6 management options for unresectable rectal cancer
6 management options for unresectable rectal cancer

Unresectable rectal cancer is another term for metastatic rectal cancer that has been rendered inoperable or one that cannot fully be removed by surgery. This generally occurs due to the size or location of the tumor. It is diagnosed in nearly 15% of rectal cancer cases and may require other interventions to manage symptoms. When cancer cannot be removed by surgery, oncologists may recommend one or more of the following therapies:

Laser removal of the rectal tumor
Lasers may be used in the early stages of diagnosis to remove any polyps that may become cancerous in the colon and rectum. Generally, CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers are used to shrink or destroy tumors in the body with the help of an endoscope.

Cryotherapy
Some studies have also reported using cryotherapy (treatment with extreme cold) for palliation to reduce tumor bulk in the body. This led to improvements such as more effective control of bleeding, relieving the obstruction, and avoiding colostomy. This is a form of ablation therapy used for small tumors (4 cm or less).

Elective colostomy to bypass the tumor (diverting colostomy)
A colostomy is an opening that is made in the abdominal wall during surgery. The end of the colon is brought through this opening to form a stoma that allows fecal matter to be removed from the body. This procedure is required when the rectum, anus, or surrounding sphincter muscle has been removed, such as during abdominoperineal resection.

Rectal stent
In some cases, doctors may recommend adding a rectal stent or a flexible hollow metal tube to keep the rectum open. This procedure does not require surgery. Once the doctors locate the blockage using a colonoscope, they may use X-rays and fluoroscopic imaging technology to place the stent accurately and help expand the colon or rectum.

Chemotherapy
People battling advanced stages of cancer may be offered chemotherapy, which is a treatment option used to kill fast-growing cancer cells. It may be offered intravenously at the hospital or by administering a course of treatment at home called oral therapy.

Radiation
Radiation therapy may be offered in combination with chemotherapy to decrease the size of the tumor. The most commonly used techniques of radiation therapy for colorectal cancers include:

External beam radiation: This may be intensity-modulated radiation therapy or image-guided radiation therapy conducted to deliver targeted doses of treatment.
Brachytherapy: This high-dose therapy is delivered directly into or near the tumor.

When seeking unresectable rectal cancer treatment, one will work with a team of doctors, including a surgeon, oncologist, radiation oncologist, and gastroenterologist. Based on the progression of cancer and the overall health of the patient, the team will recommend the best possible treatment options and discuss the possible outcomes to help patients make a more informed decision.

Causes, treatment, and preventive measures of asthma
Causes, treatment, and preventive measures of asthma

Asthma is an autoimmune disease caused when there is an inflammation in the airways of the lungs. If statistics are to be believed, there are almost 25 million people in the country with asthma. Asthma patients are likely to be very sensitive to particular things. However, this varies from patient to patient. The following article lists causes, treatments, and preventive measures to manage asthma and help asthma patients live better lives.

Causes

Allergens
Allergens are a common trigger of asthma. Common allergens present in the air that can cause asthma attacks to include dust mites on pillows or carpets, pollen from plants, molds or fungi in the air, pet hair, insect droppings, or rodents.

Smoke
Second-hand smoke and polluted air can lead to severe coughing, wheezing, and even an asthma attack. This can be in the form of burning wood, strong fumes, vapors, odors from perfumes, fresh paint, gasoline, and scented soaps or candles.

Health conditions
Certain health conditions such as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), pregnancy hormones, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), obstructive sleep apnea, nasal polyps, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sinusitis, and rhinitis can also cause asthma.

Weather
Changes in the weather are a common cause of asthma. Hence, it is recommended to avoid stepping outside during high pollen seasons like spring and fall.

Exercise
Exercise is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. However, for asthma patients, aggressive forms of physical exercises can make them pant more, causing breathing difficulty. Asthma caused due to excessive exercise is called bronchoconstriction.

Treatment options for asthma
While there may be no direct cure, the following options can efficiently help manage asthma symptoms:

One of the most important modes of treating asthma is medication. Although, not everyone who suffers from asthma relies on the same types of medication. Medication is prescribed based on a number of factors like the age of the person, possible triggers, and factors that help them keep their breathing and asthma in check. Medication can be divided into two categories – long-term asthma control medication and quick-relief medication.

Long-term medication is taken daily. This helps keep the signs and symptoms of asthma in check and reduces the chances of an asthma attack due to potential triggers. Types of long-term asthma medication include inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, combination inhalers, and theophylline.

Quick-relief medication is the second most common type of asthma medication used to keep the symptoms of asthma at bay. These are normally used in situations of emergency and to tackle an already active asthma attack. They work quickly and provide short-term relief. They are used as per the doctor’s prescription. Some asthma patients use these medications before indulging in exercising or any activity that exerts their body. The types of quick-relief asthma medication include short-acting beta antagonists, anticholinergic agents, and oral and intravenous corticosteroids.

