Author - Dr. Nitin Gupte

The Good And The Bad Carbohydrates

Learning To Choose The Right  Carbohydrates!

Carbohydrates are the most important staple food of the developing world, forming the most important source of energy and nutrition for its population.

Carbohydrates can be broadly classified as the complex or the healthy carbohydrates and the simple or the bad carbohydrates.

Complex or healthy carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grain cereals and nuts.

Vegetables provide ample vitamins, minerals and antioxidants at minimal calories.

Fruits provide water, fructose or fruit sugar, vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Although fructose is a simple carbohydrate, the presence of water and fibre in the fruits, prevents fructose from causing a sudden spike in your blood sugar, unlike table sugar. Plus the presence of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants makes them very healthy.

Whole grain cereals include wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, nachni, corn, oats and barley.

Legumes and pulses include various beans, peas, and lentils like toor, mug, masur, matki, chavli and chana, whole or split as dals.

They provide us with adequate calories, complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, most essential vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.

In fact, a diet majorly composed of these healthy carbohydrate foods and milk is wholly healthy.

Thus these foods are highly nutritious and there is no cause to exclude them from your food just because of the fear of carbohydrates spread by the proponents of wrongly hyped low carb diets.

There is absolutely no cause to believe that eating complex carbohydrates causes obesity and diabetes.

It is eating more calories than you burn that causes weight gain, doesn’t matter which source they come from, carbohydrates, proteins or fats, not just carbohydrates. So little point blaming carbohydrates for obesity.

carb1  Homemade fresh Hot Chapati.

Simple carbohydrates  or refined carbohydrates include table sugar or sucrose, jaggery, sago, honey, refined cereals like wheat or corn flour and breakfast cereals. Refined wheat flours include ‘rava’ and ‘maida’.

Whole cereals are composed of the bran, the germ and the endosperm.

The bran, the hard outer protective layer of the grain, contains the fibre, minerals and antioxidants.

The germ, the nutrient rich core, contains the complex carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant compounds. When a new plant germinates from it, it draws nutrition from the grain.

The endosperm majorly consists of carbohydrates and a little protein, but no fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Refined cereals are made by grinding and removing the most nutrient rich bran and germ from the grain, retaining only the endosperm which carries the less nutritious carbohydrates and a little protein.

‘Rava’ or coarse refined wheat flour is traditionally used for making ‘shira’ and ‘upma’ and ‘rava idli’. ‘Maida’ or finely ground refined wheat flour is extensively used for making commercial bakery products like bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes, pastries, ‘khari’, toasts or rusks.

Refined corn flour is used for thickening soups and as batter for some fried snacks or meat dishes.

Sugar, jaggery, honey, sago and refined flours have high glycemic index. When they are consumed, the quickly digested and absorbed carbohydrates in them raise your blood sugar quickly, unleashing a surge in insulin to lower the raised blood sugar. Insulin lowers your blood sugar to subnormal levels.

This leads to a surge in cortisol to raise the below normal blood sugar to normal. Raised levels of both hormones tend to increase the tendency of the body to store the extra calories as fat, rather than raising the metabolic rate (calorie burning) a little to burn them off!

Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly and leave the stomach early, making you feel hungry soon, causing overeating and weight gain. Complex carbohydrates are digested slower and also leave the stomach slower, hence you fill full longer and don’t feel hungry for a longer time. So overeating and weight gain is prevented.

Diets high in refined carbohydrates and low in fibre are associated with obesity, increased abdominal fat, increased levels of blood sugar and insulin causing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, raised triglycerides, heart disease, colon cancer and various digestive problems.

So the verdict is:

Complex carbohydrates are healthy. They must form the basic foundation of your food and you can be slim and healthy on a diet principally based on them. People with obesity and diabetes too can eat them sensibly.

So eat chapati, rice, preferably brown rice, dal, sprouted pulses, vegetables and fruits sensibly and stay slim and healthy for a lifetime!

Simple carbohydrates are bad for your weight and health and must be kept to the minimum in your food, irrespective of whether you are obese and / or diabetic or slim and healthy.

So avoid eating sugar, jaggery, honey, sago, ‘rava’, ‘maida’, refined fours like corn flour and bakery products made from them, to stay slim and healthy for a lifetime!

