Can Sunlight Prevent Influenza?

Can Sunlight Prevent Influenza?

You must have heard how excessive sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer. But is it the only truth? Is sunlight entirely bad for you?

From treating various skin conditions to improving your mood, sunlight has a lot of proven benefits. If you live in a high-altitude area with little sunlight, a box of light can also provide mood-boosting effects.

Lately, a new possible benefit of sunlight has been explored by the scientists. The possibility of sunshine as a treatment for flu has been a new breakthrough in the field of medicine.

Can sunshine actually keep you healthy during the irritating flu season?

Can Sunlight Prevent Influenza?

Researchers now have evidence of this. A paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research has proven how higher levels of sunlight can cause a decrease in the severity of flu.

The authors of this paper extracted their primary data from two different sources in order to assess the connection between the sunlight levels and the influenza incidence.

The data for this study was taken from the North American Land Data Assimilation System which takes into account almost 48 contagious states as well as the District of Columbia.

Further data was taken from the flu index published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The aggregate data was harmonized to a 10-point scale by the aggregation of data from the state health departments.

RELATED: Top Proven Benefits Of Sunlight

The scientists found that a higher level of relative sunlight was linked with a lower relative incidence of influenza. For instance, in September when the levels of sunlight were 10 percent higher than average, the influenza index was reduced by three points.

The relationship between sunlight and the incidence of influenza was particularly prominent during the late summers and early fall as per the scientists.

This time of the year was regarded to be the only time when the levels of sunlight as well as the flu season are at its peak and can be studied for a possible connection.

During the late summers, there is a large amount of sunlight available hence, a huge possibility for variation exists. At the same time, a massive flu season is seen all around the country which makes it easier to study.

In comparison to this, there is not sufficient flu activity seen during the summer months hence, it is not the best time to observe a relationship between sunlight and the flu infection in people.

Similarly, there is a high level of flu activity in December but at the same time, there is not enough sunlight so, the study cannot proceed in winters.

Vitamin D can Protect You from the Flu

This study is an addition to the growing body of literature that connects vitamin D to an influenza risk. When ultraviolet radiation present in the sunlight hits your skin, it causes the production of vitamin D.

In addition to this, you get vitamin D from a lot of foods but it is of course not easy to get enough of it through diet only.

In the recent years, different research teams have been studying the effects of vitamin D supplementation on the risk of flu and other respiratory infections.

Vitamin D and influenza

In an article published in the BMJ, the researchers performed a meta-analysis of the individual participant data collected via randomized control trials.

In 25 different clinical trials involving 11000 patients, the scientists were able to prove a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of acute respiratory infections merely with the help of vitamin D supplementation.

Overall speaking, the scientists were able to see a modest effect. However, it turned out to be quite large once they drilled down and observed the effects of this supplementation when given daily or weekly to the people deficient in vitamin D.

The participants started while having a low baseline level of vitamin D had a 50 percent reduction in their risk of contracting an acute respiratory infection upon consuming vitamin D supplements on a weekly basis.

In contrast to this, the protective effects of supplementation with vitamin D were smaller in people who had higher baseline levels of this vitamin when they started it.

Finding the Right Balance of Sunlight Exposure is Important

Of course getting too much exposure to sunlight is not safe and may put people at a higher risk of getting skin damage. It may also increase their chances of acquiring skin cancer.

On the other hand, getting too little exposure can induce a possible vitamin D deficiency in people.

Vitamin D and influenza

Further studies on the sunlight exposure and vitamin D supplementation may help improve the public health efforts for reducing influenza while decreasing the risk of skin cancer.

However, a lot of physicians seem to argue how it is important to improve the vitamin D levels in the body both via supplementation and sunlight exposure, researchers say.

At some point, the benefits of getting an extra bit of sunlight are higher as compared to its cost as per the scientists. The role of public health in this matter is to find this balance.

It is also important to remember that the time that you must spend outside in sunlight is not the same for every person and may vary. It depends on a number of factors such as where you live, the weather surrounding you, the time of the year, and the color of your skin.

People who live far away from the equator do not get enough sunlight exposure as compared to those living in the tropical areas. This puts the former at a higher risk of acquiring a vitamin D deficiency.

Black Americans and people with a darker skin tone are also at an increased risk since melanin, their skin pigment tends to block the ultraviolet radiation.

If you fear that you are not getting enough vitamin D, consult with a doctor. They may suggest taking vitamin D supplements or spending more time outdoors.

