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HEALTH

These Are the Long-Term Side Effects of COVID-19

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When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we could rattle off the symptoms from the top of our heads: fever, dry cough, and difficulty breathing. Later, the NHS here in the UK and the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US added more symptoms to that list: chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, a new loss of taste or smell, and repeated shaking with chills. Nausea and diarrhoea are also listed as signs of the disease.

But as the pandemic continues, doctors are starting to look more closely at not just the first signs of infection, but the long-term side effects that linger even after you’ve recovered. Concern over longer-lasting side effects has even prompted the CDC to begin a large study on patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in order to “describe long-term outcomes and come to a fuller understanding of the overall impact of the coronavirus on the health system,” among other goals. Around 3,000 adult patients will be enrolled.

It will likely take some time for doctors to fully understand how this disease affects our health in the long term. Ahead, read what doctors and survivors are reporting now on the lingering effects of the coronavirus on body and mind.

POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, the NHS, and GOV.UK..



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HEALTH

Nutritional facts, Health Benefits, Types, and Side Effects

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With the boom of the supplements industry in recent years, there is now a huge range of supplements that are readily available for consumption. However, with the substantial growth of the supplements industry, it can be challenging to distinguish between the supplements that are truly effective and the supplements which are nothing more than an experiment.  Spirulina is a commonly used supplement that many believe can have a significant positive impact on health. This article will provide a review on potential benefits of taking spirulina.  

Table of Contents

What is Spirulina?

spirulina algae

Spirulina is a cyanobacteria or “blue-green algae” which is safe human consumption. While it can be eaten as a whole-food in powder form, it is commonly taken in the tablet form. Spirulina typically grows in lakes and can even grow in conditions that would be far too extreme for other organisms. In terms of manufacturing, spirulina is collected, freeze-dried and then sold as a powder, added to specific drinks and foods or used in supplements. It is thought that spirulina has been used as a food source from as early as the 16th century and has been associated with a range of health benefits including reduced inflammation, lowered cholesterol levels, reduction in blood pressure, and enhanced immune function.

Nutritional Value

Spirulina contains a vast array of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are key for promoting health. One heaped teaspoon (7 grams) of spirulina contains the following nutrients:

  • Total Calories – 20
  • Protein – 4.02 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 1.7 grams
  • Fat – 0.54 grams
  • Fiber – 0.3 grams

As demonstrated, spirulina has been found to have a high protein content of 60% – 65% which is much greater than the majority of vegetables. Protein is a key nutrient for recovery and growth and there are many studies that suggest the use of a high protein diet.
Therefore, for those who struggle to consume enough protein each day, taking spirulina or adding it to foods and drinks can be a quick and easy method of boosting daily protein consumption.
All of the above nutrients play an extremely helpful role in maintaining good health.  Taking spirulina regularly will ensure that you are consuming a wide range of nutrients in high quantities which will significantly benefit your health.

Health Benefits of Spirulina

This section will investigate the scientific literature that has been published on spirulina and the impact that supplementation has been found to have on human health and function.
While there are some studies that have been completed on spirulina, they are a limited number and therefore many of these findings lack weight and more research is required to back-up many of these proposed benefits.

1. Excellent Nutritional Profile

The three micro-nutrients that are found in the biggest quantities in spirulina are potassium, sodium and vitamin A. Both potassium and sodium contribute towards regulating fluid balance, muscular contraction, and nerve impulse. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of the organs (heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, etc.). Furthermore, it is also required for vision, reproduction and a healthy immune system. Other noteworthy nutrients that are found in spirulina that significantly contribute towards health include calcium and magnesium which both help to keep bones strong and healthy, regulate heart rate, and contribute towards a strong immune system.

2. Improved Heart Health

improved heart health

It has been suggested that spirulina can have a positive impact on the heart by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol and blood pressure. One recent small-sided study investigated the impact of spirulina supplementation on LDL levels and found that by taking just 1 gram of spirulina every day over a 3-month period, participants LDL levels dropped by 10%.
There are a few more studies that have investigated the effects of spirulina on cholesterol levels using different dosages. Results do tend to suggest that spirulina may indeed lower LDL levels.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress. Spirulina contains an abundance of antioxidants and consuming it regularly may help to reduce the impact of oxidative stress thus reducing inflammation and the risk of developing a chronic disease. The primary antioxidant in spirulina is known as phycocyanin which is the substance that gives spirulina it’s greeny-blue color. Phycocyanin has been found to be particularly effective in inhibiting the inflammatory response.

4. Performance Enhancement

Spirulina aids performance enhancement

Spirulina supplementation may also be useful in physical training. Oxidative stress is a by-product of exercise and therefore, consuming a high number of antioxidants may reduce the amount of stress experienced during exercise. A small number of studies have indicated that spirulina may indeed improve both strength and endurance capabilities thus improving exercise performance.

5. Impact on Medical Conditions

While more research is required to confirm findings, preliminary studies have suggested spirulina may have a positive impact on specific medical conditions. One recent study found spirulina to be effective at reducing a number of symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest spirulina may also assist in the management of type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Best Ways to Take Spirulina

As reflected on, the two most common methods of taking spirulina are:

Tablet Form

Spirulina Tablet form

If you routinely take supplements such as multivitamins and fish oils, simply add a spirulina tablet into your routine. The number of tablets that you take each day is entirely dependent on the spirulina dosage you wish to attain. In general, a dosage of anything between 1-8 grams per day has been found to be impactful on health.

Powder Form

Spirulina powder

There are many different foods and drinks that spirulina in powder form can be added to. The most basic method of adding spirulina is to mix the powder with water, mix it and drink. However, be aware that spirulina is typically an acquired taste and it may take time to become accustomed to it.

If you find the taste of spirulina to be overpowering or difficult to drink, consider adding it to a smoothie or fruit juices instead. Not only will the drink become far more palatable, by adding fruits will boost the micro-nutrient content thus increasing the potential health benefits.
Spirulina can also be added to a number of foods including salads, stocks, soups, stews, pesto, hummus, omelets, and energy balls.

Is Spirulina Good For You?

Considering that spirulina nourishes the body with a range of essential micronutrients in large quantities, it can unequivocally be stated that spirulina can have a positive impact on health and function. As highlighted in the previous sections, research has indicated that spirulina may have a significant benefit on health and wellness. It may also be used by those who have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, anemia, and hypertension, however, more research is required to confirm this.

Side-effects of Spirulina

It should be noted that a few users of spirulina have reported a small number of adverse side-effects including headaches, pains, nausea, allergic reactions, and insomnia.
Those who suffer from the condition known as phenylketonuria (or PKU), should not take spirulina as it contains an amino acid known as phenylalanine which they cannot break down. Additionally, those who suffer from an autoimmune condition such as multiple sclerosis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis should also avoid the consumption of spirulina.

Finally, spirulina may interfere with medications and therefore, it is important that you consult a medical professional prior to beginning to supplement spirulina.

Summary

While more research needs to be conducted on spirulina to confirm the effects that supplementing it has on health, there does appear to be a number of benefits associated with spirulina. With that being said, it should be supplemented with caution and those with medical conditions must consult their physician prior to taking spirulina.



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FITNESS

Nutritional Facts, Benefits, Weight Loss, and Side Effects

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Today, aloe vera is primarily known to treat sunburn, but did you know that the gel inside of the aloe vera plant can be used for different health ailments? Aloe vera gel can be used directly from the plant, it can be consumed in the form of a juice, or it can be applied topically to the skin.

Table of Contents

What Is Aloe Vera?

Aloe vera, most commonly known as Aloe barbadensis is a succulent native to tropical regions, and has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. It thrives in a dry climate and has become a popular household plant because of its low maintenance and care. 
Aloe vera gel is the clear, thick, gooey substance that can be harvested from the aloe plant when the leaves are cut. The gel can then be used topically over burns or as a moisturizer. It can also be blended into smoothies or mixed into juices or elixirs for digestion and other internal health benefits.  

Nutritional Value Of Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a very potent, medicinal plant. It has a whole array of uses for health and wellness and it’s all because of its extensive nutritional profile. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin C is essential for processes such as the formation of iron, immune system support, and maintenance of bones and teeth. Aloe vera contains a good amount of vitamin C (9.1 g for every 1 cup of aloe vera juice). 
Aloe vera also contains essential vitamins like vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin E, vitamin B12, folic acid (vitamin B) and choline. The plant also contains minerals, calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc. 

Enzymes

The plant is considered to be unique as it contains a number of beneficial enzymes that help break down sugars and fats. These enzymes, among others, include aliiase, amylase and lipase, which are vital enzymes in the digestion of starches and fats. 

Fatty acids

Aloe vera gel contains fatty acids from the steroid group – cholesterol, campesterol, β-sitosterol and lupeol. These fatty acids are responsible for the anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic properties of this supplement. Aloe vera gel is a very therapeutic plant with an array of unique properties that can alleviate, treat and even cure many health issues and ailments. Given below are a few more benefits that the plant provides us with –

Benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is extremely hydrating and contains important vitamins and minerals, enzymes and fatty acids for optimal body function. Here are important benefits of using aloe vera: 

1. Treating Constipation

Aloe vera treats constipation

Constipation is not only uncomfortable, but it can have adverse effects on intestinal and digestive health. Aloe vera gel can be used as a natural laxative and help move bulk along the digestive tract. 
The latex or the part of the plant in between the skin and gel contains anthraquinones, which is a compound that is responsible for the laxative effect. If you are taking aloe vera gel for constipation, be sure to start with a small amount (8 oz or around 200ml juice) in order to allow your system to get used to the laxative effects. 

