11 Top Health and Wellbeing Tips for 2021

Health and Wellbeing Tips

2020 was a challenging year for everyone. Work from home and stay at home have changed routines with regards to diet and exercise and affected physical as well as mental health with feelings of isolation. After overcoming all those challenges, you have now entered 2021. While continuing to adhere to the safe practices like wearing a mask, washing hands, and maintaining a safe distance, you need to focus on maintaining a lifestyle that will improve your overall health and quality of life.

Improving your health and well-being doesn’t need to be problematic. You can get great results by taking some small steps. Here are some simple, practical tips to rejuvenate yourself in 2021:

  • Drink a Glass of water first thing in the Morning: We sleep 6 to 8 hours continuously without any water consumption. Drinking water as soon as you wake up helps rehydrate your body. Drink 1 to 2 glasses of water – this will fuel your brain, fight illness, and help fire up your metabolism.
  • Exercise Regularly: Staying physically fit boosts cardiovascular and muscular health and fights disease. Exercise helps the body relieve stress and reduce depression. Staying physically fit also helps you stay mentally fit, especially when facing a major crisis like COVID-19. If you are working at home, exercise can help reduce pains and aches. When it comes to spine health, motion is medicine. Current guidelines recommend doing at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity a week, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week.
  • Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They contains folate, vitamin C, and potassium. They are an excellent source of fiber and help in the digestion process. They contribute to a healthy-balanced diet and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other types of cancer.
  • Quit Smoking: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. Quitting smoking will lower the risk for many cancers like those of lungs, throat, blood, mouth, esophagus, pancreas, stomach, and kidneys.
  • Do things that Boosts your Mood: Do things that will enhance your mood. For instance, listening to happy music, spending time outdoors safely, laughing, helping others, and eating good food are enjoybale activities They can enhance your mood and increases positivity which will benefit your overall health.
  • Limit use of Technology as much as you can: In today’s digital world, this is easier said than done. In the pandemic induced lockdowns, you can find yourself slouched over a phone or slumped over a laptop for hours. Spending more time in front of computer or staring at a phone is harmful to the eyes and body. So, reduce screen time and get physically active. If you arr working from home, you should stand up and move around at regular intervals. Do stretches and walk in between. This will improves back pain, reduces headaches, improve breathing, etc.
  • Write down Three things that you are Grateful for Everyday: At the end of the day, develop a habit of writing down three things that you are thankful for. This will help improve your self-esteem, increase positivity, reduce stress, make you happier and help you sleep better.
  • Learn Something New: Learn something new like cooking, painting, yoga, meditation, etc. Pick something that is interesting and that you feel is useful to learn. If you avoided cooking your whole life, learning the fundamentals will serve your brain very well. The more you activate your brain’s cognitive function, the better will be your short- and long-term memory, and as well as hand-eye coordination.
  • Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule: The COVID-19 situation has affected many people’s sleep patterns. It is important to understand that scheduling a regular sleep schedule of eight hours is necessary to build a healthy immune system. Having a healthy immune system will protect you against several diseases.
  • Protect Yourself from COVID-19 and the Flu: Protect yourself from COVID-19 by wearing the mask, washing your hands frequently and maintaining a safe distance. Get vaccinated to protect yourself from the flu and avoid a potential “twindemic”.
  • Get Regular Checkups: To live a healthy and happy life, you must keep a check on your body’s functioning with regular checkups. Health checkups can identify risk factors and diagnose disease at an early stage.

The golden rule to improve your wellbeing is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, proper diet, and other healthy habits can improve your immunity and boost overall health. Consult your doctor to prepare an appropriate diet and exercise plan. Try to follow these small steps and be consistent – it will have a massive impact on your health and well-being throughout the year.

11 Health Benefits Of Drinking Enough Water

Health

The human body contains more water than any other substance. That’s why staying hydrated is critical to good health. Staying hydrated helps the body flush out wastes and stay at the right temperature. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to survive. Health experts commonly recommend 6-8 glasses of water a day. Although there is little science behind this rule, staying hydrated is crucial for your health and well-being.