In addition to vitamin D, there are other ways to get protection from flu infection as well. As per the CDC, getting vaccinated, avoiding contact with sick people, and washing hands regularly is important.

Published at Sat, 14 Jul 2018 22:05:33 +0000

Questioning Self Worth Post-Miscarriage

Questioning Self Worth Post-Miscarriage

Most of the women are able to deliver healthy babies, while some of them end up in having a miscarriage. Approximately about 10 to 20% of the pregnancies result in a miscarriage. Miscarriage is defined as the sudden loss of the fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. Most of the cases of miscarriage are reported in the first three months of pregnancy.

Miscarriages also described as spontaneous abortions occur when the baby starts developing abnormally in the womb. However, the exact causes of miscarriages are still not yet defined. Many people believe that the only possible cause of miscarriage is baby genes or chromosomes. In addition to this, there are certain health conditions which may also lead to miscarriage, including:

  • Hormone-related problems, like thyroid and adrenal gland conditions
  • Uncontrolled diabetes or the person may not have yet diagnosed it
  • Lupus as well as other autoimmune disorders
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Sexually transmitted infections

For many people, the experience of losing their baby might prove to be very devasting. Though the pregnancy lasts for only a few weeks, still a mother develops a strong connection with the baby they have lost. Miscarriages often result in a rush of emotions in a mother including the feelings of guilt, anger, and sadness.

Symptoms of Depression After Miscarriage

depression cycleIt is very common for a woman to feel sad and grief after her miscarriage. However, in some of the cases, women feelings intensify and leads them to depression. Depression is also described as a major depressive disorder. It is a mental health issue which causes extreme persistent feelings of grief and sorrow for an unknown time period. People usually going through the depression phase loses interest in the activities they once used to enjoy and faces difficulties in doing their daily tasks.

One going through depression may follow at least five of the given symptoms for two weeks.

  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Feelings of sorrow, emptiness, and hopelessness
  • Trying to do suicidal attempts
  • Having too little or excess sleep
  • Thoughts of death and suicide
  • Getting irritated and frustrated at small things
  • Feeling anxious, distressed and worthless
  • Experiencing frequent pains and aches that won’t leave you even after the treatment
  • Feeling guilty and restless
  • Losing interest in the activities once you used to enjoy
  • Difficulty in remembering things
  • Many times unable to focus on things and make decisions
  • Feelings of lacking energy
  • Being lethargic

Depression after a miscarriage is most extreme when there is an immediate loss of the pregnancy. According to a recent study, women’s rate of depression decrease with time and usually takes a time period of one year. After one year, a woman who has experienced miscarriage will face the same rate of depression as of a woman who did not experience a miscarriage.

RELATED: Is Depression Life Threatening?

Depression faced after the miscarriage targets not only the women but also the men. According to the researchers, many of the men go through the phase of depression after their partner has a miscarriage. Though it was also studied that men recover from this trauma quickly than women after a miscarriage.

How long does a person go through this phase?

depressionAccording to many of the studies a mother experiences the postpartum depression after a miscarriage for 6 to 12 months or even longer. According to a study in the Journal of Psychiatry written by Emma Robertson Blackmore, the depression phase can extend up to 3 years even after they have been gifted a healthy baby. However, with a good treatment plan and support, one can recover quickly and easily.

 How to Cope Up With Depression After a Miscarriage?

Getting emotionally better takes a lot of time after a miscarriage. In these cases, treatment for both parents is essential. It is recommended by the mental health specialists, that a close monitoring should be done in the first few weeks of the miscarriage. It is preferable if one continues it for one year. Most of the women do not feel the need to take any kind of treatment and pass their time in silence. However, it is an utmost duty of the partner to consult a doctor and plan out an effective treatment plan. Some of the ways to treat depression include:

  • Psychotherapy helps one to work through their emotions and cope up with the feelings of grief and sorrows in an effective and a healthy way.
  • Antidepressant medications are taken to balance the chemicals present in the brain and to reduce down the depressive symptoms.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is done. In this therapy, mild currents are applied to the brain in order to treat the several the cases of depression. This way is selected when the person is not able to respond to other ways of treatment.

If you are going through a depression phase, make sure that you stick with your treatment plan in order to achieve a faster recovery. Having a balanced and a healthy diet, getting an adequate amount of sleep, and doing workout can help to boost your energy level and kick of the symptoms.

