Articles on animal nutrition

Nutrition for the Elderly

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Are the seniors in Your Life Eating Well? No matter your age, it is important to get the right amount of nutrients every day. However, the elderly are often at a higher risk for certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to a variety of factors, such as low activity, slow body functions, comparatively a weaker immunity or poorly balanced diet and medication consumption. Talk to your dietitian and doctor about your changing nutritional needs as you age, and ask him/her about making changes to your diet or taking supplements to help prevent any of the nutritional deficiencies.Studies show that a good diet in your later years reduces your risk of osteoporosis, heart diseases and certain cancers. As you age, you might need less energy. But you still need just as many of the nutrients in food. To get the proper nutrition for the elderly, refer the following guidelines related to food and nutrition.Vitamin B-12Elderly men and women have a higher risk of B-12 deficiency because their stomachs do not contain an adequate amount of hydrochloric acid, which helps the body absorb the B-12 in food. For this reason, those over 50 should get the bulk of their vitamin B-12 through supplements or fortified foods like cereals, milk etc.ZincZinc is important for immune system health, wound healing, and blood clotting and thyroid function. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite, lack of taste or smell, hair loss, skin problems and depression. Men need 11 milligrams of zinc a day, and women need 8 milligrams, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. You can get this amount by eating foods like red meat, fish, poultry, cheese, legumes, whole grains and sunflower seeds.Calcium and Vitamin DAs you get older, your risks of losing bone mass and developing osteoporosis increase. Along with regular exercise, consuming adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D can help keep your skeletal system strong and slow bone loss. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, men and women over the age of 65 needs between 1,200 and 1,500 milligrams of calcium a day, and good food sources include dairy products like milk and cheese. Early morning sunshine is the best source of vitamin D.Other Considerations regarding Nutrition for the ElderlyOffer nutritionally-dense foods. Since many seniors aren't eating as much as they should, the food they do eat must be as nutritious as possible. Encourage whole, unprocessed foods that are balanced in calories and nutrients for their size.Enhance aromas and flavors. Appealing foods may help stimulate appetite, especially in someone whose senses of taste and smell aren't what they used to be.Make eating a social event. Many seniors who live alone or suffer from depression may stop cooking meals, lose their appetites, and depend on convenience foods. If you are worried that your parent or grandparent isn't eating properly, make meals a family occasion.Encourage healthy snacking. Many seniors don’t like to eat large meals or don't feel hungry enough to eat three full meals a day. One solution is to encourage or plan for several mini-meals throughout the day.Nutrition for the Elderly-How can they stay on track Eating healthily is an ongoing commitment, but it’s easier than you think. Here are some tips for staying on course:Ask for help. Admit when you need a hand to shop, cook, and plan meals and find someone to help. It’s important for your health not to revert to frozen dinners or takeout food.Variety, variety, variety! Try eating and cooking something new as soon as boredom strikes.Make every meal “do-able.” Healthy eating needn't be a big production. Keep it simple and you’ll stick with it. Stocking the pantry and fridge with wholesome choices will make it easier to prepare quick, tasty meals.Set the mealtime mood. Set the table, light candles, play music, or eat outside or by a window when possible. Tidying yourself and your space will help you enjoy the moment.Break habits. If you eat watching TV, try eating while reading or use the time to catch up with your spouse or a friend. If you eat at the counter, set the table instead.

Food and Nutrition: Boost Your Mood With Some Food

Dr. Sangeeta Malu, Dietitian/Nutritionist
If you thought poor nutrition only affected the poor, think again. Millions of human beings across the world suffer from under-nutrition. Under nutrition refers not to lack of access to food, but to the body's inability to absorb nutrients. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. This doesn't apply only to your physical health, but to your mental health as well. Here are some things you should know about foods and your moods.  Say NO! to these foods1. Dump the junkMost fast foods contain trans-fats, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and other synthetic ingredients and have little nutritional value. These ingredients have been linked to irritability and depression in the long run.2. Sugar and glutenThe sugar and gluten present in some foods affect mental health. Consuming them in high quantities will suppress BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) activity BDNF is a growth protein which keeps brain neurons healthy. This can lead to depression, schizophrenia and other mental problems in people.Say YES! to these foods1. Omega-3 fatty acidsFoods like flax seed, walnuts and salmon contain Omega 3, which affects neurotransmitter pathways in the brain, and improves heart function by reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.2. L-Tryptophanis an essential nutrient for brain function. This amino acid is responsible for the production of a chemical called serotonin, which is used to treat people with depression. This can be found in red meat, dairy products and turkey.3. MagnesiumThis vitamin helps maintain physical and mental health. Leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and avocados contain magnesium, and their regular consumption will keep your mood light and your body healthy.4. Folic acid and vitamin B-12Both these essential nutrients increase metabolism and production of blood cells, which keep the brain healthy.Low levels of these nutrients are associated with depression and mood swings. Folic acid is present in fruits and leafy vegetables, and vitamin B 12 in seafood, meat and dairy products.What we eat determines how we feel! So, eat right and boost your mood with nutrition dense food!

