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Nutrition  Articles

Food
Vitamin D Deficiency In UAE

Over 90 percent of the UAE population is Vitamin D-deficient and the food industry is now being asked to fortify juices, milk and other dairy products with the vitamin. Following the two-year ongoing Vitamin D study being conducted in collaboration with Professor Michael Holick, an American endocrinologist and celebrated authority on Vitamin D deficiency, the DHA has now started a 22-week food education program in nurseries to train parents on how to provide balanced nutrition to their children. Alerting to the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency, “Vitamin D deficiency is a major health issue around the world and adults require to have 2,000 units of Vitamin D per day. Pregnant women who have a Vitamin D deficiency have a higher risk of pre-eclampsia and premature delivery. Studies also indicate that women born to Vitamin D-deficient women can suffer from conditions such as schizophrenia, asthma and some forms of developmental disorders. Children from the age of one year up to their teenage years require 600-1,000 units of Vitamin D per day. If a person is obese, he or she requires two to three times the stipulated amount of Vitamin D. “It is also indicated that if a child is deficient in Vitamin D for the first 10 years of life, he or she is likely to suffer from multiple sclerosis and has an 88 percent risk of developing Type I diabetes or 33 percent risk of Type II diabetes.” Making simple changes to one’s lifestyle could help replenish Vitamin D. “In the UAE, absorption of Vitamin D is possible in sunlight only from 10 am to 3 pm. People need to expose nearly 40 percent of their skin, avoid wearing sunscreen and face sunlight for 30 minutes in a day within these hours. Those with lighter skin can do with exposure for just 15 minutes. Having 12 almonds a day can help you replenish your Vitamin D reserves. Those with severe Vitamin D deficiency might require injections or supplements that are also fortified with magnesium as this micronutrient helps in better absorption of Vitamin D.” Vitamin D facts Best time to absorb sun: 10am-3pm 40% of skin surface needs to be exposed to the sun Face sunlight for 30 minutes Lighter-skinned individuals can do a 15-minute sun absorption Eat 12 almonds a day

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March 11, 2019
Nafeesa Alwathaifi
Senior General Practitioner
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Food
High protein and low carb diet: The Right choice or not?

Even though the body consists mainly of protein, our protein requirements don’t come from protein alone. They come from an interchange between proteins, carbohydrates, and fat within our body. That said, plant-based proteins are the highest quality proteins. They can be supplied by whole cereal grains and various beans and their by-products. In terms of food requirements in our daily life, we need one part of a protein, for body construction, versus seven parts of carbohydrates, for energy. Consequently, we need much less protein than has lately been publicized by some food theories. A recent study was made to evaluate the effects of a high protein diet. In the study, 34 post-menopausal, non-diabetic, obese women were divided into three groups — each with a different meal plan. 1. The first group of women ate a diet that would maintain their current weight. 2. The second group ate a weight loss diet that limited their protein intake to the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For a woman who weighs 154 pounds, that is about 56 grams of protein. 3. The third group also ate a weight loss diet but increased their protein intake. They ate 1.2 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight. For a 154-pound woman, that would be 84 grams of protein. The women were monitored for 28 weeks. The researchers provided all of the meals, so the protein, carb, and fat intake were tightly controlled. One of the promises of a high-protein diet was that the cells would become more sensitive to insulin, which would mean that the cells would uptake and utilize sugar more efficiently – rather than storing the sugar as fat. While both the RDA-limited protein group and the higher-protein group lost the same amount of weight, the RDA-limited protein group saw a 25-30% improvement in insulin sensitivity, which is linked to a reduced risk for diabetes and heart disease. Surprisingly, the high-protein group saw zero improvements in insulin sensitivity, and while they lost the same weight, there were no metabolic improvements and thus no decreased risk for diabetes or heart disease from the high-protein diet. In other words, the study found that the group that ate a high-protein diet did not achieve the same metabolic benefits as the group that ate a diet with the recommended protein levels. Yet another side effect of a high protein diet is that it makes the body, and therefore the blood, more acidic. In order to neutralize blood acidity in the body, minerals, such as calcium, are being taken away from the bones, leaving the bones weak and susceptible to developing osteoporosis. In conclusion, it is sometimes very dangerous to blindly follow a certain fad diet that takes you to extremes, which even your body will not be able to handle for long. Our body needs a balanced nutritional plan, adapted to our body constitution because health without balance is not health and that is what we need to focus on.

