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General Health

Would you get enough magnesium?

Would you get enough magnesium? Studies suggest type two diabetes risk may fall as magnesium intake increases

Would you get enough magnesium in your diet? Do you realize it could possibly assist in preventing diabetes type 2?

Dr. Ka He of the University of North carolina at Chapel Hill and colleagues have found that people who taken the most magnesium from foods and vitamin supplements were about 50 % as more likely to develop diabetes within the next twenty years as those who took in the least magnesium.

Within their study, the researchers viewed magnesium intake and diabetes risk in 4,497 women and men aged 18 to thirty years old, none of whom were diabetic at the study's outset. Throughout a 20-year follow-up period, 330 of the subjects developed diabetes.

Individuals with the highest magnesium intake were 47 percent less prone to develop diabetes compared to those with the lowest intakes (average of 100 milligrams of magnesium per 1,000 calories).

They noted, however, that large clinical trials testing the end results of magnesium on diabetes risk are essential to find out whether a causal relationship truly exists.

The outcome of this study could explain why usage of whole grains, which can be an excellent source of magnesium, is related to lower diabetes risk. And while whole grains really are a common source of magnesium, there are many other sources of magnesium to think about.

Green vegetables for instance spinach are great sources because the center of the chlorophyll molecule (which gives vegetables their color) contains magnesium. Some legumes (beans and peas), seeds and nuts, and whole, unrefined grains are good sources.

Tap water may also be a source of magnesium, though the amount varies according to the water supply. Water that naturally contains more minerals is called "hard."

The proposed causes why an increased intake of magnesium could lower the risk for developing type two diabetes vary, but according to the National Institutes of Health, Magnesium plays an essential role in carbohydrate metabolism. It may influence the release and activity of insulin, the hormone that helps command blood glucose (sugar) levels.

The lesson? Increasing magnesium intake might be very important for improving insulin sensitivity, reducing systemic inflammation, and decreasing diabetes risk

And you? Exactly what are you looking forward to? Begin right now to introduce more magnesium rich foods as part of your daily diet!

About me: A. Bernstein is writing for the <a href="">hypoglycemic recipes</a> website, her personal hobby blog dedicated to suggestions to assist individuals to stop Diabetes and improve the awareness on healthy eating.

Article source:

By Anna Bernstein

Dr.Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya (Heart Specialist)


Dr.Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya

(Heart Specialist) Bangalore

Qn: What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart?


1. Diet - Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise - Half an hour's walk, at least five days a week; avoid lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control blood pressure and sugar

Qn: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?

Ans: No

Qn: It's still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person

gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?

Ans: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.

Qn: Are heart diseases hereditary?

Ans: Yes

Qn: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?

Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.

Qn: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?

Ans: Walking is better than jogging since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints

Qn: You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you to do so?

Ans: Mother Theresa , who was my patient

Qn: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?

Ans: Extremely rare

Qn: Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age

(I'm currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?

Ans: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.

Qn: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?

Ans: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body's enzyme release for digestion gets confused.

Qn: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?

Ans: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.

Qn: Can yoga prevent heart ailments?

Ans: Yoga helps.

Qn: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?

Ans: Fruits and vegetables are the best and the worst is oil.

Qn: Which oil is better - groundnut, sunflower, olive?

Ans: All oils are bad .

Qn: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?

Ans: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.

Qn: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?

Ans: Help the person into a sleeping position , place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.

Qn: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?

Ans: Extremely difficult without ECG.

Qn: What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems.

Ans: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, s edentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.

Qn: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?

Ans: Yes.

Qn: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?

Ans : Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may not have a software engineer as a child

Qn: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart ? What precautions would you recommend?

Ans : When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.

Qn: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short / long term)?

Ans : Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.

Qn: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?

Ans : No.

Qn: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?

Ans : No.

Qn: How would you define junk food?

Ans : Fried food like Kentucky , McDonalds , samosas, and even masala dosas.

Qn: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?

Ans: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.

Qn: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?

Ans : No.

Qn: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded emails on this)?

Ans : Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.

Qn: Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?

Ans : No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.

Qn: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?

Ans : Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.

Qn: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?

Ans: Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.

Qn: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?

Ans : Diet, exercise, drugs on time , Control cholesterol, BP, weight.

Qn: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?

Ans : No.

Qn: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?

Ans : There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to

reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.

Qn: Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?

Ans : No.

Qn: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?

Ans : Nature protects women till the age of 45. (Present Global census show that the Percentage of heart disease in women has increased than in men )

Qn: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?

Ans : Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke and, go for health checkup s if you are past the age of 30 ( once in six months recommended) ....

How to Spot Thalassemia Symptoms


Thalassemia symptoms emerge along a spectrum of severity and intensity based on the nature of the genetic coding of the disease for the individuals. Carriers of the genetic disease may show little to any observable symptoms unless blood work is drawn. Those who have the major version due to bearing both versions of the disease will show extreme symptoms.

There are four zones for Thalassemia on the range beginning with the least serious: Thalassemia minima, Thalassemia minor, Thalassemia intermedia, Thalassemia major. The minimima and minor versions rarely need any treatment. The intermedia and major likely need transfusions and even bone marrow replacement.


1.                  Step 1

~ Check for signs of anemia ~

Anemia is a side product of Thalassemia. Since Thalassemia is characterized by low hemoglobin and the too-rapid destruction of red blood cells, the blood has a harder time carrying oxygen. Anemic symptoms can therefore result even in Thalassemia minor. Watch for dark circles under the eyes, pale skin, and other symptoms of anemia.

2.                  Step 2

~ Pay attention to fatigue ~

Fatigue that cannot be simply explained by over exertion is often a sign of Thalassemia. This can be attributed to two factors: anemia mentioned above, or inability to carry oxygen efficiently.

3.                  Step 3

~ Watch out for jaundice ~

If yellowed skin seems to be a cyclical or continual condition it can be attributed to multiple factors. The rapid destruction of red blood leaves behind a byproduct called bilirubin. A high level of bilirubin causes jaundice (a yellowing of the skin tone and even whites of the eyes.) This can be a serious condition causing damage to internal organs.

4.                  Step 4

~ Get full blood work done ~

If these symptoms seem to be present or there is a family history of the disease get blood work done as early as possible. Thalassemia even in the minima version will show up on blood work with a high bilirubin count and small pale red blood cells if placed under a microscope.

Points to fonder about Cholesterol ....


Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance like fat, which is produced mainly in the liver. It comes under the category of 'lipids'. It is important in the structure of the body cells, Hormones, Bile acid and Vitamin D. Hence some amount of cholesterol is good for the body. Even when we consume no cholesterol, liver manufactures cholesterol in sufficient quantity for normal body functions.

It is only the excess cholesterol generated in the body due to ill-planned diet which deposits in the lining of blood vessels and make them narrow and hardened resulting in high blood pressure and other heart diseases. The process of narrowing and hardening of arteries due to deposition of cholesterol is called as "Atherosclerosis'. Atherosclerosis also renders the blood vessels inelastic and brittle which makes artery easily susceptible to rupture. If a brittle brain artery ruptures, brain hemorrhage follows. This is termed as stroke. Stroke may lead to paralysis or instant death.



At the time of birth arteries are smooth, open and elastic conduits for blood circulation. They expand and contract as blood flows though them. With ageing and wrong life-style and eating habits they lose their flexibility and become brittle by deposition of cholesterol.  Calcium deposition may harden the arteries further. By narrowing of the arteries, blood flow is compromised to various organs. When the lining of artery becomes narrow due to atherosclerosis, the chances of a blood clot or 'thrombus' being formed there becomes quite high. If such blood clot blocks a coronary artery, it may result in a heart attack or severe angina. If a blood clot is formed in brain artery, it may lead to brain hemorrhage or stroke. Blood clot is formed by platelets, red blood cells and other cells sticking together. Since the walls of the arteries also become roughened in atherosclerosis, the blood cells easily adhere there and form blood clots.


Fats and cholesterol are carried in the blood in the form of Lipoproteins. There are three kinds of Lipoproteins-

1.      VLDL (Very  Low Density Lipoprotein)

2.      LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein)

3.      HDL (High Density Lipoprotein)

HDL cholesterol is considered to be good cholesterol because it is protective and helpful. It rather reduces harmful LDL cholesterol from the blood and tissues and delivers it back to the liver where it is processed for excretion. It is the LDL cholesterol which is the main culprit promoting deposits in the arteries and gradually blocking the passage for blood. Hence it is desirable to have higher HDL and lower LDL cholesterol in blood.

Previously it was thought that unlike cholesterol, triglycerides (fats) don't deposit in the arteries. But new researches show that triglycerides also depositing in the arteries, if present excessively. Triglycerides are fats devoid of any cholesterol. The stored fats of both plants (nuts and oil seeds) and animals (depot fats) are triglycerides. That's why it is desirable to have regulated intake of unsaturated fats also (which is devoid of any cholesterol) since they will increase blood triglyceride level. Triglycerides and cholesterol together are called blood lipids. Ways to reduce triglyceride level:

  1. Reduce total fat intake.
  2. Reduce sugar, sweets and soft drinks (as excess sugar readily gets converted to triglyceride level of blood.
  3. Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol increases triglyceride level of blood
  4. Do regular exercises. They help to reduce blood triglyceride level.
  5. Increase intake of Omega 3 PUFA rich foods (or Alpha linolinic acid) as they reduce blood triglyceride level. For the benefit of readers, sources of such foods as given below.
  • Cereals and millets: wheat, bajr
  • Pulses & legumes: Blackgram, Urad, Lobia, Rajmah, Soyabeen
  • Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables
  • Spices: Fenugreek (Methi) Mustard  (Rai)
  • Oils: Mustard, Soyabeen
  • Animal food: Fish

6. Do occasional fasting. Fasting reduces blood triglyceride level.


Ways to increase HDL (good) cholesterol :

  1. Do regular exercises. Exercise increases HDL cholesterol.
  2. Reduce total fat intake. There is a reciprocal relationship between blood levels of triglycerides level and HDL cholesterol. Hence people with high blood triglycerides tend to have low HDL.
  3. Reduce intake of transfatty acids (Vanaspati ghee, Margarine). They reduce HDL cholesterol.
  4. Reduce excessive intake of PUFA rich oils. HDL levels nay decrease if PUF accounts for more than 10% of energy intake.
  5. Certain foods have found to improve HDL cholesterol e.g., Onion, soyabean, garlic, soluble fiber (Pectin) in apple, banana, Iasbgol powder etc.

Ways to reduce LDL (harmful) cholesterol:

  1. Reduce saturated fat intake and increase unsaturated fat (MUFA & PUFA) intake.
  2. Reduce intake of dietary cholesterol. Foods having high cholesterol should be avoided.
  3. Reduce intake of tea, coffee, soft drinks, chocolate etc. The caffeine in these products stimulates excess cholesterol production in the body.
  4. Reduce intake of tobacco (smoking, Pan chewing etc.)
  5. Reduce mental stress, has been found to increase LDL cholesterol.
  6. Avoid sedentary life and do regular exercises.
  7. Take measures to cure high blood pressure and diabetes if you have any of these diseases since these diseases tend to increase cholesterol in blood.
  8. Increase intake of food containing soluble fibres e.g. Apple, Banana, Carrot, Oat bran, pulses, Isabgol etc. Soluble fiber binds with dietary cholesterol and is excreted out of the body along with undigested food.
  9. Certain foods have been found to reduce LDL cholesterol, for example, onion, garlic, soybeans, Amla etc. It is observed that daily intake of 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic and Amla (in any form-Juice or raw or pickle) have substantial cholesterol lowering effect.

Why use vegetable oils?

1.      Choose a variety of vegetable oils instead of single oil since most of the vegetable oils don't have an ideal mix of PUFA, MUFA and Omega 3 PUFA in them. (Note-oils with only PUFA are not desirable since they reduce HDL cholesterol)

2.      Mix two or more oils of different composition. A good choice is equal mixture of PUFA rich sunflower, safflower or corn oil and MUFA rich groundnut oil. Vegetarians may supplement this mixture with occasional use of mustard oil to ensure omega 3 PUFA intake. Mustard oil alone is not a good choice since if contains erratic acid which is detrimental for heath equal amount of PUFA and MUFA.

