Balanced Diet: What to Include and What to Limit

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is a healthy diet that provides right amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to keep the body and mind strong and healthy. Without balanced nutrition, your body is more prone to disease, infections, and so on. During the past few years, we have witnessed a significant change in health and lifestyle trends. With so many options available, unhealthy food habits have become widespread. But this has to be stopped. To stay fit and healthy, follow a healthy lifestyle anchored on a balanced diet.

The key to a healthy, balanced diet is to ensure intake of the right amount of calories based on how active you are. It balances the energy you consume with the energy you use. It will contain a variety of foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, starchy foods, protein-rich foods and some dairy foods.

To get started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle, here are the important foods you need include and avoid in a balanced diet:

What to Include

  • Fresh Vegetables and Fruits: Two food groups that are essential in a balanced diet are fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruit and vegetables are significantly rich in minerals, antioxidants, plant protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. Eat these foods in their raw state such as salads, fruits and vegetable juices which are healthier than cooking them. This will also make meal preparation easier. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Try to eat a variety of vegetables – especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables (3 or more servings a day) – as this will provide different combinations of nutrients needed for your body to stay healthy.
  • Whole Grains: Most of a person’s daily caloric intake comes from grains. The United States Department of Agriculture‘s (USDA) updated guidelines say that grains should make up only a quarter of a person’s plate. Grains have two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains.

    Whole grains include all three parts of the grain – the bran, germ, and endosperm – and have less effect on a person’s blood sugar as the body breaks down whole grains slowly. Moreover, they tend to contain more fiber and protein than refined grains. Refined grains are processed, do not contain the three original components, and also tend to have less protein and fiber, which can cause blood sugar to spike. Make sure that at least half of the grains you eat are whole grains. Choose healthful whole grains such as quinoa, oats, brown rice, barley and buckwheat.
  • Protein: Protein plays a key role in ensuring the growth and maintenance of muscles and healthy bones and in the management of a healthy immune, circulatory, and nervous systems. Some nutritious protein choices include lean beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, beans, peas, legumes, nuts and seafood.
  • Dairy and Fortified Soy Products: As a vital source of calcium, dairy products also provide other essential nutrients, including protein and vitamin D. The USDA recommends consuming low-fat version of dairy whenever possible. If a person is lactose intolerant, then they can opt for low-lactose or lactose-free products, or choose soy-based sources of calcium and other nutrients. Low-fat dairy and soy options include ricotta or cottage cheese, low-fat milk, yogurt and soy milk.
  • Good Fats and Oils: Though too much fat can increase calories above what the body needs and may lead to weight gain, good fats and oils are essential for energy and cell health. Eat a moderate amount of fats that the body can’t naturally produce. Good fats also help absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, and protect the cells from oxidative stress.

    a. Consume Unsaturated Oils – such as vegetable oils and fish oils
    b. Limit Saturated Oils – such as butter, cheese, and heavy cream
    c. Avoid Trans Fats – fats used in many processed and premade foods

What to Limit

  • Limit Salt, Sugar, and Processed Food: Reduce daily intake of salt or sodium to less than 1,500 mg. per day, especially if you are older than 50, or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Likewise, restrict or eliminate processed foods, sodas and other sugar-added drinks that are high in calories and contain few or no nutrients as they contribute to weight gain, obesity and diabetes.

The key to maintaining a balanced diet is to eat a variety of foods from different food groups. This will help your body get the right amount of nutrients to function effectively.

6 Top Tips to Stay Healthy at Work

Healthy

Sitting for hours and hours in a chair in front of a computer can have negative consequences for your health. Continuous sitting affects your posture, mental health, stress levels and can also increase risks of heart disease and various musculoskeletal conditions. With the increasing awareness of such issues, many companies are prioritizing health and wellness in the workplace.

Here are some tips to improve your health and personal wellbeing at work.

