Category Archives: Healthy Tips

Foods for for healthy hair & scalf

Salmon : It contains vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. This omega-3 fatty acid is very much essential to keep your scalp and hair shaft very well hydrated. As healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, get in more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

Beef :If you don’t have cholesterol problems, then you must consume this meat at least twice a day. This food has all the possible nutrients that your hair needs for its up keep. The presence of protein, vitamin B, iron, zinc and other vital minerals will help to maintain the health of your scalp and hair.Though it is rich in nutrients, the consumption of beef should be minimum to avoid other health problems.

Prunes: Including prunes in your diet can help to improve your hair texture as well as proper bowl movements. As it is rich in iron, it helps prevent hair loss, dull hair, thin hair, and discoloration of your hair.

Green tea : The presence of polyphenols helps in keeping your scalp healthy. If your scalp is healthy, then the overall health of your hair improves, as it helps to keep your hair shiny and dandruff free. To treat your dandruff problem with this miraculous tea. Wash your hair with green tea or apply it on your scalp which will help to kill your dandruff worries.

Carrots: Carrots not only help to sharpen your vision but also to maintain the health of your hair due to the presence of vitamin A. Existence of vitamin A helps in formation of sebum oil in the scalp. Sebum is a very important element which helps to keep the scalp and hair very well moisturized. A moisturized scalp means healthy hair.

Eggs: Eggs are rich in biotin and vitamin B. These two nutrients are very important for the health and maintenance of your hair. Biotin is a star element, which helps to keep your hair shiny and lustrous. Biotin is also present in many shampoos and conditioners and is one of the important elements needed for hair health.

Dark green leafy vegetables: Include lots of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and lettuces in your diet. All these dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin A and Vitamin C. Both these vitamins help in the formation of sebum, which is a natural hair conditioner and hence moisturizes your skin and scalp.

Brown rice:  Brown rice has some protein, vitamins and fiber. Besides giving you healthy hair and scalp, it also keeps you from over eating as it keeps you full for a longer time. Hence, switch to brown rice now to maintain your hair as well as your body.

Oysters: Hair loss or dandruff is due to low level of hormone androgen production. Include oysters in your diet as they are rich in zinc, which further helps in the production of androgen and hence fights against hair fall and dandruff. Besides, it also helps your locks retain shine and health.

Walnuts : Walnuts are one of the best nuts for your hair nourishment and maintenance. As they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, vitamin E and copper they protect your hair against damage from the sun by being a shield when you venture out; they also prevent hair loss and help keep your hair lustrous and rich in color.

Cottage cheese: Besides it being low-fat, cottage cheese is also rich in calcium and protein. Include this healthy cheese for breakfast if your goal is to get rid of dull hair and shed some extra kilos at the same time.

Green peas: Green peas are a well balanced food available for healthy hair. They are loaded with all types of minerals and vitamins like zinc, iron and vitamin B, which help in maintaining the health of your hair and scalp.

Lentils: If you really want healthy hair and scalp, then include lentils in your diet at least 3-4 times a week, because, Lentils are rich in folic acid. Presence of folic acid helps in providing the requisite amount of oxygen to your scalp and skin, which further promotes hair growth and cell renewal.

Bell peppers: Include all colors of bell peppers in your diet as they are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C guarantees efficient transition of oxygen to hair follicles. Besides, it also helps in the formation of collagen and promotes hair growth and prevents hair breakage.

Whole grains; Whole grains are rich in nutrients and fibers. This promotes hair growth and makes it a super food for healthy hair. Besides, it also aids good digestion and prevents ailments like diabetes, obesity and constipation.

Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which when consumed gets converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A prevents dull scalp and hair and promotes growth and proper circulation of oxygen to the hair follicle.

Blueberries: This super fruit is loaded with vitamin C, which helps in oxygen circulation to the scalp and hair follicles, and prevents hair breakage.

Bacon: Though it is an enemy if you want to kick some calories, but if you want healthy hair then you should consume not more than 4 ounces. It is loaded with all healthy hair promoting nutrients like vitamin B, zinc and protein.

Shrimps: Shrimps are not only delicious but also a great doctor for your dull hair and scalp. Shrimps are loaded with vitamin B12, iron and zinc, all of which prevent hair loss and promote growth and maintenance.

Pumpkin seeds:  Pumpkin seeds are a perfect hair rejuvenating snack. They’re good for overall health, as they are loaded with protein, omega-6 fatty acids, zinc and iron.

