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Diet Wellness

Strengthening Your Immune System

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably disrupted our daily lives. With the number of cases increasing each day, we have all developed a fear of catching the virus. It’s easy to think that we’re living in a dystopian world right now, but there are many ways in which you can protect yourself from the virus. 

Wearing a mask when you go outside, washing your hands every few hours and sanitizing your household items regularly has become the norm. Following these measures will definitely reduce your chances of contracting the coronavirus.

But making sure your immune system is as strong as can be is paramount at this juncture. Adopting healthier habits that boost your immune system is the best thing you and your family can do to stay safe in the midst of this pandemic.

Immunity boosting tips during COVID-19

  1. Take foods and vitamins that boost your immunity 

The food you eat plays a crucial role in determining your overall health and immunity. Eat a balanced diet that consists of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some of the foods that are well known for their immunity boosting capabilities are ginger, citrus fruits, turmeric and basil to name a few. Vegetables like carrot, spinach, dark leafy greens and tomatoes are essential to your diet during this time.

These foods contain essential nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and minerals like magnesium and zinc which act as immunity boosting vitamins.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is the easiest way you can boost your immunity. Hydrations flushes out all the toxins from the body and lowers the chances of catching the flu. Drink up to 8-10 glasses of water every day to stay hydrated. You can also drink coconut water and juices made out of citrus fruits to give your immunity a boost.

  1. Improve your sleep habits

It has been shown that people who sleep for less than 6 hours are more likely to catch infections than those who sleep for more than 7 hours. Lack of sleep will prevent the body from resting and will impair other bodily functions that will have a direct impact on your immunity. Hence it is advised that you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

  1. Don’t skip those home workouts

A healthy adult needs at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity every week. Exercise has been shown to fight off infections by flushing toxins from the body through sweat. There are numerous home workout videos available on the internet that you can follow to get your daily dose of physical activity. Regular exercise improves metabolism, which directly affects body immunity.

  1. Destress yourself

Staying inside for prolonged times can be really stressful and affect both the immune system and your mental health. Practicing meditation can help in reducing your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone released when you are under too much stress, that impairs the body’s response to immediate surroundings. Meditation is a tried and tested activity to calm the nerves.

Many people indulge in habits such as smoking, vaping and drinking alcohol when under stress. Engaging in smoking and vaping is proven to weaken your lung capacity. individuals who engage in heavy alcohol consumption tend to suffer from ARDS (Acute Respiratory distress syndrome) which is one of the conditions caused by COVID 19 infection. Try not to indulge in these habits as much as you can.

Our healthcare workers are actively fighting the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. We can do our part by following precautionary measures and taking care of our health to lift some burden off of them. If you show any symptoms, please call the emergency helpline and seek immediate help. Stay home, stay safe!

Categories
Diet

Boost Your Health with Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t specify which foods you should eat, but rather when you should eat them.

Why is it worthwhile to change your eating pattern?

The main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat. It’s a great way to get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to zero. In fact, most of the time you’ll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting. (Most people eat bigger meals during a shorter time frame.) Additionally, intermittent fasting is a great way to keep muscle mass while getting lean.

Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week. 

Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution. Ancient hunters and gatherers did not have the resources we have now and survived days without food. Thus, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time.

Intermittent Fasting Methods

There are many popular intermittent fasting methods. All of these require you to split 24 hours into fasting periods. Here are the most popular methods:

  • The 16/8 method: This method is also called the Leangains protocol. It involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 diet: With these methods, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

The 16/8 method is the most popular method on this list. Many people find this method to be the simplest and easiest to stick to. If you’re an absolute beginner and are afraid you can’t fast for so many hours, you can reduce the hours to 14/10 to make it simpler. 

If breakfast is your favourite meal of the day, then you can continue with it. But make sure you’re fasting for the require period of time before having your next meal.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can have powerful benefits for weight control and the health of your body and brain. It is even believed to help you live longer. Here are some of the many health benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

  • Weight loss: Stating the obvious, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat without having to restrict calories.
  • It requires less time: Rather than having to prepare or purchase three to six meals a day, you only need to prepare two meals. Instead of stopping what you’re doing six times a day to eat, you simply only have to stop to eat twice. Rather than having to do the dishes six times, you only have to do them twice. Intermittent fasting save you a lot of time for other things. 
  • Heart Health: Intermittent fasting may reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance — all risk factors for heart disease. 
  • Insulin resistance: Intermittent fasting reduces insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%, which should protect against type 2 diabetes.
  • Brain health: The brain hormone BDNF is increased by intermittent fasting. It can aid the growth of new nerve cells. Intermittent fasting is also believed to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Safety measures before trying Intermittent Fasting

Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting. Due to long time periods between meals, it can be hard to control your hunger pangs.