3.      Vegetable oils undergo chemical changes on exposure to air, high temperature and humidity, hence following precautions should be observed in their purchase and storage.  Always purchase a fresh batch of the oil by checking the date of manufacture:

  • Select a packing which is likely to be consumed within a month.
  • Prefer aluminum or coloured glass packing over plastic or tin.
  • Remove the oil from plastic or tin container at home and refill the oil in airtight and waterproof steel, aluminum or an opaque glass bottle.
  • Don't leave the lid of the oil container open since it will tend to react with air.
  • Keep the oil in refrigerator during peak summer and rainy season.

Some important facts regarding fats and cholesterol summarized:

1.      Some amount of fat intake is necessary for the body. Zero fat is harmful for the body. It is the excess fat and wrong combination and type of fats which are harmful for the body.

2.      Saturated fats increase blood cholesterol and triglycerides.

3.      Transfatty acids increase blood cholesterol, reduce HDL cholesterol and increase blood clotting tendency.

4.      Vegetable oils and all plant foods don't have cholesterol (except palm and coconut).

5.      Monounsaturated fats (MUFA) decrease blood cholesterol.

6.      Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) decrease blood cholesterol.

7.      Omega 3fatty acids present in some PUFA reduce triglycerides, prevent clot formation and reduce LDL cholesterol.

8.      Excess of PUFA decreases HDL (good) cholesterol.

9.      Fish and fish oils lower blood triglycerides, prevent clot formation and decrease LDL cholesterol.

10.  Animal foods have saturated fats and have substantial cholesterol (except fish).

11.  Carbohydrates particularly refined sugars have no cholesterol but they increase triglycerides.

12.  Soluble firbres (found in cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits) decrease cholesterol and triglycerides.

13.  Daily intake of cholesterol for a normal person shouldn't exceed 300 mg/day and for persons with coronary

heart diseases (CHD), it should not be more than 200Mg/day.

14.  Excess of PUFA increases blood triglyceride level

15.  Alcohol increases blood triglyceride level. Its moderate amount increases HDL (good) cholesterol level also.

16.  Some amount of cholesterol is needed by body for its functioning. Hence a limited intake of saturated fats is not harmful.

Recognizing Alzheimer's Disease

How to recognize the

symptoms of Alzheimer's

in your loved ones










A new report released in conjunction with National Alzheimer's Awareness Month states that most family members miss the earliest signs of Alzheimer's in their loved ones.

Impact of Alzheimer's Disease

Why? Simply because they don't know what symptoms they need to look for. This article will tell you how to recognize the classic Alzheimer's symptoms in those around you.

The early warning signs (markers) of Alzheimer's are usually very subtle, sometimes appearing months or even years before the characteristic memory loss and other clinical symptoms become apparent.

But these Alzheimer's markers are often misunderstood or unrecognized by family and friends. The signs of Alzheimer's include:

  • Depression: Over half of all Alzheimer's patients exhibit symptoms of clinical depression as early as two years before memory loss becomes apparent.
  • Loss of the sense of smell: Although they're usually unaware of it, the affected person's ability to discern common odors may decrease by a wide margin. The sense of taste usually remains intact however.
  • Loss of hearing: The common warning signs include keeping the TV volume too loud as well as avoiding use of the phone and face-to-face conversations.
  • Impairment of visual and spatial abilities: The affected person may have difficulty remembering visual details about objects and locations. They may also have problems following directions and using maps.
  • Unusual fingerprint patterns: Up to three-fourths of Alzheimer's patients have an abnormal number of ulnar loop patterns on their fingertips.

    These patterns are similar to those found on people with Down's Syndrome, suggesting that some people may possibly have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's.

Over four million older Americans currently live with Alzheimer's Disease. We observe National Alzheimer's Awareness Month each November to help friends and family become better informed about Alzheimer's.

Being able to recognize the early signs of potential Alzheimer's related problems is extremely important because the sooner a person is diagnosed and treatment is started, the better their chances for enjoying a longer, healthier, and happier life.