Covid-19 has altered the way we view health and wellness. Today, focusing on the right food, nutrition and boosting immunity no longer remains an afterthought. The pandemic has forced us to pause, rethink and have a holistic approach when it comes to our overall well-being.
While we pay attention to our health by eating healthy, it's also important to be mindful of what we eat from and ensure our cooking, consumption and storage utensils are safe, sustainable and eco-friendly.
While consumer behaviour is changing to support sustainable brands and eco-friendly practices, plastic still finds dominance in most homes. In fact, our kitchens are replete with plastic jars, containers, utensils, garbage bags etc. and their usage is increasing at an alarming rate. A recent survey states that India generates 6,000 tonnes of plastic every day, nearly 10,000 tonnes of which goes uncollected. Adding to environmental pollution, plastic also has a detrimental effect on our health.
Priyanka Kheruka, Brand Head, Borosil Ltd, said, "When food is heated in plastic, it releases phthalates from the plasticisers and as much as 95 per cent of the chemicals are migrated into our food. Fatty foods like meats and cheese are more prone to leaching and when these are microwaved in a plastic container, the phthalates released can directly affect the lungs, kidneys and liver. BPA on the other hand is linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes."
"Unlike plastic, glass is free of toxic chemicals and also retains the natural flavour on heating. It's also environmentally friendly and can be easily decomposed without emitting toxic chemicals. Using airtight glass containers for storage cuts down on the usage of cling wrap to ensure cut fruits and vegetables and leftover food does not rot or absorb the chemicals from harmful materials used for wrapping. Having steel utensils to cook food can also have a positive impact on health.
Steel does not erode or leach harmful chemicals during cooking. It's durable, sustainable, helps in retaining the original flavour and is easy to clean, like glass. Replace plastic bottles with stainless steel ones. There are myriad styles and options available in the market today which come in beautiful designs. There are many brands that offer bottles that are 100 percent food grade and rust-proof and which help in maintaining the temperature of your drink," she added.
"Copper utensils are ideal conductors of heat and are hygienic and corrosion-resistant. The advantages of storing water in copper vessels and bottles are many, having a direct impact on the skin while also having a therapeutic effect. There are plenty of materials and metals to choose from when it comes to incorporating healthy cooking habits."
Being mindful and conscientious of how we utilize our daily utensils in the kitchen can go a long way in boosting good health for the family, community and society at large while also leaving a positive footprint on the environment.
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Many factors can contribute to your high stress levels, lack of sleep, and getting sick. But did you know that all three of these actually go hand-in-hand? Here's how stress, sleep, and immunity are linked when considering one's general well-being.
"Stress, sleep and immunity are closely linked. When you miss out on sleep, you miss out on time for your body to recharge and prepare for the next day. In fact, sleep is quite vital for our cardiovascular and immune systems to function properly, as well as our ability to think clearly, learn and retain new information, and manage our emotions.
If an individual continuously deprives themselves of getting enough sleep each night, they create more stress on their bodies physically and mentally, which in turn affects the immune system, and essentially creates a negative downward spiral," says Nora Tobin, performance enhancement and executive coach, nutrition specialist, and CEO of Nora's Naturals Coffee.
How can optimising stress, sleep and immunity improve your professional performance? Here's what she has to say:
"Other than a strong work ethic and a high level of drive, your professional performance too, is connected to your overall health and well-being. Practicing healthy habits such as getting consistent sleep and managing your stress, can help you stay healthy and maintain a strong immune system. When you get into a healthy routine you will feel more productive and ready to produce high-quality results that you wish to see in your professional life."
Here are Tobin's top 3 tips for optimising stress, sleep, and immunity:
Result of Stress: When the body is under chronic mental or physical stress, the production of cortisol becomes unbalanced. This leads to excessive fatigue, brain fog, and the storage of fat in the abdominal region. In order to produce enough cortisol to keep going throughout the day, the body pulls from the thyroid (lowered metabolism).
The Solution to Stress: Guided breathing, vitamin D and adaptogenic herbs balance cortisol (stress hormone) as well as regulates the amygdala part of your brain that controls anxiety. Try to incorporate one or all of the below daily.
1-minute Meditation: take an inhale for 3 counts, hold your breath at the top for 3 and exhale for 3. Repeat for 1-minute.
Vitamin D: The precursor to serotonin (a feel-good hormone) and strong immune defence for the body. Get outside for 10 minutes without sunglasses or try this quality source of Vitamin D daily.
Herbs: Adaptogenic Herbs have been utilised in India for thousands of years and help support the body's energy and naturally protect against cellular stress. The top two herbs to utilise to lower stress and anxiety are Reishi and Ashwagandha. Mix into tea or water before bed.