Resource:
The Times Of India, Feb22,2013

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Exercise on an Empty Stomach is good or bad

There is a misconception that if exercising without “fuel” you’ll burn more fat and calories. Turns out that this is actually probably not the best decision. According to the fitness experts at sparkpeople.com, if you do this, then “your body does not have enough adequate fuel to workout at it’s optimum level.” Here’s some more information about exercising on an empty stomach from Spark People‘s Exercise Tip of the Day.

Question: I heard that when you exercise on an empty stomach (such as first thing in the morning) you’ll burn more fat. Is this true?

Expert Answer:
In the morning, your body has gone 8+ hours since eating or drinking anything. Your blood sugar levels are lower at this point, and your body doesn’t have adequate fuel to workout optimally. Usually, experts recommend eating something–even if it’s just a small snack–within 2 hours before working out. When your body doesn’t have proper fuel in it, many problems can result, the lesser being that your workout performance suffers, and the greater being something like passing out during exercise.

However, every body is different. Some people can workout on an empty stomach with no problems, while others would end up very sick and feel the negative effects of it. When I workout in the morning, I always eat (and drink) something first thing after I wake up. Usually by the time I start my workout it doesn’t hurt my stomach to exercise with a bit of food on it.

Also, I think there might have been a bit of confusion here about metabolic rates in the morning. Eating breakfast in the morning has a positive effect on your metabolism, but exercising on an empty stomach does not. Some people say that it will burn fat stores, but overall, the number of calories your burn during a workout (regardless of where they come from) is much more important. Plus, fat burns in the carbohydrate flame. This means that exercising without eating (such as after “fasting” during sleep) your body does not burn fat efficiently, or sometimes at all.

Of course you should always check with your physician before starting any kind of exercise/workout routine, and try to eat something, like a banana, before hitting the gym or going for a cold, morning jog.

Disadvantages of exercising on empty stomach  exercise…

If you exercise on an empty stomach you’re more likely to get a shorter and less effective workout, due to:
*Unnecessary fatigue
*Lethargy
*Dizziness
*Dehydration

As a result, you burn less calories because you can’t keep going as long as you should have been able to.

It’s also thought that exercising on an empty stomach leads to eating more following the workout, which is counter productive in the end.

Advantages of eating before you workout:
*Helps energise your workout
*Prevents low blood sugars, which can make you feel dizzy, nauseous, and lethargic
*You can exercise more intensely
*Your workout will be more enjoyable overall
*Can boost your recovery time

So, what should you eat before exercise?

In his report, Eating for Peak Performance, Dr Derek Schramm states,

“Low-glycaemic index foods, such as rice, pasta, and bananas, should be consumed before exercise because they are absorbed into the blood stream at a lower rate, which will help sustain energy.

In studying the relationship between carbohydrate and fat metabolism during exercise, exercise physiologists have found that during the first 15 minutes of exercise, carbohydrates help to prime skeletal muscle for efficient fat burning. Thus, eating small amounts of low-glycaemic foods before exercise can help a dieting exerciser to lose fat.”

The bottom line is, we each have to find a system that works for us. You may be fine doing cardio without a meal in the morning, but strength training may require more fuel to really challenge your muscles. The best answer to this is to do what works for you. Don’t go hungry just because you think you’re burning more fat…after all, if you cut it short or lower the intensity because of low energy, how much fat are you burning anyway?

If you do eat before a workout, make sure you give your body time to digest. The larger the meal, the more time you’ll need. But, if you choose a light snack (100-200 calories) and stick with higher carb fare, you can probably exercise after about 30-60 minutes. Pre-workout snack ideas:
•Banana (or other type of fruit)
•Yogurt
•Oatmeal
•Energy bar or gel
•Fruit smoothie
•Sports drink

It is best to have a banana before working out. Some people like to have a cup of tea or coffee before exercising. The caffeine probably helps them to kick-start the regimen. You could carry water and a banana with you while exercising. If you prefer exercising during the day, make sure to schedule it at least two hours after a meal.

Ultimately, it is entirely up to you whether you do your morning workout on an empty stomach, or not.

But, if you have to cut your exercise routine short because your energy levels are so low, it is suggested a small snack beforehand, so you can get the most out of your exercise time.