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February 07, 2019
Eupepsia Medical Clinic
Health & Wellness Partner
Food
Let's Rethink Health

On the heels of the season of giving and receiving, it is important to understand that there is a very close correlation between the way we eat and the way we give and receive in our life, resulting in either poor mentality or prosperity consciousness. When we eat more than what we need, we create stagnation, greed, blockages and the energy stops flowing in the proper way. The digestive system will be overloaded and ultimately break down. Our psyche will shift and become greedy in life, always wanting to get more and more, and finding ways here and there to cheat the system, to fulfill our ever growing desired objectives, resulting in huge karmic debt and poor mentality. But on the other hand, eating less than what your body needs will have the same end result, because your mind is restraining your body from its daily need by not giving it the right nutrition and care, causing an impasse in the alchemy of giving and receiving, thus negatively affecting the digestive system and rejuvenation process, first at a physical level but very soon at an energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels as well. The outcome of such extreme behavior leads to major blockages, resulting in a poor mentality that will affect ultimately all aspects of your life, starting with the physical body, blocking the good absorption of food. As a result, the list of intolerances will increase for each individual to a point that they will end up being very scared of the food itself - eating fewer and fewer choices until serious health problems will surface, making them feel bad and hopeless. This is the new eating disorder of the century: it’s called orthorexia nervosa, where people, on their way to wanting to become healthier and healthier, affect dramatically their physical, mental and emotional bodies; an obsession which could lead to death. It is important to rethink the way of health. Health is not deprivation; health is a balance. A balance that makes you feel good not because of how the physical body looks, but because you feel good at all levels, and even more so inside. Prosperity comes from a balance that is unique for each individual. A balance cannot be the same for two different people. Each person, depending on the characteristics of their body type, will need to understand how his/her body functions, and give it what it needs to be healthy, thus allowing the energy to flow smoothly and opening the door to prosperity consciousness. And that’s ultimately the purpose of Eupepsia, to make you find your own balance through health management in order to achieve your highest potential.

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February 07, 2019
Eupepsia Medical Clinic
Health & Wellness Partner
Food
Frozen foods: Knowing the good from the bad

