Friday, April 13th, 2012

A TO Z of Good Health

THERE ARE two things certain in life: death and taxes. Just the way a creative accountant will help you work your money harder, these 26 tips will make you last longer in the game of life. Archana Darshan writes more…

An aspirin a day can keep a heart attack away. Aspirin is a wonder medicine that can help diabetics and heart patients. A baby aspirin a day can keep the blood clots away and lower your chances of getting a heart attack.

Begin your day with a breakfast. A good breakfast fuels your day and should be a combination of complex carbohydrates and protein.
C has the key. Get ample vitamin C in your diet every day. Good sources include citrus fruits and green vegetables. Vitamin C is a super antioxidant and it aids in the production of anti-stress hormones and interferon, an important immune system protein. Studies have shown that taking vitamin C regularly can lower symptoms of asthma.

Dense bones are required to reduce chances of fracture and osteoporosis in later age. Bones have a simple logic: use it or lose it. Hence you should undertake weight bearing exercises like walking and emphasise on your calcium intake. By the way, yoghurt has more calcium content than milk. A calcium citrate supplement is a good way to ensure healthy bones too. You can even spend half an hour in the sunshine daily to get the daily dosage of vitamin D.

Enamel. Protect your pearly whites by limiting your daily intake of soda and processed iced tea, since summer is on. According to a new study, the citric acids in these beverages are even more destructive to tooth enamel than sugar is. These additives increase the acidity of your mouth and eat away at your enamel.

Fiber helps to reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to lower cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure and preventing obesity. Soluble fiber, like that found in beans, barley and oats helps to lower cholesterol by soaking up bile acids in the intestinal tract so they can be excreted. The body needs cholesterol to make more bile so it uses the excess cholesterol in the blood. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men up to age fifty consume 38 grams of fiber every day and women of the same age group, 25 grams per day. Men over the age of 50 should consume 30 grams of fiber and women, 21 grams.

Green tea. Drink a cup of green tea in the evening to unwind. In her book Green Tea: The Natural Secret for a Healthier Life, Nadine Taylor states that green tea has been used as a medicine in China for at least 4,000 years. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol. You can even try antioxidant rich red wine. It boosts HDL levels but stick to a glass every day.

Health checks. Would you run your car without getting it serviced? Obviously not, then how do you keep going on without knowing the status of your health? An annual health check is mandatory once you hit forties.
Intermittent eating behavior. Eat every two hours because it’s going to keep your metabolism charged up, writes Rujuta Diwekar in her book, ‘Don’t Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight’. Opt for healthy ‘pick-me’ ups instead of tea and coffee. Rely on the goodness of fibre rich fruits, roasted chana or nuts to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Migraine sufferers may notice that the frequency of headaches will go down.

Junk foods should be junked. Out goes off your pantry instant noodles, soups, packaged foods as these are loaded with hydrogenated fats and salt.

Keys to manage stress. Decode it for your well being. Train yourself to deep breathe under stressful situations. Massage your temples to relieve stress. You can also try gently holding a pencil between your teeth without biting. This action prompts you to relax your facial muscles, which helps relieve tension. Spend ‘me-time’ every day, prioritize and learn to go with the flow. At times things will be out of your control and you just can’t do anything about it!

Lifestyle. You need to spare a thought about it and moderate it if required. Heart disease, obesity and diabetes are all lifestyle diseases. Take a leaf from your grand parents’ book and live as per their dictums. Life would be simpler and stress free.
Multivitamin: one a day will keep you in good stead. Have a high quality multivitamin before you sleep at the night and ensure yourself against nutritional deficiencies.

Nuts. Just a quarter cup of almonds contains nearly 25 percent of your needed daily value of the important nutrient magnesium, plus is rich in potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. In fact, a quarter cup of almonds has almost as much calcium as a quarter cup of milk. When it comes to nuts, the walnut is the king. It’s a great source of the healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, which have been found to protect the heart, promote better cognitive function, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema and psoriasis. Cashews are lower in fat than most nuts, and 65 percent of this fat is unsaturated fatty acids. Of this, 90 percent is oleic acid, the heart-healthy fat found in olive oil.