Resources:

http://exercise.about.com/od/weightloss/f/emptystomach.htm

http://sports4allfoundation.blogspot.com/2011/12/exercising-on-empty-stomach-good-or-bad.html

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130218/jsp/knowhow/story_16573126.jsp

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Herbal tea with honey and cinnamon may act as an elixir of life

Many people love honey, and many people love cinnamon. And when used separately, each has its own healing capabilities. But when the two are mixed together and consumed, magic can happen. Okay, not really magic, but some have called this an “elixir of health and immortality”. But why is this mixture given such a high prestige? Here we will talk about just a few of the great benefits that this mixture can produce for people. The first we will discuss is digestion: honey combined with cinnamon has been shown to speed up digestion, and can help you digest some of those foods that you sometimes struggle with. Next, bad cholesterol: 3 teaspoons of cinnamon mixed with 2 tablespoons of honey and placed in green tea three times a day, and you will see your cholesterol lower in just days.(You may click to see the picture)

 

If you need to lose weight, you can benefit as well. A teaspoon each of honey and cinnamon, cooked with water, drunk twice a day, will help you to prevent fat from building up in the body. Honey and cinnamon can also help you to strengthen your immune system, preventing illnesses from both viruses and bacteria. A few other benefits include help with fatigue, reduction of joint inflammation/arthritis, and prevention of bladder infections. If you suffer from any of these ailments, or simply want to improve your health, do a little research and see if this is the right elixir for you and your needs.

Enhanced by ZemantaResources:hforcare.com

Some Health Advices

No time to exercise :
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Many peaple say that they donot have any time to exercise but everyone (irrespective of age) should do some form of exercise regularly to mainten good health and less sufferings from ailments.There is a saying “people who donot have time to exercise will have much more time to suffer from illness”

Walking or skiping are very good exercises. There are several innovative ways to skip — using one leg, two legs, alternating legs. That makes in interesting.

Continuous stair climbing for 15 minutes, up and down, not 15 times but 15 minutes. One thing one must do to wear good supportive footwear for these activities. You also need to stretch before and after.

Girl aged 16 years has not yet started getting her periods:
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Usually, if the height, weight and other physical characteristics (figure) are normal, you can wait until the age of 18 years to see if she matures. If you are worried, you can do an endocrinology work up and a scan of the pelvic organs. If there is any specific defect, an endocrinologist will be able to treat it.

Cat bites or scratches:
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Cat bites are as dangerous as dog bites because cats can also transmit rabies. If you get bitten by an animal, clean the wound well with soap and water. You need to take a tetanus booster, and anti rabies injections. You need the post exposure schedule, which consists of five injections. The newer vaccines do not hurt, are given in the upper arm (deltoid) and not around the navel or in the buttock. They are available in private clinics, pharmacies and hospitals. You do not have to go to a government hospital.

Back ache:
—————–
Sometimes if the bed or mattress is not ideal — too soft, too hard, lumpy — this can happen. Try sleeping on a mat on the floor for a few days. If this does not help then you need to consult a doctor to evaluate your spine.

To Prevent UTI:
—————

Women tend to develop urinary tract infection (UTI) more frequently than men. The problem is anatomical. The urethra is shorter and has only a single valve. It is situated close to the anal opening where there are a lot of potentially infective bacteria. A few preventive measures will help: drink 3-4 litres of water a day, empty your bladder before and after intercourse and lean backwards while passing urine to reduce the angulation between urethra and bladder.
Click to see the pic

Period pain:
————

You need to consult a gynaecologist and get an ultrasound scan of the pelvis done. If everything is normal, you just need a painkiller like mefenemic acid on the days that you have pain. If there is anything wrong, the gynaecologist will be able to advice you.

If there are no abnormalities, pain during periods will reduce with regular exercise.

Resources: The Telegraph,(Kolkata, India)

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SOME HEALTHY TIPS

HEALTH BENEFITS OF APPLE CIDER VINEGER….
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In India, Ayurvedic physicians prescribe apple cider vinegar in combination with the herb Gotu Kola to help in the revitalizing of the skin. Indians have been known to consume apple cider vinegar in combination with honey to improve digestion.
It contributes greatly to the breaking down of food in the body and also prevents harmful bacteria from multiplying. Even respiratory infections can be kept at bay, sore throats improve, and nasal discharges decrease.

The benefits of apple cider vinegar have been proclaimed by the ancient Egyptians and have been traditionally used by them to treat ailments of all kinds. In fact they believed apple cider acted as a tonic improving the circulation and flow of blood.

Apples are allowed to ferment and this fermented fruit acid, which is loaded with pectin and minerals like potassium, chlorine, magnesium, sodium and calcium, seems to be a panacea. In addition it contains vitamins and beta-carotene. In fact experiments have proved that it contains carbolic acids, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols and acetates also.