RELATED: 7 Most Common Pregnancy Complications

It is very important that partners should help each other to cope up with depression. Both men and women may experience grief and feel sad but will express it in different ways so one should keep in mind to respect their partner’s emotions. The couples should also communicate clearly and share their emotions on regular basis.


statisticsIn most of the cases, it is seen that women are able to recover within a year after their miscarriage. An effective treatment plan with the support of family and friends will help one in alleviating the symptoms. Many women who experience miscarriage give birth to healthier babies later in their life.

According to Mayo Clinic, approximately only less than 5% of the women experience two miscarriages consecutively while only 1% of the women get three or more miscarriages in a row. In this modern tech world, there are many resources available by which one could seek help and recover from depression after a miscarriage, for example by the site,

Published at Fri, 13 Jul 2018 12:44:41 +0000

Inhibition of an enzyme may prevent weight gain- Research says

Inhibition of an enzyme may prevent weight gain- Research says

Many of us have noticed that our tendency to gain weight increases as we age. The weight gain and weight loss are easier at young ages as compared to middle ages. The general perception says that the body is not young enough to put that much effort.

Also, the poor lifestyle habits make us gain weight more and prevent to lose weight. This new study, however, suggests that there is this enzyme responsible for the midlife weight gain. Let’s understand how.

As we age, our body tends to gain weight on stubborn areas such as the belly, thighs, hips etc. The study tells that this weight can be prevented when we inhibit the functioning of a certain body enzyme. Though it seems unrealistic the research provides an evidence for it.

There are billions of people that struggle with weight gain and obesity. Not just in the USA but they are spread across the globe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports one-third of the US population to be obese. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, almost 2 billion adults are overweight.

Weight gain and obesity can be managed by following a controlled diet and regular exercise but sometimes the weight is stuck and it frustrates a person. Despite all the efforts, the weight scale shows no good news.

For instance, the people tend to gain more weight as they age, particularly the abdominal fat. If not controlled, it becomes stubborn and is called a midlife weight gain.

The estimation says that the average U.S. adult gains 30 pounds of weight between the ages of 20 and 50, even if they eat less during this period. This intrigued a team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who investigated the mechanism behind this weight gain.

Dr. Jay H. Chung, Ph.D. who is the head of the Laboratory of Obesity and Aging Research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, led this team. This research was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

You can read it online by clicking here.

A specific enzyme responsible for weight gain

Chung and his team investigated the biochemical transformations in animals during their middle ages. The age at which these animals were studied was estimated to be the equivalent of 45 human years old. The enzyme responsible for weight gain was called DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) that becomes more active as you age.

The researchers also found that this DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) coverts nutrients into fat and also reduce the number of mitochondria in a cell. Mitochondria, as you know, are the powerhouses of the cells.

These are small compartment like structures that turn food into energy and break down waste the products. More than 90% of energy requirement of a cell for growth comes from mitochondria. You can say that it plays a crucial role in the life or death of a cell.

When we are young, the number of mitochondria in our body is high. That is why the youthful energy that we feel decreases with age. When the body starts aging, this number starts to reduce. From midlife onwards, the number of mitochondria gradually decrease.

Due to less mitochondrion, a person suffers from weight gain and a mitochondrial dysfunction decreases the ability to exercise. Read a research on these findings by clicking here.

In this scenario, the role of DNA-PK enzyme was studied on mice models. They were divided into two groups; one was given a high-fat diet. One group received an inhibitor that blocked the DNA-PK enzyme and the other group was not given this.

The group, which received DNA-PK enzyme inhibitor, gained 40% less weight than the other group, which wasn’t given DNA-PK enzyme inhibitor. Also, the drug increased fitness and decreased the risk of obesity and diabetes on study models.

Last but not the least, this inhibitor also increased the number of mitochondria in the mice’s skeletal muscle, enabling them to be more energetic.

Significance of these reults 

This study may pave a path for the development of new obesity medication. As obesity is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, this research may help to develop a medicine that helps against obesity while battling for the chronic conditions of heart, neuro-degenerative diseases and cancer.



Published at Fri, 13 Jul 2018 17:44:03 +0000

Tryptophan Supplements – What Should You Know?

Tryptophan Supplements – What Should You Know?

Everyone desires a peaceful sleep by the end of a tiring day. But sometimes it seems like an impossible thing. If you are into supplements using, you would know that there are many supplements, which promote a good night sleep.

