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Breakfast

By Rongana Nath

Breakfast! The Non-Negotiable Meal

Breakfast! The Non-Negotiable Meal

Rongana Nath

You may have heard it before, but we are saying it again. No one should miss the first and most important meal of the entire day, also commonly known as breakfast. And here’s why!

Provides Energy

After fasting overnight, breakfast helps restore the blood glucose/sugar levels. Glucose plays a vital role in providing the body with the energy it needs to get through the day. If the glucose levels are not normal, the body is low on energy. It is important to start the day with protein and carbs. Carbs create glucose and energy while proteins help in feeling full until lunchtime.

Curbs Sugar Craving and Controls Appetite

What one eats at the beginning of the day controls blood sugar levels. The blood sugar increases slightly after breakfast which the body cells absorb in the next few hours, providing fuel to the body to function properly. Skipping breakfast activates the hunger hormones which can make a person overeat and also go for unhealthy and sugary foods as a quick bite.

Improves Concentration

When the body is powered up, the brain regains concentration and alertness. It also improves mood and decreases stress levels. No breakfast can make a person feel fuzzy as the brain is deprived of the right nutrients to get started in the morning.

 What to Eat?

 

What Not to Eat?

 

References-

https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/15-benefits-breakfast/

https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/health-benefits-of-breakfast-why-is-it-the-most-important-meal-of-the-day-1419403

https://www.vitamix.com/us/en_us/4-benefits-of-breakfast

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-worst-foods-in-the-morning

https://food.ndtv.com/lists/10-best-indian-breakfast-recipes-696080

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning#section1

https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/g20430129/7-breakfast-foods-to-avoid/

 

Images-

Pixabay

Apple

By Rongana Nath

Benefits: An Apple a Day

Apples contain antioxidants and nutrients which keeps the body healthy in various ways. Learn about the reasons why eating an apple every day will keep you healthy.

Stress

By Rongana Nath

Stress is Causing You Harm and it’s Not Worth it

Stress is Causing You Harm and it’s Not Worth it

Rongana Nath

A news report published in July 2018 talks about how 9 out of 10 Indians suffer from stress, with work being one of the key triggers. And surprisingly, nearly 75% of Indians do not want to seek medical help for their stress.

Stress is described as a physical response of the body that includes a feeling of strain and pressure.  When the body senses a threat or experiences any kind of demand, the nervous system releases what are known as stress hormones that alert the body for emergency action. This brings sudden changes in body functions. The blood pressure rises, senses turn sharper, breathing and heart rate increases, and the muscles get tighter. These hormones also prepare the person for what is called a ‘fight-or-flight’ response wherein under extreme stress, one either faces the situation in front of them or they flee.

Each person reacts differently to stress or stressful situations in life.

Work-related stress is not a new phenomenon. Tight schedules and deadlines, erratic work-sleep hours and the growing competitiveness are some of the common reasons for people to feel stress at their workplace.

Impact of Stress

Doctors say that a little stress is not a bad thing as it may help a person feel motivated, meet challenges, and focus even more. When someone is stressed, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are naturally released into the bloodstream but a long-term exposure can affect the physical and mental health of a person in many ways.

  • Adrenaline is known to increase the heart rate and blood pressure and high levels of cortisol for a long time can also elevate blood pressure and increase blood cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood).
  • Cortisol is known to increase appetite. To curb this increased appetite, people often indulge in foods that may not necessarily be healthy. With time, this could lead to being overweight and obese.
  • Too much stress can also affect the glucose level/ blood sugar level of the body as cortisol increases sugar levels in the bloodstream. This can upset people with existing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes even more.
  • Some people turn to smoking and drinking to cope with stress but these activities, in turn, harm the heart.
  • A headache can occur if sleep pattern is disturbed and meals are skipped due to stress.
  • Prolonged or chronic stress is also known to trigger depression if someone fails to cope well with it. Someone not coping well with stress may often find themselves to be in a bad mood and also become less productive.
  • One can have an upset stomach when the body goes through changes as a part of the stress response. One of them is the suppression of digestion which goes back to normal once the hyper-stimulated state of the body goes down. But this repeated stress-response hyper-stimulated state of the body can cause stomach problems.
  • Chest and muscle pain often accompanies stress.