You may also feel a little weak and your brain may not perform as well as before. But this only lasts for 3-4 days due to the sudden change in eating pattern. When your body adapts to the eating pattern, everything goes back to normal.

intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if you’re healthy and well-nourished overall. But with that being said, if you have a medical condition you should consult a doctor before trying intermittent fasting. Particular if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have problems with blood sugar regulation
  • Have low blood pressure
  • Take medications
  • Are underweight
  • Have a history of eating disorders
  • Are a woman who is trying to conceive
  • Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

If you have a good health profile, then intermittent fasting is all yours for the taking. 

Common doubts regarding Intermittent Fasting

  1. Can I drink liquids during the fasting period?

Yes, as long as it does not contain sugar. Water, coffee, tea and other zero-calorie beverages are allowed. Coffee can be beneficial during a fast since it blunts hunger.

  1. Can I work out while fasting?

Yes, it is completely alright to workout while fasting. But it is important to stick to low-intensity workouts and do them after having a meal.

  1. Is it okay to take supplements while fasting?

Yes, you can take supplements while fasting. Keep in mind that fat-soluble supplements work better when taken in conjunction with meals. 

  1. Can kids try intermittent fasting?

Since a child’s body is still growing, it would be a bad idea to let your kid try intermittent fasting. They need full nutrition that comes from three meals a day. 

  1. Will intermittent fasting slow down my metabolism?

No. Studies show that short terms fast actually boost your metabolism. So intermittent fasting is a great way to increase your metabolism. 

Overall, Intermittent Fasting is a wonderful eating pattern that comes along with many health benefits. If you’re scared of going on special diets that require elaborate meal planning and counting calories, then Intermittent Fasting is perfect for you. If you have been looking to try it for some time, then stop thinking and go for it NOW.

Categories
Diet

Getting Started with the Paleo Diet

A paleo diet is a dietary plan based on foods similar to what might have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, which dates from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. The paleo diet is designed to resemble what human hunter-gatherer ancestors ate thousands of years ago.

Although it’s impossible to know exactly what human ancestors ate in different parts of the world, researchers believe their diets consisted of whole foods. A paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering.

Advocates of the paleo diet reject modern diets that are full of processed foods. Proponents of the paleo diet believe that the human body has not evolved to process dairy, legumes, and grains and that eating these foods could increase the risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

In fact, several studies suggest that this diet can lead to significant weight loss and major improvements in health.

Foods to eat and avoid when on a Paleo diet

There is no ‘right’ way to eat for everyone. Some diets have stricter guidelines than others. These are the guidelines a general paleo diet follows:

Foods to eat: 

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs
  • Oils from fruits and nuts (olive oil, walnut oil etc.)
  • Meat like beef, lamb, chicken, turkey etc.
  • Fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna and mackerel

Foods to avoid:

  • Sugar and high fructose corn syrup
  • Grains such as wheat, oats and barley
  • Dairy products
  • Legumes such as beans, lentils, peanuts etc.
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oils like sunflower oil, grapeseed oil etc.
  • Artificial sweeteners

A simple guideline: If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it. Try to avoid any processed food in general when you’re on a paleo diet.

Exceptions 

When on a Paleo diet there a few modern-day food and beverages you can indulge in, in small amounts. 

  • Wine: Quality red wine is high in antioxidants and beneficial nutrients.
  • Dark chocolate: Choose one that has 70% or higher cocoa content. Quality dark chocolate is very nutritious and extremely healthy.

Remember that these are only to be taken in small amounts and from time to time, not on a regular basis. Doing so would be completely against what the Paleo diet stands for.

The paleo diet also emphasizes drinking enough water and being physically active every day.

A Typical Paleo Meal Plan

Each individual can alter the diet to their preferences. Not everybody can adapt to the diet immediately, so it’s completely fine if you slowly start adopting it. This is what a sample menu of a Paleo diet looks like.

  • Breakfast: Fruits, vegetables or eggs. You can even eat leftover meat from the night before. 
  • Lunch: Broiled lean meat and salad (romaine, carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, walnuts and lemon juice dressing).
  • Dinner: Baked fish, broiled meat, or vegetable stir fry. You can be creative and make a lettuce leaf sandwich with meat ad vegetables.
  • Snacks: Baby carrots, hard-boiled eggs, a piece of fruit, a bowl of berries or leftovers from the day before.

Benefits of the Paleo Diet

A number of randomized clinical trials have compared the paleo diet to other eating plans, such as the Mediterranean Diet. These trials suggest that a paleo diet may provide some benefits when compared with diets of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy products. These benefits are:

  • More weight loss
  • Improved glucose tolerance
  • Better blood pressure control
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Better appetite management

A paleo diet may help you lose weight or maintain your weight. It may also have other beneficial health effects. you can even try intermittent fasting for the same results. However, there are no long-term clinical studies about the benefits and potential risks of the diet. 

A paleo diet may be very hard for first-time dieters due to its considerably small repository of foods. You can achieve the same results with regular exercise and a balanced healthy diet.