The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.
Common Lung Disorders
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. It can result from long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. Those affected by COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions.
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. The lungs' airways are constantly inflamed as chronic bronchitis often lasts for months on end. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include incessant coughing, whistling sounds while breathing, wheezing and a tightening of the chest.
It is said that the cure for all ailments is available the natural way. Here are some of the alternative medicine approaches to treat respiratory disorders.
Alternative Medicinal Approaches to Treat Respiratory Disorders
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases. One of the primary causes of asthma is allergies, which often result from the food consumed. It is crucial, therefore, to first prepare a diet that is suitable for an individual. Often, dairy products, meats, and certain nuts can increase the production of mucus.
Foods like these must be avoided. Also, antioxidants can prevent damage resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients.
Yoga and Exercise
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. Exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga etc. that create a need for full capacity breathing are of great importance. Exercising the diaphragm is important and simple activities can go a long way in the treatment of the same.
Pranayama, the practise of controlled breathing, is an integral part of alternative treatment for people suffering from respiratory issues. This extensive breathing practice helps to expand the lungs and improve the capacity of the lungs, which helps an individual breathe more freely.
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate certain parts of the body. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo.
It is important to remember that no one complementary or alternative therapy works well for everyone with respiratory issues. Therefore, a proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan. For those considering alternative medicine for their respiratory problems, it is recommended to speak to an expert first and discuss the approach that may work best. (Vinoda Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)
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Different seasons of the year bring with them unique benefits for the mind, body and for our moods. It may be easier to wake up in the mornings during summer versus waking up in the winter which is much harder to do. When it comes to exercising, motivating yourself during cold days to get out of your cosy and comfortable bed will be a task in itself. However, for those who are aspiring to lose weight and get fitter here is some motivation for you to keep going with your exercise during the winter season.
Exercising during the winter can actually burn more calories than when you exercise in summer. Your endurance can also be increased during winter because the heart needs to work less you also sweat less making your workout more efficient.
Himalayan Siddha Grand Master Akshar shares 6 ways that you can exercise and keep up with your fitness game even during cold winter days.
Walking/ Running/ Jogging
Start your exercise routine with a brisk walk or maybe you could take a jog or run around your neighbourhood block. These are cardiovascular activities that pump up your heart rate and get you ready both mentally and physically for your upcoming workout session.
After your jog or run make sure that you spend a few minutes on stretching. Experts recommend that you stretch before and after your workout as this readies your muscles keep them safe from injury and also effectively improves your chance of getting leaner and more toned.
In yoga, Surya Namaskar also known as the sun salutation is considered to be a complete body workout. The Surya Namaskar is comprised of eight different postures that are sequenced in a 12 step flow. It starts from the right side and needs to be completed on both sides for a complete cycle. If you are a beginner you can start with 3-5 cycles and gradually increase it to 11, 21 and so on. Practising this sequence early in the morning will boost vitamin D in your body d and bring many physical as well as mental health benefits.
Pranayama is a breathing exercise that can be performed to gain many health benefits for both mind and body. During winter techniques such as Kapalbhati Pranayama and Khand Pranayama are suggested for you.
There are many meditation techniques that you can practice regularly such as Sthiti Dhyan, Swaas Dhyan, Aarambh Dhyan etc. Here is a simple and powerful meditation technique to build positivity.
Prarthana Dhyan (Prayerful Meditation)
Sit down in any comfortable posture
Join your palms in front of your chest to form Pranam Mudra
Straighten your back and close your eyes
Frame and repeat positive affirmations aloud or silently
End your workout session with complete mind-body relaxation in the form of Anandasana. Relaxing the body is as important as exercising as this gives your body the chance to rest, recover and recoup.
Formation of the Posture
Lie down in a prone position on a comfortable surface or on your yoga mat.
Close your eyes.
Let your legs relax completely and place them at a distance that is comfortably apart.
Let your ankles drop, and keep your toes are facing sideward.
Place your arms alongside your body and slightly apart. Make sure your palms are lying open to the sky and facing upwards.
Starting from your toes, bring your attention to every area of your body. Use deep breaths to lull your body into a deep state of relaxation.
Maintain awareness so you do not fall asleep in the process.
To recover from the posture, gently roll to one side (right) with your eyes closed. Slowly push the floor to come 9. up and sit in Sukhasana.
Anandasana can be done after you complete your physical practice, and when you are tired, it helps to completely relax your body. This pose requires you to concentrate, and focus on your breath. When you are in this posture, try to take deeper and faster breaths.(By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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In many households, including in India, it is a ritual to step out for a walk after dinner before hitting the sheets. Many also take a quick walk after lunch. The goal? To improve digestion.
