Premature Deaths: Researchers Develop Tool to Tackle Diet Epidemic in India



As a disproportionately high number of premature deaths in India are caused by preventable diet-related disease, researchers from several institutes including those from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi are collaborating to develop a measurement tool to capture dietary data at a national level.

India is one of a growing number of developing countries to experience the double burden of malnutrition, where high levels of undernutrition coexist alongside over-nutrition, obesity and Type-2 diabetes.

More than 60 per cent of premature deaths can be attributed to preventable cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, highlighting the pressing need for further research in this area.

The researchers are developing the tool to capture data at a national level to enable healthcare professionals and policymakers to make informed decisions to tackle the epidemic.

“Interpretation of nutrition research is as complex as the cooking in India where the dialect and the diet change every 100 miles. Understanding the impact of diet on cognitive aging can be interesting,” AB Dey, Professor and Head Department of Geriatric Medicine AIIMS Delhi said in a statement.

Among some of the issues being addressed by the collaboration between AIIMS, the University of Southern California and Queen’s University Belfast are whether spices are protective in the genesis of dementia and the possible impact of a protein-deficient diet on the aging of the brain.

Besides, is it possible, for instance, to develop a tool that can capture the dietary pattern across the country?

“Through working with leading researchers, dieticians and medical clinicians in India, we have developed a suitable measure of habitual diet that takes into account diverse eating patterns and socioeconomic gradients in the population who have high susceptibility to both nutrient deficiency and non-communicable disease,” said Claire McEvoy, Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.

“As the population is set to increase, the double burden of malnutrition will become a bigger challenge. It is vital that we begin to collate this data now at a national level so that we have the knowledge to inform healthcare policies and healthcare planning around this epidemic,” she said.

The initial feedback from the research team, which piloted the measure with adults aged 45 years and older, has been quite positive.

“The next stage of our research will be to test the feasibility of the diet measure on a wider scale,” McEvoy added.



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Here is What Can Make You Age Slowly



Do you drink high-fat milk and that too quite frequently? If yes, you are most likely to age faster than those who consume low-fat milk. This is what a recent research published in the Journal Oxidative Medicine has revealed.

The scientists at Brigham Young University have found out the association between the length of telomere and intake of both low and high-fat milk. Notably, telomers are present at each end of chromosomes and act as a biological clock. The shorter your telomer is, the faster you will become older. This is because you lose a tiny bit of your telomer every time a cell in your body replicates.

During the study, it was found that with every 1 per cent of the increase in consumed milk fat, telomers were 69 base pairs shorter. Also, whole milk consumers had 145 base pairs of shorter telomers. This clearly states that you should choose low-fat milk over the high-fat ones. While you take your time to decide, let’s take a look at the benefits of having milk.

Helps in overall growth

Being a rich source of protein, milk helps in cellular repair, growth, and development. Containing all of the essential amino acids, milk can significantly help your body work optimally. Consuming milk on a daily basis can prevent age-related muscle loss up to some extent. Also, it can boost up your energy level and improve your overall performance.

Improves bone health

Milk contains strong nutrients including calcium, potassium, protein, and phosphorus. They maintain your bone health and make it stronger. Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for good bone health and it is stored by your bones in the presence of vitamin D, K, phosphorus, and magnesium, that are already present in milk. This means consuming milk daily can prevent osteoporosis.

Prevents obesity

Milk consumption has already been linked to a lower risk of weight gain. As mentioned above, milk contains protein, that is known to increase satiety and keep you full for a longer duration. Also, it has a conjugated linoleic acid that helps in weight loss by boosting the breakdown of fats and inhibiting their production.



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Are You Obese? iRhom2 Protein in Your Adipose Tissue May be Responsible



If you are carrying excess weight or body fat more than the required body mass index (BMI) and that is affecting your overall health, you are suffering from a medical condition called obesity. Notably, having a BMI between 25 and 29.9 means you are obese. According to the World Health Organisation, this condition affected 1.9 billion adults in the year 2016. This international organization also states that 340 million children and adolescents were also affected by obesity in the same year.

Till now, we used to believe that a few lifestyle factors including drinking, a sedentary lifestyle, eating unhealthy food along with some medical conditions cause obesity. However, recently researchers have found a new cellular player involved in the onset of obesity.

According to a study published in the journal Molecular Metabolism, a protein called iRhom2 plays a significant role in obesity. The more iRhom2 protein you have in your brown adipose tissue, the more you are likely to become obese. The researchers also revealed that the deletion of this protein leads to enhanced energy consumption which eventually helps in preventing the accumulation of fat. This also protects you from various complications associated with obesity including inflammation, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, etc.