Omega Power. Go get it. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are one of two types of essential fatty acids (EFAs) that people need to consume to stay healthy. Our body acquires these fatty acids through diet. Omega-6 fatty acids are beneficial as well. They help regulate inflammation and blood pressure as well as heart, gastrointestinal, and kidney functions. Good dietary sources of omega-6 fatty acids include cereals, eggs, poultry, most vegetable oils, whole-grain breads, baked goods, and margarine. Coldwater fish like tuna, salmon, lake trout, mackerel, shrimp are rich sources of omega3. Plant sources include flaxseed oil and pumpkin seed oil. For a healthy body maintain a balance between omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Protection is the key to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. Use condom scrupulously and minimize your risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
Quit addictions. Quit smoking or chewing of tobacco. Quitting is as easy as taking a walk. British experts after reviewing data from a dozen studies on tobacco addiction have come to the conclusion that short bout of exercises will help smokers resist the urge to smoke.

Relationships nurture us and cushion us from the stress and strain of the professional world. Get real from the world of Facebook. While talking of relationships, we can’t exclude the love life. A committed relationship with the spouse keeps worries away. As a bonus point, you get orgasms—the wash of electrical energy that bursts from our genitals to our toes; leaving that achingly pleasurable pulse of satisfaction and relaxation. How could something that feels so good be good for you too? But, it is. It relieves tension, helps sleep you better, boosts your immune system, reduces depression, enhances your sense of smell and helps you sleep better. Go for it.

Sleep on it. Yes, it’s official. Our bodies do need seven to eight hours of rest to rejuvenate. Ever thought, why students feel so sleepy during exams! It is so because students cram and learn so many things that their mind works on overdrive and the body needs extra rest.

Treadmill. Run on it at least five times a week. It will substantially reduce your chances of developing metabolic diseases, like diabetes and heart problems. “While exercising it is important to push beyond your comfort zone for your heart beat rate to go up,” advise experts.

Vaccines are for adults too. Adults once they turn 18 need a diptheria -tetanus booster dose every 10 years.

Water is crucial to life. Humans have no capacity to store spare water, so we must quickly replace any that is lost. Water is the highway that moves nutrients and wastes between cells and organs. It carries food through digestive system, transports nutrients to cells and tissues, and carries waste out of our body in urine. We continuously lose water through various routes—exhaled air, perspiration, faeces, and urine. Water loss increases in an airplane. Fever, coughing, rapid breathing, and watery nasal secretions all increase water loss significantly.

X-syndrome is the precursor to diabetes and it’s a reversible condition. Recognise it and fight it. The symptoms are: elevated blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, tendency to form blood clots, lowered HDL cholesterol and apple shaped obesity. The first step towards reversing syndrome X begins with weight loss.

Yoghurt is rich in probiotic bacteria. Wait a minute…how can bacteria possibly be friendly when all our lives we have been told they cause disease? Well, bad bacteria do cause problems, but there are many good strains that are essential to our health.Yoghurt is one of them. It is believed that nomadic Balkans accidentally stumbled upon making yogurt. Live cultures are the secret to yoghurt’s health benefits. These live cultures convert lactose in milk to lactic acid that helps digest lactose or dairy products. The lactic acid of yoghurt is a perfect medium to maximize calcium absorption. Eight ounces of yoghurt will equal 400 mg of calcium, 25% more calcium than you would get out of a glass of milk. Yoghurt is rich in potassium, calcium, protein and B vitamins, including B-12.

Zest for life. This sums it all. There is no high that equates the zest for life. Live with childlike enthusiasm and be eager to learn new things. Be tech-savvy and keep learning new skills. This wouldn’t let cobwebs build on your memory and will keep you young at heart. That’s what matters. Cheers!

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Category: Body Talk
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