Foods to lower the risk of certain types of cancer

Recent studies show that some foods can help lower cancer risk. New research is helping scientists’ every day to find ways to cure and prevent cancer, yet new variants of cancer continue to appear.

While we can’t prevent all types of cancer, there are some eating and drinking habits that can help prevent some types of cancer.

  1. Drink coffee to prevent liver cancer. According to a recent research from the World Cancer Research Fund International drinking coffee can lover liver inflammation: “While scientists aren’t completely sure how coffee battles liver cancer, they believe it might have something to do with lowering liver inflammation — which is one of the factors behind development of liver disease and cancer.”
  2. Mediterranean Diet to prevent uterine cancer “The Mediterranean Diet is considered one of the healthiest ways to eat, so it shouldn’t be surprising that it has been linked to a lower risk of cancer too.”, according to a study by the British Journal of Cancer.
  3. Eating nuts can protect against prostate cancer according to a study from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

A healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits are drivers of a good overall health, and while we can’t prevent cancer there are small actions everyone can take in order to be healthier. Eating fruits, vegetables and cereals on a daily basis, and reducing the amount of salt and sugar intake are good ways to start a healthy diet. We have already discussed the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet on previous posts you can read here.

Read the full article from Medical Daily, here.

4 tips to lose weight effectively and for the long term

When summer approaches, millions of people start looking for diets and for ways to lose those extra pounds gained during winter.

Most people want to lose weight fast and are willing to try several weight loss methods, only to find out that those methods don’t work for the long term. Those who lose weight fast also can regain it fast. So what are the best ways to lose weight and maintain it? There isn’t a unique answer for this question. Losing weight results from a combination of healthy eating, exercising and changing lifestyles. Commit to have a healthy weight should be a long-term commitment, not just for the summer months.

Remember these 4 tips the next time you think about losing weight:

  1. Drink water – Every adult should drink at least eight cups of water a day to keep hydrated, and maintain kidneys and intestines working which will lead to a better digestion and consequently lose weight.
  2. Do more than 3 meals a day – Don’t limit yourself to the main meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eating light snacks (like fresh fruits or dried nuts) every 2 to 3 hours will keep the body function and prevent hunger.
  3. Practice exercise – Physical exercise is of great importance for the body. Not only to lose weight but to maintain a health body and mind. A great way to start exercising is to take a walk t least for 30 minutes every day.
  4. Sleep well – Resting is very important for the body. Those who want to lose excess weight should take into account that the body needs to rest every night for at least 7 hours. A diet can deliver poor results if the body isn’t restoring properly every night and a tired body will ask for more food than a rested one.

Being healthy entails to eat, drink, exercise and sleep well. When the body and the mind are aligned to produce the desired results, they will appear and continue for the long term.

Do not forget to do a health check-up before starting your weight loss program and to monitor Key variables each 6 months to be sure you are keeping your health along the program. Contact us – we can help you to start.

10 facts about diabetes

April 7 is the World Health Day. Every year the World Health Organization chooses a health problem that concerns millions and millions of people around the world and raises awareness to that problem.

This year, the World Health Day is dedicated to Diabetes, a disease that affects 422 million people, according to the World Health Organization. In order to join the conversation about diabetes we will highlight 10 facts about the disease:

  1. 422 million is the estimated number of people worldwide who suffer from the disease
  2. It is one of the leading causes of death
  3. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 (caused by lack of insulin production) and type 2 (caused by the ineffective use of insulin)
  4. The third type of diabetes is related to pregnancy, the gestational diabetes
  5. The incidence of type 2 diabetes is much greater than the others
  6. When diabetes is detected and well-managed, people can live a long and healthy life with the disease
  7. Early detection and diagnosis is crucial for patients to live a long life
  8. The majority of deaths related to diabetes occur in low and middle-income countries
  9. Diabetes can cause blindness, amputation and kidney failure
  10. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle increases the chances to avoid being affected by diseases such as diabetes type 2 that are caused by sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition. Eat well and be physically active are two of the most important tips for those who want to live longer.

Read the full article on the World Health Organization’s website, here.

Gastric band surgery

Gastric band surgery is one of the most common weight-loss surgeries performed today. It is also known as laparoscopic gastric band or lap band surgery and consists of constricting the stomach to give a fuller feeling after eating less food than the person would normally do.

