Dehydration - Symptoms, Causes, Risk and Prevention
Body dehydration symptoms occur when you lose more fluid than you take in. In such cases, the body doesn't have enough water to carry out its functions normally. This necessitates that you replace the loss of fluids to control or prevent dehydration. And while any normal and healthy human being can become dehydrated, young children and older adults are at a higher risk. What are Dehydration Symptoms? Some may think that feeling excessively thirsty may be one of the first signs of dehydration. But it is not necessarily so. Many people don't even feel thirsty until after becoming dehydrated. This is why they say that you need to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, especially during extremely hot weather. Dehydration Symptoms by Age Children experience more severe dehydration symptoms than adults. Some of the most common dehydration symptoms in children include: Mouth or tongue dryness Drying up of tears In infants, no wet diapers for as long as 3 hours Sunken cheeks Irritability Soft spot on top of the skull Sunken eyes In adults, the dehydration symptoms are as follows: Feeling extremely thirsty Seldom urination Dark urine Fatigue Feeling dizzy Disorientation It is advisable to see a doctor if you have been suffering from diarrhoea for more than 24 hours and are unable to retain fluids in your body. Causes of Dehydration Many a time, dehydration may occur for very simple reasons, like not drinking enough water. But there are other more serious causes that may result in dehydration symptoms. These are as follows: Diarrhoea: Sudden onset of severe and acute diarrhoea can result in severe fluid loss, including water and electrolytes, in a very short span of time. On top of this, if you are also vomiting, then it means more loss of fluids and minerals. This is bound to lead to dehydration. Fever: High fever is usually accompanied by dehydration. If you are also vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea along with the fever, then the problem of dehydration might worsen. Profuse sweating: Sweating is another way in which the body loses water along with ejecting toxins. If you are sweating too much and not drinking enough water to replace the lost fluid, then you might get dehydrated. This is hastened in very hot and humid weather. Excessive urination: Uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes may lead to an increase in the frequency of urination. This results in a loss of more fluids than the body should eject. Also, there are certain medications, like those used to control blood pressure, that also heighten the frequency of urination, resulting in dehydration. Risk Groups Anyone can start showing dehydration symptoms. But certain groups of people are at a higher risk. Children and Infants This is one category of people that experience severe dehydration symptoms. They are more prone to suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting, which is why the chances of getting dehydrated are higher. The fact that they have a higher surface-to-volume area also results in a higher loss of fluids from fever and burns. Because infants can't communicate clearly when they are thirsty, they spend long hours staying dehydrated. Older Adults With age, the body's fluid reserve shrinks. Your sense of thirst and ability to conserve water in your body also goes down. The problem heightens if you suffer from chronic illnesses like dementia or diabetes, or if you are on certain medications that cause body dehydration symptoms. In some elderly adults, mobility also becomes restricted, which means they can't get up and fetch water for themselves whenever they like. Chronically ill Adults People with undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes are at a very high risk of being dehydrated. Kidney diseases can also increase this risk. If your kidneys are affected, chances are that you will not have the urge to eat or drink, which has a direct impact on the fluid content in your body. People Exposed to Heat People who work outside in very hot and humid conditions can get severely sick and become dehydrated very quickly. The humidity in the air doesn't allow the sweat to evaporate and the body to cool down quickly. This results in an increased body temperature, which demands more fluids stored in the body. Prevention of Dehydration Dehydration symptoms are very much treatable and controllable. You can easily prevent becoming dehydrated by drinking plenty of water and fluids and consuming foods rich in water content. A few simple things you can do in addition to drinking water are as follows: Be aware of the symptoms of dehydration and pay attention to them. Drink water regularly, ideally before you start feeling thirsty. If you exert yourself too much physically, like during a workout, make sure to drink the right amount of fluids before, during, and after exercise. Keep checking the colour of your urine when you feel like you might be experiencing body dehydration symptoms. Don't limit your water intake during the day; the bodily fluid requirements vary from one person to another, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Increase your fluid intake during hot summers and humid weather. Get yourself checked to assess your risk for dehydration. Supplement your diet with water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. Add electrolyte supplements to your daily routine if you feel the need. If need be, set yourself fixed hours to drink water throughout the day. Remember that dehydration symptoms may come and go. But if they are not checked and treated, they may result in severe damage to your body.
