Snacking can be healthy: What should you pick?

Snacking – did that just bring up images of chips, biscuits and samosas and fried peanuts and candy? Well, that’s what most people snack on. With the lockdown being imposed, people are binge-watching TV shows and binge eating snacks. Snacking like that is 100% unhealthy. Eating deep fried food every day is sure to ruin your health in the long run.

The mindless munching can lead to weight gain. However, cravings nor munching is not the real problem. The actual concern lies within selecting the right snack. Snacking sometimes can just be about passing time, maybe something to do while watching your favourite TV show. So if you pick the right snacks, you could actually be making a healthy choice.

  1. Snacking is never a replacement for actual meals. Keep a meal plan in place so you can really avoid snacking during those times. If you get hungry around

  2. Pick health over pleasure: Pick healthy snacks like peanuts, almonds, etc. to munch on rather than going for junk foods like potato chips, sweets, etc.

  3. Always have control: Snacking is good and it helps in weight reduction too as long as you pick the right snack and you don’t overdo it.

  4. Limit the number of snack breaks: Limit the number of snack breaks to two or three. Ideally one after breakfast and one after lunch. This way of snacking prevents energy drops and promotes less eating of meals.

  5. Mindful snacking: Snacking shouldn’t be done with another chore like working, watching T.V, etc. or you will end up eating more.

  6. Always be ready: Don’t give up for unhealthy snacks just because of circumstances. Always be pressed with a box of your favourite snack so that you won’t fall for cookies, chips or candy bars in desperation.

These tips can help you in maintaining a healthy snacking schedule. A few, weightloss-friendly snacks that can be added in your diet are mixed nuts like almonds, cashews, etc., mixed fruits and veggies, hard-boiled eggs, protein bars, Makhana and Kala channa. Limiting junk snacks is the key to a successful diet. For that, it is best advised not to keep it at home. Look at making snacks at home. Indian snacks like chikkis are also a good source of protein and give you an instant burst of energy. Keep them handy.

Consulting with a dietician to find out healthy snacks might help you during your diet. Hunger is the driving force of snacking. Using snacking in the right way not only helps in suppressing but it will also help in reducing weight. So the next time when your next cravings pop up, keep these tips in mind and munch on healthier whole foods.

Experiencing a Change in Your Menstrual Cycle During Lockdown? Here’s Why

Coronavirus has impacted each one of us on different levels. To stop the spread of this virus a nationwide lockdown was imposed, pushing all of us to #StayAtHome and step out only to pick up daily essentials. The working crowd started working from home, kids started attending online classes, no more household, reduced outside food… With this situation came new issues and one of them is a change in the menstrual cycle. Don’t worry, you are not alone in this.

Ever since the lockdown was imposed most women have noticed a change in their menstrual cycle. There are many reasons why women are experiencing change. Continue reading to know why.

Dealing with Staying at Home: The initial days of the lockdown seemed fine to everyone, but when the lockdown was extended and people had to stay at home for a longer period, it started affecting everyone. With limited human interaction and this lockdown affecting most of our favourite activities and hobbies, it is affecting our mental health. Thus, interfering with the menstrual cycle. Video calling your loved ones, indulging in activities that you enjoy doing at home, taking an online class and so on to boost your mental health.

Stress: While there are various reasons that could stress you out, one of them currently is extended working hours while working from home. At some point, you would have wished for not having to go to the office and just working from home. It’s a reality now, but during this lockdown many people end up spending more time working from home. That one last task is never the last task. You continue to work not realising that 8 hours have turned to 10-11 hours. Increasing your stress levels, because you are spending too much time at work and not having enough time to get exercise.

And if you are a working mum, then it is all the more work. Suddenly having everyone at home for a longer period of time and taking care of everything while you make sure your office work is on point, could be stressful. The way to deal with stress is to take some time out of your day just for yourself and indulge in self-care. Cook your favourite meals, have some flavoured tea, light incense, take a long shower or indulge in things that would help you de-stress.