  1. Stay Hydrated – Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day to stay hydrated. You can also choose fruits such as watermelon, oranges, grapefruit and grapes that are good sources of water and can help keep you healthy and hydrated.
  2. Choose Healthy Food and Snacks – Unhealthy food can add calories to your daily diet. Instead of junk food, chips, sugary candies and cakes, choose nuts, cherries or grapes to suppress your hunger. Make sure to pay attention to what you eat for your main meals. Include salads and fruits in your breakfast and lunch.
  3. Maintain Good Posture – Avoid common posture mistakes while sitting or standing. To improve posture at your desk, sit up straight and keep your hips far back in the chair. Ensure that the keyboard is close and directly in front of you and sit at least 20 inches away from the computer screen. Doing desk exercises can also improve your posture. Use a supportive chair that is adjustable.
  4. Take Frequent Breaks – Never sit for hours at a stretch. Do hourly stretches and take frequent breaks. This will also improve your creativity and productivity. Taking short walks after your meal can boost your energy levels.
  5. Keep your Workstation Clean – Keep your desk in order. Use a disinfectant to clean your keyboard, mouse, and phone. Make sure you have sanitizing wipes handy.
  6. Find Ways to Manage Stress – Stress can leave you exhausted and affect your mental health as well. Find opportunities to relax your mind and do enjoyable things such as taking your pet for a walk, spending time with your family or friends, watching movies, reading, and so on.

Following these tips can promote a healthy routine and improve your mental and physical wellbeing at work.

8 Important Guidelines for Reducing Cancer Risk [INFOGRAPHIC]

A critical health issue that affects millions worldwide, cancer is the second leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States. It has a staggering death toll rate, – every year, up to 9.6 million people die from cancer. But, do you know that about one-third of common cancers are preventable and treatable if detected early and treated properly?

Check out this infographic for guidelines to make simple lifestyle changes that can bring down your risk of cancer.

Cancer Risk

8 Effective Tips for Maintaining Good Eye Health

Eye Health

Do you know that your eyes are an important part of your overall health? Yes, it’s true, because, the eye is probably the most important of your five sense organs. With good eye health you can ensure good vision which helps you perform well – at home, at work, or while driving. Moreover, eye health goes hand-in-hand with general health; therefore, along with getting a regular vision screening – which is very important – there are effective tips that you can follow to make sure you keep your eyesight at its best.

Let’s check out those tips:

  1. Eat a Balanced Healthy Diet: To maintain eye function, protect your eyes against harmful light, and reduce the development of age-related degenerative diseases, you need certain nutrients in your body. To obtain those nutrients you need to eat a balanced healthy diet that includes food rich in antioxidants, like Vitamins A, C and E. Foods like leafy green vegetables and fish – especially fatty fish that contain essential omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon – also help to improve eyesight and prevent any long-term vision problems.
  2. Quit Smoking: We are well aware of the fact that smoking is dangerous to our health. It has long been known to cause heart disease and lung cancer, but then, what many people are not aware is that smoking can also lead to vision loss. According to the National Eye Institute, research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, optic nerve damage, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, and Dry Eye Syndrome, all of which can lead to blindness. So, to safeguard your eye health, better stop smoking.
  3. Use Protective Eyewear: To protect yourself from eye injuries – it is estimated that 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the U.S. each year – wear proper eyewear – where there is the slightest chance of eye injury. That is, whether you’re in the workplace or playing sports, always wear protective eyewear or safety glasses to avoid the risk of anything making contact with your eyes.
  4. Don’t Use Old Makeup: Eye makeup can make your eyes sparkle, but at the same time if you are using your old or expired eye makeup, it can ruin your eye health and make your eyes susceptible to eye infections. To prevent such situations, never use old containers of eye cosmetics – even if you haven’t used the product for several months, it’s better to throw it out and buy a new one. Also, make sure to not share eye or any other cosmetics with others and do not use the store samples. Remember to replace your eye products every 3 months to avoid developing an eye infection. Most importantly, always cleanse your face before and after using makeup.
  5. Exercise: Physical activity improves blood circulation, which improves oxygen levels to the eyes and helps remove toxins.
  6. Get a Good night’s Sleep: It is very important to get a good night’s sleep for eye health; in fact, it is beneficial for overall health, well-being, and good quality of life.
  7. Get Regular Eye Screenings: Everyone needs a regular vision screening, because many people think that their vision is fine and eyes are healthy. But the truth is that, even if your eyes are healthy, getting a dilated eye exam is the only way to detect certain diseases – such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration that often have no warning signs – in their early stages.
  8. Smart Screen Use: Using devices such as computer or phone screen for too long can cause eye problems such as:
    • Eyestrain
    • Blurry vision
    • Trouble focusing at a distance
    • Dry eyes
    • Headaches

