Benefits of Yoga backed by Science

Though Yoga is said to be linked to the ancient India, it is practiced all over the world irrespective of the nationality or religion. It is a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that has strong evidence of improving overall health. Research suggests that adding yoga to your current health practices can improve your quality of life.
Here are the benefits of inculcating yoga in our everyday life backed by strong research.

1. More Bone Density:

Yoga includes several weight-bearing yoga postures like Tree Pose, Warrior Pose, Triangle Pose, etc., that help in reversing the bone loss by building bone-density. Healthy bones are extremely important for people of any age to minimize the risk of developing fragile bones– medically known as osteoporosis and osteopenia. Daily yoga practices can assist in building bone mass in the spine and femur.

2. Clear and Shiny Skin

Yoga practices deeply purify the body inside-out. Additionally, the postures work as detoxifying agents at some levels eliminating toxins and granting inner glow and lustrous skin.

3. Builds Core Strength


The purpose of core strengthening is essentially about building core stability. This involves not just strengthening the muscles, but a functional component as well. The aim is to build the strength and integrity of the core to easily maintain the balance of the trunk vs. limbs during any type of movement. Here’s a blog that walks you through the different poses that strengthens your core. But it’s highly recommended that these postures are practiced under an expert’s supervision.

4. Treats a Backache

According to several types of research, the performance of Yoga poses along with its variations and modifications are potent in treating the symptoms of lower backpain and many other back problems. This natural science is highly effective in treating a backache and providing a long-lasting relief.

5. Stress Relievers

Many people begin practicing yoga as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety. Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of research showing that yoga can help reduce anxiety. In a research, 34 women diagnosed with an anxiety disorder participated in yoga classes twice weekly for two months. At the end of the study, those who practiced yoga had significantly lower levels of anxiety than the control group.

Another study followed 64 women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by severe anxiety and fear following exposure to a traumatic event.After 10 weeks, the women who practiced yoga once weekly had fewer symptoms of PTSD. In fact, 52% of participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD at all.

6. Enhance Quality of Prana

Pranayama is central to the Yoga. The diverse breathing techniques improve the quality of life force–prana and nourish the body and mind thereby increasing your lifespan.

7. Overall Well-being

A regular practice of Yoga enhances multiple aspects of physical, mental, and spiritual being honoring the practitioners with an efficiently working healthy body, mind, and spirit.

The Bottom Line

Multiple studies have confirmed the many mental and physical benefits of yoga.Incorporating it into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Finding the time to practice yoga just a few times per week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health.

What’s your thoughts on this article? Share your thoughts in the comment section.


How healthcare technology is impacting our lives

Technology has changed the world so much that if someone from 100 years found themselves in today’s world, they would probably think that they have been teleported to another world. The speed of change is so rapid that it’s difficult to anticipate where we are heading to in the span of 10 years.

Healthcare technology is no different. From improved operational efficiency to standards in patient care, the healthcare transformation has enhanced the entire experience for both patients and medical professionals.

Moreover, breakthroughs like robot-assisted surgery, virtual healthcare, nanomedicine are pushing boundaries of innovation that technology has brought to healthcare.

The following are five of the top healthcare technology and healthcare industry trends and innovations that are revolutionizing the field at the present.

Availability of Information and big data

There isn’t a doubt in the fact that big data has changed the way we manage, analyze and leverage data in any industry. Even in healthcare, its application has a lot of positive and lifesaving outcomes.

Healthcare data has helped doctors in gathering data and convert it in critical insights, that can then be used to provide better care. Healthcare data analytics is used now to analyse the data-driven findings to predict and solve a problem before it is too late, but also assess methods and treatments faster, keep better track of inventory, involve patients more in their own health and empower them with the tools to do so.

Electronic Medical Records

Electronic medical records allow all patient histories, test results, diagnoses and relevant information to be stored centrally in an online location. The data allows for more focused and accurate care as well as the ability to see health trends for each individual. Moreover, it’s becomes easier to access, share and store the voluminous health information in a single place, without the risk of misplacing or losing critical health information.

Telemedicine/Telehealth

The barriers of getting a professional medical advice is now shorter as medical professionals can now use media such as video, online discussion platforms for real-time consultation with patients. It gives patients options to consult right from home without having to travel. It also have opened up opportunities to patients to consult specialists out of town. The launch of electronic medical records has added to the efficiency of teleconsultation, making patient health records accessible to all relevant departments and care providers for discussion and deriving health insights . This results in improved case management, treatments and patient recovery.

