Breathing is the essence of living and our nose aids in this important process. The air we breathe might not be pure due to multiple reasons in which we might also be a part of some reason (such as contributing to air pollution in some way) but this is a bigger problem that needs the entire country’s attention. Whereas, any problems with our nose that obstructs breathing can be corrected when we take efforts from our side. Some people love the windy weather, some embrace winter for its chillness and pleasantness but there are a handful of people like me who are fans of the bright sunshine and don’t find it a problem even when the scorching sun never fails to traumatize our mood, dampen our spirits and cause us to sweat profusely. I don’t sweat much and maybe you think that’s the reason but no! each of us love or hate things mostly due to various selfish reasons and my happiness in seeing the sun also falls under this ‘selfish’ umbrella. I suffer from sinusitis and even after a septal correction breathing through my nose is a great pain in my daily life when its cold out there.
If you are often sneezing, suffering from a lingering headache due to cold, have troubles without your handkerchief (that takes care of your runny nose) or the swollen red eyes prevent you from focusing on any task at hand it is essential to seek medical help immediately as all of these are symptoms of sinus. Sinusitis is a chronic allergy and a painful condition when the hollow spaces near the nasal passages are inflamed due to infection by germs. Such inflammation is the first step towards runny nose, headaches and swollen eyes. Its never possible to keep sneezing continuously and be 100% productive. Just imagine sitting at a company team lunch with a kerchief over your nose during the entire time-this is awkward not only to you but also to the other people sitting around you! How about driving a vehicle or overtaking one when your nose constantly keeps sending our watery liquid or you sneeze like a dozen times in a minute? Its sounds dangerous! Irritation and discomfort are the foremost effects of a sinus problem but a struggle to breathe while trying to lie down and sleep is an even bigger problem that needs your attention.
Doubting the Antibiotic Effect?
The night we experience breathing struggle makes us promise to pay a visit to the physician the next day who prescribes certain medications that might include antibiotics to clear your congestion. Definitely you feel better but there are chances that the problem recurs all through the winter season debilitating your health and wellness. Research even tells that sinus infections are not really cured by antibiotics prescribed. A British study that focused on the effects of antibiotics and steroid sprays for acting against nose block showed that these were not in any significant way better than the dummy drugs dispensed for the control group individuals in treating sinus. It even suggested that physicians must focus on effective remedies such as over-the-counter painkillers for bringing in relief for the patients (https://www.smh.com.au/world/antibiotics-dont-fix-sinus-infections-20071205-1f1f.html).
Revisiting Grandma’s Medications
We are never in short of home remedies but these too come in handy in times of dire need. Though they might not be a permanent cure these remedies do provide temporary relief and are worth the efforts taken!
Water: Start your day with a glass of warm water and stay hydrated through the day to thin mucus in the nasal passage making it easier for the congested sinus to drain out easily. Any warm liquid aids in relieving the congestion and it is always reliable to sip some warm water or herbal tea that can provide you with relief.
Ginger & garlic: Ginger, a spice popular in our country, comes as a welcome relief to those suffering from common cold and sinus. Boiling a piece of ginger in hot water while preparing tea helps in decongesting the nasal passage. One can also simmer chunks of ginger in hot water for around half an hour, soak up a piece of cloth in the water and apply it on your face (ensuring that it does not burn your forehead) for some 15 minutes to help the sinus drain.
Garlic does more than simply add flavour to foods-it packs your body with good health. Eat 3-5 pieces of garlic daily to boost immunity, stay away from viral diseases and alleviate congestion (boil water, add garlic pieces to it and steam).
Steam: Every time when I complained of cold during my younger days my mother would make me steam with a towel over my head. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil in boiling water helps to kill bacteria that cause congestion. Once water starts boiling, its helpful to cover your head and the bowl with a thick cloth to ensure that the steam doesn’t escape off. Do this for some 15 minutes repeating the inhalation procedure at least thrice a day.
Sip herbal tea: A cup of chai is refreshing during anytime of the day for anyone. Sipping on some hot herbal tea provides soothing relied especially when you suffer from cold and sinus problems. Prepare your own herbal tea with water, crushed pepper, cloves, basil, ginger and tea powder. The ingredients have anti-inflammatory effects. You can also prepare black tea with other herbs such as lemongrass to improve your immunity and act as a relief to congestion.
Milk: While milk consumption decreases as a person grows old relying on beverages such as coffee and tea, milk with turmeric remains the tried-and-tested method to relieve any kind of inflammation as milk provides immunity and turmeric has anti-bacterial properties.
Citrus fruits: While individuals are suggested against consuming citrus fruits in real life fruits such as oranges and lemons are rich sources of nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants that help in boosting immunity and keeping your body safe from viral infections and flu.
Massage: You can give yourself a massage by making use of the four pairs of sinuses located in your face. There are three massage points but the most commonly used one is the sphenoid/ethmoid-the sphenoid sinus point is located just behind the nose and between the eyes while the ethmoid sinuses are located in the ethmoid bone that divides the nasal cavity from the brain. Massage by placing the index finger on both sides of the bridge of the nose applying pressure on the area with the fingers for 15 seconds. Stroke downward along the bridge using your fingers repeating this for about 30 seconds.
Suffering From a Sinus Infection? Here’s What you Should Include in your Diet: https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/suffering-from-a-sinus-infection-heres-what-you-should-include-in-your-diet-6109571/
What to Eat & What to Avoid if you are Suffering from Sinus? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/what-to-eat-and-what-to-avoid-if-you-have-sinus/articleshow/68684677.cms
Home Remedies for a Stuffy Nose: https://www.readersdigest.ca/health/conditions/home-remedies-stuffy-nose/
Antibiotics ‘Don’t Fix Sinus Infections’: https://www.smh.com.au/world/antibiotics-dont-fix-sinus-infections-20071205-1f1f.html
3 Massage Techniques to Get Relief from Sinus Pain: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/home-remedies/3-massage-techniques-to-get-relief-from-sinus-pain/articleshow/70934673.cms
The craze behind fancy branded watches has declined drastically as we see more and more men and women sporting a smart watch or a Fitbit band most of the time even when they are going to sleep. As kids, watches always astonished us and most of us have the experience of sleeping for days with our watch. This made an impression on our hands which greatly invoked our mom’s anger the next morning. But now, day or night, it is seen that people walk, talk, sleep and eat with a smartwatch or a fitness app in their hand that performs various roles. Smartphone has been the go-to gadget for individuals replacing several devices such as our calculators and alarm clocks. We are in an era where ECG results can be sent directly to our family physician from our apple watch! Details on sleep quality, the various sleep stages that we go through and the period we sustain through each sleep stage are available in the click of a button. The question now is on the reliability of these apps and gadgets!
Giving Yourself the Much-needed Sleep Break
Sleep is imperative for optimized physical and mental health. The human body is like a well-oiled machine which performs well on receiving good sleep. Any disturbance to this routine can damage the body badly. The present-day stress-driven world makes it difficult for individuals to get some peaceful uninterrupted sleep: a late-night call asking you to solve some emergency glitch in your software or a crash in the server are unforeseen and require immediate intervention. If not for this, it might be due to various other reasons that we don’t sleep well. Smartphones and fitness apps have taken this problem of ours seriously coming up with fancy solutions. We see a number of apps and wristbands dedicated to improve sleep quality in individuals with their secret ways to monitor our sleep patterns showing us alarming numbers that could be corrected with much efforts. These are readily available and moderately priced to make it affordable for as many people as possible. The recent ones even include measuring heart rate to decipher sleep stages and analyse sleep-wake cycles using limb movement. The user is given a final number showing his/her total sleep time and the time spent in each sleep stage. Fitbit bands offer the consumer with a plethora of information that was impossible to achieve until now in a home setting.
Smartphones provide access to thousands of apps through online store purchases-Google and Apple enable the user to choose from more than a million apps which includes those for health and fitness (around 1,00,000) as well. Sleep- and sleep hygiene-related apps have been on the forerun to capture people’s hearts with their broad range of functionalities including smart alarm clocks, sleep aids, sound recording while sleeping and sleep analysis. There are even some trying to figure out heavy snoring and obstructive sleep apnea which can lead to stroke in due course. But there is a lingering doubt on the accuracy of these products as we are coming to conclusions regarding our health and precision is extremely important in such situations. We have various studies analysing the efficiency of sleep trackers with medical devices comparing sleep metrics that include total sleep time (TST), wake after sleep onset (WASO), sleep efficiency (SE) and different sleep stages (light sleep, deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep). Results show that while some models overestimated sleep and some underestimated wakefulness recent models show accurate TST and SE but don’t perform equally with respect to sleep stages. None of the devices allow people to gain access to the exact mechanism used to measure sleep quality but it is observed that many of them rely on 3-axis accelerometers that convert information into an activity count to fetch desired numbers. Activity count measurements are input into algorithms that help in understanding whether the person is awake or asleep.
Accuracy of Fitbit Wristbands
The study included 28 participants who were selected based on various grounds. All of them were above 18 years of age and agreed to the installation of the Fitbit app on their mobile. They were shown how to synchronize the app with the Fitbit device. They were provided with various items (Fitbit Charge 2, medical device called Sleep Scope, electrodes, chargers and manuals) for data collection and were asked to fill a PSQI questionnaire to measure sleep quality. PSQI is an instrument used to assess sleep quality over the past month and a value ≥5 denotes poor sleep quality. The participants measured sleep using both devices for 3 nights in their homes. All of them wore the Fitbit device on the nondominant hand.
Sleep data was collected from both devices. Fitbit analysed sleep stage every 30 seconds with the help of a user’s movement and heart rate data. Data from the medical device was analysed by another company. Both the device’s data were synchronized to ensure that start time was aligned. 5 participants were eliminated from analysis as they failed to provide ‘stage level data’ leaving the research team with 23 participants. 8 of 23 participants had a PSQI greater than 5 showing unsatisfactory sleep quality. Statistical difference was found between men and women in terms of wake time and ratio of sleep stage 1, in terms of TST, transition probability from deep sleep to light sleep and the probability of staying in light sleep above 25 years. The following transitions rarely occurred: deep sleep to REM sleep and wake, light sleep to REM sleep, REM sleep to deep sleep, and REM sleep to light sleep. There was difference in measuring this between the two devices. The Fitbit band underestimated sleep stage transition dynamics, overestimated the probability of staying in a specific sleep stage while underestimating the transition from a specific stage to a different stage. Accuracy of Fitbit in measuring sleep transitions deteriorated as sleep became more dynamic. PSQI value below 5 indicated decreased errors in the probability of staying in deep sleep stage but was linked to increased errors in transitioning from waking to REM sleep.
Wake time greater than 30 minutes indicated greater errors in transitioning from light sleep to REM sleep but decreased errors in transition probability from light sleep to wake stage. Sleep efficiency (SE) rates above 90% was linked to increased measurement errors in transition probability from REM sleep to light sleep. Hence, Fitbit underestimates sleep stage transition dynamics compared to the medical device and measurement accuracy is impacted by sleep quality, sleep continuity and SE. We are clear now that such trackers cannot help in making health-related decisions as they don’t provide accurate results.
Study on Fitness Trackers’ Accuracy in Measuring Sleep Quality
The study included participants aged 19 years and above who were selected after imposing several exclusion criteria. Totally there were 79 of them who were split into two groups.
ActiGraph GT9X Link: This is a monitor that could be worn at the waist, wrist or ankle which uses the Sadeh and Cole-Kripke algorithm to analyse sleep data.
SenseWear Mini armband: This is a tracker that’s worn over the triceps of the user’s non-dominant arm. A triaxial accelerometer captures movement, skin response, skin temperature and rate at which heat is dissipated from the body. There is a minute-by-minute update for data analysis and codes ‘Sleep’ and ‘Lying Down’ were denoted with 1 and 0 to denote the presence or absence of an action.
Basic Peak: This is a wrist-worn activity monitor that provides the user with information on daily activity with activity trends over time. Each of the participant’s sleep trends were entered manually and saved.
Fitbit Charge HR: This is a wrist-worn activity monitor measuring the user’s movement to give information on step count, intensity, distance travelled, stairs climbed, calories burned and TST. Sleep data was manually stored for each user for comparisons later.
Jawbone UP3: This is also a wrist-worn activity monitor measuring movement using a triaxial accelerometer to get data on step count, intensity and resting heart rate. Sleep-related data was entered manually and saved.
Garmin Vivosmart: This is a wrist-worn activity monitor measuring movement using a triaxial accelerometer to fetch details on step count, sleep time, energy expenditure and distance covered. Sleep data was entered manually and saved.
Consensus Sleep Diary-Expanded: This is a sleep diary created by insomnia researchers which is standardized using focus groups with good sleepers, individuals with insomnia and individuals with sleep apnea. There were two sections-one to be filled right before going to bed and another that should be filled right after getting up. Sleep duration was noted down in minutes.
All the participants participated in a four-day study (three nights of data) in their own homes to create a free-living condition. They were split into group 1 and 2. Group 1 participants wore ActiGraph GT9X Link, SenseWear Mini Armband, Basis Peak, and Fitbit Charge HR. Group 2 participants wore the ActiGraph GT9X Link, the Garmin Vivosmart, and the Jawbone UP3. All of them wore the device all through the study except when they were showering or swimming. They were given a sleep diary and requested to fill the same throughout the study period.
The 79 participants were between 19 and 66 years of age but one was eliminated as he/she did not fill the sleep diary. Of them, 18 had one night of data and 60 had 3 nights of data. Mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) was calculated for TST and time in bed (TIB) ranged between 11.7% and 31.6% for TST and 11.1% and 30.9% for TIB. The Jawbone UP3 showed least value for TST (11.7%) and the SenseWear Mini Armband showed the lowest value for TIB (11.1%). With respect to TST, Fitbit Charger HR and Jawbone UP3 were the only monitors to fully fall within the 10% equivalence zone and for TIB, the SenseWear Mini Armband, Garmin Vivosmart, and Jawbone UP3 bands fell within the 10% equivalence zone.
This study was in line with other studies that proved that wearable trackers have high sensitivity (ability to correctly identify sleep) and low specificity (ability to correctly identify wake). Depending on the tracker there was low to moderate correlation between the diary and the tracker for TDT and TIB. It also confirmed the view that the activity tracker’s poor specificity was due to the poor correlation seen between the sleep diary and trackers for WASO. It was concluded that SenseWear, Fitbit Charge HR, Jawbone UP3, and Garmin Vivosmart can be treated as valid measures for TST and TIB in comparison to a sleep diary but these don’t provide authentic data for wake times during a night of sleep.
On analysis it is seen that there are only a few studies that probe into the effectiveness of fitness trackers and apps that detect sleep quality but these studies too were on specific population groups. Some studies were only for one night bringing out the ‘first night effect’ as the participants remained tensed and sleet badly through the first night of testing while technical failure was also prominent in a few studies.
Two fitness trackers Fitbit and Jawbone UP were compared with polysomnography and actigraphy in a couple of studies in kids and adults. All of the studies reported the sleep devices to overestimate sleeping time, sleep efficiency and latency to sleep onset and underestimate awake time after falling asleep. There are other studies which noted huge differences in results for those who had the most disturbed sleep.
