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Category Archives: Blog

THE THIRSTY BRAIN

It is a well-known fact that human body is made up of over 70% water, and hence, the importance of it cannot be denied. Almost every part of our body requires water to function smoothly, and boost the body to perform at its peak energy levels. However, many people do not realise how crucial hydration can be, in order to promote brain functioning. This is because our brain cells require a delicate balance between water and electrolytes.

SO WHY IS WATER IMPORTANT?

Water carries oxygen to the brain, which is responsible for energy production and can instantly make you feel better or worse. Water has structural benefit, which essentially helps in filling the gap between brain cells. You would have also noticed very frequently that when you are dehydrated, you will most likely get a headache, which means that there is a direct relation between the functioning of the brain and hydration.

Even as little as a 3-4% decrease in water intake, can cause an immediate cause on effect on the body and will affect the fluid balance in the brain, which can cause a number of issues such as:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Brain fog
  3. Reduced energy
  4. Headache
  5. Mood swings

HOW TO ENSURE SUFFICIENT WATER INTAKE

As a nutritionist and brain health advocate, I am thoroughly convinced that drinking enough water is the first step towards great health. Over the years, I have definitely learnt the small tricks and techniques that help me drink enough water, to keep my brain sharp, and function smoothly at all times. It starts right from drinking a full glass of water the first thing in the morning to ending the day with a cup of herbal tea.

The longevity of you and your brain are both dependent on what is called as “Hard Water” which refers to plain water, which naturally contains minerals like calcium and magnesium.Make sure that you are well aware of the kind of water you are consuming. Here are some quick tips that will help you reach your daily water intake goal:

  1. Do not count green tea/ chaas/ juice or other liquids as “water”
  2. Set reminders on your phone to drink water every 30 mins
  3. Keep a bottle of water with you instead of filling glasses (It can be harder to remember how many glasses you have had than bottles)

Apart from this, there is another very interesting and one of our favourite tricks that you can follow: Aloe Vera juice!

Aloe Vera juice is our nature’s own first aid which is naturally antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Aloe Vera constitutes of over 90% water and over 200 active components of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and even fatty acids. Consuming aloe Vera juice every day It is considered a great way to hydrate all the organs, reduce inflammation, and get the brain ready to spring into action from inside out!

It is also important to remember that “drinking” water is not the only way to stay hydrated, there are several vegetables and fruits available that can help you achieve your daily hydration goal and also add up to your nutrition requirements.

FRUIT WATER CONTENT VEGETABLE WATER CONTENT
Watermelon 93% Cucumber &
lettuce
96%
Strawberry 92% Zucchini,
celery &
radish
95%
peaches 88% Broccoli,
pepper,
& spinach
93%

In conclusion, simply drink more water, and eat foods that are rich in water content. This is a rather straight forward and humble way to maintain better health and improve cognitive functions. In order to ensure that you do, you can follow the tricks and tips that we have mentioned in this blog post.

Happy drinking!

Motherhood Selfcare.

Mother’s health is the most important aspects of life for ladies everywhere. No one can underestimate the benefits one can gain from eating right, exercising right and the peace and harmony it brings to your mind and body.

These easy tips are the best ways for a women to get in shape physically and mentally.

  1. Keep calm and hydrate: Staying hydrated leads to healthy physical and mental functioning. Drinking lots of water during the day is also key to keeping yourself fit from the inside out.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight: Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your overall well-being. Being underweight / overweight can significantly increase the risk of several chronic diseases and can reduce the quality of your life.
  3. Get Moving: Women must make sure to get at least 45 – 60 minutes of exercise every day to keep the heart functioning properly. Exercise improves your bone health, sleep, and quality of life.  Aerobic exercise which includes walking, jogging, bicycling and dancing are good for women’s health.
  4. Eat well, live well: Women are prone to neglecting our own dietary needs as priority is placed on taking care of others. However, you must ensure that you get all the nutrients you need from the foods you eat. Add a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, meat, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy products, and lots of nuts. Do not skip the most important meal of the day. Limiting foods that are high in sugar & salt. Eating smaller portions spread out over the day. Being careful about how many carbohydrates /fat you eat. Eating a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables every day. Avoiding alcohol, tobacco.
  5. The two forgotten minerals: Apart from calcium, Zinc and Magnesium are two other minerals that are most needed by women’s bodies. Deficiency of Zinc impairs the immune system, which results in thinning of hair and acne. Magnesium, on the other hand, is most essential as it helps with sleep, bone health, and may also help in relieving premenstrual symptoms, anxiety, and migraines. 
  6. Build a support circle: Studies show that social circles of friends and family increase your likelihood of surviving health problems, increase your level of happiness and even help you live longer. The best way to build a support circle is to be a part of someone else’s support circle. That way you can be there for each other.
  7. It’s OK to say NO: Learn to say NO without feeling bad about it. The earlier you learn to say this, the better your health will be.
  8. Reduce Stress: A mantra that every woman should tell herself is “I will not stress over things today”. Making time to take a few minutes every day just to relax and get your perspective back again is something that is recommended by several studies. This can be by reading your favorite magazine or listening songs or by gardening. Also try breath in and breath out exercise.
  9. Regular check ups: Health screenings are an important way to help recognize problems in the body – sometimes even before you show any signs or symptoms. Even if you feel well, early health check-ups and screening tests can not only spot signs of serious diseases and conditions but also have a better chance of successfully curing or effectively treating them.
  10. Get your sleep: For a productive day at home, or at work, or even at the gym, it is imperative that you get a good night’s sleep. Insufficient sleep not only brings down your productivity but also affects the mental and physical state of your body and overall, wellbeing. While 8 hours can be a luxury, a minimum of 6-7 hours is vital.