Those who undergo this type of weight-loss surgery are obese people who want to achieve weight-loss goals while going under minimally invasive surgery. According to Medical News Today, “it is a minimally invasive, quick, reversible and adjustable surgical procedure that decreases the size of the stomach to reduce food intake”.

According to Medical News Today these are some of the advantages of gastric band:

  • Potential for long-term weight loss, which leads to, increased mobility and decreased risk for chronic diseases.
  • Reversibility: the band can be removed and adjusted. Depending on the results the band can be tightened or loosened and even removed if the patient isn’t loosing enough weight or didn’t adapt to the band.
  • Since the stomach isn’t cut, the normal digestive process isn’t affected.
  • Short hospital stay: usually the hospital stay required is less than 24 hours and even same-day discharge is often possible.
  • Lower complications when compared to other weight loss surgeries and less demands of dietary changes.
Gastric Band Surgery
Gastric Band Surgery

Gastric band surgery is appropriate for those who are diagnosed with obesity by medical standards and after several exams. Medical Port developed an exclusive obesity diagnosis program, which includes a thorough examination of the causes of excess weight, includes exams and analysis and consultations from several medical specialties before a final diagnosis is issued. After being diagnosed, the patient starts a diet so that when the gastric band is in place, besides from having lost some weight already, the patient as also gain new eating habits and is ready to stick to a new healthy lifestyle.

If you would like more information about Medical Port’s obesity diagnosis program, click here.

Foods to make you happy

Dieting can be frustrating and often put people in a bad mood. Changing eating habits isn’t always an easy task and is common for dieters to feel anxious. The good news is that if we consume foods that not only are good for a healthy diet but also make our brains healthy it will lead to a better mood.

Eating is a substantial part of our lives. Food gives us comfort when we are hungry and joy when sharing a meal with the family. New eating trends emerge everyday, some of them are intended to make us feel better about our choices, others to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

There are seven healthy kinds of foods that will boost your mood while playing an important role in a diversified and healthy dietary regime, according to the healthy lifestyle blog Noom.

1. Seeds

Pumpkin and chia seeds, walnuts and flaxseed are rich in Omega-3, which improves healthy brain communication, protects against free radicals, and have anti-inflammatory properties. We have previously written about the benefits of seeds, here.

2. Fatty fish

Salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout are examples of fatty fishes rich in Omega-3 that “help fight many chronic diseases, including depression”, according to Noom. Besides they positively affect the pathways in the brain that communicate with the body, which regulate the mood.

3. Healthy carbs

Although carbs are usually the first thing that comes to mind to cut off when starting a diet, they are very important in regulating mood. According to Noom, “carb-rich foods trigger the production of brain chemicals serotonin and tryptophan which promote feelings of well being.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are all carbs that can boost your mood and leave a lasting satiate feeling.

4. Vitamin D

The benefits of vitamin D for the body is a topic we discuss often (click to read our previous post about vitamin D benefits) because Portugal enjoys plenty of sun throughout the year. When the body needs more vitamin D apart from sun exposure, few foods can provide it. Mushrooms, fortified milk and cereals are examples. Vitamin D boosts the mood and reduces the risk of depression.

5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a great source of vitamin B6, the one “(…) responsible for helping the body make several chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another” influencing the brain development and function, according to Noom.

6. Spinach

Spinach intake provides the body with folate, which supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin regulates mood and social behavior so consuming spinach can be the mood booster you need to keep your healthy diet.

7. Nuts

Nuts provide magnesium to the body, which contributes to bone and dental health, energy production and serotonin. Eating almonds, cashews, and peanuts regularly provide the body with the right nutrients, energy and also boosts good mood.

Eating healthy can be hard sometimes when there are so many alternatives that provide an instant good mood but are the opposite of healthy food. Keep these seven foods in mind so that you can grab one of them when you look for foods that can make you happy.

Read the original Noom post, here.

Vitamins and its benefits for your health

Our bodies need a certain amount of vitamins in order to be healthy. Maintain a healthy diet is important for weight-loss goals but is also important to ensure the body is consuming the necessary amount of vitamins.

When following a healthy and balanced diet, it is possible to get most of the vitamins the body needs with daily food intakes.

