COCONUT OIL SUPER FOOD?

CoconutsCoconut oil classified is considered a superfood according toCoconut oil is high in saturated fatSales of coconut oil are rocketing, propelled by celebrity endorsements and claims that drinking the stuff will cure everything from halitosis to digestive disorders. Actress Angelina Jolie-Pitt is said to have a tablespoon or so with breakfast most mornings, while model Miranda Kerr says she not only adds it to salads and smoothies, but she cooks with it and splashes it on her skin as well. The health claims that swirl around coconut oil are treated with a great deal of scepticism by scientists. Coconut oil is seen, in the scientific community, as an unhealthy fat. It is very high in saturated fat (86%), even more so than butter (51%) or lard (39%). The reason that foods rich in saturated fats are frowned on is because eating them causes a rise in blood levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein). LDL is known as “bad cholesterol” because high levels are linked with increased risk of heart disease. On the other hand, saturated fats – which are particularly bad for you – also tend to raise HDL, “good” cholesterol, which has the opposite effect. It is possible that a particular food can raise overall cholesterol levels, yet still be heart-friendly.

Cholesterol check

So is coconut oil a cholesterol-busting wonder food, as some claim, or is this all dangerous hype? Despite all the sound and fury that surrounds coconut oil there have been surprisingly few human studies carried out to test specific health claims. So for the current BBC2 series of Trust Me I’m a Doctor, we thought we should help organise a trial. The Trust Me team started by contacting Prof Kay-Tee Khaw and Prof Nita Forouhi, both eminent Cambridge academics. With their help we recruited 94 volunteers, aged 50-75 and with no history of diabetes or heart disease, and designed a study to assess what effect eating different types of fat would have on their cholesterol levels. We began by randomly allocating our volunteers to one of three groups. Every day for four weeks, the first was asked to eat 50g of extra virgin coconut oil – that’s about three tablespoons full.

Type of oil or fat Polyunsaturated (%) Monounsaturated (%) Saturated (%)
Coconut oil 2 6 86
Butter 3 21 51
Lard 11 45 39
Goose fat 11 56 27
Olive oil 10 76 14
Rapeseed oil 28 63 7
Sesame oil 41 40 14
Corn oil 54 27 12
Sunflower oil 65 20 10

The second group was asked to consume the same amount of extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely seen as being extremely healthy. And the third was asked to eat 50g of unsalted butter a day. Again, that adds up to just over three tablespoons. The volunteers were told that they could consume these fats in whatever way they pleased, as long as they did so every day for the whole four weeks. On the other hand others think that Coconut oil ‘as unhealthy as beef fat and butter’ so the Diet debate: Is butter back and is sat fat good? They were also warned that, because they were consuming an extra 450 calories a day, they might well put on some weight. Before our volunteers started on their new high-fat regime we took blood samples to get baseline measurements, focusing mainly on their levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and HDL (the “good” cholesterol) The importance of these two measures is that your heart attack risk is best calculated, not by looking at your total cholesterol score, but your total cholesterol divided by your HDL score. NHS Choices suggests that this figure should be below four. So what happened? As expected the butter eaters saw an average rise in their LDL levels of about 10%, which was almost matched by a 5% rise in their HDL levels Those consuming olive oil saw a small reduction, albeit a non-significant drop, in LDL cholesterol, and a 5% rise in HDL. So olive oil lived up to its heart-friendly reputation.Olive oil

Early Stages of Studies

But the big surprise was the coconut oil. Not only was there no rise in LDL levels, which was what we were expecting, but there was a particularly large rise in HDL, the “good” cholesterol, up by 15. On the face of it that would suggest that the people consuming the coconut oil had actually reduced their risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is seen as particularly healthy. I asked Prof Khaw, who was clearly surprised by these results, why she thought it had happened. “I have no real idea,” she candidly replied. “Perhaps it is because the main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid and lauric acid may have different biological impacts on blood lipids to other fatty acids. The evidence for that comes mainly from animals, so it was fascinating to see this effect in free-living humans.” So should we be hailing coconut oil as a health food? “I think decisions to eat particular oils depend on more than just the health effects” she said. “This is just one study and it would be irresponsible to suggest changing dietary advice based on one study, however well conducted.” This was a very short-term study and compared to olive oil, research on coconut oil is at an early stage. So the claims about coconut oil being a superfood are premature. But if, like me, you enjoy putting coconut in your curries, there seems no very good reason to stop.

The new series of Trust Me I’m a Doctorcontinues on BBC2 at 20:30 GMT on Wednesday 10 January and will be available on iPlayer afterwards.

