Shared Experiences
A patient best relates his or her medical experiences to another patient. We invite you to share your experiences about nutrition related issues and problems if you think it might help others.
Eating habit
  Sent by Harsh (Mohali) , 27 September 2010
  I am a 17 years old student having the habit of eating potato chips everyday. i eat 2 packs of potato chips everyday. i want to know.. is eating chips (2 packs daily) healthy??
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  Sent by Dolly (London) , 10 September 2009

Menopause is a period which comes in every woman’s life. Menopause is normal part of aging, simply means end of menses.

What is menopause?
Menopause happens because the woman's ovary stops producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for one year. It occurs anywhere from 40 – 65 years of age, but generally around 50.
Woman’s risk increases to certain health problems i.e. heart disease & osteoporosis after menopause.

Changes & symptoms of menopause start years earlier which includes:
Each woman experience menopause differently. Some women have slight discomfort or worse or no trouble at all.
• Irregular Menses
• Hot flashes and/or night sweats
• Trouble sleeping
• Vaginal dryness
• Mood swings (Irritability)
• Trouble focusing
• Hair on face, hoarse voice
• Changes in texture of hair & skin
• Menopausal weight gain

Menopause & Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
- HRT is used to supplement the body with hormones either estrogen alone or estrogen & progesterone in combination during or after menopause.
- HRT is given to supplement body with adequate amount hormones and maintain hormonal balance.
- HRT has side effect includes tender breast, heavier periods, weight gain, irritability and increases risk to breast & endometrial cancer.

Do’s and Don’ts in Menopause
1. Drink at least 8 – 10 glasses of water. Make sure you are hydrated.
2. Increase intake of calcium rich foods like sesame seeds, cheese, milk, curd, yoghurt, tofu, soy, leafy vegetables, brewers yeast, whole pulses like rajmah, channa and whole grains like wheat, jowar, bajra, millet.
3. Consume food high in magnesium such as raw nuts (almonds, walnut), dairy products, bananas, grains, fresh veggies as magnesium helps protect against heart disease, regulation of heart and blood flow.
4. Eat fresh fruits & vegetables like apples, pears, plums, strawberries, grapes, raspberries, beet, asparagus, broccoli stems, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce as they rich in boron, which increases body’s ability to hold onto estrogen & keeps bones strong by decreasing the amount of calcium excreted.
5. Must consume foods high in vitamin D: Vitamin D is known to facilitate calcium absorption. The best form of Vitamin D is some daily sunshine. Foods like milk, salmon or tuna fish, eggs, cheeses, fortified milk & cereals are also good sources of Vit D.
6. Phyoestrogen (estrogen like substance found in plant foods) found in cereals, legumes (beans), soy, flaxseed which helps in relieving symptoms of menopause. Integrate some soy, be it tofu, soy milk or soybeans (not fried, sugared or artificially flavored). Soy is high in isoflavones and believed to have positive effects in reliving hot flashes and dryness in some women.
7. Avoid Citrus foods such as tomatoes, vinegar, sour curd, pickles, sauces, salad dressings, papad and salted snacks as it triggers hot flashes.
8. Avoid high salt foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, pizzas, tacos, olives, ketchup & salad dressings as higher salt intake leads to higher urinary Ca excretion.
9. Pay special attention to avoid- spicy foods (onions, garlic, chilies, black & red pepper, ginger, cumin), coffee & alcohol if you have trouble sleeping, hot flashes & night sweats. Instead switch to green tea, lemon tea, ice tea, fresh lime when you feel like having tea /coffee.
10. Avoid High fat & high sugar foods: As high fat and sugar foods don’t offer a bounty of nutrients but just add up to extra calories. Stay away from sweetened juice drinks, soda, especially diet soft drinks, processed foods, chips, junk foods.
11. Regular exercise is a must to prevent bone related diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis and also keeps the heart healthy. Practicing some simple meditation exercises at least for 20 minutes every day is shown to be beneficial.
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Diet selection
  Sent by Divya Arun (Kerala) , 14 October 2008
  How to go for a better food selection?

