14 Tips to Stay Fit and Healthy This Monsoon Season

We are always happy to welcome the monsoons! The first showers that bring in the smell of fresh rain, soaking up dry mud are a welcome break from the scorching heat we have to face for the months before that. While the rainy season comes in with a lot of positivity, the one thing we need to pay attention to in this season is our health. Cold, cough, running nose, or viral fever become a common phenomenon during this season. Water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, dengue, malaria, cholera and typhoid are also seen to spread among the masses easily. All this and our eating habits adversely affect our workout routines as well, leading to an overall disruption in our health routine. So how do we ensure that we do not become victims of the diseases floating in the air this season? How do we know that we are making healthy choices? Here’s a quick guide to some of the things we must and must not do to stay healthy and fit this season:

1) Eat only when you feel hungry. This is a universal mantra for food all year round but holds a lot of relevance during the rainy season. Overeating causes ingestion problems and other illnesses.

2) Make fruits an important part of your daily diet. Fruits such as apples, mangoes, pomegranates, and pears are great. You can avoid summer fruits such as watermelon and muskmelon.

3) Foods such as brown rice, oats, and barley are the best foods you can have during this monsoon.

4) Try to have as less salt as possible by using it in average amounts in your food. Salt causes high blood pressure and water retention.

5) Opt for dry foods such as corn, gram flour, chickpea and stay away from watery foods like lassi and or heavy food items like rice.

6) Hot foods like soups, stir fries, and curries will be a treat to your throat as well as your body in this season. Add a dash of garlic to these – it will help in increasing immunity.

7) Avoid too much milk in your diet and try inculcating yogurt, curd, and almonds instead. Consume a lot of water each day to keep your body hydrated and try to stick to boiled or purified water to keep yourself away from the harmful germs and bacteria.

8) Your body is very prone to infections of different kinds in this season. Eating bitter vegetables such as bitter gourd and bitter herbs such as neem, turmeric powder, and methi seeds will make your body stronger and help in preventing infections.

9) Stay away from sesame oil, peanut oil, and mustard oil as they can invite infections. Instead, choose drying oils such as corn oil or light oil.

10)If you have sensitive skin or skin that is prone to rashes and other such problems, the monsoons can have adverse effects on your skin. To avoid skin allergies, skin irritation, boils,

change in skin colour dullness, rashes and pyoderma, refrain from eating spicy foods. Take care of your skin by using a good moisturiser and a good sunscreen lotion.

11)Don’t include large quantities of sour foods such as tamarind, tomatoes and lime in your diet since these can also be the cause of water retention in the body.

12)Ginger tea with hot pakodas this season feels great! You can also try having herbal teas, which have anti-bacterial properties. Try different variations such as ginger, pepper, honey, mint and basil.

13)While the rains and gloomy weather may make you lazy to hit the gym, a great alternative to losing calories would be to indulge in household chores. Sweeping and swabbing the floor proves to be the best exercise. You can try different yoga techniques at home too.

14)Another great alternative for workouts is using the stairs. Choose them over the lift every time you step outside the house. An average of ten rounds up and down the stairs will make you feel pumped up and re-energized.

Follow these simple guidelines, carry an umbrella to avoid getting wet in the rains every time you step out, and get ready to enjoy a healthy monsoon this season!

Who Says Vegetarians Can’t Get Enough Proteins?

Since the historic time of Home Sapiens, the human species is used to getting their dose of nutrients and proteins by feeding on other animals and creatures. But over the years, things changed. We, humans, became more aware of our health and the food we intake to keep our bodies fit. Due to our concern for the environment and other species, and our love for animals, vegetarianism and veganism are becoming increasingly popular among the masses. However, a lot of critics claim that a purely meatless diet is not as nutritious, one of the major reasons being the lack of proteins in it.

