Tag Archives: cholesterol

What Are The Benefits Of Marathon Training?

The participation of middle aged people in marathons has increased over the last few decades. Researchers found that preparing for a marathon- reduced heart disease risk factor among men, aged 35 to 65.

Studies show that these middle aged marathon runners have much lower heart risks than similar aged non runners.

One of the biggest benefits of running is that it’s good for your health. Running is an excellent way to strengthen the heart and ensure efficient flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, which helps decrease your risk of a heart attack.

Studies also show that, exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the blood (and blood-vessel walls) to the liver. From there, cholesterol is converted into bile (for digestion) or excreted. So, the more you exercise, the more LDL your body expels and your blood’s LDL gets lowered, which protects you from heart disease.

Exercise increases the size of the protein particles that carry cholesterol through the blood. (The combination of these protein particles and cholesterol are called “lipoproteins;” it’s the LDLs that have been linked to heart disease). Some of those particles are small and dense; some are big and fluffy. The small, dense particles are more dangerous than the big, fluffy ones because the smaller ones can squeeze into the linings of the heart and blood vessels and set up shop there. But now it appears that exercise increases the size of the protein particles that carry both good and bad lipoproteins.

Running also keeps your blood pressure lower by keeping your cholesterol levels normal in the body.

 Running not only prevents you from heart related problems but also improves your immune system, so your body functions more effective and efficient at fighting off germs. Also, while running, your body temperature rises which prevents the growth of bacteria ,allowing your body to fight infection more effectively.

So, participating in a marathon is really beneficial for your heart.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Celery and its Benefits

Celery is a vegetable well known for its crunchy stalk and as a low calorie snack. It is commonly consumed with flavoured dips and sauces. The fruit and seeds are dried or pressed into oil for use as a medicine. Sometimes celery oil is marketed in capsule form. Some people also consume celery juice, which is known to have medicinal properties. The ancient Greeks used celery to make wine, which was given out as an award at athletic games.
So celery is a very useful vegetable and its benefits are mentioned below:-
1) Acidity:
The important alkaline minerals found in celery effectively balance the body’s blood pH, neutralizing acidity.

2) Athletic recovery:
Celery juice acts as the perfect post-workout tonic as it replaces lost electrolytes and rehydrates the body with its rich minerals.

3) Cancer:
Celery is known to contain at least eight families of anti-cancer compounds. Among them are the acetylenics that have been shown to stop the growth of tumour cells. Then there are Phenolic acids which block the action of prostaglandins that encourage the growth of tumour cells. And coumarins which help prevent free radicals from damaging cells.

4) Cholesterol:
There is a component in celery called butylphthalide, which significantly lowers total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevents heart disease.

5) Colon and stomach cancer:
The phytochemical, coumarin prevents the formation and development of the colon and stomach cancers.

6) Constipation:
Despite being primarily water, celery also provides a fair amount of dietary fiber. The vegetable contains 1.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams. That acts as a natural laxative and prevents constipation. It also helps in relaxing nerves that have been overworked by man-made laxatives.

7) Diuretic:
The potassium and sodium in celery helps to regulate body fluid and stimulate urine production, helping in eliminating excess fluid from the body.

8) Inflammation:
The polyacetylene is a phytochemical found in celery and is amazingly beneficial for all inflammations like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, asthma and bronchitis.

9) Kidney function:
Celery promotes healthy and normal kidney function by aiding elimination of toxins from the body since it contains 80 to 90% water which helps in flushing out the toxins. While eliminating toxins, it also prevents formation of kidney stones.

10) Lower blood pressure:
Drinking celery helps in lower blood pressure. A compound called phtalides helps in relaxing the muscles around the arteries, dilating the vessels and allowing blood to flow normally.

11) Weight loss:
Celery contains enough fibre to make you feel full for longer and prevents over eating. It also curbs your cravings for sugary and high fat foods.