Healthy eating for older people.

Generally after 50, men and women experience different health problems like dental problems, low metabolism, diabetes or other health problems that severely restrict their dietary habits. Change in physiology are known to affect nutritional requirements in a human body.

A typical balanced diet for elders above 65 years of age must have around 1400 and 1800 caloric intake respectively for women and men. senior citizens have to take extra care to ensure their daily diet is rich in proteins and fibers. A controlled amount of fat can provide energy and fresh fruits and vegetables – along with pulses, beans, nuts and seeds provides vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This controlled combination of five major food groups can help senior citizens maintain supreme health and optimum body weight.

About 40 -55% of the calorific need must come from grains and other Carbohydrate sources with proteins at least 25-30 % and good fats about 25-30 %. Moreover, despite of knowing the fact elderly people can lose interest in eating full, healthy balanced meals as they get older. This can have serious, long-term effect on their health and well-being.

Here are 10 top tips to encourage older people to eat:

  1. Keep hydrated: lack of water can cause appetite suppression. It’s needed for all bodily functions and dehydration is a common problem in the elderly. Frequently prompting drinks, and making drinks more interesting by adding cordial (with very less sugar) call help.
  2. Keep it saucy: Linked to hydration – depending on individual preferences, elderly people (who may be dehydrated or have swallowing issues) often prefer meals with a sauce (what we call “Rasa” in Hindi ) to soften it and lubricate it’s journey to the stomach. For example, instead of making dry vegetable making it with gravy or watery can encourage elderly people to eat more. 20% of the water intake comes from food.
  3. Presentation: If food is not appetizing you won’t eat as much. Especially as elderly people can lose acuity of their taste and smell senses, they take more information from the visual cues. Spending some time on how the food looks can make a big difference.
  4. Location location location: If people have mobility issues, they may be keen to eat in their armchair or in bed. If they can get up, it’s worth encouraging people to sit at the dining table to eat, as this is a better position and allows more defined ‘meal times’ to develop. It can be more sociable and a change of scenery is never a bad thing either!
  5. Get their teeth and swallowing checked: Maybe they can’t chew properly or are in pain, which is affecting what they can eat. Soft and blended foods are better here.
  6. Offer a menu: Giving some options will give you information about the sort of thing they most want to eat. you can use this information to tailor the menu to keep in the favorites and get rid of the unloved leftovers in the back of the fridge.
  7. Keep meals smaller: People’s appetite reduces as they get older, and getting a huge plate of food can be a bit demoralizing when you are just not hungry. This can lead people to just pick at it and not try to finish it. Instead of 3 large meals a day, you could try 5-6 smaller ones, as long as they are healthy.
  8. Quality not Quantity: Making sure meals are as healthy as possible by possibly adding protein powder to drink, shredded veggies to scrambled eggs etc. and using healthy natural ingredients can all help.
  9. Supplements: Add some low sugar protein supplements with multi vitamins and mineral supplements. It helps them get the stamina for the day. You may also think of adding some enzyme supplements for better digestion. Consult your dietitian before starting them.
  10. Reduce levels of salt: Most of the sodium we need is already present in everybody foods like bread, cereals, green leafy vegetables etc. Elderly people might end of adding extra salt due to lack of taste. Make sure you avoid giving ready to eat meals to them. Excess salt leads to high blood pressure, which increases the risk to heart disease and stroke.

Types of carbs to Avoid before working out

You might know that carbohydrates are an essential component of a good pre workout snack or meal. Carbohydrate-rich foods provide your muscles with easy-to-use-energy, so you can fly through every round of treadmill sprints or push through the last set of squats.

What you must know, though, is certain types of pre-workout carbs may serve your workouts better than others. In fact, though totally healthy and unproblematic for most people, a certain group of carbs called FODMAPs, can backfire on some exercisers when eaten before workout.

Here’s what you need to know, so can adjust your pre-workout fuel accordingly .

What are FODMAPs ?

