Nutrigenomics: All you need to know

By: Nutrition Expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.

Email Id: vidula708@gmil.com

Nutrition and genetics both play an important role in human health as well as the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Nutrigenomics describes the scientific approach that integrates nutritional sciences and genomics and includes the application of other high-throughput ‘omics’ technologies such as transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics to investigate the effects of nutrition on health (1).

5 basic principles of Nutrigenomics: (2)

  1. Substances contained in the food (micro- and macro-nutrients) can directly or indirectly affect the human genome through changes in its structure and gene expression.
  2. Under certain circumstances and in some individuals the diet can be an important risk factor for the development of the number of diseases.
  3. Some genes regulated by active substances in the diet probably play a crucial role in the onset, incidence, progression and severity of the disease.
  4. The degree to which diet influences the balance between health and disease may depend on individual’s genetic makeup.
  5. Nutritional intervention is based on the knowledge of individual’s nutritional status and needs as well as genotype (individualized nutrition) and can be used for prevention,    mitigation or healing the chronic diseases.

The need for Nutrigenomics: (1)

  • The effect of dietary changes on phenotypes such as blood cholesterol, body weight and blood pressure can differ significantly between individuals.
  • There are many factors that can influence the response to diet such as age, sex, physical activity, smoking and genetics.
  • The goal of personalized nutrition is to identify individuals who benefit from a particular nutritional intervention (responders), and identify alternatives for those who do not (non-responders).
  • Individuals should no longer be subjected to unnecessary diets they find unpleasant and ineffective when there may be an alternate dietary approach that is more effective.
  • Personalized nutrition could be useful in both the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases by tailoring dietary advice to an individual’s unique genetic profile.

How Nutrition and Genetics are inter-connected?

  • The daily ingestion, absorption, digestion, transport, metabolism and excretion of nutrients and food bioactives involve many proteins such as enzymes, receptors, transporters, ion channels and hormones.
  • Variations in genes encoding proteins that affect any of these processes can alter both the amount of the protein produced as well as how well that protein functions.
  • If a genetic variation leads to altered production or function of these proteins then nutritional status might be affected.
  • Although the term Nutrigenomics is relatively new, the concept has been around for some time. Perhaps the most familiar example is lactose intolerance, which is a condition resulting from an inadequate production of lactase in the small intestine due to genetic variation in the lactase gene.
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an inborn error of metabolism, which represents another classic example of Nutrigenomics. PKU can result from a genetic variation in phenylalanine hydroxylase (the enzyme needed to convert phenylalanine to tyrosine).

The expected benefits from Nutrigenomics are tremendous and encompass: (3)

  1. A better understanding of the toxicity and safety profile of macro- and micronutrients.
  2. The prevention of certain diet-associated diseases.
  3. The enjoyment of otherwise less healthy food by individuals whose health is not likely to be affected.
  4. The avoidance of unhelpful dietary supplements that are routinely used by certain people, and
  5. The prevention of diseases and an increase in life expectancy.

Conclusion:

Diet is an important environmental factor that interacts with the genome to modulate disease risk. A clear understanding of these interactions has the potential to support disease prevention through optimization of dietary recommendations.

The extent to which Nutrigenomics will be incorporated in nutrition therapy and promotion remains unknown. However, Nutrigenomics has emerged as a rapidly developing research area with great potential to yield findings that could change the way dietary guidelines for populations and recommendations for individuals are established and advised in the future.

References:

  1. https://www.iufost.org/iufostftp/IUF.SIB.Nutrigenomics.pdf
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15800552/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3916260/#:~:text=The%20expected%20benefits%20from%20nutrigenomics,is%20not%20likely%20to%20be

Goodness of Goji Berry!

By: Nutrition Expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.

Email Id: vidula708@gmail.com

“Goji berries contain many nutrients and bioactive compounds which allowed to classify them as Super-Fruits.”

Goji, also called wolfberry, has been used as traditional medicinal foods in China and other Asian countries for centuries. They are very hard, spiny, and shrubby vines in the tomato-nightshade family Solanacaea. Goji berry has different vernacular names; its most common name is wolfberry, which comes from “Gou” meaning wolf (1).