Result of Sleep: During sleep, cerebral spinal fluid runs through the brain to clear toxins and create new neural connections crucial for retaining information and slowing down aging. This process is called glymphatic drainage. The lymphatic system primarily works during sleep so to successfully create new cerebral pathways and clear waste products, it is essential to get at least six hours of sleep.
A solution to Sleep: Legs up the wall, temperature changes and minerals help the body shift into a parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and out of flight or fight mode.
Legs up the Wall: Lying for 5-10 minutes with legs up the wall will reset circadian rhythm and improve the body's ability to drop into deep REM sleep. Simply lie with legs resting on the wall with feet above hips taking deep breaths.
Change Temperatures: Alternating between hot water and cold in the shower (20 seconds hot, 10 cold) for two minutes before bed will greatly improve the body's natural ability to regulate its own production of melatonin.
Result of Low Energy: The body has two forms of energy-burning -- glucose and ketones. When the body is primarily burning glucose, it goes through rapid spikes in blood sugar, leading to cravings, energy crashes and weight gain. When the body is burning ketones, it's receiving steady-state energy while burning its own fat stores.
Solution to Sustained Energy: Interval workouts, whole foods and eating healthy fat allow the body to burn more ketones for energy without feeling deprived. This leads to rapid cellular turnover, efficient weight loss/management, and high energy levels all day long.
High Intensity Interval Training: Raises post workout oxygen consumption, elevating metabolism for 24 hours post-workout. The form of training is suitable for all levels, takes less than 20 minutes, and requires no equipment. This allows the body to burn fat much more efficiently and supply adequate energy to the brain. Alternate with days of low-intensity training like yoga or walking.
Increase Anti Inflammatory Foods: Lowering inflammation in the body will optimise and help sustain energy throughout the day, help fight off pathogens and generate rapid cellular turnover. Pick any foods from the attached list to incorporate daily as well as spices and herbs (the more the better).
Incorporate the 8-Hour Eating Window: Shortening the time window of our meals increases autophagy and allows the body to burn ketones (fat stores) for fuel instead of glucose. Eating in this window a few days per week will rapidly increase cellular turnover, boost irisin and enhance cognitive function.
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<br>This move by the RSS is being seen as an attempt to popularise the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda. This campaign being spearheaded by the Sangh is seen as a strategy to establish itself on the ground by going door-to-door before the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.Amid the impending possibility of the third wave of Covid-19, the Sangh's subsidiary organisation Arogya Bharati has been spearheading this campaign 'Do Boond Immunity' to increase immunity in children. Under this campaign, a special medicine will be given to children aged between 1 to 16 years in a particular constellation.S.N. Shankhwar, King's George Medical University (KGMU) Chief Medical Officer and Metropolitan President of Arogya Bharati, said that all preparations for the campaign have been completed and it will be launched on August 7.Shankhwar said 'Suvarna Prashan' has been given a lot of importance in Ayurveda and prescribing it in a particular constellation 'Pushya Nakshatra' increases the immunity of children at a fast rate. He said that in eastern UP districts which were affected by Japanese Encephalitis, children were given 'Suvarna Prashan' medicine which yielded good results.Another RSS official said, "This medicine has been specially ordered from Gujarat. 'Suvarna Prashan' has been coined by combining two words 'Swarna' which means gold and 'Prashan' meaning licking. Apart from Swarna Bhasma in 'Suvarna Prashan', many other Ayurvedic medicines like Kesar, Shankhpushpi, Shariba, Balghrit, Guduchi, Sarasava, honey and cow's ghee are used. Although this Suvarna Prashan is given to children from birth till 16 years in every Pushya Nakshatra but it can also be prescribed for children above 16 years."Shankhwar said, "This campaign will start from August 7 and will run till June 4, 2022. Under this campaign, the time and days have been fixed according to the period of the constellation.""A total of 27 constellations have been listed in astrology, out of which some constellations are considered auspicious and several others inauspicious. Pushya is the 8th nakshatra among the 27 nakshatras. Pushya Nakshatra is considered very auspicious. Lord Ram was born in this constellation. When this Nakshatra falls on Thursday and Sunday of the week, then a 'Mahayog' is formed on this day. When Pushya Nakshatra falls on Thursday, it is called Guru-Pushya Yog and when it falls on Sunday, it is called Ravi-Pushya Yog. The Lord of these constellations is Brihaspati Dev."--IANS<br>vkt-rjs/khz/bg
Monsoon comes with its own sets of concerns. While building on immunity has been the topic of discussion for the past year, monsoons tend to affect immunity and the body is susceptible to health issues and prone to infections.
Mumbai based Nutritionist and Lifestyle Educator Karishma Chawla shares a Monsoon food guide and how one can include the right foods to boost one's immunity this season and keep them warm.