Mobile apps

Mobile apps are key to improving accessibility for patients and healthcare professionals. It enables people to easily manage their health and wellbeing- right from prompting them to get checkups, to finding general medical information or accessing their test results securely online without having to spend more time in waiting to visit GP. There are also apps where healthcare professionals, can quickly access information relating to diseases and drugs, images for clinical matters, continued education activities and so on.

Medical breakthroughs

VR For workforce training: In a study, radiologists who viewed images of arteries through 3D VR technology were more confident when diagnosing splenic artery aneurysms.

VR for physical and mental health: Specialists use VR for pain management where immersion of virtual worlds have been shown to lower levels of anxiety and have relaxing effects. It is also used in Expose therapy where VR simulators can recreate frightening or tramautic environments to help patients accept emotions and face fears.

Healthcare technology have made lives easier, increased efficiencies and brought the world closer.

What are your thoughts on this? Share your thoughts in the comment section.


Why is immunization important?

It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs.

Diseases that used to be common around the world can now be prevented by vaccination. Thanks to vaccination the outbreak of smallpox was nullified because of its discovery. There are many cases where vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives.

While some of us are clearly against the use of vaccination for developing body immunity, we”l show you reasons why you should administer vaccines for immmunization.

Why vaccination?

Children are born with an immune system composed of cells, glands, organs, and fluids located throughout the body. The immune system recognizes germs that enter the body as “foreign invaders” (called antigens) and produces proteins called antibodies to fight them.

The first time a child is infected with a specific antigen, the immune system produces antibodies designed to fight it. The immune system “remembers” that antigen and when it enters the body again, even after many years, the immune system can produce antibodies fast enough to keep it from causing disease a second time. This protection is called immunity achieved by administering vaccines.

And as the famous adage goes” Prevention is always better than cure”.V prevent.

What happens in the body when we vaccinate?


Vaccines contain the same antigens (or parts of antigens) that cause diseases. For example, measles vaccine contains measles virus. But the antigens in vaccines are either killed, or weakened to the point that they don’t cause disease. However, they are strong enough to make the immune system produce antibodies that lead to immunity. In other words, a vaccine is a safer substitute for a child’s first exposure to a disease. T. Through vaccination, children can develop immunity without suffering from the actual diseases that vaccines prevent.

A good vaccine will provide adequate and prolonged protection against the disease.However, the number of doses needed varies from vaccine to vaccine. For some vaccines, there is a need for a booster dose later in life to maintain protection. These include vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and pertussis. Booster doses may also be required for travel vaccines.

Offers lifelong immunity

The best time to vaccinate is when we are tyoung. There are ample well resaerched reasons why health experts have chalked out atime table for administereing vaccinations. Once your body is introduced to vaccinations, your body rovides a lifelong vimmunity to that disease. Many diseases have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines.

Is safe and effective

Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.

Saves time and money

Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. Ask your child’s health care professional for more detailsI

Protects future generations

Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.

Have you vaccinated your child yet? It’s time to get going. Share your thoughts about it in the comments section.

A beginner’s guide to Vitamin D

It’s not easy to estimate if you’re getting enough vitamin D. The only way to know for sure if you have a deficiency is to get tested, which most people rarely do.

Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D is crucial for many of your body’s functions, but many of us aren’t getting nearly enough of it. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risks of various cancers, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, depression, and other adverse health conditions.

If you’re suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, it’s in your best interest to get yourself back up to recommended amounts quickly. Restoring your levels can help prevent health problems and complications. Fortunately, there are many simple, healthy, and effective ways to increase vitamin D levels.

What is Vitamin D and how does it help in the processes in our body?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s stored in the liver and fatty tissues. Unlike other vitamins, Vitamin D is mostly made up by our body on its own, rather than solely relying on food sources.

To obtain vitamin D, our body first converts sunshine into chemicals that are used by the body. In particular, when UV-B sunshine rays land on the skin,  a substance in the skin called 7-dehydrocholesterol converted into vitamin D3.

7-dehydrocholesterol is very similar to cholesterol itself and converts “previtamin D” to make it into usable vitamin D3. Previtamin D first travels through the kidneys and liver in the bloodstream and then is converted into a biologically active and usable substance called calcitriol.

