Thursday, July 12, 2018

Health Benefits of Eating Apples

As it turns out, eating an apple a day might actually keep the doctor away. Along with other fruits, apples are some of the best fruit that you can incorporate into your diet as they pack a big antioxidant punch (and are also rich in flavonoids and dietary fibre) and provide a wide range of health benefits. Antioxidants are good for you because they can reduce the risk of things like heart disease, cancer, and other conditions that can develop as a result of aging. In this article, Dr. Ali Ghahary breaks down just how apples can improve your quality of life. Throughout this article you will also find links to information on how consuming other fruits and vegetables can be of benefit to you.

The number one question that Dr. Ghahary is asked by patients is “How can I lose weight?” While exercise certainly plays a big role when it comes to weight loss as well as maintaining a healthy weight, diet is also crucial. What you put into your body matters. If you eat a lot of sweets, carbohydrates (such as pasta, bread and pastries), or fatty foods, you’re more likely to gain weight as opposed to lose it. Instead, you’ll want to make healthier choices. To start, you should increase your intake of vegetables and fruit, including apples. In 2014, a group of researchers from Washington State University analyzed how the compounds of 7 different varieties of apples (including Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Braeburn, Fuji and McIntosh) affected gut bacteria. Their findings, which were published in the Food Chemistry journal, suggested that apples may help prevent obesity as well as any of its associated disorders. 

Another study done in 2008 by scientists from Cornell University in New York, as well as scientists from Korea, suggested that apples may protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Through an MTT reduction test, their research found that the phenolic phytochemicals found in apples prevented a significant number of cells from succumbing to oxidative stress as a result of neurotoxicity. You can learn more about the link between oxidative stress and Alzheimer’s disease by clicking here.

According to a study done by Florida State University, women who consumed apples every day were found to have reduced LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 23%, and a 4% increase in their HDL cholesterol levels. In addition, they were also found to have had reduced levels of C-reative protein and lipid hydroperoxide.

A study that involved almost 200,000 individuals found that those who consumed three servings of apples per week (as well as grapes, blueberries and pears) lowered their risk of developing type II diabetes by as much as 7%, as opposed to those who did not consume apples or the other aforementioned fruits. 

For more detailed information on what makes apples so good for you, as well as more nutritional information, click here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

GERD: How Lifestyle Plays a Role

If you’ve ever suffered from heartburn, then you most likely have a condition known as GERD. GERD (also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), is a condition that occurs when acid refluxes back up into the esophagus. Almost a quarter of the Canadian population suffers from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and experiences heartburn on a daily basis. 

The number one cause of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is lifestyle; from the food you eat, the beverages you drink, to other lifestyle factors. Common foods that cause heartburn include citrus fruit, garlic, raw onions, chocolate, tomato sauce, mints, fatty foods, spicy foods; condiments such as vinegar, mustard, and ketchup; drinks such as coffee, tea, pop, and fruit juice. Many of these foods are known to relax the esophageal sphincter which then triggers the stomach to produce more acid. If you are a smoker, overweight, don’t get enough sleep, or find yourself is stressed and/or anxious on a regular basis, you are also at risk of developing GERD.

As mentioned heartburn is a classic symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, as well as one of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder. Heartburn is usually described as a burning sensation near the breastbone and it often occurs after eating. If you bend or lie down the sensation can worsen. In addition, you may also experience regurgitation. Depending how long you have heartburn and how severe your symptoms are, this could cause Long term injury to the esophagus. Similar to heartburn, patients may also experience something known as dyspepsia. Dyspepsia is generally characterized as a burning sensation or discomfort in the upper abdomen, and it may also cause gastric pain, burping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. Chest pain can also occur as a result of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder, and is often mistaken for a heart attack given how intense the pain can be. Acid that travels all the way up to the esophagus can actually irritate the lining of the esophagus which may also cause the voice to become horse. Sometimes it will sound like you have a sore throat or are getting cold. Additionally, it is not uncommon to develop sore throat due to GERD, as well as sore or blocked ears. Another classic symptoms of GERD is that you can develop a bitter or sour taste in the month. This is due to stomach acid pricing to the back of the throat. Patients with an GERD may also develop a cough as well as wheezing. This occurs when stomach acid backsplashes into the lungs. If left untreated this could become a trigger for asthma. GERD that goes untreated for a prolonged period of time can result in swelling of the lower esophageal tissue, which may result in the esophagus to become narrow, and could result in difficulty breathing.

