Saturday, June 23

Daily health tips - Child hazards - Potential hazards at home

Sleep hygiene > Daily health tips - Child hazards - Potential hazards at home

Take steps to protect your children from potential hazards as no home can be considered 100 percent safe. In young children and babies the sense of fear is still developing and they may not be able to differentiate a potentially hazardous knife from a toy. It is very important not to leave a child alone while engaged in playing or engrossed in other activities at home or outside. Child-proofing your home from potential hazards is a must, especially if your family members include a young child.

WHO reports that nearly 90% of the injuries to children are the result of unintentional or accidental incidents. Every year 830,000 die from hazards (nearly 2300 each day). Many of the lives could have been saved had special care been taken to identify and remove these potential hazards.

Image of group of children
Unity in diversity
Crib hazards
A child may try climbing out of the crib and suffer a fall. The crib railing should be of sufficient height to deter him. He may even try piling up the pillows and toys to do it. It will much better to have the crib as sleep space only. Sleeping on stomach on a pillow may suffocate a child.

Choking hazards at home
Most of the choking incidences happen to smaller children due to food choking their airway. Toys, button batteries, balloons, marbles, small balls, caps of bottles, magnets, popcorn, whole grapes, coins, all nuts, household items and food can be potential choking hazards in our homes. When they are eating keep a close watch and ask them to chew the food well and then swallow. They should eat in a sitting position. Very sticky food can potentially choke.

Suffocation and strangulation hazards at home
Suffocation may happens in youngsters in cribs and beds. Pillows are potential suffocation hazards. The outer and inner chords of window blinds may strangle. Cords and ropes are potential hazards and must be out of reach for them.

Drowning hazards at home
Water means fun and play for most of the youngsters. However a small child can drown in a few centimeters of water in a bath-tub or a bucket at home. 1-4 year old are the most vulnerable. Globally 480 youngsters die from drowning every day. Emptying all water containers is one solution. Having the toilet seat securely covered is a way of preventing the potential hazard. If you have a private swimming pool at home having a safety barrier around it will reduce the hazard.

Burns
Children are always curious and may try to touch potential burn and scald hazards like heaters, hot water pipes, vessels and cups containing hot beverages, kerosene stoves, lanterns, open flames, lighted candles and hot electric appliances. Older ones trying to play with fireworks may suffer burns. Playing with lighters, matches and open flames had caused many fire accidents at many homes. Installation of smoke and fire detecting alarm and maintaining it can prevent many potential home fire accidents. Care must be taken to keep all inflammable and electric equipments out of reach of youngsters.

Falls, cuts and injuries at home
Young children try to climb on to chairs, book-cases, tables and other furniture. If the furniture is not secured well it may get toppled easily. Heavy furniture can lose its stability when its doors or drawers are open. Falls are the leading cause of brain injuries in them.
Forearm fractures also are caused in many of them due to falling from a height. Falling down the stairs is another common incidence in homes. Installing secure gates to stairs and installing widow guards can reduce this potential hazard. Potential kitchen hazards like knives, glass items and plastic bags must be kept out of reach of youngsters at home. Cover electrical outlets at home to prevent shocks and burns. Washing machines are also potential safety hazards and youngsters may injure themselves  while the machine is running. Exercise equipment at home like treadmills can be potentially hazardous.

Poisoning
Our homes have potential poison hazards like, medicines in tablet and liquid forms, detergents, disinfectants, insecticides, rodenticides, fuel oil, paraffin oil, bleach, and poisonous plants. We have to keep them out of reach of youngsters under lock. Medications contribute up to one third of the poisoning cases. Install latches on any cabinet or drawer that contain potential hazards.

Hazards with pets
Children are potentially vulnerable to dog attacks as a result of their size. Bites to the head and neck are common in youngsters and as their face is usually close to that of the dog. No matter how lovable are your pets they are animals and can become health hazards as they may spread parasites and infection. It is necessary to keep them clean and free from diseases. Sometimes they may physically injure a youngster. It is very necessary to avoid direct contact with a pet and to supervise closely if your child and pet are together at home.

