We make and break new year resolutions every year. This year, why not take up small, doable and meaningful resolutions that can be lived up to the promise made?
Every year, many of us take a resolution to lose weight, quit smoking, restrict alcohol or decrease anger levels, but these vaporize into thin air in due course of time. So, if an oath or some motivating factor cannot help you achieve health goals, what can you do? Achieve big results by working on small factors.
Instead of taking a resolution to reduce 20 kilograms of weight, control BP levels or quit smoking altogether, a more modest resolution is more achievable. The goals given here are feasible, practical and can help you on your path of achieving the bigger goals in mind:
Walk at office: Walking 6-8 kilometers daily might be your desire, but if you are not in a situation where this goal is achievable working on smaller goals such as simply sitting less and moving more might be your encouraging factor. Being active helps to reduce the chances of heart disease, high blood pressure, non-insulin-dependent diabetes and colon and breast cancer. Try using the restroom in another floor by walking up/down the stairs, walk to your colleague’s desk to inform something instead of texting or emailing and also use the pantry in another floor. Walking meetings are also gaining priority now as more employers and employees are becoming health conscious. If you want your company to organize such meetings, put forth the benefits of the same from www.firsteatright.com.
Start sugar-replacements for foods and beverages: Too much sugar is bad for health and the processed foods available nowadays are loaded with plenty of sugar. So, instead of drinking a sugary coffee or eating a calorie-rich sweetened snack, try something different, such as a bowl of unsweetened yogurt with fresh fruits of your choice for your snack.
Prepare homemade salad dressing: Fats are needed for health, but the only condition is that they must be good fats. Replace saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats. Start preparing your homemade salad dressing with olive oil and use them on salads and marinades. Once you get used to it, you can use olive oil in other recipes such as pasta sauce, popcorns, etc.
Start cutting 50 calories a day initially: Cutting 50 calories every day or few days in a week can help you cut down on overall food intake over time. This also helps you focus on the small goal of reducing 50 calories initially instead of being overwhelmed by the big goal.
Exercise at workplace: Rather than sitting and complaining that you are unable to go to the gym for workout, use your coffee breaks at office to do some squats or stand up every hour or so in your workplace to do a few stretches.
Go meatless once a week: Health sectors are promoting the benefits of a vegetarian diet compared to an animal-based diet as vegetarians consume less of saturated fat and cholesterol and more of vitamins C and E, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids. This makes them more likely to have lower LDL levels, low BP and lower body mass index. Incase you had tried switching over to a vegetarian diet previously and failed miserably, you can start by at least going vegetarian once a week. In due course, you might be encouraged to eat a vegetarian diet more often after experiencing its advantages of delicious taste and inexpensive pricing.
Breathe clean air in and around your house: If you really don’t feel like moving out of your house, get a few inexpensive houseplants for your home and your workspace which can improve air quality. All you have to do is maintain the plants by watering them to fulfill their purpose.
The Global Nutrition Summit happened in Milan on November 4th. Malnutrition in any form, undernutrition, obesity or both, is a terrorizing crisis that threatens to derail human development in almost every country in this earth-this is the most crucial finding of this year’s Global Nutrition Report.
The report states that the world faces a grave situation: All 140 countries deal with at least one of the nutrition problems, almost 88% (123 of 140) of countries face a serious burden of either two or three forms of malnutrition-childhood stunting, anemia in women of reproductive age and overweight in adult women, 2 billion people lack key micronutrients like iron and vitamin A and 1 in 3 people are malnourished. Although globally many significant steps have been taken towards nutrition improvement in the past few decades, the job is far from done. The Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO) indicates that the number of people having insufficient access to adequate calories has increased since 2015 and the number of undernourished people has increased to 815 million (up from 777 million in 2015).
A Ray of Hope
The Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) of the UN included targets to end malnutrition in all forms in 2015. The members of the WHO have pledged to achieve these nutrition related targets by 2025.
Target 1: Achieve 40% reduction in stunting among children under 5 years of age.
Target 2: Achieve a 50% reduction of anemia in women of reproductive age.
Target 3: Achieve a 30% reduction of low-birth-weight infants.
Target 4: Curb increase in childhood obesity.
Target 5: Increase exclusive breastfeeding (during first six months) rates by 50%.
Target 6: Reduce and maintain childhood wasting by less than 5%.
Sadly, there is less than 1% chance of meeting the global target of halting the rise in obesity and diabetes by 2025. That’s mainly due to the fact that governments overlook the different forms of malnutrition and the linkages between nutrition and other development goals. One thing that is clear across all nutrition-related goals is that, maternal and child undernutrition on one hand, and overweight and obesity on the other hand are deeply connected having poor diet as their root cause. A mother’s poor nutrition choices before and during pregnancy can result in preterm birth, low-birth-weight infants and increase the risk of maternal anemia.
Improve Nutrition Among Nations
Good nutritional benefits help nations to sustain on long-term peace and stability. Let’s make good nutrition the global social norm and focus on increasing global investment in nutrition. Every country should make a commitment towards achieving these targets and steer the world towards prosperity.
People fall into two categories: those who don’t indulge in anything during the festive season to prevent weight gain and those who indulge in everything making up their minds to take up weight loss as a New Year resolution next year. But one must draw a middle line between these two extremities and find a way to enjoy the holiday season while preventing weight gain too.
Decide before partying
Although banal, deciding on certain limits prevents you from eating mindlessly during the party and also helps you stay away from the temptation of enjoying an extra drink or two just for the sake of drinking or because you have been offered so.
Once you take a look at the calorie values of different alcoholic drinks, you are sure to stick to your limits:
Pop a sugar-free mint or gum into your mouth once you reach your decided food and drinks limit.