Because lifestyle play such a significant role in the diagnosis and symptoms associated with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease it is important that you make certain changes to reduce the symptoms of GERD as well as to prevent you from developing GERD in the future.

Dr. Ali Ghahary has already told you which foods can contribute to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Now, you are going to learn about which foods are best for reducing heartburn or avoiding heartburn altogether. For breakfast, oatmeal is one of the best things you can eat. Not only is it healthy, but it also helps to absorb acid. It’s also filling and does not leave you feeling hungry. Ginger is another great food to use if you have acid reflux. For decades it has been used as an anti-inflammatory, as well as to help many other gastrointestinal-related conditions. You can add ginger tea, smoothies, as well as many of your recipes. There’s also nothing healthier than the salad. Is eaten on its own, salad will not aggravate symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. However, as many salads come with tomatoes, onions, and dressings that are high in fat, you will want to avoid these, as these may actually worsen your symptoms. Fruits such as honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon are also said to be good for those suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and reducing its symptoms. However, a small percentage of people say that these fruits actually contribute to their symptoms and therefore they must avoid them. Skinless protein, such as chicken and turkey, are also great for reducing symptoms of acid reflux, not to mention have many other health benefits. Chicken and turkey can be grilled, baked broiled, or sautéed. Similarly, fish and seafood are also great options.

For more information on foods that fight acid reflux, click here.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Top Health Risks for Men

It has been scientifically proven than women tend to be healthier than men. Currently, a man’s life expectancy is around 75 years, while the life expectancy for a woman is around 80 years. Part of this is due to the fact that males make far less visits to their doctor than females do. One reason being that men simply have a much more lax approach when it comes to their health; as well as the fact that there has also been a long cultural understanding that all men are expected to be “macho,” and therefore they don’t like asking for help out of fear that it might make them seem weak or less masculine. Unfortunately, these reasons are only putting men’s health at risk.

According to Dr. Demetrius Porche, Professor and Dean of Louisiana State University Health and Sciences Center, as long as men are working and productive they do not take the time to consider the risks to their health. However, even if you feel healthy, you should always have regular check-ups with your physician, as certain conditions can manifest without any symptoms whatsoever, and that can sometimes make treatment difficult. Below, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician in Vancouver, has compiled together a list of the top threats to men’s health, and what you can do to avoid them.   

Heart Disease
Nearly 3 million Canadians live with heart disease. It’s the leading threat to men’s health, and the second leading cause of death worldwide in both males and females. Heart disease is an umbrella term used to describe many different conditions relating to the heart, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, angina, and arrhythmias. Heart disease can also lead to things like heart attack or stroke. In order to prevent heart disease, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends having your cholesterol and blood pressure levels checked regularly. You’re also at an increased risk of developing heart disease if you are a smoker, so you should quit. You can find some helpful smoking cessation tips from Dr. Ghahary here. Increasing your physical activity and eating healthier can also reduce the risk of heart disease and improve your overall wellbeing.

Lung Cancer
The incidence of lung cancer is greater in men than women. It can be an aggressive disease, and is usually metastatic – meaning it easily spreads to other parts of the body, sometimes before it even causes symptoms or appears on an x-ray. Because of how advanced lung cancer is, it can be a difficult cancer to cure. Similar to heart disease, smoking puts you at risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, tobacco use is responsible for as many as 90% of all lung cancers that are diagnosed. There are few preventive measures that are as effective as stopping smoking when it comes to reducing the risk of lung cancer. If you’re having trouble quitting smoking despite numerous attempts, reach out to your physician for help.

Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a male-specific condition, and is the most common form of cancer in men aside from skin cancer. Last year, over 21,000 Canadian men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. On average, 58 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day, while 1 in 29 will die from it. Prostate cancer can be slow-growing and unlikely to spread, or it can be aggressive. During its early stages, prostate cancer often doesn’t present with any symptoms. However, symptoms that can develop include burning or painful urination, difficulty urinating, frequent urges to urinate, loss of bladder control, and blood in urine.

You can find much more information on men’s health by visiting