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Winter Doesn’t Just Bring the Snow

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Winter is here, and aside from the chilly temperatures, it also brings risks such as the flu. It is important to be familiar with the health risks associated with the season and take necessary precautions

The weather is not the only thing that changes in the winter. Several health conditions that can be life threatening also appear during this season.

Although the human body is created to overcome so many risky health conditions, not everyone fits into this group, especially those who are vulnerable. Medically we say that this group would have higher a frailty score, being old, slim and chronically ill. Winter also puts children under the risk of several conditions.

There are of course several health benefits of winter as well, although I bet none of us appreciate them while shivering! Cold temperatures do a great job and serve public health by killing off disease-mongering insects and microorganisms. Moreover, cold weather may also help us slim down by stimulating metabolically active brown fat. Brown fat is the opposite of unhealthy white fat and is a good type of fat that actually helps the body burn energy in the form of heat.

In northern countries such as Scandinavia and Russia, many people actively seek the cold: wintertime swimming in frigid water or exercising is believed to do health wonders, and there’s some science suggesting that it really might do so. Don’t forget that as far as the temperature goes, if you are just warm enough and used to exercising, there is no temperature you can’t actually work out in.

But obviously there’s a dark side of winter that needs to be considered as well. Interestingly, several pieces of literature have shown that death rates increase and reach a peak during this time of the year. We know that cold weather increases blood pressure, and possibly increases the risk of people who already have cardiovascular diseases. Research has investigated the reason of this peak in death rates, and found out that sudden heart attacks, strokes or other cardiovascular diseases are the main causes of the increase. As a cardiac surgeon, I can confirm these results by just looking at the peak in number of cardiac surgeries I perform during these months.

Also, without hesitation, it can be said that the flu is a winter virus, and flu viruses spread more readily once the air is dry and chilly (not only because of the weather being dry, but also because of the dryness of our airways). Furthermore, as the sun goes away health issues start to arise. I had mentioned the great powers of vitamin D in one of my articles here, as the dark skies start to appear we start to lose this vitamin and its benefits, causing a mainly depressed immune system. So ultimately chilly temperatures and vitamin D deficiency is a poor combination that will risk your health.

Its really important to increase your vitamin D levels, and you may have not heard earlier but you can increase it naturally without taking pills during winter when there is not enough sunlight. Vitamin D is known for its benefits on heart health, skin health, immune health and mental health. In order to increase it you can make simple life changes. Research has shown that loosing weight also counts for vitamin D levels. If you lose 5 percent or more of your body weight, this will in turn make a spike in vitamin D levels. This is not all obviously; lowering cholesterol, exercising regularly and eating fatty fish are other ways to increase vitamin D levels naturally. Don’t forget that wild fish has about four times the amount of vitamin D than farmed ones.

Since winter is also the flu season, its good to get a flu shot as well. Unfortunately, we doctors do not explain all the benefits of getting the flu shot but just mention that it will protect you from the flu! People are more afraid of that shot needle when compared with the disease itself, since its something usual in a persons life when everything goes the right way. But the numbers are frightening when we talk about flu complications. In the United States alone, more than 30,000 people die from flu complications, and about 200,000 get hospitalized. Getting the flu vaccine is equivalent to getting immune. If your immune system is strong enough, this will collectively protect your loved ones as well.

The other two major winter season illnesses are frostbite and hypothermia. Simply, hypothermia is the condition when your body temperature falls below the normal range. On the other hand, frostbite is the condition when part of your skin falls below the freezing point. When ice crystals form in your skin, it starts to kill the cells. Frostbite starts with redness in your skin and can go all the way until it turns black! During the initial stage, frostbite can cause a loss of feeling and color in the affected areas, such as the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. When your skin turns black, this means that the area is permanently damaged and can even go to amputation.

