Bundled up health material for you perusal and healthy living – Health & Views – July 2018 – 1st Edition – by Dr Harold Gunatillake
This video clip shows how you could spend a relaxing, serene holiday in a forest plantation in the hills of Galagedera- a suburb of Kandy-20klms. The accommodation is of a different kind, not like occupying a room in a 5-star hotel. You need to stay in this home to know the difference and the experience. Filmed by Dr Harold Gunatillake and Irangani his wife, residents in Sydney, Australia
It was thought that cholesterol in the yolk of an egg gets absorbed in your gut as cholesterol and increases your bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood, increasing your risk of heart disease.
Some said that you should avoid the yellow yolk and consume only the white of an egg, but today all those mythical believes are wiped out because the truth is that cholesterol in eggs and other foods is not absorbed from the gut as cholesterol. Each egg does have 185 mg of dietary cholesterol.
The fact is that dietary cholesterol is broken down in your gut and is not absorbed as a cholesterol molecule.
On the contrary, it is saturated fats in your diet that’s broken down into fatty acids and increase the blood cholesterol through their conversion in your liver.
It is true that dietary cholesterol may increase the blood cholesterol slightly, but eggs raise HDL more than the LDL. Increasing your HDL cholesterol in your blood may reduce the risk of heart disease.
New studies and researches have failed to find a link between consuming eggs and heart disease, even among the people who are genetically prone to heart disease.
Studies also caution diabetics not to over-do, but stick to one egg per day, because of the metabolic syndrome they may be prone to suffer.
“Metabolic syndrome” is a term for a group of conditions, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels, that when combined increase an individual’s risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
There are too many nutritious healthful nutrients in eggs to ignore. Eggs are rich in vitamin E, folate, iron, carotenoids, selenium, lutein and zeaxanthin, high quality protein (7 grams): 5 grams of fat, (1.6 grams of saturated fat) and minerals. Eggs have no vitamin C.
All these micro-nutrients in eggs fight against inflammatory diseases, beneficial for your brain health, vision and over-all health.
Breakfast would be the best time to enjoy eggs. Eating two eggs with breakfast will delay your hunger pangs and eat less for lunch- ideal situation for people who are trying to lose weight.
Combine an egg breakfast with high fibre foods like oatmeal or boiled mung seeds suitable for those having diabetes and for losing weight. Each egg has 75 calories.
We apologise to the readers giving the wrong notion and information about the health of eggs in the past. I must say, that I have recommended eating eggs daily in my book, “Love-Life” printed 15 years ago (Yapa book publishers).
It is more the wives who should read this article.
A cold (coryza) is considered the commonest malady that affects almost everyone, including children worldwide. It is always a virus infection and never bacterial, unless you get affected secondarily whilst suffering from a common cold.
There are many viruses that can cause a cold and the most common one is the rhinovirus. Other less common ones are- adenovirus, coronavirus, enterovirus, and so on. Rhinovirus is more potent than the others as it can cause other infections like pneumonia, otitis (ear infections), sinus and throat infections, and can trigger an asthma attack.
You could always diagnose a cold without seeing your doctor: runny nose, (sniffles), sore throat, ear ache and fever. Unlike bacterial infections, viral infections have a life span- may be a week or two and you getting better. Unfortunately, you do not acquire immunity from further future infections- meaning the same virus can inflict a recurrent infection.
The common cold can spread in a household to every member and is contagious. The incubation period is about 24 hours
Remember, there are no antibiotics that will kill any viral disease. You can only temporise to feel better by drinking plenty of fluids, home remedies, and taking over the counter cough mixtures, throat lozenges, and inhalations. You still need to go through the life cycle of the virus.
If the sinus infection and sore throat lasts longer than 10 days, you should see your doctor, and he is bound to give you antibiotics to end the secondary infection. Your doctor will invariably order x-rays to check your sinuses.
When your nose is blocked, inhale steam to soothe the nasal congestion. You may use a nasal spray, instead. Saline nasal solutions help break up nasal congestion and remove virus particles. A good at- home solution would be to mix 3 teaspoons of iodine-free salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and place the mixture in an airtight container. Use 1 teaspoon of this mixture with 8 ounces of warm distilled water. Fill a plastic syringe and squirt the solution into the nose while holding the head over the sink. The other nostril should be closed.
In most situations when your nose is congested with nasal discharges, there is a tendency for this secretion to dribble down into your throat and most coughing in the nights is due to this dribble.
Antihistamines and decongestants may help to dry your throat and get rid of the excessive mucus. Cortisone based nasal decongestants do help to dry your nostril mucosa to prevent further post nasal drips (PND)
Viral infections are referred to as upper respiratory infection because it is limited to the nasal passages, sinuses and may be your throat.
Wash your hands as a habit daily to prevent a cold. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer product, or soap and water. Avoid going into crowded areas, and keep away from the cold weather, especially the winter season, if you can.
Zinc tablets for cold
Zinc tablets are supposed to prevent people getting colds, but studies has shown mixed results about zinc and colds. Zinc may prevent the rhinovirus from multiplying in your nasal passages and throat. It may be effective when taken in lozenges or syrup form, which allows the substance to stay in your throat and attack the virus. Zinc in lozenge form may have side effects, including nausea or bad taste in your mouth. You may lose your smell permanently when you use a zinc nasal spray.
While earlier studies reported that taking vitamin C reduced how long a cold would stick around, the current consensus is that for the general population, it is ineffective.
However, there are certain groups of individuals who may benefit from vitamin C when a cold is looming. These include people who undertake severe physical exercise, those exposed to cold environments, and those with vitamin C levels below the recommended levels.
Drinking milk whilst having a cold
Drinking mild may increase the amount of phlegm, and make it thicker and irritate your throat. Milk does not cause your body to make phlegm.
Warm chicken soup is soothing when you have a cold. Chicken soup thins the mucus and also supposed to be ‘anti-inflammatory’.
You need to rest when you have a cold. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, juices like lemon containing high concentrations of vitamin C, Tea, warm apple juice, might be soothing and help ease congestion by increasing mucus flow. Sip hot lemon with honey for an irritable cough. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which can make your dehydration worse.
Drinking tea with honey and lemon: This can ease a sore throat and researchers have found honey to be an effective cough suppressant.
Drinking hot water with fresh ginger: This can reduce feelings of nausea associated with the flu.
The onion in sock home remedy has origins in western folklore and is hundreds of years old. It also has links to the Chinese practice of reflexology.
Many people claim that the onion in sock remedy is an effective treatment for a cold or the flu. Despite these claims, there is no scientific evidence to support this. There are no proven health benefits to this remedy, but it is not known to be harmful.
What’s the difference between cold and Flu?
At the onset, both colds and Flu have similar symptoms… Both are caused by viruses, and not bacteria, and you feel miserable.
In a cold you get a runny, stuffy blocked nose and in flu only mildly occasionally. You sneeze more with colds and less with Flu. Coughing is more common with a cold with a mucus discharge, whilst in Flu you get a dry cough.
A sore throat is more common with a cold and occasionally with Flu.
Body aches and pains are mild with a cold and more severe with Flu.
It is rare to get fever, chills and sweats with a cold but always present in Flu Symptoms come about slowly in a cold and may take days while it comes fast within hours with Flu. A cold you could get any time of the year, more during winter months, but flu is more seasonal. Only influenza viruses cause the flu, while many different viruses can cause colds.
There is a vaccine to prevent the flu, while there is no vaccine to prevent the common cold.
Adults have an average of two to three colds a year, but only get the flu about twice a decade. Kids get colds and the flu more frequently.
Flu tends to give worse problems, especially among the children and the old people, and may lead to pneumonia needing hospitalization.
Men have a weaker immune response. Research has shown that men have a weaker immune response to viruses that cause flu, or the common cold, and as a result, men may have a greater risk of serious symptoms than women.
Is ‘Man Flu’ a Real Thing?
A Canadian researcher says there is some evidence that hormones and other factors may make men more susceptible to serious cases of the flu.
In a 2008 study it was found that women had a stronger immune response to the flu vaccine, meaning they produce greater levels of antibodies against the virus strains in the vaccine, compared with men.
The flu viruses in circulation change each season, and the predominant strain this year is H3N2, according to the new CDC report. Flu seasons in which H3N2 predominates tend to have higher overall flu hospitalization and death rates, according to the CDC.