Refrain from desserts at the party
Either have desserts at home before going to the party or stay away from desserts at the party to look forward to something once you are back at home. The second option is better, as it gives you the determination and a strong reason to stop overloading yourself.
Drink enough water
Although we repeatedly hear about the benefits of water on our human body, we don’t stick to it most of the time. In reality, drinking plenty of plain water, eating water-laden foods such as fruits and vegetables or consuming other calorie-free beverages helps to fill your stomach and also to consume fewer calories. Drink water throughout the day, especially before every meal and exercise. Drink two glasses of water and also munch on a plate of colorful produce before heading to the party so that you don’t start eating too much due to hunger. If you don’t find it interesting to drink plain water, you can visit the website www.firsteatright.com for creative options such as lemon mint detox drink (3 calories) and sparkling cucumber detox (8 calories).
Children spend most of their time in school apart from home. In recent times, many schools have started offering breakfast and lunch to children to fulfill their dietary and health requirements as a child’s performance in school depends on his/her energy and fitness levels which are provided by the food they eat.
Schools play a critical role in monitoring and improving the dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents. Schools have the potential to nurture healthy children by creating environments that encourage healthy eating practices, promote performing physical activities daily and teach children about health.
Schools strive to:
This is one of the most common uncommon conditions we have come across in our lives but affecting more number of people than type 2 diabetes could. As the name suggests, restless leg syndrome (RLS) causes an unpleasant or uncomfortable sensation in the legs that urges you to move your leg as a reflex action. Symptoms start in the late afternoon or evening hour and attain maximum intensity at night as the person is sedentary, simply sitting or lying in bed. The same is experienced when a person is inactive or sitting for extended time periods (in a plane, while travelling, watching movie, etc.). As the symptom attains peak at night, sleep becomes a great problem.
RLS is categorized both as a sleep disorder, since maximum symptoms get triggered while trying to sleep, and a movement disorder (this is because individuals are forced to move their leg to get some relief). Neurological sensory disorder would be the best classification as symptoms of RLS start from within the brain.
Usual Symptoms of RLS
During the initial stages people with RLS may experience remissions where individuals show improvement in symptoms over a period of few weeks or months before the symptoms become severe once again.
The cause for RLS is unknown in most cases. Genes or low levels of iron in the brain can cause RLS. Certain evidence also points to the fact that RLS is a dysfunction associated with one section of the brain that control movement. People with iron deficiency, end-stage renal disease, certain medications that may aggravate RLS, use of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol, pregnancy (occurs mostly in the last trimester and symptoms usually disappear within 4 weeks after delivery) and neuropathy are at an increased risk of developing RLS.
One can confirm the presence of RLS with these five conditions:
Adapting healthy lifestyle changes, increasing iron intake (if needed), using anti-seizure drugs and other medicines can relieve pain in an individual. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly are the most essential lifestyle changes that need to be adapted by individuals to decrease the effect of RLS. For such healthy adaptations, it is better to get in touch with a nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com who can help you take up nutritious eating schedules. RLS is a lifelong condition that has no cure. But treatments can help to alleviate pain and help to bring about sleep in an individual. Symptoms aggravate with age and it is more complex in persons who have some other medical conditions as well. If RLS symptoms are mild and do not cause much discomfort in sleep routines and daytime activities, the condition needs no treatment.
Sexually transmitted diseases are infections caused by bacteria, parasites, yeasts and viruses that spread between patients through sexual contact (oral, vaginal or anal). HIV, gonorrhea, human papilloma virus (HPV) infection and syphilis are the most common STDs. Being infected with an STD makes it easier for the HIV to get access into the human body due to sores or break in the skin. STDs can cause uncompromising damage to the human body and even result in death at times.
Symptoms of STD differ from person to person and even more shocking is that, men and women with the same STD have different symptoms. Painful urination, unusual discharge from the vagina or penis and fever are the most common symptoms. While STDs caused by bacteria, yeast or parasites can be treated with antibiotics, there is no cure for the ones caused due to viruses and treatment can only help ward off pain and keep the disease under control.
To avoid all these painful procedures, it is better to safeguard ourselves against the attack of these infections by taking cardinal preventive measures:
Syphilis may cause miscarriage and still birth, HIV infection can be passed to a baby during vaginal birth and gonorrhea and chlamydia may cause health problems in an infant right from eye infections to pneumonia. Read more on HIV and its grave effects on the human body at www.firsteatright.com.
One day we are told that drinking tea is good for health. The very next day a new study tells us that drinking excess tea hampers health. The latest news is that, eating nearly 1/3rd cup of almonds daily either alone or in combination with almost 1/4th cup of dark chocolate and 2 1/3 tablespoon of cocoa a day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
The Concept Behind Good Health
LDL cholesterol is called as bad cholesterol as it can clog arteries and this type of cholesterol needs to be minimized in our body. Combining raw almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa helps to reduce the quantity of low-density lipoprotein particles in the blood of overweight or obese people. Read more on the disadvantages of LDL cholesterol and its negative effects on our body at www.firsteatright.com.
It literally does not mean that you should relish chunks of dark chocolate every single day along with almonds to lower LDL cholesterol. People can have up to 270 discretionary calories daily and having foods such as dark chocolate, almonds and cocoa as discretionary foods rather than munching frosted donuts or cheese popcorns warrants better health benefits.
We already known that eating each of these items separately benefits our health and this study mainly focuses on the combined effect of these ingredients on our health. Combining almonds with dark chocolate and cocoa is the key here. In the absence of almonds, chocolates neither increase nor decrease cholesterol levels. Researchers feel that cocoa might become a crucial nutritious food because of the presence of various bioactive components and its delicious taste.
This study is of utmost importance as it focuses on replacing saturated fat coming from dairy fat (butter and cheese) with unsaturated fat coming from nuts (almonds) which has a positive effect on the plasma lipid concentrations.