Food Allergy Rashes: Causes, Treatments, and Natural Remedies
Food allergy rashes are skin reactions that occur after eating certain foods. The rash may be itchy and red and can occur on any body part. Food allergies are caused by an immune system response to a food protein that the body perceives as harmful. In 2021, it was estimated that 32 million Americans would have food allergy rashes, including 5.6 million children. There are different types of food allergy rashes, each with its symptoms. The most common food allergy rash is atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes dry, itchy skin. Food allergies can also cause hives, also known as urticaria. Hives are raised, and red welts on the skin can be itchy or painful. They are often caused by an allergic reaction to a food or medication. Other less common food allergy rashes include contact dermatitis and angioedema. Food allergies are common in children, and most go away independently. Although this is not always the case, food allergies generally outgrow in children. Food allergies can also happen later in life, but they are unusual. While you may feel symptoms of other diseases, your body's reaction to the poisoning will be unique. However, different types of food allergy rashes on the body are typical indicators, and their symptoms include: tingling in the mouth itching swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat wheezing or difficulty breathing nausea and vomiting abdominal pain or cramps Food Allergy Rashes Causes According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, children's most frequent food allergies are milk, eggs, and peanuts. According to experts, children outgrow milk, egg, soy, and wheat allergies at a rate of up to 25%. Peanut allergies, in particular, appear to be on the decline. In addition to wheat, numerous European countries have additional top allergens, including sesame, celery, lupin (a legume), and mustard. In the United States, sesame is becoming increasingly frequent. The body’s immune system mistakenly identifies a harmless food protein as a threat in people with food allergies. When the person eats the offending food, the immune system overreacts and releases chemicals that cause symptoms. The most common food allergens are proteins found in eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Food Allergy Rashes Treatments The best food allergy rashes treatment is to avoid the offending food. This can be difficult, especially if you’re allergic to everyday food items like milk or wheat, which are ubiquitous. If you have a severe allergy, you may need to carry an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen) with you at all times in case of accidental exposure. For severe allergies, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid such as prednisone. Corticosteroids can be taken orally or injected. They are generally safe but can have side effects such as weight gain and mood swings. If you have a mild allergy, your doctor may recommend antihistamines to relieve symptoms. Antihistamines can be taken orally or applied topically (to the skin). However, they don’t work for everyone and may cause drowsiness. The following tests can help the doctor diagnose a food allergy: Blood test: This test looks for antibodies specific to certain food proteins, indicating an allergy. For instance, if you're allergic to peanuts, the test may reveal high levels of antibodies to a peanut protein called Ara h 2. Food diary: The individual records everything they eat and describes any emerging symptoms. For instance, if you think you're allergic to eggs but don't experience any symptoms after eating them, you're likely not allergic. Physician-supervised blinded oral food challenge: A food allergy can be very difficult to diagnose, especially in children. A physician administers a suspected food allergen in increasing doses to the individual over time, with close monitoring for symptoms. This method eliminates the risk of psychosomatic reactions. Food Allergy Rashes Natural Remedies Several natural remedies can help relieve symptoms of food allergy rashes. Some of them are: Probiotics Probiotics can help reduce inflammation and improve gut health. They are available in supplements or fermented foods such as yoghurt and sauerkraut. Probiotics are live microorganisms similar to the beneficial bacteria found in the gut. Vitamin C Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation. Vitamin C supplements are widely available, or you can get your daily dose from foods such as oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli. Ginger Ginger is a well-known remedy for nausea and vomiting. It can also help relieve inflammation and pain. Ginger is available in supplement form or as a spice that you can add to your food. Quercetin Quercetin is a plant compound that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You can find quercetin in supplements and food items such as onions, apples, and green tea. Butterbur Butterbur is a plant that has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including allergies. Butterbur extract is available in supplement form and is effective in treating seasonal allergies. Bromelain Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples that has anti-inflammatory properties. Bromelain supplements are often taken to reduce inflammation and swelling associated with injuries, surgery, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Conclusion People often have allergic responses to specific allergens, such as pet dander and pollen, as well as compounds in foods, beverages, and personal hygiene products. The source determines the best way to treat an allergic reaction, although most minor instances may be treated with OTC antihistamine and anti-itch medicines. If you have been diagnosed with chronic or severe food allergy rashes symptoms, such as throat swelling or a change in heart rate, you should go to the hospital immediately. Anaphylaxis must always be treated as a medical emergency. Are you willing to know whether you're intolerant to any food? Take our Food Intolerance Test and find out for sure! Accurate and reliable, our test can detect up to 140 different food intolerances and is vegetarian-friendly. So why not give it a try today?