2. Staying Hydrated

Hydration is very important for overall health. Aloe vera juice is a great alternative to sugary drinks and fruit juices that can negatively affect your health. Aloe vera juice is low in sugar and calories and can thus be consumed directly or mixed with other juices and smoothies. 

3. Blood Sugar Regulation

regulates blood sugar levels
Keto Diet helps reduce Blood Sugar Levels

Aloe vera has been proven to have “some” beneficial effects in improving conditions such as prediabetes and diabetes type 2. A study has shown that when subjects ingested aloe vera in liquid and powder form, it helped improve the regulation of blood sugar levels.

4. Prevents Stomach Ulcers

One of the biggest therapeutic benefits of aloe vera is through the treatment of digestive ailments. Stomach ulcers are painful sores in the stomach lining. They are usually easily healed, but can become severe if left untreated. Aloe vera gel is an anti-inflammatory substance which means it’s especially beneficial in treating internal lesions such as ulcers. It has been proven that aloe vera gel, if consumed on a regular basis, helps to heal the lining of the stomach and to reduce stomach ulcers. 

5. Reduces Dental Plaque

Preventing plaque build up is key to preventing cavities and dental issues like gingivitis and abscessed teeth. Streptococcus mutans and Candidas albicans are the main cause of plaque in the mouth. The antibacterial compounds in aloe vera target these two strains of bacteria and yeast. In a study, Aloe vera juice was been compared to a standard ingredient in medical grade mouthwash, chlorhexidine. In fact, aloe juice was proven to be just as effective as mouthwash in reducing plaque.

6. Improves Skin Health

Aloe vera improves skin health

Aloe vera gel is a water-based moisturizer that can have many positive effects on the skin. Collagen is an important protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. A study showed that when applied topically, aloe vera gel can actually increase collagen production of the skin. Aloe vera has also been known to improve skin conditions such as erythema (redness of the skin), and has some evidence of improving psoriasis. 

7. Helps Treat Canker Sores

Canker sore or mouth ulcers are small, often painful bumps that can form under your lip or at the base of the gums. The antibacterial effect of aloe vera can effectively reduce the size of mouth ulcers. A study showed that aloe vera was proven to be a better treatment than over-the-counter corticosteroids. 

8. Relieves Acid Reflux

Acid reflux can arise when stomach acid flows back up the esophagus.  Acid reflux symptoms include a burning sensation in the chest, bloating, nausea and cough. Aloe vera juice is known to have a soothing effect for those with acid reflux symptoms. 
Moreover, the bad bacteria in the gut (H. pylori, candida and SIBO) can produce gas that can cause bloating and discomfort in the abdomen. This bad bacteria also can also cause the opening of the esophagus to weaken and acid to rise. The antibacterial properties of aloe vera kills the bacteria associated with acid reflux and improves digestion so the system can come back into balance. 

Forms of Aloe Vera

The aloe vera leaf comprises three parts: the skin, the latex and the gel. The latex is a thin layer of yellow gel between the skin and gel of the aloe leaf. The latex contains the compounds that are responsible for laxative effects. Aloe Vera is harvested from the inner fillet of an aloe vera plant. Many people harvest their own aloe vera and use the gel, mix into water, juice it or blend into smoothies. The skin is completely edible and many people include it in salads or as a vegetable to dip into hummus. The gel is edible as well and contains the most therapeutic benefits. When filleting the aloe gel, you want to avoid the latex as consuming too much of it can cause serious side effects. 
Here are some different forms you can consume aloe vera in:

1. Juice

aloe vera juice

Aloe vera juice is sold in most health food stores. Be sure to choose juice that is all natural and organic and does not contain sugar or other preservatives. 

2. Softgels

Aloe vera softgels are also available at most health food stores. This is a good option if you are a busy individual and want something easy and on the go. Be sure to choose a natural, organic brand.

3. Gel

aloe vera gel

Aloe vera gel for consumption, is sold in store in the form of aloe vera leaves. You can buy them in most natural grocery stores. Simply cut the leaf, split open and scoop out the gel filet, avoiding the latex part. 

Side Effects of Aloe Vera

Even though aloe vera is considered safe enough for consumption, it’s not 100% safe for these reasons:

  • Long term consumption of the latex of aloe vera has been known to cause effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, kidney issues, muscle weakness and arrhythmia.
  • Consuming aloe vera gel containing latex while pregnant is not safe and if consumed over a long period, can be fatal. 
  • Those with IBS, or other digestive disorders should exercise caution when consuming aloe vera gel with latex as it could worsen the condition. 
  • The aloe vera gel itself may not be safe for those taking certain prescription medication and may cause interactions. 
  • Do not eat aloe vera topical gel as it contains other substances that can be toxic. 
  • In general, aloe vera gel, without latex is safe to eat. If you are unsure whether or not you can consume aloe vera gel, consult your doctor.  

Aloe Vera and Weight Loss

aloe vera aids weight loss

An unhealthy gut is not helpful for those who want to lose weight. Aloe vera can be used as a digestive aid to assist in healthy digestion, metabolism, and excretion. The laxative properties of aloe vera ensures thorough digestion and reduces water retention. Aloe vera can help with both metabolic processes. The B-vitamins and enzymes in aloe vera make it excellent at burning fat. When actively losing weight, your body naturally goes into detox mode. Aloe vera contains a complex carbohydrate called acemannan which helps in the detoxifying process. That, combined with its laxative properties, is a great reason to consume aloe vera juice while detoxing. 

Summary

Whether you apply it topically or consume it via juice, softgels or the gel itself, aloe vera has a unique profile of nutritional benefits that can treat various health issues. Aloe vera contains enzymes and fatty acids that help with the metabolic and digestive processes in the body. The plant is especially effective for relieving constipation and any digestive upsets. 
Aloe vera can also be used to support weight loss through its detoxifying, laxative and metabolic effects. It is considered safe to eat, however, when making your own gel from the aloe leaves, you should be caution to not consume too much of the latex (the part in between the gel and the skin). The skin can be eaten and the gel can be blended into a smoothie, mixed into water or juice or eaten as is.



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What are Flax Seeds: Benefits and Side Effects

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Flaxseeds are one of the most versatile seeds we have. Today, you see them in oatmeal bowls, acai bowls, smoothies, and other foods, but before this, they were mostly used for creating textiles.

Now that more and more people are becoming more health-conscious and aware of the food they consume, flaxseeds have grown in popularity. This is no surprise because they offer plenty of health benefits. When it comes to the benefits of flaxseeds, weight loss is one of the biggest and one we will discuss in detail.

In this article, we will learn what flaxseeds are, where they come from, the many benefits they offer, how they help in weight loss, if they have any side effects, and the different ways you can eat them.

What is flaxseed?

Flaxseed comes from the flax plant, which is grown in countries all over Asia, Europe, as well as the Mediterranean. These seeds are usually golden yellow to reddish-brown in colour and contain phytoestrogens, which is very similar to estrogen. Flaxseeds also contain oil and soluble fibre.

Today, the flax plant is mostly cultivated for the seeds, which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and fibre. Thanks to this, flaxseeds have become extremely popular in the health food scene in recent years, with experts even naming it as a superfood that should be included in our daily diet.

It is clear to see that flaxseed benefits are numerous, and regular consumption can boost our physical and mental health. In fact, these seeds have become so popular that they have even been added to pet foods.

Considering all this, it’s no wonder that the flax plant itself is referred to as Linum usitatissimum, which means “the most useful” in Latin. Flaxseeds are also known as alasi, aliviraaii, common flax, brown-seeded flax and more.

Flaxseed benefits

As we have just mentioned, flaxseeds benefits are numerous. These are considered superfoods, meaning that they have plenty of healthy properties, making them essential in our daily diet. Below, we discuss these benefits in detail.

Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that your body needs to function optimally, and flaxseeds are great sources of these. These seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is mostly plant-based. ALA is not produced naturally by your body, so you need to obtain it from external sources like the food you consume.

Studies have found that consumption of ALA is linked to lower risk of heart attacks as well as stroke.

Flaxseeds have plenty of nutrient content

Flax plants are one of the oldest cultivated crops and are of two different types – brown and golden. However, both are equally nutritious. Even just one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contains roughly 37 calories, 1.3 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 1.9 grams of fibre, 3 grams of total fat, 0.3 grams of saturated fat, 8 percent of the RDI of vitamin B1, 2 percent of the RDI of vitamin B6, 2 percent of the RDI of folate, 2 percent of the RDI of iron, 2 percent of the RDI of calcium, 7 percent of the RDI of magnesium, and many more nutrients.