Here are 11 benefits of drinking enough water:

  • Removes toxins and harmful substances: Pollution, dirt, fast food consumption, etc., can increase toxins in your body. The presence of toxins can cause memory loss, back pain, choline cancer, nervous system disorders, and low testosterone. Drinking enough water helps remove these toxins and harmful substances.
  • Supports weight loss: As drinking water increases satiety and improves your metabolic rate, it can help you lose weight. Studies have found that increasing water intake can slightly increase metabolism, increasing the number of calories you burn daily and promoting weight loss. Drinking water before a meal can make you feel full so that you will eat fewer calories.
  • May treat kidney stones: There is limited evidence showing that water intake can help avoid the recurrence in people who have had kidney stones previously. An increase in fluid intake can increase the volume of urine passing through the kidneys. It dilutes the concentration of minerals, and may prevent them from crystalizing and forming clumps.
  • May help relieve constipation: A common problem, constipation occurs due to infrequent bowel movements. Low water consumption appears to be a risk factor for constipation and increasing fluid intake is often recommended as a part of treating this problem. An increase in fluid intake may help decrease constipation. Mineral water rich in magnesium and sodium can improve bowel movement frequency and consistency in people with constipation.
  • Prevents and treats headaches: In some individuals, dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines. Research shows that headache is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. Some studies have shown that drinking water may help relieve headaches in those who experienced frequent headaches. However, more research is needed to confirm this potential benefit.
  • Enhances mood: Research has confirmed an array of negative effects resulting from dehydration which includes degraded mood, increased perception of task difficulty, difficulty concentrating, and headache symptoms. Dehydration slows down blood circulation, which means less oxygen travels to your complete body. Scientists suggest that thirst impulse is a part of body’s complex warning system, and should not be ignored even at the mildest level.
  • Helps balance PH levels: Enough pH levels must be maintained to maintain optimal physiological health. Even a minor acidic shift may lead to illness or improper processing of consumed minerals and vitamins. Drinking one liter of water on a regular basis helps you maintain properly balanced pH levels. It helps ensure proper oxygen levels, enhances energy, and promotes strong immunity.
  • Balances hormone levels: Research shows that even mild changes in the hydration status of tissue may have a significant impact on the integrity of the body’s biological systems through changes in hormonal balance, uptake of nutrients, osmolality, or concentration of toxins. If hydration of tissue is affected long-term, it may promote oxidative stress, which leads to DNA-damage, permanent dysfunction of cells, and even end-organ damage. Drinking water helps maintain a healthy hormone balance in the body.
  • Good for your heart: Your heart is working the entire day, pumping roughly 2000 gallons of blood. When you are dehydrated, your heart is stressed and the volume of blood in your body decreases. To make up for this loss, your heartbeat increases and you may feel palpitations. You should drink more water than you are losing. Doing that helps your heart and makes it easy for your heart to pump blood much more quickly. It also helps your muscles work more efficiently.
  • Improves blood circulation: Having too much saturated fats may lead to high cholesterol and can eventually damage your blood vessels. To prevent circulation problems, blood has to flow through your arteries unblocked. Drinking enough water and eating foods like spinach, celery, citrus fruits, etc., help promote blood circulation and maintain the elasticity of the blood vessels by maintaining their elasticity.
  • Moisturizes your skin and keeps it glowing: If your skin doesn’t get enough water, it will become dry, tight and flaky. This will make it prone to wrinkling. Drinking water helps keep your skin moisturized, glowing and smooth.

Staying hydrated is important because even mild dehydration can affect you mentally and physically. Make sure that you get enough water each day according to your conditions and activities. Drinking enough water is one of the best things you can do to maintain your overall health.

How to Know and Treat Depression and Anxiety Symptoms

Depression

Depression and anxiety are different conditions, but they commonly occur simulataneously. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression often accompanies panic disorder and other anxiety disorders. It is estimated that 45% of people with one mental health condition have two or more disorders, according to healthline. Even though both have different clinical features, there is some overlap of symptoms. For instance, symptoms like irritability, impaired sleep, and decreased concentration are common.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal psychological response to stress; it alerts us to dangers in our immediate environment. The anxiety disorder differs from nonpathological anxiety because it is characterized by excessive fear, which affects a person’s daily functioning. Sometimes, people with anxiety disorder will actively avoid the fear-provoking situation and this often leads to disruption in work, school performance or social functioning.

The effects of anxiety can be emotional, physical, and behavioral. Some symptoms may lead to an anxiety disorder if they are:

  • Out of proportion to the situation at hand
  • Severe or last for a long period
  • Causing extreme behavior to reduce the anxiety

You should note that anxiety can be a central aspect of depression, that causes an anxious or agitated depression.

Depression

Depression is a common mood disorder characterized by low mood, sadness, and loss of interest in daily activities that continue over time and affect daily functioning. Although common, it is a severe medical illness that can affect how a person thinks and acts. It can decrease a person’s ability to function emotionally, occupationally, physically, and socially.

For most people, rare bouts of depression that last only a few days are not a problem, but clinical depression is something different; it is the type that people seek help for. Major depressive episodes are hallmark features of this depression type. These episodes are distinguished by extreme symptoms that affect daily functioning.