Traditional Use: (2)

  • It is a 1-2 cm long berry, bright orange-red ellipsoid colour with a sweet and tangy flavour. After harvesting in late summer-early autumn, it is sun-dried as a dried fruit.
  • Traditionally, dried Goji berries are cooked before they are consumed.
  • They are commonly used in Chinese soups and as herbal tea.
  • Moreover, Goji berries are used for the production of tincture, wine, and juice.
  • Many pharmacological functions related to the eyes, kidney, and liver particularly have been promoted by the consumption of Goji berry in populations.
  • One of the recommended therapies in the treatment of atrophic gastritis is to consume twice daily with 10 g Lycium fruits each time.
  • Besides that, 15 g of Goji berries per day is considered beneficial to supply adequate zea-xanthin which is estimated at 3 mg/day as a dietary supplement for eye health.
Dried Goji Berry

Nutritional Content of Goji Berries: (3), (4)

  • There are many bioactive compounds distinguished by high antioxidant potential in Goji berries.
  • The nutrients in Goji berries are included 46% of carbohydrate, 16% of dietary fibre, 13% of protein, and 1.5% of fat. Thus, Goji berries can be an excellent source of macronutrients.
  • Micronutrients which included minerals and vitamins can be found in Goji berries as well. There are studies that reported the presence of riboflavin, thiamine, nicotinic acid, and minerals such as copper, manganese, magnesium, and selenium in Goji berries.
  • The high biological activity components in Goji berries are polysaccharides, carotenoids, and phenolics. These functional components are related with the health-promoting properties of Goji berries.

Health Benefits of Goji Berries: (5)

  • Hypoglycaemic Effect

It was found in a study that all Goji preparations resulted in significantly decreased blood glucose levels, indicating that there was a substantial hypoglycaemic effect. Polysaccharides in the Goji Berries were major bioactive components in the hypoglycaemic effect.

  • Lipid Lowering Properties

Polysaccharide fractions supplementation caused a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol fraction and triglyceride concentration compared to control high-fat diet.

  • Immuno-stimulatory and anti-cancer properties

Traditional Chinese medicine has utilized compounds present in Goji fruits to prevent the onset and progression of cancer. Goji also exhibits Immuno-stimulatory activity. It has been confirmed in many tests that compounds present in Goji berries have pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative activity against cancer cells

  • Protective property on Retina Cells

A protective property of Goji extracts on retina cells has been proved in the early stage of the degeneration of the retina. It is suggested that Goji extract containing taurine may inhibit the progress of diabetic retinopathy.

  • Anti-oxidant Potential

Chemical analysis of Goji berry confirmed its high antioxidative activity. Based on the current analysis it was concluded that L. barbarum displays scavenging activity against free radicals (superoxide anion, hydroxyl radicals). Goji antioxidative activity is mainly attributed to carotenoid pigments, flavonoids, polysaccharide fraction and vitamin C.

How to consume Goji Berries?

  1. Eat them raw.
  2. Use them in cooking.
  3. Drink Goji fruit juice.
  4. Take a Goji supplement.
  5. Use them in an herbal tea.

Conclusion:

Goji berry is well-known in traditional Chinese medicine and has been utilized as an important element of a health-promoting diet for hundreds of years. Recently, there has been rapidly growing attention surrounding wolfberries in the Western world. Health food stores provide a rich variety of Goji products, such as dried fruits, tea, beer, juice, sweets, muesli and supplements.

Goji is a safe food supplement, free from toxins; however, it can cause allergies; thus, the risks should be taken into consideration in individuals with food allergies.

References:

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288630233_Goji_Berry_Lycium_barbarum_Composition_and_Health_Effects_-_A_Review
  2. http://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2019/2437397.pdf
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15519360/#:~:text=It%20was%20found%20that%20the,days%20treatment%20in%20tested%20rabbits%2C
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814609011832
  5. https://sci-hub.do/10.1515/pjfns-2015-0040

Berberine_ A Supplement For Metabolic Conditions

By: Pallavi Vathiar. Practicing Clinical Nutritionist, Mumbai.

Email: fihealthie@gmail.com

Berberine is a compound in several plants, including golden-seal, barberry, Oregon grape, and tree turmeric. Technically, it belongs to a class of compounds called alkaloids. It has a yellow color, and has often been used as a dye.  It has very impressive health benefits, and affects your body at the molecular level. Berberine has been shown to lower blood sugar, cause weight loss and improve heart health, to name a few. It is one of the few supplements shown to be as effective as a pharmaceutical drug.

Benefits

Bacterial Infections

Berberine, which is a compound in tree turmeric, is an effective antimicrobial agent.

Berberine could be an effective antimicrobial agent. A laboratory study found that berberine helped inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus can cause many health problems, including sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, and a range of skin conditions. Another study found that berberine has the ability to damage the DNA and protein of certain bacteria.

Inflammation

Inflammation is a key factor in several health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Some research suggests that berberine has anti-inflammatory properties, which means that it could help treat diabetes and other inflammation-related health conditions.

Diabetes

Research has shown that berberine may work as a diabetes treatment. Studies have found that it can have positive effects on blood sugar, triglycerides, and insulin.

One meta-analysis indicated that berberine was better than a placebo at lowering blood sugar. The same analysis found that a combination of berberine and blood sugar lowering drugs is more effective than the drugs alone.

According to other research, berberine shows promise as a potential diabetes treatment, especially for those who cannot take existing antidiabetic drugs, due to heart disease, liver failure, or kidney problems.

