Can I eat animal protein with CVDs, Gout and Kidney dysfunctions?

Consumption of animal protein is a hot eating trend, and many people have reported significant benefits after adopting this pattern of eating.

This may lead to some of you to wonder- Is it healthy to eat only meat in the long term? There are allegations that animal protein intake is associated with incidences of Gout, Kidney dysfunctions and also something as worse as heart diseases. Is this all true? Well, not really.

So let’s start with this absolutely fallacy that correlates increase in animal protein consumption with Gout. (A painful, inflammatory disorder in which too much uric acid in the body crystallises and forms deposits in the joints). Uric acid is basically a breakdown product of a protein- Purine, which is present in red meat and other animal-based proteins. So, according to the conventional, lazy school of thought, the best advice would be to avoid animal protein completely. There is, however, a problem with this logic (of a low purine diet) because over 90% of elevated uric acid is due to impaired clearance, and not overproduction of uric acid (1).

While it is the kidney’s function to clear out this waste material (uric acid), reduced clearance is generally a result of yet another problem which is Insulin Resistance. Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, body fat and liver start resisting or ignoring the signal that the hormone insulin is trying to send out—which is to grab glucose out of the bloodstream and put it into our cells. This further leads to ever-increasing levels of Insulin in your blood as the brain recognizes this ignorance as lack of insulin. These elevated levels of insulin impair the kidney’s ability to do its job. Hence, evidence suggests that most cases of gout are a result of this metabolic dysregulation (hyperinsulinemia) and metabolic syndrome as well (2). 

Relooking at the standard dietary recommendations for gout – A Low Purine Diet – it might be wise to question this approach because low purine foods are mostly carbohydrate-based: cereals, bread, pasta, flour, sugar, and fruit. These cause insulin spikes far greater than what animal protein does. And just as low cholesterol diets have a trivial effect on serum cholesterol, low purine diets have a negligible impact on uric acid levels.

Also,  we’d like to draw your attention to the fact that Gout is unknown in Eskimos despite their purine-rich diet (3). Definitely worth thinking about right?

What about the extra load on the kidneys then? 

The changes in kidney function as a result of a high protein diet are expected and normal. These adaptive mechanisms are well within the functional duties of the kidneys. But aren’t high levels blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine as a consequence of increased animal protein consumption? They sure are. 

Nevertheless, people with higher muscular content, when coupled with a high protein diet, have their Creatinine levels on a little higher side too. As creatinine is a waste product produced by muscles from the breakdown of a compound called creatine.

Also high levels of BUN do not necessarily indicate kidney dysfunction. BUN levels usually increase on a high protein diet as it is a surrogate of how much protein you are eating.

If you are really concerned about a high protein diet and kidney health, instead of just looking at creatinine alone which can be “falsely elevated”, get a Cystatin-C GFR test done. 

Cystatin C is a protein produced in the body. The levels are kept just right in normal conditions. It can be a problem when the levels of cystatin C go too high, as it is indicative of your kidneys not functioning not functioning properly.

In fact, research on patients with chronic kidney disease shows that reducing relative fat intake and increasing the protein intake may be beneficial for kidney functioning rather than deriving calories from a high fat, low protein diet (4). 

Also, all of of you with normal functioning kidneys, a high protein diet would prevent you from end stage renal disease (ESRD) (4).

Another disease which people fear the most when it comes to animal protein consumption is the occurrence of a heart disease (Heart disease or diseases are a group of ailments related to compromised functioning of the heart), also known as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

A variety of conditions occurring as a result can be- Atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart attack and something as worse as heart failure.

Now there's good evidence and explanation that when atherosclerosis does occur, it is almost always in the setting of insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction. Insulin resistance reduces the ability of our body to clear circulating lipids, viz., triglycerides and free fatty acids. Hypertriglyceridemia has the strongest correlation with CVDs among the five components of the metabolic syndrome (5).

Long story short, animal protein does not trigger heart issues, neither does it trigger kidney dysfunction. We hope this article has answered your questions, in case you still have lingering doubts, feel free to reach out to us! 

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23370375/ 
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17466656/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1831365/pdf/canmedaj00812-0101.pdf 
  4. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqaa379/6132001?redirectedFrom=fulltext 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2639785/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20most%20devastating,and%20mortality%20among%20diabetic%20patients.
  6. https://www.kevinstock.io/health/high-protein-diets/
  7. https://www.marksdailyapple.com/will-red-meat-cause-your-heart-to-explode/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3975080/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18235143/
About the Author

Ria Jain
Ria has a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics and is in a permanent research mode and keeps the rest of us at ThriveFNC updated with her latest findings in the field of Nutrition. Her articles on ThriveFNC’s blog are an expression of her research findings. We really don’t know what we’d do without her support and her focus.
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Everything you need to know about Oats- from types and nutrients to anti-nutrients

Oats, scientifically known as Avena sativa, is a type of cereal grain present in the Poaceae grass family of plants. The grain refers specifically to the edible seeds of oat grass. Although it might be hated by some for its gooey texture upon cooking, oats are often prized for their nutritional value, health benefits and the various ways of preparation. Oats are edible seeds of the plant, of which the hulls or husks are removed and hence called as the oat groats/ kernel. The different varieties of oats start out as oat kernels and vary in the extent of processing techniques and somewhat in their nutrient profiling too. Oats can be modified and consumed in the following ways:

Oatmeal- Oatmeal is a type of coarse flour made of hulled oat groats and consequently a meal made using the same.

Overnight oats- This is a quick, easy no-cook solution of eating oats. All you have to do is Add sufficient amounts of water for oats to soak overnight without fully absorbing all of the liquid and draining the remaining liquid and rinsing the oats before eating.

Oat flour- These are oats that have been ground to a flour-like consistency.

There are different types of oats which you can see on the supermarket shelves, viz.,

Steel cut oats are somewhat similar to the unprocessed oat groats. Whole oat kernels are turned into pieces using large steel blades. These oats have a coarser, chewier texture and nuttier flavor than rolled or quick oats and also take longer to prepare (15-30 minutes).

Scottish oats are those that have been stone-ground into a meal, creating a porridge-like texture when cooked. Stoneground flour is whole grain flour produced by the traditional process of grinding grain between two millstones.

Rolled oats are formed when whole oat groats are steamed, rolled and flattened into flakes, and then dried to remove moisture. These techniques make rolled oats shelf-stable. They have a milder flavor and softer texture and take 2–5 minutes to prepare.

Quick oats or instant oats are those that are even more processed than the latter two. These are partially cooked by steaming and then rolled even thinner than rolled oats. They cook very quickly and have a mild flavor and a soft, mushy texture.

Nutritionally, oats are packed with Beta-glucan, a soluble fiber component which is generally the major contributor for its weight loss claims. Whole grain oats contain a considerable amount of valuable nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates and micronutrients such as vitamin E, folate, zinc, iron, selenium, copper, manganese, carotenoids, betaine and choline. 

Whilst it has a good nutrient profile and can be considered as ‘fit for health’, it has a high glycemic index. It simply means that your blood sugar levels spike up immediately after its consumption.

Moreover, the most important factor to be considered is the antinutrient content. Oats contain phytic acid which interferes with nutrient absorption and causes gastric disturbances (bloating, gas). However, the amount of this antinutrient can be lowered by soaking oats and discarding the water before eating.

The best way to reduce phytic acid in oats is by opting for overnight oats or soaking the oats with a dash of acid- apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the soaking liquid and you will have a delicious batch of no-cook oatmeal that is ready to eat.

Oats are also found to produce a series of phytochemicals (compounds produced by plants for their protection) which are Saponins(1). Saponins are naturally produced as foam-producing compounds by many plants. Due to the bitterness, throat-irritating and inhibitory activity of saponins, they are considered to be ‘antinutrients’. However, greatest amounts of saponins are lost during soaking in salt water followed by pressure cooking. (Read more about Saponins: https://www.thrivefnc.com/blog/plant-antinutrients-saponins/)

Flavone-C-glycosides are yet another plant defense mechanism which is present in abundant quantities in the oat plants (2). These defense mechanisms basically work to deter larger animals for which some plants have sharp spines or thorns, while others have leaves that sting or are bitter to taste.

Owing to their supposed nutritional value, oat-based food products like breads, biscuits, cookies, probiotic drinks, breakfast cereals, flakes and infant food are gaining increasing consideration. These preparations also contain additives, binders, preservatives, and other chemicals which almost destroy the various benefits associated with consuming oats.

If oats have topped your favourites’ list or you are someone who wants to give them a try then eat them in their plain and natural form, do look for gluten free oats and always soak them overnight and discard the water so that you aren’t consuming any antinutrients. 

References-

  1. https://scihub.wikicn.top/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b06071 
  2. https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/56814/2/02whole.pdf
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/rolled-vs-steel-cut-oats#definitions
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/oats/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325078/ 
About the Author

Ria Jain
Ria has a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics and is in a permanent research mode and keeps the rest of us at ThriveFNC updated with her latest findings in the field of Nutrition. Her articles on ThriveFNC’s blog are an expression of her research findings. We really don’t know what we’d do without her support and her focus.
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4 Reasons why Bone Broth is the real 'Superfood'

Bone broth is a clear liquid made out of animal bones and other parts attached to bones (marrow, joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, knuckles, trotters, etc) that are simmered in water for extended time periods. It can be recognized differently from stock due to its prolonged cooking time. It is viewed as a part of ‘nose-to-tail’ eating philosophy, wherein every part of the animal is used in food preparation, letting nothing go to waste. Consumption of bone broth has become super trendy as it has extensive healing properties and it can now be considered as a ‘Superfood’. 

Here are the major benefits of drinking bone broth on a daily basis which can be mainly attributed to the rich mix of nutrients it contains. Bone broth contains dense amounts of amino acids like Collagen, Glycine, Gelatin, Proline, Glutamine and Arginine which support and improve the following functions of your body.

  1. Great for skin, hair, bones

Along with amino acids, bone broth also contains other nutrients like Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc.

  1. Magical ability to heal the gut

Bone broth (or stock) is fabulous for healing intestinal permeability. It contains collagen, which nourishes the intestinal lining and reduces inflammation.

  1. It aids in sleep
  1. It may aid in weight loss

Bone broth is loaded with important nutrients and is low in calories. It can satisfy your hunger, makes you full and most importantly can help in appetite control.

Ready to try it? Here’s a easy bone broth recipe

Ingredients

Method:

You could add vegetables, herbs, or spices to the broth to enhance the flavor. Common additions include garlic, ginger, onion, celery, carrot, parsley, thyme, clove, cinnamon, coriander seeds, star anise. You could simply add them with the bones along with water.  But remember Tribe, the meat which you procure should be organic, that is, you should look for free range animals raised without injected hormones, antibiotics or other chemicals.

References:

  1. https://chriskresser.com/the-bountiful-benefits-of-bone-broth-a-comprehensive-guide/
  2. https://fearlesseating.net/bone-broth-benefits/
  3. https://draxe.com/nutrition/bone-broth-benefits/
  4. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/the-health-benefits-of-bone-broth
About the Author

Ria Jain
Ria has a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics and is in a permanent research mode and keeps the rest of us at ThriveFNC updated with her latest findings in the field of Nutrition. Her articles on ThriveFNC’s blog are an expression of her research findings. We really don’t know what we’d do without her support and her focus.

How to recover quickly from Covid-19 weakness?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The health complications attributed to the virus include pneumonia, respiratory failure, heart problems, liver problems, gastrointestinal distress, septic shock, and death. These complications are known to be caused by a condition known as ‘cytokine storm’. In this condition, an infection triggers your immune system to fill the bloodstream with inflammatory proteins called cytokines. These cytokines can kill tissue and damage your organs.

Depending on your age and underlying metabolic condition, Covid-19 infected people have shown various rates of recovery. On an average, the recovery is above 95% in most cases except the very old/ elderly patients. 

Despite this high recovery rate, the one trend that seems to be emerging though is that most COVID-19 patients do not seem to fully get back their pre-covid vitality. 

Some complain of lingering chronic fatigue symptoms, weakness and exhaustion and others struggle with mental health problems. These COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ face fatigue, breathlessness, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, brain fog, depression, anxiety and/or chronic pain for three weeks or even longer.

Is this because of the experimental drug regime that’s being used in hospitals, is it because of depletion of nutrients from the body in fighting an infection or is it because of social isolation (which is known to trigger inflammation in human beings), or is it because of the psychological impact of the all pervasive media induced fear or is it because of all of these factors put together? 

In the past, research has found an interesting link and compelling connection between poor gut health and chronic fatigue and mental health problems. Interestingly, coronavirus uses the ACE2 receptor to gain entry into the cell, and the greatest number of ACE2 receptors are found in the cells that line your gut. The infection, thus, then spreads and affects the gut microbiome. Altered gut bacteria is found to be one of causes of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and related symptoms. Incidentally, your gut microbiome is also known to influence your mental health, and has been linked to depression and anxiety and a large portion of your immune system also resides in your gut.

Whatever the root causes for the long term health complications that seem to be arising post a Covid-19 infection, here are some recommendations from Thrive that will speed up your recovery. 

With a well mapped out holistic plan that focuses on food, supplements, movement along with fixing internal dysfunctions, recovering from Covid-19 doesn’t have to take you too long. Reach out to us if you need to talk to us, we’d be more than happy to help you recover quickly.

About the Author

Ria Jain
Ria has a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics and is in a permanent research mode and keeps the rest of us at ThriveFNC updated with her latest findings in the field of Nutrition. Her articles on ThriveFNC’s blog are an expression of her research findings. We really don’t know what we’d do without her support and her focus.
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10 Benefits of Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating which is scheduled between periods of fasting and eating. First things first, it is not a diet, tribe. IF doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat. There are different ways involved in doing the same, viz., daily intermittent fasting, weekly intermittent fasting and alternate day intermittent fasting.

IF has become the world’s top lifestyle trends in the past few years, and there is a reason for it. As a matter of fact, there are 10. Find out for yourself:

  1. Aids Weight loss

IF promotes a drop in your weight in the form of fat loss. When you don’t give your body a steady stream of glucose, it begins breaking down the glycogen to use as fuel. After the glycogen has been depleted, your body seeks out alternative sources of energy to help power your body. Fuel stores from your body fat opens up to provide energy and this is how you burn fat, thus ensuring a healthy weight loss.

  1. Increases mental capacity

Intermittent fasting increases neuronal stress resistance through multiple mechanisms, including bolstering mitochondrial function and stimulating autophagy (see point 6), neurotrophic-factor production (Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) are a family of biomolecules that support the growth and survival of neurons.), antioxidant defenses, and DNA repair. As a result, it helps enhance cognitive function and protect your brain against changes in memory and learning function. Moreover, it can decrease the risks of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

  1. Decrease incidences of Insulin Resistance (Diabetes), Heart problems and Cancer

When you eat, much of your food is broken down into glucose, raising blood sugar levels, thus raising insulin levels. It is accepted that glucose toxicity is involved in the worsening of insulin resistance (IR) by affecting the secretion of β-cells. IF allows your body a chance to stabilize the insulin levels, which gives your pancreas a rest from producing insulin.

This pattern of eating also increases the levels of Adiponectin, a fat derived hormone, which has proven beneficial in protecting from heart problems like atherosclerosis as well as IR.

Moreover, intermittent fasting results in calorie restriction which is thought to impair energy metabolism in cancer cells, thus inhibiting their growth and preventing the spread of cancer.

  1. Better gut health

There are two main ways through which intermittent fasting can improve gut health-

Firstly by giving rest to your gut from the taxing work of digesting and absorbing food. Secondly, fasting benefits our good gut bacteria because of circadian rhythm- our internal body clock. Continuously grazing until right before bed adds up to the digestion and processing of food. Such a large eating window often takes us out of sync with our circadian rhythm (body clock) and disrupts our gut microflora.

  1. Counter regulatory hormone production

Benefits of IF do not only result from reduction in calories but also from the beneficial hormonal changes like reduction in insulin levels and increase in the counter regulatory hormones- nor-adrenaline, cortisol and growth hormone. These are known as counter regulatory hormones because they tend to raise our blood glucose levels when the body is not getting it from the food, making it available for energy purposes. Growth hormone is associated with anti-aging properties and research has found that deficiency of the same leads to higher levels of body fat, lower lean body mass (sarcopenia) and decreased bone mass (osteopenia).

  1. Triggers Autophagy

IF stimulates autophagy which in Greek means ‘self-eating’- auto (self) and phagein (eating). It is a process, activated by glucagon (a hormone produced in the absence of insulin), in which our body gets rid of broken down, old cell parts. Basically, there is replacement of old parts of the cell. Autophagy along with increase in growth hormone can really give your bodies a complete renovation and a kick start to healing.

  1. Preserves lean body mass (LBM)

Many of us have concerns about loss of muscle mass during fasting. And the answer is a straight up, NO. Muscle gain/loss is mostly a function of exercise and ensuring adequate protein intake and fat loss is all about your diet. While IF your body switches metabolism to burning more fat. This makes sense, since protein is functional tissue and there is no point to burning useful tissue while fasting when there is plenty of fat around. As long as your energy needs are being met either through carbohydrates or fat, you will not ‘burn’ muscle during fasting instead you preserve it because the body does not store food energy as fat and then burn muscle for energy purposes.

  1. Reduces inflammation and helps reduce chances of rheumatoid arthritis

Inflammation is a normal immune response to any injury or irritant. It can also be a result of increased oxidative stress in the body. Fasting intermittently has shown to reduce the oxidative stress markers and thereby reduce inflammation. Because it reduces inflammation, IF would also be expected to be beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis, and indeed, there is evidence supporting its use in patients with arthritis.

  1. Decreases hunger

Leptin, known as ‘satiety hormone’, is produced by fat cells and higher amounts are mostly found in overweight and obese people. Too much leptin floating around can cause leptin resistance, which makes it harder for it to effectively turn off hunger cues. Intermittent fasting lowers leptin resistance, normalizes your hunger hormone and results in less hunger and potentially even more weight loss.

  1. Increases stress resistance and longevity

Intermittent fasting enable us to tolerate or overcome challenges and then restore homeostasis. Repeated exposure to fasting periods results in lasting antioxidant defenses and an adaptive response. Moreover, autophagy can also show improved function and robust resistance to a broad range of potentially damaging insults, thus increasing longevity.

On another note, Jesus Christ also supported fasting and resting as powerful tools for healing. So who’re you going to trust- Jesus Christ or Col. Sanders?

Do note, your bio individuality should be considered before choosing an intermittent fasting plan because it does not work the same way for everyone. Reaching out to a qualified Nutritionist would definitely be a good idea so that you do it correctly.

You can reach out to ThriveFNC for help, our experts would help you with a well personalized plan considering your current health status and unique requirements.

References-

  1. https://www.mercola.com/calendar/2018/fasting.htm
  2. https://draxe.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-benefits/
  3. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmra1905136
  4. https://sci-hub.st/10.1056/nejmra1905136 
  5. https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/new-intermittent-fasting-study-explained
  6. https://www.dietdoctor.com/fasting-and-growth-hormone 
  7. https://www.dietdoctor.com/renew-body-fasting-autophagy 
  8. https://2mealday.com/article/how-intermittent-fasting-can-improve-gut-health/
  9. https://www.dietdoctor.com/fasting-muscle-mass 
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7021351/ 
  11. https://www.dietdoctor.com/how-to-lose-weight 
  12. https://simple.life/blog/intermittent-fasting-and-insulin/ 
  13. https://jamesclear.com/the-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting 
  14. https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/56/7/1761?key=799d05c524ff63a421e4ff717e9aea8ab0fd74f6&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha 
About the Author

Ria Jain
Ria has a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics and is in a permanent research mode and keeps the rest of us at ThriveFNC updated with her latest findings in the field of Nutrition. Her articles on ThriveFNC’s blog are an expression of her research findings. We really don’t know what we’d do without her support and her focus.
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Overview of The Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic is a diet encompassing higher amounts of healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein and low amounts of carbohydrate containing foods. It is named so (‘keto’ or ‘ketogenic’ diet) because the specific dietary changes involved in this diet causes the production of ketones in your body.

As the net carbohydrate intake is restricted to a very low quantity, fat becomes the primary source of energy for your body, as a result of which ketones are formed. Ketones are chemical bodies, viz., beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetoacetate and acetone, made by your liver when fat from diet and from your body is burned for energy due to reduction in carbs. 

When fats rather than glucose provide most of the fuel for proper functioning, your body enters into a metabolic state called ‘ketosis’.

When ketones reach upto a certain level in your blood, your body is considered to be in ‘nutritional ketosis’. There are different degrees of optimal nutritional ketosis and you can refer to the following values when testing your blood ketone levels. 

The best way to measure ketones is by using: A Blood ketone meter, Breath ketone analyzer and Urine ketone strips.

Apart from detecting ketosis through testing, your body shows certain signs as well, like-

When on a ketogenic diet, your body eventually gets accustomed to breaking down fats as its main source of fuel. Here are some of the benefits that you can get once your body uses ketones for energy:

Despite all the benefits mentioned, a big question floating around which is: Is Ketogenic diet safe for everyone?

To begin with, you can witness certain side effects until your body adjusts to the new changes. These are typically symptoms of something called ‘keto flu’. You may face headache, fatigue, irritability, lightheadedness, sleeplessness, constipation, etc.

Moreover, no particular diet is sustainable for a long term, so you need to bring in customisation at some point in time in order to maintain metabolic flexibility. Metabolic flexibility is the ability to respond or adapt to conditional changes in metabolic demand and eat a variety of foods without your system crashing. 

Also, the latest research shows that the ability to stick to a diet is key. If a low carbohydrate diet or keto diet is a practice that works for you and you are able to maintain it for as long as it takes to lose excess body fat and you are meeting your nutritional requirements, then science says that this should be encouraged.

However, the changes should be tailor made and specific to the requirements and medical conditions of any person. Customisation should involve your current health status to ensure full benefits as well your cultural and personal preferences for food.

So tribe, make sure your nutritionist takes into consideration your health problems and go ahead planning a well-personalized plan, based on your macro and micronutrient requirements. 

References-

  1. https://www.mercola.com/calendar/2018/keto.htm 
  2. https://www.bulletproof.com/diet/keto/carb-cycling-diet/
  3. https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/ketosis
  4. https://www.bulletproof.com/diet/keto/not-losing-weight-on-keto/
  5. https://www.ruled.me/cyclical-ketogenic-diet-indepth-look/
  6. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/keto/types-of-ketogenic-diet.html
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664869/
  8. https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/kidney-health
  9. https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto 
  10. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021915019315898
  11. https://www.dermveda.com/articles/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-ketogenic-diet-for-your-skin https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/obr.13053
  12. https://apcz.umk.pl/czasopisma/index.php/JEHS/article/view/JEHS.2020.10.08.021/26268
  13. https://www.oapub.org/hlt/index.php/EJFNSM/article/view/44/43 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/actress-mishti-mukherjee-passes-away-due-to-kidney-failure-reports-cite-keto-diet-to-be-the-reason/articleshow/78474318.cms 
  14. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet
  15. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketogenic-diet-is-the-ultimate-low-carb-diet-good-for-you-2017072712089
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
About the Author

Ria Jain
Ria has a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics and is in a permanent research mode and keeps the rest of us at ThriveFNC updated with her latest findings in the field of Nutrition. Her articles on ThriveFNC’s blog are an expression of her research findings. We really don’t know what we’d do without her support and her focus.
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Millets: The Forgotten Grains

One of the oldest foods known to mankind, millets were the first cereal grains that were consumed by human beings. Cultivated in East Asia as many as 10,000 years ago, this drought-resistant grain is more widely eaten than even rice.
Millets are a group of small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops/ grains. They are tiny in size and round in shape and can be white, gray, yellow or red. These foods are packed with many essential nutrients.

The main distinguishing characteristic of millets is that they don't contain the protein called “Gluten” which makes them excellent choices for people who have a hard time digesting gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye & barley.
Their protein structure is quite similar to wheat, making them a great gluten-free substitute.

Types of millets

Following are the millets that are typically grown in India:

  1. Pearl (aka Bajra):

India is the highest producer of pearl millet or Bajra. It is super high in protein, fuels you up, and is great for rotis. It’s also eaten sprouted and in porridges. Pearl millet is a rich source of phosphorus, which plays an important part in the structure of body cells. Consumption of pearl millets helps in minimizing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Being a good source of magnesium, millets act as a cofactor in a number of enzymatic reactions.

  1. Kodo:

Kodo millets contain high amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant compound, they also are high on fibre and low on fat. It is ideal for diabetics, and can be substituted for rice.

  1. Little Millet:

Little Millet seeds are smaller than other millets. They are also high in Iron content, high in fibre like Kodo and have high antioxidant activity. It helps with diabetes and stomach diseases.

  1. Finger Millet (aka Ragi):

Finger millet has the highest calcium content and is a staple food in Karnataka in the form of muddes. It is rich in calcium and protein and also has a good amount of iron and other minerals. Ragi tops in antioxidant activity among common Indian foods, Ragi also has some good number of Essential Amino Acids (EAA) which are essential for the human body.

  1. Foxtail:

With the highest mineral content of all millets, foxtail millet is justifiably the second most produced in the world. Foxtails not only do not need any fumigants but act as anti-pest agents to store delicate pulses such as green gram. They also control blood sugar and cholesterol levels & increase HDL cholesterol.

  1. Barnyard:

Barnyard millet has the highest fiber and iron content amongst its fellow millets and also grows faster.

  1. Sorghum (aka Jowar):

The hardy grain that’s consumed all over India as rotis and porridges, thanks to its high protein + carb + energy composition.

  1. Proso:

Proso has the highest protein content and is quite high in carbs as well. Of the millets, we’d recommend this only when you’re working out strenuously or trying to build muscle.

Health Benefits of Millets:

  1. Protects Heart Health:

Researchers from the University of Kentucky have shown a link between whole grains and the prevention of heart disease risk. It is a rich source of magnesium, which is an important mineral for reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart attack or stroke, particularly in the case of atherosclerosis.

  1. Aids in Digestion:

Millet can help move your gastrointestinal system by eliminating problems like constipation, excess gas, bloating, and cramping.

  1. Diabetes Management:

Millet is a gluten-free whole grain. It is a good source of fiber and has a low glycemic index which has a positive effect against diabetes. Apart from these obvious benefits, a study published in the Frontiers in Plant Science journal also cites millets as a suitable dietary component to combat the growing prevalence of diabetes worldwide.

  1. Rich in Antioxidants:

Millets are a rich source of phenols and antioxidants like quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, and various other beneficial catechins which can help rid your system of any foreign agents and toxins by promoting proper excretion and neutralizing enzymatic activity in certain organs.

  1. Helps to Prevent Asthma Symptoms

According to research published by the Indian Institute of Millets Research, it can be helpful for people suffering from asthma. The paper suggests that the high levels of magnesium in pearl millets can help alleviate respiratory issues in asthma patients while also reducing migraines.

What can you make with millets?

Everything. Anything. Just substitute them for grains and also come up with new ways of using them. Their higher nutritional value makes every dish much more filling and better for you. From idlis, dosas and upma to khichdi, pulao/biriyani and kheer/payasam, millets are the most versatile ingredients you can ever use.

Anti-Nutrients present in millets:

Millets are staple foods in most parts of India. They have naturally occurring anti-nutritional factors such as phytic acid that decrease their dietary mineral availability. The levels are higher in sorghum & finger millet. A research conducted on “effects of fermentation on phytic acid content of millets” showed soaking & fermenting them for 72-96 hours significantly reduced (around 40-70%) phytic acid levels. The extent of decrease of phytic acid differed among the millet varieties. Fermentation, too, increases the rate of available iron, manganese, & calcium from both sorghum and finger millet.

ThriveFNC’s take on Millets:

We have used millets in rice to cakes almost in all things, it goes very well as a gluten-free substitute. It has helped a lot of our clients to go gluten-free and add a variety in the diet. They provide a lot of benefits as discussed below but we need to keep on rotating them in order to get a variety of nutrients in the diet. However, one needs to limit the use of millets because of the anti-nutrients present in them.

Word of Caution: Given the modern stresses on our body, particularly to our glandular system, the excessive work needed to digest and process millet may be damaging. Consider speaking to your health coach about your glandular and thyroid health before making a major shift to a diet that includes millet. If you don't have a health coach then hire one so they can guide towards your journey of health.

References:

  1. http://www.thepharmajournal.com/archives/2016/vol5issue8/PartA/5-7-24-301.pdf
  2. http://www.isayorganic.com/blog/top-5-types-of-millets/
  3. https://www.indiankhana.net/2014/09/millets-millets-types-benefits-nutrition.html
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Effect-of-fermentation-on-the-phytic-acid-content-of-finger-millet-grain_tbl4_11094733
  5. https://www.schaer.com/en-us/a/millet-benefits#:~:text=With%209%20grams%20of%20fiber,boost%20liver%20and%20kidney%20function.
  6. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2000.10718963
  7. https://japsonline.com/admin/php/uploads/299_pdf.pdf
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037128/
  9. http://millets.res.in/m_recipes/Nutritional_health_benefits_millets.pdf
About the Author

Ria Jain
Suyash has a Master's in Food Science and Nutrition, is a certified sports and clinical nutritionist, a certified nutrigenomics counselor and a certified holistic lifestyle coach. His ability to teach his patients about their mind-body connection and the root causes of their health problems makes him a key member of team Thrive.