Vitamin D actually becomes a hormone within the body, particularly a secosteroid hormone which impacts not only our skeletal structure, but also our blood pressure, immunity, mood, brain function and the ability to protect ourselves from cancer.

How Our Bodies Get Vitamin D From the Sun to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

Many people assume that the best way to acquire vitamin D is through drinking milk, eating fish or even taking supplements like cod liver oil. While these do serve as food sources of vitamin D, direct exposure to the sun is actually the best way to absorb this important vitamin.

When you sit in the sun unexposed, without sunscreen, for roughly 10 minutes, you likely absorb about 10,000 units of natural vitamin D. However, keep in mind that this amount differs from person to person, depending on skin tone.

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency

You might not realize that you have a vitamin D deficiency as the symptoms can be very vague and unnoticeable. But certain signs are more common than others — manifestations of a deficiency can include lower back pain, throbbing bone pain marked by feelings of pressure over the sternum or tibia and muscle weakness. These symptoms sometimes lead to a misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis.

Testing for a Deficiency

Ask your doctor for a vitamin D test, known as the 25(OH)D test which will measure your levels in nanograms per milliliter.  The insufficiency levels is often categorized as under 30 nanograms per milliliter and a deficiency as less than 20 nanograms per milliliter. It is recommended that the level of 50 nanograms per milliliter. If your results return as insufficient or deficient, speak with your physician about the best course of treatment.

Top Vitamin D Sources to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

While some foods provide vitamin D, exposure to sunlight is still the best way to get the vitamin D you need in order to prevent vitamin D deficiency symptoms. However, eating foods that are rich in vitamin D also helps you acquire more. This good-quality , natural sources of vitamin D into your diet regularly really helps:

  1. Sunlight: Aim to spend 10–20 minutes of unexposed time in the sun daily (between 1,000 and 10,000 IUs).
  1. Food Sources: Such as Halibut, Carp Fish, Mackerel, Eel, Maitake Mushrooms (exposed to UV light), Salmon, Whitefish, Portobella Mushrooms (exposed to UV light), Swordfish, Rainbow Trout, Cod Liver Oil, Sardines, Tuna, Eggs, Raw Milk
  1. Taking a vitamin D supplement If you’re vitamin D deficient, it’s likely that your doctor will recommend a vitamin D supplement

Top 7 Health Benefits of Vitamin D

1. Contributes to Bone Health

Vitamin D plays a role in absorption into the bones. It also has effect on other important vitamins and minerals that contribute to both health, including vitamin Kand phosphorus.

A deficiency in vitamin D can result in the softening of your bones, which is called osteomalacia, or a bone abnormality called rickets. Additionally, a deficiency increases your risk for developing osteoporosis and experiencing fractures or broken bones.

2. Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels and Can Prevent Diabetes

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and utilization, therefore contributing to the regulation of insulin secretion. (16)

According to a 2015 study published in Current Diabetes Reviews, vitamin D replacement has beneficial effects on all aspects of type 2 diabetes, including the incidence, control and complications of the disease. There is also mounting evidence linking low vitamin D levels to diabetes. (17)

3. Protects Against Cancer

Researchers have found that increased sunlight exposure and circulating levels of vitamin D are associated with the reduced occurrence and mortality in many types of cancer. (18)

Moreover, vitamin D deficiency symptoms have been correlated with increased risks for cancer development, especially breast, colon and prostate cancers.

4. Enhances the Immune System

Our immune cells contain receptors for vitamin D, and it’s been shown that vitamin D seems to prevent prolonged or excessive inflammatory responses. Inflammation is often at the root of many modern, chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders: multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders, high blood pressure, and more. (22)

6. Facilitates Hormone Regulation and Helps Improve Mood

Because it acts like a hormone within our bodies and affects brain function, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk for mood disorders, including depressionseasonal affective disorder, and severe mood problems experienced during PMS, insomnia and anxiety. (23)

What are your thoughts on this article? Are you aware of your Vitamin D levels? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes in Older Adults

Diabetes is common in the elderly population. By the age of 75, approximately 20% of the population are afflicted with this illness. Diabetes in elderly adults is metabolically distinct from diabetes in younger patient populations, and the approach to therapy needs to be different in this age group.

