Many people believe that heart disease typically affects men. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of mortality not only among men, but also among women. But women are actually at greater risk if not detected early, and this exacerbates the issue.
Signs of poor heart health do not appear as visibly in women as it does in men. What this means is that if a man has a heart issue, there are specific symptoms like angina which can be spotted easily and the right course of action be recommended. The same issue in a woman may not result in a sign or symptom that can be easily spotted. So often, their symptoms go ignored or unrecognised and they do not receive timely intervention to correct the problem. The issue is so acute that today 1 in 3 deaths among women is due to coronary heart disease.
There is also a significant lack of self-awareness among women about risk factors and the prevention of CVDs. Women don't only attend to matters of the home, but they hold positions at leading companies, and continue to rise to the occasion and meet impossible demands on their time. Through all of this, they take care of the emotional needs of their family members and loved ones; and still culturally are predisposed to putting the needs of others before their own. The stress they experience, among other common risk factors, often goes unnoticed by those around them. And stress has a greater influence on CVD risk in women vs men. Along with stress, other factors like diet quantity and quality also have a greater influence on CVD risk in women vs men. Additionally, women are also impacted by female-specific risk factors for CVD like polycystic Ovarian syndrome PCOS, preeclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension and gestational diabetes.
In such a situation where symptoms of a heart problem do not manifest visibly, it is extremely important for women to be aware of their own risk factors and adopt proactive measures to take care of their heart health. For example, one risk factor, stress has been linked to a greater intake of energy and nutrient-dense foods, mainly sources of sugar and fat, and to poor diet quality. Women can take simple steps like reducing unhealthy fats and products with high content of sugar and salt to improve the quality of their diet. Choose ingredients that are good for the heart, like oatmeal, wholegrains, fiber rich vegetables, blended oils with the right balance of fatty acids, legumes, soy products, and the like. Regular and consistent exercise, adequate sleep, and other such lifestyle modifications can help maintain heart health in the long term.
Furthermore with signs of poor heart health not manifesting visibly in women, it is crucial that they get regular health check-ups done to assess their risk proactively. Self-awareness and early identification of cardiovascular risk factors can lead to better prevention of CVD in women.
This World Heart Day, let's choose self-care. Get a simple heart check-up done and encourage other women in yourselves too, to get the same done. Take proactive steps for heart health today.
(By Brajesh Kunwar)
Read More► Myth or Fact: Exercise Must Be Avoided After A Heart Attack
Mental illnesses in various forms have been a major health burden globally in recent years. Unhealthy lifestyles, poor eating habits and rise in work-related stress are factors that are contributing to the rising incidence of anxiety and depression. Psychotic drugs in treating anxiety and depression are effective but offer only symptomatic relief. Long-term intake of drugs often leads to dependence without preventing further illness or providing a comprehensive solution to improving mental health.
People suffering from poor mental health can reap rich and long-term benefits by adopting the ancient Indian practice of Yoga in their daily lives. Yoga helps in maintaining good mental and physical health. It harmonises our body and mind and restores our emotional balance. There is growing evidence that Yoga can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and those who have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When adopted as a daily practice, yoga can help calm down the mind and prevent the development of mental illnesses.
Stress is the root cause of several lifestyle diseases. Yoga adopts a scientific approach of exercising and relaxing to ease the stress of modern day living. Yoga also contributes to improving memory, sleep and even quality of life in elderly persons with mild memory impairment.
Here are some poses that help improve mental health besides providing other health benefits:
Shashankasana or Child's Pose
This asana stimulates your nervous system thereby re-energizing your whole body. This asana is basically a resting pose somehow resembling a child in fetal position. It is performed by sitting down on the knees and then bending forward so that the chest touches the thighs, and the forehead touches the ground. Stretch the arms forward. If performed with precision regularly, the performer will notice a sense of mental, physical, and emotional comfort descending upon him/her. Like most yoga asanas, this one, too, should be performed on an empty stomach or at least six hours after a meal. However, people suffering from high blood pressure and back pain should avoid this asana.
This inverted pose is one of the best yoga asanas for improving blood circulation towards the head. It helps to calm anxiety, treat depression and insomnia besides regulating blood flow. This pose can be performed by lying down flat on your back. Keep the legs together. While inhaling raise the legs, buttocks and the trunk and support the hips on the palm. The trunk is held at 45 degrees angle to the ground. Breathe normally in this position. To return, lower the legs over the head and keep the hands down while exhaling. Bring the spine and the legs down.
This yoga pose is thought to be therapeutic for people suffering from high blood pressure, asthma, sinusitis, infertility and osteoporosis. It also helps to relieve mild depression and beat insomnia as it is highly beneficial as a relaxation tool. To perform this pose, stand straight. Raise your hands from the front to above your head as you inhale slowly. Bend backwards from the upper back and maintain the position with normal breathing.