Another meta-analysis found that berberine combined with lifestyle changes worked better to lower blood glucose than lifestyle changes alone. Berberine appears to activate AMP-activated protein kinase, which can help regulate how the body uses blood sugar. Researchers believe that this activation can help treat diabetes and related health issues, such as obesity and high cholesterol.

High Cholesterol

High levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Some evidence suggests that berberine could help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. According to one review, studies in both animals and humans indicate that berberine has cholesterol lowering effects. It may help reduce LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and increase high density lipoprotein, or “good,” cholesterol.

A meta-analysis found that berberine combined with lifestyle changes works better than lifestyle changes alone in treating high cholesterol. Furthermore, a study in hamsters observed that berberine helps move excess cholesterol to the liver, where the body can process and remove it. This, in turn, helps lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Researchers believe that the effects of berberine might be similar to those of drugs that reduce high cholesterol, while berberine does not cause the same side effects.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease.

A meta-analysis found that berberine combined with a blood pressure lowering drug was more effective than the drug alone. Also, results of a study in rats indicate that berberine could delay the onset of high blood pressure and, when it did develop, help reduce its severity.

Obesity

Obesity is a common condition that can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

One review reported that people who took 750 milligrams (mg) of barberry twice a day for 3 months had a significant decrease in weight. Barberry is a plant that contains high amounts of berberine. Also, a double-blind study found that individuals with metabolic syndrome who took 200 mg of barberry three times a day experienced decreases in their body mass index readings.

The team behind another study observed that berberine may activate brown adipose tissue. This tissue helps the body turn food into body heat, and increased activation may help treat obesity and metabolic syndrome. Some research suggests that berberine works similarly to the drug metformin, which doctors often prescribe to treat type 2 diabetes. In fact, berberine may have the ability to change the bacteria in the gut, which could help treat both obesity and diabetes.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) occurs when a female has high levels of certain male hormones. The syndrome is a hormonal and metabolic imbalance that can lead to infertility and other health issues. PCOS is linked with many issues that berberine may help address. For example, a person with PCOS may also have:

  • High Levels of Insulin, Diabetes, or both
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Increased Body Weight

Doctors sometimes prescribe metformin, a diabetes drug, to treat PCOS. As berberine appears to have similar effects to metformin, it may also be a good treatment option for PCOS. A meta-analysis and systematic review found that berberine has promise as a treatment for PCOS with insulin resistance. However, the authors state that confirming these effects will require further studies.

Cancer

Berberine can create changes within the molecules of cells, and this could have another potential benefit: fighting cancer.

One review concludes that berberine has “clear inhibitory effects” on the following cancers:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer

Another study states that berberine helps treat cancer by interfering with its progression and its typical life cycle. It may also play a role in killing cancer cells. Based on this evidence, the authors state, berberine is “highly expected to be effective, safe, and affordable” as a cancer fighting agent.  However, it is important to remember that researchers have only studied berberine’s effects on cancer cells in a laboratory, not in people.

Reference

Wonders of no sugar diet

Nutrition Expert: Sana Saiyed, Practicing Clinical dietitian and certified diabetes educator, Mumbai

Most of us have sweet tooth which is very satisfying for the stress but has negative effects on your over all health.

Any sweet makes us comfortable during a stressful period, but it does affect the liver in a detrimental way.

Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • increased inflammation in the body
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure

By making innovative changes in your daily diet of reducing sugar to zero intake can help you in achieving great health outcomes.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), for example, estimate that adults in the United States get around 15% of their calories from added sugars alone. This sugar intake does not even include natural sugars, such as those in products such as fruit and milk.

Why cut out sugar?

The USDA now recommends less than 10% of total calories from added sugar according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/). A review in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that added sugar can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease

What does a nosugar diet do to your body?

Apart from the indicated health benefits, a low sugar diet can help:

  • reduce hunger pangs and cravings
  • boost energy levels
  • enhance mental clarity
  • improve appearance
  • improve dental health
  • increase longevity
  • improve sleep
  • reduce anxiety

How to start a nosugar diet?

It’s quite hard to change your lifestyle in one day. That’s why it’s much better to start a diet gradually to get used to a new eating pattern. One of the biggest challenges people face being on a no sugar diet is a constant craving for unhealthy foods and sugar. Here are a few tips on how to start a no sugar diet correctly:

  • First of all, try to limit your sugar consumption for the first few weeks instead of completely eliminating it from your diet. It will help you adapt to a new low-sugar lifestyle and will reduce your sugar cravings.
  • Your diet can include natural sugars, like fruits, to get essential nutrients and fiber.
  • Provided that you can’t resist the temptation and want to eat something sweet, do it when you are in a good mood.
  • Make sure not to eat sugar when you are worn out, depressed or stressed out in order to avoid creating an emotional bond to sweets.
  • Try to make more changes to your diet so as to reduce your sugar intake after the adaptation period.