We store so many foods in our freezers nowadays that almost all of us would be familiar with the term ‘thawing’ which literally means to unfreeze or warm. In this hurry-burry world, we all prefer eating ready-to-eat foods instead of wasting our time in the kitchen.
We come back from work and when we reach out to prepare something for dinner, we realize that we forgot to thaw something for dinner. We pull some meat or chicken from the freezer and thaw it under hot water to immediately defrost it. Some other times, we take the food out of the freezer and leave the package outside forgetting about it all through the day at office.
Both these situations are of grave concern and can result in foodborne illness. Raw meat, cooked meat, poultry and egg products must be maintained at a safe internal temperature when they are thawed. Thawing should be practiced safely because when foods are left at temperatures between 40°F - 140 °F for more than two hours, it causes the bacteria to multiply. A food thermometer can be used to measure internal temperature of raw meat and poultry to check whether the food is cooked adequately. Ways to use a food thermometer is listed in the website www.firsteatright.com.
Thawing can be done in three ways efficiently:
Refrigerator: Planning well ahead of time is the key to this method. You can use a plate to catch the juices that might leak during the process and place the plate in the bottom of the refrigerator. We can freeze the thawed food in the refrigerator before or after cooking. Any meat or poultry can be thawed using this method as this is the safest one available for such foods.
Cold Water: Though faster than the previous method, more caution is needed while performing this method. Firstly, food must be placed inside a leak-proof package or plastic bag to prevent bacteria from the surrounding area to enter the food. Sometimes, meat tissue might absorb water resulting in a watery product.
Then, the food must be submerged in cold water and this water must be changed every 30 minutes. Ensure that the entire food content is cooked immediately after thawing. The fastest way to thaw, it takes a couple of hours depending on the weight of the food to be thawed.
Microwave: Take the food to be thawed, remove any store wrapping and follow microwaving instructions to thaw foods. Immediately cook the thawed food and refreeze them only after they are completely cooked.
Cook without Thawing
If you decide in the last minute and don’t have ample time to thaw or if you are in a hurry, the safest way to cook foods is in the frozen state itself. One disadvantage in cooking foods without thawing is that, it takes 50% more time to cook such foods. Cooking without thawing is completely applicable for frozen vegetables which can be cooked in ½ cup of water, drained and seasoned with our favorite seasonings.
Lead is a naturally occurring toxic mineral found in the earth’s crust whose widespread use has resulted in extensive environmental contamination, human exposure and public health problems worldwide. Lead finds it use mainly in the manufacture of lead-acid batteries for motor vehicles while being used in small quantities in other products such as pigments, paints, stained glass, lead crystal glassware, jewelry, toys and even some cosmetics and traditional medicines. Even the drinking water that comes to our houses through lead pipes or pipe joints with lead soldering are not safe to consume.
Effects on Health
Young children are most affected (absorb 4-5 times more than adults) by lead poisoning as it interrupts with the development of the brain and nervous system. Adults are also affected in the long run, with increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. Pregnant women, when exposed to increased lead levels become victims to stillbirth, miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and minor malformations as well.
Extreme lead exposure on children affects their brain and nervous system leading to coma, convulsions and even death. Those kids who survive poisoning can be left with mental retardation and behavioral disorders. Even at decreased exposure levels, lead can affect children in different ways: decreased intelligence quotient, reduced attention, increased antisocial behavior and reduced educational performance. Anemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs are other serious side effects of lead exposure. Hypertension is one of the most prevalent diseases in today's world that requires immediate intervention. Read more on hypertension at www.firsteatright.com.
The Ins & Outs of Lead
Governments should take every possible step to protect the health of women, workers and children. Leaded paint is a primary source of exposure in various countries and the goal should be to eliminate leaded paints and prevent its harmful effects. Steps should also be taken to manage chemicals and wastes effectively, in accordance with the health goals, and reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize serious impact on human health and the surrounding environment.
Botox treatments are becoming popular time and again. Used to correct wrinkles until now, Botox can have a new use hereafter-stop abnormal heart rhythm that can sometimes develop after heart surgery.
For the study, researchers injected Botox (botulinum neurotoxin) into five fatty areas around the hearts of patients having surgery. The research was conducted on a small group of patients, 63 patients received Botox and 67 others were injected with a placebo during coronary bypass surgery, heart valve surgery or both.
After surgery, atrial fibrillation (AFib) happened in 23 patients receiving Botox compared to 32 patients getting a placebo-a difference of 11.3%. But researchers are not yet convinced that this approach works 100 percent as the study was on a small group of individuals and much large-scaled studies are essential to come to decisive conclusions.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and rapid heart rate that is not life threatening but a serious medical condition. It affects 27-40% of patients after a heart surgery resulting in prolonged stays at the hospital, increased medical expenditure and high rates of stroke and death from any cause. AFib usually occurs two to three days after surgery, when post-surgery inflammation peaks.
Controlling post-surgery AFib is complicated as there is a huge inflammatory response and it is affected by numerous factors as well. Inflammation is both good and bad, depending on various factors which are discussed in detail at www.firsteatright.com.
The Botox treatment showed no side effects which triggers doubt whether the drug has any effect on the heart at all-good or bad! One good thing is that Botox wears away and does not remain in the patient’s body for days or months together like other drugs that aim at preventing post-surgery AFib.
December is the month of Christmas, snow and the rough winter wind! New studies suggest that up to 6,50,000 deaths occur annually because of respiratory diseases from seasonal influenza which might be the new pandemic.
Most of these deaths occur among people aged 75 years and above in the world’s poorest regions. Countries worldwide must strive hard to control influenza outbreaks before it turns into a pandemic, irrespective of the country being rich or poor. For this to happen, the countries must be equipped to detect, respond to outbreaks and improvise health systems to work for the betterment of the most vulnerable individuals.
Most number of deaths (due to influenza-related lower respiratory tract infections) of children aged under five years occur in developing countries. Effects of seasonal influenza epidemics in the world’s poorest countries are not yet known fully.
WHO recommends countries to prioritize influenza prevention and advises citizens to get their annual influenza vaccination done to avoid any complications from influenza infection. This vaccination is of utmost concern in the case of health workers and individuals at a greater risk of serious influenza complications and death.
Influenza Virus Infection
The influenza virus affects the nose, throat and lungs too causing mild to severe illness and can result in death rarely. Fever, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body ache, fatigue and headache are some of the signs and symptoms of flu. Complications include ear infection, pneumonia, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart failure and diabetes. Read more on chronic medical conditions at www.firsteatright.com.
Seasonal influenza is nothing but an acute virus that can spread from one person to another, thereby affecting the entire world. While most infections don’t require any medical attention and the person recovers within a week, some diseases related to seasonal influenza virus that can cause death include pneumonia and bronchitis.
Treatment mostly involves antiviral drugs that can cure the illness.
All of us would have our Christmas tree ready, gifts wrapped and the elaborate meal planned for the festive day, but did we even take a second to think about being healthy and staying safe on that day? The figures are close to nil!
A normal person consumes around 6,000 calories on Christmas day which is almost equivalent to the number of calories a person consumes over a period of 3 days.
Stick to the Basics
World renowned dietetic associations state that on an average, any individual gains 2kg during Christmas. The basics remain the same, be it any normal day or festive day. The primary way to control things from going out of control is to stick to the meal times.
Start your day with a nutritious breakfast constituting of porridge oats or a small bowl of wheat-bran flakes to fulfill fiber requirements and keep you away from munching on some snack time and again.
You might feel you are eating a thumb-size portion of yule log or a single mince pie. But, calories in snacks quickly pile up, for example a single mince pie packs about 250 calories and you might have fulfilled quarter of recommended calorie intake for a woman or a fifth of the calorie intake for a man with this snack.
If you are planning for some crisps and cheese biscuits, replace them with popcorns and boiled veggies with butter to minimize calorie consumption. Munch on dates, dried grapes or chestnut seeds for a bite of healthy snacks.
Desserts occupy a prominent place in the Christmas table and not every dessert needs to be calorie-rich. While Christmas pudding might be high in calories, it is also an excellent source of fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium. To make it tastier, don’t keep on adding brandy butter or cream and spoil all the good nutrition value in it. Watch out for portion sizes as this is the primary element to keep your calorie values under control. Also, have a bowl of mixed fruits ready so that people can choose what they would like to eat for dessert.
Eating, watching TV and remaining in bed might be the best option to pursue as your holiday routine. You need to be physically active to burn those extra calories that you consume during all these days.
You need not go for the kickboxing class or hit the gym to stay active, taking a small brisk walk by the park after your meal to stay active. One study also shows that taking a 15-minute walk half an hour after eating controls high blood sugar in the elderly people and also decreases their risk of developing type-2 diabetes. But what most of us do is, either we sit around and chat or watch a movie together in the living room which can be the worst thing to do after having a big meal.
Follow the 80:20 approach where 80% of the time you are following your normal routine and 20% of the time you indulge a little.
Some Tactical Tips for A Healthy Christmas
Right before a presentation, a seminar or an important test, we have butterfly effects in our stomach. Sometimes we can even experience heartburn or diarrhea which indicates that the brain and the gut are in communication. The opposite is also possible. Changes in the gut microbiota and changes in our intestinal permeability can cause anxiety and depression sometimes. The brain−gut interactions can make or break the health of a person.
While it is necessary to deal with any signs of health issues that affect the gut or brain, it is also needed to know that neither will be healthy if you don’t focus on the other as well. For example, treating your gut for parasites residing in them without solving your chronic stress issues will either make you a prey to reinfection or your body might not be able to get rid of the parasite because of chronic stress in the first place.
More than 75% of the feel-good hormone, serotonin, is present in the gut and is released by cells when food moves into the GI tract.
Flight or Fight Reaction: Today’s stressful world makes many individuals spend most of their time in ‘flight or fight’ mode such as during traffic, an important project deadline at work, financial issues, etc. and have little time for ‘rest and digest’ mode.
Leaky Gut: None of us want our gut lining to become permeable and suffer from the consequences of a leaky gut. While research proves that physical stress such as trauma and surgery can cause the intestine to become leaky, studies on the effect of mental stress on gut permeability is ongoing.
Inflammation: Cortisol, the most important steroid hormone in the human body, protects our body from the attack of inflammatory reactions. But, cortisol levels must be just enough-not too much nor too little-to keep inflammation down and respond to stress appropriately.
Immunity: Most of our immune system resides in the gut to protect the gut against things from the outside world such as food particles, bacteria and other stuff that we swallow. The gastrointestinal system secretes something called as secretory IgA (sIgA) which defends our body against any substance that comes in contact with our gut. Chronic stress decreases the production of sIgA and keeps our body vulnerable to pathogenic bacteria in the gut.
Stress Causes Imbalance in Gut Bacteria: Stress changes the composition of our gut and affects the gut’s microbiome diversity. The less diverse our gut bacteria are, the likelier we are to be overweight and be affected by allergic diseases.
Pain: Often, patients with IBS and other gut disorders suffer greatly from pain. They experience elevated digestive problems such as gas and pain when subjected to mental stress and anxiousness.
In a nutshell, stress makes our gut permeable and inflamed, immune system is compromised and causes an imbalance of the gut bacteria. To top it all, stress increases the amount of pain experienced by an individual. Stress needs to be dealt with properly to enable an individual to lead a healthy life. Read more on dealing with stress at www.firsteatright.com.
Christmas and New Year are around the corner and all of us are gearing to celebrate this holiday season with lots of fun, food and happiness. No social gathering is complete without delicious traditional dishes and yummy recipes. Most of you must have already started planning an elaborate meal for the festive season. While some dishes might be the staple ones that are part of any Christmas or New Year dinner, some others might be customized ones which you have specially planned for the gathering.
Food might be something that we look forward to, but foodborne illness is not. Ensure that these illnesses are not part of your elaborate menu. Many of your side dishes may be accompanied by some fresh roasts, such as a turkey, lamb or ham roast, and these need to be completely cooked to kill the bacteria that might be present. Keep your foods safe, for instance, meat and poultry, by cooking them to the right temperatures. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of these foods.
Some individuals might prefer to cook poultry or meat to higher temperatures. If this is what is wanted, let it be done. Your goal should be to cook foods to a particular degree and temperature so that they do not lead to foodborne illness later. Please visit the website www.firsteatright.com for more information on using a food thermometer and maintaining the desired internal temperature.
Dementia is a common neurological disorder and an ever-increasing problem, specifically among the older population. The frequency is multiplying so fast that, it would be of no surprise if it touches 2 billion by 2050.
Dementia is a loss of brain function and total cognitive ability leaving the person hopeless of performing even his/her daily basic activities. A recent study shows that reduced cerebral blood flow (CBF) due to heart disease attacks the vascular homeostasis of the brain. Heart attack survivors are at an increased risk of developing dementia, according to this study.
The study involved 314,911 heart attack patients who were compared with 1,573,193 people who had never had a heart attack. These numbers exclude individuals who are already diagnosed with dementia or other memory disorders. The study was for a prolonged time period of 35 years and during this period, there were 3,615 cases of Alzheimer’s disease, 2,034 cases of vascular dementia and 5,627 cases of other dementia among the heart attack patients.
Researchers concluded that heart attack increased the risk of vascular dementia (caused due to impaired blood flow to the brain) by 35%. Hypertension, stroke and having undergone coronary artery bypass surgery are quoted as possible reasons for this link.
Cure for Dementia
We know that dementia cannot be cured but only prevented. To prevent it, we need to understand the risk factors causing it and described above is one of the most important risk factors for dementia.
A healthy diet may indirectly reduce the occurrence of the disease. Exercise has also been associated with prevention of cognitive decline and dementia. The website www.firsteatright.com contains a detailed description of the effectiveness of physical activity in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
We breathe impure air most of the time which not only affects our health severely but hinders our job performance too! Even if you work indoors sitting inside a plush cabin, the air quality outside can impede your work performance, according to a new research paper.
Since many years, researchers have been trying to find a solid link between air pollution and poor job performance. They found that productivity of agriculture workers declined as atmospheric ozone levels increased and blue-collar indoor workers were greatly affected by the air pollution levels outside.
Packing produce inside a warehouse also contributes towards working indoors which is far more strenuous than desk work done indoors. This makes us conclude that white collar workers are less vulnerable to air pollution hazards simply because they are not breathing in as much air.
The Stock Trade Connection
Researchers chose individuals dealing with stock trading as primary citizens for the study as trading requires cognitive skills without physical exertion. Outdoor air quality fluctuates every day and the researches wanted to find out if this fluctuation influenced the individual making a trading decision on some particular day.
To exactly pinpoint the effect of air pollution on a trader’s decision-making ability, other factors such as day of the week (markets don’t function every day), day of the year (markets are busier during certain times of the year), preceding market returns, changes to daylight saving time, weather and traffic must be taken into account.
Once dealt with all other factors, researchers focused on particulate matter in the air (a measure known as PM10)-particles coming out from vehicle exhaust, construction dust, industrial sources, wood burning and other sources that are about 1/7th the thickness of human hair and can be easily inhaled deep into the lungs. Findings conveyed that an average increase in outdoor PM10 (12 micrograms of the pollutant per cubic meter) reduced the investors’ inclination to trade by nearly 10%. Although the change in PM10 is not drastic, it gives answers to our questions-whether air quality affects an investor’s willingness to sit down and trade! The disadvantages of pollution on white-collar work productivity are much more severe than previously assumed.
This finding comes right with a bang when we speak about pollution in our national capital being at its peak and affecting the health of the citizens. Read more on air pollution and its ill effects on health at www.firsteatright.com.
The so-called super foods such as chia seeds, turmeric, dark leafy greens and blueberries are constantly hyped for some reason. But there are some other foods that should be given the limelight for their nutritional value and uniqueness. Superfoods is a hyped term in the nutrition industry and to know more about these hyped foods, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that contains proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Spirulina contains 18 different amino acids (that are highly digestible), interesting micronutrients like vitamin B12, K and E and iodine, calcium, magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium and zinc. This alga also contains gamma-linolenic acid for skin, joint and heart health. The source of spirulina determines its value addition to health. Spirulina harvested from polluted waters or cultivated incorrectly can accumulate toxins from the environment. So, choosing organic ones or those available at the local farmer’s market is of utmost importance. The dark green color of spirulina can make stools greenish in color and cause intestinal gas, both of which are not harmful.
Categorized as an exotic fruit, dragon fruit has the combined flavor of a kiwi and a pear. The multitude of black seeds found inside the fruit are filled with healthy fats and fiber and the red pigmentation found in the fruit comes from betacyanins which help to prevent against oxidative damage and reduce inflammation. Improved digestion, reduced cholesterol, improved immune system, antibacterial and antifungal properties makes this fruit an excellent snacking option.
A fermented soybean cake, tempeh uses whole soybeans and the fermentation process produces enormous quantities of probiotics (good bugs that live inside human body). Probiotics are suggested to improve digestion, decrease inflammation, improve production of neurotransmitters in the gut and brain and aid in weight control. Tempeh helps to improve bone density due to the soy isoflavones, calcium, phosphorus and copper. Tempeh is considered to be a meat substitute and can be used on days when you wish to go meatless.
Some evidence exists linking consumption of tempeh with breast cancer. So, people with a history of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer should limit their consumption to once a week.
Also known as the Inca Peanuts, these seeds are rich in protein, fiber, imega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Individuals consume sacha inchi as it is suggested to improve digestion, blood lipid profile, mood, cognition and reduce inflammation.
A boon to people with celiac disease, this gluten-free grain-like seed with a nutty, earthy flavor and grainy texture can be made into a hot porridge or baked as a bread. Packed with iron, teff aids in the production of hemoglobin. The phosphorus, calcium and manganese in this seed can help in the reduction of bone loss due to aging. Improved digestion and heart health and reduced bloating, gas and cramping are other advantages of consuming teff.
For years together, hypertension was classified as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, but 2017 medical guidelines propose people who have a BP reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher as having hypertension. This does not mean that, the new set of people with BP face dangerous health risks or physicians should put them on high dose medications immediately. The guideline has been implemented with the sole purpose of preventing stroke, heart attacks and cardiac problems through early action, such as a combination of lifestyle change and medical intervention to control BP.
New Blood Pressure Categories in Adults
As the guideline decreases the cut point for defining high BP, more people will be classified as having hypertension with the unhealthy lifestyle they are leading. Effective lifestyle modifications can help prevent or manage high blood pressure. For instance, a 4.5-kilogram drop in weight of an individual results in a 5-mm Hg reduction in blood pressure in an individual with high BP. Such changes are possible with increased physical activity and reduced sodium intake as well.
According to the new guidelines, individuals falling into the 130-139 mm Hg or 80-89 mm Hg category do not require anti-hypertensive medication to treat their high BP. Following a DASH diet rich in fruits and vegetables, staying on an ideal body weight, engaging in 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 times a week and restricting alcohol consumption (2 drinks for men and 1 drink in the case of women) are lifestyle changes that can reduce systolic BP by approximately 4 to 11 mm Hg in patients with hypertension. For one-kilogram reduction in body weight, one can expect a 1 mm Hg BP reduction.
BP-lowering medications should be used based on the stage of hypertension, a person’s medical history or his/her risks for cardiovascular diseases.
Self-Monitoring Blood Pressure
BP patients are recommended to measure blood pressure levels outside clinical settings to confirm hypertension as clinical measurements are almost always higher than ambulatory or at-home BPs.
Correcting unhealthy lifestyle practices is the primary step any individual with elevated BP levels should take. A registered dietitian nutritionist is the apt person to guide you about nutritious eating habits, daily physical exercise and improve your physical well-being. Visit the website www.firsteatright.com to get in touch with such reputed RDNs who can change your lifestyle, for the better.
We give every excuse possible to overindulge, similar to how we used to give excuses for being absent from work/school (even death of someone or getting sick seemed appropriate as it paved way for an opportunity to take leave). Never allow lame excuses to get by the way of eating healthy. Some of the most common excuses given by individuals are listed here and don’t be surprised to find one of yours too here:
It’s the holiday season: Special days, occasions and holidays come and go throughout the year. Eating something special is no sin, but it would be wiser to plan for special meals that are healthier too. For example, replace frozen desserts with some flavored yogurt and cut fruits of your choice.
Feeling low or stressful: We all have our highs and lows in life. If we choose to cheer ourselves using comfort foods during every single stressful phase of life, we are going to end up with empty calories. A ruined work deadline, missing a scheduled flight, unemployment, caring for a sick relative or losing money can make you reach for comfort foods. Instead, try to take a brisk walk, grab on to a healthy snack or involve yourself in yoga/meditation. Read more on comfort foods and their list of disadvantages at www.firsteatright.com.
I munched on a butter cookie in the morning: Each of us come with a set of imperfections. Instead of focusing on what you did, focus on what is to be done. Plan to carry some healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts and popcorn and plan to lead a healthier lifestyle.
It’s my colleague’s birthday at office: It is not mandatory to put everything that comes by your way into your tummy and become fatter. Just pass on freebies if you find them unhealthy. In case you indulge in them, ensure to workout more than what you usually do.
I am too busy to eat healthy: It takes lesser time to cut few veggies for your salad and slice few pieces of apple by the time you call the pizza person and find the discount coupon.
I am having a gettogether tonight at my favorite restaurant: Restaurants nowadays have become health-conscious and many of them serve nutritious options too. Check online for menu options available and don’t hesitate to ask for substitutions. Ignore the buffet spread if you feel that you might overeat and try to share portions or save them for consuming later.
I’ll start eating healthy from tomorrow: Never postpone. Start now to reap the benefits early. Small steps taken now build healthier habits for tomorrow.
Obese individuals who follow a low-fat weight-loss plan are sure to add extra years to their life, according to a new study. Such diet plans reduce the risk of early death by 18% in obese people resulting in a decrease of 6 deaths for every 1,000 people.
By low-fat, we mean diets that are low in sugar and refined carbohydrates. While this type of a diet can increase lifespan, there is no evidence supporting the reduction of heart disease or cancer. There is also no evidence supporting the advantages of exercise along with this diet.
Obesity affects every part of the body. It increases the risk of numerous diseases and risk factors such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol that lead to premature death. Controlling obesity and enabling weight loss is not only helpful to stay slim and trim but also helps the person to stay healthy lifelong.
It is not just weight loss, diet, stress reduction or social support that helps a person reduce obesity rates but a combination of these things that gives you the best result. Obese/overweight individuals seeking professional help to lose weight in a healthy way can get in touch with renowned nutritionists/dietitians at www.firsteatright.com
Kids love to eat chocolate donuts, sugary rasagollas or creamy pastries during any time of the day. Children try to please adults to earn their sugary foods. Is there any magic potion or chemical added to attract kids like a magnet to sugary foods?
The major sources of free sugars include sugary drinks, sweets, cakes, chocolates, pastries and biscuits. ‘Free sugars’ are monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by manufacturers, chefs or consumers along with the sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. It does not include sugars present in whole fruits or vegetables.
WHO recommends intake of free sugars to be not more than 10% of total daily energy intake for both adults and children, but the ideal intake recommended is less than 5%. Most individuals consume beyond the recommended values adding empty calories and spoiling their healthy intake. Obesity, one of the leading health problems currently, is mainly due to increased intake of sugary beverages, junk foods that contain sugar as the main ingredient and increased consumption of bad fats. Many nations, including India, are concerned about the health condition of their citizens and are taking decisive actions to curb obesity. The first step here is to reduce the consumption of sugary products and promote the advantages of eating healthy. To reduce obesity stakes and increase nutrition quotient, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com to get in touch with reputed nutritionists/dietitians who can help you start leading a healthy lifestyle.
Reasons Why Food Industries are in Love with Sugar as the Major Ingredient
Incentives for using sugar as the main component in food manufacturing include:
Walking is vouched to be beneficial on any given day. But is it truly advantageous to walk on smoggy streets? Let’s find out!
Physicians advise their elderly patients to take a walk around their homes whenever possible to keep their body fit and muscles/bones active as it is the only exercise that can be done often by them without any side effects. A new study proves that walking around a block that contains smoggy air can do more harm than good. The study advocates that breathing dirty air might outweigh any benefit that daily walk brings.
In such cases, doctors advise patients to walk in green spaces far away from the hustle bustle of the pollution from traffic and built-up areas. This is not possible in the case of any and every individual as people living in the inner city might have to travel farther away from where they live or work.
Traffic-polluted streets nullify the cardio-respiratory effects of walking in older adults. Also, peak traffic hours should be avoided by elderly people to go for a walk as they might suffer from COPD and exercising indoors is the best in such scenarios. Read more on COPD and its effect on health at www.firsteatright.com.
The Participants in the Study
The study involved 119 participants (all non-smokers presently) aged 60 years and older out of which 40 people were healthy, 40 were being treated for COPD and 39 were being treated for heart disease. Every participant was made to walk on the street for two hours everyday either in a lane that contained plenty of traffic or a quiet section of the park. After 3-8 weeks the participants swapped and did the other walk.
Before and during each walk, the study group assessed levels of traffic-related air pollutants such as black carbon, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. The group also measured the lung function and heart health of the participants.
Results showed that walking in the quiet park improved older people’s lung capacity and eased stiffness in their arteries for up to 26 hours. On the other hand, walking on the streets was linked to stiffness in arteries due to increased exposure to carbon soot and other air pollutants associated with diesel exhaust. These negative effects were increasingly seen in individuals with COPD as they developed blockages of the small airways that caused them to cough, wheeze or feel short of breath. If any of these individuals were not taking medication for any of these conditions, they experienced more stiffness.
This shows the greater side effects of cardiovascular and respiratory impacts of even a short, two-hour exposure to motor traffic pollution. This calls for stricter rules, better traffic-control measures and stringent air quality limits to be imposed in the cities worldwide to minimize effects due to air pollution.
As the humans impact the environment, the environment in turn impacts us.
People enjoy food and some live just to eat. We must be aware of the food choices of our loved ones, celebrities and even sports people. But, do we know what nutritionists/dietitians love to eat? One thing that we do know is that their food choices are going to be definitely nutritious! Some might love certain foods for their flavor and some others are motivated to eat certain other foods for their versatility and health benefits.
The Fight Between Good Vs Evil
Smart eating is consuming healthy foods that help you to stay full. Good fats work like miracle pills during hunger times and avocados are the favorite food of many nutritionists as they contain unsaturated fats that are the hearty-healthy way to help you feel full for longer time periods. Refined carbohydrates and high-sugar foods may help you fill your tummy easily, but also make you hungry again in a short span of time.
RDNs love to scoop out half an avocado sprinkled with kosher or sea salt with a spoon when they want to snack as it is filled with fiber, good fat and helps to fill you up. Avocados also prevent cravings for sugary foods.
Powdered Peanut Butter
Powdered peanut butter is one of the most favorite foods of many RDS. This is actually powdered peanuts with oil removed and hence, contains 85% less calories and fat than your traditional peanut butter making it a great choice for everyday breakfast.
One must be careful with peanut butter as it is easy to stack calories while spreading them onto your toast. Keep it a point to use 2 tablespoons only or add powdered peanut butter as a flavor enhancer and protein pump in yogurt and smoothies.
Cruciferous Veggies are an RDNs’ Pet
Cruciferous vegetables brim with nutrients such as vitamin C and fiber with a crunchy taste as found in Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy and broccoli. Some registered dietitian nutritionists are in love with the lovely red cabbage and term it as one of the most underrated healthy foods.
Packed with cancer-fighting benefits, cost-effective and inexpensive, red cabbage is the most effective healthy food at hand. Using strips of red cabbage along with fennel, apple and your choice of dressing makes a yummy salad recipe.
Don’t be surprised to know that the down-to-earth eggs are the secret weapon of many nutritionists for their exceptional proteins, choline and vitamins D, B12 and B2. Further, eggs are easy to cook, inexpensive and can be used in salads, sandwiches and soups too. Eggs and avocados can be combined together for a power-packed toast.
Even a few RDNs love to try fermented foods. They prefer drinking kombucha, a lightly fermented tea that’s a little fizzy, a bit vinegary in flavor and good for gut health. Fermented and fibrous foods help to keep our body in good shape and are perfect for gut health.
