“Smoking is injurious to health, smoking causes cancer” We see this tagline in all the cigars that we purchase, the advertisement pops up just before any movie starts and the government has banners and hoardings all over the cities that try to enlighten people about the ill effects of smoking. Still, the number of smokers is increasing and the habit has also got the attention of teenagers and youth who are falling a prey to it. E-cigars have also gained a reputation on their own coming in as cigar replacements for millions of people around the world.
Replacements for Cigars or Reassignments of Health Issues?
E-cigarettes also called as e-cigars, vaporizers or vape pens emit vaporized nicotine for the individual to inhale the only difference being that the user has the sensation of inhaling tobacco smoke without the smoke. Teenagers in the U.S. predominantly use e-cigarettes whose use increased to 900% a couple of years back. There are quite a lot of them who don’t use it as a replacement for smoking but start this habit for its own pleasures. Now, different research studies show that vaping does have hazardous side effects on health. Read more about e-cigarettes and also learn about effective ways in which you can stop smoking by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
A study by researchers at the Boston University found that the additives used in e-cigars have the potential to damage the cells lining blood vessels and reduce the production of nitric oxide thereby increasing the risk of inflammation and heart disease. The study used nine different flavoring chemicals and exposed the endothelial cells for 90 minutes to study the effects. When cells lining the blood vessels were exposed to these flavoring additives chemicals that are generally released to promote blood flow decreased and also raised inflammation levels. The endothelial cells of smokers and those using flavored e-cigars showed similar levels of toxicity. But cell death happened only at extremely high concentrations and it normally doesn’t occur with normal usage. It is important to note here that endothelial cells play an integral role in heart and cardiovascular health.
Another study too published in a reputed journal found that exposing endothelial cells to six different flavors of e-liquid with different levels of nicotine created damage to cell functioning. The different flavors used were fruit, tobacco, sweet tobacco with caramel and vanilla, sweet butterscotch, cinnamon and menthol and these flavors increased the levels of molecules that can cause DNA damage and cell death. The researchers found that cinnamon and menthol flavors were more harmful comparatively as they obstructed the cell’s ability to form new blood vessels whereas exposure to cinnamon, caramel and vanilla flavors increased inflammation chances. Another important discovery made by the researchers in this study was that the levels of nicotine found in the blood of e-cigarette and conventional cigar users were the same after 10 minutes of smoking.
Traditional cigarette or e-cigarette, both come with their own baggage of disruption to our health. At least while smoking a normal cigarette you have a count on the number of cigars you have smoked. But with e-cigarettes you are at a danger of exposing your body to extremely high nicotine levels. The chemicals released from e-cigarettes affect our vascular health and disrupt our well-being. Stop any kind of smoking-active, passive or active-passive and start living a better quality of life.
It’s a religious ritual to overload your tummy with the big tub of popcorn-caramel, cheese, butter, salt or many more varieties while watching your favorite movie in the big screen. The sum total of the expenses on a tub of popcorn is quite more than what we assume-it’s time spent, money spent, calories earned and weight earned. Friday nights at home too are never complete without a bowl of our yummy popcorn and our favorite TV series or movie. We are proud to hold them in our hands as popcorns are whole grains, full of antioxidants and rich in nutrients-at least, that’s what we love to assume. Contrarily, a big tub of the tasty popcorn that is purchased at the movie is worth almost 50% of our daily calorie needs amounting to more than 1000 calories, plus or minus a few depending on the variety that we choose. So, are popcorn any good or are they coated with honey with all the wickedness inside?
What’s There in Popcorn’s Kitty?
A healthy snack is one that’s high in nutrient, low in calories, total fats, sugar and sodium. Some snacks like nuts also belong to the ‘healthy’ category for their super-high nutrients despite their high calorific value. Whereas a not-so-healthy-snack is one that’s low in nutritional value but high in calories, total fats, sodium and sugar.
Easy ones to point out include fruits and veggies that aren’t in everyone’s list as a snack! Doughnuts, fries and crisps are definitely high in our list but they are also high in calories. An exception to all this is popcorn whose method of preparation can make or break the health of this snack. Popcorn sure has some perks-it’s a whole grain which makes it a whole lot better as these are rich in antioxidants and fiber that are helpful in protecting the body against diseases such as cancer. They are an excellent source of polyphenols, a plant oxidant that improves cell health. Some even quote popcorns to be better sources of polyphenols than fruits and vegetables as popcorns contain only 4% water compared to produce which is made of 90% water. A new study even shows that popcorns make an even better snack when prepared in the right way as they contain up to 300 mg of polyphenols compared to fruits that contain only 160 mg of them (https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/04/popcorn-may-actually-be-good-for-you-if-you-dont-slather-it-in-butter/255596/). And, do you know which part of the popcorn has the maximum concentration of polyphenols? It’s the hull that’s all determined to get stuck in between your teeth and cause unease. Although a serving of these air-popped kernels contains twice the amount of polyphenols compared to a serving of any fruit they can never be replacements for fruits and veggies as these produce contain a number of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are absent in popcorn.
Offsetting Nutritive Value with Your Preparation Method
While a serving of air-popped corn kernels contain only 100 calories the ones served at the theatre contain as much as 1000 calories and more than 2000 mg of sodium. Whoa! Those are highly contradictory figures that don’t match each other any time sooner! Some of them are prepared only using oil which is far better when compared to the cheesy popcorns or the sweeter ones coated in sugar and caramel sauce.
Microwaved popcorns have been used judiciously by many for making tasty treats for their loved ones but they do contribute their own set of problems. Research previously linked the coatings used in microwaved popcorn to health issues such as lung diseases-but this was seen only in those working in popcorn manufacturing factories and effects on those who consume it remain hazy. There have also been reports showing that the chemicals used to coat the popcorn bag are carcinogenic in nature. Though we don’t have crystal-clear evidences there does exist the need to use other better cooking options to stay safe.
Cooking corn kernels on the stove is great but only when these kernels don’t undergo further processing in the form of oil coatings that burn while heating and cause oxidative damage to cells. Any food prepared with burned oil is not a good option to consider and popcorns are no exception. The best is to cook them on your stovetop directly without coating them in oil or use electric air poppers that are inexpensive, cook completely and are healthy.
So, give or take a few positives and negatives we can surely say that popcorns are a good snack when they are prepared in the right way and are also the worse snacks when prepared wrongly.
Is popcorn really a healthy alternative to crisps and other snacks? https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/sep/29/is-popcorn-really-a-healthy-alternative-to-crisps-and-other-snacks
Healthiest way to make popcorn: https://time.com/5218647/healthiest-way-to-make-popcorn/
Even today when I ask many of my clients about their meal routines its surprising as well as saddening to know that many of them don’t go by a healthy breakfast routine and as a matter of fact, most of them skip it altogether. Despite several articles available on the importance of breakfast, RDN’s and physicians vouching for its benefits and our parents begging, screaming or cajoling us to eat breakfast all that we do is to skip it.
‘Don’t believe until you see it with your eyes’ is a good advice for quite many things but trying to follow the same in terms of breakfast too doesn’t make sense. We are all clever enough to decode life’s clues and act accordingly. Realizing the importance of breakfast only after it spoils your health is not going to help you much. While the statement might sound redundant its underlying essence remains the same-Breakfast indeed is the most important meal of the day!
Breakfast Helps to Control Blood Sugar Levels
Let’s get this straight-skipping your breakfast is going to land you in immense trouble with regards to your health. The latest studies show that skipping breakfast increases risk of type 2 diabetes. Until now, we know that diabetic patients should never skip their breakfast as it can affect their glucose levels badly, but this news is the other way around. A review recently published shows that skipping breakfast just once a week may raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 6% and missing it for almost 4-5 days in a week increases the risk up to 55%. On the whole, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 32% for those who missed breakfast compared to those who ate it diligently.
We know that obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and normally, obese people tend to skip breakfast as they are concerned about their weight (but that’s not the right way to approach weight loss). When researchers probed into this, they found results indicating an increased risk of type 2 diabetes irrespective of the body mass index of the individual. This discovery is extremely useful as most people believe that it’s the obese/overweight individuals who always skip breakfast.
Yet another study that tracked almost 3,000 individuals aged between 18 and 30 for 10 years showed that eating a daily breakfast decreased the risk of obesity and diabetes by 35%-50% compared to skipping the morning meal. This clearly shows that if you want to lose weight or be healthy skipping your meal and starving is not the right way to start working on your goal. Eating your breakfast helps in eating fewer calories, less saturated fat and cholesterol and have a more-healthier body than skipping your meal and suffering from its aftermaths. Yet another study complements this result where it shows that people who usually skipped breakfast when they started eating it lost more weight than those who ate the same number of calories in only two meals.
What We Eat Matters Too!
Eating breakfast is important but what you eat can determine the effectiveness of the result. When one study tried to determine the effectiveness between eating a high-protein diet and a high-carb diet it found that a high-protein diet improved satiety (feeling of satisfaction) as it decreased the release of hunger hormones. Eating the right portion and choosing foods that are high in protein and fiber helps you stay energetic and full until lunch. This even prevents you from munching on some oily snack in between. For more ideas and recipes on a healthy breakfast meal please visit the website www.firsteatright.com which contains intricate details of the key nutritious elements that must be part of a morning meal.
Other than diabetes skipping on your breakfast leads to other unhealthy lifestyle practices such as elevated risk of smoking and drinking, decreased interest in exercising and increase in total calories consumed. On the other hand, eating a healthy breakfast lowers the risk of heart disease, blood vessel disease and stroke, and helps the person with better control over his/her weight.
Ladies, don’t go for a competition with your man for weight loss as you are sure to be disappointed! It’s a bitter truth that men have an advantageous edge when it comes to weight loss as they lose weight faster. Its common to see women survive on salads and smoothies but what I’m saying now can be even more depressing given the fact that even studies support it. Yes women, strengthen your hearts and prepare your minds for what you read below might not seem fair but, in the end,, equality triumphs above the rest.
Low-Calorie Diets have a Low Impact on Women’s Weight
Ladies sweat and bet to lose a few kilograms, but the man cuts back on the junk, does a few exercise reps and watches the weighing scales support his efforts in a better way. In a study of more than 2,000 pre-diabetes participants who followed a low-calorie diet for 8 weeks men lost significantly more body weight than women and witnessed greater reductions in the metabolic syndrome sore, diabetes, fat mass and heart rate. Whereas, women were at an advantage when it came to larger reductions in HDL cholesterol, hip circumference, lean body mass and pulse pressure compared to men. The result remained the same despite adjusting for differences in weight loss. But, the 8-week low-calorie diet program resulted in the initial 10% weight loss needed to achieve major metabolic improvements in the first phase of a diabetes prevention program.
The Speed Test
Men have more lean muscle tissue which has the ability to burn more calories than body fat. So, when both men and women cut down calories by following a low-calorie diet or likewise men reap greater benefits and lose weight quickly. But, if you compare the weight loss and maintenance of the lost weight on a long-term basis, the results are almost the same for both genders. This shows that beyond looking into who loses weight faster more important is to ensure that both men and women are going about weight loss in the right direction.
A classic example is that when sedentary men and women start working out and following a diet, men tend to lose more body fat compared to women. A study in England put both men and women on different weight loss programs and at the end of two months noticed that men had lost twice as much weight as women and thrice as much body fat. But, at the end of six months the weight loss statistics remained balanced and equal between the two genders.
Its also to be noticed that women have an extra 6-11% body fat than men which has been reasoned out as a biological trait which evolved to help women during pregnancy. So, despite consuming fewer calories or eating low-calorie foods, women maintain more average body fat than men. This 11% doesn’t make her fatter and she can be perfectly fit with her 11% added body fat. Another point is that men start losing weight in the hardest part of the body-belly and hence, their weight loss is explicitly visible whereas fat stores in a woman are spread around her body and tend to take a longer time. A simple 30 minutes exercise session every day helps a man lose fat around the abdomen even if he doesn’t lose weight. Women can thank themselves here as they tend to put on more weight around the thighs and back compared to abdominal obesity which is a great risk factor for diseases.
For a list of low-calorie foods that can help you feel full as well as prevent calorie addition to your diet please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Ultimately, losing weight is a hard task for both men and women. The practical truth is that anyone can lose weight irrespective of their gender. It all boils down to your level of interest, dedication and participation.
The gut microbiota has been in the limelight for a couple of years for its strong effect on our health. Now, maybe its time for the vaginal bacteria to show its power for a while! Women with a high risk of ovarian cancer have low levels of vagina-friendly bacteria and so do women who are diagnosed with the disease according to a new study.
Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer which begins in the ovaries and spreads to the pelvis and abdomen most of the times before getting detected. The reason for such late diagnosis is because early stage ovarian cancer rarely gets detected due to absence of symptoms. Advanced-stage cancer too causes symptoms such as weight loss, pain in the pelvis, bowel change, abdominal bloating and urge to urinate frequently which are often mistaken for other common conditions. While diagnosing the cancer at an earlier stage helps in treating it speedily, the symptoms make the process tougher. Also, though the exact cause remains a mystery family history of ovarian or breast cancer and overweight issues increase the risk. Learn how genes has an impact on breast cancer risk from www.firsteatright.com. If you have a family history it is better to discuss it with your doctor who might refer you to a genetic counsellor to test for genetic mutations that could increase the risk of ovarian and breast cancer. But now, researchers strongly believe that microorganisms living inside our body may have a prominent role to play.
Personal hygiene is extremely important and each of us must take utmost care to ensure that our body is well cared for. One species of bacteria in the vagina called as the lactobacillus is assumed to be beneficial to the body as researchers feel that these bacteria helps in protecting against unhelpful or bad microbes from occupying a safe place in the vagina and causing harm.
The study published in The Lancet journal had vaginal and cervical samples taken from 176 women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, 109 women who belonged to the high-risk category due to the presence of the BRCA1 mutation and 295 women who did not belong to the high-risk category. Results showed that:
One might be indifferent to others’ presence anytime and anywhere but have you heard of people missing to recognize their own existence in this world? There are a rare group of people who live with a delusional belief that they are dead or non-existent in this world. Medically termed as Cotard’s Syndrome (CS) this condition remains as one of the strangest and rarest medical disorders.
Also called as Walking Corpse Syndrome this is a rare neuropsychiatric disorder commonly seen in people suffering from serious depression or psychotic disorder. Cotard’s syndrome is most frequently reported in females and those belonging to an older age group rarely witnessed in adolescents. When the syndrome occurs in young people it is generally witnessed in those suffering from bipolar disorder. The delusion is most common in those who feel that its their character and not the environment that causes their behavior. And, when people think of it the other way round, they are likelier to suffer from another syndrome called Capgras syndrome. In Capgras syndrome the affected individual considers all of his/her friends, family and neighbors as imposters. Rarely we witness cases of both Cotard’s syndrome and Capgras syndrome present in the same individual. Capgras syndrome is also a rare mental illness that has debilitating side effects on the patient and for more details please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Nihilism is a common symptom of this syndrome in which the affected individual believes that there is nothing in this world that has any value or meaning and they consider themselves too to have never existed or assume to be dead. Some people feel this way about their entire body while some others feel that some of their body parts, limbs or their soul are dead. A review of more than 100s of cases showed depression to be the root cause behind the problem in more than 89% cases. Other major symptoms include anxiety, hallucination, hypochondria, guilt or a constant motive to end life.
Common medical conditions that increase the risk of Cotard’s delusion include bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, catatonia, depersonalization disorder, dissociative disorder, psychotic disorder and schizophrenia. Neurological conditions such as epilepsy, migraines, dementia, brain tumors, brain infections, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and traumatic brain injuries are also associated with Cotard’s syndrome.
As Cotard’s delusion is a very rare disease present among the population physicians find it difficult to diagnose as most organizations don’t recognize it as a disease. There are no set of criteria used to make a diagnosis and the doctor tries to come to a conclusion by ruling out other causes. Meanwhile, the affected person can also maintain a diary keeping track of his/her symptoms, their duration and frequency which would help the doctor. It is also beneficial to remember that Cotard’s delusion occurs alongside other mental illnesses.
As the syndrome occurs along with other diseases or conditions treatment options vary. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most commonly used treatment and this is the same used to treat severe cases of depression too. Physicians think twice before suggesting this as it carries potential risks including memory loss, confusion, nausea and muscle aches. Most of them prefer to go with other treatment options such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, psychotherapy and behavioral therapy before choosing ECT as the treatment option.
There are not one or two but several complications involved when a person feels that he/she has already died and doesn’t exist. Such people stop taking care of themselves, stop taking baths or keeping themselves clean which makes others around them to start maintaining a distance from these people. This in turn makes the person feel even more isolated and depressed. Sometimes, this can lead to skin and teeth problems too.
Some people refrain from eating as they believe that their body doesn’t need food which can lead to malnutrition mostly. Few others try to commit suicide just to prove that they are already dead and cannot die again.
Cotard’s delusion remains a rare mental illness which needs to be diagnosed carefully but treatment can help the patient live a better life.
Heart exists as the vital organ in our body enabling our survival in this world and this makes it a favorite among researchers who come up with one research or the other that might prove to help humans safeguard it in a better way. Scientists primarily focus on the foods that might elevate heart health, lifestyle practices that generate more power to the heart, activities that keep it healthy and the absence of these that might trigger the occurrence of diseases and problems. Different foods have been recommended to safeguard our heart which include fruits and vegetables. Berries hold a special place in our hearts for their vibrant colors, attractiveness, taste and advantages. While the strawberry has become a common fruit in grocery shelves, blueberries are still a rarity in our supermarkets owing to their sharp pricing trends. These small berries are nutritious and tasty. Now, they have been proven to be good for the heart as well helpful in lowering the risk of heart disease.
A Clue to Bolt Metabolic Syndrome
A group of researchers were curious to know whether eating blueberries could alter the metabolic profile of people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a group of risk factors such as high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high sugar levels, high triglyceride levels and a larger waistline which increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes and stroke. Metabolic syndrome is increasingly seen in people due to rise in obesity rates and it might even surpass smoking as the major risk factor for heart disease. Read more about metabolic syndrome which is becoming a global epidemic from the website www.firsteatright.com.
We know from previous studies that blueberries are good for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease owing to the presence of a naturally occurring compound-anthocyanin. Anthocyanins belong to a group of chemicals called flavonoids and are found in the tissues including the stems, leaves, flowers, roots and fruits. These pigments can be in blue, purple, black or red color giving the fruit its respective color indeed. Studies previously have linked consuming anthocyanins to reduced mortality risks and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. But what has remained untouched is whether eating blueberries could have any positive effect on those people who have already been diagnosed with a risk of developing heart problems.
Effect of Blueberries on People at an Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The research group studied 115 participants who were obese/overweigh and had metabolic syndrome. This was a long study that happened over a period of 6 months. The specialty here is that the researchers recommended the participants to consume a limited portion of the fruit instead of suggesting monumental quantities that are beyond practical application. The participants were split into three groups-the first group consumed 1 cup (150 grams) of freeze-dried powdered blueberries every day, the second group consumed ½ cup (75 grams) of freeze-dried powdered blueberries every day and the third group was the control group which was given a powder that looked just like blueberry powder but contained only fructose, dextrose and maltodextrin.
Biomarkers for insulin resistance, lipid status and vascular function was assessed at the start and end of the study. Results showed that the first group that consumed 150 grams of powdered blueberries daily experienced improvements in vascular functions and arterial stiffness and were at a 12-15% reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. The surprise here is that no benefits were found in the second group-those who consumed 75 grams of powdered blueberries.
Researchers attributed the benefits to the presence of anthocyanins in blueberries. Anthocyanins are present in colorful produce such as carrots, red radish, plums, blackberries, raspberries and purple potatoes. The only trick here is that we need to consume at least one bowlful of blueberries to reap the benefits if we belong to the obese/overweight, metabolic syndrome-present population. Further studies are required to know the effect of this tiny fruit on other people as well.
You can either eat them raw or add them in your cereal, yogurt or smoothie. Including them in salads is also a great option apart from rarely indulging in a dessert flavored with your favorite blueberries.