BMR and Weight Loss

By Nutrition Expert – Trupti Gurav,Mumbai

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the rate of energy expenditure per unit time by endothermic . The basal metabolic rate (BMR) and calorie calculator is an excellent tool for working out how many calories your body needs on a daily basis depending on the amount and intensity of your exercise regime.

BMR is the total number of calories that your body needs to perform basic, life-sustaining functions. These basal functions include circulation, breathing, cell production, nutrient processing, protein synthesis, and iron transport [1]

Factors that affect Your BMR

Your BMR is influenced by multiple factors working in combination, including: [3, 4]

  • Body size – larger adult bodies have more metabolising tissue and a larger BMR. Those with bigger bodies have a larger BMR because they have larger organs and fluid volume to maintain.
  • Muscle mass– The amount of muscle tissue on your body. Muscle requires more energy to function than fat. So the more muscle tissue you carry, the more energy your body needs just to exist.
  • Amount of lean muscle tissue – Muscle burns calories rapidly.
  • Amount of body fat – fat cells are ‘sluggish’ and burn far fewer calories than most other tissues and organs of the body.
  • Crash dieting, starving or fasting – Eating too few calories encourages the body to slow the metabolism to conserve energy. BMR can drop by up to 15 per cent and if lean muscle tissue is also lost, this further reduces BMR.  
  • Age – Metabolism slows with age due to loss of muscle tissue, but also due to hormonal and neurological changes. As you get older, your metabolic rate generally slows. This is because of a loss of muscle tissue and changes to hormonal and neurological processes. During development children go through periods of growth with extreme rates of metabolism.
  • Growth – Infants and children have higher energy demands per unit of body weight due to the energy demands of growth and the extra energy needed to maintain their body temperature.
  • Gender – Generally, men have faster metabolisms because they tend to be larger.
  • Genetic predisposition –Your metabolic rate may be partly decided by your genes.
  • Hormonal and nervous controls – BMR is controlled by the nervous and hormonal systems. Hormonal imbalances can influence how quickly or slowly the body burns calories.
  • Environmental temperature – If temperature is very low or very high, the body has to work harder to maintain its normal body temperature, which increases the BMR.
  • Environmental changes– Such as increased heat or cold force the body to work harder to maintain its normal temperature and increases BMR.
  • Infection or illness – BMR increases because the body has to work harder to build new tissues and to create an immune response.
  • Amount of physical activity – Hard-working muscles need plenty of energy to burn. Regular exercise increases muscle mass and teaches the body to burn calories at a faster rate, even when at rest.
  • Physical activity – Exercise increases muscle mass and powers up your metabolic engines burning calories at a faster rate, even when at rest.
  • Drugs – like caffeine or nicotine, can increase the BMR. Caffeine and nicotine can increase your BMR whilst medications such as antidepressants and steroids increase weight gain regardless of what you eat.
  • Dietary deficiencies – For example, a diet low in iodine reduces thyroid function and slows the metabolism. Food changes your metabolism. What and how you eat has a big influence on your BMR.

How to increase your BMR 

These are some exercises you can do to increase your BMR: [5]

1. Increase your workout with weights:  You can increase your BMR by as much as 7% after several weeks of weight workouts. But you have to lift heavy weights. If you lift weights and have to struggle in the last two reps, you activate more fast-twitch muscle fibres, which are the ones that have the highest strength capabilities. These create a higher metabolic load. It is best to get a personal trainer to show you how to do these weighted workouts at first, then you can do them on your own.

2. Mix cardio exercises and weights: If you mix these up in the same exercise session, you will burn more calories because your oxygen uptake is increased.

3. Do interval training: If you do sprint interval training (for two minutes), studies have shown that this is equivalent to 30- minute endurance training. So you can choose your favourite aerobic exercise (running, cycling, and elliptical trainer) and do intervals of 30 seconds each at high intensity, followed by a minute of low intensity for recovery. That is why workouts like Zumba or Body Combat help burn calories.

4. Stretching: You may not realise it, but stretching your muscles before and after your workout increases your caloric expenditure significantly.

How to calculate the BMR?

Calculating your BMR can be quite a difficult process. The formula used for BMR is different for both sexes.

  • One of the easiest and simplest ways you could calculate your BMR is by using the calculator available online. The result you get will indicate how many calories your body needs to perform some of the most basic functions, such as breathing, digesting food, and doing daily activities.
  • BMR also depends on your physical activity during the day. You have to use an equation for this. One of the most famous formulas for calculating BMR is the Harris Benedict equation. It was developed in 1918.

How to use your BMR to help you lose weight [6]

Weight loss is tricky, but using calculators that factor in your BMR are helpful for taking a more customized approach for your calories and macronutrient needs.