Change in Diet: An increased intake of fatty, high-fibre and low-fat food can affect your menstrual cycle. Some studies show that alcohol also can affect your cycle. A change in levels of alcohol intake changes the levels of reproductive hormones, affecting your menstrual cycle. The key is to maintain a balanced diet. Now that you are spending all your time at home and working from home as well, there is a tendency to make and eat food you are craving. If you have seen a change in your diet. Increased intake of fatty or any other food, in particular, could be one of the reasons that have impacted your period.

Fluctuation in Weight: With the extra time on thier hands, people have taken this lockdown as an opportunity to work out or improve their culinary skills or both. Thus, affecting your weight and this fluctuation will eventually impact your period. Weight gain or loss are both reasons why you could miss or notice a delay in your period.

So, these are the reasons why you are experiencing a change in your menstrual cycle. While some women notice a delay in their cycle during this lockdown, some have said to have missed their period. There are others who have got their period twice in the same month. Don’t panic, keep a tab on your diet, weight, stress levels and mental health. Once you identify what could be the reason, rectify it and your period should be back to normal.

If you are having extreme fluctuations, always consult a doctor for your peace of mind.

Why do people snore: Is it a health issue?

Snoring is considered as a nuisance more than a health issue. Sleeping partners tend to complain about snoring without realising the health risks involved with it. Snoring is the hoarse sound unknowingly produced from a person’s mouth while they sleep. It is a very normal issue faced by almost everyone.

Snoring is often seen in people who are overweight. Snoring also tends to increase with age. This is because the throat muscles tend to relax with age. Besides aging, alcohol intake also leads to the relaxation of throat muscles. So, consuming alcohol right before one hits the bed can increase the chances of snoring. The structure of the nose and throat also plays an important role in snoring. Also, snoring as such can be a health concern called “Obstructive Sleep Apnea”.

Below are a few common reasons why people snore during their sleep:

  • Alcohol or drug consumption

  • Block nasal airways

  • Relaxation of tongue and throat muscles

  • Obesity

  • Sleep position

  • Lack of sleep

A more clear picture of the reason behind your snoring can be found with the help of a doctor. A doctor might probably recommend you with a few tests like X-ray, MRI scan, or CT-scan to get a deeper understanding of the disturbances in the airways. It is important to seek medical assistance as snoring caused due to obstructive sleep apnea can pose several health risks that can lead to the following problems.

  • Drop in the level of blood oxygen

  • Irregular heartbeat, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes

  • Risk of diabetes

  • Mental health problems

Snoring is not always taken to a doctor, mostly because of embarrassment and unawareness. However, snoring is an important concern that requires to be addressed. The initial steps of treatment for snoring usually involve a few lifestyle changes like a reduction of body weight, avoiding alcohol intake before bed, etc. Doctors also recommend oral appliances that help to keep the airways open while one sleeps. Some surgeries help to stop snoring too. Apart from these, simple changes like sleeping on a side rather than on the back, raising the head of the bed a few inches, sticking to a sleeping schedule, etc. will also help in stopping the snoring to an extent.

Snoring, in most of the cases, is harmless. But the sleep deprivation caused by this might affect the quality of not only your life.

Here’s Why Surya Namaskar is Highly Beneficial for Our Health

We all want to stay fit. Don’t we? But how does one know which workout plan will prove to be beneficial for health in the long run? It could get a bit confusing with many options out there. While the gym is the first preferred option by many, there are a lot of people who prefer yoga. While a gym session could help you feel energized, improve your mood and keep you in shape; practising yoga, on the other hand, will not only improve your physical health but will also improve your mental and spiritual health as well.

Surya Namaskar, Salute to the Sun or Sun Salutation has been around for centuries now and is very popular among practitioners of yoga. It consists of 12 different asanas/postures dedicated to the soul and source of life, the Sun:

  1. Pranamasana or Prayer Pose

  2. Hastauttanasana or Raised Arms’ Pose

  3. Hastapadasana or Standing Forward Bend

  4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian Pose

  5. Dandasana or Plank Pose

  6. Ashtanga Namaskara or Salute with Eight Parts

  7. Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

  8. Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose

  9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana or Equestrian Pose

  10. Hastapadasana or Standing Forward Bend

  11. Hastauttanasana or Raised Arms’ Pose

  12. Pranamasana or Prayer Pose

Though you can practise this popular technique at any age, one can start practising from the age of 8. One should practise Surya Namaskar on a daily basis to reap its health benefits. To know why this ancient technique — Surya Namaskar — is highly beneficial for our health, keep reading.

1. Helps Lose Weight: Surya Namaskar helps burn more calories than working out at the gym. It works on every part of the body, thus helping you to lose weight evenly. And if done at a fast pace, it turns to be a great cardiovascular exercise. It also helps to improve your metabolism.

2. Improves Hair and Skin: Want that glowing skin and perfect hair? Repeat the asanas every day. Surya Namaskar improves your blood circulation, thus giving you that radiant glow and helps skin to retain its firmness. The body and mind release stress, preventing you from getting wrinkles and early ageing. The blood circulation to the scalp helps the prevention of hairfall. And the blood circulation improves the health and prevents greying of your hair.

3. Regulates the Menstrual Cycle: While many women are experiencing changes in their cycle during this lockdown, practising asanas on a daily basis will help you regulate your period cycle. It also helps in dealing with painful cramps. Repeating the sun salutation makes your abdominal muscles become stronger, thus reducing painful cramps.

4. Improved Digestive System: As it increases the blood flow to your digestive tract, it helps your digestive system function better. It helps absorb nutrients better while eliminating metabolic waste.

5. Improves Sleep Schedule: Have trouble sleeping at night? Then, Surya Namaskar is for you. It helps in releasing stress, eventually calming your mind and improving your sleep.

6. Improves Anxiety: Surya Namaskar is not just beneficial for your physical health, it also helps keep your mental health intact. On practising the asanas daily, you will notice a difference in your mental health. It helps improve your memory power and better functioning of your nervous system. It helps you release stress, thus calming your mind and eventually getting rid of anxiety.

The regular practice of Surya Namaskar has been proven to be beneficial. You will notice a huge difference in your physical and mental health once you repeat it daily. Now that you know the benefits of Surya Namaskar, go ahead and try it. Helping you to look and feel your best. Start small with 5 or 7 suryanamskars or even 2.

Cause of Increased Incidence of Heart Attacks Among Young Adults

In recent times, there have been cases of heart attacks reported among young people under the age of 40. This is a huge concern. Young adults in their 20s have been rushed into cardiac facilities after experiencing discomfort in the chest. However, this wasn’t the case a couple of decades ago. Heart Attacks were more likely to be seen in older adults above the age of 50. But the number of heart attacks among youngsters has increased incidence in the past few years. What has triggered this change? Why is there an increased rate of heart attacks reported among young people? Continue reading to find out.

A heart attack usually occurs when the blood flow to the heart is blocked. This also lessens the amount of oxygen that reaches the heart. The blockage commonly happens due to the buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances. Commonly known as Atherosclerosis. This accumulation of fat and other substances starts at a young age, therefore everyone should be extra cautious and take notes of the warning signs.

One of the major risk factors that could be a cause of increased incidence of heart attacks among young adults is the change in lifestyle. That include:

High Blood Pressure: Stress is the major cause of high blood pressure. However, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and excessive alcohol consumption are other factors that cause high blood pressure among young adults. Everyone should start exercising at a young age to stay fit in body and mind. People who suffer from high blood pressure have high chances of a heart attack. When your blood pressure increases, it narrow downs your arteries. The damaged and narrowed arteries encounter difficulty to supply blood to the heart and the amount of oxygen also decreases. You could experience chest pain or a heart attack.

High Cholesterol: Young adults maintain an unhealthy/poor diet. With ready-to-eat and junk food being easily available, it has become very popular among young adults. Though the body requires cholesterol to produce new cells, high levels of cholesterol can increase the chances of a heart attack. Foods like fatty meat, deep-fried fast food, full-fat dairy products, pizzas and hamburgers through which cholesterol enters your body. Thus, increasing cholesterol levels. Too much cholesterol in the body causes atherosclerosis, which blocks the flow of blood to your heart.