Allergy medication is another type of medication used to treat the signs and symptoms of an asthma attack. This only helps if the asthma attack is triggered due to allergic reactions. Types of allergic medication include allergy shots and biologics.

Prevention

Take a steam bath
One of the effective home remedies for managing asthma is to take a steam bath. It is a simple way of getting relief from the symptoms of asthma. If not a steam bath, even steam inhalation can help. The steam opens up airways, providing relief from symptoms like wheezing and breathing difficulties.

Food regime
Food plays a key role in managing asthma. Certain foods can trigger asthma symptoms. So, one needs to identify what triggers asthma symptoms and avoid such foods. One needs to eat balanced and nutritious meals with fruits and vegetables, as they help boost immunity. Including foods rich in vitamin C and D helps improve immunity.

Practice yoga
Yoga involves postures and exercises that are beneficial. It requires the practice of breathing exercises like Pranayama. These exercises strengthen the diaphragm and lungs, which provide relief from the symptoms of asthma. When done regularly, it can be helpful for people with chronic asthma.

Use garlic and ginger
Garlic is anti-inflammatory in nature helpful in reducing inflammation, which is one of the aggravating factors in asthma. Also, eating a few pods of ginger can help manage asthma.

Drink coffee
While coffee is not beneficial in most health conditions, it can help asthmatics, as it works as a bronchodilator and opens blocked airways. A cup of hot coffee can provide relief from asthma symptoms.

Lose weight
People who are overweight or obese are prone to suffer from severe asthma symptoms. This is because the tummy presses on the lungs, putting pressure on them. Losing weight can be helpful for asthma patients as it increases lung volume. Weight loss also provides relief from other diseases like hypertension and diabetes that can aggravate asthma.

Consume omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and nuts can help increase lung strength and is also good for the heart. You can even take omega-3 supplements to help manage asthma.

Severe cases of asthma are treated with prescription medications like Fasenra® and Nucula. Fasenra® is one of the most effective asthma treatment options. It can be self-injected using an injection pen. Fasenra® improves breathing in asthma patients and lowers their oral steroid use. It can be used once every eight weeks. Mepolizumab or Nucala works to reduce the number of eosinophils in the blood, thereby reducing airway inflammation. Other clinical treatment medications include Singulair®, Zyflo®, and Ventolin® HFA.

Foods to eat and avoid for managing with melanoma
Foods to eat and avoid for managing with melanoma

Melanoma is one of the most aggressive cancers. It is considered such due to the rapidity with which it metastasizes if not treated in an early stage. However, it is difficult to detect since it rarely shows symptoms, and more than 70% of melanoma cases were detected in normal-looking skin. The following article lists some foods to eat and avoid for melanoma and other types of cancer, along with medication for melanoma.

Foods to Have for Those Suffering from Melanoma and Other Cancers

Plant-based Foods – Sweet Potatoes and Barley
Cooked vegetables are easier to digest than raw ones. Therefore, one should eat plant-based foods such as oats, barley, bananas, turnips, sweet potatoes, and pears.

Cruciferous Vegetables – Cauliflower and Broccoli
Cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and bok choy, among others, may affect the progression of cancers like melanoma. Cancer cells damage normal cells and DNA for mutation. Cruciferous vegetables protect these normal cells and DNA from damage from malignant cells. Moreover, these vegetables also protect the cells from damage occurred due to cancer treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.

Fruits – Strawberries and Raspberries
The presence of free radicals is one of the risk factors that increases the risk of an individual suffering from melanoma and other forms of cancers. Berries, such as strawberries, mulberries, raspberry, and blueberries, are a great source of anthocyanosises, which kills these free radicals and causes apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells, thereby inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells.

Lean Meats – Sirloin and Round Cuts
Instead of opting for highly-processed meats, it is advisable to choose lean meat options. This decreases the pressure on the pancreas to digest saturated fats. One should also cut down on red meat or go for lamb or lean cuts such as sirloin or eye of round roast and steak. Lean protein options include eggs, fish, tofu, and nut butters. These enhance the digestive system and are beneficial for cell and tissue repair.

Fluids – Green Tea and Fresh Fruit Juices
Lack of necessary fluids in the body can result in fatigue and dizziness. Hence, one should consume at least 6-12 cups of fluids a day. Taking small sips instead of large quantities can prevent the feeling of fullness. It is important to drink liquids an hour prior to or an hour after a meal instead of immediately before or after. One can also consume healthy protein and nutritional juices, such as smoothies, green tea, or fruit juices that contain little or no sugar. An individual with pancreatic cancer must completely avoid alcoholic beverages.

High-fiber Foods – Beans and Lentils
This category of foods is much easier on the pancreas, draws water from intestines, and digests easily, helping those with melanoma retain the food. They also contain folate and vitamin B that reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer and eliminate diarrhea. Foods that fall under this category are lentils, quinoa, brown rice, applesauce, and beans. These contain easy carbohydrates and fiber, which prevent high blood sugar levels and provide extra energy to the body.

