Why World No-Tobacco Day is so critical for India’s youth

Why World No-Tobacco Day is so critical for India’s youth

Tobacco consumption remains a widespread issue. Not only is it a major contributor to a heath-crisis, but according to a report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco growing and production exacerbates food insecurity. The report also suggests that the land used to cultivate tobacco can be more efficiently used to meet sustainable production goals. In lieu of this, World No to Tobacco Day is all the more crucial for Indian youth. Here’s why.

According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), nearly one-fifth of children aged 13-15 years are using tobacco products in India.

The survey revealed that 38 per cent of cigarettes, 47 per cent of bidi and 52 per cent of smokeless tobacco users have picked up the habit before their 10th birthday.

Bhavna B. Mukhopadhyay, chief executive, Voluntary Health Association of India, said: “The Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-2017 says about 27 crore people consume tobacco in our country and about 12 lakh people die every year due to tobacco-related illness. The average age of starting tobacco use in India is 18.7 years. Men start using tobacco at a younger age than women.”

She further said that tobacco can cause 25 types of diseases and about 40 types of cancer, in which the major ones are mouth cancer, throat cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer and brain tumour.

Prof Surya Kant, head of the department of respiratory medicine, King George’s Medical University, said: “Tobacco smoke emits harmful gases and chemical substances, in which nicotine and tar are prominent. In all, 70 chemical substances have been found to be carcinogenic but these facts are ignored by those consuming tobacco.”

Dr Abhishek Shukla, secretary general, Association of International Doctors, said: “Smoking bidi is more harmful than cigarette. Due to the low amount of nicotine in bidi, nicotine addicts need it again and again. In our country, addiction to smoking is more in men as compared to women.”

Dr Amita Shukla, senior gynaecologist, SC Trivedi Memorial Trust hospital, pointed out: “One reason for infertility among women is smoking which can also cause pre-mature delivery, in case a pregnant woman consumes tobacco during pregnancy.”

When someone smokes, 30 per cent of the smoke of bidi or cigarette goes to the lungs of the smoker and 70 per cent remains in the surrounding environment, which affects passive smokers or those smoking indirectly, according to doctors.

Further, a survey by Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute in New Delhi has revealed that Class 10 pass students were the highest in numbers among the consumers of tobacco products.

The institute stated on Wednesday that it had received a total of 71,39,473 IVR calls this year until April 30, based on which this conclusion was reached.

On Wednesday, the institute observed World No Tobacco Day and presented this data.

“Out of the total number of IVR calls received by this center this year until April 30, 20,43,227 calls were counselled, including 9,96,302 inbound calls, 26,80,657 outbound calls, and 3,91,160 registered by the call center. A total of 1,56,644 individuals have successfully given up tobacco use,” it said.

The institute further stated that the statistics revealed that most of these calls originated from Uttar Pradesh, with a total of 1,23,508 calls.

The data also indicates that males make up the highest percentage at 98 per cent, followed by transgender individuals at 5 per cent of the total population, while females comprise the lowest percentage.

Among the consumers of tobacco, the highest number is 1,74,097 individuals who have passed their Class 10 exam.

The National Tobacco Cessation Service (NTQLS) was initially established in a single room with sic counsellor stations, and it was expanded in 2020 by then Union Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Kumar Choubey.

Further, doctors on the eve of World No-Tobacco Day have expressed concerns over the endorsement by leading actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Ranveer Singh, and Akshay Kumar of brands that also manufacture gutka — a generic name given to smokeless tobacco products, which cause severe harm to the human body through surrogate means.

They lament that even famous former cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, Kapil Dev and Chris Gayle have been roped in to promote these brands.

“Movies and cricket are widely followed in the Indian subcontinent. People of all ages are watching IPL matches, and movies of all languages, thanks to OTT platforms. If any of the movie stars or cricket players promote a product, naturally the impact will be there on adolescents and youth,” said Dr Mahesh Gudelli, Consultant – Clinical and Interventional Pulmonologist, KIMS Hospitals.