Healthy options:

In short, you ought to get used to keeping your consumption of ‘rava upama’, ‘rava idli’, commercial bakery products like bread, biscuits, ‘khari’, cakes, pastries down to the minimum, if you are worried about your weight, blood sugar or heart!

Upama made from oats or ‘daliya’ instead of ‘rava’ and home baked whole wheat or whole grain bread, biscuits or ‘khari’ made with butter, not vanaspati ghee or hydrogenated oil as the cooking medium are perfectly permissible.

Replacing white rice, as much as possible, with brown rice is also a very healthy option.

Please also read the articles ‘Basics Of Nutrition‘, ‘Preventing Diabetes‘ and ‘Healthy Fruits For Diabetics And Weight Losers‘ on this website.

carb4  carb3

The Good And The Bad Fats!


Learning About The Good And The Bad Fats Is Life Saving!

Fats are an essential component of our nutrition.

They can be broadly classified as monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats and trans fats.

Monounsaturated fats: Monounsaturated fats help lower cholesterol and help protect your heart.

The main sources of monounsaturated fats are groundnut oil, rice bran oil, sesame oil, olive oil, all nuts, including groundnuts and sesame.

Polyunsaturated fats: Polyunsaturated fats help improve your cholesterol, insulin and blood sugar levels, helping you get more heart healthy.

They include the two omega fatty acids, viz. omega 3 and omega 6.

Omega 3 fatty acids: The principal sources of the invaluable omega 3 fatty acids are walnuts, flaxseed, fatty fish (ravas, mackerel or bangda, surmai, pomfret, cold water salmon, tuna, trout, sardines and herring) and algae.

Of these, walnuts and flaxseeds provide us with plant source omega 3 (ALA), and the fish and algae provide us with the more effective sea source omega 3 (EPA and DHA).

The plant source omega 3 or ALA is less potent cardiac protector than the sea source omega 3 viz. DHA and EPA. Some of the ALA in our food gets converted to DHA and EPA, but at a slow speed.

The omega 3 fatty acids prevent the inflammatory process in the arteries that leads to atherosclerosis, coronary heart  disease, and strokes and some cancers, memory loss, depression and fatigue, reduce arthritis and joint pain and inflammatory skin diseases.

Omega 6 fatty acids: Omega 6 fatty acids are abundantly available in safflower, sunflower seed and  soya oils and many other oils and foods. It is the more valuable omega 3 that is difficult to get as its sources are limited.

While omega 6 also helps lower cholesterol, it is less valuable than omega 3 in protecting you from heart disease and strokes and other inflammatory diseases.

Industry manufactured oils like soya oil, rice bran oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower seed oil (kardai), Canola oil, cotton seed oil are considered bad fats by many nutritionists. The use of heat and chemicals in extracting and refining these oils turns them unhealthy.

Today many researchers are asking us to shun all industrially produced oils.

So it makes sense to use groundnut oil, sesame oil for us in India and groundnut and virgin olive oil for Indians in the west. All three are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and all three are cold pressed.

There is little point buying expensive, imported olive oil in India. Groundnut oil or sesame oil, though the latter is not popularly used, would be the better choices as you don’t waste money and invaluable foreign exchange on imported olive oil. All three oils are principally comprised of monounsaturated fats.

Saturated fats: These fats are animal source fats viz. fats in dairy, flesh and eggs and fats from certain vegetable oils which are solid at room temperature viz. coconut oil.

Saturated fats for decades were considered the bad fats. They were thought to raise cholesterol in our body and cause heart disease and strokes. Researchers advised us to shun these fats.

But the thinking is changing now.

The jury is divided on these fats.

While the American Heart Association and the American Diabetic Association still strongly recommend against the use of saturated fats, many researchers don’t rate them as bad fats any more.

Many studies have found no direct relationship of saturated fats with increased risk of heart disease.

Many studies have also found that people eating whole fat dairy products are leaner and have lower levels of body fats.

This is probably due to the better satiety conferred by whole fat dairy products, preventing people from overeating.

But if you run the risk of catching heart disease, it would be prudent to keep their consumption low, at least till more conclusive research tells us otherwise.