Healthy Fats – Nut Seeds and Olive Oil
Individuals diagnosed with pancreatic cancer should avoid fatty, greasy, and fried foods. However, certain healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) derived from sources such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, nut seeds, and avocados are necessary. They help in maintaining overall body temperature and supply the body with energy.

Foods to Avoid for Those Suffering from Melanoma and Other Cancers

Processed and Refined Sugar
It is one of the leading triggers of cancer. It is believed that malignant or cancer cells often rely on glucose present in sugar for their prolific growth. Several oncologists and dieticians suggest switching to a low-sugar meal plan, thereby starving the cancer cell. This process of starving the cancer cells is called the Warburg Effect. Steer clear from foods such as sugary drinks, candy, cakes, cookies, and desserts as they have a high amount of refined sugar that can increase the risk of cancers like melanoma.

Processed Foods – Burgers and Fizzy Drinks
Processed foods, including fast foods, frozen foods, ice creams, sugary drinks, processed meats, and other ready-to-cook meals, are loaded with preservatives like parabens, tartrazine, nitrates, and nitrites that can worsen cancer symptoms, including those of melanoma. Apart from this, foods such as cakes and salad dressings that are made using vegetable oil may also facilitate tumor growth. This is because they are high in benzoate. Thus, they must be avoided by individuals suffering from melanoma as they might aggravate the symptoms of the condition.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is a type of hydrogenated oil that is used to increase the shelf life of processed foods. It is also used for cooking in some parts of the world. Hydrogenated oils contain trans-fat and linoleic acid, which can accelerate the growth of tumors, thereby increasing the risk of worsening overall health as well as cancer symptoms. Hence, it is recommended to use safer alternatives and switch to food options and oils that are trans-fat-free.

Medications for Melanoma
While lifestyle changes such as eating and avoiding certain foods can decrease the risk of melanoma, its spread can only be controlled through proper treatment. The treatment can be in the form of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy use medications that are administered through IV or given in the form of tablets. One such medication is Opdivo®.

Nivolumab or Opdivo® is a type of immunotherapy medication that is used for treating those cases of melanoma, which cannot be treated through surgery. It can be used in combination with ipilimumab or Yervoy® to stop the metastatic spread. Opdivo® is administered intravenously. Its dosage depends upon the severity of metastasis of melanoma. If you or a loved one are looking to buy this medication, then there are several websites offering Opdivo® for melanoma through Rx saving coupons. Websites such as Goodrx list coupons, which can be used to buy Opdivo® at discounted prices.

6 foods that trigger cancer and increase the risk
6 foods that trigger cancer and increase the risk

Cancer triggers an abnormal growth or mutation of cells in the body. These cells can potentially destroy healthy tissue in the vicinity and travel to distant organs, using the lymph nodes after metastasis. A genetic mutation is the main cause of this condition, and, sadly, there is no cure. The condition can at best be managed to improve quality of life by making healthy changes in food and lifestyle and exploring medications/treatments.

Foods that help reduce the risk

Processed meats

Meats are a good source of protein, especially leaner low-fat cuts. However, most types of meat are preserved by curing them in salt and spices or smoking and even packing the meat into cans. This prolongs the shelf life of meats like beef jerky, ham, corned beef, sausage, salami, and even hot dogs and increases the risk of carcinogens in the food. Cured and processed meat is linked to colorectal cancer. Red meats, like beef, pork, lamb, and veal, that are not cured increase the risk of cancer due to the number of additives and nitrates present in the raw cuts.

Salty, fried, and processed foods

The body needs to maintain a perfect sodium balance to promote the healthy function of vital organs. Any spikes due to excess consumption of salt may trigger unnatural responses that increase the risk of certain types of cancer. For example, salting is a popular method of preservation that is also used for curing different types of fish. However, this process may trigger a release of carcinogens by-products that increase the risk of cancer. The same goes for processed, fried, and baked foods that have excess salt. These foods also contain saturated fats, trans fats, preservatives, and additives to increase the product’s shelf life. Daily consumption of these foods can have an adverse effect on overall health.

Overcooked foods

Cooking methods can also have an adverse impact on the produce we eat. Using high heat or overcooking with techniques like grilling, barbequing, or pan-frying can release a host of carcinogens found in different cuts of meat. Cooking on the open flame triggers the release of PAH and HCA compounds that are known to alter the DNA of healthy cells. Even starchy vegetables that go with these meats release acrylamides. A high concentration of these compounds can result in nerve damage, increasing the risk of neurological disorders.

Foods rich in sugar

The consumption of sugar in excess increases the risk of other health complications like diabetes and triggers weight gain. These unhealthy changes result in oxidative stress and cause inflammation, thereby increasing the risk of certain types of cancer. In addition, sugar-based cereals, baked goods, and confectionaries trigger certain metabolic changes in the body that affect the immune response.

Foods made with refined carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are essentially fuel for the body. The digestive system breaks down carbs consumed from foods and beverages to release the necessary energy for all bodily systems. However, not all carbs are good for health. Refined carbohydrates, often referred to as simple carbs, can trigger an imbalance in blood sugar levels. Foods like white rice, pasta, white bread, and other consumables made out of refined grains increase the risk of colorectal cancer upon regular consumption.