Protein as a nutrient is essential for the human body. Having healthy hair, skin and muscles all depends majorly on the amount of protein your body receives. A deficiency of protein in the body can lead to various problems such as fatigue, muscle weakness, hair loss, etc. So how can we stick to our personal food preferences and yet ensure that we achieve optimal health for our body? Worry not, because this is definitely possible even without including meat in your diet! As opposed to the popular myth that vegetarians will always face a lack of nutrients for their body, choosing the right kind of food can keep you healthy. Here are some of the food items that are purely vegetarian and still contain high amounts of proteins and vitamins:

Nuts

The easiest answer for proteins for vegetarians is nuts. Right from almonds and cashews to peanuts and hazelnuts, all kinds of nuts can be consumed at any time of the day and are rich in nutrients. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein with 4 gm per tablespoon. All you need to do is watch the salt if you consume these on a regular basis. Choose regular instead of salted to keep the sodium intake low.

Lotus Seeds or Makhana

A food item which is catching up on the popularity meter is Makhana. With tasty versions of it being introduced in the market, Lotus seeds are a great source of nutrients for the body. Along with being rich in protein they are anti-inflammatory and act as a great antioxidant. You can eat them raw, roasted, ground or boiled and can also add them to soups, salads, and also desserts.

Dairy

If you are a vegan, this section will not be applicable to you but if you are not, CHEESE is the answer to everything! Cottage cheese, cheddar, parmesan, they all are high in protein and can be eaten in all forms. Low sodium parmesan makes it to the protein heavyweight category with 42 gm in a 100 gm serving. Other products falling in the dairy category such as milk and ice cream also provide the body with a lot of protein, along with calcium.

Beans

Rajma chawal or beans on a pile of cheese nachos, whatever be the form, as long as you’re having beans, you know that your body is receiving a wealth of proteins. Black beans have the most proteins so try to include them in your diet as often as possible. Low in cholesterol and high in magnesium, half a cup of beans yields up to 7.5 gm of protein.

Soy

Soy is another food item packed with protein and is considered as a great alternative for meat by a lot of chefs. Tofu, tempeh, natto or soy milk, whichever form of soy suits your pallet, you know that it is going to be healthy. Tofu contains an impressive 20 gm of protein in every half cup, whereas soy beans have 14 gm per half cup.

Quinoa

Catching up soon into the world of good food, quinoa is another food item which chefs are eyeing and incorporating in new recipes. This tiny little seed is the only seed that provides all the nine essential amino acids which the body needs. It is rich in magnesium, iron and fibre and is a great resort for those suffering from diabetes. It can easily be chosen as a healthy substitute for pasta or rice.

So the next time someone gets to your head about the lack of protein your diet, you do not have to worry about it. With appropriate ingredients in the good proportions in your diet, you know that you are doing it right!

Staying Healthy During Your Vacation

A vacation is a fun and exciting time when you simply want to relax and let yourself loose. You want to celebrate, see new places, try different kinds of food and simply let your body indulge! But at the same time, it can also have some unhealthy and adverse effects due to the extensive amount of junk food you end up eating. You miss your workouts and also put on a massive amount of calories. You don’t want to put restrictions on yourself and also don’t want to hold back on anything. So what do you do? Here are a few ways in which you can enjoy your vacation and still stay healthy:

1) Keep a check on your calories intake

A study conducted by Linda H. Clemens EdD, RD, of the Consumer Science and Education Department at the University of Memphis suggested that people on vacation tend to splurge more on vacations when they eat out than they would on a normal meal outside of the home. This means that they end up consuming an abundance of fat and calories, much more than what the body requires. Hence, the idea is to not consider eating out as a special treat. Eat moderately and give your body only how much it needs, not how much it wants.