If you want to lose weight, you have to be in a calorie deficit, meaning the calculator will set your daily food intake to equal less calories than what you burn. Sometimes when you take an online quiz to find this number, you will be asked how fast you’d like to lose weight. Then the calorie deficit will be adjusted accordingly. The faster you want results, the more extreme you will have to be with cutting calories. But many experts say that slow and steady is optimal compared to trying to lose a lot of weight quickly. 

If you want to maintain your weight instead of lose or gain, then knowing your BMR  can help you know how many calories you should aim to consume each day to maintain your weight.

On the flipside of weight loss is gaining muscle mass. This too requires that you strategically approach your nutrition and add calories into your day (likely in the form of protein and carbs) to make sure you can gain muscle. 

References:-

  1. https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-bmr-or-basal-metabolic-rate-3495380
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/metabolic-age#vs-chronological-age
  3. https://www.inspiredchiropractic.com/10-factors-that-affect-your-metabolism/
  4. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/metabolism
  5. https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/viewpoints/tell-me-about/2013/08/28/understanding-bmr
  6. https://www.cnet.com/health/how-to-find-your-bmr-to-lose-weight/

Marvelous Manila Tamarind!

By: Nutrition Expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.

Email Id: vidula708@gmail.com

Manila Tamarind is originated from Mexico, then went to America, Central Asia and then to India. Although, these trees have been seen all along the highways in India, no one knew about its culinary use. It resembles tamarind and is widely called as Manila Tamarind. It is an acrid eatable organic fruit for the most part utilize for cooking, contains high wholesome esteem and various medical advantages for body (1)

Manila Tamarind has been utilized by antiquated individuals in treating various sorts of ailments due to its restorative properties.

Following are certain traditional uses: (1)

  • The bark and pulp being astringent and haemostatic are used to treat gum ailments, toothache and bleeding.
  • Bark extracts are used for chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, constipation and tuberculosis.
  • Extract of leaves is employed as a remedy for indigestion and to prevent spontaneous abortion and for gall bladder ailments and to treat both open and closed wounds.
  • Ground seed is used for treating ulcers.

Studies also shows that it might help in curing diabetes, inflammation, cancer, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, bilious disorders, fever, cold, sore throat, malaria, skin pigmentation, acne and pimples, dark spots, conjunctivitis, irritable bowel syndrome, pain, eczema, pan ophthalmitis, leprosy. Studies have evaluated its antioxidant, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-septic, anti-bacterial properties.

Manila Tamarind

Nutritional importance of manila tamarind: (1), (2)

  • Manila tamarinds are exceptionally high in vitamin C, which bolsters the immune system, staves off strokes and reduces phlegm.
  • It’s also full of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
  • Vitamin E: This contributes to aging.
  • Vitamin B1: This helps to nourish the nerves and the brain. Its high thiamine (B1) content helps the body convert sugars into energy, which impacts the mood: greater conversion helps stabilize stress levels.
  • Vitamin B2: This contributes to the skin, nails and hair health.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin): Which contributes to decrease levels of cholesterol.
  • Calcium: This helps to give a boost to bones and enamel.
  • Phosphorus: This contributes to the expansion and restoration of body.
  • Iron: This contributes to the prevention of fatigue of the body.

Availability of Manila Tamarind in India:

In India, Manila Tamarind grow wild throughout Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Delhi. Few, if any, farmers grow the trees commercially. Instead, they’re found growing as a hedge tree or as road shrubbery.

Manila tamarinds bear fruit from February through March, but may continue until May.

Manila Tamarind Recipe Ideas: (2)

  • In North Mexico, locals make a lemonade-type beverage by de-seed the fruit, blending the arils with water, and straining through a sieve. Sugar is added as necessary, and it’s possible to add orange juice, ginger, lemon juice, mint, or coconut water for a boost in flavour.
  • Roast the black seeds surrounding aril. Once cooled, remove the shiny black layer to expose the edible seed. Add these seeds into curries and stir fries, as is common in rural areas of southern India.
  • Create a paste for sauces, soups and stews: mix the pounded Manila Tamarind pulp with jaggery, water, salt, and a dash of chili powder.
  • Make a stir fry by adding the paste above to sautéed tofu and vegetables.

References:

  1. https://www.plantsjournal.com/archives/2019/vol7issue6/PartC/7-6-25-611.pdf
  2. http://theindianvegan.blogspot.com/2012/09/all-about-manila-tamarind.html

The King Of Fruits_ Mangoes…!

By: Pallavi Vathiar. Practicing Clinical Nutritionist, Mumbai.