Iron Deficiency Anemia: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis
Iron is an essential nutrient for the body's general growth and development. In addition, it serves vital activities like oxygen transport, DNA synthesis, and muscle metabolism. Iron is essential when your body is growing, transforming, or changing. Lack of iron in the diet and increased demand in the body are common causes of iron deficiency in pregnancy and pediatrics. Iron deficiency can result in anemia, which lowers your hemoglobin levels. According to WHO figures, anemia affects 33% of non-pregnant women, 40% of pregnant women, and 42% of children globally. A lack of iron does not pose a threat to life. However, it might cause serious health issues. For instance, it results in dyspnea and exhaustion. The good news is that an iron-rich diet and supplementation can effectively prevent an iron deficiency. Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia As its name suggests, iron deficiency anemia is caused by a lack of iron, blood flow, and a lack of iron-rich foods in the diet. Below are common causes of iron deficiency anemia. Increased Iron Demand The body's need for iron changes during the different phases of a person's life. For example, the years between childhood and adolescence are vital for growth. As a result, you must ensure you're getting enough iron-rich meals. Additionally, the need for iron rises during pregnancy; this is the prime cause of iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy. Low Absorption Of Iron Several conditions and surgical procedures may hinder iron absorption. For example, Crohn's disease and celiac disease are common causes of iron deficiency anemia. In addition, gastric bypass patients may not be able to absorb iron. These issues might prevent the gut from absorbing iron. Blood Loss Blood loss is among the common causes of iron deficiency anemia in adults. For instance, it could be brought on by blood loss from an injury, menstruation, etc. According to studies, conditions including gastric ulcer, hernia, and colorectal cancer can cause internal bleeding. In addition, heavy periods of women may be more likely to develop anemia. Diet The most common cause of iron deficiency anemia in children and adults is diet. A variety of nutritional factors affect how well iron is absorbed. Non-heme iron, which is of low quality, is present in vegetarian and vegan meals. Heme iron is present in non-vegetarian sources, in contrast. The rate of absorption is higher for heme iron. Vitamin C It is a necessary nutrient for the absorption of iron. Therefore, foods high in vitamin C may transform iron into a readily absorbable form. As a result, a deficiency in foods high in vitamin C is a common cause of iron deficiency anemia in adults. Phytates Some antinutrients interfere with non-heme iron absorption. For example, soybeans, black beans, lentils, split beans, mung beans, unrefined rice, cereals, and mung beans all contain phytates, which are antinutrients. When combined with iron-rich foods, they reduce your iron absorption. Calcium Although the exact mechanism is still unclear, experts think calcium prevents both heme and non-heme iron from being absorbed. Excess calcium causes iron deficiency anemia in pediatrics. Children who consume an excess of cow milk lack iron and have excess calcium, contributing to iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia Depending on the severity, iron deficiency symptoms can vary. The list of iron deficiency symptoms is provided below. Fatigue Shortness of Breath Irregular Heartbeat/Palpitations Compromised Immune Health Pale Skin Hairfall Sore Mouth Headaches Spoon-Shaped Nails Diagnosis of Iron Deficiency Anemia Anemia can be easily detected through a complete blood count (CBC) with peripheral smear. Through this test it is possible to identify type of anemia and it may further give a clue to do further supplemental tests like i.e., serum iron studies, vitamin levels and identification of abnormal hemoglobinopathy for arriving at the correct diagnosis for the patient. Prevention of Iron Deficiency Anemia Good eating habits can help you avoid iron deficiency. Iron levels in the body may rise with the consumption of iron-rich meals. Here’s some simple dietary advice that can enable you to prevent iron deficiency anemia. Meat Iron content is exceptionally high in poultry and fish. Salmon and tuna are two more types of meat that are high in iron. To combat an iron shortage, incorporate one of these into your diet two or three times per week. Meat sources have a higher absorption rate of iron than plant sources. Eggs Iron, protein, and vitamins are all found in abundance in eggs. For example, about 9.7% of iron is present in every 100 grams of egg. Legumes Lentils are an excellent source of iron for vegetarians. Lentils provide abundant iron; eat it in salad or dal. Fruits and nuts Dry fruits like apricots are a rich source of iron. Iron can also be found in nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C Iron absorption requires vitamin C. Vegetarian sources are rich in non-heme iron. They can eat it. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, and broccoli are food sources of vitamin C. Hydration Did you know drinking water is a reliable method of preventing human iron deficiency anemia? Researchers say drinking water locally enriched with iron compounds should be considered and used as a globally accessible means of controlling iron-deficiency anemia. Leafy Greens Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are a rich source of folate, which is necessary to avoid anemia. Additionally, leafy vegetables may further improve general wellness. Avoid Antinutrients Antinutrients can impede the absorption of iron. As a result, you should refrain from pairing meals high in iron with antinutrients like tea, coffee, and dairy products. These foods have antinutrients such as tannins, oxalic acids, and phytic acids that bind to iron and stop it from being absorbed. Don't combine calcium and iron-rich foods It is well known that calcium and iron vie for the same receptors. Therefore, according to experts, calcium and iron-rich diets prevent the body from absorbing iron. Conclusion Although iron deficiency is common among people due to poor eating habits, it can also be brought on by non-dietary practices. Iron deficiency is the main contributor to anemia. Healthy eating practices are crucial as a result. Follow the simple food recommendations detailed in the article to prevent iron deficiency and have an overall healthy life. But always remember to get advice from a professional before adding iron supplements. If you experience any symptoms, get the Anemia Profile-Maxi Test for accurate diagnosis.