12) Urinary stones, breaking of stone:
The diuretic effect of celery juice also aids the breaking and elimination of urinary and gall bladder stones.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Eat This For a Healthy Heart and Slim Waist

As a natural whole food, nuts are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are a powerhouse of essential nutrients. Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet is not only good for your heart, but even for that much desired slim waist. Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. They’re inexpensive, easy to store, and easy to pack when you’re on the go.
The type of nut you eat isn’t that important, although some nuts are more nutrient packed and have more unsaturated fat content than others. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pecans — you name it — almost every type of nut has a lot of nutrition packed into a tiny and tasty package. If you have heart disease and a large waist circumference, nuts are amongest the best food options for you.
People who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol level in their blood. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease.
Eating nuts may reduce your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack. Nuts also appear to improve the health of the lining of your arteries.
Nuts not only consist unsaturated fatty acid but also omega-3 fatty acids (prevent heart stroke), fiber (lowers cholesterol), vitamin-E (Stops the development of plaque in the artery), plant sterols (lowers cholesterol) and L-arginine (prevents blood clot). It’s quite evident that if you’re making a big mistake if you’re missing out on eating nuts.
Fiber found in nuts is a very essential and miraculous nutrient. Fiber makes us feel fuller and stays in our stomach longer than fiber poor foods we eat, slowing down our rate of digestion and controlling our appetite. It is of great help to those who cannot exercise portion control at their meals and thus find it difficult to stay thin a result of that. Fiber also takes to longer to chew and chewing promotes saliva, which is essential for healthy functioning of the body. The production of stomach juices that helps to fill the stomach gives your brain time to get the signal that you have had enough to eat.
The unsaturated fats and protein in nuts also promote muscle gain. Greater muscle mass makes it easier to keep the fat away, as you’re burning more calories during rest. This further increases your body’s metabolic rate.
So include nuts as part of your daily diet to benefit yourself with fat loss, muscle mass gain, improved heart functioning and innumerable other health gains.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Chocolate Might Have Additional Benefits For Teenagers

If you are a teenager, then you might be excited to hear this. Studies have shown that chocolate consumption in teenagers might lead to lower levels of body fat.
It showed that adolescents who consumed higher amounts of chocolate had lower body fats levels, compared to adolescents who abstained from chocolate.
A study conducted at the University of Granada in Spain revealed the effects of chocolate consumption on teenagers and found a distinct link between chocolate consumption and low body fat.
The study analyzed records of 1,458 teenagers who were between the ages of 12 and 17. It asked them to complete computer-based questionnaires that asked them to recall what they had eaten during the previous 24 hours or 2 non-consecutive days. The subjects of the study hailed from nine different European countries and the data set is considered to be especially broad.
The conclusions of the study indicated that higher chocolate intake amongest European teenagers was linked with lower levels of total fat and fat around their waist. What made these conclusions especially interesting was that exercise had little to no impact on the results.
Results were assessed based on the participants’ Body Mass Index, waist circumference, body fat measures and activity levels.
One of the reasons for low body fat levels is that chocolates contain good fats or monounsaturated fats (oleic acid), which reduce the absorption of sugar in the blood stream. That prevents the sudden spike in the body’s insulin level and Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated–either chronically or after a meal– it accumulates fat in the adipose tissues. When insulin levels fall, we release fat and oxidize it for fuel. This is the way chocolate might be working for teenagers.

Not just that, chocolate even contains flavonoids, which are polyphenolic compounds that have various biochemical and antioxidant properties. Flavonoids prevent the cells from the oxidative changes caused by the free radicals. These radicals are normally formed in the body by the process of breathing and from normal environmental contaminants like cigarette smoking. An increase in their production can cause low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol, which forms plaque on the artery walls and may lead to cardiovascular diseases.
Chocolates even have an anti-inflammatory affect because they increase the growth of good microbes in the intestine which reduces inflammation.
But like every other health food which is processed with sugar, chocolate too should be consumed in control. Enjoy moderate portions of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce) a few times a week, and don’t forget to eat other flavonoid-rich foods like apples, red wine, tea, onions and cranberries.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Can strawberries Lower Cholesterol?

