Easy Lifestyle Changes To Make You Healthier

‘Health is wealth’ – a very simple yet wise saying. No matter how successful you are in your career or how big your bank balance is, none of it matters unless you are fit and healthy to reap the benefits of your hard work. While people are becoming more selective and sophisticated in their lifestyle, more often than not, it’s all about the small changes you make which give results in the short as well as long run. Here we list out some simple changes which you could try to inculcate in your daily routine.

Get your biological clock in sync

Sleep is the best repairing mechanism of the body. A full night of uninterrupted sleep can give you enough energy and freshness to last a day, boost your productivity and maintain your immunity. Each person has his/her own biological clock, according to which the sleep cycle runs. Maintaining a correct sleep cycle not only reduces your overall sleep time but also keeps away lethargy and sleepiness away which you might feel if you have irregular sleep patterns. Listen to your body and its needs, as you know what is best for yourself.

Hydrate yourself religiously

There are many myths and advice floating around related to water consumption– one common thing you will find is that all of those recommend drinking ample amount of water. Keeping yourself hydrated keeps your body fresh and mind alert. It also helps in digestion and maintains the glow in your skin. So, start your morning with lukewarm water. Mix it with honey for added help in weight loss. Although there is no hard and fast rule on the amount of water to consume, listen to your body and keep the thirst at bay.

Break a sweat

There is always debate on the different types of exercises and their positive effects on the body. While how hard you go with your exercise regime depends on your body, the main motto of exercise should be to ‘break a sweat’. You should focus on getting your heart-beat up. Exercising for at least 30 min daily should be on your agenda – choose from cardio, yoga, pranayama, hitting the gym, or even simple jogging. Exercise helps in improving blood circulation, oxygenation, and lung capacity, which has a direct effect on your mental alertness, productivity, and your quality of sleep. So make sure you include some form of exercise in your daily routine.

Eat your veggies

With more and more nutrient deficiency related diseases coming to the limelight, one cannot ignore the merits of including vegetables and fruits in the daily diet. Fresh vegetables and fruits have tons of nutrients, antioxidants, minerals and have low calories and fat, making those an ideal part of daily diet. From fibres to different vitamins there are some essential nutrients which are only found in green vegetables. They are also easy to digest and help maintain a regular bowel movement. So keep your plate green and fresh.

Cut down on sugar and include more healthy fat

Keeping in mind that not all sugar is harmful, sugar mentioned here is referred to crystalline sugar. Processed sugar does the maximum damage to the heart and hence you should try to reduce processed sugar from your diet as much as possible. Try including more natural sugar like sweet potato, fruits, jaggery, etc. Also, try adopting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat in your diet instead of going for a low-fat diet. A balanced diet is going to give you wholesome nutrition rather than a more specific diet. So watch what you keep in your plate.

Manage your meals

While eating healthy is important, it is not enough. Apart from what you eat, when and how much you eat also has a huge impact on your body.

  • Divide your two or three big meals in five or six small snacks. Eating stomach full makes you lethargic and slows down digestion and mineral absorption in the blood.
  • Try having your last meal three hours before bed so that you have ample time to digest your food.
  • Don’t drink too much water before sleep so that you don’t have to wake up for washroom breaks and you get uninterrupted sleep.
  • Also, make sure you have a hearty breakfast so that you make up for the intake between dinner and breakfast.

Plan your leisure time

A healthy lifestyle does not revolve around what you feed your body, but what you feed your mind also matters. So instead of working your fingers on that smartphone, start reading more. Make a target to read one book of your choice every week. Reading makes your mind more open to new ideas and helps boost your productivity. You can also opt to work on a skill, hobby or anything which helps you utilize your leisure time better.

Meditation

The secret to a healthy body is a fully functional mind. Meditation is one of those precious tools whose merits are unattainable from any other means. A 30 minutes meditation every day is scientifically proven to increase the grey matter in your brain; the part which is responsible for intelligence. Meditation also has been known to control your blood pressure along with breathing pattern – this, in turn, helps you control your emotional surges and stay calmer and composed.

Keep away from bad influences

It’s an already known fact that smoking, drinking, etc. are injurious to health. But in spite of that, people become victim of these addictions. Try to stay away from addictions as well as any triggers that provoke you to get involved in these, especially if you are a recovering. It takes big willpower to control your temptations but just a moment of weakness to get plunged in it again.

Make healthy decisions

A healthy lifestyle is not just a part of your routine but is the routine itself. Apart from all the given points, a healthy lifestyle includes making healthy decisions like taking stairs over lift, choosing healthy snacks over junk food and fruit juice over a beer. Every small decision collectively makes up what you are. Remember, every choice matters!