    Therefore, to avoid such problems, make sure not to sit long hours in front of these devices. If you’re using a digital device for long periods at a stretch, make sure that:

    • Your desk has good lighting
    • Take regular breaks
    • Blink more often
    • Use proper eyewear
    • Keep your computer screen within 20″-24″ of your eye.
    • Keep the top of your computer screen slightly below eye level.
    • Use lubricating eyedrops to soothe irritated, dry eyes.

Follow these easy steps to keep your eyes healthy and don’t take your eyes for granted.

6 Nutrition Facts You Can Consider for a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle

With the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases around us, it is very important to stay healthy, mainly by consuming nutritious foods. Good nutrition is all about health, energy, and well-being. Nutrition plays an important role in helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Here are 6 nutrition facts for a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Artificial Trans Fats Are Not Healthy
  2. Many reports highlight that trans fats are unhealthy and may increase the risk for heart diseases and other health issues. According to Medline Plus, our body does not need trans fat and we should limit trans fat to less than 1% of our daily calories. Food producers make liquid vegetable oils solid at room temperature for use in products such as margarine. Trans fats are found mainly in fried, fast-packaged, processed foods such as cakes, pie crust, doughnuts and more.

  3. Choose Real Food Than Supplements
  4. According to the Harvard Medical School, though dietary supplements help plug gaps in your diet, taking too much of these frequently can lead to dangerous, toxic levels. It is best to eat fresh food that is loaded with nutrients necessary for good health, such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. However, many choose supplements because they aren’t getting enough nutrients from their diets. Whole foods offer diverse benefits over dietary supplements such as greater nutrition, essential fiber and other protective substances. Many whole foods contain chemicals that promote health, such as antioxidants – substances that slow down cell or tissue damage.

  5. Added Sugar Affects Your Body Badly
  6. Added sugars are referred to as “empty calories”, mainly because these are completely devoid of nutrition and can be the leading cause of many serious health conditions including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. It contains no nutrition, just sugar. Consuming products high in added sugar may result in nutrient deficiencies. Increased intake of fructose content in added sugar has been associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, high cholesterol over time and more.

  7. Omega-3 Fats Are Vital
  8. Make foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids a part of your food habits, as it is really important for the proper functioning of the human body. Main types of omega-3 fats are – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are necessary for our body for their anti-inflammatory properties. Some best sources of omega-3s and 6s are – pasture raised eggs, salmon, grass-fed meat, poultry, whole-grain breads and nuts.

  9. Drinking Plenty of Water Improves Overall Body Health
  10. There are many benefits you can enjoy by drinking enough water and staying hydrated such as – boost the number of calories you burn, increase metabolism, maximize physical performance, improve mood, memory, and brain performance, prevent and treat headaches, reduce constipation, prevent initial formation of kidney stones, and aid weight loss. It has been proven that drinking water half an hour before meals is effective in losing weight, as you feel fuller and eat only fewer calories.

  11. Whole or Unprocessed Foods Are Healthier
  12. Experts opine that instead of pre-packaged or pre-prepared foods, it is far better to eat a diet full of whole or unprocessed foods such as whole fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. Some of those super foods include avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas, broccoli, onions, asparagus and tomatoes. Always opt for natural foods than packaged ones. Whole fruits and vegetables are not only healthy, but also contain natural disease-fighting and health-boosting properties.

Also consider choosing a rainbow of colorful foods such as diverse types of fruits and vegetables. Natural pigments that give foods their color are nutritious and help reduce the risk of cancer and chronic diseases like heart disease. For optimal health, consider combining good nutrition with other healthy habits such as regular exercise, good sleep, plenty of water etc.