Strawberries are known for their flavour, flashy red colour and pleasant aroma. It’s favourite among all age groups and geographies. It is probably the most desired fruit in the world. The strawberry flavour is incorporated into various sweets and delicacies across the world. This delicious and healthy fruit can be easily incorporated in salads, healthy desserts, smoothies and other healthy snacks.

Strawberries contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as flavonoids, anthocyanins and ellagitannins. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties which can prevent certain cancers and heart ailments. Additionally, strawberries also help control blood sugar level.

A recent research study has also examined the effect of strawberry consumption on cholesterol levels, and the results of these studies appear to show a promising link between the two.

The research team set up an experiment in which they added 500 grams of strawberries to the daily diets of 23 volunteers over the duration of a month. They took blood samples before and after this period to compare data.

Researchers found that the total amount of bad cholesterol level, that is the level of low density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) or triglycerides fell by 8.78%, 13.72% and 20.8% respectively. The high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) remained unchanged.

The reason behind this was the presence of anthocyanins, which are a sub-class of flavonoids that can help dilate arteries and prevent plaque build up, thus improving heart health and cholesterol levels.

Strawberries also contains soluble fibre, which is known as pectin. Fibre lowers the blood cholesterol by interfering with the re-absorption of bile salt in the intestine. The bile gets excreted in the faeces. To make up for this loss of bile, the liver produces more bile salts. The body require cholesterol to make bile salts. So in order to obtain the cholesterol necessary to make more bile salts, the liver increases its production of LDL receptors, thus eating into the body’s bad cholesterol levels.

Not only bad cholesterol level, but strawberries even improve other parameters like plasma lipid profile. Strawberries contain antioxidants like vitamin C that has anti aging properties and helps in wound healing, apart from playing a role in collagen formation. Strawberries even contain antihemolytic factors, which prevents breakdown of Red Blood Cells.

Fresh strawberries are available only seasonally, so indulge in them when they’re available to derive maximum benefit. But their benefits are only limited to the consumption of the actual strawberry, not the unhealthy sugary desserts and cakes that just have their flavour and none of strawberry’s actual benefits.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

The Amazing Health Benefits Of Egg Yolk

Egg yolk has many health benefits. Many studies show that egg yolks contain cholesterol that can be harmful to the heart. But other studies have found that there is no harmful effect of the egg yolk if it is consumed in a moderate amount. In fact studies say that you can have up to 4-5 egg yolks per week without any effect on the body’s cholesterol levels and without any affect to the heart.
Egg yolks contain seven vitamins, which are Vitamins A,D,E,K ,B-12,B-6 and folate. Along with vitamins, egg yolks also contain 13 kinds of minerals and help in maintaining the electrolyte balance in the body.

Here are some of the healthy benefits of egg yolks when consumed in moderation and not in excess: -

1. Keeps your eyes healthy

Carotenoid in the egg yolk is a colourful pigment, and is what that gives the egg yolk the bright yellow colour. It lowers age related risks like mascular degeneration and cataracts, according to research. Carotenoids act as anti-oxidants which protect the eye from free radicals that can affect different parts of the retina.

2. Prevent blood clot

Proteins found in egg yolks prolong the development of blood clots.
If you smoke, lead a sedentary lifestyle, use birth control pills or at the risk of blood clots, you can add egg yolks to your diet and greatly benefit from it.

3. Anti-inflammatory

Choline, which is present in the egg yolk has anti-inflammatory activities. If you have problem of arthritis and endometriosis, then you should add the egg yolk to your diet.

4. Contains essential fatty acid

Egg yolks contains essential long chain fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6 which are necessary for functioning of the brain, proper functioning of the retina, healthy hair, body’s reproductive system and for the body’s response to injury.

