Want to Change your Life for Better? Adapt these 15 Food Swaps

The most important step towards healthy living is eating right. What if we tell you that you can cut down on calories while still munching a delicious snack? Yes, cutting down calories doesn’t mean cutting down on food. You just need to swap calorie-laden food with a low-fat alternative. And, low-fat doesn’t mean an insipid or an unappetizing food option. Consider this; you can swap those high-calorie French toasts with low-fat wholegrain waffles. Doesn’t seem to be boring, right?
We shall see some a flotilla of food swaps for your meals as well as drinks that will help you in cutting down those extra calories.

Breakfast


Being the first meal of the day, breakfast should be filling, albeit healthy, to keep you energised for the rest of your day. Here are a few simple and easy food swaps that are high on that nutritious value with comparatively fewer calories:

Milk and Cornflakes
Replace your ‘milk and cornflakes’ breakfast with a healthier alternative. Cut down the calories by swapping to skimmed milk with a wholegrain cereal. The skimmed milk has lower fat percentage (5%) and the wholegrain cereal helps in cutting down the sugar intake.

Bread
Anything teamed up with bread makes for a delicious breakfast option. Swap your regular bread with either wholegrain or gluten-free ones. The latter are high in protein (30%) and fibre as compared to regular bread.

Flavoured Yogurt
Swap the flavoured low-fat yogurt with a fat-free alternative. Ditch the flavour for Greek yogurt which has just 100 calories (serving of a bowl) compared to 221 calories in a flavoured one.

Lunch

The mid-day meal is the trickiest. A heavy meal makes you sluggish for the rest of the day and starving yourself would result in binging during snack hours. Here are a few food swap options that will provide the required amount of nutrition and energy to get along for the rest of your day:

Parantha
Love your parantha too much to let it go? Simply swap a lachha parantha with a methi ki roti cooked with olive oil. It is likely to reduce calories by 240.

Rice
Swap your bowl of white rice with brown rice. Brown rice has higher nutritious value than the white rice which is imbued with a high content of carbs.

Cheese
Parting with cheese is a tall order for many. The simple solution is to swap cheddar and mozzarella cheeses with goat cheese or hard cheese. This will help you cut down the calorie count by at least 57 without starving taste-buds.

Snacks

More often than not, one can give up snacking with little effort but if you still feel the urge to binge on something between lunch and dinner hours, make sure it to be something healthy for this is the hour of the day when the calorie count takes a steep rise.

  • Swap your salty roasted nuts with plain uncoated nuts. A handful of salted peanuts alone contain 170 calories, whereas a handful of mixed plain nuts have 160 calories.
  • Ditch the regular milk chocolate for dark chocolate. It not just helps in cutting down calories but the dark compound is known to have a good effect on mood.
  • Control your sugar rush by swapping sugary snacks and juices with fruits. The natural sugar and fibres in fruits is a healthier alternative.

Dinner

Dinner has to be the lightest meal of the day because post dinner you seldom have any physical activity to carry out; hence you end up piling on dinner calories rather than burning them.

Meat
Swap your large chunks of meat with leaner pieces during dinner. If you can’t do that, then opt for grilled meat at night. Grilled meat is filling yet has lesser calories.

Mashed Potatoes
Swap the calorie-laden butter and milk for skimmed milk and low-fat butter while preparing a serving of mashed potatoes. This will help you keep around 45 calories at bay.

Mixed Vegetable
Replace the mixed vegetable gravy with stir fried vegetables. This will cut down the calorie count by at least 120 along with higher nutritious value than the former.

Drinks

Ever paid heed to the calorie count in your favourite cocktail? Ditch your regular high-calorie cocktail for these low-cal ones:

Long Island Iced Tea
Who doesn’t love LIT? You will certainly stop loving it after knowing that one typical serving of LIT contains approximately 800 calories! Swap this evergreen cocktail with Raspberry Lemonade Martini. A simple cocktail prepared with one part (shot) of gin and Triple Sec in Raspberry Lemonade. This simple swap could save you at least 600 calories!

Grasshopper Martini
A single serving of Grasshopper Martini has around 550 calories. Swap it with Apple Martini which has approximately 150 calories.

Mai Tai
If you are the one who enjoys their rum, then swap Mai Tai with Rum & Diet Coke. The latter has the lowest calorie amongst the varied options of cocktail available.

Staying healthy is a road with no destination. It is an everyday task. Back-up your strenuous workout gym sessions with these healthy food swaps to keep a check on your calorie count. Imbibe these simple recipes in your daily gastronomical activities and move towards a healthier and fitter living.

