• December 05, 2012
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Healthy eating at young age - Benefit for lifetime

Experts say that unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity are root cause for the development of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, strokes and heart diseases in children. These are carried over to the adulthood. This is a worldwide problem. Studies show that diseases due to over weight have tripled in the past 30 years. Lack of healthy eating, which can lead to obesity is also causing social and emotional problems in school going children and in teens.

T.V., video games, computer and mobile phones have become only spare time activities for most of the children.  It has a major impact on their present and future health.    Research shows that children who watch more T.V. are more likely to become obese due to excessive intake of snacks and lack of physical exercise.
Parents and care takers should encourage healthy eating habits as they are laid between the ages of 2 to 10 years. Promoting healthy eating in children requires a lot of patience from the parents, mainly from working parents, who cannot afford to spend enough time with the children. Some of the hints for better health are:

  • Limit fatty and sugary snacks. Promote healthy proteins, whole grains and a wide       variety of fruits and vegetables as part of every meal.
  • Eating meals together with the family makes it more interesting for children and also parents, as they get to know the preferences of the children.
  • Discourage eating meals while watching T.V.
  • Avoid stuffing and encourage them to eat slowly.
  • Avoid rewarding children with unhealthy snacks.
  • Encourage outdoor games or any kind of physical activity at least for an hour.
Parents own eating habits will have a greater impact on growing children.   Therefore, change should begin from the parents as children establish healthy habits from parents only.
  • December 05, 2012
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Enjoying holidays without affecting heart health

Celebrating festivals and holidays with friends and family and with lots of mouth-watering, delicious food is overwhelming. Studies show that the average holiday weight gain is around 2 to 3 pounds. This might accumulate over the years, and the outcome might be scary, especially with heart patients.

Studies suggest that by following simple steps, we can cut down the extra holiday weight and also stay heart healthy.
Prioritize Your Workouts: Making time for exercise without disturbing other activities during holidays is important. If allotting separate time is not possible then taking night walks, trekking, engaging in outdoor activities and games with family, friends and kids can be entertaining and also help in burning extra calories.
Healthy Eating: Following healthy cooking and healthy diet are important not only for maintaining weight but also health. Sticking to a low fat, low calorie and high fibre diet is essential for the healthy heart. Salads with a low fat dressing, fruits and vegetables, pasta made out of whole grain, fish, poultry and lean meat are better choices for the health. Avoiding solid fat and rich gravy items is always advised. Most importantly, eating in smaller servings helps in maintaining good health during the holiday season.
Selection of Beverages: Sugary drinks add a lot of calories and do not satisfy hunger. Unsweetened ice tea, hot spiced tea and coffee instead of aerated drinks, cocoa, apple cider and eggnog are better choices. Limiting the alcohol intake is extremely important during parties and gatherings.
Dessert Choices: Saying no may not be easy at the dinner table with family and friends. So, best way to reduce calories on desserts is having small servings like a thin slice of cake or a small bite of cookie. Opting for low sugar or sugar free desserts is always better.     
Enjoying family and also managing health can easily be achieved by strategically planning the holidays. 
  • November 07, 2012
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Exercise for aged to reduce the risk of dementia

It is the common perception of elderly people that exercise is not meant for them. Many think that it is too strenuous and harms them at that age. This was proved wrong by researchers from Edinburgh University. The research published by American Heart Association journal Stroke, studied 638 aged people whose brain scans showed that those who are more physically active has less vascular related Dementia (mental deterioration of organic or functional origin) and brain shrinkage.

As the age advances, the functional units of the brain called neurons decline leading to decrease in the grey matter of the brain. Grey matter is the nervous tissue of cerebral cortex that helps in thinking ability. Shrinkage in the cerebral cortex leads to a disease condition called Dementia. Doctors in Europe indicated that elderly people, who are involved in any kind of physical activity, at least for 90 minutes a week, have lower risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (Impaired memory followed by impaired thought and speech).

Physical activity makes sure that enough oxygen and nourishment is supplied to the brain by improving the vascular activity. This keeps the brain cells active and functional for longer time. Regular exercise provides many health benefits, also decreases other age related diseases like blood pressure, diabetes and osteoarthritis, which will have indirect effect on the mental ability. Exercise also improves the ability to cope with age related stress. While aging cannot be avoided, why not make it better and enjoyable with smaller changes in life style and with some sort of physical activity.

