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Monday, 20 January 2014

Cranberries - small berries with big benefits !

Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 2 metres (7 ft) long and 5 to 20 centimetres (2 to 8 in) in height; they have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. They are pollinated by bees. 
 The fruit is a berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.

Cranberries are small berries but with big health benefits. They are not grown in India but are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces. In India, they are available in dried form or as cranberry juice.

About 95% of cranberries are processed into products such as juice drinks, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries. The remaining are sold fresh to consumers.

Whether you use fresh cranberries or dried, both provide flavonoid antioxidants that have many health benefits. One cup fresh or ½ cup of dried cranberries equals a fruit serving and they’re a good source of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. Thus, they are often referred to as "Super Food". Not to mention, half a cup of cranberries contains only 25 calories.

Some of the benefits of Cranberries:

1. Berries are Nutrient and Antioxidant-Rich

Colorful berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries are considered some of the most nutrient-rich foods.  They provide nutrients like vitamin C and fiber, but they are excellent when it comes to their antioxidant capacity.  Since antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals, which damage our cells and DNA, they can help prevent certain chronic diseases and may help mitigate some of the effects that naturally occur as we age.
2. Cranberries Provide Unique Urinary Tract Benefits

Hundreds of studies show that regular consumption of cranberry juice or cranberry products is associated with a reduction in risk for urinary tract infections. This is thought to be due to the type of polyphenols in cranberries that prevent E. coli bacteria for sticking to the surface of the cells in the urinary tract. The specific polyphenols in cranberries are structurally different than those found in other foods, which is why cranberries are essential. Drinking a cup of cranberry juice or having a serving of dried cranberries daily is sufficient to help reduce your risk.

3. Cranberries are a Tasty Complement to Your Dishes

Dried cranberries are a great addition to your recipes—from appetizers to desserts. They’re easily added to oatmeal or yogurt; go great with grain side dishes, casseroles, on top of salads, in wraps, or baked goods.

4. Cranberries are Good for Your Mouth and Stomach

This may be surprising, but there are several scientific papers on the role of cranberries and oral health. Studies show that the unique anti-bacterial properties that help prevent against UTIs, also help prevent bacterial adherence in your mouth and stomach.  This may help protect against cavities, periodontal disease and stomach ulcers. 
5. Cranberries are Heart-Smart

Cranberries also provide the same heart-smart flavonoids that are commonly found in red wine and grapes. These bio-active natural plant compounds help reduce risk for cardiovascular disease by helping to reduce inflammation and inhibiting low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-oxidation and boosting the good high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Cranberries also help relax blood vessels to improve blood pressure.
 6. Cranberries are Fiber-rich

Due to high fiber in them, cranberries are associated with significantly lower risks for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increased fiber intake has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for obese individuals.

7. Cranberries protect from some form of cancers

Research has shown that cranberries are beneficial in slowing tumor progression and have shown positive effects against prostate, liver, breast, ovarian, and colon cancers.

Cranberries can also be enjoyed dried or in a can, but watch out for added sugars. Check the ingredient label and make sure that the product contains cranberries only. If you choose to drink cranberry juice, it is often mixed with other fruits and added sweeteners. Look for juice with cranberries as the first ingredient.

More tips for enjoying cranberries:
  • Make a homemade trail mix with unsalted nuts, seeds and dried cranberries.

  • Include a small handful of frozen cranberries in a fruit smoothie. 

  • Add dried cranberries to your oatmeal or whole grain cereal. 

  • Toss dried or fresh cranberries into your favorite muffins or cookie recipe.


A high intake of cranberry or it's juice should not be taken by those on the blood-thinning drug 'warfarin', also known as 'coumadin'. There has been conflicting evidence on the potential for cranberries to enhance the drug's effect on the body. Several cases of increased bleeding due to suspected interactions with cranberry juice and warfarin have been reported.

Cranberry products may increase urine oxalate excretion, which could promote the formation of kidney stones. Individuals with a history of kidney stones should talk to their healthcare provider before including any forms of cranberries in their diet.

       Cranberry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monday, 13 January 2014

Caring For The Patient With Cancer At Home (Symptom- Diarrhea)

Diarrhea is the passage of loose or watery stools three or more times a day with or without discomfort. It happens when the water in the intestine is not being absorbed back into the body for some reason.

Sometimes diarrhea can be caused by an overflow of intestinal liquids around stool that is lodged in the intestine (impaction). Other causes can include infections, surgery, anxiety, side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy to the abdomen, or medicines, supplemental feedings containing large amounts of vitamins, minerals, sugar and electrolytes and tumor growth. Diarrhea caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy may last for up to three weeks after treatment ends.


    What the Patient Can Do?
  • Try a clear liquid diet like plain water, clear soups, strained kanjis, twirls (apple), strained wheat cracks (dalia) water, plain gelatin etc. as soon as diarrhea starts or when you feel that it's going to start. Avoid acidic drinks such as tomato juice, citrus juices and fizzy soft drinks.

                                                Plain water

                                                                Clear Soup

                                            Citrus Juices
                                                        Fizzy Soft Drinks

  • Eat frequent small meals. Do not eat foods that are very hot or spicy.
  • Avoid greasy foods, bran, raw fruits and vegetables, and caffeine.

  • Avoid pastries, candies, rich desserts,jellies, preserves, and nuts.

  • Do not drink alcohol or use tobacco.

  • Avoid milk or milk products if they seem to make your diarrhea worse.
  • Be sure your diet includes foods that are high in potassium (bananas, potatoes, apricots, and coconut water). Potassium is an important mineral that you may lose if you have diarrhea.

  • Monitor the amount and frequency of your bowel movements.
  • Clean your anal area with a mild soap after each bowel movement, rinse well with warm water and pat dry.
  • Take your medicines for diarrhea as prescribed by your doctor.
  • When the diarrhea starts to improve, try eating small amounts of foods that are easy to digest, such as rice, bananas,peeled apples or stewed apples, yogurt or plain curd, mashed potatoes, low-fat cottage cheese and dry toast for a day or two. If diarrhea keeps getting better, start small, regular feeds.

        What Caregivers Can Do :

  •  See that the patient drinks about three quarts of fluids each day.

  •  Keep a record of the patient's bowel movements to help decide when the doctor should be called.
  • Check with the doctor before using any over-the-counter diarrhea medicine. Many of these contain compounds that are like aspirin, which can worsen bleeding problems. It may be better to use a prescription medicine. 
  • Check the anal area for red, scaly, broken skin. Report this to your doctor.
  • Protect the bed and chairs from being soiled by putting pads with plastic backing under the buttocks where the patient will lie down or sit.

      Call The Doctor if the Patient:
  • Has six or more loose bowel movements per day with no improvement in two days.
  • Has blood in or around anal area or in stool.
  • Loses five pounds or more after the diarrhea starts.
  • Has new abdominal pain or cramps for two days or more.

  • Does not urinate for 12 hours or more.
  • Does not drink liquids for 48 hours or more.
  • Has a fever of 100.5F or higher, taken by mouth.

  • Gets a puffy or swollen belly.
  • Has been constipated for several days and then begins to have small amounts of diarrhea or oozing of liquid stool, which could suggest an impaction (severe constipation).

Reference: Caring for the Patient with Cancer at Home - a Guide for Patients and Families