Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

Around 40% of adults all over the world suffer from hypertension, and many may not know that too much of salt in the diet is the leading cause of developing high blood pressure. Recent studies from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension have shown the advantages of taking a lower amount of salt. But the real problem is that most people find salt to be tasteful just like sugar, and this tends to cast its harmful effects on overall health.

What happens to the body when you take too much of salt?
Salt contains sodium, and the kidneys have troubles to keep up with its optimal functions when there is an excessive amount of sodium in the bloodstream. When sodium starts to accumulate, the body holds back water for diluting the sodium which enters the blood vessels thereby increasing the volume of blood in the stream. When this happens, the heart has to overwork, and more pressure will be exerted in the blood vessels. With the passage of time, the excess amount of pressure would stiffen the blood vessels which would pave the way for stroke, heart attack or even heart failure.

What are the signs and symptoms of taking too much sodium?

Most people are generally unaware that there is an excessive salt intake and hence could be dangerous. Therefore, it is important to look for signs that your body is pleading to reduce the consumption of salt.

You are feeling very thirsty: When you eat foods with high amounts of sodium such as chips, pepperoni pizza, and ketchup, you are likely to feel dry. This is because of the high amounts of sodium that troubles the balance of fluid in the body which makes you crave for water so that it can restore the salt balance.

There are swellings at strange places in the body: You may feel bloated in the morning when you take too much of salt. This phenomenon is termed as edema which means swelling of extra fluid in the tissues in the body.

You may develop stomach ulcers: Taking too much sodium is associated with stomach ulcers as well as cancers in mammals according to the recent journal Infection and Immunity. Even though more research is required, there is no harm in reducing the amount of salt in the diet and enjoy a healthy life.

Research also indicates that reducing the amounts of sodium can lower death rate over the long term. Hence, it is advisable to stick to the recommended amount of 2300mg which is equivalent to one teaspoon of salt per day to lead a healthy life.

Do you like canned foods such as corn, tuna, asparagus or chicken? If yes, then think twice before consuming it. A team of researchers have warned that the canned foods may contain zinc oxide that can damage your digestive system.

The study showed that nanoparticles of zinc oxide present in the lining of certain canned goods, usually considered good for its antimicrobial properties and preventing staining of sulfur-producing foods, may negatively affect the way in which human digestive tract operates.

Gretchen Mahler, Associate Professor at the Binghamton University in the New York said,"We found that zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles at doses that are relevant to what you might normally eat in a meal or a day can change the way that your intestine absorbs nutrients or your intestinal cell gene and protein expression."

Researchers found that canned food contained 100 times the daily dietary allowance of zinc.

Mahler added,"They tend to settle onto the cells representing the gastrointestinal tract and cause remodelling or loss of the microvilli, which are tiny projections on the surface of the intestinal absorptive cells that help to increase the surface area available for absorption."

This loss of surface area tends to result in a decrease in nutrient absorption.

Researchers said that some of the nanoparticles also cause pro-inflammatory signalling at high doses, and this can increase the permeability of the intestinal model.

In other words, it can even allow the passage of compounds that are not supposed to pass through into the bloodstream.

The study looked at how many particles might be transferred into the canned food.

"Our model shows that the nanoparticles do have effects on our in vitro model, and that understanding how they affect gut function is an important area of study for consumer safety," Mahler said.

The study was published in the journal Food & Function.

It's a well-known fact that breakfast in the most important meal of the day and skipping it can have harmful impacts on our overall health. Not having a proper breakfast is a cardinal sin, especially if you are looking to lose weight and/or maintain weight loss. But, it's not just about achieving and maintaining an ideal body weight - breakfast is important for supplying your body with adequate energy to keep you going through the busiest parts of the day. It's often advised to consume enough healthy foods and nutrients, minerals and vitamins in your breakfast meal to give your body a good jumpstart for the day. However, these things aren't very obvious to many people, who often skip breakfast and end up derailing their weight loss journey, instead of boosting it.But, merely eating something for breakfast isn't going to help you. Your healthy breakfast meal must contain foods that supply your body with energy, to tide over the energy drain of high-stress work mornings. A lot of tend to eat greasy foods or drink sugary beverages for breakfast or consume highly caffeinated drinks. All of these may be counter-productive when it comes to weight loss. It's very important to get your breakfast meals just right. There are some common mistakes that all of us have made or are possibly still continue to make, which are extremely destructive when it comes to weight loss.

Here Are Some Common Breakfast Mistakes That May Lead To Weight Gain:
1. Eating oily or greasy foods: A lot of our traditional breakfast foods are rich in oil and grease. While these breakfast foods are tasty and filling, it's not a very good idea to start your day with them. Greasy foods may cause digestive troubles, distracting you from your work or studies. Moreover, these foods are often devoid of nutrition and may make you feel sluggish in the morning.

2. Eating sugary drinks or foods: A lot of our packaged breakfast cereals or fruit juices contain hidden sugars. These are low on nutrition and high in calories, and hence, should be avoided. Same goes for energy drinks or fizzy drinks with artificial sweeteners, as these are packing in a lot of calories that can derail your diet.

3. Juicing your fruits and veggies: Fruits and vegetables are high in fibre and natural sugars, which are both great for giving your body a natural energy boost in the morning. Fruit or vegetable juices on the other hand eliminate the fibre, making your fruit/veggie portion less filling. Eating a whole fruit for breakfast, instead of juicing it, is healthier.

Also Read: Looking To Lose Weight? 6 foods You Must Avoid For Breakfast

4. Loading up on caffeine: A significantly large number of people around the world prefer to have a caffeinated drink with their morning meal. Tea and coffee are two of the most common and most popular ones and while one-odd cup of either drink may help boost metabolism and mood, over-consumption of the same isn't healthy.

5. Not eating enough: We're often in, too much of a hurry in the morning to care about having a good breakfast. So, we end up having a small and incomplete breakfast meal. Your breakfast should be filling, otherwise you end up feeling hungry soon after. This makes you want to crave unhealthy snacks, which are no friends of your waistline.

6. Not prepping for breakfast: Meal preps are important for anyone wanting to lose weight and ignoring it just won't do. But, while lunch and dinner preps are common, we often forget prepping for breakfast and grabbing anything we see in front of us in the morning. Your breakfast prep may just include stocking up on healthy options like poha, oats, milk, whole wheat bread and eggs, etc. for the next morning.

Also Read: 5 Best Breakfast Ideas to Kick Start Your Morning

7. Eating breakfast outside: A lot of restaurants and cafes nowadays offer all-day breakfast menus and buffets, but these should be indulged in only occasionally. Try and make it a habit to have breakfast at home, so that you are mindful of how many calories and how much nutrition is going into your body. So, no more making coffee stops at that Starbucks for your daily cuppa on your way to work - carry your own homemade coffee instead.

8. Ignoring the fat: A fear of fat has been bred into our psyche and it's making us throw out a lot of nutritious food. Good quality of monounsaturated fatty acids are good for the body, especially when consumed with breakfast, as they promote satiety and keep your skin healthy. So, stop throwing out the yolk of your morning eggs and go ahead and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on your breakfast toast.

9. Eating leftovers for breakfast: The prospect of eating leftover pizza, burger, fried rice, etc. for breakfast is very tempting. But unfortunately, it's not a very good practice. Leftover or re-heated foods have low nutritional value and no matter how well they were stored or refrigerated, leftovers are unhealthy. They may upset your digestive system, which may again, wreak havoc on your weight loss plans.

10. Eating breakfast in bed: Don't start eating right after waking up in the morning. It's always healthier to first drink a glass of warm water, first thing in the morning, to boost your digestive system. Starting your day with a glass of warm water has a number of health benefits, including aiding weight loss. So, pass off on the opportunity of 'breakfast in bed' and instead wait for at least half an hour after you wake up to eat breakfast.

These breakfast practices may not guarantee a dramatic weight loss for you, but if incorporated into your daily routine, these will definitely lead to an overall improvement in your health.

Yummy delicious food definitely has the potential to make you drool and most foods taste best when served hot. Another common habit that most people have is that of reheating the food, before eating. But have you ever given it a thought that it can be a highly unhealthy practice? Yes, you read it right, it is the most unhealthy practice, especially when it comes to certain foods.

A quick list of foods is mentioned below, which should never be reheated :

1.Mushrooms: Mushrooms can enhance the taste of any dish and it is common that the leftovers are stored aside to be savored the next day. This unknown mistake can cost you dearly. Mushrooms are a rich source of protein. On reheating, some of the proteins break drown, which not only changes the flavor of the food but also produces certain toxins. These toxins can lead to upset stomach and digestive problems. Eating reheated mushroom repeatedly can even result in cardiac problems.