Flaxseeds may help lower the risk of cancer

Flaxseeds are very rich in lignans, which are plant compounds that have both estrogen and antioxidant properties. Both of these are known to lower the risk of developing different types of cancer and are also extremely useful in improving overall health. The content of lignans in flaxseeds is up to 8000 times higher compared to other plant foods.

Studies have shown that daily consumption of flaxseeds can result in a lower risk of developing breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and skin cancers. For the last two, more research is required.

Flaxseeds may be able to lower blood pressure

Among the many flaxseeds benefits, one is that they can help in lowering blood pressure. A study found that those who ate 30 grams of flaxseeds every day for a period of six months experienced a decrease in their systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg, while their diastolic blood pressure lowered by 7 mmHg. For subjects who were already on blood pressure medication, the decrease in blood pressure was even lower.

Flaxseeds are rich in high-quality protein

Flaxseeds contain plenty of plant-based, high-quality proteins which are rich in glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and amino acids. Various studies have shown that protein from flaxseeds can improve and strengthen the immune system, prevent the development of tumours, lower cholesterol levels and also have antifungal properties.

Flaxseeds may be able to lower cholesterol levels

Flaxseeds benefits include their ability to improve cholesterol. A study conducted on people with high cholesterol found that those who consumed flaxseed powder every day for a period of three months experienced lower cholesterol levels by as much as 17%, while the “bad” LDL cholesterol was decreased by nearly 20%.

Another study found that people with diabetes experienced an increase in the “good” HDL cholesterol by 12% when they took one tablespoon of flaxseed powder every day for one month. This implies that flaxseeds are also great for people with type 2 diabetes.

Flaxseeds can help in weight loss and management

Flaxseeds benefits for weight loss is another advantage of including these super seeds as part of your daily diet. If you want to lose weight, then flaxseeds can be your go-to snack as they can help you keep hunger at bay.

How to eat flaxseeds

There are plenty of ways on how to eat flaxseed. They can be consumed either whole or ground. They can also be taken in the form of flaxseed oil. You can try these if you want to incorporate flax seeds in your daily diet:

  • Drizzle flaxseed either ground or whole, or as oil on your salad dressing
  • Add flaxseeds to yoghurt
  • Drizzle ground flaxseeds on your breakfast cereal or your oatmeal bowl
  • Add flaxseeds to smoothies. This also thickens up the consistency of the smoothie
  • Use flaxseeds in your baked goods such as cookies, bread, and muffins
  • Add flaxseeds to your meat dishes such as chicken, beef and fish
  • Simply add flaxseeds to drinking water

These are just some popular ways of consuming flaxseeds. You can try out different options on your own as well.

Flaxseeds for weight loss

As we have mentioned before, flaxseeds play an important role in your diet if you want to lose weight and/or manage your weight. This is mostly because of its high fibre content. Fibre helps you feel like you are full, which in turn, results in lower intake of calories on a daily basis.

In other words, flaxseeds help to suppress your appetite by giving you a feeling of fullness easily and quickly. You don’t need to consume lots of food to satiate your hunger. If you tend to snack in between meals and you want to lower your food consumption, then flaxseeds are great for controlling your appetite. If you are wondering how to eat flaxseeds for weight loss, you can incorporate them into your meals, especially for breakfast.

A study found that feelings of hunger, as well as overall appetite, could be reduced simply by adding 2.5 grams of ground flax seeds to beverages. This is because flaxseeds are very rich in soluble fibre, which slows digestion in your stomach, thereby triggering various hormones that control appetite. This then makes you feel like you are full.

Additionally, after reviewing a total of 45 different studies in 2017, researchers concluded that incorporating whole flaxseed in your diet can lead to a reduction in waist circumference, body weight as well as body mass index (BMI).weight loss

Side effects of flaxseeds

Although the benefits of flaxseeds are plenty, they may not be for everyone. For instance, people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should stay away from flaxseeds. This is because they can act as laxatives and irritate your colon walls, which may result in inflammation, and in some serious cases, even bleeding.

It is also suggested that those who are experiencing hormonal imbalance or endometriosis should not consume flaxseeds as they can mimic the effects of estrogen on the body.

Summary

Flaxseeds are super seeds that have plenty of benefits for your overall health, and can also significantly aid in weight loss. They provide plenty of nutrients to the body, thus, strengthening the immune system and preventing the development of various diseases. The best part is that they can be consumed in a number of ways, whole or ground.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these are not miracle workers. You should ensure a healthy diet and also exercise regularly if you wish to lose weight effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. What are the benefits of flax seeds?

A: The lignans and omega 3 fatty acids present in flaxseeds help reduce blood pressure, and prevent overeating. In addition to that, it is also good for the skin and has anti-cancer properties too.

Q. Can we eat raw flax seeds?

A: Yes, we can. However, they have to be chewed thoroughly before swallowing.

Q. Is flaxseed good for weight loss?

A: Flax seeds can be an added advantage in the weight loss process due to the presence of fiber, healthy fat and its satiety property.

Q. Does flaxseed help you lose belly fat?

A: No, flax seeds cannot help you reduce fat in any specific area of the body. That said, one should also not aim for spot reduction as it can prove to be extremely unhealthy.

Q. Are raw flax seeds poisonous?

A: Raw flax seeds are not poisonous. If one is intolerant to raw flax seeds, they can be roasted at a low temperature, powdered and eaten. Those who have IBS, and other GI problems should check with a physician or a nutritionist before consuming raw flax seeds.

Next Read:
5 Reasons to Snack on Flax Seeds
The Ultimate Guide to Weight Loss Foods



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HEALTH

Black Coffee: Benefits and Side Effects

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You may love your black coffee in the morning to help you feel energised and get ready for the day, but how much do you know about it? Do you know how drinking black coffee affects your body and your mind? Are you aware of the advantages of black coffee as well as its side effects?

Black coffee is simply coffee that is normally brewed without the addition of additives such as sugar, milk, cream or added flavours. While it has a slightly bitter taste compared to when it is flavoured with additives, many people love a strong cup of black coffee. In fact, for some, it is part of their everyday diet. In this article, we talk about the benefits of drinking black coffee, how it can help you in losing weight, potential side effects, as well as how to make the perfect cup of black coffee.

Table of Contents

Nutrition value of black coffee

If you are looking for a drink that is low in calories, fats and carbohydrates, then black coffee is the perfect drink for you. Simply put, drinking coffee only becomes a cause for concern when you drink it regularly with milk, sugar, cream, etc. With these additives, even a single cup of coffee can contain as many calories as an extra-large slice of cake.

Typically, an 8-ounce cup of black coffee contains:

  • 0% fat
  • 0% cholesterol
  • 0% sodium
  • 0% carbohydrates
  • 0% sugar
  • 4% potassium

As you can see for yourself, black coffee does not provide calories, fats or cholesterol. However, this does not mean that it is “healthy” or “nutritional”. In fact, black coffee has very low nutritional value besides giving you low amounts of potassium. It’s just that it doesn’t add too many calories.

So, in simple terms, black coffee calories content is very low, which makes it an ideal drink for those who are looking for a regular drink that won’t harm their health. If you want to derive more nutrition from your coffee, then you can do so by choosing to go with different types of coffee drinks such as latte, mocha, cappuccino and others.

Black coffee for weight loss

Many people, even those who drink black coffee regularly, are unaware that the beverage is a great catalyst for losing weight. If you want to lose weight because of aesthetic or health reasons, or you just don’t feel good in your own body, it is no secret that diet is an important part of any weight loss journey. You must consume foods and beverages that will help you achieve your goal, and black coffee is one of them.

Below, we discuss black coffee benefits for weight loss:

  • Black coffee contains chlorogenic acid, which helps to slow down glucose production in your body. This means that if you drink black coffee after a meal, then your body will produce less glucose, as well as fat cells.
  • Black coffee also contains antioxidants, which help in the weight loss process.
  • Since black coffee is rich in caffeine, it helps in the stimulation of metabolic activity and increases your energy level, thereby suppressing hunger.
  • As mentioned before, black coffee is a low-calorie drink, and also does not contain fats or cholesterol. This means that you do not put on any weight by drinking black coffee daily.
  • Many people love to take black coffee a few minutes before they hit the gym. This is because it can boost metabolism greatly, allowing you to reap more benefits from your workout session.
  • Other black coffee benefits for weight loss include reduction of water content in the body. As a result of frequent urination, you will reduce excess water in your body, which helps in temporary weight loss.

If you are taking black coffee for weight loss, it is important to note that you should drink it without any additives. This means no sugar, cream, milk or any other added flavour. With such additives, then all these benefits discussed above are nullified because then your drink will contain calories, fats and cholesterol. That said, it is a must to follow a proper diet routine in order to lose weight. Find the diet plan best suited for you here.weight loss

Black coffee benefits

If you love black coffee, you will be happy to learn that the beverage offers plenty of benefits, both for your body and your mind. Let’s discuss these black coffee benefits in detail below:

It improves cardiovascular health

Regular intake of black coffee may lead to an increase in your blood pressure, but this effect diminishes with time. Studies have shown that drinking one to two cups of black coffee every day can reduce your risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases, including stroke. This means that over time, black coffee gives you a stronger heart. Besides, inflammation in the body is also reduced.Improving cardiovascular health

It improves your memory

Black coffee is known to be great for improving your memory. As we grow older, our cognitive skills get affected, and we are more likely to develop memory-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson’s diseases. Drinking black coffee regularly can help combat these by keeping your brain fit and healthy. It keeps your nerves active, thus enhancing brain function.