These are some of the vitamins our bodies need in order to be healthy:

  • Vitamin A – promotes the functioning of the immune system and maintains good eyesight. Vitamin A can be found in the following foods: cod-liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots and leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin B complex – there are 8 vitamins in this complex and their benefits are to transform carbohydrates, fats and protein into energy that lasts throughout the day. Vitamin B complex vitamins can be consume through foods like meat and fish.
  • Vitamin C – known for its immunity properties, this vitamin is also a good antioxidant and infection prevention. Vitamin C in high doses is known for slow the growth and spread of some forms of cancer like prostate, pancreatic and liver. The foods that contain vitamin C are mainly citrus fruits, tomatoes and broccoli.
  • Vitamin D – Also known as the “Sun vitamin”, this is the most hard to get vitamin in the winter months because one way to get is through sun exposure. The lack of vitamin D is associated with weak bone health.  Fortified milk, cheese and cereals are good sources of vitamin D when the sun exposure isn’t enough. Getting vitamin D in the winter in Portugal isn’t likely to be a problem, since there’s an average of 330 sunny days per year.  Click here to read more about Portugal in the winter.
  • Vitamin E – acts as an antioxidant in the body and it is especially beneficial for both hair and skin as it protects cells from the damage of free radicals. This vitamin is present in foods like leafy green vegetables, almonds and vegetable oils.
  • Vitamin K – one of its roles is to prevent blood clotting and to promote bone health. As people get older the intake of this vitamin is important for osteoporosis prevention. Food sources of this vitamin are leafy green vegetables, olive and broccoli.

The intake of these suggested foods is good for maintaining vitamin levels up and keep the body ready to defend itself from external threats. We should always favor the natural intake of these vitamins from food instead of the artificial chemical ones.

Read more about vitamins and its benefits here.

Eat smart to stay healthy

The month of September usually marks the beginning of new decisions and new goals. It is the month that marks the end of summer and the beginning of new cycles such as the new school year.

With new beginnings comes the desire to define new healthy goals and to live a healthier lifestyle. Some foods can help you get slimmer, make you live smarter and even longer. Depending on your goals, there are plenty of seeds that can be very good for your health.

Those who embrace a healthy diet are also more likely to improve their cognitive skills and fight memory loss that comes with aging. When healthy food groups are preferred over saturated fats or high amounts of sugar, the brain responds positively as people age. A study by the American Academy of Neurology in over 40 countries and lasting more than 2 years concluded that higher diet quality was associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline.

Seeds are among some of the healthiest choices one can make. They are usually rich in protein, low in sugar and saturated fat and they will make the perfect add-on to your favorite snack.

  • Sesame – they have a good satiating effect and they act as a shield to the heart. The best way to eat them is in snacks like yogurts, or in soups, juices and salads. Contain proteins, omega 6 and omega 9.
  • Flaxseed – these seeds are known for regulating the intestinal transit and for being a good substitute of the regular wheat flour (which contains gluten) for traditional flour recipes. Contains omega 6 and omega 9.
  • Sunflower – their action against the early aging of cells and tissues is proved and they go well with salads, juices and soups. Contain omega 6, minerals and vitamin E.
  • Chia – a source of energy and resistance these seeds have become very popular in the last few years. They can be used in salads, juices or added to cereal bowls. They contain fiber and calcium.
  • Pumpkin – these seeds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. They can be consumed in yogurts and salads.

Adding seeds to the diet is an easy and tasty way to start making healthier choices and to get the best of the food intake. The better the nutrients in our diets, the better our physical and mental health will be.

There are 6 types of obese people, according to new study

A new study published in the Journal of Public Health from Oxford University classifies 6 types of obese people. This study aims to help healthcare providers to better understand obese patients and the differences between them.

The study starts by analyzing a group of people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 30, which are considered obese. The limitation of BMI is that it considers everyone with a BMI over 30 to be obese and doesn’t take into account the heterogeneity of such group.

Researchers wanted to create subgroups within obese people that would take into account the differences between them: “BMI is a classification of weight and height, not of people, who are only similar in terms of their BMI category. Using a single classification for obesity will fail to recognize the variation between the individuals who are obese.”

To study and classify types of obese people is important because, according to the researchers: “Failing to acknowledge the population-level heterogeneity among those classified as obese may restrict the effectiveness of interventions or treatments offered by clinicians, since approaches may need tailoring depending upon the health practices associated with individuals involved.”