“Gutka is a type of smokeless tobacco that is made in India and is widely used throughout Asia. It is a mixture of tobacco, crushed areca nut (also called betel nut), spices, and other ingredients. It is used like chewing tobacco and is placed in the mouth, usually between the gum and cheek. Gutka contains nicotine and many harmful, cancer-causing chemicals. Using it can lead to nicotine addiction and can cause cancers of the lip, mouth, tongue, throat, and esophagus. Nearly 4200 chemical constituents have been identified in gutka. The main carcinogens in gutkha are derived from its ingredients including tobacco, areca nut, lime, and catechu. Gutkha (pan masala with tobacco) has been proven to be a carcinogenic agent,” the doctor explained.

He strongly recommends the stars not to endorse any of these products even for bulky remunerations. “We request all celebrities to take a step back and limit themselves from promoting such products even if they are promoted as generic brand names.”

“Approximately 40 per cent of the total tobacco consumed in India is in smokeless form and gutka is the most important component in this. We have been seeing prominent film actors and now cricketers come together to promote brands which are associated with gutka production. Though the claim is that these celebrities are only promoting flavoured cardamom, the brands’ association allegedly remains with harmful tobacco products. Despite a ban in 2012, gutka and other smokeless or chewable tobacco products are illegally marketed and consumed across many states in India. And endorsement of celebrities to brands which provide a recall to harmful tobacco products is highly unfortunate,” feels Dr Anusha Kantheti – Consultant Pulmonology, SLG Hospitals.

Planning pregnancy? Quit smoking first, say experts

Planning pregnancy? Quit smoking first, say experts

If you are planning to embrace parenthood, first stop smoking, said experts ahead of the World No Tobacco Day.

World No-Tobacco Day is celebrated every year on May 31 to educate people about the perils associated with tobacco consumption.

“Best time to quit smoking is at least four months before pregnancy, that is, whenever you plan pregnancy,” Dr Rajashri Tayshete Bhasale, Consultant Gynecologist, Laparoscopic Surgeon and Obstetrician at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, told IANS.

“Smoking can interfere with females’ normally functioning ovaries and reduces the number of mature eggs that can be fertilised by lowering the egg count,” Dr Manju Gupta, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Noida.

According to the health experts, exposure to even secondhand or passive smoking can harm biological processes during — preconception, pregnancy, and post-delivery.

“Even during the nine months of pregnancy, a woman’s susceptibility to secondhand smoke’s effects might alter, reflecting various pathways of harm as the foetus develops and grows,” Dr Gupta told IANS.

“Avoid any contact with direct smoke or smoking in the same room. It is seen that traces of smoke are found for hours after smoking, hence any kind of smoking should be avoided in the house and also house guests should be instructed the same way,” Dr Bhasale said.

She explained that nicotine, present in tobacco, is a potent vasoconstrictor thus it can lead to abortion, ectopic pregnancy, Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) or birth defects in babies.

Women exposed to smoke “are more likely to develop hypertension in pregnancy and its complications. Studies have shown smoking is associated with birth defects like cleft lip, cleft palate, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, limb reduction defect, gastroschisis, hypospadias. More over exposure in later months of pregnancy have shown to cause preterm delivery, low birth weight baby, stillbirth, intrauterine foetal demise or even sudden infant death syndrome,” Dr Bhasale told IANS.

Tobacco is a leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the country. Smoking is a growing matter of concern in India. Tobacco consumption impacts all the organs of the body.

Smoking contains tobacco which causes lung cancer, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.

“Other problems due to tobacco are wheezing, chronic cough, increased mucus, and shortness of breath. Smoking declines lung function. Thus, it is the need of the hour to quit tobacco and lead a healthy life. All forms of tobacco are harmful. Moreover, there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. It is better to quit it in all forms,” Dr Samir Garde, Director of Dept of Pulmonology and Lung Transplant, Global Hospitals, Parel, told IANS.


Ovulation Bleeding: What is that every women has to know

Ovulation Bleeding: What is that every women has to know

Ovulation bleeding means vaginal bleeding during or immediately before or after ovulation, which happens during the middle of a menstrual cycle. Are you aware? A shift in estrogen levels can lead to bleeding and spotting. But, you can be at ease as it is not so serious. Know more about this..