Porridges make a delicious breakfast with a combination of whole grains, liquid and leftover vegetables served steaming hot. Adding an egg, proteins or flavoring agents enhances the taste of the dish.
What Dietitians/Nutritionists Generally Feel
Most RDNs choose to eat a variety of foods with different nutritional constituents and workout every day to stay fit. There is no one such “perfect food” or “bad food”. The general rule should be to eat different foods in correct portions while working out regularly. Get in touch with nutritionists/dietitians at www.firsteatright.com to correct your BMI, lose weight healthily or to start leading a healthy lifestyle.
Latest WHO reports (30th Oct 2017) state that around 53 million lives affected by tuberculosis have been saved since 2000, reducing the mortality rate by 37%. Still, TB is the top infectious killer disease and leading killer of people with HIV in 2016. There were 10.4 million new TB cases globally, 10% of which were people living with HIV. Seven countries account for 64% of the total cases, with India leading the charts, followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa. Almost 1.7 million people died from TB, out of which 400,000 people were co-infected with HIV. On the positive side, this is a drop by 4% compared to 2015.
In India, almost 220,000 people die from tuberculosis every year and it remains as the biggest health problem in our country. With 1.7 million new cases in 2016, India continues to be the largest contributor to the global statistics with up to a quarter of the 6.3 million new cases of TB (rise from 6.1 million in 2015). But on the positive end, there was a 12% decrease in the number of deaths due to TB compared to the previous year and also the number of new cases decreased by 1.7%, according to World Health Organization reports. But despite this decline, India still accounts for about 32% of the world tuberculosis cases.
What is Tuberculosis & Why is it Prevalent in Such High Numbers in India?
Tuberculosis is an air-borne disease caused by germs primarily affecting the lungs along with other body parts such as the kidneys, brain or the spine. Symptoms include weakness, tiredness, fever, weight loss and night sweats. When TB affects the lungs, coughing, spurting blood and chest pain are common. So, when a person with TB sneezes, coughs, speaks or sings, germs are expelled into the air and can stay for several hours depending on the environment. Other people who breathe this infected air can acquire TB disease (latent TB infection). Individuals with latent TB infection have no symptoms as the germs are inactive, but can develop into TB disease anytime in the future. People with TB disease experience TB symptoms as the germs are active, multiplying and destroying tissues in the body.
Reasons for Tuberculosis Dominance in India
Bridging the Monetary Gaps
More effort needs to be taken to close gaps in care and financing.
Just like the rise in TB, treatment for TB is also on the rise. Tuberculosis can be treated by consuming multiple drugs for 6 to 12 months. It is crucial that patients with TB should take the prescribed drugs exactly for the prescribed time period to avoid recurrence of the infection or resistance by the germs. TB that becomes resistant to drugs is harder and expensive to treat.
The Indian government started the Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) in 1997 putting into practice the WHO recommended DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) strategy to develop ideas and data on TB treatment. In 2016, the RNTCP notified 17.5 lakh TB patients and is planning to conduct its first TB national prevalence survey in 2017-2018. In March 2017, the Government of India announced its aim to eradicate TB by 2025.
Your alarm goes tringggggggggg after a good night’s sleep and you roll out of bed to find yourself with a stinging discomfort in your neck. You are unable to move your head without feeling a prickling pain and stretching doesn’t help you too.
There is no single movement that can be rooted as a problem for this pain. It mostly would be a combination of misaligned body positions, repetitive movements and few other environmental factors. When you sit for extended periods of time, it can be tough on your back and neck as it puts your pelvis in an extreme position, all the more if you cross your legs or hang forward. But, once you become aware of these kinds of habits and postures you can start altering them to reduce pain in your body. Try to incorporate these easy modifications to prevent neck pain from ruining your day the next time:
Loosen Up your Jaw
Many of us are habituated to clench our jaws, knowingly or unknowingly. Muscles that aid in chewing are connected to your neck. Relax your jaw immediately by opening your mouth (imagine a person sleeping on a plane and try imitating that level of relaxation in your face). Though it might sound childish, it is truly relaxing! Just try out and find it for yourself.
Many of the torso muscles attach to parts of your shoulder which in turn are connected to your neck. Joints in the human body are all joined together like a chain of paper clips. Any dislocation or movement in one, affects the other joints. To relax yourself, lie down on the floor, spread your hands on your sides and breathe deeply for three to five minutes.
Avoid Crossing Legs while Sitting Down
Keep your knees facing straight ahead instead of allowing them to turn in or out excessively. Align them with your ankle joints instead of allowing them to bow out or sag inward. Try to avoid crossing your legs while sitting as this posture affects your spine alignment.
The lighter you step, the easier it is on your spine. Use your muscles to walk softly rather than stomping your feet. Observe for yourself how quiet you can be with each step.
Wear Supportive Shoes
Just like a car, your body needs good shock absorbers to prevent early wear. Stand on both the legs to distribute the weight evenly between them. Try to avoid wearing high heels and throw away any shoes that are overly worn.
Be Comfortable in What you Wear
Never wear tight clothes, shoes or accessories (neck ties, belts, etc.) that can tighten your muscles instead of relaxing them.
Keep your Sleep Environment Peaceful
Do you feel comfortable sleeping on your bed? Is your pillow height good enough, too high or too low? Opting for high-quality materials in this domain assures you of greater returns. You would also be amazed to know that sleep can have a great effect on your healthy body weight. To know the reason behind this correlation, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Keep Electronic Gadgets at Your Eye Level
Keep computer monitors or laptops at appropriate height on the table and also adjust the height of your chair to avoid bending your neck forward and straining yourself. Also, hold your mobile phone at eye level, rather than holding it down and bending your neck forward, and keep your shoulders relaxed.
These simple habits are easy to follow and in course of time, can relieve you of the constant pain in your neck.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
+91 7846 800 800
Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.