2) Pick your meal yourself

Hotels often provide package stays for tourists, which include food along with the stay. Restaurants provide unlimited buffet with a plethora of dishes. When you opt for options like that, you are going to end up overeating for sure. Instead, choose dishes from the à la carte menu to balance out your day. For example, if you have eaten a heavy seafood meal for lunch, end your day with a salad, and if you know that you have an unlimited spread of food planned for dinner, keep your day light by having fresh fruits and juices. A study showed that 80% of restaurants with meals averaging $25 per person have customers who are more interested in customized menu items. This means that people like to choose what they eat and are even particular about portion sizes.

3) Walk as often as you can

You are on vacation so you have all the time to do whatever you want since there is nowhere you have to reach and no deadlines that you have to follow. Opt for walking to your destination as often as you can. If you are on a beach or amidst the mountains, the walk will actually be beautiful and will also help you burn some calories. Do not hesitate to take a stroll after dinner, take a dip in the hotel swimming pool or go for an early morning trek!

4) Make water your BFF

No one is asking you to refrain yourself from the things you want to indulge in on your vacation. If you are sitting on the beach and getting a nice sun tan for your body in the afternoon, you are going to want to break open a few beers or sip on a Martini. But you can always be wise and choose better options such as tequila with lemon or whiskey with water. And keep sipping on lots and lots of water wherever you go to keep your body

hydrated! Travelling can dehydrate you a lot because you are always outdoors. Stock your car, hotel room or backpack with bottles of clean water so that they are handy at all times.

5) Carry a fully-equipped medical kit

Whether your vacation is highly adventurous or one that has low chances of mishaps, being prepared for the worse situations is always good. Carry adhesive bandages, gauze pads, adhesive tape, cotton balls, Band-Aids, Soframycin and pain killers. You can also keep Aloe Vera gel for small burns and antacids and laxatives for stomach problems.

6) Vaccinate yourself

If you are traveling international, a certain type of vaccinations may be compulsory in a few places. Even if they are not, visit your doctor 4-6 weeks prior to your departure date and get a heads up from him about your health status. The doctor can tell you specific vaccinations, medicines or any special precautions you need to take based on your health history and travel plans.

Lastly, make sure that you take good care of yourself and make the most of your vacation time. After all, being fit, physically and mentally, is what is going to get you back safely and keep you excited till you decide to set out on your next vacation!

Dieting or Exercising – What Will Help You Lose Weight?

Wanting to be fit and healthy is a universal thought that comes to everyone’s mind at some point in time or the other! You might want to lose weight to fit into that beautiful dress you saw on the mannequin or to look good in the photo album of your best friend’s upcoming wedding. Whatever be the reason, losing weight and working out is great for your body. It makes you feel fresh, relaxed and pumped up and also gives a boost to your confidence and self-esteem.

The moment you decide to go ahead with the idea of losing some calories, the big question arises. Should you diet or should you exercise? If you decide to go on a strict diet, but don’t have time for any physical activity, will it be effective? Or if you spend hours at the gym but do not put any restraints on your diet, will you still be seeing your body get slimmer? The funny bit is that there is no definite answer to this question. The solution is that your weight-losing technique should involve a blend of both. What you need to focus on is how you can balance the both out based on your body type, in order to achieve maximum results!

If you think about it logically then you can very easily see why diet plays a crucial role when aiming for weight loss. Rather than spending hours at the gym trying to burn calories, not consuming them in the first place would be a far easier option. One pound of weight is approximately equal to 3500 calories. 30 minutes of exercise can burn off a maximum of 350 calories. To burn 3500 calories, you will have to walk at least 35 miles! This doesn’t seem to be an easy or sustainable plan. The easy option, therefore, is to reduce the number of calories you consume. To do so, stick to a nutritious diet with a right mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat. If you’re going for meat, look at lean meat for protein such as fish and chicken. Switching to a diet that is low in calories, high in protein and fiber will make sure that all the extra fat on your body is being cut down. Small things like having an early dinner, cutting down on salt and sugar, drinking lots of water, having loads of fruits are some of the tricks which can go a long way in your weight loss journey. At the same time, you will look good and feel good too!