Successful Surgery and Your Nutrition

Dr. Shreedhar Archik, Orthopedist
“Doctor, any dietary restrictions?”  Or Doctor, “what should I eat to prevent infection after surgery?”…and so on…I get bombarded by different questions but the baseline anxiety is same “food’ and its implications on surgical outcome.Nutrition and diet is a vast subject.Let’s see how our nutrition affects our surgical outcome.If you have undergone any surgery in the past you will easily recollect a list of investigations given to you by the doctor before the surgery is scheduled. I will try and decipher how these investigations matter to your surgical result. Complete blood count or CBC as it is known popularly is the commonest test ordered.  Our hemoglobin level is the first indicator of our wellbeing. In Indian population a level of 12 gm. % is considered normal. If you don’t suffer from any specific illness and are otherwise healthy then you should be around this level. Patients generally have more complications if their starting hemoglobin is low. One might argue that why not use a blood transfusion to increase the level of hemoglobin. Blood transfusion lowers your immunity and it has its own risks like transmitting diseases. I might go ahead and say “avoid blood transfusions at all costs unless it is lifesaving i.e. one has sustained a major injury and is bleeding profusely and without a timely blood transfusion is likely to die.In routine elective surgery it is always better to wait and get the hemoglobin up by taking tablets and /or injections.Message1: Don’t undergo an elective surgery with a hemoglobin of less than 10Your serum albumin level is another good marker of malnutrition. A level of <3.5 of albumin means you are severely malnourished and the likely hood of complications after surgery is very high. This is commonly found in elderly patients for obvious reasons. This level can be brought up by consuming proteins. However this should be done under a doctor’s supervision. Someone with a bad kidney can further damage his/her kidney by loading it with proteins.Message2: Don’t undergo an elective surgery with a albumin of less than 3.5Under the heading of CBC you will also see a lymphocyte count. Your immunity level is shown by this count. A lower lymphocyte count means your immunity or the ability to fight an infection is reduced. A lymphocyte count less than 20% should ring alarm bells.Message3: Don’t undergo a routine surgery if your lymphocyte count is <20%Mind you these are general guidelines and things will vary on a lot of factors. E.g. someone with rheumatoid arthritis is very likely to have low hemoglobin. It is always better to consult your treating surgeon. However, use these guidelines for a safe surgery.

Water Nutrition Facts

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Ever notice how lifeless a house plant looks when you forget to water it? Just a little water and it seem to perk back up. Water nutrition is just as essential for our bodies because it is in every cell, tissue, and organ in your body. That is why getting enough water nutrition every day is important for your health. Water is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. It is the basis for the fluids of the body. Water makes up more than two-thirds of the weight of the human body i.e. the body is made up of 55–75 percent water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration and is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones.Here are some facts about water nutrition:-- Water is the main constituent of the body and forms 50-60% of body weight and around 75% of volume. The exact amount varies with age and sex and also depends on body fat content.- Water contains no fats, no proteins, no carbohydrates and therefore no calories.- Lukewarm Water is the perfect complement for a nutritionally balanced meal.- Even in the absence of any visible perspiration, approximately half of water loss occurs through the operation of our lungs and skin.- Water is one of the six basic nutrients. It is widely seen as the most important nutrient because the body requires it constantly and all the important chemical reactions – such as the production of energy – take place in water.- Simply breathing in and out uses more than a pint of water a day. Without water, you would only expect to live for around one week.- Drinking water helps keep the body flushed of waste products.- Strange as it sounds, drinking more water actually helps to reduce water retention.- We each use around 150 litres of water a day, but national surveys show us that we currently drink as little as one litre – that’s around half the amount we need.- We lose lots of water when we suffer from diarrhoea, sickness or infections that cause fever. It is vital to drink more water at these times.- It is generally recommended that adults should drink around two litres of water daily and considerably more when they perform exercise and/or the weather is hot. 6-8 good-sized glasses of water a day should give you this amount.- Being well hydrated helps medicines to work more effectively and helps combat the diuretic effect of some medicines.- Water is the drink of choice for protecting your teeth and gums.Water Nutrition - Recommended Daily IntakeApproximately six to eight glasses (at least 150ml each) of a variety of fluids can be consumed each day. More than eight glasses may be needed for physically active people, children, and people living in hot or humid environments, and breastfeeding women (who need an extra 750–1,000ml per day). Less water may be needed for sedentary people, older people, people in a cold environment or people who eat a lot of high water content foods.

