Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weight Loss Surgery - Why it is Not Good For You

Obesity is a growing concern all over the world. As quoted by the world health organization ‘Globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese’. Obesity is not just as simple as being a ‘fat person’. It is a chronic state of being overweight. A survey conducted in 2008 estimates that about 220,000 in the U.S. had weight loss surgery in that very year. These alarmingly high numbers brings us to some basic questions, how advisable is it to undergo surgery for weight loss? Who should undergo surgery and who not? Is it safe? Health experts largely believe that this method of weight reduction is unadvisable. One of the very basic reasons behind this is that it is unnatural. Any unnatural and non-gradual reduction of weight comes with a heavy price. This article will take you through some of the most basic side-effects of a weight loss surgery which makes this method unadvisable.

Abdominal discomfort can last for 2-3 months after surgery. Nausea and vomiting is the most commonly cited side effects. This majorly happens because the surgery reduces the size of your stomach and hence the quantity of food it can take in at one time. Most individuals take a while before getting used to the new diet patterns for the reduced stomach.

A weight loss reduction surgery cause rapid decrease in body mass. In order to make up for this loss of mass, additional medication is generally given to patients post surgery. Often these medicines lead to dehydration which in turn leads to nausea and vomiting, making the entire process a vicious circle.

Food Intolerance
There are considerably high chances of developing food intolerance post surgery. Dry meat such as steaks, sticky food, gummy or fibrous food substances are reported to cause a lot of issues. Cauliflower and broccoli can cause gas formation and also result in abdominal cramping. Approximately 1% of patients develop lactose intolerance (intolerance towards milk and milk products). Patients also get affected by alcohol a lot faster.

Dumping Syndrome
Dumping syndrome is when food is ‘dumped’ into a small intestine, beyond its capacity. This happens largely with fried and greasy food. Although it is not a serious threat to health and life in general, it can be quiet an unpleasant event. It starts off with stomach cramps and moves on to feeling fatigued, sweaty and tired.

Changing bowel habits
Constipation is highly common. Post surgery there is little or hardly any bowel movement. This phenomenon has been observed more in women.

Transient Hair Thinning
For about 2- 10 months after surgery, patients observe rapid thinning of hair. Sometimes patients lose most of their scalp hair and are required to use a wig till the hair grows back. This is mostly due to the decrease in protein levels in the body.

Cold Intolerance
When you lose weight off rapidly, you not only lose weight you also lose insulating body fat. There is a general change in your metabolism level. On account of these factors patients often complain of feeling ‘cold’ even in warm room temperate.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Importance of the Immune System

The immune system of the human body comprises of a number of mutually dependent cell types that cooperatively defend the body against bacteria, parasites, fungus and virus. It also stems the development of tumor cells. Many of these cell types have specific roles to play in the functioning of the immune system. The cells can destroy bacteria, parasites, tumor cells and viral-infected cells.

The immune system’s 'innate' part has many fixed approaches to identify and destroy various kinds of infection readily. This normally engages a particular set of immune cells recognizing microbes, following abnormalities in the stream of blood to the location of disease. It counteracts on the germs releasing different substances before engulfing them (phagocytosis). These are called white blood cells. This strategy is of use only in case of those germs that have not yet built up means of resistance or evading recognition. Certain viruses are known to conceal themselves and multiply inside body cells to avoid detection by the white blood cells.

In cases of diseases, symptoms like the inflammation and enlargement of the skin could be hinting at action of immunity. This is because they assist the immune system of the body by permitting immune constituents in the blood to run to the spot of infection with greater efficiency and ease. But the swelling can itself affect adversely unless it is cautiously restricted. Since the immune system requires a lot of resources of the body to work properly, even a few lapses in the nutrient count of the body can affect the whole system. When these vital nutrients are in short supply, the body prioritizes the brain and other specific organs, and is not inclined to support the immune system. This happens during severe malnutrition and can harm the body to a great extent if a balanced and healthy diet is not implemented in the lifestyle.

Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium and glutathione have anti-oxidant capacities. They are capable of developing increased immune functionality, especially in older people. But too much intake of anti-oxidants can cause oxidative stress and damage or even destroy cells. So do not go beyond the upper limits of the usual nutritional intakes to avoid any adversities. Vitamin C, for example, is abundantly available in citrus fruits which are a great source of anti-oxidants in your healthy and balanced diet. Vitamin D is related to the growth of strong bones in the body and facts suggest that it could also function in the avoidance or cure of some infections, thereby aiding the immune system. It is formed naturally when UV light acts on the skin.

Tension and anxiety can also influence the immune system of your body in a detrimental way. Dejected people have restricted immunity to diseases, as the nervous system can openly come into conflict with the immune cells of the body. Hence mental stress of any kind should be avoided to let the immune system function properly. Also, though not yet clinically proved, the plant Echinacea is known to enhance immune function.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tips For Healthy Lungs

Like every other organ of your body, your lungs need attention too. Breathing is the most important means of survival and the lungs help us to do so. It is therefore extremely essential that we take proper care of them and prevent them from getting damaged. They are an indispensible part of your life and any negligence on your part can turn out to be fatal. This article will particularly deal in the ways and means which can be adopted to maintain a healthy pair of lungs so that you can breathe easy and live longer.