  • November 06, 2012
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Proteins - the fuel you need to run the body

Proteins are complex biomolecules composed of chains of amino acids. They are necessary for the healthy growth, maintenance and repair of tissues. Proteins play a vital role in several physiological activities performed by human body. They form an integral part of skin, bone, muscle, ligaments and tendons. Haemoglobin of blood, enzymes, hormones, antigens and antibodies are made of proteins either completely or partially.
Unlike carbohydrates and lipids, proteins cannot be stored inside the body. They are supplemented through daily meals. The need of dietary proteins depends on total calorie consumption. 10 to 35 per cent of daily calorie intake from proteins is recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.
Proteins are differentiated in to complete and incomplete proteins based on the presence of essential amino acids. Complete proteins obtained from animal sources contain all 9 essential amino acids, whereas, incomplete proteins, obtained from plant sources lack some of the essential amino acids. Both of them are equally important.
Some of the sources of complete proteins are meat, egg, poultry, fish, seafood and dairy product, soy products and tofu. Sources of incomplete proteins include lentils, beans, whole grains, peas, nuts, seeds, algae, seaweeds and green vegetables. Though wide varieties of dietary proteins are available, selection of proper supplement is very important as most of the animal sources are associated with cholesterol and unhealthy saturated fat.
Insufficient protein intake leads to conditions like oedema, muscle and bone weakness and skin ulcers. Research shows that protein rich diet helps in curing obesity and in building lean muscle. So, it is time now to enhance our health with protein rich diet.

  • November 05, 2012
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Lemon for more than just your thirst

Did you ask for an extra dash of lemon syrup on your chicken curry today? Or your pohas taste nothing interesting without the sprinkle of lemon on top? And did you not have a glass of limbu sherbat on your way to office today?

If you feel guilty of having done most of the above events, pat yourself. For you are in for doing some good to your health. Lets sneak into the benefits of asking lemon to accompany your meals and snacks.

Are you vulnerable to high blood pressure? Dash in some lemon for its high potassium content could get peace for your mind and body. Lemon would also help you control the risk of heart diseases as well as prevent nausea and dizziness.

Lemon's ability to help stomach rehabilitate to be able to lose the extra kilos on it is also wellknown. A few drops of lemon with early morning dark tea alongside honey to a glass of lemon juice to vanish you stomach aches or digestion problems are commonly suggested solutions around. And they do work!

Lemon is also your remedy to glowing skin. So substitute all those chemicals and expensive cosmetics and try some lemon in your diet. Lemon will help you itching throat as well!

Lemon's multi-abilities that are mentioned above come from these ingredients that constitute to its being:

  • Vitamin C (glowing skin, anti-ageing properties)
  • Antibacterial properties (sore throat)
  • Potassium content (blood pressure, heart related risks)
  • Content with digestive properties
  • November 02, 2012
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Unique health hazards faced by women smokers

We all know that smoking is hazardous and affects the overall health of both men and women. But the recent studies show that women are at higher risk of many unique health problems than men due to smoking. Recent study shows that quitting smoking before reaching middle age can increase their life span by ten years. A study conducted in U.K. on more than a million women, who included smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers, aged between 50 and 69 years, followed up for next 12 years, showed that smokers are twice likely to die earlier than non-smokers and deaths occurred were caused by smoking related diseases like cardiac problems ,lung cancers and strokes.

Though health risks due to smoking are same for both men and women, certain unique smoking related health problems are encountered by women, such as:

  • Women smokers who use contraceptives are at higher risk of heart attacks. Increased heart problems might be due to the interaction of toxins in smoke and estrogens.
  • Bone density loss and osteoporosis.
  • Higher risk of cervical, vulvar and breast cancers.
  • Leads to delayed child-birth, infertility, miscarriage and early menopause.
  • Smoking during pregnancy causes premature delivery and neo-natal deaths.
  • Smoking damages the appearance of face and gives saggy look to the skin due to loss of elasticity.

Smokers not only damage their health but also put the health of people surrounding them at risk, especially children. Researchers say that “it is never too late to quit smoking”. There are several quit smoking programmes, behavioural therapies and medications available to help smokers quit smoking successfully.

  • October 30, 2012
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Enhanced emotional and physical health by exercise

Compared to olden days, physical activity in our daily routine has tremendously reduced. Most of the domestic chores which were done manually are performed by machines today. With modern conveniences, human body is getting very little exercise. Even children, who used to spend most of the time playing outdoors, are confining themselves to T.V. and Computer. It was accepted by World Health Organisation that sedentary life style is the basic reason for the increase of chronic diseases and premature deaths. Evidences show that people who are involved in a daily physical activity, not only have enhanced physical health, but also are emotionally healthier than sedentary people.

  • Enhanced Health Benefits: Physical activity reduces the risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, strokes and hypertension. Regular exercise improves muscle and bone strength and accelerates immune system. It also helps in gaining attractive, toned body.
  • Enhanced Emotional Benefits: Physical activity increases the ability to handle stress, anxiety and depression. It improves concentration, increases self-esteem, develops positive attitude, helps in improving social life, and ensures sleep and relaxation. It also provides an opportunity to escape from daily routine for a short while.

Studies show that all these mentioned benefits could be achieved, irrespective of age and gender, on spending at least 30 minutes on any kind of severe physical activity. As many scientists have confirmed that physical activity is the best treatment for well-being of both body and mind, then why not make some time for it in our daily routine.

  • October 17, 2012
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Water, A Heavenly drink

Water is a wonder drink that keeps all the living organisms alive. The unique physical and chemical properties of water make it very special. It was found that man can live without food for many days but cannot survive more than three days without water. Water plays an important role in overall maintenance of the body.