The Science and Signs of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
A group of substances necessary for cell growth, function and development, vitamins are vital micronutrients. There are 13 essential vitamins known to us; since most of them cannot be produced by the body, obtaining vitamins regularly from outside sources is a necessity. While vitamin deficiencies are common, they are rarely clinically detected until the condition turns severe. One study by the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad reported that many urban Indians who appear healthy are vitamin deficient. Among all vitamin deficiencies, vitamin B6 was the second most commonly deficient vitamin, seen in 46 % of the population studied. What is Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)? Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin comprising the vitamers - pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, and their phosphorylated derivatives. It is one of the primary components in the cells of any living organism. Vitamin B6 is present in foods such as meat, fish, nuts, beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables. At times, this type of vitamin is also added to foods as a supplement to snacks, power bars, and powders. In addition, there are many multivitamin preparations for adults and kids where vitamin B6 is a primary nutrient. What Makes Vitamin B6 Special? Involved in the metabolism of all three macronutrients—proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Participates in over 100 enzymatic processes in the body. Promotes cognitive growth: Helps in the production of neurotransmitters (the body's chemical messengers) - serotonin and dopamine. Crucial for the immune system function. Necessary for the production of haemoglobin. Plays a significant part in preventing vitamin B3 shortage. So it is needless to say that a lack of this vitamin leads to various health problems. How Much Vitamin B6 Do You Need? The amount of Vitamin D6 you need primarily depends on your age. For example, infants 7 to 12 months old require 0.3 milligrams daily. This requirement will vary starkly for an adult. Here is a look into the vitamin B6 requirements of individuals based on their age. Men 2.0 mg/day Women - 2.0 mg/day 1- 9 years - 0.9-1.6 mg/day 10-17 years - 1.6–2.0 mg/day 0–6 months - 0.1 mg/day Since B6 goes to the infant through breast milk, lactating mothers must have 2.5 mg of B6 daily. What Happens When You are Not Getting Enough of Vitamin B6? People with low vitamin B6 levels may not exhibit any signs or symptoms for months or even years. Symptoms of early or subclinical vitamin B6 insufficiency can be hazy or transient. Here are some changes to watch out for: Skin changes: Seborrheic dermatitis, pellagra-like dermatitis and nonspecific scaly itchy rash. Decreased immunity: Recurrence of infections. Peripheral Neuropathies: Tingling or burning sensation in hands and feet. Cheilosis/Cheilitis: Appears on lips as fissuring, crusting, scaling and lesions at the corner of lips. Glossitis: Inflamed, red and swollen tongue. Stomatitis: Inflammation inside the mouth noted as red areas and/or ulcers Behavioural changes: hyperirritability, altered alertness, mood swings, depression and disorientation. Ataxia: Impaired coordination and balance, with abnormal head movements. Hyperacusis: sound or noise sensitivity. Convulsions and seizures in adults and infants. Microcytic anaemia: manifests as weakness and tiredness. Sleeplessness. Electroencephalographic (EEG) changes: manifests as abnormal brain activity. Impaired glucose tolerance. Impaired platelet function. Who is at Risk of Developing Vitamin B6 Deficiency? Besides low nutrient intake, there are other factors that lower the level of B6; if you have any of the following, the chances of developing Vitamin B6 are high. Increased protein consumption. Use of medicines like Isoniazid (used to treat tuberculosis) and Theophylline (used in asthma). High-dose of oral contraceptives. Excessive alcohol consumption. The level of B6 decreases further reduces during pregnancy-related complications like preeclampsia or eclampsia Impaired kidney function Auto-immune disorders like Rheumatoid arthritis and Mal-absorptive disorders, including Inflammatory bowel disease, Celiac disease. How to Prevent Vitamin B6 Deficiency? Vitamin B6 is found in many foods of both plant and animal origin; however, the bioavailability of plant sources is less, so vegans and vegetarians are more likely to become B6 deficient. Among the plant-based sources of Vitamin B6, the following are effective: Wheat bran Whole grain cereals and legumes Fruits: bananas, apples, oranges, Nuts: Walnuts Vegetables - potatoes Among sources of Vitamin B6 found in animals, liver, lean meat, milk, pork, yeast, chicken, salmon, and fish are a few options worth mentioning. Synthetic sources of vitamin B6 include fortified foods like rice, pasta and soya. What are the Side-Effects of Excessive Consumption of Vitamin B6? The tolerable upper intake level of vitamin B6 for adults is 100 mg/day; when used as part of a healthy diet, vitamin B6 is not toxic. Excess consumption of Vitamin B6 might cause patients to develop painful skin lesions, nausea, heartburn, photosensitivity and sensory neuropathy that renders them unable to walk. Testing and Treatment Blood samples are tested through HPLC to measure Vitamin B 6 in blood . Values less than 8.7 ngl/mL suggest vitamin B6 insufficiency Homocysteine is an amino acid broken down by vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid. High homocysteine levels in the blood can indicate a vitamin shortage, cardiac disease, or a rare inherited illness. So, estimation of homocysteine is also diagnostic of B6 deficiency.