2.Chicken: Having chicken on this list can be quite a heartbreak, as many people use the cooked chicken for 2-3 days. Again, chicken is another excellent source of protein and reheating it will produce toxins, which can result in health complications such as digestive problems. If you want to stay healthy, avoid reheating the cooked chicken.

3.Celery and spinach: Spinach and celery are both commonly used in soups and are rich in nitrates. Therefore, when you reheat the soup to make it more palatable, the nitrates present in the ingredients are converted to nitrites. Nitrite is carcinogenic in nature and is actually toxic to the body. Thus, you must never reheat any dish containing celery, spinach and other nitrate-rich foods like turnips, beet, and carrots.

4.Eggs: Seldom will you find a person who does not like eggs. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, eggs can be consumed as boiled, scrambled or in form of a curry. Like chicken, meat and mushrooms, eggs are an excellent source of proteins, which is a reason enough to include them in your diet. However, reheating egg preparations will destroy all the associated health benefits, as the protein in the egg deteriorates it can lead to digestive problems. The best idea would be to prepare the dish and have it immediately.

5.Rice: Almost everyone reheats the rice before eating with the belief that having cold rice can cause health problems. This is a misconception that will do you no good. Cooked rice should be eaten immediately. It is believed that uncooked rice contains bacterial spores that often causes food poisoning. When you keep the cooked rice unrefrigerated at room temperature, these spores undergo rapid multiplication. Reheating will do the spores no harm. If you want to store cooked rice, always refrigerate it.

6.Potatoes: Storing the cooked potatoes at room temperature can act as a catalyst in enhancing the growth of Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium responsible for botulism (a type of food poisoning that can result in flaccid paralysis of muscles). Thus, if you have to consume them at a later stage, its best to refrigerate them and not leave them at room temperature.

7.Oil: Certain oils such as avocado, grapeseeds, walnut and hazelnut can become smelly with an unpleasant taste when reheated, as these have a low smoke point. Oils when heated above the point of 375 degrees F, they produce a toxin 4-hydroxy-2-trans-nonenal or HNE, which can increase the bad cholesterol i.e LDL, thus increasing the risk of heart diseases.
It is evident that reheating certain foods can be a slow poison to your health, thus avoid reheating foods as much as possible. In case you a concern consult an expert and get your answers.

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We all love junk food; but who would like the consequences the oh-so-tasty meal brings along? We are talking about weight gain, obesity, heart problems, diabetes and bad breath. Yes you heard us! Even if you skip the onions in your burgers, there is a chance you may be left with a bad breath that doesn't go away easily. There's a study published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine that found that young people who frequently binge on fast food, that is at least thrice a week, are more likely to suffer from bad breath or halitosis as compared to those who ate junk food less frequently. Now, if you wonder why this bad breath has left you embarrassed, probably your junk food eating habit is the culprit. We tell you why!Junk food items may taste heavenly. While they wreak havoc on your body and overall health, they are also responsible for taking a toll on your oral health. Bad breath, sores and gum diseases are some of the conditions that junk foods can be blamed for. One of the main reasons for this is that since most junk and fast foods lack proper minerals and vitamins, bacteria and germs tend to reside in such places, thereby causing such oral health problems.

Hard to Digest Junk Foods

These foods are mostly hard to digest and tend to cause a build-up of gas. This gas is released through the mouth, causing a pungent smell that can only be masked through gums and mints.

Oils In Junk Foods Can Cause Acidity

The oils in junk and fast foods make you more likely to suffer from acidity, which in turn may lead to gastric reflux, which is a major contributor of bad breath.

Conditions Like Diabetes May Only Add to the Problem

If you have an underlying condition like diabetes, the smell can get worse. The bacteria in your mouth tend to feed on sugar, and higher levels of sugar are associated with diabetes that give the bacteria plenty to feed on, further allowing the bacteria to multiply.

Your diet plays a major role in keeping your oral health in check. If you are dealing with bad breath due to excessive consumption of junk foods, it's time you switch to healthier alternatives and save yourself from being embarrassed. Eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruits to reduce the risk of bad breath significantly. Eating apple can be an excellent way to freshen your mouth as it contains compounds that can inhibit the activity in your mouth. Try eating oranges and strawberries; the vitamin C content in these fruits creates an acidic environment in the mouth that makes it difficult for the bacteria to grow and thrive. Here are more foods that you can eat to treat bad breath.

Dr. Vishakha  Bhalerao
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