Fasting in the Holy Month of Shravan? Read This!

Believers around the world observe Shravan by fasting once a week. Monday fasting is traditionally followed during Shravan. You may have heard your relatives and loved ones tell you all about the traditions; what is important though, is to do a fast that would not harm your health. It’s about time you knew the facts about your health care in the holy month of Shravan.

Fasting, from a health perspective

When you fast, from a health perspective, you abstain from solid food. Fasting in a healthy way allows you to drink water through day while abstaining from food. By abstaining from food, your body gets a break and enough energy to focus on removing toxic poisons from your body. Otherwise, your body is too busy just digesting what you eat. By eliminating toxins, your body feels lighter and healthier in every way. Monday is considered the worst day around the world, no? The beginning of work week, end of a weekend. During Shravan, Monday fasting is the norm. So, what how does this fasting once a week help your body?

5 Health Benefits to Fasting

If this your first time, it could be hard for you but give it a few more tries and you will see how easy it is to just go with your routine and fast on Mondays.

Stimulation of mind

When the negative ions from your body drop, it gives you a sense of mental clarity. When you fast that’s what your body is doing; it is busy flushing these negative ions out of your body. Hunger may humble you and you may think about the higher powers of God in your life and His creations.

Look Young and Beautiful

The negative ions are also responsible for increasing the aging process in your body; so more wrinkles, fine lines, more stress, and worry. Without these ions, your skin directly clears and you may find yourself beaming with a glow! Fasting is one of the best ways to lose the extra fat and calories from your body too.

Eat only when hungry

Absence makes the heart grow fonder they say. In the same way, when you stay away from food for a while, it can increase your appreciation for it. The same old dal and rice will taste even better and you will taste and enjoy every morsel after you’ve fasted for long hours. With regular fasting, you can even train yourself to eat only when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.

Less is more

The adage can’t be truer now with fasting. The more food you put into your body the more time it needs to positively process it. If it doesn’t have enough time, it will only focus on digestion, rather than repairing of tissues, regeneration of cells and things of that nature. When you fast at least once a week, your body gets that much-needed break to focus on other vital processes and duties for your health.

Important Points to Remember Before Fasting

Monday is a great day, specifically if you have been bingeing over the weekend, yes? However, for healthcare for Shravan or fasting any time, consider not bingeing on the earlier day. Keep it light to prepare your body for fasting the next day.

It is also important that you choose wholesome organic food to eat the day before the fast, so no samosas or fried food, but lots of fresh veggies, fruit, nuts, and sprouts should do it. If you are not a vegetarian that’s ok too. Just that eating meat during the night time may hamper digestion, so it’s better you stick to meat only during the day time.

While you are at it, stay away from caffeine or alcohol on the day before fasting. Help yourself with a lot of fluids to keep up your energy. Your water needs to be purified. Here are the many benefits of fasting and doing it the right way can give you:

  • Improved digestion
  • Instant detox
  • Weight loss
  • Improved circulation
  • Better skin and hair

If you find yourself too tempted to eat during the day, drink fruit juices that will keep you hydrated, satiated and energised. So remember, fasting just once a week is the best gift you can give to your body.

Healthy Snacks for Workplace

Did you have your breakfast today? Look over from your desk and ask your colleague. More often than not, 34% people today come to work on an empty stomach. Between the long commute, late dinners, and the absurd working hours, where is the time to sit down and have proper meals? This is not the only reason, but having a mid-morning snack and one in the middle of the afternoon is crucial.

If you want to keep up with your productivity levels, you need to eat healthy. However only a few will go for healthy snacks. If you have bad eating habits, you would reach for that deep fried samosa with your cutting chai or snack on high processed chips to satisfy your craving. During those mid-morning or afternoon slumps, you need a high protein snack to get your energy levels up and to help you focus better. Here is a fantastic list of healthy snacks for your workplace.

Fresh Fruit

An apple a day, remember? Fresh fruits like banana, pear, grapes or seasonal fruits like mango, litchis, and strawberries are all packed with fiber, healthy carbs and are incredibly filling.

Dried Fruits

Dried apricots, dried mango, apple, pear or even banana are unsweetened, easy to munch on and are nutrient packed. You need a significant amount of calories from these healthy snacks for the workplace if you missed your breakfast or lunch.

Roasted/Raw Nuts

Nuts like almonds, cashews, hazelnuts are protein rich and have the good fat in them. If you need something to keep you full until your next big meal at the office, it’s these low carb nuts.

Energy Bar

Snickers came out with a great advertisement, but seriously, protein energy bars are not just for those who work out at the gym. Get your sweet craving and nutrient balance from an energy bar.