To anyone with a busy life, frozen food can feel like a gift. If we’re honest, most of us could probably confess to slipping a frozen meal into the oven or microwave after a long day when we don’t have the energy to cook from scratch. And not only is cooking from frozen convenient, but those frozen pizzas and chicken drumsticks can hit the spot too – there’s definitely something about them that makes our brains light up. But trust me … that’s not a good thing. The reason we get such a kick out of them is that most are packed with ingredients that our brains have been conditioned over the years to love: Fat, salt, added sugar and more. Such is the impact of many of these foods on our brains that a 2015 study published by the Public Library of Science concluded that ‘highly processed foods, which may share characteristics with drugs of abuse (e.g. high dose, a rapid rate of absorption) appear to be particularly associated with “food addiction”.’ But is all frozen food really so bad for you? And if not, what’s okay and what should you avoid? The frozen food debate First, the good news. Frozen food itself is not inherently bad. On the contrary, in 2014 two independent studies by the University of Chester and Leatherhead Food Research found that in two-thirds of cases, frozen fruit and vegetables actually contained more vital nutrients than those that were refrigerated from fresh for just three days. The researchers concluded that this was likely to be because fresh foods of this type are frozen at the point when they are most nutritious, whereas fresh produce may have spent days or even weeks in transit and on supermarket shelves, gradually losing nutrients. Other studies have found that vegetables lose their valuable nutrients more slowly, the lower the temperature at which they are stored. In 2007, a large two-part review conducted by the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California found that by the time a consumer eats fresh goods bought from a shop, the frozen equivalent may be nutritionally similar due to the loss of nutrients during handling and storage. (Of course, eating fruit and veg fresh from your garden or allotment will always be the most nutritious option). It seems that the story is similar for meat products as well. So what’s the problem with frozen food? Let’s be clear, We’re not attacking the freezing process here. The problems come down to the types of frozen foods designed purely to be put straight into the oven or microwave, with little to no prep. I’m talking about pizzas, processed ready meals, chicken pieces, fish sticks – and anything else pre-packed that bears little resemblance to the food in its original form. As a 2014 study published in the journal Food Chemistry recently highlighted, those foods are bad news. The study reported that at least half of such meals commonly found on the European market are nutritionally imbalanced. To make matters worse, some of the nutritional information on the food packaging was shown to contain inaccuracies. Sodium content It’s also not uncommon for processed frozen foods to be packed full of sodium – a component of salt. While sodium is an essential mineral, the problem is that most of us consume far too much of it, often from processed food. The reason for these high sodium levels in processed frozen foods is two-fold. First, sodium reduces what’s known as the water activity of food. This serves to draw water out of any bacteria that may be present in the food, slowing the decaying process and preventing your meal from turning into a soggy mess when thawed. Sodium is also added to enhance the flavor of such meals. As most frozen meals are relatively inexpensive, sodium comes in handy for food manufacturers as a cheaper alternative to higher quality flavorings such as herbs and spices. Dangerous fats Another common ingredient in processed frozen foods is trans fats, which are particularly bad news for our health. They are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Their use in processed foods became popular because they provide a cheap and easy way to enhance taste and texture. Not so sweet And of course there’s sugar, which is often added to processed and frozen foods, not just for flavor but to maintain texture and prevent discoloration in some foods. Eating too much added sugar is a known cause of obesity as well as being strongly linked to increased risks for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, so it’s important to keep levels down. The AHA recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 25g a day for women and 36g a day for men. Fresh v froze – settling the debate In truth, the fresh-versus-frozen debate misses the point. By the time food reaches the consumer’s plate, there are no more nutrients lost from freshly frozen food than the fresh equivalent – and fewer in some cases. As with most matters concerning diet, it really comes down to the quality of the produce. If food is healthy before it is frozen, in most cases, it’ll be healthy afterward too. Equally, if a dish is packed full of sodium, trans fats and added sugar before it even hits the deep freeze, these ingredients will still be waiting for you when you take it out of the microwave. It makes sense to peruse the frozen aisle with the same mindset as when buying any foods: avoid anything high in salt, added sugar and trans fats – and always read the label. So, should you eat frozen or should you eat fresh? Ideally, a mixture of the two is best, but what’s most important is that you’re getting enough of the good stuff – vegetables, fruit, lean meats, and fish. Let’s aim to keep it simple, folks.

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February 05, 2019
Novomed Integrative Medicine
Health & Wellness Partner
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Food
Vitamins and supplements: The good, the bad and the ugly