This pose is typically performed at the end of yoga routines and helps boost mental health and relaxes the body. Lie flat on your back, keeping the body straight and hands at the sides with palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and hold the position for at least five minutes. Even pregnant women can practice this asana as it will help them prevent prenatal depression, a prevalent mental disorder in women during pregnancy.
It should be noted that the above-mentioned yogic practices are to be learned in a gradual manner under the supervision of a yoga expert. Yoga enables a practitioner to expand their mental faculties and achieve a greater acceptance of self and others, which ultimately leads to calmer approach to the life.
Yoga encourages practitioners to experience an open heart. Many yogic philosophers consider the entire practice to be about metaphorically connecting to our hearts. Within the chakra system, the heart lies in the middle of the seven chakras. Asanas such as arda chakrasana (back bend), kapotasana (pigeon pose), and ustrasana (camel pose) encourage the expansion of the centre of the chest which is the location of the anahata chakra, the yogic heart centre. Visualizations and pranyams in yoga also encourage open heartedness.
Read More► Escape Wedding Blues With These Yoga Postures & Breathing Techniques
Bhopal- A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have in a review identified the biomolecular relationships between Covid-19, ageing, and diabetes.
The review, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, presented that existing drugs used to treat diabetes, obesity and ageing can potentially be used to treat Covid-19. Similar naturally existing biomolecules were also explored in combination for the Covid treatment.
"There are classes of compounds such as polyphenols found in plant-based food, curcumin (found in turmeric), and resveratrol (found in grapes), have been shown to not only slow down the ageing process, but also possess anti-viral properties," said Dr. Amjad Husain, Principal Scientist, and CEO of Innovation and Incubation Center for Entrepreneurship (IICE), IISER Bhopal, in a statement.
Some other polyphenols that the researchers have identified as being useful for both Covid-19 treatment and comorbidity conditions such as diabetes and ageing may include catechins (present in green tea, cocoa and berries), procyanidins (found in apples, cinnamon and grape skin), and theaflavin (found in black tea).
The researchers also present evidence of some existing potential anti-ageing drugs such as Rapamycin that can be explored for the Covid-19 treatment because of the common biochemical pathways associated with these diseases. Another such example is a drug Metformin , which is usually used to control blood sugar.
The review showed that at the molecular level, there are intersecting pathways that are common to diabetes, ageing, and Covid-19. All three conditions are associated with oxidative stress and lowering of the immune response and complications arising from them lead to the onset of numerous other diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, eye diseases, neuropathy (nerve diseases), and nephropathy (kidney problems).
The researchers believe that an ideal therapeutic candidate for Covid-19 should be able to target the pathways that are common to diabetes, ageing and the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Further, computational studies showed that lipids present in cell membranes play an important role in coronavirus infectivity.
Natural compounds such as polyphenols may affect the binding of the virus to host receptors and the molecular interactions required for virus replication and release, thereby stopping the infection in its early stages, the team explained.
Read More► Risk of Stroke Increases With Insulin Resistance: Study
Our heart is the key organ in the circulatory system pumping oxygenated blood to various organs. People mostly ignore or are not aware of the symptoms of an approaching heart attack or cardiac ailment. With an increasing prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle, monitoring heart health becomes even more essential. Hence, one should be aware of the newly observed symptoms and complications that signal towards an unhealthy heart.
Chest Pain is Just One of The Many Overlooked Signs
Chest pain is one of the most common signs of an approaching cardiac ailment. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, burning, tightness, or pain in the centre of the chest should be reported to the doctor. Many times these symptoms are confused with gastritis and heartburn.
Snoring and interrupted sleeping patterns
Snoring and sleep-related problems like insomnia and sleep apnea, a disorder where breathing get disrupted while you sleep, have a direct link with heart diseases and other cardiovascular ailments.
Shortness of Breath
Unexplained shortness of breath while doing small amounts of physical activity, at rest or while sleeping (that can wake you up) may indicate an underlying cardiac ailment. Women are more likely to suffer/report shortness of breath when dealing with heart troubles.
Waking up tired, restless and noting higher blood pressure levels in the morning, signals towards an unhealthy heart. Though, one should get a clinical assessment done for ensuring a clear diagnosis.
Sweeting more than usual or without any physical activity, especially if one is not exercising or being active can be an early warning sign of an approaching heart-related ailment. If someone is sitting and suddenly starts sweating profusely, it could be a sign of an oncoming heart attack.