Studies that probe into the accuracy of smartphone apps show inaccurate results for determining absolute sleep parameters such as total sleep time, sleep efficiency, wake time after sleep onset and sleep onset latency and also when trying to compare the different sleep stages compared to polysomnography. There are also age-related differences observed as adults are likelier to lie still when awake and activity monitors are prone to overestimate sleep time in adults. Sleep tracking devices are observed to show inaccurate data for individuals suffering from short sleep duration and disturbed sleep but these devices could help in differentiating poor sleep hygiene from insomnia disorder. The trackers provide reasonably correct measurements in healthy individuals for overall sleep time. Using this data we can predict whether insufficient sleep is the cause behind daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
It is seen that apps and bands don’t provide 100% accurate results and those without any sleep problems should not make changes to their routine to fulfil sleep targets set by their smartphone apps or fitness wearables. There are some devices that promise to wake up people when they are in the ‘light sleep’ stage but the results are highly based on chance. Individuals must decide upon their adequate sleeping hours based on their body rather than depending on a smart alarm to wake them at some specific stage of sleep. Closely monitoring sleep changes helps in improving sleep duration but there are no studies that reveal the dangers of excessive monitoring of sleep patterns.
Comparison of Wearable Trackers’ Ability to Estimate Sleep: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025478/
Apps and Fitness Trackers that Measure Sleep: Are they Useful? https://mdedge-files-live.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/files/s3fs-public/Document/May-2017/mansukhani_fitnesstrackers.pdf
Accuracy of Fitbit Wristband in Measuring Sleep Stage Transitions & the Effect of User-specific Factors: https://mhealth.jmir.org/2019/6/e13384/
We are using the word ‘obesity’ and ‘overweight’ quite often these days as there has been a steady rise in their rates-almost 25% of the adult population are victims to it! Among them are also young women in their reproductive age of whom around 30-50% are either overweight or obese. Maybe now all the reasons behind pregnancy and childbirth complications are justifiable. Maternal health is crucial for giving birth to a healthy child and maternal obesity intrudes the well-being and development of the newborn in multiple ways. It paves way for increased risk of hyperglycaemia, diabetes and hypertension, a cluster of conditions that occur together termed as metabolic syndrome thereby increasing the risk of heart disease, in the offspring. We often blame environmental factors and our genetic predisposition as the reason behind all our health problems but exposure to maternal obesity overrules all these factors creating significant impact on the offspring’s long-term metabolic health.
It is no big news that obesity affects the heart’s well-being, disrupts metabolism putting the individual at a risk for diabetes and heart disease. A recent research by a group of researchers at the University of Wyoming and Salvador Zubiran National Institute of Medical Sciences & Nutrition have come up with an even more important discovery-effect of maternal obesity can be passed across generations to offspring thereby accelerating the occurrence of metabolic conditions that would otherwise happen quite slowly. The infants of these mothers showed reduced functioning of the mitochondria, the power house of the cell responsible for generating energy cells needed to function properly, which makes the infant susceptible to heart disease.
What surprised the researchers was the fact that maternal obesity had varying effects on the male and female offspring and the researchers felt it to be the effect of hormonal changes in both sexes. It was also found that performing physical activity regularly helps in improving the effect of maternal obesity on the newborn baby. It has been already established through another study that an obese pregnant lady who consumes a high-sugar, high-fat diet during pregnancy produces a ‘fatty liver’ in the fetus thereby putting her fetus at a potential risk of obesity, metabolic and cardiovascular disorders later in life while another study found that an undernourished mother produces offspring who is at a risk of early ageing of the heart. The latest study is only an additional confirmation to all the existing studies that the fetus’ condition in the womb and the early life has a definite impact on the child’s health and his/her risk to health problems in later stages of life.
Hence, every woman in her reproductive age must ensure to value her health and take care to stay within her weight ranges. Only then, we can be ensured of a healthy baby. If in case you are planning to conceive and need help losing weight or getting onto a nutritious diet cycle it is better to meet our reputed dietitians and nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com who can help you in a scientific, practical and simple way.
Traditionally used in Indian ayurvedic medicine to cure arthritis, turmeric is related to the ginger family. A popular spice used in the Indian kitchen the bright yellow (curcumin that gives turmeric its yellow coloration) turmeric powder was traditionally used to flavor curries and more. Now, it’s a primary ingredient in everything right from your teas to your supplements. These have stemmed from its advantages of anti-inflammatory benefits.
Know the Numbers
It’s the root of the turmeric that’s widely used to make medicine. Its preferable to consume it in powder form (root powder) or curcumin supplement. Curcumin is responsible for boosting turmeric’s benefits far and wide with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties but only makes up 3% of dry turmeric whereas curcumin supplements and turmeric extracts contain more of curcumin. Hence, these are the ones that make a positive impact on the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant property of turmeric. By now you would have understood that including a pinch of turmeric in your recipes is not going to do you much of a favor indeed!
Research says that consuming at least 1 gram of curcumin per day is essential for providing anti-inflammatory effects. But make sure to never overdo the suggested quantities as consuming extremely high amounts of turmeric can result in gastrointestinal issues such as an upset stomach, nausea, dizziness and diarrhea. Reputed health associates comment that consuming turmeric independently doesn’t go well and one needs to combine it with black pepper or a source of good fat like olive oil for maximum absorption.
Turmeric has been quoted to be a good treatment option for arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, hemorrhage, liver problems, IBS, high cholesterol, gallbladder disorders, hay fever, bronchitis, cold, lung infection, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, menstrual problems, itchy skin, depression, diabetes and kidney problems. Some even apply it on the skin for pain, ringworms, sprains and swellings, bruises, leech bites, inflammatory skin conditions, soreness in the mouth, skin sores and gum disease. But there are no authentic proofs existing until now.
If you are looking forward to taking turmeric as a supplement it is necessary to discuss with your physician, all the more if you are consuming any other medication to understand whether there might be any drug interactions that would cause danger to your health. For examples, if a person is taking blood thinner medications consuming turmeric supplements can cause bleeding. There are other food sources that can cause such dangerous side effects when taken with certain medications. For such food-drug interactions please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
While we need authentic research to understand the exact doses of turmeric or curcumin for health benefits it probably would never be wrong to add a pinch of turmeric to your recipes or discuss with your doctor for a supplement.
Food is the essence of life and each of us love to eat various foods in different preparation methods. Fruits and vegetables provide us with basic nutrients needed for sustenance and not all of us are fans of them. We try to dress up bananas in dripping honey or grind kale into a power juice before consuming. Some like it raw, some like it boiled and some others like it completely cooked with spices, salt and oil. The world does have some beings on this Earth who survive on raw food throughout their lives but these are a minority population. The majority of us, including myself relish cooked food.
The human microbiome has become more popular than before playing a critical role in everything from good health and weight changes to protection of the immune system and synthesizing certain vitamins and amino acids. Each of us have a unique network of microbiota which is entirely dependent on our DNA. We are exposed to these microorganisms during delivery in the birth canal and through mother’s milk. If this is surprising, reading through the entire process and the science behind it at www.firsteatright.com would amaze you even more. Hence, the microbes present in the mom are the sole determinants of those exposed to the child. As the kid grows, environmental factors and diet intake determine whether the microbiome is beneficial or hazardous.
Catching Over Cooking
We don’t have much power over environmental influence on our microbiome but we sure can make changes to the diet once we understand what is good and what is bad for out microbiome environment. There have been studies on how vegan, vegetarian or a meat-based diet affects microbiome composition; a high-fibre diet affects the type and number of microbiomes in the intestines and we do have a list of foods that can elevate the presence of good bacteria in our body.
While we can feel happy and proud of all the research done on these what is surprising is the fact that we don’t have any studies that have focused on how cooking itself alters the composition of the microbial ecosystems in our gut. This was taken up by a group of scientists at UCSF and Harvard University. The research team analysed the effect of cooking on the microbiomes of mice when they were fed with raw meat, cooked meat, raw sweet potatoes or cooked sweet potatoes. The diet included a combination of meat and tubers because previous studies have shown that cooking alters the nutrients and bioactive compounds in both differently. The results were somewhat surprising:
The microbial changes could be due to two key factors: cooked food causes more calorie deposit in the small intestine leaving less for the hungry microbes down the gut and several raw foods contain potent antimicrobial compounds which can directly damage certain microbes. The way food is processed affects how our bodies digest food. Earlier, we used physical techniques like grinding and pounding to create hand-pounded rice and likewise which brough about more nutrient content to the consumer as the cells are disrupted in them. By cooking we are taking this process a step ahead as we are not only making a physical transformation but a chemical one as well-when you change the texture and process something that’s pretty hard to digest you are helping the individual by helping him/her complete a part of the digestion process outside the body and this helps the person digest the rest of the food in a much more efficient way. The difference between raw and cooked vegetables too is because plants produce a range of antimicrobial compounds that help defend itself but when they are cooked these compounds are inactivated. But when we eat them raw some of the antimicrobial compounds might act against microbes in the gut.
The researchers transplanted gut microbes from mice fed on both diets to germ-free mice that were fed a diet of standard chow. Those that received microbes conditioned on raw food gained more weight and body fat that the other group. This raises questions how the gut microbes would handle the antimicrobial properties of some raw vegetables and how foodborne antimicrobial compounds affect our health. Cooking might have more influence on the co-evolution between humans and resident microbes.
Understanding completely how diet affects microbiome composition influences how gut microbes affect weight gain. The microbes have adapted themselves to the changing culinary culture and it needs to be seen whether this could have important side effects for modern health.
These days, sweet little homes have a dinner tables for 2 or 4 persons (max), restaurants have more two seater tables than the ones that can accommodate huge groups and our menu items too have come up with tremendous changes serving even half portion gravies to satisfy the needs of those who eat alone. Eating together was a way of celebrating and there were restaurants occupied by huge groups of people who loved chitchatting through their meal. But now, there are isolated rooms to accommodate groups so that others are not disturbed by the pompous ‘noise’ and can continue to eat in peace. Eating alone has now become one of the modern trends which also has quite many reasons behind it-people travelling long distances have it on their way to office, shift jobs have made it impossible for couples to have a meal together except during weekends and there are many individuals living alone in their homes having lost their spouse and whose children stay abroad or in other cities. Also, young adults choose to live on their own renting an apartment or living together with friends to be independent, live on their earnings and move forward in life. These people rarely cook at home, grab something at the takeaway on their way back from office or simply prepare food that can be instantly done. Changing economic, social and cultural conditions have resulted in a greater number of one-person households and as per 2016 statistics, almost 13% households belong to this category. Eating together has been the universal ritual until now where meals existed as a means to connect to each other, establish relationships, improve rapport and stay happy together. But eating alone by ourselves has become normal these days and it has not only changed how and what we eat but also how we talk to ourselves about eating. Also, how we are eating and how we should be eating are in great contrast with each other and this also brings upon the question whether eating alone and rise in obesity rates have anything to do with each other?
Eating with people has been critical for determining physical and mental health of an individual but eating behaviors are also affected by cohabitation status. While people who stay all alone by themselves have minimal opportunities of eating together there are some others who eat alone just because they like to! Living alone has tremendous impact on diet intake and eating behaviors which includes eating frequency and duration, someone to share your meal with, eating out and meal types all of which have a definite say in your nutritional status and food intake. Food intake is mandatory for survival of life and adequate nutrients are compulsory to lead a healthy and good quality of life. What we eat, how we eat and when we eat has changed incredibly through the decades and the nutrients consumed too have altered. Individuals these days have become more conscious about diet quality but the tendency to eat alone has led to poorer food selections as they tend to choose those meals that are quick and simple rather than having a take from the nutritional point of view. Studies show that eating alone affects nutrition in elderly population, eating together paved way for a healthier lifestyle and when students eat together as a family, they had better dietary intake and quality. We have reached a stage where eating alone exists as a cause for modern malnutrition. While there are many studies that show how insufficient nutrients affect health there are not many which associate the effects of eating alone, socioeconomic factors and their impact on diet quality.
Korean Study on the Effects of Eating Alone on Nutrition Health
The population for the study included 3365 (39.48%) men and 5158 (60.52%) women aged between 19 and 64 years. Nutrient adequacy ratio (NAR) for each nutrient was calculated using the formula, nutrient intake/recommended nutrient intake and dependent variable of mean adequacy ration (MAR) was used to measure the quality of the meal. MAR was calculated using the formula, sum of NAR nutrients/the number of nutrients. A NAR value close to 1 indicates that nutrient intakes are as per recommendations while a value >1 means that consumed meal is above nutrient recommendations. The meals here include both foods and beverages. Eating behavior was the main variable observed and this notifies whether the individual had company or not during the meal. All the participants were asked questions during each meal-breakfast, lunch and dinner- and the participant’s answer was either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There were three categories observed that included ‘alone’ (indicating those who had their meals alone), ‘some together’ (some participants ate some meals together) and ‘together’ for those who ate with others for every meal. Participants were put into one of the three groups based on their eating behavior and it was observed that in the male group, 256 (7.61%) ate each of their meal alone, 1199 (35.63%) ate some meals together and 1910 (56.76%) ate all their meals together. In the female group, 502 (9.73%) ate every meal alone, 2255 (43.72%) ate some meal together and 2401 (46.55%) ate every meal together. MAR of male participants remained the same irrespective of whether or not they were living together while female participants’ MAR was influenced depending on whether or not they were living together.
Results showed that:
In 2015 alone, Korea had more than a quarter (27.2%) of the population living in one-person households and the numbers are only expected to grow with a greater number of elderly people making it well into their 70s and 80s. Solitary eating has become prevalent and this leads to modern malnutrition as people are eating foods that are high in fat, sugar, sodium and soda all of which have a greater potential to cause obesity and metabolic syndromes. Eating a meal alone also is an indication of isolation that can disrupt mental health. But when those who live alone supplement their meals with products that help in rendering balanced meals and also go through lifestyle changes it definitely becomes beneficial. People who live together but eat their meals alone feel that it is way better than living alone and those with higher social stratum are better equipped to take care of their health by themselves. We need to improve health awareness to lower socioeconomic class people and also ensure that diet quality does improve for any individual belonging to any class.
Eating Behavior & Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has become of the main causes for global health burden increasing risk of mortality and affecting up to 30% of the adult population. The food we eat plays a definite role in causing MetS-irregular meal timings, skipped meals and eating out frequently play a critical role in laying the foundation for MetS. While effects of eating behavior have been explored on various groups of people including children and elderly adults we don’t have studies that look into different groups of population simultaneously. The study below considers people <65 years and also >65 years in a Korean population, their dietary intake and risk of MetS.
Living arrangements were noted by asking questions such as “How many family members are living with you?” to know whether they lived alone (response as ‘zero’ confirmed that the individual stayed alone) and “Did you usually have [breakfast, lunch, or dinner] with others in the past year?” (if answer was ‘no’ they were categorized as exclusively eating alone and when answer was ‘yes’ they were categorized as eating with others). Four categories were created: Living with others (LW) and eating with others (EW) [LW*EW], living with others (LW) and exclusively eating alone (EA) [LW*EA], living alone and eating with others [LA*EW] and living alone and exclusively eating alone [LA*EA]. Dietary intake was calculated based on seven dietary factors including total energy intake, total carbohydrate intake, total protein intake, total fat intake and percentage of energy derived from each of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Of the 16,015 participants who were involved in the study results showed that:
This study clearly shows that younger adults are at a greater risk of MetS due to different eating behaviors compared to older adults.
Effect on Older Adults
A Japanese study on elderly adults determined how eating alone resulted not only in obesity but also underweight. A total of 106,460 participants were involved in the and they were categorized as obese, overweight, normal or underweight depending on their BMI value. Dietary factors were noted by means of a self-reported questionnaire:
Results show that:
Overall, 16% men and 28% reported eating alone exclusively or sometimes. Among those who exclusively ate alone, 56% men and 68% women lived alone. Among men and women who sometimes ate alone, 10% men and 31% women lived alone. Those who ate with others and lived together, 90% men and 74% women lived with spouses while 38% men and 46% women lived with kids. Those who exclusively ate alone and lived with others, 52% men and 21% women lived with spouses, and 55% men and 66% women lived with kids. Among those who ate with others and lived alone, 23% of men and 40% of women ate with children, and 22% of men and 27% of women ate with friends. Among subjects who sometimes ate alone and lived alone, 28% of men and 45% of women ate with children, and 63% of men and 66% of women ate with friends.
Men who exclusively ate alone were 3.74 times likelier to skip meals than men who ate with others and women who ate alone were 2.69 times likelier to skip meals than women who ate with others. It was also seen that compared to women who lived alone those who lived with a spouse and kids and/or grandkids were likelier to skip meals. Participants who ate alone were 1.59 times likelier to have low frequency of vegetable and fruit intake compared to those who ate with others. Low intake of produce was seen in women who lived with a spouse and kids/grandkids compared to women who lived alone. Men who exclusively ate and lived alone were 1.34 times likelier to be obese than men who ate and lived with others and men who exclusively ate alone were 1.22 times likelier to be underweight than men who ate with others.
Association between Eating Behavior & Diet Quality: Eating Alone Versus Eating with Others: https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-018-0424-0
Influence of Eating Arrangements & Eating Behavior on the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466134/
Combined Effects of Eating Alone & Living Alone on Unhealthy Dietary Behaviors, Obesity & Underweight in Older Japanese Adults: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666315002925
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”-Aesop
The Kerala and Karnataka floods, the rains in Chennai that created havoc a couple of years back, the Indonesian tsunami in 2018 or the California wildfire are clear evidences that humanity still exists among humans and kindness, an act that is portrayed to be ‘uncool’ these days, is well in practice anywhere in the world. Being kind is not an act but an art that needs to be practised by each and every human born unto this world. The world has survived and will survive due to the presence of such kind and lovely people who do good to others without any expectations or rewards in return. Mankind always has this nature of doing caring and thoughtful deeds only after someone does the same to us and this theory is even backed by science. For instance, we reciprocate when someone smiles at us, greet with a Hello when someone has greeted us the previous morning and so on. Maybe it’s time now to start taking kindness reigns in our hands and start spreading the joy of love and goodness to others.
Life doesn’t give satisfaction to most people as they expect more and more once they start experiencing the good things in life-higher pay checks, higher position, more power and a finer lifestyle and our goals doesn’t end here. Happiness is never ever a result of these materialistic and temporary things in life. Skip the personal selfishness and take pain to spread some dose of kindness to the people around you. Ultimately, we do need money for survival but that should not be the only motive for survival. Doing a single act of kindness can bring upon immense pleasure unto you. One needs to experience it to relish the feel of it. For instance, it might be dropping a passer-by at the nearest bus stop on your way to office, buying something even when you don’t need it from a small child who sells stuff for his/her daily hunger or even complementing someone daily that brightens up their day and makes them feel happy through the entire day. But we are living in an era where each of us don’t have time to even know our neighbours as all of us are busy looking down at our phones and texting people we don’t even know for real. These days, acts of kindness are sometimes even seen with suspicion. The helping lady in the bus who offers a seat for the sick, the old man in the train who offers a biscuit to a young kid or the understanding friend who helps with homework is not regarded as being kind and helpful but are suspected of having ultimate motives behind their act!
Putting Up with Social Media Frenzy
Everything has to be on social media these days. Helping flood victims, raising funds for tsunami victims or sheltering stray animals-each of them are broadcasted on social media sites with fancy hashtags and peppy photos. Today, kindness is not only fashionable and appearing in news feeds or being shared in WhatsApp memorable but these are also profitable! Hashtags are a way to express the everyday acts of kindness witnessed in the society and to remind people that the world is still a good place for survival. People have started looking forward to more news columns, episodes on television and snippets on media that talk about good news. We have had enough on poverty, rape and death. While these are also definite news that ought to see the limelight, individuals are in search of positive news and the response to such coverages are overwhelming. But again, kindness cannot be measured-we have no apps to measure its number or data mining programs that can search whether the number of kinder people has increased or decreased.
A Proven Antidote to Mental Health
Though people preach that kindness must be practised without expecting anything in return, scientifically it has been proved to improve our very own physical and mental health. Researchers working on various studies related to kindness concluded that humans are social animals who derive pleasure from helping their friends, family, colleagues and even strangers under different circumstances. These studies clearly showed that people derive satisfaction from helping others as kindness is a means to make new friends, kick-start social relationships and escape from social isolation that can otherwise pave way for complicated mental and physical health conditions.
A new study in a reputed journal also shows the promising effects of kindness at workplace. But alas, our workplace is filled with cutthroat competition and nasty behaviour from colleagues who try to ditch each other and reach the pinnacle of success! But according to this study, acts of kindness at workplace creates a positive ripple that affects the whole workplace culture (https://www.forbes.com/sites/pragyaagarwaleurope/2019/08/26/making-kindness-a-priority-in-the-workplace/#28a7b7fb38f4). Those who received kindness hold better control of their work and report higher levels of happiness and job satisfaction with fewer depressive symptoms. Such acts of kindness at workplace also brought in creativity among employees who went one step ahead and started thinking of out-of-the-box ways to show their generosity and kindness to other employees. Kindness is contagious-once someone starts showing kindness there is no way that you will not show the same to the next person unless your humanness has disappeared into thin air! While we take cues from others to stay powerful, show supremacy and dominate why can’t we be an example of kindness from whom other people learn a thing or two about generosity and good deed?
Practise Kindness by Being Kind to Yourself
It is always easier to be kind to other than to ourselves. But what we don’t realize is how much better we treat others when we have taken care of ourselves. It’s not magical to work from morning to night skipping lunch and dinner but it would be even better if we had been kind to our tummies and had given some rest to our health. Victimizing ourselves can cause collateral damage but diverting all our anger and frustration towards others also cannot be a fulfilling or long-term solution. Start feeling better by being kind to yourself first and there are ample ways to do this. Choose the one that works best for you. While we don’t have control over others, we do have total control over ourselves. It’s our choices and decisions to act kinder and be generous to others. We don’t need an audience to perform kindness nor a serious issue happening with the opponent to be kind to him/her. Offering to bring a cup of coffee at workplace or simply saying ‘Sorry’ when you know that you are wrong are acts of kindness that can bring a smile onto the other person’s face. When we are kind, we are showing others that we care for them and that they mean more to us. This brings upon a feeling of gratitude and such gratitude makes the body release chemicals including endorphins that relieve stress. Practise kindness to realize the happiness of being kind!
The Healing Power of Kindness: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/13/health/iyw-healing-power-kindness-trnd/index.html
Be Kind, Unwind: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/de-stress/be-kind-unwind/articleshow/64509468.cms
Kindness Has Become Very Uncool. But the World Needs Empathy Right Now: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/24/paloma-faith-kindness-has-become-very-uncool-but-the-world-needs-empathy-right-now
The Cult of Being Kind: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/apr/01/the-cult-of-being-kind
Why Being Kind Could Help You Live Longer: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50266957
“The Past is a History,
Tomorrow is a Mystery,
Enjoy the Present!”
Reading this, what was your reaction? Felt your spirits lifted up or did you comment something mean? The first or second reaction tells clearly whether you are an optimist or a pessimist! Call yourself the Tigger if it was the first reaction or the Eeyore if it was the second. Both these are characters from the spectacular Winnie-the-Pooh books that we all enjoyed reading as kids. The Tigger is always over-enthused, energetic and optimistic while the Eeyore is pessimistic, grumpy, moody and sad. There has always been the story of two prisoners who looked at life from two different perspectives that decided their quality of life and every day in life we hear about being positive, looking at the brighter side of things and staying confident in life despite obstructions, turmoil and hindrances. Optimism according to Mayo Clinic is defined as the “belief that good things will happen to you and that negative events are temporary setbacks to be overcome.” Some characteristics are inborn and others develop over time as a result of circumstances, experiences and surrounding. Here I would like to share the story of one of my friends who was burdened with economic losses repeatedly. He lost few of his lands, was cheated over his hard-earned money by his own brother and was pushed to stress and tension with two little daughters who were just in their early childhood years. Generally, most people cannot take in such high stress levels and succumb to unwanted habits such as drinking alcohol, betting money or even quitting job wrecked over life’s repeated challenges. But this fellow did not budge. He kept continuing his job in much higher spirits, took his wife and kids out every week keeping them out of all the negativity and started saving money like a sparrow once again from the beginning to start his next phase in life. There were times during which he did feel low, stressed and pissed in life but he did overcome all these with one of his traits-optimism! That’s the power of staying positive and leading life. He could have tried to commit suicide or lose hope and stay home skipping job, skipping family and skipping a normal life altogether. But never once did he get into those.
Optimist: The Winning Horse who Reaches the Finish Line
While an optimist sees challenges as temporary and as stepping stones that leads to better solutions pessimists see challenges as permanent that makes it impossible for them to move forward in life. The best of the lot is the incurable optimist who sees a goodness in everything bad, keeps working tirelessly believing that there is good at the end of the road and always pushes forward in life (https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2013/08/05/success-follows-the-incurable-optimist/#2f1d70987a04). Such optimistic people are good to hang around with, more fun to be with, healthier, happier, attractive and enthused which makes everyone want to be around them. Business-wise too incurable optimism and integrity are great traits for those seeking funding or wishing to become entrepreneurs. No one would like to invest in someone who has a negative outlook in life, whines most of the time and sees every challenge as a roadblock that has no course further away. But there are chances of some people overstepping from optimism into over-confidence which ruins it all for them as well as the employer/investor. It’s only an optimist with integrity who is loved by all employers as he/she stays focused and positive without over-promising, can be 100% trusted and are also fun to be around.
Chronic stress is prevalent among all in this world and we do have results showing that victory surely favors the optimist when under chronic stress at work. In a survey, 75% respondents commented that they were more stressed than the previous generation and 40% placed themselves on the high end of the stress spectrum. Studies also confirmed that optimists were likelier to make better investments, smarter moves and reap greater benefits. Opportunities for promotions are better and chances of making money are more for optimists. But again, all’s not charming and glittering for them. One study found that while most of the successful business entrepreneurs called themselves as optimists, optimistic entrepreneurs earn 30% less than pessimistic ones on an average which might be because they are inclined to take greater risks and suffer from huge losses as a result. But the downsides are comparably negligible when measured to the benefits of being optimistic in life.
Staying positive also decides how fast individuals recover from adversity and stay resilient. Resilient individuals have the attribute to change negative feelings into positive ones. They foresee challenges as an opportunity to grow rather than as a threat that would end their growth. These individuals might face the same emotional turmoil and anxiety as non-resilient people but the difference is that resilient individuals display personalities of happiness and eagerness to fix the problem as they strongly believe that every problem doesn’t come without a solution.
The Hush-hush Secret to a Longer Life
Research studies have previously reported the benefits of staying optimistic that includes lower risk of health conditions and premature death. The latest good news is that positive people are also at a higher chance of living a longer life. This is the combined result of two long-term studies, one including 69,744 women and another one including 1429 men over 3 decades. All of them completed a questionnaire that dealt with their feelings about the future and after controlling various parameters results showed that optimistic women lived 14.9% longer on an average (highest was 25% longer) than their pessimistic counterparts. In the case of men, positive men lived 10.9% longer than their peers. Also, optimistic women were 1.5 times more likely to reach 85 years old than the least optimistic women while optimistic men were 1.7 times more likely to reach 85 years. It’s mostly because optimistic people are likelier to exercise, eat healthy food and avoid smoking and drinking. They also handle stress in a better way and look at the bigger picture than brooding over smaller ones. Stress is a critical factor in today’s world affecting both the mental and physical health of a person. Knowing to handle stress in the correct ways and keeping your mind at peace makes a great difference to both your mind and body as well.
Research also shows optimists sleep better and are less likely to suffer from sleep-related problems such as insomnia. Poor sleep is linked to multiple health problems such as obesity, hypertension and even mortality. Positive-minded people don’t keep brooding over their losses and neither do they stay sleepless because of that. Sleep is also critical for a longer life as it helps in keeping both the mind and body healthy.
I hope that reading through this article has lifted your spirits and also has made you look at life in a positive frame of mind. We are not going to reap any benefits brooding over our losses. All that we can do is look forward to a better tomorrow by striving hard today.
The Financial Upside of Being an Optimist: https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-financial-upside-of-being-an-optimist
The Benefits of Optimist are Real: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/03/the-benefits-of-optimism-are-real/273306/
Cheer Up! Optimists Live Longer: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/08/cheer-optimists-live-longer
Increasing the intake of one nutrient and reducing that of another has always been our strategy for promoting weight loss, lower diabetes and likewise. Macronutrients, fats, carbohydrates and proteins, have been played around with for decades now to introduce individuals to the best means to achieve their goals. In this regard, weight loss has been the most sought-after end result with altered nutrient intakes. Though the results might satisfy us the side effects are not clearly understood. Metabolic diseases have developed into one of the major problems affecting individuals across the world. Diet, especially diet quantity, plays a major role in designating risk factors associated with metabolic diseases but timing and macronutrient composition of food intake are seeking more attention as critical factors contributing towards metabolic health.
Researchers have tried and are still trying to come up with the best carbohydrate-fat combination that could work best on individuals. The low carbohydrate-high fat (LCHF) diet combination has been in existence but became extremely popular since the revolutionization of the Atkins Diet in 1972. There are supporters and haters for this diet plan: supporters call it an aid for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), obesity and metabolic syndrome while haters find it in contrast to the low fat-high carbohydrate (LFHC) diet that’s recommended to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you notice, there has been a steady rise in carbs intake which is directly linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) that is potential enough to increase total mortality rates. Such high carbohydrate intake stimulates insulin secretion accommodating fat storage thereby restricting adipose tissue lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation. This seems to convey that a high-carbohydrate (HC) intake acts as a trigger point for MetS. Fats too play an integral role in maintaining metabolic health by regulating fat oxidation without which weight gain and insulin resistance are sure to happen. Besides macronutrient quantity timing of their intake has clear effect on fuel utilization (proven by animal models). Mice fed a high fat meal for 12 weeks showed greater 24-h fat oxidation and metabolic flexibility that those fed a high-carb breakfast meal. Fat-dominant meals promoted lower body weight and body fat, greater glucose tolerance, lower insulin and lower TGs compared to carbohydrate-dominant meals. Human beings too show similar effects when timing of intake differs. Shift workers are at a greater risk of obesity, T2DM and CVD besides showing changes in resting energy expenditure, fasting carbohydrate oxidation, glucose tolerance, cortisol rhythms and reducing chances of weight loss.
We do know that a high-carb diet prevents weight gain but a high-fat diet accelerates weight loss and improves lipid profile. But we don’t have any idea about how the timing of macronutrient intake affects fuel utilization across a 24-h day. A group of researchers focused on the effects of consumption of a high-fat breakfast or a high-carbohydrate breakfast for 4 weeks to compare fuel utilization using a respiratory quotient (RQ).
Timing of Macronutrient Intake & Fuel Utilization
The study included 29 sedentary or moderately active men and women ≥55 years who were analysed for obesity, diabetes, smoking, alcohol intake, weight changes and other medical conditions. All the participants were randomly assigned into one of the two groups to receive either a fat-based (FB, n=12) or a carbohydrate-based (CB, n=17) breakfast. Individuals in the fat-based group received ∼45% of energy from fat, 20% from protein and 35% from carbohydrates during breakfast with lunch and dinner designed to be metabolically neutral with a macronutrient content of 50%, 20% and 30% energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat respectively. All the meals contained <10% saturated fats. All the participants consumed ≥1 whole egg 5d/wk during breakfast as this is an optimal choice for increasing fat content as well as providing rich nutrient contents such as proteins and likewise.
24-hour resting, sleeping and energy expenditure was measured using calorimetry during which the participants were provided meals with a macronutrient concentration of 50% of energy from carbohydrates, 20% from proteins and 30% from fat across the day. All of them were advised against strenuous physical activity before the day of the test. Body composition was measured using DXA and insulin sensitivity were measured for using glucose levels.
All the participants were around 64 years of age of which 30% were men and 20% were African Americans. All the participants belonged to the overweight category based on BMI and all of them lost weight after the 4-week intervention period: 0.50±0.8 kg in the FB group and 1.10±1.1 kg in the CB group.
The study clearly shows that a high-fat breakfast significantly impacts substrate utilization. This also shows that regularly consuming a high fat-low carbohydrate breakfast is helpful in reducing risk of chronic disease, especially in elderly people who are at a higher risk of diabetes, CVD and obesity.
Restricting Carbs Intake Improves Metabolic Syndrome
Individuals with MetS aged between 21 and 65 years were included in a study that wanted to analyse the effects of consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet on MetS improvement. Exclusion criteria such as high total cholesterol, gastrointestinal disorder, smoking, lactose intolerance, alcohol consumption, liver or endocrine dysfunction and medication use for cholesterol or diabetes in the last 3 months were imposed before selecting the participants for study. Finally, 16 participants were included all of whom completed 3 controlled-feeding periods each lasting 4 weeks with a 2-week washout period in between diets. During the 2-week run-in period participants were fed an MC (moderate diet) to find the accurate energy expenditure required to maintain body mass. Three kinds of diet, low (LC), moderate (MC) and high (HC) diets were designed with a caloric intake base of 2500 kcal. All the foods were prepared and given to the participants, all the diet contained an optimal amount of cheese and the MC diet was planned to be similar to the standard American diet with one-third of energy from fat and one-third from carbohydrates. The MC diet was rich in potatoes, whole and processed grains and 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. The HC diet avoided fat, especially that from animal products and scaled carbs proportionally with at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Sources of polyunsaturated fat included nuts, fatty meats and condiments.
Metabolic analysis, body composition, MRI-based fat quantification, fatty acid profiling, lipoprotein particle analysis and statistical analysis to determine the differences in outcome variables after 3 diet periods was performed. Results showed no significant changes in body mass, whole-body composition and waist circumference. MetS was evident in the form of increased abdominal adiposity and hepatic fat content. All the three diets showed no difference in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) or liver fat. Mean hepatic fat measures were 13.9% at baseline and above 5% in all but 1 person. Another person showed 26.8% fat content at baseline having the highest liver fat content and hence was removed from the study. After this, there was a trend for lower liver fat after the LC diet (9.7%) than the MC (10.1%) and HC (11.5%) diets.
At baseline, all participants had at least 3 of the 5 MetS criteria. The number of participants who met 3, 4 and5 MetS criteria include 7, 6 and 3 respectively. After 4 weeks of intervention more than 50% of those in the LC group (9 of 16) did not meet MetS criteria but only 3 of 16 in the MC and 1 of 16 in the HC group were reversed of MetS criteria. Levels of triglycerides and glucose decreased while HDL-C levels increased. Insulin resistance was lower in the LC group compared to those following the MC diet but HC diet showed no changes. BP values showed no great change but the decrease in numbers were good enough to bring the values below that required for MetS classification in 14,9 and 5 participants after the LC, MC and HC diets.
Studies Supporting the LCHF Diet
The LCHF diet has been approved by the Swedish government as a treatment method for people with type 2 diabetes and also for effective weight loss. But we do have studies showing that insulin-stimulated glucose uptake into muscles and adipose tissue improves well with weight loss when a person follows a LCHF diet. There are no evidence of weight loss in animals when they are provided with a LCHF diet but they have been proved to cause lipid accumulation in the liver which affects insulin’s ability to reduce hepatic glucose production. An overview of studies showed advantageous effects of following a LCHF diet in diabetes patients and researchers were able to observe greater weight loss in favour of greater carbohydrates restriction.
A meta-analysis by Mansoor et al. on 11 randomized controlled studies showed that participants experienced a greater decrease in body weight and triglycerides when following a LCHF diet but there were also increased LDL levels observed in these individuals. Two other reviews concluded that LCHF diets had short-term benefits on diabetes management and weight loss but their long-term benefits have not yet been studied.
A High-fat Compared with a High-Carbohydrate Breakfast Enhances 24-hour Fat Oxidation in Older Adults: https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/148/2/220/4913034
Dietary Carbohydrate Restriction Improves Metabolic Syndrome Independent of Weight Loss: https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/128308
Overweight and Diabetes Prevention: Is a Low-carbohydrate—High-fat Diet Recommendable? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5959976/
Low-carbohydrate High-Fat Diet: Evidence of its Benefits: https://www.intechopen.com/books/diabetes-food-plan/low-carbohydrate-high-fat-lchf-diet-evidence-of-its-benefits
It was not long time back that I went to a cosy little café to meet my friend over coffee and catch up on all the interesting aspects of life. It was during one of the conversations about daily food habits that I shared my likes and dislikes with her-on my ever-growing love for the snow-white cauliflowers, green broccolis, the multi-layered cabbage and the dark green kale and Brussels sprouts. It was at this point that my friend interrupted and commented that ‘Oh! You love crucifers I guess!’ Though the word sounded strange initially I started coming across frequent usage of the very same word thereon-at the restaurant, in the gym or even in the play area in my apartment when I go down with my kid for some fresh air. Luckily, now is the prime season for most of these cruciferous vegetables that offer a plethora of goodness, refreshment and taste. Let’s look beyond cauliflower and Broccoli and expand our culinary choices to the 40+ vegetables that are consumed all around the world including those famous ones such as Bok choy, collard green, kale, radish, cabbage and mustard greens.
Any produce oozes nutritional power and cruciferous vegetables are indeed great for our well-being and health-they have a speciality on their own. What exactly is common among most of these crucifers? It is none other than the four petals that resemble a cross. The name ‘cruciferous’ is an informal classification for members of the mustard family originating from the Latin word Cruciferae meaning ‘cross bearing’. All these veggies belong to a family of plant called as Brassicaceae. Though each of them comes in different colours, shapes and sizes many of them share common benefits. Commonly consumed crucifers such as cabbage, Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale are rich sources of vitamins including B6, B2, K, C and folic acid; minerals such as potassium, magnesium and selenium; omega 3’s and soluble fibre. Dark green crucifers are houses to ample vitamins A and C apart from being rich in phytonutrients (compounds that lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer).
Famous for their Infamous Odour
Individuals come in all types and have all sorts of preferences. Some are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts; some are lactose intolerant and some others hate few vegetables such as radish and Brussels sprouts that have a pungent smell. The pungent smell emanating from certain vegetables isn’t something inviting and i believe many of you cannot stand the smell of it once you are done cooking the vegetable. Ironically, these veggies don’t emanate any smell even if they are placed right in front of your nose but send out odour only when you chop and cook. Most cruciferous vegetables have a unique smell and bitter flavour that’s due to the breaking down of sulphur-containing phytochemicals called glucosinolates. This break down happens when we cut or cook as there is damage to the cell walls and this damage releases an enzyme that breaks down glucosinolates into biologically active compounds called as isothiocyanates.
Research too shows that almost 25% of the world population is genetically sensitive to bitter taste and this makes them repulsive over certain foods that includes crucifers as well. Irrespective of the fact that you love or hate crucifers, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults to consume 1.5-2.5 cups of dark-green vegetables every week which includes cruciferous vegetables too. You can indulge in these vegetables by using the tips given below to make the consumption process more pleasant.
Roasting the vegetable caramelizes the vegetable making the sweetness more prominent and subsiding the bitter taste. You can even add a pinch of salt to lessen the bitter taste or drizzle some honey over the vegetable to enhance the sweeter taste thereby minimizing the bitterness. (https://chicagohealthonline.com/crunch-on-cruciferous-vegetables/).
Why Choose these Vegetables?
There have been ample theories that consuming cruciferous vegetables helps fight against cancer. Though studies on lab animals does show protection to the DNA and anti-inflammatory benefits we don’t have conclusive results on human studies. In lab animals eating crucifers has shown to inhibit cancers of the bladder, colon, breast, liver, lung and stomach by inactivating carcinogens, decreasing inflammation and inhibiting formation of tumour cells. Another study on elderly women showed that eating cruciferous vegetables benefited the hearts of the elderly women offering them security against vascular diseases while yet another one was linked to slower cognitive decline.
Despite its benefits, people with thyroid problems are prescribed to avoid consumption of these crucifers as they contain too high levels of goitrogens (glucosinolates and other chemicals in these veggies) that diminishes the functionality of the thyroid gland by disturbing iodine intake, the result of which is enlargement of the thyroid gland known as goiter (https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/diet-diary-food-intolerance-and-thyroid-disorders-directly-proportional/). We also have data suggesting that cooking these vegetables makes them thyroid-safe but their effects become significant when the veggie is consumed in huge quantities. If you are not sure about consuming cruciferous vegetables when you suffer from thyroid problems it is better to restrict their intake to one a week or once a fortnight. For others, whether you love or hate their pungent smell incorporating them in the diet is mandatory for a healthier living.
Science of Flavour: Cruciferous Vegetables: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/11/21/science-of-flavor-cruciferous-vegetables-brussels-sprouts/
Do Cruciferous Vegetables Really Fight Cancer? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/well/eat/do-cruciferous-vegetables-really-fight-cancer.html
Eat Your Brussels: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/05/eat-your-brussels-scientists-say-vegetable-provides-heart-benefits-to-older-women
The Wonderful Healing Power of Cruciferous Vegetables: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/05/eat-your-brussels-scientists-say-vegetable-provides-heart-benefits-to-older-women
Multitasking is an art that not everyone can master easily. While it comes naturally to some there are some others who push themselves to reign supremacy over it. The world today offers a plethora of choices and information but we are forced to perform and choose our preferred ones within the same 24 hours-a-day timespan. We haven’t yet discovered a time machine to bless us with more hours every day! Time is the most cherished commodity here as most of us either don’t have enough of it or lack it to fulfil many desirable activities and this includes physical activity and exercising as well. But I must accept that we have become much better in investing some quality time for daily exercise routines at least with the increasing cases of heart failures and cancer rates witnessed in the younger population. ‘Quality’ time does sound booming and worthy but the question here is whether we are really spending ‘quality’ time-this doesn’t involve allocating 60 or 90 minutes for workout but whether or not we are focused on the workout done! This stands as a big question mark in this digitally revolutionized world that hopes to get the world under its feet with its technology feat!
Diverting Your Focus for Increased Productivity
By distractions I don’t mean the music that’s played while working out at the gym or the small talks that you have while going for your brisk walk at the park. Indeed, listening to music or talking with your friend are motivating factors. A fast song helps you increase your pace and a brisk walking mate motivates you to walk faster while on a morning walk with her/him. But do you read the newspaper while cycling on the stationary bike or become immersed in a telephonic conversation while on the treadmill? Then that must be revisited. It is better to hold onto something that does push you to exercise. You also need to look at the effects of some motivating factors such as watching a movie on the TV screen, listening to radio news or talking to a friend as there are some do’s and don’ts concerning them. Never doubt the benefits of music as it relaxes your mind and releases pleasure hormones. There are some who eagerly wait to hit the gym to finish off the last episode of their favourite series or listen to an interesting podcast. In such cases, the individual focuses more on the entertainment at hand which slows the individual’s pace as the mind is onto something else more interesting. Unable to focus equally on two different things the pace of the workout automatically declines bringing down the entire productivity.
Visual distractions should be handled carefully-for instance, a television should be placed at eye level else straining to look at it can change the posture thereby ruining the workout. Group workouts have been sought after these days by more and more individuals who rely on their group members for being regular. Most of the individuals in the group refrain from missing a class due to a motivating friend. It also helps people push themselves beyond their limits and achieve newer results as every person in the group wants to prove his/her worth, surpass records and become the best performer. Until now it is a motivation but it can turn into a distraction any time soon. If your motivating friend missed classes due to some unavoidable reasons you might as well miss the class-you become too dependent on the friend and now this has affected your performance as well. Group workouts can make you lazy as well (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/fitness/Group-workout-motivation-or-distraction/articleshow/12233009.cms). Resting between sessions and sets is required but when the focus is diverted towards chatting and lazing around the motive behind the workout is lost. The group becomes a distraction indeed. You need to draw a firm line and choose your way-are you going to make your group the motivating factor or the distracting one?
Disconnect to Reconnect
Technology is the most distracting factor while involved in a workout. We have been accustomed to check our emails, notifications and chat windows every few minutes but doing the same during exercising puts you on a lost trail. Our smartphones prohibit us from staying focused on a task at hand-hearing a notification sound or the feel of vibration is more than enough to bring about distraction. Answering a call is worse-once you are done talking you go about checking for all other things in your tiny gadget. Hence, it is better to turn off notifications while working out or ignore it until you are done with the activity session. Its best to set your phone in airplane mode as this helps you avoid calls as well as notifications.
Instead of doing all of this isn’t it best to leave your phone somewhere out of sight while you exercise? Maybe in the gym locker or better at home. You always can use your iPod or the gym’s stereo system for music. If you are exercising at home it is even more challenging as you are overloaded with distractions from all sides-the blaring television volume, the screaming kids or the alluring mobile phones. So, if possible, set aside an exercise space that doesn’t include any of these or go out for your workout-maybe a jog/walk in the running track or perform yoga at the local park nearby. Exercising outdoors has its own perks-beyond providing physical benefits its refreshing to your mind as well. Beyond all, schedule your workout time. If you don’t do it there are negligible chances that you will follow physical activity schedules. Dedicate 100% of your efforts during this time for exercising devoid of smartphone sounds, rising email counts and notification alerts.
We rely on our fitness apps and wearables for tracking exercise progress but this doesn’t mean that you have to look at it every 30 seconds for monitoring progress. Forget about the device after starting the workout and look at the results only after you are done. Analyse the results and find ways to improve performance before beginning the workout the next time. We are ruled by our digital devices and smartphones and there is no chance for doing away with them in this world. Its up to us to manage technology use such that it does not hamper our efforts or become our own leaders. Learn to unplug from technology once a while, spend time exclusively with your own self and get the best of your fitness sessions. Break off from boredom, fatigue and pain by designing your own methods to combat them.
Concentrate on the Workout? No, Thanks: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/fashion/18FITNESS.html
Group Workout, Motivation or Distraction? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/fitness/Group-workout-motivation-or-distraction/articleshow/12233009.cms
Staying Focused in the Era of Digital Distractions: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/staying-focused-in-the-era-of-digital-distractions
The tiny ants, buzzing bees, creepy caterpillars and the lush green grasshoppers have etched a place for themselves in history now-beyond being a source of disgust and fear for children and many adults alike, these insects are now considered as a valuable source of nutrition. Yes, you have read it right! Eating insects is not something new to us-man was omnivorous since early development and relied on insects as a source of protein (in the absence of meat from vertebrates) before he could get his hands on tools for hunting and farming. For centuries, individuals in Asia, South America and Europe consumed native insect species and the trend still continues in more than 113 countries worldwide where around 2000 edible insects including ants, bees, wasps, caterpillars, crickets, beetles and grasshoppers are consumed. When the trend has been in practice since ages what exactly garners attention on these insects now?
A Ray of Hope in a Malnourished World
We are well-aware that malnutrition is killing people and leaving millions susceptible to life-threatening consequences in most developing countries such as Asia and Africa. There are 150 million kids who don’t consume the suggested amount of nutrients or energy for growth and development and almost 52% of them reside in South Asia and 21% of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. This makes edible insects a sheer pleasure to eat for people residing in developing countries-India has identified 24 edible insect varieties and Africa has reported around 246 edible varieties. We don’t have sufficient food today to cover the needs of each individual surviving on this Earth and if projections are accurate, the world population would exceed over 9 billion by 2050 and, we would require almost double times the food production as of that happening currently.
Entomophagy (the use of insects as food) which was until now seen with disgust and considered as a primitive form of behavior by people in Western countries has taken a U-turn and we can now see grasshoppers eaten as street food in Mexico, insect rice is widely accepted in USA and bee or wasp larvae/adults are considered to be an expensive delicacy in Japan (in sushi and more). When we look at the reason behind such a drastic change in the last couple of decades, we can clearly define that rise in nutrient needs, especially the demand for protein sources exists as the primary reason behind its acceptance and usage. Most edible insects are great sources of energy, protein, amino acids, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins like riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin and folic acid and trace elements such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. The nutritional value also depends on the variability of the species, the stage of metamorphosis of the insect, its diet and origin and also changes depending on the preparation and processing method of the same. For instance, larvae/pupae contain higher energy compared to adults and high-protein insects contain lower energy content. Protein content of insects are only a tad lesser than the protein content in animals and almost higher than most plant proteins. Fat content are highest in the larval stage of insects with caterpillars containing greater amount of fats. Fiber is yet another nutrients that’s present in significant quantities in these insects with chitin being the most common form of fiber in the insect body. Chitin presence is greatly valued as it helps to improve immunity of certain groups of people and reduce allergic reaction in some other individuals.
Though people in developing countries consume insects mainly for sustenance of life these creatures offer more than this! A study in Thailand proved that eating 100 grams of insects had equal or even more calories than that of equal weight of commonly consumed livestock except pork. Some varieties of insects found in China offer more proteins than those in most plants, meats and eggs. People in developing countries not only suffer from protein deficiency but also lack most of the macronutrients and micronutrients. A study by Womeni and others on six insect species from sub-Saharan Africa analysed for their lipid and fatty acid content showed that these were not only rich in fat but also a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Iron deficiency is the world’s most common nutritional disorder and the good news is that many of the edible insects are excellent iron sources whose ranges exceed that of common animal sources. Insects are also good sources of zinc. Still, protein malnutrition exists as the topmost cause of health problems in developing countries owing to higher costs associated with animal foods. Every 1 in 5 kids under the age of 5 are victims of protein deficiency while the demand for meat is only steadily increasing. It is only ideal that we come up with alternate protein sources to meet the rising demands and studying the relevancy of insects as authentic protein sources makes complete sense.
Protein Quality of Insects Available in Nigeria
Nigeria has a diverse collection of insects and a group of researchers interested in analysing insects as a source of protein determined the protein quality of some of the commonly consumed insects in Nigeria and the effect of dietary supplementation of these insects on albino rats. Termites, cricket, grasshopper and moth caterpillars were some of the insects that were primarily focused in the study. All the insects were washed, their wings removed, sun dried, powdered and stored in plastic containers. Amino acid profile was analysed using a Technicon sequential Multi-sample Amino Acid Analyser (TSM) and the score was calculated based on the amino acid requirements for preschool children aged between 2 and 5 years. Protein quality of each insect was calculated using growth methods (such as protein efficiency ratio (PER) and net protein ratio and biological value (BV)), nitrogen balance methods and protein digestibility corrected for amino acid score (PDCAAS) method.
The researchers formulated six diets each of which contained 10% of test proteins and used 36 young male weanling albino rats almost 21-28 days old. The animals were divided into six groups of 6 rats in each with each group fed as below:
Group 1: N-free basal diet
Group 2: Casein diet
Group 3-6: Fed with diets containing insect sample as the sole source of protein
All the rats were fed the respective diets for 28 days and a 24h feeding trial was conducted with the daily intake calculated using feed remnants and subtracting it from total amount of feed given to them in the first place. The rats were measured of their body weight at the start of the study and then on a weekly basis until the end of study. PER, PDCAAS and net protein ratio (NPR) values were calculated using formulas.
The insects considered for study contained all 20 naturally occurring amino acids proving that they are rich sources of both essential (grasshopper contained the most abundant amino acid, threonine and caterpillar contained the least abundant with methionine) and non-essential (glutamic acid was most abundant and cystine was least abundant) amino acids. At week 1 rats fed with termite diet had least intake and crickets contributed to highest intake. The other rats fed with basal, grasshopper, termite and moth caterpillar diets did not show any significant difference. During third week, intake of rats fed with casein decreased and those fed with moth caterpillar increased with other insect intakes showing no significant difference. At week 4, rats fed with cricket had highest intake and those fed with basal diet lost a great weight after the first week until the end of experiment while those fed with casein diet had a slight loss of weight after week 1 but improved during the upcoming weeks. Rats fed with moth caterpillar and grasshopper lost weight during week 1 and 2 but gained weight by week 4. On the whole, those rats fed with cricket displayed significantly higher weight gain than those placed on supplemented diets.
Protein: Cricket had the highest PER and NPR values and termites had lowest PER and NPR values. Casein displayed higher value for true digestibility compared to other insect proteins while termites displayed higher digestibility compared to cricket, moth and grasshopper proteins. Casein displayed least biological value and cricket had the highest biological value. Rats fed with casein supplementation had highest serum concentration of albumin and those fed with basal diet had lowest concentration of serum albumin while those fed with cricket and moth caterpillar diets showed no change in serum concentrations. Total protein concentration of rats feeding on caterpillar and cricket was comparable to that of rats fed with casein while total protein concentration of those rats fed with basal, grasshopper and termite diets were lower than those placed on casein supplement diets. Total protein concentration of rats fed on casein diets was similar to the result of those placed on moth caterpillar and cricket diets but higher than those placed on other diets.
The study clearly showed that cricket had the highest protein quality compared to termite, grasshopper and moth caterpillars (these contained lowest quantity due to the deficiency of sulphur containing amino acids and isoleucine). At the same time, these insects are good sources of essential amino acids such as lysine and can be used as complementary staple food.
It does seem that consuming insects seems appealing in terms of protein content and nutrients. All that needs to be done now is to overcome the disgust and ‘yucky’ feeling to accommodate the needs of the growing population demands.
Protein Quality of Four Indigenous Edible Insect Species in Nigeria: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453017301015
Insect Protein: A Sustainable and Healthy Alternative to Animal Protein? https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/149/4/545/5428116
Edible Insects as a Protein Source: A Review of Public Perception, Processing Technology & research Trends: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6728817/
Edible Insects as a Means to Address Global Malnutrition & Food Insecurity Issues: https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/2/1/17/4911878
Nutritional & Sensory Quality of Edible Insects: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364616300013
When was the last time you had a cup of coffee relaxing in your balcony lazing over a weekend? If you can’t remember when, then I guess this needs some attention! Life has become robotic and individuals are busy with back-to-back schedules most of the days. The concept of weekend leisure has also been diminishing with work-from-home options ruining our peace completely. Adults adulterate leisure time with office calls and quick log-ins to complete some pending activity while children are left to their own even while on a vacation. This makes stress and anxiety man’s best friend which is evident with the rising depression rates and retirements even before reaching 50. One thing is certain: we have all forgotten to rest and relax. Maybe its high time to set things right and enjoy a solid break!
Busy Bees, Make Time to be Free
Response to “How’s life?” includes typical answers such as busy or very busy by those in their 20s, 30s, 40s or even 50s. We have started equating being busy with being important or in demand. I have a relation who loves to boast wherever he goes to with a response that he has important work in some other place. At office he tells that he is very busy at home with some important stuff and at home he comments that he is the busiest person at office. He never goes out with family, never spends time with kids nor sits down to talk to his wife. What is he trying to establish here? Whereas, my dad, a doctor by profession despite his busy schedule and his commitments towards his patients allocates Sunday evenings for his family every week without fail irrespective of his tiredness or late-night cases. He plans for one or two trips every year to make sure that he gets to spend quality time with his ‘precious gems in life’. Haha, that’s how he calls us 😊 This is not a quality that’s present in every human being, especially those in time-demanding professions. We have two contrasting cases here where both men have used their time and situation differently. What makes them do it this way? It is purely based on the way they prioritize things. While one person prioritizes work the other prioritizes work as well as includes his family in his life. The doctor brings on much more cheer to himself and his family compared to the relation here. Relaxing and unwinding is mandatory in life.
Even during times of Socrates mankind has been warned about the barrenness of a busy life (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/dec/07/self-and-wellbeing-how-to-rest-relaxation-gardening-travel). Life becomes monotonous without any spice to it. But now taking a break or not being busy makes us guilty, this feeling has been embedded in working women especially, as they are overfilled with guilt for not spending enough time with the child. Resting doesn’t mean replacing your busy day with total inactivity. Be active, be engaged but also ensure to take proper breaks without being guilty and stressed. Rest is interpreted in different ways and it once again depends on the individual to rest in his/her preferred way. It might be coping with lost sleeping hours; it might be reading a book keeping it down only when you are finished; going for a walk or jog can also be your choice of resting if it helps your mind to refresh; a day at the spa; even taking a leisure hair bath or spending time with kids too! Ultimately, your choice to rest and refresh must make you feel happier, rejuvenated and energetic to go back to your routine once again.
Active Or Inactive Resting?
Being busy with multiple projects and deadlines at office is not the only way to lose energy or become tired. It is crucial to understand that women and men (rarest of the rare as our society still doesn’t accept nor treat such men with equal stature and dignity) who stay at home to ensure welfare of the family are even more affected with the daily uninteresting and banal routine. These guys don’t even have people around them to chat or laugh, are imposed with workload every single day, don’t have an off during weekends and above all, aren’t richly paid for the job done as we treat it as their ‘duty’. How shameful! Everyone loves being rewarded for a work well done. Bosses reward you at office with promotions, teachers and parents reward children with food- and non-food rewards. But what about those at home? Refraining from cooking a meal and relaxing, going to the gym for an hour daily, taking a power nap, taking a pedicure service or being showered with a bunch of roses for a tasty meal are their rewards and ways to rest.
Office goers too need to take breaks while at office. Maybe a short 5 minute walk every two hours, stretching the body every hour or getting some fresh air by simply standing out away from the computer screen too helps. Its not wrong to take a break from the computer screen to even read a newspaper for a while, solve a crossword puzzle or call up a loved one to keep your mind sharp and focused. Working efficiently and not continuously must be the goal. Our mind is not a computer that can work continuously. It needs time to replenish lost energy and when you don’t follow the simple ones suggested here you are bound to reach saturation earlier than you expect.
These days, going for a vacation has been deemed as the most sought-after way to relax. This is good in every sense as you are with your family and visiting a new place refreshes you. It even makes you less connected with social media unless you are always clicking and posting photos on Instagram! But a vacation should be a vacation away from electronic gadgets, office laptops and work. You need to decide to spend quality time with your loved ones and take an oath to never touch your laptop or phone unless its an emergency. Some people might go on a trip but their entire mind is on the pending work back at office. This is not going to help you relax in any way and it might only add more stress. Avoid this by doing the most important tasks last three days before taking off and list down the important ones that need immediate attention once you are back https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonselk/2019/04/11/relax-you-have-earned-it/#7e572dd9d182).
Having a to-do list is good but it must contain reasonable items that can be completed within the stipulated time. Don’t list items just for the sake of boasting about your busy schedules or to conquer your ego. When there is clarity on the things that need attention you will surely complete your priorities. Take up something every day that helps you disengage from your routine, free the mind and bring back lost energy to move on with the day. It could be just 15 minutes doing gardening (relaxes mind and body), preparing a hot cup of coffee and drinking at a leisure pace or having a good laugh with your neighbour-anything that satisfies you.
Stressed? Maybe Rest Can be Your New Hustle: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rodgerdeanduncan/2019/11/05/so-what-if-youre-stressed-maybe-rest-can-be-your-new-hustle/#640f6edd3429
The Most Productive Ways to Take Breaks at Work: https://www.forbes.com/sites/francesbridges/2018/09/29/most-productive-ways-to-take-breaks/#62e3f11b6f9b
Ever experienced the awkwardness of blowing into a tube to get yourself checked for alcohol consumption by a police official? Late-night partying, thrilling beverages and speeding cars that whoosh through the roads are a common sight these days and the number of people who get themselves into drinks and drugs are steadily increasing. It is a funny sight to see officials holding a tube and asking you to take the alcohol test when you are simply returning from your night shift work or a late-night movie at the theater. But the same rule helps in saving lives of thousand others on the roads by avoiding road accidents daily. This comes as no surprise but the very fact that blowing into a tube might be used to test conditions of athletes and other people who want to lose weight comes as a shocking surprise to many.
Straying Away from the Basics
Weight loss is not complex nor is it simple. You need to get your basics right, work hard and strive vigorously to achieve success. Weight loss/gain is the result of the difference between calories consumed and calories expelled. Any RDN or health expert’s suggestion for weight loss would be to workout regularly, shed more calories than you consume and lead a disciplined lifestyle. Endurance training/exercises are suggested for maximized benefits but they must be performed along with other exercises that improve strength, balance and flexibility. Get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to lose weight in an effective and practical way that’s based on science.
Its not needed nor is it practically possible to perform all types of exercises daily. Rotate between exercises and do what’s needed to keep you fit and trim. Also called as aerobic exercises, endurance workouts focus on increasing breathing and heart rate. Excellent examples of such exercises include swimming, jogging, walking, climbing steps and playing a sport (any favorite sport of yours such as basketball, football, tennis or likewise). These endurance exercises are like a dream-come-true for athletes and other individuals who wish to lose excess fat off the body. That’s because, during endurance training the body not only burns carbohydrates but also fat. When does the body start burning fat? This question is now answered with the help of analyzing biomarkers in the blood or urine. This needs a patient’s time, his/her blood or urine sample and lab analysis. The entire process has been simplified with the help of a study that’s developed a new approach to test the time at which fat begins to burn off the body and this is none other than by testing an individual for his/her exhalation during exercise.
Hail the New Exhalation Process
A group of researchers requested a group of volunteers who had completed a 90-minute exercise session with 2 breaks in between to blow into a tube that was connected to an acetone sensor at short intervals. The researchers could easily show that the acetone concentration varied greatly between individuals.
We have it that individuals and athletes start burning fat only after reaching a specific physical exertion point and on attaining a specific heart rate but this study drops this concept dead into the sea. Lipolysis or fat burning started only at the end of the 90-minute exercise session in few athletes but the same started earlier than normal in few other athletes.
The research team boasts of its technology being inexpensive, timely yet highly accurate. All these makes it worthwhile wherever the technology is used-be it at a fitness center, at your house or by someone who’s on a strict diet.
There is no shortage of information and advice on what to eat for health and what not to eat for weight loss. As the end-user, it’s in our hands to distinguish between healthy and fad diet trends and take up the best advises. Given here are five crisp suggestions that can help you decide whether or not something is nutritious.
Who is a nutritionist and what does the word mean? In a few circumstances it actually means nothing and is often used in the wrong context mostly by individuals who have no formal training in nutrition science. There are even online diploma courses on nutrition that provide the individual with no beneficial qualification nor title and the person is equipped in no way to provide sound nutritional guidance. Rather, look for people with a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) credential as they are the ones who have passed a national examination, met academic standards, completed required practice sessions and keep themselves in par with continuing professional requirements to continue standard practice and maintain registration.
Others who can qualify as experts in the nutrition field include those with a master’s or doctorate degree in a nutrition-related field. Certain medical doctors (MD) and osteopathic doctors (DO) have additional qualification, such as nutrition training, along with their specialization. Given such broad category of specialists, it is wise to look into each of these and pick our required RD/RDN before jumping into conclusions without any knowledge.
We see numerous promises and headlines regarding weight loss in newspapers and media every day that can never be true. When you delve into the details you are annoyed yet amazed by the crafty wordings and luscious messages-Can you really lose 7 kgs in 7 days? Is it possible to lose weight without exercising? Should you completely refrain from eating foods from one particular food group? Such luring statements and easy solutions are extremely common in the nutrition, weight loss and supplement worlds. Mind you, when a tagline sounds just like the one you dream about, there is almost 100% chance that it is not true.
Celebrity-endorsed products began to flabbergast public during the initial days of advertisements. This technique proved to be successful for marketing people as the general public was decoyed by such ads and started using these products. But testimonials in the food and nutrition world work on a different platform. Testimonials might promise glowing skin, increased energy or improved muscle strength due to some supplement, superfood or pill. Ask yourself-Is the model glowing bright with radiance due to the brand of water that she drinks? Is the actor talented so much that he does not need a dupe because of the pre-workout supplement that he takes? Analyze the claims such as ‘feel younger’, ‘have more energy’ and ‘lose weight quickly’ behind these testimonials and confirm if it is really proved.
Fake news can encroach not only politics but also any other industry. Food and nutrition industry can go to any extent to publicize themselves and their products. They even have the ability to set up fake sites or stories to look reliable and believable to sell their stuff. If you feel dissatisfied or suspicious after reading a particular nutrition news story, you need to understand that it might be a paid advertisement and not an authentic publication news.
Hundreds of dietary supplements rolled out in the market contain prescription drugs and chemicals that are prohibited in any over-the-counter products. Keep reading the newspapers and look out for authentic news from the FDA to be aware of the latest trending supplement scams.
Whom to Believe?
Not all nutrition news is false. There are plenty of reliable nutrition information that just needs to be filtered properly and used correctly. Look for authentic government nutrition websites and believe those sites written by government-approved/qualified RDs/RDNs who are experts in the nutrition field.
The eatery around the corner of the road seemed exciting with its widespread varieties at nominal pricing and a great ambience. You plan for a weekend get-together and have a blast. Back home you prepare to go to sleep but something prevents you from falling asleep. There is a sense of unease, a vomiting sensation and nausea. Alas, hit by food poisoning indeed!
Anyone can be affected by food poisoning which is an illness caused by foodborne pathogens contaminating the food. Certain groups of people such as infants, pregnant women, elderly population and those with chronic diseases such as kidney problems, diabetes and HIV are at an increased risk of contracting the illness which can have debilitating side effects such as grave illnesses or even death sometimes. Every person buying, cooking and eating food must ensure the following to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
The first step towards safeguarding from food poisoning starts with buying things at the supermarket. It is highly essential to check food labels for the ‘sell by’ date, check fruit juices to ensure that they have the ‘pasteurized’ label on them and buy milk, cheese and dairy products from the refrigerated section.
If you are planning to get meat choose it only if each portion of meat is wrapped in separate packaging and once purchased, place the meat at the bottom of the shopping cart. The packet must be freezing cold and tightly packet to guarantee freshness. Purchase of any perishables must be done with the idea of directly going home after purchasing the perishable (as it must be refrigerated within two hours).
Do’s & Don’ts
The kitchen towels, vessels, your hand and especially the wash area are thriving sites for food contamination. To ensure a safe cooking environment the first and foremost thing is to wash your hands before and after meal preparation for at least 20 seconds in soapy water. Wash the veggies thoroughly in running water and ensure that the kitchen counter including microwaves and refrigerators are clean before starting to cook.
It is always recommended to use two cutting boards-one for cooking raw meat, fish and poultry and the other one for cooking veggies and other plant-based dishes and ready-to-eat food. Once everything is ready and you start cooking be sure that harmful bacteria are killed by cooking to a proper internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to check that meat and poultry are cooked to a safe temperature. Perplexed over cooking foods to different internal temperatures and doubtful of the correct ranges? Don’t worry as www.firsteatright.com is there for you to sort this issue in a jiffy!
It doesn’t end with buying and cooking food but storing them is important as well. Any perishable food must be refrigerated within two hours of purchasing/cooking. The fridge thermometer must be used to ensure that the freezer as well as the refrigerator are chill enough to store food properly. Remember, just because the food is sitting inside the chiller it doesn’t mean that you can consume it anytime. The maximum shelf life of these foods is three days or so.
Dining out is fun but ensure safety by requesting an explanation on the food preparation method to ensure that it does not contain uncooked ingredients. If you are served with a slightly uncooked portion of food it is recommended that you send it back without any hesitation. Never eat any egg products that are half-cooked (such as salad dressings and desserts) and avoid raw shellfish, oysters, sushi and lightly steamed seafood such as snails and mussels.
Despite following these safety measures if you doubt food poisoning following certain symptoms please get in touch with a physician immediately.
Nail art and manicure are more popular than before but we don’t give the same importance to nail health. A general examination includes checking the heart rate, BP, blood sugar levels and many more but have we ever taken care to inspect our toenails and fingernails as part of a physical examination? Our nails mirror our internal health and when a physician masters the art of diagnosing nail changes, he/she has the capability to present himself/herself as an excellent diagnostician. The basic requirement for treating a problem is excellent diagnosis and once this is done the problem is as good as almost solved! This was first initiated by Hippocrates when he came up with clubbing by trousseau followed by numerous other systemic associations by many others.
Each nail includes a nail matrix, the lunula (half-moon shaped area), the nail fold, the nail plate and the nail bed. The nail matrix extends up to the lunula and is responsible for nail plate production. The nail bed extends from the lunula up to the free edge of the nail and gets its reddish colour from optimal blood supply. Most changes or problems that can be diagnosed include changes to the nail plate (discoloration, lines, bands, grooves, altered shapes and attachment to nail bed), nail bed or nail folds. While systemic diseases impact nail matrix growth diabetes, drugs and sepsis affect nail folds. Genetic disorders too affect nail growth but the changes in nail anatomy caused due to internal changes is more difficult to diagnose and needs keen observation.
All the 20 nails are clearly visible to us and this clarity makes it easier to observe and use them as a diagnostic tool. All the nails must be observed after removal of nail polish (if present) to enable correct diagnosis.
Nail Shape Abnormalities
Koilonychia: Also known as spoon-shaped nails (as the nail shape is so bad that it can contain a drop of water), this is a reverse curvature in the transverse and longitudinal axis of nail plates giving them a concave appearance. This might be due to conditions such as iron-deficiency anaemia (commonly seen), malnutrition, thyroid, coronary disease, traumatic injury, upper gastrointestinal malignancy or occupational (commonly seen). Mostly seen in infants it disappears during growing years but old age and digital ischemia are also common causes for the disease.
Clubbing: There is an increased nail plate curvature longitudinally and transversely with soft tissue hypertrophy of the digital pulp involving all 20 digits. As this problem is associated with innumerable conditions it’s been split into three major categories: idiopathic, hereditary-congenital and acquired. Systemic diseases such as cyanotic congenital heart disease, lung cancer, infective endocarditis, lung abscess, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis and hepatic cirrhosis exist as risk factors. It might also be signs of AIDS in HIV-positive kids.
Dolichonychia: Here, the length of nails surpasses the width of nail. This condition is mostly associated with Marfan’s syndrome and hypopituitarism.
Brachyonychia: Here, the width of the nail is small compared to the length being a sign of hyperparathyroidism and psoriatic arthropathy indicating early bone resorption.
Parrot beak nail: The edge of the fingernails are deformed in the shape of a parrot’s beak (hence the name) bending around the shortened fingertip. It is seen in severe acrosclerosis with distal phalangeal resorption due to scleroderma.
Macronychia & Micronychia: The nails of the affected finger are either too large or too small compared to other nails nearby. While Macronychia might be due to local gigantism Micronychia may be linked to plexiform neuromas.
Problems with Nail Attachments
Onycholysis: The nail plates and nail beds are separated from each other and the areas of separation appear yellow or white due to presence of air beneath the nail and sequestered debris. The cause of origin is more alongside conditions such as trauma, psoriasis, fungus and contact irritant reaction than systemic diseases such as thyroid, vitamin C deficiency, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, lung cancer, T-cell leukaemia and anaemia.
Pterygium: This involves scarring of the nail matrix classically seen in lichen planus and commonly seen in burns, graft versus host disease, radiodermatitis, lupus and cicatricial pemphigoid.
Conditions Associated with Nail Surface
Longitudinal Ridging: Do you see vertical lines occupying your entire nail surface? Then these imply long-lasting abnormalities such as nail-patella syndrome, systemic amyloidosis, collagen vascular diseases, graft versus host disease and rheumatoid arthritis or it might also be due to a minor trauma (this is the root cause in most cases). Central ridges might also be due to iron, folic acid or protein deficiency.
Beau’s lines: These are not true lines but transverse grooves in the nail plates arising from temporary suppression of nail growth within the nail matrix when an individual is under stress or faced with systemic illnesses such as heart attack, fever, exposure to extreme cold, stress and poor nutritional status. If in case the grooves are present in all 20 nails it is the result of systemic disease such as mumps, pneumonia, coronary thrombosis, Kawasaki disease, syphilis and hypoparathyroidism.
Nail pitting: Here the keratin layer is not intact in the proximal matrix with a number of parakeratotic cells in the nail plate surface.
Onychochizia: Trauma leads to horizontal splitting of the nail toward its distal portion called as lamellar splitting of nails.
Changes in Nail Colour
Leukonychia: if you notice white discoloration of nails it must be leukonychia which can be subdivided into three types namely true, apparent and pseudo. It is either true or apparent that is mostly linked to systemic diseases.
Mees lines: These are present as traverse white lines 1-2 mm wide horizontally spanning the width of the nail plate and occurring in all fingernails. Mostly due to arsenic poisoning it helps the patient uncover the exact time of the poisoning as the lines appear two months after the incident. Other causes include renal failures, breast cancer, ulcerative colitis, infections such as measles and tuberculosis, lupus and exposure to toxic metals such as thallium.
Muehrcke lines: These are double white transverse lines covering the width of the nail bed running parallel to the distal lunula. These lines are mostly reported in patients suffering from liver disease, malnutrition, chemotherapy, organ transplant, HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. They might also be due to metabolic stress when the patient lacks the ability to synthesize proteins.
Lindsay nail: This is leukonychia with a normal proximal half and abnormal brownish discoloured distal half commonly seen in patients with chronic kidney disease having uremic renal failure.
Terry nail: Leukonychia having the presence of white proximal and normal distal nails associated with congestive cardiac failure, adult-onset diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease, hemodialysis and HIV.
Melanonychia: This is the appearance of brown-black vertical lines in the nail plate due to trauma, bacterial, fungal or HIV infection, drug therapy, endocrine disorders, exogenous pigmentation and excess melanin production.
Cyanosis: A blue or purple discoloration of the nail bed due to decreased oxygen supply causes accumulation of deoxyhaemoglobin in the small blood vessels of the extremities. This might occur as a result of cold, congestive cardiac failure and peripheral vascular disease.
Icterus: This manifests in the form of yellow discoloration of the mucosae due to bilirubin deposition in extreme cases representing a severe form of liver disease.
Splinter haemorrhages: This is due to extravasation of blood from the longitudinal blood vessels of the nail bed due to psoriasis and in some cases due to infective endocarditis and rheumatic heart disease.
Yellow nail syndrome: Mostly linked to systemic diseases such as lymphedema and compromised respiration (due to pleural effusion) it leads to yellow or yellow-green discoloration of the nails.
Red lunula: Red coloration might be visible in the distal region of the lunula in the nail bed or be demarcated by a pale line commonly occurring as a result of collagen vascular disease, cardiac failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cirrhosis, psoriasis and CO poisoning.
Inherited Diseases: Sometimes, rare diseases such as Hailey-Hailey disease (mutation of ATP2A2 gene) and Darier disease (mutation of ATP2C1 gene) lead to white longitudinal bands in the nails that’s of varied widths besides having vesicular eruptions in the flexural skin area including the neck, groin and axilla. Some patients (92-95% patients) with Darier disease might have alternating streaks of red and white called as ‘candy cane’.
Glomus Tumour: This is a benign neoplasm that originates from a neuromyoarterial glomus body (located all through the body but available in greater numbers at the fingertips mostly beneath the nails). This makes nails a viable place for glomus tumor. The nails suffer from intense, pulsatile pain that’s sensitive to cold and there is tenderness after pin-point palpation of the tumor.
Onychopapilloma: This is a benign idiopathic tumor that prevails as the common cause behind localized longitudinal erythronychia. Asymptomatic, less common benign conditions include warts, benign vascular proliferation, a solitary lesion of lichen planus and postsurgical scarring of the nail matrix. Polydactyl erythronychia occurs as red streaks in multiple nails and exists as the main symptom behind lichen planus or Darier disease. Sometimes it is also linked to systemic amyloidosis, hemiplegia, graft-vs-host disease or pseudobulbar syndrome.
Nail as a Window of Systemic Diseases: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4375768/
Evaluation of Nail Lines: Colour & Shape Hold Clues: https://mdedge-files-live.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/files/s3fs-public/issues/articles/Lipner_NailLines.pdf
Nail Evaluation in Internal Diseases: An Indispensable Exercise: http://www.amhsjournal.org/article.asp?issn=2321-4848;year=2017;volume=5;issue=2;spage=269;epage=274;aulast=Gopal
I guess that many of you are reading this article while walking with your iPad or tablet in hand. Such is the effect of a constant overpouring of articles, studies and research that many of us are quite afraid to even sit down and work. Suddenly it seems as though sitting is a sin and this trend has started quite recently but from where did the idea originate? It was as early as 1950s that the link between illness and sitting emerged when researchers found London bus drivers to be twice likelier to suffer from heart attacks compared to their bus conductor colleagues. Our increasingly sedentary lifestyle has paved way for such tremendous interest in the ills of sitting. To get away with your inactive lifestyle and bring in changes for the better (in terms of exercise, diet and stress) get in touch with our reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Adding Up the Hours
When you just think over your chances of sitting in a day the list seems huge-while eating breakfast, at work, inside the classroom, in the car/train/bus, meeting someone for a coffee/chat and in front of the television. For those who don’t work maybe their television viewing time increases, reading a book might be a hobby that involves sitting or they might attend classes (some art form, music or cooking) which again involve a period of sitting continuously. Sitting poses a serious threat to children and adults alike with both long-term and short-term impacts. It is imperative that you sit less despite the fact that you do ample exercise and stay active as a new study suggests that sitting for extended periods might have serious consequences on the heart. More the time that people sit greater the chances that they will injure their heart muscles.
Too much of sitting has been linked to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and other such problems despite the fact that these people do exercise. Another serious consequence is that sitting for prolonged periods can result in heart failure wherein the heart becomes weak and unable to pump enough blood to supply oxygen to the rest of the body. It’s surprising that such a passive act as sitting which has no relationship with the heart is linked to heart failure. This invoked the curiosity of a group of researchers who began to study about troponins.
These are proteins produced by cardiac muscle cells and released when the heart muscle has been damaged. Greater the damage to the heart higher is the level of troponin production. If heart attack strikes an overwhelming amount of troponin is released into the bloodstream. It is worthy to note that slightly high troponin levels greater than what defines a heart attack is an indication that there is something wrong with the heart muscle and the damage is on the increase. If this is not stopped it would ultimately lead to heart failure. The question that remains unanswered is whether sitting increases troponin levels.
The research group studied more than 1,700 participants who were devoid of heart disease, chest pain or shortness of breath. All the participants had completed cardiac testing, given blood samples, provided health information and wore activity trackers for a week. The research team checked the participants’ blood samples for troponin levels and also looked onto the tracker to get hold of how much or little they moved in general. It was found that most of the participants were prone to sitting for 10 or more hours daily and were highly unlikely to exercise. Very few of them exercised (mostly walked) although not a lot but the higher they exercised the less sedentary they became. Such limited physical activity resulted in normal levels of troponin while those participants who exercised more were likelier to have lower amounts of troponin. Whereas, people who sat for 10 or more hours possessed higher amounts of troponin. While these levels were well-below the levels indicative of heart attack it was clearly shown that such participants were at an increased risk to suffer from cardiac injury any time. These results remained unaltered despite controlling other factors such as age, gender, body mass index and cardiac function that could affect troponin levels.
This study clearly shows that sitting was linked to unhealthy troponin levels but one has to remember that this was an observational study which can only show that sitting is linked to high troponin and does not cause troponin to rise. An inactive lifestyle is associated with a greater risk of obesity, insulin resistance and fat deposition in the heart. Hence, it is absolutely necessary that you move more and sit less for a healthier being.
Pregnancy is a bliss and childbirth a blessing. Each of us would love to hold our newborns, cuddle them and shower our love and affection onto them. While the wait for our kid is pretty long and any normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks I am sure that each of you would agree with me that the results are worth the wait! Nature designates a definite timeframe for each and every living being in this world. Right from the time taken for the birth of a child to the time taken for the ripening of a fruit or the development of a butterfly from a caterpillar everything is fixed. Slight changes here and there are acceptable- a baby born after 37 weeks of pregnancy is called a full-term baby, fruits plucked a day earlier or later than its ripening threshold is pretty good but any infant born three weeks before the baby’s estimated due date is said to be a preterm baby and such kids often come with a package of medical problems. Fruits that are plucked off the tree without ripening sometimes go waste without ripening or when they are left to ripen too much once again the product becomes inedible rarely. This clearly proves that we need to stick by the definite timeframes allocated for a better quality of life.
Preemies: An Urge to Start Living a Life Sooner than Others
Preemies often are brought into this world sooner than expected. When these kids would love to roll inside their mother’s womb, feel secure and stay happy some babies are delivered earlier due to various reasons and such preterm babies face breathing difficulties and have digestion problems besides having risks of long-term problems such as impaired vision, hearing and cognitive skills. These kids are comparatively less healthy, struggle more in terms of competency in school, face social problems and are also at an increased risk of heart-health problems as adults. But these babies are also resilient and have abundant willpower and the motive to succeed in life-this becomes even more simpler and practical when such kids have loving parents and a supportive environment both at school and in their neighborhood. Your home, the environment in which you live and genetics determine the type of person you grow up into, in short mold your personality type. Research shows that premature birth accounts for 11% of personality assessment and these kids are usually socially withdrawn and this also paves way for problems when it comes to partner relationships and family life.
A new research by a group of researchers at the University of Warwick shows that babies born preterm are 28% less likely to ever be in a romantic relationship and 22% less likely to ever become parents. The study analyzed over 4.4 million adult participants who were born preterm and found that they were 2.3 times less likely to have a sexual partner compared to full term babies. Among those who participated, those born <32 weeks of pregnancy or <28 weeks (extremely preterm) had even minimal chances of experiencing a sexual relationship, giving birth to babies or finding a romantic partner at all compared to their full-term counterparts. Extremely preterm babies were 3.2 times less likely to ever have sexual relationships. Maybe, the preterm kid’s state of mind, being socially withdrawn, their timid nature and low interest in seeking fun obstructs them from getting into intimate relationships that help in increasing happiness and well-being of both their mind and the body. Absence of well-being paves way for stress which can affect the body in very many ways that are clearly elaborated in www.firsteatright.com. But when these individuals get into an intimate relationship there is no looking back and the quality of the relationship is as equal as the one experienced by full-term individuals.
The study also recommends that preterm infants must be brought up in a caring and passionate way by their parents, the teachers at school must also be made aware that these children might be extra timid, shy and socially withdrawn and every measure must be taken by both parents and teachers to support the child in making friends and having fun. Being social and having a group of friends might help the individual in finding a romantic partner later in life and also to have a baby. Only then, the well-being of this individual is guaranteed and there is no looking back into the quality of life of the person.
Another Finnish study on participant aged around 23 years of which 149 were born before 34 weeks of gestation, 248 born late preterm (between 34 and 37 weeks) and 356 of them born full term showed that those individuals born late preterm were 20% less likelier to live with a romantic partner and 24% less likelier to have sex.
Being born as a preterm baby is not in our hands but nurturing the child with love, care and affection and training him/her to be courageous, friendly, healthy and outspoken is surely dependent on nurture-the parents, the environment in which the child lives and the school. Every baby is special and unique in his/her own ways. It is necessary to help the individual develop his/her talent and succeed in both, personal as well as professional life.
Meeting your nutritionist and getting enrolled in a weight loss program is no big deal. The RDN warns you of the upcoming struggles, efforts and hard work that you must endure but you are 100% enthused to start the program from the very next day. There is a lot of excitement in your mind as you imagine a ‘slimmer you’ which makes you step out of the nutrition clinic in josh. Sadly, the energy and enthusiasm subside quickly and practically, one needs undue willpower and self-motivation to incorporate healthy changes in life and follow them for a lifetime. Equip yourself with these following techniques to be sure of succeeding in your interest in leading a healthy life:
‘Time is precious’-put this into practice: Once you shortlist options and make a solid plan for execution, it can help you make best use of your time. Keep in touch with your dietitian/nutritionist who is well-aware of your lifestyle, food choices and more, and work with her to decide upon the best strategies for your positive outcomes.
Pull in your friend/family into this: Convey your plans to your family and friends about starting on a journey towards better health and someone might be interested to join you as well! This friend/family member exists as your personal accountability partner while the nutritionist/dietitian who keeps track of your goals, gives feedback on improvements and revisits strategies exists as your professional accountability partner. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to help you with your health goals and be your professional accountability partners as these RDNs are dedicated and motivated to offer complete support and help to individuals.
Use technology: There are a myriad apps these days that promise to keep count of your calorie intake, steps taken and more. They even track your sleep routines and heart rates. When you keep track of your fitness schedules in your app it makes your life easier reminding you to complete your workout and helping you assess your position in your goal. It's even possible to look for a great walking, jogging or running trail near you using technology.
Bring in healthy competition: Many organizations are coming up with workplace wellness programs for their employees owing to the stressful nature of the job that takes a toll on the employee. This helps workers to get to know each other in a better way and also become healthier in life. If any of your friends or family wish to become healthier following your footsteps why don’t you go for a friendly competition? You can even announce a prize for the best-motivated individual at the end of the program.
Preparing yourself to start working towards a goal is the first sign of positivity. But, after that keep revisiting your goals, methods and motives with your registered dietitian nutritionist for the support and motivation in your endeavor. Consult your RND for any small change in your routine as they are into this field and keep coming up with new ideas that can help you improve vastly in your attempt. Don’t complain, don’t hide something and be open about your actions and thoughts. This will help you visually see yourself changing, your fitness and health improving and achieving your target as you achieve each of the smaller goals and break barriers.
Fragrance is an attraction-the sweet-smelling rose and jasmine attract the attention of people. But so does the odor of a person sitting next to us in a train, business meeting or trying to show their affection with a big hug! The intention is great but results don’t pay off indeed! We’ve seen some individuals being able to smell the presence of a person not by his/her choice of perfume but with the underlying fact that each of us have a unique smell that’s different from the rest. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because though perfumes were being used for 1000s of years deodorants did not come into existence until 1888 and the antiperspirant making an even later entry not until 1903. There was much struggle indeed to establish the need for external products and much of advertising done to convince individuals on using these fragrance products and this was done mostly by highlighting the embarrassments faced due to a smelly body! But now, the fragrance industry has captured the attention of people all over the world irrespective of the age and sex. Today, we have hundreds of commercials featuring different brands of perfumes, deodorants and antiperspirants that mainly focus on garnering the attention of the younger generation. Amongst all this stands the Old Spice’s ad ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ that created a popularity overnight. If you notice, though the target audience for the product are male the ad targets female viewers as they are the ones who make most of the purchasing decisions of the household. We also have other ads that frequently insist men to buy their brand of fragrance to succeed in romance, to woo the heart of the female population and to become a heartthrob among youngsters. Fragrance and perfumes have always been linked to romantic relationships and so, body odor surely comes as an obstacle to all these affecting relationships!
The Interior Effect of the Bacteria
But why do we emit smell in the first place? Its fundamental that all of us smell but why is that some of us pass by without having to take a shower after a workout while some need to run for a shower as soon as possible even after a short walk in a park? It all has to do with bacteria. When there is a bacterial reaction with sweat in areas that are not exposed to air (more commonly the armpits and inner thighs) it results in body odor. The smell emitted (sour, rotten egg-like or meaty) depends on the type of bacteria that sits on these regions of the body. To suppress this smell and to seem quite pleasant to others we all try our hands on the umpteen fragrance products available in the market. These deodorants only mask the odor by doing away with some of the bacteria and reducing the sweat emitted but closer contact with the person might make you realize that he/she is not as pleasant to smell as he/she seems to be from quite a distance.
Sweat has no smell and it’s the work of certain strains of bacteria such as the Staphylococcus that creates maximum smell in a person’s body. The major breakthrough in deodorants could possibly come if we learn to target the section of bacteria that emits maximum smell while ignoring others to maximize the effect of deodorants on the body. It is easier said than done as bacteria are not microorganisms that simply thrive on the visible layers of the skin but are also present inside the skin. Odor formation starts from within and it is quite a challenge to produce a deodorant that suppresses an odor from within.
Stop Blaming Yourself
The very first step towards minimizing the risk of body odor is to stay clean and neat. Having a bath regularly, wearing neat and comfortable clothes and changing clothes every time after bathing are essential. Eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly help in discarding unwanted toxins out of the body. There are many individuals who realize that they smell bad and keep doing as much as possible to stay odorless and neat-they bathe multiple times in a day, change their clothes often and use deodorants frequently. It is natural to associate a sweaty and smelly body with improper body hygiene and lack of care but now maybe we realize that there are certain reactions happening from within our body too that trigger these smells. There isn’t much about body hygiene here but it has got to do with the microbiome. This is a new concept that most of us don’t realize!
There are always two sides of a story and with deodorants too it is no exception! While we encourage the use of deodorants we also have a study showing that deodorants could do more harm to the body than good! According to this research group deodorants prevent the growth of good bacteria while allowing harmful bacteria to grow. The bacteria grew back faster than normal when the study participants who regularly used deodorants stopped using them for some period and started the usage sometime later. There are arguments that the bacteria which these deodorants suppress are usually benign or even beneficial sometimes.
All said and done we need to make the right choices at the end of the day. Don’t overuse deodorants but also don’t try to ignore their use. We don’t want people to feel awkward in our presence! A moderate use of these products along with clean and hygienic body habits can surely stave away as much as odor as possible.
How to Get Rid of Body Odor: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/how-to-get-rid-of-body-odour/article29373741.ece
Deodorant Could be Allowing More Harmful Bacteria to Grow in Underarms: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/deodorant-could-be-allowing-more-harmful-bacteria-to-grow-in-underarms-research-suggests-a6850726.html
Will a New Discovery About Body Odor Lead to Better Deodorants: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/will-new-discovery-about-body-odor-lead-to-better-deodorants-180969695/
Food festivals and culinary delights made people excited and pompous until a few years ago. Individuals were judged of their cadre and status based on their fashion trends and clothing sense. Travelling to dream destinations and vacationing in foreign lands were a status symbol for many beyond the leisure purpose and happiness involved. There is no doubt that all of these are still in existence even now but these don’t lure nor excite people as much as previously. Wellness is becoming the mantra of many being established as a booming industry that caters to the different needs of people as stress overtakes silence, distress overtakes peace and diseases overtake well-being owing to the haphazard lifestyles of people these days.
In present time, health doesn’t mean the absence of illness but a more holistic state of being where one’s emotional, physical and mental health are in sync. Fashion dominated our lives until now existing as an industry that minted millions of dollars cashing on our eagerness to seem more attractive, appear richer, successful and helping us boost our overall confidence levels taking it up a notch higher. But fashion banked upon selling stuff and as time progresses, some more stuff and there is nothing much beyond that for improving one’s overall living standards or taking it to the next higher level. But people have become bored of such things and are looking for something that’s more beneficial and fulfilling than materialistic things. Maybe, a round of applause for running a 20-kilometer marathon or using natural therapy for glowing skin. In short, we are all after wellness. Its not wrong if I say that wellness has become the new fashion industry that sells a dream version of yourself that’s much better without any negative effects creating overall goodness.
Staying in Race Amidst the Social Media Craze
Its become our second nature to post photos or write passionately about our day to day lives in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram-feeling good about a jog we had taken the previous day, a 10-kilometer walkathon or a new workout that we have mastered recently! There is more pleasure and happiness felt by people in showing their new-found fitness passion and muscular abs than that found in flaunting their 50k lehenga or hairdo! And, maybe it all started with the invention of athleisure apparels that combined both leisure and fitness together-trying to encourage mankind to workout and stay fit anytime in between your work, home activities or leisure time. Got a 15-minute break before your next meeting? Squeeze in time for a burpee before that! Waiting at the restaurant for your table? Why don’t you try taking a quick walk until your name is called for? Such is the comfort that athleisure wear offers to us these days.
People are ready to spend money on health and wellness like never before and healthcare industries are going for the big ones cashing on the ample attention that’s been diverted to their sector recently. There are more and more people who have enrolled for fitness classes and activities that improve well-being; use the latest apps to get a detailed report on their sleep quality, heart health and pulse rates; embark on special diets and use health supplements; try out organic and natural foods and are inclined towards having a holistic approach to wellness.
Wellness Festivals: Still in an Embryonic Stage in Our Country
Business and industries thrive on customer satisfaction. To meet such growing wellness needs of individuals we now have numerous wellness festivals set up worldwide, health facilities established and wellness centres springing up in every major area of a city. Wellness festivals function with the sole aim of bringing in all features of a healthy lifestyle-physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual-under one roof. These festivals function with an aim to make wellness accessible and inclusive to all. But for something having such motives, the costs and fees linked to them are way above normal standards out of reach to even most of the upper-middle class people. For instance, the Bali Spirit Festival costs around eight thousand rupees for a one-day pass, a five-day yoga retreat in the plush mountains of Bulgaria cost more than 50K and so on.
In India too, cities such as Bengaluru and Chennai have started arranging in and out sessions that include HIIT workouts, Zumba, spin, yoga and strength training to encourage people to participate and reap benefits. Ayurveda, yoga and meditation garner more focus than other specialities in India with people showing increased inclination towards sustainable fashion and cruelty-free cosmetics.
While it is good to know that more and more younger people, especially Millennials, have started showing interest, wellness seems to be an attraction to the female gender which doesn’t seem fair. Health is a necessity for both males and females and it is utterly essential that men too start showing interest in participating in more wellness-related activities. According to a research, 72% of Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1999) are comfortable spending money on experiences compared to materialistic things as according to them, wellness is a daily ritual that must happen without fail. This is also the generation that’s accountable for most of the fitness apps that’s sold in the market.
Wellness also seeks luxury status with its spa treatment options available, luxury workout gears, beauty treatments and detox programs that work with the sole aim of making customers happy and take back cherished memories of their experiences. More and more people are moving away from buying Tissot watches or Louis Vuitton bags to splurging on wellness as a luxury. What’s your take on wellness as a means to good health and living?
Wellness is the New Luxury: Is Healthy & Happy the Future of Retail? https://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahweinswig/2017/06/30/wellness-is-the-new-luxury-is-healthy-and-happy-the-future-of-retail/#44f64dfc8323
Emerging Brands Grabbing Shares of the Retail Wellness Market: https://www.forbes.com/sites/pamdanziger/2018/02/20/emerging-brands-grabbing-share-of-the-retail-wellness-market/#7469d4fd4173
Boom in Wellness at Festivals as Young people Swap Hedonism for Yoga: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2019/aug/02/health-not-hedonism-the-festivals-putting-wellness-at-their-heart
Wellness is Swallowing the Fashion Industry Whole. Should I Switch Camps? https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/mar/23/wellness-swallowing-fashion-industry-switch-camps
Wellness Festivals are Gaining Popularity Around the Globe: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/wellness-festivals-are-gaining-popularity-around-the-globe/article28317753.ece
For some sleeping is a hobby and for some others it is an indulgence. If you belong to one of the two categories there is every chance that you are possibly ruining your health because sleeping is equally important as eating and breathing! Its simply not the period during which you relax your mind and body breaking away from your daily stressful routine but a critical biological function that’s essential for replenishing important body systems. Each of us follow a specific routine every day that involves waking up, feeling hungry, eating food, doing work and going to sleep repeating the circadian cycles that’s controlled by the body’s internal clocks. Our body clock’s main functioning rests with the brain which basically functions depending on cycles of light and dark. When there is such a dependency, how does our body adjust and accommodate changes to our daily routine in terms of rotational or night shifts?
Services industries, security agencies, doctors, nurses, pilots and drivers provide round the clock service which require them to be awake and alert all through the night. The advent of the IT industry has made people residing in any corner of the world provide support for countries that are in the other end of the globe neglecting time zones. This makes many individuals work on a rotational basis alternating between night shift, morning shift and afternoon shift that’s even worse than regular night shifts. Staying awake through the night or deviating from the natural light cycles imposes health hazards and such prolonged disturbances to circadian rhythm exists as the basis to a number of health problems including obesity, diabetes and metabolism-related issues. We do have evidence also showing that shift workers have shorter life expectancy especially those on a rotational shift basis. A study on nurses (who seem to be ideal candidates as they have varying shifts according to patient requirements) for 22 years revealed that women who worked on rotational night shifts for more than 5 years were up to 11% likelier to have died earlier compared to those who never worked these shifts and those on shift service for more than 15 years had a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease compared to nurses who worked only during the day. Such shift workers were also at a 25% higher risk of dying from lung cancer and 33% greater risk of colon cancer death. Such workers were also heavier than their routine shift counterparts, smoked more to stay alert during the night (which could also contribute to increased lung cancer rates), had high blood pressure, diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels. The latest is that there is a possibility of damage to our DNA when we work night shifts that once again increases the risk of cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.
Besides health issues, isn’t the social life of night shift people pathetic? They are unable to focus on family and friends, become secluded and frustrated at being unable to attend parties or social gatherings. Despite sleepiness even if you choose to ignore sleep and start attend them, it surely takes a toll on your health in sometime.
Keeping the Body Constantly Under Stress
Sleeping has become a luxury these days with people constantly hovering over smartphones and electronic gadgets. We need 7-8 hours of sleep every night but most of us hardly sleep for more than 6.5 hours a day. Such lack of sleep affects important processes such as inflammation, fat, sugar and immune metabolism which lay the foundation for heart disease or cancer. So, does sleeping for 8 hours a day after doing night shift seem to be much better than lacking enough sleep during the night? Not in any way! Trying to sneak in an extra couple of hours during the night or early morning is more valuable than the 8-9 hours of sleep that’s possible because of the way in which our body has been designed. Our organs don’t function on their own but are running on a pre-programmed genetic pattern that makes them do certain things at one time of day and other things during other times. The cells located in the brain (which is home to our body clock) are the key to our body that functions based on cues from them-when we sleep, when we wake up, when our liver produces enzymes to digest food and regulating heart beat increasing it in the morning when we wake up and restoring it back to its normal rate by evening.
If you ask health experts they are sure to come up with another thousand reasons not to work nightshifts. The food that you eat takes more time to digest and the sugar and fats consumed linger for longer in the bloodstream when compared to daytime this poses a higher threat for obesity risks and other health problems. Research even shows that the cognitive capabilities of nightshift workers diminish-age by almost 6.5 years for 10 years of night shift work done (https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33638905).
Sadly, not all of us are blessed to work regular shifts as job demands are so. So, if you cannot avoid night shifts but have a choice to back away from rotational shifts please do so. Evidence shows that if you can manage to get into a regular 24-hour cycle its better even though it’s not in synchrony with daylight. While exposure to light during the night alters sleep-activity patterns, suppresses melatonin production and dysregulates genes involved in tumor development when you accustom your body to regular night shifts you can always intimidate light with blinds and lamps. Though not 100% useful it still helps you become more comfortable. But quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and screening yourself for cancer risk every once a while helps to minimize the risk of health-related side effects. Maybe in future, we could come up with something that makes us ignore the light/dark cycle.
Why Working at Night Boosts the Risk of Early Death? https://time.com/3657434/night-work-early-death/
Night Shift May Cause DNA Damage: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/night-shifts-may-cause-dna-damage-study/article26105122.ece
How Night Shifts Perpetuate Health Inequalities: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/10/night-shifts-the-worst/504800/
Its mostly the mom who is appreciated/blamed for the child’s success/failure. Kids are excellent observers and they imitate their parents in most aspects as time progresses. They are also the child’s first role model having a powerful impact on them-for more details on this please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Most children are attention seekers and would love to do anything to garner their mom’s affection or their dad’s appreciation. In the absence of love, care or involvement from parents children resort to different methodologies to draw interest towards themselves-some throw tantrums, some other kids stop talking or stop being cheerful while others show disinterest in the colorful aspects of life, especially attending school or doing well in studies. Such kids perform badly in academics too! Ok, now if supposedly we assume that either the mom or dad takes complete care of the child attending to his/her needs with respect to emotional comfort, educational guidance and overall productivity are there chances that these children outperform other kids?
“Every Child is a Blessed Child Who Shines or Dries Depending on Parental Nurturing”
Each of us are born with certain talents and the blossoming of the child into a versatile person depends on how the parents nurture him/her. Exploiting the potentials of the kid is dependent on various factors but the role played by parents is beyond all others in helping the kid shine like a star. A parent is a child’s first teacher who helps him/her grasp basic things, recognize people, emote to others around, explore nature, read together, cook yummy foods, travel and explore the world. As children start going to school, teachers take over the responsibility of enriching the child’s knowledge and learning capabilities, both of which have their roots at home. Some parents might feel that once the kid joins school it is solely the teacher’s responsibility to nurture them into world-class doctors, teachers, managers or more. What these parents miss out is on the key point that while knowledge is taught at school classes it is every parent’s duty to follow up on their child’s performance at school, ensure that homework is completed and take interest in the child’s attitude at school.
Even a new research done shows that parental engagement has a positive effect on a child’s academic attainment irrespective of age or socio-economic status. The researchers surveyed head teachers from over 180 schools and also conducted 20 interviews with school leaders apart from exploring activities delivered in or by schools and early years settings that support and promote parental engagement. The survey showed that more than 72% of the schools involved had no specific policy stating parental engagement but 80% of them were strong on the notion that parental involvement was the staff’s responsibility. Schools do include improved parental engagement as one of their mottos for the academic year and also strive hard to establish good communication with parents.
Teachers can teach at school but its primarily parents who can guide their children in organizing time efficiently multitasking between studies, extra-curricular activities and playing. While parents must be involved in every stage of their child’s development their involvement means a lot when kids reach adolescence stage. The interest and attitude shown by parents towards school decides whether or not the kid pursues higher education. The simplest way in which parents can involve themselves is by being in contact with teachers and paying attention to grades and activity schedules of their children. When parents participate in teaching kids or helping them understand certain concepts it shows in their academic performance-children whose parents teach perform well compared to those kids whose parents are not involved with academics in any way. The family’s literacy level has a great impact on the child’s performance at school. But even if you are not an educated parent you can show your support and care for your kids in different other ways that would motivate the child to become a better performer at school. Kids feel happy when they realize that their parents care for them in every way possible and this acts as a boosting factor for their performance.
How much we wish that all our baked goods or fatty foods disappear into thin air once we enjoy them without having to expel the excess calories through vigorous physical activity and exercise schedules! Indeed, there are a lucky few who do get to stay slim forever despite consuming high-calorie foods without minding portion control or exercising. All that we can comment is that it is in their gene to stay thin. Such a friend, colleague or family member becomes everyone’s envy. Contrarily, there are some others whose body is comparable to a tire. Just like how air can inflate the tire the food that goes inside the body rather than being used as energy gets converted to body fat and is stored forever! This might be you and me who regrets eating the single piece of cake the next day as the weighing machine shows an additional 750 grams in our weight. The most dreaded type of body is that which increases body fat without eating any of the fried foods or the red meats. In such people, a single cholesterol-derived molecule called the 27-hydroxycholesterol (27 HC) exists within the bloodstream increasing body fat even when they don’t eat a diet that’s rich in red meat and fried foods.
The research on this single molecule that has surprised everybody with its potential to increase adipose tissue even without consuming any fatty food has been published in the reputed journal Endocrinology. Until this study, 27HC was known as an abundant cholesterol metabolite that poses harmful effects on the cardiovascular system but its effects on obesity was unknown. Now that the effects are crystal clear, steps could be taken to reduce the levels of 27HC in the body which reduces the body’s capacity to make fat. Obesity exists as a public health epidemic that needs immediate intervention. Such increase in obesity/overweight numbers are primarily due to changes in lifestyle, eating habits and exercise routines. Mankind has accepted the fast food lifestyle that makes his life simpler and easy. Technological advancements, economic stability and science has enabled humans to use domestic help and machines for completing all of their work which leaves them with a sedentary lifestyle. At most, people either workout for 60 minutes a day or completely avoid even this. Such sedentary behavior exists are the root cause behind increase in obesity rates which in turn exists as a primary risk factor for cardiovascular diseases worldwide in both men and women, and estrogen plays a prominent role in both the sexes. If you are obese/overweight it is better to get your weight under control and reach normal body weight before things go out of hand. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com who can help you in your weight loss process.
In females, during menopause there is a tremendous decrease in estrogen levels which in turn produces an increase in fat tissues as estrogen is the hormone that protects the body against adiposity and weight gain and its decrease exists as the cause behind such sudden weight gain. Men produce estrogen by conversion of testosterone and hence, it is possible that it plays a role in fat tissue production in men too. Estrogen receptors (ER), a group of proteins found inside cells activated by the hormone estrogen, are present in adipocytes. Individuals with a non-functional ER are obese and those who don’t have an ER are said to possess increased fat tissue even when they eat the same amount of food daily indicating the role played by ER in regulating boy fat. Previous studies revealed that 27HC binds to estrogen receptors thereby inhibiting ER action but now it has been shown that the effects by 27HC are tissue-specific. 27HC is the first naturally-produced selective estrogen receptor modulator or SERM. Lowering 27HC levels may pave way for a method to target cholesterol lowering to prevent diet-induced weight gain.
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