• Hemi B

If you have not guessed it by now, the C stands for the superhero Vitamin C. Superheroes fight the bad guys right? In this case the bad guys are free radicals and pathogens, that can cause infection, inflammation and a host of other health issues.

And though there are other essential vitamins and minerals which are necessary for good health and to fight off free radicals and infections, the one which is head and shoulders above the rest is Vitamin C.

It is a potent antioxidant and a co-factor for a family of bio-synthetic and gene regulatory enzymes. Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Vitamin C supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens and promotes the oxidant scavenging activity of the skin, thereby potentially protecting against environmental oxidative stress.

The immune system is strongly influenced by the intake of nutrients.

Thus a vitamin C deficiency results in a reduced resistance against certain pathogens whilst a higher supply enhances several immune system parameters

Currently the RDA (recommended daily allowance) is inching towards 90-100mg a day mark, up from previous RDA of 60mg (which is just about enough to prevent Scurvy, an older disease which was caused due to Vitamin C deficiency)

My take on Vitamin C is:

  • Eat a diet that is nutritious and colorful (not the artificial colors), the colors in food that signify high vitamin C content are orange, red and yellow. e.g Yellow and red peppers, all forms of citrus fruits.

  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way for getting Vitamin C in your diet as the complementing micro nutrients in them help in many other ways and they are delicious too.

  • Even though the RDA is at 90-100mg, I recommend taking a simple slow release, low dose (250-500mg) supplement. Particularly if you are unable to get adequate intake of fruits and vegetables in your diet and if your work exposes to environmental hazards (dust, pollution, air conditioned closed space).

  • More is not better. Intake of more than 2000mg or 2g of Vitamin C a day may cause nausea and diarrhea. In patients with thalassemia or hemochromatosis it may promote iron overload.

Till next time,

Stay Healthy

Stay Happy

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  • Hemi B

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

As if living with diabetes was not stressful and cumbersome enough, now the Covid 19 pandemic has increased the stakes even higher.

It has been known for a while that having diabetes (both type 1, which is an auto immune disorder and type 2, which is lifestyle based) raises the risk of influenza and related secondary infections, such as bacterial pneumonia. Poor glycaemic (blood sugar level) control impairs several aspects of the immune response to viral infection and also to the potential bacterial secondary infection in the lungs.

Researches around the world are showing that having diabetes increases the chances of Covid 19 complications.

Majority of the patients with diabetes, particularily type 2, are also either overweight or obese. Obesity increases the risk of infection via abnormal secretion of adipokines and cytokines.

Stress also has an adverse effect of raising blood sugars and although in these times stress can seem unavoidable, we have to remind ourselves of the most valuable commodity that needs protecting - your health.

My take on diabetes and pandemics is this

  • Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics must follow their doctor's advice and ensure they take adequate precautions (hygiene practices and social distancing) to avoid Covid 19 infection in the first place. If symptoms are present, contact your healthcare providers immediately.

  • Type 2 diabetics can additionally take measures to ensure their glycaemic response to food and drink is managed.

  • Get plenty of non alcoholic, low sugar fluids (unless there are kidney complications, if so, contact your specialist for further advice on fluid consumption). Plain water with a bit of lemon and mint is best.

  • Practice meaningful stress reduction by your favourite means. It could be meditation, yoga, playing music, dancing, painting..the list is yours to make.

  • Get exercise in whichever form that suits your residence and maintains social distancing.

  • As always and more so during the pandemic, maintain a sensible healthy eating regimen. Ensure your diet consists of foods with low GI (glycaemic Index), e.g. Oats, most vegetables, some fruits like blueberries and oranges.

  • Avoid high sugar content foods, simple refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks.

Diabetes has been managed well through medical advancements and lifestyle adjustments for a while now. The pandemic has exposed it as a weak link in our immune response. I cannot stress enough the importance of following social distance guidelines and the hygeine practices recommended by WHO and other governmental agencies.

Till next time,

Stay Healthy

Stay Happy

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  • Hemi B

SIRT what?

It is supposedly the new trend in the ever growing fad diet world. Recently this form of dieting has been thrust in the limelight due to it being rumored for the singer Adele's incredible weight loss. (Although neither the singer or her publicist have confirmed this).

So what is this latest trend?

SIRT is short form for sirtuins, which are a group of seven proteins found in the body that have been shown to regulate a variety of functions, including metabolism, inflammation and lifespan.

Certain natural compounds found in plants and fruits may be able to boost the levels of sirtuins in the body.

The foods that contain these compounds have been named Sirtfoods by the founders of this diet, hence the name the Sirtfood diet.

The authors claim that eating these sirtfoods will in turn activate the 'skinny gene', which in turn will help result in weight loss. At the time of writing, there is no scientific research or proof to support this claim.

The diet, if followed as per recommendations, combines sirtfoods with calorie restrictions. Both, supposedly, increase the levels of sirtuins in the body.

Foods that are rich in Sirtuins include

  • Kale

  • Red wine

  • Strawberries

  • Onions

  • Soy

  • Parsley

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Dark chocolate (85% cocoa)

  • Matcha green tea

  • Buckwheat

  • Turmeric

  • Walnuts

  • Arugula (rocket)

  • Bird’s eye chili

  • Medjool dates

  • Red chicory

  • Blueberries

  • Capers

  • Coffee

My take on the Sirtfood diet is this:

- Calorie restriction will almost always result in weight loss, although initially most weight loss is water weight, which tends to be regained when the said diet is finished.

- Overall, the foods included are generally healthy if taken in the right portions (e.g. mejdool dates if over consumed will cause needless insulin spikes, due to their high sugar content).

- If the diet is not sustainable, due to whichever reasons (geographic, economic or otherwise) it is not sustainable.

- Short term very low calorie diet (VLCD) tends to disrupt the hormonal balance and affects metabolic rate.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Till next time,

Stay Healthy

Stay Happy

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