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Top 10 Benefits of Flaxseed + How to Add Flaxseeds to Your Diet
Benefits of flaxseed – Dr. Axe
Flaxseeds have been consumed for at least 6,000 years, making them one of the world’s first cultivated superfoods. What does flaxseed do for you that makes it one of the most popular “superfoods”? Flaxseeds contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (although not the same type that fish, such as salmon, do) along with antioxidant substances called lignans that help promote hormonal balance in addition to several other benefits of flaxseed.
Benefits of flaxseed include helping improve digestion, giving you clearer skin, lowering cholesterol, reducing sugar cravings, balancing hormones and even helping fight cancer — and that’s just the beginning!
What Is Flaxseed?
Flaxseeds, sometimes called linseeds, are small, brown, tan or golden-colored seeds. They are a great source of dietary fiber; minerals like manganese, thiamine and magnesium; and plant-based protein. Flax is one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA), in the world. (1)Another unique fact about flaxseeds is that they are the No. 1 source of lignans in the human diets; flaxseeds contain about seven times as many lignans as the closest runner-up, sesame seeds.
Flaxseeds can be eaten as whole/unground seeds but are even more beneficial when sprouted and ground into flaxseed meal. Grinding flax helps you absorb both types of fiber it contains, along you to take advantage of even more of the benefits of flaxseed. (2) Additionally, flaxseeds are used to make flaxseed oil, which is easily digested and a concentrated source of healthy fats. Below you’ll find more about how to sprout and grind your own flaxseed, plus ideas for using all types of flax in recipes.
Top 10 Benefits of Flaxseed
High in Fiber but Low in Carbs
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Helps Make Skin and Hair Hairy
Helps Lower Cholesterol
High in Antioxidants (Lignans)
Supports Digestive Health
May Help Prevent Cancer
May Help with Weight Loss
Helps Decrease Menopausal and Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms
1. High in Fiber but Low in Carbs
One of the most extraordinary benefits of flaxseed is that flax contains high levels of mucilage gum content, a gel-forming fiber that is water-soluble and therefore moves through the gastrointestinal tract undigested. Once eaten, mucilage from flaxseeds can keep food in the stomach from emptying too quickly into the small intestine, which can increase nutrient absorption and make you feel fuller. Because the fiber found in flaxseed is not able to be broken down in the digestive tract, some of the calories that flax contains won’t even be absorbed.
Flax is low in carbohydrates but extremely high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which means it also supports colon detoxification, may help with fat loss and can reduce sugar cravings. Most adults should aim to consume between 25–40 grams of fiber from high-fiber foods daily. Eating just two tablespoons of flaxseeds per day will provide about 20 percent to 25 percent of your fiber needs.
2. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
We hear a lot about the health benefits of fish oil and omega-3 fats lately, which is one reason why flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds have become known for their anti-inflammatory effects. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fats obtained only from animal foods that are critical for optimal health. Although flaxseeds do not contain EPA or DHA, they do contain the type of omega-3 called ALA, which acts somewhat differently in the body compared to EPA/DHA.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is ann-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that has been found in studies to help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, improve platelet function, reduce inflammation, promote healthy endothelial cell function, protect arterial function and reduce heart arrhythmias. (3)
A study published in Nutrition Reviews has shown that approximately 20 percent of ALA can be converted into EPA, but only 0.5 percent of ALA is converted into DHA. (4) Also, surprisingly gender may play a big role in how well ALA is converted; in the same study young women had a 2.5-fold greater conversion rate than men. Regardless of conversion, ALA is still considered a healthy fat and should be included in a balanced diet.
3. Helps Make Skin and Hair Healthy
Why is flaxseed good for your hair? Flaxseeds benefits for hair include making it shinier, stronger and more resistant to damage. The ALA fats in flaxseeds benefit the skin and hair by providing essential fatty acids as well as B vitamins, which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea and eczema. The same benefits also apply to eye health, as flax can help reduce dry eye syndrome due to its lubricating effects.