Ovulation bleeding is seen during ovulation, which is when the ovary releases an egg. During this process, the estrogen levels tend to rise and after the release of an egg, the estrogen levels go down and progesterone levels begin to increase. Thus, the balance between estrogen and progesterone levels can lead to light bleeding. If one notices symptoms such as cramping along with bleeding then something other than ovulation bleeding may be the reason behind it. If one is having irregular cycles, it can be difficult to tell the difference between irregular bleeding and the normal monthly period. So, it is better to speak to the doctor and get all your doubts cleared. Remember that light spotting in the middle of the cycle is not at all dangerous, especially if it occurs at the same time each month. You should not panic at all. But, it will be imperative for you to discuss unusual bleeding with the treating doctor who can guide you further.

One has to consult the doctor: If there are any unusual changes in the bleeding pattern, that is periods being less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart, bleeding becoming much heavier or lighter than usual, excessive bleeding which requires changing pads after every 2 hours. Not only this, even painful periods, difficulty getting pregnant, pelvic pain during or after sex, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, or chest pain are some of the red flags that shouldn’t be ignored.

The take-home message: It is a known fact that bleeding between periods is common and seen in many women, when periods begin and during menopause. But, even structural abnormalities, pregnancy-associated bleeding, thyroid issues, hormonal treatments, certain medications, infections, and tumors can also lead to bleeding. Thus, it is the need of the hour to detect the exact cause behind the bleeding. So, one should track the ovulation cycle to know about the cycle length and the day of ovulation. This can allow the doctor to understand if the bleeding is related to ovulation or if something else is causing the bleeding.

Healthy Pregnancy Tips: 5 Early Warning Signs Every Expecting Mother Must Look Out For!

Healthy Pregnancy Tips: 5 Early Warning Signs Every Expecting Mother Must Look Out For!

Healthy Pregnancy Tips: The body experiences considerable hormonal changes that result in a range of symptoms that vary from woman to woman. When it comes to pregnancy, the body starts to alter before one even realizes it. While pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are the effective means to determine pregnancy, there are other signs and symptoms like missed periods, tender breasts, morning sickness, fatigue and frequent urination to keep an eye on. Dr Thejaswini J, Consultant – Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Electronic City, Bangalore reveals early warning signs every woman must look out for if they are pregnant.

Symptoms like mild swelling in the face, hands, legs, feet, and ankles, stomach problems such as nausea, bloating, vomiting and gas, mild aches and back pain at night, frequent urination, constipation, or haemorrhoids, swollen or bleeding gums and even breathing issues and skin changes like brown spots and stretch marks are normal. However one should exercise caution because there are situations when pregnancy presents life-threatening problems for a mother and her baby. These problems are termed obstetric emergencies which arise at any time during pregnancy, labour and birth.


1. Heavy bleeding with severe stomach pain during the first three months of pregnancy indicates ectopic pregnancy, a condition where the fertilised egg is implanted outside the uterus.

2. Any form of bleeding during pregnancy requires medical attention immediately because it indicates potential dangers

  • Bleeding with abdominal pain during the last three months of pregnancy could be a symptom of placental abruption, a condition where the placenta detaches from the uterus.
  • Dizziness accompanied by blurry vision and severe headache indicate a sign of ectopic pregnancy or pre-eclampsia which is characterised by high pressure.

3. Severe vomiting or sickness along with a burning sensation while urinating and fever could indicate symptoms of infection.

4. The rapid increase in blood pressure which is signalled by nose bleeding, dizziness and fatigue can indicate symptoms of pre-eclampsia. Blackouts or losing consciousness along with fits or convulsions is an emergency.

5. Mild pain can be experienced during pregnancy however severe pain and cramps in the stomach, and lower back which cause discomfort should be observed at the earliest.

The majority of pregnancy symptoms, in conclusion, are not cause for concern, but some of them do require emergency medical treatment. It’s critical to speak with your doctor, midwife, or hospital right away if you encounter any of the following signs or symptoms.