Moreover, the diagnosis of diabetes in the elderly is often missed because its symptoms, such as dizziness, confusion, and nocturia, are often common and nonspecific.  When left untreated, it can cause further health complications which cannot be corrected in later point of time.

This article will walk you through the risk factors and the diabetes management techniques in older patients. Let’s begin.

Why are seniors at risk of diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is linked to an unhealthy lifestyle. Major risk factors for diabetes include age, being overweight, genetic predisposition to diabetes, and a reduction in activity levels. The rates of type 2 diabetes steadily increase with age.

Type 2 diabetes is most likely to occur if you:

  • are over 45 years old and have high blood pressure;
  • are over 45 years old and are overweight;
  • are over 45 and have (or have had) one or more family members with diabetes;
  • have had a heart attack in the past;
  • have heart disease;
  • have or have had a blood sugar test that is borderline-high;
  • have or have had high blood sugar levels during pregnancy (a condition called gestational diabetes);
  • have polycystic ovary syndrome and are overweight;

What are the effects of diabetes on seniors?

A key issue for seniors with diabetes is that, sometimes, the symptoms may not be very obvious.

In addition, symptoms of type 2 diabetes such as excessive thirst or frequent urination ar e not strong symptoms to be noted and other symptoms like feeling tired and lethargic can often be misinterpreted as just part of the normal ageing process. For all the above reasons, older people with diabetes may be relatively free of symptoms and may remain undiagnosed until damage has been done.

If left unchecked, the accumulation of glucose in the blood can cause enormous damage to nearly every major organ in the body, including kidney damage; artery damage, which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack; eye damage, leading to vision loss; erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men; and nerve damage, which can lead to traumatic injury and infection. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to mend the damage that has already been done, but you and your doctor can work together to control your blood sugar and help minimise the impact of diabetes in the future.

How do other conditions affect diabetes for the elderly?

Many older people have other health conditions along with diabetes, and this can complicate diabetes management.

For example, high blood pressure or high levels of certain fats in the blood can progressively speed up the common complications of diabetes, such as kidney problems, eye problems, foot problems and heart and blood vessel problems.

Particularly elderly affected with diabetes and whose blood glucose levels are high are more prone to infections than people with normal blood glucose levels.  It ‘s important to keep your blood glucose levels in check while simultaneously taking precautionary measures against additional infection. Having regular vaccinations against ‘flu and pneumonia can help in this case.

Medications, herbs and supplements can also have an impact on your blood glucose levels, so make sure you tell each doctor, pharmacist and complementary healthcare practitioner who treats you that you have diabetes so they can recommend the appropriate treatment for you.

How can doctor help in diabetes Management in the elderly

Your doctor needs to run regular tests on the following:

  • Blood tests  to check that your diabetes is under control;
  • Eye check to keep track of possible eye disease (diabetic retinopathy);
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Foot health for any signs of foot ulcers or infections and recommend a specialist or podiatrist to help manage any diabetic foot problems, if necessary;
  • monitor your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat found in the bloodstream), and provide treatment if your levels are outside the normal range;
  • Urine tests to check for any kidney problems (diabetic nephropathy);
  • Provide vaccinations against ‘flu and pneumococcal disease up-to-date to help prevent additional illness; and

Self management techniques for the elderly

For diabetes, the golden rule is management. Let’s explore a few self management techniques which by regular practice can show consistent results.

  • Wear proper footwear and monitor feet regularly
  • conduct regular blood glucose monitoring to keep track of your condition;
  • watch your diet and make healthy choices such as eating less fat and more healthy, carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruit, vegetables, bread and legumes;
  • quit smoking
  • lose weight if you need to;
  • Do some form of physical activity, under the guidance of your doctor;
  • keep any recommended vaccinations up-to-date; and
  • Ensure you take your medication according to your doctor’s instructions.

Remember, while untreated diabetes puts you at significant risk of a range of serious health problems, the risks can be minimized by appropriate medical and lifestyle treatment.

What are your thoughts on this article? Share it in the comments section.

A beginner’s guide to understanding Thyriod

Thyroid diseases are, arguably, one of the commonest endocrine disorders, that affects many worldwide. A recent study states that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases- and majority of them are women. And that’s the count which excludes the part of the population who have a thyroid problem but are not yet diagnosed.