The more the merrier! I think this remains applicable at least to our friends. Gone are the days where we had joint family systems because of which children got to play with their cousins, learn the importance of caring and sharing adults too had a shoulder to rely upon in times of distress and need. Now, family sizes are not more than three and we aren’t even aware of who our neighbors are! The concrete jungle has invaded our colorful lives demolishing love and affection for our near and dear ones. Humanness has taken a downside and all that we want is monetary and materialistic pleasures. While we decided to lead a life in solitude away from elderly people, siblings and others contended with our very own family of spouse and child stress, anxiety and loneliness have invaded our private lives. We stand at the brink of helplessness and destruction of our personal self which would become hard to reverse in the absence of a magic solution.
In the Nick of Time
Why don’t we add magic to life by bringing in lost treasures which is none other than our beloved ones into our lives once again? Smartphones could be our best friends and the Internet could be our lifesaver at the end of a tiresome day. But don’t you all think we have forgotten the magic that lies in the touch and warmth of another human being in times of our dire needs? Beyond words are the comfort of pouring our worries, happiness, joys and aches to someone who is physically present rather than texting someone. The warm hug of your spouse, the kiss in your forehead coming from your mom/dad and the friendly pat on your back coming from your bro/sis would melt away all your worries. While their touch would not solve any of your problems instantly it gives you all the energy that you need replenishing your lost confidence and makes you stand up to the situation with better self-belief and tackle the problem at hand in a great way.
For a ‘Healthier’ You
Individuals start planning to improve their health by working on their diet plans, exercise routines and sleeping hours all of which definitely improve physical health. But health is the sum total of mental and physical health put together and many of us don’t do much to take care of our mental health which is affected much by stress in life. There is even a study showing that measuring the strength of a person’s social circle is the best way to predict happiness and well-being of the person than tracking down fitness trackers that have data on heart rate, total number of steps and sleep duration. We also have studies showing that better social life is linked to better mental and physical health as it improves mood levels, decreases stress levels, improves cardiovascular health and healthy behavior and brings in positivity in things that you do. At the same time, lack of social life has devastating effects digging the path for loneliness and isolation whose consequences are comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Social media is a great inducer of loneliness and this seems to diminish as a person grows old. Age maybe brings in enlightenment to people who wish to be surrounded by other people!
Once your relationship with your friends, family and the society is happy, you are bound to suffer from fewer health problems and live a longer life. Surprisingly, people who bonded with others but practised unhealthy lifestyles lived longer than those who had poor social ties but followed healthy lifestyles. When you bond with the society and follow a healthy lifestyle this becomes a deadly combination helping you live the longest life. Lack of socialization leads to stress and inflammation which reduces immune function and the body is attacked by a number of diseases. Whereas, when you have a good group of friends there are multiple chances that you get to shed away unwanted behaviour and start pursuing healthier ones. They influence you in many ways and also help us change our perspective over different things. The kind of friends we choose determine our life path and when we choose some people as our friends, we are trusting them with our lives as their influence does change our course of life to a greater extent. For example, if your friends don’t drink alcohol you are less likely to booze; if your bestie is a fitness freak you are more likelier to go for a jog in the park, spend quality time exercising while enjoying the experience all the time. When you feel connected with others you benefit from improved self-esteem, trust, cooperation and better empathy (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/well/live/having-friends-is-good-for-you.html).
Maybe its time to prioritize your friends, meet them regularly over a cup of coffee or lunch and have a hearty laugh to take away your pains in life. Its not enough to do yoga, exercise and eat a healthy diet to stay healthy and improve well-being. Equip yourself with a group of friends to solve your miseries and problems. Nurture relationships and stay connected in times of both sorrows and joys. While you rely upon family and friends for help, remember to accept responsibility for your loved ones in times of their needs. In case your friend is unable to offer the support that you need maybe it’s time to widen your social network and talk to someone else that you trust and care.
Your Friends Affect your Health a Lot More than you Think: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2014/09/02/friends-thrive_n_5723746.html
Why Spending Time with Friends is One of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Health: https://time.com/5609508/social-support-health-benefits/
Study Shows Having Friends Can Improve Health as You Age: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/news/a47328/best-friends-health-benefits/
A whiff of freshly baked bread loaves neatly stacked at the baker’s shop tempts anyone reminding us of the evergreen children’s poem ‘Hot cross buns, hot cross buns.’ The poem is simple and its message evident but now, if we were to sing, one remains perturbed whether it should be white, whole-wheat or brown bun! Reportedly the oldest man-made food prominently consumed in different parts of the world needs some revamping and advertising to bring back its good old charm.
Gluten is a protein found in different grains and gluten-free products have started dominating the markets since a couple of years. Our food requirements, eating styles and health concerns have changed in the recent decades and such concerns over gluten, carbs and sodium disrupt our day-to-day breakfast choices of consuming bread-one of the simple yet tasty foods available to mankind.
One Bread or the Other
The refined grain bread has a great appearance as white as milk but it has the potential to strongly increase sugar levels in the bloodstream which finally gets stored as fat in the body. Still, people’s love over it has not reduced and it occupies a special place in each of our hearts being present in everyday foods owing to its texture and long shelf life. It lacks any of the complex carbs found in whole grains looking like plain sugar that’s fully composed of carbohydrates. On comparison it becomes evident that whole grain bread contains different nutrients that advocate a healthy immune system. The fiber present in the bread improves cholesterol levels and the risk of other diseases such as heart disease, stroke and obesity.
Fad diets remain famous for a short period just like the fads in fashion and offer quick fix solutions to weight loss and health problems. No science supports these fad diets that are blamed for a number of unhealthy consequences. These are the diets that often advise people against consuming bread owing to calories and carb presence but we need both of these for a healthy body. But the carbs should be complex ones as found in whole grain breads opposed to the simple carbs found in white bread. Calorie-wise, a slice of white bread contains 77 calories compared to whole-grain wheat bread composed of 70 calories, a subtle difference of 7 calories but the fiber content of whole grain bread is definitely higher-2 grams compared to 0.8 grams of white bread. Alas, the major difference lies in the presence of sugar in white bread (1.64 grams) which is completely absent in the whole-wheat variety.
We’ve even got the multigrain variety that comes with oats, pumpkin seeds and other toppings making it a delight to consume. Incorporating different whole grains and ingredients such as rye, oats, walnuts and flaxseeds makes your sandwich tastier and healthier. Most important is what goes in between the two slices of bread beyond what goes into the bread. Filling your sandwich with mayonnaise, cheese, dressings and other high-calorie ingredients can totally spoil your meal.
The gluten craze has gotten over everybody and even those who don’t have celiac disease have started choosing gluten-free bread. Please understand that baked gluten-free foods are not composed of the exact nutrients nor do they have a high nutritive value compared to your regular ones. For those allergic to gluten they are requested to avoid breads containing wheat, rye and barley. Read more about the different foods that people with celiac disease must avoid/adhere to by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
If you are still concerned regarding the safety/healthiness of the bread that you consume the best way to erase this confusion is by baking the bread yourself. This way, you have complete control over the amount of sugar, flour and additives that go into the dough.
Drugs are defamatory, bad for health and unacceptable but for one drug which has been placed on the pedestals and given the treatment of a king! Its none other than caffeine and for those of you who are in a state of shock realizing that caffeine is a drug it would rather be suitable that we call it an ergogenic (performance-enhancing substance) aid.
Exercising involves expelling energy and the activity becomes a despised chore when you lack the required energy to perform. This is a compelling reason for elite athletes to take caffeine before training or competition-to improve performance, decrease fatigue level and experience less pain. Such has been the use of caffeine in the sports and physical activity industry that this drug has become an indispensable part of multiple products such as energy drinks, sports gels, alcoholic beverages and diet aids. Ancient men and women consumed caffeine in the form of coffee and tea mostly as caffeine was naturally present in coffee and cacao beans. But now, manufacturers have started producing it chemically and adding them to our all-time favorite energy drinks that help individuals overcome fatigue and maximize their performance.
Takes its Sweet Own Time
Caffeine acts as a stimulant on the nervous system and blocks the production of a chemical that is produced by the body in times of stress and trauma. It mainly elevates alertness levels, helps the muscles burn more fat and makes the individual feel less painful to workout. Generally, muscles burn glycogen stores and when these are exhausted you feel weak and tired while working out. These muscles can also burn fat and when this happens the muscles don’t tire easily. Effects of caffeine are found in activities that last as little as 60 seconds or as long as 2 hours. Also, research has constantly supported the positive effects of caffeine on physical performance, but the effect doesn’t stay the same on every individual. Endurance activities such as running seem to hold a better advantage over resistance activities such as weight lifting. Also, effects are greater on individuals who consume it rarely.
It’s been also researched that consuming caffeine as coffee is rather ineffective compared to doping with pure caffeine. Whatever it is, don’t go beyond the 400-milligram mark set by dietary guidelines for consuming caffeine every day. Too much of caffeine can have side effects such as dizziness, headache and much more as given in the website www.firsteatright.com.
Advantages of caffeine on people who exercise include:
Please don’t use caffeine as your solution during lack of energy each time before exercising. It might also be due to inadequate sleep, exercising too much or an improper diet. Correct all of these and then if you still want to, consume caffeine an hour or so before exercising to maximize performance. When used in the right way and within recommended limits caffeine can have a beneficial effect on the body. But it is also required to think not once but twice before consuming a caffeine-rich beverage as these are also loaded with calories.
We set our expectations high and later on struggle to fulfill it. Life is a journey that’s full of new everyday experiences which teach us new things. Watching a movie, playing a sport, singing and dancing are different ways to add color to our life. But humans have unrealistic expectations sometimes. Many love to watch a movie but do we expect to act like the actors in the movie after watching it? Absolutely no! We love to hear our favorite singers sing but we don’t try to imitate their singing style and become great. Also, some love to watch standup comedians perform in front of a large audience but they don’t start doing the comedy show themselves. But when it comes to sport alone, we do have greater expectations than normal. We never expect participation of audience in singing or comedy events but we do expect some tough competition and participation from audience when it comes to sporting events. This indeed is good as it encourages people to exercise more and stay active but we do need to think about the feasibility too. So, is watching a sport as good as participating in it?
