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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 specialities 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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Reduce sugar intake should be a nutrition priority

Last week we discussed the importance of reducing salt intake for a better health and nutrition. This week’s post is about reducing sugar intake.

The World Health Organization has recently updated the recommendations on the amount of sugar adults and children should consume every day. The intake of free sugars should be less than 10% of total energy intake per day.

Free sugars are monosaccharides like glucose and fructose and disaccharides like table sugar that are added to foods and drinks and are naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. Sugars present in fresh fruits, vegetables or milk aren’t part of this recommendation as there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars.

The way we consume sugar is disguised in the processed foods present in our diet. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains around 1 teaspoon of free sugars. And a can of soda contains up to 10 teaspoons of free sugars.

In the words of Dr. Francesco Branca, the Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, “We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay”.

The consumption of high amounts of free sugars leads to increased weight and to higher rates of dental caries. It is also believed that the consumption of free sugars increases the overall energy intake, reducing the need for foods that provide more nutritionally adequate forms of energy.

The discussion about the health benefits and the disadvantages of sugar isn’t new and many myths appeared over the years. The following video from Business Insider deconstructs 5 myths of sugar: artificial sweeteners are healthier, sugar brings satisfaction, the sugar present in foods is bad, organic sugar is healthier and sugar free diets are the answer. The video is quite educative and answers many relevant questions.

 

Read the entire WHO recommendation here.

 

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Most common plastic surgery procedures

Plastic surgery is increasingly popular all over the world. The number of procedures done increases every year and no signs of deceleration emerge.

There are two types of plastic surgery patients: the ones who always wanted it, and the ones who only realize the need for plastic surgery at a certain point in their lives.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of procedures in the United States in 2014 rose 3%, with a total of 16.5 million surgeries performed.

Although some surgeries see increased popularity from year to year, other procedures are always on trend. The most common procedures are: liposuction, breast augmentation, nose reshaping (also known as “nose job”), abdominoplasty (commonly known as “tummy tuck”), and facelift.

Weight-loss surgeries are also on the rise due to obesity, which is a global issue. After weight-loss surgeries, many patients want plastic surgery to correct the sagging and excess skin. Only after the complete weight-loss period the person should look for plastic surgery, as the weight must be stabilized. The reshaping surgeries are abdominoplasty, breast lift, upper arm lift, and tight lift. These surgeries are beneficial both for the psychological and physical wellness of the patient.

Recurring to plastic surgery is no longer only accessible to wealthy people, it is widely available all over the world. Some prefer to do it at a local hospital or clinic and others prefer to do plastic surgery abroad. Those who decide to have a surgery abroad do so because they are looking for the expertise of a well-known practitioner or hospital reputation, for money saving reasons, and even for privacy concerns. To decide where to have your plastic surgery done, three variables need to be taken into consideration: the expertise of the doctor – that needs to have a specialization in plastic surgery, the quality of the materials used in the surgery, namely the implants, and the safety of the environment where the surgery is going to be performed. The price of the surgery is conditioned by these three variables, so take care when the prices are very very low – some things might have been cut. In Portugal, plastic surgery is a common practice and the Portuguese plastic surgeons are known for their skill and experience.

Medical Port offers surgery options in hospital context in various procedures like breast augmentation, liposuction or facelift. If you like to know more about plastic surgery abroad, contact us.

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.