5 Nutrition Packed Vegetables

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
All of us eat vegetables in some form or the other. Maybe in salads, mixed veggies etc. Do you know about the benefits of the vegetables that you eat. Some of them are as common as cabbage, that are loaded with nutrition.Read below for health benefits of commonly available and eaten vegetables.Bottle Gourd: It is rich in dietary fiber with very low content of fat and cholesterol. Approximately 96% of bottle gourd is water  Apart from the iron content it is also rich in vitamin B and vitamin C, it also contains sodium, potassium, essential minerals and trace elements. It is a suitable vegetable for light, low-cal diets as well as for children, people with digestive problems, diabetics and convalescents. It is a suitable vegetable for light, low-cal diets as well as for children, people with digestive problems, diabetics and convalescents. The vegetable is very effective in treating constipation and other digestive disorders. Read for more health benefits of bottle gourd.Cabbage: This leafy vegetable is a delight for people wanting to loose weight. It is packed with vitamin A which protects your eyes and skin, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B which helps in boosting energy metabolism. Cabbage extracts have been proven to kill certain viruses and bacteria. Cabbage boosts the immune system’s ability to produce more antibodies. Cabbage provides high levels of iron and sulfur, minerals that work in part as cleansing agents for the digestive system. Cabbage shredded and boiled 150 grams contains 33 calories. Read for more about cabbage.Carrots: Carrot is a good of source beta-carotene which our body converts into vitamin A  and minerals such as potassium and manganese. It contains some amount of sodium, iron, zinc, copper and calcium. It contains about 87% of water, rich in mineral salts and Vitamin (B, C, D, E). Raw carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium. Even though the color of original carrots is orange it grows in other colors including white, yellow, red or purple. Carrot juice reduces the risk of many different types of cancer including skin and breast cancer.  Read more for carrot benefits and nutritional values.Corn: It is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium. It has small amount of potassium. Corn has vitamin B (Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Folate). It has traces of vitamin A and vitamin E. Being rich in fol ate, corn helps the generation of new cells, especially important before and during pregnancy. Those suffering from anemia have shown positive effects after consuming corns. Regular consumption of corn, in moderate quantities, has been associated with better cardiovascular health. Read for more benefits of corn.Cauliflower: The allicin in cauliflower is known to promote a healthy heart and reduce the risk of strokes. It contains selenium and Vitamin C, both of which work together to strengthen the immune system. It helps in maintaining healthy cholesterol level. The high amount of fiber in cauliflower improves colon health and helps prevent cancer. Cauliflower even acts as a blood and liver detoxifier. People suffering from ailments like arthritis, asthma, constipation, high blood pressure and kidney bladder disorders can benefit from the consumption of cauliflower. Read more for caloric values of cauliflower.Adopting good eating habits will always keep you away from diseases and infections.

Best Minerals for Weight Loss

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
If losing weight was a child’s play, obesity would never have been an epidemic. Losing weight requires a scientific approach and a planned routine along with proper micro-nutrient supplementation (vitamins and minerals).In our attempt of losing weight we become obsessed with our carbohydrates, protein, fat and vitamin consumption however nobody really bothers about their mineral intake. Although it is important but has a very small percentage in our body so without the consultation of your doctor you should not increase the consumption of these important minerals. Moderation and balance is required for healthy living.You would be surprised to note that body's weight-related functions - like appetite, hunger, metabolic rate, metabolism of fats and sugars, blood-glucose levels, calorie-burning, and so on - operate more efficiently when we have an optimum intake of minerals.Therefore it is worth keeping a watch on your minerals. Let’s have a look which minerals are the best for losing weightCalciumRecent clinical studies demonstrate a positive relationship between calcium intake and weight-loss. Controlled weight loss studies indicate that increasing calcium intake by the equivalent of two dairy servings per day can reduce the risk of overweight, perhaps by as much as 70 percent. Also, it's worth remembering that lower-calorie fat-free milk contains the same amount of calcium as full-fat milk. The same goes for low fat yogurt and reduced fat cheese.ChromiumChromium is required for the metabolism of sugar. Without sufficient chromium, insulin is less effective in regulating blood-glucose levels. In this way, chromium helps to control cravings and reduce hunger. Good food sources of chromium include: egg yolks, molasses, beef, hard cheese, liver, fruit juices, and whole grain bread.ManganeseManganese helps regulate fat metabolism and blood-glucose. It is needed for a healthy thyroid function which itself is essential to maintain a healthy weight. Good food sources of manganese include: tea, wheat germ, spinach, split peas, nuts, oat germ, oatmeal, pineapple, green leafy vegetables.ZincZinc helps to regulate appetite. Zinc is also needed for the correct functioning of hormones, like insulin. Zinc deficiency is common among smokers, heavy drinkers, some vegetarians, people with chronic illness and those on non-nutritious or very low calorie diets. Good sources of Zinc include: shellfish, herring, wheat germ, lean beef or lamb, eggs, lentils, Brazil nuts, almonds, chicken.Caution: Please discuss with your doctor, before consuming any supplements. Self prescription and over dosage can have serious side effects.