 

6 Tips To Remember Your Doctor’s Instructions

Having to visit a doctor with a loved one who is suffering is one thing but when you are the patient, it quite another. A doctor’s meeting can cause anxiety but did you know? Anxiety affects your brain and your cognitive function. If you feel anxious during a doctor’s meeting, it can affect your memory making it hard for you to remember the specifics of your doctor’s instructions. Even if you remembered what was discussed, studies have shown that it may only be 50 percent of the right information. See? This is why you need to know these tips to remember your doctor’s instructions!

Prepare yourself

Speaking to another adult about your intimate and personal issue can be a little intimidating. Yes, doctors can also overwhelm you and just to be their presence creates anxiety for some people. Here’s information you need to prepare yourself with before you meet with your doctor.

  • Note down all the symptoms you’re having.
  • If you record your progress or health failing in a journal, bring that.
  • Talk about any situation or person or life change that may cause you stress.
  • Note down all the medicines you may be already taking or bring them along.
  • Are you allergic to anything or ay particular medicine? Remember and take notes.
  • If you’re already on a multivitamin or if you need supplements for any reason and note that down too to share it with your doctor too.
  • Remember to bring all your medical records, previous tests or x-rays? Yes, bring them.

Even better, in today’s age of smartphones, maintain your medical history on your phone so that you don’t have to carry many files and other such details in physical copies along with you.

Ask questions

Sometimes, we don’t like to admit that you didn’t understand something. However, it’s very important to remember your doctor’s instructions. So at the appointment, be sure to ask many questions. Along with all the things you already prepare yourself for in the first point, note down questions as well. Ask these questions one by one at the appointment. If you didn’t understand an instruction, stop the conversation and get clarify right there. If the doctor wasn’t available, check with a nurse or another physician in the vicinity and clear all your doubts before you leave the premises.

Take notes instead of audio recording

Yes, in this fast-paced world, who has the time to write on a notepad anymore? Who does that, right? Well, although you will have to ask permission for voice or video recording, not all doctors are happy about reducing the meeting in any form. For the simple reason that digital recording can be misused. So doctors don’t like to be recording for the fear of using that as evidence for malpractice etc. you don’t want to change your doctor’s mood for any reason, that may affect the meeting. So being safe, take notes instead. Writing using a pen and paper helps you remember better anyway.

Use your smartphone

You also have the notes application on your smartphones. Use that to take notes during your examination. Make sure you write every instruction your doctor gives you down.

Bring a loved one

Whether it is your friend or a family member, your loved one will remind you of things you may forget to bring up the drug in the appointment. Your intention by preparing yourself beforehand and bringing your medical records is all done with good intentions. However, when you find yourself seated at the examination table, you may be too nervous or feel the anxiety to ask your questions. Let your loved one be your rock and your guide. Besides, while you may be on the table, your loved one can take the notes for you!

Organize yourself & follow up

You can organize yourself to remember to take your prescribed medication. Here are a few ideas:

  • Set a reminder on your phone to take medication.
  • Stick the prescription paper on your fridge or anywhere within reach.
  • Follow up with your doctor/physician/nurse if you need more help or information.

So if you get home and you find that your symptoms have changed or worsened, you may have to follow up, anyway. Update your health records and share the details with your doctor when you visit for a follow-up.

Traditional Medicine Turned into A Modern-Day Party Beverage – Tea

Did you now? The history of tea is infused with a blend of myth, facts, spirituality, and science. According to the Chinese legends, the history of tea dates back to 2737 B.C Emperor Shen Nong accidentally discovered tea. The Indian history attributes the discovery of tea to Prince Bodhidharma, the saint who founded the Zen school of Buddhism. It was not until the Tang dynasty (618-907) that the consumption of tea became widespread and it was in the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) that tea was prepared by the whole leaves in the water like it is done today.

Traders, missionaries, and explorers traveling back and forth between Europe and the Orient took the drink with them in their travels and got it home in the 17th century. By the early 1700s, the British East India Company established itself as the dominant trading power and monopolized the tea trade with China. The history of tea traverses various paths across the world, tracing the history of rulers, political struggles and such alongside.

Today, tea is the world’s most popular beverage after water. It is not just a refreshing and tasty beverage that can be served hot or cold, but it is loved by people for its various health benefits too. Let’s look at some of them here:

Tea is rich in antioxidants

Green tea is rich in polyphenols such as catechin that helps fight the free radicals in your system, reverses aging, and heals your body. Non-herbal teas also have antioxidants but green tea is richer in antioxidants because it is the least processed. The antioxidant properties of tea help boost your immune system. Tea is also rumored to help battle cancer as antioxidants destroy free-radicals that are generated during chemotherapy and radiation.