It is no wonder than that the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are infinite. Pectin in the apples is a fiber, which attaches itself to cholesterol globules, and when combined with the herb centella aids in getting rid of bad cholesterol and helps in regulating blood pressure.  This fruit acid is often used by some as a final hair-rinse.

A look at how the minerals contribute to the overall health of a person is very fascinating. The potassium present in apple cider vinegar is vital because it helps to remove the excess water and also the toxic waste. The excess of sodium is also drawn out and it helps to regulate blood pressure.
Calcium, which is important for the bones and for combating osteoporosis, is an important constituent of apple cider vinegar. The beta carotene actually is supposed to help people to retain their youth longer as it counters effectively the damage made by free radicals..

The virtues of apple cider vinegar seem to extend itself beyond normal peripheries. Every constituent seems to play an important role. The malic acid and acetic acid present help to combat fungal and bacterial infections and relieves painful joints. The malic acid dissolves the deposits of uric acid, which form around the joints, and slowly pushes the acid deposits out of the body. It seems to even have some effect on viruses.

The amino acids present in apple cider vinegar act as an antibiotic and an antiseptic. It has been known to drastically reduce the toxicity in the body. This is because the acetic acid is able to form acetate compounds, which are not so toxic. This property makes it very useful while treating insect bites and skin allergies.

Arthritis has plagued people for centuries and apple cider combined with centella actually relieves pain due to arthritis. By Strengthening arteries and assisting in healing of wounds, improving skin lesions and reducing the effects of varicose veins, apple cider vinegar has been elevated to the status of a total health benefit product. It reduces stress and tension and revitalizes the body. The health benefits of  apple cider vinegar just cannot be ignored.

Apple cider vinegar speeds up metabolism especially when taken regularly before meals and if used in conjunction with a sensible diet and exercise program it can be a powerful aid in keeping your weight under control.. Apple cider vinegar has less salt, less sugar and less fat, helps in digestion and helps in the metabolism of food. If the metabolic activity increases, then more food is used to get energy and less of it is stored as fat. So if you want to lose weight, use apple cider vinegar.

Possibly what contributes to the all round potency of apple cider vinegar is the number of enzymes and organic acids produced during the 2 fermentations.  apple cider vinegar is claimed to be a  natural multi vitamin and mineral treasure house. Even Hippocrates—the father of medicine acknowledged the wonderful healing properties of apple cider vinegar.  ~ author Lata Batra..

HEALTH BENEFITS OF FLAXSEED OIL………..
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Flaxseed oil contains lignans, which can be used to counter hormone related problems and ward off the ill effects of certain, bacteria and fungi. Studies, which have been conducted show that the health benefits of flaxseed oil are extensive. It controls high blood pressure, helps to lower cholesterol and guards against heart disease. Flaxseed oil also protects against angina and could prevent a second heart attack. The health benefits of flaxseed oil also extend to combating inflammation due to gout, lupus and also inflammation in the joints and kidneys. Flaxseed oil reduces the intensity of joint pain and also reduces joint swelling. The omega 3 acids present in flaxseed oil helps to absorb the iodine and this is very useful in treating conditions where this element is present in small amounts.

Surprisingly, flaxseed oil is also useful in controlling constipation. The dietary fiber content in the oil is considerable and helps to ease bowel movements. As it has been known to combat inflammation, it is useful in repairing any intestinal tract damage. It has been known to keep those gallstones at bay and sometimes dissolve existing stones.

Problems associated with the skin have a ready remedy in flaxseed oil. The EFAs target the sites of inflammation and brings about an overall soothing. Acne, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn and rosacea have all been known to respond favorably to flaxseed oil. The omega 3 acids ensure healthy hair and nails and it also helps to revitalize skin and prevents nails from cracking and breaking.

Flaxseed oil helps to reduce the severity of nerve damage and also aids in the triggering of nerve impulses. As it nourishes the nerve, it may possibly be of some use in the treating of Parkinson’s disease. It helps to combat the effects of aging and the lignans present in the oil guard against cancer. Sprains and bruises heal faster on the application of flaxseed oil. Another important area where it is of great help is the brain. The omega 3 fatty acids help retain emotional health of a person, helping to tackle depression and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. Used externally, it can soften dry skin. The gel of flaxseed has been used as a poultice on injured areas in many Indian homes.. In fact, rural India  has been advocating the use of flaxseed oil for quite a long time.