Being a novice to your wonderful site,I would like to take up one of the basic things to be known in Dietetics and Nutrition .It is always the cultural and socio-economic factors related to a region that moulds our family values,ethics and diet patterns.Many of you have noticed that our daily dietary needs are met in different forms through different meal patterns which varies from door-to-door and from family-to-family. But in this busy-bee daily schedule,nobody would ever have thought of what exactly comprises of a balanced meal .Isn’t it?
Basically, the title question is something which we should ask our conscience. If we have a little perseverance and cooking skills ,any good home-maker can introduce good meal patterns in their homes.
Let’s discuss a few interesting things related to food choices.
1.The Taste Factor
Whatever be the kind of food that we serve,it is only because of our lovely taste buds that we feel to have more. Isn’t it so?. Therefore, be it a vegetarian/non-vegetarian meal, prime importance is to be given for making the dishes palatable. Some would prefer it more spicy, just like Indians do, but others would prefer it more bland/less hot, depending on the cultural differences. So the flavour,aroma and colour of the dishes will add to its palatability. Challenge to your cooking skills??
2.Food Selection
This is one area, where we need to be careful. The vegetarian diets,as we have seen through many families in many parts of the world,shows that their choice of foods itself lead to their health condition becoming worse.It is due to lack of awareness about proper dietary needs.Vegetarians need to make sure that they do not lose a major nutrient pool from their daily nutrient reuirements.Some of the usually missed out nutrients in vegetarian dishes consists of vitamins like B12, and vitamin D,minerals like calcium,iron and zinc and major proteins.My diet counseling sessions to various clients,made me know this the hard way. These nutrients are richly found in animal foods .
Some of the good sources of the above nutrients are given below,which can be used as replacements for the animal foods in vegetarian diets. Vegetarians have to realize the need for including these nutrients in their diets.*

• Vitamin B12--fortified soy beverages and cereals
• Vitamin D--fortified soy beverages and sunshine
• Calcium--tofu processed with calcium, broccoli, seeds, nuts, kale, legumes (peas and beans), greens, lime-processed tortillas, and soy beverages, grain products, and orange juice enriched with calcium
• Iron--legumes, tofu, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, whole grains, and iron-fortified cereals and breads, especially whole-wheat. (Absorption is improved by vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, peppers, dark-green leafy vegetables, and potatoes with skins.)
• Zinc--whole grains (especially the germ and bran), whole-wheat bread, legumes, nuts, and tofu
• Protein--tofu and other soy-based products, legumes, seeds, nuts, grains, and vegetables
People who follow vegetarian diets can get all the nutrients they need provided they go for a wide variety in their food choices.

A majority of the world’s population sticks on to non-vegetarian diets.Therefore the one golden rule they need to follow,is “PRACTICE MODERATION”,irrespective of the food they eat. I know,many of you would be wondering what does it mean?I will explain.
Across the world,the quantity of food items which non-vegetarians include in their meals has been observed to be more compared to vegetarians. Many a times they do it unknowingly.Studies have shown that non-vegetarians seem to be overweight compared to vegans.There is absolutely no harm in including pork,beef,chicken,mutton or fish in their meals,provided the servings are taken in moderation. Instead of 3-4 servings of meat(fried/grilled),try to make it 1-2 servings/meal. Also,go moderate in oil,fat and sweets.Although this seems simple,it has a great impact on reducing health risks in such individuals.They should also try to strike a balance in their food choice by selecting more steamed food items in their meals to fried ones.

Irrespective of the type of diets(be it vegetarian/non-vegetarian), it is a wonderful habit to take lots of fluids in a day in various forms,which will keep our health pink all throughout life.The inclusion of lots of fruits and leafy greens in the foods served will help meet the vitamin-mineral needs of our body to a good extent.Do use alcohol and smoking in moderation. If it does not benefit our system in any way, then why go for it?Is it so?

3.Daily Meal Frequency
What do you mean by this term? Daily Meal Frequency refers to the number of times a individual consumes his/her food in fairly good quantity/day. The standard pattern of three heavy meals during morning(breakfast),,afternoon (lunch) and night(dinner) is followed in almost all parts of the world. Along with these meals, cultural differences and the individual activity needs will demand for more intervals of meals sometimes. For example, brunch (Breakfast+Lunch) usually taken during mid-noon, evening tea with snacks are some forms which are widely being followed in many parts during the day.
When you have more than 4 meals a day, the only thing to be bore in mind is that,”EAT LESS MORE TIMES”. As the number of meals (frequency) increases for you in a day, decrease the quantity of food intake for each meal. There is an inverse relation which you can notice here. Through this, you will be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle with no additional calories getting into your system.