It is good for your liver

One of the most important black coffee benefits is that it boosts liver health. Your liver is a vital organ in your body that carries out many functions. It’s important that you keep it healthy and black coffee is perfect for that. Regular intake of black coffee has been linked with the prevention of liver cancer, fatty liver disease, hepatitis as well as alcoholic cirrhosis. Studies have shown that people who consume four cups of black coffee every day have much lower chances of developing any kind of liver disease. This is because the contents of black coffee can help to lower the level of harmful liver enzymes that are found in the blood.

It helps you cleanse your stomach

Coffee is a diuretic beverage, which means that the more you consume, the more often you will urinate. This means that toxins and bacteria get flushed out from your stomach every time you urinate. This cleanses your stomach and keeps you generally healthy.

It may help prevent the risk of developing cancer

Studies have shown that regular consumption of black coffee may be linked with a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer such as liver cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and rectal cancer. Coffee is great for reducing inflammation in your body, which helps to preventing tumour development.

It is rich in antioxidants

Many of the health benefits of black coffee are because of its rich antioxidant content. Strong antioxidants such as Potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B2, B3 and B5, as well as manganese can be found in black coffee.

How to make black coffee

While there is no one correct way of making black coffee and different people make their black coffee in their own ways, there are steps you can take to ensure that your beverage tastes amazing every time.

There are two ways you can make black coffee – by grinding it on your own, or by using a machine.
If you want a clear black coffee with a truly delicate taste, then grinding it on your own is the best option. Take about three tablespoons of coffee and grind them till they are as fine as sea salt. Boil about 600 grams of water. Add a filter to your dripper, filling it with the ground coffee. Gently tap the surface and pour it over in a cup. Your black coffee will be ready in no time.

Another option is to simply use a coffee machine, which most people do because of how convenient it is.Making black coffee

Side effects of black coffee

We have discussed the advantages of black coffee and how it helps in weight loss, but is all that good? Does it not have any side effects? Like everything, excessive intake of black coffee does result in side effects, which are discussed below:

  • Too much black coffee releases high levels of stress hormones in your body, which only leads to anxiety and stress. It can be easy to feel jittery when you consume too much caffeine.
  • Excessive coffee intake can seriously mess up your sleeping routine. It is recommended that you avoid coffee a few hours before bedtime if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
  • Black coffee is rich in caffeine and acid, which means that excess consumption can lead to acidity in your stomach. You are likely to have cramps and abdominal spasms.
  • Too much coffee in your system makes it difficult for your body to absorb minerals from your daily diet, such as iron, calcium and zinc.Better sleep

Summary

Black coffee has plenty of health benefits and also aids in weight loss. It can help boost memory, increase metabolism, keep your liver and heart healthy, and helps in lowering your risk of developing cancer.

However, it should be taken in moderation because like anything, too much of it can lead to unwanted side effects. These include acidity, increased stress and anxiety, low rate of mineral absorption, and disturbed sleeping routine.

Overall, black coffee, when consumed in moderation, is a great beverage that does not contain calories, fats or cholesterol.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. How much black coffee should you drink a day?

A: Caffeine, an active ingredient in coffee, is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Coffee’s caffeine content is highly variable, ranging from 50 to over 400 mg per cup. A small home-brewed cup of coffee could provide 50 mg. As a general rule, an average 8-ounce (240-ml) cup of coffee offers around 100 mg of caffeine.
Several sources suggest that 400 mg of caffeine per day — the equivalent of 4 cups (945 ml) of coffee a day is safe for most healthy adults.

Q. Is Black Coffee Good for Weight Loss?

A: Black coffee has an element called chlorogenic acid, which is known to speed-up weight loss. If you consume black coffee after supper or dinner, the presence of chlorogenic acid slows down the production of glucose in the body. Moreover, the production of new fat cells is decreased, meaning lesser calories in the body. Black coffee consists of caffeine that very effectively increases metabolic activity and boosts energy level in our body. Better metabolic activities and high energy levels may lead to suppression of hunger in the body. However, make sure to avoid adding sugar or other sweeteners to make it a low-calorie drink. Also there are many people who end up weighing more due to excess water weight. Black coffee helps decrease the extra water content in the body through frequent urination. This method helps to shed those extra weight without any threatening side effects.

Q. Does coffee make you fat?

A: Although some studies suggest that coffee may be beneficial for weight loss, it may also negatively impact weight in several ways.

Caffeine may disrupt healthy sleep patterns
Caffeine acts as a stimulant by blocking the effects of adenosine, a chemical in your brain that makes you sleepy. This may be helpful if you need an extra jolt of energy. However, if consumed later in the day, coffee may interfere with your sleep patterns. In turn, this can lead to weight gain. Poor sleep is associated with higher body weight, increased appetite, and more cravings for processed food 

Certain coffee drinks are loaded with calories and sugar
Although plain coffee is low in calories, many coffee beverages are packed with calories and sugar. Regular intake of sugary beverages, such as sweetened coffee blends, is associated with weight gain and a higher risk of obesity.

Q. Can we drink black coffee empty stomach?

A: Caffeine present in coffee may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort by increasing the production of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid), which at the right level helps the body digest food. When you are drinking coffee on an empty stomach, this can add more acid in your body. Even decaffeinated coffee can stimulate the production of acid which, on an empty stomach, can be damaging to the lining of the stomach if consumed regularly. This can lead to indigestion throughout the day, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn and stomach ulcers.



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Ashwagandha: Benefits and Side Effects

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We have often heard of ayurvedic medicines and herbs that offer a lot of health benefits. Though there are no promising studies conducted to prove the health benefits of several herbs, in India, these herbs have been used since ages, and several people have reaped the benefits. One of the most promising herbs in ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is known for its immense benefits.

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What is ashwagandha?

Commonly known as ashwagandha in India, it is also called poison gooseberry and winter cherry, and it belongs to the Solanaceae family or the nightshade family. Ashwagandha is a combination of two different Sanskrit words, ‘Ashwa’ meaning horse and ‘Gandha’ which means smell. The combination of the two words reflects that the herb has a strong horse-like odour. Its biological species name is Withania Somnifera, and Somnifera means ‘sleep-inducing’ in Latin. Ashwagandha is known to aid in getting a good night’s sleep.

An evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East and some parts of Africa, Ashwagandha is considered the most important herb in the Ayurvedic medicine system. The Ayurvedic medicine system started more than three thousand years ago, and ashwagandha has been a part of the system since then. Widely known as ‘Rasayana,’ it is believed to help you maintain your youth physically and mentally. Historically, the roots of this herb are used to treat several ailments like stress, anxiety, constipation, insomnia, among others. It is not just the roots, even the leaves, seeds and fruits are used for various treatments.

Ashwagandha is cultivated in drier regions of India, Nepal, China, and Yemen. The plant prefers dry stony soil with the sun to partial shade. It can be grown from seed or greenwood cuttings. If you are using the seed, then you will need to sow it in early spring. Greenwood cuttings can be planted later in the spring. It is important to know that the plant is prone to several pests and diseases and needs a lot of attention.

Like the tomato, Ashwagandha belongs to the nightshade family. It is a plump shrub with oval leaves and yellow flowers which bears red fruit about the size of a raisin. It is an adaptogenic herb as well as an aphrodisiac. The plant is also called the Indian ginseng for its rejuvenating properties, though botanically ashwagandha and ginseng are unrelated.

Ashwagandha benefits

Due to the poor quality of clinical research, ashwagandha benefits have not been proven yet. The root powder has been used for centuries in India, in ayurvedic medicine, but there is no high-quality evidence of its benefits. The traditional medicine offers several benefits that include the following.

1. Helps to combat the effects of stress

Ashwagandha is one of the Indian herbs with adaptogenic benefits meaning, it helps the body to adapt to various emotional and physical stress. As Ashwagandha helps to reduce cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ in the body, it is considered an effective treatment to reduce stress.

2. Reduces anxiety and depression

Ashwagandha benefits aid in reducing symptoms of anxiety and anxious mood. Regular consumption of ashwagandha in its right dosage reduces severe depression in adults. Though research is limited, ashwagandha is believed to reduce depression. In addition to that, it also helps calm the central nervous system.ashwagandha reduces anxiety and depression

3. Helps to regulate blood sugar levels

The herb has the ability to lower blood sugar levels and help keep blood sugar levels in control. It also helps reduce fasting blood sugar levels.

4. Anti-cancer properties

Ashwagandha is believed to have anti-cancer properties as the herb helps to induce apoptosis- programmed death of cancer cells. Ashwagandha also delays the growth of new cancer cells.

There are no confirmed tests and clinical studies to confirm the results on human beings. But several centuries of Ashwagandha being used as medicine is encouraging.

5. Offers anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits

Ashwagandha aids in reducing inflammation by improving the immune cells that fight infection. It is also linked to decreasing markers of inflammation, which increases the risk of heart disease.