You may have also heard about frostnip. This is the earliest stage of frostbite cases, and starts with a small white dot in the affected zone. This white dot especially occurs in your body extensions, such as your nose or fingers. Since it’s the initial stage of frostbite and there is no black discoloration of the skin, it doesn’t cause permanent damage to your skin. Of course, if you warm them up without loosing time! In extremely cold temperatures, the risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and when people are not dressed properly.

Hypothermia on the other hand, can be fatal if its not detected promptly and treated properly in a timely manner. While hypothermia can happen to anyone, the elderly and frail carry the greatest risk because their bodies often do not adjust to changes in the temperature quickly and they may be unaware that they are gradually getting colder. If you have hypothermia, you’ll first feel cold, shiver and seem socially withdrawn. As the condition worsens, you can become confused, sleepy and slur your speech. In the most severe stage, the heart can slow down dangerously. To prevent hypothermia, wear warm, multi-layered clothing with especially good hand and feet protection and a warm hat or hood. If medical attention is not available, remove any clothing that’s wet, and wrap yourself in a warm blanket to avoid further heat loss. Although warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, be sure not to drink alcoholic beverages. Additionally, do not take a hot shower or bath, because it may cause shock.

English Articles

Purslane, Health Coming with Spring

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A new season comes with a bunch of health fruits and vegetables and the star of a healthy spring is purslane without a doubt

Purslane, whose history goes back centuries, is one of the miraculous plants that comes with spring. Its leaves are smooth, thick and spherical. Depending on the variety, the leaves may be 1.5 or 2 centimeters long. In the development period, the round and thick roots spread from the center of the plant and are generally reddish. The plant grows in everywhere in Turkey. Purslane, which is a cure-all with a sourish taste, is an important green-leafy vegetable rich in calcium, vitamin and iron. Purslane also contains omega-3’s. Here are some unknown benefits of purslane:

A strong antioxidant

The leaves of purslane are rich in vitamin A and C. Purslane is especially rich in Vitamin A. This vitamin has an effective role in the treatment of eye diseases and protection from various illnesses. Besides, it clears the skin from dead cells with its antioxidants. While Vitamin A protects the body against cancer, it also helps the treatment of oral diseases. There is a high amount of Vitamin C in purslane leaves. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and protects the body against illnesses.

Rich in minerals

Purslane contains calcium, zinc, phosphor, manganese and copper. Zinc is helpful in improving the functions of the immune system. It also protects the body from free radicals that can cause cancer. Magnesium is effective on the skin and hair health. It is a protection against depression. It has an important role in vitamin and mineral absorption in the body. Magnesium is useful in the treatment of asthma and allergic illnesses, as well. With its strong antioxidant effect, it becomes a shield against any cancer.

Thinking calcium and copper as less effective is impossible. While calcium provides bone development, copper is effective in the absorption of minerals, such as calcium and iron. Copper has an importance in the production of hemoglobin in the body. A copper deficiency can cause impairment in the immune system, drops in bodily resistance, dermatological diseases and neurological problems. Phosphor and calcium are responsible for bone and tooth health in the body. Calcium is also necessary for nerve, muscle and blood functions. In order to benefit from all these vitamin and minerals, you need to consume purslane regularly.

Enemy of bad cholesterol

According to research, purslane decreases the production of LDL, which is bad cholesterol.

Diet friendly

One-hundred grams of purslane contains 16 calories. This can be a good news for people who are trying to limit their calorie intake. It is diet-friendly with its low calories. Besides, it is full of dietary fiber which makes you feel full after meals. It limits your nutrition and helps you to lose weight.

Heart friendly

The omega-3 fatty acid in purslane has an effective role in cardiovascular health. Omega-3 is in the category of polyunsaturated, essential fatty acids. Your body cannot produce essential fatty acids. Therefore, you should take them from foods. Ethnobiologists who search for the relation between primitive societies and the plants around them believe that the plants people ate long ago were providing more nutrients than the ones that we consume today. For instance, people were consuming 390 milligrams of vitamin C on average from fruits and vegetables in a day 10,000 years ago. However, a person consumes only 88 milligrams of vitamin C per day in the present. Therefore, nutrition rich in vitamin C is important, especially in mid seasons. Try to consume green-leafy vegetables often such as purslane.

