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Women’s Health

Plant-based diet appears to offer protection against hypertension and preeclampsia



A plant-based diet appears to offer significant protection for rats bred to become hypertensive on a high-salt diet, scientists report. If the rats become pregnant, the whole grain diet also protects the mothers and their offspring from fatal preeclampsia.

While we’ve all heard about avoiding the salt shaker, an estimated 30-50% of us have significant increases in blood pressure in response to high salt intake, percentages even higher and more effective in blacks.

The two new studies provide further evidence that the gut microbiota, which contains trillions of microorganisms that help us digest food and play a key role in regulating the response of our immune system, also plays a role in the unhealthy response to salt, so the researchers from The Medical College of Georgia and the Medical College of Wisconsin report in the journals ACTA PHYSIOLOGICA and Pregnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women’s Cardiovascular Health.

The results provide further evidence of the “potential power” of nutritional interventions in improving gut microbiota and, consequently, our long-term health, says Dr. David L. Mattson, chairman of the MCG Department of Physiology, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Hypertension and senior author of the two studies.

They result from the unexpected observation that the protection works even on a well-established model of salt-sensitive hypertension: the salt-sensitive dahl rat.

As the name suggests, these rodents are bred to develop high blood pressure and progressive kidney disease on a high-salt diet. In 2001, the Medical College of Wisconsin shared its colony of Dahl SS rats fed a milk-based protein diet with Charles Rivers Laboratories. When the rats arrived at Charles River Laboratories, based in Wilmington, Massachusetts, they were switched to a grain-based diet. Both diets are relatively low in sodium, although the protein or casein-based diets actually contain a little less salt.

It was soon discovered that when high salt content was added to their food, the relocated rodents developed significantly less hypertension and associated kidney damage than the rat colonies remaining in Wisconsin.

People ordered them and used them with the idea that they would study hypertension and they developed next to none. “

Dr. David L. Mattson, chairman, MCG Department of Physiology

More than a decade of research has documented these differences, write Mattson and his colleagues at MCG and MCW, and have now shown that developing salt-sensitive hypertension is not just about sodium consumption.

“The animal protein enhanced the effects of the salt,” says Mattson, a long-time hypertension researcher who, along with Dr. Justine M. Abais-Battad, Physiologist and Postdoc Dr. John Henry Dasinger, joined MCG from Wisconsin two summers ago.

“Because the gut microbiota is implicated in chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, we have assumed that dietary changes shift the microbiota to mediate the development of salt-sensitive hypertension and kidney disease,” they write in the journal ACTA PHYSIOLOGICA.

The intestinal microbiome is supposed to metabolize and break down what we eat and transform it into a form that gives us nourishment, says first author Abais-Battad, and conversely, it reflects what we eat.

When they looked at the microbiomes in the rats, “Of course they were different,” she says.

They sequenced the genetic material from both rat colonies and found they were “virtually identical”, but their response to a high-salt diet was far from, Mattson says.

As expected at the time, the Wisconsin rats developed kidney damage and inflammation – both indicators of high blood pressure – but on the same high-salt diet, the Charles River rats experienced significantly less of these unhealthy results. The marked differences they saw in their microbiota reflected the difference in the incidence and severity of the disease.

When given the protected rats some of the signature gut microbiota of Wisconsin rats via a stool transplant, the rats experienced spikes in blood pressure, kidney damage, and the number of immune cells that migrate to the kidneys, organs that play a big role in regulating blood pressure by regulating blood pressure Fluid balance, in part by determining sodium retention. It also changed the makeup of their microbiota.

But when they shared the protected rats’ microbiota with the Wisconsin rats, it didn’t have much of an impact, possibly because the new microorganisms couldn’t thrive in the face of the animal protein diet, the scientists say.

Preeclampsia is a potentially fatal problem during pregnancy in which the mother’s blood pressure, which was previously normally normal, increases and organs such as the kidneys and liver show signs of damage. There is evidence that even on a low-salt diet, Dahl salt-sensitive rats tend to develop preeclampsia.

To study the effects of diet in this scenario, the Dahl SS rats were kept on their respective plant or animal protein diets, which in turn are each relatively low in salt, and both groups had three separate pregnancies and births.

Whole-grain diet rats were protected from preeclampsia, while about half of the rats dieted on animal cheese developed this significant pregnancy complication, says Dasinger, lead author of the preeclampsia study. They experienced a significant increase in the amount of protein secreted in their urine, an indicator of kidney problems that worsened with each pregnancy; increased inflammation, a driver of high blood pressure; increased pressure in the renal artery; and showed significant signs of kidney destruction when organs were examined at follow-up. They died from problems like stroke, kidney disease, and other cardiovascular problems.