6. Helps to lower cholesterol and triglyceride

Ashwagandha is shown to improve heart health by reducing the levels of bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

7. Improves learning, memory, and reaction time

Ashwagandha promotes antioxidant activity to protect the nerve cells from harmful free radicals. It reduces oxidative stress and improves memory and brain function. Ashwagandha taken in small to medium quantities aids in improving general memory, task performance and attention.

Though there is limited research in this area, ashwagandha has traditionally been used to boost memory in ayurvedic medicines.

8. ADHD

Ashwagandha has shown improvement when it comes to Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder in children, and it also aids in improving attention and impulse control.

9. Stabilizes hypothyroidism

When people have high blood levels of a hormone called TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone, it means that they have an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. In people who have a mild form of underactive thyroid, ashwagandha helps to lower TSH and increase thyroid hormone levels. However, it is recommended that you consult with a physician before consuming ashwagandha in order to avoid its interaction with your regular drugs.Ashwagandha helps stabilise hypothyroidism

10. Helps to keep control of OCD

Some researches show that ashwagandha aids in reducing the symptoms of Obsessive compulsive disorder when it is taken with prescribed medications.

11. Cerebellar Ataxia

Ashwagandha, in combination with ayurvedic therapy, an alternative form of medicine is known to improve balance in people with cerebellar ataxia.

12. Helps to reduce the signs of ageing

Ashwagandha has properties that aid in reducing the symptoms and progression of some health problems that are associated with ageing, due to its antioxidant properties. It helps to reduce hair greying as it increases the production of melanin in the hair cells.

13. Others

Preliminary research shows that ashwagandha improves the symptoms of the following ailments. But there is no hard evidence on the effect of ashwagandha alone in treating them.

The diseases include Parkinson’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Tuberculosis, Ulcerations, and other conditions.

How to take ashwagandha powder?

Ashwagandha is available in the market in the form of roots, tablets and powder. While ashwagandha tablets are consumed easily like any other tablet, ashwagandha powder and roots need to be added into your daily diet. Classically, Ashwagandha is taken in its powdered form, mixed in honey or ghee. But here are some other ways you can consume ashwagandha powder.

Roast an ounce of Ashwagandha powder in ghee and mix it with a tablespoon of date sugar. Eat this at least 20 minutes before breakfast, or later during the day with a cup of milk.

Ashwagandha powder with ghee, sugar and honey is a delicious form of aphrodisiac effectively used in erectile dysfunction.

Kishirpaka method of Ashwagandha tea is the method of extracting the active principle of the herb in milk. Ashwagandha tea can be prepared by boiling the powder in milk and reducing it to half. You can add sugar to improve the taste or an equal quantity of liquorice while boiling.

Ashwagandha sweet and salty cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup refined wheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp Ashwagandha powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk

Preparation

  1. Sift the flour salt and ashwagandha powder and set aside
  2. Take a pan and melt the butter, add sugar and mix well.
  3. Add the milk and mix together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients, mix, and knead into a dough
  5. Roll and shape the dough and place on a baking sheet
  6. Bake at 375 F for 2-3 minutes.

Ashwagandha Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp jaggery
  • 2 tsp Ashwagandha powder
  • pinch black salt
  • pinch black pepper

Preparation

  1. Powder the jaggery and add ashwagandha powder to it. Mix well.
  2. Add black salt and black pepper
  3. Mix well and shape them into balls.
  4. Ashwagandha Banana Smoothie: You can simply add a tablespoon of ashwagandha powder in your regular banana smoothie. It is a tasty alternative to take ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha Shrikhand/dessert

Ingredients

  • 4 1/4 cups curd
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 Tablespoon Ashwagandha powder
  • Mixed nuts
  • cardamom
  • nutmeg
  • saffron
  • almond leaves to garnish

Preparation

  1. Tie the curd in a muslin cloth and place it hanging for eight hours. (hung curd)
  2. Divide the curd into four portions. Add sugar and ashwagandha powder to one portion of the curd. Knead into a smooth paste. You can refrigerate the remaining three portions and use when needed.
  3. Add mixed nuts, cardamom, nutmeg, saffron and almond to improve the taste.
  4. Ashwagandha powder can be used in many other ways in making crunchy snacks, tinctures, tea among others. It can also be made into face cleanser, anti-acne cream as well.

Ashwagandha and weight loss

Ashwagandha uses are immense. It not only has several health benefits; it also aids in weight loss.

  • Ashwagandha has natural antioxidant, which improves overall health and promotes better fat burning indirectly.
  • When the body’s immune function is compromised, weight loss comes to a standstill until the body improves. Better immunity has a positive effect on weight loss. Ashwagandha improves the body’s immune function and promotes healthy weight loss.
  • Stress is another reason that causes unhealthy weight gain. As ashwagandha aids in reducing stress and anxiety, it, in turn, helps to maintain your weight.
  • Hypothyroidism is believed to be a major cause that leads to one being overweight. Ashwagandha helps to decrease the thyroid-stimulating hormone and increase thyroid hormone levels.
  • Elevated cortisol levels result in insulin release that pushes the body to use blood sugar and store it as fat. Ashwagandha improves insulin sensitivity and regulates the blood sugar levels, and contributes to losing unwanted weight.weight loss

Ashwagandha side effects

Ashwagandha is considered safe for consumption if you take the right dosage. Though the effect of long-term consumption of this herb is not known, there have not been any cases of fatal or severe ashwagandha side effects. Large doses of ashwagandha might cause vomiting, diarrhoea, or upset stomach in some people. The side effects of the herb differ from one person to another, and it advised to talk to your healthcare provider before taking them.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised not to take ashwagandha as there is some evidence of the herb causing premature delivery and miscarriage. There is no study on the effect of ashwagandha on lactating women, and to be on the safer side, they are advised not to take the herb.

Ashwagandha is known to:

  • Lower the blood sugar level
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Alter thyroid hormone level

These benefits might also pose a threat as ashwagandha can lower the blood sugar level of a person whose blood sugar levels are normal, possibly leading to hypoglycemia in those that are on medication. It can also affect blood pressure and thyroid hormone level.

As ashwagandha causes the immune system to become more active, it could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. In some people, ashwagandha can irritate the gastrointestinal tract. It is also advised to stop taking ashwagandha for at least two weeks before and after surgery as it may slow down the central nervous system.

Summary

Ashwagandha is an Indian herbal plant that has been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The root of the plant is used in medicine in the form of powder, and it is marketed in the form of capsules/tablets as well. Ashwagandha offers several health benefits to both men and women, though there is no extensive clinical study conducted to provide evidence.

Ayurvedic medicine has been successfully using ashwagandha for several diseases without any major complications. As there are no hard evidence on its benefits or even the side effects, it is recommended that ashwagandha be consumed in small to medium doses after consulting with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. How long does it take ashwagandha to work?

A: It depends on the individual and for what reason they are consuming ashwagandha. It will also vary based on the current health condition of the person.

Q. What does ashwagandha do for the body?

A: The biologically active chemical constituents include alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine, cuscohygrine, anahygrine, etc.), steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins) and saponins. Sitoindosides and acylsterylglucosides in Ashwagandha are anti-stress agents. Active principles of Ashwagandha, for instance the sitoindosides VII-X and Withaferin-A, have been shown to have significant anti-stress activity against acute models of experimental stress. The available scientific data support the conclusion that Ashwagandha is a real potent regenerative tonic, due to its multiple pharmacological actions like anti-stress, neuroprotective, antitumor, anti-arthritic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory etc. It is useful for different types of diseases like Parkinson, dementia, memory loss, stress induced diseases, malignoma and others.

Q. Can Ashwagandha cause weight gain?

A: Ashwagandha helps in reducing muscle wasting related to stress. It does not lead to weight gain.

Q. Is Ashwagandha safe to take in the long term?

A: There is no long term studies to prove its side effects on long term usage. However, if taken in the recommended dosage, there is no major concern.

Q. When should I take ashwagandha for anxiety?

A: The best time to consume ashwagandha for anxiety is at bedtime before you sleep.



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Sabja Seeds: Benefits and Side Effects of Basil Seeds

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Sabja seeds, also called tukmaria or basil seeds are the black seeds that look a lot like chia seeds and offer immense health benefits. They are native to India but different from the holy basil- also called Tulsi. Sabja seeds are rich in protein, essential fats, carbs, and are packed with fiber. Surprisingly, they contain no calories.

Sabja seeds are very hard and cannot be consumed raw. They are best consumed after soaking in water, which makes them more gelatinous. Sabja seeds typically come from sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum, which we commonly use as seasoning. As they come from the sweet basil plant, they are commonly referred to as sweet basil seeds.

The benefits of sabja seeds in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine have been known for a while.It is only in the recent past that sabja seed benefits have been recognised.

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Sabja seeds benefits

Sabja seeds have a lot of benefits which include, but are not limited to, the following:

Aids Weight Loss

Rich in alpha-linolenic acid, sabja seeds are known for their weight loss benefits. As they are full of fiber, they keep you full for a long time, prevent unwanted cravings and aid in weight loss.