One ingredient called Tryptophan is common in many sleep regulators. It is an amino acid, which is found in many foods and supplements. The best is to take it from the food sources but if food sources are not available, supplements are a good idea.

This article is a guide on using tryptophan based supplements and their significance on mood enhancement and peaceful sleep.

What Is Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is an amino acid, which is found in high proteins food. These amino acids are not only helpful in building blocks of the body but also to serve a number of other functions such as transmitting cellular signals.

The role of tryptophan is relatable with mood enhancement and sleep regulation, which is also evident through research.

Tryptophan can be converted into a molecule that is called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), it is further used to produce serotonin and melatonin, two vital mood and sleep controllers.

Tryptophan Supplements - What Should You Know?

The role of serotonin is evident in various organs and not just the brain. It performs a number of functions but most common of them are its specific role in sleep regulation, mood, and cognitive functions.

Melatonin is another hormone, which is responsible for your sleeping and waking up cycle. In a combination, both of these are essential to make your body functions normally.

Effects of low tryptophan on behavior and Cognitive system

There are many functions of tryptophan inside the body; the prime area of its target is the brain. It performs the following functions for you.

Low levels of tryptophan can induce mood disorders

There are several studies which show that people that have depression, stress, anxiety or related disorders are more likely to have low levels of tryptophan than normal people. There are several studies that tell that anxiety and stress are higher when study participants have low tryptophan levels.

It is evident that tryptophan levels can contribute to developing anxiety and aggression. Using supplements with tryptophan will promote an overall good social behavior and stable mood.

Low tryptophan levels may impair learning and memory

The low levels of tryptophan are also associated with cognitive impairment. The study tells that tryptophan levels when low affect the long-term memory and overall bad cognitive performance as compared to the healthy individuals.

Additionally, low tryptophan levels also have a negative effect on cognition and memory. What do you think is the reason behind all this? The experts say that low tryptophan levels mean serotonin production is reduced as well. This effect on serotonin production is responsible for causing memory and cognitive impairments.

Low tryptophan levels may affect sleep

The sleep regulation is due to balanced levels of tryptophan inside the body. The conversion of tryptophan to serotonin also gives rise to the production of melatonin. The research study tells that increasing tryptophan inside body means that the levels of serotonin and melatonin will also be increased. Increased melatonin is associated with sleep regulation and stability of mood.

Melatonin is found in food sources but there are supplements of melatonin available in the market too. Naturally, it is a part of food items such as tomatoes, strawberries, and grapes.

Melatonin works as a sleep-wake controller of the body. It not just controls the sleep but also the metabolism of nutrients and your immune system. It is evident by research that when your body has high levels of tryptophan, the sleep cycles are improved.

It also enhances the mood, makes the mood stable and reduces the severity of mood swings. Melatonin is also responsible for decreasing the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

What are the sources to get tryptophan?

There are many different protein-containing foods that are extremely good sources of tryptophan. It means that you can get tryptophan from any protein that you eat. The intake of your food decides what quantity of tryptophan you are taking.

The choice of protein source also matters. There are some foods that have high amounts of tryptophan in them such as poultry, shrimp, eggs, elk, crab, and others. The standard daily dose of tryptophan is said to be 1 gram per day.

You can fill this daily requirement either by taking the tryptophan-rich food or you can use the supplements having tryptophan boosting effects.

Tryptophan Supplements - What Should You Know?

Can you use tryptophan supplements?

If you believe that it is not possible for you to take a sufficient amount of tryptophan from food sources, using supplements is a good idea. It will improve the sleep quality and overall health.

Tryptophan supplements are generally safe for human use and are available everywhere. But you should know that it is not as simple as it looks. There are supplements which have molecules derived from tryptophan but they are not called tryptophan supplements. These supplements may contain 5-HTTP and melatonin in them.

If you are taking the supplement that calls itself as tryptophan supplement, it may be helpful in a number of functions and not just the production of serotonin and melatonin. It suggests that if you want to use tryptophan for just sleep regulation, it is better to use a supplement with tryptophan derivative i.e. 5-HTTP or melatonin.

If your concern is to improve the mood and cognition, using general tryptophan supplements will work better. The standard dose of 5-HTP supplements if from 100 mg to 900 mg per day.

If the purpose is to regulate sleep, using melatonin in 0.5mg to 5 mg per day is the best option. For general tryptophan supplements, the ideal dosage is up to 5 grams per day, which shows effective results.