Alcohol and sugary beverages

Consuming alcohol can increase the risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, throat, breast, stomach, liver, and bowel. When the liver breaks down the alcohol consumed, the process releases a carcinogenic compound into the body. Studies show that this compound harms the immune system function, promotes DNA damage, and results in oxidative stress, causing cell damage. Alcohol consumption also triggers an abnormal increase in estrogen levels among women, thus increasing the risk of breast cancer. Sweetened beverages are also rich in sugar and preservatives that trigger unhealthy weight gain and affect metabolic activities adversely.

Some of the following medications are suggested for ongoing cancer treatments, while others may be prescribed for prevention or recovery. Dosage will vary depending on the protocols established for different types of cancer treatment.

Neulasta®

Neulasta® OnPro is one of the prescription medications that is suggested during chemotherapy. The dosage is designed to reduce the risk of infections among adults, especially those with low immunity due to the lack of white blood cell boosters. The next day pill can be taken at home as instructed by the doctor.

Ibrutinib

Marketed under the brand name IMBRUVICA®, this oral pill is a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor that can prove to be a viable alternative to chemotherapy. The medication mainly helps manage B-cell malignancies that have been overserved among different types of cancer.

VENCLEXTA®

This prescription medication is mainly suggested for those who are diagnosed with different types of lymphoma and leukemia. It is an active oral therapy that has potent qualities to fight and counter certain types of blood cancer.

KRAS-G12 C inhibitor

Genetic mutation is one of the main causes for cancer cells to develop and affect healthy tissues. Kirsten rat sarcoma (KRAS) genes are linked to the development of colorectal, pancreatic, and small cell lung cancers. KRAS-G12 C inhibitors render the KRAS proteins neutral and reduce the risk of a mutation that can lead to potential cancer development.

CAR T-Cell Therapy

T-Cells are a type of immune system cells found in the body. CAR T-cell therapy modifies these immune cells to attack and prevent cancer cells from developing. Special receptors that bind to these proteins and enable the elimination of T-cells are also synthesized. The modified cells are reintroduced back into the body through infusion to counter specific types of cancer.

Parkinson’s disease – Signs, foods to eat, and treatment options
Parkinson’s disease – Signs, foods to eat, and treatment options

The early signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be subtle enough and can be easily overlooked by those suffering or those around the patient. It is, therefore, essential to spread awareness about the condition. Knowing the signs and conditions can help with timely treatment. Attention plays a crucial role in early detection, treatment, and ultimately in Parkinson’s relief options. Here are some signs and symptoms that should not be overlooked:

Tremor
Tremors are one of the most distinguishable early signs of Parkinson’s disorder. The initiation is with slight twitching of hands, thumbs, fingers, and/or chin. The tremors caused as a result of the onset of Parkinson’s are often referred to as “rest tremors.” This is because tremors are usually experienced by patients while they are resting. As the condition progresses, the intensity of the tremors also progresses.

Loss of smell
Loss of smell or olfactory dysfunction is yet another early symptom of Parkinson’s. Although this symptom is not related to any motor function, it is one of the signs that can appear years before the onset of the disorder. People that go through olfactory dysfunction experience permanent dulling of senses. This is different from the loss of smell or stuffiness experienced during cold or flu. With Parkinson’s, the sense of smell dulls down, and individuals can experience difficulty in identifying odors.

Slow movement
Stiffness of limbs can be a common occurrence in people for various reasons. However, after a while, it tends to go away when the person is active again. If the stiffness remains for a prolonged time and does not go away even after adapting to an active lifestyle, it can be an indication of Parkinson’s disease. The stiffness in Parkinson’s is often accompanied by an inability to move freely and quickly. The slowing down of the body is medically known as bradykinesia.

Apart from the signs mentioned above, some other early signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include changes in facial expressions, changes in an individual’s posture, handwriting growing smaller, and/or difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

Awareness about any health condition is vital to help cure or tackle it during the early stages. Moreover, equal importance should be given to lifestyle and food choices. Here are some foods that can help people who have or might be developing Parkinson’s disease:

Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the superfoods that benefit people across all walks of life. Fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are high in omega-3 content, which is why professionals recommend them. Omega-3 is a good quality fat; it helps improve cognitive impairment in patients. As a result, it is excellent for those with degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. The intensity of symptoms like confusion, loss of movement control, dementia, and tremors can lessen with this compound, making it one of the key inclusions in Parkinson’s relief options. Vegetarians can get omega-3 from chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts.

Green tea
Green tea is one of the most antioxidant-rich drinks in everyone’s pantry. The beverage has risen in rank and has speedily reached the top drink for a healthy yet tasty mid-day beverage. It has proven to be an asset in the war against various health conditions, including cardiac issues, diabetes, and kidney and liver-related conditions. However, its not-so-common benefit is for mental wellbeing. A cup of this hot beverage is known to do wonders for self-care. In fact, in 2016, a study published in the CNS Neurological Disorder-Drug Targets journal claimed that the beverage plays a part in slowing down the progression of Parkinson’s.

