PERSONAL CARE, TIPS

Make the most of your life

July 2, 2017

Our body and mind have been challenged by multiple factors in a polluted mental and physical atmosphere for many years. Since time immemorial, the health of body and mind has been a serious matter of concern for the people living in any society. We have been searching for solutions here and there. A common man is interested in anything that comes in the name of solution to his/her physical and mental illness. That’s quite natural, as we always search for something to make our life more better, and to be aloof from complexities and illness even though it’s a distant dream for most of us.

But, as a man who believed in India’s ancient heritage, I think our forefathers had developed one of the most effective ways to lead a life without stress. I have been into the healthcare sector for several years and found Ayurveda an exceptional healing method to the problems of people of all ages. Ayurveda is all about life and knowledge. When we split the word, we can say ‘Ayur’ means life and ‘Veda’ means knowledge. I would like to define it as the knowledge of life.

 

The primary concern of this secondary Vedic text is about the health and well-being of body and mind. When it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, Ayurveda offers a comprehensive mechanism to deal with it.

Knowing the various aspects of Ayurveda will make you get the art of right living in the right proportions. It’s about the prevention of ailments and the openness of life.

Ayurveda is more of a lifestyle than a system of medicine and way of treatment. Nature has in its possession all the ways to rejuvenate and reinvent the mind, body and the soul. Ayurveda is the key to this. While the advocates of modern medicine reiterate the adage ‘prevention is better than cure’, the very basic principle of the Ayurvedic lifestyle lies on the fact that disease can be kept at bay through the right way of life.

How can we attain the right way of life? In this column, I am just touching some aspects to follow the right way of life. We can discuss it in detail in the coming articles.

And this right way of life is the balancing of food habits by leaning towards foods with ‘sattva guna’. Sattva is about the quality of balance, harmony, goodness, and purity.

Nuts, seeds, oils, fruits, dairy products hog the major part of Sattvic foods. Exponents of Ayurveda exhort people to avoid fried and junk food as they are of ‘thamo guna.’

Another important aspect is oil bath, a practice that we are letting to die down slowly. Earlier, oil bath once or twice in a week was a part of Malayali lifestyle. But, now it seems not in vogue and the practice, which is highly beneficial to health, has paved way for the use of chemicals-enriched lotions. But, this alternative has proven to be inadequate to give the coolness to the body and calmness to the mind which the traditionally-practiced oil bathing can give to a person, especially in a tropical region.

And, indeed, exercise is an indispensable part of the right lifestyle. It’s an important source of energy. With the changing times and lifestyle, it has become very important for everyone to find some time daily to work out. The best option is yoga as it can meet the needs of the body and the mind together and that too by making us more connected to the traditional wisdom of our great ancestors.

So, make the most of your life by choosing the right path.

HEALTH CARE, TIPS

Six Reasons Why You Should Walk Regularly

July 2, 2017

What’s so special about walking? Nothing special. It’s just a simple way, say an aerobic exercise, of keeping your body and mind fit, keeping you fresh and lively for long hours. I used to see a lot of youngsters and aged ones walking on the streets and grounds, taking care of their body in a fine manner. Walking is gaining momentum among people of all age groups, earlier this was not the case. Now people are becoming more aware of this. We need to walk at least 30 minutes daily, try to walk daily in the morning. You can fix 5.30 to 6 AM or 6 to 6.30 AM. A morning walk gives us a lot of energy to move on the remaining part of the day in an active manner.

According to studies, women who walk have less body fat than those who don’t walk. Let’s have a look at 6 benefits of walking.

1. Walk for your heart: Regular walking reduces the risk of heart ailments. It can lower the levels of bad cholesterol and increase the levels of good cholesterol. Chances for a stroke will also be less. You can control high blood pressure with a 30-minute walk regularly.

2. Good for osteoporosis: Having regular walk can stop the loss of bone mass for patients with osteoporosis. For women, post-menopause, daily walk for 30 minutes reduces the risk of hip fractures to a large extent.

