Food safety – Trust your senses with what you should eat

Food is an integral part of our daily life. So is food safety. That is the reason why judging your food with your basic senses before you eat is important. Trusting your senses is an elementary step to food safety. Because eating food is also about attaining energy, boosting the immune system, gaining strength, and thus keeping you healthy. Let us see how you should trust each of your senses when it comes to food safety.

Look at it

Obvious discolouration of food must be acknowledged. It can be a sign of rotting. Rotten food can give you several diseases starting from diarrhea to ulcer. Also, it is essential to check out the manufacturing and expiry dates before picking up packed foods. Sometimes, packing might wear off due to expiry or mishandling. In these cases, the unopened packets can be seen leaking or cans might be dented. Always stay out of such food products even if they are not expired.

Smell it

 

The smell is a vital part of senses, especially for sensing bad food. If your food produces a rotten smell, trust your senses, and throw it away immediately. Spoiled food generates excess bacteria and molds making your food smell stinky. However, do not rely completely on your instinct as sometimes spoiled food can also be ok-smelling.

 

Feel it

 

Some vegetables can look appealing from outside but might be rotten inside. A slight touch of fruits and vegetables can help you to find the fresh one out of the grocery store. Also, if you find a cooked food slimy and sticky, it is highly advisable not to have it.

Taste it

 

This is the ultimate sense that helps you to determine spoiled food. Although it is a risky step, it can be a helpful one. Once you feel something odd about food, take a small portion of it and taste it. If you still feel odd about it, don’t even think twice to throw that food right away.

 

Hear it

Although this is a subtle sense to rely on, expert cooks can sense outdated food even from a small sound. For example, when the hopping sound of opening a canned container is louder than usual or lasts longer, it means the food might not be safe for consumption as it a sign that the gas has the presence of harmful bacteria in it.

Cleanliness and awareness are two important aspects of food safety. Likewise, sanitation also plays an important role in preventing food spoilage. Conserving food for days is a usual sight in households. But while doing so, we have to make sure that the jars and containers are cleaned properly and while storing they are kept away from the reach of pests. These basic steps and trust in your senses can keep you away from several digestive problems caused by food-borne illnesses. However, any discomfort caused to the body due to food intake should be taken to a doctor for medical help.

 

Why Should One Donate Blood?

Blood donation is a process where a person voluntarily allows blood to be drawn from him for transfusions, either for storage in a blood bank or to a specific person. This is more important for women during or after childbirth, patients of anemia especially children, people affected by trauma after accidents, for blood loss caused during medical procedures, etc. Many blood banks and blood donation camps are held all over the world and people are encouraged to participate. Almost everyone can donate blood and it is a relatively hassle-free process. The general rules for blood donation are 18 and above age, a certain weight depending on age, no major organ disease, and no recent operations or surgeries. Blood cells can be stored for a short period of time and so there is a constant need for blood donations.

Some of the reasons why blood donation is so important are-

1. It literally helps in saving lives. There are innumerable cases in almost every hospital where blood transfusions have saved the lives of patients. Some patients also require regular transfusions to stay alive. In some cases, such transfusions alone save the lives of the patient.

2. It is the duty of each healthy person above the age of eighteen to donate blood. While it is not imposed, it is still considered to be a duty of any humane person to do his bit for the community. The reasoning behind this duty is that anyone amongst us may require blood someday.

3. Blood donations are simple ways of doing something worthwhile for the community and society. It takes a few minutes and almost no pain to donate blood but its effect on society is magnanimous. It is a social service that requires minimal effort and is still given a high position and is considered very noble. All the donor needs to do is to ensure that he or she is healthy and travel to the designated blood donation camp.

4. Many people having rare blood types simply die because there wasn’t anyone around to donate blood to them. this is where blood banks become lifesavers. It keeps a reserve of such blood types so that no patient dies because there was no blood to transfuse.

Blood donations can be done multiple times. Most people make it a yearly activity. If everyone comes together and donates blood regularly, it will make a huge difference in the medical community.

 

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.

What is a Brain Tumor? What Symptoms Should One Look for?

A brain tumour in simple words is the growth of abnormal cells in the brain. It may be cancerous or non-cancerous. The cancerous ones are called malignant and the non-cancerous ones are called benign. The source of the tumour can also be different, meaning that it may start at some other place in the body and grow towards the brain. Depending on the source, a tumour may be primary (if it originates in the brain) or secondary (if it originates in some other place in the body). There are various other types of tumour depending on origin, nature, effects, etc.

Some of the symptoms that one should look for if suspecting a brain tumour are mentioned below-

1. Headache: This is a primary concern when talking about tumors. While headaches are common and may be caused due to various reasons, continuous or regular headaches should not be ignored. An extreme headache is a warning sign for brain tumors, especially if any common medication is not working. Another warning sign is when headaches are accompanied by vomiting.

2. Seizures: These are changes or disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. Like headaches, a brain tumor is not the sole cause of seizures, but it is a possible cause. There are various types of seizures and of different levels. In many cases, this is the first indication of a tumor. If you experience a seizure, it should not be avoided at any cost.

3. Mood swings or changes in personality: Brain tumors are known to affect a person’s behavior. this is something that may be more noticeable to people around the patient. Research has shown that this may continue even during the treatment of the tumor. In some extreme cases, this may also result in depression.

4. Memory loss: Mood swings may be accompanied by memory losses. In some cases, the patient is frequently confused. This is again a symptom that is more clearly visible to people around the patient.

5. Fatigue: This is a step higher than feeling tired. Constant exhaustion is known as fatigue. This includes sleepiness, loss of focus, and inability to perform basic activities that were earlier very easy. This too is a symptom common to many diseases or illnesses but when combined with other factors, it becomes an indicator of brain tumor.

In isolation, these symptoms may not raise an alarm. But if a patient experience more than one or two symptoms, there is a high possibility that the cause is a brain tumor. You must keep a tab on your health and make sure to add one complete body checkup every year to keep up with your aging body. Keep safe!