Sunday, 19 June 2016

19th June 2016 – Father's day

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue.
Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue”
- Congressman Bill Richardson

If you are a woman reading this, what does a man’s health have to do with you?

Plenty !!! Men’s health issues do not affect only men; they have a significant impact on everyone around them. Generally since women live longer than men, they see their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons suffer or die prematurely. As women, we are in a unique position to be able to help the men in our life stay healthy. We take better care of ourselves and pay better attention to our health than men. Hence it is easier for us to help the men in our lives adopt healthier habits….if they will listen to us and follow our advice ;-)

Warning signs and symptoms:

  •  Changes in bladder habits could indicate bladder and prostate problems while blood in the  urine could indicate kidney problems.
  •  Excessive urination at night could indicate an enlarged prostate gland.
  •  Persistent backaches could indicate bone issues.
  •  Chest pain and pain in the arms and back of the neck could indicate cardiac issues.
  •  A nagging cough, persistent cold, unexplained weight loss, extreme fatigue could indicate  issues of the thyroid or lung or upper respiratory tract.
  •  Unusual lumps, definite changes in the size of warts and moles, rectal bleeding that will not  stop could indicate cancer.
  •  Erectile issues could indicate an underlying health issue like high blood pressure, diabetes or  clogged arteries.
  •  Anxiety, feeling helpless, sad and empty, losing interest in hobbies and pleasurable activities,  finding it difficult to get a good night’s sleep etc could indicate depression.


Besides encouraging the men in your life to exercise regularly, eat healthy food, do monthly self exams (yes men do get breast cancer and testicular cancer), the best thing that you can do is to get them to do regular medical check ups.

For the men reading this post:

  •  Eat a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  •  Avoid saturated fats and cholesterol-rich food
  •  Exercise
  •  Maintain a healthy weight
  •  Protect yourself from the sun
  •  Drink plenty of water
  •  Limit alcohol intake
  •  Stop smoking
  •  Meet your doctor and be aware of your family health history
  •  If you are over 40 test your prostate specific antigen (PSA) level
  •  Practice safe sex
  •  Wear a seat belt if you drive a car…a helmet if you ride a bike
  •  Manage your stress levels with yoga…meditation etc
  •  Get help asap if you need it

So Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there…. And most importantly to my husband who is a wonderful dad to my lovely girls…. Stay blessed with good health… always!!!

Warm regards

Charmaine D'Souza

Saturday, 18 June 2016

                               Confusion in the bread shelf

Wheat is the main ingredient used in bread and most of the time it is in the form of refined white flour or bleached flour or maida. White flour is what you get when you strip away the fiber-rich bran and nutrient-rich germ from wheat, leaving only the nutrient-depleted starch. The reason wheat was originally refined and processed into white flour was to extend shelf life and get soft smooth bread.

The table below shows the percentage of nutrients lost when whole wheat flour or atta is refined into white flour:

Protein: 25 percent lost
Fiber: 95 percent lost
Calcium: 56 percent lost
Copper: 62 percent lost
Iron: 84 percent lost
Manganese: 82 percent lost
Phosphorus: 69 percent lost
Potassium: 74 percent lost
Selenium: 52 percent lost
Zinc: 76 percent lost
Vitamin B1: 73 percent lost
Vitamin B2: 81 percent lost
Vitamin B3: 80 percent lost
Vitamin B5: 56 percent lost
Vitamin B6: 87 percent lost
Folate: 59 percent lost
Vitamin E: 95 percent lost

Many people think that when white flour is “enriched” with added vitamins, the nutritional value is restored. But this is far from true, of the twenty-five nutrients that are removed when whole wheat flour is milled into white flour, only five nutrients are chemically replaced when the white flour is enriched.

Whole-grain flour or atta contains the whole kernel, which has three layers — the fibre-rich bran outer layer; the endosperm middle layer; and the germ, the grain’s nutrient-dense embryo. The problem is, bread made from whole-grain flour tastes grainy, and many people don’t like them.

The intake of whole-grains provides protection from several cancers. ..Especially colorectal cancers, hormone-related cancers (breast, prostate, ovarian, and uterine cancer), pancreatic cancer, and other cancers. Apart from this, a diet rich in whole grains can help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Whole grains and refined grains are both high in carbohydrates, but they do not act the same way in the body. White flour, white rice, and other refined grain products are absorbed rapidly into the blood stream, causing rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels. The fibre found in whole grains slows these fluctuations, helps lower cholesterol levels, keeps the digestive tract healthy, and provides many other advantages. Also, whole grains provide important nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin E, and other healthy substances.