3. Walk to burn weight: Walk 2 miles per hour for 30 minutes, you will be able to reduce 75 calories of weight. It’s a fantastic yet simple exercise to burn your calories in an effective manner. Don’t bother about the possibilities of being an overweight, if you walk regularly.

4. Walk to strengthen muscle: Regular walking makes your leg and abdominal muscles strong.

5. Walk for a sound sleep: Those are lucky who have a sound sleep. Sleepless nights are becoming a big problem for many. Regular one-hour morning walk gives men and women sound sleep in the night. Some studies prove that women who walk are more likely to relieve insomnia than women who don’t have the habit of walking.

6. Walk for happiness: Walking matters a lot for this one reason, happiness. A fresh money walk is grand enough to change your mood. It can bring out positive energy. It’s a great anti-depression strategy. It can reduce stress and anxiety. If you want to be positive, no second thought, start walking.

PERSONAL CARE, TIPS

What about having a one-week break from Facebook? All for our well-being!

July 2, 2017

We’re living in the golden age of social media, and no doubt Facebook is a rare revolution in the history of communication. It connects the world in a wonderful way and offers solutions to the complex problems of people from diverse shades of life. Facebook has become a part of our daily life, like food and sleep. So much is its influence on you and me. This is the reality. With more than two billion active users, the social media platform founded by one of the most disruptive entrepreneurs, Mark Zuckerberg, is now the most influential communication platform in the world. However, as a health professional, I am always concerned about the impact of Facebook on human minds. A lot of research studies are going on on this subject across the world.

There is an intriguing point that comes to the fore in one of the recent studies, which may force you and me to take a break from FB for some time. The study conducted by the University of Copenhagen states that Facebook is making most of us unhappy and dissatisfied. The study finds,

“Millions of hours are spent on Facebook each day. We are surely better connected now than ever before, but is this new connectedness doing any good to our wellbeing? According to the present study, the answer is no. In fact, the predominant uses of Facebook — that is, as a means to communicate, gain information about others, and as habitual pastime — are affecting our wellbeing negatively on several dimensions.’’

The study provides causal evidence that quitting Facebook leads to higher levels of both cognitive and affective well-being. The participants who took a one week break from Facebook showed significantly higher levels of life satisfaction. More than satisfaction, the study states that they have an improved emotional life after the period. The study was conducted with 1,095 people in Denmark.

 

The study also showed that the gain of well-being varied in relation to how people use the social media platform. For heavy FB users, users who passively use Facebook, and users who tend to envy others on Facebook, the gain proved to be greatest.

“These findings indicate that it might not be necessary to quit Facebook for good to increase one’s well-being — instead an adjustment of one’s behavior on Facebook could potentially cause a change,’’ it observes.

We can put it simply like this, if one is a heavy Facebook user, one should use Facebook less to increase one’s well-being. And if one tends to feel envy when on Facebook, one should avoid browsing the sections (or specific friends) on Facebook causing this envy.

And if one uses Facebook passively, one should reduce this kind of behavior. Due to habits, practicalities, and potential ‘‘forecasting errors,’’ it may be difficult to change one’s way of using Facebook. If this is the case, one should consider quitting Facebook for good.

So, what about having a one-week break from Facebook!

PERSONAL CARE, TIPS

Best Ayurveda Tips to overcome Fatigue

July 2, 2017

All of us struggle with being overtired or overworked each day. Fatigue is a common problem that is explained as a feeling of tiredness or lack of energy. A stress-driven body and mind are the major cause of fatigue, it is generally caused by lifestyle or dietary problems. It can be triggered by stress, medication, overwork, or mental and physical illness.

According to Ayurveda, fatigue is caused by the imbalance of one, some or all the three Doshas. Fatigue can have three causative factors at the level — physical, mental and emotional. It may be caused by an imbalance of Tridoshas ie, Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Vata is usually the prime dosha involved. Increased level of Vata causes poor circulation which leads to the feeling of fatigue.