 5. Source of vitamins and minerals

Egg yolk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like iron, iodine, vitaminB2, vitaminB12, vitamin D, vitaminB5. The essential nutrients found in the egg yolk include most of the essential nutrients required by us as per the daily dietary requirements.
Make whole eggs a part of your daily diet and benefit from them. Think twice before throwing away the egg yolks the next you cook eggs. And even for those who consume egg whites just for the protein content, you should know that 40% of the egg’s protein is in the egg yolk, apart from 90% of the essential nutrients.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How Sugar is deteriorating your body

Is sugar really that bad? Sugar has continued to play an increasingly important role in our food industry. It’s not just sugary foods, but sugar has made its way into practically everything we eat. You can become addicted to sugar. Refined sugar in particular provides only empty calories and lacks all the essential and natural nutrients that the body requires.

Here is how sugar deteriorates your body:

1. Sugar makes you fat

A high sugar diet makes the liver store fat more efficiently and overtime it could lead to the deposition of fat globules in the liver and other parts of your body, which makes you gain weight.

2. Sugar affects your Insulin levels

Sugar is high on the glycemic index because of which it causes a spike in blood sugar levels, leading to increased insulin production. High intake of sugar stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin to lower the blood sugar levels. Excess of Insulin in the body promotes fat storage.

3. Sugar weakens your Immune system

Sugar directly impacts the immune response. White blood cells accumulate Vitamin C in order to consume virus, bacteria or cancer cells but when we get overloaded with sugar, then white blood cells accumulate glucose and leave little room inside the cell, as Vitamin C and sugar have similar structures. Therefore, sugar slows your immune system down.

4. Sugar reduces good cholesterol and raises bad cholesterol

Empty calories in sugar increase your risk of having high cholesterol. It raises the bad cholesterol, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids in the body which lead to heart diseases.

5. Sugar leads to Type-3 diabetes

Suzanne de lo Monte, a neuropathologist at Brown University had discovered the links between insulin resistance, high-fat diets and Alzheimer’s disease. In this type of diabetes, the insulin levels gets blocked in the brain due to which the brain’s ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged.

6. Sugar turns you into junkie

Eating sugar triggers the release of hormones like opioids and dopamine that makes your brain feel ‘pleasure’ and provides you a satiety value, due to which you will always look for junk food or high sugar foods.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How Water Can Help you Lose Weight

Did you know that water can help you lose weight? Recent research suggests that increased water consumption is tied to greater weight loss. Drinking water is good for health. Water aids in losing weight because it diminishes your hunger and also helps cut calories at meals.

Water is an essential component of our life. Every function in the human body depends on water. For example, water protects vital organs and tissues, carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells, lubricates the joint, helps dissolve nutrients and minerals, and regulates body temperature.

But many people do not drink much water until they feel thirsty. Drinking water in the morning increases the metabolic rate and actually helps promote weight loss. Water even contains trace amounts of minerals and vitamins, with 0 calories.

Water acts as an appetite suppressant. It fills you up and keeps you away from overeating. You feel less hungry with better control on your cravings. It was discovered that people who drink water before meals eat an average of 75 fewer calories during the meal. It also helps lower the body’s cholesterol levels and helps the liver metabolize extra fat.

If you usually don’t drink enough water, it will cause water retention and will add to your weight, making you seem very bloated. Dehydration or not drinking enough water can be responsible for slowing down your metabolism.

According to many researches, its being said that when you feel bloated, drink more water so that your brain gets a signal that the body has received sufficient water and now the retained water needs to be flushed out.

