Spinal Cord Injuries – Types, Levels and Implications

 Image of spine with all 33 vertebras
Human spine (Photo by Pixaby)

Spinal Cord Overview 

“Oh my aching back!”. A term uses so much by so many, it becomes almost status quo. But what causes one to feel this pain? Let’s take a look.

The spinal cord is the most integral neural pathway in the human body. It connects the brain with the nervous system which serves as a relay between the brain, spinal cord and rest of the body. 

Since it is the central neural pathway, the spinal cord is a collection of nerves. In fact, there are 31 pairs of nerves which originate from the spinal cord and travel to different parts of the body. Through these nerves, the brain sends commands to different muscles and organs and controls their movement. There is another set of nerves which travels from different organs and connect to the spinal cord. These nerves are responsible for bringing in information from the organs to the brain. Examples of such nerves include the nerves travelling from the hands and legs which bring in sensory information. 

The spinal cord is protected through a bony column called the spine. The spine is divided into 33 vertebrae which are individual pieces of bones locked together. The vertebrae are divided into five regions namely cervical (7), thoracic (12), lumbar (5), sacrum (5), and coccyx (3-5). 

Spinal Cord Injuries 

The spinal cord is one of the most sensitive parts of the human body. This is because, once damaged, the spinal cord cannot repair itself. The spinal cord injury can result from a physical trauma such as an accident, fall or slip. It can also be a result of compression of the spinal cord due to the growth of tumor in the body. Another possibility which can result in a spinal cord injury is the loss of normal blood supply to the spinal cord. 

In the US, every year, approximately 1,200 new cases of spinal cord injury are reported every year. The condition is more common among young, white males.  

There are two types of spinal cord injuries.

  • Complete spinal cord injury 
  • Incomplete spinal cord injury 

 Let’s take a look at each one.  

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries 

In case of complete spinal cord injury, there is a complete or total loss of sensation and bodily functions in the area below the site of injury. This means that if there is a complete spinal cord injury in the lumbar region of the spine, all muscular functions below that region will be compromised including bowel movement and function of legs. Such a person will not have any sensation or control over his body below the site of injury.   

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

In case of an incomplete spinal cord injury, a person can feel some sensation and there is remaining function in and below the affected region. For example if the thoracic region is injured, in case of incomplete spinal cord injury, the person will still feel the sensation of pain and pressure and there will be muscular function in the region below the thoracic cavity. 

Regardless of the type of spinal cord injury, both sides of the body are likely to get affected.   

Levels and Implications of Spinal Cord Injury

The implications of spinal cord injury significantly depends upon the type and level of spinal cord injury. As mentioned earlier, the spine is divided into five regions and the level of spinal cord injury is determined by the region of the spine affected by the injury. Below you will find out about the implication of spinal cord injury depending upon the level. 

Cervical Spinal Cord Injury 

The cervical region includes the first 7 vertebrae in the neck region. Since it is closest to the brain, spinal cord injuries in the cervical region are most dangerous. 

Implications of Cervical Spinal Cord Injury 

This level of spinal cord injury is associated with complete or partial loss of sensory or muscular function in the body. Most often, in case of a cervical spinal cord injury, the patient experiences tetraplegia or quadriplegia. This means that all four limbs of the person can get affected to some extent in case of an 

The injury of the upper vertebrae of this section is often more dangerous and can result in permanent damage to all four limbs. In case of a more severe injury, this level of spinal cord injury can prove to be fatal. But as you go down the cervical vertebrae, the risk decreases and often the injury is incomplete. 

Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury 

The thoracic spine includes 12 vertebrae which are numbered as T-1 to T-12. This section of the spine is basically the upper, middle part of the back. The main function of this section of the spine is to ensure that you stay upright and maintain the right posture while sitting and standing. The nerves passing through these vertebrae control the movement of muscles in the upper chest including the muscles of the rib cage and diaphragm. They also include abdominal muscles and muscles of the upper back. 

Implications of Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury 

Injuries in the thoracic section of the spinal cord generally affect the lower part of the body. In case of a thoracic spinal cord injury, the lower limbs of the person get affected. The bowel and bladder control is also compromised but usually the arms and hands continue to function normally. 

Lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries 

The lumbar portion is the lowest and most important part of the spinal cord. It comprises five vertebrae. The vertebrae of this region are larger than the vertebrae of all other regions of the spine therefore this section carries the most weight of the spine. 

Implications of Lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries  

In case of lumbar spine injuries, a person may experience complete or partial loss of function in the hips, legs, and bladder and bowel control. It can also affect functions such as bending of the knees and foot. 

Sacral Spinal Cord Injuries 

This section of the spine is right above the tailbone which is known as the coccyx. The nerves of this region affect the function of hips, pelvic organs and reproductive organs. 

Implications of Sacral Spinal Cord Injuries 

Injuries in this section of the spinal cord results in loss of function in the hips and organs of the pelvic region including bladder and reproductive organs. 

Conclusion 

A spinal cord injury is dangerous because it can disrupt the communication process between the brain and rest of the body. Physical trauma, compression due to tumor or loss of blood supply to spinal cord can all lead to spinal cord injuries. There can be complete or incomplete spinal cord injuries which are based on the extent to which motor and sensory reflexes of a person are affected. Regardless of the type, if you look at the general implications of spinal cord injury, you will notice some of the following effects. 

  • Loss or reduced mobility, 
  • Changes in sensation, 
  • Modified sexual function,
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control and or,  
  • Intensified reflex actions or increased frequency of spasms.

9 Surprising Benefits of Curry Leaves

Curry Leaves

So you think you’ve had heard enough of weight loss and ingredients that will boost your health! Well, fret no more, because here is another natural entity that is known to help you to lose weight and keep you healthy.

Whether it’s fried lentils or fish curry, the aromatic and flavorsome curry leaves are an essential ingredient of South Asian cuisine. The Indian and Thai curries are practically incomplete without the strong and pleasing aroma of this plant. But very few people know that this distinct flavor is packed with numerous health benefits. 

Curry leaves are considered to be a rich source of Vitamin A, B and C. They are rich in iron and calcium as well. Let’s take a look at what curry leaves can do for you.

Aids in Weight Loss 

Checking Waistline

Curry leaves aid in weight loss. Sounds surprising? This is the normal reaction when people find out that curry leaves is a special ingredient which can help you lose weight. The plant compound known as carbazole alkaloid helps in weight loss by burning stubborn fats stored in the body. Also, the antioxidants present in curry leaves help wash out the toxin stored in different parts of the body. Together, it is reflected through weight loss. 

In order to lose weight, you need to increase the consumption of curry leaves. Using them as a topping on salads or curries might not be enough to lose weight. Instead, it should be a regular part of your meal. You can simplify much on dried curry leaves or can add them lavishly to your meals. For better results, combine the use of curry leaves with regular exercise and a healthier diet.  

Stimulate Digestive Enzymes 

The Digestive System

The plant compounds present in curry leaves aid in digestion. They work by stimulating digestive enzymes which in turn improves metabolic activity and bowel movement. So if you are someone who gets constipation or diarrhea often, then curry leaves are your lifesaver. 

For best results, you can simply chew on fresh curry leaves on an empty stomach.  Other ways to consume curry leaves is to add dried leaves to buttermilk. Again, you need to use this mixture on an empty stomach. Drinking this mixture can help relieve numerous problems of the digestive system including diarrhea and constipation. 

Helps Relieve Nausea

Nausea is a common condition among pregnant women. Curry leaves are considered to be a natural relief from nausea and morning sickness associated with pregnancy. Since curry leaves enhance the functioning of digestive enzymes, it helps relieve nausea and morning sickness. 

Many people chew fresh curry leaves while others notice an improvement in their symptoms simply by the strong and refreshing aroma of curry leaves.  

Reduce Blood Sugar Levels 

Curry leaves are a natural way to control blood sugar levels. If consumed regularly, curry leaves have a dual mode of action when it comes to controlling blood sugar levels. Curry leaves stimulate the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Also, curry leaves prevent the pancreas from the damage caused by free radicals. 

Together, both these actions work favorably in controlling the blood sugar levels and delaying the onset of conditions such as diabetes. In case, you already have diabetes, regular use of curry leaves can help keep your blood sugar levels under control. 

Heals Wounds and Skin Infections 

Curry leaves are rich in antioxidants and possess antibacterial properties. This makes them an excellent topical antibiotic which is very effective for healing wounds and skin infections. 

In case of a wound which is not too deep, you can apply a paste made up of curry leaves. You can add a little water to get the right consistency. Apply the paste over the wound and leave it overnight. The plant compounds present in curry leaves enhances the skin restoration process. It also helps restore the hair growth in the affected area. Due to the antibacterial properties, the use of curry leaves paste is recommended for inflammation on the skin, skin boils and even first degree burns. 

Improves Hair Growth 

As mentioned earlier, curry leaves can improve hair growth. They are not only effective in repairing hair after skin damage skin but also stimulate the growth of normal hair. It works by stimulating the hair follicle which promotes the growth of healthy and strong hair. 

Curry leaves are equally effective against hair loss or early greying of hair. In case of some skin conditions, such as dandruff, use of curry leaves paste is recommended. But in case of some serious medical condition, it is best to consult a dermatologist. 

Protects Brain Health and Improves Memory

Brain Motor & Sensory Perception Illustrated

Regular consumption of curry leaves can significantly improve memory. Though there is limited evidence of this claim, research indicates the plant compounds present in curry leaves may help protect the health of your brain and other parts of the nervous system. 

A research was conducted to find out the effect of using curry leaves on Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurological disease. The results indicated that regular use of curry leaves reduces the amount of oxidative damage in the brain cells. Oxidative damage in the brain is associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s’ disease. 

Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases 

High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases including angina and heart attacks. Curry leaves may improve your heart health in multiple ways. Research indicates that the use of curry levels can help reduce cholesterol and the level of triglycerides. As a result, it protects your heart’s health. 

May Have Anti-Cancer Ingredients

While it might be too early to claim, there is undergoing research to find out the effect of curry leaves on different types of cancer. In an undergoing laboratory research curry leaves have been found to be effective against cells of breast and cervical cancer. There is ongoing research on how curry leaves respond to other types of cancers such as colon and lung cancer. Though the research is currently in its initial stages, researchers are positive about the antioxidants present in curry leaves and their effect on cancer. 

Conclusion

It might be surprising that a simple kitchen ingredient can be packed with beneficial plant compounds. Research indicates that the antioxidant compounds present in curry leaves can help reduce weight and inflammation and minimize the risk of cancer and other inflammation related diseases. It is also known to protect the neurological and gastrointestinal health of a person. There are numerous other health benefits associated with the use of curry leaves. It reduces the risk of heart diseases by reducing cholesterol and also possess anti-cancer properties. 

But the best part is these tiny leaves can significantly enhance the taste and aroma and make even the most ordinary dish special. Curry leaves are easy to add to cuisine. You can find dried curry leaves which you can sprinkle over savory dishes. You can also use the fresh leaves, sauté them in oil and add to top your curries. Regardless of how you use curry leaves, this flavorful ingredient will transform the taste of your dish.

Cycling vs. Swimming – Which One is Better?

A swimmer swimming in a river which appears as a road
Image by Pixaby

Today, for many of us, our lives are so preoccupied with work that our health and fitness are nowhere on the priority list and we end up consuming a lot more processed and fatty foods. If we cannot dedicate a single hour to our health every day, then diseases and poor health can be the consequence. 

Did you know:

  • An hour of a cardio workout can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 28%. 
  • 30 minutes of cycling can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 40% 

But many people think of a cardio workout as a high intensity exercise where the heart beat gets out of control and the person is drenched with sweat. While this is true to some extent, a cardio workout does not always have to be high intensity. Instead, there are some medium to low intensity cardio workouts which are excellent for your entire body. And they are none other than cycling and swimming.

Man Riding Bicycle
Photo by Pexels

Now if you are asked to compare the two exercises, you can think of it statistically. Regular cycling reduces the chance of an early death by 10% but those who swim regularly have a 28% decreased risk of a heart attack. While numbers are a good way to judge, they are often not the best choice. And the answer of which cardio exercise is the best depends on a number of other factors. So let’s look into the details. 

Resource

For swimming, it should be a pool, but even a lake or a beach can suffice. In case of cycling, all you need is a bicycle and you are good to go. You can ride it to the park, to run errands or even to ride to work. Or you can take a leisure ride before the end of your day. Unlike swimming, where you need a specific resource, you can ride a bicycle literally anywhere. 

Cost

Swimming is generally considered an expensive activity. Primarily because maintaining a pool is expensive. Also you need accessories such as goggles, fins and kickboards. Good quality swimming accessories are also expensive. But if you compare it with cycling, all you need is a bicycle and a helmet. To be extra cautious, you may want to invest in elbow and knee pads, but unlike swimming, this is not a requirement. 

That said, the cost of a bicycle is much more than all of the accessories required for swimming. But again, if you look at the annual membership costs for a pool, cycling is indeed a more cost effective option. 

Calories and Burning Fat

Photo by Pexels

The best aspect of any exercise is calories and fat burning. People usually classify exercises based on how much calories you can burn. So let’s look at the numbers. An average person uses almost 300 calories while riding a bicycle for 30 minutes, but the same person while swimming freestyle burns 255 calories. So numerically cycling wins. But here is another aspect. During swimming, since the body is submerged in water, you don’t feel your full body weight. This makes swimming easier and people often end up swimming more without getting tired. This also makes it an ideal workout for people with arthritis or other bone diseases such as osteoporosis. 

Also, since the body weight is supported by the water, swimming makes an excellent workout for people with cardiovascular diseases. In the water, even though you are exercising, it has a relaxing effect on the heart. In some cases, it has been observed that the heart beat goes down to as low as 55 beats per minute and still maintains proper blood supply in the body. Hence swimming is an excellent exercise for people with cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, cycling is a typical cardio exercise which increases heart rate. So if you are a cardiovascular patient, swimming is completely safe but if you want to ride a bicycle, make sure you discuss it with your healthcare provider. 

Another important aspect of swimming is that it involves the use of all muscles of the body. People who swim regularly, notice a significant change in their body shape even if they don’t lose weight. 

Risk of Injuries

As you swim, the arms and legs are in continuous motion. This can increase pressure on shoulders and the collar bone. Over longer periods, these two bones can get hurt and start to roughen up resulting in inflammation and pain. But at the same time, swimming involves all the parts of the body, not as much with cycling. Physically you feel fit and new blood vessels and energy producing structures called mitochondria grow at a much faster rate than other exercises.

However, when it comes to cycling, there is always a greater risk of injuries. In case of a crash or fall, there is a higher risk of damage to vital joints such as the knee and hip joint. But on a positive note, these severe injuries are not so common during everyday life; however, they are more frequent in professional cycling. In case, you have visual or motor coordination problems, it is ideal to discuss them with your healthcare provider before you start cycling. 

Conclusion 

Whether it is cycling or swimming, both come with their own benefits and costs. According to research, more people pursue cycling into their routine compared to swimming. The reason for that is convenience. Cycling is easy to incorporate into daily routine as it is also a mode of transportation but swimming is something special you need to take out time for.

But then again, the choice depends only on personal preference. While cycling can help you maintain health and fitness, there is technically no exercise which has an exceptionally mild impact on the body associated with all the health benefits of a cardio workout.

Coronavirus Crisis and its Psychological Effects on the Population

Current Results of the Coronavirus 

Having fun staying at home? You are not alone. Get ready to meet your seven billion neighbors who are struggling with the same predicament across the globe. COVID-19 has spread like wildfire affecting tens of millions of people and resulting in the deaths of thousands. 

Woman wearing mask in a grocery store.
Woman wearing mask in a grocery store. The new normal of life in our country and the world. Photo by Pexels

Welcome to the new normal, where we quarantine in our homes, go out only when it’s essential, wear gloves and masks, binge Netflix and talk to doctors through telehealth.

This is no doubt affecting our behavior and lifestyle, but what is it doing to us psychology? And what will the future hold? Will handshakes be taboo? What about going to bars and restaurants? How long do we expect governments to enforce this lockdown? Just these few questions can cause anxiety, but the more pertinent issues that can really bring up our stress levels are catching the infections and the subsequent fear of dying.

As the disease continues to affect our every day lifestyles, governments, businesses and individuals have been forced to take some drastic measures to prevent the spread of this disease. Countries around the world have shut down schools, canceled events and closed factories, leaving most cities void of human activity. 

Telecommunication has become part of this behavior. Businesses, schools, medical facilities and even religious institutions are all participating in this effort to keep us safe, but how is it affecting our psyche, if at all?

Worshiper participating in Pope Francis' eulogy using telecommuting
Worshiper participating in Pope Francis’ eulogy via telecommuting
“Church in the time of Coronavirus” by 
Catholic Church (England and Wales), licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

While millions are now working from home, others have lost their jobs and there are many who have been forced to stay at home while they put their professional commitments on hold until the situation improves. Such are the people who are sustaining through the tough times by withdrawing from their savings, even from their retirement funds.  

So as we continue to experience this new behavior, let’s not forget that preventive measures to control the spread of the virus will definitely help in mitigating this disease. But these measures come at a cost and part of the cost is psychological. No one exactly knows how future events will turn but for now, as people practice social distancing and avoid human interaction, the measures will continue to have a huge psychological impact. 

Silouttes shown social distancing

Psychological Effects of Preventive Measures 

As more and more people are self-quarantined, they have curtailed their in-person interactions. Let’s take a look at how these measures are affecting different segments of the population. 

Children

In some parts of the world, schools have closed down for as long as three months. Colleges have moved to telecommuting, leaving some students nervous about how to take examinations.

A symbolic illustration of social distancing among children
A symbolic illustration of social distancing among children
Photo by Pexels

While at home, children are forced to stay indoors, away from their friends and told to avoid touching their face and to keep washing hands. They hear their parents discussing the news about deaths and the number of infected people. Loved ones getting infected, parents worrying about food and their financial issues and how the situation is affecting their professional lives can all take a toll on the emotional well-being of children.  

It is difficult for them to see a loved one infected which can be a cause of distress. Also, it is not easy for kids to see their parents struggling through a difficult situation. With schools and parks closed (although some are beginning to open up), being at home and unable to go outside is another stressor, all yielding to psychological implications. 

Parents must be aware of how this crisis affects their children and they can take preventative actions. Here are a few of what parents can do to help their kids maintain a normal life during this pandemic:

  • Keep them busy
    • School them at home. This can be done by creating a scheduled curriculum or by contacting the school to see if the school has a curriculum already prepared for their grade level.
    • Find out if the school provides tele-education, which is a growing technology during this time.
  • Set up a Zoom (or another teleconference app) that will connect them with their friends and your family. 
  • Play games with them or encourage them to play games amongst themselves. Preferably, games that induce educational objectives.
  • Do you have a backyard or does your apartment building have an inner courtyard? Go out with them and get some sun while you’re doing it. Besides seeing a different location outside of the four walls of your home, they (and you) can get some good vitamin D – an important nutrient and one that helps you fight the virus should you go to a hospital.

It is important that parents stay strong. This and the items mentioned above are an excellent way to help maintain normality during these trying times.

Professionals in the Workplace

Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels

This (COVID-19) changes everything. A new paradigm has approached as close contact is now being discouraged, causing small businesses to close and resulting in more and more people to work from home; that is, if they still have a job.

The lack of human interaction, the fear of getting infected and being locked at home can take a toll on anyone’s mental health. This, along with the deadlines of work and the constant fear of losing the job adds to another major source of stress. 

Many factories and organizations have been closed now, laying off hundreds and thousands of people. This means that there is a significant increase in unemployment. In the US only, the number of individuals seeking unemployment benefits has reached 30 million people. The numbers are much higher in other parts of the world. As governments are trying to contain the virus, this increasing loss of jobs is posing an additional challenge. 

Unemployment comes with its own set of psychological implications. The loss of jobs, financial concerns along with the fear and anxiety of the pandemic can take a toll on our mental health.

But there is a third group of workers who have put all their professional commitments on hold due to the pandemic. These are the people who are waiting for the situation to return to normal before they can go back to work. People associated with export businesses, airline industries, airport staff are some of the people whose professional life is on hold. While such people are at home and not working, the uncertainty and fear of loss of jobs or business value is huge. 

The Elderly 

Dementia Patient

Apart from children, another group that is affected is the elderly. According to statistics, the highest mortality rate due to COVID-19 is among the people age 60 and above. People age 80 and above have a mortality rate as high as 14.8%. Also, people who have pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, lung and cardiovascular diseases are more at risk of getting infected. All this is scary for anyone who is 65 or older.

Many seniors live on their own. The psychological implications of being away from their loved ones while being at risk of a disease that is fatal in certain conditions can be huge. This constant fear of getting infected further adds to the mental cost of the already struggling elderly. 

Moving Forward 

Social Distancing. Is this the new normal?
Photo by Kate Trifo from Pexels

The COVID-19 virus has been a stress test for people and governments across the globe. The condition has affected every single person who lives on this planet regardless of age, race or social stature. As we experience the pandemic, we can only hope that the crisis subsides before it takes a toll on the emotional and mental health of the people.

While there are some unavoidable costs of this crisis, on a positive note, the entire world has come together to support each other in these tough times. With changing weather and trials of preventive vaccines, there is hope for a COVID-19 free world. It is possible and the world is working on a cure. What we need to do now is maintain a positive attitude and stay optimistic throughout this pandemic.

What Causes Dry Mouth and How to Deal With It?

Human Teeth
Teeth and the oral cavity (pexels.com

Every wake up and find your mouth totally dry? Well, if so, it is something that should be corrected as it can lead to issues and not just in your mouth. Let’s explore why.

Saliva, the lubricant produced in the mouth, is like a health tonic for our teeth and gums. It is estimated that our mouth produces around 48 – 60 ounces of saliva every day. Here is why this lubricating liquid is absolutely essential. 

  • It prevents infection in the oral cavity by controlling the growth of microorganisms in the mouth. 
  • Saliva facilitates the transportation of food from the oral cavity to the digestive tract. 
  • It possesses antibacterial properties that protect teeth from cavities. 
  • It is also rich in calcium and phosphorus which ensures healthy teeth. 
  • Saliva also prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth. 
  • Acts as a lubricant that prevents food particles from sticking to teeth and gums. 
  • Neutralizes the acid from the stomach and helps keep gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) in control. GERD is one of the leading causes of heartburn.  

In all, we need saliva to keep our oral cavity clean and healthy. But there are instances when the saliva production in the mouth decreases resulting in dry mouth. The implications may range from simple discomfort to something which can have a significant impact on your oral and digestive health. Also, it can greatly affect your appetite and general liking for food. Medically, this condition is known as xerostomia

There are numerous reasons which can lead to dry mouth and fortunately, many treatments can help against this condition. Below you will find out about the potential causes of this condition and several tips for managing it. 

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Picture of dry toung
Xerostomia (CC wikimedia)

The condition occurs when the salivary glands present in the mouth do not produce sufficient saliva to keep the mouth clean. Some of the reasons which can affect the functioning of salivary glands include: 

Medications 

Dry mouth is a side effect of several medications and over the counter drugs. Medicines used to treat depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure are one of the potential sources. Also, medicines used to treat congestions, muscle spasm and general pain can lead to reduced production of saliva. 

Aging  

As people age, it is common for them to experience this dryness. The condition is more common in women compared to men. Inadequate nutrition, poor oral health, use of medications and changes in the ability of the body to process medications all lead to dry mouth.    

Cancer Treatment 

Drugs used to treat cancer can have a significant impact on the production of saliva. Chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer can temporarily or permanently damage the production of saliva in the mouth. The implications of cancer treatment on saliva production depends upon the affected area and dose of medicine. 

Health Conditions 

Dry mouth can be a result of various health conditions such as diabetes, stroke and Alzhemier’s disease. Infections such as thrush in the mouth can also decrease the production of saliva. Autoimmune disorders such as Sjorgen’s syndrome is also considered to be one of the causes of dry mouth. Problems associated with the nasal cavity such as breathing with the mouth open, sinusitis and snoring can contribute towards this condition as well. An injury or damage to the nerves in the head and neck region can also result in temporary or permanent reduction in saliva production. 

Use of Alcohol, Tobacco and Recreational Drugs 

In the long run, use of alcohol and tobacco can reduce the production of saliva in the oral cavity. Recreational drugs such as methamphetamine or marijuana can lead to severe dryness. It also damages the teeth and gums. 

Effective Tips for Treating Dry Mouth 

On a positive note, this condition can be treated. However, the treatment depends upon the cause of the condition and its severity. Below, you will find 10 tips which are effective against dealing with dry mouth regardless of the cause. 

Chewing Gum 

Chewing stimulates the production of saliva; however, it is only effective if the salivary glands are still working even to some extent. In case the salivary glands are permanently damaged, chewing gum won’t help. Here it is important to use sugar free gum only. Sugar free gum protects the oral cavity against cavities. This is even more important in case of dry mouth because it is more prone to developing cavities. 

Add Fiber 

Fibrous foods including apples, carrots and celery helps promote your oral health. They help fight off the harmful bacteria which helps enhance saliva production. 

Keep a Check on Alcohol and Caffeine 

As mentioned earlier, excessive use of caffeine and alcohol can lead to a shortage of saliva so it is important to keep a check on the intake of both. 

Increase Water Intake 

Though water is not a substitute for saliva, increasing water intake helps ease the symptoms. Here you should remember that most bottled water does not contain fluoride. This means that for a sufficient amount of fluoride, you will still have to rely on a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash. 

Rely on Natural Moisturiser 

Most cases of severe dryness can benefit from the use of natural products such as carboxymethyl cellulose gels and ointments. Others have found a mixture of water and glycerin very effective. 

Use a Humidifier 

Use of a room humidifier will keep your nasal and respiratory passage moist. As a result, even if you breathe with your mouth open, your internal membranes will remain moist and you are less likely to experience dry mouth. 

Avoid Medicines Which Lead to Dry Mouth 

It is important to discuss the side effects of all the drugs with your primary healthcare provider. In case you are prescribed a medicine which leads to dry mouth, you can always ask your healthcare provider to prescribe an alternate one.  

Use of Floss and Mouthwash 

Flossing and use of mouthwash are critical for maintaining oral health. But in case of dry mouth, you should beware of the type of mouthwash you need to use. Alcohol based mouthwashes such as Listerine can actually kill the healthy bacteria in the mouth and result in more dryness. So non-alcoholic mouthwashes are a better choice if you already have dry mouth. 

Go for Prescribed Medicines to Stimulate Saliva Production 

In case of more severe cases, you can always go for prescribed treatment to increase saliva production. However, it is essential that you seek advice from your healthcare provider before you start any treatment to stimulate the production of saliva in the mouth. 

Take Special Care of Your Oral Health 

In some cases, there is no effective way to treat dry mouth. In that case, protecting your oral cavity becomes a priority. Regularly see your dentist to identify and treat any cavities or other issues with your teeth and gum. Since the natural lubricant is not present, you might also need regular cleaning.

Over 50? – A Health Guide for Aging Men

Two cyclists riding a bicycle

Based on numerous studies, females are naturally healthier than men. This claim is based on the fact that out of 15 leading causes of death, men are ahead of women in all causes except for one, Alzheimer’s disease. And the only reason is simply that many men do not live long enough to develop this condition. Additionally, during this coronavirus outbreak, staying as healthy as you can is imperative, especially for men over 50! 

On average, men die at least five years earlier than their wives. While there are biological reasons for health issues with men, there is also a discrepancy in how men approach their own health. If you look at the numbers, compared to women, men visit doctors less frequently. When it comes to health, this is often the last priority for them. So if you are a man over 50 and want to work on changing priorities, this post is for you. 

Below you will find the four most common health problems among senior males and how you can deal with them and live a longer, healthier and a happier life. 

Five Major Health Risks for Men Over 50

Cardiovascular Diseases 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men around the world. According to numbers, one in every five men die due to cardiovascular diseases and the average age of death due to heart diseases is 65. 

Cardiovascular diseases can range from chest pain (angina) to high cholesterol and atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries). Cholesterol is the build-up of plaque inside the arteries which narrows the arteries and in turn affects the blood supply. If the plaque becomes unstable, it forms a clot which can result in a heart attack or stroke. 

Men are more prone to heart diseases because naturally, their bodies produce more bad cholesterol which contributes towards the blockage of arteries. 

How to Deal with it?

So while cardiovascular diseases continue to be one of the leading causes of death among men, on a positive note, you can work towards reducing your chances of developing this disease. How? Let’s find out. 

  • If you have a family history of cardiovascular diseases, make sure you work closely with your primary healthcare provider. Ask for screenings and tests which can help you find out the state of your heart health. Early detection can reduce the risk of a heart attack. 
  • If you are a smoker, consider quitting this habit. Smoking multiples the risk of cardiovascular diseases and increases the likelihood of an earlier death. 
  • Make sure you maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Adding a physical activity of at least 30 minutes every day can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

Lung Cancer 

Men over 50, especially if they smoke, are at a much higher risk of developing lung cancer. Very often, the disease is diagnosed when it has already spread fully to the organ or to other parts of the body. And within a year of the diagnosis, less than half of the men are alive. So lung cancer is aggressive and is almost fatal. 

Smoking remains the single largest cause of lung cancer in the US and around the world. According to the numbers, in the year 2018, around 121,700 new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed among men in the US. During the same year, more than 83,000 men died due to the disease. In the same year, 2.1 million new cases of lung cancer were recorded around the world resulting in 1.76 million deaths in the same year. But there is definitely something all men can do to reduce the risk of this deadly disease. 

How to Deal with it?

  • Quit Smoking – This is the single, most effective solution which can reduce the risk of lung cancer at any age. If you are not sure how to go about it, you can always work with a medical professional. Doctors and therapists can suggest tools and ways through which you can overcome this habit of smoking.  

Prostate Cancer 

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men; lung cancer being the first. The small gland located behind the penis secretes fluids which play a significant role in ejaculation. Though it is a common type of cancer among men, it is often not life-threatening. While as many as one in six men are likely to get diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime over the course of life, only 1 in 41 die from the disease. The average age of diagnosis of prostate cancer is 66 years and the disease is uncommon in men under the age of 40.

Reducing the Risk of Prostate Cancer 

Screening and early detection of cancer is recommended and choosing a healthy diet is one the most effective methods of reducing your risk of this disease. 

  • Choose a low fat diet and limit your intake of fatty food each day. Avoid deep fried foods and food such as nuts, meat, and cheese. Instead opt for leaner cuts of meat and go for low fat options of dairy products. 
  • Increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Both fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins. A high consumption of fruits and vegetables leave little room for fatty foods. 

Erectile Dysfunction 

The condition is not a life-threatening one but is still one of the most common conditions affecting senior men. As many as 40% of the males over the age of 40 experience ED. The condition leads to a reduced quality of life, less enjoyment and increases the likelihood of depression

What to do About it?

Medically, there is no cure of this condition. However,  you can do a lot to improve erectile dysfunction naturally.

  • Exercise and eating right are the two important prerequisites when dealing with any medical condition and erectile dysfunction is not an exception. 
  • Take good care of your blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction is often caused by atherosclerosis, the condition which leads to cardiovascular diseases. By taking care of your blood vessels, you can reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction. 
  • Reduce weight. Maintain a close to ideal weight to minimize the risk of ED.. 
  • Work on strengthening your pelvic muscles by doing specific exercises. 

A healthy life is possible even after 50. Just remember, age is just a number.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) What You Need to Know

Intestines, Bowel, Guts, Intestinal, Gastrointestinal

Facts – About IBS 

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders affecting between 25 and 45 million people in the United States. 
  • Globally, IBS affects 10-15% of the total population. 
  • The condition is more common among women. Almost two out of every three affected with the condition are females. 
  • IBS affects people of all ages including children and the elderly but is most common under the age of 50.
  • IBA accounts for up to 12% of the visits to the hospitals. 
  • 2.5-3.5 million people visit the doctor’s office annually due to IBS symptoms in the US only. 
  • Around 30-40% of visits to the gastroenterologists are due to the symptoms of IBS. 
  • Unfortunately, many people do not recognize the symptoms of IBS.
  • Many people with the symptoms of IBS do not need medical care. 
  • Contrary to popular opinion, IBS is not Chrons Disease. Although the symptoms are similar, the reason for their initial existence is different.

What is IBS?

Crohn's Disease

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a medical condition characterized by a group of gastrointestinal conditions. The symptoms can include abdominal cramps, pain, discomfort and bloating. It is also characterized by abnormal bowel movement which alters between diarrhea or/and constipation. 

Technically, IBS is considered as a “functional” disorder because it affects the normal functioning of the digestive system. The core problem lies with the movement of the organs involved in digestion instead of damage to the tissues or internal lining of the digestive tract organs. 

Signs and Symptoms of IBS 

As mentioned earlier, IBS is a cluster of symptoms which are typically associated with abdominal discomfort. Other common signs and symptoms of IBS include:  

  • Diarrhea: In some cases, people have IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D). This means that they often have a sudden urge to have loose stools even when they do not have indigestion.
  • Constipation: Not all cases of IBS have diarrhea. Instead, there are some cases where IBS is accompanied by constipation. Such patients experience strained bowel movements and inconsistent stools. 
  • Bloating and gas
  • Abdominal cramps and swelling in the lower abdomen. 
  • Pain and discomfort associated with certain foods
  • Nausea and occasional vomiting. 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss 
  • Stools with inconsistent texture. 

Though indigestion is not a symptom of IBS, almost 70% of people with this condition also experience indigestion. Since the condition is more common among women, most of the symptoms intensify during the menstrual periods. 

Types of IBS 

According to the symptoms, IBS can be classified into four categories or types. 

IBS with Diarrhea

This specific type of IBS specifically affects the large intestine. As a result, patients of this condition experience frequent loose stools which is often accompanied with nausea and vomiting. In some cases, people may also lose control over bowel movements. In such severe cases, treatment is essential to manage the symptoms of IBS. 

IBS with Constipation

This type of IBS usually affects young adults and adolescents. Stools are often very hard and the frequency is inconsistent. People with this type of IBS also commonly experience constipation. 

IBS with Constipation and Diarrhea 

Some people have mixed IBS which means that they have alternating patterns of diarrhea and constipation. 

Unsubtyped IBS 

Other symptoms of IBs which do not fit into the above three categories fall under this type known as unsubtyped IBS. 

What Causes IBS?

As of now the exact cause of IBS is still not known. Medical practitioners around the world agree that a number of factors contribute to this condition. Some of the factors include:

  • Altered pattern of movement of gastrointestinal organs
  • Abnormal signals to and from the brain
  • Changes in sensitivity to pain and 
  • Food intolerance 

Some of the risk factors which increase the likelihood of developing IBS may include the following: 

  • Infections in the gastrointestinal tract including stomach, large and small intestines
  • Hormonal imbalance 
  • Certain psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression
  • In some cases, genetics may also contribute towards IBS 

Managing IBS 

IBS cannot be treated however, the symptoms can be managed by avoiding triggers and adopting a few lifestyle changes. 

IBS Triggers

Certain types of foods as well as stress and anxiety can trigger or intensify symptoms of IBS in some people. 

Foods 

Some of the common food ingredients which are often considered as IBS triggers include:  

  • Red peppers
  • Red wine 
  • Green Onion 
  • Wheat 
  • Cow Milk 

A better idea is to substitute these ingredients with other food items such as spinach, tofu, salmon and broccoli, which are more stomach friendly. 

Stress 

According to research, stress and IBS are closely related. Stress increases the sensitivity of the colon and increases the movement of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract. Also, stress increases the risk of IBS because this condition is a result of a complex interaction between the brain and the stomach and other organs of the digestive system. 

Lifestyle Changes to Improve the Symptoms of IBS 

Apart from avoiding triggers, bringing in a few lifestyle changes play an important role in improving the symptoms of IBS. Some of the tips to improve the symptoms of IBS include the following:

  • Reduce the intake of caffeine. 
  • Add more fibrous foods in your diet
  • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day. 
  • Avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco. 
  • Reduce the intake of dairy products including cheese and milk. 
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. 

In most cases, IBS can be managed by avoiding triggers and bringing about a few lifestyle changes. But many people may also require medical treatment. If you are one of those, make sure that you follow the instructions of your medical caregiver carefully. 

How to Deal with Indigestion

Bacteria under a magnifying glass in the bowels

Indigestion is a common occurrence among people of all ages. It can be a symptom of an underlying gut condition such as ulcers, gallbladder, other diseases or just from something you recently ate. The key is if it keeps on occurring, it most likely is not from something you ate.

With or without a disease, indigestion can be extremely discomforting and can compromise a person’s gut health.

For those that experience it occasionally or in some cases, more often and then dies down, there is no continuous treatment for it. However, by eating healthy and avoiding unhealthy food choices, a person can limit the risk of getting indigestion.

What exactly is indigestion, and how can a person manage it are some of the most common questions that are asked about this condition. If you are looking for answers, then continue reading.

Understanding Indigestion

Indigestion, also called dyspepsia can occur due to a bunch of reasons, but when it happens it can present itself through the following signs:

  • Discomfort in the stomach
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting

Some other less common symptoms of indigestion are

  • Gas or belching in the abdomen
  • Gnawing sensation in the stomach
  • Burning sensation in the stomach
  • Feeling unnaturally full after eating a medium-sized meal
  • Feeling dull
  • Having difficulty finishing a meal

In the case of a severe episode of indigestion, a person may feel

  • Continuous vomiting
  • Vomiting with blood
  • Black stool
  • Trouble swallowing food

If you experience severe symptoms, then visit your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.

Causes of Indigestion

In everyday life, in the absence of an underlying cause, indigestion can occur due to overeating or eating too fast. Some people may face this issue after consuming some specific types of food, such as spicy, greasy or fatty food. Sometimes, lying down immediately after having food can also increase the chances of indigestion as the posture makes digestion harder for the body.

Some common causes of indigestion are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Exposure of the gut to complex foods (that are hard to digest like highly processed foods)
  • Emotional stress

Sometimes. Some medicines can cause this problem. You should read the side effects of drugs before consuming them. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen are notorious for having side effects in some patients.

When a person has an underlying gut problem, they can experience indigestion quite frequently. Some frequent gastrointestinal conditions are:

  • Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Gastric Cancer
  • Pancreatic or bile duct abnormalities
  • Peptic ulcers

Ulcers cause blisters and sores over the inner lining of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, which can lead to frequent indigestion.

Even though rare, it’s possible that sometimes a person may experience indigestion without a known cause. That form of indigestion is known as functional dyspepsia. Functional dyspepsia or FD may come about due to the abnormal muscle movement of the gastrointestinal tract. When the gastrointestinal lining in the body squeezes too tight while digesting food, a person can experience indigestion. And since, in such a case, there is no identifiable cause, a patient cannot take any measures to avoid abnormal muscle movement in this area.

How can Indigestion be diagnosed?

When you start experiencing frequent symptoms in your GI system, make an appointment with your doctor. The doctor will ask you detailed questions about your diet habits. He/She will also run some blood tests and get scans of your stomach to rule out any underlying conditions.

In some cases, the doctor may ask you to take a stool test to check the percentage of bacteria in your stool to rule out peptic ulcers.

If all the tests come out clean, then the doctor may suggest an endoscopy. During an endoscopy, the doctor inserts a tube with a camera inside your body to check the inner lining of your GI tract. An endoscopy helps to spot blisters and other telltale signs of a damaged lining. Using the procedure, the doctor can diagnose the following conditions:

  • Infection Cancer
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Ulcers
  • Reflux esophagitis

Once your physician determines the underlying cause of indigestion, he can give you a line of action to manage the condition effectively.

How to Treat Indigestion?

Specific medicines can help ease the symptoms; however, they may have some other side effects occasionally. The most commonly prescribed drugs to treat indigestion are:

Prokinetics

Prokinetics are prescription medications like Motilium and Reglan that control the muscle movement in the gut. Motility is the uncontrolled movement of the muscles using metabolic energy. Some side effects of prokinetic medicines are:

  • Tiredness or Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Involuntary spasms or muscle movements

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

PPIs reduced acid in the stomach that can considerably ease the symptoms during an episode of indigestion. However, like other medicines, PPIs can also have side effects on the body. Those side effects may include:

  • Backache
  • Dizziness or grogginess
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cough
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Light-headedness or headache

H2 Receptor Antagonists

H2 receptor medicines like Zantac and Pepcid can significantly reduce stomach acid and hence, be useful in easing the symptoms of indigestion. Some common side effects of H2 receptor antagonists are:

  • Rash with or without itching
  • Constipation
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

Even though the chances of having an adverse reaction to consuming the mentioned medicines are slim to none, they are still a possibility.

Home Remedies

Some natural food items can help subside symptoms of indigestion substantially. The most common organic food choices for indigestion are:

  • Chamomile tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Ginger
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Lemon water

Incorporating these food items in your daily routine can bring down the frequency of indigestion in people.  

If you frequently face the problem of indigestion, then avoid greasy and spicy foods as much as possible and get yourself checked to rule out underlying medical conditions that can cause indigestion.

Can Bananas Help Weight Loss?

Ripe bananas against a yellow background

People have conflicting views on the weight-loss friendliness of bananas. Some say they aid weight loss, while some believe that they help weight gain. The constant bickering between the pro and anti-banana camps leave a layperson befuddled. Bananas are an excellent snack choice because they are filling and have a sweet taste that can feel like a delightful respite on a sugar-free diet. And even without a low-calorie diet, bananas can be a great snack option or a supplementary food item.

But when people get caught up in the calories of bananas, they lose sight of the many benefits of the fiber-rich food. And consequently, avoid eating bananas. However, a person shouldn’t cut bananas out of their diet entirely for fear of weight gain because they offer a bunch of nutrients that keep the body healthy.

Before passing a verdict on bananas’ ability to assist or inhibit weight loss, let’s consider the arguments of both the camps.

 The Pro-Banana Camp

The pro-banana camp supports eating bananas on a daily basis because they think it’s more good than bad. That is, even though bananas have calories, the excessive nutrients that a banana has to offer counter those calories. It’s packed with fiber that keeps a person fuller for longer during, hence reduces frequent food intake. And as a result, the overall calorie intake remains in control.

Some radical members of the camp may even believe that since bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals, the calories in the fruit are not harmful. There is no scientific study to support that argument, but some people continue to use the high nutrient count of bananas as an excuse to binge eat them.

One segment of the pro-banana camp, who are health-conscious, believe that on a strict diet, having a banana is an excellent way of satisfying sugar cravings with the added benefit of getting other nutrients as well.

Underripe bananas have high quantities of resistant starch, which doesn’t digest in the gut. And as a result, it floats in the blood and acts like soluble fiber, which helps in weight loss and reduces blood sugar. But that happens if you consume bananas that are a bit green. A person doesn’t have to eat an utterly unripe banana; just a bit of under-ripe banana can do the trick. However, more research is required to make a definitive claim to support resistant starch theory.

Bananas have a low to medium glycemic index, which is the ability of a food item to raise the blood sugar level. Not all bananas have a low glycemic index, but most of them do, depending on their ripeness. Slightly under-ripe bananas have a lower glycemic index than overripe bananas. Nonetheless, bananas don’t spike the sugar level in blood tremendously. So that’s also one reason why people like to eat bananas.

Bananas release their sugar slowly. That is, the body gets sugars from bananas at a linear pace; therefore, a person doesn’t feel an instant surge in the blood sugar levels after consuming a banana. High GI food items are linked with weight gain and diabetes. But since bananas have low to medium GI levels, they are considered to be weight loss friendly. No conclusive research is available to attest to these claims. More study on this aspect of bananas is required.

Now that we have gone over all the possible arguments played by the pro-banana camp let’s move on to the anti-banana camp now.

The Anti-Banana Camp

People in this camp are staunch believers in the fattening properties of bananas. They avoid bananas for fear of weight gain due to the high-calorie count in bananas. To better understand the calorie count of a banana, let’s take a look at the nutrient label of a medium-sized banana.

Calories 150
Potassium: 12% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 20% of the RDI
Vitamin C: 17% of the RDI
Magnesium: 8% of the RDI
Copper: 5% of the RDI
Manganese: 15% of the RDI
Fiber: 3.1 grams

Most members of the anti-banana community steer clear of them in favor of other fruits that offer the same amount of nutrients without stacking up on calories such as apples. A cup of apple slices has about 60 calories, while a cup of banana slices has around 135 calories.

Furthermore, the source of calories in a banana is carbohydrates. Bananas aren’t high on fats, but it does have a high carb count. Most of the carbs in a banana are glucose, fructose, and sucrose, which are also sugar components. Sugar turns into body fat more quickly than other calorie sources.

However, things can be different in starch resistant food items as they release their sugar gradually in the body. So if a person works out and burns their calories, they don’t have to worry about the sugar in bananas turning into body fat.

Bananas have a bad rap in terms of their calorie content. People defame bananas based on their high-calorie content without considering the high fiber content of bananas, which can aid in weight loss.

What’s the Final Verdict?

Bananas are indeed high in calories, but they offer other healthy compounds and micronutrients. A person shouldn’t dismiss the nutritional benefits of bananas in fear of gaining weight due to the calories it has. If eaten wisely, a banana can add a lot of nourishment to a person’s diet.

With that said, bananas are not free food. Even though they are charged with nutrients, their calories are a reality. You cannot binge-eat bananas and expect to lose weight. But that’s true for most food items. As long as you take them in moderation, they can help you with your body/fitness goals.

Deciding on whether to include bananas in your diet depends on your goals and personal choice (do you like the taste of bananas?). If you want to lose weight, having a banana can sustain you for longer durations. So you can create a calorie deficit by not eating anything else after consuming a banana. But if you like to eat something at short intervals when dieting, then you might want to avoid eating bananas often.

Don’t completely rid your diet of bananas and don’t also include too many of them in your diet. Consume them in moderation, and you will be fine.

Can Green Tea Help Weight Loss?

A cup of green tea beside peppermint leaves

The quest to lose weight is an exhausting task that can go on for days. Obese people try everything in their power to burn layers of fat on their bodies as quickly as possible, but alas! It’s a time-consuming process. As easy as it is to gain weight, shedding it can be quite a piece of work. And during the trying times when a person is working hard towards their body goals, they always try to find potions to weasel their way into the land of slender-ness.

And much to the chagrin of trainers and dieticians, the internet serves multiple untested shortcuts to weight loss. Out of all those unreliable schemes, the one that stands out the most is green tea. With that said, green tea might not be as unreliable as the other dubious shortcuts that people are bombarded with. Let’s take a look at just what green tea has to offer with regards to weight loss and cut through all the fake news about it.

Green tea is famous for helping weight loss, and even experts are in favor of using the green elixir to accelerate weight loss. But what is the science behind the apparent benefits of green tea? Is it helpful, or is it just a hoax that tea manufacturers use to sell their products? Let’s find out.

Caffeine in Green Tea

Even though the caffeine content in green isn’t as high as coffee, that is enough to stimulate fat-burning in the body.

Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that has proven to aid weight loss in the body. It is due to the fat-burning properties of caffeine that experts advise obese people to consume black coffee when trying to lose weight.

Green tea contains active compounds such as EGCG, those along with caffeine are supposed to help people in their quest to get in shape and lose unhealthy pounds in their body combined with other weight loss techniques.

EGCG in Green Tea

Green tea is high in EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is believed to promote and aid fat breakdown in the body. Accumulated fat in the body needs to break down into fat cells that are later used as energy packets to carry out essential bodily functions.   

Fat breakdown in the body is brought about when fat-burning hormones such as norepinephrine (noradrenaline) disintegrate long fatty chains and reduce them into cells that are released into the blood. EGCG in green tea boosts the effects of fat-burning hormones that accelerate the entire process of fat breakdown.

EGCG released from consuming green tea inhibits enzymes that promote the activity carried by fat-burning hormones. Ultimately, the broken down fat is released into the bloodstream as used by different organs and cells in the body.

Green Tea Helps Fat Burning during Workout

If you have ever tried a fat-burning supplement, then you must have seen green tea extracts on its label. That is because green tea is charged with active compounds that help fat burning, especially during exercise.

According to a study, men who consumed green tea extracts combined with regular exercise burned 17% more body fat than men who didn’t drink green tea extracts. A bunch of other studies also indicate that active compounds in green tea stimulate fat burning when taken with exercise.

Green Tea boosts Metabolism

A person’s body is constantly using up calories even when there is no physically strenuous activity. Our body is conducting multiple processes at all times, which require energy, and that can be acquired from calories.  

Many studies suggest that chemical compounds in green tea extracts train the body into getting the needed energy for bodily processes from excess calories. EGCG in green tea helps burn calories even when your body is at rest.

Studies show that green tea supplements can increase the fat-burning percentage by 3-4% and, in some cases, by 8%. However, more research is required to make a definitive claim regarding the ability of green tea to burn calories even when the body is at rest.

Green Tea Curbs Appetite

Green tea helps weight loss by reducing a person’s appetite. That is, after consuming green tea, people don’t eat as much as they did before. Hence, they consume fewer calories overall, which can help widen the calorie deficit and lead to weight loss.

Weight loss is typically achieved by creating a calorie deficit in the body. A person trying to lose weight brings down their daily intake of calories or burn more calories in order to create a calorie shortfall. By creating a deficit, the body uses up stored fat in the body to meet its energy requirements, which brings down body fat and reduces weight.

When a person drinks green tea, they eat less than they used to before including green tea in their diet. And as a result, they consume fewer calories, which forces the body to use unwanted fat to get energy for various processes.

In a nutshell, green tea increases calorie expenditure in the body.

Green Tea helps a person lose belly fat

Most people who are prompted to lose weight are irked by the muffin top protruding below the torso. And sadly, belly fat is the hardest form of fat to burn away with diet and exercise. However, green tea can help a person get rid of that paunch that they dislike so much.

There are two kinds of fat in the body. One is subcutaneous fat, and the other is visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is the form of fat that is stored underneath the skin, while visceral fat is the fat that’s accumulated around the belly area.

While green may or may not be immensely useful in reducing excess pounds from the body, it does seem to be plenty helpful in burning body fat, especially visceral fat. Visceral fat doesn’t only damage the shape of one’s body, but it also increases the risk of diabetes and other such diseases by creating insulin resistance in the body. It also increases the chances of inflammation in the body.

Having green tea regularly can save the body from developing harmful conditions by breaking down belly fat.

The Takeaway

Even though green tea shows immense promise with regard to weight loss in people, it cannot magically make you lean in a fraction of time. You need to take additional measures such as cutting down on carbs and increasing your protein intake to lose weight quicker.