Causes for fatigue

Fatigue refers to a feeling of tiredness or weariness. It can be temporary or chronic. The main cause of fatigue is the lack of energy due to wrong feeding habits. The way you live and how you eat largely determines the energy levels within your body. Especially important is how you eat, the strength of your digestion, and what kind of foods you choose and are able to digest. By not eating properly, you may also have other health problems later in life, such as heart disease, which is related to your poor diet and unhealthy eating habits.

1. Lack of physical fitness: Fitness is very important nowadays. Fitness does not mean being slim or lean or being without fat deposits. Fitness is the ability of the body to sustain hard work.

2. Less food more work: If you are eating fewer calories compared to energy spent then also you will end up being tired.

3. Lack of nutrition rich food: Choose right food, stick on to homemade foods, fruits, and vegetables. Limit the use of fatty foods as which cause diabetes, cholesterol and also damage to organs like heart, liver, kidney and cause tiredness.

4. Indigestion: This is one of the main causes for tiredness according to Ayurveda.

Symptoms of Fatigue

1. Dizziness or Vertigo

2. Lack of energy

3. Tiredness or Exhaustion

4. You do not feel fresh after waking up in the morning, though you had a good night’s sleep. You feel your stomach heavy all the time.

5. Either you eat more or eat less, there is an imbalance in hunger.

6. Lasting illness: Chronic illness or disease is one of the major causes. If you are suffering from a disease for a long time, then it is better to consult the doctor for an advice to take care of overall body nourishment. This will cure fatigue and tiredness.

7. Mental Fatigue: Laziness, no mood for hard work, lack of energy, though you actually are not tired.

8. Depression & Anxiety: These cause mental fatigue and leads to tiredness. The solution lies in treating them in a healthy way.

9. Stress: It is related to mental and physical fatigue. Physical stress due to an accumulation of free radicals affects the organs. Mental stress can be handled with stress relief techniques.

Tips to Overcome Fatigue and regain good health

To fix this problem, finding the right diet is crucial. Unhealthy fatty foods & foods that contain preservatives can coat your intestinal wall and can result in less food being absorbed into your system, so cells are provided with less energy, leaving you feeling fatigued. Ayurveda believes strongly that the strength of your digestive fire makes all the difference in how well you are able to convert food into energy.

To support your digestive fire, add digestive spices such as cumin, mustard seed, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. It is said to support your body when you are facing high-stress levels, and it can encourage a healthy sleeping pattern. Try to include all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, pungent) in your diet. Favor the sweet, sour, and salty tastes, as this help pacify Vata dosha, and eat less of the bitter, astringent and pungent foods. The concept of Ayurveda dictates certain habits like eating right, dietary supplements and specific exercise techniques in Yoga, Pranayama, and Meditation to help you overcome fatigue.

Remember, herbs are only part of the Ayurvedic approach to healing. Simple dietary and lifestyle changes can speed up your recovery time. Chronic fatigue syndrome can be frustrating, but you don’t have to let it control your life. Many people have found relief with safe, natural Ayurvedic remedies and techniques that work to get rid of toxins, bring your body back into balance and thus restore you to good health.

PERSONAL CARE, TIPS

Ayurveda Tips to boost your Immune System

July 2, 2017

A good immune system is the ‘anti-virus’ defense against any disease. The Sanskrit word for immunity — ‘Vyadhikshamatva’ means forgiveness of disease. According to Ayurveda good health is not related to just not being sick. Wellness is state of experiencing good health. Apart from balancing the doshas — Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, as well as making sure our digestive fire, called Agni, is working to its utmost, we should start practicing some very good techniques that will help boost immunity.

Keep the immune system in proper balance by eating the right foods. A weak immune system causes all types of diseases. Also, an immune response becomes overactive or misdirected, targeting the body’s own tissues for foreign invaders. Our diet plays a vital role in balancing this ‘fighting response’ within the body. Consuming leafy greens, highly pigmented fruits, whole grains can give the body exactly what it needs to stay strong.