Six different types of people with a BMI <30 were identified:

  1. Heavy drinking males: these are less likely to manage their weight well;
  2. Young healthy females: who are more likely to take weight loss steps;
  3. Wealthy healthy elderly: these people tend to have higher blood pressure;
  4. Physically sick but happy elderly: people with a good mental health and a good sense of well-being;
  5. Unhappy anxious middle aged: mostly women who may suffer from psychological issues and;
  6. Poorest health: this group has de highest prevalence of chronic health conditions and doesn’t engage in healthy behaviors.

The goal of the study was to show that within obese people there are major differences: different attitudes towards life, well-being notions and behaviors, and predisposition to take action to lose weight. This study more than identifying and categorizing obese people, tries to show the importance of understanding the reason for the excess weight and the entire context around obese people to better help them achieve a more healthy weight.

Our weight-loss programs are designed to specifically understand the underlying reasons for excess weight and based on that decide the best approach for an effective and long term weight loss. If you would like to know more about Medical Port’s weight loss programs, click here.

Read the full article about the 6 types of obese people here.

Mediterranean diet benefits

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are well known and it is largely agreed that a balanced diet based on the Mediterranean style is the key to live a healthy life.

Extensive research on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet has been made throughout the years and medical associations of various fields support the diet. The American College of Cardiology has been releasing extensive research on the benefits of the diet, associating it with a healthier heart condition. One of its latest releases is the association between diet and stroke prevention where they highlight five points to remember, which are:

  1. “Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, costing an estimated 36.5 billion annually” and “A Mediterranean dietary pattern may reduce risk of stroke.”

  2. “Both olive oil, tree nuts, and peanuts are associated with risk reduction for stroke. Three or more servings of nuts per week are also associated with approximately a 10% reduction in risk.”

  3. “Regular consumption of fish is also associated with reduction of stroke risk.”

  4. “(…) low levels of alcohol consumption associated with the lowest stroke risk.”

  5. “(…) red meat consumption is associated with increased stroke risk.”

Because the Mediterranean diet doesn’t cut any food groups, you don’t have to give up on the food you like the most. The secret is to create the right balance between what you should eat more often and what you should keep for special occasions only. On the top of the pyramid there are sweets and red meat. It means you can have them, but not often. On the bottom of the pyramid, there are the vegetables and grains that should be present in every meal, every day of the week. For those not used to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, start with small amounts and increase the intake as you get used to and see the benefits in your body functions.

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Source: oldways.org

Two points are in common with every diet: drink water and exercise. No matter how restrictive is the diet, water is essential to keep the body hydrated and to eliminate toxins. Exercise is key to keep the body’s metabolism going and to prevent diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Portugal is a perfect place to start the adoption of the Mediterranean diet. Medical Port offers you the possibility of having a complete health check-up done in Portugal as the starting point for the adoption of the Mediterranean diet.

Weight loss surgery abroad

For the past few years, weight loss surgeries have seen great evolution, allowing those who suffer from excess weight to find the most adequate solution to lose the unhealthy mass and start a new life.

Weight loss surgery is performed not only for weight loss itself (the visible aspect and the most immediate one), but also for disease prevention and overall health improvement. Those who suffer excess weight can develop several diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and joint problems, among others. Lose weight is a struggle for those who suffer from excess weight and have a history of unsuccessful tries.

According to Stanford Health, “Obesity has a far-ranging negative effect on health. Each year obesity-related conditions cost over 150 billion dollars and cause an estimated 300,000 premature deaths in the US.”

Patients for weight loss surgery are subject to careful evaluation from several specialists, including nutritionists and psychologists.

The nutritionist will be interested in reviewing with the patient the bad eating habits and creating new ones. The psychologist will be reviewing the possible causes of the excess weight, and work with the patient to overcome and control them before the surgery. The psychologist will also help the patient deal with the uncertainty of the final outcome and the struggles associated to weight loss. Along with psychological support and nutritional advice, health professionals guide patients during several months before and after the surgery in order to guarantee the success of the procedure lasts for the long term. For those considering weight loss surgery it is important to keep in mind that a change in lifestyle is the first step to the successful outcome of the surgery. Individuals who undergo this kind of surgery must be prepared to eat well, exercise often and maintain healthy habits after the surgery so that there is an actual long-term change. These individuals will need to be always on track of their goals and stay motivated.

No long-term results can be achieved without a change in the individual mind-set.

Medical Port developed programs for those who would like to have weight loss surgery abroad, including the initial assessment and diagnosis of obesity, the surgery and the overall treatment. If you would like to learn more about these programs, click here. In order to contact us, please send an email or call us at +351 220 973 751.