Fava beans
It might not be one of the tastier vegetables out there, but it surely is one of the healthier ones. The fava plant is known to contain a chemical that is often used to treat Parkinson’s. This chemical is known as levodopa and is a dopamine-replacement chemical that mimics the activity of dopamine. Although there is a lack of substantial amount of studies, the existing research suggests the plant contains more than just levodopa. Although the compounds in this are yet to be discovered, it is for sure that fava beans are one of the crucial ingredients in Parkinson’s relief options.

Berries
Fruits are high in antioxidants, especially berries. This antioxidant content enables the body to fight off oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. Oxidative stress is known to be higher than normal in conditions such as Parkinson’s. Additionally, they help maintain a healthy immune system and healthy cells.

Food plays an important role in the treatment and management of various health conditions. However, it is not prudent to rely on food alone. If anyone is experiencing any of the above signs, it is important to get things checked by a health care expert. There are medications available that can also help improve or maintain the condition and slow down the progression of Parkinson’s.

Tolcapone (Tasmar)
Another Parkinson’s relief option includes Tolacpone, branded under Tamar. Tolcapone is a compound that helps the body inhibit the function of catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT). COMT is an enzyme that prohibits levodopa-carbidopa or dopamine from reaching the brain, making it difficult to function normally. On the other hand, Tolcapone helps in the treatment by increasing the functionality of levodopa and decreasing the effect of COMT.

Entacapone (Comtan)
Entacapone, commercially manufactured under Comtan, is yet another oral medication for Parkinson’s relief. Like Tolcapone, Entacapone works by inhibiting the impact of COMT, making it easier for levodopa to reach the brain. Entacapone can be used as a combination therapy along with other medications for the condition. It is also helpful in improving the motor functions of the patients.

Opicapone (Ongentys)
Ongentys is an oral medication that contains Opicapone. It can be used with levodopa-carbidopa, a dopamine replacer, and is used as the primary line of treatment for Parkinson’s. Like the above two medications, Ongentys or Opicapone also helps by improving the efficacy of levodopa and, in turn, helps the improve brain function of the patients, making it a crucial part of Parkinson’s relief options.

Food regimen that may help manage Parkinson’s disease
Food regimen that may help manage Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s is a progressive degenerative disease that impacts a person’s brain and motor functions. It is characterized by unexplained and unstoppable tremors, loss of balance, and changes in gait. Fortunately, the symptoms of Parkinson’s can be managed with the right intake of nutrition. Similarly, eating certain foods can exacerbate the condition. This article sheds light on the foods to eat and avoid and medications that help manage Parkinson’s.

Foods to eat

Berries
These fruits provide numerous benefits and are high in bioactive ingredients like anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid rich in antioxidants. Flavonoids are known to protect the brain from damage. Berries are counted among the best fruits for Parkinson’s patients, as foods rich in antioxidants help reduce the amount of oxidative stress experienced by the brain and body. Berries are also rich in vitamin C, which acts as an immunity booster and plays a significant role in preventing secondary infections and conditions. Berries have other essential minerals and vitamins that keep the immune system healthy.

Foods packed with omega-3 fatty acids
It has been a long-held belief and scientifically proven that omega-3 fatty acid is helpful in the improvement of cognitive functioning. Since Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder, this compound can help slow down the cognitive impairment of patients. The anti-inflammatory property of the compound can lower the inflammation caused in the brain. Some of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish like salmon, sardine, mackerel, tuna, and herring. For vegetarian sources of omega-3, include foods like walnuts, soybean, flax seeds, and chia seeds in the patient’s meals. These foods are also rich in slow-digesting carbohydrates, which will leave one satiated for a longer period.

Fava beans
Some patients are recommended to eat fava beans to manage Parkinson’s, as they are rich in levodopa— an ingredient used in certain medications to treat the condition. This makes the beans a must-have food on the list for Parkinson’s patients. They are rich in plant protein and other essential vitamins and minerals. Researchers also claim that fava beans contain some additional ingredients that help keep the condition under control. Whether or not this is true is yet to be found, but levodopa is definitely known to benefit patients with Parkinson’s. That said, these beans can’t be a substitute for prescription treatments since it is not known how much levodopa one is getting when they eat fava them.

Green tea
Green tea has become a common drink among the masses for the last few years, and for good reason. The drink is said to help the body fight oxidative damage caused by free radicals. The high antioxidants in green tea slow down the progression of Parkinson’s, as reported by the CNS’s journal in 2016. It does so by slowing down the process of neurological degeneration. How well the drink works for people living with the condition is yet to be determined, but its many benefits make it worth trying out.