Type 2 Diabetes: People who are diabetic are more prone to heart diseases than any other person. While there are chances of diabetic patients to develop heart diseases, but the chances of a heart attack in type 2 diabetes patients are even worse. High blood glucose, over a period of time, can damage the blood vessels. The longer one has type 2 diabetes, the chances of a heart attack are high.

Smoking: A report shows that the average number of people start smoking at the age of 18. Cultural change and peer pressure are the major reasons why people start smoking at a very young age. Smoking can cause different diseases. However, a chance of getting a heart attack among smokers is invariably high. Basically, the nicotine in smoke reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the heart, raising blood pressure, raising heart rate, forms blood clots and damages the blood vessels.

One should take care of themselves irrespective of their age. Nevertheless, people at the age of 20-30 should take extra precautions of their lifestyle and food habits. Now, that you know of the factors that could lead up to a heart attack, make sure to be extra cautious. Address the warning signs your body gives you and consult a doctor immediately.

Identify the Symptoms of Stroke & Rush to the Hospital Within the Golden Hour

Stroke is the second leading cause of death and disability in India. The rate of a stroke has doubled in the past few decades. As per All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), every year, approximately 1.8 million people suffer from a stroke in India. Which is an alarming number. While it is important for everyone to understand what is a stroke and what are its causes. What is even more valuable to know is the symptoms and the ‘Golden Hour’. That is because it is key for a person having a stroke to be rushed to a hospital immediately for effective treatment options. Keep reading to know how to recognize a stroke and why rushing a person having a stroke within the golden hour is crucial.

A person suffers from a stroke when the blood supply to a part of the brain is reduced or blocked. Further preventing the brain tissue from receiving oxygen and nutrients. This compels the brain cells to die within minutes. People who smoke, drink alcohol, have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart diseases are at high chances of having a stroke. Nevertheless, how could anyone identify if they or anyone they are with is having a stroke?

First and foremost, pay attention to the warning signs. Some of the commonly noticed signs and symptoms are:

  1. Trouble speaking or understanding speech

  2. Numbness/Paralysis of arms, face, and legs

  3. Headache followed by dizziness

  4. Blurred, blackened or double vision in one or both eyes

  5. Trouble walking

As soon as you recognize these symptoms, immediately rush the person to a nearby hospital. The sooner the person having a stroke reaches the hospital the chances of effective treatment is higher. However, it is essential to get the person to the hospital within the first hour of them experience a stroke. Whenever a patient reached the hospital in the first hour, they received a powerful blood clotting drug called TPA. Hence, the first hour is considered golden because the chances of surviving and avoiding long-term brain damage are greater.

However, there are chances you will notice the symptoms come and go. At this point you need to think FAST and do the following:

Face: Firstly, ask the person to smile. Check if one side of the face is drooping.

Arms: Secondly, ask the person to raise their arms. Check if one arm drifts downwards.

Speech: Next, ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Notice if their speech is slurred or strange.

Time: If you notice any of these signs, call for the ambulance at once.

By the time you reach the hospital, you should try and keep the patient as comfortable as you can, cover them so that there is less heat loss and keep talking to the person.

Now that you know how important it is to identify the symptoms of stroke and immediately rush the person to a nearby hospital within the golden hour, make sure to stay alert and think FAST. The sooner the patient is given medical attention, the better it is for the health of the person.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Joint Replacement Surgery?

Joint replacements surgeries are very successful procedures with extremely effective outcomes. Such surgeries can be performed on any joints of the body, including the hip, knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers. These operations can provide a major improvement in the quality of life and most importantly getting rid of the excruciating pain. After having replacement surgery, you can resume most activities within 6 weeks. However, returning to your normal life like the way it used to be may take time.

There is a long road to recovery when it comes to joint replacement surgeries. It can take up to three months for the pain to settle down, and up to a year for a complete recovery. Recovery time varies for every patient, depending on medical, genetic and circumstantial factors. It also depends on the complexity of the procedure. Whatever your condition may be, it is important to follow your surgeon’s advice, being patient and allowing yourself time to recover.