But, is walking after eating really beneficial for digestion? Turns out it is, and here's why:
After you finish your meals, your body gets to work, it breaks down and absorbs the nutrients. A significant portion of the food breakdown or digestion takes place in the small intestine. Research suggests that walking after a meal can help in the faster transit of food from the stomach and into the small intestine.
How does this help? "The faster the food transits from your stomach into the small intestine, the lesser is you the likelihood of common complaints like bloating, gas, and acid reflux. Evidence also indicates that a post-meal 30-minute walk, coupled with routine exercise, can improve bowel function and lower the chances of constipation.
Postprandial walks not only ease digestive symptoms but can be quite beneficial for individuals with type-2 diabetes. Research from the New Zealand's University of Otago indicates that for people with type-2 diabetes, walking after meals is better at reducing blood sugar levels, especially following carb-rich meals. How does that happen? The body converts food into glucose, which is a major source of energy for the body. After consuming a meal, the blood glucose levels start rising.
In order to deal with this spike, the body secretes insulin, which helps drive the glucose into the cells. However, for diabetic individuals, the action of insulin is impaired, preventing the process of managing blood sugar levels. This can lead to high levels of glucose in the blood, increasing the risk of health problems. During a post-meal walk, glucose is utilized by the body to produce energy for the activity, aiding in lowering the level of glucose in the blood.
Now to address a key question - how long should you wait after a meal before you set off on your walk? Walking immediately following a meal may cause acid reflux and upset your stomach. "It is advisable to walk after a gap of 30-45 minutes after your lunch or dinner to experience the most benefits," says Singh.
It is also recommended to walk at an easy to moderate pace after your meals as increased intensity workouts may cause more blood to be drawn towards the working muscles and away from the gastrointestinal tract. This may cause your digestion to slow down and may also lead to indigestion.
Along with health benefits, a post-meal walk will also bring you closer to your goal of hitting 10,000 steps (a popular aspirational fitness goal) a day. Any sort of physical activity also triggers the release of endorphins, or ï¿½feel-good hormones', thereby relaxing the body. A post-meal walk is a positive step in that direction.
Now that you know the many benefits of a quick post-meal walk, it is time to make this small lifestyle change for better health and overall fitness.(By Vikas Singh)
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Negative calorie food refers to those items that consume more energy during their digestion, in comparison to the amount of energy they gives to the body. We can say that the calorie cost of digesting the food would be greater than its energy content.
These foods are typically high in fibre and have a low glycaemic index. Calories are an important component of food and everything we eat has calories. Calories are of two types. One is empty calories which don't have much nutritive value but just has calories and promotes weight gain. Foods with high fibre and water content usually have fewer calories and we need more energy to digest them, these are called negative calorie foods. These foods help to lose weight as they are not only low in calories but also help to burn out more calories than others. Most negative calorie foods are plant-based.
Here we are sharing the following 10 negative calorie foods:
It contains 16 kcal/100g. It is rich in fibre, vitamin A, C and Folate. It is one of the most popular negative food items as most of its calorie value is stored in cellulose. Our body receives very few calories from celery as it is full of undigested fibre.
Colourful berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries typically contain just 32 kcal for a half-cup quantity. Berries are called negative calorie foods because of their low glycaemic index and their protein content. It also contains antioxidants, which protects us from various cancers.
It has 19kcal/100g. Apart from its water content, it is an excellent source of fibre, potassium and vitamin C. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, an antioxidant known to protect us from skin cancer.
They contain 41 kcal/100g. Its vitamin A content is good for the eyes. Carrot fibre content keeps the stomach full for a longer time thus helps in weight loss.
It contains 15 kcal/100g. This vegetable has high water content which is great to satisfy thirst along with providing all the necessary vitamins and minerals. The water content present in cucumbers is great for hydration. Along with quenching thirst, this fruit provides dietary fibre and is good for irritable bowel syndrome and diabetic patients.
It has 30 kcal/100g. Some of the benefits of watermelon rind include a healthy heart, provide hydration and regulation of blood pressure. Additionally, watermelon seeds also have many health benefits starting from the prevention of anaemia to immune-boosting properties. The water content present in watermelon and vitamins A, B6, C along with lycopene act as an immune-boosting food.
It provides 52 kcal/100g. Apple contains a good amount of antioxidants, vitamin C and fibres. Apple's high fibre content helps in weight loss and it also helps to boost cognitive performance. Quercetin, an antioxidant present in apples, is also associated with lowering the risk of type 2 Diabetes.