Next time when you go for good foods, do try to remember atleast a few of the tips that we discussed above.Wishing you all a Happy Meal Time…
NB:Please feel free to ask your doubts/clarifications on the above topic.

*Clark, Linda. Know Your Nutrition. Keats Publishing, Inc. CT. 1992.
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  Sent by anitha (cochin) , 16 February 2009
  i feel sadness always thinking about past.for over 10 yrs. i am like this.i have a troubled marriage,and i separated from my husband,recently he died of hapatitis B.I want to forget all the dark side of my life.At least i wish to live with a smiling face.
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  Sent by sonal ahuja  , 10 February 2009
Iam a nutritionist. And wish to solve ur query. Ask ur wife to take high fibre, low fat, moderate protein and low calorie diet.For weight reduction she should take small frequent meals. Take foods like: sprouts, broken wheat,green leafy veg etc.
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The wonder herb: Aloe Vera
  Sent by Sonal Ahuja  , 10 February 2009
  hello readers, Iam a Clinical Nutritionist working with Apollo Hospitals. Recently our team observed that Aloe Vera juice, that we recommend to our patients is doing wonders. Patients are overcoming with the problems of Obesity, Diabetes, Heart dieases, Utrine cancer etc... Aloe vera juice not only prevents and cures the above mentioned dieases but also helps in keeping blood pressure and thyroid levels under control. in addition it is good for ur skin and hair..
So frnds lets go NATURAL and enjoy the nutrition therapy.
NOTE: There is an appropriate way to consume aloevera. Take 20ml of Aloe vera juice with same amount of lukewarm water, early morning, empty stomach.
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The wonder herb: Aloe Vera
  Sent by neha (Delhi) , 14 April 2009
  Dear Sonal, thanks for providing this valuable information. I have a question - I am drinking amla juice in the morning (empty stomch). Do you think I can mix both amla and aloe vera and drink them together. Please advise urgently. Thanks.
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Portion Distortion
  Sent by Chetan  , 16 March 2009
  Portion Distortion
Though you may not realize it, larger portion sizes can strongly influence your eating habits and your waistline. Studies show that when given larger portions, children as well as adults will eat more. Take a 20 oz bottle of soda. A serving size (according to the food label) is 8oz. Yet, many of us routinely polish off a full 20 ounces in the blink of an eye, not realizing that weve consumed two and a half servings. A small bag of chips used to be one serving. Then, Frito Lay TM added a few more ounces, and the small bag became a "New, BIGGER SIZE!" While we unconsciously gobble up these extra ounces, those extra ounces can add up to a few pounds a year.

Food Fact:
A Big MacTM has 576 calories - it has 32 grams of fat (60% of the fat is saturated).
To compare other fast foods, click here

Until we start learning and paying attention to true serving sizes, our country will continue to get fatter. Currently, the majority of Americans (66%) are overweight or obese. Obesity is linked with several chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer, to name a few. As other countries adopt our bigger portions, they continue to gain weight and suffer similar illnesses. Test your knowledge of serving sizes. Try guessing how many standard servings there are in each of the following foods. A link below will give you the answers.

A large apple
1 large grapefruit
2 large broccoli spears
1 cup of macaroni and cheese
1 cup of rice
2 slices of bread
1 whole bagel
2 1-ounce slices of cheese
8 oz. cup of fruit yogurt
12 oz bottle of real juice
1 cup of raisin bran cereal
¼ lb. hamburger
8 oz. glass of milk
1 slice of apple pie
1 large banana
¼ cup of peanut butter
3 pancakes, 6 inches in diameter

Did you find your portion-sizing ability needs a "reality check?" Here are some helpful guidelines.

3 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards. About a quarter of your plate should be meat.
½ cup of vegetables or fruit is the size of a baseball
½ cup juice = 1 fruit serving
½ cup of pasta would fill an ice cream scoop
1 large banana = 2 servings from the fruit group
Try tomato-based sauces or herbs with a little olive oil over meat or cream based sauces.
One ounce of cheese is the size of a domino.
One serving of grain/bread is 1/2 of a small bagel or English muffin.
A cup of rice is about the size of a large "hacky sack."
A medium potato is about the same size as a light bulb.
Try using plain yogurt, low fat sour cream, or salsa on baked potatoes.
Measure when you cook.
Try using a smaller plate.
If youre unsure about portion sizes, read the Nutrition Facts on the food label of prepared foods. The Food and Drug Administration requires a standard food label making it easier to consumers to compare similar products and eat healthier. For a picture of a typical label and some tips on Reading Food Labels, click here.

