How to Stay Healthy – Even in A Demanding Job

The changing lifestyles with increased work pressure and long working hours are many times considered to be the most used excuses by the general working class for overlooking their health. We do understand that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not easy, but it certainly isn’t an impossible task to accomplish.

A 2016 report by Optum inferred that 46% of the corporate workforce in India suffers from some form of mental or physical health issue. The report further suggested that 30% of the workforce was at high risk of diabetes or hypertension. 43% of the employees who took the survey had a skewed BMI (Body Mass Index), and out of this 43%, 30% were at high risk of hypertension and 46% were burdened with excessive stress.

Heavy pay cheques come at a heavier price – health. Stress has been touted as one of the primary culprits behind 78% human health issues across the globe. In another survey by Optum, they found out the following significant stressors of corporate India:

  • Higher salaries, higher expectations. This burdens the employee to give more than hundred percent of their ability to their employers and organisations
  • The unpredictability of professional environment. Office politics induces fear of job retention
  • Lifestyle issues like sleep disorder, poor eating habits, and lack of physical activity
  • Pressure to maintain a certain standard of living 

What Can Organisations Do?

Declining health is a pressing issue both for employers and employees. And to bring in a change in the working environment, both need to work together towards achieving this goal. Organisations can facilitate employee health by adopting these simple measures:

  1. Workout Area or Access to Exercise

Exercise is one of the best stress relievers. An able adult should workout for at least 30 minutes every day to maintain a healthy body and mind. By providing a workout area or a well-equipped gym, organisations can help in promoting healthy living. Studies have shown that easy access to the gym or a running circuit acts as an encouraging element for people to take up physical activity. 

  1. Company / Team Outings

Company outings are the best ways for the employees to unwind and rejuvenate.  Such outings not only let the employees put their hair down and enjoy but also allow them to open up on various interpersonal issues thereby creating a friendly bond amongst the colleagues.

  1. Recreational or Quiet Space

Most jobs demand some space, especially creative ones. Organisations can help employees by creating a designated quiet chamber for them to unwind and think clearly. Recreational spaces are more about engaging employees with the availability of games like chess, carom, etc. As per the demand of the nature of the work, employers can provide for such spaces inside the office campuses.

What Can Employees do?

Employers can only encourage healthy living by providing means for achieving a healthy lifestyle, but it is ultimately the employee who needs to avail and utilise the available resources. Besides that, inculcating some simple healthy habits can help you in leading a good and healthy lifestyle. Adopt these simple changes in your routine and see your health improve.

  1. Healthy Eating Habits

As clichéd as it may sound, but your body is what you feed it. Long working hours can be tiresome but it does not provide you with an excuse to overlook what you are feeding to your body. Follow these simple changes to see a difference:

  • Supplement your snack time with nuts and protein bars instead of eating junk food during break hours.
  • Cut down on your soda and processed juices. If you need refreshment, opt for fresh juices or lemon juice.
  • Drink, drink, and drink as much water as you can throughout the day.
  • Start your day with a glass of water.
  1. Sleep Cycle

Cut down on your recreational activities if they demand to compromise on your sleeping hours. There’s no medicine as good as a sound 8 hours sleep. The body organs and mind undergoes reparation when the body is at rest during night hours. You need to provide it ample time for this process. Lack of sleep and sleep disorders have become a household name in today’s time. Learn to cut out from the world and invest in sleep.

  1. Increase Movement

Long sitting hours have played a major role in deteriorating health of the employees. Sitting is considered as dangerous as smoking these days. You are putting your body at more than one health risk if you are sitting continuously for long hours. Doing so increases belly fat which in return puts you at high risk of diabetes and various heart-related issues. Take breaks at regular intervals of 30-40 mins. Just walk to the water cooler to refill your bottle. Make sure to maintain correct posture by keeping your spine and shoulders straight. Dropping shoulders and slouching spine results in back pains, cold shoulders, and stiff neck.

The adage ‘Health is wealth’ makes more sense than ever. In a quest to achieve your career goals, don’t neglect your health. A man is what he is only until he has a fit and able body. An unhealthy mind and body will be of no service either to you or your family. Maintaining good health is as important as earning your bread and butter. Don’t ignore the former for the latter. With these simple and easy steps, you can lead a healthy life.

You Have Just Started Working Out – How Should Your Diet Change?

Joining a gym or exercising more often/regularly is the most common New Year’s resolution across the globe. The fitness brands’ sales surge in the last fortnight of December when everyone starts gearing up for the New Year. However, people forget that exercising is not the only way of getting fitter. You need to eat right as well. And, by eating right we don’t mean simply replacing sugar with honey. You need to back your workout regime with a healthy and nutritious diet.

Effect of Food Choices on Your Workout 

The right kinds of food can help you in many ways. Your stamina, weight loss, muscle building et al. depend upon the type of food you eat. There are pre and post workout foods that provide thorough support to your body. Start your day with a food high in protein like nuts and almonds. A handful of it soon after you move out of your bed will keep you energized through the day. Adding healthy foods in the right proportion and consuming them at the right hour of the day can be beneficial.

Pre and Post Workout Foods

Every food has some nutritious value and it is good to know/learn about it. If you are a novice, don’t rely on anyone but a certified nutritionist. Balancing the nutrient intake is quintessential for the body. Here are some foods that you can include in your routine:

Pre Workout Meal

If you’re starting your day with a workout, never do it on an empty stomach. An empty stomach workout will force your body to store fat to keep itself fed and, in turn, makes you lose lesser calories. Ensure that you have a balanced combination of simple and complex carbs so that the release of energy is slow throughout your workout. You can imbibe these pre-workout meals in your regime and make sure to consume these at least half an hour to forty minutes before hitting the floor.

  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Hardboiled Eggs
  • Nuts and Almonds
  • Yogurt
  • Granola
  • Fibrous Fruits
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Whole wheat toast with sliced bananas
  • Smoothies with berries

Post Workout Meal

After the workout wear and tear, the body needs replenishment. Rather than depending upon artificial foods, consume food that naturally replenishes the body. Get the right nutrients after your exercise to help your body rebuild the muscle proteins and glycogen stores.

  • Muesli
  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Boiled Eggs or Omelette
  • Paneer in any form
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Fruit Salad
  • Wholegrain Bread
  • Spinach Soup
  • Chocolate milk
  • Sweet potato

Supplements vs. Food

The first and biggest mistake the beginners commit is adding supplements to their routine as soon as they begin working out. Remember, not everyone requires external supplements. If you are working out for 30 minutes to one hour and having a balanced diet, you may not need any external supplements at all. Always consult a certified nutritionist or your physician before adding any supplementary food or drink to your diet.

You can always rely on natural resources for your nutrition requirement and here are some foods to ditch those supplements:

Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits like orange, mosambi and kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon juice
  • Guava
  • Papaya
  • Green and Red pepper

Calcium

  • Chia seeds
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress
  • Water Chestnut
  • Kale

Vitamin E

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potato
  • Avocado

 Iron

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Cashew
  • Soy

Protein

  • Seafood
  • Whole Eggs
  • Chicken Breast
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney Beans 

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

Shunning out fat completely from your body is not going to help you lose weight, build muscle or stay fitter. For your body to absorb vitamins and nutrients, fat is needed. Not all fat that you consume is harmful for the body. One needs to know the difference between good and bad fat. Imbibe good fat and get rid of bad fat from your diet. Here’s a list of foods with good and bad fat:

Good Fat

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Whole Eggs
  • Full Fat Yogurt
  • Red Meat
  • Ghee
  • Cheese

Bad Fat

  • Butter
  • Beef and Pork
  • Dark Chicken Meat
  • Fried Foods
  • Processed Food
  • Bakery Products like cakes, pastries and cookies

Dietary needs vary for every individual. Each body has a different requirement. No two people can have same or similar results with same dietary habits. Nutrients are essential for a healthy body but overconsumption of anything can have adverse effects on the body. Working out is just the tip of the iceberg. It won’t bear fruits without a healthy and adequate nutrient supply to the body.

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.

10 Common Health Notions Examined Closely

Have you heard the notion about not swimming or taking a bath after you’ve eaten? There are many ways to become healthy, all roads lead to Rome kind of situation. Here are 10 common health notions dissected and presented so you can understand the truth thoughtfully too.

Drinking milk every day is good for you.

Call it aggressive marketing or an old wives tale, adults and even senior adults seem to have their hopes for health pinned on drinking milk every day. Milk is miraculous only up to a certain point for humans. Most grownups want to drink milk for their calcium and vitamin D fills. However, now compelling research now shows there is no direct link between drinking milk and less number of fractures in your life. On the contrary, there is a link with drinking milk and a higher rate of mortality in humans.

The 5-second rule of eating food dropped on the floor.

Have you heard this before? If you drop something on the floor, it’s ok to grab and eat it within five seconds of it falling. Now if it’s the last second chip from your pocket or your only piece of chocolate to sweeten your day – what would you do? Since you’ve heard of this common health notion before, you pick it up and eat it without a second thought, no? First, bacteria and virus don’t need seconds, they get attached to your food within milliseconds of falling on the floor. So give this notion a pass the next time your favourite food falls on the ground.

Don’t eat ice-cream when you have a cold

Most people find ice-cream comforting but if your kid has a cold ice-cream is a strict no-no in the house. Did you know? If you have a sore throat or are sick with a cold, ice-cream can soothe you. Besides, the notion “food the cold” stays true and ice-cream can give you those much-needed calories you otherwise may not get by starving yourself from sickness.

Sugar is bad for kids, it makes them hyperactive

One of the recent and most common notions is that sugar makes children hyper or refined sugar causes attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) in kids. Be comforted that many scientific studies were conducted and these have failed to prove this notion.

Spending 1 hour a day at the gym is good for health 

Going to the gym and exercising an hour a day is great for you. However, did you know? Sitting at the desk or on your couch for five hours straight is equivalent to smoking a whole pack of cigarettes. Yes! Your one hour at the gym is one thing but you have many other hours in the day. Make the most of them too for better health.

Flu vaccination is only for babies

We all need a flu vaccination! Having flu is a serious illness and it can cause serious damage to your body, even cancer! Once you get the vaccination, before the flu season starts, it works without giving you side-effect. Prevention is always better than cure and so, flu vaccinations are critical even for adults and specifically the senior adults.

Taking supplements keep you healthy

Popping pills are fine but if you skip meals and then take supplements to make up the loss is a whole different matter. Vitamins don’t work that way. Taking vitamins or supplements without a go head from a physician is risky. Studies have now found a link between overuse of supplements and increased risk of cancer.

Drink 8 glasses of water daily to lose weight

Drinking water and staying hydrated is important but strictly eight glasses? If you replace caffeinated drinks with water or replace your canned fruit juices with water, you will consume fewer calories in that perspective.

Cure a hangover by drinking one more of whatever you had last night

No, that one shot of tequila again in the morning will not help your hangover. Even coffee is bad to follow up after all the alcohol binging. You are dehydrated so drinking more alcohol or coffee will prolong the effect rather than help it. Drink lots of water and get breakfast instead.

Sugar causes diabetes

Diabetes is complex and there are is no compelling research to suggest a direct link of sugar with diabetes disease. However, if you consume sugary drinks and sports drinks, you can become overweight and weight gain is associated with many diseases, not just diabetes.

With so much information right at your fingertips now, you can’t help but examine these common health notions that people throw at you every day. So the next time you hear something, question it and do the right thing for your health.

 

 

Learn How to Breathe – Yes, There Is A Right Way!

One of the functions of our body which we rarely, or probably never, pay attention to is breathing. Breathing is a sub-conscious activity which our body carries out for 24 hours every day. But did you know that there is a particular type of breathing pattern which is right? Yes, breathing wrongly can cause side effects to your body and has the capability to cause a lot of disadvantage to it in the long run. Without being aware of it, you may be harming your sleep, mood, digestion, brain, muscles, nervous system, heart and even your teeth and face structure!

In order to avoid these problems and keep your body feeling healthy and fit, you need to learn the right way of breathing. Once you learn the right technique, you will inevitably feel less anxious, stress-free, relaxed, in harmony with yourself and lead an overall happier life. Firstly, you need to breathe in a manner that is physiologically optimal for your body. The problem is that no one ever teaches us how to. Most of us end up over-breathing, holding our breath or engaging in shallow breathing. This leads to a shortage of oxygen and energy in the body.

The human body takes approximately 25,000 breaths per day. The better you take each of these breaths, the more positive will be the effect on your body. Here are some steps you can follow to ensure that you are doing it right:

Rhythmic Breathing

Just like the ocean, breathing also has a particular rhythm which your body follows. The rhythm is measured by getting an EEG (Electroencephalogram) of the body and is similar to the rhythm of your heartbeats or hormones in the human body. When this rhythm gets affected or disrupted, it causes some strain on the body. Activities like coughing, snoring, sniffling can tend to do that. When these occur for long periods, the natural breath falls out of pattern and becomes irregular. The right way to deal with this would be to breathe consciously as much as possible and be aware of how you breathe during different parts of the day. If you want to keep a proper check, set an alarm for every hour on your phone and check your breathing every time it rings. This will help you breathe in a relaxed and silent manner throughout the day.

Breathe using the diaphragm

It is important that the air you breathe through your nose should go all the way down to your stomach. It is only then that your body will feel at sync and you will feel an overall cleanse in your system. Your breathing pattern consists of not only the nose but even your neck, chest, abdomen and shoulders. Almost 70-80% of your breathing should be done through your diaphragm so that it is deep. This will positively affect your lungs, liver, stomach, and intestines and give them a rhythmical balance.

Extended Exhale

When you exhale, try to extend it as much as possible as this helps make your breathing deeper and more rhythmical. The right kind of breathing will involve an inhale that is 2-3 seconds long and an exhale that is 3-4 seconds long, followed by a pause for 2-3 seconds. Extending the exhale also helps make the inhale deeper, further making your breathing more efficient and relaxed.

Body Consciousness

Be aware of your body and keep a check on how tensed or relaxed it is an any given point of the day. The more you are aware, the more you will be able to feel the breathing and regulate it on your own. Always try to maintain a straight posture. Upright posture provides a body with healthier breathing since the diaphragm gets more space to function. It makes it easier for the body to breathe through the nose and also affects your thoughts and feelings in a positive manner.

Deep Breathing

Doctors recommend 10-20 minutes of deep breathing on a regular basis. But even if you manage to practice it for a minute every hour, it can show a considerable change in your body and provide you with a feel-good factor. If you manage to do it right, you will see great changes in your mental and emotional state. Deep breathing also provides a lot of physical benefits to the body, it reduces acidity and makes the body more alkaline. Chronic acidity in the body tissue can be avoided by regulating your breathing and maintaining its level.

While knowing how to breathe properly is the first step, implementing it in your life on a daily basis is what is important. The right amount of practice and determination can help you achieve it and provide all the health benefits your body can acquire.