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.

Food for Thought – All You MUST Know About Eating Disorders

Did you know? Eating disorder is a psychiatric condition and causes the most deaths, more than any other disorders. When you hear eating disorder, does a stick thin looking figure come to your mind? According to World Health Organization (WHO), the normal Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. However, those suffering from an eating disorder may be on either side of the spectrum, depending on which type of eating disorder they have.

Common Eating Disorders You must know

Anorexia Nervosa: If you imagine the stick thin figures here, then you are correct. A person with this eating disorder restricts intake of food to a large extent and appear underweight. You or your loved one may not even know you have it. This condition is rather common with women than men.

Bulimia Nervosa: You will know you or your loved one has it when they binge food, uncontrollably and then feel guilty about it. They compensate the binge, either with laxatives or by vomiting the food out of their systems. It may or may not be done every day but there are episodes of such behaviour.

Binge Eating: Similar to Bulimia, a person with binge eating disorder may not have control over how much food they eat at a go. The difference is no use of laxatives or vomit. People with this disorder are obese and also, at a serious risk of high cholesterol and diabetes.

Avoidant Disorder: This condition is more common in males than any other condition. Here, the food is restricted in the diet because of a previous negative experience, for instance, choking. This disorder may begin in early childhood and continue in later years too.

Pica: If you see a pregnant woman with weird cravings, it’s one thing. But it’s quite another to see a regular person or child crave for chalks, dirt or hair. This eating disorder is associated with consumption of non-food substances.

It’s Important to recognise the seriousness of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are life-threatening conditions causing malnutrition, organ failure, and even sudden death. However, being a psychiatric condition, 50 percent of eating disorder deaths are from suicide. This was a burgeoning part of the plot in the movie “Black Swan” – have you seen it? The prima ballerina has an overbearing mother with high expectations of her daughter. The lead actor is obsessed with her perception of self-esteem and attractiveness, and the athletic endeavour of ballet only spawns the eating disorder some more, leading the issue of perfection to {Spoiler alert!} her ultimate suicide.

The Substance Abuse and other Connections

The people with a substance abuse problem, i.e. alcohol or drugs, then they are 5 times more likely to have an eating disorder too. There are studies that indicate girls who develop an eating order in younger ages are more likely to develop a substance abuse problem later on in life. Gay or bisexual boys or men are more likely to develop these disorders too.

So, what are the other causes of this life-threatening physical and psychiatric condition? It’s not just the media and the body image issues, but there are many underlying causes that give birth to an eating disorder for all men, women, and children.

  • Genetics
  • Family distress
  • Sexual abuse
  • Pressure to lose or maintain weight
  • Athletic endeavours

Eating disorders and thought patterns

People coming from a distressed home; have faced the death of a loved one or domestic violence, bullying or a simple case of not fitting in after puberty, etc., are more likely to develop an eating disorder to have a sense of control over their lives. It can be a coping mechanism, to have that sense of control where no one else can decide for them.

An opposite thought pattern is one to excel. If you are a perfectionist then, restricting food in your diet is a source of achievement, you could say no to that chocolate cake, yes, but having an eating disorder can be the wrong marker for achievement.

If you talk to a person with an eating disorder or if you have one, then this is important to know. Your inner critic is dominant and will say things or make you think of things that make you feel not-so-good enough about yourself.

The underlying themes of self-worth

If you wish you could go about without thinking about food, then see a professional, a therapist who can help you cope with this issue. You can also keep a journal as a cathartic exercise or get on a distraction hobby to indulge in, every time you feel the need to binge eat or follow any other forms of eating disorders.

 

What You Should Know About Generic Medicines

Prime Minister Modi is onto something when he announced about a new law pushing doctors to prescribe generic drugs. If you ask us, we think it is a wonderful move to making medicines cheaper and more available for most people in the country. You may be aware that generic drugs are rather affordable, but few people know more than that. If nothing else, everyone knows how these drugs are less expensive than their branded counterparts.

You need to know a lot more about generics though, such as what makes it affordable, or what regulations generics need for distribution and other fun facts. Thankfully, you don’t have to go anywhere else to know. Here is a well-researched piece and a quick read rather, to tell you everything you should know about generics.

Generic drugs need to be identical to the branded ones.

Any medicine manufacture needs to meet the standard of quality, strength, safety, performance and other criteria. That’s the only way to get FDA approval. A medicine always has active ingredients and inactive ingredients. Whether it’s a brand name or a generic, if the medicine claims to be equivalent to a branded medicine, then the substitute needs to be a bioequivalent too. The active ingredient of the generics needs to be identical to the brand names. Inactive ingredients such as the color or flavor need not be the same. 

They may not look the same though.

Apart from the obvious pricing, the only other difference between the generic and the branded medicines are the inactive ingredients. The inactive ingredients need not be the same in the substitute medicines. These are filler materials such as dyes. They may be of different shapes and sizes too. That’s why generics and branded medicines don’t look the same.

Performance of generics is same as branded medicines.

For generics vs branded, it’s never a question about which medicine performs better. Many perceive that expensive drugs do better, but it is all in the mind. That is only a perceived notion, an incorrect one at that. Generics need to perform exactly the same way as branded medicine. The way it’s administered and the performance characters need to match with branded drugs, only then can generics get the FDA approval for distribution.

