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Pregnancy Planner: For moms-to-be

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New Delhi, Sep 28 : Ensuring correct nutrition for pregnant women is important not only for a healthy pregnancy, but also to make sure that the mother continues to remain strong throughout her gestation period and after.

Given the changes the body undergoes during pregnancy, women need to add 300 extra calories to their diet, after the first trimester. But those calories must be healthy and balanced, and rich in nutrients. Rohit Shelatkar, Vice President at Vitabiotics Limited, suggests must-include nutrients in the diet for the period.

Zinc: Zinc is essential for hormone production and balance, and its deficiency can lead to an excess of copper in the body. This can severely impact fertility, by lowering progesterone levels. Vegetarian and vegan diets are generally low in protein, which is necessary for zinc to bind with. Hence vegetarian and vegans must ensure they have the necessary amount of zinc in their diet.

Folic Acid: Folic Acid is found in nuts, beans, citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, and specific vitamin supplements. All women of childbearing age require 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid every day. It helps reduce risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, and is extremely essential during the first 28 days of conception, when risks of neural tube defects are the highest.

Iron: Having a healthy iron intake helps build iron stores in the body to prepare it for the needs of the foetus during the pregnancy. Meats, poultry, fish, legumes and leafy green vegetables are rich in iron, and must be included in a pre-pregnancy diet.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is extremely important in preventing neural tube and other neurological defects in infants. It is recommended that pregnant women have up to 2.8 micrograms (mcg) of B12 per day. Good sources of this vitamin are fish, meat, poultry, eggs and other dairy products. Additionally, including a Vitamin B-12 supplement in your diet is also beneficial.

Post-pregnancy

During the post-pregnancy period, the nutritional needs of a mother are especially higher if she is breastfeeding. But a healthy, nutrition-rich, balanced diet is always a must, to help the mother regain her health and combat post-pregnancy pressures.

Foods rich in calcium should be consumed in healthy quantities. These may include milk, cheese and other dairy products, or soy bean, tofu and soy-based drinks, vegetables rich in calcium, such as broccoli, cabbage, and okra. In addition, foods rich in protein and iron are also required to help restore the body’s nutrients lost before and during the pregnancy

In addition to that, during post-pregnancy, mothers must also consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as they are an excellent source of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) for the mother’s milk. While fish are the best source of these nutrients, including salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybean oil also contain adequate amounts of omega-3.

(IANSlife can be contacted at [email protected])

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Keto diet may help you fight the flu

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New York,  A ketogenic diet, which includes meat, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables, may help combat the flu virus, suggests new research.

This diet regimen activates a subset of T cells in the lungs not previously associated with the immune system’s response to influenza, enhancing mucus production from airway cells that can effectively trap the virus, said the study published in the journal Science Immunology.

“This was a totally unexpected finding,” said co-senior author Akiko Iwasaki, Professor at Yale University in the US.The researchers found that mice fed a ketogenic diet were better able to combat the flu virus than mice fed food high in carbohydrates.

Specifically, the researchers found that the ketogenic diet triggered the release of gamma delta T cells, immune system cells that produce mucus in the cell linings of the lung — while the high-carbohydrate diet did not.

When mice were bred without the gene that codes for gamma delta T cells, the ketogenic diet provided no protection against the influenza virus.

“This study shows that the way the body burns fat to produce ketone bodies from the food we eat can fuel the immune system to fight flu infection,” said co-senior author Visha Deep Dixit, Professor at Yale University.

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Hair care tips to prevent pollution damage

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hair scalp Dandruff

New Delhi, Nov 16 : Air pollution can be harmful to skin, but equally to one’s scalp and hair. Every minute bit of ash, dust, smoke and gaseous pollutants have the potential to damage the hair and scalp, causing irritation and damage. City-inhabitants who live in a highly air-polluted area are clearly at a higher risk of getting exposed to the pollutants.

Sameer Hamdare, Zonal Technical Manager at Streax Professional shares some tips to protect your hair from getting damaged from pollutants:

  1. Cover your hair: Always cover your hair with the help of a scarf or hat to protect your hair from direct contact with air-pollutants and dust. Keep your hair secured or tie it back with a hairband.
  2. Wash your hair daily: Understand that the pollutants sit on the outside of the hair (cuticle) and so can be easily washed off. Also, washing your hair every day can keep your scalp away from itchiness and dandruff. Wash off your hair with mild and sulphate free shampoos if you do need to wash your hair daily, focus shampoo on the scalp. Rinse and be sure to re-hydrate from mid-lengths to ends with conditioner.
  3. Stop using mechanical tools: Hair which is exposed to high pollution is prone to damage, brittleness and split ends. So, using mechanical tools such as straighter, curling tong or hairdryer can increase the damage to the hair. While your hair is already getting affected by environmental pollutants, the least you can contribute to preventing it from damage is to avoid

using mechanical tools.

  1. Deep Condition/regular spa: Deep conditioning or regular spa treatment once a week is advisable as it will help in repairing the damage and rehydrating the hair. Deep conditioning your hair brings back the hydration and moisture which got drenched due to pollution. Regular spa treatments help to maintain the lost moisture and natural scalp oil. It’s important to keep your locks nourished with high conditioning and spas during the time of pollution.
  2. Hair Serum: Start using a hair serum every day as it protects the surface and cuticle of the hair. It is ideal to apply hair serum on wet hair. Utilize 1-2 drops of serum on medium length hair. Rub the serum between your palms well, and afterwards equally apply onto the waist and parts of the bargains. Be careful so as not to apply an excessive amount of serum, it might make your hair oily and greasy.

A little extra effort and care will help you not only protect your hair from pollution but also keep them healthy and lustrous.

(N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at [email protected])

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Complementary cancer therapies do more harm than good: Expert

Garlic, ginger and ginkgo pills, for example, can delay the healing of skin wounds when breast cancer spreads, she said.

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Complementary cancer therapies

New Delhi, Nov 14 : A medical expert has said that cancer patients should tell doctors treating them about the herbal products they may be taking since some ingredients could affect their treatment.

Maria Joao Cardoso, the head breast surgeon at the Champalimaud Cancer Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, said that there was no evidence that herbal therapies or creams worked.

If in doubt, it is best not to take anything, she added.

Garlic, ginger and ginkgo pills, for example, can delay the healing of skin wounds when breast cancer spreads, she said.

“Doctors need to be more proactive about asking their patients what else they are taking when they are being treated for cancer,” Cardoso told the BBC.

She said that it is particularly important that patients always check with their doctors first before trying complementary therapies for cancer that has spread to the skin. This happens in one in five cases of breast cancer, and less in other cancers.

The danger is that many products can interfere with the hormone therapy or chemotherapy treatments, and certain ones prolong the blood clotting process, which can lead to wounds taking longer time to heal and more scarring.

She said that herbal products like green chiretta, feverfew, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, hawthorn, horse chestnut and turmeric slow down clotting.

Cardoso said that it is not surprising that patients and their carers go searching for complementary or alternative treatments that might make a difference.

But she said people should know that “they could end up doing more harm than good”.

“The highest goal in medicine is important to remember: Do no harm,” she said.

As per the website of Cancer Research UK, some complementary therapies might stop conventional treatments working as well as they should.

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