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6 Tips to Protect Your Eyes in Summer

Eyes in Summer

Most people spend a lot of time outdoors in summer. Along with skin care, you need to take care of your eyes too. Harmful UV rays in the sunlight can not only affect your skin but also damage your eyes. It can cause the cornea to become inflamed, leading to the formation of cataracts, macular degeneration or pterygium–tissue growth on the surface of the eye. Such conditions can impair vision. Unfiltered UV light or prolonged exposure to UV rays can also cause sunburn of the eyes or a very painful condition called photokeratitis.

Here are some key tips to protect your eyes against the summer sun.

Wear Sunglasses when you’re Outdoors

Remember that sunglasses are as important as sunscreen during summer. Sunglasses are a vital component of summer eye protection. Always wear sunglasses when you’re outdoors, even if it’s for a few minutes. Along with keeping your eyes more comfortable, sunglasses can prevent headaches, migraines, blurry vision, and other secondary effects of overstrained eyes. A good pair of sunglass can reduce the amount of sunlight glare, which reduces eye pain. Make sure to choose a pair of sunglasses with lenses that can block at least 98% of ultraviolet radiation.

Watch for Summer Allergies

As your eyes are especially sensitive to all kinds of infections, never ignore any summer allergies like itchy, red or watery eyes, as it can be a symptom of eye allergies or allergic conjunctivitis, a condition that affects millions of Americans. Certain eye allergies trigger include outdoor allergens (pollens from grass, trees and weeds), indoor allergens (pet dander, dust mites and mold) or irritants (cigarette smoke, perfume and diesel exhaust). Rubbing eyes too hard or too frequently can also worsen the effect of allergies, and even damage the eyes by causing conjunctivitis. Blink your eyes more often – this is the body’s natural way of keeping eyes moist and safe. Some symptoms of eye allergies can be controlled with artificial tears, decongestant eye drops or other non-prescription medications. If dryness or irritation in the eyes persists, consider consulting an allergist.

Wear a Hat

Regular use of hats and sunglasses significantly decrease UVR exposure. During summer, make sure to limit your time outdoors when the sun is at its strongest, mainly during the peak hours. Consider wearing a hat with a brim that is at least 3 inches wide, which helps to protect your eyes against UV rays.

Wear Goggles when you Swim

Just like sunglasses, goggles are also important. Water exposure can damage unprotected eyes. Chemicals like chlorine used to keep the water clean in pools can affect the natural tear film, which is meant to keeps our eyes moist and healthy. Whether you are swimming in the ocean or in other natural water bodies, make sure to wear goggles every time to protect your eyes against contaminants.

Remove your Contact Lens before Getting in Water

Remember to remove your contact lens before swimming. There are chances that bacteria and other micro-organisms can attach to the contact lens surface or can get trapped between the glass and eyes, which can cause dangerous eye infections.

Watch your Diet and Stay Hydrated

You may be surprised to learn that what you eat has the power to affect how well you see. It’s not just carrots. To improve eyesight and help prevent any long-term vision problems, make sure to eat foods that are rich in nutrients. Include foods that are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E and zinc. It is equally important to drink enough water, as dehydration makes it difficult for the body to produce tears, which can worsen the symptoms of dry eye and other vision concerns.

Simple Strategies to get a Summer Body in Four Weeks

summer body

Building a summer body improves your confidence and gets you ready for the beach season. Are you wondering about how to go about shedding excess pounds and building that well-shaped body? Well, it’s not as complicated as you think it is. And if you think you left it for too late, the good news is that some simple strategies can help you achieve your goal, though being consistent is very important here:

  • Eat Light, but don’t Starve Yourself: Aim to burn 2000 calories per day, including your meals with protein content foods instead of having protein powders, and consume more vegetables. “You should get 40% of energy from protein, 30% of energy from carbs, and 30% of energy from fat”, says Leo Savage, a personal trainer. You will still be at a fat-burning deficit, but you will still remain healthy. Consider eating about a two-fist sized portion of veggies and a palm-sized portion of high-quality protein with every meal, your body will transform faster than you think. But don’t restrict too many calories suddenly – it will stall your metabolism and actually keep you from losing weight.
  • Stay Hydrated: Consuming water always improves your physical and mental performance. It reduces fatigue, helps you focus better, eases blood flow, helps muscles work efficiently, enhances mood, and more. Try to drink at least 2 liters per day. Carry a water bottle and drink water at regular intervals to avoid dehydration.
  • Be Mindful: You can lower your stress level and improve motivation by focusing on what is happening at the moment. Be more mindful at mealtimes. Have your meals away from the TV and other distractions, and focus on what you are eating and know what it makes you feel. It will make you conscious about what you are putting in your body, which can prevent you from over-eating. By focusing on what you are eating, you will be able to understand which food is easy for your system to digest and which is not.
  • Take Proper Rest: Research shows that poor sleep may decrease your Resting Metabolism Rate (RMR). RMR is the number of calories your body burns when you are at complete rest. It is also believed that poor sleep leads to muscle loss. Muscles are able to burn more calories at rest than fat does therefore muscle loss leads to a decrease in RMR. So, good quality sleep is essential to build muscles and get lean.
  • Eat Around the Clock: You need to time when you eat what to optimize how your body handles what you put in. When you consume carbs, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar and it enters the blood. When blood sugar level rises, the pancreas produces insulin, and if the insulin level rises, it is particularly bad at turning food into fat, especially if you particularly have a sugary diet and it results in weight gain.

Insulin levels are stunted in the morning, so it is better to avoid carbs until dinner, ideally after a workout, which sends the hormone soaring and directs nutrients to the now hungry muscles, not to your love handles. “You need to earn your carbs”, says Savage, a personal trainer in a London gym (www.fashionbeans.com).

Savage recommends a total body-dumbbell session twice a week instead of cardio workouts to build beach-ready definition and strip away fat. Moves like deadlift, rows, and pull-ups help with more muscle movement, which helps recruit more muscle fiber and burn more energy.

These are some of the workouts you can follow to build your summer body:

The Heavy Metal Workout

  • Bench Press:
    • Lie on the bench press with your eyes under the bar
    • Grab the bar with a should width grip (thumbs around the bar)
    • Lower the bar squeezing your shoulder blades together to your mid-chest
    • Drive it up using your chest until your arms straight, make sure you don’t roll your shoulders forward
    • Perform four sets of ten reps, rest 60 sec in between.
  • Deadlifts:
    • Stand with your mid-foot under the barbell on the floor
    • Bend over and grab the bar with both hands, with a shoulder-width grip keeping your weight on your heels
    • Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar
    • Take a big breath, hold it and drive up to standing
    • Pause and lower
    • Perform four sets of five reps, rest 60 sec in between.

You can also do the Bulgarian split squat, Cable cows, and Single-arm kettlebell clean and press. Remember to do your cardio, after your weight workouts, says Savage. Your body needs to burn fat for fuel because shifting tin will have exhausted your carbs stored in your muscles.

The Fat-Burning High-Intensity Circuit

  • Burpees:
    • Set your feet shoulder-width apart
    • Push your hips back bend your knees
    • Lower your body to the steep of a squat as you can
    • Jump as high as possible, land and sink straight back into a squat
    • Repeat
  • Pull-ups:
    • Grip the bar with both hands with your palm facing forwards
    • Hang with your arms and elbows fully locked out.
    • Lift your body up so your chin clears the bar.
    • Keep your back tight and relax your neck
    • Bring your shoulders away from the ears
    • Pause and slowly lower yourself

Other workouts to try include Mountain Climbers, Kettlebell Swings, and Hollow Body.

The summer body workout practice is split between heavy metal and high-intensity metabolism-boosting exercises. Perform the weights two times in a week, with at least two days between each session and the same for the circuit workout. Follow a better lifestyle and you can achieve a summer-ready, healthy body in four weeks.