However, in order to make the flu vaccine, manufacturers typically use chicken eggs to “grow” the flu virus strains. During this process, the flu strains may acquire genetic changes that make the strains slightly different from those in circulation. This appears to have happened with the H3N2 component of this year’s flu vaccine, the report said, and the changes may lower the effectiveness of the vaccine. (However, there is a “cell-based” vaccine available this year in which the H3N2 component was grown in cell culture.)
Health officials still recommend a yearly flu vaccine for everyone ages 6 months and older, because it’s still the best way to prevent flu.
When would you rush to the hospital when you have Flu?
Whether you rush to see your doctor or the hospital the main symptom that people should watch for is shortness of breath, When you get to the stage of breathlessness means that you are about to progress into pneumonia.
How do you differentiate a Streptococcal sore throat from common cold and Flu?
In the common cold, there’s coughing, sneezing, or a runny nose, indicating that it is not a streptococcal sore throat. Throat infection with strep bacteria can cause a variety of symptoms associated with inflammation of the throat.
Strep sore throat starts with fever, sudden sore throat, and swollen tender lymph nodes in the neck which you can feel. Swallowing becomes painful. There may be white or yellow patches seen in the throat and tonsils. These symptoms are accompanied with headache, and even stomach ache, with nausea and vomiting.
Look at your throat in the mirror with the help of a torch; you’ll notice how the throat lining looks red and angry.
It is contagious and airborne droplets on sneezing can spread the infection.
Some people carry these bacteria without causing any symptoms and referred to as carriers.
Streptococcal sore throat will respond to antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Other popular antibiotics prescribed are amoxicillin, cloxacillin and dicloxacillin, among others.
Should you take antibiotics for a streptococcal throat infection?
When you go to your doctor with a sore throat, he may write a quick prescription for penicillin or amoxicillin, and with the stroke of the pen, helps diminish public health and your own future health by helping bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics. It is better to develop a spray-on treatment with bacteriophages, or take home remedies rather than taking antibiotics on the first occurrence, Ultimately, your immune system will
subside the strepto’ throat infection. Antibiotic therapy for such conditions given may also destroy your gut microbes that helps creat immune system.
Streptococcal sore throats can lead to rheumatic heart disease, a deadly condition that is very rare in the industrial world, but it still takes a toll in other parts of the world.
What is sinus infection?
Sinuses are empty spaces with mucus lining on either side of the nostrils in relation to the cheek bones called maxillary sinuses, and also there are similar spaces above your eye brows called frontal sinuses, and behind the nose called ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses. These chambers communicate with the nasal passages and drain the mucus discharges. These sinuses could get infected with viruses or bacteria, or allergies causes are the most common.
These sinuses could get inflamed from a virus such as the common cold, and invariably lead to bacterial colonization and cause a bacterial sinus infection- we call it sinusitis.
You could get a yellowish or greenish discharge from your nostrils, sore throat, headache, fever, pain in the forehead, or between the eyes, toothache, and feeling of fullness in the mid-face, stuffy nose and congestion.
You need to consult your doctor before using any drugs to treat your sinusitis.
New findings- Gut microbial interaction
Picture three people seated side by side on an airplane. The person in the middle gets flu and starts coughing. The person on the left gets the flu whilst the person seated on the right escapes. How can you explain this?
The gut microbiota produce a molecule called “desaminotyrosine” (DAT). This molecule is formed in the microbiota from dietary polyphenols called flavonoids which has anti-oxidant properties. These flavonoids compounds are found in chocolate, tea and red wine.
DAT seems to work on the immune system, formed by microbiota. This boost prevents the flu virus affecting the lungs reducing the lung damage. The researchers found that a microbe called Clostridium orbiscindens produced DAT.
So the person on the right did not contract the flu mainly because he had this microbe in his gut to produce the flavonoid DAT, and escapes malady.
So, next time you are on the plane and your next seat passenger starts coughing, drink Tea and eat chocolate and you’ll not go wrong.
Conclusions: Stay at home and rest, hydrate yourself, enjoy chicken soup and other juices to hydrate you. Paracetamol should be okay for aches and pains. There is no cure unlike for bacterial infections, and time is the healer.
This article also helps you to differentiate between many infections having similar symptoms.
Some reference to MedicineNet.com and WebMD
About the author: Dr Gunatillake-Health editor is a member of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Member of the Australian Association of Cosmetic Surgery. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK), Corresponding Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Member of the International Societies of Cosmetic surgery, Fellow of the International College of Surgery (US), Australian diplomat for the International Society of Plastic, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Board member of the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery, Member of the American Academy of Aesthetic & Restorative Surgery, Life Member of the College of Surgeons, Sri Lanka, Batchelor of Medicine & Surgery (Cey). Government scholar to UK for higher studies and training.
During the second pre-war days, we used to buy a sweet-smelling gold colored viscous coconut oil from the grocery and spice boutiques in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), measured and poured into a bottle with a long handle, stored and from some rectangular shape aluminum containers holding gallons of oil. The smell of the oil was appetizing, just the same smell you got from poonac pieces a biproduct fed to the cattle.
This oil was obtained from stone crushing appliances found in most kitchens in coconut plantation districts along the sea coast. That was a cottage industry at that time. The coconut kernel was shelled out and burnt in the hot sun for many days- called copra and used to extract the oil.
Then, came the bottled coconut oil started by the BCC company in Hultsdorf in Colombo. They processed the oil into a colorless watery liquid oil, became popular and easy to buy from the boutiques and grocery shops.
Presently, there are a variety of brands of coconut oil bottled up and sold as coconut oil.
A few years ago, a virgin coconut oil was discovered that came to the market. Virgin coconut oil has been the subject of extensive studies by many respected doctors, among them Dr. Bruce Fife, whose 15-year research and surveys can be found in Pub Med, the largest database of medical science in the US National Library of Medicine (http://www.pubmed.gov).
Instead of extracting the oil from dried brownish color coconut copra, fresh coconut was scraped, dried under a temperature below 60degC to avoid discoloration and to reduce moisture level of the coconut to an 8%. This product was further dried under right temperature and cooled down to room temperature and is fed to a pressing cylinder for cold -pressing to produce a colorless
and odorless virgin coconut oil. No chemicals were used to process the oil.
This virgin coconut oil product is more solid at room temperature and freezes into creamy ointment -like texture during winter-months and needs to be scooped out with strength, like ice cream being scooped out. Though it is creamy you still could feel the tiny fragments of coconut which gives it an appetizing appearance.
Virgin coconut oil is sold in most countries in wide open jars for easy scooping out. Recently, on our visit to Sri Lanka, we did our marketing in a super-market in Peradeniya Road, Kandy. My wife purchased a bottle of virgin coconut oil which surprised me when used as a cooking oil. It did not have much of a smell of coconut and very watery in consistency, and the label declared it was virgin coconut oil.
Most people in Sri Lanka wouldn’t bother to know the difference between virgin or other processed coconut oils. They wouldn’t know the health benefits of the virgin oil in preference to the processed oil and the manufacturers can cheat by labelling processed oil and label as virgin coconut oils. The picture above depicts the bottle of ‘so called ‘virgin coconut oil purchased from the supermarket.
When you purchase virgin coconut oil, check the consistency of the oil by looking through and shaking the bottle. At room temperature, especially in air-conditioned supermarkets the oil will demonstrate a degree of snowy appearance and should not look like a processed watery oil.
People living in cold climatic conditions should purchase the oil in wide mouth jars for easy scoop. The coconut research Institute in Lunuwila, Sri Lanka did produce high quality virgin coconut oil in the nineties and I remember, I was sent two bottles from the first
production. Subsequently, due to demand of the product virgin coconut oil manufactured in Kerala appeared on our supermarket shelves.
Today, the genuine virgin coconut oil bottles and jars seem to be lacking in our supermarkets and what’s sold is what’s described above and depicted in the picture. The health benefits of virgin coconut oil are not discussed here, in preference to the processed adulterated oils in the market.
Hope this article will enlighten the topic for those interested in purchasing the genuine unprocessed oil.
Drinking Tea or coffee as a beverage is a personal choice, but health benefits are in more favour of coffee.