Flavored Yogurt

There are plenty to chose from in the market, but if you are health conscious, then make Greek yogurt from your regular curd (hand it in a cloth so all the water seeps out) sprinkle fresh fruit or nuts for a yummy and satisfying healthy snack at the office.

Fresh Veggies

Take carrots, beetroot, cucumber, red and yellow bell peppers, these are excellent snacks to eat at your workplace. Energy, fiber, nutrition, these fresh veggies tick all the boxes.

Vegetable Juice

If you are too lazy to cut them up and bring to work, consider juicing fresh vegetables. You may not get as much fiber, but it’s perfect to wake you up from that mid-afternoon slump.

Dark Chocolate

No, not your regular milk chocolate bars, but dark chocolate. The high amount of antioxidants makes it healthy to snack on. The keyword here is a snack – so don’t gobble the whole bar just because chocolate boosts your mood and makes you happy.

Protein Shake

Whether it’s with fresh or frozen banana, with protein powder or without, protein shakes are great sources of quick energy. Just what you need to focus on for your tasks after 3 pm.

Green Smoothie

Blend your favorite fruits into a smoothie and throw in some baby spinach to optimize your gut health.

Goji Berries

Did you know they dip goji berries in dark chocolate now? These are great sources of antioxidants, energy, protein, and fiber.

Seeds

Combine your dark chocolate or fresh fruit with a fist full of seeds like roasted sunflower seeds, watermelon seeds or pumpkin seeds. They are high fiber, add texture and keep you fueled until your next big meal.

Popcorn

No, not the microwave ones but the right ones are great to mindlessly munch on while you work on your deadline. Its fiber rich and calorie poor, perfect for a mid-afternoon healthy snack.

Murmura

This is puffed rice. You can eat them as it is or mix it up with tomatoes, onions and fresh chutneys to make bhel. Lightweight, easy to digest and ideal for weight conscious people.

Sprouts

When nuts, seeds, grains, dals or lentils are allowed to sprout, the nutritional value of the protein in them is enhanced. Even the vitamins explode; your energy levels increase and all this at a fraction of the price compared to any other snack option.

Roasted lentils

Your roasted chana dal is a rich source of protein and minerals. Snacking on a good amount either mid morning or mid afternoon will keep you full for a long time.

Eating healthy snacks at workplace will keep you full, energized and help you focus during the times when you need it the most. Snacks rich in protein and fiber keep you satisfied until your next big meal. What a great way to get in all the essential daily nutrients –  in a snack!

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies- Are You Paying Enough Attention to Your Bones?

You are a woman of today. You may eat the right food and get a decent amount of exercise. You check your blood pressure levels and take expensive tests to check your cholesterol levels. Thanks to the many breast cancer awareness programs and the pink ribbon displays in December, you are well aware of the importance of breast cancer screenings too. While all this is good, the one area where you may not be paying as much attention is to your bone health.

A startling statistic says one in two women will break a bone after the age of 50. This is because of Osteoporosis which is a degenerative disease that eats away your bones, makes it brittle, and increases the risk for fracture. Women are more susceptible to this disease than men since your bones are smaller compared to men. Besides, a drop in estrogen during menopause also affects your bone health. Estrogen keeps the bones healthy and decreasing levels of it reduces the bone protection. That is why it is very important to pay enough attention to your bones from a young age to prevent bone loss at a later stage.

Another reason to consider is the disease of Osteoporosis doesn’t give you visible signals. From as young as 35 years of age, most people lose bone density. If you don’t prevent or stop this from happening to you then the symptoms eventually lead to Osteoporosis. Certain lifestyle habits such as smoking, too much alcohol use, and eating disorders can also lead to Osteoporosis. Besides, if either of your parents has it then there is a 50 percent chance you would inherit it too. So what can you do? Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your bone density levels steady at any age.

Know Your Bone Density

If you want to prevent it, you must know where you stand first. You can know your bone density through a test like a Dexa Scan. Don’t worry, it’s like taking an x-ray; not an invasive procedure. This specific scan reads into your bone health. It is advisable to take this scan as soon as you or your loved one starts menopause. Once you know your point range, you can take effective steps to prevent bone loss.

Increase Your Calcium & Vitamin D

Since your body can’t make calcium on its own, it important to replenish all the calcium you lose daily. Vitamin D is important because it improves the absorption of calcium in your body. If you are under the age of 50, then you should get about 1000 mg of calcium every day coupled with 400-800 IUs of Vitamin D. If you are older than 50, then aim for 1200 mg of calcium and double the amount of Vitamin D. You may not achieve these goals through diet alone. So speak to your doctor about taking proper supplements or change your diet to accommodate it all.

Take in bone-rich nutrition

If you want to meet the calcium and vitamin D from diet alone then you need at least three servings of calcium in your daily diet. Milk is a great source of calcium and so are milk products such as yogurt and cheese. If you are lactose intolerant or find that you have trouble digesting milk after a certain age, then consider eating more servings of dark leafy vegetables like spinach, ladies finger, broccoli, etc.

Replace the fracture-risking drugs

Certain medicines increase the fracture risk. So be open to your doctor about what medications you are taking. Are you wondering which medications might those be? The long-term use of medications such as steroids, some of the cancer medications, and others used to treat thyroid problems are risky. If you’re a frequent user of an antacid that has an aluminum coating, then you are at higher risk of fracture too.

You must move it, move it!

If you think moving around too much will increase the fracture risk, think again. Even if you grow older, your body needs to move. You need to exercise as much as four times a week. You can also go for walks every day to stay active. If you are in a job that keeps you seated most of the day, take a break every 40 minutes to an hour to get up and get moving. If you feel like any part of your body is beginning to get stiff, stretch it gently for five minutes.

Most importantly, pay attention to your lifestyle. If you are a smoker, this is another reason to cut down or quit this bad habit. If you are a heavy drinker, stick to just one or two glasses a day or keep it to a minimum. Get ample amount of rest, nutrition and remember to exercise regularly keep your bones fit and healthy!

How Digital Health Technology Is Changing Heart Health

Blame it on rising stress levels, erratic lifestyles, or anything else you can think of, but there is no getting away from the fact that heart health is causing much concern for people across the globe. Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) are affecting young and old and are the number one cause of deaths – approximately 17.5 million people died from CVD (i.e. 31% of all global deaths) in 2012. Such striking figures explain why it is all the more necessary to become aware of the reality and start taking productive steps towards countering the risk factors.

Access to Health Data

Thankfully, with the advent of technology, it can be easy to at least have access to one’s health data. To think of it, it is actually the biggest benefit to be gained from technology, especially digitisation. Digital health technologies allow a person to stay informed of vital stats and then if need be, seek medical assistance. For instance, there is Mobile Health or mHealth as it is popularly known. It involves making use of mobile communication devices to stay informed of any health changes occurring in the body. One can use mobile apps to keep a track of dietary habits, sleep patterns, and fitness levels. As more and more people opt for better Internet connectivity through 3G and 4G networks and the reach of smartphones expands further, the reach of mHealth or rather digital health is rapidly increasing.

Unlike the typical perception of technology being too complicated, several of these health technology apps are simple to navigate. There is the largely popular Fitbit to track fitness progress, smart watches which can be paired with heart monitors, weighing scales, and other Bluetooth-enabled devices for tracking health data, and finally the mobile text messaging interventions (TMIs). Such wearable technology is proving to be highly resourceful for bettering the heart health of millions of people. So much so, that according to the World Economic Forum by 2022, one in every 10 people will be wearing clothes connected to the Internet or the ‘wearable Internet. This has to mean that digitising the health world is feasible.

Healthcare has become participatory

How is then digital technology really helpful?

  • First, there is real-time data available and it can be corroborated with a person’s previous health records. Thus, understanding why a health scare might have occurred is quicker for a doctor or at other times, preventive measures can already be employed.
  • Digital technology allows the doctors to gather data, diagnose, identify possible lacunae, etc. even before the patient arrives at the hospital. So there is a considerable saving of precious time.
  • Some medical practitioners use tablets to track and share data with other teams when working on an emergency. Apart from doctors, even for say a common man, the technologies available in the market can make understanding the readings/ statistics undemanding. As a result, health management can become possible even at home, making the person take a step towards dealing with CVD a little sooner.
  • Since the data is very specific to a particular patient, it assists the healthcare practitioners to provide an accurate diagnosis. It then further implies receiving personalised treatments based on the individual health records.

Remote Health Monitoring

Remote Patient Monitoring or RPM includes communication gadgets as well as tools for measuring medications such as glucose monitoring, oxygen saturation measurements, etc. Deploying RPM ensures that patients can be closely watched for their health in the comfortable confines of their home. These tools check for all the vital parameters without bothering or being too obtrusive and thus, help in creating a stress-free environment. Ideally, RPM directly delivers actionable data to the medical practitioners who can then alter the treatment according to the reports they keep on receiving. Especially in the case of CVD, RPM has proved to be highly successful for patients suffering from congestive heart failure and those with implanted cardiac rhythm devices.

Personalised Medicines

Unlike cancer, genomics has not progressed much for CVD. However, the genome is an important factor when considering treatment for a patient suffering from CVD. Thanks to the digital means of gathering individual health information, doctors can now consider providing specific treatment depending on pathology, raw digital data sets from genomics, imaging, etc. Then there is also Artificial Intelligence or AI which, when combined with genomics, can greatly help in preventing and treating CVD. Since CVD can be connected to a person’s lifestyle, it is a huge boon to be able to decide on a personlised treatment plan based on genomics.