It contains 34 kcal/100g. Its vitamin A content improves vision. Calcium, Phosphorus, vitamin K content is essential for healthy bone development. Iron and folic acid help to prevent anaemia. Kaempferol, a flavonoid present in broccoli, has anti-inflammatory properties. Broccoli is also rich in Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which is crucial for brain growth and development.
It contains about 17 kcal/100g. It is packed with many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This has high fibre content and a low-calorie count. Fibre plays an important role in digestion. Zeaxanthin, present in Zucchini, plays an important role in preventing oxidative stress and improves eye health.
It provides about 15 kcal/100g. Its vitamin C, Calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A content helps in boosting immunity. The fibre content of lettuce helps in weight loss. It is also associated with a healthy heart and maintaining eye health.
Are There Any Side Effects?
There is no evidence that eating negative calorie foods leads to side effects. However, directly eating low amounts of calories is not advised if you are not under the supervision of a dietician. The calorie requirement to reduce weight is individualised. The requirement varies depending on the person's height, weight, BMI, BMR, and physical activity.
These foods can be added to our daily diet as snacks or cooking ingredients. Cucumber, tomatoes, carrots and lettuce can be used in various salads. Berries, apple or watermelon fruit can be used as a mid-morning or evening snack. Broccoli, zucchini or lettuce can be used in various preparations during cooking.
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Navratri is the festival where nine days of fasting can be observed by a devotee. Many pregnant ladies wish to fast for their religious or personal beliefs. Though it is said that women during pregnancy should be very careful when it comes to fasting because it is not only the mother who needs all the essential nutrients but also the need of the fetus for healthy growth and development.
However, fasting during pregnancy is not as hard as it allows the consumption of various healthy foods at appropriate intervals. But one thing should be remembered by all pregnant ladies that they should not go hungry for long intervals as a baby's nutrition depends on the mother. It is very important to take carbs during pregnancy while fasting. Carbohydrates play a vital role in our growth system. It is an important nutrient source that not only provides energy to muscles and the brain but using the right kind of carbs in the diet can effectively help to provide essential nutrients, build the desired body or accelerate fitness goals.
There are two types of carbs slow and fast carbs which depends on the Glycemic Index ( the rate at which carbs get digested as compared to glucose secretion).
Fast carbs have a high GI and release energy at a much higher pace and get used quickly which makes you feel hungry often and add to weight gain issues. Fast carbs include processed foods such as bread, sugars, starchy vegetables, fruit juices etc.
As compared to this, slow carbs have a low GI and release energy slowly into the body and help to maintain a "satisfied" feeling as your blood sugar levels are maintained.
There are many non-pregnant women who want to shed extra calories. Fasting will be the perfect time to start their fitness journey. To lose weight and stay healthy, the purpose should be to source the right kind of carbs, which release energy slowly and helps you in the long run. Hence, for that, focus on including slow carbs in your diet such as whole grains, seeds and nuts, beans and legumes, vegetables etc. It also tends to be high in fibre.
Should Carbs Be Taken During Fasting?
Although fasting is a very traditional and customary ritual and most people fast for spiritual purification, there is no denying that if you keep yourself nutritionally in check, it can be therapeutic for the body as it can act as a form of detox and keep you healthy as well. So, it is significant to choose the right food while you are on a fast diet to prevent yourself from being deficient in important nutrients as it can make you likely to develop health ailments like weakness, heart problems, skin issues, defective bone growth, etc.
Pregnant women with illnesses such as diabetes, anaemia, high blood pressure should avoid fasting as it could lead to various other complications.
Avoiding carbohydrates will be the last thing you need to do during fasting as it provides energy to the brain and muscles and make you energetic and more productive throughout the day. So, Make sure you are getting enough right kind of carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins from different sources and be vigilant about selecting healthy foods rather than munch on processed foods.
There are various food options that include slow carbs and few tips to make your fasting healthier:
Because you are fasting, you tend to eat lesser food than usual, and are hungry at odd times, eating slow carbs foods can help you keep fuller for longer as they take longer to digest and break down. Combine high carbohydrates like potatoes and sabudana (widely used in fasting) with other fibrous vegetables like spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, capsicum, bottle guard, etc. Also, try to bake, roast or grill vegetables instead of deep-frying them. Kuttu is a brilliant combination of carbohydrates (70-75 per cent) and protein (20-25 per cent). It is also rich in proteins, B-complex vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Use it to make chapatti instead of gorging on puris.