June 12 is Family Health and Fitness Day

Health and Fitness Day

Each year, the second Saturday in June is celebrated as Family Health and Fitness Day. Organized by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), this special day aims at promoting family involvement in physical activities and keeping families and communities healthy. It promotes the importance of parks and recreation in keeping communities healthy. Public parks and recreation improve people’s overall health and wellness and create healthy communities. The NRPA considers them essential partners in overcoming complicated challenges such as poor nutrition, hunger, obesity, and physical inactivity. This year Family Health and Fitness Day falls on June 12.

Staying healthy includes diverse aspects such as healthy eating, exercise, weight management, and stress management. As the nation celebrates Family Health and Fitness Day, following these strategies can help you and your family maintain good health –

  • Exercise: Regular exercise and physical activity improves cardiovascular health, improves sleep, reduces stress, increases attention and learning, and minimizes illness. Set a fitness plan and include all family members. Instead of playing games on the computer, encourage kids to play outdoor games. Consider family bike rides, backyard games, exercise and walks. Get involved in calorie-burning activities such as gardening, house cleaning, etc. Encourage your family members to walk or use a bicycle instead of driving or public transportation.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Focus on weight management and make everyone aware of the importance of weight management. Stay hydrated and make healthy food choices. Eating right is important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and energy levels even through busy days. Include fruits and vegetables in your family’s diet. Eat slowly, with focus on your meal and not on mobile phones or television. Never skip breakfast, as you may feel hungry may eat more later on.
  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Follow good sleep habits. Make sure to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Avoid having a heavy dinner or large meals before going to bed, as the food may not digest well and your sleep will get interrupted. Make sure that your bedroom is relaxing, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Relax: Set aside time to relax. Try meditation or any other relaxation techniques to manage stress and improve mood.
  • Train your Family on COVID-19 Best Practices: Even if you’re engaging in public activities, practice preventive actions to protect yourself. The CDC recommends a mask, tissues, and a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol handy when moving out your house. Also maintain social distancing and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people who are not from your household. Teach your kids to wear their mask properly. Avoid being in crowd or in poorly ventilated indoor spaces. Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands often with soap and water.

By providing facilities, outdoor settings, and services, public park and recreation agencies effectively improve health outcomes for people of all abilities, ages, socio‐economic backgrounds. The NRPA calls for supporting them through national and community level funding and policies so that they can continue to work towards making a positive change in the health and wellness of the nation.

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June is Observed as Men’s Health Month

Men’s Health

Each year, June is observed as Men’s Health Month to spread awareness about preventable health issues and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and depression among men and boys. Hosted by Men’s Health Network since 1992, this observance focuses on enhancing men’s health and wellness. The official symbol for this annual observance is a blue ribbon. According to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), compared to women, men are more likely to smoke and drink alcohol and generally lead a less healthy lifestyle.

To improve health, consider these points –

Watch your Diet

Make sure you are eating healthy. Include more fruits and vegetable in your diet and limit high calorie foods, red meat, sugar and salt. Reduce alcohol consumption too. A balanced diet should include all important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to keep your body and mind strong and healthy. This is crucial to reduce risk of various diseases.

General Guidelines for a Healthy Diet

Engage in Physical Activities

Stay active and exercise daily to stay fit, maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of many diseases. Staying fit boosts the immune system and keeps you physically and mentally healthy. Exercise also reduces the risk of early death from heart disease, cancers and other chronic conditions. Studies have also found that regular exercise can reduce the risk of different types of cancer.

Protect your Heart

According to CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing about 1 in 4 deaths. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease in the United States, which can lead to heart attack. Key risk factors for heart disease include high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity or family history of early onset of heart disease. To reduce your risk for heart disease and keep the blood vessels healthy, it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle, eat high fiber foods, reduce tobacco use and increase intake of omega 3 fatty acids.

10 Ways to Protect And Improve Heart Health

Quit Smoking

Long-term smoking not only damages your skin and teeth, it also affects important organs such as heart, lungs and brain. According to the FDA, men who smoke are at risk for heart disease, cancer, lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and diabetes. Smokers are up to 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers. Men who smoke may be at risk of other complications like erectile dysfunction. Quitting is one of the best decisions you can make for your health.

