Sunday, 27 July 2014

Why Nutraceuticals ?

The Word Nutraceutical

  • Formed from ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceutical’
  • Coined by Stephen DeFelice, MD, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine (FIM), Cranford, NJ
  • Refers to a food – or part of a food – that provides health and medical benefits

Nutraceuticals are

  • Any substance that is part of a food 
  • Dietary supplements
  • Isolated nutrients
  • Genetically engineered designer foods
  • Processed foods 
  • Herbal products,
  • Substance is used for the treatment and prevention of illnesses

Health Canada’s definition of nutraceutical

  • A product derived from food 
  • Sold as medicine 
  • Used for physiological benefits 
  • Used for protection from chronic diseases

Nutraceuticals are becoming very popular in the United States

  • Medical treatment costs in America one of the highest in the world 
  • Consumers want better preventive therapies for chronic diseases, more personalized medical care, and preventive solutions for effects of aging 
  • Interest in preventive therapies and Nature cures is also sweeping the country

Growing Market

  • Nutraceutical industry worth $86 billion in the United States 
  • Industry even bigger in Europe and Japan
  • Almost 40 percent of Americans try alternative medicinal therapies every year 
  • Increasing number of physicians prescribing nutraceuticals before giving pharmaceutical drugs to patients
  • Belief that they are just as good as pharmaceutical drugs but without side effects

Common claims about benefits of nutraceuticals

  • Cartilage and joint health
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Stress reduction
  • Cholesterol levels 
  • Lung functions

Categories include

  • Dietary supplements with botanicals 
  • Some minerals
  • Some vitamins
  • Carnitine
  • Co-enzyme Q 
  • Ginseng
  • Many others


Functional foods include

  • Bran
  • Oats
  • Lignin
  • Psyllium 


  • Probiotics
  • Omega-3 acids
  • Medicinal foods 
  • Genetically engineered foods


  • Medical experts and regulatory authorities say certified nutraceuticals still rare in market 
  • Most raw materials used for the manufacture of nutraceuticals are imported therefore is no quality control 
  • Very little data available on how the herbal and botanical ingredients – that go into manufacture of nutraceuticals – are cultivated
  • Nutraceuticals clearly affect physiology but not tested as strictly as pharmaceutical drugs

Thursday, 17 July 2014

How many meals one should have daily?

Healthy eating and healthy living revolves around having sufficient balanced diet. 

But how many meals should you have per day? Healthy eating is a key component of weight loss and muscle building for those who want to maintain a healthy weight. Our strength and conditioning expert, Arnav Sarkar lays out the benefits of three meals versus six meals. He also tells you when you should have three meals and six meals for optimal health benefits.

As per popular belief "going more than three hours without eating anything would lead to a drop in energy levels, loss of lean muscle tissue, increased fat storing, etc," says Arnav. Hence it was always important to eat every three hours. So, three good meals in a day is a good option since fasting experts reveal that six meals is responsible for body fat and poor hormones.

"One of the major claims for three meals a day being better for fat loss is that it helps to keep insulin and blood sugar levels low and thus bodyfat is lower. In my personal opinion, however, this is where most people make a major mistake. They do not take the total caloric intake into calculation," explains Arnav.

Arnav Sarkar elaborates the benefits of eating 3 meals a day:

Easy to follow in the long term - All offices, schools and colleges give people time to have breakfast, lunch and dinner — meals that you can eat at home. There are also those who do not feel like eating first thing in the morning, and generally do not feel like eating till lunch. If this is the case, then do keep in mind that breakfast does not have be eaten immediately upon waking up. You can eat your breakfast even a couple of hours after waking up. So no need to miss breakfast altogether.

Allows you to eat bigger meals - This is where six meals a day becomes a problem for those who love to eat big and are trying to lose weight. Six small meals never make one mentally feel like they have eaten a meal, they always feel that they are snacking, and thus mentally are always craving for a meal.

Teaches you to control hunger better - In most cases, eating six times a day tends to make one eat more, since they tend to mentally crave food every 2-3 hours whether they are actually hungry or not. So when they decide to eat only three times a day, they slowly start to control their hunger better as they now go longer without food and develop better mental control.

Arnav Sarkar elaborates the benefits of eating 6 meals a day:

Ideal for eating a lot of calories - If you need to eat a lot of calories to gain weight or because you are an athlete who burns a lot of calories, then frequent meals is ideal for you.