Tea has less caffeine than coffee

Non-herbal regular tea has 50% less caffeine than that in coffee, whereas your herbal teas have no caffeine. This means that non-herbal tea will be less addictive than coffee and won’t harm your nervous system either. Herbal tea can be consumed with no side effects at all! Tea, contrary to the common beliefs, tea, in fact, hydrates. So you don’t have to worry about having a few cups of tea in a day!

Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke

Research says a cup of green tea a day lowers the risk of stroke and four or more cups of green tea a day reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the system, thus reducing the risk of a heart attack. The antioxidants in team reduce the risk stroke. Also, the flavonoids can prevent the artery walls from narrowing, and thus, can also reduce the chances of having a stroke. Who knew a simple beverage could help you so much? If you don’t love tea already, it is time to go make friends with this awesome drink.

Tea is for better mental health

Studies show that the amino acid L-theanine found in the tea plant can help you relax and better concentrate. In fact, some studies also show that Black team can help in reducing the stress hormones in the body! Red Tea, an herbal tea from Africa, helps in reducing headaches, irritability and tensions. The caffeine in tea also helps in giving a boost to improve your short-term memory.

Tea prevents cavities

Tea changes the pH in your mouth, thus, preventing cavities and also does not erode tooth enamel like many other beverages. The fluoride and tannins contents in team can help in reducing plaque buildup and tooth decay. The compounds in tea also suppress bacteria and slow down tooth decay and prevent gum diseases. Who would have thought! But, of course, don’t add sugar to your tea.

Tea soothes your digestive system

Herbal tea, particularly, chamomile tea can soothe your tummy. It is antispasmodic and can be good for those with an irritable bowel syndrome. Ginger tea calms nausea. Orange flavored tea also helps in case of nausea. When you have an upset tummy, tea, brewed without milk helps soothe that. Mildly brewed tea, with a dash of honey and lime, is great for your tummy in a hot and humid weather.

One simple drink packs a ton of punch! It’s no wonder that this incredible beverage has been a part of our culture for ages and is loved by many around the world.  Treat yourself to a cup of soothing, yummy tea. You will relish it even more than usual now you know how beneficial it is for your system.

FUNGI and FURUNCLE – Here is What You Need to Know

Have you ever noticed a brittle nail, with a flaky texture or yellowish tinge? Or maybe a painful, red bump on your skin, especially after a tropical vacation or a trek outdoors? Don’t worry, you’re not alone and you have plenty of options as far as treatment is concerned.

Although fungi and furuncles are equally uncomfortable, they are completely different from each other. It’s important to know these differences so that they may be successfully diagnosed and treated. Let’s start with the basics- fungi affect the nails whereas furuncles affect the hair follicles. There are treatments available for both, so there’s no need to worry if you notice either of the two erupt on your skin or nails. Let’s go into detail:

What are the symptoms of fungi?

  • The initial symptom is spotting on the nails, they begin to get stained yellow or white, and then get darker from the debris that collects under the nail
  • The texture of the nails is notably different, they tend to become extremely brittle, fragile and crumb-like.
  • There is also an unpleasant odour that develops if the nail is covered for a long time
  • In extreme cases, or if not diagnosed on early, the nail can also be dislodged from the skin

What causes fungi and how can I prevent it?

  • If you wear socks and shoes on a daily basis, you are at risk because you’re feet do not get the ventilation they need. This is the perfect chance for bacteria and infection to spread. Make sure that your shoes aren’t too tight, and your socks are made from a breathable fabric. Thick socks that absorb perspiration work the best.
  • Walking around public areas, such as swimming pools or saunas barefoot may not be the best idea. This is because these areas are an open ground for infections. If you are going to the nearest club for a swim, or for a relaxing massage at a spa, make sure you are wearing some sort of footwear at all times.
  • If you have an injury on your fingernail or toenail, make sure it is covered up. This is because an open wound makes you more susceptible to disease, especially fungi.

What are the various treatments for fungi?

  • A long-term treatment for fungi would be oral antifungal medicines which can be prescribed by a doctor. This treatment could last for six weeks, or could even take as long as five months for a healthy nail to grow back.
  • Another long-term treatment is medicated nail polish, which can also be prescribed by your doctor. This usually takes a year.
  • If you’re looking for something faster, there is laser therapy treatment for fungi as well.
  • In extreme cases, you might have to get your nail surgically removed. In this case, you will have to wait for a new, healthy nail to grow back.