Flaxseed oil is another great option for your skin, nails, eyes and hair since it has an even higher concentration of healthy fats. If you want healthier skin, hair and nails, consider adding two tablespoons of flaxseeds to your smoothie or one tablespoon of flaxseed oil to your daily routine. You can take up to one to two tablespoons of flaxseed oil by mouth per day to hydrate your skin and hair. It can also be mixed with essential oils and used topically as a natural skin moisturizer since it seeps into your skin and reduces dryness. (5)
4. Helps Lower Cholesterol
A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism found that adding flaxseeds into your diet can naturally reduce cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of fat excreted through bowel movements. (6) The soluble fiber content of flaxseed traps fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so it’s unable to be absorbed. Soluble fiber also traps bile, which is made from cholesterol in the gallbladder. The bile is then excreted through the digestive system, forcing the body to make more, using up excess cholesterol in the blood and therefore lowering cholesterol.
Using flax is a great way to naturally replace gluten-containing grains in recipes. Grains, especially those containing gluten, can be hard to digest for many people, but flax is usually easily metabolized and also anti-inflammatory.
Because flax can absorb a lot of liquid and help bind ingredients you’re using in cooking/baking recipes, but it does not contain any gluten, flaxseeds are a good choice for those who have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. As a gluten-free method of baking, I often use flaxseed along with coconut flour in recipes to add moisture, form a desirable texture and get some healthy fats. They are also a good alternative to getting omega-3 fats from fish for people with a seafood allergy (although if you don’t have an allergy to fish/seafood it’s still best to get DHA/EPA this way).
Courtesy of Daily Mail: By ALEXANDRA HANSEN FOR THE CONVERSATION
We’ve all heard we should be aiming for 8 glasses of water or 2 litres per day
5 medical and sports science experts said there’s no need to drink this much
The best gauge of your hydration level is the colour of your urine, they write
Excessive intake can be dangerous, particularly in those with heart conditions
Everyone knows humans need water and we can’t survive without it.
We’ve all heard we should be aiming for eight glasses or two litres of water per day.
This target seems pretty steep when you think about how much water that actually is, and don’t we also get some water from the food we eat?
We asked five medical and sports science experts if we really need to drink eight glasses of water per day.
Everyone knows humans need water and we can’t survive without it. We’ve all heard we should be aiming for eight glasses or two litres of water per day +2
Everyone knows humans need water and we can’t survive without it. We’ve all heard we should be aiming for eight glasses or two litres of water per day
Karen Dwyer is the deputy head of the School of Medicine at Deakin University in Geelong
You only need to drink to thirst. The best gauge of your hydration level is the colour of your urine.
You should aim for light yellow in colour; if very dark then you’re dehydrated and need more water; if clear (like water) then you don’t need so much water.
Excessive water intake can be dangerous, particularly in those with heart conditions.
The kidney has a remarkable ability to concentrate water so if you are ‘getting dry’ the kidney will concentrate the urine and send a message to the brain to drink more.
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Vincent Ho is a senior lecturer and clinical academic gastroenterologist at Western Sydney University
No, it’s not necessary to drink eight glasses of water a day.
It appears the origin of the recommendation to drink eight glasses of water a day may have come from a publication by the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board in 1945, stating ‘A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 litres daily in most instances’.
CAN DRINKING THREE PINTS OF WATER EACH DAY HALVE YOUR RISK OF UTD?
Women who drink three pints of water a day half their risk of getting urinary tract infections, a study in October claimed.
For most female adults, UTIs are a painfully regular experience. It causes a burning sensation, severe cramping, and pain during urination.
While the infection is most commonly contracted from unprotected sex with a new partner, some girls – even in relationships or using protection – find it difficult to keep the infection at bay.
But researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed that women with a high intake of water have roughly half the risk of their lesser hydrated peers.