Foods for a healthy heart

Salmon: Salmon is a natural omega-3 source. In order to have a healthy heart, consume fish rich in omega-3 two times a week.

Dried fruits and nuts: Dried fruits and nuts are full of heart-friendly omega-3 fats. Hazelnuts, walnuts and pistachios are the three-highest nuts rich in omega-3. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds also have a high level of omega-3. They are perfect snacks for picnics. Hazelnuts also make you feel full and keep you away from junk foods.

Olive oil/Rapeseed oil: They contain mono and polyunsaturated omega-3 fats which are beneficial to cardiovascular health and decrease inflammation. These oils are perfect options for cooking. In order to benefit from their quality, add some to your salads along with colorful and fresh vegetables. You will have a low-calorie and delicious meal.

Grapefruit: Citrus fruits, especially grapefruits, contains Vitamin C, which decreases inflammation causing stroke and heart diseases, flavonoids and antioxidants. Add it to your salad or its sauce. It can be also a cold juice alternative in the summer months.

More and more foods..

Pomegranate: Pomegranates contain antioxidants called polyphenol. These antioxidants provide protection against heart diseases, decreasing bad cholesterol and blood pressure and slowing the plaque forming in arteries. Pomegranate antioxidants are three times more beneficial than those found in green tea. You can freshen it up, adding it to frozen yogurt, light desserts and salads.

Garlic: Garlic helps protect from heart diseases, slowing down fat storage in the arteries and dropping blood pressure. You can add it to tomato sauces for pasta or with whole-wheat bread. You can use it as a sauce in the summer after mixing it with spices or vegetables.

Avocado: Avocados are a fruit containing monounsaturated and healthy fats which helps to lower cholesterol. Avocados are also rich in folate and Vitamin E, C and B6. Add it to salads, soups or sauces. You will add both color and taste to your food.

Cornelian cherry: Cornelian cherries have antioxidants that protect the heart. Actually, it increases cholesterol removal that is regulated by the liver. Flavonoids called anthocyanin protect from cells injury and repair injured cells. They help lower bad cholesterol and provide relief to blood vessels. Consume purple-colored fruits and vegetables four or five times a week.

Prepare and present purslane

Purslane stems and buds can be eaten. Cut rigid roots and stems, using a sharp knife. In order to protect most of the nutrients, keep it at a low temperature and cook quickly. Even if its antioxidants decrease while cooking or frying, its minerals, carotenes and flavonoids can be protected by cooking with steam.

Fresh, raw leaves can be used as a salad. Here is a perfect purslane salad: Cut two bunches of parsley finely and pluck the leaves of purslane. Mix these two in a bowl. Add a cucumber and some tomatoes if you want. Add sheep’s sorrel, rocket and radish to your salad. Add two soup spoons of olive oil and one soup spoon of fresh lemon juice to your salad. Your salad is ready to consume.

Purslane stem and leaves that are sauteed with onion and garlic can be consumed as a garnish together with meat, fish and chicken.

Purslane can be consumed as a soup, as well. Here is a perfect purslane soup: Clean and wash the purslane. Put some oil in a stock pot and add the purslane. Cook the purslane for a few minutes until it softens. Then put some water and bring it to a boil. Mix flour, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a blender. After the purslane is cooked, add it to this mixture. Add hot water and your soup is ready. You can also consume purslane in your breakfast with cheese.

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English Articles

Have a Healthy Spring with Proper Nutrition

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healthy spring

A new season comes with a bunch of health fruits and vegetables and the star of a healthy spring is purslane without a doubt!