Broccoli
Many frown upon this cruciferous veggie, thanks to its bland taste. However, what many may not know is how nutrient-dense broccoli is. Patients with Parkinson’s are often advised to include antioxidant-rich foods in their daily meals. Not only do these antioxidants help fight oxidative damage, but they also help in the healing process of cells. This makes broccoli an even better addition to one’s meals as Parkinson’s is a progressive disease. One can steam it, saute it, or simply add it raw to their salads–it makes for a nutritious addition to one’s meal.

Foods to avoid

Dairy products
Dairy products are one of the food groups that have been proven to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease when consumed in huge amounts. It is believed that certain components in dairy have an undesirable impact on the brain, leading to Parkinson’s.

Foods high in protein
As discussed earlier, levodopa is a medication of choice among many for Parkinson’s treatment. It should be noted that it is crucial for hampering the fast progress of this degenerative disorder. It has been seen that in some Parkinson’s patients, proteins tend to interfere with the activity and efficacy of this medicine. However, since protein is a crucial part of the food regimen, it is prudent to not completely eliminate it from one’s meals. Speaking to medical professionals is a step in the right direction to realizing the right method to balance medications and nutrition. The same applies to dairy products.

Alcohol
Parkinson’s patients develop problems with their balance and gait, which results in unforeseen falls and injuries. It is known that alcohol can impair judgment and brain function, reduce reaction time, and lead to loss of balance and reduced motor skills.

Treatment options
Food is not the only way to manage Parkinson’s. Other treatment options include oral medications, physical therapy, mobility exercises, nutrition, and more. Since levodopa treatment’s impact decreases as time passes, here are some other used inhibitors doctors rely on to treat patients with Parkinson’s.

Tolcapone (Tasmar)
Tolcapone, a yellow crystalline compound, is often used in combination with levodopa to treat Parkinson’s. It helps deal with the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase by inhibiting it. It is available in the form of oral medication and used after medicines have failed at being effective.

Opicapone (ONGENTYS)
ONGENTYS is often used in combination with levodopa, a dopamine replacement agent that is often found in Parkinson’s medications. It contains opicapone, a COMT inhibitor, which improves the amount of levodopa-carbidopa that reaches the brain. The medicine is available in the form of capsules.

Entacapone (Comtan)
Like other medications listed here, entacapone is also a compound that inhibits the COMT enzyme and increases the effectiveness of levodopa-carbidopa. It is used in combination with other medicines and can help in achieving control over motor fluctuations. It is often used to treat end-of-dose symptoms of Parkinson’s.

RYTARY (carbidopa and levodopa) capsules
RYTARY is an FDA-approved prescription medication that helps in treating Parkinson’s disease. The extended-release (ER) capsule contains two active properties, levodopa and carbidopa, and must be taken orally. Based on the prescription, the capsule can be taken three times a day. However, it is available in different concentrations, which means the doctor will prescribe a dosage based on the type and severity of the condition, any earlier medication used to treat Parkinson’s, and any potential medical conditions that the patient may have.

Managing Sickle Cell Anemia With Nutrition
Managing Sickle Cell Anemia With Nutrition

Sickle cell anemia is a condition in which the red blood cells become hard and sticky and change their shape to a C form like that of a sickle’s. Hence, the name of the illness. These deformed red blood cells die early, leading to a shortage of these important cells. Due to their peculiar shape, they get stuck in blood vessels and clog the blood flow, leading to serious issues like stroke, infection, or acute chest syndrome.

Nutrition and sickle cell anemia
Nutrition plays a huge role in managing this illness. According to research, patients with sickle cell anemia require more than average amounts of calories and micronutrients. Especially kids with SCD (sickle cell disease) show signs of lean body mass and reduced fat-free mass, which is a sign of deficiency of essential micronutrients. A balanced diet of whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables is advised over a typical western diet, which focuses more on meat-based meals, according to findings published in PCRM’s Nutrition Guide for Clinicians.

Foods to eat
Those suffering from anemia need food that is rich in iron or can help absorb iron. Apart from that, as suggested before, a balanced meal can help manage the symptoms of the disease to a great extent.

1. Blackstrap molasses
One tablespoon of this provides about 20% of the daily iron intake required by an individual. It is also a rich source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6, and selenium, essential micronutrients needed by the body.

2. Quinoa
This is a natural food item, which is loaded with fortified iron. Other grains like oats, amaranth, teff, sorghum, and whole wheat, are also rich sources of fortified iron. A simple breakfast made with this can be nutritious and tasty.

3. Legumes
Lentils and legumes are superfoods when it comes to managing anemia deficiencies. According to research, just half a cup of this provides about 20 percent of your body’s daily craving. Since they are also a rich fiber source, your gut health will be in great shape, leading to no complications in other aspects of your health.

4. Eggs
Eggs, consisting of heme iron, can be a great addition to your meals if you need that extra iron boost in your system. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), several animal products have heme iron, especially beneficial for those fighting iron deficiency. Other food items like turkey, pork liver, ground beef are all excellent sources.