1 – Cook with immune-boosting spices : Cook your food in a way that doesn’t disturb the food’s natural goodness. For instance, if you add mild spices to cooked vegetables, grains, the food will convert more quickly to ojas. Spices add good flavor and they support digestion and make the nutrients easily available to the body. Different spices also have specific immune-boosting properties. For eg, Turmeric has an immune-modulating effect, because it has detoxifying properties and enhances the intelligence of the immune cells similarly Cumin burns Ama. Black pepper clears the channels so ojas can reach the deeper tissues.

Eat consistently, at regular times throughout the day: Regular meals enable the body to absorb nourishment and feel energized. This also increases digestive fire. Add Medicinal herbs to your diet like Basil, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Olive leaf, Amla and more which will help your body to defend itself against invaders. Many keep your white blood cell count high, and others support the vital organs.

Detox: In Ayurveda, ama (store toxins from undigested food) is one of the primary reasons for diseases to develop. Indigestion and ama formation prevent nutrients from reaching the tissues and weakens immune function. Be sure to detox regularly if you consume lots of unhealthy foods, are exposed to many environmental toxins, or don’t eat a Sattvic diet. While you don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian, strictly, those dietary practices are in alignment with Ayurvedic wisdom. Choose easy-to-digest organic and fresh foods. Foods that are processed, canned, frozen or packaged are harder to digest, they also include harmful ingredients such as chemical preservatives and thus create Ama.

Organically grown foods are best because not only are they free of harsh chemicals, but they also contain more minerals. Vegetarian proteins such homemade cheese, milk, and pulses (split-mung dhal, lentils, and other small, split beans) enhance ojas and immunity. Meat is not a recommended protein because it is difficult to digest and creates Ama

3 – Life style modifications

Get Good Sleep: Adequate sleep is especially important and essential for anyone who wants to enhance immunity and resist disease. The body is very busy while you are resting. Deep sleep helps the immune system to release proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. A balanced cycle of rest and activity help our immune cells to regenerate properly. Lack of sleep interrupts this cyclic process and can cause increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and other illnesses.

Do Yoga and Meditate: Yoga and meditation positively affect the immunity response in the body. They do so primarily by lowering stress.

Pranayama: If stress is the primary factor compromising your immune system, Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is the powerful support activity that you need to start right away. Prana, the vital breath, is the subtle essence of the life force that animates each of us. It energizes every cell and tissue throughout our body and is stimulated and carried on by the breath. Prana restores fluidity and vitality to the subtle energy channels of the body, releases accumulated tension, and supports the nervous system as a whole —  all while digesting and eliminating stagnation and Ama.

Ayurveda teaches us that ojas and strong immunity are the natural outcomes of good health, which depends on Agni, a healthy diet, a supportive lifestyle, and a balanced nervous system. it is all about you — your unique strengths and vulnerabilities, and your personal path toward healing.

Featured, PERSONAL CARE, TIPS

An Ayurvedic approach to childhood obesity

June 17, 2017

Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic health problem across the world. The increase in the number of obese patients indicates that we are getting away from nature. This condition can be treated effectively by balanced nutrient intake and rational use of Ayurvedic medicine and Yoga. In Ayurveda, obesity has been elaborately described by the term ‘Atisthaulya’. Childhood obesity without any organic cause is being dealt here.

Obesity causes

The main causes and reasons behind this may be as under:

  1. Digestive disorders
  2. Substituting outdoor games with video games & TV
  3. Lazy and sedentary lifestyles
  4. Lack of exercise
  5. Hormonal imbalance and unhealthy diet
  6. Consuming high-calorie food (excess intake of heavy and oily food items and sweets)
  7. Improper assimilation of food
  8. Heredity (children of obese person has high risk)
  9. Slow metabolism which leads to fat deposits and weight gain
  10. Diseases like hypothyroidism, insulin resistance are also contributors to the disorders

Childhood Obesity Effects

The most dangerous aspect of childhood obesity is that it leaves the child vulnerable to illnesses that once only the aged suffered from. This includes conditions like type 2 diabetes and several heart conditions. In addition, obese children are also susceptible to sleep apnea, depression, low self-esteem, rage, and anxiety disorders. If these are ignored, they tend to become a part of the growing personality, creating a dysfunctional adult. This includes social ineptitude and awkwardness, anxiety and depression.

Like adults, kids too need to burn the fats they are eating. Hence, it is extremely important that your kids indulge in physical activities. In adulthood, they could face health issues like asthma, snoring, knee pains, sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes and high levels of cholesterol.

Ayurvedic Management of Childhood Obesity:

Diet Regimen (Ahara):

Oily and deep fried foods such as noodles, pizza, hamburger, french fries, pasta should be avoided. Limit sweetened food articles such as chocolates, sweets, cold drinks (sodas). Include nutritious wholesome food in the child’s diet. Fast food consumption should be limited. Avoid beverages like tea, coffee, and soft drinks.

Skipping meals does not promote weight loss.

Children should be provided with a morning meal (breakfast) that includes whole grains, fruits, and protein. A little water (half glass) should be taken before the meal. Cold water and cold drinks should not be taken along with meal (especially just after meal). More of fruits and vegetables should be included in the diet.

Liquid  Intake (Anupana): Children should be given lukewarm water in winter season while room temperature water (not cold) in the summer season in the evening time. Other liquids that are beneficial in reducing childhood obesity are honey, warm water, buttermilk, Tila taila (sesame oil).

Physical activity (Vyayama):

Encourage your child to participate in physical activities. Childhood obesity and weight gain are too common due to lack of physical activity, exercise, and sedentary lifestyle. Lead by example, if your children see that you are physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active for the rest of the lives. For example, the average child spends approximately four hours each day watching television. Popularity of computer games and television programmes is directly proportional to the number of hours of inactivity. Children should be encouraged for physical activity, at least 60 minutes of fitness every day that may be in the form of sports, morning walk or cycling.

LimitScreen Time: With technology taking over today, almost every kid is addicted to their play stations, tablets or television. Switch off the television, computer, video games etc. when it exceeds a time Never allow more than two hours a day. This will provide time for more physical activity for your child.

Sleep (Nidra): Excessive sleeping or nap after lunch should be avoided.

Emotional support to the child:

Children need a lot of encouragement to be active. Children should be praised for making small changes and efforts for weight loss, not results. This, in turn, will encourage them to perform more. Be sensitive to your child’s needs. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable about participating in certain activities. Help them find physical activities that aren’t embarrassing or too difficult.

Medications &Yoga

Ayurvedic medicines are very effective in natural weight reduction along with the above regimen. But these medications must be taken in appropriate dose according to the body weight and under medical supervision. Self-medication should strictly be avoided. In Ayurveda, through proper shodhana (purification or detoxification), the dosa imbalance can be brought back to normal. The child can be given mild udwarthana (powder massage) which help in diminishing the fat content of the body(especially the subcutaneous fat). Kapha and medohara drugs and treatments are beneficial for obesity (even in children). The internal administration of certain kasayam (decoctions), vatis or gulikas (tablets) etc., can also help in reducing the extra fat content of the body.

Yoga involves a series of gentle postures, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques. Together these can treat obesity, correct imbalances in the body and create a healthy resolve to fight off the condition. Unlike other methods, yoga doesn’t have any unpleasant side effects, neither is it strenuous. Most child obesity exercises leave the child frustrated. Child Yoga leaves the child refreshed and positive. Yoga exercises involve a lot of stretching and bending, pushing all the muscles in the body into action. In addition, kids also learn to breathe properly, utilizing complete lung capacity, improve posture and build self-confidence. The meditative aspects of yoga help children cope with stress and anxiety. It also boosts willpower and concentration.

As far as prevention of the onset of obesity in children is concerned, parents play a major role. You can start with yourself first. Like we teach good manners to our kids to make them better human beings, similarly be a role model to promote good nutrition. You need to follow a diet thus letting your kids follow your footsteps. You also need to educate them about the harms of childhood obesity. Explain to them what it means, the causes,  effects, and prevention. Let them nurture the importance of nutrition, thus enabling them to make proper decisions about food. Parental instincts always state that the kids should be well fed to maintain their health and body. However, it could go wrong if you confuse your love with food.