Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do you go to the gym everyday?

Most of us, sign up for the gym and then forget about it in a few weeks. But what about the word 'regular' in the phrase regular exercise ??

What can we do to include exercise on a regular basis?

Choose morning workouts- so that we don’t have excuses or other diversions which usually crop up in the later part of the day. We're done with our daily activity dose right in the morning. Not to mention that its easier to burn fat on an empty stomach. Also when we kick start the day with exercise our metabolic rate increases i.e. we'll continue to use up more energy. Great for the weight watchers.

Have Variety - Having more than one interests helps you in choosing alternate activities. So that if you can't swim because of winters, at least you can play cricket in the sun. Don’t hesitate to try new activities.

Enjoy it- Choose an activity which you enjoy, so that you look forward to it the next day. You should be eager to participate.

Don't exercise, do fun-cercise!!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do you know him?

I'll share the story of Mr. X today.

He is a charming and hard working guy. He rushes to office by 8 a.m. and is back at home only by 9 p.m. He uses his time on his way home by typing mails on his BB. Office stress doesn’t bother him. He just needs to get a smoke to think through it.

Often, he gets late so he eats before leaving for home. Mc Donald's, Dominoes, Pizza hut and coffee day are nearby so he generally goes there. Cheesy burger and pizzas are his favorites.

Weekends are for fun, so he goes clubbing. He drinks and dances like there's no tomorrow. His philosophy of life is "you have only one life, so live it to the fullest".

One day Mr. X got a heart attack.

He's 35 years old.

Do you know who this guy is?

He's the face of new urban India. Fraught by sickness and anxiety.
Heart attacks and related conditions are becoming increasingly common among people as young as 30. These can be prevented, simply by an improvement in our lifestyle.

Take MERA solution

M-Move around: Exercise regularly. It helps in fighting off the bad cholesterol in the body, helps in regulating weight and keeping heart disease at bay.

E-Eat Healthy: Watch what you eat. At least half of your plate should be full of vegetables and fruits. Try whole foods and avoid sugary and overly processed foods.


R-Rest properly: Sleep is important for health. It rejuvenates our body and provides relief from the stressful work of the day. Stress is one of the major causes of early onset of heart problems


A-Avoid alcohol and cigarettes: Apart from heart attacks they can lead to Liver diseases and Cancer.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Treasure your bones

If you ever had a fracture, you know how painful it is. That itch, discomfort, missed school/college/work and fun activities…it’s a total let down. Now imagine, someone fracturing his/her bones (thigh, arms, hip, wrists) every other day!! Unfortunately, this condition is fairly common (especially in old age) and is medically known as osteoporosis or osteomalacia.

Are you prone?
Yes, if :
1. You are White or Asian
2. Have a small frame
3. Have a family history
4. Have crossed menopause
5. Suffering from amenorrhea
6. Are malnourished or have a history of serious malnourishment in growth years (childhood & adolescence)
7. Smoking and drinking
8. Using steroids

Prevention of this condition does not require any elaborate measures. Healthy diet and regular exercise is the key.

Nutrients in focus
Calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D are the main requirements for bone health. Here are some foods which can be taken in our daily diet.

a. Calcium rich foods
Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt; grains and pulses such as rajmah(kidney beans), bengal gram, soyabean; green leafy vegetables e.g. fenugreek or methi, amaranth, agathi, collards, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, broccoli

b. Phosphorus rich foods
Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, Milk and milk products, tofu and leavened breads.
Most protein rich foods will also have good amounts of phosphorus.

c. Vitamin D rich foods
Fish liver oils, egg yolk, liver, oysters and dairy products.
Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium & phosphorus and is required for bone formation.

None of them should be taken in excess and so, the supplements should be taken under medical supervision only.

Exercise
Weight bearing activities strengthen the bones, hence brisk walking, jogging, dancing, hiking, cycling and weight lifting are a few good options for optimal bone health.
Keeping a good posture is not only favourable for looks but it also keep your bones in shape.

If you already have osteoporosis, then consult your doctor for appropriate activity advice.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Feeling tired all the time?

Do you feel lethargic even after having a good night's sleep?
Do you get tired easily no matter what you do? Do you have difficulty concentrating? Has your friend/collegue/spouse commented that you have been looking pale these day?

Chances are that you might be suffering from deficiency of iron.

What is Iron?
It is an essential mineral which serves diverse functions in the body. Since its required in small amounts, it is a 'micronutrient'.

Why is iron important?
1. It is required in the blood cells for oxygen transport. Its deficiency causes anemia.
2. It is important for the development of the fetal brain.
3. Necessary for immune health.
4. It is required for producing energy in cells.
5. It is a constituent of our muscle protein 'myoglobin' and helps in storing oxygen in the muscles.
6. It’s a part of various enzymes in the body.


What foods to eat?
Include these in your diet: Liver, eggs, whole wheat flour, bajra, soyabeans, chickpeas, lentils, mustard greens, radish leaves, Dry kamal kakdi (lotus stem), water melon, phalsa, seetaphal/ sharifa (custard apple), pineapple, pomegranate juice.


For good iron absorption in the body
1. Avoid tea -at least 30 min. to 2 hours after a meal.
2. Include acidic foods- lemon juice, orange juice, guavas (rich in vit.C) etc. in your meal.
3. Make sprouts- Germination of whole foods like moong (green gram dal),chana (gram)etc. increases the absorption of iron in the gut.
4. Fermentation- to make foods like idli, dhokla, bread etc. will improve the quality of iron
5. Avoid cooking red meat at high temperatures for long periods of time. It reduces the available iron.

New researches have indicated a relation between obesity and poor iron absorption. Another reason to watch the scale!

A word of caution
Before popping the pill, see your doctor. Supplements are to be taken only under medical care. Iron overload or Hemochromatosis is the condition where abnormally high amounts of iron are stored in the body and may lead to diabetes, cancer, liver problem, heart disease and weak bones.

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For more info:
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09356.html
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/iron/#h3
http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html
http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ars.2007.1893