The symptoms of clinical depression can range from mild to severe and often include:

  • You feel sad almost all the time
  • Feeling tired or having low energy most of the day
  • Difficult to sleep
  • Feeling worthless
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Changes to appetite
  • Difficult to concerntrate
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless
  • Unexplained stomach problems, headaches, or muscular/skeletal pain
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

Symptoms of anxiety and depression are treatable. If you feel like you are experiencing any behaviors that aren’t typical or if something seems off, this can be a sign that you need help from a healthcare provider. Talk to the provider about what you are feeling and experiencing, so that if needed the treatment can begin as soon as possible.

To manage your symptoms:

Along with a formal treatment from your doctor, the following strategies may help you find relief from the symptoms. It is important to understand that the following strategies may not work for everyone and may not work each time. The goal of managing anxiety and depression is to create a series of treatment options that can all work together to help to some extent, whenever it is required for you to use them.

  • Let yourself feel what you are feeling: You have to let yourself feel what you are actually feeling and know that it is not your fault. Anxiety and depression disorders are medical conditions. It’s not a result of your failure or weakness. The feel you have is the result of underlying causes and triggers, and not the results of something that you didn’t do.
  • Do something that you can manage: Regaining a bit of power and control can help you cope with overwhelming symptoms. Complete a task that you can manage like neatly restacking books or sorting your recycling. Do anything that can help yourself by giving a sense of accomplishment and power.
  • Make a morning, evening, or even daily routine: It is one of the best methods, because it sometimes helps people with anxiety and depression by providing structure and a sense of control. It lets you create space in your day for self-care techniques that helps you control the symptoms.
  • Eat something nutritious: When you feel anxious or depressed, you will reach for comforting foods like sweets, pasta to reduce the level of tension. However, these foods are not that nutritious. To keep your body nourished and healthy, you should eat fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. The mind and body are directly linked. Everything your body does is a result of the commands given by your mind. So, to maintain a healthy mind you should maintain your body well by giving the necessary things it needed like good food, exercise, etc.
  • Follow relaxation techniques: Try to do yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. During the day, meditating for 2-5 minutes can ease your anxiety and enhance your mood. You can try these simple strategies suggested by psychiatrist Sheenie Ambardar, MD.
    • Focus on your breath
    • Picture a beautiful image in your mind
    • Repeat a mantra or simple word like “love” or “happiness”
  • Get support: Reach out to your family or friends, wherever you find comfortable and talk with them when you need support. This will help them know what you are going through and they can encourage you.

You can also motivate yourself by making new goals, doing something meaningful like doing charity work, etc. Symptoms of anxiety and depression are treatable. So, if you are suffering from these conditions, and your symptoms last for more than two weeks, frequently recur, or are interfering with the way you live your life, it is time to get help. Getting the right support at the right time will help you recover from the situation and make you feel more balanced.

10 Foods That Should Be Avoided for Your Better Health

Better Health

The purpose of food is not just to fill the empty, hungry stomach. Its purpose is to provide essential nutrients to your body for your survival and to improve your quality of life by improving your physical and mental health. Healthy eating helps the body to get enough nutrients to provide energy for activity, growth, and all functions of the body like digestion, breathing, etc. Unhealthy eating that includes overeating of fatty and greasy food, sweet foods, etc. can contribute to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and other health problems. Unhealthy eating habit means, you are not getting enough nutrition that you need from your food every day. These foods are low in fiber, or high in fat, sugar, or salt. This habit can impair your health and well-being and reduce your ability to lead an enjoyable and active life.

Today’s lifestyle is so hectic that people get very less time to make food for themselves, so their food habits have changed and many go for processed junk foods. They are not very concerned about their health and the effects of eating junk food. So, before you completely ignore the health benefits you get from healthy eating, understand some foods that are considered generally unhealthy and also their bad impact on your health.