Email: fihealthie@gmail.com

Mangos have yellow, green or reddish orange skin and a deep orange interior. The fruit, grown in tropical climates around the world, has been part of the human diet for more than 4,000 years, according to the National Mango Board. Mango juice contains vitamins and minerals essential for good health. Look for mango juice that does not contain added sugar to get the most health benefits.

Nutritional Contents

Vitamin C

Consuming enough vitamin C can help you prevent colds and flu. Vitamin C encourages your white blood cells to work more efficiently at destroying germs and bacteria. An 8-ounce serving of mango juice contains two-thirds of your daily recommended vitamin C requirement.

Beta-Carotene

A serving of mango juice supplies one-quarter of the daily recommended beta-carotene intake. The deep orange colour of mangos supplies beta-carotene. Your body uses beta-carotene to make vitamin A, which keeps your eyes healthy. Vitamin A and beta-carotene also work in conjunction to promote good skin and skeletal health.

Potassium

Mango juice contains potassium, a mineral that helps your heart, nerves and muscles function properly. Potassium also regulates blood pressure and the balance of fluids in your body. One cup of mango fruit supplies about 325 milligrams of potassium. A serving of mango juice, without added water or sugar, contains about 300 milligrams of potassium.

Iron

Mangos supply a notable amount of iron. Iron produces healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body. Adding mangos to your diet can increase your intake of the essential nutrient, if you suffer from an iron deficiency. An 8-ounce glass of mango juice supplies about two percent of your daily iron needs (1,2).

One 165-gram (g) cup of sliced, raw mango provides (3):

  • 99 calories
  • 1.35 g of protein
  • 0.63g of fat
  • 24.7 g of carbohydrate
  • 22.5 g of sugar
  • 2.64 g of fibre

Benefits

Consuming mangoes can help protect and strengthen the body in several ways. The sections below discuss these benefits in more detail.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The zeaxanthin in mangoes may prevent age-related macular degeneration. Mangoes contain an antioxidant called zeaxanthin.

A 2019 review suggests that zeaxanthin may play a protective role in eye health and could prevent damage from macular degeneration. This is an eye condition that gets worse with age. The review cites the anti-inflammatory properties of zeaxanthin as a possible cause of this protective mechanism.

Cancer

A 2014 study from Japan found that carotenoid-containing fruits and vegetables such as mangoes may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Also, the Skin Cancer Foundation suggest that a diet high in beta-carotene content can help protect against skin cancer. Orange fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, contain beta-carotene. They also suggest that it can boost the action of the immune system against disease.

Diabetes

A 2019 mouse study into mango leaves found that some plant compounds had a powerful effect on risk factors for diabetes. These included lower body weight, reduced blood sugar levels, and lower levels of fats in the blood.

This study does not clarify whether or not mango flesh provides the same benefits. However, one 2014 study found that eating freeze-dried mangoes reduced blood sugar levels in people with obesity.

Heart Disease

The fibre, potassium, and vitamin content in mangoes all help keep the arteries working and reduce the risk of heart disease. Increasing potassium and decreasing sodium in the diet are among the most important dietary changes a person can make to reduce their risk of high blood pressure.

Skin And Hair

Mangoes also support hair health, as they provide a good amount of vitamin A. This nutrient helps the skin provide an oily substance called sebum, which moisturizes the hair. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair.

One cup of sliced mango provides 60.1 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C. This is most of a person’s daily requirement, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Consuming enough vitamin C supports the development and maintenance of collagen. This provides structure to the skin and hair.

Reference

  1. National Institutes of Health Medline Plus: Low Potassium Level
  2. National Agricultural Library: Just what is Iron?
  3. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/341577/nutrients
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3833247/
  5. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-7/
  6. https://www.skincancer.org/blog/can-your-diet-help-prevent-skin-cancer/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4155986/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523787/
  9. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10147-013-0520-2
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6681213/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6377551/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6211424/
  13. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
  14. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/

Black wonder Blackberry!

By: Nutrition Expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.

Email id: vidula708@gmail.com

Blackberry (Rubus sp.) fruit contains high levels of anthocyanins and other phenolic compounds, mainly flavonols and ellagitannins, which contribute to its high antioxidant capacity and other biological activities. Epidemiological and clinical studies suggest that consumption of anthocyanins and other flavonoids found in most fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of obesity, coronary heart disease, degenerative conditions, and various types of cancer (1).

Blackberries are notable for their high nutritional contents of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, and the essential mineral manganese. The root contains saponins and tannins, whereas leaf contains fruits acid, flavonoids, and tannins. Fruits are gathered (as of most other blackberries) in the wild for jam, syrups, wine, and liqueur (2).