To control obesity you basically need to follow a healthy lifestyle and have an integrated approach. This means you need to indulge yourself in daily exercise. You can go for swimming, brisk walking, or even jogging. Yoga can also help you in this regard. But it is time taking. Also, eat food rich in fiber, protein and low in fat. Stay away from fast food like burger, bread, pizza, etc. Include more green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, etc. in your daily diet.

In case your weight is too much and you want to get rid of it urgently, going for bariatric surgery can help. This surgery includes the removal of a part of your stomach to avoid overconsumption of food or calories. Hormonal treatment may also help you to deal with obesity in case hormones are responsible for the onset of this medical condition.



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Loneliness as Dangerous as Smoking or Obesity: Study



New Delhi: Loneliness rivals smoking and obesity in its impact on shortening longevity and has become a public health concern, especially for the older adults, say researchers. With older adults increasingly moving into senior living or retirement communities, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine sought to identify the common characteristics of residents who feel lonely in these environments.

The new study, published in the journal ‘Aging and Mental Health’, found that people’s experience of living with loneliness is shaped by a number of personal and environmental factors.

Age-associated losses and inadequate social skills were considered primary risk factors for loneliness.

“Some residents talked about the loss of spouses, siblings and friends as the cause of their loneliness. Others mentioned how making new friends in a senior community cannot replace deceased friends they grew up with,” said Alejandra Paredes, a research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

The feeling of loneliness was frequently associated with a lack of purpose in life.

Others expressed a sense of “not being attached, not having very much meaning and not feeling very hopeful” or “being lost and not having control”.

The research team also found that wisdom, including compassion, seemed to be a factor that prevented loneliness. Other protective factors were acceptance of aging and comfort with being alone.

To reach this conclusion, researchers conducted individual interviews of 30 adults of ages 67-92, part of an overall study evaluating the physical, mental and cognitive functions of 100 older adults living in the independent living sector of a senior housing community in San Diego.

“It is important that we identify the underlying causes of loneliness from the seniors’ own perspectives so we can help resolve it and improve the overall health, well-being and longevity of our aging population,” suggested senior author Dilip V. Jeste, senior Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine.



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Want to Live Longer? Adhere to These Lifestyle Habits



With time, the average age of people is decreasing worldwide. One of the major reasons behind this is unhealthy lifestyle habits. People, these days are recklessly into smoking, drinking, and eating fast food. The increasing pollution, global warming, and many other factors also play a major role in reducing your longevity. If you wish to live longer, you need to make sure to lead a healthy life and stay away from enemies of longevity including smoking, drinking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and an unhealthy diet.

According to a recent research published in the journal The BMJ, bidding adieu to these 5 habits may add years to your life. Read further to know how exactly they reduce your age.

Smoking

The harmful and poisonous substances present in cigarettes, when enter your bloodstream, stimulate the production of happy hormones. However, soon this feeling results in sadness, stress, and anxiety when you stop smoking. Also, smoking leads to buildup of plaque in the blood vessels and causes high blood pressure, the formation of clot, or even heart attack. All these problems can eventually lead to death before the actual time.

Drinking

Too much drinking can cause inflammation in your liver, which is a significant organ that breaks down harmful substances and flush them out of your body. Inflammation can make it difficult for the liver to work optimally leading to the accumulation of toxic substances. This can cause alcoholic liver disease. Drinking also increases blood sugar levels and damages your pancreas.

Obesity

Obesity means having the body mass index more than normal. Severe obesity puts you at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, etc. Notably, the high level of sugar in your arteries can make your arteries stiff leading to a heart attack whereas hypertension is a major risk factor of stroke.

Sedentary lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity which is already linked to various heart diseases and kidney disease. Also, as explained earlier, excessive weight can make you susceptible to an array of health ailments.

Unhealthy diet

These days, most of the people love eating junk food, which contain a high level of bad cholesterol, sodium, sugar, and less fiber. Notably, bad cholesterol in the body can make you likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. And, as we already know, these health issues can eventually claim your life.



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Suffering From Sleep Apnea? Your Tongue Size May be Responsible



Are you experiencing a problem in breathing during sleep, which is followed by loud snoring and fatigue in the morning? If yes, you are most probably suffering from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by loud snoring, irritability, morning headaches, gasping for air during sleep, etc. According to a study published in the journal Lancet, around a billion people around the globe are suffering from this sleep disorder that is impacting their lives significantly.