PCOD Diet Chart: Foods to Eat and Avoid
The condition of PCOD is a lifestyle disease commonly seen among women today. While its exact causes are unknown, some common issues triggering PCOD include poor lifestyle, stress, obesity and other associated disorders.. With early diagnosis and preventive steps such as weight loss and PCOD specific diet , you can reduce the risk of long-term health complications related to heart and type 2 diabetes. Symptoms of PCOD? Recognising the early signs and symptoms of PCOD can help you keep the disorder in control. You must understand that not all symptoms and signs of PCOD are similar for every woman. Despite varying from one person to the other, they are treatable with a good PCOD Diet Plan and exercise. For many, PCOD starts at puberty when their first menstrual period hits. As for many others, PCOD may develop due to a poor lifestyle resulting in weight gain. For a better understanding of this common lifestyle disease, let us check the symptoms. If you experience two or more of these symptoms, consult a medical practitioner: 1. Irregular Periods This is one of the most common symptoms of PCOD. The irregularities in one’s menstrual cycle can range from two months to 7 months and even more in some cases. The menstrual disturbances caused by PCOD can also result in abnormally heavy periods, lasting for days. 2. Excess Levels of Androgen An increase in male hormone levels called androgen is another factor that causes PCOD. One of the early signs of androgen-induced-PCOS is sudden growth in facial and body hair. Also known as hirsutism, this condition causes unwanted hair growth in the chin area, abdomen, back, upper arms and legs and around the breast area. Severe acne and male-pattern baldness are other signs of hirsutism. 3. Polycystic Ovaries In PCOD, the ovaries tend to enlarge as several small-sized fluid-filled sacs start growing inside them. Also known as follicles, these sacs contain immature eggs that cannot ovulate. These cysts further alter the progesterone, oestrogen, FSH and LH levels, causing androgen to rise. How Can a PCOD Diet Chart Help? By following a PCOD Diet Chart, you can start to control the symptoms of PCOD and maintain a healthy life. The diet charts usually recommend the consumption of green and leafy vegetables, along with foods that help supply the body with enough nutrients. When making a PCOD Diet chart , ensure to include foods rich in nutrients such as calcium, iron, protein, potassium, magnesium and multiple vitamins, including vitamin B. Two primary ways that diet impacts PCOD are insulin production and resistance and weight management. It is important to note that Insulin plays a vital role in PCOD. Therefore, following a diet to manage insulin levels is one of the best steps to managing the condition. For best results, follow a diet that meets your nutritional requirements, keeps excess weight under check and promotes good insulin levels. Foods to Include in Your PCOD Diet Chart Plan Let us check out foods that are a definite yes to control the symptoms of PCOD: 1. Fruits Your PCOD Diet Plan should definitely include fruits daily. You may add fruits like red grapes, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and apples to your diet. These fruits are low in glycaemic index (GI), helpful for insulin sensitivity. 2. Vegetables Green leafy vegetables, including kale, broccoli and spinach, are excellent additions to a PCOD Diet Chart. They can also prove beneficial in improving blood circulation and skin health. 3. High-fibre Fibre-rich foods such as beans, avocados, nuts, peas and oranges help keep PCOS symptoms under control and should be a part of the PCOD Diet Chart. 4. Nuts Many nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pine nuts are good sources of healthy fats that help to treat PCOD. 5. Fish While you can include lean meats in your diet, a PCOD Diet Plan For Weight Loss must feature omega-rich and fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna. Foods to Avoid in PCOD As PCOD is a lifestyle disease, you must follow specific diet restrictions. It would be best to avoid packed and processed foods that are also harmful overall to the body. 1. Refined Carbs It is best to avoid refined carbs such as pastries, bread, breakfast cereals, pizzas and anything containing white flour. 2. Sugary Beverages A PCOD Diet Plan For Weight Loss is meaningless unless you put a stop to the consumption of all forms of sugary drinks like sodas, sports drinks, sweetened waters and more. 3. Processed Meats If you wish to cure PCOD, forget processed meats that come in the form of sausages, salamis, hot dogs and more Conclusion To conclude, like every lifestyle disease, PCOD too can be controlled and cured with minute attention to diet and exercise. You may consult a doctor for efficient treatment who is qualified to suggest what PCOD Diet will suit you best. Besides guiding your diet, the doctor can suggest behavioural strategies from goal-setting to self-monitoring techniques to help you achieve your goals better and quicker. As a preventive measure, it would help to take a PCOS profile - 3 Test without delay as soon as you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above. Along with this doctors also recommend regular testing of sugar and cholesterol levels as these may also contribute to PCOD.