 Impact on Mental Health

Someone who lets stress act against their mind and body may commonly experience-

  • Lack of motivation
  • Problems in sleeping
  • Loss of concentration

Don’t Ignore It

Stress is a normal part of life but it is better to identify it and work on it. To deal with work-related stress and also to reverse the health effects, doctors recommend that one should

  • Invest a small amount of time in a hobby or doing something of interest. This may help in de-stressing.
  • Indulge in physical activities that can lift the mood. Meditation and yoga can help calm the mind. It is advised to take short breaks in-between work and avoid working non-stop for long hours.
  • Talk to family and friends as sharing problems with close ones often makes one feel better.
  • Have a balanced diet comprising fruit and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids (eggs, walnuts, soybean), and high-quality protein (chicken breast, cottage cheese, milk, oats). Eating healthy is always good for the body. It is advised to consult a doctor or dietician for a personal diet plan and follow it.
  • Seek help from a doctor, therapist or a specialized counsellor if it is difficult to cope with work pressures.

Stress, especially work-related stress, is often inevitable but being aware of it and managing it makes a huge difference in how it impacts a person.

 

References

Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/why-stress-causes-people-to-overeat

Help Guide org. (n.d.). https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes.htm

WHO. (n.d.). http://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/stressatwp/en/

Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress/faq-20058233

Images- Freepik

 

Carbs

By Rongana Nath

Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs

Carbohydrates are a vital part of healthy nutrition and energy. But you should know the difference between good carbs and bad carbs. Discover it in this image.

Rongana Nath

 

Winters

By Rongana Nath

Hibernating This Winter? But Don’t Ditch Exercising!

Hibernating This Winter? But Don’t Ditch Exercising!

Rongana Nath

With the temperature going down, it’s always tempting to sleep for a few extra hours under the warmth of a blanket. No one will dispute that missing out on exercising comes more easily in the winters.  However, like the rest of year, winter calls for some kind of moderate activity. And there are several reasons why skipping it is not a good idea.

Provides More Energy

Exercising actually gives a person more energy, that helps keep away the morning winter blues. People who exercise regularly in the winters are known to have increased energy levels as compared to those who don’t do it. This is because physical activities increase the levels of endorphins, a group of hormones which are naturally produced to cope with pain and stress. It is released in the brain during many situations, one of which includes exercising. Endorphins induce exhilaration and relieve pain in the body.

Improves Mood

Physical activities boost the mood due to the increase in levels of hormones such as endorphins and serotonin. These hormones are known to boost positive feeling in the body. It also improves sleep quality making one feel fresh.

Boosts the Immune System

  • Physical activities can make white blood cells more active in detecting illnesses and neutralizing harmful bacteria and viruses. The primary function of white blood cells is to protect the body by fighting disease.
  • Too much stress can sometimes increase the chances of illness. Exercising can help decrease the production of stress hormones in the body.
  • Exercising can also get rid of bacteria in the lungs and airways, decreasing the risk of suffering from winter-related diseases like cold and flu.
  • Our body temperature rises during exercising. This increases the body’s ability to fight an infection as the temperature rise prevents bacteria from growing.

Prevents Winter Weight Gain

Winters are also when one tends to binge eat and sleep for extra hours. But these habits often mean a few extra kilos. Exercising is one of the easiest ways to shed the extra weight and stay fit.

 

 

Checklist Before Exercising!

Warm Up

It is advised to start with less strenuous exercises to make the body feel flexible, enhance blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the cells to prepare the body for a workout session.

Wear Sunscreen and Stay Hydrated

Like summer, one can get sunburned in winter too. The sun may feel warm but can harm you. That’s why one should always apply sunscreen. Similarly, it’s advisable to keep the body hydrated even though one may not feel thirsty as often. Sweating and the dryness in the winter wind can easily make a person dehydrated.

Dress in Layers

Exercising generates ample heat in the body which means one may not have to put on too many warm clothes. Dressing in layers will make it easier to remove some cover while exercising.

Wear Your Mask

The air quality is severe almost all the time so it’s best to wear a mask while exercising. But if the air quality feels bad, it is best to avoid exercising outdoors and workout session indoors.

 

 

Reference
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/safe-winter-exercise/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/fitness/art-20045626

https://fusioncardiotoronto.com/fitbitsblogsintoronto/2017/10/27/why-its-important-to-warm-up-before-you-exercise

Image source- Pixabay

Sleep

By Rongana Nath

The Festive Season is Upon Us. Don’t Lose Sleep

The Festive Season is Upon Us. Don’t Lose Sleep

Rongana Nath

The festive season brings late night partying, binge eating and one of the first casualties during this time is sleep. Missing out on adequate hours of sleep has its own set of consequences on the body. According to doctors, it is essential for adults to sleep for 8 hours and there are various important reasons behind it.

  • The body recuperates during sleep.
  • Concentration and productivity increases.
  • The immune system function improves.
  • The risks of heart disease and stroke decreases.