Scientists monitored 140 healthy premenopausal women who had at least three UTIs in the last year and reported low daily fluid intake.
The recommendation also stated that ‘most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods’, a fact which is often overlooked.
We do get a lot of our water intake from the foods we consume. Cauliflower and eggplant, for example, are 92 percent water.
A one-size fits all approach is unlikely to be helpful. Healthy adults may not need to drink an additional eight glasses of water a day.
On the other hand, persons with certain diseases or living in very hot climates may require larger intakes of fluid.
Michael Tam is a GP and senior lecturer at the University of Sydney
Eight glasses, which is just less than two litres of water, is very roughly the basal water required by a fasting, well adult per day, who is doing nothing at all, with no special losses (such as vomiting or diarrhoea).
In day-to-day life, we usually have additional losses (exercise, or sweating during a hot day), and we receive water from other sources.
There are the obvious ones from our diet such as beverages, and juicy and moist foods, such as fruit and vegetables.
Less obvious is water from the metabolism of food. The conversion of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins to energy in our bodies all produce water.
Rather than focusing on the number of glasses, simply drink fluids when thirsty.
Aiming for more water (especially in place of sweetened drinks) is often a good idea to improve health.
In day-to-day life, we usually have additional losses (exercise, or sweating during a hot day), and we receive water from other sources, such as fruit and vegetables +2
In day-to-day life, we usually have additional losses (exercise, or sweating during a hot day), and we receive water from other sources, such as fruit and vegetables
Jon Bartlett is a sports science research Fellow at Victoria University in Melbourne.
A person’s daily water requirements are highly individual and dependent upon a number of internal and external factors.
While eight glasses of water per day is recommended as a base requirement to meet daily physiological needs, the actual volume of water required in a day is dependent on one’s day-to-day activities, health, and the climate in which they reside.
Research shows even just a mild level of dehydration can negatively affect both mental and physical performance.
This is further accentuated for individuals who are highly active and who live in hot environments.
A simple and easy reminder to ensure you are drinking enough is to drink to thirst, and for days when activity levels are higher than normal or in hotter environments to increase the regularity of drinking and the total volume.
Toby Mündel is a senior lecturer at the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition at Massey University in New Zealand.
Many factors will determine how much water (via all foods and fluid, not just water!) your body needs.
These include body size and composition, how much you sweat or urinate, your health or status (pregnant, breastfeeding), and diet.
For most healthy adults rarely feeling thirsty and having light yellow, or colourless, urine usually confirms adequate water intake.
Other helpful tips include drinking a glass of low-calorie fluid before and with every meal, to distinguish hunger from thirst.
Or drinking a low-calorie fluid before, during and after physical activity. Although rare, drinking too much fluid can also have negative health consequences so more is not necessarily better.
We asked five experts: do I have to drink eight glasses of water per day?
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Young people are eating more saturated fats or trying more fad diets
The extremes are driving physical and mental health issues globally
Leading nutritionist Fiona Hunter breaks down the deficiencies and explains how young people can fight depression or anxiety with diet
By Fiona Hunter For Dailymail.com
Fiona Hunter, one of the UK’s leading nutritionists, takes a look at the possible correlation between the emerging mental health crisis in teenagers and how this could be linked to the lack of vital vitamins and minerals in teenagers.
This week, the research found that young people aged 16 to 25 are the unhappiest generation in a decade, with one in four feeling ‘hopeless’ on a regular basis, and nearly half have experienced a mental health problem.
Eating a healthy balanced diet is not usually high up on the ‘to-do’ list for most teenagers and young adults – one reason is that they feel invincible, things like heart disease and cancer are problems that ‘old’ people need to worry about.
They feel fit and healthy and have plenty of energy so why do they worry about what they eat?
What they don’t know is that the seeds of many of the diseases that people suffer from later in life are sown early in life.