Avoid smoking: Smoking is the worst kind of news for your lungs. If you are a smoker, it is highly recommended that you stop immediately. COPD, Emphysema and Lung Cancer can be the resultant effects of a smoke infested pair of lungs. If you do not smoke but are always amidst smokers, there are equal chances of you to being exposed to such lung infections. Passive smoking is as harmful as active smoking and it is important that you move away immediately when you are surrounded by people who are smoking. Try and dissuade any friend or family member who you notice smoking.

Breathing exercises: Practice regular breathing exercises in the form of yoga. You could also begin paying a wind instrument so that you can successfully increase the capacity of your lungs. If the lungs work with their full capacity, then they can optimally supply the body with oxygen. The different parts of the human body require oxygen to carry out the regular metabolic processes. Regular exercising can also help to increase your lung capacity so try and skip the idea of being lazy at home. Climb up and own the stairs at east five times a day.

Eat right: A healthy diet is absolutely indispensible for the well being of your lungs. Try and include a lot of antioxidants in your diet like apples, broccoli and other fruits and vegetables which will help to restore your lungs and enable them to function properly.

Clear mucus and phlegm: When you catch a cold, your lungs become damp due to the accumulation of a lot of mucus as well as phlegm in them. This happens mainly due to the intake of food which encourages the growth of mucus like dairy products and ice cream. It is therefore extremely essential for you to avoid these whenever you are suffering from cold and cough.

Get in touch with a doctor: If you are already suffering from any lung ailment like asthma, you need to be in touch with a medical practitioner at a regular basis. They will guide you as to how you can be on your guard to avoid breathing trouble and what you can do if you face a problem all of a sudden. You must never neglect a problem but try and address it soon enough so that it gets eradicated from the root itself.

If you are able to follow the above steps religiously, you will surely live a better life with stronger lungs.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

The Big Three Men's Health Issues

While men are known to be the stronger sex, quite a few things work in opposition to them. They smoke and drink more than women do. They don’t go for medical aid as regularly as women. Also there are increased levels of stress in case of men. The following are the three major health issues men face most.

Sexual Problems

‘Impotency’ is used to explain medical situations that impede procreation, in ways such as deficiency in sexual craving and the problems with erection and climax. Erectile dysfunction may be an absolute incapacity to have an erection, a fluctuating capacity to do it, or a propensity to only have short-lived erections. The variations in one’s erectile dysfunction are difficult to calculate their incidence. Any upheaval that causes damage in the tissues or reduces blood flow in the penis can cause this. The occurrence rises with age: around 5% of the men of 40 years of age and about 20% of the men of 65 years of age experience impotency. But erectile dysfunction is not necessarily an unavoidable part of the aging process.

To enjoy a healthy sexual life again, get the necessary treatment. Follow the treatment plan that your doctor suggests. Reduce your alcohol intake and quit smoking. You must deal with tension, stress and anxiety and not let these affect your health. Be cheerful and communicate more with your partner.

Prostate Problems

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate. Acute prostatitis can be caused by diseases of sexual transmission. Often they exhibit many symptoms and even fever. Chronic prostatitis usually is based in the great prostates in people of more than 50 years with benign prostate hypertrophy. The symptoms happen generally unnoticed. They are normal changes that the prostate may undergo in men as they age. It can cause symptoms of irritation of the bladder, like urgency to tinkle, minor forces in the urine spurt, or to tinkle repeated times. Prostate cancer is also very common in men. Studies corroborate the presence of the same in elderly men by means of a biopsy of prostate. In the majority of the men it evolves gradually and affects their quality of life. In a few cases the cancer is aggressive.

Prostate problems can be treated by medical, minimally invasive, surgical as well as alternative treatments. The treatments usually are effective. A healthy lifestyle comprising of physical activity and good nutrition also guarantees prevention of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Eat whole, fresh and organic foods and avoid refined food items, junk food, alcohol and caffeine. Drink as much water as you can.

Cholesterol Problems

The Hypercholesterolemia (increased cholesterol in the blood) is the presence of elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood. It is a metabolic misalignment that can be secondary to many diseases and can contribute to many forms of disease, especially cardiovascular. It is closely tied to the terms ‘hyperlipidemia’ (elevated lipid levels) and ‘hyperlipoproteinemia’ (elevated lipoprotein levels). The high cholesterol does not lead immediately to the specific symptoms. Hypercholesterolemia, aggravated by many years, can be expressed in a number of cardiovascular diseases: disease of the coronary artery (angina of chest, attacks of the heart), movement and ischemic accident and peripheral vascular disease.

Your cholesterol problems can be solved if you can get rid of accumulated toxins from your body. Exercise and indulge in regular physical activity thereby giving up on the sedentary lifestyle. The more you sweat the more toxins you lose and the healthier you get. Also follow a proper dietary plan that should include a lot of green vegetables, whole grains and antioxidant-rich foods.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Atkins Diet Versus Exercise

The Atkins diet, popularized in the 1970s, is the world’s first low-carbohydrate diet. The diet involves limiting the carbohydrate intake. Due to the limited carbohydrates, the body switches from a glucose burning metabolism to one that utilizes the stored body fat. This process is called as Ketosis and is responsible for the weight loss achieved by this diet.

The diet doesn’t restrict the amount of food that you can eat. It restricts the type of food that you eat. You are allowed to only eat food with low-carbohydrates. Such foods are typically high in protein and fats. Proteins and fats are less easily digested when compared to carbohydrates. Therefore the digestion of the food takes longer. Consequently, you feel hungry less often. Thus, the Atkins diet works in two ways.

This being one of the oldest diets for weight-loss, it has undergone a lot of scrutiny and many drawbacks in the diet have come out over a period of time.

1. The diet is restrictive in nature and any diet that restricts a certain food-group is not good for health, as it poses the risk of deficiency diseases.

2. The diet consists mainly of high-fat items. This leads to a risk of increased cholesterol levels which might lead to heart problems.

3.Another problem with the diet is the low fiber in the diet. This can cause problems in digestion.

4. Ketosis causes formation of ketone bodies. These bodies are harmful to the kidney and cause renal-disorders. In addition, the urine turns acidic and contains leached out calcium. This leads to the bones become brittle and may be one of the reasons for osteoporosis.

5. Due to the restrictive nature of the diet, in regard of what you are allowed to eat and not, sticking to the diet is a problem.

When compared with all the disadvantages, a healthier option for losing weight would be Exercise. The Atkins diet works by changing your metabolism. Subsequently when you revert back to a normal diet, the body reverses its metabolism and all the weight lost is gained back. Exercise on the other hand, works by increasing your metabolism. When you exercise, your metabolic rate increases. Consequently all the stored fats are burned up and future weight-gain is also prevented. The Atkins diet is just a method of weight loss. It fails to strengthen and tone the muscles in your body. Exercise does all this along with weight-loss.

Continuing the Atkins diet for very long is not desirable nor is it affordable. Exercise on the other hand is desirable and affordable too. Fitness boot camps are a very effective option in this regard. Exercise is thus a long-term strategy. The Atkins diet can’t be undertaken by older people or people with dietary restrictions, due to its nature. Exercise on the other hand is universal and is advised to all.

Thus considering both, the Atkins diet and exercise, it is seen that a healthy diet with exercise is more advisable than undertaking such diets which can have deleterious effects on the body.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Four Benefits of Consuming Organic Food

In recent times, there has been a strong shift towards a more healthy way of life. People are taking their food habits a lot more seriously than ever before. Nutrition trends come and go and the number of people following these trends increases every day. The single most important trend that has remained constant through the centuries is the idea of ‘naturally healthy food’. Back in 1939, this term went on to get a new spin with the word "organic food".

Organic food is the healthiest form of food items available. While there is a majority of definitions available for the term, in general it can be classified as any food substance that is grown naturally. This means that the use of chemicals at any stage of growth is forbidden. Chemical Pesticides, fungicides and insecticides are completely replaced with alternatives for the same which are available in nature.

There are various reasons that have made this sort of food have a hyped demand. A lot of these reasons are at the production level. The increased yield as compared to non-organic crops, the relatively less expensive cultivation methods and eco-friendliness have made more and more farmer about this sort of cultivation. Another reason for its popularity is the consumer awareness. So how do we benefit from consuming organic food? Listed below are some of the reasons why consuming organic food can be a much better option.

It Tastes Better
The very first aspect of good food that we conceder is the flavor. According to a research conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), organic apples were more firm and tasted better when compared to apples that were conventionally grown. Some other vegetables like the tomato and carrot are also proven to taste better when grown organically. Genetically modified food just looks better, but in most cases they lose taste.

It is Chemical Free
Chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides and insecticides which get added on to crops during cultivation stay on even when they exit the farm. Many a times they cannot be washed off at all. They even find their way through bread and baby food. These are the sort of substances that can potentially even cause cancer. There are no added artificial colours, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives. Organic food is straight from nature coming in the most authentic way it can be presented to you.

It is More Nutritious
Organic food, time and again has shown to have higher nutrition levels. Vitamins, minerals and other essential fatty acids are better found in organic food.

It is Eco-friendly
Every year hundreds and thousands of gallons of chemicals which are washed away from crops enter the countries water systems. Dusting of chemicals on crops causes air pollution. Organic vegetables on the other hand can be grown safely without harming the environment. This gives you a guilt free experience of eating your food.

These are just some of the most basic and universally approved facts about organic food placed before you that would tell you it’s superiority over conventional food items. Every year more and more research proves this point and substantiate existing data about the richness of organic food.

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