Detection and diagnosis of thyroid disorders is quite different from other regular diseases and a lot of people experience trouble interpreting their health with respect to the thyroid gland.
In this blog article, let’s explore the key information about various important aspects of thyroid disease.

Anatomy and functions

thyroid

Image Source:Alltohealth

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, lies below your Adam’s apple, along the front of the windpipe. The thyroid has two side lobes, connected by a bridge in the middle. When the thyroid is its normal size, you can’t feel it.

The thyroid secretes several hormones, collectively called thyroid hormones. It is produced when the thyroid gland takes iodine from your diet, combines the amino acid tyrosine and iodine to make the thyroid hormone.

The two key hormones produced by the thyroid are thyroxin( known as T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
Everything in your body—including digestion, the growth of your hair and nails, your sex drive, and the function of your organs and glands relies on thyroid. The right levels of thyroid levels largely controls the metabolism, brain and heart.

The pituitary gland works with the thyroid gland and detects the levels of thyroid hormone circulating in your bloodstream and releases a hormone called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). When TSH is released, it stimulates the thyroid to produce more hormone and when the levels drop, it slows down production of thyroid hormone.

Thyroid Conditions

There are a number of specific diseases that can affect your thyroid gland. The Thyroid conditions are caused typically due to the underlying thyroid disease.

Thyroiditis

This is a category of thyroid disease that involves Inflammation of the thyroid, usually from a viral infection or autoimmune condition. Thyroiditis can be painful, or have no symptoms at all.
The treatment depends on the type of thyroiditis and varies greatly from monitoring and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to antibiotics and thyroid hormone replacement medication and in some severe cases may necessitate the removal of a part or whole of the gland by a surgery.

Graves disease

This is an autoimmune disease where your immune system inappropriately produces antibodies, known as thyroid stimulating antibodies (TSI). These antibodies overstimulate your thyroid gland and cause it to overproduce thyroid hormone.The Graves’ disease is frequently accompanied by goiter and in some cases hyperthyroidism.

Goiter

It is a general term for thyroid swelling. Goiters can be harmless, or can represent iodine deficiency or a condition associated with thyroid inflammation called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Hyperthyroidism

It is caused by excessive thyroid hormone production and is most often caused by Graves disease or an overactive thyroid nodule. The symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, panicky feeling, tremors, exaggerated reflexes, elevated heart rate, diarrhea or loose stools, feeling overheated and unexplained weight loss.

Hypothyroidism

It is caused by low production of thyroid hormone. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is the Thyroid damage caused by autoimmune diseases. The symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, inability to lose weight with diet and exercise, Constipation, Infertility, Feeling cold, Hair loss, Brain fog, Muscle and joint pains/aches

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is most often found in nodules (fluid-filled or solid lumps) in the thyroid gland. Depending on the cancer’s stage, it may spread to surrounding tissue. There are four types of thyroid cancer- Papillary, follicular or Hurthle cell, Medullary and Anaplastic thyroid cancer.

Signs and symptoms

The Symptoms appear in the neck and thyroid area. It includes:

• Discomfort in the neck
• Visible thyroid enlargement or lump
• Hoarseness
• Sore throat
• Difficulty swallowing

In some cases, thyroid diseases and conditions can have no symptoms at all, such as thyroid cancer or certain types of thyroiditis.

Causes and Risk Factors

The key risk factors for thyroid disease include:

• Iodine deficiency or excess
• Exposure to radioactivity
• Overconsumption goitrogenic foods
• Surgery or trauma to the neck area
• Pregnancy or recent childbirth
• Female gender
• Personal or family history of autoimmune disease
• Cigarette smoking

Treatments

The Treatment varies from person to person and may include monitoring, medication, surgery or radioactive iodine.

•Thyroid surgery (thyroidectomy):The surgeon removes all or part of the thyroid in an operation. It is performed for thyroid cancer, goiter, or hyperthyroidism.

•Antithyroid medications: Drugs can be used to slow down the overproduction of thyroid hormone in hyperthyroidism.

•Radioactive iodine: Iodine can be used with radioactivity in low doses to test the thyroid gland. Large doses can be used to destroy cancerous tissue.

•External radiation: A beam of radiation is directed at the thyroid, on multiple appointments. The high-energy rays help kill thyroid cancer cells.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a thyroid condition involves several key steps:

•A clinical examination.

•Blood testing: The blood tests include the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test, free thyroxine (Free T4) and free triiodothyronine (Free T3) antibodies testing to diagnose disorders of thyroid.

•Imaging tests: These tests include the radioactive iodine uptake (RAI-U), CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound to evaluate to further evaluate the size, shape, and function of the thyroid gland.

•Fine needle aspiration biopsy: Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy is done when to test for the possible thyroid cancer.

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5 Actionable tips to beat exam stress

If you are  in school or college- stress during exams is completely natural. The real problem is,when it becomes excessive to an extent that lays a negative impact on health as well as the performance in the exam.
Help is at hand though, and there are strategies you can use to alleviate stress and for a smoother time during exams. But first, let’s look at the contributors of stress.

What is exam stress?

Exam stress occurs when you feel an increased sense of panic or anxiety during or after an assessment or test of some sort. At the point of stress, your brain is not in its best state to accumulate information and can lead to a vicious cycle of more stress and less work. It can make you forget the information you learned even if  you’ve put in plenty of hours in preparation.

Symptoms of Exam stress

The symptoms of test anxiety can vary considerably and range from mild to severe- from nervousness to panic attacks before or during exams.

  • Physical symptoms –It includes sweating, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, fainting, sweaty palms,heart palpitations and nausea. The milder cases of test anxiety can cause ticklish sensations in the stomach, while more severe cases can cause students to become physically ill.
  • Cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Students tend to avoid the testing situations or source of fear. Some students attempt to self-treat their anxiety by taking prescription medications and alcohol and as a result fall prey to substance abuse. It is reported that there are situations when many people even blank out on answers to the test, even though they were sure that they knew the answers to the questions. Other cognitive symptoms include- Negative self-talk, trouble concentrating on the test and racing thoughts etc.
  • Emotional symptoms of test anxiety can include depression, low self-esteem, anger and a feeling of hopelessness. Students tend to berate or belittle themselves because of the emotional symptoms.

Actionable tips to curb exam stress

1. Practise mindfulness

mindful

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for reducing stress. This was initially created to help hospital patients, but now it is used by a broad range of people, including students.

Close your eyes and focus entirely on your breathing. Be aware of every breath and “follow” the air as it goes from your lungs and out through your nose.
You can also try lying with your back on the floor while keeping your eyes closed. “Move” your focus through your body, focusing on one area at a time. You don’t have to be sitting or lying down to practice mindfulness- you can even practice it while walking.

The more you practice mindfulness, the more you’ll start living in the present and the less stressed you’ll be.

2. Get enough sleep

sleep

Most of the students do the mistake of not getting enough sleep the day before exam. When you cut your usual hours of sleep, research shows that stress levels will tend to increase.

Practise these tips to get a good night’s rest every night:

  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This helps to set your body’s internal clock and optimizes the quality of your sleep.
  • Keep your regular sleeping hours, even on weekends-Aim to keep your sleep schedule as regular as possible. If you have a late night, try taking a short nap the following day, rather than sleeping in.
  • Keep your electronic devices out of your bedroom. The blue light emitted by your electronic devices (e.g. phone, tablet, computer, TV) is especially disruptive to sleep.
3. Learn and apply time management techniques

to do

A study involving students revealed that those who had been taught time management techniques showed lower levels of exam-related anxiety than those who had not.

Effective time management includes getting enough rest and a good night’s sleep, which leaves you feeling more energized so that you’re able to focus when studying.

Here are a few tips:

  • Take a break after studying for 40 to 50 minutes. For most students, working in blocks of 40 to 50 minutes helps them to be as productive as possible.
  • Block out time for studying. Put it in your calendar and treat it as if it’s a fixed appointment.
  • Allot time for rest: Like you allot time for studying, it’s necessary that you follow strict time for rest too. Long hours of break-less study can lower the efficiency and small breaks can boost it up.
4. Don’t multitask

Doing several tasks at once may seem like an efficient use of your time, but multitasking actually wastes time and reduces the quality of your work.

Here’s how to avoid multitasking:

  • Get rid of all distractions before you start studying
  • Make a list of all the tasks you need to complete for the day; work through the list one item at a time.
  • Set a realistic deadline for every task on the list.
5. Not being perfect is sometimes okay

Do you sometimes feel as if you’re not good enough? Do you think that you’ll never be able to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself?

If so, you may be a perfectionist.

Being a perfectionist may sound ideal, but it often causes undue stress.