The Gaming Effect
Sports involves endurance, competition, acceptance of defeat, participation and winning, of course! Have you ever seen a real sportsperson? He/she is full of determination, hope, stamina, fitness and always looks forward to giving 100% to the job at hand without any expectations. We do have a lot to learn from these sportspersons. We as individuals sit down in front of the television with our favorite popcorn/crisps in hand, make ourselves as comfortable as possible in our plushy sofas, put on the curtain blinds and bring in a theatrical effect to enjoy a competitive game of tennis or cricket side kicking the fact that most of us have not even stepped into a gym or taken a walk for quite some time now.
But we can also look at it from the view that watching a sport might inspire those already playing to involve more in their chosen sport, encourage those people who have disowned their sport to take it up once again and might even inspire some people to try their hands at some sports that they have never ever tried in their life before-challenging yet useful. Sachin Tendulkar might be the God of cricket to someone while Roger Federer inspires some other person to keep fighting without falling apart. Posters of our sporting Gods and their inspirational quotes by our office desk helps us pull through the day but are they good enough to inspire us to get up and play a game of cricket or enroll ourselves for tennis coaching? The answer would be a definite ‘no’ for most of us. The thought to take up our favorite sport does stay in our minds forever but the will to execute it never shows up even once for most of us. Still, we have a new research showing that athletes and fans witness remarkable improvements in their language skills when they discuss sports events because it’s the same part of the brain used to playing sports that’s now used to understand sports language. Watching a game of basketball is exhilarating especially when your team is in the finals. The audience jump and dance energetically on multiple occasions during the game and the heart rate (alongside increase in blood pressure) increases in several occasions but these can never be substitutes for actual physical activity endured.
On a Disadvantageous Edge
Contrarily, instead of benefitting us watching a sport might be the root cause of cardiovascular diseases, stress or even distress. Studies show that witnessing a stressful match even doubles the risk of a heart attack or stroke especially for those with an existing history of coronary artery disease. Another study found that there was tremendous increase in heart rate of those who watched any match-75% increase in those who watched it in their television and 110% increase in those who attended the match. The rates shot up during scoring and during any exciting part of the game rather than during the output of the game alone. Maybe its time to get fit and then watch a match instead of watching a match and praying to become fitter.
There have been statistical data showing that there was a rise in the percentage of individuals taking part in games-from 47% to 51% but many are not yet convinced with the results. Even after Sydney games in 2000 many Australians became more sedentary and obese rather than trying to lose weight and stay healthy. But Athens Olympics saw increased numbers in participation (almost by 6%) but the hopes were shattered when it dropped by 13% after five years (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160805-do-big-sporting-events-make-us-do-more-sport) where the country witnessed less number of individuals taking part in physical activity.
Watching a sport is only a pastime and nothing beyond that. We get the rush of adrenaline, excitement and some time to stay happy with our loved ones cheering for them and encouraging our beloved team to win. Very rarely it might inspire some one somewhere to pursue the sport and kickstart their career in sports. Otherwise, its only sedentary time spent in front of the television all the more with popcorns and soft drinks in hand.
Is Watching Sport as Good as Playing It? https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/16/is-watching-sport-as-good-as-playing-it
Is Watching Sport Bad for Your Health? https://time.com/4969707/watching-sports-heart-risk/
It’s not even half past seven and your teen is already inside his/her school campus. You have got a long day during schooldays as your day starts by 5 or 5.30 AM and goes on until 10 PM or so. As adults, we can manage and accommodate to these commitments but teenagers who are in their maximum growth stage need enough rest to develop into mature adults. Owing to several reasons adolescents today face one of the commonest chronic health problems-sleep deprivation.
Sleep Cycle of Adolescents
Research shows that teens require around 9 ¼ hours of sleep for optimal performance, good health and mind-body development. This has not been achieved by more than 90% teens during the past decades as these poor kids get less than 7 hours of sleep during schooldays which makes them feel tired and drained out by the end of each day. Common reasons for poor sleep schedules include busy school schedules, ample after-school activities and above all, a battle between early school hours and the biological changes that puts every teen on a late sleep-wake clock. The biological changes in circadian rhythm of the teen during puberty years prevents them from going to bed early to fulfill the required sleeping hours before school starts early. Such sleep deprivations creates a problem everywhere-at school where teenagers lack concentration, potential problem solving skills and succumb to stress, at home where they feel irritable and frustrated generally, may put on weight as they don’t engage in regular physical activity and there are also chances that these teens start relying on cigars and alcohol to cope up with these things in life. Circadian rhythm, discussed elaborately at www.firsteatright.com, can have life-altering effects on us in more ways than you can imagine.
Enforcing Natural Sleep by Altering School Hours
A group of concerned researchers wanted to find out if kids could sleep more peacefully if there were any changes made to the school timings. To experiment this, they involved 15,000 high school students in grades 6-11 who filled in online surveys during school hours both, before and after school timings were changed. Questioned mostly involved those on sleep such as weekday and weekend bed timings, wake up timings, total sleep hours, quality of sleep, issues with sleepiness and overall performance. While 46% reported sleepiness to study or finish their schoolwork, the ratio declined greatly to 35% after there was a delay in school start timings in middle school students. In high school students, the percentage reduced from 71% to 56% which is an excellent improvement in statistics with altered school timings. Many of the students were glad about this change as they reported getting an extra hour of sleep than previously. This extra 60 minutes brings about radical changes in their health, wellness, mood swings, academic performance and mindset, all for the positive. The researchers also made a similar kind of study on these schoolteachers too curious about the effect of altered school timings on their personal wellness-this was the first study to focus on the effects of altered school timings on the staff and teachers. These staff too reported improvements in their daytime performance as they got to sleep for longer comparatively.
Changes in school timings therefore not only help the children sleep more and perform better but also has positive effects on staff and teachers as well. Of course, altering school timings is not a simple thing as it involves an array of other people-parents, teachers, principal, healthcare workers, helpers, counselors and more people. More than the student as an individual the decision affects an entire community of people who need to pool in together and make the right decision.
Teens these days are ok with the lack of sleep accepting it as their lifestyle. By this, they are doing a big mistake-sleep is not an option but a need. Regulating school timings and postponing them by an hour or so (maybe from 7.30 am to 8.30 am) helps them sleep more and be more effective. If this doesn’t work out, they need to consciously make a decision to go to bed early to get their required hours of sleep every day. Main players in this involve parents who can be a teen’s role model by maintaining regular bedtime routines, banning the use of electronic gadgets into the bedroom before sleep timings and creating a comfortable environment with dim lights.
How long it’s been since you tossed a bottle of maple syrup, ketchup or some frozen foods right into the bin after the expiry date without even caring to look into them? Seriously, the ‘best before’ dates and ‘use by’ dates are not a benchmark to gauge your food but a rough estimate of how long the food can withstand up to. There’s even confusion existing over these dates which accounts for aplenty of food being discarded while they can still be used. So, if expiration dates are not going to be extremely helpful in analyzing food spoilage how are we going to know which foods to keep or throw away?
A stale smell, rotten items and presence of molds calls for no second opinion and the food needs to be immediately discarded. But there are various other subtle signs that the food has expired and you remain ignorant of it sometimes. Warning-such foods must never be used as it could result in serious consequences. The checkpoints here might help you pick out the expired food (without an expiration date) and consume healthy ones:
Potatoes: These are one of the longest-staying foods but there are some of us who are capable of even throwing these poor things into the bin as they have rotten. A greenish color appearing on the potatoes means that the vegetable is beginning to rot. It’s safer to throw them out but some do suggest chopping off the green part and consuming the rest. As days pass the potatoes might wrinkle, become less-firm and start growing sprouts at the eyes. Still they are usable when the sprouts are cut but when they rot and stink this is a point of no return.
Appearance of sprouts: Occasionally we see onions growing a small green sprout and funnily we’ve even heard our grandparents asking us to use it to grow onions in a pot. The general thumb rule is to get rid of vegetables (such as peppers, onions and potatoes) once they start sprouting.
Wrinkles & More: Any fruit or vegetable with a thin skin that develops wrinkles or the skin starts to peel off is a sign that the produce is no longer edible. Produce have a beautiful reproduction cycle by means of decomposition wherein the seeds go back to the soil and produce new produce. Appearance of moisture is the first sign of mold growth.
Texture change: Crisp vegetables such as zucchini, carrots and celery will start becoming rubbery losing their original crispness when they start becoming stale.
Smells Fishy: Fish can only smell like a fish but a distinct ‘fishy’ smell indicates that the seafood has gone bad. One can always understand from the smell of the fish whether its fresh out of water or a little outdated. Right out of the sea fresh fish has a sweet, ocean smell. If you are purchasing an entire fish with its eyes intact see to that the eyes are clear and not glassy. Sometimes, the fish develops a slimy texture indicating that it’s gone stale.
Slimy meat: Not only fish but meat also can become slimy/sticky indicating bacterial growth on them. Any individual who consumes it is at a high risk of falling sick. Food poisoning is also possible and for more details on it please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
A dent or a bend: Canned goods have a long shelf life but take care to ensure that they are not bent, dented, corroded or swollen. That’s how you check on how good the inside food is from outside. The dent could have the smallest of the hole which serves as an environment for bacteria to thrive. A bloated or swollen can that looks like having moisture or if there are traces of air getting off the can when opened it is a sure sign of expiry. This is especially true for milk.
Ice crystals: Frozen foods are kept under controlled chillness and the appearance of ice crystals or frost is never taken as a sign of decay. On the contrary, ice crystals on the food is a clear sign that the food is no longer good to consume. Presence of frozen foods with ice crystals is a sign that the food came up the freezing point and then was re-frozen.
Missing fizz: For the fluffy rice cakes or pancakes you never fail to use the baking soda-a must-have ingredient in most pantries. Though quite difficult to find out whether it has gone stale by looking at it there is a simple way to test it. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a bowl and add some white vinegar to it. If it fizzes rapidly you can use it without doubt but if there is no fizz its time to discard it off.
Scent changes: How is your sense of smell? It can determine your effectiveness in finding out if a food is good or bad. Your nose is a great tool to keep you from eating rotten or expired foods. Some foods might look fine but the presence of a strange smell or the absence of the necessary smell guides you. For example, spices and herbs should smell aromatic, fish should smell of ocean water and tomatoes should not smell rotten.
Plastic is a sweet sorrow! Indeed, a wonderful creation of mankind I’ts brought us to a stage of no-return from the environmental degradation happening worldwide. Not a day passes by without the entry of plastic into our lovely homes. Simply because it is malleable, ductile, resists wear and tear, cheaply available and extremely useful we cannot imagine a world without plastics bur ironically, the world is never going to be the same with such a steady flow of plastic-based goods and products dominating our lives. Dominating every domain right from medical supplies to food industry, bottles to bags how do you think we are going to find a replacement for this versatile material?
Refurbishing Our Kitchen
Our day starts with a dose of coffee/tea that’s made from milk that’s delivered to our house in a neatly packed plastic pouch! Every single day sees a new initiate for replacing plastic with better eco-friendly materials but there hasn’t been a replacement found for milk packets in plastic pouches until now. We do have our tetra packs and slim milk pouches but how about considering the common man’s affordability whose staple includes the humble milk! Our kitchens suffocate with aplenty plastic wares and bags that predominantly serve various purposes-storing groceries, packaging veggies into the refrigerator, using small plastic containers for storing left-over meals, sending our loved one’s meals and so on. Even the garbage container is covered with a plastic bag every day for easy throwaway of our thrash!
Outside our homes too plastics play an integral role in helping vendors and even big shot markets sell their products. Many of the veggies such as cucumbers and carrots come in plastic wrapping, fruits such as cherries, strawberries and kiwis are neatly packed in plastic boxes and styrofoam packaging is used basically to pack away any food sold as a takeaway-instant noodles, raw meats to pizzas. Restaurants and eateries too use these styrofoam packaging trays and plates for easy and safe delivery of their foods and beverages. In 2015 alone more than 320 million tons of plastic was produced globally. At such a stage, is it practically possible to eliminate plastic from our life altogether and move over to a better alternative? Recycling is an option but, is the effort of using alternatives for plastic actually worth the time, money and labor that goes into them and are they better on the environment from every perspective? That’s something that needs to be considered in elaboration!
An Important Mission in the Kitchen
We make a compost to make our kitchen a better place and we have replaced our plastic straws with paper straws. Supermarkets too have paper bags that are available to weigh your produce and pack them into your carts and your groceries are delivered in paper bags. But do you know that it takes four times the energy to produce a paper bag compared to a plastic bag (https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/plastic_free_kitchen)? Weight-wise too, paper bags are heavier than plastic ones adding more burden on transportation emission. All these efforts become useful only if we reuse paper bags at least thrice after they reach our homes to combat environmental degradation caused by plastic bags that are used once. But sadly, these paper bags aren’t reused-either they tear away not withstanding total weight or are thrown away into the bin immediately after reaching home. Contrarily, many have started producing low-density polyethylene bags of lower microns that are better on our planet. Cotton bags are a better option as they are long-lasting but mind you, these need to be used for more than 100 times to reduce plastic pollution.
Its cool to recommend replacements but cucumbers, bananas and potatoes stay for longer days when wrapped in plastic; rice, wheat and dhal are sold wrapped in plastic and when this becomes off limits there always exists the dangers of spoilage by water or damage. All these remind us of our early golden days where milk was fetched in containers from the milk booths, dhal, rice and pulses were available mostly from government-owned subsidies that delivered these products in home-brought containers and there was no concept of supermarkets-people directly bought from local vendors or farmers and used them fresh daily. Transportation of exotic produce, storing produce for months together and reaping harvests and hiding them away for selling them in sky rocketed prices never existed back then. Recreating such a scenario is next to impossible but all we can do is to bring about effective changes for a better and sustainable future.
Introducing Kitchen Sustainability
Start small, buildup on your ideologies and achieve your goal.
We have started recycling but we now have to focus on reducing the consumption of plastic. Plastics have become a part of our lives due to their versatile use and it could take a lot more time than we wish to eliminate them from our day-to-day lives. But until them, each of us can take every single step possible to stay away from this ‘sweet sorrow’ materials.
Cut Your Use of Plastic: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/cut-your-use-of-plastic-plastic-plastic-36321324/
5 Weird Materials that Could Replace Plastic: https://theweek.com/articles/705421/5-weird-materials-that-could-replace-plastic
Can you Really Have a Plastic-Free Kitchen? https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/plastic_free_kitchen
Morning chores include a visit to the restroom to empty our bowels but individuals rather come face-to-face with this visit anytime of the day or even skip passing stools for a few days continuously. There isn’t anything strange about this as normal bowel movements include passing stools anywhere between thrice a day to thrice a week. Don’t be surprised, shocked or relaxed either. Many of us including doctors are doubtful about the exact symptoms of constipation that people normally don’t sought advise or treatment before it turns out to be extremely painful or bad.
Outgrow Your Shyness
Constipation might be an odd topic for discussion but its better to be aware that this problem exists in one in seven people who are potentially healthy individuals. While common symptoms of constipation include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, loss of appetite and stomach cramps physicians believe that infrequent bowel movements are a concrete sign of the problem and this doesn’t go well with a significant number of people.
To put an end to the dilemma surrounding the symptoms of constipation a research team surveyed more than 3000 people that included the common man, physicians and gastroenterology specialists to get their outlook on the symptoms that they believe are indications of constipation. What surprised these researchers was the fact that some of the symptoms quoted were nowhere even near to the official symptoms listed down as a part of the diagnosis criteria. These symptoms include straining to pass stools, using laxatives and spending more time in the toilet trying to empty your bowels.
While constipation refers to a condition where the individual has hard feces that are difficult to pass the researchers from the study have come up with certain other conditions that might add more meaning to the definition. They include:
Clash between Doctors & Patients
While physicians treat infrequent bowel moment as a symptom of constipation many patients don’t agree with this classification. Even in the study group, there were only around 50% candidates who reported having infrequent bowel movements as a symptom of constipation. Such differences in official classification and public understanding has brought us to a situation where individuals who finally seek help with constipation problems find trouble diagnosing or recognizing them. Another cause why constipation goes mostly ignored is that we are embarrassed to report some trouble with our bowel movements. We think it as a shame, keep it to ourselves and create more trouble in the end. Flatulence and passing stools are not an embarrassment-they are a part of our normal life cycle. Any disruption to this is what is troublesome and something to be concerned about. How to fart? The website www.firsteatright.com has more details about farting, why its required and how to deal with it.
Also, while we have always had different opinions regarding normal bowel movements people involved in the study who did not have constipation reported having seven bowel movements a week. But officially its anything between three bowel movements a day to three in a week. So, again it depends on your body to understand what’s normal and seek help when there are changes to it.
While constipation is generally due to insufficient fiber or fluid intakes it could also be an indication of other health problems such as bowel cancer, diverticular cancer and celiac disease. When individuals find out about constipation, they generally try to solve it on their own by drinking more fluids and eating more of fruits, nuts, wholegrain foods and cereals that are enriched with fiber. Some even use laxatives but it is better to get it checked by a physician when your problem remains unsolved.
There has been a never-ending debate on the effect of alcohol on heart health. Studies do favor and oppose this statement although physicians are strictly against consuming alcohol for heart health. And, one of the latest studies published in the Lancet has confirmed the result of previous studies that show that no level is safe for alcohol consumption. Although researchers do agree with the point that alcohol consumption in moderation protects against heart disease, they found that the risk of cancer and other serious diseases outweighs this advantage.
The Lancet Study
Almost 3 million deaths worldwide are due to alcohol consumption which includes around 12% of death in males aged between 15 and 49. Almost more than 2 billion people are drinkers presently of which 63% are males. The study probed into current drinking rates, abstinence from drinking, consumption rate among current drinkers and the effect of alcohol on different health outcomes including:
Although there is no ‘safe’ or recommended level for drinking the general suggestions include not more than one drink a day in the case of women and two drinks a day in the case of men. But alcohol is alcohol, and the body is safe until you refrain from drinking it. Read more about the ‘French paradox’ (how red wine is associated with heart health) by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that speeds up the message travelling between the brain and the rest of the body. There is no safe minimum level to use this drug and there is always a risk attached with it. People taking cocaine experience extreme levels of happiness and confidence, increased sex drive, don’t feel pain, display aggressive behavior, their actions are greatly unpredictable, experience increased physical strength, talk more and have reduced appetite. When the use of cocaine becomes an addiction it results in insomnia, depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, heart disease, death, hypertension and exhaustion. While it is extremely difficult to give up drug addiction some people do come out of it and get to experience the goodness of life. By the time it becomes an addiction the body and its functioning are so used to the drug that there is some kind of a challenge now to overcome this. There are many centers that cater to the needs of cocaine-addicted individuals helping them recover from this addiction and help them lead normal lives without going back to cocaine lifelong. But before withdrawal is successful the individual goes through different symptoms right from depression, irritation, restlessness, tiredness and craving to extreme anger, anxiety and an inability to feel pleasure. Despite such reactions and the person getting off the addiction cycle, cocaine addiction is usually characterized by cycles of recovery and relapse. Relapse is generally due to stress and negative emotions that are usually signs of withdrawal too.
Promising Role of Exercise
There are animal studies that show that regular swimming reduces morphine consumption in opioid-dependent rats and access to an exercise wheel also reduces self-administration of cocaine in rats dependent on the drug. Exercise has the potential to alter behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Animal studies show that regular aerobic exercise such as working out on the treadmill for an hour five times a week decreased stress-induced cocaine-seeking behavior.
Cocaine addiction alters the body’s neural, physiological and behavioral responses to stress. There have also been promising study results on how exercise has the ability to alter the brain’s mesolimbic dopamine pathway that is linked to the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs such as cocaine.
There is even a small study on humans relating the benefits of exercising with substance intake where 38 men and women taking different drugs participated in group exercise thrice a week for two to six months. After the study period five of them totally refrained from using the drug whereas 10 reported that they had reduced their substance intake to a great extent. Physicians too give a green signal to exercising as a way to distract the user from resorting to drugs.
In general, we have solid evidence that exercise helps to reduce stress and anxiety, elevate mood levels, increase happiness and bring on a sense of calm. Exercising helps in forming social connections, makes people stave off depression and anxiety and of course, keeps us healthy. For more benefits on exercising, www.firsteatright.com is the best place for you! Cardio workouts are a great solution to fight against health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and blood pressure apart from improving mental health of individuals.
So, evidences do show positive hints that exercise might help alleviate drug addiction and doing your part of aerobic exercise could be a tool against addiction relapse. Treatment in the form of exercising could be given to take care of cocaine addiction but if you think the same holds good for other drugs too we can only keep our fingers crossed with the hope that researches do show promising results in the case of other addictive drugs.
We do love to exaggerate, don’t we? Individuals brag about their achievements and career highs and I think maybe they have started applying the same to other situations as well-their children’s accomplishments, health-related problems and more. Health is an extremely sensitive topic that needs a crisp detailing and ‘to the dot’ diagnosis. No false hypes or hopes. But the prevalence of media and other social sites have made it customary to blow up things to increase TRP and make it sensational among public. Who says that sitting is as bad as smoking? Then, either the individual doesn’t know much about smoking or is totally unaware of the effects of sitting!
Sitting & Smoking: The Unbalanced Equation
Research shows that smoking increases the risk of premature death by 180% while excessive sitting increases risk of premature death and chronic disease by 10-20%. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by more than 1000%. On no given day can we equate the side effects of sitting with smoking. On the other side, we cannot deny that sitting is not bad for health and wellness. We do have research studies showing that sitting can have disastrous effects on our health despite our daily accomplishment of the day’s required exercise duration. This is really intriguing given the fact the regular physical activity improves well-being. Claims also exist that sitting negates the goodness of the activity performed during the day.
Actually we spend half our lives sitting down (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/15/is-sitting-down-bad-for-my-health) and this is no exaggeration-we get up in the morning and complete our chores, sit down to read newspaper, eat our breakfast and then leave to office/school; we again sit down in our bike/car/bus/train while travelling to work/school; we reach our seat and once again sit down to work (if it is a desk job and its one for most of us); we might get up for water, talk to our colleague or go to meetings and again sit down for lunch in between; we get back to our seats to work again and call it a day finally in the evening; we sit again while travelling back home; we reach home and relax ourselves in the sofa watching television or meddling with smartphones; we sit down for dinner and finally go to sleep. Now maybe we all do agree upon the number of hours spent sitting!
With the advent of numerous articles scaring us on the ill effects of sitting we are now bombarded with solutions for the same-standing desks, walking meetings, exercise coupled with television sessions and so on. Standing desks have become a popular ‘asset’ to companies and many employees feel good about this change. Alas, we now have a new research showing that standing desks are not good for our health as they are associated with long-term risks of standing continuously. Walking meetings have received a warm welcome from employees as they feel refreshed, active and fresh after taking a quick walk in the lush greenery and a whiff of fresh air blowing over their face. Individuals have started to take their calls while walking up and down the hallway and television has become a medium for exercise sessions for many. Avoiding sitting while watching television is extremely important or avoiding television altogether is better as there have been theories regarding an increased risk of diabetes due to prolonged hours of watching television. Its even been warned that adults who watch as much as 6 hours of television daily is expected to live 4.8 years less than someone who does not watch television.
Awaken from the Dream
Despite innumerous researches supporting the ill effects of sitting we have a heart-warming research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that’s sure to raise your positive spirits. According to the study, sitting in your office desk is not as bad as sitting down and watching television during your free time. Leisure-time sitting causes debilitating effects compared to sitting while working. The researchers found that sitting at work was always not related to an increased risk of death and heart disease. Whereas, watching television for more than 4 hours daily increased the risk of heart disease and death by almost 50% compared to those who watched less than two hours daily.
We also have statistics that show that people with a desk job are most likely to exercise outside their job timings, have a higher educational qualification, earn better income and hence, eat healthier foods and avoid much smoking and drinking. Engaging yourself in television when you are free is not so bad when you get your share of 150 minutes of activity every week. But viewing television comes with its own set of disadvantages. It inspires you to snack, binge-watch your favorite series late nights thereby disrupting sleep routines (which are linked to cardiovascular diseases) and overeat. Also, while sitting in front of a television you never bother to get up unless you need to make a visit to the bathroom. But while sitting at your office desk you take time to get up and drink water, have a conversation with a colleague over some issue or walk while speaking over phone with someone. Anything that disrupts sedentary time is good for heart health.
Keep sedentary time as minimal as possible, go for short walks or small bouts of exercise whenever possible and minimalize television time to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Sitting Might Not be So Bad After All! https://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/21/health/sitting-study-partner/index.html
Sitting at Work Study: https://time.com/5613814/sitting-at-work-study/
Sitting for long periods is bad for your health: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-19910888
Diabetes, one of the most common conditions occurring in people of any group spares none. The announcement of some good news is often made with something sweet-it can be a mithai or even a chunk of sugar. Breaking a pregnancy news with a piece of cake, a small chunk of kaju kathli or even a chocolate has been in trend since decades. The very first thing that the leading lady of the family does once the pregnancy is announced is to make sweet kheer and offer it to the mom-to-be. Alas, how is a kheer going to please the pregnant woman when she is a diabetic since a long time? None would expect such a young female to suffer from increased blood glucose levels even before delivering a baby! But aren’t we living in a generation where diabetes and high BP are common whereas natural conception and normal delivery have become a rarity?
Never take a chance with your baby! If you suffer from diabetes it is mandatory that you get your blood glucose levels near your target levels even before becoming pregnant. This is a case of evident concern because a baby’s vital organs start developing during the first eight weeks of pregnancy and any imbalance in blood glucose levels during such times puts the fetus at an elevated risk for birth defects (heart or even spine defects). The recommended blood glucose levels are different during pregnancy and when you aren’t pregnant yet. Failing to contain elevated blood glucose levels before you get pregnant can harm the baby during the first few weeks. But, if you have already failed to contain them and now, if you are aware of your pregnancy as well as elevated sugar levels the first step is to meet your physician and go forward with the necessary course of treatment. It is recommended to keep your glucose levels under complete control at least 3-6 months before pregnancy.
To avoid all these complications its better to be prepared for pregnancy by controlling your sugar levels and keeping them under desired values.
Hormonal changes are many during pregnancy and these changes affect blood glucose levels. This brings about a need to change your approach to diabetes management (including diet changes) even though you have been suffering from diabetes since a long time. People on diabetes medications could be advised to switch over to insulin and changes to their meal routines, activity schedules and medication doses might be brought in.
Pregnancy has the capability to aggravate long-term diabetes problems such as the eye problems and kidney disease, increases the risk of pre-eclampsia and miscarriage and also brings about the possibility that chances of a pre-term delivery are extremely high.
Go for a complete body checkup that includes checking for high blood pressure, eye disease, kidney disease, thyroid problems, nerve damages and heart diseases once you know that you are pregnant. Maintaining blood glucose levels throughout pregnancy is required to avoid resulting complications such as birth defects, miscarriage, premature delivery, impending risk for the baby, jaundice, breathing difficulties, macrosomia and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels during birth). At the same time, increased blood glucose levels increase the risk of worsening of diabetic eye and kidney problems, urinary infections, preeclampsia and difficulties during delivery (maybe a C-section delivery too).
Guidelines During Pregnancy
Its easy to comment on someone’s lack of weight loss efforts, mock a person’s eating habits out at a restaurant when we find him/her obese or even go a step forward and give a piece of your unasked advice to the individual but what’s not easy to understand is the entire picture happening behind the veil. All those who are thin and slim are not healthy and, all those who are fat and stout aren’t lazy! If you think that an overweight person eating out at a restaurant is committing sin by adding more load onto himself/herself what you don’t know is that it might be his/her cheat meal after an entire week’s struggle of exercise and diet, a small celebration of a short-term weight loss goal or likewise. For those unaware, almost 90% of the people with severe obesity have a lonely and prolonged struggle with their weight. Don’t make it worse for them.
Your Time Will Come
Obesity is indeed one of the worst diseases that has attacked our world leaving none unaffected. Neither does it spare small children nor does it shed mercy on the elderly population. The stare received by obese people when they try getting themselves a seat in a bus, train or even a flight is unpardonable. Though fatness is not appreciated one must always believe that all of us are born equals. Don’t let your selfishness overtake your humanity. The embarrassment experienced by some of them when they ask for an XL, XXL or XXXL size at garment shops is pathetic. Even the saleswoman might give a crooked smile once a while to some unlucky customer.
But one study clearly shows us that people with obesity try to lose weight or at least try to maintain it constantly and this, they try it for a long, long time. For all those who believe that most of the obese/overweight people never take any action against their growing tummy or thighs this study comes as a clear contradiction to your thoughts, all the more with rock-solid proofs. The research team focused on a group of obese people who did not undergo any weight loss surgery or procedure to combat obesity but have tried all other things to lose weight. These participants were provided a questionnaire asking about their weight loss attempts for a period of 10 years, a period during which their attempts were assessed and results noted.
Every participant described the different methods employed by him/her as a weight loss measure and these included enrolling into commercial weight-loss programs, taking anti-obesity pills, liquid diets, exercise, constant support from health and medical services and above all, every measure to lose weight on their own. The research team found that while the participants group sought various methods the most common of them was trying to lose weight on their own-making their journey a lonely one. None of these methods were better or worse than the others. In fact, those who lost more than 10% of their body weight over a 10-year period had used the same methods as those who had gained an equal amount of weight. More than the type of weight loss method chosen it was the person’s ability to stick with such low-calorie diet programs that chalked out their success in the long run. One thing that remained constant throughout the study was the fact that the success ratio varied greatly. While some of them lost a great portion of their body weight some others put on even more weight during the 10-year period.
Weight loss surgery exists as the only option left to extremely obese patients whose other attempts have failed miserably. This method of weight loss helps in long-term weight reduction and disease lowering risk. Please also understand that surgery is not an option that’s feasible for everyone and it is the healthcare provider’s duty to offer the best treatment plan that would reap benefits for the patient involved without creating negative side effects. If you suffer from morbid obesity or overweight issues the best way for you to hop onto the right solution is to meet registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com who can help you lose weight in a scientific and practical way.
Most of our days end thinking about the next day’s meal plans in mind. We debate over the choice of veggies for sabji, rice or roti for lunch, idli, dosa or poha for breakfast and finally, sprouts or fruits for snacks. These are only the main dishes and their sides, choice of sprout for salads, the different fruits for snacks and the dal preparation for rice/roti are yet to come. Awwwwwww! How good it would be to eat the same foods every day without a slight change here and there through the entire week? It seems to be the smartest idea that could save you all the time, thoughts and preps that go into preparing a variety of foods to satisfy your taste buds but on second thoughts, boredom strikes. Any search for a healthy meal plan or weight loss plan immediately lands you on a page where there are colorful small containers (similar to the ones available in kitchen toy sets) containing bright-colored veggies and fruits neatly cut and stacked. Office-going individuals feel it advantageous to sort out their entire weeks’ meals over the weekend and prepare for it as much as possible to save time, remain healthy and save energy. But how good is it to repetitively eat the same food every day? Let’s measure up their advantages and disadvantages!
Calorie intake never goes overboard: Calories are not the only specifications of nutrition, but they do play a major role when it comes to weight loss and health implications. People on a weight loss always seem to have some calculation going on it their mind forever that they would have not done so much math even during their school day! For such guys, diligently following the same meal plan everyday simplifies these calculations. Do it once and it holds good forever. Also, eating the same food helps you feel full early as you are not tempted to eat any more of it. Have a spread of items on the table and your taste buds are extremely tempted to sample all of them!
Planning becomes easier: Repeating the same food frequently helps you cut down your meal planning and preparation time. You know the ingredients required, the perfect recipe for making the meal and the time taken too. Prepare a batch of them over the weekend and use it over the week. This avoids temptations to eat out and also saves precious time after coming back from a hectic day at office.
Saves money: The week might start on a high-spirited note and you eat nutrient-rich foods but as days pass by your mind starts to wander, ingredients become fewer and tasks grow bigger. Finally, most end up ordering out. While many think that eating nutritious food is only for the rich the process that goes in between all the cooking up and ordering out equalizes for the extra amount you shell out to prepare healthy food. The variety of produce you stock inside your fridge might not be used before they go stale and the grocery cart might be filled with unwanted ingredients when you simply toss them in without having any clue in mind about the plan for the week. Having to eat the same foods over the week gives a crystal-clear picture of the produce and ingredients needed and saves your money by deleting all the unwanted ones from your cart.
Saves you from stress: Stress due to meal planning would be the last thing anyone would wish for! Seriously, decision making doesn’t stop with office or monetary issues but extends to your meals too. A study found that people who were forced to decide many things, stressed badly or tired were less likely to choose healthy foods. These were also the ones who mostly failed in fulfilling the recommended servings of daily fruits and vegetables intake. Having too much in mind and spending more time on the net looking through various recipes makes you order from outside finally! Eating the same food simply saves you all the time spent on the net, the stress of having to decide on some new dish every day and makes your life simpler.
Reading through the pros many would have already decided to prepare a menu plan just like the hostel mess or hotel lunch menu. Wait. The solution is not that simple and all these advantages come not without a touch of negative consequences attached to it. Weigh the cons before deciding.
Lacking nutrients: Giving your child the same dosa or cheese paratha for every meal is not the idea of a well-balanced meal. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins. That’s why every dietitian recommends her clients to eat at least three portions of rainbow-colored fruits and vegetables daily. Get in touch with our reputed dietitians/nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com who can help you with your healthy planning tasks and recommend meal plans based on your requirements. Eating only apples or bananas is not the goal. You must focus on eating various foods within each food group too to equip yourself with all required nutrients. For example, instead of choosing to eat only brown rice for meals, try other options such as roti or millets too. Likewise, eating spinach is great but you need a generous amount of carrots too to replenish vitamin C and A needs along with your folate from dark greens.
Not good for the gut: Our gut bacteria play a major role in deciding our health status. A research says that eating one kind of food provides the ground for a single species of bacteria to thrive upon and establish supremacy. What we need is a balanced growth of good bacteria in the gut that’s diverse which is possible only when the diet is diverse and inclusive. Another study has shown that absence of diversity of gut bacteria leads to obesity and abdominal fat.
If the meals that you eat are loaded with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and proteins this promises a great start to a healthy lifestyle as you have already included all the five food groups in your meal planning. All you need to do is twist and turn recipes and come up with some innovative ones to complete your healthy eating requirements. Studies too have found a varied meal plan to hold an advantageous edge over other ones. But it also depends on ‘what’ you eat. Also, if you always have rotis for dinner try pushing it to lunch and prepare something with millets for dinner once a while. Salads as sides during lunch is great. Add variety by using different ingredients at times (such as edible flowers, seeds or exotic fruits at times). If you want to try a new dish try doing it over the weekend when you have some extra time. If it turns out to be good you can prepare an extra batch that can be used over the weekdays. Core is to keep rotating ingredients, eat a well-balanced meal that includes all food groups and avoid from going monotonous on your meal preparation. Just like how variety is the spice of life, one needs to include a variety of foods in your meal plans and preparations to keep your taste buds alive and your mind warm with joy.
A discussion on reproductive organs, sex or peeing is a taboo subject despite their prominence in our lives. At school and at home we simply hesitate to enlighten our children on sex education knowingly or unknowingly. With the society shunning away from all of this do you think that an open discussion on incontinence would be an exception. Urinary leakage is a common problem faced by millions of women daily whose actual plight remains in darkness as they are too ashamed to speak it out.
You might be enjoying a hearty laugh with your bestie and a small trickle of liquid between your legs happens, at the theatre while watching a movie you have the urge to urinate but you don’t make it to the restroom in time or while going on a drive you ask to stop the car but everything is over before the car stops-these are some day-to-day scenarios that affect the quality of life of those individuals who suffer from urinary incontinence-difficulty in controlling one’s bladder irrespective of the number of prior toilet visits made!
Attacking More Women than Men
Women are twice at a risk of suffering from urinary incontinence owing to the structure of the urinary tract. Stress applied on the urinary tract during pregnancy and childbirth, constipation, prolonged cough, pelvic surgery, weakening of the urethra (tube through which urine is emptied out of the body) due to ageing and loss of estrogen during menopause. Quite often during pregnancy the number of visits to the bathroom increases drastically-the unborn baby puts pressure on the pelvic floor muscle, bladder and urethra. Such pressure increases your urge to urinate more often. So, pregnancy and childbirth (caesarian or normal delivery) puts an individual at an increased rate of stress incontinence (leakage of urine while coughing, laughing, sneezing or doing any activity that puts pressure on the bladder) which disappears within a few weeks. Apart from stress incontinence we do have urge incontinence (an urge to pass urine frequently followed by involuntary loss of urine) and mixed incontinence (combination of stress and urge incontinence).
Pregnancy is a major cause and apart from this, menopause too is a great risk factor for bladder incontinence. Almost 50% women report incontinence (urge incontinence) issues after their last period owing to two things-lack of estrogen thins the urethra lining or due to muscle weakness. Ageing muscles too are a root cause-above the age of 70 almost 17% women and 12% men have some incontinence (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jun/02/pelvic-floor-bladder-urinary-leakage-incontinence-women-bluetooth-elvie).
Old Methods in New Bottles
No problem comes without a solution and the major concern here is that, how effective is the solution? How many of you have been practicing Kegel exercises during pregnancy or even as a part of a regular lifestyle? If your answer is affirmative then there is minimal possibility of suffering from incontinence-related issues. But we don’t have the patience nor the time to practice these simple exercises that can help us avoid long-term complications-just squeezing and releasing the muscles you use to start and stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction for five seconds before releasing and do three sets of 10 Kegel exercises everyday. By this, the muscles that support bladder activity are strengthened and releasing/holding urine comes back to your control. The only stop here is that there is no way to detect whether you are doing the exercise rightly. But, when you have any doubts on your performance you can report it to your doctor who might help you with certain techniques or devices that help you to squeeze the muscles accurately.
Once again, body weight seems to affect quality of life-this time in terms of urinary incontinence. People with higher BMI suffer from an increased risk of incontinence as the additional weight puts additional pressure on the bladder. But this risk factor is easily reversible-just lose weight and reach a healthy body weight to put a stop to your suffering.
Kegel Exercises with Gadgets
While millions of people are affected by incontinence problems most of them are greatly embarrassed to talk about their treatment options with others.
While non-invasive procedures such as exercising and weight loss are the options that are recommended initially for treating incontinence problems, we do have surgeries, medications and other treatment options.
The nature of the Kegel exercise makes it hard for you to know whether you are doing it correctly or not! But we have now got new exercise equipment that helps you assess how well you perform the exercise.
Elvie: Elvie trainer is an app-connected Kegel tracker that help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles with real-time feedback. The tracker is inserted into the vagina and once the individual starts squeezing the progress is tracked on the app.
Pericoach: This is an FDA-cleared medical device that comes with a smartphone app to help women complete their pelvic floor muscle exercises successfully. Real-time feedback and guidance have helped improve incontinence symptoms in more than 75% of users.
Yarlap: The difference between this and the ones above is that this exerciser does much of the work for you. It’s an FDA-approved stimulator that instructs the pelvic floor muscles to contract and relax.
A word of caution before practicing Kegel exercises is that these exercises must be done only after an approval from your physician. Its important that you are able to relax as easy as you are able to contract. Performing the exercises physically is recommended and if you prefer to choose any of the gadgets for performing the exercises it must be done with the guidance of a physical therapist specialized in Kegel.
Rarely, women choose mesh operations as the last resort for urinary incontinence but NHS has already brought in many restriction on these operations owing to safety concerns. The net-like fabric is attached to the walls of the vagina to keep the bladder under control but many women complain of agony and pain as the mesh cuts into tissue. NHS has now come with new guidelines that every woman choosing for a mesh surgery must be fully aware of the risks associated such as painful intercourse, vaginal bleeding, bowel problems and infection. But the right step here is to stop the surgical procedures altogether as these are root causes of greater pain and trauma than what was existing owing to the presence of urinary incontinence.
For those with urinary incontinence, please don’t suffer in silence and hesitate to ask for help. This opens a door of wider solutions and gives a relief to your problems at hand.
Bluetooth your bladder: The hi-tech way to beat incontinence: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jun/02/pelvic-floor-bladder-urinary-leakage-incontinence-women-bluetooth-elvie
‘Mesh’ last option for incontinence: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-45783127
Millions ‘suffer in silence’ with incontinence: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-35172341
Is a pelvic floor exerciser for you? https://www.nafc.org/bhealth-blog/is-a-pelvic-floor-exerciser-for-you-read-our-thoughts-and-a-review-of-three-popular-products-that-claim-to-improve-pelvic-floor-strength
FemBeat: Raises $42 millions for its smart Kegel tracker: https://www.forbes.com/sites/berenicemagistretti/2019/04/02/fembeat-elvie-raises-42-million-kegel-tracker-silent-breast-pump/#2909c94e62ee
Our jobs might be a boon or a bane depending on our love towards our work. It seems to be blissful experience for some while some others feel it a stress, punishment or a commitment that has to be accomplished just for the sake of monetary benefits. How you treat your job might decide your mental satisfaction while how the job treats you might decide upon your health status in life.
Work is Worship
People love to be in control and gloat in glory when they are offered leadership roles. Being a subordinate or a trainee puts you in an uneasy position as you are answerable to many things, forced to take the blame on issues and not entitled to decide upon anything without consulting the superior which can deter a person’s mind. A recent study published in a renowned journal shows that women who lack control are twice likelier to develop diabetes compared to women who are their own bosses at the workplace. The study was a long-term one (9 years) and included more than 7,000 participants none of whom had diabetes at the start of the study but almost 7% of them developed it by the end of the study period. Those with maximum control over their jobs were high on responsibilities and the deciding authority while those with minimum control over their jobs were often managed by the boss at every juncture of work. Surprisingly, low job control increased diabetes risk of women and not men. Though we don’t have any scientific proofs explaining this variation researchers believe that several characteristics of women might be responsible for such an outcome. These include the way in which women respond to stress (binge eating or relying on processed foods in times of distress), the longer time period taken by women to lower cortisol levels compared to men and the tiny percentage of women who hold field jobs compared to the male population.
Another study shows that women who work for more- than 45 hours per week are at a 63% increased risk of diabetes compared to women who work fewer hours. On the contrary, signs of diabetes fell down for men the longer they worked every week. Its possible that men who work longer hold high-skilled jobs that are well-paid while women who work longer are generally occupied in low-paid jobs whose working hours are pretty longer. This survey included more than 7,000 people aged between 35 and 74 years of whom one in ten participants developed diabetes during the study period (12 years).
Coming to a Solution
Stress is inevitable in life and none of us can control stress but all that we can do is control the way in which we respond to stressful situations. Overcoming stress and controlling it not only helps in doing our job in a better way but also helps us focus on other things such as working towards long-term goals, future plans and being more productive. Follow the tips given here to sail through the day smoothly without stress spoiling your work and your day:
Bone and joint clinics, alternative wellness clinics, pain relief rehabilitation centers and physiotherapy centers dominate our streets in every city. If you were to imagine old people occupying all of these places then you are absolutely mistaken. A throng of youngsters are seen in all of these centers and this sight is absolutely heart wrecking to watch. Why don’t we stop blaming the nature of work or the IT industry for every little health mishap of ours and think deeper?
Osteoporosis that’s characterized by extremely low bone mineral density (BMD) is a common health condition that affects one in every four women and one in every twenty men. Bones reach their peak bone mass up to only the age of 30 after which the bone mass starts to deteriorate gradually irrespective of what you eat or do. So, what can you do by the age of 30 to keep your bone mass as intact as possible in terms of food, activity and more? Look into www.firsteatright.com for it. Let’s think of bones as our bank accounts in which we do deposits and withdrawals. Up to the age of 30 we make deposits and from thereon it is mostly withdrawals that follow. Women don’t experience much change in their bone bank account between 30 years and menopause. After menopause, there are heavy withdrawals that happen persistently through the bone bank account that increases the risk of osteoporosis in any woman. The bone density loss following menopause exists as a primary risk factor for osteoporosis striking every 4th woman living in this planet.
Age brings about a definite change in the bone tissue composition making it more porous thereby increasing the risk of bone fractures. There have been studies previously that linked BDM to certain genetic factors. These brought about the notion that when you have osteoporosis run in the family it keeps you at an even greater risk for the same. The different researches came up with the fact that there might be hundreds of genes that might be involved in the process each of it either increasing or decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. But apart from your genes there are equally important factors such as your behavior, exercise frequency, type of activity and food habits that play an integral role in bone health. So, when a group of researchers came across these studies that supported the role of genes in affecting osteoporosis, they were interested to know the set of genes responsible for it. For this the group sifted through hundreds of thousands of people’s genomes.
The research team analyzed around 400,000 British participant and identified 518 BMD-related regions of the genome and of them, 301 were already known. Next, they analyzed genes from the UK Biobank for fracture risk. The data showed that 20,122 evidences of fracture while the participants reported more than 48,000 fractures. The research team found out 14 different genetic variations associated with fracture.
To pin-point specific genes that induce osteoporosis the researchers identified 126 target genes of which the gene called DAAM2 seemed to attract more attention owing to its importance. Five other major genes named CBX1, WAC, DSCC1, RGCC and YWHAE were also given much importance.
Sorting out all the genes and picking the most-important ones was a tedious but much-needed process to help mankind go a step further towards drug development. These genetic changes that have a strong effect on BMD helps us with drug targets that act against attack of osteoporosis.
The research provides clues to developing methods for assessing a person’s risk for weaker bones. These could also help an individual with choosing much better lifestyle choices, diet changes and physical activity routines thereby minimizing the risk of bone fracture.
Adolescence is a threshold stage where choices affect quality of life. As kids we are pampered by our loved ones who guide us at every single step-right from choosing the right dress to eating the right foods to staying healthy. But as we grow up, our independence spectrum widens and we are given choices for many things and eating habits too fall under this umbrella. Adolescence is also the period wherein individuals start to bother about their appearances, looks and personality to a great extend and are ready to take drastic steps to achieve this feat. Girls especially are swayed by flashy magazine covers and trendy outfits, desire to imitate the models/fashion divas and end up causing more trouble for themselves and their parents. Many start skipping their meals, eat tiny portions or stay away from definite food groups to prevent weight gain. Such restrictions can turn out into debilitating health conditions and one such is anorexia nervosa-a severe, chronic disorder that’s third-most common in adolescent females.
Weight Gain Phobia
Anorexia nervosa (AN) strikes 2-3% females while in males it is extremely rare (.25%) but definitely present. Overpowering fear of weight gain, maximized energy restriction and a distorted body image are typical of AN and the individual refrains from eating the required portions of food needed to maintain a healthy body weight for the person’s body mass index. Weight gain is scary when you have reached your threshold weight. Overweight/obesity does bring in certain changes to the individual’s eating habits and lifestyle practices to ensure a smooth weight loss journey and every individual who has lost weight remains focused on keeping off the lost weight forever. He/she is ready to take any drastic steps to stay thin-even starve! On the other side, some people feel bulkier despite staying on the same weight or being normal. Individuals with AN experience a feeling-as though they have put on fat in certain parts of the body and hate/fear the weight gain process.
Staying on a healthy diet after getting help from a professional is good for your weight loss routine. Here, you are given a well-balanced diet chart where you tend to eat different foods from various food groups and manage to consume aplenty nutrients as recommended. Whereas, individuals with AN even go as far as measuring portions of food and consuming them, avoid anything that seems to be high caloric in their eyesight and eat only a limited number of foods limiting their quantities even more. You might not believe it but some of them stand in front of their food cabinets for hours together trying to choose something to eat and end up staying hungry as they are not satisfied (health-wise) with any of the options available. These people also have the habit of checking their body weight repeatedly and don’t hesitate to try their hands on laxatives and diuretics. There are two subtypes of anorexia nervosa:
Eat to Not Repeat
What’s the great deal in treating anorexia nervosa when all you need to do is eat and gain weight! If this lingers in your mind, then you are absolutely mistaken. Statistics show that one in five patients die due to chronic anorexia either due to starvation, malnutrition or commit suicide. Although AN has become quite popular these days there were not many cases that came into limelight until the 1980s. Also, If you still have the idea that AN is restricted to the female population, you are under misconception. Earlier, it was thought of a problem that occurred owing to the girl’s thought process of staying thin, attractive and fashionable. But when physicians started getting cases of AN, the whole concept of the problem changed.
Treatment for AN is to eat but how do we make an individual who treats food as poison to treat it as a cure? Maybe, motivate him/her to take it as a medicine? Eat your meds (food) five times a day-morning, mid-morning, afternoon, evening and night! Be with the patient throughout the day ensuring that he/she takes food and most importantly, doesn’t vomit it out!
AN is not a disorder specific to those who bother about weight alone but individuals with personalities such as perfectionism, living by the rules, inflexibility, excessive doubt and caution are at a greater risk of the disease. Hunger makes us angry, irritated and out of energy. But, how do these patients cope with hunger? One main reason is during hunger the part of the brain that should be driving reward and motivation isn’t activated. Advanced stages of the illness are characterized by lack of hunger and the only goal that remains is to stay thin in life. Family members and friends can play a pivotal role in helping the patient overcome the eating phobia and motivate him/her to lead a normal life. Their support is critical to fulfill therapy and treatment. Work with the patient instead of against the patient which would reward you better (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/29/anorexia-you-dont-just-grow-out-of-it) Still, people who have recovered from the disease must be kept under long-term support and care to avoid any relapse of the disease.
Anorexia nervosa becomes increasingly common in today’s world that bothers more about attractiveness equating slim to sexy. We remain unbothered about the health consequences giving greater priority to our outer beauty.
Anorexia Nervosa: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/anorexia-nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa: What is it? https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19949207/anorexia-nervosa/
My son had anorexia: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/20/son-anorexia-helpless-see-stronger-surviving-it
Preventing Side Effects in Anorexia Nervosa: https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0517p16.shtm
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