  • Sugary Drinks: Sugary drinks are particularly harmful and some sugars are worse than the others. When you consume sugary drinks in large amounts, it can drive insulin resistance and it is also strongly linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Besides, it is associated with various serious conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Instead of having sugary drinks, replace it with water, tea, or coffee (avoid a lot of caffeine).
  • Processed Pastries: They are made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour, unhealthy trans fats and a whole bunch of other chemicals and artificial ingredients. Trans fat increases the risk of coronary heart disease, sudden death from cardiac causes and diabetes. So, if you have a craving to eat pastries, try making them on your own or buy ones that are homemade.
  • Foods that are Fried, Grilled or Broiled: These methods are the unhealthiest cooking methods but food prepared in these ways is often highly palatable and calorie-dense. When cooked in high-heat, several types of unhealthy chemical compounds are formed. These include acrolein, heterocyclic amines, oxysterols, etc. The chemicals formed during high-heat cooking will lead to increased risk of cancer and heart disease. You can avoid these unhealthy ways of cooking and choose cooking methods like boiling, blanching, stewing, and steaming.
  • French Fries and Potato Chips: Whole white potatoes are healthy, but it is not healthy when consumed in the form of potato chips or French fries. These foods are tasty and easy to consume in excessive amounts. According to several studies, French fries and potato chips contribute to weight gain. When fried, baked or roasted, these will contain a considerable amount of acrylamides, substances that are carcinogenic (that have the potential to cause cancer). To consume potatoes, it is best to consume them boiled rather than fried.
  • Processed Meats: All meat that has been smoked salted, cured, dried, or canned is considered processed. Processed meats like hot dogs, smoked meat, canned meat, sausages, salami, cured bacon, salted and cured meat, etc. are foods that are harmful for your body. People who are not health-conscious tend to consume more processed meats. It is believed that N-nitroso compounds (cancer-causing substances) are responsible for some of the adverse effects of processed meat consumption. They are formed from sodium nitrate that is added to processed meat products to:
    • preserve red/pink color of meat
    • enhance flavor by suppressing fat oxidation
    • prevent bacteria formation, and to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

    Processed meat will increase your risk of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bowel and stomach cancer. However, consuming such food occasionally is fine but make sure that they don’t dominate your diet; also, avoid eating them regularly.

  • Ice Cream: Of course, it is delicious. It is loaded with sugar and also high in calories. When you eat it as a desert, you are usually consuming extra calories more than your normal intake. You can choose to have it from healthier brands or prepare it yourself using fresh fruit and less sugar.
  • Processed Cheese: When consumed moderately, cheese is healthy. It is loaded with nutrients and a single slice has all the nutrients that are present in a glass of milk. Processed cheese is nothing like regular cheese. Processed cheese is prepared with filler ingredients that are engineered to have a cheese-like appearance and texture. Consider having real cheese, and healthy types include mozzarella, cottage cheeses and feta.
  • Most Fast Food Meals: Generally saying, most fast food chains offer junk food. They are mass-produced and are low in nutrients. They contribute to the risk of many diseases and harm your general wellness. Now, as a result of mounting pressure, many fast-food chains have started offering healthy food options.
  • Low-Fat Peanut Butter: Nut butters are great for you because they contain beneficial unsaturated fats, but when you start to take out the fat in peanut butter, you are lowering the amount of heart-healthy fats that you are getting and also end up getting a product with additional sugar and filler ingredients. These ingredients are added to compensate the fat that has been removed. So, when buying peanut butter, make sure it is natural and should contains ingredients like peanuts, oil, and a little bit of salt, says Amy Gorin, M.S, R.D.N, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area.
  • Packaged Donuts: Donuts are usually made from refined carbs and provide no nutritional value. They are deep fried that makes them high in trans fats which can raise your bad cholesterol level and lower your good cholesterol level, according to the American Heart Association. The high amount of sugar present in it will make your body pump out loads of insulin to try to accommodate. For better health and weight, donuts should be avoided as much as you can.

Even if you cook for yourself, it is crucial to understand that the above food items and food that is fried, grilled or broiled are generally unhealthy. Avoiding these foods will help prevent excess weight gain and chronic illnesses. If you want to have them, have them moderately or during special occasions without causing any permanent damage to your health; but always remember that healthy eating and physical activity are very important for your physical as well as mental health.

5 Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables To Include In Your Diet During Winter

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

During winter, the outside temperature drops and your immunity tends to fall. The chances are high that you can easily catch cold, and cough. To prevent this, it is highly essential that your immunity level should be improved. Nature brings different kinds of foods in different seasons. The fruits and vegetables that nature brings on the particular season will give you all the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs during the particular season. It is essential to eat seasonal foods because it offers the following benefits.

  • They are affordable and since they are more abundant you can stock them up.
  • They will be very tasty and healthy since they are grown under appropriate weather conditions and without any artificial influencers.
  • They have their own natural color and flavor.
  • The nutrition levels of seasonal foods are high and they are fresh.
  • They provide the nutrition required for the season.

One of the best ways to build immunity and stay healthy during the winter is to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables. Here are some of the best fruits and vegetables available in winter.

Fruits:

  • Oranges: Oranges, while not necessarily a winter crop, are always available and a good option. They are rich in Vitamin C, which is essential to stay healthy. Studies have shown that oranges are effective in reducing risk of developing cancer because it fights off the cancer causing radicals.
  • Apples: They are great for the nervous system. They contain anti-oxidants that prevent cellular death in the neurons, which enhances the performance of the nervous system. By improving your neurological health, eating apples reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s at a later stage in life. It also reduces the risk of thrombotic stroke and also of developing diabetes.
  • Pomegranate: This healthy choice is a source of fiber that helps the digestive system and is great at battling hypertension by controlling the blood pressure levels. This fruit contains tons of antioxidants that help prevent certain cancers. Pomegranate juice may also reduce joint inflammation.
  • Pineapple: Pineapple is full of Vitamin C and manganese, a nutrient that helps in formation and in regulating blood sugar.
  • Kiwis: Kiwis are full of nutrients like Vitamin C, K, E, folate, potassium and dietary fiber and provides a variety of health benefits. This fruit can support heart health and digestive health, help asthma, and regulate blood pressure. It boosts immunity and reduces the risk of disease.

Vegetables:

  • Potatoes: According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, they are the No: 1 vegetable crop in America and the 4th most consumed crop in the world. They are good source of fiber, Vitamin C and B6, phosphorous, niacin, manganese, and pantothenic acid. It helps in brain functioning and nervous system health, improves immunity, helps in digestion, and more.
  • Carrots: Carrots are low in calories and high in nutrients. They are loaded with proteins and beta carotene, a pigment that helps to produce Vitamin A that is vital for your eye health and also important for proper growth and development.
  • Beetroot: Beetroot contains fiber, high amount of protein, minerals, and vitamins that help you stay warm and healthy. Some might say beetroot is high in sugar, but they are low in calories and contains low fat.
  • Spinach: This leafy vegetable is full of protein and fiber, and it also contains Vitamin A, C, K, magnesium, manganese, and iron. This flexible food can be used in several ways to improve your metabolism. You can eat it raw in salads, steamed, blended in a soup or smoothie, or sautéed with other vegetables.
  • Broccoli: This is a rich source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Antioxidants can prevent the development of various conditions. It contains calcium, iron, phosphorous, thiamin, zinc, riboflavin, and Vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, K. It can offer heart protection, improves brain health and nervous tissue function. It keeps your bones strong and provides protection against age-related cognitive decline.

The best way to include these fruits and vegetables in your diet is to prepare a food chart. Eating sensibly will ensure that you get required nutrition to help you stay healthy in winter.

7 Habits to Cultivate for a Healthier 2021

Healthier 2021

The coronavirus outbreak has put an uncommon strain on people’s lives, impacting them in big and small ways. So, as 2020 ends, there is a kind of a relief in the air. This year, virtual fitness classes surged, new hygiene practices were adopted, and mental health took center stage. With the New Year only weeks away, making a resolution to cultivate healthy habits is one of the best things you can do to boost your mental and physical wellbeing in 2021 and beyond.

Here are the 7 healthy habits to focus on in 2021:

  • Immunity Building: According to mindbodygreen.com, as COVID-19 research adds to our scientific understanding of immunology in real-time, it has been found that metabolic health and immune system are closely linked. The role of metabolic health for immunity will become more important in 2021. Mindbodygreen.com references a study which found that 88% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy. Even if you don’t have conditions like diabetes, obesity or heart disease and feel fit, you can still be metabolically unhealthy. Metabolic dysfunction is any abnormal regulation of blood sugar, lipids, or a chronic inflammation state that progresses to disease later on. These roots of metabolic dysfunction can cause weight gain, heart disease, etc. Paying attention to your metabolic health is critical to boost immunity.
  • Take Special care of your Skin: Skin is not just an aesthetic entity, but has a vital purpose as an organ. The skin is the largest and most visible organ in the body, is its first line of defense against infection, loss of nutrients and water, and environmental stressors. The appearance of your skin gives you clues about what is happening in your body terms of nutrition, immune function, oxidative stress, etc. “The skin microbiome is continuously interacting with the environment to protect you from infection, influencing immune response, protecting against sun’s UV radiation, and helps provide nourishment to the skin cells”, says board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D. (www.mindbodygreen.com) Paying attention to your skin is critical to your overall health and well-being. In the new normal, protecting your skin’s barrier is critical for it to function properly and support good health.
  • Be Mindful about your Mental Health: 2020 was a challenging year in terms of mental and emotional well-being. Uma Naidoo, M.D., nutritional psychiatrist, chef, nutrition expert, and author of This Is Your Brain on Food says, “Mental health is a silent pandemic that is also happening right now”. With social-distancing and limited support, many people are experiencing loneliness and feelings of isolation. COVID has exacerbated psychological issues like depression, anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s more important than ever to be mindful of your mental well-being and include exercise for mental fitness in your regular fitness regimen.
  • Get Proper Sleep: Sleep is a favorite topic in most wellbeing columns. Not getting enough sleep can bring about a weakened physical state and also affect emotional wellness. Restful sleep will be a top priority in any discussion about overall wellness.
  • Watching Screen Time: Stay-at-home and physical distancing policies has led to a rapid and significant surge in screen time. Work and learning moved online, besides more screen time on social media, gaming, etc. In addition to a host of musculoskeletal problems, the effects of blue light and screen time are affecting their eye health, mental health, sleep cycles, and more. In 2021, give yourself a “tech vacation” sometimes by putting your screen away and focusing physical activities.
  • Nutrition: In the light of COVID-19, nutrition and metabolic health are more important than ever. Nutrition is inseparably related to health and well-being. It goes beyond weight management, skin health, and gut health. To stay nourished and stay metabolically healthy, you need to have access to a healthy balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates from whole and minimally processed food with limited additives. Make sure your body gets safe, nutritious foods.
  • Care for the Environment: During COVID-19, the planet got a much-needed break. Air-quality improved, biodiversity flourished, and natural soundscapes returned. Nature has got the natural capacity to heal itself and by extension, heal everyone. The importance of environment quality for human health is indisputable. So, resolve to put more power back into nature’s hands.

