disease even further, by 50 percent, the study also found.

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