Both beverages have caffeine. Tea leaves have more caffeine than coffee beans before they are brewed, but caffeine in tea is extracted more during the process of brewing within ten seconds and further diluted more when adding hot water. Also, most of the caffeine is left behind with the tea leaves at the base of your cup. For these reasons brewed tea you enjoy, has less caffeine than brewed coffee.
Both tea and coffee in excess can result in increased anxiety, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, insomnia, restlessness and nausea in hyper-sensitive people. Both tea and coffee have protective antioxidant to neutralize harmful free radicals in your body, a better source of antioxidants is coffee. Tea has catechins, theaflavins whilst coffee has chlorogenic acids and trigonelline the main antioxidants. Most habitual coffee drinkers get more antioxidants from drinking coffee than from other dietetic sources.
Black tea, oolong tea and green tea may not have much antioxidants as coffee is.
These antioxidants in both coffee and tea don’t spend much time in the body to play a big role in antioxidant defences, because either they are not absorbed through the gut, and when absorbed they do not stay in the body long.
One advantage to tea drinkers is that they drink more tea during the day than coffee drinkers, and they may be getting more antioxidants. Recommended amount of coffee is two per day, or more if you don’t get side effects.
Antioxidants in both tea and coffee are proven to reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and other age-related diseases.
Most people drink a cup of strong coffee in the morning to revive from your sleep and make you more active and muscles work. Tea drinkers are few because the first cup in the morning does not give the same stimulant effect as with coffee.
Studies at Stanford University says a cup of coffee a day could keep early death away.
Antioxidants in coffee have more effect on the age-related inflammation like noncommunicable diseases of aging and may have less diseases and may prolong life.
It is known that caffeine in coffee intake is associated with longevity, unlike tea drinkers. Estate tea pluckers in Sri Lanka don’t seem to live long and drinking many cups of tea leads to iron deficiency. Compounds in tea called tannins can combine with nonheme iron and make it less available for absorption.
It is noted that black tea and green tea decreases the absorption of iron and putting lemon juice in the tea helps to absorb the iron.
Coffee drinkers may also decrease absorption of iron, but not to that extent as tea consumption.
The body manufactures metabolites which are waste by-products produced within your cells. Coffee seems to block those metabolites circulating in your body. It is the waste metabolites, believed to trigger inflammation that’s known to drive diseases like Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases. Infact, people having Alzheimer’s are given plenty of coffee to stimulate the brain cells, which keeps them more active.
So, caffeine in your coffee slows down the aging process.
It is said that two cups of coffee a day halves your chances of liver damage as in fatty livers and cirrhosis. Coffee may undo liver damage from alcohol.
Coffee drinkers seem to have less incidence of diabetes, and those who suffer from diabetes may increase insulin sensitivity.
In conclusion- drink more coffee than tea. In the Western world people drink more coffee and they seem to be more active in life.
It was fashionable for the old ladies customarily getting together for high tea in the UK, used to sip Lipton’s tea whilst engaged in their chit chats. UK seems to be the highest tea drinkers in the world and then comes the middle East countries. People in US seems to drink more coffee than tea.
Caffeine is a drug that is very similar in action to theophylline which is a bronchodilator drug. It is given to asthmatics to open the airways and relieve the wheezing, coughing and breathlessness in asthma. Caffeine found in coffee and tea, can act as a bronchodilator.
In 1993, Dr. Scott T. Weis of Harvard Medical School studied 20,000 asthma patients and found that those who regularly drank coffee suffered one-third fewer symptoms than those who did not drink. So, it is recommended that asthma sufferers drink coffee every day could help relieve some of your symptoms, but still medication may be required.
Tea also contains natural theophylline, but the amount is much less than that used to treat asthma.
Whether you drink tea or coffee be mindful and think that you are drinking for your health and feel the difference.
Hope this article was useful.
Dr Gunatillake-Health editor is a member of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Member of the Australian Association of Cosmetic Surgery. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK), Corresponding Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Member of the International Societies of Cosmetic surgery, Fellow of the International College of Surgery (US), Australian diplomat for the International Society of Plastic, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Board member of the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery, Member of the American Academy of Aesthetic & restorative Surgery, Life Member of the College of Surgeons, Sri Lanka, Batchelor of Medicine & Surgery (Cey): Government scholar to the UK for high studies.