It’s not common for teens to prioritize vitamins and minerals – but a nutritionist warns it could be crucial for their mental health +1
It’s not common for teens to prioritize vitamins and minerals – but a nutritionist warns it could be crucial for their mental health
Indeed, autopsies carried out on soldiers, fit young men, who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, found that one in 12 showed early signs of heart disease.
Even young wellness warriors aren’t guaranteed to get all the nutrients they need from their diet – in fact many experts warn that they may have an even greater risk of deficiency because of their restrictive diets.
But do they realize what it’s doing to their mental health?
Recently published findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) revealed that many teenagers have shockingly low levels of several key vitamins and minerals, which say, experts, may be linked with the rise in mental health problems but it also means they are storing up all sorts of health problems for later in life.
‘As the Princes Trust report highlights, emotional wellbeing is made up of a number of different factors,’ Dr Jen Nash, a clinical psychologist who specializes in food behaviour and founder of Eating Blueprint, says.
‘The decrease in balanced nutrition shown on the NDNS report can only serve to influence the rise in emotional instability, given that the brain, moods and cognition are influenced by dietary factors.
‘Nutritional intake is a factor that parents have little control of outside the home, so if we can do our best to ensure our teenagers are achieving a wide range of vitamins and minerals when they are at home, all the better.
‘Schools and colleges also have an important role to play to ensure choices available are led by nutritional needs of growing bodies and minds.’
Here, I explain the issues driving poor diet and mental health, and how to get around it.
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Teenagers simply not getting enough of what they need
One of the most shocking findings from the NDNS was the fact that only eight percent of young people aged between 11-18 ate the recommended five or more portions of fruit and or veg – with the average intake being a meagre 2.8 portions a day.
Given the lack of fruit and veg that young people are eating it’s no surprise that NDNS also found that key nutrients found in fruit and vegs like the B vitamin folate and the minerals magnesium and potassium were also low. Almost in one in three girls (28 percent) aged between 11-18 had levels of folate in their red blood cells which is indicative of a long-term deficiency of folate.
Low levels of folate and omega-3 fats, also known to be lacking in teenagers diet have also been liked with depression and other mental health problems.
Another real cause for concern is the number of young people who fail to get enough calcium in their diet.
Calcium is particularly important for children, teenagers and young adults because their bones are still growing and this is when calcium is laid down in the bones – the more calcium that is deposited in the bones while they are growing the lower the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 in the UK but the window of opportunity of reducing the risk later in life is while the bones are still growing.
We can’t just blame sugar and obesity
The results of the NDNS make scary reading because it suggests that teenagers represent a ticking time bomb for health problems.
The scary thing is that its not simply one or two vitamins that they are missing out on it’s a whole host and this nutrient gap has been largely ignored as we focus on things like sugar, and obesity, which of course are important but we need to remember that they are only part of the picture.
WHAT TEENS LACK…
In the 11-18 age group intakes of several vitamins and minerals were shockingly low, the NDNS revealed.
Almost one in three (28 percent) of girls and 15 percent of boys had low levels of folate
16 percent of children had low levels of Vitamin A
One in four girls had low levels of riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Nearly one in two girls (48 percent) of girls had low levels of iron
19 percent of girls and 12 percent of boys had low intake of calcium
48 percent of girls and 27 percent of boys had a low intake of magnesium
44 percent of girls and 23 percent of boys had a low intake of selenium
22 percent of girls and 17 percent of boys had a low intake of zinc
33 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys had a low intake of potassium
10 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys had a low intake of iodine
…WHAT THEY NEED
Folate – good sources include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, chicken peas, peas, fortified breakfast cereals
Vitamin B2 – good sources include milk, dairy, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals
Iron – good sources include red meat, beans and pulses, dried fruit fortified, breakfast cereals
Calcium – good sources include milk and dairy products, almonds, broccoli
Magnesium – good sources include green leafy vegetables, nuts, wholemeal bread, brown rice
Selenium – good sources include brazil nuts, fish, meat and eggs
Zinc – good sources include meat, shellfish, cheese, wheat germ
Potassium – good sources include fruit and vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds
Iodine – good sources include sea fish and shellfish
How can young people eat better?