Great to follow when trying to consume high amounts of protein - Our bodies were not designed to be able to digest 70-80 gms or more of protein in one meal easily. It's always best for most people to keep protein to about 15-40 gms at each serving, and maybe a bit more for really big guys who exercise a lot.

Great to follow when trying to consume large amounts of carbs.

Helps avoid drops in energy/sugar levels - Some people truly cannot go on for more than 3-4 hours without eating anything and still be able to perform well. For these people, smaller frequent servings work well and help to keep their energy/sugar levels stable.

Arnav has chalked out and elaborated the importance of three meals and six meals; it is up to you to decide what are your needs and which meal will supplement it.

Read more Personal Health, Diet & Fitness stories on

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Dental Check-Up

Are you one of those people who care for oral hygiene as much as you care for the rest of your body? Is oral hygiene a part of your grooming? Whatever your habit, please read on to find out more about oral health and the ways and means to sustain it!

About Visiting the Dentist

It is commonly recommended that you visit the dentist twice a year to clean your teeth and gums and also do the basic check –ups. This helps to detect signs of oral illness or decay well in advance and initiate treatment at the earliest.

However, some individuals with certain illnesses such as gum disease and plaque build- up, cavities or a weakened immune system may need to visit the dentist for more number of times than recommended in order to obtain optimum benefits.

Sometimes excessive stress can cause a flare of infection or bring about certain unprecedented changes in the mouth. Such situations too warrant a greater number of visits to the dentist.

People who have been diligent with regard to oral hygiene may not find the need to visit a dentist twice a year. They may consult their dentist as to what is best suited for them.

Dental Check-ups

The following are some of the procedures that take place during dental health check-up:

Exams and treatment -The dentist may begin by enquiring about your general health. An initial exam of gums and teeth will be conducted and you will be asked questions about your existing dental care. Your medical documents will be checked and the medicines that you are already taking will be examined. They will also look out for dental diseases and recommend treatment if necessary.

Cleaning - A thorough cleaning by a dentist or a dental hygienist, using metallic hand instruments or ultrasonic scalers, is necessary to remove the hardened plaque that may have accumulated on the teeth. This method of deep cleaning thoroughly removes all the debris from above and below the gum line. 

Polishing - Once teeth are cleaned, they are polished to remove stains on the tooth surface. The polish constitutes of an abrasive substance and fluoride. It is applied with the help of a small rotating rubber cup or brush attached to a dental hand piece. 

X-rays and Treatment - X-rays may be taken if your dentist thinks it is necessary. If a problem is identified then the dentist might recommend an appropriate treatment or he may even refer you to another dental health care specialist for further review or advice.

Prevention - During a dental health check up the dentist would also give you tips on brushing, flossing and other dental care that you may even follow at home.

Examining for first timers

If you are a first timer some of the highlights include: 

Head and neck exam -Your dentist may examine your head and neck and also look out for swelling or tenderness in lymph nodes or salivary glands. 

Soft tissue exam - The soft tissues inside the mouth, lips, tongue, cheek, floor of the mouth, throat and tonsils will be examined.

Gum Disease detection -Your dentist will look out for puffy or bleeding gums and if gum disease is identified they may refer you to a periodontist. 

Occlusion -Your dentist will also analyze the synchrony between the upper and lower teeth. 

Teeth Exam -Your dentist will also examine the surface of every tooth with probes and look out for signs of decay. Some of these probes may make you uncomfortable but devices like diagnodent, which is a laser-device, are very gentle and can easily detect tooth decays.

If you are one of those who fear visiting the dentist, this is the time for you to get rid of that fear make that visit, if you value your health and desire to safe guard it. 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Is Soy Bad For You or Good?

Soy is one of the largest cultivated crops in the US and used as the main protein source by most vegetarians or vegans. There seems to be a lot of confusion whether soy is good for your health or not. For decades the mainstream media has been telling us how healthy soy products are. But have those million dollar campaigns tricked us into believing something that’s not true?
Well the answers is YES. Soy is not healthy. It causes major health problems and its production is destroying our planet. There are hundreds of research studies linking soy to malnutrition, allergic reactions, thyroid disorders, immune issues, digestive disorders, infertility, cancer, and heart diseases.

So if you think soy is a health food, just like I thought, then you have been the victim of smart marketing campaigns over the past years.