Topic of interest:
Diesel engine exhaust causes cancer
Current topic:
Potential child hazards at home



References:
International Association for Child Safety, Inc
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
WHO - World report on child injury prevention

Thursday, June 14

Daily health news - Diesel engine exhaust causes cancer - IARC

WHO > Diesel engine exhaust fumes and health effects like cancer

IARC, considering the health effects of diesel engine exhaust fumes on humans, has classified it as carcinogenic to humans (cancer causing). The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is the cancer research and monitoring arm of the World Health Organization (WHO). On June 12 2012, IARC, after a week-long meeting of international experts on carcinogenic health effects of diesel engine exhaust fumes, has made a press release announcing the classification of diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans. The classification was announced from Lyon, France, after considering the scientific findings on the health effects and cancer-causing potential of diesel exhaust fumes.

Now diesel fumes find a place among other known listed items with carcinogenic effects like tobacco smoke, solar radiation, UV radiation, mustard gas, chronic infection with Hepatitis B/C virus, postmenopausal estrogen therapy, formaldehyde, ethanol in alcoholic beverages, asbestos, benzene, arsenic and arsenic compounds.

An illustration of typical
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Earlier in 1988, IARC had classified diesel exhaust fumes as "probably carcinogenic to humans". The review of the classification was recommended in 1998. The requirement of the review was further re-emphasized by findings of US National Cancer Institute, published on March 6, 2012 on 'Heavy Diesel Exhaust Linked to Lung Cancer Deaths in Miners (http://www.cancer.gov/).
The research findings are from the 'Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study' (DEMS) taken up in 1992 by jointly by National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The study was done on non-metal miners and it revealed that the increasing exposure to diesel engine fumes had serious health effects and risk of death from lung carcinoma increased with increased exposure.
In everyday life most of us get exposed to these diesel engine fumes either through occupation or through the ambient air.
Diesel engine fumes contain obnoxious gases and fine particles of carbon surrounded by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that enter the body through mouth and nose and leave a coating of deposits in the lungs.
Though the human body removes these particles by coughing, The effects of continuous exposure to these deposits causes cancer.

The results of this study are important not only to miners but also to millions of workers working in environments heavy with diesel engine fumes, people living in very congested cities, people working in underground transit systems and people exposed to traffic snarls for considerable time.

Now that the adverse health effects are known, it is time for enforcing environment guidelines for engine exhaust fumes.
Introduction of more efficient engines and machinery with low diesel exhaust emissions, improved ventilation of closed work places and use of appropriate respiratory protective equipment will go long way in reversing negative health effects caused so far by diesel engine exhaust fumes and protect ourselves from lung cancer.



Wednesday, June 13

Daily health tips - Amla fruit - Amla juice - Health benefits

Physical health > Amla fruit and juice health benefits

> Amla fruit and its juice have immense nutritional value and many health benefits. Amla aka Indian gooseberry, belongs to Phyllanthaceae family and  species Phyllanthus emblica (syn. Emblica officinalis). It is a deciduous medium size tree with edible fruit. The fruit are hard and spherical in shape with six vertical stripes or furrows. The unripe fruit are light green in color whereas ripe fruit are light greenish yellow. Amla fruit is fibrous and tastes slightly bitter, astringent and very sour. Amla is consumed as such or its juice, powder or pickle is prepared and consumed.
Image of Indian gooseberry - Amla fruit
Phyllanthus emblica

Health benefits of amla fruit juice
Health benefits of amla fruit are in its juice which is very rich in vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and antioxidants like ellagitannins, polyphenols, ellagic acid, gallic acid and flavonoids. The presence of these contribute to its antimicrobial, antiviral, cholesterol lowering, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, hypoglycemic, hypotriglyceridemic and anticarcinogenic health benefits. To reap the full health benefits of amla fruit it must be eaten raw or its juice must be consumed.

