Carrying your weight is the greatest burden above all! Apart from being the greatest cause for all kinds of diseases and disorders your excess weight tags along with you, rules your body, your self-image and reflects your overall social outlook.
Stroke is one disease that can strike a person hard without any indication, but there are many things that you can do to lower your chances of having a stroke. Even if you have suffered from stroke once, you can take preventive steps to avoid another great mishap. Healthy body weight plays a major role in preventing stroke. Hence, controlling your weight helps to lower the chances of a stroke risk.
We strike for extra money, happiness and time off our daily strenuous routine and don’t get enough of any of these. But, we acquire extra kilograms easily that adds extra strain on the entire circulatory system leading to unwanted health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obstructive sleep apnea. One good thing is that, even losing 5-10% of your excess body weight can help reduce blood pressure and stroke-causing factors. Starving or eating minimal food is not the way to weight loss. Keep off the excess calories by following these tips:
Physical Activity: Exercise must be a mandatory part of your daily routine and a sure-shot way to burn off calories. Apart from dedicating a specific time for exercising, you can include movements in your daily activities such as walking from your cubicle to your colleague’s cubicle to discuss an issue, pacing while talking over the phone or climbing the stairs instead of using the elevator. Find more tips on adding movements to your daily routine at www.firsteatright.com.
Avoid sipping calories: It is not just the foods you eat but the drinks you consume too that can add unnecessary calories to your body. Sports drinks, sodas, energy drinks and even your fruit juices are calorie-laden. The worst thing about sugary drinks is that, your body does not account for it in the way it accounts for solid foods and you keep on drinking them until your body indicates that it is over-full. Try switching over to unsweetened coffee or tea, sparkling plain water with some fresh mint or a few raspberries.
Include unprocessed foods: Eating more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps to keep you full for longer time periods as it takes more than usual time to digest. Whole foods are also rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber and are low in salt (better for blood pressure too).
Snack healthily: People mostly snack unmindfully despite having control over their meal portions and nutrients. Such people also tend to skip their meals to compensate for the excess calories that get loaded due to their snacking policy. Instead of skipping meals or snacks, individuals can replace unhealthy snacking options with healthier ones such as carrot sticks, unsweetened yogurt with fruits and air-popped popcorn (replace butter with seasoned herbs for flavor).
The world is filled with followers than leaders. An article on the harmful effects of eating red meat gets published and people worldwide start speaking about it. Few celebrities and leaders adopt a plant-based diet quoting a list of benefits and the common man wants to adopt the same! Some of these are extremely useful and beneficial while some others are a waste of expenses and time. For instance, the latest news on ‘pink slime’ which is a meat by-product used as a food additive to ground beef will make any meat lover to think twice before eating meat or beef again. Repeated negative news on animal-based products depicted in movies, swine flu mania or the pink slime limelight encourages more number of people to switch over to a plant-based diet. True, there are advantages of taking up a plant-based diet but there are certain disadvantages too.
Pursuing any new eating routine, exercises or lifestyle changes which is basically healthy can be unhealthy if it is practiced in the wrong way. Listed here are some of the common errors people commit while switching over to a plant-based diet. Ensure to avoid them and reap total benefits:
Improperly Balanced Plate: Adopting a plant-based diet means staying off from all animal products including lean meat and dairy products such as milk, yogurt and curd. All these foods disappear from the kitchen cabinets in no time! So how are you going to compensate for these missing nutrients? French fries and cutlets are technically vegan, but not the kind of foods one expects on his/her plate. The aim is to fill your plate with healthy foods that are not animal-based and also ensure that you do not simply stuff the plate with high-calorie, zero-nutrient foods that are plant-based. Incorporate sufficient quantities of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes in your daily diet. Swap your beef for mushrooms to gain a dash of nutrients such as protein, fiber and antioxidants without all the saturated fat and cholesterol.
Reduced Calorie Intake: An animal-based diet on any day is calorie-rich than a plant-based diet. Hence, while switching over you need to ensure to maintain the number of calories that you consume too. But, its just not about the quantity of food but also about the quality of the calories you consume. Focus on nutrient-dense foods and there are chances for you to feel lethargic or experience rapid weight loss initially. Compensate for these by eating more of nuts, grains and seeds that are high in calories.
Procuring Proteins is Never-ending: There is a widespread myth that only an animal-based diet can satisfy our daily protein requirements and eating a plant-based diet leaves you with insufficient proteins. It is possible to get your daily share of required macronutrients on your properly structured plant-based diet. For example, a serving of tomato or onion contains 25% protein, quinoa contains 18% and beans up to 27%. Dark leafy greens contain 35-50% proteins. Replace roasted turkey and chicken with simple edamame, chick pea and sunflower seeds in your salad to satisfy your protein needs in the healthiest way.
Avoiding Seasonal Produce: Eating the fruits and vegetables available during the season makes you amass total nutrient benefits from the produce and also enjoy fresh ones that taste great. It also ensures supple quantity of vitamins and minerals in your diet. Eating oranges in February provides you with vitamin C and potassium and consuming Brussels sprout in August provides vitamin A and folate. New foods, especially veggies or fruits, baffle some people but start small trying one new produce per week.
Anxiousness About Ignoring Certain Foods: While you brand yourself as a vegetarian, flexitarian, vegan or pescatarian, you start building up pressure within yourself. Any food that you eat must be relished and enjoyed. When you give up certain foods and move towards another diet, explore all the food options that remain open here instead of worrying about all the ones that you omitted. Having no ‘forbidden’ food in your list makes you feel comfortable and a lot safer. Approaching any diet with the mindset of abundance rather than deprivation is the best way to keep yourself healthy as you fill your plate with all the required nutrients for a healthy lifestyle.
Lack of Supplements: Avoiding an animal-based diet necessitates using B12 supplementation. Another nutrient that most people lack irrespective of the diet they follow is vitamin D as sunshine is the primary source of this nutrient. Meet a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to check out your requirements for supplements before taking one by yourself. You can also get a personalized diet plan chalked out by your RDN to ensure that switching over from your animal-based diet to a plant-based one is smooth and enriching to your health and lifestyle.
The 8-hour sleep routine, going to bed by 10 in the night or sleeping without the smartphone by your side table have become unimaginable or almost impossible. Stress, anxiety and sleeplessness can be blamed only to a certain extent to disturbed sleep quality and there are many more health connections beyond these that can affect our sleep. Even medications that we take for these health issues can hinder our peaceful sleep routines. Given here are some common conditions that can affect our everyday sleep routine badly:
Allergies: Allergies can ruin a person’s sleep time badly due to intermittent coughing, sneezing, congestion and itchy/watery eyes that can cause poor sleep quality due to frequent sleepless nights. Mild obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in breathing) can worsen things as the person starts breathing through his/her mouth causing inconvenience to him/her. Also, allergic medication can prevent a person from sleeping while certain other medications can leave the person feeling drowsy unable to focus on work the next day.
Asthma: More than 60% of people with asthma face coughing, breathing and wheezing problems that interrupt sleep. Asthma-related drugs can cause sleep problems and frequent sleeplessness during the night and so do inhaler drugs that individuals commonly use for relief.
Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s is one grave disease troubling the affected person and the people surrounding them. More often, Alzheimer’s leads to insomnia and daytime sleeping that are predominantly present during the later stages of the disease. Slightly adjusting daytime schedules along with medications (if needed) can elevate sleep quality. Knowing what not to do when you have an individual with Alzheimer's at home is more important than knowing what to do! Get the complete do's and don'ts list from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Lung disorders such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma can make a person suffer from coughing, chest pain and breathing difficulty that again hinders sleep quality. Also, 15% of people with COPD suffer from sleep apnea and certain medications used for COPD can cause sleep problems.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia: Men above the age of 60 often have an enlarged prostate gland which compels them to get up to use the bathroom two or more times each night. Medications can help these men often.
Congestive heart failure: This disease reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood along with increasing the risk of sleep apnea and periodic shaking of the arms and legs called periodic limb movements. Treating the heart failure can help along with options for minimizing sleep apnea.
Depression/stress/anxiety: All of us have our ups and downs in life with certain sleepless nights due to periodic bad days at work, personal life or health. But, when these sleepless nights continue it could be the work of depression or anxiety playing it’s part. Attending counselling sessions to minimize stress or depression and treating sleep problems can elevate mental health too.
Diabetes: Increased blood glucose levels might make you get up frequently during the night to use the bathroom. Also, diabetes people are often overweight which again raises their chances of sleep apnea. Frequent changes in blood sugar levels can cause night sweats or pain due to damaged nerves that can once again hinder sleep quality.
Gastroesophageal reflux: Research proves that 3 of 4 people with heartburn experience it during the night at least once a week as lying down proliferates painful backwash of stomach acid into the esophagus. This can be often curbed by staying away from a heavy dinner or consuming alcohol and also by raising the head of your bed by about six inches.
Parkinson’s disease: The effects of this disease are worse on sleep quality. People experience nightmares, insomnia, may act out dreams while sleeping, sleep apnea or might fall asleep without warning during the day. Although medications are helpful, certain Parkinson’s-related drugs cause insomnia and it is advisable to take them earlier during the day.
Perimenopause: Almost 50% of women between 40 and 64 years of age report sleep problems as estrogen level discrepancies can cause hot flashes, night sweats or getting up during the night. Taking as much precautions as possible, such as avoiding caffeine late in the evening, getting exposed to sunlight during the day, doing exercise, relaxing before bedtime or keeping yourself cool can help to a great extent.
Hippocrates quotes that ‘Bad digestion is the root of all evil.’ Ever realized that the mind and the gut are strongly connected? Too much stress, butterfly effects in the stomach, too depressed to eat, repeated bathroom visits before heading out or hesitating to ‘go’ under new circumstances proves this! We even call the GI tract as the ‘second brain’ as the tract lining contains millions of nerve cells that convey minute-by-minute feedback on thoughts, emotions and the body’s overall well-being. It is not surprising that gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are commonly found to occur along with psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Yoga for the Dual Effect
Yoga is a group of mental, physical and spiritual practices that serve beneficial in several ways. Yoga can serve to keep both, the mind and body active thereby helping in providing digestive relief too. The yoga asanas or postures trigger blood flow, massages digestive organs and relieves gas. Pranayama (breathing exercise) and meditation is a great stress buster and heightens an individual’s awareness of stress sources in his/her life for chronic management. There are different yoga practices and various meditation techniques each contributing towards better health in possible ways.
Assuming the digestive system as a juicer, digestive enzymes as juicer blades, body toxins as fruit waste and energy as juice, if any of the juicer parts don’t do their work properly, then the entire juicing process collapses. If the juicer blades (enzymes) don’t spin as expected, the juicer produces less juice and there is ample toxin (fruit waste) accumulation in the cells. A supple digestive system is driven by proper digestive enzymes. Yoga helps to make these enzymes do their work properly and helps improve digestion:
Sit down (if possible) on a cushion or blanket placing your hands on your knees or in your lap and sit straight (but not rigid). Close your eye and breathe normally. Observe your breathing pattern whether it is shallow or long, whether there is easy flow of air through your nose into your lungs and into the abdomen or are your abdominal muscles tense? Examine your body from head to toe searching for tension areas in the body and relieving stress by sending breath to those areas. Stress creates equal havoc just like other disorders to the body, details of which are available at www.firsteatright.com.
Cat Cow: Go on a table-top position using your hands and knees. Keep your elbow and wrists under the shoulders and knees directly under the hips. Inhale to cow pose. bend your head to the ceiling and sway back so that your belly drops to the ground and the sitting bones tilt up to the ceiling. Exhale to cat pose by looking down at the ground. Alter between these two poses in sync with your own breath.
Seated side bend: Sit crossed leg and bend such that the crown of your head reaches up toward the ceiling. Maintain relaxed shoulders, keep one arm up toward the ceiling and the other on the ground in your side. Bend the raised arm and keep it pointing towards the direction of the arm placed on the ground. Press the hip bone on the same side as your raised arm into the ground.
Revolved triangle: Standing up, stretch one leg back about a leg’s length. Hip bones must face forward, fold over the front leg and keep your back leg flat and leveled. Some people find it useful to keep a stack of books to rest their hands as this helps to keep the legs and back straight and hips aligned. Place the hand opposite to the front leg on the ground besides the stretched front leg and stretch the other hand up to the sky.
Bow: Lie down on your stomach and reach back with both your hands holding your ankles. Every time you press your hands into your ankles breathe in and then breathe out. Every breath will gently rock the body and massage the lower abdominals.
Knee to chest (wind removing position): Lie flat on the ground and bring one knee to your chest holding it with both arms. Next, bring both knees to the chest. Going side to side helps you massage the low back and kidneys.
Legs up the wall: Savasana or corpse position is the final resting position in yoga sequences and keeping your legs up the wall is a fun and restorative alternative. Individuals usually sustain in this position for anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes.
Forward fold: Inhale, stretch your arms overhead and look up. Exhale and bow forward into a fold. You can grab your opposite elbows, keep bowing down and hang there to release tension in the upper back or place hands on the ground with palms facing upward to stretch the wrists.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
+91 7846 800 800
Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.