A patient’s recovery and rehabilitation plan is crucial to the overall success of replacement surgeries. Rehabilitation starts soon after the surgery and can help you regain physical strength and get back to your daily activities. Your physiotherapist will monitor your specific needs and recommend you exercise to keep your knee moving and to prevent it from developing further problems.

After-care is an essential part of your recovery

The rehabilitation process after surgery for a knee or hip replacement can be a demanding time and requires a strong commitment. The knee will continue to improve for as long as two years as the scar tissues heal and muscles strong through exercise. To get most out of your new knee, it is important to exercise as instructed. Exercise helps to strengthen your joint and surrounding muscles, improves flexibility and range of motion, and builds a foundation for you to recover more easily.

Your physiotherapist will also give you advice on how to cope at home before you leave the hospital, explaining the best ways to get dressed, take a shower and move about without damaging your knee. The goal is to prepare the patient for a safe and comfortable return home as looking after yourself at home is one of the most important parts of your recovery. During this time, you need to look after yourself and pay attention to any problems such as stiffness, pain or infection, while strictly adhering to the doctor’s instructions and advice. You are more likely to recover faster and more safely by adopting healthy living options. Eating a well-balanced diet that promotes healthy weight loss, incorporates foods that boost healing, and stabilizes blood sugar is highly recommended.

Recovery from a replacement needs patience and preparation

Being an active participant and keeping a positive attitude during the healing process can help you get there sooner and ensure a more successful outcome. There will be days not as good as expected, but you will eventually get there. So if you feel foggy or lost, just look at the larger picture—not the day-by-day.

Why Some People Have Allergies and Others Don’t?

Allergies are very common and yet you may find yourself all alone dealing with it while others are enjoying a normal healthy life. For example, you accidentally eat peanut cookies at a party that causes itching and swelling of the mouth and tongue, leaving you helpless and looking for a cure. Meanwhile, your friends and others are enjoying those scrumptious cookies. Living with an allergy can be frustrating, disruptive and in some cases even life-threatening. Wondering why some people are allergic to certain things while others are not is natural.

Before we delve into any reasoning, let us understand what is an allergy or an allergic reaction. An allergy or allergic reaction is nothing but your immune system’s attempt to defend you normally against harmless substances, such as pollens, foods, house dust mite, animals, insect stings, and even medicines. Whilst in most people these substances pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a potential threat and produces an unnecessary response to it.

There is a lot of confusion about allergies and their development in individuals. Scientists are not entirely sure why some people suffer from allergies while others don’t, but studies show that genetics and environment are both important factors.

Being allergic can be purely genetic. Genetic tendency to develop allergies is called atopy. However, being atopic does not guarantee an allergy will develop, it just means it is more likely. In other words, having a parent who is allergic to nuts does not mean that the child will necessarily also be allergic to nuts, it only increases the likelihood of having any allergy at all. An individual with atopy produces specific IgE antibodies after exposure to common environmental allergens and is said to be sensitized to that allergen. The best way to confirm whether someone has an allergy is by doing skin-prick testing or a blood test that checks whether their immune system has produced antibodies to an allergen.

The environment must also factor into determining whether someone will be allergic or not. After all, the environment is everything we are exposed to. Studies suggest that the likelihood of developing an allergy increases if we are exposed to a particular allergen capable of influencing our immune responses. There is evidence that suggests that the rates of allergies and asthma are lower for those living on farms, due to exposure to a specific molecule apparently found in cow manure.

While we know that genetics and environment are somewhat responsible for the development of allergies, but we’ve still got a long way to go. The scientists are working to set out a broad theory identifying all other possible causes of allergy. Factors other than genetics and environment that can play a dominant role in the specificity of these allergies, their prevalence and severity.