So always keep yourself hydrated. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day to help remove toxins from your body and boost your metabolism naturally.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

8 ways to cut fat from your diet

Dieting doesn’t mean that you cut carbohydrates and fats from your diet and opt for tasteless, boring foods. Our body requires all essential nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc. for its healthy functioning.
A low-fat diet is the key to losing weight, managing cholesterol, and preventing health problems. But more than just the amount of fat, it’s the type of fat you eat that really matters. Bad fats like trans-fats, saturated fats, etc. increase cholesterol and your risk of certain diseases, while good fats protect your heart and support overall health. In fact, good fats-such as omega-3 fats-are essential to physical and emotional health. So, when choosing fats, pick unsaturated fat over saturated or trans-fat.
Enjoy your favorite foods by employing the following tweaks and tips:
1] Pizzas: Next time when you order a pizza, opt for double tomato sauce, corn, garlic, capsicum, mushroom, onion flavor with less cheese or mozzarella, as they are all rich in vitamins and minerals and also help combat many diseases. For e.g., tomatoes have lycopene which help decrease the risk of prostate cancer in males.

2] Streak Fries: If you love French fries, next time try streak fries as they absorb less oil than French fries. It helps to lower some bad fat count.

3] Stir- fry: When you opt for fried-chicken or vegetables, choose a garlic or orange juice/sauce over butter or cheese. It will make it healthier.

4] Soften your spread: Before applying butter or margarine as a spread on your bread or chapatti, soften it in the microwave at room temperature, so that the quantity gets lowered while spreading.

5] Oil your potato: Apply olive oil rather than butter or sour cream on baked potatoes. It will help save calories and fat.

6] Dilute your Fruit juice: When buying a fruit juice bottle, add some water to dilute the juice and store it. It helps cut calories and the difference is barely noticeable.

7] Cool your cans: It’s better to refrigerate canned foods, as the fat rises to the top and it becomes easier to scrape it off.

8] Use cooking sprays: Use cooking sprays to prevent your low-fat cheese from turning to rubber while cooking. This will help add just enough fat to make the cheese stay gooey and creamy as it slowly melts.

So, next time when you order or prepare some meals, do watch the type of fat you are eating. Try switching to healthier options.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Is Ice-Cream A Source of Dairy?

Ice-cream is one of the most favorite milk based dessert. For some it’s a reward for scoring well in exams, for some it is to celebrate a special moment and some eat it leisurely as a source of calcium. But can this dairy product contribute to your daily calcium requirements and maintain your bone strength? Let’s find out -

Ice-cream is made by churning and chilling a mixture containing high-fat milk or cream, fructose or glucose-based sweeteners, usually in the form of corn syrup, and flavorings such as vanilla or chocolate. When the mixture freezes, it develops the rich, creamy consistency of ice-cream.

The nutritional content of different type of ice-creams varies but in general it is an energy dense food. It mainly comprises of carbohydrates and fats. Half a cup of ice-cream contains 15-18 gms of carbohydrates and 7-10 gms of fat. Half a cup of vanilla ice-cream provides 137 calories, as compared to 1 glass of skimmed milk which has 93 calories majorly providing good quality protein.

Ice-cream is a high-fat food, since it must contain greater than 10 percent milk fat to be designated ice-cream, with some products having as much as 16 percent. Milk fat is largely cholesterol, a saturated fat. When your blood cholesterol level is too high, it can build up as plaque, a fatty deposit in your arteries that interferes with blood flow and raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. Ice-cream is also high in sugar, which makes up the majority of its carbohydrate content. Consuming too much sugar may contribute to health problems such as weight gain, cavities and increased levels of blood triglycerides, another unhealthy type of fat.

According to experts, foods made from milk which have little to no calcium, such as full cream milk cheese, butter, ice-cream are not considered part of the dairy group. These products contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat and if consumed on regular basis can increase risk of lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes, weight gain etc. To lower your risk for high cholesterol and sugar-related problems, consume ice-cream in moderation or chose low fat substitutes. Some ice-cream substitutes like frozen desserts are marketed as a low fat low calorie product but these can be high in sugar containing as high as 40 gms of sugar. So, the rule of thumb is to eat your favorite scoop in moderation and pick healthy milk derivatives like low fat milk, low fat cottage cheese, curd and buttermilk to complete your daily calcium requirement.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo