Monday, November 26, 2018

The role of high carb diets in staving off chronic disease

China is a vast country with a wide diversity of ethnic groups and eating habits-and large differences in the lifestyles of rich and poor. In general, however, the Chinese recognize the relationship of diet to good health, and believe that the ideal diet is one that stresses both diversity and balance. Ancient texts, such as The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, stress the importance of the five flavors (pungent, sour, sweet, bitter and salty); the five grains (wheat, glutinous millet, millet, rice and beans); the five tree-fruits (peaches, plums, apricots, chestnuts and dates); the five vegetables (mallows, coarse greens, scallions, onions and leeks); and the five domestic animals (fowl, sheep beef, horses and pigs.) Meat, although not to be eaten in excess, was valued for its strengthening properties.
Where the "five grains" imply carb rich food, a.k.a. "major food" in Chinese. Therefore, it’s not surprising at all to see newest research come out to confirm what has already been proved by thousand years of clinical trials:

The secret to healthy aging is a low-protein, high carb diet

After 10,000 years of human agriculture, have we got the diet formula for a long, healthy life wrong?

Nutritional scientist Dr Samantha Solon-Biet from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre is challenging ageing research that has convinced us to eat fewer calories.
She is certain that the 2 million plus Australians who go on a diet every year need to forget about low-carb, high-protein combinations, where the end game is weight loss.
Striking a blow against popular opinion, Dr Solon-Biet believes the best formula for healthy ageing is eating a low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet. This approach is groundbreaking because it shifts the goalposts from calorie counting to eating the right balance of ‘macronutrients’ – carbohydrates, protein and fat.
The high-carb element does not mean gorging on processed cakes and cookies, however. It’s about eating a smaller proportion of protein and plenty of ‘good carbs’ – vegetables and wholegrains that suppress your appetite and promote a healthy gut environment because they are high in fibre.

Biggest health challenge

Dr Solon-Biet’s solution to delay disease and ageing through diet addresses our number one health imperative. Ageing is accepted as the biggest risk factor for disease and death, and more than three quarters of elderly Australians have a chronic disease, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes account for about 70 percent of global deaths.
"If our findings in mice can be translated to humans it would reduce the burden of disease more significantly than eradicating cancer", says Dr Solon-Biet.
Her evidence-based solution debunks the often flimsy basis for ‘wonder’ diets. “Around 70 percent of data in a popular diet book is not backed by science,” she says

Global leader in aging research

The Charles Perkins Centre is already a leading hub for ageing research, thanks partly to Dr Solon-Biet’s work, and nutritional ‘geometry’, led by her own research supervisor and the centre’s Academic Director, Professor Stephen Simpson and Professor David Raubenheimer.
Dr Solon-Biet and Professor Simpson rely on the expertise of University mathematicians to crunch the numbers that support this geometric approach, and interrogate research from every possible angle. On any given day she collaborates with researchers across biochemistry, microbiology, public health, medicine, business and pharmacology.
Dr Solon-Biet’s landmark 2014 study in metabolic biology journal Cell Metabolism opened many doors and she has also greatly benefited from a University of Sydney SOAR fellowship – a fellowship that supports outstanding early and mid-career researchers.
Her manipulation of macronutrients presents an exciting opportunity to strike back against lifestyle diseases and a diet solution that is sound and sustainable for healthy aging, for the long-term.

Friday, November 23, 2018

7 Kinds of Coughs and What They Might Mean

While it’s impossible to pinpoint a cough just by how it sounds, there are some key differences to give you clues as to what’s going on. Here's a guide.

Allergies? A cold? Acid reflux? No matter what the cause, there's a simple reason behind all your hacking: “A cough is a protective mechanism to clear your airway,” explains Jonathan Parsons, MD, Director of the Cough Clinic at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

While it’s impossible to always pinpoint a cough by how it sounds, there are some key differences to give you clues as to what’s going on. Here's how to tell what that cough really means.

Postnasal drip

Sounds like: Either a dry or wet cough. It’s caused by mucus dripping down your throat (due to either allergies or a cold), which tickles nerve endings, triggering coughing, Dr. Parsons says.
Other telltale symptoms: The cough is worse at night; there's a tickly feeling at the back of your throat. If it’s due to allergies you may also have itchy eyes and sneezing.
Diagnosis and Rx: If you suspect allergies, try an over-the-counter antihistamine. But if that doesn’t help after a couple weeks, see your doctor, who can refer you to an allergist for skin testing. If it’s due to a residual cold, you can try natural remedies like saline washes and steam to help relieve congestion, but if the cough lingers for more than a week see your doctor to rule out a sinus infection, which might require antibiotics.


Sounds like: A dry cough that ends with a rattle or wheeze. People with asthma have inflamed airways, which can cause difficulty breathing as well as wheezing and coughing.
Other telltale symptoms: The cough gets worse at night or while exercising; chest tightness; shortness of breath; fatigue
Diagnosis and Rx: To check for asthma, your doctor will most likely order spirometry, a lung function test, he says. To treat it, there are two types of medications: quick-relief drugs (bronchodilators like albuterol, which make it easier to breathe) and drugs you take daily to keep asthma under control, such as leukotriene modifiers (like Singulair).


Sounds like: A dry, spasmodic cough. Short for gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERDis when acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus. It’s actually the second most common cause of chronic cough, causing about 40% of cases, according to a 2006 review published in Nature.
Other telltale symptoms: Your cough gets worse when you’re lying down or eating. “The classic sign is coughing that starts as soon as you lie down in bed at night,” says Dr. Parsons. About 75% of GERD patients with chronic cough have no other symptoms, but if you do they can include heartburn and hoarseness.
Diagnosis and Rx: Tests may include an x-ray of your upper GI tract and/or an endoscopy (where your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube down your throat to examine it). GERD is treated with OTC or prescription meds to reduce acid production, like Pepcid AC, Zantac, or Prilosec.


Sounds like: A chronic, hacking cough that produces a lot of mucus, particularly in the morning, Dr. Parsons says. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema; the main cause is smoking.

Other telltale symptoms: The cough gets better as the day progresses; shortness of breath, especially with physical activity; wheezing, fatigue, and chest tightness.
Diagnosis and Rx: Your doctor will usually recommend lung function tests such as spirometry and a chest x-ray. The disease is treated with meds like bronchodilators and inhaled steroids; it's also imperative to stop smoking. In extreme cases, you may need oxygen therapy.

Medication-related cough

Sounds like: A dry cough. A group of drugs known as ACE inhibitors are commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure; they can cause cough in about 20% of patients.
Other telltale symptoms: Cough begins a few weeks after starting these meds, Dr. Parsons says.
Diagnosis and Rx: Talk to your doctor. If your cough is mild, you may be okay switching to a different ACE inhibitor, he says, but if it’s severe, you’ll want to switch to another type of blood pressure med entirely, such as an angiotensin receptor blocker or ARB, like Cozaar.


Sounds like: Initially a dry cough which after a few days turns to a wet cough with yellow, green, and/or red or rust-tinged mucus.
Other telltale symptoms: Fever, chills, trouble breathing, pain when breathing in deeply or coughing
Diagnosis and Rx: Your doctor can usually tell if you have pneumonia by listening to your chest with a stethoscope, although she may order an x-ray and blood tests to determine if it’s viral or bacterial, Dr. Parsons says. Treatment for the latter is antibiotics; if it’s viral, the only remedy is rest, OTC cough meds, and chicken soup.

Whooping cough (pertussis)

Sounds like: A severe, hacking cough that ends with a whooping sound as you breathe in. While this disease used to be extremely rare thanks to vaccines introduced back in the 1940s, it’s now seeing an upswing—in 2012, there were more than 48,000 cases reported, the most since 1955, according to the CDC.
Other telltale symptoms: The first symptoms are similar to the common cold: stuffy, runny nose, watery eyes, fever, and cough. But after about a week the classic coughing signs emerge, with hacking so intense you may throw up or turn red or blue, he says.
Diagnosis and Rx: Pertussis is diagnosed with blood tests and a chest X-ray. It’s treated with antibiotics.

Cough; Chronic Cough, Coughing in blood


A cough is your body’s way of responding to irritants in your throat and airways. An irritant stimulates nerves in your respiratory tract, sending the cough impulse to your brain, which signals the muscles of your abdomen and diaphragm to give a strong push of air to your lungs to try to expel the irritant.
Everyone coughs sometimes, but a cough that persists for several weeks or one that brings up discolored or bloody mucus may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical attention. A cough rarely requires emergency care.


An occasional cough is normal — it helps clear foreign substances and secretions from your lungs and prevents infection.But a cough that persists for long periods of time may signal an underlying problem. Some causes of coughs include:
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Medications called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Postnasal drip, Acute sinusitis
  • Allergies, Asthma, Bronchiolitis, Bronchitis, Childhood asthma, Choking: First aid
  • Chronic sinusitis
    Common cold, COPD, Croup, Cystic fibrosis, Emphysema
Chronic cough — one lasting eight weeks or longer — is more than just an annoyance. A chronic cough can ruin your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted. Severe cases of chronic cough can result in vomiting, rib fractures and light headedness.
While it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the problem that’s triggering your chronic cough, the most common causes are tobacco use, postnasal drip, asthma and acid reflux — the backflow of stomach acid, which can irritate your throat.


A chronic cough can occur with other signs and symptoms, which may include:A runny or stuffy nose A sensation of liquid running down the back of your throat,Wheezing and shortness of breath,Heartburn or a sour taste in your mouth,In rare cases, coughing up blood

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you have a cough that lingers, especially one that brings up sputum or blood, disturbs your sleep or affects your work.


An occasional cough is normal — it helps clear foreign substances and secretions from your lungs and prevents infection. But a cough that persists for long periods of time is usually the result of an underlying problem. Examples include:
  • Postnasal drip: When your nose or sinuses produce extra mucus, it can drip down the back of your throat and trigger your cough reflex.
  • Asthma: An asthma-related cough may come and go with the seasons, appear after an upper respiratory tract infection, or become worse when you’re exposed to cold air or certain chemicals or fragrances. This type of asthma is frequently referred to as hyperactive airways disease.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): In this common condition, stomach acid flows back into the tube that connects your stomach and throat (esophagus). The constant irritation can lead to chronic coughing.


  • X-rays: Although a routine chest X-ray won’t reveal the most common reasons for a cough — postnasal drip, acid reflux or asthma — it may be used to check for lung cancer and other lung diseases. An X-ray of your sinuses may reveal evidence of a sinus infection.
  • Computerized tomography (CT scan): A CT scan takes X-rays from many different angles and then combines them to form cross-sectional images. This technique can provide more-detailed views of your lungs, but it’s not a routine exam in the initial evaluation of a chronic cough. CT scans may also be used to check your sinus cavities for pockets of infection.


Coughing up blood can be caused by a variety of lung conditions. Coughing up blood can take different forms: The blood may be bright red or pink and frothy, or it may be mixed with mucus. Also known as hemoptysis (he-MOP-tih-sis), coughing up blood, even in small amounts, can be alarming. However, producing a little blood-tinged sputum isn’t uncommon and usually isn’t serious. Call 108 or seek emergency care if you’re coughing up blood in large quantities or coughing up blood frequently.


Hemoptysis refers to coughing up blood from some part of the respiratory tract. Blood coming from elsewhere, such as your stomach, can mimic coughing up blood. It’s important for your doctor to determine the site of the bleeding, and then determine why you’re coughing up blood.
The major cause of coughing up blood is chronic bronchitis or bronchiactasis, luminary tuberculosis. Other possible causes of coughing up blood include:
  • Fibrotic lesion in lung due to previous tuberculosis,
    Drug use, such as crack cocaine, Foreign body, Lung abscess
  • Parasitic infection, Trauma to the chest, COPD, Cystic fibrosis, Emphysema, Lung cancer, Mitral valve stenosis, Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary embolism, Tuberculosis, Wegener’s granulomatosis

Is It a Cold, the Flu, or Pneumonia?

It can be tough to tell the difference between a common cold and something more serious.

When your head is pounding, your nose is stuffed, and you can't stop coughing and sneezing, you might not care what you have — you just want relief.
But it's important to know that a cold, the flu, and pneumonia can all cause those symptoms.
How do you tell the difference between the flu and a common cold? It can be difficult to tell the flu and a cold apart since they have very similar symptoms.

To find out how to get the relief you need, you need to know exactly what kind of bug you're dealing with.

What Are the Symptoms of a Common Cold?

The common cold is a simple illness that typically is not a serious infection. It’s little more than a nuisance — unless, of course, you're the one with the cold symptoms.
"Colds are caused by viruses, and the most common virus that causes the cold is rhinovirus," says Aaron M. Milstone, MD, assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.
While a common cold is no fun to deal with, it is not as dangerous as the influenza virus, which can spread to other people more quickly, and even kill, adds Dr. Milstone. There are also far fewer hospitalizations associated with the common cold than with the flu, he adds.
The symptoms of the common cold often include:
  • Coughing and a sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose and sneezing
  • Eyes that water
  • Some muscle aches and headaches
  • Low or no fever
Generally, says Milstone, people feel bad and a little run down for a couple of days, then start to perk up as the cold runs its course.
A good way to tell whether you have the common cold or the flu is by how quickly the symptoms appear. Symptoms of the common cold take their time. Flu symptoms, on the other hand, hit fast.

What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?

While the flu is also caused by a virus, it's a whole different kind of illness. Cold symptoms are relatively mild, whereas the flu causes much more severe symptoms.
"Influenza can really wipe out even a healthy person," says Milstone.
There is a vaccine to prevent, and medication to treat, certain strains of the flu. Flu treatment reduces how long you experience flu symptoms.
Flu symptoms often include:
  • Extreme fatigue with body and muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • No appetite
  • High fever
  • Chills and sweats
  • Stuffy nose and cough

What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is typically caused by a bacterial infection, although there are types of viral pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia is very treatable with antibiotics — if you get a diagnosis and promptly start pneumonia treatment.
But pneumonia can be a serious problem for people at high risk for the disease, including senior citizens, very young children, and those with a chronic lung condition. Two different pneumonia vaccines are available to protect against certain types of this potentially deadly illness.
Pneumonia symptoms often include:
  • Coughing up mucus or even blood
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
  • High fever with chills
  • Headaches
  • Frequent sweating with clammy skin
  • No appetite
  • Acting confused

Cold, Flu, and Pneumonia: How They Compare

The basic differences, says Milstone, come down to whether you can prevent and treat the disease, and how serious the consequences can be.
With the common cold, he says, there's not much that really can be done — and there's no vaccine to prevent it. But since it's not a serious illness and symptoms are pretty mild, it's not typically something you should worry about.
The flu and pneumonia are different stories. Both can have serious consequences and more severe symptoms that can leave you feeling pretty awful. Both are associated with a much higher rate of hospitalization and even death than the common cold. The severe symptoms associated with flu and pneumonia should be evaluated by a doctor.
Some types of both the flu and pneumonia can be prevented with vaccines and treated with medication. These can not only prevent serious complications, but also get you feeling better fast — and no matter what you have, that's all you want.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Herbal tea and lemon and flu things

It’s easy to love winter if you try. But it’s even easier to hate it, especially when you’re dealing with health issues. The season’s cold, dry weather can exacerbate everything from asthma to your chances of getting struck with the flu. Sure, you could escape to a hot and sunny destination when winter hits, but your best defense is knowing how to protect yourself when the temperatures plummet. Here are seven common winter health issues and how to combat them.

The Flu

Everyone knows that winter is flu season, but exactly why this virus tends to hit harder from November to March is often debated. Although some attribute the spread of the flu to lifestyle factors, like spending more time indoors and a lack of vitamin D, studies have shown that the virus is more stable when the air is cold and dry. Unlike cold viruses, flu viruses spread through the air, and according to this study, they’re able to stay in the air longer in winter-like conditions. Therefore, the flu is actually more likely to be transmitted on your way to-and-from the subway than once you’re inside it. But that doesn’t mean you should forfeit the outdoors altogether. Instead, make sure you get enough rest and regular exercise, stay hydrated, and eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet. If you’re healthy enough to get it, the flu shot can also help.

Dry Skin

For some, dry skin is nothing a little moisturizer can’t fix. For others, however, it can lead to serious cracks that are not only painful, but can even lead to infection if they’re not properly cared for. Our hands are often hit the hardest because we use them so often. They’re also most likely to be exposed to water and cold weather. When washing your hands, use a mild or moisturizing hand soap before drying them thoroughly. After each hand-washing, apply a good hand lotion that contains petroleum jelly to lock in moisture. It also helps to always wear gloves in cold weather or when using harsh cleaning products, and to moisturize your hands overnight.

Painful Joints

According to the Arthritis Foundation, changes in temperature and barometric pressure can trigger joint pain, though researchers aren’t entirely sure why. What we do know, however, are ways to manage the pain when it hits. Dressing warmly during winter is extremely important if you suffer from joint pain. Always be sure to pay special attention to your head, hands, and feet, since the majority of body heat is lost from the extremities. It’s also important to keep up with regular exercise during the winter months, since a lack of physical activity can cause joints to stiffen.

Cold Sores

According to the Mayo Clinic, cold sores are caused by various strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Most people know that once you’re infected with the virus, it never fully goes away, lying dormant in the nerve cells of your skin. Recurrence can happen any time your immune system is compromised, but they’re more likely to crop up in the winter. Cold sores often triggered by exposure to wind and sun, fatigue, and a decrease in your overall health. Therefore, when you combine cold, dry weather, a busy time like the holidays, and cold and flu season, it’s the perfect cold sore-inflicting storm. As with any viral infection, fluids, rest, and adequate nutrition are your best defense. But if you do get struck with one, try an over-the-counter drying agent like alcohol and a cool, damp cloth to promote healing. Regularly applying lip balm will also protect your lips from future damage.


Cold, dry air can trigger asthma attacks, which is why winter can be a brutal time if you have difficulty breathing. The dry, windy weather that many parts of the country experience in the winter can also stir up mold and pollen, which makes asthma sufferers even more prone to attacks. But staying indoors all winter isn’t good for anyone, and could even lead to other health issues on this list. When attempting to manage asthma symptoms, your best bet is to start by keeping a diary so that you understand exactly what type of weather conditions trigger your flare ups. Then, do your best to pay attention to weather reports, which can also include pollen and mold counts.

Heart Attacks

When your body is suddenly exposed to cold temperatures, your blood vessels constrict, which is why cardiologist Randall Zusman warns against stepping outside half-dressed for winter. He also advises dressing in layers, so that it’s easy to remove articles of clothing if you get too warm. If you do some form of physical activity while you’re all bundled up, you can overheat, causing your blood vessels to dilate and dramatically lowering your blood pressure. Combine one of these scenarios with overexertion, and you’ve got a serious mismatch between blood supply and demand, which is exactly what leads to a heart attack. It’s also why shoveling heavy, wet, or deep snowfalls can be extremely risky, so if you live in a particularly snowy part of the country, consider investing in a snowblower.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Everyone feels a little sluggish when winter hits, but if you’re feeling moody and completely zapped of energy, it might be more than just the “winter blues.” You could have Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, which strikes most people in the fall and continues throughout the winter months. Although it’s tough to pinpoint the exact cause, many health care providers believe it has something to do with the amount of sunlight we receive in the wintertime. Reduced sunlight can disrupt your internal clock and lead to a drop in chemicals such as serotonin and melatonin, both of which play a role in mood. That’s why the condition is sometimes treated with light therapy. Exercising regularly, getting outside, and finding a few things about winter to look forward to don’t hurt either.