That being said we cannot write off the importance of exercise when it comes to weight management. A lot of studies suggest that people who exercised when they were on their diets found it far easier to lose weight than those who decided to simply choose a diet plan. Exercising keeps you feeling light, helps in increasing your metabolism rate, and keeps your mind and body fresh. You will already be maintaining your calorie count, and when you team it with the right exercises, you will be able to lose weight much faster and in a more effective manner.

It is natural that the more weight you lose, the more you will be motivated to keep going at it. Your body will feel great after the workout. You will start counting calories subconsciously and will automatically refrain from eating junk and unhealthy food. You will also feel more energetic and productive throughout the rest of your day. Remember, gaining a healthy body requires lifestyle changes. It’s not a one-time activity.

The feeling of being able to pick up a small size from any rack in any shop and knowing that you are going to fit in it is amazing! And if you want to experience that feeling, all you

have to do is give your body that first push. Be determined in your head to achieve the goal that you have set out to. A little more precaution and the right balance of exercise and diet will make you looking and feeling fit and fabulous!

Health Track – Six Health Parameters Should You Care About Everyday

How do you manage your health? Ask anyone this question and they will rattle off a list of health and fitness apps they use. From tracking the number of steps you take each day, to monitoring your heart rate every hour…there is an app for almost everything related to your health. While most of us cram our smartphone with the latest ‘fad’ app, few of us know what really we should be monitoring every day when it comes to managing our health better. So, in the spirit of making the smartphone a useful health accessory, here’s a look at some of the key health parameters you should care about every day.

Step Tracking

Yes, step tracking has assumed a sort of cult status at the moment. Since we have suddenly woken up to the fact that ‘sitting is now the new smoking’, everyone is jumping on the 10,000 steps bandwagon for its obvious health benefits. Whether it is 10,000 steps, or more, or less, getting a means (app or wearable) to track your basic activity level helps in managing your sedentary life better. Exercise tracking apps make sure you stay put on the health track by helping you set and achieve your goals, give you work out ideas, quantify the calories burnt v/s calories ingested and track your progress. Time to roll off the couch and be active!

Diet Tracking

We are what we eat…but do we watch what we eat? A cookie here, a sip of soda there, a so-called light workday lunch at your favourite salad bar could be potentially derailing your weight loss initiatives and keeping you from being your fittest best. Health apps can help you scan, save, track and calculate the calories that you consume and also provide information on the nutritional content of the food that you have eaten. You can also use these apps to track your daily calories, fat, carbohydrate and protein intake to make sure that you have the scales tipping in your favour.

Caffeine Tab

Can’t sleep too well? What’s your caffeine intake on a daily basis? Most people think that caffeine in their system comes only from the cup of coffee that they drink. However, apart from the cups of coffee that you drink regularly, caffeine is a very common ingredient found in soft drinks, energy drinks, and other beverages. Coffee tracking apps make it easier to see how much caffeine you already have in your system and will intimate you when you need to take that ‘coffee –break’…literally.

Sleep Tracking

Want great health? Sleep well. Sleep tracking applications come in handy when you want to monitor and analyze your sleep cycles and review your sleep and wake patterns. Analysing these patterns help you figure out what’s tampering with your sleep and make the necessary adjustments to help you sleep easy.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Are you sure you are working out at the right intensity? Heart rate monitoring apps check your real-time heart rate and help your heart rate become your personal coach. These apps give a clear evaluation of the condition of your cardiovascular system during physical activity and can keep you informed is you need to increase or pull back your workout intensity or if you have found your perfect workout groove.

Water Tracker

Most of us don’t drink enough water and can benefit from a time to time aqua alert to make sure we stay healthy. Using a water drink tracker application not only gives you timely reminders on when you should drink water but also tracks how much water you should actually drink keeping your height, weight and activity levels in mind.

To manage your health better you need to monitor it well. So go ahead, take control of your health in your own hands (literally!) and enjoy a fit and healthy mind and body.