“This means that it is helpful during pregnancy, but also for their long-term health and can protect their children, if mom is careful what she eats during pregnancy,” says Dasinger. The scientists note that this reinforces the message that doctors and scientists have been sending expectant mothers for decades.

They plan to study more directly the effects of diet on the offspring and see if the protection is passed on to the babies through breast milk, Dasinger says. Since they know that the function of immune cells is influenced by diet, they also want to take a closer look at the function of the emerging immune cells and already have some evidence that T cells, drivers of the immune response, are a factor in the development of preeclampsia.

The work that Abais-Battad, Dasinger, and Mattson have already done shows that a major difference between the various diets is that the protein-based diet leads to the production of more pro-inflammatory molecules, while the plant-based diet actually appears to suppress these factors .

They also study the impact of diet on the renin-angiotensin system, which helps regulate blood pressure. You also want to better dissect the blood pressure increasing bacteria and the factors they produce.

High blood pressure is the largest modifiable risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease and according to the latest guidelines from groups like the American Heart Association that say a systolic or peak of 120+ is elevated and peaks of 130-139 high blood pressure in the first Stage, almost half of us are hypertensive. Diet – including a high-salt diet – is one of the most important modifiable risk factors for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, according to scientists. It has been found that people and animals with hypertension alike have an imbalanced, less diverse gut microbiota than people with normal blood pressure.


Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Journal references:

  • Dasinger, JH et al. (2021) The dietary protein source contributes to the risk of developing maternal syndrome in the salt-sensitive Dahl rat. Pregnancy hypertension.
  • Abais-Battad, JM, et al. (2021) Dietary influences on the gut microbiota of the Dahl SS rat and its effects on salt-sensitive hypertension and kidney damage. ACTA PHYSIOLOGICS.
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Women’s Health

Covid-19: Your questions about pregnancy, fertility and women’s health answered by medical experts



The Covid-19 vaccines are now available to everyone aged 18 and over, including pregnant women. No matter what stage you are in your pregnancy, if you are breastfeeding or planning to have children in the future, you can get vaccinated and protect yourself from serious illnesses.

It is an especially important time to think about getting the vaccine as some of the strictest Covid-19 safety measures – like wearing a mask and social distancing – are no longer legally enforced and people can choose to continue taking them or not not precautions.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) has recommended that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated pregnant women should take steps to avoid COVID-19 infection by continuing to practice social distancing, especially in the third trimester.

If you haven’t received your vaccination yet, you may have some questions about whether the vaccine could affect your pregnancy or your baby.

Here six medical experts answer some of the most common questions about Covid vaccination, pregnancy, fertility and women’s health.

Yes it is safe to have the vaccine if you are breastfeeding. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended that the Covid vaccines can be taken while breastfeeding. Like everyone aged 18 and over, breastfeeding women can also book their Covid vaccination.

Dr. Kiran Rahim

When should I be vaccinated against Covid during my pregnancy?

You can get vaccinated at any stage of your pregnancy. There is no reason to postpone vaccination because you are pregnant.

Dr. Kiran Rahim

What are the advantages of a Covid vaccination during pregnancy?

The vaccine will help protect you and your baby from getting Covid-19 infection. Although it is very rare for pregnant women to get seriously ill with Covid-19, it may be more likely later in pregnancy. When this happens, there is a slim chance your baby will be born prematurely, which can affect his or her long-term health.

Dr. Henna Anwar

Why has the recommendation changed as to whether pregnant women should receive the Covid vaccines?

Robust real-world data from the United States shows that around 120,000 pregnant women were vaccinated primarily with mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and no safety concerns were raised. For this reason the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has updated its guidelines.

Dr. Chintal Patel

Which Covid vaccination should I get if I am pregnant?

If you are pregnant, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has recommended that you should choose between two vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna. These guidelines are based on data from the United States showing that around 120,000 pregnant women were vaccinated primarily with mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and no safety concerns were raised.

Dr. Koyes Ahmed

How long should I between the Covid vaccination and other vaccinations during pregnancy, e.g. B. the flu shot, wait?

To keep you and your baby safe, it’s important that you get all of the vaccines you need during pregnancy, including whooping cough and the winter flu shot. These vaccines are safe to co-administer with COVID-19 vaccines, but you can separate the vaccinations by at least 7 days to avoid confusion about common side effects.

Dr. Nighat Arif

Could the Covid vaccine side effects affect my baby’s development or health?