The oil is used in cooking and is ingested in the capsule form for various other disorders. 2-3 grams of flaxseed oil is good although no side effects have been detected with people who consume more. Flaxseeds themselves can be crushed and used along with beverages, bread and other baked products. The oil should however be kept away from heat and light. In the light of so many advantages, it actually seems worthwhile to do away with vegetable oils and replace it with flaxseed oil. The health benefits afforded by flaxseed oil almost makes it out to be a miracle oil. ~ author Lata Batra..

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

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Learn to Walk

Do you know how to walk? Of course, most people would say, everyone knows how to walk; it is as instinctive as breathing. The comparison is apt — just like many people breathe inefficiently, in today’s increasingly motorised world many have forgotten how to walk. If you look around, you will see that by the time people reach their fifties, they either waddle with a sideways swaying movement or have a forward shuffling gait. This unnatural way of walking pushes the spine, hip and knees out of alignment, eventually resulting in aches, pains and even degenerative arthritis.

As we grow older, we need to concentrate on maintaining a proper walking technique. Slouching, bad posture and an improper gait are avoidable pitfalls. Whenever you walk, hold your head high and the neck straight. The eyes should be focused 15-20 feet ahead, the chin held parallel to the ground, the stomach pulled in, the feet a shoulder-width apart and the arms should swing naturally at right angles (not across the body).

It is even more important to learn to walk properly as a toddler but cramped housing and an unsafe environment makes fearful parents confine children indoors. Also, early unsteady steps often result in falls, leading to bruises and bumps. Anxious parents then start carrying children or restrict them to prams. Watching television programmes seems safer and less stressful (for the caretaker) than letting tiny tots walk around.

That, however, is not the right attitude. Toddlers attempting to take their first steps need active encouragement. Hold them by the hand and make them walk alongside for around 20 minutes morning and evening. Encourage them to walk fast, run, jump and skip. This will improve muscle tone, balance, coordination as well as make them confident and sturdy. This will help them all through life.

The preparation for a healthy life in which one (barring an unforeseen event) remains active and mobile well into the nineties, should ideally begin in the twenties but it is never too late to start. Even the sixties or the eighties is not too late. These days doctors recommend an hour of aerobic activity a day. Of all the activities — jogging, walking, running swimming, dancing and sports like tennis — walking is the easiest. It does not require much training or equipment, no partner is required, and it is the least likely to cause an injury.

The intensity or speed of the walk can be varied to obtain maximum health benefits. The perception of the intensity of exercise can be misleading. This is why it is important to have an objective assessment. The “target heart rate” should be calculated from the formula 220-age. In light activity, 40 per cent of this heart rate is reached, breathing is normal, sweating is minimal and it is possible to carry on a conversation. In moderate activity, 50-70 per cent of the target heart rate is reached, breathing is rapid, sweating occurs and it is possible to speak but not sing. During vigorous activity 70-80 per cent of the target rate is reached, breathing is rapid and it is not possible to speak without pausing for breath. The intensity of exercise should be gradually built up over a period of months to the “vigorous stage” as this confers the most health benefits.

It is important to wear seamless socks (will not injure the feet) and proper footwear while walking. Slippers slap up against the heel. After many kilometres, this is likely to result in heel pain. Clothes should be loose and made out of natural or “climate controlled” material, not tight fitting synthetic and non sweat absorbing.

In 10-15 per cent of people over the age of 65, walking can result in a pain radiating down the leg or in the buttock or calf. After a period of rest, the pain disappears. This is a condition called intermittent claudication and is caused by poor blood supply to the leg muscles. It can occur in diabetes, hypertension and if cholesterol plaques block the vessels owing to elevated lipids .It can be a precursor to strokes and heart attacks. Intermittent claudication responds 250 per cent within a few months to walking for at least an hour a day with rest whenever the pain arises.

People who walk regularly get an endorphin (mood-elevating chemical) boost. The constant pounding helps calcium enter their bones making them stronger. Recent research has shown that the hippocampus (the area in the brain responsible for memory) expands by as much as 2 per cent in people who walk regularly. In sedentary elders it shrank by 1.5 per cent.