Is there any side effect of using tryptophan supplements?

As you know tryptophan is an amino acid that is found in many foods, it is clear that it is safe for human use. The daily dietary requirement is no more than 1 gram per day but some people like to take a higher dose, which is generally up to 5 grams per day.

The possible side effects have been studied for tryptophan. Only the users have reported a few side effects. Most of these effects are mild and vanish within hours on its own.

But the occasional side effects such as nausea and dizziness may hit many people when they use a high dose.

Side effects are more likely to occur when tryptophan or 5-HTP is taken along with drugs that may affect the serotonin levels. A common example of such drugs is antidepressants, which cause interactions with tryptophan supplements.

Not just the low levels but high levels of tryptophan are also damaging to health. When serotonin levels are increased in the blood due to overdosing, there comes a condition called serotonin syndrome.

Never take medicines that may affect the working of serotonin. It is better to take advice from a physician especially when you are already on daily medicines of any kind.

Things To Keep In Mind 

Tryptophan is used to perform a number of functions by the body. It produces hormones like serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is significant for mood, cognition, and behavioral changes. Melatonin causes sleep regulation.

It means that if tryptophan levels are low, the production of serotonin and melatonin will be decreased too. It may cause damaging effects on health. Tryptophan is available in protein-rich foods yet there are tryptophan supplements to ensure positive effects on mood and sleep, in absence of food sources.

It is better to follow the standard dosage and general guidelines before using tryptophan or a supplement with tryptophan’s molecule. They may occasionally cause side effects. These side effects are not serious unless you have taken an extremely high dose of supplements.

Overall, tryptophan is a significant amino acid, which has positive health benefits. Certain individuals may avail these benefits either from using a food source or by using a tryptophan supplement in routine.

Published at Thu, 12 Jul 2018 17:20:25 +0000

How To Maximize Your Caloric Burn While Sleeping?

How To Maximize Your Caloric Burn While Sleeping?

The human body is another name for the entire structure of a human being. It is formed by many different types of cell which combine to form tissues and organs. The viability of the body is dependent on the organs systems present inside it including endocrine system, immune system, digestive system, and circulatory system.

There are many interesting facts about the human body. One of the most interesting things about it is that maintains proper functioning of its system even when the rest of the body is on rest.

In addition, another thing you might not know is the human body is even capable of burning calories while you are sleeping!

In fact, the body burns calories, especially during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep stage. During sleep, the glucose metabolism increases leading to a heightened rate of caloric burn. The longer you sleep, the more calories you burn.

How To Maximize Your Caloric Burn While Sleeping?

How to determine the calories you burn?

There are a number of factors, which matter when we talk about this calorie calculation. For a person who weights for 125 pounds, per hour calorie burning is roughly 38. Now that if the person sleeps for seven or ten hours per day, just multiply 38 with 7 or 10 or any number which shows total sleeping hours. That is what you lose while sleeping.

The experts believe that this is absolutely healthy. This calorie burn depends on the person’s body weight. Those who weight heavier may burn more than those who weight loss. For some people, this calorie burning is sometimes near to 45-50, which is more than amazing.

Two questions often pop up in people’s mind after reading this. The first one is how is this entire process calculated while the second is who can calculate it

The process, which digests food and burns the calories is called metabolism. It is the same process, which turns food into storage particles full of energy.

This energy is used to perform a number of activities, which you do in routine. For example, there are a number of processes which are working 24*7. They include breathing, blood circulation etc. these functions cost energy.

How to calculate calories?

One parameter to check the metabolic rate of a person is through basal metabolic rate (BMR). It is a figurative representation of calories, which you burn in each day. It includes those calories that are burnt in sleeping, resting, sitting or standing.

You can calculate the BMR by using your personal information and putting it into a formula. This is very much similar to math problems that we all used to solve at school. For BMR calculation, you need information about age, weight, gender, height etc.

Here is the formula, which you need to use.

For men

66 + (6.2 x weight) + (12.7 x height) – (6.76 x age) = BMR value

For women

655.1 + (4.35 x weight) + (4.7 x height) – (4.7 x age) = BMR value

Note that the formula is different for men and women. It is because they have different body types and calculations.

You can easily put values into this formula and solve it for yourself. The BMR value if high will tell you that you are losing more calories while sleeping and resting. If this amount is low, it means your calorie loss is less.