FODMAPs is an acronym for ” Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. They are short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. In simple words, FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that ferment and lead to gas production during the digestive process. They can also draw water into the GI tract.

For some people this is no big deal. In fact, plenty of people eat FODMAPs without noticing a single thing. However for those suffering from IBS, eating FODMAPs can lead to digestive pain or discomfort, diarrhea and/or constipation.

Now struggle here is FODMAPs are found in lots of healthy foods that can actually be good for your gut microbe. If you are sensitive though the negatives may outweigh the positives. If you do not have sensitive gut you don’t have to worry. But if you have IBS or sensitive system eating high amount or certain types of FODMAPs before exercise might get you symptoms like gas, bloating and abdominal pain. If you have all these symptoms you might have to reconsider the types of carbs you must eat as a pre-workout snack.

Your Pre-workout snacks which might contain these FODMAPs

Sad but true for sensitive stomachs: many popular pre-workout foods contain FODMAPs

  • Fructans and Oligosaccharides – dried fruits, chicory root and inulin (common in protein bars and powders) watermelons, cashews, barley, rye, wheat.
  • Disaccharides – cow’s milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
  • Monosaccharides – apples, mangoes, figs, pears, sugar snap peas, honey
  • Polyol – Apples, apricots, blackberries, peaches, sugar alcohol containing products (protein bars, protein powders, “sugar free” snacks)

Avoid consuming above listed foods if you have sensitive system or IBS

FODMAPs – free pre workout options

If you frequently experience digestive issues during or post workout consider switching to FODMAPs free pre-workout snack as follows

  • a banana with peanut butter
  • an orange and a handful of macadamia nuts. You can replace Macadamia nuts with pistachio / walnuts / pine nuts
  • coconut yoghurt – you can make at home using coconut milk
  • oatmeal with pumpkin and pecans

Still on the stomach struggle bus at the gym? Check-in with a doctor or registered dietitian to investigate the cause of IBS.

I have trouble sleeping. Is my immunity at risk?

Yes ! Sleep and the circadian system exerts a strong regulatory influence on immune functions. Circadian clock genes exist through the brain as well as the peripheral tissues of human, which regulates almost all the physiological, hormonal, molecular processes, sleep mechanism, cell growth etc. Similarly wide range of physiological system involved during sleep like energy metabolism, cognitive performance, immune mechanism, cell growth etc.

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system. There are many studies that proves, that people who experience lack of enough and quality sleep are prone to get sick after being exposed to a virus. With this pandemic around us immunity has become a center of concern. Design of our immune system is complex and influenced by an ideal balance of many factors, not just diet and especially not by any one specific food or nutrient. However, balanced diet consisting of a range of vitamins and minerals, combined with healthy lifestyle factors like adequate sleep, exercise and low stress, most effectively primes the body to fight infection and disease.

Sleep and Cytokines

During sleep, your immune system releases the proteins called cytokines, that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective Cytokines.In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you dont get enough sleep.

Stock up on naps

To stay healthy, especially during the pandemic era, get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night (10:00 pm to 6:00 am / 11:00 pm to 7:00 am). This will help keep your immune system in fighting shape. If your sleep schedule has interrupted by a busy work week or other factors, try to make up with small naps. Taking 2 naps not longer than 30 minutes each – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – has been shown to help reduce stress and reduce the negative impact of stress on immune system. You may also try taking nap of 20 min during your lunch break and 20 min nap right before dinner.

Other tactics

Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than getting ample of sleep. Diet, exercise, meditation and lifestyle all together helps one build a good immunity Diet and exercise play a crucial role in maintaining an individual’s immune system.

A balanced meal of carbs, protein and restrict amount of fat can overall improve and reduce a the chances of diseases and infections .As such there is no single superfood that will charge your immune, but there are essential micronutrients required that can backup your immune system like

Vitamin C in Kiwi ,lemon,gooseberry , berries , bell pepper can help with decreasing respiratory infections and is also an antioxidant ,

Vitamin A in pumpkin ,waterlemon, sweet potato helps the production of WBC which fights against bacteria and virus ,

Vitamin D in eggs – help to decrease upper respiratory tract infections ,

Vitamin E in walnuts is an anti inflammatory food ,

Omega 3 in Soya beans almond, sunflower seeds helps the immune cells to destroy the invading bacteria,

Zinc in pumpkin seeds helps in development and functioning of immune cells .

Some functional foods that improves immunity are garlic , ginger , jeera, pepper, turmeric which boost cell activity and have anti inflammatory activity .

Probiotics primarily modulating gut bacteria, and supplementation reduces gastrointestinal and upper respiratory symptoms and modulates some aspects of the immune system.

Exercise has anti-inflammatory effects, which means that moderate amounts of exercise enhance immune function .Heavy physical activity produces a rapid increases in cytokine production and also pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines.