A Mediterranean diet in pregnancy is associated with lower risk of accelerated growth

Image result for A Mediterranean diet in pregnancy is associated with lower risk of accelerated growthThe Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high content of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes and nuts. This healthy diet pattern has been associated with lower obesity and cardiometabolic risk in adults, but few studies have focused on children.

This study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, aimed at evaluating the association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy and growth patterns and cardiometabolic risk in early infancy.

The study was performed with data of over 2,700 pregnant women from Asturias, Guipúzcoa, Sabadell and Valencia, who are part of the INMA-Childhood and Environment cohort. The women filled in a questionnaire on dietary intake in the first and third trimester of pregnancy. In addition, the diet, weight and height of their offspring were followed-up from birth to age 4 years. Other tests such as blood analysis and blood pressure were also performed at age 4.

The results show that pregnant women with higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet had a 32% lower risk of having children with an accelerated growth pattern, as compared to offspring of women that did not follow such diet.

Sílvia Fernández, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study, underlines that “mothers with lower adherence to the Mediterranean diet were younger, consumed more calories, and had higher probability of smoking and a lower education and social level,” as compared to those women who did follow the diet.”

“These results support the hypothesis that a healthy diet during pregnancy can have a beneficial effect for child development,” concludes the study coordinator Dora Romaguera, researcher at ISGlobal and CIBEROBN. Regarding the mechanisms that underlie this association, the researcher mentions “possible epigenetic modifications that regulate fetal caridiometabolism, or shared eating patterns between mothers and children, although this deserves further investigation.”

The study did not find a correlation between Mediterranean diet in pregnancy and a reduction in cardiometabolic risk (blood pressure or cholesterol) in early infancy. “The effects on cardiometabolic risk could appear later in childhood,” explains Fernández.


Niki Bezzant: Trying a new diet? Trust your gut instinct

What we do know about any kind of extreme diet is that they are hard to stick to long term. Photo / 123RF

The paleo diet seems to have fallen out of fashion these days, in favour of the more extreme “keto” — short for ketogenic — diet. Some of those who started as paleo people eating meat, vegetables and sweet potato are now avoiding the sweet potato, loading up on fat and testing their pee every day.

Whether keto is ultimately healthy is a conversation for another day. But what keto and paleo dieters alike may want to contemplate is that common phenomenon: unintended consequences.

In the early days of the paleo diet, experts sounded a note of caution, not just because the diet seemed to emphasise unhealthy amounts of meat, but also because of what it eliminated: grains, legumes and dairy. The speculation then was that cutting these things out might cause changes — not necessarily positive — to the gut flora, which could cause consequences which were at that time not researched or known.

Now it seems we might be getting an inkling of what those consequences are. Researchers at Perth’s Edith Cowan University have just completed the first study of the paleo diet’s impact on gut bacteria, and the outcome was not good for fans of the caveman way.

The researchers compared 44 people on the paleo diet with 47 following a traditional Australian diet. They measured the amount of trimethylamine-n-oxide (TMAO) in the participants’ blood. High levels of TMAO, an organic compound produced in the gut, are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

They found more than twice the amount of TMAO in the paleo people compared to the regular eaters. They suggest that excluding whole grains — which contain resistant starch and other fermentable fibres known to be good for gut bacteria — might change the bacteria population in a way that enables higher production of TMAO. Potentially larger amounts of meat also creates precursor compounds to TMAO.

The research is yet to be published, so no doubt there’s more to learn here. But what it points to is the idea that when we restrict what we eat, it might have effects beyond what we intend. Going on any diet — paleo and keto included — may well cause weight loss, and may also improve some health markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar. They can be healthy ways to eat, especially if people are shifting from a high-processed-food diet.

But we don’t always know what the long-term effects are of cutting out whole food groups. And we might not know that for a while. Will the young women avoiding dairy now, for example, have bone-density problems when they’re in their 60s? Will the keto eaters’ kidneys pack up? Will paleo people be dropping like flies from heart disease or bowel cancer?

What we do know about any kind of extreme diet is that they are hard to stick to long term. And that can lead to harmful yo-yo weight loss and regain, which is bad for body and mind. It’s unsexy, but moderation — for a lifetime — has its benefits.


Scientists May Have Found A Way To Cure Baldness

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine have made an intriguing discovery that could make hair loss a thing of the past.

The NYU scientists say the secret to reversing hair loss is all about activating something called the ‘sonic hedgehog signalling pathway’.

The sonic hedgehog gene plays an important part in embryo development and was  — bizarrely — named in honour of the SEGA video game character, after postdoctorate fellow Dr Robert Riddle saw the famous critter in his six-year-old daughter’s comic book.

video games sega GIF

By activating the sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway, the researchers were able to create “crosstalk among skin cells that form the roots of hair” and regrow hair strands on damaged skin, NYU Langone Health reported.

While the SHH pathway is quite active when a fetus is growing and developing follicles,  it is “otherwise stalled in wounded skin in healthy adults”.

Which is apparently why hair stops growing in places that have been wounded or undergone surgery.

“Our results show that stimulating fibroblasts through the sonic hedgehog pathway can trigger hair growth not previously seen in wound healing,” said study senior investigator and cell biologist Mayumi Ito, PhD.

(Getty Images)

Researchers conducted these experiments on mice over a three-year period and are planning future investigations on wounded human skin. Dr Ito says her goal is to identify likely drug targets for hair regrowth.

Which is good news for anyone hoping for a little more coverage on their chrome dome.

Although we personally think beloved celebrities like Danny Devito, Jason Alexander, Terry Crews, and Bruce Willis are perfect the way they are without the help of a stimulated sonic hedgehog.


A Very Happy Birthday To The Gorgeous Diva Sushmita Sen! Know Her Secret To Being Fit And Fab At 43!

A Very Happy Birthday To The Gorgeous Diva Sushmita Sen! Know Her Secret To Being Fit And Fab At 43!

The quote “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind” is perfect for the stunning actress; Sushmita Sen. The 43 year old actress is definitely ageing gracefully and we cannot stop admiring her. It goes without saying that the talented woman is a diva. A fitness enthusiast, the actress is a genius when it comes to her fitness and health. The actress never fails to inspire and motivate her fans with her strenuous exercises. Sushmita Sen who turns 43 today has been active on social media, and is seen sharing her workout videos time and again.

Also read: Here’s How Fatima Sana Shaikh Trained For Zafira In Thugs Of Hindostan: Her Fitness Videos Will Make You Hit The Gym Instantly!

Here’s a peak into her workout videos:

The former Miss Universe has always maintained a healthy lifestyle and always tries to push her limits. In her recent Instagram post, the actress was seen doing an aerial exercise. The actress surely believes in constant practice and being fearless. Practice is the key which helps you achieve your desired goals. This is evident from her caption in the Instagram post. The post said, “Being fearless does not mean the lack of fear, it simply means less fear, more courage.”

Sushmita Sen loves sweating it out in the gym. She always experiments with her workouts. From head planks to kickboxing to Pilates the actress puts in a lot of effort in her workout regimes. The actress also does Pilates, which is great for toning the body. It enhances your muscle strength, focuses on your core and increases your flexibility. Her Instagram post are filled with words of inspiration and will make you hit the gym right now


For a healthy heart, add fatty fish, olive oil to your diet

Fatty fish increases the size and lipid composition of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles, also known as good cholesterol.

Good news if you love eating fish. According to a new study, consuming fatty fish up to four times a week may help increase the amount of good cholesterol and prevent risk of heart disease. To keep your heart healthy, you need to be very careful about your diet.

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 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.

Some of the other healthy foods that increase good cholesterol include olive oil, whole grains, legumes, flaxseeds, nuts and avocado.


Watch IPL, get fit. Nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar has a diet plan for you

Yogurt contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which are great for the body and skin.

Yogurt contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which are great for the body and skin.(Shutterstock)

Your grandmom was right. Yogurt, the versatile dairy product, is filled with nutrition and should be part of your daily diet. Moreover, it’s equally useful for the skin and hair. Treat sunburns, acne and improve your immunity with yogurt. Himanshu Chadha, Founder, APS Cosmetoofood, and Nmami Agarwal, Nutritionist and Dietician, tell you how:

* Treat sunburn: Spread yogurt on the affected area, leave it for 20-25 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Yogurt is rich in zinc and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains probiotics that will help restore your skin’s natural barrier.

Yogurt is full of nutrients that are good for your hair. (Images Bazaar)

* Treat acne with yogurt as it contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Rub a dab of the creamy yogurt onto acne-prone areas. Rinse it off after 30 minutes. A regular beauty regime with a yogurt facial mask will help keep skin cleansed, which will also reduce irritating breakouts.

* Yogurt is a great ingredient for a hair conditioner. It has moisturising properties which helps repair dry and damaged hair. Take a cup of yogurt and whip it. Apply it on your scalp, hair and hair ends by massaging it well. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it rest for 20 minutes, then wash your hair with a mild shampoo.

* Yogurt is full of nutrients that are good for your hair, and so, can help in stopping hair fall. Due to the presence of vitamin B5 and D, yogurt helps nourish the hair follicles. A mixture of pepper and curd used daily for washing the hair helps in reducing hair fall. Curd and amla powder can be mixed together to make a paste that can be applied on the scalp and hair to reduce hair loss.

* Since it is a well-known probiotic food, it helps to flourish the healthy bacteria in your gut which can improve the gastro immune system. Along with this, it aids in digestion by reducing the side effects of the irritant stomach such as diarrhoea, bloating and irritable bowel syndrome.

* Strengthen your bones by adding yogurt to your everyday diet. It will add that daily dose of calcium which your body requires for stronger bones as well as for regulating the bone mineral density. By having a diet in a combination with calcium and vitamin D, it can work as a treatment for osteoporosis.

* Yogurt works perfectly for women. It is often advised for women to consume freshly prepared yogurt in their diet considering they are powerful for fighting against the yeast infections such as Candida which can be a cause of trouble to a lot of women. The bacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus found in yogurt, kills the yeast infections and improves health in the longer run.

* Consuming probiotic yogurt helps reduce inflammation and improve the overall body immune response to counter with several viral or gut related infections and illness. Moreover, yogurt also helps in increasing the absorption of trace minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium.


A high carb diet after cancer treatment may increase risk of recurrence

Higher mortality rates were found among people with oral cavity cancer who consumed the greatest amounts of total carbohydrates, total sugars and simple carbohydrates.

Consuming high amounts of carbohydrates and sugar prior to treatment for head and neck cancer may increase the patients’ risks of cancer recurrence and mortality, a new study reports. Patients who consumed the most total carbohydrates and sugars — in the form of sucrose, fructose, lactose and maltose — in the year preceding the cancer treatment were at greater risk of mortality from any cause during the follow-up period.

Out of the 400 cancer patients in the study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, more than 17 per cent experienced recurrence of their cancer, and 42 patients died from it. Associations among carbohydrate intake and patient outcomes differed by cancer type and stage, said lead author Anna E. Arthur, professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

However, eating moderate amounts of fats and starchy foods such as whole grains, potatoes and legumes after treatment could have protective benefits, reducing the patients’ risks of disease recurrence and death, he added. “Our results, along with the findings of other studies, suggest that diet composition can affect cancer outcomes,” said co-author Amy M. Goss, professor at the University of Alabama.

Higher mortality rates were found among people with oral cavity cancer who consumed the greatest amounts of total carbohydrates, total sugars and simple carbohydrates, but the researchers found no such associations among people who had oropharyngeal cancers.

“Although in this study we found that higher total carbohydrate and total sugar were associated with higher mortality in head and neck cancer patients, because of the study design we can’t say that there’s a definitive cause-effect relationship,” Arthur said. Five-year survival rates among these patients continue to be low, in part because these cancers are often detected in the later stages, putting patients at high risk of recurrence, the researchers said.


A new study suggests that while fasting diets might help with weight loss, they could increase your risk of diabetes – and the 5:2 author has responded


There has been conflicting evidence on the long-term effects of intermittent fasting.
  • Intermittent fasting has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years.
  • The jury’s still out in the science world as to the long-term health effects of the regime.
  • A new study on rats suggests that while fasting may help to achieve weight loss, it may also damage the pancreas and affect insulin function, which could lead to diabetes.
  • More investigation is needed into how people may be affected, particularly those with existing metabolic issues, the researchers concluded.
  • Michael Mosley, author of the popular 5:2 fasting diet, has penned a response to the findings.

Researchers at the University of São Paulo, Brazil presented new research on the effects of intermittent fasting at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting held in Barcelona, Spain at the weekend.

In their study done on rats, they found that while fasting might achieve weight loss, it may also damage the pancreas and impair the action of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin, which could lead to diabetes.

Looking at adult rats, the study analysed the effects of fasting every other day on body weight, free radical levels (highly reactive chemicals that can cause damage to cells in the body), and insulin function for three months.

They found that while the rats lost weight overall and ate less, the amount of fat around their tummies actually increased. The insulin secreting cells of the pancreas also showed damage, with the presence of increased levels of free radicals and markers of insulin resistance – an “early warning sign of heading towards diabetes” – also observed.

Ana Bonassa, lead author of the study, said: “This is the first study to show that, despite weight loss, intermittent fasting diets may actually damage the pancreas and affect insulin function in normal healthy individuals, which could lead to diabetes and serious health issues.”

The scientists urged people to take “careful consideration” before opting to follow a fasting diet.

Intermittent fasting has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years thanks to regimes such as the 5:2 and the 16:8. Many followers of the regime claim they eat less, lose weight, and have more energy, among many other short-term benefits.

But the jury’s still out as to the long-term effects of the regime in the science world as there has been conflicting evidence on the benefits and disadvantages. Some evidence has even suggested fasting could help to reverse diabetes or reduce your risk of developing it.

The scientists say they now plan to investigate how fasting impairs pancreas and insulin function, and concluded that more research is needed to assess how people may be affected, particularly those with existing metabolic issues.

Bonassa warned: “We should consider that overweight or obese people who opt for intermittent fasting diets may already have insulin resistance, so although this diet may lead to early, rapid weight loss, in the long-term there could be potentially serious damaging effects to their health, such as the development of type-2 diabetes.”

Here’s what the 5:2 author had to say

Michael Mosley, author of the 5:2 – arguably the most well-known intermittent fasting regime – wrote a response to the findings in the Mail on Sunday.

He pointed out that in this study the rats were put on an “absolute fast,” meaning they ate nothing at all every other day during the three-month period. This differs to that of the 5:2, under which followers eat either 500 calories for females/600 for males in a day for two days per week and eat regularly for the other five.

Mosley added that since publishing his 2013 book “The Fast Diet,” he now recommends a “more generous” 800 calories a day as well as eating a healthy Mediterranean-style diet on both fasting and non-fasting days.

Regarding the increase of fat tissue around the rats’ abdomen, he went on: “This is a surprising finding because it contradicts so many other animal and human studies of intermittent fasting. I wasn’t given detail about what the rats ate on non-fast days, but if they were allowed to gorge, that would undoubtedly skew any result.

“I would not, anyway, recommend an absolute fast every other day as you need adequate levels of protein to maintain muscle mass,” he added.

Mosley pointed to examples of other human studies in which men and women who followed the 5:2 principles achieved their goal weight faster, and witnessed improvements in blood pressure and blood fats.

“I would point to a really important randomised controlled trial of 298 type 2 diabetics published a few months ago in The Lancet. Those allocated to an 800-calorie diet every day for 12 weeks not only lost large amounts of abdominal fat but nearly half were able to come off all diabetes medication,” he said.

“Scans of the pancreas and liver showed they were far healthier than at the start of the trial.”