An irregular heartbeat or more formally known as "arrhythmias", is a condition where the heart doesn't pump blood at its normal rhythm. Anyone who is relatively healthy and still has an irregular heartbeat, also indicate a chronic heart condition.
Pain in the chest and upper arm area is what most people typically associate with heart problems. However, pain in the neck or jaw is a potential point of angina pain or discomfort when the heart lacks oxygen-rich blood. Women are more likely to exhibit these symptoms than men, but if the symptoms persist it is advisable to consult a doctor.
A persistent cough is not always a sign of a heart problem, as it's a common symptom of various other common illnesses like cold, flu, and bronchitis. But a never-ending cough can be a sign of fluid building up in the lungs, which signals congestive heart failure.
When the heart isn't able to pump efficiently, blood can back up into the veins that take blood through the lungs. When there is excessive pressure in these blood vessels, fluid is pushed into the air spaces (alveoli) in the lungs. Hence, an unending cough can be caused by the irritation and fluid in the lungs, which is similar to what can cause shortness of breath.
With the current lifestyle patterns, it is very important to monitor your heart health. There can be various hidden symptoms contributing towards an unhealthy heart, hence a timely diagnosis and an active lifestyle should be given attention to. The above-mentioned symptoms can be a few of many symptoms denoting an approaching heart ailment, as a reason being aware towards your own health and consulting for timely clinical interventions become essentially important.
Read More► Why Young Indians More Vulnerable to Heart Attack?
Gluten is a family of proteins mainly found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). It contains gliadin and glutenin. The elasticity of dough is because of its gluten content. Gluten gives a chewy texture and desired shape to the product. In some people, gluten causes inflammatory and autoimmune reactions, where it mainly destroys the tissue of the small intestine and gut lining. In human body absorption of nutrients takes place in the small intestine, so in such cases, it is very important to follow a gluten-free diet for good gut health and nutritional status. Now let's know about the two grains which are naturally gluten-free and have many health benefits too:
Millet is one such ancient superfood that gives many health benefits due to its nutritional content. It helps to strengthen the immune system, promote good bone health and aids in weight loss. It contains all potential antioxidants which prevent ageing and metabolic disorders like diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia etc. We know that many diseases occur due to our body's acidic pH. Where a diet rich in alkaline foods are required. So this grain is alkaline in nature, preventing acidity and heartburn issues.
Health Benefits of Millet:
It's a good source of B vitamins like niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. These nutrients help to perform many enzymatic reactions in our body and are also necessary for the normal functioning of the organs.
Millet contains an insoluble fibre known as prebiotics. It supports good bacteria in the gut. Insoluble fibre helps to relieve symptoms like constipation, bloating, gas and cramps etc.
It can be a healthier grain to include in your diet if you want to protect your heart. It contains a good amount of magnesium which helps to control blood pressure. Millets are rich in dietary fibre too (both soluble and insoluble fibre) which makes it a good choice for people who are suffering from high cholesterol levels.
It's low in simple carbs and high in complex carbs (a low GI food) and hence its consumption is good to control sugar levels and aids in weight loss.
Millets are rich in antioxidants and phenols especially ferulic acid and catechins. Antioxidants help in reducing oxidative stress in the body and boost immune functioning. The darker millets contain more antioxidants compared to the lighter ones.
It is one of the nutrient-rich grains for pregnant women as it is rich in iron, protein, antioxidants, dietary fibre, calcium, magnesium, potassium and folate. All those nutrients are required more during pregnancy. Its high iron content improves haemoglobin levels. Dietary fibre prevents constipation and helps to lower blood sugar levels in gestational diabetes. Calcium and folate help in fetus development. Magnesium and potassium manage blood pressure.
And other information for those who are trying to conceive, that this grain can help you. The science behind that is, grains that are high in complex carbs and low in refined carbs prevent a surge in insulin resistance and preserve ovulation. Also, women suffering from PCOD should add this grain to their daily diet. As it helps to cut down the visceral fat, thus regulates the menstrual cycle.
Buckwheat is not a type of wheat, it's a gluten-free grain that comes under the group of cereals commonly called pseudocereals. As it doesn't grow in grass, it's a plant just like quinoa and amaranth. Basically, it is a seed that needs grinding to make its flour. We all include this grain in our diet during fasting days. But do we know its amazing health benefits?
Health Benefits of Buckwheat:
It is more satiating than any other grain due to its power loaded nutrient and complex carbohydrate content. And this helps to reduce weight as it keeps you full for a longer time and prevent you from binge eating.
Iron is very important for our body's normal functioning. Deficiency of this mineral leads to anaemia, weakness and fatigue. Buckwheat is a good source of iron. So make this grain a part of your diet on non-fasting days too.
It is rich in magnesium and calcium, minerals that are required for healthy and stronger bones and teeth, promotes growth and development.
Among the other pseudocereals, buckwheat is a rich source of rutin antioxidants. It contains other antioxidants too like quercetin. Rutin has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help to remove potentially harmful substances called "free radicals" from our bodies. And thus it boosts immunity.
It's a rich source of plant-based protein, especially contains a good amount of aspartic acid, arginine and lysine amino acids. These amino acids help in the regularization of hormones in the body. Studies show that intake of lysine may reduce anxiety also improves calcium absorption.
Because of its miraculous nutritional content, it can be a superfood for pregnant women. And it's totally safe to have during pregnancy as it has a good amount of folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, dietary fibre and essential amino acids. Folate supplementation is needed during pregnancy or before conception. A diet rich in folate helps to prevent neural birth defects. Also, it contains a higher amount of dietary fibre, including all three fibre soluble, insoluble or resistant starch.
The role of fibre in our body is to delays the metabolism of sugar and to keep the digestive system healthy. So consumption of this seed will keep you at bay from general problems that occur during pregnancy such as constipation, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Research says that intake of lysine with iron and vitamin supplements helps to improve hemoglobin levels in pregnant women.
It will be a great choice for women who are planning to conceive, as buckwheat is a good source of folic acid which helps in releasing eggs during ovulation. Also, it contains a rutin antioxidant that promotes the circulatory system in women. Its high fibre content will help to lose weight in PCOD. It has been found in studies that it lower the testosterone levels by which regulates the ovulation process.
Here is one nutritious recipe you can make by using these two grains:
Millet and buckwheat bhel with the goodness of iron and calcium:
Whole millet grain (boiled): ½ bowl
Buckwheat seed (boiled): ½ bowl
Steamed moong, Kala chana sprouts: ½ bowl
Tossed mushroom: ½ bowl
Green apple: ½ bowl chopped
Lemon: as per taste
Salt and pepper: as per taste
Take a pan and boil whole millet grain and buckwheat seed in water on slow flame till it gets transparent. Drain the extra water and take out the boiled seeds in a bowl. Now add steamed moong and Kala chana sprouts. Meanwhile, toss the mushroom in a pan for few minutes. Add chopped green apple and tossed mushroom in a mixture and flavour it with salt, pepper and lemon.
You can enjoy this bhel as a mid between snack or in dinner.
Read More► Is Donkey Milk Good for Your Skin?
Eating fruits is one of the most satisfying ways to tackle sweet-tooth cravings while meeting your nutritional needs. Despite many studies and research on fruit consumption in diabetes, there are a lot of speculations on the right kind of fruit consumption and its relation to blood sugar levels.
Eating seasonal and locally available fruit has many health benefits ranging from reducing sugar and inflammation levels to fighting high blood pressure thanks to their abundant vitamins and mineral presence! They are a powerhouse of antioxidants like vitamins A, B, C, E, and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and fiber.
The fruits listed below are not just diabetic-friendly but are loaded with fiber and water content which can slow down the sugar spikes and sugar absorption rate.
Apples are not just nutritious and filling; According to a study, they are significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes if consumed in moderation. Turns out there is a truth in the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", after all!
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. They are high in fibers as well, and have been linked with lowering the risk of diabetes.
Adding berries is one of the best ways to add a variety to your diabetes-friendly diet. You can choose from blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries because all of them are power-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fibers.
Papaya is rich in natural oxidants, which makes it a perfect pick for people with diabetes. It reduces the chances of future cell damage.
This sweet and sour fruit is rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C. It also positively impacts anti-inflammatory processes and can help repair cell damage, and it has minimal fruit sugars as well.
Kiwi fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin E, K, and potassium, and they are low in fruit sugars as well, which makes it a perfect diabetic-friendly fruit.
Melons (Musk melon and watermelon): Powerful hydrating fruits like cantaloupe and melons are recommended for people with diabetes, and people with the risk of developing diabetes. Eat-in moderation for multiple nutritional benefits like fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B, and C.
Dragon fruit is full of dietary fibers, vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Pear are nutrient-rich, and they are known to fight inflammation and improve digestion.? Studies also suggest that consuming pears along with a healthy diet reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Orange This citrus fruit is full of fiber that helps slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream, and its vitamin C component helps improve immunity levels.
Add fruit to your salads to enjoy their goodness with a sprinkle of cinnamon, it tastes better and reduces sugar spikes . Add nuts like walnuts and almonds to complement your fruit snack. you can also add flaxseeds to balance the glycemic load in the body.
Read More► Herbs, Nuts and Fruits to Enhance Your Daily Diet