A Healthy Pregnancy Diet Plan Every Woman Should Know
Introduction Do you know that a pregnant woman requires approximately 300 extra calories per day to maintain a healthy pregnancy? Yes, that’s right! To gain these calories, one must follow the best diet for pregnant women, which includes whole grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables. Furthermore, sweets and unhealthy fats must be kept to a minimum. We know how challenging it is to carve out a balanced and healthy daily diet for pregnant women. Therefore, we bring you a list of beneficial foods and beverages for an ideal Indian diet for pregnant women. This food list takes care of the nutritional needs of the baby and ensures the holistic health of the mother-to-be. Diet for Pregnant Women: Pre-Breakfast Snack Ideas Dry fruits (10 to 12 pieces) One glass of cow milk (plain) Banana milkshake Almond milk Carrot juice Tomato juice Apple juice Breakfast Ideas Bowl of fruit salad (including apricots, apples, dates, banana, sweet fig, and oranges) Rava upma with vegetables Vegetable poha with chillas Oats with 2 boiled eggs Vegetable omelette Whole wheat toast, butter, and omelette Stuffed parathas (with fillings of potatoes, dal, spinach, carrots, paneer, or beans) with curd Cheese and vegetable sandwich Cheese toast Rice sevai with vegetables Vegetable khandvi Mid-Morning Snack Ideas Chicken soup Spinach soup Tomato soup Carrot and beetroot soup Creamy spinach soup Pumpkin (kaddu) soup Banana milkshake Diet for Pregnant Women: Lunch Ideas Plain paratha with curd and a bowl of dal Chapati with dal, curd, and a bowl of vegetable Peas and carrot stuffed paratha made with butter and a bowl of curd Vegetable khichdi Curd rice Rice and chicken curry Green peas pulao or jeera pulao with raita Rice, vegetables, and dal with a green salad Rice, dal, vegetable raita with one fruit Pea lemon rice with a green salad Chicken salad with vegetable soup Grilled chicken with curd Rice with kofta curry Paneer paratha made with butter and green salad Stuffed paratha with sprouts salad Evening Snack Ideas Chicken cutlet Bread cutlet Chicken sandwich Corn and cheese sandwich Roasted peanuts Dry fruits with dried dates Milk porridge with sevai, oats, or daliya Vegetable daliya Tomato and spinach idli Vegetable idli Mixed-veg uttapam Vegetable sevai Carrot halwa Lauki halwa Fresh fruit smoothie (banana or strawberry) A cup of green tea Dinner Ideas Chicken rice or vegetable pulao with a bowl of curd Mixed dal khichdi, curd, vegetable curry Rice, spinach veggie, dal, green salad Plain paratha with curd (or buttermilk) Roti, dal, vegetable of choice, curd (or buttermilk) Diet for Pregnant Women: Foods and Beverages to Consume Water: Drinking about 10 to 12 glasses of water is imperative during pregnancy. Adequate water helps the protective fluid (or amniotic fluid) around the foetus and boosts better digestion as well. Dairy products: They are loaded with rich nutrients like vitamins and calcium that assist the baby’s development. Leafy green vegetables and broccoli: Dark green vegetables like broccoli are a good source of folate, antioxidants, and vitamins, including A, B6, C, and K. They promote haemoglobin supply, healthy bones, and keep skin problems at bay. Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes contain high levels of beta carotene (vitamin), which is vital for fetal growth and development. Salmon: Regular consumption of salmon must be included in the Indian diet for pregnant women as it can boost docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), commonly known as an omega-3 fatty acid. The need for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) increases during the third semester of pregnancy. Legumes: Enriched with plant-based nutrients like iron, protein, fibre, and calcium, legumes are a good source of plant-based nutrients that must be included in the daily diet of pregnant women. Eggs: Eggs are amongst the best sources of protein. They boost amino acids and choline, among other beneficial vitamins and minerals. Lean meat: A healthy diet for pregnant women must include good quality protein, which comes from lean meat. Lean meat has good amounts of iron, vitamin B, and essential minerals. Berries: Berries help in increasing your water intake as they pack lots of water and nutrients like healthy carbohydrates, fibres, and vitamin C. Dry fruits: A handful of dry fruits pack zinc, potassium, calcium, and fibre. They prevent constipation during pregnancy. Whole grains: The growing foetus requires minerals and vitamin B for its development. Whole grains are fortified with folic acid and provide essential nutrients required by the baby. Food and Beverages to Avoid During Pregnancy Unwashed food: Unwashed fruits, vegetables, and especially meat can expose you to toxoplasma gondii (a harmful parasite), which can cause serious complications in pregnancy. Caffeine: While chalking out the best diet for pregnant women, caffeine must always be kept out of the list! Caffeine is known to increase your blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are detrimental and risky in pregnancy. Alcohol: Alcohol consumption can lead to