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.

 

Who Says Vegetarians Can’t Get Enough Proteins?

Since the historic time of Home Sapiens, the human species is used to getting their dose of nutrients and proteins by feeding on other animals and creatures. But over the years, things changed. We, humans, became more aware of our health and the food we intake to keep our bodies fit. Due to our concern for the environment and other species, and our love for animals, vegetarianism and veganism are becoming increasingly popular among the masses. However, a lot of critics claim that a purely meatless diet is not as nutritious, one of the major reasons being the lack of proteins in it.

Protein as a nutrient is essential for the human body. Having healthy hair, skin and muscles all depends majorly on the amount of protein your body receives. A deficiency of protein in the body can lead to various problems such as fatigue, muscle weakness, hair loss, etc. So how can we stick to our personal food preferences and yet ensure that we achieve optimal health for our body? Worry not, because this is definitely possible even without including meat in your diet! As opposed to the popular myth that vegetarians will always face a lack of nutrients for their body, choosing the right kind of food can keep you healthy. Here are some of the food items that are purely vegetarian and still contain high amounts of proteins and vitamins:

Nuts

The easiest answer for proteins for vegetarians is nuts. Right from almonds and cashews to peanuts and hazelnuts, all kinds of nuts can be consumed at any time of the day and are rich in nutrients. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein with 4 gm per tablespoon. All you need to do is watch the salt if you consume these on a regular basis. Choose regular instead of salted to keep the sodium intake low.

Lotus Seeds or Makhana

A food item which is catching up on the popularity meter is Makhana. With tasty versions of it being introduced in the market, Lotus seeds are a great source of nutrients for the body. Along with being rich in protein they are anti-inflammatory and act as a great antioxidant. You can eat them raw, roasted, ground or boiled and can also add them to soups, salads, and also desserts.

Dairy

If you are a vegan, this section will not be applicable to you but if you are not, CHEESE is the answer to everything! Cottage cheese, cheddar, parmesan, they all are high in protein and can be eaten in all forms. Low sodium parmesan makes it to the protein heavyweight category with 42 gm in a 100 gm serving. Other products falling in the dairy category such as milk and ice cream also provide the body with a lot of protein, along with calcium.

Beans

Rajma chawal or beans on a pile of cheese nachos, whatever be the form, as long as you’re having beans, you know that your body is receiving a wealth of proteins. Black beans have the most proteins so try to include them in your diet as often as possible. Low in cholesterol and high in magnesium, half a cup of beans yields up to 7.5 gm of protein.

Soy

Soy is another food item packed with protein and is considered as a great alternative for meat by a lot of chefs. Tofu, tempeh, natto or soy milk, whichever form of soy suits your pallet, you know that it is going to be healthy. Tofu contains an impressive 20 gm of protein in every half cup, whereas soy beans have 14 gm per half cup.

Quinoa

Catching up soon into the world of good food, quinoa is another food item which chefs are eyeing and incorporating in new recipes. This tiny little seed is the only seed that provides all the nine essential amino acids which the body needs. It is rich in magnesium, iron and fibre and is a great resort for those suffering from diabetes. It can easily be chosen as a healthy substitute for pasta or rice.

So the next time someone gets to your head about the lack of protein your diet, you do not have to worry about it. With appropriate ingredients in the good proportions in your diet, you know that you are doing it right!

Don’t let stress beat you. Here’s how to live above it

By Uday Patil
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stressfreeWe live in stressful times. We put up with heavy workloads and battle with deadlines. By the time we come home and it is time to dine, we don’t feel that excited about it anymore. Sleep doesn’t come easy and the morning starts with a rush to reach office on time. Continuing such a lifestyle is bad for your heart and head. The only resources we have are our health and the 24 hours of a day to handle the needs of survival.

So, what does it mean to be stressed?

Stress is a response of the nervous system to situations that seem beyond one’s control. It is the internalised result of external overloads. The clinical meaning of stress refers to a situation that disturbs a person’s mental health. This may lead to other mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. Continue reading Don’t let stress beat you. Here’s how to live above it

Beat the Monday blues. Here’s how you could do it

image courtesy: thedoctorscloset.com
image courtesy: thedoctorscloset.com

Let’s face it: Monday hits all of us sometimes. While there are many gurus, motivators and thinkers who say that if we really love our work there should be no such thing as Monday blues, for regular walking-talking folks out there work is not always the biggest draw, day in and day out. After the weekend, especially if you have a life outside of the office (which is a great thing by the way), getting back to your desk on Mondays can be bit of a drag. Mondays come with its own pitfalls: demanding bosses, deadlines, goals (some of it too abstract to make sense), swipe-ins and swipe-outs, lunch hours etc…. basically a set of rules we program ourselves to follow, but are not really keen on. With a salary staring at us from the end of the tunnel, the whole problem is harder to deal with for some of us. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to fight Mondays as much as we generally have to? Here’s a quick guide to easing out the Mondays blues and welcoming the week with some semblance of joie de vivre:

If it is too bad, review what you are doing

First things first. If getting back to work on Monday pulls you down so badly that you cannot function without feeling depressed consistently, week after week, the problem is more serious than just Monday blues. It needs fixing. It is a sign that you are unhappy at work. Make a list of things that are not letting you function like yourself, and address them. If you are not yourself, you can’t function normally. This could, in really serious cases, could be a sign of depression. You need to find out what is bothering you and take proactive action to beat your blues. The usual Monday blues don’t hit you consistently. The sign of regular Monday blues is that you are aware of it. It should not cripple you. If it does, see a therapist. Continue reading Beat the Monday blues. Here’s how you could do it

15 foods you should eat to lose weight (…and this isn’t some spam in your inbox)

image courtesy: publicradio.org
image courtesy: publicradio.org

Weight loss need not be a sudden cut in calorie intake and an intensive workout that leaves you overworked and exhausted. Just like alternative therapies have popularised in recent times, people are now switching to eating more meals per day (obviously smaller ones) to maintain a high metabolic rate and lower BMI (body-mass index) to stay in shape.

The thumb rules are: never skip your breakfast; take it easy on the diet. Eat when you feel hungry. Don’t starve to lose calories. In fact, studies say, when we go on starvation mode, our bodies tend to convert sugar into fats to keep the body going for hours without food. This increases the chances of obesity. So take it easy. Workout for an hour everyday and eat right when you feel it.  Here’s your guide to the superfoods that boost weight loss. Continue reading 15 foods you should eat to lose weight (…and this isn’t some spam in your inbox)