Have a clear aim, like eventually being able to walk for an hour. Make walking a habit, beginning each day with the thought “when I finish my walk,” rather than “if I walk today”. In short, walk to be fit, healthy, happy and to have a good memory.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Lower Your BP, Live Longer

In western countries, the number of people affected by high blood pressure (BP) or hypertension is decreasing. In India, however, the figure is creeping up, albeit marginally (2-3 per cent). This is worrying because, untreated, hypertension may result in complications like a heart attack, heart or kidney failure, tearing of the blood vessels and loss of vision. It can also cause subtle loss of memory and the ability to think clearly.
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BP indicates the force with which the heart pumps blood against the blood vessel. It has two values — an upper or systolic and a lower or diastolic. Values of 120/80 are normal, while 139/89 indicates pre-hypertension and 140/90 or above hypertension. With age, the blood vessels tend to harden, decreasing their pliability. This causes a peculiar type of hypertension where only the upper value is high. About 70 per cent of the population over the age of 60 has this type of systolic hypertension. BP should be measured every two years after the age of 20 and yearly after 40.
Normal BP:->..
The risk of hypertension increases with age, obesity, a family history of high BP, kidney diseases, diabetes, endocrine diseases, smoking, alcohol consumption, medications like corticosteroids, birth control pills or those for losing weight. Narrow abnormally placed blood vessels present from birth can also lead to high BP. If no cause can be detected, it’s called “essential hypertension” and requires medication to prevent complications. Even isolated systolic hypertension requires treatment.

BP is linked to salt intake. A high salt intake results in elevated BP. The effect is even more pronounced in people (around 20 per cent of the population) who are “salt sensitive”.

The recommended salt intake for a normal person is 5gm or 1 teaspoon a day. But the “hidden salt” must also be considered. All food and even drinking water contains varying amounts of natural salt. Sodium (a component of salt) is added to food products in the form of monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrite, sodium saccharin, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or sodium benzoate. These are ingredients in condiments and seasonings like tomato sauce, soy sauce and pickles. Processed meats such as bacon, sausage and ham, and fast foods like burgers and pizzas are high in sodium content.

Medications belonging to groups such as diuretics, alpha blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and rennin inhibitors are available to control blood pressure. The pharmaceutical industry also introduces “new and improved” drugs in the market with monotonous regularity. Control remains unsatisfactory in many patients who are then dosed with two or more anti hypertensives. The older, long-acting diuretics, surprisingly, remain one of the most effective medications, either as an adjuvant to existing medicine or alone.

Better control of BP with lower doses of medication can often be achieved if the person is willing to make certain lifestyle changes. Weight needs to be ideal. As weight increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls. To calculate your ideal body weight, multiply your height in meter squared by 23.

Inactive people have a faster heart rate, forcing the heart to work harder for longer periods of time. Aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, swimming or running needs to be done daily. It should be started at the age of around six with 20 minutes of running. Gradually this should be increased to an hour by the age of 18 years.

Smoking (even second-hand smoke), using snuff or chewing tobacco releases chemicals into the body which damage the blood vessels, making them narrow and thus increasing the BP.

Salt makes the body retain fluid, which in turn increases the BP. Limit your intake to 5gm a day. Sodium can be balanced by potassium found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat four to six helpings of this a day.

Vitamin D obtained through the diet and by exposure to sunlight affects the levels of a BP-regulating enzyme in the kidneys. Inadequate levels can indirectly elevate the BP.

Heavy drinking can cause permanent heart damage. Even two or three drinks in a single sitting can cause the release of chemicals that temporarily elevate the BP.

Stress can elevate the BP. It needs to tackled with meditation and yoga. Chronic diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, kidney disease and sleep apnoea need to be controlled as they contribute to the risk of high BP.

Children too are at risk from as early as six or eight years if they are obese, inactive and eat high sodium snacks. These lifestyle changes, therefore, need to be initiated from a young age.

You may click to see :10 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Medication

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Too Fat? Try Love

Oxytocin, also called the love hormone, plays an important role in keeping the body in shape. T.V. Jayan on a new study

You may click to see  pictures

A hormone that induces love and trust in human beings may soon be drafted in the battle against the bulge. Nearly 60 years after it was first synthesised in the lab, oxytocin — which evokes a general feeling of contentment as well as triggers the let down of breast milk in nursing mothers — is found to have a role in helping maintain body weight and energy balance. The study closely follows another research which found that oxytocin stimulates the heart to beat more in sync with the breathing cycle in people with healthy social lives.

A neuromodulator, oxytocin has been in the news for both the right and wrong reasons. It’s no secret that it evokes maternal behaviour, epitomised by maternal love and trust. It also influences a number of other physiological and behavioural activities, including social bonding and sexual receptivity — a reason why it’s said to be abused by party animals. Molecules of this hormone are available as pills and recently, as a nasal spray too.