Samak rice is extremely easy to digest and provides energy, contains a high amount of fibre, B-complex vitamins and important minerals like iron and magnesium.
Try and adopt healthy snacking and don't binge on puris, sabudana vada, potato chips, and other delicacies as they are loaded with sugar, salt and fat content, Instead, opt for roasted makhana as they loaded with antioxidants or a mixture of nuts (almonds/raisins/walnut)/ baked chips, roasted peanuts, etc.)
Eat plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Eat small meals and do not starve yourself. This will help maintain blood glucose levels and prevent you from feeling low.
Keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of water and fluids like coconut water, lemon water, and buttermilk without adding sugar. These beverages will keep you satisfied for a long time.
While you can gorge on the above-mentioned food items, also try out these healthy recipes this Navratri season:
Sweet potato chaat
1 bowl (250 gms)
Calories-304.5 Cal Carbs-62.09 gms
2-3 Sweet Potatoes (Boiled)
A handful of almonds, peanuts and walnuts
1 tsp Cumin powder and Black pepper
1 tsp chia seeds and roasted flax seeds
Rock salt for taste
1 lemon (for juice)
Boil sweet potatoes and peel them and cut them into small pieces
Now mix the nuts with sweet potatoes
Now add salt, cumin powder and black pepper to it and mix it properly, add lemon juice also
Sprinkle chia seeds and flax seeds
The chaat is now ready to eat
2 pieces (45 gms)
1 cup Kuttu ka Atta / Buckwheat Flour
1/2 cup Sour Curd
1 /4 tsp Ginger paste
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Fresh Coriander (Grated)
1 tsp Green Chilli (Chopped)
Clean and wash the buckwheat in enough water only once. Then drain the excess water using a strainer
Mix the buckwheat, sour curd and half a cup of water in a bowl. Cover it and soak it for at least 4 to 5 hours.
Now add green chilli, ginger paste and salt to the batter and mix very well
Pour the batter into a greased thali and spread evenly by rotating the thali clockwise. Also, Sprinkle freshly chopped coriander
Steam in a steamer for 10-12 min. Or till the Dhoklas are cooked
Cool slightly, cut into pieces and serve immediately with green chutney.
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A very common tip to improve heart health is to exercise regularly. But what form of exercise is best for the heart and how much exercise is too much? There have been several myths about the impact of exercise on the heart, while some sound reasonable, there are many that are inaccurate. One such myth is that one should avoid exercising after a heart attack.
Avoiding exercise for the first few weeks after a heart attack may be advised. However, studies show that supervised exercise helps in improving the outcome for all patients. It is important to note that after a heart attack, one should begin a regular activity program to reduce the chance of additional heart problems. Most patients are provided with a prescription for cardiac rehabilitation which entails an exercise program, diet instruction, educational classes on lifestyle changes and emotional support through a peer support group.
While everyone recovers at a different pace, here are a few guidelines that one may follow to get started:
Consult your doctor before starting exercise. Based on your heart disease, condition, heart function (ejection fraction), rhythm etc. Your doctor will give you an exercise prescription.
It is best to start slow. Once, you get used to walking regularly, you can increase your pace gradually over time. If shortness of breath is felt, it is best to slow down the walking pace.
Exercise should always be done in 3 phases warm-up, peak exercise and cool down, please.
What helps is walking at a moderate pace for the first 10 minutes the first time and each day tries to a few minutes more. At the end of the month aim to walk for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
It is important to keep in mind that one should cool down after finishing the exercise by gradually walking at a slower pace for the last 3 minutes.
If the patient walks outside the house, as a precaution they should walk with someone or in short distances close to home so they do not get too far away.
One should drink a glass of water to prevent dehydration before you start walking.
Choose an exercise or an activity that you enjoy doing. For example, walking, cycling, aerobics, etc.
Doctors' advice should be taken before lifting heavyweights.
Exercise should be done regularly to ensure benefits. 6 days a week of exercise is advisable.
Exercising at the same time daily is important to establish a habit. It also minimizes any variable that may impact the exercise.
If any symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, palpitation occur and does not go away, one should stop the exercise and notify the doctor.
There are several changes that take place after a heart attack like energy levels and medications. This affects exercise tolerance. Therefore it is important to keep the exercise expectation day to day as one goes through the healing process.
If a patient does not go through cardiac rehabilitation, they should begin with gentle exercise after a heart attack. The amount of exercise that is advised to each patient will depend on how active the patient was before the cardiac event and how severe the event was. Overall, one must keep in mind that they should start exercising as soon as they can after a heart attack to get the energy and strength back.
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