Digital health technology makes life simpler and more convenient. It can make the healthcare sector efficient and effective, reaching out to a vast number of people simultaneously. This sector is not just limited to doctors and patients but also includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and the medical devices manufacturing companies. But most importantly, it gives an individual the option to make informed choices. Especially for CVD, it is bound to play a major role in the area of prevention. It is for the best then that digital health technologies need to be more explored and exploited to ensure a healthy heart.

Improve Your Heart Health with These Super Foods

Heart health is no longer a matter of concern for the elderly only. Even in their early twenties, men and women suffer from health ailments that can be fatal. According to a senior consultant cardiologist at a well-known hospital, India is currently witnessing around two million heart attacks a year with a majority of the victims being the youngsters. One person dies every 33 seconds because of a heart attack!

While some heart conditions that cannot be prevented, most concerns can be avoided. With these superfoods in your daily diet, curbing a heart attack will get easier.

Superfoods

Although superfoods have been around for a long time, the health benefits have come to light only recently. Superfoods are super rich in nutrients and antioxidants. They are beneficial for one’s health and can prevent terminal illnesses. Here are some of the superfoods you may love or hate, but can tremendously help in improving your heart health!

Walnuts

Walnuts top the nut list for heart-healthy superfoods. The distinct ‘brain’ shaped nut is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts contain higher quality antioxidants that fight free radicals responsible for heart diseases. Craving for a sugary snack? Snack on a handful of walnuts every day. The goodness they give you is more than your daily portion of fruits and vegetables, combined!

Salmon

Salmon is the star on the heart superfood list. This oily fish is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and super rich in proteins, Vitamins B and D. Regular consumption of Salmon lowers triglycerides by 50%. Triglycerides is the bad fat that increases the cholesterol in your body. This Omega-3 rich fish has proven to lower the risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeat). It also reduces the mortality rate of those with congestive heart conditions.

Oranges

An orange a day keeps your arteries healthy! This citrus fruit is high in flavonoids that help lower heart conditions caused by clots. Vitamin C present in oranges is linked with lower heart diseases. Oranges are rich in potassium, magnesium, fiber, and beta-carotene too. Several studies have shown that the chemicals present in oranges reduce blood cholesterol levels by 20-25%. Beware of the hidden sugars in the packaged orange juices, though.

Garlic

Garlic is a blood thinner. Garlic makes the blood consistency such that it easily passes through blood vessels. Garlic is high in bioflavonoids and contains sulfur which gives protection from calcium deposits and reduces the size of arterial plaque. It promotes adequate blood circulation. Regular consumption of garlic in your diet lowers the risk of blood stagnation and passage blockages by unhealthy fats.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has got a plenty of attention for being good for the heart and here is why. The cocoa bean is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. This is the perfect recipe for a healthy heart. Flavanol is the main flavonoid present in chocolate. It helps lower the blood pressure and improve the blood flow to the brain and heart. It also enables blood to clot by making the blood platelets less sticky.

Kale

Kale has risen to fame over the last couple of years. Kale is a nutrient-packed superfood. It has minerals, vitamins, and much more. It even has bile acid sequestrants which help lower the cholesterol levels. A study showed that consumption of kale juice for 12 weeks increased the level of ‘good’ cholesterol. Kale is also known to be one the world’s best sources of Vitamin K.

Oatmeal

Another superfood for your heart is the humble oatmeal. It is packed with omega 3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. It is rich in fiber which is good for the digestive tract. This superfood can lower the levels of bad cholesterol and keep your arteries clear. Oatmeal helps curb type 2 diabetes and helps in weight loss as well.

Avocados

Avocados are nutrient packed and good for your heart. They have good fats and are free from sodium and cholesterol. This superfood cuts down your saturated fat intake without compromising on calories. Just eating healthy fats is not enough. Ensure that you are exercising to burn off the calories consumed too!

Olive Oil

Olive oil is the secret to the healthy hearts of the Mediterranean folks. It prevents the formation of blood clots and excess blood coagulation. It raises the level of good cholesterol while lowering the bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the body.

Acai Berries

Known as the miracle berry, this berry is full of antioxidants and vitamins. Acai berries are high in flavonoids that prevent plaque buildup in your arteries. They increase the capillary strength, prevent inflammation and lower cholesterol levels.

Of course, simply adding such superfoods in your diet won’t keep you disease-proof. You also need to follow a healthy routine, eat healthy food, and exercise regularly.

Did we miss a super food? Comment here and let us know.