How Smoking Can Ruin Your Appearance

Get Regular Checkups

Make sure to schedule yearly checkups and regular health screenings. Even if you’re healthy, regular physical exams help validate your health and identify health issues in the early stages. Early detection and treatment can help slow disease progression. Mayo Clinic recommends that men older than 50 should have a yearly physical exam, and men younger than 50 should have a physical exam every three to five years.

Focus on Mental Health Too

Not just physical health, mental health also requires attention. Conditions like stress can cause serious physical and mental health issues, if it persists for a long time. To reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness, work on maintaining strong social relationships with friends and family, express your feelings and maintain a positive attitude.

Improve Your Mental Health with Seven Lifestyle Changes

June 3 Is World Bicycle Day

World Bicycle Day

“Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride.” – Eddy Merckx

Riding a bicycle – one of history’s best inventions – is one of the fondest childhood memories to most of us. Even after we grew up, many of us still love to ride a bicycle as it benefits us in many ways. This shows that the significance of the bicycle has not decreased over the years, instead, it has now increased tremendously. To promote the worth of the bicycle, World Bicycle Day is observed on 3rd June 2021.

Even though the bicycle and related activities are versatile in nature, there was no specific day that observed or acknowledged this on a global level until recently when the United Nations Organization officially declared June 3rd of every year to be celebrated as World Bicycle Day. The official declaration came in April 2018.

The theme of World Bicycle Day is “uniqueness, versatility, and longevity of the bicycle as a simple, sustainable, economical, and reliable mode of transportation.” That is, the UN established World Bicycle Day for many reasons such as its impact on society – which is quite transformative – because even the poorest people get access to basic transport with the bicycle and also get to save money on gas. It can also serve as a tool for development and a source of access to education, health care, and sport.

Along with providing a simple and sustainable means of environment-friendly transportation, bicycling is rejuvenating for our physical and mental health.

According to experts, bicycling has tremendous health benefits for all age groups. Millions of people around the world use a bicycle as their primary means of transportation, as it is a simple and effective way of training your body without too much effort. It helps people to get a healthy dose of physical activity as part of their daily routines.

world bicycle day

  • Good for Your Heart: Being a gentle, low-impact sport, cycling gives your cardiovascular system an effective workout. In fact, it promotes good circulation and increases the elasticity of your arteries – making them stronger – as it helps dilate the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. According to a 2011 study published in the British Medical Journal, “30 minutes of cycling per day reduces the risk of heart disease by half”.
  • Good for Weight Loss: At a high intensity, cycling helps lower body fat levels which promotes healthy weight management. It can also increase your metabolism and build muscle, which allows you to burn more calories, even while at rest. However, as cycling is a low-impact sport, it doesn’t damage the muscles and joints in the same way.
  • Good Workout for Increasing Leg Strength: When you pedal, your leg muscles are used – particularly quads, glutes, thighs, hamstrings, and calves – which improves overall function in your lower body and strengthens your leg muscles without overstressing them.
  • Prevents Varicose: As cycling uses your leg muscles, it helps push the blood out of your legs, thus preventing varicose veins from developing.
  • Good for Core Workout: Cycling is good for building the strength of your legs; it also works your core muscles, including your back and abdominals, because, maintaining your body upright and keeping the bike in position requires a certain amount of core strength. With strong abdominals and back muscles, you can support your spine, increase stability, and improve comfort while cycling.
  • Boosts Mental Health: Cycling helps promote your physical strength, it also equally boosts your mental health. Cycling can ease feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety, because it requires keen focusing on the road and it may help take your focus away from mental chatter. While cycling endorphins are released, which lowers stress levels and help you feel better. You might feel more confident and content once you make cycling a regular part of your life.

Apart from these health benefits, cycling is also equally good for the economy, and the environment as well, as it prevents air pollution. That is, with cycling there’s no dirty exhaust fumes to clog and smog up the air; the only power needed to ride a bicycle is foot or pedal power. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic period, cycling has once again proved it’s the better mode of transport – affordable, environment-friendly and healthy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “safe infrastructure for walking and cycling is also a pathway for achieving greater health equity.”

So don’t waste your time, celebrate the freedom of movement and ride happily on this World Bicycle Day!