Most bread companies add a small amount of whole grains to their enriched refined flour bread and wrongly call it whole wheat/wholegrain bread….misleading consumers who do not read labels. This bread just cannot be as nutritious as real whole grain bread. Consumers need to pay attention to bread labels, which can be misleading. Often, breads with healthy-sounding words like “7 grains,” “cracked wheat” and “multi-grain” on the label are made with bleached flour and brown food coloring rather than healthful whole grains. Some bread packages use terms like “100 percent wheat,” which gives many shoppers the wrong impression they are buying 100 percent whole wheat bread.

And many multigrain varieties contain less than 2 percent of the grains they promise on the front of the package. The key is to look at the ingredient list. If a “whole” grain is not the first ingredient and if it contains any bleached, enriched flour, then it’s not a 100 percent whole-grain bread. Another clue is to look at the fiber content. Most whole-grain breads have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, although some will have more.

So choose wisely and stay blessed with good health... always 

Warm Regards,

Charmaine D'Souza

Friday, 17 June 2016


Fruits are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates etc. They help in improving our digestive ability, provide essential nutrients to guard against disease, improve our immunity, decrease high blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and detoxify our body. Hence fruits are an important food group and should be eaten with care or else they can cause health problems instead of health benefits.

Follow these simple rules while eating fruit

Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach :

Contrary to what you may have heard, eating fruit on an empty stomach CANNOT cause greying of hair or baldness or manic depression or mood swings or dark circles under the eyes or frequent urination or…or…or… !!!

The reason why fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach and not immediately after meals is because fruits contain fructose, a simple sugar which has to be completely absorbed by the body. If however, you choose to eat fruit along with or immediately after a meal, it will stay in your stomach for a long time and rot and ferment in your intestine. This will lead to indigestion, hyperacidity, bloating, gas, burping and general discomfort. So if you have been complaining of burping after eating a slice of watermelon or bloating after eating jackfruit or heartburn after eating an orange, it could be because you are eating fruit too close to eating a main meal.

Eat fruits between breakfast and lunch or between lunch and dinner :

This will prevent the blood sugar spike which normally happens when fruit is eaten immediately after a meal. It will also prevent you from eating unhealthy snacks in between main meals. Aim to eat fruit at least an hour before a main meal…the digestive enzymes from the fruit will aid in the digestion of your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Else eat fruit 2-3 hours after breakfast or lunch in order to prevent fruit from mixing with partially digested food and causing intestinal gas.

Avoid eating fruits immediately after dinner or at bedtime : 

Most people say they eat fruit after dinner to curb sweet cravings and to prevent them from reaching out to that bowl of icecream or that bar of chocolate. However the sugar in fruit can cause energy levels to spike at night and prevent you from getting good sleep at night.

Limit your intake of dried fruit :

Dates, raisins, prunes, dried figs, dried apricots etc are all excellent for the body…when eaten in small amounts. They provide a concentrated form of sugar and can be very addictive. Sulphur dioxide is used to preserve dried fruit and it can be harmful to asthmatics and those people with respiratory problems. Opt for freeze-dried fruits instead or eat fresh fruit.

Fruits like oranges, strawberries and sweet limes do not cause heartburn :

In fact when we consume acidic fruits, the body produces more alkalis to neutralize the pH and these fruits become alkaline in the body.

Eating a whole fruit is much better than drinking fruit juice : 

Eat freshly cut fruit to enjoy the benefits of vitamins, minerals and the fiber that the fruit provides. It will also provide the body with lesser sugar than that provided from a glass of juice which uses a minimum of 4 fruits. If however you are craving for a glass of fruit juice the opt for one which is freshly extracted and not strained.

Avoid eating cooked fruit : 

Heating or cooking fruit destroys its vitamin content. The vitamin C in fruits is so heat-sensitive that simple cutting a guava for eg and leaving it on your table for an hour will reduce its vitamin C content.

So delve into that fruit bowl to feel energized, look radiant and to stay in shape.

Stay blessed with good health…always !!!

Warm Regards,

Charmaine D'Souza