The Covid vaccines do not contain any ingredients known to be harmful to pregnant women or babies. None of the Covid vaccines given in the UK are live vaccines so they cannot infect you or your baby with the virus and which are considered safe during pregnancy.

Dr. Koyes Ahmed

Could the Covid vaccination affect my fertility?

Claims that the Covid vaccination could affect fertility are not supported by any data. During the clinical trials, a number of women accidentally became pregnant – a similar number in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.

There is evidence from other vaccines – like the flu vaccine, which is a non-live vaccine like the COVID vaccine – that they are perfectly safe and will not harm fertility. The theory that immunity to the spike protein could lead to fertility problems is not supported by evidence. Most people who become infected with COVID-19 develop antibodies to the spike and there is no evidence of fertility problems after getting Covid-19.

Dr. Nighat Arif

Can I get the Covid vaccine if I am undergoing IVF treatment?

Yes you can. The British Fertility Society says you can allow a few days to pass between your Covid vaccination and some fertility treatment procedures (such as egg collection and embryo transfer in IVF) as some people may experience minor side effects in the few days after vaccination, as any symptoms can be attributed to the vaccine or the method of treatment.

You can speak to your medical team for personalized advice.

Dr. Pavan My

If you have any further questions about the Covid-19 vaccination, ask your family doctor, midwife or health care professional.

For more information and to book your vaccination, visit

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Women’s Health

Exactly What Simone Biles Eats in a Day to Stay Fit, Fueled, and Olympics-Ready



“Hearst Magazines and Verizon Media may earn commissions or income on some articles through the links below.”

As a gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, Simone Biles pretty much lives in the gym, so she needs to energize her body. In addition, she eats a diet rich in protein and fiber, as well as plenty of fruit and vegetables. However, it is important that she does not limit herself or count calories.

“I’m not following anything,” she recently told Women’s Health. “I eat what is good for me and try not to overeat or stuff myself because I am always in the gym.” The 24-year-old gymnastics master has seen how restrictive eating has some of her peers under control, which is why she gave her Doing best to take care of it.

“Especially for gymnasts [tracking] can lead to health and eating problems, so I just eat what I can and should, ”she explained.

This often includes take-out because she loves to try new restaurants (hence her recent partnership with Uber Eats) and of course, some high-protein staples for breakfast and lunch. Read on for a glimpse into daily diet.

She doesn’t always have breakfast.

But when she does, it’s usually something quick and simple like oatmeal or fruit. “I wake up so early before a workout, at seven, so sometimes I have a quick bite and sometimes I don’t,” she told Women’s Health.

Fortunately, she doesn’t mind getting up so early. “I’ve always been a morning person,” she explained. She doesn’t even reach for coffee to start the day (which alone deserves a gold medal). Instead, she keeps water close by all morning.

When hunger inevitably strikes, it’s protein shake time. “I love having a Core Power Protein Shake after a workout,” she says. “I usually drink half after the first workout and half after the second workout. One of my favorite flavors right now is vanilla. It’s always changing, but it’s vanilla right now. “

The weekends, however, are a whole different story. “On the weekends, I eat protein waffles with chocolate chips, eggs, or even bake cinnamon rolls,” she said. “Because I may not have to be in the gym, I can actually take the time to make breakfast.”

The story goes on

Lunch is all about protein and fiber.

After all, she needs to supplement all those morning calories burned. If she makes lunch at home, she will eat pasta, chicken, or salmon and vegetables. She told Women’s Health that she loves asparagus, broccoli, carrots, corn, green beans, and peas, but potatoes are her all-time favorite. “I love potatoes in all shapes and sizes,” she says.

Because she is so busy, she often orders takeout before going back to the gym. “I feel like it’s easier to use because I can come home, take a shower, and use the app to order what I want with one click,” she said.

She has a variety of favorite snacks.

She doesn’t go for her often simply because she’s too busy to remember. But when she feels like an extra bite, bile usually has fruit; Grapes, strawberries and bananas are the go-tos.

She also likes the occasional banana bread muffins, popcorn, or pretzels dipped in Nutella. “It all depends on how I feel,” she said. She told Well + Good that she also loves plantain chips because they are tasty and easy to use.

There is one food she doesn’t like.

Bile really isn’t a picky eater, she’ll have pretty much anything – unless it contains coconuts. “For some reason, I don’t particularly like this taste,” she told Women’s Health. “But everything else, I’m pretty good.”

Nothing is off the table at dinner.