It occurs when your airways are obstructed due to collapsed throat or mouth tissue. This leads to deprivation of oxygen in the body. There is an array of factors that can potentially increase your risk of developing sleep apnea. Some of them include obesity, being male, smoking, nasal congestion, family history of the disorder, use of alcohol, etc. If not treated on time, sleep apnea may lead to complications like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver problem, metabolic syndrome, etc.

According to a research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, a decreased tongue size may help you improve your condition. Scientists revealed that decreasing tongue size improves sleep apnea by 31 per cent.

The tongue contains stored fats just like other organs. Removing them can help you decrease the tongue size and make the tissues less likely to collapse and cause obstruction during sleep.

As far as the diagnosis of sleep apnea is concerned, it is confirmed by doctors after an evaluation based on signs and symptoms. The specialist may also evaluate your breathing overnight. You may also have to go through nocturnal polysomnography or home sleep test.

To treat sleep apnea, you may be asked to make certain changes in your lifestyle if the condition is mild. In the case of nasal allergies, anti-allergic medicines may be prescribed. However, if these treatment options do not work, you may have to go through therapies like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP), etc. Surgery remains the last option to treat sleep apnea. It is recommended when every other treatment options fail. During surgery, doctors remove the collapsed tissue or shrink it. Nerve stimulation or implants may also be used for the same.



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Women Die From Heart Failure More Than Men, Know About Food That Can Reduce Its Risk



Women die from heart failure more than men, says a recent study published in the journal Nature Medicine. According to scientists, a few risk factors of cardiovascular diseases affect men and women differently. For example, obesity, which is known to increase the likelihood of developing diabetes and eventually lead to heart diseases is more susceptible to women than men.

Additionally, the scientists explain, that sex hormone oestrogen is linked to the onset of heart diseases like heart failure and attack. According to them, this hormone interferes with the formation of the connective tissue in the heart and makes it difficult for the organ to pump blood effectively.

Though men also have this sex hormone, its level is extremely less in them compared to women and that is why they are less likely to suffer from such conditions. This doesn’t mean oestrogen is not required in the body. Apart from helping in developing female sex characteristics, it serves many other purposes. And, that is the reason, post-menopause, women lose the advantage of having oestrogen and as a result, their arteries become stiffer creating a problem in blood flow.

Considering the above study results, it becomes extremely important for women to pay special attention to having food. This is because it plays a significant role in preventing heart failure. Here, we tell you about certain heart-friendly food you must include in your daily diet.

Green vegetables

Spinach, broccoli, and kale are packed with heart-friendly nutrients like vitamin K. This protects your arteries and helps in blood clotting. Additionally, these vegetables are rich in dietary nitrates that reduce the blood pressure and stiffness in the wall of arteries. Moreover, the minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins present in them improve the functions of cells lining the blood vessels.

Whole grains

Germ, endosperm, and bran are the three parts of whole grains and all of them are rich in nutrients. Eating brown rice, barley, quinoa, and whole wheat almost on a daily basis can decrease your risk of suffering from heart failure. They are known to reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body and lower the systolic blood pressure.

Berries

Containing antioxidants like anthocyanins, berries can provide protection against inflammation and oxidative stress, factors responsible for developing heart diseases like heart failure, says a study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.



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Being Obese Early in Life Can Make You Diabetic



Are you obese? Did you start gaining excessive weight early in life? If yes, you are at high risk of developing diabetes. This is what a recent study published in Diabetologia has stated. Notably, more than 1.9 billion adults worldwide were obese in the year 2016 and its prevalence has increased at a rapid rate since 1975. As far as the prevalence of diabetes is concerned, around 1.6 million people died due to the onset of the disease in 2016.

According to the findings of this research, to decrease your risk of developing diabetic, which is a chronic condition, you basically need to keep your weight under control. To do that, you can take the help of certain herbs. Here, we tell you about them.

Fenugreek

It is a herb that is commonly used in Indian households as a spice. Belonging to a plant family called Trigonella foenum-graecum, fenugreek is known to control your satiety and prevent you from overeating. This is how this herb helps you to be in shape. According to a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, fenugreek contains fiber that can control your appetite and reduce your hunger, if consumed on a daily basis.

Ginger

It is a spice that is made from Zingiber officinale, which is a flowering plant. We all know that ginger has medicinal properties. From having anti-inflammatory effects on the body to reducing muscle pain, and treating nausea, ginger can do a lot for you. Apart from an array of health benefits, ginger has now been associated with increased metabolism, fat burning, appetite control, and weight loss.

Oregano

This perennial herb contains a strong compound called carvacrol, which is already linked to boosting weight loss. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, having food containing this compound can help you gain less weight and body fat. This herb does its work by altering fat synthesis in the body.



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Poorest Countries Facing Both Obesity And Malnutrition: Study



A third of the poorest countries in the world are dealing with the double burden of high levels of obesity as well as under-nourishment, according to a study published in The Lancet journal. Researchers noted that a new approach to food systems is needed to help low- and middle-income countries reduce both obesity and undernutrition, two issues that have become increasingly connected.

“We are facing a new nutrition reality where major food system changes have led the poorest countries to have high levels of overweight and obesity along with undernutrition,” said Barry M. Popkin, a professor at the University of North Carolina in the US. “Our research shows that overweight and obesity levels of at least 20 per cent among adults are found in all low-income countries. Furthermore, the double burden of high levels of both undernutrition and overweight occurs primarily in the lowest-income countries — a reality that is driven by the modern food system,” Popkin said.

This system, the researchers said, has a global reach and is preventing low- and even moderate-income countries and households from consuming safe, affordable and healthy diets in a sustainable way. Globally, estimates suggest that almost 2.3 billion children and adults are overweight, and more than 150 million children are stunted, the researchers said. In low- and middle-income countries, however, these emerging issues overlap in individuals, families and communities, they said.

The first of the four research papers explores the trends behind this intersection, known as the double burden of malnutrition. Popkin and his co-authors used survey data from low- and middle-income countries in the 1990s and 2010s to estimate which countries faced a double burden of malnutrition. This means that, in the population, more than 15 per cent of people had wasting, more than 30 per cent were stunted, more than 20 per cent of women had thinness and over 20 per cent of people were overweight, the researchers said.

Results showed that more than a third of low- and middle-income countries had overlapping forms of malnutrition, 45 of 123 countries in the 1990s and 48 of 126 countries in the 2010s, they said. The problem was particularly common in sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and east Asia and the Pacific, where 29, seven and nine countries were affected, respectively, the researchers said. In the 2010s, 14 countries with some of the lowest incomes in the world had newly developed a double burden of malnutrition compared with the 1990s, they said.

However, the team found that fewer low- and middle-income countries with the highest incomes, relative to others in that category, were affected. The researchers said this reflects the increasing prevalence of people being overweight in the poorest countries, even as segments of the population still face stunting, wasting and thinness. “Emerging malnutrition issues are a stark indicator of the people who are not protected from the factors that drive poor diets,” Popkin said.

“The poorest low- and middle-income countries are seeing a rapid transformation in the way people eat, drink and move at work, home, in transport and in leisure,” he said. “The new nutrition reality is driven by changes to the food system, which have increased the global availability of ultra-processed foods that are linked to weight gain while also adversely affecting infant and preschooler diets.

“These changes include disappearing fresh food markets, increasing numbers of supermarkets, and the control of the food chain by supermarkets and global food, catering and agriculture companies in many countries,” he said. The other three papers in The Lancet series build on Popkin and his team’s work, exploring the physiological impacts of the double burden of malnutrition and recommending “double-duty” interventions that simultaneously reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies while preventing obesity and related diseases.



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Are You Obese Due to Overeating? Your Brain’s Nerve Circuit May be Responsible For This Habit



Do you have a habit of feeding yourself every now and then? This impulsive behaviour exists in you may be because of a specific circuit of nerves in your brain. This is what a recent research published in the journal Nature Communications states. Overeating occurs when you eat without thinking of the consequences of doing it. And, this is what leads to weight gain, obesity, etc. Also, impulsive behaviour may make you addicted to cigarettes and gambling.

Coming back to the findings of the research, scientists have found that a part of the human brain called the hypothalamus secretes a hormone called melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH). This chemical messenger molecule is responsible for the impulsive behaviour of a person. This means that if your hypothalamus is stimulated and is secreting more and more of this hormone, you are more likely than others to show impulsive behaviour. These findings have come up as a boon and will help in developing therapeutics for overeating.

Notably, compulsive eating basically means having an addiction to food. It is characterized by binge eating, eating rapidly than normal, mood swings, depression, eating little in public, obesity, loss of libido, fatigue, etc. Compulsive eating can potentially lead to emotional, psychological and physiological consequences that can affect the quality of your life significantly.

If left untreated, compulsive eating can cause health ailments like high cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cardiovascular diseases, etc. That is why it is extremely important to look for treatment for this eating disorder. To get rid of binge eating, you can practice mindfulness, stay hydrated as much as possible, and try certain yoga poses. Also, adding more fiber-rich food in your daily diet can help you stay away from the food for a longer duration. This is because food like wholegrain, peas, nuts, seeds, etc. are known to increase satiety and prevent overeating.



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