Medicinal Uses:

  • Blackberries are known for their anticancer properties. As they contain antioxidants, they are known to destroy the free radicals that harm cells and can lead to cancer. They also help protect and strengthen the immunity, which lowers the risk of cancer. They are especially helpful when it comes to reducing the risk of oesophageal, cervical, and breast cancer (3).
  • Blackberry leaves have been traditionally used in herbal medicine as an antimicrobial agent and for their healthful antioxidant properties (4).
  • Blackberry has been used in Europe to treat diabetes. An extract of the leaves showed a hypoglycaemic effect (5).
  • Blackberry leaves and roots are a long-standing home remedy for anaemia, regulates menses, diarrhoea, and dysentery. A standard infusion made, which can also be applied externally as a lotion, reported to cure psoriasis and scaly conditions of the skin (6).
  • Blackberries are also used to make wine, brandy, and flavour liqueurs and cordials (6).
  • They are used to treat sore throats, mouth ulcers, and gum inflammations. A decoction of the leaves is useful as a gargle in treating thrush and also makes a good general mouthwash (7).

Traditional Uses: (8)

  • Because the plant is strongly astringent, infusions are used to relieve diarrhoea.
  • As a mouthwash, it is used to strengthen spongy gums and ease mouth ulcers. The berries make a pleasant gargle for swallowing.
  • Poultices or compresses are used externally on wounds and bruises.
  • Decoctions are used to relieve diarrhoea and haemorrhoids. The tannins in the herb not only tighten tissue but also help to control minor bleeding.

Selection and Use:

  • Choose berries that are firm, plump, shiny, and dark-coloured. Avoid berries that are bruised or leaking and packages that contain mouldy berries.
  • Rinse blackberries thoroughly just before preparing. Discard any shrivelled or mouldy berries. Blackberries are good for both cooking and eating raw.
  • You can also use these versatile fruits in baked goods, add them to fruit or vegetable salads or turn them into jellies or sauces.
  • Mix blackberries with apples, kiwi and strawberries to make a delicious fruit salsa you can eat with chips, use to top ice cream or other desserts or use as a condiment with meat or seafood.

References:

  1. https://www.scielo.br/pdf/asagr/v39n1/1807-8621-asagr-39-01-00043.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4127818/
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Albara_Alrawashdeh/publication/275031586_A_Novel_Strategy_for_the_Identification_of_the_Medicinal_Natural_Products_in_Rubus_Fruticosus_Plant_by_Using_GCMS_Technique_A_Study_on_Leaves_Stems_and_Roots_of_the_Plant/links/552fc23a0cf27acb0de6c0ee.pdf
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19386474/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2673695/
  6. http://herbsrainbear.com/encylopedia/blackberry.htm
  7. https://altnature.com/gallery/blackberry.htm
  8. https://www.cloverleaffarmherbs.com/blackberry/#sthash.0%C3%97JqXObG.dpbs

Benefits of Bay Leaves in Cooking

By-Meena Ganagani,Practicing Clinical Nutritionist,Mumbai.

Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) is a perennial shrub belongs to the family laurel (Lauraceae). It has been cultivated throughout the European, tropical, subtropical, and Asian countries. It has been used for thousands of years for food flavoring, essential oil applications, and in traditional medicine. Mostly, it contains tannins, flavones, flavonoids, alkaloids, eugenol, linalool, methyl chavicol, and anthocyanins. The extent of each of these chemical constituents varies depending on the type of species or cultivars as well as cultivation conditions such as soil type, weather, irrigation, pruning, and other horticultural practices. Bay is an essential component of several industrial applications that range from food to cosmetics to pharmaceutical products. Bay leaf has many biologic activities such as wound healing activity, antioxidant activity, antibacterial activity, antiviral activity, immune stimulant activity, anticholinergic activity, antifungal activity, insect repellant activity, anticonvulsant activity, antimutagenic activity, and analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. (1)

Health Benefits of Bay leaf

Improves Digestion: Bay leaves have a very strong effect on the gastrointestinal system, both stimulating urination as a diuretic, which decreases the toxicity of the body and stimulates vomiting (as an emetic) when something toxic has been consumed. Furthermore, the organic compounds found in bay leaves are very effective for settling upset stomachs, soothing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or even lessening the symptoms of celiac disease. Some of the more complex proteins in our modern diet can be difficult to digest, but the unique enzymes found in bay leaves help facilitate efficient digestion and nutrient intake.

Anti-inflammatory Activity: One of the most important benefits of bay leaves is their ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. These leaves contain a unique phytonutrient, called parthenolide, which can quickly reduce inflammation and irritation when topically applied to affected areas, such as sore joints or areas affected by arthritis. This effect can also be achieved through normal consumption of bay leaf spice.

Protect Heart Health: Caffeic acid and rutin are both important organic compounds, found in bay leaves, that enhance our heart health. Rutin strengthens capillary walls in the heart and the body’s extremities, while caffeic acid can help eliminate LDL or bad cholesterol from the cardiovascular system.