But What About Asian People? They Eat Tons Of Soy And Are In Good Health.

We all assume Asian people eat tons of soy, and since they are thin and in good health, soy must be the super-food the media claims it to be. Or is this just an illusion?

To be honest I have been to Asia a few times and they are not the big soy-eaters we think they are. Soy based foods are served as a condiment and never as a main meal or replacement for animal protein. And another big difference, all their soy products are fermented in contrary to what you get on your plate in the West.

Soy’s History

Originally soy was an inedible plant used as a rotating crop to fix nitrogen in the soil. Ancient Asian people were aware that soy contained many toxins (such as saponines, goitrogens, hemagglutinin, oxalates, phytates, protease, estrogens, etc.), making it unsafe for consumption. Only after discovering that soy’s toxins could be neutralized through fermentation they started to use fermented soy products in small amounts for cooking.

The soy industry made massive investments in marketing campaigns, and that’s how unfermented and overly processed soy products like soymilk, tofu, soy cheese, burgers, and ice cream ended up on our kitchen tables.
So in contrary to what we think, Asians do not use soy (as we know it) as their main source of protein and all soy is fermented.

The Hidden Dangers Of Soy

Our western market is flooded with unfermented soy products that we should avoid at all cost. Before going into detail about the risks, I want to share with you my personal experience with soy.

3 years ago I decided to eat less meat, and soy became my main source of protein. After 2 months all my breast glands where painfully swollen, my hormones were a total mess, and they found calcifications in both breasts. These calcifications can be the onset for breast cancer. Luckily it didn’t come so far, but the thought scared the hell out of me. I stopped all soy intake and everything went back to normal in less than a week or 2.

Health Risk Of Soy Products

Although soybeans are complete proteins with moderate amounts of fat and considered a good alternative for animal protein, these 8 reasons will definitely change your mind, if my personal story didn’t give you enough proof to stay as far as possible from unfermented soy like tofu, edamame, soy milk and soy burger.

1.      Estrogen-like Phytochemicals

Soybeans contain phytoestrogens, which act like natural estrogen and can seriously mess up your hormones. And not only women are affected. Men, children and newborns as well.

For men, raised estrogen levels mess up testosterone levels and may cause infertility, low libido, low sperm count, man boobs, fat accumulation around the waist, energy loss, and it increases the risk of cancer (especially prostate cancer).
For women, raised estrogen levels cause estrogen dominance which is linked to infertility, disrupt endocrine system, menstrual issues, and increased risk of cancer (especially breast cancer).
Newborns who are consuming soy formula are daily consuming an amount of estrogens that equals the amount of 4 to 5 birth control pills! Your baby needs a balanced hormonal system for its normal development. Especially baby boys are affected. Too much estrogens can mess up the development of the testicles and other issues may appear when they grow older (lack of facial hair, prostate cancer, thyroid malfunctions, and emasculation).

2.      Affects Absorption Of Essential Minerals And Vitamins

Soy has very high levels of phytic acids. These inhibit the absorption of essential minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper. Soy also contains protease inhibitors, which block the function of important enzymes necessary for the digestion of proteins.

Eating soy regularly will increase your body’s need for vitamin D and B12. People who often eat soy make their B12 deficiency much worse. And that is bad news for the vegetarians and vegans who are already at higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Just as with the estrogens, soy contains vitamin B12-like compounds that can’t be used by our body.

3.      Thyroid Disruptor

Soy contains high levels of goitogens. These compounds slow down thyroid function and disturb the thyroids ability to use iodine. This can lead to hypothyroidism, or and under-performing thyroid gland. Especially women are at risk.

Goitrogens can also be found in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage), but in smaller amounts and these are removed when vegetables are cooked, which is not the case for soy-products.

4.      Free Glutamic Acid (MSG)

MSG is potentially neurotoxic and is formed during the processing of soybeans. And if that isn’t bad enough, they add more to mask soy’s natural bad flavor. MSG can change the normal activity of the nervous system and damage nerve tissue.

5.      High Levels Of Aluminum

MSGs are not the only thing found in final soy products. When soybeans are processed they are washed with acids in aluminum tanks. During the process high levels of aluminum end up in the final product.

6.      Almost All Soy Is GMO

More than 80% of all soy grown in the US is genetically modified to make the plants resistant to a toxic herbicide (Roundup). GM soy has often been associated with allergies and an increased risk of infertility.