Controls blood sugar levels

It slows down the metabolism of your body and controls the conversion of carbs into glucose. It is considered to be good for type II diabetes patients.lowered blood sugar levels

Helps relieve constipation and bloating

Sabja seeds naturally detox your body by regulating smooth bowel movement. It contains a volatile oil that helps relieve gas from your gastrointestinal tract and acts as a stomach cleanser.

Helps treat acidity and heartburn

Sabja seeds help to neutralise the acidic effect of HCL in the body, which can bring relief from acidity and heartburn. As the seeds are consumed after being soaked in water, the water content helps soothe the stomach lining and, in turn, relieve you of the burning sensation.

Good for skin and hair

Sabja seeds benefit for skin can be accomplished by adding crushed sabja seeds to coconut oil and applying it on the affected area. It helps in treating skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis. Eating sabja seeds regularly helps your body to secrete collagen, which is required to form new skin cells.

Sabja seeds have also been proved to be beneficial for healthy hair as they are full of iron, vitamin K and protein that is needed for long and strong hair. The antioxidant properties of sabja seeds also benefit your skin and hair.

Helps cure cough and cold

Yet another sabja seeds benefit is its antispasmodic property. These seeds soothe the spasmatic muscles and help them relax. The antispasmodic property helps to control whooping cough. They also aid in strengthening the body’s immunity system.

Sabja seeds are a rich source of minerals which are essential for your body to stay healthy. They are loaded with health benefits and have recently started gaining popularity for their weight loss properties.sabja seeds can help cure cough and cold

Sabja seeds for weight loss

Sabja seeds are known for the role they play in ayurvedic medicines to relieve conditions that include high blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, type II diabetes, and metabolic imbalances. Recently it was discovered that sabja seeds have the ability to keep you feeling full and thus avoid unwanted binging. Sabja seeds for weight loss has gained immense popularity recently due to the consistent and reliable evidence of its weight loss properties.

Sabja seeds swell up and release digestive enzymes when they are soaked in water. These digestive enzymes suppress your appetite and help reduce unwanted cravings. These seeds are full of fiber, which keeps you feeling full for a long time. They further prevent you from unnecessary overeating by reducing your appetite.

Sabja seeds are low in calories and high in nutrients like calcium, magnesium and iron, phosphorus, along with multivitamins. They are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which stimulates the fat burning metabolism in your body. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that daily consumption of linolenic acid results in fat loss.weight loss

How to use sabja seeds for healthy weight loss?

Sabja seeds are packed with nutrients and are considered the best way to lose weight without falling short of the essential nutrients that your body needs. They are most effective when they are consumed after soaking them in water. When sabja seeds are soaked in water, the water makes them translucent and soft.

To use sabja seeds for weight loss, soak one to two teaspoons of the seeds in a cup full of warm water. Consume them directly after fifteen minutes. You can also sprinkle these seeds in salads and soups, or mix them with lemonade or green tea.

Sabja seeds side effects

You can consume sabja seeds with little fear of it interacting with other medications. Though these seeds pose little to no threat and are tolerated by almost all individuals, it is suggested to consult your healthcare provider. If these seeds are taken in limited quantity, they do not pose any threat. But overdose of sabja seeds have some side effects. The daily recommended dosage is not to exceed a tablespoon, though it might vary from person to person. Sabja seeds side effects include diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, acne, acid reflux, headache, abdomen discomfort, loss of appetite and such. Sabja seeds can also cause low blood sugar in some people.

Most healthcare providers do not recommend sabja seeds to pregnant women and children. Children could choke on the seeds in they are not mixed well in water. As sabja seeds are believed to reduce the estrogen level in the body, it is not recommended for pregnant women. As basil oil and extracts can slow blood clotting, it is not recommended for consumption if you have recently had surgery or are wounded. If you have a scheduled surgery, you must stop using basil at least two weeks before the surgery. As the side effects of sabja seeds vary from one person to another, it is recommended to consult your healthcare provider before consuming them.

Recipes

Sabja seeds offer a lot of health benefits. But soaking them in water and consuming them may prove to be boring. To make these seeds interesting, try out some of the recipes below.

A twist on the Lemonade

Ingredients

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 glass chilled water (ice cubes optional)
  • 3 tablespoon strawberry syrup
  • 2 teaspoon sabja seeds
  • 4 to 5 mint leaves roughly torn
  • Pinch of salt for each glass(optional)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

Preparation

  1. Wash and soak the sabja seeds in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Strain out the excess water and keep aside.
  3. In a jar, add strawberry syrup, lemon juice and chilled water. Mix well.
  4. Add the strained sabja seeds, stir and transfer to a chilled glass.
  5. Add the mint leaves and salt.
  6. You can add ice cubes and serve chilled.

You can also use rose syrup, or any fruit-flavoured drink instead of strawberry syrup. You can simply add sabja seeds in any fruit juice. Sabja seed with coconut water not only tastes good, but it is also the best way to cool your body during summer.lemonade recipe

Sabja seeds porridge with mixed fruits

Ingredients

  • 400 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon sabja seeds
  • 2 bananas broken
  • 2 dates pitted
  • 2 cups chopped mixed fruits
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Preparation

  1. Wash and soak the sabja seeds in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain out the excess water and keep aside.
  2. In a blender mix banana, unsweetened almond milk, dates, cinnamon and salt. Blend them to form a thick paste.
  3. Stir in the sabja seeds and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Serve the sabja porridge in bowls, topped with mixed fruits.

You can add more almond milk to alter the consistency of porridge.

Summary

Sabja seeds are known for their benefits that add value to your life. They not only help in keeping your skin and hair healthy but also offer several other health benefits required for a healthy life. Recently, sabja seeds started gaining popularity for their ability to aid weight loss. It must be noted that though sabja seeds have a lot of nutritional benefits, you must consult an experienced doctor before adding them to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. How to consume sabja seeds to lose weight?

A: The best way to take sabja seeds is soak a tablespoon of them in a glass of water for about 15 minutes. You can drink the water with seeds or add them to lemon water or in buttermilk, milk or curd. Since these seeds are high in dietary fiber, they help a person feel full and satiated.The gelatinous seeds create a feeling of fullness and help in keeping away cravings, thus helping in weight loss.

Q. Can we take Sabja seeds every day?

A: Yes, you can consume sabja seeds on a daily basis.

Q. Do Sabja seeds help reduce body heat?

A: Yes, these seeds work as natural coolants and reduce body heat. Have them in a glass of cold milk in order to help reduce body heat.

Q. Are sabja seeds good for thyroid?

A: Sabja seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which maintain good metabolism, thereby helping in proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

Q. What are the side effects of Sabja seeds?

A: Raw sabja seeds can cause choking. The high fiber content of sabja seeds may cause digestive side effects like bloating or diarrhea. Excessive intake can also lead to digestive issues.



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Jeera Water: Benefits and Side Effects

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Cumin, or jeera, is a millennium old spice that leaves an unmistakable, unique taste in your mouth. A sprinkle or two adds a flavour worthy of a kick and a punch into any dish, leaving its unique combination of aromatic tang and punchy heat inside.

Jeera has a surprisingly revitalising rusty taste that goes right through your body. In mainstream science, jeera is known to contain thymol, a chemical which stimulates the pancreas to produce enzymes and bile. This property improves overall digestion of carbs and fats within the body.

To top it off, just a whiff of jeera contains cuminaldehyde. This chemical, when just sniffed, rouses the digestive enzymes in your body and triggers your salivation impulse. Just sniffing jeera prepares your body and soul for a satisfying round of delicious food.

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Benefits of jeera water

Jeera is an intensely studied ingredient among researchers. It has a laundry list of proven health benefits to offer.

1. Jeera is fantastic for digestion

One of the most well-known jeera water uses. The powerful anti-gas chemicals within protect the body against irritable bowel disease and solves flatulence, belching and burps in a flash. It should be first on the list of everyone looking for a simple, quick remedy for their stomach woes.jeera water improves digestion

2. Jeera water is anti-inflammatory

The thymoquinone contained within the jeera is protective of the liver. This single chemical is so powerful it has researchers rushing to successfully extract the compound within and market it via capsules to improve digestion.

Jeera water has the compound in a safe, simple, easy to prepare manner that is all-natural and features no mysterious or unknown side effects.

3. Jeera water is legitimately anti-cancer

Jeera is medically proven to prevent free radicals from causing damage with its potent scavenging abilities. It enhances the liver’s natural detoxification pathways and aids in overall detoxification and rejuvenation. Health begins in the gut, and jeera contains compounds that promote liver health and stimulate digestive enzymes. It helps your body acquire more nutrition from food so it can work naturally to detox and heal you better.

4. Jeera water is considered an aphrodisiac

A popular folk remedy, jeera water taken with a pinch of black pepper and honey is an aphrodisiac tonic that comes with a nice, tangy kick to your taste-buds.

5. Jeera water reduces obesity

In an actual study conducted with 78 overweight participants given jeera 3 times a day for 2 months, a significant reduction in fat was noticed, along with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced stomach size.

6. Jeera improves insulin sensitivity

With constant blood sugar spikes, your blood sugar skyrockets and nosedives constantly and tires out your insulin-producing pancreas. Jeera makes your body more sensitive to insulin and reduces your blood sugar levels in the long run. Care must be taken to not ignore a good diet and proper physical activity in addition to consuming jeera water.