Common complaints during pregnancy: Causes of symptoms, tips to deal with them

Common complaints during pregnancy: Causes of symptoms, tips to deal with them

Pregnancy causes several bodily changes where besides from weight and physical form, additional changes in your body’s chemistry and function occur like the heart beats faster, your temperature rises slightly, bodily secretions increase, joints and ligaments become more flexible and hormones change. Mood swings are frequent as a result of hormonal changes, increased exhaustion, and natural concern about body image, sexuality, finances, marriage duties and impending child.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Padma Srivastava, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospitals at Pune’s Lullanagar, talked about the common complaints during pregnancy and said, “The symptoms of pregnancy pain differ from individual to person.” Nonetheless, each expecting parent may have various symptoms or none at all and according to him, some common annoyances –

  • Vomiting and nausea: Almost half of all pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during the first trimester. This is also known as morning sickness. This is due to the fact that symptoms are most intense in the morning. Throughout pregnancy, some women may experience nausea and vomiting. Morning sickness may be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy. Morning sickness appears to be exacerbated by stress, travel and specific diets, such as hot or fatty foods. Little meals many times a day may help alleviate discomfort. A high-protein, complex-carbohydrate diet (such as whole-wheat bread, pasta, bananas, and green, leafy vegetables) may also help alleviate nausea.
  • Pain in the abdomen: Rest or take a warm bath or shower to ease acute sensations or cramps caused by strained abdominal muscles and ligaments. Frequent exercise will help to tone and develop your abdominal muscles. After the first trimester, avoid laying on your back for more than a few minutes at a time, since this may reduce blood supply to your growing baby.
  • Spotting and bleeding: During the first trimester of pregnancy, light bleeding or spotting is usual. It normally does not indicate a serious condition, such as miscarriage. When a fertilised egg attaches itself to the uterine lining around the time of a woman’s missing menstruation, bleeding might ensue. Increasing hormone levels make the cervix’s surface more susceptible to bleeding even with a gentle contact.
  • Backache: Control your weight increase with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Use a heating pad on your back to ease discomfort instead of using pain killers unless absolutely required. Specific abdominal muscle strengthening exercises might also help relieve back pain. To support your abdomen, use a pregnant girdle or an elastic sling. Avoid high heels by wearing shoes or insoles recommended for pregnant women. Don’t stand for lengthy periods of time. Maintain a straight posture. Choose a firm mattress to sleep on. Laying on your side with a cushion between your legs could help.
  • Urination on a regular basis: While you’re pregnant, your body produces more fluid, and your kidneys perform more effectively. When you combine this with a developing uterus pushing on your bladder, you find yourself spending more time in the bathroom than normal. Frequent urination is more common in the first and last trimesters, with a brief respite in the middle of the pregnancy.

She concluded, “It’s natural to be concerned about new symptoms. But, keep in mind that most pregnancies are healthy, and typical discomforts are usually just that – common and annoying. In most circumstances, what you’re feeling isn’t harmful to you or your kid. You may feel more certain that what you’re feeling is normal and healthy by talking to your doctor, studying and knowing what’s normal and when to be worried.

Suffering abdominal pain due to fibroids? 5 ways to manage it at home

Suffering abdominal pain due to fibroids? 5 ways to manage it at home

Fibroids are muscular tumours that develop in the uterine (womb) wall. They are non-cancerous growth that often appears during childbearing years. They can develop as a single tumour or as several tumours that can range in size from an apple seed to a grapefruit in the uterus. Some women with fibroids experience no symptoms, while others may struggle to cope with their symptoms. According to the Journal of Women’s Health, 25 to 50 per cent of women with fibroids have symptoms like heavy menses, reproductive issues, increased urinary frequency, anemia, and abdominal pain.

Dr Nirmala M, Consultant Obstetrician, Gynecologist, and Fertility Specialist Motherhood Hospitals, Whitefield, Bengaluru, shares how to manage if you experience abdominal pain due to fibroids.

Causes of fibroids

Before we get into the pain solutions, let us understand the causes of fibroids. These are benign tumors that develop on the uterine linings or walls. Though there is no particular cause that has been fully understood, there might be multiple factors that can contribute to the development of fibroids. Some of these factors are:

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1. Obesity: Excess body fat tends to increase the estrogen levels in the body. This makes obese women more likely at risk of developing fibroids.