When it comes to medical information, half the truth can be a dangerous thing. And there are a lot of half-truths when it comes to vitamins. Want a clear story? Here is what an intelligent consumer should know. Toxicity China is the largest source of vitamins on earth and Hebei Yuxing Bio-Engineering is the largest source of B vitamins in the world. Yet a lot of these vitamins are contaminated with lead, a heavy metal that seriously affects your brain and bone. In late 2016, the company was also slapped with an FDA warning for persistent microbial contamination of its products and for falsification of test results. Mercury is another heavy metal that poisons your heart, your bones, your hormones, and your brain. When it comes to heavy metals, I personally do not believe in such a thing as “negligible amounts”. It takes 30 years for your body to get rid of half of the amount of any mercury that you ingest. Cancer risk and vitamins The studies that show that vitamins may increase cancer risk are misleading. They included heavy smokers who were taking vitamins with a high dose of Vitamin A. Vitamin A does increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. An honestly designed study should exclude smokers who are taking Vitamin A. High dose Vitamin C can positively affect the success of treating cancers. However, high doses are not tolerated as they produce severe diarrhea. That is why it is advised to use a high dose of Vitamin C intravenously. Dosage Frequently, the bottle displays in large print “1000 mg” of fish oil, for example. But when you read the fine print it says something like “of that 1000 mg, only 200 mg of EPA and DHA are found per softgel”. EPA and DHA are the primary components by which the majority of studies focusing on benefits are based on. That claim of “1000 mg” is in fact simply window dressing in order to catch your eye. In this case, 1000 mg of EPA/DHA would require taking 5 softgels. So unless you are taking 5 softgels, you are not getting the 1000 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids. Patients with cardio-metabolic issues should get one-to-two grams per day of EPA / DHA depending on their weight. Because you wouldn’t actually take 10 softgels, you simply won’t get what you need. The same applies to memory-enhancing pills which contain phosphatidylserine. The dose is 300 mg a day. Most “memory formulations” contain only 25-50 mg, as a serine is an expensive ingredient. This means you have to take 10-20 pills to get the memory-enhancing dose. Certain formulas contain 100 mg per pill but then they would be judged as “too expensive” compared to other brain-enhancing formulas. But are we comparing apples to apples? Again the studies conducted by pharmaceutical companies to discredit supplements are conducted on the products that most consumers use, which contain inadequate dosages. Truth in labeling The global vitamin and supplement sales reached 122 billion USD in 2015 and are growing at more than 10% per year. The FDA in the US does not regulate this enormous industry. Their limited inspectors are busy monitoring the more critical drug industry. When a manufacturer’s label states that a pill contains 100 mg of CoQ10, the pill may or may not contain that much. Some may contain as little as 30 or 50 mg. It is the Wild West. Bioavailability Sophisticated consumers are now aware of the critical importance that the microbiome and friendly bacteria play in their gut health, psychology, immune system, and lipid metabolism. They also know that they should choose pills that contain at least 20 billion colonies from a variety of bacteria strains. What they do not realize is that many of these labels state in fine print “20 billion at the time of manufacturing”. When the product leaves the factory, the count goes down due to inferior manufacturing and packaging. When the consumer opens the bottle and exposes it to humidity and heat, these live organisms die off to a negligible level within two weeks. Furthermore, one strain of bacteria may represent 90% of the total count of the advertised 18 different strains. The bottom line: Unless you choose a stable formulation which has strain identity and is ensured by finished goods assays, you are mainly consuming dead bacteria that no longer hold therapeutic value. Individualized medicine and bar codes as a solution Some patients have inherited difficulty absorbing certain vitamins or ingredients, hence need much higher levels, different formulations or different administration routes. When using vitamins and supplements to reduce or eliminate your need for high blood pressure medications, we recommend checking the vitamin and nutritional status with a special blood test that your integrative medicine doctor can send to a specialty lab. They can prepare the vitamins and supplements that your body specifically needs. The future of medicine is here albeit not covered by your insurance yet. In 2015, a large randomized European study proved that it is safe to treat acute appendicitis with antibiotics alone. Yet 95% of surgeons in the US and Europe continue to operate on every patient. Reputable providers of food vitamins and food supplements can be found. They use a barcode that you can scan that ties through their website the batch number on your bottle to the outside independent certified laboratory essay that shows toxicity levels and dosages. That is the kind of professional supplements and vitamins that should be recommended to patients.

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February 05, 2019
Novomed Integrative Medicine
Health & Wellness Partner
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