7. Jeera is a great hydrator

Pop some honey and freshly squeezed lemon along with a pinch of salt into your jeera water to keep your cells hydrated and fresh. Providing water and electrolytes for your body keeps them working at peak condition, and a jeera drink is a great way to accomplish that. Taking jeera water in the mornings before your workout can prevent nausea and dizziness you experience if you have a habit of skipping breakfast.

Jeera water is a phenomenally safe method of improving general wellness. However, there are some side effects we will address later on.

Jeera water for weight loss

Obesity is a serious condition the world over that causes a chain reaction of health issues and hurts the mental health of those with the condition. Increased visceral fat, high body mass indexes and insulin resistance are some of the major causes of serious metabolic disorders.

Jeera water improves your body mass index and insulin sensitivity with consistent, moderate doses outside the lab, and is medically proven to do so inside the lab as well.weight loss

1. Jeera water has almost no calories

Just a teaspoon has 7 calories. Those 7 calories are more densely packed with nutrition than several other foods. Exercising on an empty stomach is a strain on many stomachs, but sipping jeera water before going on a morning exercise routine takes care of the potential acidity issues and keeps you hydrated and calm for a good workout.

2. Jeera water with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has compounds that prevent fat deposition when consumed and is purported to improve metabolic efficiency, allowing stable weight loss while maintaining satiety.

Adding this to your jeera water compounds the benefits with the probiotic bacteria present in the vinegar and improves your gut microbiome.

Jeera water during pregnancy

Jeera is a legendary herbal remedy the world over for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. It is touted to reduce the pain, bloating, constipation, flatulence, insomnia during pregnancies and might even facilitate easier childbirth.jeera water for pregnancy

1. Jeera water reduces heartburn

GERD is a frequent complaint of pregnant women, as the increased pressure in the abdominals results in acid reflux and indigestion from carrying the baby. The carminative, or gas-relieving properties of jeera water offer serious relief in a simple, quick manner that can be frustrating during an otherwise difficult pregnancy.

2. Jeera water stabilises blood pressure

The stress of childbirth and carrying a child can spike blood pressure. The high magnesium and potassium in jeera water provide valuable electrolytes that let your heart do its work with ease.

How to make jeera water

Wondering how you’d like to enjoy a glass of jeera right now? Does seeing all the benefits make you long for the refreshing taste of jeera water?

The best advantage of it is the ease with which you can make a glass. Let me show you a quick, simple technique of enjoying a glass of jeera water in minutes.how to make jeera water

Ingredients

  • Gather a heaped spoonful or two of jeera
  • Gather 2 cups of water in a saucepan

Instructions

  1. To prepare the jeera water, first, begin heating the water in a pan and toss a spoon or two of jeera into it.
  2. Wait a while until the water begins to boil and allow the jeera to steep into it for an hour or so to ensure the jeera is properly infused into the water.
  3. Switch off the flame and strain the water. Sip your jeera water at leisure and enjoy every sip.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the taste of fresh, revitalising jeera water in your hands. For the best results, enjoy it on an empty stomach in the mornings, and drinking it at night keeps the acid reflux away.

For an even more delicious drink, add a pinch of cinnamon, ginger, and honey to your jeera water. You seriously won’t regret it.

Jeera water side effects

Consumed wrongly, with the wrong amount of jeera, does have its side effects. The dose makes the poison, so make sure to stay away from excessive jeera no matter how tempted you get to add more and more. Moderation is key here. What are the potential negative effects of consuming jeera?.

1. Rapid lowering of blood sugar levels

Jeera has a profound ability to reduce blood sugar levels because of the nutrients it contains within. Diabetics and pregnant women especially, take note. Never take too much at once, and always back off and enjoy your drink with less jeera if in doubt. Your medical provider might recommend that you reduce or cease drinking jeera water during pregnancies or if you have diabetes, and that’s one thing you must never disobey. Consult your doctor if jeera water is all right for you. Most people with generally okay health can consume jeera safely with no side effects.lowered blood sugar levels

2. Jeera might hamper breast milk production

Your medical provider might recommend you to stay away from jeera. There is a rare but possible condition where excessive amounts of jeera can result in lower production of breast milk. If you suspect this is the case, cease jeera water immediately and consult your doctor.

Summary

Jeera water is a simple, safe, all-natural and healthy drink. It is easily accessible to most people, and nearly no one experiences its side effects. The fantastic benefits it offers are available to everyone, as long as it is consumed in moderation and consistency, in the long run, will give you safe, dependable, steady results in improving your overall health.

It is time-tested from the ages, is popular the world over and will never stop ceasing to offer that refreshing cool tang the moment it touches your lips. Make it a part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle and watch your smile grow bigger every day with the safe, steady health benefits it offers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the side effects of jeera water?

People with diabetes and bleeding disorders should be careful about the quantity of jeera being consumed. Having too much jeera water might lower the blood sugar level and affect one’s clotting mechanism as well.

Q. Can we drink jeera water in the night?

Yes, jeera water can be taken anytime of the day.

Q. How does Jeera help with weight loss?

Jeera plays a role in digestion and keeps your gut clean. Better digestion improves metabolism and plays a key role in losing weight.

Q. Will jeera water reduce belly fat?

Jeera water will not help specifically in reducing belly fat. However, by improving metabolism, it helps in overall fat loss combined with other factors.



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FITNESS

Paleo Diet: Foods to Eat, Benefits and Side Effects

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Although it was popularised in the 21st century, the Paleo Diet was first introduced in the 1970s. Their popularity stemmed from their contribution to weight loss. Let’s look at what a paleo diet actually is and how beneficial they can truly be.

Table of Content

What is Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet is one that is designed to resemble what the hunter-gatherer ancestors of human beings consumed in the paleolithic age. These hunter-gatherer ancestors had much lower rates of lifestyle disorders like obesity, diabetes and heart diseases. This can be attributed largely to their whole food-based diet and physically active lives.

Several studies have also shown that this paleo diet is also capable of delivering results in the form of weight loss. However, it must be noted that HealthifyMe does not recommend that one follow the Paleo Diet in its purest form. If you’re looking to follow the paleo diet, the necessary changes must be made to suit your requirements. If you’re looking to achieve weight loss, we have the best Indian Diet Plan for it here.

Paleo Diet Benefits

Not unlike any other diet plans, the paleo diet too has its own set of benefits. You can derive the following benefits from the Paleo Diet:

1. Weight Loss

One of the main features of a paleo diet is the consumption of unprocessed food. A paleo diet, therefore, tends to be very low in carbohydrates since it excludes foods such as grains which need to be processed.

Processed, high-carb foods tend to adversely affect one’s blood sugar levels. By removing these foods from one’s diet, the paleo diet can help lower blood sugar levels, and also reduce body fat. Thus, the diet helps you achieve weight loss.

A 2016 study found that healthy women who followed a paleo diet achieved greater weight loss compared to those that followed a typical low-fat diet.Paleo Diet helps you lose weight

2. Increased Insulin Sensitivity

Since most paleo foods are relatively low-carb, there is less demand on the pancreas to produce insulin. Research has shown that paleo diet decreases insulin, and therefore, increases its effectiveness.

This, in turn, reduces insulin resistance, the driving force of type 2 diabetes, allowing some people to reduce the amount of medication that they need.

3. Higher Energy Levels

As part of the paleo diet, you tend to eat foods that have low glycemic index levels. This will help you avoid the drop in energy levels that occurs shortly after consuming high GI and sugary foods.

4. Reduced Inflammation

Higher levels of inflammation in the body increases the risk of several health problems, including type 2 diabetes. Eating low-carb, low GI foods can prevent excess inflammation. This is especially true in the case of omega-3 fatty acids.

Paleo Diet Side Effects

Apart from their benefits, the paleo diet does with its own set of problems. A few of the side effects that you are likely to witness with a paleo diet are listed below:

1. Low Blood Sugar Levels

Precautions must be taken before adopting the paleo diet if you use insulin. Following the diet while on insulin can lead to one suffering from hypoglycemia.

While on a low-carb diet, you require less medication. Therefore, your dosages may have to be changed in order to prevent low blood sugar. Ideally, make sure you consult your doctor before you start a paleo diet.Blood sugar levels go down

2. Low-Carb Flu

Eliminating starch, legumes, and grains from one’s diet could lead to an individual experiencing lethargy, irritability, and fatigue. Although you get sufficient carbs from plants on the paleo diet, the change in overall carb consumption can prove to be quite dramatic if you diet was heavy on bread, beans, and pasta.

This condition is called low-carb flu.These symptoms may last from 3 to 4 weeks. In this time, your body starts to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs. Reduce the effects of this flu by lowering your carbohydrate consumption gradually.

3. Hypothyroidism

People on long-term low-carb diets have seen hypothyroid symptoms, such as fatigue, sluggishness and sensitivity to cold. Following low-carb diets can suppress your appetite, and this may eventually result in the body starving.

If you begin to lose too much weight, your body starts to down-regulate the thyroid functions to save energy. One can eat larger amounts of paleo-permitted vegetables to keep the carbohydrate levels up.