1. Don’t use snacks as substitutes for proper meals
Teenagers and young adults are a generation of grazers but it can be hard to get all the nutrients you need if you’re only eating snacks. Many snacks are high in fat, sugar and salt and short on vitamins, minerals and fibre so if you are going to snack then be snack smart – choose snacks that are fortified with and make a positive contribution to your diet.
2. Plan ahead
Teenagers tend not to be good at thinking ahead and in terms of food this means that they often end up eating on the hoof, grabbing whatever available at the time – this can be expensive and not very healthy, so plan ahead and pack a healthy snack before you leave the house
3. Don’t eat alone
If you have teenagers it important to try and set them down and eat together as a family at least a couple of times a week. Family meal provides an opportunity to talk and studies show that children who regularly eat with their families are more likely to have a healthier diet and have a higher intake of key vitamins and minerals.
4. Don’t eat the same foods every day
Variety may be the spice of life but it’s also the key to a healthy diet but its many young people get stuck a food rut eating the same few foods in a loop.
5. Don’t believe everything you read online
The internet can be a good source for learning about diet and nutrition but there’s also rubbish on line – often written by a well-meaning individual but people don’t have the appropriate qualifications or experience to give advice on nutrition
6. Don’t follow to fads
It’s easy to be lured into the latest diet fad – claims made by the disciples of fads like clean eating, alkaline diets, Paleo diets all sound appealing but there’s no science to support the promised they make and they can increase the risk of deficiencies
7. Do some research
It’s OK to be vegan or vegetarian, in fact, plant-based diets offer a number of health benefits, but you have to make sure you replace the nutrients you would be getting from foods like dairy and meat with other foods rich in these nutrients. Both the Vegetarian Society and the Vegan Society have very good websites which will help you make sure your diet contains everything it should
8. Take a multivitamin and mineral
Think of it as an insurance policy – of course its better to get vitamins and minerals from your food but in certain situations and at certain times of your life it’s not always possible and as we understand more about diet and the nutritional gaps manufacturers have developed a range of products that will support teenagers from vitamins sprays, e.g. Healthspan Vitamin D3/B12 range of sprays to Gummy Multivitamins and fortified foods.
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So what does it mean to have a balanced diet? the thing, we need to think of food in groups, with more food from some groups than the others.
Balance diet means the following;
1.Plenty of fruits and vegetables
2. Wholegrain varieties of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta etc
3.Small amounts of milk & dairy food
4. Some meat, fish, eggs, and beans
5. Only small amounts of foods and drinks high in fat or sugar.
Balance diet need not be right all the time. The right balance over time ensures a right amount of vitamins & minerals.
Some of which could be the following:
a) A drop in dress size,
b) The looking-younger effect
c) and most of all the health benefits.
The advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages.
To begin with, it would be beneficial to keep a food diary. This would help you to make a healthier selection of food and snacks.Your best bet would be to compile a list of food and drinks you have throughout the day.
Some tips to help you.
You need to take in less energy and burn more energy. There is the need to keep a balance.
If you eat more than you burn, then the excess would certainly be stored in the form of fat.
So, 1. getting a healthy balance is crucial
2.Cutting down on portion sizes
3. Keeping a regular eating pattern ( three regular meals a day)
Remember that diets that promise a quick fix are not sustainable, resulting in a return to the old you.
Fab diets could be identified when they promise for example ;
1.A quick solution
2.When they suggest that certain food ” burn fat faster”
3.When they promote the eating of just one or two foods only.
4. When they have rules about how to eat, such as certain times a day.
5. When they sound too good to be true
By Stephen Matthews For Mailonline
The Mediterranean diet is loaded with fruit, veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish
The new trial adds to the body of evidence that shows the diet’s health benefits
They found cirrhosis patients are less likely to be hospitalised following the diet
The deadly condition kills around one million people across the world each year
A Mediterranean diet is not just good for the heart – it may also boost the health of the liver, a study suggests.
Adopting the diet, loaded with fruit and veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish, lower the risk of hospitalisation in patients with cirrhosis.
The deadly condition, scarring of the liver caused by long-term damage, kills one million people across the world each year, figures show.
There is currently no cure and treatment revolves around slowing its progression, before it leads to the need for a liver transplant or even kills.
Adopting the diet, loaded with fruit and veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish, lower the risk of hospitalisation in patients with cirrhosis +1
Adopting the diet, loaded with fruit and veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish, lower the risk of hospitalisation in patients with cirrhosis
But the new research, out of Virginia Commonwealth University, suggests following a Mediterranean diet could boost the outcome of cirrhosis patients.
The trial, branded ‘important’, adds to the growing body of evidence that shows the benefits of the healthy diet.
Scientists found the diet, which contains only a small amount of red meat, improves the gut microbial diversity of cirrhosis patients.
The discovery, derived from nearly 300 adults, adds to a growing body of evidence that highlights a diverse microbiome can halt of the condition.
Some 157 Americans and 139 Turkish adults took part in the study. They were either healthy or had a form of cirrhosis.
The volunteers had their dietary habits analysed and a sample of stool tested to assess how diverse their gut microbiota was.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A MEDITERRANEAN DIET?
Previous research by the Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that adopting a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of developing the most deadly form of breast cancer by 40 percent.
Experts from the University of Barcelona also believe the range of nutrients in the diet makes children less likely to have ADHD.
Cambridge University even found that adopting such a diet would save around 2,000 lives in Britain a year by preventing deaths from heart attacks and stroke.
Researchers from the IRCCS Neuromed Institute in Pozzilli, Italy, even suggest doctors prescribe olive oil, vegetables and nuts before statins to reduce a patient’s heart attack risk.
Scientists followed the patients for three months to assess the risk of hospitalizations, caused by complications such as jaundice and gallstones.
Researchers, led by Dr Jasmohan Bajaj, uncovered a striking difference between the gut microbiota of the Turkish and American adults.
The US population tended to follow a Western diet, while the Turkish cohort often consumed a Mediterranean-style diet.
An analysis of stool samples revealed the Turkish participants had a significantly greater diversity in their gut microbiota.
However, the researchers discovered there was a significantly higher number of hospitalisations in the US population.
Dr Bajaj said: ‘It is the first study to confirm a link between diet, microbial diversity and clinical outcomes in liver cirrhosis.’
The findings were presented at the International Liver Congress in Paris last week.
Professor Annalisa Berlinetta, a board member of The European Association for the Study of the Liver, described the study as ‘important’.
She said: [It] adds to the existing evidence indicating a robust, pleiotropic beneficial effect of following a “Mediterranean-style diet” on human health.’
The new study, she added, shows that an antioxidant-rich Mediterranean diet has a protective effect in the early and advanced phases of the liver disease.
By Stephen Matthews For Mailonline
Evidence links the consumption of meat to cancer, heart disease and diabetes
But scientific trials on its links to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are scarce
A non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis, which can prove deadly
Eating red meat can boost the risk of developing a deadly liver disease, a study suggests.
Israeli scientists have found the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is highest for those who enjoy their steak ‘well done’.
The disease referred to as ‘human foie gras’, can lead to cirrhosis, which can in turn trigger liver cancer or cause the organ to fail.
Evidence already links consumption of meat to cancer, heart disease and diabetes – but scientific trials are scarce on its links to NAFLD.
The new study, which also confirmed eating red meat leads to a higher risk of diabetes, shines a light on the possible cause of the chronic liver disease.