In 2021, prioritize mental health and physical health equally to boost your personal well-being and build a healthier society.

Top Tips for a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season

Holiday Season

The holiday season is the best time to gather with family and friends, though this year, the celebrations will be different due to COVID-19 and the flu. As you celebrate, you need to stay safe and avoid getting infected. The best way to celebrate this holiday season is at your home with the people who live with you. Given this holiday season’s challenging circumstances, here are 7 tips to enjoy the celebrations:

  • Maintain Healthy Habits: Pay special attention to your overall health and what you eat. Utilize this holiday season to plan a healthy routine for yourself and whole family. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and get 7 hours of sleep each night. Include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Limit the intake of sweets, and salty and fat-laden foods.
  • Beware of Seasonal Sweets: As you spend more time at home during holidays, you will have an urge to snack in between. If you have cravings, eat healthy snacks to quell them. You can host a virtual holiday party, and challenge yourself and your virtual guests to prepare healthy, delicious food.
  • Make Traditional Treats: Celebrate the season by preparing traditional family dishes for your family or friends and neighbors. Follow all the recommended safety precautions when you prepare food. When sharing homemade food with a neighbor, leave it on their doorstep or deliver in a way that reduces in-person contact.
  • Stay Active and Hydrated: During the holidays, exercise is one of the first things we tend to neglect. Make a family commitment to stay active for at least 30 to 60 minutes every day. Dance to your favorite music or venture out for a walk around the neighborhood to check out the holiday lights. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and reduce hunger cravings.
  • Manage Stress with “me time”: Holidays are usually the time for fun, celebrations and big parties. This year, things are different with social distancing. Use the opportunity to make some time for yourself. “Me Time” will give you a chance to relax and rejuvenate. When you buy gifts for everyone on your list, buy something for yourself too!
  • Get Enough Sleep: Getting enough sleep is critical to stay healthy during the holidays. Be consistent about when you to go to bed and wake up. Do not buy into the misconception that you can catch up on the sleep you miss on the weekends. Make getting enough sleep a priority every night.
  • Do it Virtually: Make it a virtual celebration. Participate in religious events virtually, play online games, watch movies at home, or host a virtual dinner party. Browse online for other virtual holiday ideas.

It is important to remember the basics as you enjoy the holiday season. Wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds as this is the time to take care more of your health compared to previous years. Consider the following precautions:

  • Schedule a flu shot. Taking a flu shot is always recommended, and this year it is especially important to avoid hospital visits or hospitalizations.
  • People who are affected or exposed to COVID-19 or have its symptoms should stay at home and do not attend in-person gatherings.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel to minimize disease risk. If you are thinking of traveling, consider whether it is needed or not. After all, your health is more important.
  • Be careful when you travel. Before visiting a place, consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in that area.
  • Avoid large indoor gatherings. Smaller and shorter gatherings are safer than longer-ones. Restrict indoor gatherings to only the people you live with. If guests come over, consider opening windows, wearing masks while talking, serving food, etc., and encourage everyone to practice physical distancing.

Prioritize your health this holiday season. Going by these tips will help you enjoy a healthy, happy and memorable holiday season.

