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Interpersonal abuse in early life may affect cognitive skills

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Interpersonal abuse

New York, April 11: Experiencing interpersonal abuse before the age of 18 may affect the capacity to concentrate and stay focused during later life, a study has showed.

Interpersonal abuse includes intimate partner abuse, adult survivors of child abuse, sexual assault, child abuse, bullying and elder abuse.

The findings, appearing in the journal Brain and Behavior, revealed that this failure to concentrate was associated with abnormal connectivity in the brain, between the amygdala — a core region for emotion — and frontal areas that help maintain focus.

The study offers a new perspective on the long-term impact of psychological trauma years, if not decades, after childhood, the researchers said.

“Trauma during one’s youth may not just cause difficulties with emotions later in life but may also impact day-to-day functioning like driving, working, education and relationships due to brain changes that stem from the trauma,” said Michael Esterman, Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).

For the study, the team compared two groups of young: One had a history of early life abuse, while the other did not.

Both groups performed a concentration test while their brain activity was measured.

The group that experienced trauma prior to 18 had worse concentration and abnormal communication between “emotional” regions (amygdala) and “attentional” regions of the brain (prefrontal cortex).

“Our results suggest that early psychological interventions could result in better cognitive abilities as an adult,” Esterman said.

IANS

Health

Switch to stevia for a sweet, healthy lifestyle

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stevia leaf
Stevia leaves have almost no calories and does not increase blood glucose.

New Delhi, April 20: In the midst of today’s hectic lifestyle, let’s spare a thought for one of the biggest threats to our health and general well-being: Excess of processed high calories and sugar. It is said that “prevention is better than cure”. Does this mean we should stop consuming food and drinks which have sugar? Maybe not.

What if someone told you that you can maintain the sweetness in your life without adding any calories? And this, from a natural source with the same sweet flavour that your taste buds love? And, yes, with no harmful side-effects? Sounds too good to be true, but nature has gifted us “stevia” — a plant which has sweetness in its leaves — a sweetness that surpasses that of sugar, sugarcane juice, honey or coconut sugar.

Given that stevia can replace unwanted sweetener calories, it can be the one tool for cutting calories from the Indian diet without affecting blood sugar or insulin levels. Plus, it is safe for people with diabetes and is also tooth friendly.

Here are some of its advantages:

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Stevia does not increase blood glucose: Numerous studies have been conducted on the use of stevia and its effects on consumption. The stevia plant’s leaves contain naturally sweet molecules called steviol glycosides, which can be up to 400 times sweeter than sugar, but studies have shown that stevia has no effect on blood glucose levels. Thus, one can consume it without fear of affecting the blood sugar level.

Stevia leaves have almost no calories: It’s a gift of nature that has been used in various parts of the world. The leaves have been used by Guarani Indians in Paraguay for several hundreds of years to sweeten their “matte” (tea). In the 1970s, the Japanese picked it up as a natural sweetening option. Today, it is the No. 1 sugar substitute in Japan and the fastest-growing sweetener in most markets in the developed world like France and the US.

Global safety recognition: Stevia sweeteners are permitted for use in foods and beverages in countries around the globe. Over 200 global studies have illustrated stevia’s safety for the entire family. Studies have also shown that it is safe for pregnant women. Stevia is safe for people with diabetes as it does not contain any calories or carbohydrates and therefore does not affect blood glucose or insulin levels. It has zero glycemic index.

Stevia v/s artificial sweeteners: Realisation of the harm caused to health from consuming excess calories from sugar was the reason that ignited the search for substitutes, or artificial sweeteners. Saccharin, aspartame sucralose and the like became popular substitutes and then went out of favour owing to concerns from public about their origin and perceived lack of safety.

What evidently seals the deal in stevia’s case as a sugar substitute is the fact that it is zero-calorie, zero-fat and 100 per cent natural.

Imagine your rassogulla or gulab jamun without an overload of sugar, serving your child tomato ketchup without thinking of the extra sugar and calories, enjoying a serving of ice cream, cool carbonated drink without any sugar at all. The latest varieties of star leaf stevia can make the greatest taste possible without any harm or guilt.

IANS

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Kale, beetroot: Nutritious ingredients for healthy food

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Beetroot

New Delhi, April 20: With people becoming more health conscious, several restaurants have started introducing dishes with healthy ingredients like kale, beetroot and quinoa. These dishes offer wholesome goodness as it is not just good on nutrient value but also on taste, say experts.

Rajesh Sawhney, Co-founder of Healthie.in and Rajiv Kumar, CEO of Culinate, have listed some of the healthy ingredients that restaurants and cafes have started using in their dishes:

* Quinoa is a seed that belongs to the spinach/chard family, which is why it is called a pseudo-cereal or pseudo-grain. Quinoa is rich in protein and a lot of other vital nutrients such as magnesium, dietary fiber and vitamin B. It is also a good source of antioxidants called flavonoids and it’s a healthy alternative to rice.

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Quinoa Seeds

* Kale is high in fiber, low on calorie and has zero fat. It is one of the most common ingredients in the healthy dishes prepared by restaurants.

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Kale

 

Apart from being highly nutritious, kale is also high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It can be added to pasta, green smoothies or can be simply tossed in a salad.

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Kale added to pasta

* Chia seeds are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium. A 28 gram, or 1ounce, serving of chia seeds also contains 5.6 grams of protein.

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Chia Seeds

Hence, they make it on the menu of most healthy food restaurants. These seeds can be added to smoothies, oatmeal or yogurt.

* Nuts are often counted as good fats and are also rich in fiber and Omega-3. Plant sterols are a substance present in nuts that helps in lowering the cholesterol level in the body.

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Nutty Trail Mix

Nuts are a great source of L-arginine, which make the artery walls more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow. You can make a nutty trail mix and simply munch on nuts in between meals or add them to your stir-fry.

* Activated charcoal is a natural ingredient that helps in flushing out toxins from the body. It not only helps in the detoxification of the body but also helps in digestive cleansing by alleviating problems like gas and bloating.

Activated charcoal also helps in fighting the signs of ageing.

Healthy restaurants incorporate activated charcoal in their healthy drinks and also in the breads and buns used for their special sandwiches and burgers.

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The BBQ paneer burger at The Rolling Pin features an activated charcoal bun.

* Beetroots contain valuable nutrients that may help lower your blood pressure, fight cancer and inflammation, boost your stamina, and support detoxification.

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It is an amazing source of iron but is often ignored due to its peculiar taste. Beetroots can be added to salads, smoothies or you could even add beetroot to your chapati dough to get that much-needed iron intake.

IANS

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Eat fatty fish to cut your heart disease risk

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FATTY FISH

London, April 19: Consuming fatty fish four times a week may help increase the amount of good cholesterol and prevent the risk of heart disease, finds a study.

The findings showed that fatty fish increases the size and lipid composition of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles, also known as good cholesterol, in people with impaired glucose metabolism.

Moreover, using daily 30 ml of camelina oil — rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid — was also found to decrease the number of harmful Intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) particles.

The IDL lipoprotein is the precursor of (low-density lipoprotein) LDL, which is also known as the bad cholesterol. Previous studies have shown that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have a beneficial effect on lipoprotein size and composition.

Both of these changes can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, said researchers from the University of Eastern Finland.

For the study, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the team involved nearly 100 Finnish men and women aged between 40 and 72, with impaired glucose metabolism.

Study participants were randomly divided into four groups for a 12-week intervention: the camelina oil group, the fatty fish group, the lean fish group, and the control group.

While people in the camelina oil group, fatty fish group, showed potentially higher HDL and lower IDL cholesterol level, eating lean fish, was not associated with changes in the number, size or composition of lipoprotein particles, the researchers said.

IANS

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