Medium chain triglycerides: The coconut fats include medium chain triglycerides which are considered good fats.

They are considered to be the anti inflammatory, anti atherosclerosis and anti aging fats and are heart healthy.

They are also a ready source of energy and are extensively used as life saving supplements for the weak and debilitated people, especially in hospital ICUs and in pre term, low birth weight babies.

Trans fats: These fats are formed when vegetable oils are heated and combined with hydrogen. They are also called ‘vanaspati ghee’.

Hydrogenation makes the vegetable oils more stable and gives the foods made with them longer shelf life. They are also much cheaper than pure ghee.

Trans fats are also formed when foods are deep fried.All fast food (wada, samosa, burgers, pizzas), packaged foods (microwave pop corn, chips, crackers, candy), all commercially baked foods (bread, biscuits, khari, rusks, cakes, pastries), all premix products like cake mix, all solid fats, all foods containing hydrogenated vegetable oils are trans fats.

The is jury on these fats is unanimous: Guilty!

They are universally accepted as bad fats, lowering the good ‘HDL’ cholesterol and increasing the bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol leading to heart disease and strokes and many other illnesses.

Even amongst saturated fats, the dairy and animal fats coming from natural pasture bred cattle are rated superior to the fats coming from farming industry animals raised on doctored feed like corn, hormones and medication. So there better and worse saturated fats too.

Overall, fats coming from natural foods are much better than packaged, proceesed foods like meats, fast foods and take away foods which are loaded with bad saturated fats and trans fats.

Fats in chips and french fries and all the fast food snacks are bad fats.

In general, all deep fried foods, even if fried in polyunsaturated oils, and foods prepared in hydrogenated vegetable oils are bad fats and researchers are telling us to shun them absolutely.

The omega 3 rich sea fish gives you the best fats as long as it is cooked in curries or baked or grilled or shallow fried.

But the same fats turn bad when the fish is deep fried, as trans fats are formed in them.

The consensus amongst researchers is that trans fats are bad fats and they should be completely stopped.

How much fish is enough to get adequate omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA?

Adults should eat about 170 gm sea fish twice a week and children between the ages 2 to 8 years between 40 to 85 gm and children over 9 years between 115 to 140 gm twice a week to get enough of the two omega 3 fatty acids.

Read the article ‘Basics Of Nutrition‘ on our website for more information about fats.

Can I Eat Mango And Still Lose Weight?

Will Mango Make Me Fat?

Mango, like most fruits, is a super food. It is a rich source of Vitamin A and a very good source of Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

Vitamin A is essential for the health of our eyes, skin and mucous membranes.

Pyridoxine is essential for the production of GABA, a brain hormone and for controlling the blood levels of homocystiene, high levels of which lead to coronary artery disease and strokes.

Vitamin C keeps our gums and teeth healthy, helps our body fight infections and also scavenges harmful oxygen-free radicals.

It is rich in potassium (156 mg per 100 gm) and low in sodium (2 mg per 100 gm), helping regulate our heart rate and blood pressure.

Mango is also rich in flavonoids namely beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and alpha-cryptoxanthene. Together with Vitamin A, the carotenes help protect us against numerous cancers including breast, colon, oral cavity and prostrate cancers and leukaemia.

The fruit is also a moderate source of copper, which is required for the production of some enzymes and red blood cells.

In short, mango is a super food that helps keep our vision, skin and mucous membranes healthy, protects us against infections, eliminates harmful oxygen-free radicals from our body, helps regulate out heart rate and blood pressure, protects us against heart disease and strokes, and numerous cancers including breast and colon cancers and leukaemia.

Other than these health benefits, mango is the most delicious of all fruits. Indian alphonso or ‘Hapus’ from the Kokan area of coastal Maharashtra is the prized mango.

Hundred grams of the edible fruit gives you 60 calories and has only 15 gm carbohydrates, mostly sugar, little protein and very little fat.

So a medium size (about 200 gm) fruit won’t give you much more than 90 calories. A healthy balanced nutrition should have three helpings of fruits every day. Even if you are looking to lose weight or keep your blood sugar under control, a mango a day is not going to dent your cause, if you eat healthy and the other two fruits are low calorie fruits.

Even then if you should want to offset the mango calories, you could shave off three fourth of a medium size chapati or better still, a bowl of rice from your daily food!

And you can always ‘brisk walk’ for fifteen or twenty minutes more to burn off a mango and also become more heart healthy in the process!

And then the best of the mango season barely lasts for two months!

Not too much to ask for, for the pleasure of eating a mango, the king of fruits, the world’s most delicious fruit for most Indians, and more so for Maharashtrians!

Even a well controlled diabetic can eat a mango taking the same precautions, eating half a mango twice will put even less stress on their system. Diabetics without good sugar control should follow the advice of their doctor.

Also read the Latest Posts ‘Magical Health Benefits Of Fruits‘ and ‘Healthy Fruits For Diabetics And Weight Losers‘ on this website.

obesity clinic in pune

Health Problems Of The Young: Hypertension

Obesity And Hypertension Amongst Young People

In the two and half decades of my practice, I am coming across increasing number of young girls and boys getting overweight. The two illnesses that accompany weight gain in these young people are hypertension in both girls and boys and PCOD in girls and young women.We shall look at hypertension (high blood pressure) problem amongst young people in this post.

Recently a 14-year-old boy was brought to me by his parents. His blood pressure was 160/120 mm of Hg and weight was 76 kg at 5 ft 5 in height. The blood pressure was so high at his age that I advised his parents to get his colour doppler test done for renal artery stenosis (narrowing of the kidney artery). An urosurgeon losing weight with us also agreed that the test must be done. But the parents didn’t bother to do so. The boy did lose 9 or 10 kg and the blood pressure was more stable at 130/90 mm of Hg, which was still high for a youngster, at the end of three months. But then boy just stopped coming to me without any intimation. Our phone calls went unanswered. Believe me, this kind of negligence can also be fatal.

Normally young people with consistent hypertension must be investigated by a physician to be absolutely sure that there is no underlying cause of the condition. Most will not have one and their blood pressure will lower itself on losing weight and a little counseling of the youngster and the parents. Most will not require medication. But all precautions must be exercised.

Many such youngsters and young men and women come to join me and learn about their hypertension for the first time. This is often the case in older people too.

If your young son or daughter is overweight or obese, and especially if he or she has a big tummy, please ensure that their blood pressure is checked seriously. They must, of course, slim down as their future health is seriously compromised otherwise. If your family has a history of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, these young people must be examined by a good physician. Please do not overlook these precautions.

This is to be remembered especially as many young people go to health clubs where they are put through heavy weight training and, in some places, mindless floor exercises. A young person, or a person of any age for that matter, with known or unknown hypertension, may suffer some serious complication when on such programs.

In reality, everyone planning to go to a gym must visit a doctor before joining, keeping it in mind that gyms do not have the skill to handle your health problems. They only provide facilities for you to use. Taking care of yourself at a gym or a health club is solely your responsibility. Most health clubs do take a written undertaking from you, absolving themselves of any responsibilities for any accident or mishap to your health.

So take good care of yourself!

Also read ‘Health Problems Of The Young: PCOD‘ on this website.

Health Problems Of The Young: PCOD

Obesity And PCOD In Young Ladies

We have already seen that the commonest health problems faced by overweight or obese young people are hypertension and PCOD. We have discussed the first condition viz. hypertension.

Here we are discussing PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease) otherwise also known as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

PCOD is very common amongst young ladies between the age group of 15 to 25 years. Its exact cause is not known. In this condition the ovaries develop multiple cysts leading to hormonal imbalance. In most cases the periods are delayed or altogether absent. Weight gain, excessive facial hair growth and pimples are other features of PCOD. About a third of ladies with PCOD suffer from infertility. Many girls with PCOD may also have hypothyroidism. Both conditions cause weight gain.

The diagnosis is confirmed by abdominal sonography and hormonal study.

Taking hormones to regulate periods does not improve PCOD. Many girls take hormones off and on in three month cycles, but that does not help as the cycles become irregular on stopping hormones.

The first line of treatment of PCOD is weight reduction. Beginning to exercise and losing weight usually corrects the cycles and reverses PCOD. Here both a good workout and weight loss seem to influence reversal of PCOD.

Many girls will tell you that their periods are regular when they have some form of exercise like walking, cycling, dancing or sports like tennis and they become irregular when they stop exercising for a while. These are principally cardiovascular exercises.

Here it must be understood that the term exercise mentioned above doesn’t include heavy weight training or exhaustive floor exercises which are commonly being sold to you by gyms and slimming centers. In fact heavy weight training can disturb your hormones and you may land into PCOD. Many girls experience delayed periods when on heavy weight training.

So if you are a young girl gaining weight apparently without reason and the periods are getting delayed regularly, consult a gynaecologist. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, start exercising regularly and take steps to lose weight if already overweight.

Also read Latest Post ‘Health Problems Of The Young: Hypertension‘ on this website.

Save Your Knees

Your knees are precious, save them!

Knee pain is a constant companion of overweight people.

The most frequent pain overweight people came to me with, in the first half of my practice, were low backache and pain in the neck. Knee pain had relatively insignificant presence in the list of complaints. Over the last decade knee pain has progressively become the most common complaint, relegating the other two to distant second and third positions!

Today more and more people are developing knee problems and at a much younger age. Osteoarthritis is a common ailment, especially in obese people. Ligament and cartilage injuries are also frequently seen.

To top this, more and more people are reporting accidental knee injuries. The commonest causes of such injuries are two wheeler accidents and sports injuries, especially common amongst football players.

These are the reasons why knee surgeries have become very common. Knee replacement surgeries, almost unheard of a decade ago, are commonplace today.

Many of the knee problems can be prevented by taking simple precautions.

Keeping your weight down is obviously the basic requirement of maintaining your knee health.

Additionally, you must prevent activities that cause undue wear and tear of knee joints. Activities like mindlessly excessive walking, jogging, running, hill climbing and sports like badminton may lead to such wear and tear.

These are all excellent cardiovascular activities and everyone must take up such activities to keep themselves heart healthy. What must be avoided is, overdoing them.

Take up such activities moderately and also ensure that you strengthen your knees with proper knee exercises while you take up the above activities as workout options.

You will have to learn knee exercises, which are easy enough to perform within a few minutes at home, without any special equipment. Start with these exercises when you are young and have healthy knees, don’t wait to develop knee trouble to start them. Water-walking (in chest high water) is also an excellent knee exercise, even for those with arthritis of the knees.

You can consult your own doctor or visit us to learn these exercises.

Your knees are precious, save them for the old age!

Also read the article ‘Dangers Of Unscientific Treatments‘ on this website.

Preventing Diabetes

Preventing Diabetes

November 14th is the World Diabetes Day. It will be appropriate to discuss prevention of this dreaded disease today.

Diabetes is one disease that one must leave no stone unturned, to prevent.

No effort should be spared to prevent it’s onset if you are threatened with it.

Once it sets in, you are left fighting it for a lifetime and believe me, it is a no holds barred fight, and often an ugly one. And there can only be one winner if you don’t take utmost care!

It is also a very expensive fight!

So fight to prevent it all costs!

India is home to the largest population of diabetics. In that sense, we are the world capital of this disease.

The reasons for this are numerous. Being genetically more prone to diabetes and heart disease complicates matters.

Lack of awareness about the predisposing factors of the disease, rising affluence, physical inactivity, fat and sugar rich high calorie food, intense competition, stress, unending ambitions and desires, lack of satisfaction and mental peace and rising obesity are even more important factors.

If you confirm to the above traits, if you have a family history of diabetes, if your waist is over 80 cm (for ladies) or 90 cm (for men), if you are over 35 years of age, you are prone to catch diabetes.

The risk is greater if both of the parents are diabetics if your waist is over 90 cm (women) or 100 cm (men) and you are over 50 years of age.

You must screen yourself by a general check up and check up your blood sugar two hours after consuming 75 gm glucose once every year if you are over 35, if you have the above risk factors, or if you are over 50.

You can protect yourself from diabetes by taking following measures:

Eat healthy, simple, nutritious, low calorie food rich in vegetables and fruits.

Eat fatty and sweet food minimally.

Walk briskly for at least half an hour every day.

Lose weight.

Make room for adequate rest and recreation in your daily routine.