Studies show that 2\3 of the body and 83% of the blood has water. We normally hear from different sources that a healthy person needs to drink at least 2 to 3 litres per day. But so far, no one could scientifically recommend any specific amount of water intake required by an individual, per day. Consumption of water depends on several factors like weather, physical activity, health conditions, age and fat content of the body. Pregnant and nursing women need more water to replenish the fluid loss.

Water plays a vital role in keeping us alive. Some of its functions are

  • Protects from dehydration.
  • Maintains body temperature.
  • Maintains the consistency of the blood and constant body fluid levels.
  • Plays an important role in several biochemical reactions.
  • Lubricates skin, mucus membrane and joint.
  • Functions as a medium in the process of digestion.
  • Helps in transportation of minerals and end products of digestion to different parts
  • of the body.
  • Expels excess salts and helps in maintaining constant blood pressure.
  • Reduces urinary infections and constipation.
  • Helps in weight loss.

Apart from all these functions, the kind of satisfaction and refreshment a glass of cool and clean water gives cannot be equated with any other drink.

  • October 15, 2012
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Unique role of Vitamin D and its sources

Vitamin-D is a fat soluble vitamin. It is produced by the skin of the body from cholesterol on exposure to UV B rays of the sun. Because of which, it is also referred to as Sunshine Vitamin. Studies show that 5 to 30 minutes of exposure to sun, two times a week, based on the intensity of sun and age of the individual is sufficient to produce required Vitamin D by the human body.

The two important forms of this vitamin are Ergocalciferol (Vit.D2), synthesised by plants and Cholecalciferol (Vit.D3), synthesised by animals. Calcitriol, an active form of D3 is well known as steroid hormone, plays a vital role in regulating functions of many organ systems. Vitamin D helps in absorption of Calcium, Phosphate and Magnesium. Insufficient exposure to sun leads to deficiency. It causes Rickets (deformity of bones) in children and Osteomalacia (softening of bones) in adults. Elderly people, infants, house bound individuals, strict vegetarians and vegans, dark skinned people and those who live in continuous cloudy weather are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency. Research shows that its deficiency also affects diseases like cancer, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and disorders of immune system.

Vitamin D can be supplemented to overcome the deficiency. Food and Drug Administration of US recommends 400 units per day to an adult individual. Food sources of this vitamin are limited unlike other vitamins. Some of the rich sources are:

  • Plant sources: Alfalfa, raw white mushrooms, some fungi, fortified grain cereals, plant based milks like soy milk and rice milk and fortified orange juice.
  • Animal sources: Milk and other dairy products, whole egg, fish liver oil or cod liver oil, salt water fishes like Herring, Salmon, Sardines, Tunas Mackerel, Eel and beef liver.

A heavy dose of this vitamin leads to toxicity. So care should be taken as both deficiency and over dosage causes severe problems.

  • May 18, 2012
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Danger Signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) or Sudden Death has been in the news recently as there have been few shocking incidents in the football field. Let's see what are the danger signs of this sudden cardiac death. 

  1. Abnormal heart rate.
  2. Occurances of fainting due to unknown cause. 
  3. An unusually rapid heart rate that comes and goes even though the person is at rest. 
  4. A low heart pumping rate or ejection fraction. A healthy heart has ejection fraction of 55% or more, where as heart at highest risk of SCA have ejection fraction less than 40%

 

  • October 12, 2011
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Smart Bandages for Incessant Wounds

Melbourne researchers have developed 'Smart Bandage' which changes color depending on the temperature of the skin beneath. Now it can be a powerful tool for treating wounds and monitoring infections. This was developed by Monash University team. Louise van der Werff, a PhD student said the Smart Bandage will help in the quicker treatment of chronic wounds.  

Temperature sensitive fibers mixed in the bandage can sense temperature variations of less than 0.5 of a degree. The research project was led by Robin Cronston. He said "Having the ability to collect a broader range of data on a wound's status will have a significant impact on the understanding of chronic wounds and how best to treat them."

  • September 15, 2011
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Diabetic Patients Are Increasing at an Alarming Rate

Statistical surveys conducted by the renowned Imperial College and Harvard Universities of London have come up with the fact that the number of people who are falling victims to Diabetes have doubled recently. They have revealed that diabetic patients have increased from 15.30crores to 34.70crores which is really alarming.
They have come to this conclusion based on the surveys that were conducted in several countries. The delay in diagnosing this problem at the very early stages and not being able to administer the right treatment is one of the main causes for this frightening rate of increase. Experts reveal that extreme rise in body sugar levels can even be fatal. Absence of regular control of blood sugar levels can disrupt the working of your kidney; which in turn may cause blindness; uncontrolled diabetics can also lead to heart complications and even brain death.
Diabetes is of mainly two kinds, namely Type I and Type II Diabetes. Generally ninety percent of the diabetic victims belong to the Type II Diabetes the main culprit of which is obesity. Other main causes of Type II Diabetes include your life style, food habits and hereditary factors. When compared to America, the numbers of diabetic victims in Western Europe are considerably lower.