The American Dietetic Association also often has some good tips on portion sizes.

Just remember, when it comes to portion sizes, bigger isnt always better....
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Nutritions Role in Longevity
    , 16 March 2009
  What is the estimated life span?
Given optimal nutrition, the upper limit of the life span is now estimated as 130 years. With increasing interest in the aging process, numerous studies are investigating the effects of nutrition and physical activity on longevity. Research findings suggest that changes in your lifestyle may slow the aging process within the limits set by your genetic profile.

Can positive dietary changes increase longevity?
Since chronic diseases are the major cause of death, you may live a healthier and longer life by limiting foods that increase disease risk (such as foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium), while increasing nutrient-rich foods that decrease disease risk. Research shows that changes in eating habits can benefit health, even when these changes are made in older adulthood.

What foods are included in a healthful diet?
A balanced diet includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods and adequate fluids, with plenty of brightly colored vegetables and fruits, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. Healthful diets can be planned with inexpensive foods such as canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads and cereals, and low-fat dairy products. Specific foods that have received recent attention for their health-promoting properties include:

Fish - The American Heart Association recommends 2 servings per week of oily fish such as salmon, as a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Berries - The antioxidants in blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries may promote cardiovascular and brain health by reducing oxidative damage and inflammation.

Nuts - Unsalted nuts such as almonds and walnuts contain healthy monounsaturated fats or omega-3 fatty acids, which may improve blood lipids and cardiovascular health.

Whole grains - These fiber-rich foods may protect against cancer and stabilize blood glucose and insulin levels.

Garlic - The antioxidant properties of crushed garlic may protect against chronic diseases and aging.

Tomatoes - Tomatoes and especially canned tomato products contain lycopene, another antioxidant that reduces cancer risk.

Is calorie restriction related to longevity?
Animal studies have shown that animals live longer and have fewer chronic diseases when their diets are restricted in calories. Researchers believe that a calorie-restricted diet helps to prevent oxidative damage that may lead to chronic diseases. In humans, moderate calorie restriction is beneficial for weight loss, which is associated with favorable changes in body fat, blood pressure, blood lipids, and glucose tolerance. A recent study showed that almost all centenarians (those persons at least 100 years old) are lean. So a healthful diet may be the one of the best medicines for a longer and healthier life!
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Tips for planning a healthy vegetarian diet:
  Sent by manan  , 16 March 2009
  Tips for planning a healthy vegetarian diet:
Planning is the key to any healthy diet, particularly strict vegetarian diets. The main strategy is to include a wide variety of healthy foods that meet your energy needs. Read food labels and select foods that are nutrient-dense. Pay particular attention to the following nutrients:
Protein: You can include sufficient protein and amino acids in a vegan diet by choosing a variety of protein sources, such as whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and vegetables. Soy foods are excellent sources of protein (with all the essential amino acids!).
Examples of protein sources: black beans and rice; stir-fry tofu and vegetables; peanut butter on whole wheat crackers; veggie burgers on whole heat bun
Vitamin B12: This vitamin occurs naturally only in animal foods. Therefore, if you exclude all animal products, you will need to take a vitamin supplement or consume foods that are fortified with vitamin B12, such as some brands of breakfast cereals and soy milk.
Vitamin D: If you do not consume milk products or are not exposed to sunlight on a regular basis, a vitamin supplement is recommended.
Iron: Although iron is found in plant sources such as legumes, spinach, whole wheat breads, dried apricots, prunes and raisin, and fortified breakfast cereals, the form of iron is not as readily absorbed as the iron found in meat. Therefore, you need to eat ample servings of iron-rich plant foods, along with food sources of vitamin C (it increases iron absorption).
Zinc: Since the availability of zinc is decreased by fiber and other binders in plant foods, be sure to include ample and varied sources of zinc, such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, and zinc-enriched cereals in your diet.
Calcium: If you exclude milk products from your diet, you should include plenty of other calcium sources, such as dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, some nuts and seeds, and calcium-fortified foods (e.g., some brands of breakfast cereals, orange juice, and soy milk.)
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