Lead a happy, peaceful and contented life.

Screen yourself for diabetes every year.

Diabetics may not have any symptoms in the early stages. But left unchecked, it can damage various organs including the eyes, the kidneys, and the heart. It is a life-threatening disease. So take care!

Also read the Latest Post ‘Preventing Hypertension‘ on this website.

Preventing Hypertension

How To Prevent High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. It accounts for two-thirds of all strokes and half of all heart disease.

One out of every five people in India has high blood pressure or hypertension. The situation is worse in Maharashtra, the ratio increasing to one in three.

Hypertension is often asymptotic. Many people never know that they have hypertension, simply because they have never had any reason to go to a doctor and check their blood pressure. It is often detected accidentally or after some tragedy strikes. That’s why it is called a silent killer!

The incidence of hypertension is so high today that it is vital that young people keep a regular watch on their blood pressure, at least once in every six months, even if they are not overweight, have no personal or family history of hypertension, and more often if they have all three plus stress.

Three decades ago, a survey amongst school children in Pune found a high incidence of obesity and hypertension, the incidence is much higher today! If your child is overweight or obese do get his blood pressure checked regularly and make sure that he loses weight.

Childhood obesity predisposes children to early hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes and heart disease.

Untreated hypertension can cause blindness, renal (kidney) failure, heart attacks, strokes, and death. Even those people who are on proper medication may not necessarily escape these complications.

This said, it is vitally important that people consult their doctor, take the prescribed medication regularly and never stop medication on their own, without the knowledge of the doctor. Many people commit this mistake and pay the ultimate price for it.

Even amongst the people who are on regular medication, few have well-controlled blood pressures, 140/100 m.m. of Hg or more are not uncommon, when the levels should be 120/80 m.m. of Hg or less! Such people run the same health risks as mentioned above.

So our best option is to prevent hypertension and most people can definitely do it.

High blood pressure most often occurs without having any specific underlying disease leading to it. This hypertension is called primary or essential hypertension. About ninety to ninety-five percent of all hypertension cases fall into this category. Only five to ten percent people have an underlying disease leading to hypertension. This kind of hypertension is called secondary hypertension.

Various theories have been put forth about the causes of essential hypertension. Broadly speaking high blood volume, increased cardiac output, increased resistance of the arterial walls due to their thickening and reduced elasticity, narrowing of the lumen of arteries, increased vascular tone and a few other causes are thought to lead to primary hypertension.

But the fact remains that, with proper precautions, most people can prevent the onset of primary hypertension, many may overcome the problem completely.

Following are the essential steps you must take to prevent this hypertension.

Adapt a healthy lifestyle.

Keep your nutrition healthy, complete and moderate in calories.

Eat minimum fatty and sweet food and red meat.

Eat salt minimally. Avoid high salt foods like ‘papad’, ‘chatani’, ‘pickles’, dried and salted fish. Salt causes the blood volume to increase and this, in turn, causes blood pressure to climb. The sodium content of mineral salt may be higher than table salts. So, contrary to popular belief, mineral salts like ‘saindhav’ may be worse for hypertension than the table salts. Avoid mineral salts and ‘chat masalas’.

In general, foods rich in potassium, beans, dark leafy vegetables, all fruits, notably bananas, potatoes, fish, mushrooms, will help lower blood pressure. So include them in your food regularly.

Foods high in sodium, table salt, mineral salts, chaat masala, pickles, dried fish, fast foods, chips, French fries, salted nuts, canned foods (meats, fish and beans), sauces, salad dressings, will increase blood pressure. Keep them out of your food.

In general, animal source foods are high while vegetable source foods are low in sodium. So eating less of flesh and more of vegetables and fruits will help lower blood pressure.

Workout sufficiently; a brisk walk of at least thirty to sixty minutes will be good enough for most people, thirty if you are slim, sixty if you are overweight.

Make sure that you move around, get a little stroll whenever possible and generally remaining more active during work hours if you have a sedentary job.

Lose weight. A slim tummy will dramatically help bring down blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fats and cholesterol. Abdominal obesity leads to hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

Sleep and rest adequately. Seven hours of sound sleep will prove invaluable.

Be happy, positive, contented and peaceful.