MOTHER/SON RELATIONSHIP

Mother son relationship is profound extending into lifetime adulthood and beyond into eternity. Here re some tips on how to develop and nurture healthy, strong relationship with your son! As a mother you’re always getting advice on how to raise your kids. If you have a son, you might be warned against coddling him and told to “cut the apron strings.” But what does it really mean to have a good mother-son relationship? Sure, you don’t want to be one of those moms who hovers and panics at the site of tears or a small cut, but you want your little boy to know you will always be there for him. Here are some tips on how to build and maintain a healthy, strong relationship with your son.

How Can You Build a Strong Bond?
Here are five steps you can take to develop a healthy relationship with your little boy:

  1. Teach Your Son Important Life Skills
    It’s important for you to teach your child how to grow into an independent adult. Perhaps your son can cook and clean with you every once in a while, or maybe you can help him sew the eye back onto his favorite stuffed animal. Not only will this allow you to bond in a unique way, but it will help your son gain confidence. He’ll be sure to thank you when he has to teach his college roommate how to do laundry.
  2. Spend Quality Time Together Doing the Things He Loves
    Whether your son loves to play video games, build with Legos or go bike riding, make an effort to do his favorite things together. He’ll appreciate the fact that you took an interest in his interests!
  3. Help Him Build Strong Relationships With Others
    Your son’s relationship with you will have a major impact on his relationships with all the other important people in his life. Nurture his relationship with his father, encourage friendships with boys and girls, schedule time for grandparents and older relatives and provide opportunities for mentors. Here are some tips on How to Nurture the Dad-Bond.
  4. Respect and Trust Each Other
    Your relationship with your little boy will play a major role in his emotional development. By forming a bond built upon mutual trust and respect, you can teach your son to also respect himself, as well as others.
  5. Be Human
    By being open about your mistakes and downfalls, you can reinforce the idea that no one’s perfect. This will help your son feel more comfortable in his own skin.

Can You Nurture This Relationship Over Time?
Like all mothers, you will encounter lots of trials and tribulations during your parenting journey. But by continuing to build and nurture your relationship with your son, you can handle any obstacles that come your way together. Here are four steps you should take to maintain a strong bond:

  1. Continue to Make Time to Talk One-on-One
    Be honest with your son as much as you staying age appropriate. And be sure to listen and really listen when he talks to you. It’s important that he knows he can come to you with his problems and concerns.
  2. Build Up Independence
    As your child gets older, you need to learn when to let go and allow him to take on the world on his own. Every kid needs a chance to make his own mistakes and learn life lessons.
  3. Know When to Stay Out of It
    When it comes to certain topics, like relationships, be careful that you don’t come off as overbearing. If you give too many opinions or unwanted advice, you risk the possibility that your son will feel the urge to rebel against you. But if he comes to you in this situation, be sure to be as tactful as possible. Try to remember that anyone your son cares for must have some redeeming qualities, and it’s your job to try to see the good he sees in his significant other.
  4. Avoid Battle of Wills (Especially During the Teenage Years)
    There’s no one more hardheaded than a teenage boy who’s determined to have his way. But that doesn’t mean you should let your son walk all over you. Just do your best to avoid getting into arguments or yelling matches, as they are never the best solution. Instead, try to have levelheaded conversations in which each person listens to the other’s point of view. Lay out why and how you came to a decision that may have upset him, but feel confident that you made the right call. With a balance of freedom, boundaries, rules and independence, you’ll show your son that you care for his safety but respect his ability to make some decisions for himself.

Do you have more tips on how to foster a healthy mother-son relationship? Tell us in the comments below!

Kit Arbuckle writes for numerous publications specializing on topics such as parenting, health and education. She has two teenage sons that inspire her every day.

GUT BACTERIA & ANXIETY

gut feelGut bacteria affects the brain and mood swings which impact the body. Recent research shows good gut microbes are essential from quality nutrients in foods Gut bacteria creates a serotonin happy mood and joyful mindset. Some of the processed foods deficient in essential mineral nutrients contain residues of toxic chemicals from fertilisers and the pesticides in the food chain. Product can contain unhealthy chemicals affecting a mood swing. Often people who have no time to eat well and without time cook simple healthy menus resort to the junk foods. Cheap unhealthy foods cause the obesity, diabetes and numerous health problems as the meals grabbed eaten too fast for proper digestion. Whatever food is available if desperately hungry is stuffed and gulped down with drinks also unhealthy. The modern trend of the rat race lifestyle means most do not even shop or stock healthy ingredients. Often too expensive within budget due to low incomes may resort to fast foods in high streets, eat whatever is available as job markets in ate in jeapoardy. Your-Gut-BacteriaWith spiralling property prices constant online connectivity, these undoubtedly is anxious times for young people. Stats back this up, with almost one in five 16-24-year-olds in UK dealing with stress and anxiety. A recent study suggests that the anxiety levels may not just be driven to what’s going on inside brains but in gut caused by bacteria microbes. After carrying out research scientists at University College Cork, Ireland found strong links between the high levels of depressive and anxious behaviour and having a low-level of gut microbes. The study showed ‘microbe-free’ displayed higher anxiety levels than those without them. It’s believed the gut’s microbiotic environment influences molecules in 2 areas of the brain’s pre-frontal cortex and amygdala tied to a range of mental health condition of depression anxiety.Gut-bacteria-weight-loss-300x203
Links between what you eat and what you feel emphasise the latest findings in years to come do not only focus on the ins-and-outs of brain chemistry and antidepressants but take a more holistic view of our mental health. A double-pronged treatment is encouraging news to those who have a generalised anxiety disorder. In the UK it’s believed about 5 % of the population and young people affectedHowever, treating food as a solution to complex mental issues is by no-means being suggested. The past few years ‘clean-eating’ trends are criticised by experts saying they cause problems as approach to food unhealthy extreme.