However, it’s for the first time that scientists conjured up a role for oxytocin in keeping the body in shape and through this, a strategy to ward off obesity. “It’s the first study to link oxytocin to body weight. We have demonstrated that defective oxytocin release in the brain can lead to weight gain and thus to obesity,” says Dongsheng Cai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

The study, that appeared recently in the journal Neuron, is significant also because it unravels the mechanism by which the hormone is released in the brain and why its production is stymied in those who indulge in a high-fat diet. Over-nutrition leads to compromised action of oxytocin in the brain, the scientists found.

Digging deep, the researchers identified a protein called synaptotagmin-4 that is directly responsible as it controls the release of oxytocin in the hypothalamus, a brain region that acts as the headquarters for maintaining the energy balance. Experimenting with lab mice, they found the rodents that were fed a high-fat diet had elevated levels of synaptotagmin-4 and this inhibited the release of oxytocin. And also that it further encouraged overeating and weight gain, resulting in obesity. On the other hand, when the protein production was genetically knocked off, the animals maintained a normal oxytocin release, despite the binge eating behaviour.

Cai and his team had been exploring for some time the role played by the brain in triggering obesity. In yet another path-breaking work in 2008, they had discovered a different message system in the brain that directly affects food intake and body weight. Their insightful study showed how seemingly harmless over nutrition in the early stages of development can trigger an uncontrollable chain reaction. Too much energy consumption, they found, leads to what they call metabolic inflammation. Unlike classical inflammation typically observed in infections, injuries and diseases such as cancer, metabolic inflammation seen in obesity-related diseases is milder and has no overt symptoms. However, the brain reacts to it by marshalling the services of a protein complex, which is an important part of the body’s innate immunity. Once in action, it disrupts the function of the hypothalamus, the master regulator of appetite and energy balance.

Cai’s findings may emerge as an important tool in the big fight against obesity and related diseases such as diabetes and heart disorders. “We have discovered two new anti-obesity strategies,” he says. The scientist hopes that by controlling the production of synaptotagmin-4 or developing molecules with similar action as that of oxytocin, they might be able to find a medical solution to the epidemic.

“As a next stage, we will work to identify applicable approaches to block synaptotagmin-4 or enhance oxytocin release in the brain,” Cai told  the reporter of  The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

 

The ultimate control of appetite and obesity is through neurochemicals in the brain, says Anoop Misra, head of internal medicine at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi. “Several brain chemicals (such as neuropeptide Y) have been shown to control appetite, but their interactions with others — such as hormones released by taste sensation and in the stomach — make their manipulation difficult and complex. Oxytocin is yet another chemical which has shown promise in the appetite-satiety pathway, but human studies are needed to illustrate its definitive role,” he says.

While a successful oxytocin strategy may help fight obesity, and through that keep related heart complications at bay, a new study by a team of scientists from universities in Ohio and Chicago points out that oxytocin may not protect everyone from a heart failure. The research — led by Greg Norman, a psychologist at Ohio State University — found that socially active people have healthier heart functions when administered a nasal spray of oxytocin. It, however, failed to produce any beneficial effect in those who were stressed, aloof and lonely by nature. Stress and social isolation are reckoned to be cardiovascular risk factors comparable to smoking and obesity.

Call it an alpha-hypophamine or cuddle chemical, oxytocin is truly a hormone to be loved and trusted.

Source:The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Few Tips to Improve Your Slumber Tonight

Sleep is important for your physical and emotional health. Sleep may help you stay healthy by keeping your immune system strong. Getting enough sleep can help your mood and make you feel less stressed.

But we all have trouble sleeping sometimes. This can be for many reasons. You may have trouble sleeping because of depression, insomnia, fatigue, or Sjögren’s syndrome. If you are depressed, feel anxious, or have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may have trouble falling or staying asleep.

Whatever the cause, there are things you can do:

Your sleeping area :
•Use your bedroom only for sleeping
•Move the TV out of your bedroom
•Keep your bedroom quiet and dark
Your evening and bedtime routine

•Get regular exercise — but not within 3 to 4 hours before bedtime
•Create a relaxing bedtime routine
•Go to bed at the same time every night
•Consider using a sleep mask and earplugs
If you can’t sleep
•Imagine yourself in a peaceful, pleasant place
•Don’t drink any liquids after 6 PM if waking up during the night to go to the bathroom is a problem


Your activities during the day
Your habits and activities can affect how well you sleep. Here are some tips.
•Exercise during the day. Don’t exercise after 5 p.m. because it may be harder to fall asleep.
•Get outside during daylight hours. Spending time in sunlight helps to reset your body’s sleep and wake cycles.
•Don’t drink or eat anything that has caffeine in it, such as coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate.
•Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol can cause you to wake up more often during the night.
•Don’t smoke or use tobacco, especially in the evening. Nicotine can keep you awake.
•Don’t take naps during the day, especially close to bedtime.
•Don’t take medicine that may keep you awake, or make you feel hyper or energized, right before bed. Your doctor can tell you if your medicine may do this and if you can take it earlier in the day.