11 Top Foods to Control Diabetes

Foods

Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes higher than normal blood sugar levels. Excess sugar in the blood can cause serious complications such as kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, amputations and blindness, and is linked to an increased risk for several cancers. A person with diabetes must follow an active lifestyle and a healthy diet to control blood sugar levels. You need to pay attention to your food choices, importantly, the carbohydrates you eat. Consuming carbs can increase your blood sugar levels. You need to choose foods from all food groups and create a diet plan that includes low sugar, low carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, and protein. You should know what and how much you can eat when you plan your diet.

Let’s take a look at the best foods to include in your diet to control diabetes:

  • Eggs: Eggs are a low-carb food and have a very low glycemic index score, which makes them a good source of protein for people with diabetes (www.medicalnewstoday.com). Protein takes time to digest and eating eggs give you a satiated feeling. A 2018 study suggests that eating eggs regularly could improve fasting blood glucose in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
  • Beans: An excellent food option for people with diabetes, beans are a plant-based protein that ranks very low in the glycemic index (GI) scale. They can help regulate blood sugar levels. The carbs content in beans is complex and the body digests them slower than it does other carbohydrates. Beans also contains important nutrients such as iron, potassium, and magnesium. There are a wide variety of beans such as kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, etc. When you buy canned beans, make sure you choose one without added salt.
  • Fatty fish: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, etc. are good sources of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which greatly benefit heart health. Getting the right amount of these fats regularly is crucial for people with diabetes who have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. DHA and EPA protect the cells that line the blood vessels, reduce markers of inflammation, and help improve artery function. They are also rich in protein and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Leafy greens: These are low in calories and packed with essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. They are low in carbs absorbed by the body and have a low impact on blood sugar levels. Spinach and kale are sources of vitamin A and calcium, and also provide fiber and protein. Leafy greens are also a good source of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that protect the eyes from common diabetic complications like macular degeneration and cataracts. Diabetics should include green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, and bok choy in their diet.
  • Avocados: Avocados are low in carbohydrates, and have less than 1 gram of sugar, high fiber content, and healthy fats. Eating avocado can can keep blood sugar level from rising, improves overall diet quality, and significantly lowers body weight and body mass index. It can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Chia Seeds: Due to the high antioxidant and omega-3 content, people often call chia seeds a superfood. This a good source of plant-based protein and fiber and low in digestible carbs. The viscous fiber in chia seeds can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which food moves through the gut and absorbed. The fiber content in chia seeds makes you feel full and reduces hunger which can help you achieve a healthy weight.
  • Nuts: Cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc., contains fiber and are low in net carbs. Nuts help people with diabetes improve heart health. Research shows that regular consumption of nuts may reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels, and also lower LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Garlic: Garlic has low-calorie count and is exteremly nutritious. One clove, which is 3 grams of garlic, contains manganese, vitamin C and B6, selenium, and fiber. Research shows that garlic contributes to improved blood glucose management and can help regulate cholesterol. In people with diabetes, it helps lower blood sugar, inflammation, LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure.
  • Broccoli: The non-starchy vegetable is included in every superfood list. It is a low-calorie, low carb food with high nutrient value. Studies show that eating broccoli sprouts may help lower insulin levels and protect against cellular damage. It is also a good source of vitamin C and contains antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that helps prevent eye diseases.
  • Sweet potatoes: As they have less GI than white potatoes, diabetes patients can use it as an alternative to white potatoes. They will release sugar more slowly and do not raise blood sugar as much. They are also rich in fiber, Vitamin A & C, and potassium. You can have them baked, roasted, boiled, or mashed. For a balanced meal, eat them along with a source of lean protein and green leafy vegetables or a salad.
  • Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Studies have shown that citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, have antidiabetic effects. These fruits are a good option to get vitamins and minerals without the carbs.

When planning their diet, people with diabetes are advised to limit or balance:

  • Foods that are heavy in carbs
  • Foods that are heavy in salt
  • Fruits that are high in GI
  • Unhealthful fats like saturated fats and trans fats
  • Sugary drinks
  • Refined sugar

Plan your diet by including these foods and ensure that you eat the right amount. This will help keep your blood sugar in the target range, manage your weight, and reduce risk of complications from diabetes.

December is Worldwide Food Service Safety Month

December is Worldwide Food Service Safety Month. Started is 1994, the goal of this annual observation is to keep food safe as is prepared in the service industry and also remind people in general about the importance of following best practices to ensure food safety. As December is the time for festive eating, it is the ideal time to remind people about keeping food safe.

Food Service Safety Month

Preparing food safely and consuming safely prepared food is crucial:

  • It is reported that more than 200 diseases are spread through food alone.
  • Every year, one in ten people fall sick from diseases spread through contaminated food, and every year 420,000 people are killed from these illnesses, according to nationaldaycalendar.com.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), foodborne diseases may lead to long-lasting disability and death; even if it doesn’t kill you, a foodborne disease can cause health problems like diarrhea, or debilitating infections, including meningitis. Chemical contamination can lead to acute poisoning or long-term diseases like cancer.