2. Hormonal imbalance: It has been determined that fibroids have more estrogen and progesterone receptors than typical uterine muscle cells, which raises the possibility that these hormones may be involved in the growth and development of fibroids. Age, pregnancy, and specific drugs can all affect these hormones’ levels, which in turn can affect how quickly fibroids grow.

3. Family History: Women with a family history of fibroids tend to be more at risk of developing fibroids themselves. This suggests that there might be genetic influence and a hereditary factor causing fibroids.

4. Age: Age also plays a crucial role as a factor. Fibroids are more likely seen in people approaching menopause which says that women who are of the age group of 45-55 are more susceptible to fibroids.

Why do women suffer abdominal pain due to fibroids?

Fibroids might cause women to have abdominal pain for several reasons. It mostly depends on its location, size, and the number of fibroids present. Dr Nirmala says, “Fibroids tend to grow big, putting pressure on nearby organs, and causing severe abdominal pain. They can outgrow their blood supply chain degenerating or breaking down the tissue. The pain maximises during the menstruation period, causing heavy bleeding and severe abdomen pain.”

However, you should keep in mind that fibroids are not the only reason for abdominal pain. It can be because of indigestion, or constipation. So, check out if that’s the case with you.

Tips to manage abdominal pain due to fibroids

Here are 5 tips to manage the abdominal pain caused due to fibroids:

1. Heating pad

Fibroids cause inflammation that can immobilize the area and using a heating pad on the lower abdomen can help reduce pain to some extent by increasing mobility. It helps to relax tense muscles and relieve cramping.

2. Eat a balanced diet

A balanced diet is essential because it helps to minimise inflammation, which in turn helps to lessen pain. According to Dr Nirmala, eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, as well as fruits like apples and tomatoes, may help reduce the risk of getting fibroids. Increase your protein, whole-grain, and vitamin D intake as well. In addition to this, avoid processed foods, red meat, and goods with a lot of dairy and sugar to stop the fibroids from getting worse.

3. Relaxing techniques

One of the elements that can exacerbate the pain of fibroids is stress. Practicing certain relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, etc. has been proven effective in fighting pain. For additional pain relief, try lying on your side with your legs close to your chest.

4. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol consumption can increase the severity and duration of common fibroid symptoms. Therefore, reducing your alcohol intake may help you cope with some of the worst fibroid symptoms.

5. Painkiller

Your doctor may advise taking an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or naproxen to help decrease the shooting pain. NSAIDs can also lessen fibroids-related excessive menstrual flow.

What are the treatment options for uterine fibroids to avoid pain?

Treatment of fibroids depends upon several factors such as the size, intensity of pain, location, age, and their wish to conceive in the future. Some proven treatment methods, according to Dr Nirmala, are:

1. Medication: Hormonal medications such as birth control pills can reduce fibroids but can alleviate symptoms like heavy bleeding and pelvic pain. The purpose of the medications is to shrink the fibroids by targeting hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle.

2. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) medications: Usually used for three to six months, this medication treats fibroids by preventing the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, resulting in a temporary menopause-like state where the fibroids shrink and anaemia improves.

3. Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD): This form of medication helps relieve heavy bleeding caused by fibroids. Even though this progestin-releasing IUD may not make fibroids shrink or disappear, it helps provide relief.

4. Other medications: In cases of anaemia due to heavy bleeding, doctors suggest iron supplements and vitamins, which help alleviate the symptoms of anaemia. Before undertaking any form of medication, it is important to consult the doctor to discuss any possible side effects or complications.

When medications do not improve the condition of the fibroids, there are surgical methods to consider which also depend upon factors like fibroids size, location, and future pregnancy plans of a patient. Creating a treatment plan under these conditions is essential because some surgical options preserve the uterus and allow pregnancy in the future, while other options can either damage or remove the uterus.

Surgical options for fibroids

These are a few surgical treatments for a patient who is planning for future pregnancies:

1. Myomectomy is a surgical operation in which the fibroids are removed while the uterus is still in place. There are a few surgical methods to treat fibroids depending on the size, number, and location.