Benefits of Eggs - Why Should You Eat Eggs?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Eggs are considered to be among the most nutritious foods. Apart from being nutritious, eggs are a super food which contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals. Eggs are loaded with protein and a variety of minerals that are beneficial to the human body. In fact, one egg contains 13 essential nutrients, including protein, choline, folate, iron and zinc. Egg protein is a good source of high-quality protein, providing 6.3 grams of protein, which is equivalent to 13% of the daily dietary protein requirement.Check some amazing health benefits of eggs:Boosts Brain health: One of the health benefits of Eggs is that are they are a good source of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system and cardiovascular system. During pregnancy, egg is essential for proper fetal brain development and decreased neural tubes defectsPromotes Weight Loss: Eggs can help you lose weight by controlling the rate at which your body absorbs calories. When managing your weight, choose foods that provide the maximum amount of nutrition for the least amount of calories. Eggs are of great nutritional value to those trying to lose weight and maintain healthy weight. Health benefits of eggs can lead to weight loss and decrease in waist circumferenceImprove Eyesight: Another health benefit of eggs is that it is helpful in improving eye sight. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are antioxidants found in egg yolk. They are believed to help improve eyesight and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (leading cause of blindness in people over age 65 years) as well as the in risk of cataractsImprove Your Cholesterol Profile: Not only have studies shown that eggs do not significantly affect cholesterol levels in most individuals, but latest research studies suggest that eating whole eggs may actually result in a significant improvement in one's blood lipid (cholesterol) profile - even in people whose cholesterol levels rise when eating cholesterol-rich foodsEnergy Booster: Including protein rich eggs in your diet helps sustain your energy level and curb hunger, cravings and unhealthy snacking. Protein is most filling nutrientPrevent Blood Clots:Eating eggs may help lower risk of a heart attack or stroke by helping to prevent blood clots. The anti-clotting egg yolk proteins inhibit clot formation in a dose-dependent manner - the more egg yolks eaten, the more clot preventing actionPromotes Healthy hair and nails: Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Many people find their hair growing faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if their diets they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or Vitamin B 12Healthy pregnancy: Choline is an essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. Two eggs provide about 250 milligrams of choline, or roughly half of the recommended daily intake for pregnant and breastfeeding womenHelps prevent bone loss: Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body (next to calcium) with 85% found in bones and teeth. Bone loss is not only caused by lack of calcium in the body; it may also be caused by a deficiency in phosphorus as both minerals work together to build strong bones and teeth.Eggs are not only low in calories but are packed with nutrients that are essential to healthy living. They are an ideal food at every stage of life, as well as being easy to cook and tasty.

