Its great to munch upon the juicy lamb or the crunchy chicken piece. If you love eating meat there is no need for you to be concerned about protein absorption in your body as meat is an excellent source of this nutrient. Protein-a nutrient essential for all biological processes in the human body doesn’t seem to act great when there is excess of it accumulated inside. The standard dietary allowance is 1 gram of protein for every 1 kilogram of a person’s body weight and anything above this can lead to simple as well as complicated side effects. While the vegetarians choose anything between dairy products, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains, for the non-vegetarian the primary source of protein is meat. But some people who consume meat have issues digesting it and this can lead to several health issues.
Best or Worst Fit
Not one diet fits all and while meat is packed with proteins that add goodness to your body there is no hard and fast rule that it works for all body types and metabolism. Some people experience typical signs of nausea, irregular bowel movements and abdominal pain indicating that a meat-rich diet doesn’t suit their body type. But there are some others whose body accepts meat readily and the only concern is that these people consume more than what their body could accept (general guideline suggests eating not more than 70g of protein daily) and its time to cut back on the animal protein. Obvious signs that you have consumed too much of meat include:
Money gives you everything and takes them away too. Health, happiness and peace of mind cannot be bought with the help of paper currency, but the lack/loss of currency has the potential to take away all of these. So integral has money become to human beings that we value it above our own self. There are people who are ready to kill their own kith and kin for the sake of wealth, individuals ready to give up anything (their culture, values or principles) to earn more and some trying to save by being as stingy as possible. In another category are people who earn hard, save hard and lead a good life. At the end of day, each of us require money to survive. But one thing that keeps haunting our mind is whether more the money it leads to more problems or lack of money leads to a decreased quality and quantity of life?
Spanning a Life’s Worth Money
We’ve known from previous studies that how much wealth you have or don’t have determines your health and mortality risks. Its well-known that lack of money leads to lack of funds for expenditure on good food and hygienic living which in turn can lead to poor health, and again absence of money to treat the poor health affects quality of life. Apart from physical health, the absence of money has a devastating impact on mental health of the individual. Loans, interest rate on the loan, lack of funds for quality education, treatment of diseases or shortage of funds for fulfilling even the minutest of our child’s wish makes a person feel stressed and anxious. Stress is a dangerous factor that can disrupt a person’s living. Apart from yoga and meditation there are quite a few other ways shared at www.firsteatright.com to stay free from stress. There were even several episodes during the previous recessions that bore light on the huge financial crisis that people faced, how stressed they were because of this and how this affected their health.
There have been several studies that delved into the relationship between personal wealth and health for instance, wealthier people have a longer lifespan, but the reasons are yet to be unraveled. A new study has shed light on the effects of weight loss in long term whether losing money could impact longevity. The study which was carried in the United States over a 20-year period found that one-quarter of middle- and older-aged individuals experienced what was termed as the ‘negative wealth shock’. Almost 9,000 individuals over the age of 50 participated in the study.
Negative Wealth Shock
Negative wealth shock is defined as losing more than 75% of wealth over a period of 2 years. One can never forget the Great Recession (early 2007 to 2010) during which people lost their jobs, stock rates tumbled badly and there were many left on the streets without a penny. But the negative wealth shock was something that was present across different economic climates. The researchers also considered the case of individuals with asset poverty which was defined as “having zero or negative total net worth at the start of the study.”
Results showed that individuals who experienced a negative wealth shock were 50% likelier to die in the ensuing 20 years compared to those who did not lose wealth. Having wealth and then losing it was as bad on your life expectancy as never possessing any wealth. But in any point of time it was proved that losing money was far better than suffering from no money at all. In fact, individuals with asset poverty were 67% at a higher risk of death in the same 20 years compared to those who lost wealth.
Women face a greater risk of suffering from a wealth shock, but the risk of death was equal in both. Two grave risks faced by these people include mental health crisis as well as abstaining from hospital care owing to insufficient money to afford the same. Such a loss even led to changes in blood pressure rates, depression and abnormal cardiac functionality. The main solution for this is to diversify your money in different sources rather than stuffing it up in a single source such as mutual funds or gold bars. By diversifying the money, you reduce the risk of experiencing a 75% decline in value. Next is to diversify the income. Most of us develop a skillset, sharpen it and depend on it for our survival. If they lose their job or if the job market for their skillset disappears these guys are lost and stuck without a job. If diversifying your assets or doing multiple jobs is not possible for you at least recognizing that you’re in a difficult situation can save your health to a great extent. Also, remember that:
If wealth is lost, nothing is lost
If health is lost, something is lost
If character is lost, everything is lost
All that we need is our heart and soul to earn money. If we stay depressed nothing is going to improve. While the effects of the wealth shock were maximized on individuals who lost a home or had fewer assets, in the end all that matters are how you bounce back and get on with life.
Early mornings or even late mornings are never complete without a constant bout of ‘Achoos’ while getting up from bed, especially during Spring when flowers and plants bloom in full swing with pollens strewn around and flying high in the air. Many individuals start facing serious troubles with itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and congestion. Seasonal allergies start to take a toll on people’s health in the forthcoming months. Our own immune system that’s supposed to protect us acts as our enemy during such times!
Nasal Effects of Seasonal Allergies
An allergic reaction is the result of the body trying to wrongly protect itself from things that are not dangerous. Our immune system is designed to defend us from harmful bacteria and germs but during allergic reactions the immune system fights harmless materials (such as pollen and molds too). The immune system that’s been assigned to protect the body against foreign particles ends up being the source of all problems in this case.
Coughing or sneezing during certain times of the year indicates that you might suffer from seasonal allergies. Its not like you’ve got to bear it for life and an allergist can help you minimize the problem and move on peacefully with your activities any time of the year. There are different options available, but it is better to pick the right ones as some of the solutions can backfire when used inappropriately.
Nasal Steroids: These are available without a prescription and great to clear a runny nose but be cautious while using the spray ensuring to direct it away from the nasal septum as some people have suffered from nosebleeds while using the spray. If this happens in your case it is recommended to stop using the spray immediately and consult a physician. One large study that imparted children who did not attain puberty with nasal sprays daily for over 52 weeks found a slight reduction in the rate of growth. Talk to your physician about it.
Antihistamines: Antihistamines are yet another useful option to help with your allergy, but the knack is to use it early in the morning before symptoms appear. Be prepared to face side effects such as drowsiness sometimes and take precautious steps to deal with it (Such as avoid driving during those times).
Decongestants: Its typical to grab a decongestant to clear your symptoms of runny nose, congestion or watery eyes as this is the simplest and effective action possible without a prescription. While these work in seconds to clear your nose remember that they are effective only in the short term and one might face problems of increased congestion when used for a longer period. Doctors ask patients to refrain from using it for not more than 3 days continuously as the patient might become dependent on the spray. The more we use it, the more dependent we become, worse the symptoms become and more we use it again as these sprays cause a biochemical change in certain receptors of the cells.
Oral decongestants also do the job of reducing allergies, but they work by constricting blood vessels which can lead to side effects such as increased blood pressure and constricting blood vessels that can land the patient with severe side effects such as increased blood pressure, palpitations, headaches, nervousness and irritability. Hence, patients with a history of high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, stroke, glaucoma and certain other conditions must not use oral decongestants.
Alternative Therapies: Nasal saline irrigation work sometimes on some patients. The nasal passage is irrigated with prepared solutions that improves symptoms such as runny nose, congestion, watery eyes, itchy throat and sleep quality in children with acute sinusitis or allergic rhinitis. Ensure to use products that have been prepared with distilled water as using tap water can result in fatality rarely (due to presence of protozoans such as amoeba). A selected few rely on external applications such as Vicks (menthol ointment) to offer relief from congestion although there are no proofs backing this theory.
Common measures that help to minimize seasonal allergies include:
Come dawn and everything seems normal and gay but once dusk sets in and darkness surround us there are individuals who have a skeleton or two in their closet. Sleep is the most underrated action whose quality can have everlasting effects on mankind. A good night’s sleep is essential to start the next day on a fresher note. But while we settle down to sleep not all of us are blessed with a peaceful and undisturbed bedtime. Experiences of some individuals seem straight out of a horror movie!
What’s a life without a dream? It’s called a dream when the thoughts that surround us during sleep are positive and good but a nightmare when the events that haunt us are negative and spooky. Many individuals are attacked by this following episode-They try to shout for help during some unwanted nightmare but are unable to do so, try to squeeze themselves out but can’t and try to reach out to a spouse/parent sleeping beside but they too seem haunted. This type of a scenario has been experienced by generations and generations of people since ages. Maybe these have been the ones that paved way for the first ghost stories and spirits surrounding or entering souls. Stays in our college dorms have never been complete without stories on extortion or the dead rising from their tombs. But putting all these aside researchers have named this condition as sleep paralysis where the individual is characterized by brief episodes of inability to move or speak that happen when you’re waking up or falling asleep.
Parasomnia: Sleep Paralysis
Its not the eeriness that makes sleep paralysis sound scary but the fact that you become unable to move your hands and legs, shout for help and above all, experience terrible hallucinations. Sleep paralysis is a parasomnia, a disorder that refers to all abnormal things (except sleep apnea) such as nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep talking and REM sleep behavior disorder. More interesting information on parasomnia is available at www.firsteatright.com. Sleep paralysis distinctly falls into three categories:
There are different sleep stages and REM (rapid eye movement) is a stage of sleep when the brain is very active and dreams occur frequently. Sleep paralysis occurs when a part of the REM sleep occurs while you remain awake. Except for your eyes and the muscles that help you breathe you become immobile temporarily and this seems to be of advantage as it prevents you from acting your dreams and hurting yourself. Few theories suggested for the REM sleep include:
Coping with Sleep Paralysis
Any food item that you choose to eat belongs to any of the five food groups-fruits, veggies, whole grains, proteins and dairy. There are a whole lot of foods available at your disposal but choosing the right ones depends on your discretion. If health is your priority it is always better to choose fiber-rich foods. Fiber, a type of carbohydrate that leaves the body undigested helps to regulate blood sugar levels and keeps hunger in check. Above all, it lowers the risk of four important diseases (some of them aren’t even directly related to the gut).
Defying the Disease
A magnanimous review of diseases published in the journal Lancet shows that compared to people who consumed less of fiber those who ate more fiber-rich foods were at a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Their risk of early death from any of these diseases decreased by as much as 15% to 30%. For every 8 grams of fiber consumed the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer dropped by 5-27%.
Fruits, veggies and whole grains are rich in fiber providing the individual with great nutrition addition. Those individuals who consumed between 25 and 29 grams of fiber from foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day were the ones who showed the strongest reduction in risk of the range of diseases. The study results showed that greater the consumption, lower the risk. So, there is no harm in consuming more than 29 grams of fiber but if this nutrient is the latest addition to your food list then take care to add it slowly and also by drinking plentiful of water along with the increased fiber intake. These results are a thorough investigation of 243 studies many of which included specifics of what the participants ate, their health outcomes, some studies insisted on getting the participants’ health measurements such as weight, blood pressure and sugar, cholesterol and inflammation and some studies probed on each of the food groups consumed by the participants.
Know the Number!
Not many are even aware of the recommended fiber levels necessary for men and women. Maybe that’s the reason for the average consumption levels to be as low as 15 grams when the recommended levels for men include 38 grams/day and for women its 25 grams/day. Fiber’s effect on different diseases has been proved with different studies.
Heart disease: Fiber-rich foods require a longer time to chew and digest. This increases satiety rapidly thereby lowering the risk of obesity. Obesity is a great risk factor for heart disease. Preventing obesity not only benefits the heart but also reduces the risk of plentiful other diseases which are mentioned at www.firsteatright.com.
Cancer: Though studies have failed to show an increased effect of fiber on reduced risk of colon cancer there are Harvard study results that show that increased intake of fiber decreases risk of breast cancer.
Type 2 diabetes: Diets that are low in fiber and rich in quantity can satisfy hunger, but they do increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to the sudden rise in blood sugar levels. Whereas, a diet rich in high-fiber foods decreased the risk of diabetes greatly. Soluble fiber (one that dissolves in water) can help lower glucose levels and cholesterol levels. Nuts, beans, lentils, apples, oatmeal and blueberries are good sources of soluble fiber.
To add more fiber to your diet, eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts and whole grains. Insoluble fiber (one that doesn’t dissolve in water) helps in proper bowel movements and prevents constipation. Whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots and cucumbers are excellent sources of insoluble fiber. Adding fiber to your diet is not as easy as told but one needs to do a few calculations here and there to reach desired targets. That’s because even though a banana is said to be rich in fiber after removing natural sugars and water, we are left with only 3 g of fiber, an apple with its skin has only 4 g of fiber, a cup of cooked lentils has only 4 g of fiber and a thick slice of brown bread has around 2 g of fiber. Though a tough affair, the latest study suggests that shifting people from a low-fiber diet (less than 15 g) to a high fiber one (25-29g) has the potential to prevent 13 deaths and six cases of heart disease.
Make a few changes, for instance, cook potatoes with their skin intact, swap white bread and pasta for wheat-wheat ones, add lentils in curries and salads, eat high-fiber breakfast cereals, munch on nuts for snacks (but in limited quantities) and eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables daily.
Beauty industry and its various products has enabled individuals of different age groups to look younger than their age. Its even become hard to recognize whether someone is a mother/father of a child by their age and looks. Its also because people are getting married late and settle down even later with babies. Individuals are interested in achieving certain goals in life before choosing to marry. This compels them to work incessantly unbothered about what they eat or how much they sleep. Physicians, nutritionists and dietitians keep insisting on the importance of exercising and living a healthy lifestyle in all ways possible, but we do what we like to do. Such lethargic thoughts, careless lifestyle practices and craving for money has led mankind to a stage where heart attack strikes the young, heart failure is common in men/women in their 40s and diabetes hits children who are in their teenage years.
Arteries are your body’s blood distributors. They are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood throughout your body parts starting from your head to the toe. It’s possible to carry blood unperturbed only when the inner walls are smooth for the blood to flow easily. Not all individuals are blessed with this and some individuals have clogged arteries due to plaque buildup inside them. Plaque is a sticky substance composed of calcium, fat, cholesterol, cellular waste and fibrin. This can stick onto your artery walls making blood vessels narrower. Atherosclerosis is a condition due to plaque deposits that narrow and harden arteries. The common causes for this condition include improper food habits such as eating bad cholesterol-rich foods, smoking, diabetes, high blood sugar, sedentary lifestyle, stress and obesity. Our hectic lifestyles and demanding working hours prevent us from pursuing healthy lifestyle practices despite knowing about the advantages of eating healthy and staying active. In some people, laziness and lethargy overpower desire, need and will to stay fit. A group of scientists have come up with a unique solution for dealing with atherosclerosis.
Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association the researchers recommended for a reduction in apolipoprotein B in young and middle-aged adults. What’s this apolipoprotein B?
Lipoproteins are tiny, complex particles that transport fat and cholesterol through the blood. They are of different types but its those lipoproteins that contain apolipoprotein B that cause atherosclerosis.
Apolipoprotein B is the main lipoprotein of chylomicrons, VLDL and LDL particles. It is the primary organizing protein required for the formation of these particles. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol measurements are mainly used for assessing cardiovascular risk. In due course researchers understood that apolipoprotein B (apo B) was a better indicator of LDL cholesterol concentration (1 molecule per LDL particle). In the past few decades researches have pin-pointed to this group of blood proteins (includes LDL or bad cholesterol) as the main enemies for causing atherosclerosis. High levels of this lipoprotein along with increased LDL particle concentration are the main reasons for plaque development.
Researchers feel that lowering the presence of the apo B lipoprotein in individuals might drive away the attack of atherosclerosis on the individual. Atherosclerosis is necessary for heart attack. Absence of the possibility of atherosclerosis steers the individual away from the attack of a heart attack/stroke as these diseases don’t happen without atherosclerosis. Its like saving an entire generation from the miseries of heart attack and stroke. According to researchers, the next step would be to find out whether atherosclerosis could be reversed in individuals with high risk for it using medications.
Some individuals are genetically predisposed to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and in turn are at a least risk of cardiovascular diseases. Researchers are now interested to replicate the genetic states of these people in other individuals as well who are in their younger age and monitor whether their risk too decreases over the years (if the levels are maintained). Until then, the best way to save yourself from heart attack and stroke is to maintain low levels of apo B lipoprotein and LDL levels right from young age. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the best way to lower your apo B and LDL levels but is it practically possible in this fast-food world? It is, say dietitians and nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com who specialize in obesity/lifestyle problems and provide diets for every medical condition.
Having an adolescent son/daughter in the house is of great stress to many parents. The world today makes it even more pressurizing with abundant chances open to the individual to tread on the wrong path. Almost two-thirds of youngsters grow in countries where HIV/AIDS, unsafe sex, childhood pregnancy, road accidents, depression, self-harm and violence remain a daily threat. Pitifully all of these problems are preventable in the first place and if not, at least treatable. While government campaigns have ensured significant improvement in health in kids aged five and below there are not even a couple of them which look onto the health of young people aged between 10 and 25 years. To add fire to all this, rates of unprotected sex have reached peak ranges paving way for young pregnant females and sex-related diseases. Such unsafe sex exists as one of the major risk factors for various illnesses in individuals of this age group.
Three-most Important Causes of Death
The young blood fears none and this is evident in the case of youngsters who drive through crazy traffic on the roads at an unimaginable speed. The easy availability of foreign bikes, the increase in engine power of some bikes that surpass cars and the confidence that age gives are all green signals for such rash driving by youngsters. The ‘vroommmm’ sound of the bike disgusts many and the onlooker is often left speechless by the speed of the driver in a normal street. This indeed makes road traffic injuries the topmost reason for death of young adults aged between 15 and 29 years. Almost 29% of injury-related death are due to road traffic crashes worldwide. In 2015 alone a 1.2 million adolescents died and road injuries bore the blame for almost 1 in every 10 deaths and the affected person was mostly a male in the age group of 10-19.
The second and third leading case of death of young people include suicide and homicide. Almost 16% of injury-related deaths are due to suicide, 13% from falls, 10% from homicide and 7% from drowning. Violence and injury affect people across age groups, but youngsters become devastated by their effects. WHO states that injuries caused by violence, falls, drowning, road traffic crashes, burns and poisoning amount to almost 5 million kills every year accounting for almost 9% of the world’s death. Far worse that dying is to be left with debilitating side effects such as permanent disabilities apart from the numerous hospital trips, emergency department visits and treatment.
While adolescent death rates on the whole might be reducing deaths due to self-harm is steadily increasing on the other side. Adolescent period is a tricky one which remains quite a stressful time of life. It’s a period during which these young adults need constant support and encouragement but most countries across the world neglect the health of an adolescent. Bringing changes to the health system is only one of the four wheels of the adolescent car whose other three wheels-parents, families and communities-remain equally important for balancing this car properly and moving it forward efficiently. Depression exists as a great concern to the general public and in 2013 alone it affected more than 10% of 10 to 24-year-olds. Unattended depression can lead to sulking of the teenager who finally sees suicide as the way to escape the dread of life.
What has gone so wrong that one individual takes out his/her revenge by killing the other one? Homicide rates among adolescents and young adults is higher than any other age group and violence can harm young individuals when they are the assassin, victim or the witness. War or neck-to-neck fights are not the only form of violence but acts such as bullying, slapping or hitting can cause more emotional trauma than physical harm. Statistics say that every second student/adolescent is involved in bullying-either he/she is the perpetrator or the receiver. Help your child overcome bullying with the help of tips mentioned at the website www.firsteatright.com. Violence can cause fear among young adults making them spend less time outside being physically active, increase healthcare costs and decrease property values. Schools, parents and the community must take steps from their end to put an end to homicide as much as possible.
Young adults are the future of our country and they exist as driving forces for building a community that can thrive and flourish. It is time now to create a strong and positive difference in the lives of 10- and 18-year-old boys and girls to tap their capabilities, expand their opportunities and motivate them to succeed in the forthcoming years to do away with many of the above-mentioned problems.
Ambiguity has always existed in understanding one’s genetic risk of a disease. Take a moment and answer this question for yourself-Would you start working out more just because you have been predicted with some health problem that might strike in the future or stop working out as you have realized an impending health problem which is going to hit you irrespective of your activity routines? The answer entirely depends on the individual facing the question.
There is a Finnish study too that provides an answer to this question. It shows that 90% people adopt healthier eating habits and activity routines if they are shown that their genes might increase their risk of heart attack or other health problems in the forthcoming years. That’s because, most of these participants were already aware of their current health status and the genetic test results only acted as their source of motivation to start working out and become fit.
Genetic Ancestry Test for Stroke
Genetic ancestry testing takes you far back towards history indicating details about a person’s ancestry and also about relationships between families. Beyond the closeness of the relationship it is the individual’s background that demonstrates genetic variations. Its been shown that when two individuals, families or populations are close to each other greater is the pattern of variation seen among them. A research has shown that genetic ancestry testing more accurately identifies a patient’s risk for bleeding stroke compared to a patient’s self-reported answers to his/her race, ethnicity and culture.
Stroke is a disease that can be curbed with appropriate lifestyle interventions such as controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, quitting smoking, refraining from alcohol and exercising regularly. Besides these other factors such as genetic and environmental factors do increase/decrease the risk of stroke. When someone says that they have a family history of stroke, they are talking about an inherited risk.
The research team analyzed more than 4,000 participants for a type of stroke called intracerebral hemorrhage (this happens when a ruptured blood vessel causes bleeding within the brain) with a genetic ancestry test. Of the total participants, 35% were black, 35% were white and 30% were Hispanic. Almost 50% of the participants were men aged between 49 and 79 years. In comparison to a person’s answers on ethnicity and race, the genetic ancestry test was likelier to single out patients with the four-most common risk factors for stroke-diabetes, high cholesterol levels, plaque accumulation in arteries and irregular heartbeat and this was particularly true in the case of Hispanics and blacks. This shows the minute detailing ability of genetic ancestry testing which lacks greatly in relying on traditional risk factors alone.
Human DNA is mostly similar with variations here and there between populations. The study group tested for these variations by looking for changes in the sequence of DNA molecules. The results were then linked with the four known risk factors for stroke and finally calculated the participant’s risk for stroke.
One major limitation of the study is that the participants were all blacks, whites or Hispanics and hence the results cannot be applied for the universal population.
Beyond genetic testing and finding out, it is the duty of each and every individual to stay fit by leading a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritious foods and staying aware of the symptoms of stroke (FAST). Visit the website www.firsteatright.com to know more about FAST symptoms that need to be identified as soon as possible in a person affected with stroke. The earlier the individual is given treatment lesser is the resulting negative consequences.
Its not rare that we go to sleep and the next day we are unable to move our neck left or right. Its stuck straight and we become the laughing stock at home moving our neck like a robot tilting not beyond a certain degree.
Neck spasms occur when the muscles in a person’s neck contract involuntarily. The muscles become tight, hard and painful. This has become a common problem in youngsters these days as they spend hours together staring at the computer screens without any movement. The problem seems simple and common, but a severe neck spasm can even cause dizziness and headaches.
Common causes of neck spasms include:
Apart from pain a neck spasm can cause:
Neck spasms that occur as a result of an injury need the doctor’s attention right away and so do those that cause severe symptoms or last for a long time (more than a week). Sometimes meningitis too can cause a stiff neck. This condition is extremely dangerous and its necessary to contact a doctor at the slightest doubt of any symptoms. Common symptoms of meningitis include chills, stiff neck, high fever suddenly, headache and purple bruise-like marking on the skin.
Individuals generally try home remedies, apply ointment on their own or go for other medical treatments such as:
Stress: Stress has become an inevitable part of our daily lives and has the potential to trigger a spasm. Taking regular breaks from work and doing stretches or exercises can help a person manage stress. Even a study shows that people who performed stress-relieving activities faced a lesser risk of back pain, neck and shoulder pain. Its common to see people relying on yoga and meditation to relieve stress but there are quite a many other interesting activities too listed at www.firsteatright.com that can help you handle stress with ease.
Keeping ice over the affected area can relieve pain and reduce spasm. It’s advisable to use an ice pack for 20 minutes every 3-4 hours daily.
Likewise, applying heat over the affected area too can relieve pain. Use a damp cloth or heating pad to place over the affected area.
The patient himself/herself or family members can massage the affected area and relieve spasm. Apply gentle pressure on the neck and move fingers in circular motion.
Its possible to prevent spasms by taking regular breaks from your computer, maintaining a good posture at office while working, using supportive pillows that give the right height to your neck, exercising regularly and doing stretches every now and then.
Neck spasms might take a few days or weeks to heal and you need to stop doing any activities that might aggravate the pain meanwhile. It is also better to take preventive measures to avoid suffering from a neck spasm in the first place by maintaining a smooth posture and exercising regularly.
Spending your day sitting around is unhealthy and risky to heart health but when most of our jobs involve sitting and working all day long, what’s the finest solution to this? Every nutritionist, dietitian and fitness experts recommend doing at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week but when an individual spends around 8-10 hours sitting and working, either at home or office, there is an urge to look out for practical yet effective alternatives.
Our brain is not a computer, it might be faster than a computer, but it does need rest unlike the desktops that can work incessantly. Its normal that we get tired, restless and anxious after a while working on our systems. Giving yourself the luxury of a short break does wonders on your mental and physical health. There are some candidates who immerse themselves in their work for hours together without break or even without lunch. If you are one of those, its recommended to set a timer to remember to move around every hour for 5 minutes or every two hours for 10 minutes. Apart from that one can also go about practicing some of the techniques given below for active movement throughout the day:
Not many parents boast of nurturing a resilient kid as ironically, many of them don’t nurture their kids on their own. They appoint a nanny or enroll their kids in a daycare center which has A-Z facility minus the love, affection and reliability that’s required for the wholesome development of a kid during the developing years. Blame it on nuclear families or the change in thoughts of the growing generation these days we are committing a grave sin of nurturing children who lack resilience and attachment.
Ensuring that our child grows well-behaved and acclimatized to the world outside with abundant love, affection, goodness and happiness is the foremost duty of every parent. As a parent we might think about our child’s grades at school, performance at the dance function, securing high-pay jobs and settling down in life all of which are indeed important in one’s life. There is something beyond all these that’s first and foremost important for succeeding in all walks of life and that’s resilience.
A Child’s Greatest Possession
Resilience is the ability to stay flexible in life whatever come may. It’s the quality to take everything in your stride, ups and downs, hardships, life’s shocks and surprises and unexpected downfalls, and still be happy and healthy in life. This quality was existing by default in our parents and grandparents as they lived together in big families. The quality to adjust and accommodate automatically comes for those people who live with others and make adjustments for a peaceful life for everyone in the family. Gone are those days and in today’s world we live in a society where there are not more than three people in every home. Such a parenting culture and the extreme use of smartphones and other electronic gadgets can totally hamper the child’s opportunity to learn and practice resilience.
Each one’s perspective of ‘formative years’ differs but to me the child’s first five years play a crucial role in molding the child for the awaiting future. Research has shown that presence of stress, abuse, negligence, violence and mental illness in caregivers has the ability to change a child’s architecture of the brain. These physiological changes affect the cognitive development and pave way for physical health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and other mental health problems too. To prevent all these mishaps, help a child develop resilience and take the child in the right path its necessary to practice the below-given tips diligently:
A trustworthy adult: The role of the primary caretaker plays a prominent part in nurturing the kid. If the kid realizes that he/she has a helping hand, isn’t going to face the problems all alone and that they matter to someone then this can be a step towards success. Every parent wants to have a good rapport with their child, but today’s life demands more of your time for office work or house chores. Despite this, try spending quality time with your child and give all of your attention to him/her while playing with the kid. Talk openly about the day’s experience, ask about their school friends and spend time doing things together. Give him/her a clear indication that you will be there by his/her side during thick and thins of life and love him/her unconditionally. You might be surprised but parents are children’s first role model and they learn a lot of things by imitating them. For more details on this please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
A sense of self-regulation and adaptation: Your child must be able to prioritize things in life, stay without distraction, make plans, negotiate, enjoy being with others and manage emotions. Its all said easily but without practice accomplishing these is not possible. The best method for this is through unstructured play time where the kid plays alone (which helps the child engage himself/herself) or with others (learns cooperation). Staying strong without yielding to your child’s whims and fancies, consistent discipline and helping your child manage emotions without getting extremely sad or irritated helps a lot.
Channelize your child’s hope, faith and culture: Hope is what keeps us all moving forward in life. Each of us cling to hope via different means. Some become a part of a faith community which helps them get through tough times but if you don’t believe in all this you can always fall back on spending time with family, joining a community or doing service. Whatever it is, believe in a way and stick to it to handle challenges and succeed in life.
Relying on yourself: Parents exist to take care of their child, but this journey cannot go on forever and there would arise a time during which we need to help our kids fly by themselves. The goal of every parent is to make their children self-sufficient, smart and capable to handle problems and come up with solutions. Giving them independence, letting them make certain decisions and insisting that your child learns by himself/herself helps them get a hold on the actual life scenarios-a kind of a trailer before the main picture starts! Its not easy to let them on their own and we never wish to see our kids hurt (mentally or physically) but with your guidance and motivation you will be surprised to realize that your child can achieve greater things. For this, learning to be physically capable is extremely important. While running, jumping and climbing children not only realize their strengths and weaknesses but also how to overcome their weaker areas and emerge successfully.
There’s been much debate about the best time for exercising, studies or doing any activity. In the eyes of our elderly generation there is no argument regarding this as early morning hours are the best ones without doubt. Even the renowned Tamil poet, Mahakavi Bharati has sung in his poems that morning time is the best time for studying as it is the part of the day when your mind is 100% fresh and concentration is at its ultimatum.
Body Clocks Not Alarm Clocks Determine our Sleep Timings
Despite such positive attributes attached to early morning hours not all of us are able to rise early in the morning. While there are some individuals who do night shifts or rotational shifts, apart from these guys what is preventing others from getting up early? There is always the body clock to blame! Each of us have a body clock which determines how our body works throughout the day which is also termed as circadian rhythm. This governs our body affecting each of our actions right from the time we go to sleep, our mood swings and also our risk for heart attacks. Some people’s body clock wakes them up earlier (larks) and hence, they start feeling tired earlier in the evening. Evening people (owls) find it harder to get up in the morning, get up late and are at their peak energy levels during the evening hours. Their productivity is also at a maximum and they prefer to go to bed late in the night. Our body clock is a wonderful piece of creation and for more insight on it, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
A new research has now found that women whose body clocks are set to get up early in the morning are at a reduced risk of developing breast cancer. While the research is of great importance for determining every woman’s risk for breast cancer the primary question here is to understand the underlying connection between circadian rhythm and breast cancer risk.
Body Clock that Clocks Breast Cancer Risk
The research involved more than 4,00,000 women making it the largest research collecting genetic data on breast cancer-affected women. With the already available information on genetic variants that distinguish between people’s preferences for rising early or late and sleep duration, the research team wanted to know if these traits affected breast cancer risk in any way. For this, they used the ‘Mendelian randomisation’ method which is based on linking genetic variants with risk factors (such as sleep timings) to find out breast cancer risk. For this, the research group looked at 341 snippets of DNA that are involved in making us a lark or an owl. The method analyzed data of women who were/were not affected by breast cancer and found that choosing to be a lark reduced the breast cancer risk by 40% compared to choosing to be an owl. Also, women who slept beyond the 7-8 hours of recommended sleep increased their risk by 20% for every additional hour slept.
Analysis of data from another reputed source too showed that morning larks were at a 48% reduced risk of breast cancer. Mendelian analysis of the trial showed that one less person per 100 will develop breast cancer if they were a lark compared to being an owl. This study is in line with previous studies that showed that shift work or late-night jobs increased the risk of breast cancer greatly. Night shift jobs have an extensive negative impact on both physical and mental health. This study too proves that variations in sleep patterns trigger cancer risk.
Sleep Well to Avoid Risk?
Though research says that disrupted sleep patterns are a strong factor for causing cancer they are not ready to conclude that a good night’s sleep is the best solution for this. Researchers feel that it’s not as simple as this and further insight is needed to explore the existing cause behind the risk factors that makes an evening person more prone to cancer risk compared to a morning person. There are many unanswered questions right now that include whether the body clock affects hormone levels to alter cancer risk or whether late-night owls are causing damage to their own body by acting against their body clock by working late-night or doing shift work. We are not sure of anything right now except for the fact that disrupted sleep pattern induces cancer risk.
A worse addiction, smoking has the potential to ruin a smoker’s life and throw him/her off balance. Despite repeated government-promoted ads about the effects of smoking hazards on the body not many individuals pay heed to them. Once you get used to smoking the body craves for nicotine daily to carry on regular day-to-day activities. But this craving lands the body’s organs in trouble. Read more about the disadvantages of smoking and its impact on the human body from the website www.firsteatright.com. Any smoker must think of quitting smoking though it is far more easily said than done. But if you are trying to quit smoking whole-heartedly then relying upon physical activity and starting to exercise can help you succeed in overcoming nicotine dependence and withdrawal symptoms steadily.
Exercise has the ability to help people develop good health habits, maintain these habits and lead a clean lifestyle that includes eating healthy and stopping to smoke. Even a 2007 journal review on 12 different studies showed that moderate-intensity exercises such as cycling or walking can minimize nicotine craving and its related withdrawal symptoms including stress, anxiety, irritation and lack of concentration. Another study showed that as minimum as 15 minutes of exercising a day helped participants pay less attention to smoking cues (such as seeing other people smoke) and hence, prevent them from succumbing to smoking again.
The initial two weeks of withdrawal symptoms are larger than one could imagine and the following six weeks of intermittent craving are also quite difficult for the individual. Despite these difficulties and hardships, the benefits that the individual reaps after quitting smoking are enormous. Exercising helps the person who has quit smoking in several ways including:
The logic behind the positive effects of exercise on smoking has been revealed by a group of scientists who have cautiously scrutinized the mechanism of how exercise protects the body against nicotine dependence and withdrawal. Exercise increase the activation of a type of receptor called as α7 nicotine acetylcholine (a target of nicotine) and decreases withdrawal symptoms. It is better to start exercising with some useful tips given below:
Quitting smoking is not a joke and it needs sustained efforts and support to come out successfully. Besides helping to quit smoking exercising helps to maintain your health by keeping your blood glucose and pressure levels in control, reduces the risk of heart disease and also helps you avoid putting on weight. Above all, you feel happy and confident with a total boost to your energy and this helps you undertake new challenges and look forward to newer goals.
Interest, passion and obsession are words describing different degrees of enthusiasm shown towards various activities or efforts. You might be interested to dance while your friend might be obsessed with dancing. This inclination towards dance makes you take up dance classes as a weekend hobby while your friend performs stage concerts and starts teaching dance to other fellow students in due course. Exercising and physical fitness too follow the same thumb rule. Someone passionate about fitness shines through all barriers and achieves his/her goal. Weight loss is not the only ultimate goal, but individuals might also be interested in toning, belly reduction, muscle building and likewise. If you are the type of person who exercises just because others do so, this will land you nowhere. Excuses for missed activity sessions keep piling up and positive results start dipping down. But, if you are the ‘go-getter’ type nothing can stop you from reaching your goals. You go for a walk using your umbrella, despite the pouring rain, get up early despite lack of proper sleeping hours, take care and prepare a nutritious meal between your busy work schedules and stay focused on your targets.
Tasting Success After the Long Struggle
For a 25-kilo overweight individual who starts his/her weight loss program and succeeds in reducing the weight in due course, sky is the limit for happiness and ecstasy. Post the weight loss efforts, the person is sure to stick to a healthy lifestyle, do physical activity daily and eat a well-balanced meal sticking to portion sizes. With great efforts come greater success. After such a taxing weight loss regimen one can never imagine putting on weight and going back to your pre-weight loss body! There are many things at stake when someone focuses on maintaining his/her weight loss. For example, going for a night out party seems a ridiculous idea with hundreds of calories of food surrounding you and the alcohol dancing all around, going for long-term vacations seems next to impossible owing to different food cultures existing in your place of visit and celebrations/festivals bring about thoughts of putting on weight with all the tasty treats, exercise-less days and oily foods.
Given a choice between staying safe in the comfort of your house sticking to your regular diet and daily exercise routine, and going for a 5-month trip around the world, what would be your choice after losing 25 kilograms of weight? Fallen in love with your well-toned body, committed to your diet and passionate about your gym classes, you would be surely tempted to skip the trip. Benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise can never be denied but everything works well only in moderation. Anxiousness and fear over increasing numbers on the weighing scale and growing hip sizes prevents many of you from experiencing many of the best opportunities that life has to offer. Achieving greatness by balancing both experiences and numbers is the real challenge here.
Given an opportunity to travel, never miss it as it paves way for a pandora of experiences. The different cultures, people and their food are great ways to enrich your culinary knowledge and take home a tip or two that could benefit your nutrient needs. It might even give you many other different ways to stay healthy or make your physical activity schedules much more pleasurable and result-oriented. Staying healthy is a great priority in life but not at the cost of missing out on all of life’s experiences. These experiences fill you with bountiful happiness and joy that no measures on the scale can offer. Learn to balance your life between health and experiences, juggle your activities well and achieve a standard against which you keep evaluating yourself repeatedly. Ultimate aim is a healthy body weight. Only then comes your bikini body, muscular physique or toned abs. In this process of toning, never pave way for obsession to overtake nutrient needs and health. Tips for staying healthy and eating nutritious foods while on a vacation or during festivals are shared at www.firsteatright.com.
There is no shortage for health clubs, gyms, Zumba classes or fitness instructors but what all they lack are a client base. It’s a welcome change to see early morning walkers, joggers or runners occupying the roads or parks but these people don’t even sum up to a quarter of the population of any nation. Laziness, lack of time and unavailability of resources can always be blamed but a new research shows that a food additive common in the Western diet could be blamed for this.
Phosphate: Playing Tricks on our Health
A new study has found that food additives present in our all-time favorite meat, soda and other processed foods-phosphate-might be the culprit behind our lack of inclination to exercise. Phosphate is a particle that comes from the mineral phosphorus that is needed by the body for building strong teeth and bones, repairing them, helping nerves function and making muscles contract. It is naturally found in nuts, eggs, dairy products, beans, meats and fish and is healthy for our consumption. But almost 50% of our favorite foods such as cola drinks, other soft drinks, frozen foods, packaged meat, ham, sausages and bakery products contain inorganic phosphate which is generally added to increase shelf life, flavor or appearance of the product. There is no denial that most of us drink and eat most of these foods and end up adding almost 2-3 times more than the admissible phosphate limits to our body.
The latest study researched on two groups of healthy mice which were fed similar diets with the only difference that one group was fed as much as three times of phosphate (equivalent to the amount consumed by adults) compared to the other group. On completion of the 12-week study period the mice which consumed a high-phosphate diet spent less time on the treadmill, had decreased cardiac fitness and an impaired fat-burning mechanism. Above all, they showed changes in more than 5000 genes that help in processing fatty acids and cell metabolism. The second part of the study researched on humans and found a similar correlation between increased phosphate intake and decreased activity levels.
The study group analyzed more than 1,600 participants monitoring their activity with a fitness tracker for seven days and found that increased serum phosphate levels in the blood were associated with less time spent in physical activity (moderate or vigorous) and increased time spent on staying sedentary.
Kidneys regulate the amount of phosphate present in the body flushing out the excess quantity as urine. But, people with impaired kidneys cannot process this and the phosphate remains in the body becoming a risk to our health. Impaired kidneys can cause more damage to our health and for a list of the possible health consequences please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. There are studies that show that presence of excess phosphate is linked with increase in risk of cardiovascular death and death from other causes too.
Such are the ill effects of phosphate that its high time we insist food marketing industries to clearly label foods denoting the quantity of phosphate they contain. For instance, a block of Parmesan cheese does contain phosphorus (being a dairy product) but when the same cheese is sold in shredded or grated form manufacturers do add additional phosphate to keep them from sticking to each other. This itself shows how predominantly phosphate is added to foods and comes as an eye opener. People are not much aware of the potential consequences of phosphate as a food additive and its high time that we start observing our intake of dietary phosphate in any form.
Prices of essential commodities are increasing every day instilling fear in the common man. As a society, we’ve always thought that eating nutritious food and staying healthy is a luxury enjoyed only by the rich. But, don’t statistics also prove so? Malnutrition and poverty rates are higher in under-developed or developing countries compared to the developed world. Broccoli and colored bell peppers might be exotic veggies, kiwi and cherries might be exotic fruits and skimmed milk is a luxury rather than a necessity, but I wonder are these the only kind of foods that help us stay healthy? Born in a country known for its diversity in cuisines, language and culture we are much strongly equipped in every aspect of life compared to the rest of the world. Our North Indian dhal, South Indian cuisine that uses turmeric for preparing dishes and the presence of numerous millet varieties nation-wide serve as an abstract to the main culinary content. Rich or poor, rural or urban-each of us living in this world have the right to eat healthy food. All that you need is meticulous planning and perfect execution.
Knowing which foods to eat to stay healthy is not enough when you are not equipped with the capacity to buy these foods. Planning your budget and getting to know how much can be allocated to buy food helps in buying your groceries and other essentials effectively. Once aware of the allocation, the three main steps include planning for your shopping, purchasing essentials at the best price possible and preparing healthy food that don’t cost more but replenish your energy requirements wisely. Take good note of the tips given below and practice them to eat good food on a minimal budget:
Plan beforehand: Utilize the weekend efficiently to plan for your entire week’s menu keeping in mind the ingredients you have. Missing ingredients should be noted down under the ‘purchase’ section. Expensive items that might be required for any of your recipes can be added in smaller portions. Remember to never go out for shopping on an empty stomach as you are sure to pick some high-calorie sugary food that is low in nutrition. This increases your budget too unnecessarily.
Choose reasonably: Rather than going for branded products it always helps to choose store brands that are less costly. Scan the shelves as these are not usually placed prominently but stored off somewhere in the top-most or bottom-most shelves. Use your taste buds to judge products and never be carried away by the shiny packaging of premium brands.
Buy in bulk: Getting foods in huge quantities is always cheaper. Getting family packs of different products such as large atta packets, bags of onions and canned oils are economical but before that, ensure to check whether you have enough storage space at home. If not, it is worthier to buy the required portions than letting them perish away.
Choose seasonal produce: Buying seasonal fruits and vegetables is always economical and fresh too! A kilogram of watermelon that costs Rs. 30 during winter is available at Rs. 7 during hot summer months. Juiciness and sweetness also vary greatly. So, what do you think is a good bargain?
Avoid packed foods: It’s tempting to pick a bowl of pre-cut veggies, grated cheese or sprouted pulses to save time. But this always comes at an extra cost and it serves your purpose to buy things and prepare them from scratch-every penny counts!
A list in hand helps: Having a list of the foods to be purchased helps you avoid succumbing to temptations. The colorful wafer packets, candies and other junks placed near the cash counters are more than inviting and the marketing guys do have their skills intact to lure consumers. Don’t fall a prey to these strategies. It saves you from shelling out more money and consuming empty calories.
Substitute: Proteins are proteins irrespective of their source. Meat and fish are a costly affair. Why not substitute them with veggies and pulses to replenish your protein requirements? Use your innovation skills to avoid thoughts of sacrifice. Go meatless on Mondays as an initiate to reduce carbon footprints, eat pulses every Thursday to stockpile your proteins. Cook with pulses often as these are some of the cheapest and nutrient-rich foods available to mankind. This helps you forego any negative thoughts.
Dress up leftovers: No house is left without any leftover foods. Its how each of us use them that counts! Rather than dumping the leftovers into the bin, refrigerate and use them the next day to add a new twist to the dish. Leftover chicken can be used in stir-fry and leftover aloo can be made into aloo parathas. Throwing out unused food is equivalent to simply throwing away paper money.
Eat in & not out: Eating out has become a costlier affair with prices of commodities increasing steadily. If you wish to eat out, look out for early bird or combo offers that are nowadays available in most restaurants. Try avoiding beverages and drink water to minimize bill amount.
Get membership: Many stores offer membership cards and the points accumulated help you save on your purchase. Ask about different offers available in different stores and choose the one that suits your requirement. Sometimes, the supermarkets offer goods at throw away prices one day in the week. Never miss out on these offers.
It is always the small things that add up finally and give us beneficial results. Rather than ignoring these, when you get the knack of utilizing them to your benefits, positive results are sure to occur. Good luck for your planning, shopping and eating.
Soon after a child is born, he/she is critically studied by people around, especially grandparents and other elders in the family, and verdicts are lashed out once a while regarding the baby’s features, resemblances and so on. Like other verdicts, these too are mostly one-sided with comments and compliments overpouring from the dad’s side and the mom is left to experience all these amidst her tiredness and the exhaustion of labor. Often we do hear comments like, "Bachcha sirf papa jaisa dikhta hai" or “the baby’s fingers are longer than my son’s.” All these bring a smile on the person’s face while uttering these words but a big snob on someone else’s faces.
Who is not impressed by a newborn’s slender hands and legs that are long? People flock around chubby babies, overpour their affection onto them and kiss them until the baby’s cheeks turn red. Rarely, these slender hands and legs may indicate a serious disorder in children.
A disorder affecting connective tissues, Marfan syndrome is classified under rare diseases and affects 1 in 5000 or 10000 people. Connective tissues connect our body’s cells, tissues and organs together, keeps our body flexible and helps the body grow properly. Such important tissues are composed of proteins and one protein named fibrillin-1 plays a crucial role in setting the disease. Here, the gene that supplies the body with instructions for making this protein is mutated or defective and hence, another protein called transforming growth beta factor (TGF-β) increases in proportion. This TGF-β protein disrupts the normal functioning of the connective tissues thereby resulting in disproportionately formed body features and the resulting medical problems accompanying it.
In 75% cases, the child acquires the syndrome from one parent and there is a 50% chance that the child of a parent with Marfan syndrome will inherit the syndrome.
Head or Tail there is a Tale
While the disorder primarily affects the heart, bones, joints and eyes the syndrome can occur in any part of the body. There is even the possibility for an aortic enlargement. Lungs, skin and nervous system are also affected in some people.
Almost 75% of people with Marfan syndrome suffer from the disease due to a genetic mutation. There is a 50% chance that the genetic mutation is inherited by the child of an individual suffering from Marfan syndrome.
While some individuals have the symptoms of the syndrome since birth others express it anytime in their life. Certain symptoms occur as the person grows old. Common symptoms include:
Diagnosis & Treatment
It’s pretty tough to diagnose Marfan syndrome as the signs of the disease does not remain constant universally but varies from person to person. Genetic testing is the best way to diagnose the disease but its highly expensive preventing all citizens from making use of the available sources. When the aorta has been diagnosed with a defect it can mean a shorter life expectancy. If you notice any symptoms indicative of the disease or feel that your child’s hands and legs seem abnormal, please visit a physician immediately to get it checked.
Childhood reminds many of their enjoyable playtime with friends. Hopscotch, cricket and hide and seek have been a part of many of our lives. It was a pleasure hanging around with our besties sharing jokes, exchanging views and giggling once a while. Today’s kid might be an ardent fan of smartphones and play station, but every kid is tempted to get out and play once he/she sees a group of peers/friends having fun together playing some game. No childhood is complete without time to play and laugh. Electronic devices might be good for time pass but, they can never fulfill our desires for interaction, joy and togetherness that is attainable only through human interaction.
Play is so important that the UN’s Human Rights Commission has recognized it as a basic right of every child. Kids living in poverty, suffering from child labor or residing in war-prone zones have the least chance of fulfilling this right. It’s the same even in the case of kids who are exposed to various opportunities and situations that encourage playing outside owing to pressured lifestyles and increasingly competitive behavior between children towards education. Parents are super-brilliant to provide their kids with the best of everything to achieve success in life but what they lack is the knowledge or the acceptance that playing is essential for cognitive, emotional, physical and social well-being of children and adolescents.
If we look around, we are surrounded by hundreds of parents who raise children and it seems as though parenting is not a big deal. Of course, we become parents and we train our kids but what kind of parenting we do and what we teach our children determines their success or failure in life greatly. Each small thing that we do for our children has a greater meaning later and this includes play too. Seeming to be purely for fun play actually prepares the child for tackling the big society outside. Play looks like it has no purpose, but studies prove that play boosts brain function, improves coordination, enhances health and promotes cooperation.
Unstructured play increases physical activity levels in children and increases their probability of burning extra calories, being stronger and understanding how people and the world function. Some kids love free play as it empowers them with more control and allows them to be what they dream of. That’s because in free play the kid chooses the game, makes the rules, accepts negotiations and frees himself/herself from stress. Free play transports the child into his/her fantasy world. For example, if the kid wants to be a teacher, he/she can imagine a virtual classroom where parents can be the students and teach lessons or arrange games. Unstructured play is integral for curbing the rising childhood obesity epidemic and free play lets children make decisions. Only when given an opportunity you learn to take decisions and free play is essential for that. Many experts are worried that lesser number of children are engaged in free play activities as televisions and smartphones have made kids sit indoors for hours together raising the risk of weight gain. Smartphones have created a turmoil in our kids’ lives exposing them to various dangers which are discussed in detail at www.firsteatright.com.
Observing or joining your child in child-driven play gives you ample opportunity to watch the world from your child’s point of view as he/she sails through the things and roles perfectly imagined fitting his or her needs. Parents who interact with their kids during this session builds their confidence and takes the parent-child relationship a step ahead. Kids who don’t communicate much convey more about their frustrations, requirements and even experiences through play which provides parents with a golden opportunity to understand things from their perspective. Play is a great way of engaging 100% with kids. Parent’s are the best playmates sometimes as kids who interact with parents acquire a better vocabulary but allow them to take charge of the conversation because if you take over, it might shut down your child’s thoughts sometimes.
Exclusion in School
Educational pressure and cutting-throat competition have compelled many educational institutions to eliminate school recess. A short break helps the child focus better on academics. Likewise, play is also integral for improved academic results. There have been various studies supporting inclusion of play in schools as it improves a child’s learning abilities, cognitive skills and problem-solving talent. We are not doing justice to kids by curbing some factors such as play to enhance performance of some other factors such as academics. Socio-economic learning alongside academic education is the best approach. Unscheduled play time and free play along with other children are crucial for socio-economic learning.
A study funded by NIH shows a link between preschooler’s math skills and their capability to reproduce 2- or 3-dimensional building block constructions. Playing with building blocks especially with parents improves a child’s spatial skills and equips them for studying math, science and technology in the future.
Play has advantages even in hospital settings. Distracting a preschooler with colorful balls or bubbles before an invasive procedure is helpful. Administering injections to dolls before injecting the kid makes the child more comfortable. Even in-house patients must be exposed to some kind of recreational therapy to get them moving as this enhances their functioning skills. It also avoids patients from becoming depressed as they focus on something interesting that involves them and their mind is not focused on their health condition at that junction.
Play plays an important part in every child’s life and childhood looks incomplete without it. It offers developmental advantages for children and parental tips for parents helping them to engage with their kids as well. There are various factors that might impair a smooth playtime for many kids nowadays. But we must create the right kind of environment at home and school, encourage children to play out and make them understand the benefits of playing in their language to promote more play alongside academics.
Tucked up neatly inside your cozy bedsheet, you feel uninterested to get out of bed. Man, that’s understandable. Who doesn’t fall in love with sleep and rest! We might be so-called Kumbhakarnas who take pleasure lazing around or lying down. When our real hero himself takes a break from his sleep world to engage with food, what about us? Despite lethargy shining as bright as a high-voltage light, it is sure to flicker out sometime. Continuous lethargy for prolonged periods is not a normal trait but comes as red-alert notifications to check our body!
When you experience any of the below, be sure to hop onto your vehicle and take a ride to the physician:
Fatigue could also imply a medical condition indirectly:
Sleepiness is often due to lack of good-quality sleep which might be due to some medical condition such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome (a not-so-common illness briefed at www.firsteatright.com). This is a temporary state that vanishes once the person sleeps well. Whereas, chronic fatigue is linked with a medical condition or health problem which disrupts everyday life of a person.
Aim to lash out fatigue with basic home techniques until it a case of chronic one that calls for medical attention:
‘With great advancements come great complications too’ might be apt for this world which faces the wrath of serious diseases, illnesses and deaths. Cancer, a disease that has the potential to kill the patient has become one of the most popular causes of deaths in recent years. While surfing the net or texting people in our smartphones there are frequent pop ups of cancer-affected people requesting money for their treatment or for those of their loved ones. Needless to say, even new-born babies or small kids are often the victims here. More than the disease it is the agonies of the treatment which includes chemotherapy and radiation that makes people fear the attack of the disease. Cancer kills, but not before attacking the person leaving him/her with debilitating pain and hardships. Do you know that 17 people die every minute from cancer across the world amounting to almost 25,000 deaths in a day? Shockingly, almost 4% of cancers in the world is due to excess body weight. Weight holds responsibility to almost 7-8% of cancers in high-income countries. In 2016 alone almost 40% of adults and 18% of children aged 5-19 years were defined to be overweight/obese.
World Cancer Day
The World Cancer Day is celebrated on the 4th of February every year to raise awareness about cancer and make it a global health priority. Worldwide, events are organized in the form of seminars, campaigns and advertisements to spread the news about this deadly disease and educate people about fighting cancer through screening and early detection, through healthy eating, regular physical activity, quitting smoking and requesting health workers to prioritize working on cancer. 2019 is the first of the three-year theme ‘I Am & I Will’. This talks about the effect of our present actions that help in curbing cancer and the year 2019 sees various arrangements in more than 130 countries.
The Invisible Destroyer
Not all cancers show early signs and symptoms but there are some cancers including cervical, breast, colorectal, skin, oral and other childhood cancers that do show signs. This is extremely important as diagnosing cancer at an early stage helps in treating the disease and improving chances of survival. Even a recent study in the UK found that survival rates for the eight-most common cancers that includes bladder, bowel, breast, cervical, womb, malignant melanoma, ovarian and testicular cancer are three times higher when diagnosed at an early stage.
According to the World Health Organization at least one third of common cancers are preventable through a healthy diet, maintaining normal weights and being physically active:
Tobacco: Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of cancer and stopping smoking reduces the risk by multifold. Smoking is responsible for more than 15 types of cancer including oral, stomach and bowel cancer. Smoking accounts for more than 70% of lung cancer deaths and 22% of all cancer deaths.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol is linked to increased risk of several cancers including that of the larynx, mouth, liver, breast and esophagus.
Physical Activity: As mentioned earlier, excess body weight is a serious risk factor for cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight and including physical activity as a part of the daily schedule helps in reducing the risk of ten cancers including bowel, breast, ovarian, kidney, pancreatic, liver and gallbladder cancers. The World Health Organization suggests that organizations, businesses and governments tackle the increased consumption of unhealthy foods and lack of exercise by limiting portions, decreasing package sizes, imposing tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, offering fruits/veggies at affordable costs and redesigning city layouts to promote walking and bicycling. If you are interested in losing weight get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com who can guide you to weight loss in a scientific and practical way.
Ultraviolet radiations: Irrespective of where you live take care that your exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun is moderate and avoid tanning beds. Stay under shade, cover yourself with protective clothing and avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight to protect yourself.
Helping People Help Themselves & Others
Individuals can address their own well-being and those of other by addressing some issues:
It’s a child’s strong belief that every action of its parents is acceptable, whether good or bad. Children believe their parents to be their educators, mentors, heroes and above all, role models throughout their lives. A sedentary parent nurtures a sedentary child (mostly) but those parents who exercise regularly and eat healthy foods are nurturing a generation of kids who are bound to grow into healthy adults. Parents are the numero uno source affecting the way in which children perceive a healthy lifestyle. But, the key to an active family lies in adhering to regular workout routines during any season of the year irrespective of rain or sun.
Every adult should aim for at least 30 minutes and kids for at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily irrespective of the weather outside. Sun or rain, winter or summer plan your workout in a smart way such that the weather outside or the people inside don’t disturb the health routine at any cost.
The chill breeze and longer nights are bound to make us feel sluggish, lazy and sleepy. Layers of clothing, thermal wear and sweaters make us feel warm and alongside this, helps us cover up the additional weight that we carry with us. The snow outside (in a few places), ice-cold weather and the absence of sunshine are great excuses to do away with your physical activity routines, but fitness is a lifelong journey that’s got no breaks. During winter, try doing these calorie-burning indoor activities:
Swinging your Body during Spring
Spring is a lovely time to spend sometime outdoors enjoying the colorful flowers and the pleasant climate. Bring in a few changes to your routine-maybe, control your portion sizes and cut down on intake of added sugars and fats. When you become comfortable with this routine go for something new. The weather outside makes it easier for you to fulfill your daily exercise routines. The activities given here can contribute towards your day’s total exercise:
A study shows that obese children who participated in lifestyle-based intervention activities during school mostly forgot the activity after a near-to two months break or so. Instead of allowing your child to watch television and relaxing in the luxuries of the sofa request your child to stay fit by helping them in the following ways:
The leaves might fall and the flowers wither away, but your motive remains strong through autumn. Enjoy the brownness around you, go for a brisk run or play a game of frisbee in the sun. If there are any plans for vigorous physical activity during the weekend plan and eat accordingly. Eat your meal three to four hours before the weekend and your snack an hour before the exercise schedule. Ensure that the meals are enriched with nutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates. Pre-activity snacks should always be low-fat and low-fiber which might be a piece of fruit or likewise. Post-workout snacks must never be missed to replenish your body with energy. In between all this, remember to drink plenty of water.
Just like your eating habits, regular physical activity too must be a part of each one’s daily routine. Any changes you make must be done gradually so that you stick with a habit for a lifetime once the change (for the good) is made. In between all the seasons are the holiday seasons that once again interrupt the regularity of physical exercise schedules. But, with a determined mind and by making exercise as a priority (and not an option!) it is always possible to stick to your activity schedules. For more details on squeezing in exercise as a part of your holiday routine too please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Remember, any activity that you choose to perform helps you burn extra calories instead of storing them.
Chubby cheeks and a dimple chin might be adorable during childhood but not thereafter as we all crave for high cheekbones, flawless skin and the perfect symmetry. Each of us secretly wish to exchange some of our features to stay beautiful and work hard for a chic body. Some focus on flat abs, some on curvy hips, muscular arms and few others wish to lose face fat. There are specific exercises for reducing desired body parts such as crunches for abs, lifting weights for your arms and so on. But is it even possible to lose face fat?
Fat in your Face
Face fat is generally the result of excess weight gain, but it can also be due to genes. While some carry excess fat around their abdomen or thighs you might be one of those rare ones who carry it on your face! Generally, it is due to overconsumption of fats, carbs or salt that one starts developing a puffy face. You face is no exception and it acts like every other feature in your body. Once you start leading an unhealthy lifestyle and eat improper foods, your face too starts gaining fat just like other parts of your body.
Lose it or Spruce It!
After a weight loss program, we hear positive comments on our body but most comments that we receive regarding our facial looks are negative. People feel sorry for our deflated cheeks and even wish that we had not lost any fat on our face. So indeed, losing fat on your face is possible and it is good. Just like how good and bad balance this earth, we do have some bad news to balance this good news. It is possible to lose face fat, but you cannot specifically target weight loss in this area.
With this, I guess most of you reading through would have guessed the best way to lose face fat. Yes, its by losing overall excess body weight and leading a healthy lifestyle. In this journey, please don’t focus completely on cutting down calories as this might land you only with muscle loss and not fat loss. It’s always better to rely on a well-balanced meal that meets your nutrient requirements as well as focuses on controlling portion sizes. Complement this with increased water intake, decreased junk intake and plenty of sleep.
Exercising is the best way to lose face fat but don’t overdo it. You might land up with a sagged face. Balance strength training and cardio workouts along with your regular ones to bring your total body weight to a healthy one.
Apart from this, there are many popularly known simple exercises that people believe in and definitely worth a try!
Appreciation, praise and rewards boost our spirits and make us work harder. In an organization however hard you might work and meet requirements, the project is a success only when all team members do their part of work dedicatedly. The same holds true in the case of sports such as hockey, cricket and football. Excelling in something is appreciable whereas cooperating as a team and achieving success is noteworthy. Not all can be dedicated team players. It’s a skill that one must acquire for the benefit of the individual as well as the team. Sometime back if someone had questions on the best form of exercise to practice, he/she would have got an answer straight away to pursue the one that he/she enjoys. There have been articles on different exercise forms suitable for different kinds of people. For example, the introvert might prefer to go for a walk whereas an extrovert would find it amazing to enroll for a Zumba group class. But now, a new study has come up with the research that people who participate in team-based activities reap greater advantages over individual-based exercises.
Greater Inspiration through Better Coordination
Football, tennis and badminton reap greater benefits than swimming, cycling or doing gym exercises. That’s purely because your interactions and coordination in team-based or partner-based activities add up to the benefits of physical activity even as much as improving your longevity. We are in love with the social media and there are evidences suggesting that posting selfies on these media sites pave way for better weight loss results (Visit the website www.firsteatright.com for more details on the study). What’s the underlying reason behind all these?
Love & Affection Bond our Lives
We are born alone into this world and we die alone. In between birth and death is the journey of life and the various people we meet are fellow passengers who get on and off at different junctures. Our lives revolve around the people we live with, interact and bond over. Weight loss posted on social media sites improve results due to the appreciation and positive feedbacks given by our friends which motivate us to work harder. Receiving the best performer award is a recognition which pleases the performer, leaving a positive comment on your mom’s food motivates her to cook much more varieties and appreciating a child’s effort in completing his/her school work brings about even greater results. Such things improve our mental well being which exists as the basis of a happy life. With exercise too, if health and well-being are primary concerns then choosing partner-based or team-based exercises are best for the individual.
A study was conducted on 8500 individuals who had no history of cancer, heart attack or stroke for a period of 25 years. These people were given a comprehensive health and lifestyle questionnaire which included questions on the type, frequency and duration of physical activity performed. They were followed-up for 25 years during which 4500 of them died. Many of them replied that they did a variety of activities every week but were asked to choose one as their primary exercise form in the questionnaire. The researchers used this exercise form mentioned to check for longevity after adjusting factors such as education, drinking habits and socioeconomic background.
Results showed a crystal-clear connection between social sports and longevity. People’s lifespan increased depending on the game/exercise they chose to perform-tennis players reaped maximum benefit as this added 9.7 years to their lifespan, badminton extended life by 6.2 years, soccer by 4.7 years, cycling by 3.7 years, swimming by 3.4 years, jogging by 3.2 years, calisthenics by 3.1 years and health club activities by 1.5 years.
Though the duration is not known exactly, it doesn’t matter too much as gym-goers who reported more than 600 minutes of total physical activity every week of which gym routine occupies 150 of those minutes reported least longevity years compared to tennis players who reported using the racquet for 100 minutes of their total 520 minutes of activity per week.
There’s evidence piling up supporting the link between social interaction and good health and also evidences support that doing moderate-intensity exercise is good for longer life than practicing vigorous-intensity exercise over the period. Increasing the intensity and upping heart rate might feel satisfactory at that point but it doesn’t make you happy, feel relaxed or energetic as a game of tennis or soccer. Tennis helps you bond with your partner during the game. Running and weight lifting too are good for your heart health and strength.
Something is Better than Nothing
Overall, involving in any form of exercise is better than not exercising at all. Any form of physical activity that involves playing is a double bonanza as it not only invokes muscle strength and heart health but also benefits your mind giving you emotional strength and bonding. Also, you are likelier to forego a gym session quoting excuses but unlikely to miss out on a game of tennis as you have someone waiting for you and whose workout is dependent on your presence. Hence, game-based exercises improve consistency and in turn longevity.
Take out your badminton racquets, kick your football and enjoy your game reliving childhood days. You will surely realize on how much fun you have been missing all these years.
An hour without Internet connection or mobile phones in your hand seems like you’ve been cut off from the external world for eons. Our lives are intertwined with social media sites which act as our lifeline to contact our friends, stay in touch with near and dear ones and remain updated on the latest news and activities. On the exterior, we have a clear picture that social networking sites have improved our friendship, relationships and love towards people tremendously but when we start going through the layers within, there seems to exist a world surrounded by hate, lust, jealousy and greed. Every person on social media faces the wraths of mental and physical agony one time or the other. Maybe its time for a social media detox!
Social Media Detoxification
Detoxification is the removal of toxic substances from our body while social media detox, a type of digital detox, is the period during which individuals stay disconnected from social media sites as a process of removing/clearing away toxic substances from our mind.
As a heavy blow to our problems have emerged the use of multiple accounts which individuals use for different purposes. Most of us use social media platforms to connect with friends, stay updated about their whereabouts and be aware of the latest issues surrounding us. In this process, we become obsessed with other people’s life, start browsing on our friend’s friend and the chain continues likewise. Surfing their photos, activities and check ins makes us compare our lives to theirs, brood over our shortcomings and misfortunes and put us in a state of mind where none of us are really happy with what we have but keep searching for happiness and joy in what other people are up to!
“The grass on the other side is always greener” and social media has advocated this theory even more than before. It makes us feel as though other people are leading happier lives and our is less fun-filled and joyful compared to others. But thankfully, the craze for using these sites has started to decrease slowly as people are becoming more aware of the loss of precious time going through Instagram posts and twitter feeds. A lot many from the younger generation have been leaving social media websites slowly but steadily. Such people strongly advocate a social media detox as this therapy helped them improve productivity, focus more on the work at hand and stay relaxed. There are scientific evidences too backing the disadvantages of social media:
A Mental Health Spoiler
Studies show increased levels of depression, anxiety and isolation in people who use social media often. Researchers saw that those who checked into their media accounts more frequently were twice likelier to succumb from these mental health spoilers compared to their peers. Young or old everyone is addicted to the Internet and suffer from the pressure to look beautiful, stay blemishless and young forever. While established as sites to promote connectivity social media has promoted isolation and disconnection among members of the society, individuals remain far off from eye contact, physical touch and voice tone makeovers-elements that make a conversation livelier, richer and something to cherish forever.
There are a greater number of couples speaking over their phones rather than conversing with one another, more members in the family playing games over phone during weekends than spending quality time together exchanging their experiences or playing outdoor/indoor games together.
There are some things that are not in your control when it comes to social media. A friend who tags you in a meme or a boyfriend who posts a photo of both of you dancing at a club might be awkward for you and cause embarrassment. These can damage relationships too as studies have found that when people try to remove embarrassing content from online sites they suffer from a decline in the relationship with the offender. Our comments, shares and jokes that we post in our pages are shared again by hundreds of individuals. We don’t know how it will affect the other person ultimately.
Breaking Down Physical Health
Apart from ruining mental wellness and peace, social media use affects our physical health too, especially sleep routines. A study in 2014 showed that individuals aged between 19 and 32 spent over an hour daily checking their social media accounts and, on an average, some 30 times a week. Almost 57% of them complained of disturbed sleep routines. Researchers feel that the exposure to bright light before bedtime, the possibility of a mental, cognitive or psychological arousal and the intention to stay online all the time might be reasons for poor sleeping habits. Poor sleep quality can be detrimental to our health. Interested to sleep better? Its time to pay a visit to www.firsteatright.com for simple clues and practical ideas on improving sleep hours and quality over time.
Pushing Productivity into Darkness
In between work, lunch breaks or free time we tend to log into our social media accounts and check on the latest updates. This affects our creative thinking and hinders our professional lives greatly. A study shows that people spend more time on social media than they think they do. There was another study that showed that people spend more than 2 hours on social media at workplace. Maybe that’s the reason for our stretched working hours and incompetency to meet deadlines. Likes and comments hold a priority over commitments and deadlines at office! We think that multitasking is simple and switch between work window and the social media window but practically it does affect our quality of thought and productivity at the end of day.
Winning the Mortality Race Depends on your Walking Pace
Keeping pace with individuals, matching each other’s footsteps and establishing a sync between two walking friends is pivotal for a great walking session. Comical it might seem for the outsider to see one of the spouses trailing behind the other while going out (this is not because of respect but due to lack of pace) or for a bunch of friends who always seem to miss out on their closest friend on any of the outings owing to his/her slow pace and the affected person feels neglected or at least lacks the attention of others. Slow and steady wins the race might be an age-old proverb that seems fine and you are inclined towards it but in this world, things happen in a fraction of a second and life becomes upside down even before you realize what’s happening around. Pizza deliveries, food deliveries and even grocery deliveries fight it out for the top place in least delivery time. Such is the importance of a fast-paced life these days.
The study comes at a time when individuals wish for incredible internet speed and monumental transport speed but don’t feel like moving their body or shaking their hips. According to the new study if you want to live longer start walking at a faster pace to reduce the risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease. There can be none unaware of the benefits of walking and walking for as little as less than 120 minutes too decreases mortality risk.
Studies on walking have always dealt with its benefits on our health and the quantity of time spent on this activity but never has anyone come up with an accurate walking speed that would further increase your long-term consequences. The research was a large-scale one which included researchers from two different continents. One team explored the various links between walking and likely chances of death due to cardiovascular diseases, cancer or other causes. You might be walking daily but the definition of walking differs from person to person. Some people visit the park in the name of walking to chat with their friends and take a stroll as slow as possible. Some others walk so briskly that it seems as though they are walking for their life and there are a few individuals who are unmindful of the surrounding and their only focus is to walk at a normal speed. The pace of your walk determines your mortality risk which is independent of the total physical activity performed by the individual.
The study analyzed data of more than 50,000 walkers who categorized themselves into one of the three groups ‘slow,’ ‘average,’ or ‘brisk’ depending on the pace of their walk. While a fast pace is anywhere between walking for 5-7 kilometers per hour some people also consider indications such as breathlessness as a sign of the pace. The researchers adjusted the pace to suit factors such as age, sex and BMI to predict mortality rate. Irrespective of other factors pace of the walk seemed to predict mortality risk. Brisk walkers were at a 21% decreased risk of mortality and the average walkers faced a 24% decline in mortality risk.
The study showed that the elderly population aged 60 or above reaped greater benefits-individuals walking at an average pace faced a 46% decline in cardiovascular disease-relate death risk and brisk pace individuals faced a 53% lower risk.
Now walking has a few strings attached to it. First one must initiate his/her interest in walking. Next, it’s all not only about walking but also of high concern is the walking pace. The importance that we give to the pace in which we walk comes of aid when walking more is not possible due to lack of time or in the absence of a walking-friendly zone. Increase your walking pace to decrease your cardiovascular health risk and premature mortality risk.
The results have no if’s and but’s. They are to the point and establish the fact that walking at a faster pace increases life span. Along with your walking regimen implement a well-balanced diet fulfilling all nutrient needs to lead a healthy lifestyle. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to help you plan a healthy diet.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.