2. In Laparoscopy, small incisions are made in the abdomen through which a scope is inserted to remove the fibroids.

3. In hysteroscopy, a scope cuts away the fibroids which are inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus.

4. Open incisions like laparotomy where the incision is made in the abdomen can all be used to remove the fibroids.

In cases where the individual does not consider future pregnancies, a few surgical measures that can help treat fibroids effectively are:

1. Uterine fibroid embolization: UFE is a minimally invasive therapy that includes obstructing the blood vessels that the fibroids use to receive minuscule particles, which causes the fibroids to contract and eventually die.

2. Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy is a surgical process in which the entire uterus is removed. This is the most effective method of treating uterine fibroids, and it is frequently suggested to women who no longer want to become pregnant.

Beer and bread? Here are 7 foods you need to stop mixing while drinking alcohol

Beer and bread? Here are 7 foods you need to stop mixing while drinking alcohol

Whether you’re celebrating a joyous occasion, entertaining guests or having those quiet nights within the comfort of your home, alcohol and food are a match made in heaven. Hic, hic… only when consumed in moderation. Did you know that the more alcohol one consumes, the more likely one is to feel hungry? This is due to the fact that alcohol increases hunger in such a way that the person may end up craving salty foods like pizza, fried foods and spicy foods. But here’s a reminder: this is the worst food pairing.

Foods to avoid with alcohol

When it comes to particular food and alcohol pairings, there are numerous traditional combinations that are consumed and loved by many. Who can miss out the wine and cheese? But some foods don’t go so well with alcohol. It will help you to understand that the body prefers to digest alcohol ingested first over the other macronutrients consumed. So while you should consume alcohol in moderation, it is also crucial to keep an eye on what categories of food you consume when drinking. A wrong food combination can cause health problems.

Health Shots got in touch with Divya Gopal, Dietary and Nutrition Expert at Motherhood Hospitals, Banashankari, Bengaluru, and Kanakapura Road Clinic. She listed down certain foods that one should avoid while drinking alcohol.

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Foods to avoid while drinking alcohol

Here are 7 foods that one should not combine with alcohol:

1. Beer and Bread

Gopal says, “Beer and bread can be a harmful combination because it dehydrates the body. Since beer and bread have yeast in higher quantities, the liver is unable to process the alcohol consumed. Due to the overwhelming amount of yeast in the body, the stomach is unable to cater to the digestion process.” Further to this, the body tries to get rid of the toxins which may result in digestive issues or bloating.

2. Chocolates

While there may be additional health benefits to eating chocolate, pairing it with alcohol might trigger gastrointestinal issues that harm the intestinal lining, especially if you are prone to digestive issues. Chocolate contains both caffeine and cocoa, which can exacerbate stomach problems and cause constant hunger.

3. Pizza

While that may sound heartbreaking, it is true. Pizza and alcohol don’t go well together. With alcohol, the dough does not digest properly and may cause pain and discomfort in the stomach. Additionally, pizza can raise your risk of heart disease and weight gain.

4. Beans or lentils

Alcohol makes it difficult to digest foods that are good sources of iron, such as beans or lentils. Alcohol and beans have a negative effect on the intestines and may impair the digestive system.

5. Salty food items

What could be a better combination than alcohol and fries or pakode? If you think so, you’re putting yourself at risk. High sodium content in salty food might cause stomach problems. In fact, higher salt levels may lead to dehydration, which in turn raises alcohol consumption.

6. Dairy products

Dairy foods such as cheese, milk, ice cream, dessert, butter, and yogurt should be avoided when drinking alcohol as well as before and after. They will only make your health worse. Alcohol and dairy products taken together in the stomach might result in infection, stomach pain, and even constipation.

7. Spicy foods

Just like salty foods, spicy foods can mess up your system too. Eating spicy foods with alcohol can upset your stomach and can cause digestive issues. Gopal says, “Spicy foods delay the stomach emptying process and cause acid reflux. This situation gets even more intense after you eat citrus fruits.”