Price difference between generic vs. branded is humongous.

Everyone knows generics are rather affordable than branded medicines, but not everyone understands the magnitude of how cheap generics really are. According to the regulations, generics are relatively 80 to 85 percent cheaper than branded medicines. Again, quality has nothing to do with the pricing system of the generics. The active ingredients, the quality, and performance of the substitute has to be the same as the branded medicine.

Generics may have a different time-release formula.

This is another way of saying how fast the drugs get absorbed in the body. Compared to branded medicines, the rate of absorption of a substitute may differ. This is because of the variation in the inactive ingredients. According to the FDA, there is a fair window of variability. Due to this, you may find that a brand works faster or better than its generic. The key here is to not give up after trying just one substitute. Try another and see if that has a better rate of absorption instead of giving up and continuing with expensive branded drugs.

You can be apprehensive of the generics, at some point.

Given that generics have to be identical to the branded medicines, even performance-wise, they work well for the most part. However, FDA recommends branded medicines for special conditions such as thyroid or blood pressure issues. Since there is a small window of variability, branded medicines are recommended for reliability. Also, since the inactive ingredients differ, the color or the flavor or other agents may cause allergy in some people. This is why you need to be careful and closely watch the effects of the medicines if you plan to switch from a branded to generics.

No matter how small the differences may be in the shape or make of the generics vs. branded medicines, it can make a big impact on your finances and your body. Talk to your physician about your prescriptions. Understand which need be branded and which can be substituted. You have a choice, make a wise choice.

10 Things to Help You Improve Your Heart Health

Did you know? One in every third person is killed by a Heart Attack in India. That’s a scary statistic. Here’s another statistic, smoking cigarettes increases your risk to a heart attack by 12 percent! Don’t be a statistic. If you want to lower your risk to heart disease, then here are science-backed ways to improve your heart health.

Listen to Music

Yes! You read that right. Listening to the music you love lowers blood pressure and your heart rate. The tempo matters here so if you are a heavy metal fan that will only increase your blood pressure. Listen to soft, mellow music that relaxes you and calms you down.

Stop Stressing so much

Stress has become the new normal. People easily accept it coming from work, finance, traffic, people relationships. But did you know? All this stress increases your risk of heart disease by 40 percent! If you experience office stress, take the time to reflect on what is causing you stress, identify the triggers and deal with them. You can also reflect on your personal relationships and see if any of those need mending, your love, and support to thrive.

Eat Chocolate

If you are die hard for chocolate, then this must be great news for you! Countless studies reverberate the same notion. Dark chocolate helps you reduce blood pressure. The cocoa in the chocolate is rich in antioxidants and the flavonoid compound helps create more nitric oxide in your body. This element helps your blood walls to relax and open wider. That’s how you lower blood pressure.

Drink Protein Shakes

Whey protein is plant protein and consuming 56gm a day of protein improves our heart health. It reduces the risk of heart attack by 8 percent. Now that’s a good chunk, considering how delicious and healthy your breakfast shakes will be when you add fresh or frozen fruit along with whey in it.

Go Easy on the Salt

If you like salty foods or too much salt in your sabzi then you need to think twice. Excess salt in your blood causes damage to your blood vessels, constricting them this increases the blood pressure, giving you high BP. There is sodium in salt and high sodium consumption is a major red flag for your heart. Ditch processed foods with sodium and eat fresh food sprinkled with natural salt.

Stay Hydrated

When your body is deprived of fluids, especially water, your heart has to work double time to make up for it. Your heart’s job is to pump blood in and out of your blood vessels to remove toxins and purify your blood. You need to stay hydrated by drinking more water every day. If you do workout, then it’s even more important to hydrate. Sip water instead of gulping down water only after meals. Bonus point? Water helps your skin, hair and fights bad breath too. It’s good for you in every other way.

Be Heart Strong with Running

Running is great for your heart health. If you ever thought of running as an exercise, then this is your cue to do it today. When you run, if improves your coronary arteries’ flexibility. This boosts the blood flow. Therefore, no lumps are formed in your arteries. Blocked arteries lead to heart attack. You don’t have to run 20 kilometers every day. Walking is just as good.

Have more Sex!

Sex can tire you out, it can excite you, increase your heart rate and blood pressure, but the great thing about sex is that it reduces the risk of heart disease by 50 percent because of all the happy hormones released by having sex. These hormones help you relax, reduce stress, improve relationships and help you get better sleep.

Get Adequate ZZZZs

Sleep deprivation contributes to high blood pressure, and that contributes to increased risk of heart disease too. You can stay active all day and go to sleep at least by 10.15 pm to get a full night’s rest. Improve our sleeping environment by dimming the lights, keeping away from smart devices and installing heavy curtains to block out external heat and light.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure

The wearable revolution has made this so easy for you. Check it as often as you can remember and see if it goes above 120/80. After the age of 35, you have to schedule and learn your numbers with a full physical checkup. This should raise a flag and you must go see your doctor to discuss your options.

 

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!