Reading Nutrition Labels Correctly

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Nutrition labels are supposed to tell us how healthy or unhealthy a food really is. Some of us read them, many don't. But if you read them, are you reading them correctly? Reading nutrition label can help make wise food choices but knowing how to read the nutrition fact label can be complicated without the right guide. So, let us show step by step how to correctly read the nutrition label:Step 1- Start with serving sizeAt the top of the label are the serving size and the number of servings per container.  Serving sizes is the amount of food that is typically eating in one serving indicated by cup or number. Serving sizes differ on each food label and may not equal the serving size you normally eat. If you double a serving size, you must also double all the other values on the nutrition label.Step 2- Tally up "Calories" and "Calories from Fat"The calories in a serving and calories derived from fat are displayed directly under the portion sizes. The number of calories you actually take in is determined by the number of servings you eat. For example one serving (10g) of packaged bhelpuri provides 56 calories with 36 calories from fat. And if you eat 5 serving (50 g) of it, then you are actually eating 280 calories with 180 calories from fat.Step 3- Learn about % Daily ValueReferred to DV, the Percent Daily Value tells how much of a certain nutrient one serving of food contains, to how much of that nutrient you should consume daily (based on 2,000 calorie diet).Step 4- Finding nutrients which need to be limited in diet:a) Adding up “Total Fat”: Displayed next is total fat which includes fats that are good, such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and fats that are not so good, such as saturated and trans fats ("hydrogenated" and "partially hydrogenated" fats ).b) Finding about "Cholesterol": Next is how much cholesterol is provided by one serving of food (limit to 200 mg/day).c) Looking at "Sodium" content. Sodium, a hidden ingredient in many foods, especially processed food, such as canned soups and tomato sauces.Step 5- Identifying nutrients needed in moderate amountsa)    "Total Carbohydrates": This number represents total of all different types of carbohydrates from eating one serving of food.b)    "Protein" amount. This number tells you how much protein you obtain from consuming one serving of food.Step 6-Be vigilant about amount of "Sugar"This is the amount of sugar you get by consuming one serving of food. Some carbohydrates become sugar when digested in body, so we may be actually consuming more sugar than what is on label.Step 7- Identifying nutrients needed in maximum amountsa)"Total fiber”: This number represents grams of dietary fiber in one serving of food. A food is considered high in fiber if it contains 5 grams of fiber or more per serving. Men age 50 and younger should get at least 38 grams of fiber per day, while women age 50 and younger should consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day.b) Vitamins and Minerals: The nutrition label lists vitamin A, C, calcium and iron. If not present in the food then label mention a footnote ‘Not a significant source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium & Iron’.Step 8- Don't forget to look at ‘Footnote’A chart based on a 2,000-calorie and 2,500-calorie diet. But the question is how many calories do you need? If your body needs 1600 calories or 2800 calories, then clearly you should keep that in mind.Healthy eating often starts with knowing yourself & about what you are putting in mouth. A key step is to know how to read "Nutrition Facts" on a food label and not relying on phrases like “healthy” or “low-fat”. This can help you make quick, informed choices that contribute to healthy eating through more informed label reading.

Vegan Diets in a Nutshell

Mr. Kaleem Mohammed, Physiotherapist
Plant-Based diets are popular. Reasons for following a plant-based diet are varied but include health benefits, such as reducing your risk of major disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. A vegan diet is a meal plan made up of plant-based food. These include fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Healthy vegan diets are abundant with vitamins C, B1 and E, magnesium, folic acid and iron while also being low in cholesterol and saturated fats.A vegan diet can decrease the risk of mortality from conditions such as:Type 2 diabetesHypertensionStrokeObesityCardiovascular diseaseIschemic heart diseaseSome cancers including prostate and colon cancer1. To lose weight or slim down plant-based food works greatWhen you cut out animal products, you will find that it is easier to stay slim as you are not consuming high amounts of saturated fats from meat and dairy products. These are the top weight loss vegetarian foods; dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, soya products and beans, cereals and grains, fruits.2. Vegan diet is healthyVegetarians have lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure (B.P), a lower rate of type 2 diabetes, low body mass index, a lower risk of death from heart diseases and cancer rates. Science and research confirm that you do not need meat to be healthy at all, in fact, in fact, statistics point to quite the opposite.3. Going vegan can improve your sports skills, not weaken itWhat you may not be aware of is just how many successful athletes are vegan. You may be familiar with the name; Anil Kumble is recognized as Indian cricket spin legend. He entered the record books by capturing all 10 Pakistani wickets. India won many test matches with his magical spin bowling.4. Consuming vegan diet boosts your immunity and is anti-cancerSince vegetables and fruits are rich in super nutrients, and many have anti-oxidant purposes, they can boost the immune system and help the body fight against the disease. 5. Vegans are more beautifulVegans who consume a healthy amount of vegetables and fruits are feeding and nurturing the health of their hair, skin and nails meaning that they glow with health.6. Plant-based or vegan diet help your arthritisEliminating dairy consumption alleviating the symptoms associated with arthritis for a long time, but a new study by the Stockholm Karolinska University shows that a combination of gluten-free and vegetarian diets improves the health of those who are suffering from R.A (rheumatoid arthritis) very efficiently.7. You will live longerMany studies show that those following a vegetarian or vegan diet will live an average of 3 to 6 years longer than those who do not.8. No bad breath and less body odourEliminating dairy and non-veg from your diet significantly reduces body odour, and vegans frequently experience a reduction in bad breath.