5. Oysters
Oysters, loaded with iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, are recommended by USDA. All these nutrients are necessary to keep blood cells healthy and fight off viruses and bacteria that attack the immune system. You can also explore mussels and clams as alternatives to oysters if you like seafood.

6. Chickpeas
While chickpeas, or garbanzo peas, are great for iron intake, add in some lemon juice to get vitamin C and help absorb this essential iron in your body! Chickpeas are a great plant-based iron source, loaded with protein to make you feel full and satisfied. If you make hummus, you can enjoy the smooth and creamy texture of this vegetable with other delicious and nutrient-rich food items.

7. Pumpkin seeds
As per the USDA, these tiny seeds are a powerhouse of iron. Consume about 1 ounce of these without the shells, and get about 2.7mg of iron in one go! One of the easiest ways to consume these is to add them to your bread loaf, or you may even add these as toppings on most food items. They also have other essential nutrients like magnesium and zinc that keep your blood cells healthy.

8. Edamame
These small green beans, rich in iron and copper, keep your blood vessels and immune system strong and healthy. One of the best and easiest ways to prepare this superfood is to steam it and season it with garlic and salt. Edamame seeds are also high in fiber and manganese, keeping the gut balanced and healthy. According to research by USDA, a cup of these raw beans equals 9mg of iron.

9. Black beans
Black beans, being a plant-based food, contain non-heme iron, which is slightly more difficult to be absorbed by the body than heme iron. Adding foods rich in vitamin C to this will do the trick! Add veggies like kale, broccoli, or bell peppers to these beans and let your body work on getting its nutrients from this powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Other beans like kidney, fava, and pinto are also good alternatives to black beans.

10. Spinach
Spinach is one of the most well-known and readily available iron powerhouses in the plant-based category of iron-rich food. It is rich in iron, vitamin A, E, fiber, protein, and even calcium, keeping your body updated on its nutrient needs. Vitamins A and E are known to keep the immune system strong and the blood clean. Again, pairing this vegetable with other vitamin C foods will be most beneficial.

Stay informed
With a condition as sensitive as sickle cell anemia, you must do thorough research on what works best for your body. Taking advice from your doctors and nutritionists, make sure you plan your meals that are most suitable for your body’s needs. Apart from nutrition, speak to your doctor to see what other options are available to manage your symptoms, and in case of emergency, what protocols are to be followed.

Follow these tips to effectively manage multiple myeloma symptoms
Follow these tips to effectively manage multiple myeloma symptoms

Multiple myeloma is a cancer wherein the body’s plasma cells are affected. The American Cancer Society reports that over 30,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in recent times. Although the disease is not preventable, there are foods that help you to effectively manage multiple myeloma and its symptoms.

Malignant plasma cells may cause anemia or other infections. While normal cells try to ward off infections, myeloma cells prevent healthy cells from working efficiently. Myeloma cells instead accelerate bone breakdown, and put off new bone development, thus making fractures and breaks very common.

Conventional treatment includes chemotherapy, bisphosphonates, surgery, radiation, and stem cell transplant. Complementary treatments include special diets, herbs, vitamins, massage, and acupressure.

Although there are no such proven diets to treat or fight multiple myeloma, a specific nutrition strategy might prevent other symptoms like anemia or kidney damage. It may also reduce the risks of cancer recurrence.

Get adequate iron
Foods that curb multiple myeloma symptoms contain iron. Multiple myeloma leads to anemia – a condition in which the body contains only a few red blood cells. As a result, it causes weakness and fatigue. Other causes of anemia include deficiency in iron, vitamin B12, and folate.

Foods containing iron are an integral part of a diet that aims to help patients with the disease. Some good sources include:

  • Raisins
  • Lean red meat
  • Bell peppers
  • Kale
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, papaya, guava

Foods containing essential folate, a B vitamin that contributes to the formation of white and red blood cells in the bone marrow, include:

  • Asparagus
  • Black-eyed kidney beans
  • Beef liver
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

Foods containing vitamin B12 work together with folate to help the body form more red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the ability of the bone marrow to make as well as maintain red blood cells in patients suffering from multiple myeloma.

Good sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • Liver
  • Beef
  • Clams
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Fortified breakfast cereal
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Fortified non-dairy milk like soy milk, almond milk, flax milk

In addition, vitamin D is also one of the nutrients to look for in foods that help curb multiple myeloma. Good sources of this vitamin include:

  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified milk and yogurt
  • Egg yolks
  • Sockeye salmon, sardines, and tuna

Get more fiber
Chemotherapy drugs often cause constipation. The best way to cope with this is to increase fiber intake and increase water consumption. High fiber foods include:

  • Whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal
  • Dried fruits like figs, raisins, prunes, and apricots
  • Apples, oranges, and pears
  • Nuts, lentils, and beans
  • Berries
  • Carrots, artichokes, and broccoli

Alternative remedies
A study revealed that curcumin may be effective for patients with multiple myeloma. Curcumin is a compound present in turmeric, the spice. The study showed that curcumin may reduce the risk of resistance to chemotherapy medicines and ensure the drugs work properly. However, further research is required.