People who ate more processed and red meat were 47 percent more likely to have liver disease, the University of Haifa experts found +1
People who ate more processed and red meat were 47 percent more likely to have liver disease, the University of Haifa experts found
Some 789 adults were quizzed about their eating and cooking habits. They also underwent liver ultrasound scans and tests for insulin resistance.
People who ate more processed and red meat were 47 percent more likely to have liver disease, the University of Haifa experts found.
While they were 55 percent more likely to have insulin resistance, the researchers reported in the Journal of Hepatology.
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Cooking meat at high temperatures for longer periods of time, or until it’s well done, was also associated with a higher risk of both.
This was in comparison to those who preferred to eat more ‘rare’ meat, or cooked for less time, the researchers noted.
Lead author Shira Zelber-Sagi said: ‘Evidence is mounting with regard to the harmful effect of over-consumption of red and processed meat.’
WHAT IS NON-ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE?
Despite its name, a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease isn’t solely caused by eating too much fat.
Instead, it is fed by over-eating in general, with some of the excess calories being stored as fat in the liver.
Doctors say that up to a third of Britons have a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, in which the liver becomes clogged with fat.
It is often referred to as ‘human foie gras’, as it occurs in much the same way as a goose liver is fattened for foie gras production.
‘In order to prevent insulin resistance and NAFLD, [people should consider] choosing fish, turkey or chicken as an animal protein source.
‘In addition, steaming or boiling food [is better than] grilling or frying meat at a high temperature until it is very well done.’
Preparing meat ‘well done’ forms compounds known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that are tied to both liver disease and insulin resistance.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disorder in developed countries, affecting up to one in four adults.
It occurs when fat accumulates within the liver cells in people who do not consume excessive alcohol and is commonly associated with obesity and diabetes.
If left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis, which can lead to liver failure and cancer of the vital organ. Both of which can be deadly.
Both NAFLD and insulin resistance are among the suite of symptoms and traits that make up so-called metabolic syndrome.
The medical community has warned that the findings mean adults should limit how much red and processed meat they eat.
Dr Jeffrey Schwimmer, director of the Fatty Liver Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, called for red meat to be eaten just once a week.
‘There is not a need for red meat, so one could choose to avoid it all together,’ said Dr Schwimmer, who wasn’t involved in the study.
‘For those that do eat meat, it would be reasonable to limit red meat to once a week and to limit processed meat to occasional use only.’
The study follows a Leeds University trial earlier this month that revealed cutting out red meat significantly cuts the risk of developing bowel cancer.
Courtesy of Kate Pickles Health Reporter For The Daily Mail
Millions are being given the wrong treatment for back pain, a review has found
Patients needlessly prescribed painkillers or even surgery for lower back pain
This is despite mounting evidence simple exercises and stretches are effective
Lower back pain is now the leading cause of disability in the UK: 1 in 10 of complaints
It’s estimated to cost NHS £2.1 billion annual and UK economy around £10 billion
Millions of people with back pain are being given the wrong treatment, a major review has found.
This is despite mounting evidence showing that simple exercises and stretches are more effective for easing symptoms.
Lower back pain is now the leading cause of disability in the UK, responsible for more than one in 10 of all serious health complaints.
It costs the NHS £2.1 billion annually and is estimated to cost the UK economy around £10 billion in lost working days and informal care.
Many victims of the agonising pain are told to stop work and exercise, prescribed painkillers or undergo surgery +1
Many victims of the agonising pain are told to stop work and exercise, prescribed painkillers or undergo surgery
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Unnecessary and aggressive interventions
But a series of international studies published in The Lancet medical journal found treatments often go against international guidelines.
Rather than being encouraged to stay active and at work, many NHS patients are being prescribed powerful opioid painkillers, treated in hospital A&Es and referred for scans or surgery.
Professor Martin Underwood, from the University of Warwick, who was part of the international team, warned this was costly to both patients and the health service.
‘Our current treatment approaches are failing to reduce the burden of back pain disability,’ he said.