Children who are often part of the festivities and might want to stay up late into the night, should rest for approximately 10-12 hours.

Less Sleep and Health Issues

Sleep unfolds in three stages—N1, N2, and N3 which are the normal sleep cycles. If one fails to enter the N3 phase, the deep sleep stage, they do not feel fresh in the morning. A sleep-deprived person often feels groggy and inactive in the morning, yawns frequently and suffers from loss of concentration.

According to doctors, a sleep-deprived person can fall asleep any time which can lead to work injuries and accidents, especially if they are driving or involved in hard labour. Prolonged lack of sleep is also known to shoot up the heart rate and blood pressure amongst other health concerns.

  • With sleep deprivation, the brain cells fail to communicate properly, affecting the ability to make decisions.
  • When less sleep impacts the blood pressure level, it increases the risk of heart diseases.
  • The kidney may not be affected directly but high blood pressure may trigger kidney malfunction.
  • Less sleep causes an imbalance in hormones controlling appetite, glucose and energy metabolism, which are secreted during sleep. Someone who is sleep-deprived is known to have decreased levels of leptin, a chemical which makes a person feel full and increased levels of ghrelin which triggers hunger. This leads to excess eating, leading to binge eating.
  • Inadequate sleep decreases the production of natural infection-fighting substances like cytokines which makes the immune system weak.

 

The Solution

Doctors suggest following ‘sleep hygiene’ which refers to some healthy practices that help a person sleep better. Sleep Hygiene is difficult to practice during festivals but still must be done

  • No rigorous activities up to a few hours before sleep time.
  • Switch off electronic devices a few hours before going to bed. Using mobile phones in a dark room can cause deterioration of the eyes.
  • No heavy meals up to 3 hours before sleeping.
  • Listening to light music or reading a book is a good way to fall asleep.

 

Source: Dr Bornali Datta, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Medanta
Images courtesy: Pixabay, Freepik

By khushboo Begwani

How to Prevent Age-related Macular Degeneration?

How to Prevent Age-related Macular Degeneration?

Twishaa Tandon

 

Macular Degeneration is an incurable eye disease, which usually afflicts people over the age of 70. It is a leading cause of vision loss, more than cataracts and glaucoma combined (American Macular Degeneration Foundation).
A study concluded that 8·7% of the worldwide population has age-related macular degeneration, and the projected number of people with the disease is around 196 million in 2020 which will increase to 288 million in 2040 (Wan Ling Wong*)
The degeneration takes place when the central portion of the retina, responsible for recording images and sending them to the brain, deteriorates. The central portion is called the macula and controls our ability to read, identify faces or colours and see objects in detail.

This is what a person with the disease may see.

 

There are two types of Macular Degeneration. The “dry” kind is the common one, while the “wet” is comparatively rarer. A person afflicted with the disease will go through three stages- early, intermediate and late. Symptoms do not show in the early stage, but vision loss starts to increase as a person moves from the intermediate to late stage. Not much is known about what the cause of the disease is, but it can be said that causes include both heredity and environment.
The good news is that it can be prevented!
Here’s what you can do to reduce the risk of Macular Degeneration when you get older.
1. Quit smoking  

 

2. Add dark, leafy green vegetables to your diet 

 

3. Based on your doctor’s advice, take a balanced multivitamin/multimineral supplement

 

4. Eat fish or take a fish oil supplement

 

5. Maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly

 

6. Make eating fruits and nuts a habit

 

7. Limit your intake of high-glycemic index foods, like donuts and mashed potato

 

8. Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control

 

9. Wear sunglasses outdoors to block UV and blue light

 

10. Get your eyes checked regularly

 

References
American Macular Degeneration Foundation. n.d. https://www.macular.org/what-macular-degeneration. 31 May 2017.
Chris A. Knobbe, MD. Macular Degeneration Prevention. n.d. http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/amd-prevention.htm. 31 May 2017.
Wan Ling Wong*, Xinyi Su*, Xiang Li, Chui Ming G Cheung, Ronald Klein, Ching-Yu Cheng†, Tien Yin Wong†. “Global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” The Lancet Global Health (2014).

Photo Credits: Freepik, Stocksnap, Unsplash, Graphicburger, Pixabay
Breakfast
Breakfast! The Non-Negotiable Meal
Apple
Benefits: An Apple a Day
Stress
Stress is Causing You Harm and it’s Not Worth it
Carbs
Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs
Winters
Hibernating This Winter? But Don’t Ditch Exercising!
Sleep
The Festive Season is Upon Us. Don’t Lose Sleep
How to Prevent Age-related Macular Degeneration?