Prevent Cancer: The unique combination of antioxidants and organic compounds in bay leaves, including phytonutrients, catechins, linalool, and parthenolide, which has shown to specifically restrain the proliferation of cervical cancer cells and helps to protect the body from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals can cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous cells and bay leaves are particularly adept at preventing this activity.

Beneficial during Peri-conception Period: Being rich in folic acid, bay leaves are extremely beneficial during the peri-conception period by providing sufficient folic acid content.

Reduce Anxiety & Stress: Linalool is often associated with thyme and basil, but it is also present in bay leaves and can help lower the level of stress hormones in the body, especially when used in aromatherapy. Regular consumption of 4 to 5 bay leaves will help in nervous system function, enzyme synthesis and regulating body metabolism. However, they remain unpleasantly stiff even after thorough cooking, and if swallowed whole or in large pieces, they may pose a risk of harming the digestive tract or causing choking. Hence the leaves should be ground well before consumption or they should be removed from the food before serving. (2)

There are many benefits of drinking bay leaf tea. Some of the most widely known benefits are:

  • Bay leaves are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Also regular inclusion of bay leaves in meals promotes general health.
  • They have been proven to be useful in the treatment of migraines.
  • Bay Leaf contains enzymes that help to breakdown proteins and digest food faster, helping to calm indigestion.
  • A hot cup of bay leaf tea can be very comforting. The aromatic fragrance that the leaves release is calming and the essence of the spiced tea makes bay leaf tea delicious.(3)

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7152419/
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326913522_Health_Benefits_of_Bay_Leaf_Health_Action_31_7_24_-_26/link/5b6bd2d8a6fdcc87df6ef84b/download
  3. https://www.flushinghospital.org/newsletter/the-benefits-of-drinking-bay-leaf-tea/

Star Fruit: Boon to Mankind!

By: Nutrition Expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.

Email id: vidula708@gmail.com

An ‘Oxalidaceae family’ member- Averrhoa carambola, well known as Star fruit, is an age old plant. Star fruit, is a star shaped tropical fruit with sweet and sour flavour. The Star fruit is about 2 to 6 inches in length. Major two distinct classes of Carambola, the Smaller with sour taste and the Larger with sweet taste.

The word Carambola comes from the Sanskrit word Karmaranga meaning “food appetizer”. Carambola as ripe used as a source of food, eaten out-of-hand, sliced and served in salads, or used as garnish on avocado or seafood. Carambola has many medicinal uses and also contains secondary metabolites which have various biological activities. In addition, the wood of Star fruit is used for construction and furniture.

It is believed to have originated in Ceylon and the Moluccas, but it has been cultivated in Southeast Asia and Malaysia for hundreds of years. It is commonly found in warmer parts of India, primarily in the southern states and along the west coast, extending from Kerala up to West Bengal.

Star Fruit Juice
Star Fruit Pickle
Star Fruit Chips
Star Fruit Upside down Cake

Nutritional Value and General Health Benefits:

  • Star fruit contains only 30 calories per fruit plus lots of fibre, it helps to lose weight.
  • Flowers of the sweet star fruit are good for treating cough.
  • Star fruit is a good source of vitamin B9 (folic acid), which help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Star fruit contain B-complex vitamin, which is essential for hair growth and help in keeping hair strong and healthy.
  • Star fruit purifies the blood, helps in getting a glowing skin.

Medicinal Uses:

  • Traditionally Star fruit is used as home remedy for hangovers and sunburns.
  • Star fruit also helps to cure cough, fever, ulcers and sore throats.
  • The leaves of star fruit can be used to treat stomach ulcers and also improves digestion.
  • In India, the ripe fruit is administered to halt haemorrhages and to relieve bleeding haemorrhoids; and the dried fruit or the juice may be taken to counteract fevers.
  • It has multifaceted medicinal properties like anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hypotensive, anthelmintic, antioxidant, anti-ulcer, Hypocholesterolaemic and hypolipidemic, antimicrobial and also show the anti-tumor activity.

Strange Facts:

  • When the fruit is cut crosswise, it forms a perfect star.
  • Star fruits do not need to be peeled or seeded – they can be eaten whole.
  • Two varieties of star fruit are grown – tart and sweet.
  • Early English travelers called the star fruit the “cucumber tree” when discovering the plant in Asia.

References:

  1. https://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2016/vol5issue3/PartB/5-3-27-507.pdf
  2. https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/school-nutrition/pdf/fact-sheet-star-fruit.pdf
  3. Sheth A, K Ashok. The Herbs of Ayurveda, uses of carambola, Sheth publisher, 2005; (1):140.
  4. Chung KS, Paul PH, Kimura T. International collection of traditional and folk medicine. Northeast Asia. 1998, 75.
  5. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research, Kualalampur. Compendium of Medicinal Plants used in Malaysia. 2002; (1):92.
  6. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/star-fruit.html