‘We need to change the way we approach back pain treatment in the UK and help low and middle-income countries to avoid developing high-cost services of limited effectiveness.’ The researchers reviewed evidence from both high and low-income countries around the world to build up a global picture of the size of the back pain problem and how it was being managed.
Our current treatment approaches are failing to reduce the burden of back pain disability
Professor Martin Underwood, from the University of Warwick
They concluded that low back pain was the world’s leading cause of disability but was often treated using aggressive approaches that had been shown not to work.
In Britain NHS watchdog NICE advises that people with back pain are prescribed exercise, drugs such as ibuprofen, or both at the same time.
But growing evidence shows painkillers are largely ineffective and can do more harm than good, with massage, exercise and yoga preferable.
Previous studies have shown opioid painkillers – prescription drugs that include morphine, tramadol and oxycodone – provide only ‘minimal benefit’ for lower back pain.
Yet, recent figures estimate they are still prescribed to around 40 percent of back pain patients.
Steve Tolan, head of practice at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said doctors were too quick to medicalise treatments.
‘That so many people start out with minor back pain and go on to suffer life-changing consequences is bad enough,’ he said. ‘That healthcare professionals contribute to that journey is unconscionable.’ Official data shows around one in seven GP appointments are taken by patients with musculoskeletal complaints, with back pain topping the list.
‘We really need to redress the balance’
The lower back pain was the leading cause of years lived with disability in the UK in both 1990 and 2010, with the burden rising by 12 percent just 20 years.
Each year, one million years of productive life was lost in the UK as a result of the condition.
It is most prevalent in people of working age and is often short-lived with exercise recommended to both ease symptoms and prevent the pain coming back.
Professor Nadine Foster, from Keele University, said the number of patients suffering from the disability will continue to rise with the population.
‘We know a lot about what to do for back pain – and a lot of what not to do – the problem is that healthcare systems around the world are doing things differently.
‘In many countries, painkillers that have limited positive effect are routinely prescribed for low back pain, with very little emphasis on interventions that are evidence-based such as exercises.
‘We really need to redress the balance. Doing more of the same that we’ve been trying to do for the last few decades, is not going to reduce back pain disability.’ Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said low back pain was a cause of misery for a ‘huge and growing number of patients’ across the UK.
‘What is clear is that one size does not fit all in terms of managing the pain,’ she said.
‘It’s important that any treatment plan is developed in conversation with the patient, tailored to their needs, taking into account the many different factors that might be impacting on their health.’
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MYTHS ABOUT BACK PAIN?
You should always rest a bad back: Moderate exercise is essential to build and maintain strength and flexibility in the spine, improving posture and protecting you from any further pain. While total rest may seem like a good way to recover often continuing moderate physical activity will help in the long run. Your local chiropractor will be able to advise on what is right for you.
Back or neck pain is simply part of the ageing process: While ageing can have an impact on your back health, back or neck pain can occur at any age. Maintaining good health into later years and being aware of how to preserve one of our body’s most important assets, the back, is important in allowing us to maintain activity levels. The BCA has advice on how to protect your back at any age.
Back or neck pain is not common: Back and neck pain is very common, and statistics have shown that 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
The spine can be injured easily: The spine is actually one of the strongest parts of your body and is designed to be strong. Like any other part of your body though, taking good care of it is essential to allow it to do its job effectively for as long as possible.
A slipped disc means a disc has slipped out of your spine: The discs are circular pads of connective tissue – cartilage – in between each vertebra in your back. These discs have an inner gel-like substance and a tough outer case. They help maintain your back’s flexibility and a wide range of movement. A slipped disc means that one of the discs of cartilage in the spine is damaged and possibly extruding, irritating or pressing on the nerves. It can also be known as a prolapsed or herniated disc.
Painkillers can cure back pain: Most back pain is ‘mechanical’ in nature so, even though painkillers can be helpful, some sort of mechanical, hands-on treatment involving movement/exercise is more likely to help manage the problem and reduce recurrence.