Purslane, whose history goes back centuries, is one of the miraculous plants that comes with spring. Its leaves are smooth, thick and spherical. Depending on the variety, the leaves may be 1.5 or 2 centimeters long. In the development period, the round and thick roots spread from the center of the plant and are generally reddish. The plant grows in everywhere in Turkey. Purslane, which is a cure-all with a sourish taste, is an important green-leafy vegetable rich in calcium, vitamin and iron. Purslane also contains omega-3’s. Here are some unknown benefits of purslane:

A strong antioxidant

The leaves of purslane are rich in vitamin A and C. Purslane is especially rich in Vitamin A. This vitamin has an effective role in the treatment of eye diseases and protection from various illnesses. Besides, it clears the skin from dead cells with its antioxidants. While Vitamin A protects the body against cancer, it also helps the treatment of oral diseases. There is a high amount of Vitamin C in purslane leaves. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and protects the body against illnesses.

Rich in minerals

Purslane contains calcium, zinc, phosphor, manganese and copper. Zinc is helpful in improving the functions of the immune system. It also protects the body from free radicals that can cause cancer. Magnesium is effective on the skin and hair health. It is a protection against depression. It has an important role in vitamin and mineral absorption in the body. Magnesium is useful in the treatment of asthma and allergic illnesses, as well. With its strong antioxidant effect, it becomes a shield against any cancer.

Thinking calcium and copper as less effective is impossible. While calcium provides bone development, copper is effective in the absorption of minerals, such as calcium and iron. Copper has an importance in the production of hemoglobin in the body. A copper deficiency can cause impairment in the immune system, drops in bodily resistance, dermatological diseases and neurological problems. Phosphor and calcium are responsible for bone and tooth health in the body. Calcium is also necessary for nerve, muscle and blood functions. In order to benefit from all these vitamin and minerals, you need to consume purslane regularly.

Enemy of bad cholesterol

According to research, purslane decreases the production of LDL, which is bad cholesterol.

Diet friendly

One-hundred grams of purslane contains 16 calories. This can be a good news for people who are trying to limit their calorie intake. It is diet-friendly with its low calories. Besides, it is full of dietary fiber which makes you feel full after meals. It limits your nutrition and helps you to lose weight.

Heart friendly

The omega-3 fatty acid in purslane has an effective role in cardiovascular health. Omega-3 is in the category of polyunsaturated, essential fatty acids. Your body cannot produce essential fatty acids. Therefore, you should take them from foods. Ethnobiologists who search for the relation between primitive societies and the plants around them believe that the plants people ate long ago were providing more nutrients than the ones that we consume today. For instance, people were consuming 390 milligrams of vitamin C on average from fruits and vegetables in a day 10,000 years ago. However, a person consumes only 88 milligrams of vitamin C per day in the present. Therefore, nutrition rich in vitamin C is important, especially in mid seasons. Try to consume green-leafy vegetables often such as purslane.

Foods for a healthy heart

Salmon: Salmon is a natural omega-3 source. In order to have a healthy heart, consume fish rich in omega-3 two times a week.

Dried fruits and nuts: Dried fruits and nuts are full of heart-friendly omega-3 fats. Hazelnuts, walnuts and pistachios are the three-highest nuts rich in omega-3. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds also have a high level of omega-3. They are perfect snacks for picnics. Hazelnuts also make you feel full and keep you away from junk foods.

Olive oil/Rapeseed oil: They contain mono and polyunsaturated omega-3 fats which are beneficial to cardiovascular health and decrease inflammation. These oils are perfect options for cooking. In order to benefit from their quality, add some to your salads along with colorful and fresh vegetables. You will have a low-calorie and delicious meal.

Grapefruit: Citrus fruits, especially grapefruits, contains Vitamin C, which decreases inflammation causing stroke and heart diseases, flavonoids and antioxidants. Add it to your salad or its sauce. It can be also a cold juice alternative in the summer months.

Also these ones

Pomegranate: Pomegranates contain antioxidants called polyphenol. These antioxidants provide protection against heart diseases, decreasing bad cholesterol and blood pressure and slowing the plaque forming in arteries. Pomegranate antioxidants are three times more beneficial than those found in green tea. You can freshen it up, adding it to frozen yogurt, light desserts and salads.