Generally, men are likely to shed more calories than women. Even if their weight is the same, men will be losing more calories. The reason is that men have a high muscular mass, which enables them to lose more calories.

What affects the calories that you burn?

There are certain factors, which altogether govern this calorie loss process. If you want to enhance your metabolism, you can easily do it. As per the latest research, it is now possible for you to control your caloric loss.

When you are sleep deprived or not sleeping well, it may lead to the weight gain. In this case, the risk of obesity increases by the maximum. Inside the body, it is caused by an increase in a hormone called cortisol.

When cortisol levels inside the body increase, the body’s capacity to retain fat is also increased. You hold extra fat than what you should originally have. It will also affect your appetite and slow your metabolism.

What you can do in this regard is to take care of your food and lifestyle choices. You may like to adapt to such steps, which will make these risks minimal.

Some of the common things which you might want to keep in mind are as follows:

Eating late and metabolism

One common myth that you come across is that eating at late hours can lower down your metabolism. Thermogenesis is the process, which governs this heat loss and energy expenditure.

People say this but eating after 8 has no significant effect on your weight gain. If you eat late, it will not magically make you gain weight. It’s only that eating at late hours may cause trouble sleeping because your stomach is full.

Exercise with strength training

A daily exercise is necessary but if you incorporate strength training into it, you will burn more calories. It works even when you are sleeping. If you become hyperactive after exercise, try to fix your workout hours several hours before you sleep.

Lose weight to increase metabolism

You will probably notice that when you shed a few pounds, your appetite patterns change. The truth is that when you lose weight, it boosts your metabolism.

Being overweight decreases your metabolism, which further causes the weight gain. Lose weight if you want your metabolism to speed up.

Caffeine can also boost metabolism

Most of the people feel very energetic after taking caffeine. It is because caffeine can also cause metabolism boost but it is not permanent and ends up after some time.

It doesn’t put any result for the long term and permanent weight loss. Also, it affects the sleeping patterns. It is not recommended to use coffee before going to the bed.

How To Maximize Your Caloric Burn While Sleeping?

Do not use metabolic boosting supplements

There are many brands, which manufacture metabolism booster supplements. They are marketed to be working best but you should not trust anything that you see. They may not work at all or cause side effects. Consult your doctor before you plan on taking any of such supplements.

Keep a record of your medical history

There are a few health conditions that may affect your metabolic rate. For example, if you have thyroid problems, it may affect your weight gain and weight loss. Also, you may experience an abnormal calorie burn rate.

You need to keep a track of your medical conditions if you want your weight and calorie loss to be accurate.

What Else Should You Keep In Mind? 

The human body works all the times, day and night. Information like you burn calories while you sleep doesn’t mean that it is a weight loss strategy. You can use it for losing weight if you are becoming overweight.

You need to watch our your food intake, food choices and exercise strategy for losing weight. Any vigorous activity of one hour is sufficient to make you healthy. Try to follow the regular sleeping hours along with these up listed steps.

Published at Thu, 12 Jul 2018 17:32:26 +0000

Resistant Starch- Is it Healthy?

Resistant Starch- Is it Healthy?

If you are like other people, the word “starch” will conjure up images of high-calorie treats and guilty pleasures like pasta, pizza, and donuts. It has been fed to our brains over and over again that starch is unhealthy and has to be avoided at all costs.

But this concept is not entirely true. While too much starch is definitely not good for a healthy lifestyle, some particular types of it can be beneficial. For example, resistant starch is a beneficial form of starch that can exert a whole range of positive effects on your body.

In addition to the fact that resistant starch can help you lose weight and control the blood sugar level, it is also quite easy to consume it every day.

Resistant starch is present in a number of natural sources. It is possible to be a part of certain food items that you are eating already. Keep reading to know more about this healthy and nutritious type of starch and different methods of including it in your diet.

What is Resistant Starch?

The first question that may have popped up in your mind is what is resistant starch and how does it really work?

Resistant starch is a form of starch which does not break down completely in your body. Therefore, it is not fully absorbed by your stomach and intestines. Instead, it moves towards the colon and gets converted into short-chain fatty acids.

These short-chain fatty acids work as prebiotics to support the beneficial bacteria of your gut.

Because resistant starch is metabolized and processed in a way similar to that of dietary fiber, it also possesses a similar set of health benefits. In fact, it has been suggested that resistant starch can support satiety, balance blood sugar, and improve the digestive health.

Sometimes, it is also considered as a keto-friendly food item and is perfect for those following a low-carb diet. This is because it does not get digested and absorbed in the digestive system hence, does not produce spikes in blood sugar levels. Best of all, this type of starch is present in so many natural sources so, it becomes easy to incorporate it as a part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.

What is Resistant Starch?

What are Resistant Starch Foods?

Your diet consists of four types of resistant starch foods which are explained below:

  • Type I resistant starch which is commonly found in seeds, whole grains, and legumes
  • Type II resistant starch can be obtained from green bananas, raw potatoes, and maize starch rich in amylose.
  • Type III resistant starch is produced through a process known as retrogradation of the cooked starches rice and potatoes and involves cooling them down.
  • Type IV resistant starch which is a chemically modified variant found in specific processed foods

So, which food items have the highest levels of resistant starch and how can you make the best use of them? Keep reading to know about the list of foods rich in resistant starch and start picking them up from the nearest grocery store now.

  1. Cooked and Cooled Potatoes

When you cook and cool down potatoes, they undergo a procedure termed as retrogradation. This causes the amount of resistant starch present in them to increase drastically.

Resistant starch can also be found in other tubers such as sweet potatoes, however, white potatoes have it in the highest quantity. Other ingredients such as raw potato starch that has been derived from potatoes also contain resistant starch.

  1. Cooked and Cooled Rice

Any type of rice that has been cooked and cooled off is said to be high in resistant starch. Always prefer brown rice over white rice to get extra benefit in the form of minerals, vitamins, and fiber content.

  1. Legumes

Different varieties of legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils are extremely high in resistant starch. Moreover, they also have high levels of fiber and proteins which can improve the health of your heart, maintain muscle mass and boost the regularity.

  1. Oats

Oats are an excellent way to obtain resistant starch. They are also rich in beta-glucan, a form of soluble fiber that can treat different conditions such as metabolic syndrome and even obesity.

  1. Green Bananas

Unripe bananas are a great way to get the maximum amount of resistant starch. Even though they are not as sweet as the ripe ones, green bananas can be boiled, baked, or added to different smoothies to get a high dose of resistant starch.

  1. Hi-Maize Flour

This particular type of hi-maize flour is manufactured from corn and is normally used in different food items to improve the fiber content in them. All you need to do is to swap out some of your regular flour and replace it with hi-maize flour to enjoy the benefits.

  1. Other Starches

All thanks to the process of retrogradation, other cooled and cooked starches also contain a good amount of resistant starch, for example, resistant starch pasta. All you need to do is to select a whole-grain variety and pair it up with a good portion of protein food, vegetables, and healthy fats. This will amp up the total nutritional content of your meals.

The Importance of Resistant Starch in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda

The term “resistant starch” has been introduced and used during the last century only. However, these foods have been a part of the holistic medicine for long now.

The traditional varieties of rice consumed normally as a part of the ayurvedic diet, such as basmati, contains a high quantity of resistant starch as compared to the white rice which is heavily processed.

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Other types of resistant foods such as potatoes have also been a part of the Ayurveda diet. This food is said to have sedative, grounding properties which can help satisfy the stomach and aid in the alkalization of your body.

In a similar manner, the traditional Chinese Medicine has also been using a lot of foods rich in resistant starch for a long time. Rice has been used to soothe and improve the stomach, relieve indigestion, and strengthen the spleen.

At the same time, other resistant starch foods like oats help in reducing blood pressure, treating diarrhea, and stopping spontaneous sweating.


Generally speaking, resistant starch is a safe and rather healthy agent for your health. It can boost the overall functioning and maintain a healthy life. However, it is always advised to be used in moderate amounts.

This is because consuming resistant starch in high amounts can sometimes prove to be rather risky. The consumption of too much of this starch type can lead to certain digestive problems which include gas, abdominal pain, and bloating.

What is Resistant Starch?

If you wish to prevent developing these die effects, it is better to start off with a rather low amount of resistant starch and gradually work your way up to higher amounts. At the same time, be sure to follow the rule of moderation and reduce the dose immediately upon suffering from any kind of negative effects.

Unless you are following a low-carb diet, it is usually recommended not to go for a resistant starch supplement. Rather, opt for whole food sources. In addition to increasing the consumption of resistant starch, these food sources can provide your body with beneficial minerals and vitamins which are important for health.

Published at Fri, 13 Jul 2018 13:53:32 +0000