Health Tips
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Middle-aged women who follow a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet may live a healthier, longer life, a new study suggests. "Women with healthier dietary patterns at midlife were 40 percent more likely to survive to age 70 or over," said lead researcher Cecilia Samieri, a postdoctoral fellow who conducted the study while at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She is now a researcher at INSERM and Universite de Bordeaux, in France. INSERM is the French equivalent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The women who ate healthier not only lived longer, but they also thrived. They were less likely to have any major chronic diseases and more likely to have no impairment in physical functioning, mental health or thinking skills. The research did not, however, prove a cause-and-effect link between better eating and longer life.

Samieri said she considers the 40 percent boost substantial. Those who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were more likely to live past age 70 without heart disease, diabetes or other chronic diseases. They also were more likely to be classified as "healthy agers" than those who didn't follow the diets closely or at all. However, Samieri said, "only 11 percent of our participants were classified as healthy agers overall."

The study is to be published Nov. 5 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. It was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

For the study, Samieri and her colleagues evaluated the diet and medical records of more than 10,000 women who participated in the much larger Nurses' Health Study. The women were in their late 50s or early 60s between 1984 and 1986, and were free of major chronic diseases. About 15 years later, they again provided information on their diet and their health.

"The Mediterranean diet is characterized by greater intake of [fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains] and fish; lower intake of red and processed meats; moderate intake of alcohol; higher amounts of [monounsaturated fats, mostly provided by olive oil from Mediterranean countries]; and lower amounts of [saturated fats]," Samieri said. Saturated fats are found in baked goods, fatty meats and other foods.

Although the study did not look at men, Samieri said, previous studies on diet and healthy aging have found no gender differences, "so it seems reasonable to believe that the benefit would be similar." She added, however, that the assumption remains to be proven.

Although Samieri did not study the effect of how long someone was on a diet, she said adopting it earlier rather than later is probably better.

What's the key to the diet seeming to give more years? Samieri said the analysis suggests that the overall healthy diet patterns had a greater impact rather than any individual food.

Other studies also have found that healthy diets such as the Mediterranean diet are linked to better long-term health, but this new study is only observational, said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. That means "cause and effect cannot be conclusively linked," said Diekman, former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Among the other limitations of the study, she said, is that the researchers looked at only two food questionnaires during the study period, providing a far from thorough look at actual eating habits.

Diekman said, however, that there are plenty of reasons to promote better diets such as the Mediterranean.

"We know that healthier behaviors in women, and men, become a pattern, and thus a lifestyle that promotes health," she said.

Juggling work life and traditional duties is a tough task, but women have been doing this with great . In the fiercely competitive world, women have proven their efficiency time and again, but in a bid to prove their multi-facetious worth, has their health taken a backseat? Stop and think. Have you missed your breakfast to rush for a very important meeting thinking you’ll catch up on a light snack later? Are you monitoring your carb, protein and fat intake while having your lunch? These minor concerns, which may not have made much of a difference in your 20's, are here to haunt you in your 30's. The good news is that you can stand tall in front of all these challenges with these suggestions.

1. Boost Up Metabolism

One of the top concerns of women who have just reached their thirties is their metabolic rate. Women need to plan their diet in such a way to keep their metabolism high so that it can help combat the natural slowdown that starts around this time.

Bengaluru-based Nutritionist, Anju Sood, says, “Metabolism takes a dip around this time, and I have women complaining about weight gain. They say that they have been eating the same food as their 20’s and checking their diet, yet are finding it difficult to shed the extra kilos. To them I want to advise that revamp your three prime nutrient intake and balance them in a new fashion, now that you have entered your thirties.”

"The three prime nutrients include carbs, proteins and fats. You need to increase your protein intake to improve metabolic rate and calorie burning potential. Also, increase the intake of complex carbs. The usual recommended carb intake is 60 to 70 percent of your total food (the other 15-20 percent include proteins and fats). And even in the carbs composition, only 8 percent should come from simple carbs, rest all should be from complex carbs. And breakfast has to be the heaviest meal of the day, with an evenly distributed carb, protein and fat intake, while your dinner should be light.”

2. Include Fiber

Nutritionist Shilpa Arora says, “When you hit your thirties, high fibre foods become essential to regulating blood sugar levels and metabolism. On the subject of perpetual weight gain, she suggests, “A balanced diet rich with fruits and vegetables and going low on processed food and saturated fats are a must for woman in 30’s for monitoring weight.”

3.For Better Hormone Functioning

It is a fact known all across that when you hit your 30's, your hormone functioning undergoes a drastic change. Dr. Arora says, “Women should also have a lot of adaptogens like ashwagandha, tulsi and maca powder. They help maintain hormone levels. Chaste berry is another fruit which balances hormones.” She also adds that it is essential to have an eye on iodine levels, for checking risk of thyroid dysfunction."

4. For Dipping Energies

Consumption of iron rich foods is also a must for dipping energies, which is another concern that affects a woman typically in her 30's, says Shilpa. Did you know that women tend to lose iron with each menstrual period? Therefore during child birth, they need to add it back in their diets. The most common type of anemia stems from a deficiency of iron in the body. This kind of anemia is only treatable with the intake of iron rich foods such as beans, peas, pumpkin seeds, green vegetables, red meat, poultry and raisins.

A study held at Pennsylvania State University, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed that iron deficiency affected cognitive and mental functioning in women. Published in March 2007, the study looked at the link between iron and cognitive function among women from 18 to 35 years. Women with greater iron intake were found to be performing better in cognitive function tests. And women in their 30's fell into the category with the greatest risk of iron deficiency.

5. If You Are Planning to Start a Family

As many women in their 30’s are also planning to conceive, their iron and folate content become all the more essential. Folate is a vitamin women need in abundance to prevent any birth defects.
Dr. Rupali Datta, Consultant Nutritionist, says, 'Women planning a pregnancy must be aware of their iodine, iron and folate status to avoid complications and to protect their child during pregnancy. Lactating mothers need additional nutrition to meet the demands of this physiologically state.'

You can have beans to up your folate levels. A cup of beans contains 200 to 300 micrograms of folate. Folate helps produce DNA and form new healthy cells, therefore paramount for expecting women. Other ways to increase your folate intake are green leafy vegetables like spinach and citrus fruits.

6. For Better Bone Health

The next major concern is withering bone health. Yes, a problem commonly associated with older women now affects women in their 30s as well. As you grow old, your estrogen level declines, which in turn affects your bone-density adversely. Therefore, an increased calcium intake coupled with vitamin D becomes essential at this juncture. Women need around 1000mg of calcium a day. Good sources of calcium include milk, curd, chia seeds, cheese, broccoli, almonds, bokchoy, etc.

Include these expert suggestions and stand tall and strong against some of these biological challenges like all the other challenges you’ve been bracing so efficiently.

Pregnancy is an extremely crucial phase in a woman's life. A host of complications can get triggered even on slightest of slip-ups. Proper, well-balanced diet is of the utmost importance along with regular physical exercising and adequate rest. Preeclamsia is a condition wherein a pregnant woman experiences elevated blood pressure late in her pregnancy - usually after 20 weeks or so. Although the condition is known to have no definite cause, experts link it with poor nutrition, high body fat or inadequate blood supply to the uterus. Women who have a history of high blood pressure or preeclamsia, those suffering ailments like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or obesity are more susceptible to the condition. Some of the most common symptoms would include headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, weight gain among others.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, apart from associated medication, proper nutrition and a well-balanced diet may help treat the condition better. The following points must be kept in mind.

1. Since the condition is primarily associated with high blood pressure it is better to keep a check on your salt intake and regulate it.

2. Hydration is important. Drink plenty of water along with other natural fluids like coconut water.

3. Fried and junk food should be off limits.

4. Caffeine intake must be monitored.

5. Avoid smoking or alcohol consumption completely.

6. Rest properly and get regular physical activity.

A recently published study has happened to have established a link between aspirin consumption with significantly decreased risk of developing preeclampsia. "The results show that aspirin can prevent preeclampsia in high risk pregnancies. We hope that this will alter clinical practice and improve pregnancy outcomes for mothers and their babies," added David Wright, Professor at University of Exeter.

Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure, swollen feet, ankles and face and severe headaches. The findings showed that women who took low-dose aspirin (150 mg) in their first trimester of pregnancy showed a 62% decrease in the rate of pre-term preeclampsia that results in delivery before 37 weeks.

According to the World Health Organization, low-dose aspirin may help prevent preeclampsia in women at high risk and should be started before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Known for adding a tarty flavour to curries, rice, beverages, salads and even puddings, lemons are a blessing in disguise and are one of the healthiest citrus fruits. Often used as garnishing, lemons can be juiced, cut into wedges, rounds or grated to make lemon zest. These delights, according to the book Healing Foods by DK Publishing, come power-packed with vitamin C that helps reduce the risk of heart-diseases, kidney stones, and infections of all kinds. It also helps boost digestion and have alkalising and detoxifying properties. Moreover, lemons are super low in calories; so you can add them everywhere without having to worry about adding kilos to your body. Let's look at how many calories are there in lemon along with its numerous health benefits and some recipes to make your day!

Calories in Lemon

According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), calories in lemon are just 29 in about 100 grams. Lemon provides non-fat, low-sodium and low-calorie flavours to various delicacies and beverages. Basically, the calorie intake from lemons is negligible because a small amount of lemon juice is used as opposed to eating the whole fruit, considering it is sour. The calories in lemon come from one gram of carbohydrate.

According to the American Diabetes Association, lemon contains six percent of your daily value of vitamin C based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The juice has about three milligrams of sodium per tablespoon.

Benefits of Lemon

Here are a few reasons why you should definitely add lemons to your daily diet:

According to the book Healing Foods, use the peel as it is full of antioxidants and has a high concentration of the fruit's limonoids. Modern science shows citrus peels fight free radicals, balances blood sugar levels, and supports thyroid health.

The vitamin C in citrus fruits helps the body absorb non-heme iron, a form of iron from plant sources, like vegetables.

Lemon juice helps clear out toxins from the body.
Lemons are alkaline in nature, reducing acidity, pain and inflammation.

Lemon juice helps in preventing the formation of kidney stones.

It has anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory properties.

When applied to skin and hair, lemon juice can manage skin disorders, acne, tan, blemishes and dandruff.

Lemons help in controlling blood pressure as they are rich in potassium.

The vitamin C in lemons is an immunity booster.
Mixed with hot water, lemon juice can relieve heartburn, nausea, acid indigestion and stomach aches.

Mango is known as the 'king of fruits' -- a well-known summer fruit that finds a number of uses in the Indian cuisine. Both raw and ripe mangoes are used to prepare dozens of dishes including mains, sides and especially accompaniments like chutneys and pickles. Mango drinks are especially popular in tropical countries, for their amazing taste and flavour and their ability to quench thirst like nothing else. Mangoes also have a number of health benefits; from supplying the body with healthy fibre to improving digestion, boosting immunity and keeping us hydrated. However, the mango tree has much more to give us than just its juicy and delicious fruit. For example, did you know that even mango leaves can provide with a lot of health benefits? The shiny, green leaves have a number of health benefits, due to which they have traditionally been used in home remedies in ancient medicinal practices. One such purported benefit of mango leaves is its ability to regulate blood sugar levels and manage diabetes.

Mango leaves generally have a reddish or purplish hue when they are young, but as they mature, they become dark green with a pale underside. These leaves have powerful antioxidant properties and are rich in flavonoids and phenol. They are consumed in both powder and decoction form. The latter is produced by boiling mango leaves in water. In South East Asia, the tender mango leaves are cooked as is and eaten. They also have anti-microbial properties and the young leaves have a number of medicinal benefits.

How To Use Mango Leaves To Manage Diabetes

Mango leaves have been used in Chinese medicine to control diabetes. An ancient Chinese remedy involves using mango leaf extracts to manage diabetes and asthma, through their abundance of nutrients. However, one particular scientific study in 2010 also provides credibility to the ability of mango leaves to manage diabetes. The study showed that mice who were given mango leaf extracts, absorbed less glucose than those who weren't. This is because mango leaf extracts have been known to increase insulin production in the body and also fight cholesterol in blood, due to the presence of vitamin C, pectin and fibre in the leaves. Moreover, mango leaves have also been known to provide relief from diabetic symptoms like frequent urination, blurry visions, etc.

A diabetes home remedy involving mango leaves suggests that drinking the water that has been used to boil about 10 to 15 fresh mango leaves after letting it sit overnight, is effective to control and manage diabetes. However, there is limited scientific evidence about the effectiveness of this home remedy. It is advisable to consult a certified dietitian or a clinical nutritionist before making any changes or additions in your diabetes diet.

Dr. Sayali Khare - Pendse
Dr. Sayali Khare - Pendse
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 3 yrs, Pune
Dr. Kusum Garudkar
Dr. Kusum Garudkar
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Family Physician Ayurveda, 23 yrs, Pune
Dr. Dr Amrut Oswal
Dr. Dr Amrut Oswal
Specialist, Orthopaedics Joint Replacement Surgeon, 29 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sheetal Jadhav
Dr. Sheetal Jadhav
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, Pune
Dr. Chetana  Mahajan
Dr. Chetana Mahajan
DHMS, Homeopath, 22 yrs, Pune