Garlic: Garlic helps protect from heart diseases, slowing down fat storage in the arteries and dropping blood pressure. You can add it to tomato sauces for pasta or with whole-wheat bread. You can use it as a sauce in the summer after mixing it with spices or vegetables.

Avocado: Avocados are a fruit containing monounsaturated and healthy fats which helps to lower cholesterol. Avocados are also rich in folate and Vitamin E, C and B6. Add it to salads, soups or sauces. You will add both color and taste to your food.

Cornelian cherry: Cornelian cherries have antioxidants that protect the heart. Actually, it increases cholesterol removal that is regulated by the liver. Flavonoids called anthocyanin protect from cells injury and repair injured cells. They help lower bad cholesterol and provide relief to blood vessels. Consume purple-colored fruits and vegetables four or five times a week.

Prepare and present purslane

Purslane stems and buds can be eaten. Cut rigid roots and stems, using a sharp knife. In order to protect most of the nutrients, keep it at a low temperature and cook quickly. Even if its antioxidants decrease while cooking or frying, its minerals, carotenes and flavonoids can be protected by cooking with steam.

Fresh, raw leaves can be used as a salad. Here is a perfect purslane salad: Cut two bunches of parsley finely and pluck the leaves of purslane. Mix these two in a bowl. Add a cucumber and some tomatoes if you want. Add sheep’s sorrel, rocket and radish to your salad. Add two soup spoons of olive oil and one soup spoon of fresh lemon juice to your salad. Your salad is ready to consume.

Purslane stem and leaves that are sauteed with onion and garlic can be consumed as a garnish together with meat, fish and chicken.

Purslane can be consumed as a soup, as well. Here is a perfect purslane soup: Clean and wash the purslane. Put some oil in a stock pot and add the purslane. Cook the purslane for a few minutes until it softens. Then put some water and bring it to a boil. Mix flour, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a blender. After the purslane is cooked, add it to this mixture. Add hot water and your soup is ready. You can also consume purslane in your breakfast with cheese.

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English Articles

Thyroid Gland: Functions, Symptoms and Diet

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Thyroid gland

The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland that occupies a small place in your body conducts important tasks, like regulating your appetite, energy level and body temperature

The thyroid gland is the biggest endocrine gland in the body. It produces two hormones – triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones control our bodies’ speed in energy burning and its reaction to stress hormones. While everything goes well, you can’t recognize it, but if bells start to toll for the thyroid, it can get your attention. A problem in the thyroid appears in two ways: hyperthyroidism (excessive thyroid hormone production) and hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid hormone production). If you experience an imbalance in the thyroid, it is possible to get rid of the worst symptoms of it with a healthy diet. I will tell below how you can understand if you have a problem with your thyroid glands and what you should eat to treat it. A healthy diet can be the solution for thyroid problems as it is for many other diseases.

If your skin becomes thinner or has rough tissue, be careful

The thyroid glands control the speed of your skin’s peeling. The skin peels faster in patients with hyperthyroidism and often become smooth. However, it causes thin skin. Hypothyroidism makes the skin rough, slowing down the skin’s speed in cell production. Hyperthyroidism makes the skin feel moist or hot and it increases the redness of the face and hands. Hypothyroidism, on the other hand makes the skin feel cold and pale. It also causes wounds to heal very slowly and an orange-yellow skin color because of carotenemia.

Putting on weight can be a sign of thyroid problems

While hyperthyroidism is related to losing weight, it can also increase your appetite. Therefore, it is possible to put on weight even if you have a fast metabolism. The same thing goes for hypothyroidism, which is related to putting on weight and poor appetite, as well. While your metabolism gets slower, your desire to eat can also decrease, and this can cause you to lose weight.

