January 20, 2012

For a stress-free 2012 – 20 Foods to Eat and 12 Foods to avoid

A detailed list of 20 Foods to Eat and 12 Foods to avoid - for a stress-free 2012
Coming soon (uploaded in the next 6 hours)! Follow us to stay updated! :)

Exercise - How to make yourself get up and go!

Are you one of those who diligently agrees to the fact that exercise is critical for our health, but immediately laments over your lack of "time" or "pressure" for the inability to do so? Well, for such innovative excusers  like us, here is a nice snippet I found at Peaceful Mind - an interesting approach to help you get up from your bed and wear those shoes! 

Overcoming the inertia of anxiety/depression with Exercise
Of course, knowing that something's good for you doesn't make it any easier to actually do it. Most people in the general population don't engage in any regular physical activity or quit shortly after starting an exercise program. 

Depression and anxiety can make it even more difficult to get active. By its nature, depression means that you don't enjoy activities, that you're often fatigued or sedentary, that you just don't feel like it, that you lack motivation, or that you don't stick to treatment regimens very well. You may have a hard enough time doing household chores, showering or going to work. How can you possibly consider adding exercise to the mix?
Overcoming that inertia can be difficult. 

Another challenge is maintaining, or adhering to, an activity program. Setting realistic goals, doing some problem solving, and recognizing that exercise won't always be fun or easy can help.

Identify what you enjoy. Figure out what type of exercise or activities you're more likely and less likely to do, as well as where, when and how often.  

Set reasonable goals. Your mission doesn't have to be to walk for an hour five days a week. Even a 10-minute walk can help lift your mood, get you into a more positive environment and refocus your thoughts, even temporarily, away from negative or self-critical thinking patterns. Custom-tailor your plan to your own needs and abilities. 

Break it down. It might be good to have an overall exercise strategy. But focusing on the perfect plan or an ideal rather than what's realistic for you can sabotage your efforts. Don't start with the ideal and work backward. Start with the realistic and work forward. Break your program down into smaller parts. If you can't fathom walking for 45 minutes, what is possible? Fifteen minutes? Five minutes? Start there, and build on that foundation. 

For many people, just getting shoes on and getting out the door is the majority of the effort. That's the hardest part. Once we're moving, though, it's often easier to keep moving. So put your energy into the front end into just getting started. 

Have short-term coping strategies. You may have a structured exercise program that calls for activity several times a week at the local gym. But plan for active ways to cope immediately and quickly with unexpected negative moods, depression, anxiety or other issues. For instance, even if it's your day off from exercise, taking a 10-minute walk may quickly help lift your mood if you're sad or anxious or find yourself focusing on negative thoughts. Try to respond to a negative mood with physical activity. 

Don't think of exercise as a burden. If exercise is just another "should" in your life that you don't think you're living up to, you'll associate it with failure. Rather, look at your exercise schedule the same way you look at your therapy sessions or antidepressant medication as one of the tools to help your treatment. Reframe the way you think about physical activity. Don't think of it as just another thing that you should be doing, but can't because of all of the demands in your life. Instead, think of it as something positive that you can do now to help you meet your goals, including feeling better physically and emotionally. 

Address your barriers. Identify your individual barriers to launching a program. If you're self-conscious, for instance, you might not want to exercise in public. If anxiety or depression makes you feel like you're carrying a heavy weight around, the idea of moving on purpose, doing something active, can seem absurd. The barriers may feel overwhelming. But when you have depression, it's easy to overestimate difficulty. Instead, develop a strategy to overcome or get around those barriers. If you don't want to go to a crowded gym, perhaps you can go to a quiet park or use a home treadmill or bike. If you're put off by the thought of spending 30 minutes jogging, aim for five minutes of walking instead of just doing nothing. If five minutes seems daunting, try two minutes. 

Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. Exercise isn't always easy or fun. And it's tempting to blame yourself for that. People with depression are especially likely to feel shame over perceived failures. Don't fall into that trap. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, no matter how small. Chances are, you're going to come to a time when it gets really hard. If you say that you're a failure, that you blew it, that you have to start all over, you're more likely to quit altogether. Recognize that change is hard and setbacks are part of the change process. By learning how to cope with setbacks, you'll learn skills that will help you stay active over the long term.

I definitely got motivated after reading this note. Hopefully, you would find something relevant to motivate you as well! :)

This week's "Health" Question

Spare a minute to help us know what is seemingly the biggest source of stress for you...we respect your privacy, hence, this voting is completely anonymous - we would never know what you voted for! :)

January 13, 2012

Does Fat make you Fat?

