This year India celebrates its 73rd Independence Day. The strength of a powerful and prosperous nation like ours lies in its people.
The true essence of freedom is experienced when every individual is happy and free of pain, suffering and disease. Good health is your prerogative, and the secret to a healthy body lies within you. Here are 15 great tips for celebrating 15th August in good health.
A king’s breakfast
After more than 7 hours of fasting, your body needs to wake up on a powerful note. A good breakfast is supposed to be wholesome and packed with enough nutrients that can keep you going all day. A power-packed meal can include eggs, a portion of fruit along with a bowl of whole-grain foods like oatmeal, pasta or barley that contain complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly through the day. Replace eggs with your favourite kind of cheese if you are vegetarian.
Sleep like a baby
Given the workaholic culture, the stressful work environment and erratic bedtime, many people suffer from lack of sleep and disorders like insomnia. Excessive smartphone usage and addiction to social media also eat into our daily quota of sleep. Men need 7 to 8 hours of sleep, while women need just a little longer for a productive day at work. Good sleep not only improves our memory and cognitive abilities but also keeps the digestive system working properly. To improve the quality of sleep, it is ideal that you sleep in complete darkness. If you must use light, then go for very dim ones. You must also ensure that the temperature in your room is maintained.
Also Read: Tips To Keep A Check On Your Stress Level
Make sure you drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water in a day, if not more. Individual water requirements can vary with height, weight and level of physical activity, but on an average, the minimum recommended amount is about 2 to 3 litres per day. Since our body contains about 60% to 70% water, all the major organs require water for normal functioning. Water is known as the ‘elixir of life’ because it alone has the power to heal our body, by flushing out toxins and harmful microorganisms. Besides, drinking enough water keeps your skin and hair healthy. While there are smartphone apps that record our water intake and even remind us to drink at regular intervals, you could keep a bottle of water with you wherever you go.
Get some exercise
Since most of us are into a sedentary lifestyle that involves long hours of sitting, it is important to give the body at least 30 minutes of exercise. If you are not into weight training, pick up some form of sport that you love playing or join a yoga class. Moderate physical activity boosts the oxygen level in muscles, keeping them healthy and toned. Besides aiding weight loss, regular exercise also improves sleep, digestion, cardiovascular, bone and sexual health. Choose from power yoga, pilates, spinning, aerobics, or a sport such as a soccer, badminton, tennis or swimming. Make sure that you follow a good exercise routine which includes a warm-up at the start and stretching at the end of the exercise.
Indian cuisine in itself uses many wonderful herbs that offer a host of health benefits. Regular use of local herbs such as tulsi, mint, cinnamon, neem and aloe vera, can help you ward off many diseases including seasonal allergies, flu, common infections and even some chronic ailments like hypertension, hypothyroidism and diabetes. Use them in cooking to make chutneys or as add on in rice or other dishes. You can also make a concoction of seasonal herbs and have a cup or two in a day.
Also Read: Surprising Health Benefits Of Rose Tea
Load up on fruits and vegetables
Vegetables should ideally form a big portion of your meal, especially during lunch and dinner. The recommended dose for a healthy adult suggests eating 4 to 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day. With many millennials understanding the benefits of plant-based foods, they are moving away from meat and poultry towards a vegetarian or even vegan diet that consists of foods in their natural raw form. While vegetables and fruits are low in fat, they ensure a daily supply of essential nutrients like calcium and manganese, and many other vitamins and minerals. They also reduce your risk of chronic ailments such as Type II diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables of varied colours and textures as per season.
Stay away from addictions
Consumption of alcohol and smoking cigarettes leads to several health problems including COPD, smoker’s lungs, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and cancer. India is known to have the largest number of oral cancer cases in the world, owing to tobacco addiction. Chewing or smoking tobacco is prevalent, especially among the rural population. Incidence of liver disease is also on the rise due to a growing trend of social drinking.
Make preventive health checks a priority
Gone are the days when health checks were done only when a health problem arrived. Being a part of this health-conscious millennium, everyone above the age of 30 must make it a practice to get preventive health checks done at least annually. Most chronic lifestyle diseases strike silently and are not diagnosed until they produce symptoms at a later stage. Preventive care is beneficial in identifying these conditions early on when they can be cured or reversed by making simple diet and lifestyle changes. Pick a preventive health package according to your age and ensure that you stick to the schedule annually or as required.
Reduce intake of processed foods
Processed foods ranging from breakfast cereals and frozen meat to packaged foods and health bars are nothing but fads that have no health benefits. The multiple stages of processing they undergo and the presence of chemical additives that increase their shelf life make these products harmful for health. Many of these foods also contain high amounts of sugars and salt as well as flavour enhancers that lead to a host of health problems, including obesity and mood swings. Processing destroys natural fibres contained in foods that are essential for slowing down the absorption of carbs, thereby leading to faster digestion and a feeling of insatiability. Make it a point to read labels and steer clear of any products that have too many ingredients. Instead opt for cleaner, organic products that contain fewer chemicals and more natural ingredients.
Get more of Omega 3s
Omega 3 fatty acids are complex unsaturated compounds that are good for the heart. They help in lowering bad cholesterol and building up good cholesterol, thereby benefiting the heart function. Omega 3s and 6s help in regulating the natural oil balance in skin and hair, keeping them healthy and radiant. Good sources of Omega 3s include fatty fish such as herring, salmon and anchovies and seeds and nuts such as flax seeds, sesame, chia, sunflower, almonds, walnuts and avocado. Olive oil, another excellent source of omega 3s, can be used for cooking as well as topping recipes and dressing salads.
Maintain good personal hygiene
Good personal hygiene is a vital aspect of an individual’s personality. A well-groomed person not only has a pleasant exterior that attracts others but also keeps infections and allergies at bay. Poor hygiene can invite a host of microbial diseases such as acne, eczema and fungal infections. Neglected teeth can lead to many problems, including caries, and oral and digestive tract infections. Poor sexual hygiene can cause many sexual health problems, including urinary tract infections and STDs.Brush your teeth twice daily, bathe at least once using a good quality disinfectant soap and wash your hair with a good shampoo 2-3 times-a-week.
Treat deficiencies naturally
Most of us suffer from some deficiency or the other even after much attention. When you find yourself deficient of some micronutrient, it may seem easy to pop a vitamin pill and go on with your day. Health experts warn that most supplements deliver an excess of your required daily dose and may lead to many complications due to toxicity. It is best to stick to natural foods that deliver micronutrients in small doses so that the body easily absorbs them. For instance, if you are anaemic, go for foods cooked in cast iron utensils or eat more of spinach, carrots and pomegranate that are rich sources of iron and folate. If you still require supplements, then consult a doctor.
Keep a positive attitude
Positive thinking means having a pleasant and productive way of life. While it may be tough for us to keep a cheerful mindset amidst a chaotic lifestyle, living every day becomes easier when we have an optimistic outlook. Self-talk can be a great way to analyse thoughts and check negative thoughts that run through your mind. Research has shown that having a positive frame of mind can not only lower stress levels but also help fight depression, build immunity and increase our overall wellbeing. So, look for more reasons to smile. Sometimes laugh for no reason and keep good company. Positivity attracts more positive energy from around us and helps us tide over difficult and stressful times.
With inputs from Dr Vishal Sehgal, Medical Director, Portea Medical
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