While fad diets may be debunked, according to one specialist, paying attention to your gut isn’t another mere craze. “It definitely isn’t just a trend,” says Dr Megan Rossi, Research Associate at King’s College London. Gut’s sudden rise to prominence as an arbiter of our mental health is due to technological advances, she explains. “We weren’t able to sequence all the bacteria and understand their genetic profiles and their functionality until now,” she explains. Only in the last 10 years has the tech been available to understand the gut’s true potential. “I definitely see the gut as like a second brain,” she says. And, like the brain, we are far from understanding all of its mysteries.diet_620x350_61490876592

But there are some things you can do to keep your gut and your brain fighting fit. Fermented foods, such as kimchi or live yoghurt, are said to be beneficial, while recipes including pulses and legumes, onion, garlic, dates, figs, and asparagus can all help good bacteria to flourish. Dr Rossi says variety is also key: overdosing on just one kind of veg won’t bring the health benefits that varied, plant-based foods do. And she is keen to stress that food isn’t a miracle cure, when it comes to severe, chronic depression. But being kind to your gut might be one important way of being kinder to your mind. If you’d like more information and support about topic be able to get help from experts in healthy eating treatment centres. If you need counselling tell your GP to set up for you to deal with ang deep root causes of anxiety causing unhealthy eating. Pay attention to good healthy diet in general improves health and gets rid of certain illnesses as Jamie Oliver showed by the changes in school meals in UK impact on children’s health and well-being.  In addition anxiety is fuelled by hidden chemical, enhancers and preservatives. It is important that to know and learn to understand effects on brain and body. Gut-Bacteria-InfographicGood food from the rainbow diet ensure each part of the body gets appropriate nutrients necessary for the cell growth, regeneration and repair of the human tissues. Some do not eat properly, resort to online self diagnosis by convincing themselves they have symptoms read about. In the course of counselling, psychiatrists said, following a five-year study of patients treated in 5 English hospitals. Research shows internet was feeding a “silent epidemic” of health anxiety as harmless ailments often mistaken for terrifying diagnoses. And they said the growth of fitness trackers likely increased levels of hypochondria, heaping pressures on cardiac clinics and neurology units. Dr Helen Tyrer, a senior clinical research fellow, Imperial College London, said anxiety was often triggered by event, such as the patient suffering a health scare, somebody in their family getting ill, dying, celebrity their age dying or getting sick. “They become convinced they are developing a serious underlying disease, or that an existing medical problem is much more serious than it is,” she said.Prevent-Your-Gut-Bacteria-From-Making-2Such beliefs are held despite medical evidence to the contrary.” Lead author Professor Peter Tyrer said the internet appeared to be fuelling the trend: “We think increasing frequency is because of cyberchondria,” he said. “People now go to their GP with list of things they’ve looked up on the internet and say ‘what do you make of this and the poor GP, five minutes into the consultation, has four pages of reading to do. “Dr Google is very informative but he doesn’t put things in the right proportion,” he said. It is true Google helps as source of good information but contradictory advise leads to confusion or lack of awareness of the real causes of changes in moods. Food plays major part in human brain formation so eating the right foods can contribute to a healthier mindset. Food is not just an option of favourite palate taste but thought must be put into good food to train people to value their body better. The family meal cannot just depend on ads seen on Telly to feed the precious body and good brain foods. How-Gut-Bacteria-Affects-Brain-and-Body-PinA glamorous food advert picture does not match contents inside the food box or taste anywhere near similar freshly prepared quality good home-made meals. A good budget can buy the affordable ingredients if determined to feed family and eat well. So much time spent online or watching telly can be used instead to prepare these simple quick 15 minute delicious menus for a family. The rise in ADHDT some autism spectrum is linked to chemicals in some foods that must be avoided.

How to cope with anxiety

Dr Rachel Andrew offers her advice for teens struggling with anxiety:

  • Seek appropriate help if you feel you need it
  • Remind yourself that it only forms a part of your strengths, talents and abilities
  • Try and practise mindfulness to stay in the moment, as your anxiety will drive you to constantly think of the future and worst case scenarios
  • Try to stay focused on the present and more manageable situations
  • Take a break on social media or at least have moments in the day where you switch alerts off.

Healthy-Gut-BacteriaThe study, funded by National Institute for Health Research, tracked 444 patients with “severe health anxiety” at cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology and respiratory departments. While some had genuine health complaints, or had suffered them the past, all had abnormal levels of anxiety. Those given cognitive behavioural therapy saw a significant drop in anxiety levels, five years on so similar death rates to those given standard NHS care, suggesting that counselling did not lead to a failure to discover life-threatening illnesses, researchers found. The hospital food is another issue as patients sometimes are unable to eat what is provided. Lots of tons of food is wasted by NHS because is unsuitable for dietary needs in certain situations or patient too ill to eat that sort of food provided. Holistic approach to good diet will reduce some illnesses compounded by junk food or starvation. Healthy food education must extend to manufacturers also and start early from childhood. Convenience foods are good but cannot be totally depended on solely for nutrients. Fresh food quickly prepared contains ‘live’ nutrient than the one stored for years before being eaten.gut-bacteria-boost-health-fb.jpgGutVideo-657x360Scientists filmed this picture seen here showing bad bacteria eating the healthy brain bacteria. In other words the poor diet can create toxic bacteria to damage brain cells, cause some mood swings or depression. Food is medicine to healthy body so provides energy and strength. On the other bad junk food destroys the body slowly causing long-term diseases. Pay attention to your food because you are what you eat. There is no excuse to neglect the body because of healthier foods now abundantly available to choose from. A little effort makes good difference to mood swings and improve serotonin.  It’s better to eat well without the plastic containers damaging earth and the environment because people think they are too busy to cook. Time spent travelling, queueing in long lines for food can be easily used to cook the simple healthy home-made meals. The TV show proved it took longer in some cases to wait for good ordered than to make a freshly prepared meal. So many step by step recipes are available to use to follow and cook meals. A Can’t cook won’t cook TV programme also guided people to turn simple ingredients into gourmets meals fit for a Kings, Queens, or superstars. Experiment with your own favourite foods and cut down the sugar, fat and salt in some foods. It can be done as many people changed diets, felt better and lost weight as a bonus and a glowing skin feeling happier too.

Gut bacteria could be linked to autism, new research suggests (stock image)

  • Gut Bacteria and Autism
  • Due to a three-way relationship between the brain, gut and hormone cortisol
  • This mechanism is thought to influence how ‘messages’ are communicated
  • Bacteria in faeces influences hormones in gut bacteria
  • Further studies on relationship can determine help symptoms 
  • Researchers analyzed gut and brain connections for humans to learn more about symptoms.

Gut bacteria can be linked to autism as a new research suggests. Pathogens in the stomach alter brain’s development and may increase an individual’s risk of suffering from the spectrum disorder, a study implies. A three-way relationship between brain, gut and stress hormone cortisol appears to influence ‘messages’ communicated in the body, which may result in autistic symptoms as research adds. Lead author Austin Mudd from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, said: ‘Changes during infancy can have profound effects on brain development, and its possible the microbiome collection of bacteria, fungi and viruses inhabiting gut plays a role in this process. The researchers further studies required for 3way mechanism to determine autism symptoms. But can be reversed by strengthening the gut’s lining. Study author Dr Qinrui Li from Peking University said ‘Efforts to restore gut microbiota to a healthier person has been shown to be really effective. Its a review of taking probiotics, prebiotics, changing diet for example to gluten and casein-free diets have a positive impact on symptoms. The study carried out by researchers analyzed the brain and gut developments. Researchers examined faeces to determine if bacteria in stools influences compounds in the blood and brains. The Key findings revealed these results that the presence of the bacteria Bacteroides and Clostridium in faeces is associated with higher level substances involved in cell signalling myo-inositol. Bacteroides is also linked to increased amounts of a substance, called creatine, in brain. The bacteria Butyricimonas was found to be linked to the amino acid n-acetylaspartate (NAA) in brain, while Ruminococcus lowered NAA’s cognitive concentration. The presence of such bacteria further influence levels of hormones cortisol and serotonin and determined by gut bacteria. Mr Mudd said: ‘Changes in neurometabolites in infancy can have profound effects on brain development so possible that the microbiome or collection of bacteria, fungi, and viruses inhabiting gut plays a role in this process.’ The findings were published in the journal Gut Microbes.