4. Excessive Protein

The paleo diet includes a large amount of animal protein. This includes meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Apart from fish, these foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Excess animal protein consumption can lower blood levels of HDL cholesterol while increasing the LDL levels, and your risk of heart disease. Due to its high-protein content of the paleo diet, your kidneys would have to work harder to remove any additional waste products.

5. Cravings

A common side effect of the diet is to experience cravings for sugar and other non-paleo options like French Fries or potato chips. This is generally seen in the first few weeks of the transition into a paleo diet.

After this transition, these cravings are known to reduce, with people on the diet no longer desperately desiring sweets or non-paleo food items.The diet can lead to more cravings

Foods to Eat

The Paleo Diet includes foods that were consumed by our hunter-gatherer ancestors in the paleolithic age. That said, it is important to note that the diet needs to be modified to suit every individual’s requirements. Here are some of the foods that must be consumed as part of the diet:

1. Meat and Seafood

Most types of meat and seafood will fit right into a paleo diet. As a good source of lean protein, eating meat helps you stay full for longer. They also help build and strengthen cells and tissues in the body.

Common meat choices like chicken and turkey, and some common choices of seafood such as salmon and tuna can be consumed as part of the diet. Meat from grass-fed animals is recommended over meat from grain-fed animals since it is leaner and has more omega-3 fatty acids. This helps reduce inflammation in the body and protects your heart.

Choosing seafood that’s been caught in the wild will be a healthier option than their farmed counterparts too since they may help boost your omega-3 intake.Meat and seafood must be consumed

2. Fruits and Vegetables

The health benefits of fruits and vegetables are well documented. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. The only drawback when it comes to a paleo diet is that some vegetables, like potatoes, are starchy and some fruits, like bananas, are high in sugar. These foods must be eaten in moderation while looking to lose weight.

The key to following a paleo diet is to consume whole, unprocessed foods. Thus, fruits and vegetables account for a major part of the diet. As part of the diet, one can consume vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and spinach. You need to also include fruits like apples, berries, grapes, peaches and plums.

3. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are known to be rich in healthy fats, fiber and protein. They were also known to be foraged in prehistoric times. It must be noted that peanuts must not be considered since they are technically legumes.

A few of the paleo nuts that one can consider a part of the diet are almonds, cashews, pistachios, and walnuts. You can also have chia, sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds as a part of the paleo diet.Nuts and seeds are an important part of the paleo diet

4. Healthy Oils

Oils can be a little trickier than the other foods in the paleo diet. Some of them, like olive, walnut, flaxseed, avocado and coconut oils are allowed since they are gathered directly from the plant.

While flaxseed oil may not have been consumed in paleolithic times, it is permitted due to its high alpha linolenic acid (ALA) content. ALA is a type of heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid.

5. Eggs

Eggs are rich in protein, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, thus making them a crucial part of the paleo diet. Organic eggs can provide one with higher omega-3 content than eggs from chicken raised in cages, making them a better option.

Paleo Diet Meal Plan

We’ve put together a 1-day Paleo Diet Meal Plan to help you understand it better. However, remember that it is important to follow a balanced diet with the nutrients that your body needs.

Time Meal
8:30 AM 1 spinach egg omelette made in ghee
1 Apple
11:00 AM 1 cup green tea
1:30 PM Shredded chicken and vegetable salad with olive oil dressing
5:30 PM 1 cup green tea
A handful of mixed nuts
8:30 PM Baked salmon with vegetables and an avocado

Do consult a nutritionist before you any changes to your current diet, and adopting something new.

Foods to Avoid

Most processed foods are to be avoided completely in case of the paleo diet. Here’s a list of foods that are a no-no when it comes to the paleo diet:

1. Grains

Grains, as a whole, are forbidden on a paleo diet. They are a product of modern agriculture and did not exist in the paleolithic period. In addition to that, they are rich in carbohydrates, and therefore, can cause spikes in your sugar levels.

While whole grains do not cause blood sugar spikes quite like refined grains do, they do contain compounds like gluten, lectin and phytates. These compounds can cause inflammation in the
body and prevent other nutrients from being absorbed.

2. Legumes

Members of a large family of plants that have a seed or a pod, legumes includes all lentils, peas, beans, tofu, peanuts, and soy foods. They are not allowed in paleo thanks to their high lectin and phytic acid content.

However, research does support the consumption of legumes since they are low in fat, and high in protein, iron, and fiber.Avoid eating legumes

3. Processed Foods

Processed foods like refined sugars, salt, and refined vegetable oils, are to be avoided completely. It is widely known that refined sugars and excess salt contributes to high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease.

While there is some argument for vegetable oils and certain artificial sweeteners to be included, paleo plans do not allow them because of the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. The way these oils are processed also contribute to their exclusion.

Summary

A Paleolithic diet may have their own advantages but they do come with side effects that cannot be ignored. Despite its benefits, HealthifyMe suggests you follow a healthy, balanced diet that will ensure you maintain your body weight, and remain healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. What do you eat on the Paleo diet?

A: Paleo is a nature-friendly diet. Processed foods are to be avoided on it. Natural foods that were available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors in the paleolithic age are to be consumed. Foods like meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, unrefined oils, fruits and vegetables can be consumed as per the requirement. Grains, legumes, and dairy are to be avoided.

Q. Does the Paleo diet work?

A: Yes, it works since it is a high protein ,low carb diet. The diet boosts metabolism and keeps one’s hunger pangs in check. It also stabilises blood sugar levels and aids in fat loss.

Q. Is keto or paleo better for weight loss?

A: Both the keto and paleo diets can help one lose weight effectively. However, they do come with their own pros and cons. It is ideal to consult a certified nutritionist before choosing to follow either diet.

Q. Is Paleo Diet harmful?

A: Paleo diets do have their own side effects, as discussed above. Studies have found that the paleo diet can have negative effects on one’s heart and gut health.



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HEALTH

How to Stop a Side Stitch When Running

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Whether you’re a running newbie or have logged hundreds of miles, no one is immune to the sudden, debilitating, painful cramp in your side. Sometimes referred to as a side stitch, we asked experts to tell us what causes them and, more importantly, what you can do during a run to stop a cramp fast.

What Causes a Side Stitch When Running?

A side stitch occurs when the diaphragm is in spasm, explained Kate Mihevc-Edwards, OCS, a doctor of physical therapy, with a focus on treating runners and triathletes. She said that the diaphragm is an important muscle for runners because it’s integral in posture, core stability, and is responsible for breathing. It is a domed-shaped muscle located under your rib cage that expands as you inhale and contracts as you exhale. “Like any other muscle, the diaphragm fatigues. When the diaphragm is under stress or fatigued, it may go into spasm, causing a side stitch,” Kate explained.

How Do You Stop a Side Stitch When Running?

There are several strategies you can try to relieve a side stomach cramp when running.

  • Breathe slower: Slow your breathing down and focus on long exhalations, Kate advised. This will decrease the rate of contraction as well as tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps regulate your breathing.
  • Breathe in through your nose: “What I tell clients to do, and this strategy works for me as well, is to continue running but breathe in through your nose (as you should be doing during your run anyway), but then breathe out through your mouth,” advised ACE-certified trainer Lyuda Bouzinova. She added to make sure you take deep breaths and on the exhale, breathe all the air out of your lungs. Continue to do this until the cramp goes away, which should take a few cycles of breath, in and out. With this technique, you can continue running and not have to stop.
  • Connect your breath with your steps: “My favourite remedy is to breathe out hard when you step with the foot on the side of your cramp (e.g. if the cramp is on your right side, every time you put your right foot down, breathe out hard),” said Stephanie Blozy, MS, an exercise science expert and owner of Fleet Feet in West Hartford, Connecticut in the US.
  • Do belly breathing: “Starting to belly breath is a great way to get rid of a stomach cramp. Slow down your breathing, focus on relaxing your abs and letting your belly expand as you breath in instead of breathing through your chest,” recommended Jesse Lewis, DPT, who’s also a NSCA-certified personal trainer and a weightlifting coach through USAW.
  • Stretch it out: “Reach both hands above your head as you slowly inhale to help stretch out the muscle,” Kate said. If that doesn’t help, after a few breaths, you can also take one hand above the head and bend to the opposite side to stretch, focusing your breathing into the area you’re stretching. Then repeat on the other side.
  • Slow down: Try decreasing the intensity of your run, Kate said. Breathing too fast or too hard can cause a stomach cramp, and slowing down can help you regulate your breathing and allow the diaphragm to relax.
  • Walk it out: If these strategies don’t help, stop running and walk for a couple of minutes, advised ISSA-certified personal trainer Jamie Hickey. “Concentrate on your breathing and making sure to take deep full breaths.”

How Do I Prevent a Side Stitch When Running?

Aside from breathing too hard, cramps can also be caused by eating too much before a run, not being properly hydrated, or having an electrolyte imbalance, said Matt Kite, CSCS, with D1 Training. Although you want to ensure you’re properly hydrated before a run, “some people get a side stitch when they drink too much water before a run,” warned ACSM-certified exercise physiologist Melissa Morris. So try to spread out water consumption all day and avoid drinking too much directly before a run.



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