If you are amongst the majority of us, who hates the word, "fat", here is a breather - not ALL fat is bad. There is a bit that is essential for all of us. But how much and where is something we need to know. So the best way to find it out is to see your Body Fat percentage.
According to Wikipedia, a person's body fat percentage is the total weight of the person's fat divided by the person's weight and consists of essential body fat and storage body fat. Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions. The percentage of essential body fat for women is greater than that for men, due to certain obvious demands! The percentage of essential fat is 3%–5% in men, and 8–12% in women.
Fat% is considered as a better mechanism to check weight, compared to BMI, as it takes into account the muscles and tissue components of a person, a factor that BMI does not take into account
Different cultures value different body compositions differently at different times, and some are related to health or athletic performance.
The table below is an indicative list and is provided by American Council on Exercise:
Essential fat

Essential fat is the level below which physical and physiological health would be negatively affected.
And if you want to check how much is it, check these following links - 
Simple Calculator - Just enter your weight and your waist size in inches, and you would get a relative idea of where you stand! or a more complex one at this link
So does Fat make you fat? :)

Olives - The Wonder Product

India is becoming the world leader in many life threatening diseases. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is now the leading cause of death in India and the risk factors are also on the rise. India is now the diabetes capital of the world and CVD is also poised to be a serious health concern in the near future. The count of “hypertensive” individuals is expected to rise from 118 million in 2000 to 214 million in 2025. CVD strikes early and kills people in their productive mid-life years. The World Health Organization estimates that India would lose US$ 237 billion due to heart disease, stroke and diabetes in the next 7 years.

Most of these diseases are a result of the sedentary life style most of Indians. Lack of physical activity, missing of daily exercise regime, irregular eating, unhealthy snacking and overeating of junk food are the main contributors to this kind of lifestyle. Hence the need of the hour is to eat food which is rich in essential in the nutrients required by the body to stay healthy.

Olive oil is well known for its health properties and extensively used for cooking in the Mediterranean countries. In India, it is mainly used in massage, facials and other beauty treatments. The use of olive oil as a cooking medium is not widely prevalent and restricted to a select few.

Olive Oil is extracted from the Olive fruit after the Olive fruit is pressed. Hence there is no chemical extraction process involved.

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and vitamin E and is claimed to have a significant effect on cholesterol. Using olive oil as a cooking medium can lower blood pressure and prevent risk of heart attacks. There are numerous other benefits of olive oil making it a vital addition in a healthy diet.

Some Health Benefits of Olive Oil:
1. Olive Oil is good for Heart Health because It contains very high percentage of MUFA.
2. Olive Oil helps in controlling Blood Pressure because it contains Polyphenols that protect LDL (bad cholesterol) from oxidation.
3. Olive Oil can be helpful in preventing Cancer because it contains Oleic acid which reduces the effect of an oncogene (a gene that will turn a host cell into cancer cell).
4. Olive Oil can enhance digestion because it helps body to assimilate vitamins A, D and K and better absorption on nutrients.

What is FAT?
Fats is one of the 3 main macro-nutrient groups that supply energy in food along with proteins and carbohydrates. Fats are essential for our body. They help in absorption of fat soluble Vitamins like A,D E, K into cells.

Type of Fats:
Saturated Fats: They are solid at room temperature eg: ghee, vanaspati (dalda), coconut oil,butter etc. Their high intake increases risk of cardiovascular diseases. As they increase “BAD” Cholesterol (LDL) in the body and lower “Good” Cholesterol (HDL) in the body.

Poly unsaturated (PUFA)- They are liquid at room temperature and are mainly found in vegetable oils like sunflower, soyabean, safflower, corn etc. These oils are highly processed and decrease “BAD” Cholesterol (LDL) in the body but also decrease “Good” Cholesterol (HDL) in the body.  PUFA is hydrogenated to form “Transfats”. Trans fats are harmful for the body and increase the risk of heart diseases.

Monounsaturated (MUFA)- They are liquid at room temperature and are mainly found in plant sources like olive oil. Olive Oil has the highest percentage of MUFA (77%) amongst all the vegetable oils. MUFA is called the “Good” fat as it not only decreases “BAD” Cholesterol (LDL) in the body but also increases “Good” Cholesterol (HDL) in the body.

In India, Olive Oil is not widely used as a cooking medium as some consumers feel that it is not suitable for frying, sautéing and food will have a flavor of olives that will interfere in the taste of the food.
But on the contrary, none of these is true. Olive Oil is perfect for Indian style of cooking; the only thing to keep in mind is which variant to use for a particular recipe.