Birthdays become a dreaded affair as we grow old. It comes and goes as a strong reminder of our ageing process indicating every time that we are becoming older and wiser but what about staying healthier? Ageing is not a standalone process that happens without any consequences-it is an irreversible process that makes it a cherished experience for some and a dreaded affair for some others depending on their body’s response and the mind’s attitude towards it. Not many individuals are hale and healthy even during their younger years which makes growing old a tiring and an apprehensive affair for most. Besides physical health, it takes a toll on our mental well-being too. This is mostly because of the fact that most seniors suffer from loneliness, self-pity and depression mostly due to seclusion and the behaviour of the society towards the elderly population. Memory fades away and even the smartest person starts forgetting things as he/she grows old. Mental health and staying mentally sharp have been important fields of study for researchers who have come up with different suggestions for improving brain health and delaying dementia onset.
Dementia, the loss of cognitive functioning, is an over concerning issue for more senior citizens as we can see increasing rates of this disorder in a majority of them. Though there have been different suggestions such as solving puzzles, staying active and performing exercise for minimizing its risk we don’t see much difference in rates. The good fact here is that people have started recognizing the high prevalence rates of this disorder and have started taking precautionary steps in recent times. Its already been proved that exercise helps in improving brain health of old people but now researchers at McMaster University have discovered that high-intensity workouts improve memory in older adults. The researchers included 64 older participants aged 66-80 years splitting them into different groups based on exercises performed-stretching, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT). The first group did gentle stretches, the HIIT group did intense workouts that pushed their heart rates up by 90-95% and the MICT group did moderate -treadmill exercise that pushed their heart rate up by 70-75%. All of them were healthy, sedentary adults who exercised thrice a week for 12 weeks.
Results showed that HIIT group showed substantial increase in high-interface memory compared to MICT or control group. Those who exercised using short, bursts of activity observed a 30% increase in memory performance while those who worked out moderately saw no improvement. The study also showed that increased fitness led to improved memory-greater the adherence to the training schedule, greater was the fitness levels and better was their memory. This study comes as a cheer for elderly individuals who suffer greater mental trauma fearing dementia risk, suffer from increased dementia attack debilitating their quality of life and making the life of both, the sufferer and the caretaker a greater pain. Caretaking is no simple chore and it needs umpteen levels of patience and perseverance to fulfil the job’s demand that can disturb one’s health in many ways-read more about this from the website www.firsteatright.com and learn simple tips to keep your physical and mental health in shape. Physical activity is the biggest modifiable risk factor for dementia and if you are someone who hasn’t exercised since decades it is better to increase exercise intensity when you start working out if you want to see quick results. While dementia might be genetic it is always wiser to take steps and do everything possible from our end to reduce the risk as much as possible-one of which is physical exercise.
Your joys have no boundaries when you experience your baby kicking inside the womb for the first time between the 16th and 25th week of pregnancy. If its your first pregnancy you are sure to ask your hubby to experience the movement too by placing his hand over your tummy. It’s a feeling of excitement, elation and happiness. While the movement of the fetus assures the pregnant woman that the infant is growing normally why do these little ones kick us in the first place?
A Quick Kick
Known as ‘quickening’ most pregnant women express the kick as a butterfly feeling, nervous twitching or a tumbling motion. While a first-time mom finds it difficult to find it until the 22nd week of pregnancy maybe and fail to differentiate it from hunger pangs or other movements, a second- or third-time mom can feel one instantly and differentiate it from other feelings too.
The kick starts off slowly but during the second and third trimester the kicks grow stronger and become more frequent. There are studies showing that the baby moves between 25 and 30 times an hour during the third trimester. These little ones are up to their own naughty little stuff inside the womb. They become most active when you try to sleep at night and might even try to kick anyone who tries to cuddle you while sleeping-its not restricted to your spouse but it could even be your elder son/daughter. Hmmm, the fetus claims full ownership of the mommy even before he/she sees the light of the world. This is pretty tough to deal with I say!
Doctors request the pregnant lady to keep a count of the number of kicks that you experience to assure yourself that the baby is growing normally. You should be able to experience at least 10 good movements through the day. But the number of movements varies baby to baby. Some are very active and keep moving around while other babies don’t. But absence of movement might also mean that your baby is sleeping. If it is beyond the 32nd week, it might mean that the baby has become big and there is not much space for the movement.
While what I’ve listed above is well-known by all, a new study gives us another perspective about why a fetus kicks and how it helps them grow. The study researched on the sleep patterns of 19 newborns between 31 and 42 weeks of which some of them were premature babies. The researcher noted the infants corrected gestation age which helps denote the exact age of the baby from conception regardless of when the baby was born. Only when an infant is born between 37-42 weeks of pregnancy, he/she is labeled as a full-term baby. So, while it might be a week after birth, the preterm baby would be considered as 35 weeks old if he/she was born at the 34th week of pregnancy. Read more about preterm babies and their ways into the world by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
Researchers looked at the brainwaves that fetuses produce when they kick during their rapid eye movement sleep (REM). Premature babies generally have a faster brainwave but the fast waves disappear as the babies grow past a few weeks. Researchers say that kicks during the third trimester help the infant in developing brain ideas that are linked to sensory input and also helps the little one realize about his/her own body. In animals such as rats, reflex movements and constant environmental feedbacks are necessary for clear brain mapping and researchers feel that this might be true in the case of humans too.
As brain development takes place the fetus kicks and responds to his/her own brain activity and also other things such as maternal movement, light, sound and other such stimuli. During the last trimester, it is more of a rolling than kicking but any movement is appreciated. It gives scope for a little exercise to the muscles and limbs, response to stimuli and also helps the brain make connections to the spatial sense.
But one question that still keeps haunting physicians includes what changes in frequency of movements mean. There’s no evidence that kick counts are a sure-shot way to prevent stillbirths. Every mother should realize what’s normal for herself and the baby, the number of kicks and the time of the kick. Some women might not feel a kick when they are busy with some chore. Hence, it is best to notice movements when they sit down peacefully feeling relaxed.
“Tell me your friend, I will tell you who you are” is a famous quote that has been received well by one and all as we all believe that individuals influence and are also influenced by other individuals surrounding them. This doesn’t mean that wise people group together or like-minded people only become friends. Best friends might be two opposite poles yet there are some personalities and characteristics that attract each other making them vow to a lifelong friendship commitment. We choose our friends based not on our requirements but due to some underlying spark that makes us feel good in their presence and value the time spent in their company. For many of us, our friends are the pillars of strength to whom we lean upon in times of happiness as well as struggle. These people walk with us in all phases of life and would love to accompany us anywhere anytime-it might be to a wedding, a funeral or even a simple workout.