Is Honey good for you?

Honey is a natural product formed from nectar of flowers by honeybees (Apis mellifera; Family: Apidae) and has been used by humans since ancient times, both for its nutritional  and  medicinal properties. Not only nutritional properties but honey also has cosmetic, therapeutic and industrial values. Honey is utilized as a natural sweetener from ancient times since it has a high level of fructose (honey is 25% sweeter than table sugar).

It can be stored unopened at room temperature in a dry place and does not need refrigeration.

Approximately 300 types of honey have been recognized. These varieties are related to the different types of nectar that are collected by the honeybees. Antioxidants and enzymes found in raw honey are destroyed at temperatures above 110°F. Heating honey higher than 140°F degrades it’s quality. 

The medicinal properties in honey originate from the floral source used by bees. Manuka honey is a dark monofloral honey rich in phenolic content, and currently it is gaining much attention for its antimicrobial activity.Researchers have also found that this honey is effective against a wide range of pathogens. (1)

Honey is mainly composed of Carbohydrates (95-97%). Furthermore, nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, organic acids, flavonoids and  polyphenols are also present in minute amounts (2).

Approximately 31 variable minerals have been found in honey, including phosphorus, sodium, calcium, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, and chlorine.

Many essential trace components such as silicon (Si), rubidium (RB), vanadium (V), zirconium (Zr), lithium (Li), and strontium (Sr) are also detected (3).

 These compounds have been reported to exert- Antioxidant effect  (4)Anti-inflammatory effect and  (5)Antibacterial effect. (6)

 Other benefits of Honey include-

Wound healer-  Honey aids in wound healing because of its properties  including antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities. Honey induces tissue repair cascades which includes repairing of damaged tissues and regeneration of new ones. Furthermore, it activates immune response to infection and promotes generation of antibodies.

Honey and cancer- Recent studies show that honey may exert anticancer effects through several mechanisms (7). Honey modifies the immune responses. Honey could be able to inhibit several forms of tumor in animal modeling including breast cancer, carcinoma, melanoma, colon carcinoma, hepatic cancer, and bladder cancer.

Honey and asthma - Honey is commonly used in folk medicine to treat inflammation, cough, and fever. It  shows ability  in reducing asthma-related symptoms or as a preventive agent to preclude the induction of asthma. 

Honey and cardiovascular diseases-  Antioxidants present in honey such as flavonoids, polyphenolics, Vitamin C, and mono phenolics may be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular failures. In coronary heart disease, the protective effects of flavonoids such as antioxidant, anti-ischemic,  has shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disorders.

Honey and neurological diseases- Honey is one such promising nutraceutical antioxidant. It exerts antidepressant, anticonvulsant effects.

Honey and gastrointestinal disorders- Honey has been suggested as potentially useful for various conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, such as periodontal and other oral disorders like gum bleeding, bacterial infection in mouth, gum disease. It is also useful in a condition called dyspepsia which is characterized by upper abdominal discomfort,burning sensation, bloating or gassiness.

This sweetener  also has a few side effects-

Some heavy metals such as lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), and arsenic (As) are present in honey which can be a burden on your liver and kidney.(8)

Honey in infants and young children under 12 months of age due to the chance of botulism poisoning. This is not a danger for older children or adults. Honey can cause a rare but serious gastrointestinal condition (infant botulism) caused by exposure to Clostridium botulinum spores.(9)

Avoid honey if you are allergic to pollen. Honey, which is made from pollen, may cause allergic reactions.

At Thrive, we recommend organic honey as it is least processed and works as a good substitute for sugar in many desserts and herbal teas. We’ve seen it work well for respiratory issues as well, especially in soothing sore throats. 

References-

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6613335/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18497240/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/ 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24363771/ 
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22996344/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20306700/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18702435/ 
  8. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_lookup?journal=Acta+Univ+Agric&title=Invertase+and+diastase+activity+in+honeys+of+Czech+provenience&author=L+Vorlova&author=A+Pridal&volume=5&publication_year=2002&pages=57-66& 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448763/ 
About the Author

Ria Jain
Shivani is working as a Functional Nutritionist at ThriveFNC and has a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. Shivani is a highly intuitive coach who has an uncanny ability to uncover hidden aspects of her patient’s health concerns. This ability along with her dedication to live by Thrive’s values makes her an inseparable member of team Thrive.
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Everything you need to know about Celery

Celery (Apium graveolens) is an extremely old vegetable, with records showing that parts of the plant were found in the tomb of the pharaoh “King Tutankhamun,” who died in 1323 B.C. 