Antimicrobial health benefits of amla fruit juice
Many bacterial strains have been found to be eliminated by amla fruit juice. In an investigation focussed on the effects of amla juice and aqueous decoctions on bacteria like Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, K. ozaenae, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi, S. paratyphi A, S. paratyphi B and Serratia marcescens, a very potent antibacterial activity was observed. (Saeed S, Tariq P.,
Department of Microbiology, University of Karachi, Pakistan PMID: 17337425). Saini A et al (Department of Microbiology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India / PMID: 19001683) reported that health benefits of long term feeding of amla extract is protection against respiratory tract infection induced by Klebsiella pneumoniae. Oral fungal infections by Candida albicans and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) infections have been treated successfully with amla fruit juice.

Possible positive role of amla juice in alleviation of  rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis
The amount of bone tissue is controlled by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Osteoblast benefits bone tissue health by matrix formation whereas osteoclasts remove the matrix by bone resorption. In rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis there is bone destruction and loss involving osteoclasts. In vivo amla extract and juice were used to induce programmed apoptosis (cell death) of mature osteoclasts successfully without altering the process of osteoclastogenesis. Induced cell death of osteoclasts may benefits health by interrupting  rheumatoid arthritis complications leading to skeletal and joint destruction. The apoptosis of osteoclasts may prevent and reduce osteoporosis. (Letizia Penolazzi et al, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/8/59,(CC BY 2.0),  PMCID: PMC2587459)

Antitumor effects and health benefits
Amla fruit juice is found to inhibit tumor growth and to help in killing the malignant cells. Research studies were conducted to find out the potential anticancer and antitumor effects of amla aqueous extract (juice). The results suggest that amla extract exhibits antitumor activity, reduces the tumor numbers and volume, induces apoptosis of tumor cells and inhibits invasiveness. Amla juice possibly has a function as chemopreventive and antiinvasive agent. (Ngamkitidechakul, C., Jaijoy, K., Hansakul, P., Soonthornchareonnon, N. and Sireeratawong, S. (2010), Antitumour effects of phyllanthus emblica L.: Induction of cancer cell apoptosis and Inhibition of in vivo tumour promotion and in vitro invasion of human cancer cells. Phytother. Res., 24: 1405–1413. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3127/ PMID 20812284)

Antidiabetic effect
Research results have confirmed that aqueous fruit extract (juice) of P. emblica has a sinificant hypoglycemic activity. This antidiabetic activity further contributes to hypotriglyceridemic effects. (Shamim A. Qureshi, Warda Asad and Viqar Sultana, 2009. The Effect of Phyllantus emblica Linn on Type - II Diabetes, Triglycerides and Liver - Specific Enzyme. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 8: 125-128).

Cataract prevention in diabetics and health benefits
The secondary complication in diabetes like cataract are brought about by Aldose reductase (AR). The tannoids present in amla inhibited and prevented aldose reductase activation and reduced osmotic stress. (Suryanarayana P et al, Biochemistry Division, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India /PMID: 15031705)

Health benefits in prevention of heart diseases
The antioxidants present in amla fruit extend health benefits by bringing down the levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and neutralizing the free -radicals, the primary causes of hypertension and heart diseases. Oral administration of amla fruit juice significantly benefits in  hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels). Hence its juice benefits as an effective agent for prevention of atherosclerosis. (Kim HJ et al, Institute of Natural Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan, PMID: 16521700). The total serum cholesterol and its lipoprotein fractions were decreased in normal and hypercholesterolaemic men when amla was included in their diet. (Jacob A et al, Department of Foods and Nutrition, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, India / health benefits PMID: 3250870)

Considering the health benefits, Amla fruit is also used in hair care products and its juice is recommended in many beauty recipes.

Topic on interesting health benefits :
Loud music - Hearing damage and loss
Image attribution: en.wikipedia.org/L. Shyamal/(cc-by-2.5)


Monday, June 11

Loud music - Hearing damage and loss

Physical health > Loud music - Hearing damage and loss

Listening to loud music can cause auditory system damage and result in hearing loss. Hearing loss is becoming common, especially, in teenagers and young adults affecting their social development, communication skills, learning process, educational achievements and sports achievements. Going to concerts and disco pubs, listening to loud music from home music systems or listening loud music from digital music players and devices with headphones or ear buds is potentially capable of causing hearing loss unless some preventive steps are taken.
Image of Inner ear
The sound pathway

     Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH et al (JAMA. 2010;304(7):772-778. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1124) made a comparative study of prevalence of hearing loss in young Americans and found that there was nearly a 30% increase in hearing loss in 2005-2006 when compared to the results of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), 1988-1994.

     NHANES III conducted between 1988-1994 disclosed the fact that 14.9% US children between the age group of 6 to 19 years had hearing loss.
Image of inner ear - Hair cells in the inner ear
The 2005-2006 study showed a significant increase of this hearing loss to 19.5% of young persons, which when extrapolated to nation's 6-19 year old youngsters amounts to a staggering 6.5 millions.

How Loud is too Loud?
Decibels Sound Source
150
Firecracker, Jet take off
120
Ambulance siren
110
Rock concert
105
Stereo system at maximum
100
Snowmobile
95
Motorcycle
90
Power mower
85
City traffic
60
Conversation
40
Refrigerator
30
Whisper
0
Threshold of normal hearing
     According to NIDCD, approximately 15% of American of the age group 20-69 years, numbering up to 26 million Americans have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to high Decibel sounds during occupation and leisure activities.
It is predicted that exposure to loud music may cause hearing loss in more than 50 million Americans by the year 2050.

     Hearing is a series of events in which air-born sound waves are translated into vibrations by ear drum.
These vibrations are picked up and amplified  by the tiny middle ear bones malleus, incus, and stapes.
These bones pass on the vibration to fluid filled inner ear, cochlea, in which hair cells process these vibrations into electrical signals by release of certain chemicals.
These electrical signals are carried to the brain by the auditory nerve for further processing, recognition and understanding.

Loud sounds, exceeding 85 decibels, destroy this auditory mechanism affecting the hair cells responsible for generating 'hearing' electrical signals.
     As the technologies have improved and longer battery life, louder volume range and greater music storage is available in personal listening devices, today's youngsters are listening to loud music for longer periods.
One study revealed that 25% of people in teens and early twenties listen to music at maximum levels, inviting hearing problems and loss.
Very young children are again a very vulnerable group as they themselves cannot protect their hearing from loud music.
They remain passive sufferers of this noise pollution by elders.

What we have to do to protect from hearing loss due to loud music
     We have to wear foam ear plugs or ear muffs when we attend concerts.
We have to use lower sound volume range while listening on earphones and ear buds as loud settings of most of the music devices are too loud and can cause hearing impairment.
During high noise exposure free radicals are produced which are responsible for the impairment to auditory system and hearing loss.
It is found that intake of fair amounts of foods containing antioxidants reduces the hearing loss caused by loud music, as they neutralize the free-radicals.

Topic of interest:
Spices for diabetes
Images by NIDCD



Thursday, June 7

Daily health tips - Spices for diabetes

Healthy foods for diabetes > Spices for diabetes

Spices are known to exert several health benefits including diabetes control effects. The beneficial physiological effects of spices for diabetes include interim hypoglycemia and long term improved glucose tolerance. Though spices are used to add taste and flavor to food, they have effects over various organ systems of the body contributing to diverse physiological and metabolic outcomes. Many animal experiments and clinical trials have given evidence of spices and their extracts giving hypoglycemic effects and a few of the spices are discussed here.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
cinnamon bark
image of cinnamon bark
 by  Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be/
(CC BY-SA 3.0)
 
   In the research studies on possible role of cinnamon in control of plasma glucose levels in diabetes by A Khan et al (Department of Human Nutrition, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar 2003), B Mang et al (Nutrition Physiology and Human Nutrition Unit, Institute of Food Science, University of Hannover 2006) and S Kirkham et al (Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, Thames Valley University, Brentford), it was proved that cinnamon possesses antihyperglycemic properties and it can control postprandial blood glucose levels in diabetes. These spices can be added in powder form in tea, coffee, other healthy drinks or in various preparations of foods.

Fenugreek seeds ( Trigonella foenumgraecum)
   Fenugreek seeds are used in traditional Indian medicine for treatment of diabetes. In research studies conducted by A Gupta et al at Jaipur Diabetes Research Centre, it was concluded that fenugreek seeds improves glycemic control and decreases insulin resistance in mild type-2 diabetes. There is also a favourable effect on hypertriglyceridemia. As these spices taste bitter their consumption is a problem. Soaked seeds can be chewed or swallowed. In Indian cuisine fenugreek seeds are added to enhance taste.

Garlic (Allium sativum)
   Garlic has a long history in traditional medicine as a cure for many ailments, including diabetes. Evidence from scientific studies suggest that these spices have antiglycative, antiinflammatory and antioxidative properties. These properties help in prevention of diabetes progress and related complications. Garlic can be used in food preparation.

Onions (Allium cepa)
   Imad M. Taj Eldin et al, of Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Gezira, Sudan, in their studies on Allium cepa (red onion) have concluded that crude onion produced blood glucose reducing (hypoglycemic) effects and that it could be used as a dietary supplement in management of type 1 and/or type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ingestion of 100 gms of these spices caused considerable reduction in fasting blood glucose levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients.

Curry leaves (Murraya koenigii)
   Curry leaves are used in Indian cuisine for imparting flavor and aroma. In a study by Palanisamy Arulselvan et al of Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Madras, on rats showed that curry leaves extract had significant hypoglycemic potential and was more effective than glibenclamide, a known drug used in diabetes. In another study by Kesari AN et al of Alternative Therapeutics Unit, Drug Development Division, Medicinal Research Lab, Department of Chemistry, University of Allahabad, similar hypoglycemic benefits were observed when animals with diabetes were fed with these spices.

Cumin seeds (Cuminum cyminum)
   Cumin seeds are traditionally used to add flavor and aroma to food. In animal studies, rats with diabetes fed for six weeks with  these spices have showed reduction in blood glucose and body weight. In another study supplementation with these spices was found to be as effective as glibenclamide in reducing blood glucose. Cumin seeds can be taken as such and swallowed with water or can be added in various culinary preparations.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
   Turmeric rhizomes are traditional spices known for their many medicinal uses. Arun N and Nalini N of Department of Biochemistry, Annamalai University, have studied the effects of turmeric and its active principle curcumin on animals with diabetes and have concluded that curcumin was effective in attenuating diabetes mellitus related changes.

Balanced nutrition in moderation and keeping blood sugar even have been recognized as a cornerstone in the management and control of diabetes mellitus. The judicious addition of the above spices in our diet can ward off diabetes and help in its control.

Topic of interest:
Super foods for diabetes control

Wednesday, June 6

Foods to control diabetes - Super foods for diabetes

Healthy foods for diabetes > Super foods to control diabetes

Research efforts have identified some special super foods having potential to control diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar levels even and consuming these super foods along with healthy balanced foods in moderation is the key to control diabetes and prevent its complications.
Ideal healthy super foods for diabetes control
Certain healthy super foods of plant and animal origin have been found to actually help in control and management of diabetes. Eating these super foods daily may help a lot in our fight to control this debilitating chronic disease.

Beans as super food for diabetes control
Beans are an important source of proteins throughout the world. Beans, any type of beans, have high levels of soluble fiber which keeps blood glucose from spiking after eating and helps in diabetes control. One cup of boiled beans may contain as much as 13 grams of fiber. However beans must be well boiled and cooked. Some types of raw beans are known to contain a harmful toxin (lectin phytohaemagglutinin) which we can control and remove by boiling.

Super food broccoli to control diabetes and reverse diabetes damage
Development of vascular diseases in people with diabetes is due to damages to the healthy blood vessels caused by Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). Hyperglycaemia in diabetes causes ROS levels to increase  many-fold, damaging blood vessels. Super food broccoli contains a phytochemical called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is found to help production of enzymes which protect blood vessels and also reduces the ROS levels. Paul Thornalley et al of University of Warwick concluded in their research studies that sulforaphane from broccoli may help counter processes linked to the development of vascular disease in diabetes.

Bitter melon as a super food for diabetes control
In Philippines super food bitter melon is already in use for control of diabetes. Extract of bitter melon in tablet form are sold in Philippines as food supplement and are exported to many countries for diabetes treatments. Certain components of this super food have been believed to activate AMPK (5' AMP-activated protein kinase) enzyme which regulates and controls glucose uptake. The lectin, a sugar-binding protein present in bitter melon has insulin-like activity and controls blood sugar levels. It has the property of non protein-specific linking together to insulin receptors. By acting on the peripheral tissues lectin controls and lowers blood sugar concentrations. Acting on brain it also has appetite suppressing effect. Raw juice of this super melon may taken as such or it can be cooked to make various food preparations.

Oatmeal for diabetes
A Lammert et al, of University Hospital Mannheim, in their studies found that that oatmeal consumption has helped in 40% reduction in insulin dosage requirement to achieve controlled glucose levels in diabetes. Oatmeal has lower glycemic index when compared to  other cereals. This unique quality of oatmeal is due to the presence of high levels of soluble fibers. These super soluble fibers slow down carbohydrate break down into glucose and its absorption into blood stream. They keeps one feeling fuller and regulate the blood glucose levels in diabetes.

Strawberries as super foods for diabetes control
Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries have ellagic acid, a natural phenol antioxidant. S Pinto Mda et al of Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, University of São Paulo, in their evaluation ellagic acid derivatives, ellagitannins, suggested that  ellagitannins and ellagic acid have good potential for the management of hyperglycemia and hypertension linked to type 2 diabetes. These fruits also have high fiber giving a fuller feeling.

Sweet potatoes as super roots for diabetes
A fascinating fact about sweet potatoes is that it is helpful in blood sugar control. Though it is a starchy root its GI when cooked is only 50. It contains more than 3 gms of dietary fiber for medium sized tuber. Recent research has shown that sweet potatoes significantly increase the adiponectin required for healthier insulin metabolism. Ludvik B et al of Department of Medicine III, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Vienna used an extract of super sweet potato, Caiapo, to investigate the efficacy to control diabetes. They concluded that their study confirmed the beneficial effects of Caiapo on plasma glucose as well as cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Sweet potatoes can be boiled and consumed as such or used in food preparations.

Tomatoes for diabetes
Tomatoes contain a carotene, lycopene, a potent antioxidant. Valero MA et al in their research review and meta-analysis of scientific evidence on lycopene in tomato and its derivatives, concluded that tomato intake increases the plasma levels of the lycopene and that lycopene and other tomato derivatives have a beneficial effect on the oxidative stress in diabetic patients. These super fruits can be consumed raw and its juice may be taken. However sometimes uncooked tomatoes had been the cause of salmonella outbreaks. Tomatoes can be cooked and added in food preparations to reap their super food benefits.

Salmon and other fish for diabetes control
Fish are rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These super healthy fats known to reduce the risk of heart diseases and inflammation. People with diabetes usually have higher levels of triglycerides and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils lower apolipoproteins and triglycerides and help in raising HDL levels.

Super foods whole grains for diabetes control
JS de Munter et al of Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston in their research studies  concluded that higher consumption of whole grains/bran can contribute to the prevention of type 2 diabetes and give beneficial effects on glucose homeostasis.
This super bran component of grains is very rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers. While de-braned grains make glucose levels rise, whole grains having complex bran carbohydrates and fiber tend to slow down carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorption. Hence there is a steady supply of energy without sudden rise or fall of blood glucose levels. Whole grains include super grains like whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain barley, whole oats, whole rye, whole grain corn and popcorn, buckwheat, millet and sorghum.