Why the Healthcare System Can’t Do Without Nurses

It’s difficult to imagine the healthcare system without Nurses during this outbreak of COVID-19. Don’t you think? These selfless caregivers have dedicated themselves to the victims of this life-threatening outbreak. They are an integral part of building a strong healthcare system. Nurses have been integral to the healthcare system since time immemorial. Florence Nightingale is credited with laying the foundation for a robust healthcare system. She was the first to notice that there was a direct link between recovery rates and hygiene. She even went on to write ‘Notes on Hospitals’ that to this day serves as a textbook on hospital reform. We celebrate her birthday as ‘Nurse’s day’. Their dedication to patients, their care, and their service.

Nurses are caregivers of individuals of all ages, families, and communities. They have been playing an outstanding role in building a strong healthcare system since forever. Nurses are integral to a strong healthcare system at all times. Here’s why:

Monitoring Patients 24/7: Nurses are the first and last ones to check up on you while you are admitted to the hospital. Their duty doesn’t stop there. They keep checking up on you from time-to-time throughout the course of the day. Giving you your medication, checking your vitals, checking if you need anything, and other important things.

They have a major part in your recovery. They are in tune with your symptoms, your condition, and pay keen attention to your well-being.

Nurses are the bridge between you and the doctor. They communicate with the doctor about your health from every now and then. Their keen sense your well being helps them identify the smallest changes in your health thereby raising alarm should something go wrong.

From the time you step into the hospital for your treatment until you finally recover, the nurse is there by your side whenever you need them.

Educating Patients: Nurses play the most important role in helping you stay abreast with your health. While doctors do their bit, nurses also double up to reassure you.  They help you understand the care that needs to be taken, during recovery, help you fix a schedule and manage your time.

Nurses Go Beyond their Job: So, nurses check the patient, give the medication they need and get going? No, they don’t work that way.

Nurses understand their duties very well. But they also understand that patients’ need more than just monitoring them. They are compassionate, caring, confident and competent. They understand the difficulty one faces when admitted to the hospital. The patient isn’t used to the hospital environment and with the ongoing treatment, things can take a toll on the patients mental health. Nurses talk to the patient about things other than their treatment. They understand the discomforts the patient is going through, they take more than equal part of the patients’ process of recovering and a lot more.

Who can be a better example than Florence Nightingale? The founder of modern nursing came to light during the Crimean War. During this time of the Crimean War she would make rounds of the wounded soldiers at night. And that’s how she earned the nickname ‘The Lady With The Lamp’.

Doing more than just treating the sick and wounded. She would make sure that the soldiers were comfortable and recovering.

Her contribution, compassion and commitment towards taking care of patients are beyond commendable.

Nurses have always been an integral part of the healthcare system and will continue to be. Not just in the times like COVID-19, but otherwise as well.

Cardiac Ablation

What is cardiac ablation?

Cardiac ablation is a procedure performed to treat heart arrhythmia — a problem associated with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. Sometimes your heart may beat too quickly, too slowly, or unevenly. These heart rhythm problems are called arrhythmias.

Arrhythmias is a common problem in old adults and people with heart problems. It is very important to treat it to manage its symptoms and prevent a stroke. The symptoms can vary between individuals. Some of the common symptoms include chest pain, palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Many people can live normal lives with regular medication to normalize the heart’s rhythm. Blood-thinning medications may also be prescribed. Others that don’t respond to medication would need to undergo cardiac ablation to restore a regular rhythm to prevent the heart conditions from worsening.

What is the procedure?

Cardiac ablation is a procedure that uses thin, flexible tubes called catheters to reach into the heart via the groin vessels. The catheters record the heart’s electrical activity to detect the area where the arrhythmia or abnormal heart activity is coming from. Radiofrequency energy or freezing is then used to destroy the abnormal tissue, resulting in a scar. The scar tissue is incapable of initiating the electrical signal causing irregular heartbeats, preventing the electrical signals from travelling to the rest of the heart and causing arrhythmias.

Are there any risks involved?

The immediate result of the procedure can be very good. However, like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved, such as bleeding, pain, and infection at the catheter insertion site. Less common complications may include a heart attack or stroke. Recurrence may also occur in as many as 30% of patients within one year and repeat therapies may be required. Overall, cardiac ablation is considered a safe procedure. However, as there many different forms of cardiac ablation, it is important to discuss your procedure and risks involved with your doctor.