Health capsules

Resist antibiotics

Overuse of antibiotics could raise intestinal disorders as they kill useful bacteria from the body, says a study that found such infection in 16 states of the US. The infection C difficile — often strikes older hospital patients treated with antibiotics.

C difficile causes severe diarrhoea and other potentially life-threatening complications. But scientists say it has also begun spreading among people of all ages even who have not been hospitalised or used antibiotics. “The widespread use of antibiotics, particularly their inappropriate use, has contributed to the increased incidence of C difficile,” the researchers said. “It’s important that people do not take them unnecessarily or demand them from doctors.” The disorder is usually treated with other antibiotics such

as vancomycin and metronidazole. But antibiotic-resistant strains have been identified. “This is very much in the forefront of epidemiology right now,” said Cristina Cicogna of Hackensack University Medical Center at New Jersey.

In New Jersey, the germ has killed over 400 people since 1997. In 2004, there were 25 known outbreaks in hospitals of the region. —IANS

Boost your metabolism

A vigorous session at the gym isn’t the only way to burn energy. The single most important factor in determining your resting metabolic rate (the amount of energy you utilise at rest) is how much lean muscle tissue you have.

Your muscle tissue uses 16-22 per cent of your daily calories just to exist. Increasing metabolic rate through the development of more muscle tissue is the key to lasting weight loss.

Drink iced water: Here’s a bit of maths to stoke your metabolism. It takes one calorie to raise the temperature of one litre of water by one degree. The body needs to heat water to body temperature (36.8C). The difference between the temperature of iced water and body temperature means you’ll burn 36.8 calories “warming up” a litre of iced water.

Use your cycle: Basal metabolic rate (BMR) fluctuates throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. BMR tends to be at its lowest a week before ovulation, and research has found an 8-16 per cent rise in energy expenditure during the 14-day period following ovulation (the luteal phase). A Penn State University study showed that, while women burn about 4 per cent more calories a day during this time and they also consume 4 per cent more calories.

Frontload your day: A study in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition revealed that starting the day with a meal boosted resting metabolic rate by 10 per cent, while other research showed that people who skipped breakfast or lunch and ate most of their calories in their evening meal had lower metabolisms than “front loaders.”

Exercise more often: Metabolic rate can increase as much as 15-fold during strenuous exercise. And it doesn’t return to normal the second you stop. In fact, the post-exercise elevation in metabolic rate (known as the after burn) can make a significant contribution to overall daily energy expenditure. — Guardian