What You Must Know About The Growing Vegan Movement

The introduction to veganism has been accidental for many people. Surprisingly for a majority of people, using the term ‘vegan’ loosely for ‘vegetarian’ had made this introduction happen.

What is Veganism?

Veganism is the practice of following a vegan diet that excludes animal meat and certain dairy and plant-based foods. A person who practices veganism is called a vegan.

Veganism is not just about following a vegan a diet, but it is a lifestyle change. Ever since its introduction in the year 1944 by Donald Watson, the movement has evolved from a mere dietary change to a lifestyle change in the year 2010. The Vegan Society was founded in England in 1944, and back then the term vegan meant ‘non-dairy vegetarian’. Post-1951, the society defined the term vegan as ‘the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.’

Although the vegan movement has been in existence since over a half century, it gained momentum in the year 2010 when environmentalists vowed to bring in a lifestyle change to save the planet from environmental disasters caused due to human negligence.

The path-breaking event occurred in the vegan movement when in 2010 The European Parliament defined the term vegan and asked the food industry to mark the food labels as vegan just like vegetarian and non-vegetarian labelling on the food packaging.

The movement isn’t restricted to any political boundary. Today, vegan movement is practiced in more than 100 countries across the world by people who are dedicated to the environmental cause and propagate sustainable living.

There are different vegan philosophies practiced by the vegans across the globe:

  • Ethical veganism:The vegans who follow a vegan diet are usually the followers of ethical veganism philosophy. This philosophy propagates changes in dietary habits. Ethical vegans do not consume any dairy products like milk, cheese, eggs including honey.
  • Environmental veganism:This philosophy emphasises the environmental impact created by the vegan movement. This philosophy focuses on adopting a completely vegan lifestyle than just dietary changes. Vegans who follow this philosophy avoid using products made by killing animals.
  • Plant-based veganism:Vegans who follow this philosophy live off on only plant-based foods produced from the ground.
  • Raw veganism:The followers of this philosophy do not consume food cooked above 48 degree Celsius. They believe that foods cooked above this temperature lose its essential nutrients and enzymes.

Difference between Vegetarian and Vegan

Vegetarian and vegan have been loosely used for each other by the ignorant section of the society. This inter-changeability of these terms dates back to the mid-2000s when the vegan movement was gaining momentum across the globe but with little to no awareness amongst the masses. Vegetarians have often argued about the difference between these two dietary choices and to their surprise, it is enormous!

Vegetarian is a person who excludes animal meat from their dietary choices. They go on to consume dairy products and eggs too at times whereas; a vegan completely abstains from these foods. A vegan is a person who consumes only plant-based foods and completely avoids dairy products as well.

What does a vegan diet comprise of?

The non-vegan people are often left baffled about what do the vegans consume. To their astonishment, the vegan diet offers a lavish spread of food choices which include:

  1. Soy:Soy is the staple food in the vegan diet. There is a massive variety of products made out of soy that the vegans can consume.
  2. Plant-based milk:The dairy milk is substituted with soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk and milk obtained from various grains like rice and oats.
  3. Grains, nuts, and seeds:Vegans can consume all kinds of grains, nuts and seeds. This provides them with a scope to experiment with their food.
  4. Fruits:Vegans can consume the entire production from the fruit families. 

Veganism and Nutrition Argument

For years the vegan movement has been affected by people who believed that vegan dietary foods could not replace the nutritious value of animal meat. There have been numerous researches across the globe to prove it otherwise. The vegan foods are enriched with essential nutrients like calcium, protein, iron, sodium along with the entire vitamins group including B complex and vitamin D.

Following a vegan diet during pregnancy has proven in better infant health compared to the kids born to the mothers who follow vegetarian or non-vegetarian diets during their pregnancy.

The environmental impact of our food choices and the dangerous climatic changes due to human negligence has paved the way for alternative lifestyles that promote and support sustainable living.

8 Myths You Always Believed About Milk (But You Should Not)

Milk has been an integral part of the dietary intake in the Indian culture and being the first thing that a baby consumes after birth – why shouldn’t it be? However, there are many myths surrounding the intake of milk. Some people believe it to be a complete meal to meet the daily nutrition requirement while some believe that milk alone isn’t sufficient or is bad for your health. Whom to believe?

Here, we have debunked some of the common myths surrounding milk intake:

Myth: Milk is the best source of calcium.

Fact: Milk is a rich source of calcium but it certainly isn’t the only sufficient. In order to meet the daily calcium requirement in kids and adults, you cannot simply rely on milk. You would need to add other calcium-rich sources of food to meet the optimum calcium requirement for each meal.

Myth: There’s no limit to the quantity of milk consumption

Fact: Infants and toddlers meet their basic nutrient requirement from milk as it is the only thing that they consume until they start weaning. But after the age of 4, 2-2.5 cups of milk a day is more than sufficient. Excess consumption of milk can be dysenteric in some cases.

Myth: Milk is difficult to digest and causes bloating

Fact: This is not entirely wrong. People who are intolerant to lactose can find it difficult to digest milk. Indigestion further leads to bloating and other digestive issues. Lactose intolerance can set in at any age. Some people can be intolerant to lactose since their beginning years and in some cases, it is developed at a later age.

Myth: Raw milk is nutritious than boiled milk

Fact: No, it is not. Boiling doesn’t take away the nutrients from the milk. In fact, it is better to boil the milk obtained from a local milkman as it can be contaminated. Boiling, in this case, helps in killing the harmful bacteria present in the raw milk.

Myth: Milk is a meal in itself

Fact: Milk is rich in nutrients, but it cannot replace a meal. Milk can be consumed along with a meal. A glass of milk won’t be as filling as a complete meal. It will leave you hungry causing hunger pangs in a short period of time. The body needs other nutrients and minerals to meet its requirements and all of them are not found in milk. Don’t substitute a meal with milk or it can cause nutrition deficiency in the body in the long run.

Myth: Starting the day with a glass of milk is the best thing

Fact: Consuming milk the first thing in the morning can be troublesome for people who suffer from gastric and other digestive issues. Drinking milk on an empty stomach can have an acidic reaction in some people. Accompany your breakfast with a glass of milk.

Myth: Drinking milk gives strong bones

Fact: This myth is based upon the myth that milk is the best source of calcium which is not the case. Milk has rich calcium content but only consuming milk without any other calcium-rich foods won’t give you stronger bones.

Myth: Homogenization and pasteurization destroy the nutrients in milk

Fact: Contrary to the belief that homogenization is a chemical process, it is, in fact, a mechanical process. It has absolutely no effect on the nutrient content of the milk. The process of pasteurization is just for killing germs and not nutrients in the milk.

Myth: Dairy cows are not treated well

Fact: Not always. There are organic milk brands where cows are treated well, are fed good fodder, and they live in open, clean farms.

So is milk healthy or unhealthy?

Milk is the healthiest way to meet the daily nutrient requirements in a human body. Milk is the only thing consumed by a child until it starts weaning. The health benefits of consuming milk are aplenty. The purpose of debunking these milk myths is to educate our readers and to prevent them from falling for these common myths about milk consumption.

A1 or A2 Milk – Which Is Right For You?

People choosing to live a healthy life have paved the way for healthier living habits. These habits comprise of adopting healthy lifestyle changes like eating healthier foods and indulging in physical activities to name a few. Organic farming has taken the world by storm and dairy industry isn’t far behind. The arguments about organic milk vs. the industrial milk are rife today. And when there’s a mention of organic milk – you cannot miss mentioning A1 and A2 milk. The arguments are in favour of A2 milk but what is it that makes it a better option than A1 milk?

What is Organic Milk?

Organic milk is obtained from cows that are fed with organic fodder and aren’t given antibiotics and growth hormones. These cows are strictly watched to avoid any stray grazing over inorganic or adulterated pastures. The cows that fall sick and need to be treated with antibiotics are then removed from the organic production utility. Organic milk, thus, is obtained from cows that are bred and raised in 100% natural living conditions without any kind of intervention either through consumption of adulterated fodder or medical treatments.

What is A1 and A2 Milk?

Milk, as known, is a great source of calcium and protein. The easiest and healthiest way to introduce calcium and protein in the regular diet is through consumption of milk. Milk is made up of a variety of proteins and casein is the largest group of proteins present in the milk. Casein makes up to 80% of the total protein content in the milk.

A1 and A2 are the two types of beta-casein that make up the large chunk of casein proteins found in milk. Regular milk contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein. The bifurcation of organic milk into A1 and A2 is done on the basis of the breed of the cow. A1 beta-casein is found in the breeds Holstein, British Shorthorn, Friesian and Ayrshire. Whereas, the A2 beta-casein is found in the breeds Jersey, Limousin, Guernsey, and Charolais. 

Why is A2 milk better than A1 milk?

The entire A1 and A2 debate is based on some studies that show the harmful effects of consuming A1 milk and production of Beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) is one of the major reasons behind it.

BCM-7 is produced during the digestion process after consumption of A1 milk. Studies by a select group of researchers, across the globe, suggest that production of BCM-7 in the human body can have adverse effects. Though everyone is not affected by consumption of A1 beta-casein but studies show that a growing number of people are falling prey to the harmful effects of secretion of BCM-7.

According to a study published by the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2012, following are some of the harmful effects of consuming A1 milk:

  1. Delayed psychomotor development in infants

The BCM-7 has been found to travel to the brain through the bloodstream in infants which hampers their motor development skills thereby delaying the process.

  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The human body is not acquainted with digestion of BCM-7. This can add to weak gut thereby resulting in IBS in some individuals.

  1. Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is often found in kids. Researches show that kids who consume A1 milk while growing up are more likely to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

  1. Coronary Heart Disease

A1 milk has higher fat content than A2 milk. The accumulation of fat in the human body can lead to risk of developing certain heart diseases.

  1. The occurrence of Autism or Schizophrenia in extreme cases

Studies have shown that higher levels of BCM-7 are associated with the ability to perform and plan. The high levels meddle with the brain thereby causing mental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

  1. Lactose intolerance

Lactose (sugar) intolerance is the inability to digest the sugar consumed by the body completely. Though A1 and A2 milk have the same levels of lactose, studies have found that a number of people find it difficult to digest A1 milk compared to A2 milk. There are numerous researches being conducted on this across the globe. Doctors suggest that A2 milk is the best substitute for lactose intolerant people as A2 beta-casein is easier to digest which makes it a healthier option compared to A1 milk.

It is well established and well-accepted fact that A1 and A2 milk differ in their compositions. However, in India especially, the bigger problem is the way the cows are managed, and the milk is procured – there are a lot of adulterations that happen in the whole process. When the animals are kept in a clean environment, allowed to graze in open farm, soak in the sunlight, and fed only organic fodder, the quality of milk is certainly better.

 

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

Protein is one of the most essential nutrients required by your body. The human body breaks down the protein into enzymes and amino acids. The cells present in the human body get cytoskeleton from protein, which is used to build up new skeleton muscle.

The moment people hit the gym, they shift to high protein consumption. But little do people realize that as much as protein is important for gaining muscle or losing weight, the quantity of protein consumed by your body plays a vital role in maintaining good health. Excess of anything is harmful and protein is no different. There are different school of thoughts about what should be the ideal protein consumption for a human body.

As per the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) the ideal protein consumption is 0.8g per kilogram of the body weight. This is further bifurcated upon the gender:

  • 46g per day for the average woman
  • 56g per day for the average man

Factors To Consider For Protein Intake

Everybody needs protein. It is one of the essential nutrients required by the body to function properly. Each one of us consumes protein in our daily diet through the regular food. Why’s there a whole market for protein supplements then – you may ask. Let’s read on to find out the answer to your whys.

One needs to take into consideration various factors while deciding the protein intake. Each body is different than the other and so are the body’s nutritional requirements.

Here are some factors to consider while deciding the amount of protein to include in your daily diet:

  1. Gender

An average man consumes around 2,600 calories per day, and a woman consumes around 1,700 calories per day. According to nutritionists, an average healthy man should consume around 3000 calories per day and a woman should consume around 2000 calories. The percentage of protein in the total calorie intake should be between 10-30%. The latter only when you are on a high protein diet and are having an active lifestyle.

  1. Workout and other physical activity

People who are into strength building, heavy workouts and sports need higher amounts of protein to build muscle and stamina. If you have a lower rate of physical activity in your routine, then the amount of protein consumed from the regular diet is enough for your body to maintain the nutritional balance.

  1. Food Habits

Vegetarian food is comparatively lower on protein contents. Vegetarian people who are into bodybuilding, athletics or sports would need to supplement their diet with protein. Animal meat has a high percentage of proteinform of powders hence non-vegetarians can do without supplements. To meet the exceeding protein requirements, the non-vegetarians can increase the animal meat in their diet.

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

There’s no gym or gym instructor who doesn’t press their clients to give in to protein shakes. You would see every gym selling some sort of protein supplements in the form of powders etc. Don’t fall for the trap that you can’t build muscle or lose weight without going on a high protein diet which is largely dependent upon the protein supplement they are selling.

There’s no denying that one does need protein supplements to build muscle, but not everyone is training to be a bodybuilder or a weightlifter. Before jumping onto the bandwagon, you need to understand your goals and body needs.

Going on a high protein diet often means neglecting or completely eliminating carbohydrates from the diet. Carbohydrates are as important as protein for the body. The body derives its energy from the carbohydrates and when you deprive your body of carbs, you start feeling lethargic and low on energy all the time. One needs to maintain a balance between the protein and carbohydrate intake in their diet.

Excess intake of protein can result in weight gain. The body consumes the protein it requires and stores the excess amount in the form of fats. This results in weight gain. Until and unless you are looking to gain weight or doing high-impact exercise, excess intake of protein can have adverse effects on your workout goals.

Dietary needs vary for every individual. Each body has a different requirement. No two people can have the same or similar results with the 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.