“When I feel like a slightly less healthy meal, I eat pizza or fettuccine alfredo with chicken,” she says. “I really like home restaurants in the area because I feel closer to them. I am not picky. I will try every new restaurant. “

But pizza is her all-time favorite. Her Instagram bio calls her a “pizza connoisseur,” and in 2016 she told ABC News that no matter how a contest goes, she always indulges in a slice afterwards. “It doesn’t matter if I don’t win self-gold, I eat pizza after every meeting,” she said. “Pepperoni Pizza.”

She rarely has a sweet tooth and enjoys cocktails on the weekend.

“I need to be in the dessert mood and that usually happens more often when I’m out of town,” Biles told Women’s Health. “I’m looking for biscuits or ice cream or both on Uber Eats.”

When cravings arise at home, she either eats strawberries with whipped cream or bakes what she calls S’mores cookies. “I put a graham cracker on the bottom, marshmallows and chocolate on top, and then I wrap it in cookie dough and bake it,” she explained.

She also has an occasional alcoholic drink on the weekends and often chooses a glass of wine or margarita. But even then, she keeps a constant bedtime. “My target time is as early as 10.30pm,” she said. “I’m usually in bed by 9:30 pm, so I sleep first.”

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Women’s Health

Nonprofit Impact Fund’s Next Move: A For-Profit Spinoff



In 2009, Eva Yazhari co-founded the Beyond Capital Fund, a not-for-profit impact fund designed to help companies serving clients at the bottom of the pyramid in emerging markets. But this charitable status limited the fund’s ability to expand. With this in mind, she founded a for-profit spin-off called Beyond Capital Ventures last year, which also focuses on India and Africa. It is about to make its first investments.

Eva Yazhari

Kori dyer

Like the first fund, the new one invests in companies where, according to Yazahari, “the impact is embedded in the business model, with the ability to scale”. It focuses on health care, financial inclusion, and agriculture.


Yazhari worked on Wall Street for about five years. But after the financial crisis, she decided to do something more meaningful that matched her passion for social justice. She already had deep family ties to Africa; her grandfather had moved with his family and opened a clinic in rural Tanzania in the 1960s. In 2009 she co-founded the Beyond Capital Fund with a focus on India and Eastern Arica, particularly Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. She set it up as what she calls an evergreen non-profit fund that invests early in startups with financial and social impact; when profits from investments were paid back, they were reinvested in new business.

Since then the fund has made 14 investments; To date, there have been three exits from ophthalmology, hygiene and agriculture companies, with what Yazhari describes as “strong top quartile venture returns and impacts.”

Seed and Series A

Then, in early 2020, just before the pandemic broke out, she decided to create a for-profit fund. That’s because, according to Yazhari, the nonprofit model stifled growth. That said, the original fund couldn’t grow past the single digit million with a pilot portfolio of about $ 1 million. “Philanthropy has limits, donors often have very specific sectors or geographic focus, others are not willing to get involved with grants under a million US dollars,” she says. With that in mind, she worked for 19 months to raise a second fund with the goal of reaching $ 30 million.

Unlike the first fund, this one will target more broadly defined, low-income and underserved markets, in areas such as lack of access to health care for women or creating ways for smallholders to get their produce off the farm to market and better prices to achieve, emphasize. “We found these areas to be enormous in terms of the opportunities they offer investors,” says Yazhari. Investments will be made in the same countries as before, with the exception of Tanzania, as government regulations there make equity investments more costly and difficult, according to Yazhari.

Another difference: the new fund will include both seed and Series A rounds, so Beyond Capital can follow with later money. That means bigger check sizes – the investment was around $ 50,000 and will now be $ 250,000 to $ 700,000 for seed funding and $ 400,000 to $ 1.1 million for Series A – and the ability to become a major investor being. Financing is planned for 21 companies, 15 of which are in the seed phase. About 70% of this is likely to receive Series A funding as well. Companies are selected from over 100 venues such as accelerator and business plan competitions.

A share for founders

The overall approach should be cooperative. “It’s not that, we give you money and you have to do what we say,” she says. One important element: Founders will receive a 5% to 10% stake in fund profits when they reach the Series A stage, which Yazhari calls “just endeavors”. Because the profit-oriented status offers a larger pool of capital that can be allocated to the founders.

Most importantly, investing in founders that Yazhari calls “conscious leaders,” that is, those who focus on the full range of stakeholders. “You are the key to impact investing,” she says.

The first investments will be announced shortly. Also, some companies from the first fund could get extra money from the second.

As a possible example, Yazhari cites women’s health startup Kasha, based in Kenya and Rwanda, which provides access to products ranging from contraceptives to soaps and lotions. Kasha also employs local women to sell their products and make a sustainable living. The charitable fund contributed $ 60,000 in a seed round in 2018; Kasha raised what Yazhari calls the “appropriate” Series A.

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