5 healthy snack options to improve diabetes
5 healthy snack options to improve diabetes

Diabetes is a deadly disease, not simply because of its symptoms but due to other complications it can cause. In this condition, the blood sugar levels or glucose levels are much higher than usual, and it can lead to many other problems like cancer, heart problems, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. Diet plays a significant role in controlling the sugar levels of a person. Thus, it is imperative for a diabetic to control their food habits and also exercise regularly to keep parameters under check. Let’s learn about some interesting and healthy snacks for improving diabetes.

To manage your blood sugar levels, you need to balance out what you eat and drink along with the amount of exercise you do daily. Along with eating healthy, it is also pertinent that you have snacks at regular intervals. Here are some tasty and healthy snacks for improving diabetes.

Fish fillet
Fish is a great source of protein without the ill effects of eating meat. In fact, having fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines is even better as they have a high level of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, that are amazing for heart health. They protect the cells lining the blood vessels and enhance the way the arteries function after eating. Grill them with very little oil and toss in some green vegetables and voila! You have one healthy snack for improving diabetes.

Sauteed vegetables

Leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are good sources of many minerals and vitamins, including vitamin C, which helps in reducing inflammatory markers and also fasting blood sugar levels for those with type 2 diabetes or even high blood pressure. Also, green leafy vegetables are a good source of antioxidants – zeaxanthin and lutein that protect the eyes from cataract and degeneration which are common complications of diabetes. You can prepare these vegetables with some spices and herbs and toss them in some olive oil and garlic. A great snack is ready to be devoured.

Eggs
Eggs in any form are excellent for diabetics. They are a good way to keep yourself full and satisfied for long periods. Regular consumption of eggs helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases. They reduce inflammation, enhance insulin sensitivity, and also improve HDL cholesterol levels along with modifying the shape and size of LDL cholesterol. Besides, eggs are one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help protect your eyes. Make eggs in different styles like omelets, boiled eggs, or poached eggs to make for exciting snacks that improve diabetes.

Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is a great dairy source for diabetics and makes for a good snack in between meals. It improves blood sugar control and also reduces the risk of heart disease as it is probiotic – making it one of the healthiest snacks for improving diabetes.

Shirataki noodles
These noodles are high in a fiber called glucomannan that is extracted from konjac root. It makes you feel full and satisfied and at the same lowers the levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin. It also reduces blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of heart diseases.

Making healthy food choices is the best way to manage diabetes. Try out these delicious snacks for improving diabetes and you will surely feel better.

Follow these guidelines to maintain prostate health
Follow these guidelines to maintain prostate health

Good food and proper nutrition are beneficial in reducing the risk of developing diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, obesity, and prostate cancer. One third of adults die of cancer in the country. A healthy diet enhances the immune system and increases the energy levels, which facilitates in recovery from diseases.

It is important to maintain a healthy diet if you want to lower the risk of developing prostate cancer. Here are some guidelines you can follow to maintain the health of your prostate. Your diet should contain plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in fiber but low in fat, and the intake of sugar should be largely reduced.

For prostate health
Fruits and vegetables contain lots of vitamins, inflammation-reducing substances, natural fiber, minerals, polyphones, and antioxidants. Many people do not consume enough fruits and vegetables and a change in the way you eat is required by including a variety of vegetables and fruits. These should include cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli, which contain phytochemicals that help reduce oxidative stress. Carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, pomegranate, grapes, grapefruit are citrus fruits and can be included in one’s diet to manage prostate health.

A research group has linked prostate cancer with lycopene, which is an antioxidant, and its consumption reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, tomato products, and red vegetables and fruits.

Reduce the intake of animal products like dairy products, animal fat, and red meat – lamb, pork, and beef. They are tied to the development of prostate cancer.

Eating soya in the form of soy milk, edamame, tempeh, and tofu is known to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. It is known to contain isoflavones, which is a plant compound/phytochemical. Since soy intake is high in Asian countries, the incidence of prostate cancer is very low in Asia.

Try to consume plant protein, such as nuts, flax, and beans that contain lignans and quercetin, which suppress the development of some types of cancers, including prostate cancer.

Green tea is known for its goodness that comes from flavonoids.

Whole grains like quinoa, farro, millet, kasha, bulgar, barley, corn, oatmeal, and brown rice are full of protein, magnesium, and fiber. Choose whole grain products than processed ones.

Reduce the intake of carbonated drinks that are sugary. An increase in the intake of drinking water will help improve metabolism and eliminate cancer-causing substances from the body. Go for organic foods that are free from chemicals and pesticides.

A good healthy diet helps you to recover from cancer treatment and prevents recurrence. Reducing your weight also reduces the risk of cancer. Obese men have four times the chances of having cancer spread beyond the prostate. Prostate cancer treatment affects the eating habits and you may find it difficult to eat — this is when you should take the help of a dietitian who will make sure you get proper nutrition.

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