structural defects in the baby. If a woman consumes alcohol in the first trimester, the chance of abnormal facial features in the baby rises. Processed junk foods: Junk food cravings are real and happen to all women during pregnancy. However, you must always stay away from processed junk foods (like cookies, candies, pizza, burgers, and baked goodies made from white flour) as they can increase the toxic acrylamide levels in the mother’s body. Unpasteurised foods: Unpasteurised foods, including fruit juice, milk, or cheese, may contain food-borne illnesses causing bacteria like E. coli, campylobacter jejuni, and listeria. Raw sprouts: Raw sprouts are not among the ideal diet for pregnant women, and their consumption can make you sick. Raw sprouts grow in warm and humid conditions, an environment that is conducive for bacteria to flourish. Raw or undercooked fish: Raw fish contain bacteria, parasites, and microorganisms, which exposes you to several illnesses. Undercooked and processed meat: Undercooked meat that carries microorganisms can make you sick. Processed meat that contains listeria bacteria can cause vomiting and food poisoning among pregnant women. Raw eggs: Raw eggs contain the bacteria called salmonella, and their consumption can lead to a host of health problems like food poisoning, diarrhoea, and vomiting. Conclusion Good eating habits in pregnancy have a long-lasting positive effect on your baby’s growth and development. A healthy diet for pregnant women also ensures a hassle-free pregnancy experience. Based on these suggestions, a personalized diet chart can be formulated in consultation with your doctor and dietician.
Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance
A food allergy is usually any unwanted symptomatic reaction to the food you consume. The reactions are usually immediate after the consumption of the allergen. However, all reactions cannot be termed as allergies, as such reactions and their symptoms can also be due to the intolerance of those foods to your physiology. Every individual’s physiology differs remarkably from one another, and the allergies or intolerances vary accordingly. Not to say that all individuals do show such symptoms. If your body suffers from signs and symptoms after having a food item, it is best to find out if it is a food allergy or food intolerance. It helps with a better understanding of how and what quantity of certain foods may be unhealthy for your physiology. Additionally, it also clears the path to choosing to treat the same. Food intolerance is usually a delayed systemic response of the body’s systems, which may even occur a few days or weeks after the consumption of a particular food item. To give you an idea and to start with understanding the differences between the two, you must observe the cause of such symptoms—if it is the repeated consumption of certain food items or your everyday food intake. Let’s get further into the meanings and differences between food allergy and intolerance for a detailed understanding of the two physiological aspects. The Causes and Symptoms of Food Allergies Food allergy is a condition that often surfaces due to the body’s immune system not working optimally. If your body suffers from a food allergy, it is likely because your immune system identifies the particular food item as a harmful, invading, foreign object, thus leading to a fight response. A hyperactive immune system thus results in several observable symptoms that you may find surfacing in and on the body. Often, an allergic reaction is due to the high release of histamines in the body, a chemical addressing a local immune response in the body. It is ideally a useful chemical enabling blood thinning for the WBCs to pass easily and reach the affected location, among other purposes. However, in the case of food allergies, the immune system’s overactive state leads to a release of histamine and other responsive chemicals in high quantities to counter such food’s impact. Such a sudden release of these chemicals leads to severe responses, which are allergic symptoms. A food causing allergy in one’s body is identified as an allergen. Common food products that turn out to be allergens for a remarkable number of people include peanuts, animal dander, pollen, seafood, among others. Common symptoms related to a food allergy that one might come across include the likes of - Itching in the body Breathing trouble due to constricted/inflamed lungs Excessive watery discharge from the eyes Swelling and congestion in the nose Diarrhoea and vomiting in severe cases Red rashes on the skin Pressure in the chest or pain Anaphylaxis in fatal conditions The Causes and Symptoms of Food Intolerance Unlike a food allergy, food intolerance is the body’s response to any uneasy or incompatible food, leading to indigestion or irritation of the digestive system. As a result, the body’s capacity to digest the food reduces, leading to signs and symptoms. To understand food intolerance, you must know that it is not as sudden as an allergy and takes time to surface. Managing food intolerance is a slow process, too, needing you to eliminate certain food items from the diet. The