Also know what is Gastroesophageal reflux disease and toolkit to prevent GERD. 9 min read. All illustrations by Kanupriya Singh

After completing an online course on ‘Nutrition, Sleep, Recovery and Stress management’, I decided to share my newfound learnings with my readers. This was how this newsletter, Good Vibes, was born. Little did I know that this would open the door for me to write and publish my first book! Re-reading those initial issues of the newsletter now is quite funny; they are bursting at the seams with mistakes and lack consistency. However, thanks to writing almost 2000 words every week over 70 weeks these errors have reduced drastically from what it once was. Thank you all for your love.

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Many people may be worried about their “cholesterol levels”, or whether they’re getting too much cholesterol in their diets.

Sterols are a large family of waxy lipids that are found in plants, animals, fungi and some bacteria. Cholesterol is a member of this family, and is an essential molecule in the body. We need cholesterol for making our cell membranes as well as other structures such as hormones.

So, cholesterol is not a bad thing in and of itself.

In fact, most of the cholesterol in circulation is made by the liver, and it doesn’t come from the foods we eat. The form of cholesterol in, say, an egg is not well absorbed in our gut.

Cholesterol production is carefully controlled by feedback mechanisms in the body, and isn’t significantly affected by the cholesterol we eat, although there is a strong genetic component to cholesterol levels. So, if you have high cholesterol, it may not be from your daily omelet; rather, it may be your parents’ fault.

However, as with other types of fats, cholesterol can’t travel on its own through the water-based bloodstream. It needs to hitch a ride on lipoproteins.

A “cholesterol test” or “lipid profile” that our doctor might ask us to do mostly tests our level of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol and triglycerides.

All lipoproteins are not created equal. We have several types of lipoproteins that carry fats around in the body. These vary by size and density.

These differences affect how they work in the body, and whether they pose a risk to us in the wrong amounts.

  • Chylomicrons carry fats from the small intestine to the liver. They’re the largest, and contain much more triglyceride than cholesterol.

  • Very low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs) are packaged in the liver to be sent elsewhere in the body.

  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) carry what people often call “bad” cholesterol, because they travel in the bloodstream, carry fat to our cells and can oxidize in blood vessels, forming plaques that can lead to heart disease. We need them, but don’t want too much cholesterol in them.

  • High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) are the smallest particles, and contain the most cholesterol relative to triglyceride. They carry what’s often thought of as “good cholesterol”. Generally, we want the cholesterol in these particles to be a little higher, as they’re like the “cholesterol cleanup crew” that shuttles cholesterol back to the liver for recycling.

Decades ago, the news linking cholesterol in the bloodstream to heart disease prompted an all-out war on cholesterol in food. From the 1960s on, people were advised to stay away from foods rich in cholesterol—like eggs, dairy foods, and some types of seafood, for example. But today . . . Today, science suggests that, for most people, dietary cholesterol has only a modest effect on the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. 

In fact, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans eliminated an earlier recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams (mg) per day—although they still suggest caution on overall intake. But continue avoiding saturated fats. Saturated fat in the diet clearly does raise LDL by a significant amount and should still be consumed in limited quantities.

Targeting high triglycerides

Obesity, alcohol abuse, a diet high in saturated fat, or illnesses such as poorly controlled diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or liver disease can cause high triglyceride levels. If your triglycerides are elevated I suggest to try these dietary changes

  1. CHOOSE CARBS WISELY: Triglycerides go up when you eat a lot of easily digested carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, chips, sugar-laden breakfast cereals, and sugar-sweetened drinks.

    • Choose whole grains whenever possible.

    • Avoid foods with a lot of added sugar.

    • Remember that even foods like wholewheat bread can still contain a significant amount of carbohydrates.

  2. AVOID SATURATED FATS: Cut back on saturated fats from meat, milk, cheese, and other dairy products, which elevate triglycerides …AND OPT FOR UNSATURATED FATS: While avoiding dairy products, try to eat more unsaturated fat from plants, oils like Olive oil, and fish, which bring down triglycerides.

  3. KEEP AN EYE ON ADDED SUGARS: Fructose, or fruit sugar, has become abundant in our diet. You’ll find it in table sugar, the cane and beet sugars used to sweeten cereals and baked goods, and high-fructose corn syrup. The breakdown of fructose turns on triglyceride production.

    Don’t give up fruit. Instead, ratchet back fructose intake by consuming fewer sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.

  4. INCLUDE FISH IN YOUR DIET: Eating fish twice a week, especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, is good for triglyceride levels. Bake, broil, steam, or poach it-fried fish isn’t quite as good for you.

  5. CUT BACK ON ALCOHOL: In some people, drinking alcohol can significantly elevate triglycerides. If your triglycerides are high, you may want to avoid alcohol completely for a few weeks and have your triglycerides tested again.

One of the highest selling medicines at every medicine store is some sort of antacid.

This drug type, known as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), causes the stomach to produce less acid. This in turn reduces the painful symptoms of GERD.

However, PPIs don’t help everyone, they have side effects, and they don’t solve the fundamental problem underlying GERD. In addition, reducing stomach acid may leave us with less protection from whatever pathogens stomach acid normally kill.

GERD hurts, but it can also increase people’s risk for abnormal esophageal tissue growth, and perhaps even esophageal cancer.

The long-term damage and inflammation caused by stomach acid and undigested food can lead to these more serious problems.

It’s hard to know exactly what causes GERD. Most likely, there are many factors.

  • Gravity: Lying down immediately after eating a big meal often causes heartburn, as the fluids slosh back upwards and it’s harder for the LES to block the entrance to the esophagus. If you suffer with night-time heartburn, try to elevate the head of their bed slightly, prop up on pillows, or simply eat earlier in the evening if possible, so that the stomach has more time to empty itself.

  • Stress: When we’re rushed and stressed, we tend to eat faster and less mindfully. We may not chew properly, and gulp our food in chunks.
    Additionally, stress activates the SIS, which then slows down gastric and intestinal motility, or the movement of food through the Gl tract.

Toolkit to prevent GERD

There are several lifestyle changes that can help reduce GERD symptoms without the need for medication. Here are some tips:

  1. Avoid trigger foods: Certain foods can trigger GERD symptoms, such as spicy or fatty foods, caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate. Keep a food diary to identify which foods worsen your symptoms and try to avoid them.

  2. Eat smaller meals: Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which can prevent stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus.

  3. Don’t lie down after eating: Wait at least 2-3 hours after eating before lying down or going to bed. This can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

  4. Elevate your head while sleeping: If you experience nighttime GERD symptoms, try elevating the head of your bed by 6 to 8 inches. This can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

  5. Lose weight: Excess weight can increase pressure on the stomach and LES, which can cause acid to flow back into the esophagus. Losing weight can help reduce GERD symptoms.

  6. Quit smoking: Smoking can weaken the LES, making it more likely that stomach acid will flow back into the esophagus. Quitting smoking can help improve GERD symptoms.

  7. Manage stress: Stress can worsen GERD symptoms. Practice stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

It’s important to note that these lifestyle changes may not completely eliminate GERD symptoms, but they can help reduce their severity and frequency. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Optimism & Health- Tools to be Optimistic. Also how to teach Optimism to Kids

Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

A good bank account can provide a sense of financial security and freedom, which can alleviate stress and worry related to meeting basic needs and achieving personal goals. A good cook can bring joy and satisfaction through the enjoyment of delicious, nourishing meals. A good digestion can promote physical comfort and well-being, which can have a positive impact on overall mood and outlook.