Super food vinegar for diabetes control
Vinegar has be in medicinal use for centuries, and its use for control of diabetes is well documented. Carol Johnston, of the University of Arizona, East, had inferred that two table spoons of vinegar controls and decreases both fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels considerably. Vinegar can be taken separately or added in our food preparations.

Many spices have been found to have hypoglycemic function and are discussed in the post 'Super spices for control of diabetes'.

Judicious addition of the above mentioned super foods for diabetes in daily intake can help in the control of diabetes.



Current Topic : Spices for diabetes control

Tuesday, June 5

Foods for diabetics - Healthy foods for diabetes

Diet and starving > Healthy foods for diabetes

People with diabetes should take healthy foods that meet their nutritional requirements but are low in glycemic index. Being diagnosed as having diabetes mellitus, makes a person gloomy about prospects for future. But there is no need for dejection and it requires only a small adjustment in our lifestyle and habits. However there are frightening consequences and complications from poorly controlled diabetes like retinopathy, blindness, renal failure, heart ailments, damage to peripheral nerves and loss of sensation.

Whether one has diabetes or not a well balanced nutrition is required for healthy living. If a person with diabetes has to make changes in what he eats, it means that he was not taking balanced nutrition so far, may be all his family members too. First of all we have to be clear in our mind about the types of healthy foods we require in our nutrition and also the types which are not healthy.

Eat balanced healthy foods for diabetes

All of us require a well balanced nutrition comprising fats (essential fatty acids), low GI carbohydrates, proteins (essential amino acids), soluble and-insoluble fiber, vitamins, minerals and water in required quantities and proportions. Any chronic excess or chronic deficit of any of the components will affect our normal healthy living.

Carbohydrate requirement in healthy foods for diabetes

Carbohydrates are required for energy and for people with diabetes, the type of carbohydrates consumed really matters. Depending upon the type of carbohydrates in foods there are effects on the blood sugar levels. The relative increase in blood glucose level when compared to glucose is termed as glycemic index or GI.
Glucose has the GI of 100 and all other carbohydrates have a lesser value. If the carbohydrates in the food break down rapidly during digestion and release glucose into blood stream, they are termed as high GI foods. There are foods having carbohydrates which break down more slowly during digestion releasing glucose gradually. These type of carbohydrates are known as low GI carbohydrates and are healthy for diabetes as they do not create spikes in glucose levels with their connected harmful effects.
Highly refined carbohydrates like white flour, polished white rice and sugar have high glycemic index, whereas whole grain flour and brown rice have moderately low GI. Even these low GI foods must be eaten in moderation as excess of them again will lead to obesity and insulin resistance.

Proteins for diabetes

Proteins are essential for tissue growth and repair. They must be sourced from low fat plant foods like beans and  deoiled seeds and also from healthy animal sources like poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products.
Excess consumption of proteins can increase the load on kidneys.
USDA MyPlate nutritional guide 
icon image 

Fats for diabetes

Though people with diabetes have to cut down their fats consumption, they should not totally stop taking them. For the healthy functioning of the body essential fatty acids are required. Plant sources like olive oil and animal sources like fish oil give good healthy unsaturated fatty acids useful for the body.
Image of Healthy foods for diabetes 

Dietary fibers for diabetes

Dietary fiber is essential for all of us, as they reduce the glycemic index by slowing down digestion and release of glucose into blood stream. Non starchy leafy vegetables and all types of beans are healthy sources of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
image of Blue circle logo
the global symbol for diabetes by
International Diabetes Federation
 

Avoid unhealthy foods and drinks in diabetes

There are many foods which are not healthy and should be avoided both by healthy individuals and people with diabetes. For example bad saturated fatty acids and trans fats are found to increase the risks of heart disease by raising cholesterol and promoting inflammation. Similarly intake of carbohydrates having high glycemic index like white sugar, white refined wheat flour, white rice and potatoes have to be reduced in diabetes as they cause sudden spurts and spikes in blood sugar (rather glucose) levels.In diabetes alcoholic drinks are to be avoided as they provide almost as much calories as fats.

Monitoring your blood sugar regularly and eating balanced healthy foods in moderation helps in control and management of diabetes.

Topics of interest:
Peanut allergy in children
Super foods to control diabetes

Friday, June 1

Daily health information - Peanut allergy in children

Why some children suffer from allergy to peanut (groundnut)?
   Peanut allergy is body's immune response to proteins contained in peanut. It is not clearly understood why some children develop allergy while others don't. However it is quite clear that children with certain insidious innate or acquired risk factors develop allergy to peanut. Some children have intolerance to peanut and may develop mild symptoms like stomach ache and indigestion. There is no involvement of immune system and this is not considered as true allergy.

   More than seven proteins in peanuts have been identified to be capable of triggering allergy. The reaction triggered by these proteins is an Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated type I hypersensitivity. Protein specific antibodies form and bind to basophils and mast cells at the high-affinity receptor sites. When the allergens penetrate mucosal barriers IgE present in cells and the allergens cross link. As a result of this preformed allergy mediators undergo degranulation and subsequent cell activation. A variety of chemokines and cytokines are produced bringing in inflammatory cells and contributing to Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated type I hypersensitivity reactions.

   There is a general increase in prevalence of food allergy all over the world. The first reaction develops in children when they are 14-24 months of age and it usually occurs at home. In hyper sensitized persons even one peanut (containing about 200 mg of protein) can initiate symptoms when ingested. For children with very high degree of sensitivity even traces of this nut can bring about violent reactions. Mild peanut reactions manifests as running nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing, hives, itchy rash, eczema, stomach ache or swelling around the mouth and neck. Antihistamines give immediate relief in such situations.

   Peanut allergy is known to give serious and life threatening reactions. Swelling in mouth, throat, asthma attack may be encountered which may progress to anaphylactic shock in children. This involves hypo tension of blood pressure, difficulty in breathing, choking feeling and loss of consciousness. Unless emergency measures like administration of epinephrine and hospitalization are resorted to, there can be loss of life.

   There is an opinion that roasting peanut increases the allergens in them. There is also a belief that pregnant women and nursing women when they eat nuts, pass on the allergens to their children making them hypersensitive. Some believe that the present day hygiene and the resultant  lower exposure to pathogens makes the learning process of our immune system aberrant and it mistakes certain food proteins as enemies. However there is no clear research evidence supporting the above views.

   Though it was earlier believed that peanut allergy is life long, yet it was found that 20% of the affected children outgrow it. As the nuts belongs to the legume family, other legumes like soy, peas and beans have similar proteins and they may also have potential to cause allergy in affected children.
Peanut allergy in children - Hives on back

There is obvious diagnosis of allergy when soon after eating peanut or its products, hypersensitivity reactions develop. But in many instances the reasons of allergy may not be clear for diagnosis. Skin prick test and/or RAST test (radioallergosorbent test) are performed to find out if the patient is hypersensitive to peanut. These tests can be further confirmed by the elimination diet and food challenge test monitored carefully in the medical centers.

   Research work is going on in genetically engineered peanuts having proteins that do not bind to IgE. Treatment with anti-IgE therapy is being attempted which may help in the log run. Desensitizing affected children with trace doses of allergen has been successfully done. But the process is time consuming and the children have to make frequent visits to the health center.

   The persons having hypersensitivity to peanut must be advised to carry an epinephrine autoinjector. Further the children prone to allergy must be educated in the method of autoinjector usage. If the patient is young, parents/teachers/care takers must be trained in the use of epinephrine autoinjector.

   As on date the only proven method to avoid peanut allergy in children is keeping them away from peanut products at homes, schools, restaurants and parties. At every occasion it is essential to find out the ingredients of food products before use by the prone children. Products containing, peanut oil, peanut butter, peanut flour and also labels indicating possibility of contamination with peanut must not be used by children, who have allergy for peanut.

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