Regular physical activity is essential for good health and except for some who lead a disciplined lifestyle all others need motivation and a constant push to walk them through their exercise schedule daily and no one’s much better for this than your closest buddy! Walking or jogging might be an individual activity but having someone to walk or jog with provides constant motivation, a commitment to the activity and a constant rush of adrenaline that makes you push harder each day to beat your mate in your endeavor to a healthy lifestyle.
A wearable fitness tracker might do the trick in predicting your daily activity and health. It gives you the exact heart rate numbers just when you want it-right after an important business deal closing or after the exams of your most-dreaded subject. These trackers also motivate us with the close count of the number of steps we’ve taken through the day, reminding us to drink water every few hours, prompting to stand every once an hour, tracking our daily food intake and also coming up with stars and awards for better performance every now and then. Advancement in technology has made many of us neglect our relationships with others as we have become masters of our lives relying upon our very own self and technology to help us through thick and thin in life. Indeed, the GPRS helps us navigate revoking the need to ask a passerby for location, virtual friends cheer for our successes and the television/mobile has become the best friend during mealtimes. Despite all these, a latest study has once again established the fact that no technology and science can replace human feelings and emotions. A new study published in a reputed journal shows that to be able to better predict your overall health and wellness one needs to simply look at the strength and structure of your close circle of friends.
Learning to Cherish Our Friends for Wellness in Life
For the study, the participants were provided Fitbits which they wore to assess their activity level, step count, sleep hours and heart rate. They also took up surveys and assessments about their feelings of stress, happiness and positivity. The research team later modeled the data using machine learning and an individual’s social network characteristics that indicate different properties such as connectivity, social balance, reciprocity and closeness within the social network. The study showed a strong correlation between social network structures, heart rate, number of steps and level of activity. These structures were more indicative of one’s health and well-being rather than using a wearable device to measure health. Using a social network structure along with data from wearables helped machine learning models achieve a 65% improvement in predicting happiness, 54% improvement in predicting one’s self-assessed health prediction, 55% improvement in predicting positive attitude and 38% improvement in predicting success.
There are many moments during which we present a Fitbit to our dear ones-their birthdays, promotions in companies or likewise. Employers too sometimes gift their employees such wearable devices to track their health. Along with that, if they also provide a platform for their employees to share their experiences and motivate each other this would ultimately help in boosting their health and well-being.
Having a laugh with your bestie, performing floor exercises or Zumba with a group of friends and playing baddie with your buddy would reap you greater benefits in terms of health as you are ought to share your worries, deal with your stressors, open up on conflicting issues and have a laugh together that would melt away many of the problems and give you energy to tackle life’s crunches with a positive frame of mind. Not one set of exercises fits all and the exercise you choose mostly depends on the type of person you are-introvert or an extrovert. To check what suits best for your characteristics and reap maximized benefits please visit www.firsteatright.com.
Fancy words and flashy packaging grab a consumer’s immediate attention at the supermarket. In a health-conscious world today, the presence of luring words such as ‘high in fiber’, ‘low in sodium’ and ‘sugar-free’ create magic among buyers as many individuals these days follow a customized food chart which helps them stay within their recommended calorie intake levels. There is more to food packaging than simply focusing on it as a means to hold a product. The history of packaging goes eons back where humans preserved their food in containers they found in nature (such as coconut shells, leaves, logs etc.). We have evolved a long way since its origin where today the food items are wrapped in different materials in different ways to preserve the food within. What started as a means to be helpful for our busy lifestyle, extend shelf life and prevent food contamination has now started fulfilling certain other objectives- food packaging has evolved as a marketing strategy to attract as many buyers as possible.
A couple of years back we had a research result that encouraged consumers that the labels on front of food packaging can enable healthier choices as these labels included values for energy, sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt. Some even include a logo indicating that the food is a healthy choice. While researchers concluded that the front of package food labelling is an important tool in helping consumers to make healthier choices and also a reminder to the food industry to manufacture healthy products maybe the same has backfired!
Be Safe than Sorry
We love to pull a cart along the plush supermarket aisles picking out several things that attracts us rather than those that meet our requirements. But we can also put it this way-the food packaging industry tries to dodge the user’s attention by alluring him/her with superficial information and health. Right from the print design, color and similar elements to bottle shape, packaging size and likewise all of these influence the decision-making capability of the user greatly. Food labelling helps us in making informed decisions about our food choices when we have knowledge about reading these labels. Many of these packages state terms such as ‘low fat’ or ‘sugar-free’ or ‘low sodium’ that confuses the user unless he/she knows how much is low enough. Besides, the health messages of package designs depend completely on the manufacturer. The design techniques that must enable the user to make informed choices about selecting a product are present in misleading ways these days and the user is more commonly duped than directed towards good health.
Consumers these days are conscious about the food they eat and the nutrients present in them but sadly most of them are unable to find reliable nutrition information that can help them in making informed purchasing decisions. Authentic study results show that almost 50% consumers follow a specific diet plan and 75% avoid certain ingredients when they shop around for food products. But 67% complain that its challenging to guess the nutrient content of the food product by looking at the package label while 48% reveal that they don’t find themselves informed enough about the food product even after reading the label (https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/study-consumers-seek-healthy-lifestyles-but-food-packaging-makes-it-difficult-300430044.html).
The advent of obesity and overweight has brought in radical changes in our thoughts. Many choose to eat or drink only after ensuring the presence of nutrients in their food and this compels CPG brands (consumer packaged goods) to provide the user with complete and reliable product information that can help him/her make choices with 100% clarity. To ensure this, the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.A) has proposed the introduction of an agency-approved icon that bluntly shows that the food packaging is ‘healthy’ indeed (https://psmag.com/news/why-the-fda-is-considering-a-healthy-icon-for-food-packaging).
Bright Images that Nullify our Insight in their Health
Looks can be deceptive but it’s the same looks that also interest the consumers in the first place and lure them into buying foods that don’t serve their purpose. Traditional brands were designed in a simple way that delivered the required message, for instance, a bright-red tomato says tomato sauce. But now, the trend has moved on to display more beautiful, colorful and imaginative artworks on everything right from eggs and coffee to dhal and spices with the sole outlook of providing a pleasurable shopping experience to consumers. The user is often tricked into buying many products due to the colorful images and the bright icons.
Many products today contain images of fields, farms, grains and produce that are bright and attractive. Packaged biscuits display grain icon which the human mind immediately associates with whole wheat, energy bars show colorful fruits such as berries and bananas or sketches of garden leaves on bags of coconut sugar create the hype of natural foods that are healthy but inside each package are biscuits full of refined flour, energy bars overloaded with sugar or some snack that does contain unjustifiable amounts of sodium and fat.
There are manufacturers who package foods in dull, brown colors that stand for natural and eco-friendly aspects and the consumer immediately associates the food inside too to be healthy and sustainable. Muted colors are another gimmick used by food manufacturers to portray the impression that the food is healthful and natural-that’s because research shows that individuals often associate bright colors with artificial flavoring and paler colors with healthier products. Many of the healthy terms are magnified to unreasonable proportions which once again deceive the user.
So, if you really want to choose a healthy product ignore the attractive food packaging aspects and look into the nutrition facts panel of the packaging. Food manufacturers must also stop proclaiming their food products to be the best in town with over-ambitious packaging terms, colors and icons that fail to convey the true nutrition aspect of the food inside the package.
How Food Companies Use Packaging to Fool You Into Thinking an Item is Healthful: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/how-food-companies-use-packaging-to-fool-you-into-thinking-an-item-is-healthful/2019/10/23/40304d84-e9d4-11e9-9c6d-436a0df4f31d_story.html
10 Tips for Understanding Food Labels: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/sugar-salt-and-fat/10-tips-for-understanding-food-labels
Watch Out for Misleading Food Packaging Claims: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/misleading-food-packaging-claims/
Unwrapped: The Subtle Joys of Food Packaging: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/08/marks-spencer-whole-foods-packaging-design/400340/
Type 1 diabetes or Juvenile diabetes, as well call it commonly, is more widely present in young kids today. There are different reasons behind this widespread presence-the increasing rates of type 1 or 2 diabetes in moms enhance the risk factor of type 1 diabetes in kids; there are also research evidence that kids born to moms with gestational diabetes are at a greater risk of developing type 1 diabetes before the age of 22 and there are other genetic and environmental factors that play a role here. It’s a well-known fact that diabetes rates are increasing and gestational diabetes rates too are prominent among pregnant women which automatically affects newborn children and young kids. Such children face several problems including a daily insulin injection and avoidance of sweet treats often. This makes the kids often sulk in sadness. Who doesn’t like to eat sweet meats and treats, especially at a young age? Besides these there are also some other complications associated with type 1 diabetes in kids.
Young kids with type 1 diabetes experience extreme fluctuations in glucose levels when the developing brain undergoes maturation changes. Glucose is critical for brain development as the brain needs a constant supply of energy in the form of glucose. A study by researchers from Stanford University in the PLOS Medicine journal shows that kids with type 1 diabetes show differences in brain functioning compared to those who don’t have the disease.
The research involved 93 kids with type 1 diabetes aged 7-14 years. All of them performed a cognitive test whose results showed that both sets of kids, those in the diabetes group and control group, performed the task with equal accuracy. But there was substantial difference seen in the ways their brains were behaving. The default-mode network, the brain’s idle system of kids with diabetes was not shutting off during the task and hence to counter this, the brain’s executive network (responsible for self-regulation and concentration) was working harder than normal in kids with diabetes. Younger the age of diagnosis more pronounced was the abnormality seen in kids. Individuals who are exposed to blood-glucose level changes for a longer time experience greater alteration in brain function which can never be reversed or compensated in the later stages of the disease.
Kids are most flexible during their younger years of life-physically and mentally. Their bodies behave like rubber bands and their minds are like a clean slate in which we can fill in details that we wish-both good and bad. Their brains have the greatest potential for plasticity and repair but when diabetes levels are not corrected and brain-related problems go undetected they would be threatened to face and live with the resulting consequences in life forever. Take care to minimize the risk of type 1 diabetes in kids by taking care of yourself even before you decide to get pregnant. Optimize glucose levels, eat good food and workout to prevent gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Get in touch with nutritionists and dietitians at www.firsteatright.com who specialize in pregnancy nutrition to plan a pregnancy diet suiting your body needs.
Shaped like our brain, our parents have always been a fan of walnuts-not for their own consumption but for putting their kids under compulsion to consume them. All this is because of its structure-shaped like a brain though there are claims that it increases intelligence our mothers and fathers are not huge fans of scientific evidence but prefer to put their own logical skills to use-deciding that it’s the best for their kid based on its structure. But believe me or not, walnut indeed is one of the best picks for a healthy dish. In general, nuts are rich sources of nutrients and one of the versatile options for a mid-day or an evening snack. There are different varieties of nuts each bringing in a different taste, unique flavour and benefit upon the human body. While we might be fans of almonds, cashews or pistachios not many prefer the walnut owing to its slightly bitter taste. But you would definitely feel better about popping in some walnuts into your mouth once you realize its different benefits.
High in proteins, calcium and iron walnuts have been hailed as an effective dietary component to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Now, they might offer cardiovascular protection too. Previously, it was seen that eating walnuts alongside a diet that’s low in saturated fats might offer heart-healthy benefits but the latest research shows that including walnuts as a daily part of your diet increases the presence of good bacteria in the gut thereby safeguarding heart health.
The randomized control trial done on 42 participants with overweight/obesity aged 30-65 years shows that individuals who consumed a walnut-enriched diet showed significant association between changes in gut bacteria and risk factors for heart disease. The walnut diet paved way to an increase in the number of gut bacteria that promoted health benefits which includes those such as Eubacteria eligens, Roseburia and Butyricicoccus. Greater the number of Eubacteria or Lachnospiraceae higher was reduction in blood pressure and total cholesterol levels. There were no changes found in gut bacteria following the walnut-free diet and risk factors for heart health.
The gut bacteria are seen to play an evident role in modifying our health-for the better or worse depending on the food that we eat. The baby acquires gut bacteria from the birth canal of its mother which is later modified based on environmental and lifestyle factors. For more information about how mode of delivery affects gut bacteria composition please visit www.firsteatright.com. So, when walnuts have a positive influence on this gut bacteria composition which in turn benefits heart health it is high time that we include them in our daily diet in controlled portion sizes by getting in touch with dietitians and nutritionists. Replace your unhealthy snacks with walnuts to provide your body with fatty acids, fibre and bioactive compounds. A small change in your diet can bring about greater health benefits.
An infant is a delight to watch-his/her expressions, acts, sounds and movements bring utter joy to each of us present. These newborn kids are given an oil massage (to add glow to their skin, make the hands and feet strong and also to put them to sleep) and bathed using fragrant homemade powders that include turmeric and rose petals too. Soon after bath, they are generally sprayed with talcum powder all over their body to make them as fragrant as possible-this very sight is heavenly! Isn’t it common for a house to smell of talcum powder when there is a small infant?
Talcum powder is made from talc (one of the softest minerals in the world), a mineral that’s made of elements such as magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Talcum powder is used in the preparation of a number of cosmetic products such as baby powder, adult body and facial powders and other cosmetic products too. It is valued for its capacity to absorb moisture, oils, odour and reduce friction protecting the baby against diaper rash and infections. It is a common sight for parents to spray a generous dose of powder on the baby’s genitals before putting on the diaper. But there have been times when some people also advice against spraying this powder on genital parts as there is an associated risk of cancer in using this powder.
Talc is a mineral that has to be mined for and it might contain asbestos as the mineral often occurs in close proximity to asbestos on the Earth’s surface. For the unknown, asbestos is a substance that’s known for its cancer-causing property and because talc is very close to this substance people fear and claim that talcum powder causes cancer too. Though everyone’s worried, most concerns about cancer risk is focused on individuals who have long-term exposure to talc such as talc miners and those women who apply talcum powder to their genital areas increasing their risk of ovarian cancer. There are other common risk factors of ovarian cancer the list of which can be found at www.firsteatright.com. There have been more than 5000 cases filed against talcum powder (also known as baby powder) based on research claims that have found that long-term use of talcum powder on female genitals might increase the risk of ovarian cancer. We also have lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (this company started selling talcum powder as early as during 1800s) and other companies that sold talcum powders contaminated with asbestos blaming them for increased risk of cancer.
Evidence or Lack of Enough Evidence?
The issue first cropped up when researchers found talc particles in ovarian tumors in 1971. Yet another study in 1982 came up with a connection between ovarian cancer and talc powder use in genitals but a 2014 study disproved any of these links. Studies in 2016 and 2018 show that there is a weak but significant link between using talcum powder and ovarian cancer risk.
Different health committees have come up with their ideologies: the CDC says that prolonged inhalation of talc could cause carcinogenic effect on the lungs; FDA doesn’t conclude anything as research is still going on regarding the effect; the powder is banned from being used as an ingredient in beauty products by the European Union and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says that talc-based powders are not carcinogenic generally but could be possibly carcinogenic when used on the genitals.
With conflicting evidences, it is better to refrain from using these powders until a clear judgement is given. Instead, people can use cornstarch, arrowroot starch, oat flour, baking soda or tapioca starch powders to prevent rashes and skin irritation. Though the current evidence is insufficient to provide judgement there are hopes that we could be getting results soon owing to the lawsuit on Johnson & Johnson. Until then if you are extremely concerned about it, adults and children alike are recommended to choose alternate powder options to serve their purpose.
As we are getting increasingly concerned about our needs and deeds, we are all the more depriving our small kids of their needs in life. Kids were the number one priority of parents, especially the mother, during earlier decades. But with both parents going for a job and rise in personal demands it’s the children who exist as the most affected lot. We want to go out, we want to participate in marathons, watch movies peacefully, go on a lunch date or spend time with friends which puts the child at the mercy of the caretaker or the day-care centre. There are some parents who simply cuddle their child, kiss them good night and go off to their own busy schedule. Not everyone can afford a personal caretaker and when some kids are enrolled in day care centres the same attention as given to your child in a home setting cannot be expected. Kids are left to be on their own, engaged using television programs or made to sleep. This sounds sad and we pity the children but what is the state of those kids who are brought up in orphanages without the love, care and a sense of belonging? Pathetic.
More than the emotions surrounding the upbringing of children in orphanages a new study has come up with a shocking revelation that kids suffering from severe deprivation in early life have smaller brains in adulthood. This was the study done by a group of researchers at King’s college in London who simply revealed that neglecting children had everlasting effects on their brain. It is based on a study on small kids who grew up in Romania’s orphanages.
Romanian Orphanages that Shed Light on Children Neglect
It was in 1989 when the Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu, was revoked of his powers that the world realized the plight of more than 1,70,000 kids who were being raised in Romania’s impoverished institutions. A group of researchers took this opportunity to study a group of 136 kids (aged 6 months to 3 years) who had been living in one of the institutions from birth. They randomly moved half the kids into Romanian foster families (they were monitored and monetary aid was given) and the other half remained in the institution. On comparison they could see that institutionalized children suffered from delayed cognitive function, motor development and language besides showing deficits in socio-emotional behaviour and psychiatric disorders. Those who were shifted to foster care showed improvements in language, IQ and social-emotional functioning. The team also evaluated a control group of local kids and found that those sent to foster care still lagged behind the control group kids. But the researchers also observed that when kids were moved into foster care before the age of 2 their brain activities were no different from that of the control group.
A research in 2017 on 165 kids adopted from the same institutes into UK families observed that 4 of 5 kids continued to experience mental health problems that connected to childhood neglect. But the latest study, the first to scan brains of the kids, shows that childhood trauma physically changed them too. The researchers studied the brain scans of 67 Romanian adoptees who were there in orphanages for varying duration before they were adopted by UK families with brain scans from 21 other adults who were adopted into the UK. The results from the study nullify the concept that anything is possible to change or recover. Results showed that in comparison to other adoptees the adult brain of Romanian orphanage survivors were 8.6% smaller. For each extra month the kids spent in the orphanage their brain size decreased by 0.27%.
Its known that big brains don’t promise greater intelligence but the brain size of the study participants differed structurally in three main areas including control organization, memory integration and motivation. The early unpleasant development stages and environment shape brain development-the impaired brain doesn’t become 100% healthy even after the kids received loving care and affection for more than 10-15 years in their foster homes. All this might be due to lack of exposure to life experiences that could nurture normal brain development and chronic stress that could affect brain development. Its time to start showing your kids unbiased love and care. Devote focused attention on your little ones and shower them with loving words prioritizing their presence over anything else. Scientific research is now focusing on making new strides into erasing the impression what early neglect could leave on the child. Beyond nutrition and food, mental health plays an equally important role in designing a child’s brain development. Understand more about mental health and its effects on kids by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
Life today exists as though it has been played in the ‘fast forward’ mode-girls attain puberty even when they have not reached a 2-digit age, boys are inquisitive enough to know about things that should remain in the dark at least until they cross teenage, women in 20s and 30s attain menopause and there are some men who have gone bald even before getting married and all of these have one thing in common-health has taken the backseat and fitness has been forgotten existing as the root cause behind many of these problems.
Women are known for their highly irrational behavior when it comes to their health-most of them forfeit their well-being for the well-being of their family. They don’t try to exercise, eat on time or stick to a healthy eating schedule despite realizing that they are the fulcrum of the family. This is true in the case of every married woman mostly and almost all women in their childbearing age. Every woman in her childbearing age is advised to take good care of herself as she is at the threshold of going the family way thereby continuing the family’s legacy. Still, studies show that one in five women are suffering from high blood pressure and only very few of them are on a diet that could help themselves and their baby avoid risks of health problems.
Hypertension is linked to a number of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as stroke and heart failure and also prevails as the leading cause of death and disability. It has been known that women of reproductive age have lower rates of hypertension compared to women of older age but this study shows that the rates have seriously climbed up the ladder in younger women these days. The study on 8,740 women aged between 20 and 50 showed that 22.4% of them had high blood pressure. Of them, 7% of women were following a DASH-like diet plan and another 105 of women with normal blood pressure were also following the same diet plan. DASH diet has been recommended by doctors for fighting against hypertension as it contains foods low in salt and high in nutrients such as potassium and magnesium to lower blood pressure. To get yourself a customized diet plan for hypertension please get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Pregnancy these days evokes various complications and a hypertensive pregnant woman is the last thing that we need during pregnancy. Such women are at a risk of delivery a baby with low birth weight or are at a higher risk of delivering premature babies. Its been studied that high blood pressure during pregnancy is a leading cause of maternal death and almost 40% of maternal deaths from any cause are linked with hypertension. Such frightening numbers makes it even more important that women of childbearing age start pursuing proper lifestyle routines and eating habits to stay healthy and to stay out of hypertension. Every woman at this time of her life must be evaluated of her daily diet, health and heart condition and necessary corrections must be made with the best diet and exercise recommendations to lower blood pressure (if needed) and stay healthy. Cardiovascular disease prevails as one of the leading causes of death during and after pregnancy and managing heart health (by preventing rise in BP levels primarily) becomes mandatory. Failing to do this and resorting to medications while being pregnant or planning for pregnancy is insane!
Desperation has reached new heights among individuals to lose weight-this might be because of the dramatic side effects endured by obese people that debilitates their quality of life. Without innovative and effective techniques to curb obesity/overweight rates globally we could end up harming ourselves. The good thing here is that people have already started realizing the immediate need for effective intervention strategies to curb weight gain and have even started working towards eliminating this but sadly, most of them don’t take the right approach to attain success. Yes, I am talking about relying on weight gain machines, supplements, powders and pills for weight loss, most of which are not approved by the FDA and even those that are approved don’t guarantee 100% health sustenance throughout life.
Genetics doesn’t mind taking the blame for obesity but it is appreciable when people realize that eating calorie-dense foods that’s full of fats and carbs contribute mostly towards rising obesity rates. Its no big news that health experts, dietitians and nutritionists recommend eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with regular exercise to lose weight but not all of us follow this-for some its lack of time, lack of interest or inclination; for some others its lack of support and for others its lack of access to fresh foods, good workout spaces or knowledge about both. Many individuals also seek the support of drugs and surgeries to lose excess fat and we also have numerous weight-loss drugs that reduce weight by about 10% approved by the FDA in the last few decades. But its also a well-known fact that each of them comes with their own side effects such as diarrhoea, headache, severe liver injury, sleep apnea, pancreatitis and even an inclination to commit suicide.
We have a new study from Harvard’s SEAS that has discovered that an orally administered liquid salt called Choline and Geranate (CAGE) can reduced the absorption of fat from foods with no side effects seen in rats. It can also reduce total body weight by about 12%. The researchers mixed the liquid with an omega-3 fat called DHA and water. On observation they could see that the DHA formed large particles about 3-4 microns in length. This DHA-CAGE mixture was fed to healthy rat intestines. It was seen that compared to intestines that were injected only with DHA the inclusion of CAGE reduced the permeation of DHA into the intestine tissue.
The same research team prepared DHA and CAGE mixtures in capsule form and fed them orally to rats. After 6 hours it was observed that rats fed with the DHA+CAGE mixture absorbed only 50% DHA into blood compared to those rats that were given DHA alone. Feeding CAGE with DHA doubled its concentration in the rat’s stomach and intestine while reducing its presence in the liver-this shows that CAGE prevents DHA from leaving the gastrointestinal tract. The same team also studied the effect of CAGE on fat intake by these rats who were fed a high-fat diet containing 20% more fat than regular diet, for a month. A 10-microliter dose of CAGE caused rats to gain 12% less weight than rats that got a 5-microliter dose or no CAGE. While the untreated rats ate about 10 grams of food daily those rats treated with a 10-microliter dose ate only about 8 grams of food-this shows that CAGE might also increase feelings of fullness.
FDA Issues Safety Alert for Lorcaserin
Lorcaserin is a medication approved by the FDA back in 2012 alongside a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise to facilitate weight loss in adults who are obese/overweight and have at least one weight-related medical problem such as BP, type 2 diabetes or dyslipidaemia. While headache, dizziness, nausea and fatigue were declared to be common side effects of using the drug the FDA now has come up with a Safety Alert regarding this medication as clinical trials that probed into the safety levels of using the drug showed possible risks of cancer. Though results are not conclusive the FDA wants people to come to a conclusion regarding its use after weighing whether the benefits of taking lorcaserin outweighs potential cancer risk.
The pills that were once approved by the FDA seem to elevate health risk in individuals. Pills might come and go and CAGE is not the first pill to offer hope for fighting obesity. But we cannot be assured of its effects on the human body until long-term use of the pill is monitored. And, lorcaserin is a classic example to stop believing in such pills just because it is approved by the FDA as none of us know about its effects in the long-term. All these reinstate the fact that exercising regularly, eating healthy food, following portion control and leading an active lifestyle is the best way to lose weight and stay healthy. Get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to formulate a healthy diet plan suiting your body requirements. Avoid any pills, powders and supplements that offer easy solutions to weight problems-initially they might sound alluring and supportive but none can predict their long-term effects on health.
Every day, many elderly people don’t wish for more money or even happiness but an independent life with good health which would prevent them from relying on others for their daily chores. The scenario at most homes involves an elderly person sitting in a comfortable chair reading newspaper or watching television for most part of the day. They are all people who were once actively involved in various activities or even sports. But now, their mobility levels are minimal. Mobility, the ability to transfer body weight, climb stairs, walk independently and walk at moderate speeds reflects the quality of life of individuals-better mobility means a better quality of life. Ageing is a gradual phenomenon that spares none and brings about a number of health-related changes, or in fact challenges, that includes mobility impairment.
A majority of the ageing population faces daily trouble with walking and suffers from restricted mobility-either needing the help of a caretaker, a walking stick or even wheelchair. This curbs their independence and also makes them a victim to falls. If you assess, its been shown with clear evidence that there are factors such as obesity and lifestyle factors such as decreased physical activity that play integral roles in developing mobility loss in elderly population. This is also the result of a study on more than 1,00,000 individuals aged between 50 and 71 years followed up for more than 10 years to notice changes in their mobility. While none of the participants faced difficulty in walking at the start of the study, after 10 years it was found that 21% men and 37% women had troubles walking at a normal pace or were unable to walk at all. Those participants who were obese and least active were at maximum risk for walking disability and the risk of mobility loss increased with increase in weight. Even normal weight individuals were at an increased risk of walking difficulty when they led a sedentary lifestyle. Women who spent less than 3 hours in physical activity over the course of a week were at a 5-fold greater risk of mobility loss compared to obese, inactive males who were at a 4-fold risk.
There is light at the end of the tunnel-though you might be broken with mobility issues, sustained weight loss improves mobility in older obese adults. Even if older adults aim for 150 minutes per week of activity, they can improve their physical function. Such exercise programs in combination with dietitian-guided nutrition interventions helps in enabling long-term weight loss. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to plan a well-balanced diet that could help you lose weight. This improves muscle quality, muscle power and the endurance needed for climbing stairs or walking much distances. Performing physical activity is the need of the hour for obese elderly women compared to men as they suffer from lower muscle strength and physiologic reserve. It is better to reduce your TV viewing time too as this exists as an independent risk factor for obesity. Try to make simple body movements while watching TV or go out for a walk in the park with your group of friends. Such social interactions keep you engaged and you don’t feel isolated. Taking such steps to improve quality of life can go a long way towards betterment.
The word ‘Detox’ makes us smile as we feel that it’s the best way to get rid of impurities from the body such as alcohol, drugs or poison. Detoxification is nothing but cleansing the blood and now we can see a plethora of detox programs advertised to the health-conscious public as an aid to help resolving depression, bloating, headache, joint pain and fatigue. Even Hollywood celebrities are fans of detox diets which they believe are helpful for restoring energy, losing weight and even relieving symptoms of chronic conditions. Understand more about detox diets and their place in today’s world by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. We are still debating on the effects of such detox diets but I recently came across another detox called as the ‘heavy metal detox’ that triggered my attention.
The environment is full of pollution that is taking a toll on our health in different ways. Tattoos, environmental pollutants, contaminated water, dental fillings and certain household products expose individuals to the dangers of heavy metals such as mercury, nickel, lead, aluminium, uranium and cadmium that rest upon our brain and bones after years of accumulation diminishing your mental and physical health. The presence of such metals in abnormal quantities affects human health increasing the risk of heart disease, thyroid problems, dementia, anaemia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, infertility and birth defects and sometimes even cancer. The functioning of organs such as the brain, liver and the lungs are also greatly affected disrupting blood composition and reducing energy levels. Just like how we believe that detoxification helps the body get rid of toxicity there are certain foods and medicines that help remove heavy metals from the body and use of such substances is called as heavy metal detox.
Individuals generally think twice before accepting job offers from chemical, leather or other such industries as their work environment involves breathing air that’s mixed with chemicals, metals and other elements that disrupt body health. But every one of us is not blessed to choose our work profile or our environment. Working in such hazardous environments involving industrial, agricultural, water and sewage waste, soil erosion, mining, pesticides in crops, tobacco smoke and fossil fuel emissions puts the body at risk for heavy metal poisoning. Such hazards faced by the body is reversed by a process called as ‘chelation’.
There are certain substances present in foods and medications that bind to heavy metals allowing them to be dissolved and excrete them out of the body through the process called as ‘chelation’. The process sounds simple and we assume that eating certain foods helps us cleanse ourselves but people should not try heavy metal detox without the supervision of a healthcare professional. Physicians use certain drugs such as penicillamine or dimercaprol which have the ability to bind to the heavy metals resting within the body flushing them out. There are some of them who might be exposed to low levels of heavy metal poisoning regularly and using heavy metal detox helps to avoid a number of chronic conditions. We even have research showing the usefulness of this detox in preventing kidney, cardiovascular and neurological conditions.
These days more and more doctors are using chelation in treating other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and even autism. We have various research showing that Alzheimer’s and autism might be the result of metal interaction involving copper, zinc and iron.
Each of us contain a certain proportion of heavy metals in the body and their effects on health vary based on the quantity present. When individuals contain normal levels of the metal the process of chelation can bring in more harm than good. The treatment too must be done under extreme supervision as there are greater chances of debilitating consequences-for instance, cases of death have been reported after chelation treatment due to lower calcium levels in the blood that resulted in cardiac arrest.
While chelation does guarantee detoxification, it can also lead to serious side effects such as drop in calcium levels, headaches, reduction of blood pressure and even kidney damage. Hence there has been proposals to clear metal toxification in the body using dietary modifications-such as including cilantro and spirulina and many others such as the ones given below.
We have research showing that including dietary fibre such as fruits and grain with bran helps removing heavy metals, especially mercury. Sulphur-rich foods such as garlic and broccoli play integral roles-garlic helps in preventing kidney damage from cadmium. Chlorella (green algae) increases detoxification of mercury in mice. Cilantro, in combination with chlorella is the perfect detoxification aid as cilantro leaves are full of anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties helping to flush out heavy metals through the excretory system.
There are supplements too proposed for heavy metal removal from the body but these need to be consumed only under the supervision of a physician. Though heavy metal detox might help in improving mental performance, improving skin health, reduce free radical damage, enhance immunity and improve digestive function there are cases when chelation could become extremely dangerous affecting one’s life too. Take caution while performing chelation and look out for safer alternatives to serve your purpose in terms of relying on various food sources.
An awful amount of hard work, dedication and sacrifice goes behind every successful athlete and these start right from a tender age in the case of most people. During my daughter’s annual day function at school last year a boy from her own class was felicitated by the principal for achieving the youngest black belt award in karate. Later, his mom was called upon stage to share a few words and one of the first things that she spoke was about his daily practise of 2 hours, his avoidance of processed foods including ice creams, juice and even a few fries and his tireless involvement in the training routine which have rewarded him with the accolades. Almost 90% of the world athletic champions eat, breathe and dedicate their life for sports. Each player conditions his/her body and mind by following a disciplined eating pattern, lifestyle and physical activity routine. Besides all these there is yet another important factor that affects their performance tremendously-sleep.
Resetting Schedules According to Sleep Timings
Sleep has become an unaffordable commodity in today’s busy world. If there is one thing in the schedule people are ready to compromise without hesitating its only sleep. While the general recommendations by experts include 7-9 hours of sleep for every individual people these days don’t even get 5-6 hours of quality sleep. For athletes, the need to sleep is even more. It’s the duration and quality of sleep achieved that makes it possible for them to win. But traditionally sleep was not the primary focus of athletes who were involved in vigorous training but maybe it was also because that during earlier years individuals did get their needed share of quality sleep (as streaming sites, social media sites or online surfing were not popular and readily available). But now, with more athletes losing games over sleeplessness we have research publications showing that sleep is critically important for physical and academic performance, cognitive function, recovery from athletic exertion and injury, mind fitness and heart health. The research published on the effect of sleep on athletes in a reputed journal showed that sleeping for 8-9 hours was linked to a 61% lower risk of injury, improved mental performance, increased accuracy in physical tasks and quicker reaction time. But sadly, almost 42% of the study participants (athletes) reported poor sleep schedules.
Exercise leads to muscle fatigue, depletes energy and makes the person tired. We drink fluids and eat the right foods but these are not 100% of rest and recovery. The immediate energy refuelling following training and competition is indeed important but REM sleep is an undeniable way to provide the mind and body with the required energy to perform. In the absence of sleep, the carbs, fat and proteins that you get from the food you eat don’t work efficiently to produce glycogen and convert them into the energy needed for yet another day of vigorous training or activity. There is a great chance that poor sleep routines increase the risk of fatigue and poor focus, decrease energy levels and slow down recovery time too after performance. This has all been clearly proved by a study on a group of basketball players at the Stanford University. All the players were asked to add 2 hours of extra sleep time to their regular schedule and results were impeccable-their speed increased by 5%, free throws showed yet another 9% improvement in accuracy and they also felt happier.
Its simple to define but athletes follow a rigorous training and competition schedule, travel a lot, engage in academics, overtrain and become stressed all of which can affect the likelihood of achieving the desired quantity of sleep. It is necessary that they need to be carefully monitored to come up with intervention policies that can promote their sleep performance and health.
Matching Sleep Requirements
A definite schedule helps each of us plan our day and during regular training days athletes too can plan a schedule to go to bed and get up at the same time daily. Those going for a competition are requested to cut down on caffeine and alcohol intake at least 2-3 days before the start of the competition as these could disturb your sleep routine. If the competition requires travelling it is always better to reach the destination at least a couple of days earlier. This gives you enough time to settle down and help your body adjust to your regular sleep schedule. Above all, don’t be stressed, take adequate rest and avoid sleep medications as much as possible to avoid any changes in sleep quality. Improve your sleep quality with tips from www.firsteatright.com that can be easily followed.
Every day after brushing teeth I remind my daughter to drink a glass of water but in vain; I ask her to drink water every now and then at school but the water bottle comes back without a slight change in water levels; at home too she doesn’t take the slightest effort to consume water. Maybe all this scenario would change if the beverage consumed had been a soft drink or a cola. Water isn’t bitter nor does it have taste for some people to reject quoting taste preferences. A colourless, odourless and tasteless liquid, water does find itself to be one of the least desired beverages by mankind. Though its advantages might not be evident the disadvantages of not consuming enough water-dehydration-is very clearly evident in the form of headache, dizziness, lethargy and other conditions depending on the severity level.
We expel water in the form of urine and sweat out of the body. Some sweat more and some others, like me, barely sweat even after exercise. Physical activity brings about sweat whose quantity depends on the severity of the activity. We do know that overexertion and excess sweating during sports and fitness sessions can lead to excess fluid loss compared to what individuals consume-this is commonly witnessed in the younger generation who are actively engaged in physical fitness classes or sports practices. Lack of enough hydration has the ability to affect anyone from any generation but there is one segment of the population that’s more susceptible to dehydration-the older generation. Dehydration is not a simple effect and can wreck the body in different ways as mentioned at www.firsteatright.com.
Ageing causes decrease in water reserve due to reduction in muscle mass and even more due to decrease in hormonal signals that invoke thirst and compel a person to drink water. But a new study on a group of older adults shows that inappropriate hydration levels could impact cognitive performance. The research was conducted on a group of 2506 participants (1271 women and 1235 men) aged 60 years and above. Each of them was given three tasks to measure cognitive functioning-the first two measured verbal recall and verbal fluency while the third one measured processing speed, sustained attention and working memory with a list of symbols and numbers. It was observed that lower scores were secure by women on the number-symbol test who were classified as either underhydrated or overhydrated. These individuals displayed poor performance in the test for attention, processing speed and working memory. This raises the question whether insufficient water levels in the body might make difficult tasks even more problematic requiring longer periods of concentration and focus. But what’s surprising is the lack of any association between hydration levels and cognitive performance in older men.
Nevertheless, this is a strong indication for all older adults to focus more on their water intake levels and avoid dehydration to avoid consequences of both, underhydration and overhydration.
Air is omnipresent without which life cannot exist. Water is yet another natural resource that’s much needed for survival. Both air and water, nature’s gift to mankind is available throughout the world, or at least were available, but now we can see fleets of water lorries jetting their way in and out of our narrow roads supplying the much-needed water for daily survival. Some days pass by without the presence of a drop of water in our pipes solely relying on the stored cans and tubs. On the other hand, I saw an advertisement in a shopping mall attracting people’s attention by displaying a colorful banner for pure air-You get to breathe clean and pure air for sixty minutes at the expense of Rs. 500. Pathetic! Air, that’s not sealed in containers and sold, is now publicized for its purity. We are responsible for such depletion in our resources and once again we are trying to mint money using the same situation.
New Delhi stands tall among other cities as India’s capital in pride and charm but the same city also suffers from debilitating air quality year after year with inadmissible air pollution rates existing everywhere. The situation is not any better in other metropolitan cities and villages too are not far behind in this. Individuals want to take a deep breath but are also too scared to take one. Cities are overpopulated and people live in flats that are like air-tight containers that make way for fumes such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and biological irritants (dust mites) to accumulate in due course. This makes indoor air quality even worse (almost 5 times worse) than outdoor air quality. There has been innumerous articles and insights highlighting the debilitating effects of air pollution-heart diseases, stroke, asthma, kidney problems, eye/lung infection and cancer are few of them. This makes air purifiers and air purifying plants one of the biggest wellness trends in recent years. How well do these claims live up to their hype?
Indoor Air Purifiers
According to MarketWatch, an American financial information website, demands for air purifiers are increasing worldwide at nearly 10% a year with its value expected to reach around $33 billion by 2023 (https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/air-purifiers-are-the-big-trend-for-2020-but-are-they-worth-it-20200108-p53pt8.html). State governments in cities like Delhi have installed outdoor air purifiers at major intersecting roads but some feel that its like trying to cool a room with air conditioner when its wide open without a roof. Also, doctors doubt the benefits of such purifiers greatly-a poll by Curofy conducted in Delhi on more than 1,500 doctors showed that more than 65% of them responded that air purifiers cannot save quality of outdoor air.
The purifiers might offer protection and effectiveness against particulate and smoke in a limited area. But priced anywhere from a few thousands to lakhs are we smart to invest so much money in this equipment? There are several factors to consider before answering this question. An air purifier that uses a multistage filtration system to remove pollutants and smoke is effective depending on the size of the purifier in comparison to the size of your room, presence/absence of pets and the location of your apartment. Don’t expect the purifier to work when you have smoke inside the room in the form of an incense stick or cigarette during which the doors and windows need to be kept open. Shutting your house for longer period of time increases the risk of carbon dioxide, a gas that cannot be removed by the purifiers. Keeping doors and windows open also does brings down the effectiveness of air purifiers.
Some people believe that air conditioners serve a dual role acting as a purifier too which is absolutely wrong. These devices play no role in removing air pollutants as they are ineffective for small particles and we do need an air purifier to do the purification role. Different purifiers fulfil different purposes and the presence of some features are more helpful for those with asthma and allergies. This includes a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) 13-grade or higher filter (that can even remove PM 2.5-sized particles) and an activated carbon filter that has the ability to remove smoke and gasses from air. The HEPA filters need to be periodically cleaned and replaced to sustain the effectiveness of the air purifier. There is even a small study from China that claims that indoor air purifiers might aid people with heart conditions (https://in.reuters.com/article/us-air-pollution-heart/indoor-air-purifiers-may-aid-heart-patients-idINKBN0OD2UJ20150528). We already know that air particles increase the risk of heart-related problems and the study showed that using air purifiers helped participants improve measures of inflammation and blood clotting while decreasing blood pressure and reducing airway inflammation. The effectiveness of the purifier depends on a lot of things-its quality, size of the room, size of the purifier and so on.
Many of our homes are ornamented with tiny little potted plants that sit in one corner of the room. Home décor shops boast of a complete list of plants that promise to remove toxins, chemicals and other pollutants from the air and online sites too provide great offers and combo deals on such plants. Though the craze for green plants to keep our homes green has become evident only in the last decade or so, businesses and homes started investing in greenery to clean air ever since NASA published a paper in 1989 claiming that houseplants can suck air pollution and toxic chemicals. The study showed that plants can lead to decay of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a sealed chamber but meta-analysis proved that ventilation in indoor environments can dilute VOCs a lot faster than what plants can remove from the air. And, it could take more than 1,000 plants per square meter to gain benefit that’s much better than simply opening some windows. The study by NASA failed badly because of the test conditions-NASA conducted its tests in a sealed container that does not mimic the conditions existing in most people’s households.
NASA found that garden plants such as bamboo, English ivy, gerbera and peace lilies have he potential to remove formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene but this misconception has been cleared now-plants are great but they don’t clean indoor air to have any improvement in air quality. Then why there is so much hype created by the business sector-its nothing but an indication that the houseplant industry is cherry-picking data (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/03/indoor-plants-clean-air-best-none-them/584509/). First, for plants to improve air quality you need 10 of them every square foot of office/home space and the variety of these plants that can actually purify air is only achievable by the most dedicated plant lovers.
But don’t be discouraged and throw off your potted plant into the bin. There is evident research showing that these plants can elevate mood, calm individuals, lower blood pressure, improve attention capacity and bring happiness irrespective of whether or not it helps you breathe clean air.
Air purifier masks are yet another option that’s inexpensive comparably and also likelier to be effective against particulate matter-they do reduce PM 2.5 inhalation but we do not know by how much. A standard mask doesn’t provide any protection against pollution and how you fit the mask also plays a great role in its effectiveness in reducing pollutant risk. Studies on the effectiveness of air purifier masks could not prove until now that these masks offer protection from long-term effects of air pollution such as heart disease. Such masks can only prevent some particulate matter but not harmful carcinogenic gases like benzene that can only be prevented using specialized masks that’s medically cleared for industrial use (https://theprint.in/india/governance/no-study-has-yet-proven-health-benefits-of-pollution-masks-air-purifiers/159826/).
Choose the best protection method that works best for you. Above all, take every precautionary step to reduce air pollution rates as much as possible and save yourself and the world from further hazards.
Air Purifiers: 7 Myths You Should Stop Believing: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/air-purifiers-7-myths-you-should-stop-believing/no-point-buying-expensive-air-purifiers/slideshow/71935044.cms
Outdoor Air Purifiers & Indoor Play: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/29/outdoor-air-purifiers-and-inside-play-delhi-gears-up-for-annual-pollution-fight
Doctors Question Efficacy of Air Purifiers: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/Doctors-question-efficacy-of-air-purifiers/article16440354.ece
Which Houseplants You Should Buy to Purify Air? None of Them: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/11/houseplants-dont-purify-indoor-air/
Pot Plants Barely Clean the Air, So Best to Just Open a Window, Say Scientists: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2019/11/06/pot-plants-barely-clean-air-best-just-open-window-say-scientists/
New Research Busts Myth That Indoor Plants Improve Air Quality: https://www.forbes.com/sites/linhanhcat/2019/11/13/indoor-plants/#7f7142b74b46
An ideal situation would be for women in their reproductive stage of life to stay within normal weight ranges and follow a healthy lifestyle. This would help them stay healthy through conception, delivery and postpartum. Physicians even suggest women to start taking folic acid supplement even before conceiving for the normal growth of the fetus. While health experts ask us to stay motivated and healthy even before conceiving not many women pay heed to such words and face the consequences later in life. There are a greater number of studies showing that maternal weight and now, even paternal weight contributes to the growing fetus’ health and has a strong impact on the infant’s physical and mental well-being during later stages in life.
Inappropriate weight gain can lead to a number of health problems and we have nutrition and dietetic experts suggesting individuals to go for different diets that are medically approved. Please be aware that we are not talking about any of the fad diets that lower the intake of one macronutrient, increase the intake of another tremendously while totally cutting off consumption of some other nutrient. One highly acclaimed and proven diet is the Mediterranean diet that has been widely followed by people globally. Now, this diet form has been prescribed to pregnant women who suffer from obesity. Detailed description of the Mediterranean diet with its most cherished foods items is available at www.firsteatright.com.
Complications in the form of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia are common during the pregnancy most of which are results of our body weight and general health and this can increase the long-term risk of diabetes and cardiovascular complications in both mother and the child. A study published in the reputed journal ‘PLOS Medicine’ shows that consuming a Mediterranean-style diet helps decrease the risk of diabetes by 35% and leads to 1.25 kg less weight gain during pregnancy. But there were no changes in other pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, stillbirth, small for gestational age foetus or admission to a neonatal care unit. There was an overall improvement in the quality of life of those pregnant women who followed the Mediterranean diet in comparison to other women but it brought about no changes to nausea or vomiting. No doubt, this diet form has shown effective results in those with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk but its effect on high-risk pregnant women was unknown until now. Neither have pregnant women been recommended the key components of the Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil and mixed nuts besides the ever-nutritious fruits and vegetables. This research shows that obese women with chronic hypertension and increased lipid levels should be recommended to consume more nuts, fruits, unrefined grains and olive oil while reducing the consumption of fats and sugars.
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