In the past, celery was grown as a vegetable mostly during the winter and in the early spring months. People mostly liked to eat it to help with “cleansing” and believed that it acted as a natural detox tonic that could prevent sickness. Celery may be eaten raw in salads or alone by juicing, or boiled with sauces and as a condiment for soups, stews, etc. It can also be used as an aromatic ingredient and besides the stalks, the leaves and seeds of the plant are also used.

CELERY JUICE- A medicinal remedy

The concept of celery juice as a cure-all in the modern age came from medical medium Anthony William, who's been preaching this health hack for the past 20 years.

He also advises that, “If you drink your celery juice empty stomach without adding salt or lemon, first thing in the morning, it will also strengthen your digestion of foods you eat for the rest of the day.

There is research that says that the antioxidant compounds in celery can help remove free radicals, says functional medicine doctor Jill Baron, M.D., However, she adds that "we don't have the research in humans at this time to verify all the claims."

What makes Celery so beneficial? 

Apparently celery is able to starve pathogens, plus it contains a multitude of undiscovered mineral salts that act together as an antiseptic. When these powerful mineral salts make contact with viruses and bacteria such as Epstein-Barr, HHV-6, Shingles, Streptococcus; and other pathogens (which are troublemakers, responsible for chronic illness) the salts begin to break down the pathogens’ cell membranes, eventually killing and destroying them.

Celery’s naturally occurring sodium actually helps stabilize blood pressure, bringing it down when it’s too high and up when it’s too low. Further, it won’t dehydrate your organs—instead, it clings to toxic, dangerous salts from poor-quality foods and helps draw them out of your body while replacing them with undiscovered cluster salts.

Benefits of Celery Juice

  1. Rich in several nutrients: 

Celery juice is very nutrient-dense. It is also low in calories but high in several vitamins and minerals. In particular, the celery juice nutrition profile offers a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin K and folate. It also contains an array of other key micronutrients as well, including potassium, vitamin C and manganese.

  1. High in antioxidants:

Antioxidants are compounds that help fight disease-causing free radicals to protect cells against damage.

One of the top health benefits of celery juice is its antioxidant content. In fact, a review in Iran actually found that celery is a good source of several powerful antioxidants, including kaempferol, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, luteolin and saponin. According to an animal study published in the journal Molecules, celery juice was also able to prevent oxidative stress in rats treated with Doxorubicin, a type of chemotherapy drug.

  1. May Help Reduce Inflammation:

Studies show that celery may contain several key compounds that can help decrease inflammation in the body. Not only can this potentially decrease symptoms of inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, but it could also help protect against chronic diseases as well.

  1. Supports Hydration:

Celery has a high water content and is actually composed of about 95 percent water by weight. Thanks to its water content, celery juice can help promote proper hydration, which is essential to overall health.

  1. Can decrease Blood Pressure:

Some studies suggest that celery juice benefits heart health and could potentially help lower blood pressure. One 2015 animal model published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine showed that celery leaf extract was effective at decreasing systolic blood pressure in mice. Not only that, but it was also able to improve other aspects of heart health and helped lower levels of triglycerides and “bad” LDL and VLDL cholesterol.

How do you know whether celery juice is working for you or not?

Consume it for 15 days- 1 month & then stop. You'll know if it's working for you or not.

Are there any downsides for consuming celery juice?

Phototoxic psoralens or furocoumarins, compounds present in celery, which are activated by ultraviolet sunlight and can cause dermatitis and sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer. Celery might increase your sensitivity to sunlight.

Just like grapefruit juice, celery juice contains natural chemicals called furanocoumarins that have been known to interact with certain medications (causing concentration levels to rise) within your body. 

Also Celery is high in oxalates. Oxalates are compounds that are found in many plant foods, including celery. In some individuals, consuming a high-oxalate diet can increase the risk of kidney stones. One stalk of celery contains 3 mg of oxalates & when consumed in juice form the oxalate levels can go to 1 gm. If you have sensitivity to oxalates, then celery juice might impact your health negatively

ThriveFNC’s take on Celery juice:

We often recommended celery juice to our patients who come to us with chronic health issues. The ones who benefit the most are the ones with gut health issues especially the ones with acid reflux, hyperacidity or H.pylori infections. We’ve also seen it work really well in people who have high blood pressure. However, given that it is high in oxalates, we really tread with caution with celery juice. Some of our patients have instantly seen negative reactions to celery juice. 

As always, if you want to figure out which foods should fit into your personalized nutrition plan, reach out to us and we’d be happy to help. 

References:

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-882/celery

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/science-behind-celery-juice-trend

https://www.frutas-hortalizas.com/Vegetables/About-Celery.html

https://www.stjoes.ca/patients-visitors/patient-education/patient-education-k-o/pd-9447-oxalate-in-food.pdf

About the Author

Ria Jain
Suyash has a Master's in Food Science and Nutrition, is a certified sports and clinical nutritionist, a certified nutrigenomics counselor and a certified holistic lifestyle coach. His ability to teach his patients about their mind-body connection and the root causes of their health problems makes him a key member of team Thrive.