 

So now that we have an understanding of what fungi is, why it’s caused and how to prevent it, let’s move on to furuncles!

What are the symptoms of furuncles?

  • A furuncle usually begins with a tiny, pea-sized reddish bump, and can be quite painful
  • The skin around the bump gets inflamed and appears red and swollen
  • The furuncle actually grows continuously as it fills with pus. If it’s not treated on time, it can grow to the size of a tennis ball
  • Like pimples and boils, the top of the furuncle has a tiny, white tip which is where the pus can be drained out from

What causes furuncles and how can I prevent them?

  • Furuncles are caused by a bacteria which infects the hair follicles
  • If your skin is broken due to an injury or an insect bite, you’re at risk because bacteria can enter your skin with ease. Make sure to clean the area thoroughly and keep it covered and dry till it scabs. Scratching insect bites is a big no-no as it’s a sure way to rupture irritated skin

What are the various treatments for furuncles?

  • If your furuncle is detected before it grows too big, it can be drained by a doctor
  • If your furuncles are severe or keep recurring, antibiotics are usually prescribed
  • A simple home remedy is to apply a warm, muslin cloth on the furuncle through the day. This helps it rupture and drain quickly. If you are not a professional, do not try rupturing the furuncle by yourself! You’ll need the help of a doctor for the same

Fungi and furuncles can be easily avoided if you take care of yourself and maintain proper hygiene. If you find yourself in the great outdoors, make sure you’re equipped with the right footwear, socks and insect repellent. The next time you see early signs of either fungi or a furuncle, remember it’s best to nip it in the bud. Remember not to self-diagnose or self-medicate, you can always reach out to us if you’re in need of a trusted Doctor.

All You Need To Know About Cataract

Many assume cataract is vision problems in the elderly since it is estimated that half the people who reach the age of 80 years are going to develop cataract. Did you know? That’s just half of the story. If you’re approaching 40 or may have passed that mark, here is more information and insights for all you need to know about cataract.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the naturally clear lens of the eye which lies behind the iris and the pupil that is responsible for vision. Cataract can occur in one eye or both the eyes but it’s not contagious! The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. However, if the lens is cloudy due to cataract, the image you see will be blurred.

Types of cataract

Cataract can be categorised under various categories such as:

  • Subcapsular cataract that occurs at the back of the lens. If you are diabetic or have been taking high doses of steroid medications, then you are at a greater risk of developing subcapsular cataract.
  • The nuclear cataract forms deep in the nucleus of the lens and is usually associated with aging.
  • The cortical cataract is characterised by white, wedge-like opacities that start at the periphery of the lens and work their way to the centre in a spoke-like fashion. This type of cataract occurs in the cortex, which is part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus.

Symptoms and signs of cataract

A cataract usually starts out small. Initially, it has a very little effect on your vision. You may notice that a little blurred vision – almost like looking through a cloudy piece of glass. The light from the sun or a lamp seems too bright or glaring or you notice when you drive at night, the oncoming headlights causes more glare than ever. Colours may appear dull too. If you pay attention, you can recognise some of their symptoms in the less advanced stages. The symptoms of early cataract may be solved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting or anti-glare sunglasses to some extent. In case these measures do not help, probably you need a surgery.

What causes cataract?

The lens of the eye works much like a camera lens and it is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets the light pass through, but as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. It may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see. Researchers worldwide have identified factors that may cause cataracts besides advancing age:

  • Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Prolonged use of medications like corticosteroid
  • Medicines used to reduce cholesterol
  • Previous eye injury or inflammation
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • Family history

Cataract may affect only one eye

It’s more common to develop “bilateral cataracts,” but some people are only affected on one side. This can happen when you suffer from a trauma to one eye. It is always recommended that you see an eye doctor if you’ve suffered any type of incident or accident around your eyes. Cataract affects in different forms: A cataract can affect in a different way for different people. Some can develop this disease and see perfectly fine, however, with the only difference being that light affects them more than other people. Others may have difficulty when there is little light or at night, but in natural light, they see well.

You may not need to do surgery

Ask the doctor if the surgery is really needed. Sometimes, some medications and regular visits to the eye doctor might avoid the need for a surgery. Only your doctor can tell you if you have cataract and the best procedure is surgery.

Prevention of cataract

Visit your eye doctor at least once a year to prevent the occurrence of cataract and other eye disorders as you age. They will tell you if you have a specific problem or if there actually are any signs of cataract. Eat healthy to slow their progression.