A mind full of negative thoughts, sorrow, irritability, anger, endless desires, and a king size ego causes immense damage to our health. This kind of mindset leads people to hypertension, diabetes and heart disease sooner or later.

Any honest and intelligent person can identify if he or she has such a mindset. A bloated ego or plain stupidity can prevent us from identifying that we have such a mindset.

You must calm down your mind, free it from the clutches of negative and violent thoughts if you really want to become happy and healthy and free from the impending threat of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

And it can be done for sure, only you should want to be happy and healthy.

Take up a technique as simple as ‘yoganidra’ if not meditation if you wish to be calm, happy and healthy. Consistent yoganidra will immensely help in making you peaceful, happy and positive.

So ensure that you take these steps urgently and see how dramatically your blood pressure and blood chemistry improve. These steps will give you much improved mental and physical health and prevent hypertension, diabetes and heart disease and also slim you down!

Also read ‘Health Problems Of The Young: Hypertension’, ‘Hypertension Prevention And Control Program’ and ‘Preventing Diabetes‘ on this website.

Health Benefits Of Brown Rice

Why You Must Replace White Rice With Brown Rice

Brown rice and white rice have a similar number of calories and carbohydrates. 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.

Brown rice is superior to white rice when it comes to fibre content, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals, and it does not generate as large an increase in blood sugar levels after a meal as white rice, that is the glycemic index of brown rice is lower than that of white rice.

Milling and polishing brown rice removes most vitamins and minerals. In addition, milling strips away most of its fibre, which helps deter diabetes by slowing the rush of sugar (glucose) into the bloodstream.

Eating white rice daily may help trigger the onset of diabetes in those who are at a higher risk of developing diabetes due to family history or poor lifestyle, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and stress.

Replacing white rice with brown rice in four or five meals a week will substantially lower this risk.

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 US Food and Drug Administration. We have no information what happens in India.

One mineral that is lost substantially in white rice is magnesium.

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. Rice bran oil contains ‘Oryzanol’ which is considered to be helpful in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

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

Read the article ‘Basics Of Nutrition‘ on this website for more information

Can I Eat A Whole Egg?

The Dilemma Faced By Many people!

An egg contains six grams of the best quality proteins with all the essential amino acids.

An egg also contains 6 grams of fat, of which 1.5 grams are saturated fats. It also contains about 210 mg of cholesterol.

The protein content is almost evenly divided between the white and the yellow (yolk) of the egg, just a bit over 3 grams in the white and just under 3 grams in the yolk. The major part of the good nutrition as well as the entire fat and cholesterol are housed in the yolk.

Thus if you eat only the egg white, you get just over 3 grams of excellent proteins with only 12 calories and don’t have to worry about fats or cholesterol. Unfortunately, you miss out on most of the other excellent nutrition housed in the whole egg. Plus the egg white is rather high in sodium. This could give you elevated blood pressure if you consume too many egg whites.

Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D. Thus they help build healthy bones, teeth and help prevent osteoporosis.

Eggs are also beneficial to the health of the eyes. The carotenoid content of the eggs, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin may prevent cataract and macular degeneration, an eye disease that leads to loss of central vision.

Eggs are a good source of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.

New research shows that, contrary to previous belief, moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. Research suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.

According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease.

One study suggests that regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke,and heart attacks. Another study suggests that women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%.

Eggs also promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals.

Thus it is clear that eggs are highly nutritious. But an egg still provides two third of the safe upper limit of the daily recommendation of cholesterol for a healthy person, viz. 300 mg, while a person with high cholesterol or bad lipid profile shouldn’t cross 200 mg.

Dr. Thomas Behrenbeck, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, advises that a healthy person should not to cross 4 whole eggs a week.

A person with high cholesterol or bad lipid profile should follow his doctor’s advice.

Even a healthy person should avoid eating other high cholesterol and high saturated fat food and fatty deserts the same day.

Newer research thus tends to exonerate the egg from the demon of heart disease, but prudence must still be exercised while eating whole eggs.

It would be a good idea to keep an eye on your lipid profile every six months if you eat whole eggs regularly.

For more information about fats and cholesterol, read the article ‘Basics Of Nutrition‘ on this site.