Thursday, July 12, 2018

Eye Health: Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Prevention

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The exact causes of Macular Degeneration (MD) are not known . Researchers believe that the causes of MD are multifactorial:
  • Hereditary or genetic predisposition
  • Environmental
  • Nutritional
However, age is the strongest known risk factor and the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50.[1]

How to Prevent MD?

There is currently no cure for the disease.[1]  The good news is if you are predisposed genetically to AMD, you can take steps to lower your risk of developing the condition, says ophthalmologist Rishi Singh, MD.

To prevent MD, you can try:
  • Stop smoking if you're a smoker.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet with foods rich in a source of antioxidants  and carotenoids
    • Carotenoids 
      • Carotenoids protect eyes against age-related macular degeneration and also provide very mild sun protection, equal to about an SPF of 3.
      • Lutein is a pigment in the macula that along with another pigment (Zeaxanthin), is believed to protect the macula from damaging effects of blue light. 
      • Lutein and Zeaxanthin are present in green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach and kale) and corn.
      • Within the central macula, zeaxanthin is the dominant component, whereas in the peripheral retina, lutein predominates.
      • Lutein/Zeaxantin can decrease the risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, and the development of atherosclerotic plaques
      • Carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins, which are high in beta carotene, which converts to Vitamin A
    • Antioxidants
      • Papaya, oranges and grapefruit, which are top sources of Vitamin C
      • Eat Goji berries with nuts and seeds (see above video)
      • Flavonoids in oranges
        • Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney said the data showed that flavonoids in oranges appear to help prevent against MD.[1]

  • Take omega-3 fatty acids
  • Wear sunglasses (especially at the time of skiing)
    • UVA and UVB rays from the sun can cause oxidative stress and contribute to AMD, so it’s crucial to wear sunglasses that protect against ultraviolet light.
  • Maintain normal blood pressure
  • Maintain normal body weight
    • Exercise regularly
    • Central obesity causes inflammation
  • Use of the supplements with that of AREDS (or the Age-Related Eye Disease Study) formulation daily
    • AREDS recommends:
      • 500 mg Vitamin C
      • 400 IU Vitamin E
      • 15 mg Beta Carotene
      • 80 mg Zinc
      • 2mg Copper
    • Note that AREDS supplements is not a cure for MD; rather it is a treatment that helps to prevent progression and visual loss.
    • You should consult your eye care provider before taking AREDS supplements (especially if you are a current or recent smoker).

  1. An orange a day keeps macular degeneration away: 15-year study
  2. 100 Questions & Answers About Macular Degeneration by Jeffrey S. Heier, MD
  3. The Language of Life by Francis S. Collins 
  4. Avocado 101
  5. What are the warning signs of macular degeneration?
  6. Your Lifestyle May Increase Your Risk of Age-Related Vision Loss (Cleveland Clinic) 
  7. Cataracts and Macular Degeneration

Friday, June 8, 2018

Discover the Diversity of Indian Cuisine

"India is, the cradle of the human race, 
the birthplace of human speech, 
the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, 
and the great grand mother of tradition. 
our most valuable and most instructive materials 
in the history of man are treasured up in India only."
-Mark Twain

People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally much healthier than people eating a contemporary Western diet[4]. Therefore, the author of four New York Times bestsellers Michael Pollan recommends[5]us to:
Eat more like the French or the Italians or the Japanese or the Indians or the Greeks.

Indian Cuisine

India has one of the most varied cuisines in the world. Indians combine vegetables, legumes and grains with herbs, spices and dairy products to form the largest range of vegetable dishes in the world. The short list below provides you a glimpse of these varied cuisines:
  • Chutney
    • A condiment made from a combination of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spcies
  • Curry
    • Meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits or legumes cooked in a spiced sauce
  • Dhals
    • These are vegetarian dishes using tamarind variously combined to lentils and spices. The result are highly flavored and tasty dishes.
  • Dosa
    • A thin and crisp rice-lentil vegetarian Crêpes.
  • Idlis
    • Idlis are one of the main tiffin items (eaten as break fast or snack in the evening).  They are a type of rice cake which are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice. The fermentation process breaks down the starches so that they are more readily metabolized by the body.
  • Korma
    • Korma is a dish made with yogurt, cream, nut and seed pastes or coconut milk; it is usually considered a type of stew.
  • Masala
    • One of many mixtures of two or more spices—whole or ground, toasted or raw, wet or dry
  • Naan
    • A rich, tender flat-bread baked on the wall of a clay oven
  • Raita
    • Salads of raw vegetables folded into plain yogurt; they are served as cooling accompaniments to spicy dishes
  • Saag
    • Saag or sag is a leaf-based (spinach, mustard leaf, Basella, etc) dish eaten with bread such as roti or naan, or rice. Saag can be made from spinach, mustard leaves, finely chopped broccoli, or other greens, along with added spices and sometimes other ingredients such as paneer.
  • Sambar
    • A stew made of lentils, vegetables, spices, herbs and tamarind
  • Tandoori Dishes
    • Tandoori is a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking. Tandoori dishes include: tandoori chicken, tandoori vegetables, tandoori shrimp, etc. For example, tandoori chicken are pieces of cooked chicken marinated in yogurt and tandoori spices.
  • Uttapam
    • A rice-lentil vegetarian pancake
  • Vindaloo
    • An amalgamation of two Portuguese words vinho means wine or vinegar and alho means garlic. Spices, chiles, garlic and vinegar can be blended to form a vindaloo paste.

Final Words

Indian cuisine consists of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent.  If you try to classify it roughly based on geography, it could be categorized into two main parts:
Besides that, you can have different ingredients used in the cuisine such as Gongura , Poppy_seed, etc.  Also, indian pickles are different. They use red chilli, salt and oil to preserve instead of vinegar.


  1. Passages to India by Laxmi Hiremath (Costco Connection, January 2013)
  2. Indian Food Diversity
  3. Saag (Wikipedia)
  4. Western Diets and Western Diseases
  5. In the Defense of Foods by Michael Pollan
  6. Map showing Coriander, Celery and Cardamom growing states in India