7.      Not A Good Alternative For Celiac and Gluten Intolerant People

Although soy does not contain gluten, its lectins can damage your intestines and prevent your gut from healing.

8.      Not Good For our Planet

And soy is not only wreaking havoc on our bodies, it is ruining our planet and poisoning our livestock as well. Actually they see the same issues appearing in animals that are fed with soy.

And one last thing, soy is a very destructive crop. It depletes the soil from its essential nutrients and the crops are heavenly sprayed and processed afterwards.

Take-home message

Personally I don’t eat any soy products anymore since all the trouble it caused in my body. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have it either. Keep in mind only fermented (preferably traditionally fermented) soy in moderation is safe. Natto, miso, tempeh and fermented soy sauce are a few safe examples. Soy milk, tofu, edamame, soy burgers are definitely not a health food.

Make sure to read your food labels and watch out for phrases that contain the word soy. You will be surprised how many soy you are actually consuming. Even if you’re off tofu and soy milk. Almost all processed foods are packed with some form of soy.

This article taken from:

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Myths about Heart

1. All kinds of exercise are good for the heart

Among some of the most common myths related to heart care, according to renowned cardiologist Dr Ashok Seth, is that all kinds of exercise is good for the cardiovascular system.

‘A 45-minute brisk walk, or aerobic exercise is good for your heart. But weightlifting and gym exercises are not necessarily good for your cardiovascular health,’ Seth told IANS. (Read: Is running bad for your heart?)

2. Women are less prone to heart ailments

It’s also a misconception that women are less prone to cardiovascular ailments.

‘Cardiovascular disease is the biggest cause of death in women, six times more than breast cancer,’ Seth said. ‘But traditionally it’s seen that in most Indian families this doesn’t appear as a concern vis-a-vis a woman’s health. If the man has a slight discomfort, they rush to the hospital, but the women, maybe because they have a high tolerance level, simply ignore any such discomfort’.

‘Even while going for health check-ups, a mammogram or a pap smear test is listed (to detect cancer), but not a heart check-up, which is very necessary,’ he added.

Agreed K.K. Talwar, cardiologist at Delhi’s Max hospital. ‘Although women have the protection cover of the estrogen hormone, lifestyle habits like smoking, unhealthy eating habits and contraceptive pills make them prone (to heart ailments). And after menopause, the risk increases,’ Talwar said. (Read: Indian women more vulnerable to heart diseases now)

3. Young cannot be affected by heart ailments

That the young cannot be affected by heart ailments is another myth, Talwar says.

‘It’s no longer true that only those in their 50s and 60s can have cardiovascular problems. Even those in their 30s are coming with such problems these days. In fact, because of lifestyle habits like junk food, alcohol consumption and smoking, plus stress, they are prone to acute heart attacks that can be fatal,’ he said.

According to Talwar, about 20 percent of heart attack patients in Max hospital are in the 30-40 age group. In the West this number is 5 to 10 percent lower because South Asians are more prone to cardiovascular problems at a younger age than their Western counterparts. ‘Five to seven percent of those who come for angiography are below the age of 35,’ Talwar told IANS. (Read: More young people falling prey to hypertension)

4. Heart pain, indicating emergency, will be on the left side of the chest

It’s not necessary that heart pain, indicating emergency, will be on the left side of the chest, Sunita Choudhury, another cardiologist, emphasised. ‘It may also be in the right arm, upper abdomen, and usually in the left arm,’ she said.

5. A particular brand of oil is good for your heart

Much against TV and print commercials promoting a particular kind or brand of oil as being good for the heart, doctors say that such information should be taken with a pinch of salt.

‘Trans-fatty acid is bad for the heart, and one should look out for food containing that. Other than that, there is no truth that only a particular kind of oil is good, like the trend is of olive oil. Even mustard oil is good,’ Talwar said. But even as the Mustard Research and Promotion Consortium says that mustard oil can prevent coronary artery disease, many doctors say that it’s best to keep changing one’s brand or kind of oil every few months.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

6. Nuts are bad for your heart

Nuts, a rich source of oil, are also not at all bad. ‘Almonds and walnuts are good for the heart, and one should have 8 to 10 pieces of almond, soaked in water, every day,’ Seth said. But don’t go overboard – fried almonds are a big no. As doctors say, it’s often a thin line separating information and misinformation.