If you can’t sleep because you are in great pain or have an injury, you often feel anxious at night, or you often have bad dreams or nightmares, talk to your doctor.

Source: Health.com April 24, 2008

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Healthy Heart

Introduction:
Why do you need to keep a healthy heart?

Heart disease is the number one  cause of death in men and women, greater than the next five causes of death combined!

According to the latest estimates by the American Heart Association, over 64 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Fortunately, there are ways to significantly lower your chances of developing heart disease and reverse the effects of a current heart condition you may or may not be aware of. Lower cholesterol, triglycerides, homocysteine and CRP levels are a start to promoting healthy hearts.

Healthy Heart Guide  educates people about the risk factors of heart disease, attempting to persuade them to adopt a healthier lifestyle .

Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, making lifestyle changes can help you live a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life.

Essential Blood Tests :
Find out the risk factors for developing heart conditions:

*Risk Factors Heart Disease :
*Cholesterol Levels :
*Homocysteine Levels :
*Triglyceride Levels :
*C-Reactive Protein :

Lowering Your Risks:
Specific Ways to Promote a Healthy Heart
:


*Cholesterol Ratio

*CRP Blood Test
*Diet For Lowering Cholesterol
*Homocysteine and Heart Disease
*LDL Cholesterol Heart Disease
*Lowering Triglycerides
*Natural Blood Thinners

Being active:
Being active Being active is absolutely essential for a healthy heart – for the simple reason that your heart is a muscle. Even if you haven’t been active for some time, your heart can become stronger, so that it’s able to pump more efficiently giving you more stamina and greater energy. Becoming more active will also improve the ability of your body’s tissues to extract oxygen from your blood, help you

maintain healthy levels of blood fats and speed your metabolism. Three types of exercise are needed in order to become fitter and healthier. These are aerobic, resistance training and flexibility. All three are vital for all-round fitness.

Aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise:
Particularly important to prevent coronary heart disease is aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. This is any kind of activity that increases your breathing rate and gets you breathing more deeply. These activities include: walking, running, swimming, dancing or any of the aerobic (cardiovascular) machines at the gym such as the rowing machine, treadmill, stepper or elliptical trainer.

These are designed to increase the strength of your heart muscle by improving your body’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood and transport it to the rest of the body. Aerobic exercise also enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently and to burn (or metabolise) fats and carbohydrates for energy.

These are designed to increase the strength of your heart muscle by improving your body’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood and transport it to the rest of the body. Aerobic exercise also enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently and to burn (or metabolise) fats and carbohydrates for energy.
Stretching:
Stretching helps relax and lengthen your muscles, encourages improved blood flow, and helps keep you supple so you can move more easily. Experts say it’s good to stretch for 5-10 minutes every day. There are a number of simple stretches which you’ll find in virtually any book about exercise or can be taught by the instructor at the gym.

If you want more organised stretching, yoga and Pilates are safe and gentle for people with heart problems, as they help calm the mind and body and reduce stress. That said, there may still be some exercises or postures that are not recommended if you have heart disease, so check with your doctor first and tell your instructor if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.

Getting started:
There’s no need to join a gym or take part in organised sport, unless you want to, of course. Simply incorporating more activity into your daily life and doing activities like walking, gardening, cycling can be just as effective as a structured exercise programme.

Your aim should be to be moderately active for 30 minutes most days of the week. If you find it hard to fit this into your life, split it up into shorter periods. You should feel that your heart rate is increasing, you are breathing more deeply and frequently. You should be able to walk and talk at the same time – if you can’t then the activity is too strenuous.

Safety first:
If you experience any or all of the following, stop exercising and consult your doctor.

•Chest pain
•Dizziness, light-headedness or confusion
•Nausea or vomiting
•Cramp-like pains in the legs (intermittent claudication)
•Pale or bluish skin tone
•Breathlessness lasting for more than 10 minutes
•Palpitations (rapid or irregular heart beat).
•Continued fatigue (lasting for 24 hours or more)
•Fluid retention (swollen ankles, sudden weight gain)

Resources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/heart/prevention_activity.shtml

http://www.healthy-heart-guide.com/

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