Sharing a few guidelines as here under:
1. Add immune booster foods
2. Keep hydration levels high.
3. Add garlic, turmeric in daily foods to enhance immunity
4. Add a probiotic yoghurt to the diet
5. Include warm foods like protein lean meats (egg whites and chicken) and fibre fruits and vegetables to keep the body warm
6. Indulge in seasonal fruits
7. Avoid raw foods
8. Wash vegetables well before cooking
9. Make sure to have your multivitamin and antioxidant supplements every day
10. Make sure to have omega 3 supplements every day
To do or not to do?
With monsoon comes unwanted cravings and refined foods, salty and spicy foods are consumed which can lead to water retention and unhealthy body fat percentages. However, it is important to realize, that a season cannot put a break to your fitness goals. Therefore, it is imperative to follow the optimal level plan of fitness which comprises of:
Eating a balanced diet comprising of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and omega 3 fatty acids
Adequate water and sunshine
Good state of mind- that comes from eating healthy, exercising and spiritual health.
Water retention guidelines:
Keep hydration status high. Thirst is the last indication of the body being dehydrated. If you are well hydrated, you should be urinating about once every 1.5-2 hours.
Add green tea and dandelion tea to the plan- natural diuretics
Parsley and asparagus in food preparations- natural diuretics
Consume calcium rich foods like eggs, low fat milk and milk products and green leafy vegetables
Most importantly avoid table salt.
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The monsoon season brings with it a pleasant respite from the hot and scorching summer. The greens become brighter and there is the intoxicating smell of wet earth.
Unfortunately, the monsoon also lowers our immunity and brings with it a bevvy of diseases and dangers to our health. One needs to prepare in advance to be able to avoid these. Preeti Goyal, Medical Director, vHealth by Aetna, shares a few conditions prevalent in this season and some tips to prevent them are:
The drastic fluctuations in temperature and high humidity during this season makes one susceptible to many viruses causing a cold and flu. Taking a nutritious diet and immunity-boosting foods during this time, avoiding junk food and consuming plenty of water goes a long way in protecting against viral infections. Herbal teas and warm honey water also act to protect the upper respiratory tract. Adequate sleep and physical exercise are sure shot ways to boost immunity.
Like humans, mosquitoes, mites, bacteria, viruses and fungi also love the monsoons. It is breeding season for mosquitoes and mites which can transmit diseases like dengue, malaria and scrub typhus. Avoid any stagnation of water in and around your homes and encourage others to be mindful of it too. In case of a febrile illness, contact your physician immediately.
Typhoid and Hepatitis A due to contaminated food/water also become more prevalent during this time. Use only filtered or boiled water and do not use water stored for more than 24 hours.
Consume freshly cooked, light meals. Avoid raw vegetables especially the leafy ones and check all vegetables and fruit for mud, larvae, rot etc. before consuming. Thoroughly wash all farm produce.
Fungal infections especially of the feet are another problem specific to this season. Clean and dry your feet thoroughly every day especially after they are soaked with rainwater/mud. Avoid wearing wet shoes for long.
Wash your clothes regularly and dry them in the sun whenever possible and/or iron them before using. This kills the fungal spores and prevents fungal infections of the skin.
For persons prone to allergies, the monsoon season may precipitate or exacerbate their symptoms. Avoid exposure to known allergens and keep prescribed anti-allergic medicines handy at all times.
Keeping these little tips in mind can make monsoons enjoyable and memorable.
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Falling sick is not a risk you want to take, especially not now, and it is always better to be safe than regretful. However, it should also be noted that our bodies do not build up immunity overnight; one needs to balance their food habits and eat healthy, home-cooked meals over a period of time. But you can also incorporate some immunity-boosting drinks to your diet. Alphinah Ashinai, Food and Beverage Manager at Vana Dehradun, India, shares healthy immunity boost drinks:
Recipe Type: Decoction
Preparation Time: 6 minutes
Serving Time: 7 minutes
250 ml water
Black pepper 6-8 nos
Clove 5 - 6
Cinnamon bark 1 mm
Ginger chopped 1 tsp
Fresh Tulsi leave 6 - 8 nos
Put all the ingredients together except honey and give one boil and in gentle simmer it for another 5-6 minutes and serve.
Mint, Lemongrass And White Tea Concoction
Recipe Type: Concoction
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Infusion Time: 4 minutes
1tsp white tea
1tsp chop lemongrass
A sprig of fresh mint leaves
250 ml water
Take 250ml of water boil it in a pan.
Add white tea and lemongrass in it and steep it for 4 minutes or add all the ingredients and boil it for2-3 minutes.
Strain it and serve warm.
Alleviates fatigue and improves immunity
Orange, Papaya Agua Fresca
Recipe Type: Mixology
Preparation Time: 4 minutes
4 cups peeled, deseeded ripe papaya
1½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
Put papaya, orange juice and lime juice in a blender, blend it until smooth.
Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher or large glass jar.
Discard solid parts, add water and stir it, add honey (optional).
Pour into a glass and serve, garnish with orange.
Cleanse the digestive system and improves immunity
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