Hypertension: My mom says a glass of beetroot juice a day keeps high BP at bay

Hypertension: My mom says a glass of beetroot juice a day keeps high BP at bay

Summer is the time for fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices. Fresh juices are way better than any aerated or artificially sweetened drinks to quench the constant thirst for something refreshing. But some fruit juices have more health benefits to offer! I saw my mother sipping a glass of beetroot juice one day. I wondered why she made the unique choice. She says this red-violet coloured drink is a good detox and also healthy for people with hypertension.

Beetroot is itself packed with healthy nutrients and minerals. It is good for digestion, boosts skin and hair health, as well as improves athletic performance. Its antioxidant properties make it a good weight-loss food to add in your diet!

Is beetroot juice good for hypertension?

Hypertension is a growing lifestyle concern for people of all age groups. As per World Health Organization estimates, almost 1.3 billion adults aged 30–79 years worldwide have high blood pressure. Of this, 46 percent adults are unaware that they have the condition.

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For those who are aware of their high blood pressure problems, try to manage it with medication and lifestyle changes. And one big part of that is improving your diet and eating more consciously.

Adding beetroot juice to the everyday diet can be a natural way to manage high blood pressure. There are many other health benefits of beetroot too!

Nutritionist Nisha Mandal, Motherhood Hospital, Gurugram, tells Health Shots, “Addition of beetroot to the diet routine shows significant results in lowering high blood pressure. Being rich in antioxidants, vitamin and minerals, beetroots have ample health benefits, but its richness in dietary nitrate (NO3) make it a superfood for hypertension.”

She explains that dietary nitrate is converts into biologically active nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). “In human physiological functioning, nitric oxide relaxes and dilates blood vessels which is helps In decreasing the high blood pressure significantly,” adds Mandal. Spinach, celery, cabbage and radish are also some such foods which increase nitric oxide.

Studies on the relationship between beetroot juice and hypertension

Drinking a 250 ml cup of beetroot juice each day could lower the blood pressure of people with high blood pressure, according to a 2015 research funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) at Queen Mary University of London. Some studies also claim that consuming 2 cups of beetroot juice daily may be beneficial.

The BHF study concluded that consuming a cup of beetroot juice led to a decrease of 8/4 mmHg in blood pressure, bringing the levels to normal for the subjects. This makes it significant considering the cardiovascular complications that hypertension can raise in the long run.

A 2008 randomized controlled trial tested the effect of raw beetroot juice on blood pressure levels. As per the results, healthy volunteers recorded reduced BP approximately 3 hours after consuming 500 ml of beetroot juice.

If the idea of trusting a natural product over a pill to manage hypertension seems appealing to you, get your glass of beetroot juice ready! But before you do that, check with your medical expert.

How to use beetroot juice for hypertension?

Health Shots reached asked nutritionist Nisha Mandal, about the best way to use beetroot for hypertension management.

The expert says, “For better results , the best way to consume beetroot would be in the form of juice without adding salt or sugar to it. One can have approximately 180 ml to 250 ml daily for two weeks continuously.”

Making beetroot juice is simple! You could simply juice the beets or use it with other fruits or vegetables. The ABC juice, involving apple, beetroot and carrot, for example, is very popular.

Here’s the simplest way to make beetroot juice:

* Peel the beets
* Cut them into chunks
* Put them in a juicer or blender
* Add a little water
* You could add more fruits and vegetables for taste and other health benefits.

But here’s a piece of advice shared by Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, Lead Author of the BHF study. She says when you plan to use beetroot for high blood pressure, avoid boiling it as dietary nitrate is water soluble. However, you could steam, roast or drink it in the form of juice.

Side effects of beetroot juice for blood pressure patients

Experts say patients need to be conscious about beetroot consumption if they are already on BP medicines. So, it would be best to consult your doctor before deciding to add it to your diet.

According to Nisha Mandal, “Beetroot does not have many side effects on body, but those who have Hypotension should avoid having. Also, since it is rich in oxalate and fiber, those who have kidney stones and Irritable Bowel Syndrome should avoid beetroot.”

You should also not get worried if you begin to consume beetroot juice and observe a change in urine or stool colour. A reddish tinge would be absolutely normal!