Companies that make food for hungry customers are subject to some rigorous tests and trials to make sure that they follow specific hygiene standards needed when they create any dishes for sale. The food service industry is a huge-business. All food service establishments, large or small, should have a hygiene certificate and ensure that they maintain high standards of cleanliness level. Food prepared in any kind of environment must follow the high food safety standards demanded by the foodservice industry.

Here are some basic measures that can protect you and your family safe from food poisoning:

  • Wash your hands well with soap water before and after handling food.
  • If you have an injury on your hands, or fingers, or wrist, cover it with a bandage before handling food.
  • Don’t prepare food when you are sick.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with clean, warm water before use.
  • Keep cooked foods and raw foods separate to avoid harmful bacteria cross-contamination.
  • Cooking equipment should be cleaned and sanitized before and after use.
  • Wash your dishcloths and kitchen towels regularly.
  • Do not undercook the meat. To get it right, use a thermometer. It is important to cook meat to a certain temperature to prevent risk of any bacteria surviving on the food that can make you ill.
  • Refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours and thaw frozen food safely.

It’s also important to avoid eating food with unwashed dirty hands. Always keep hand sanitizer with you to clean your hands before grabbing a bite.

Worldwide Food Service Safety Month sends an important message to governments, producers, food service industries, and consumers – food safety is a top priority and everyone has a role in keeping food safe.

National Handwashing Awareness Week – December 1-7

Handwashing Awareness

Personal hygiene starts and ends with our hands. National Handwashing Awareness Week, celebrated from December 1-7, is sponsored by Henry the Hand Foundation to remind everyone to stay vigilant about hand-washing. It reminds people that germs washing hands with soap and clean water is an effective way to prevent infections and disease. Washing hands regularly is one of the best methods to remove germs, prevent illness and avoid the spread of germs to others. With the COVID-19 outbreak, health vigilantes are focusing a great deal on spreading the word about the importance keeping hands clean to prevent the virus from spreading.

According to the American Cleaning Institute, the goal of National Handwashing Week is to “decrease the spread of infectious disease by authorizing individuals to educate and help protect their communities.” One of the effective methods to achieve this goal is washing your hands. It is important to be aware about the fundamentals of hand hygiene to become a “champion hand-washer”.

Washing hands can prevent respiratory and diarrheal infections spread from person to person and keep you healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you don’t wash your hands properly, germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:

  • touch your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • prepare or have food or drinks

Here are some statistics from nationaldaycalendar.com that highlight the importance of hand hygiene:

  • Washing your hands frequently a day can help reduce diarrhea rates by 40%.
  • Touching your face with unwashed dirty hands spreads diseases like pneumonia, cold, and the flu.
  • When washing, ensure that you scrub underneath your fingernails because most bacteria are present under them.
  • The chance of wet hands to spread bacteria are likely 1000 times than dry hands, still only 20% of people dry them after washing.
  • According to some studies, people who wash their hands have 24% less sick days due to respiratory illness and 51% fewer sick days due to a sick stomach.

Antibiotic-resistant infections are a major threat in today’s world. Proper hand hygiene is a key practice to reduce antibiotic-resistant infections. Handwashing can prevent or minimize illnesses, so people need fewer antibiotics, which means less antibiotic resistance.

How often should you wash your hands? WHO recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds before/after the following:

  • Before and after taking care of any sick person
  • Before, during, and after making food
  • Before having food
  • After the use of toilet
  • After helping someone who just used toilet
  • After travelling
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing nose,
  • After you touch any animal, animal feed or animal waste
  • After touching any garbage
  • After coming from hospital

According to CDC, to prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 situation, it is crucial that you must wash your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands before and after touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, touching your mask, entering a leaving a public place, touching a surface or an item that is frequently touched by others like door handles, gas pumps, tables, etc.

This is how you wash your hands in the right way:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water, apply enough soap and create good lather by rubbing your hands together.
  • Rub between your fingers, back of your hands and under your nails.
  • For at least 20 seconds, scrub your hands very well.
  • Rinse them well under clean and running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or paper towel (best method) or using a hair dryer or air dry them.

Washing your hands can provide many more benefits than you imagine. It is a simple and effective way to save you from various diseases, unwanted hospital visits and stays, and avoid the need to buy medicines. Global Handwashing Week calls for achieving universal hand hygiene to prevent disease, save lives, and promote a healthier future.