Be careful if your body temperature increases or decreases

Hyperthyroidism provides a much faster metabolism, accelerating the normal body processes. This can enable you to burn energy faster and increase your body temperature. People with hyperthyroidism can wake up at night covered in sweat, because the increasing energy burning in the body can cause a fast heartbeat.

On the other hand, your body temperature can decrease since hypothyroidism slows your metabolism. Thus, you may need a jumper.

Take your emotions into consideration

An extremely active thyroid can have a manic depressive effect on your emotions. Hyperthyroidism can be related to anxiety, overly emotional behavior and even psychosis. Besides, hypothyroidism is related to depressive feelings and makes people distant from social life. It can end with forgetfulness.

If you think your energy has decreased, it could be your thyroid

The body’s way to spend it’s energy differs in hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, but, both of them can shake the human body seriously. If you have a thyroid which is low grade active, you almost want to do nothing. In addition, an excessively active thyroid can increase your metabolism speed to 100 percent, and this situation ends up with serious energy downfalls. Hyperthyroidism substantially increases the heartbeat speed and this accelerates people and makes them feel tired quicker.

What should we do in this situation?

In order to prevent these side effects, there are some things that we can do. The leading one of them is to eat healthy. The foods that I will mention in this article support you in fighting against the thyroid and cause a decrease in its side effects.

Choose foods which are low in calories but high in fiber

Consume more fruits and vegetables, preferring foods high in fiber and low in calories. Prunes or high-fiber foods which contain plum water make your intestine work. In the struggle against the thyroid, it is important to boost the digestion. Intestines that work slowly causes toxic accumulation. This can trigger your illness.

Decrease consuming meat and milk

Consume less meat and milk for most of the chemicals that you shouldn’t consume are found in the fat of meat and milk products. The less you consume meat and milk, the less your body will expose these toxics that destroy the thyroid hormone. When you eat meat, take the half of your portion away and consume less meat in every meal. As coal can trigger cancer, prefer to cook your meat on a grill. Temperance can solve thyroid problems like it does in many things. Dairy milk is generally delicious, but, it can disturb those who have an intolerance to lactose. If you experience wind, cramps in the stomach, constipation or other disturbing symptoms, regulate your eating order.

Eat simple foods

Prefer protein sources that aren’t animal products, such as avocado, olives, nuts and bean curd.

Consume fat that you trust

Instead of hydrogenated vegetable oils used in processed foods, prefer good oils. I recommend you to stay away from hydrogenated oils as they will affect your metabolism. Olive oil can help in this context.

Have snacks that you always carry

Those who have an imbalance in the sugar level can keep some nuts and walnuts to consume at the specific hours of the day. These little snacks contain sufficient amount of protein to balance your sugar level.

Read contents of the foods that are in your shopping basket

Get used to reading contents in your market shopping. If all materials aren’t familiar to you, you can put the product back in its place on shelves. Chemicals that are used to protect foods can slow down your body’s metabolism.

Every meal is important, but don’t skip breakfast

I advise you to eat at regular intervals even if your foods are little, healthy appetizers. The body needs energy even when you sleep. Instead of a main meal that you overindulge in, eating at intervals with small snacks is much more beneficial for the metabolism; this is especially important if you have a thyroid problem.

Remove caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and sugar from your life

For the metabolism of thyroid patients, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and sugar are the most dangerous things. Remove these four from your life. A cup of coffee that you prepared in the mornings can smell perfect and helps you start the day. However, your increased energy will decrease quickly and make you feel tired through the whole day. Instead of coffee, herbal teas will be a nice preference without any caffeine. Chocolate can be indispensable for many people, but, it doesn’t support your body apart from giving pleasure to you. In the content of chocolate, there are xanthines like caffeine. Medical works don’t confirm that chocolate has a psychological profit.

Most of us know that alcohol needs to be fragmentized in the liver and sometimes creates stress. In wines, additional chemicals, like sulfides can prevent deterioration and ferment pressured digestion. This is why thyroid patients should avoid them.

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