doctor may also administer some light medications for any potentially harmful intolerance symptoms to subside. Long-term plans for food exclusion are among the best ways to counter intolerance to certain food items in your day-to-day life. Common food items causing intolerance in the body include wheat, gluten, and milk, along with certain vegetables and fruits. You must have commonly heard of the term ‘lactose intolerance,’ which is the body’s intolerance to lactose present in milk and milk products, leading to gastrointestinal discomfort. Some common symptoms of food intolerance in your body include the following. Constipation, cramps, bloating, and similar symptoms in the stomach Redness or inflammation of the skin Acidity and heartburn Excessive dryness of the skin Acne and pimples Headaches Mood swings and irritability Primary Points of Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance Some common points of difference between a food allergy and food intolerance are listed below for a better understanding of the two conditions. 1. Biological systems impacted The body’s immunity is the biological system that impacts/leads to allergic reactions to a certain food when in close contact. In the case of intolerance to food, chemicals produced in the digestive system are primarily responsible for the symptomatic reactions. Depending on the chemical composition of the body’s physiology, any healthy food consumed can cause intolerance symptoms. 2 .Causes In the case of a food allergy, your body’s immune system tries to protect it from certain food items that it considers a threat to the overall health. An allergy can be very specific to individuals based on the allergenic behaviour of such food. Apart from food consumption, even the smell or touch of certain food can cause allergic reactions in the body. Some other causes of food allergy include family history, age, maturity of the digestive system, and asthma. The body’s Intolerance to food is, however, typically caused due to the body’s inability to process or digest certain food due to the lack of necessary chemicals or enzymes. The presence of specific chemicals in such food or the presence of food additives can also be intolerance triggers. Irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and sensitivity to dried fruits are identified as other reasons for intolerance to food. 3. Diagnosis Food allergies are best diagnosed through dedicated blood tests, oral food tests, physical examinations of the skin, and tests based on food elimination. Additionally, the healthcare professional may inquire regarding your history of allergies, any family history of such conditions, etc. The first and basic test is usually a blood test to detect the Immunoglobulin E levels. If the levels are abnormal, further allergy testing like Allergy panels may be needed. There are now various tests available to detect food allergies like Allergy panel- Milk and milk products , Allergy panel- Fruits and other such tests. Apart from these basic blood tests like CBC, ESR may also be done to check certain abnormal parameters. Food intolerance is difficult to diagnose and most laboratories do not offer any test for it. Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. offers testing for food intolerance using protein array technology. Test has a comprehensive range and can detect IgG antibodies against 150 + foods. 4. Severity A food allergy may or may not be severe depending on your body’s reaction to the allergen identified. However, in some cases, an allergen may lead to severe symptoms, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, asphyxiation, etc. Most of these symptoms appear shortly after coming in contact with such food, like in the following 2 hours. Comparatively, food intolerance leads to low severity symptoms, which often appear over 4-5 hours after food consumption. 5. Time taken for recovery The recovery time from a food allergy often depends on the extent of exposure to such allergens and the severity of the symptoms observed. The higher the exposure and/or symptoms, the longer it takes to recover. Under food intolerance, however, eliminating the identified food from your diet can lead to a muted response of the body to such intolerance, resulting in long-term recovery. 6. Treatment Cases with mild symptoms of food allergy can be easily treated through antihistamine administration. Severe cases of allergy may need a more immediate, assertive, and aggressive response, such as hospitalisation or epinephrine injections. All these treatments must be done under the guidance of your doctor, though. As per research reports, there does not exist any definitive cure for the treatment of intolerance to various food items. The best bet has been to eliminate intolerant food items from one’s diet. Parting Thoughts With this detailed insight regarding the differences between food allergy and food intolerance, you should be better able to distinguish between the two as per the symptoms, severity, food consumption, and such factors. You may watch out for either of them if you feel itchy, discomfort, rashes, or any such symptoms after consuming a specific food.