These are some ways to deal with it:

  • Set realistic goals instead of trying to achieve the impossible.
  • Celebrate small and big successes. If you didn’t succeed on what you want to achieve, don’t be hard on yourself- set your next ideal goal.
  • Make sure you take time out from studying to do things you enjoy.

Over to you

Do you use any techniques to overcome exam stress that aren’t listed in this article?

Or maybe you have a question you’d like to ask.

Let us know by leaving a comment below!

The importance of maintaining oral hygiene

Good oral hygiene is crucial not just for your teeth and gums but also for keeping your body healthy. Mouth is a primary entryway into the body, hence problems with your teeth and gums can lead to diseases in other parts of your body — including dementia, diabetes and heart disease.

Various research studies suggest that your oral health mirrors the state of your body as a whole. For instance, when your mouth is healthy, chances are that your overall health is also good. On the other hand, if the condition of your oral health is poor then you might be susceptible to other health problems in future.

In this blog article, find out how vital oral health can be for you and your whole body.

The mouth-body connection

Most health problems start with the mouth due to the presence of bacteria built up around  the teeth. The bacteria which enter from the mouth can easily get into the bloodstream and cause infection and inflammation wherever it spreads. In this process, the gums gets infected  which gradually leads to inflammation. The inflammation releases chemicals that eat away the gum and bone structure that hold the teeth in place. This results in  severe gum disease, known as periodontitis.

Another common form of  gum disease is Gingivitis. It happens when plaque builds up on teeth and causes the inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue. The Inflammation caused due to bacteria can also lead into health issues in other parts of the body, which is explained in detail below.

Health risks caused by poor oral hygiene

Heart Diseases

Experts do agree that there are plausible reasons why dental health and heart health may be intertwined. The same bacteria that cause inflammation of the gums and the periodontal disease can get into the bloodstream, cause the arteries to build up the plaque and harden. This leads to atherosclerosis and a series of  blood flow problems and heart blockages that increases the likelihood of having a heart attack.

Diabetes

Diabetes and periodontal disease are strongly interrelated. Not only are people affected with diabetes, susceptible to periodontal disease, but periodontal disease can also make diabetes more difficult to control. The immunity of the individual which is already low due to diabetes is further decreased. This can worsen the symptoms as the blood sugar levels go uncontrollable because of the gum disease.

Since the gum disease can lead to higher than normal blood sugar levels, a person with poor oral health is at an increased risk of developing uncontrollable diabetes.

Problems in Pregnancy

Inflammation and infection in the gums of pregnant women may interfere with the development of the fetus. Oral health problems in the mother such as periodontitis and gingivitis have been known to lead to premature birth and low birth weight in infants. Gum disease puts both mother and baby at risk for experiencing serious health issues.

Respiratory Infections

Bacteria in the mouth from infected teeth and swollen gums can be breathed into the lungs or travel there through the bloodstream. Once there the bacteria can lead to respiratory infections, pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and even COPD.

How to maintain oral hygiene

oral hygiene

It is very important to maintain oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene helps prevent dental problems, mainly, Plaque (soft whitish deposits that form on tooth surface) and Calculus (tartar) which are the main causes of cavities and gum diseases. Here are some common habits that you need to follow everyday to maintain good oral health.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day. When you brush, don’t rush. Take time to thoroughly clean your teeth.
  • Use the proper equipment. Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits your mouth comfortably. Consider using an electric or battery-operated toothbrush, which can reduce plaque and a mild form of gum disease (gingivitis) more than does manual brushing.
  • Practice good technique. Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle — aiming the bristles toward the area where your tooth meets your gum. Gently brush with short back-and-forth motions. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue.
  • Keep your equipment clean. Always rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing. Store your toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air-dry until using it again. Try to keep it separate from other toothbrushes in the same holder to prevent cross-contamination. Don’t routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers, which can encourage the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast.
  • Replace your toothbrush occasionally. Invest in a new toothbrush or a replacement head for your electric or battery-operated toothbrush every three to four months — or sooner if the bristles become irregular or hard.
  • Floss regularly. You can’t reach the tight spaces between your teeth and under the gum with a toothbrush. That’s why daily flossing is important. If you find it hard to handle floss, use an inter-dental cleaner — such as a dental pick, pre-threaded flosser, tiny brushes that reach between teeth, a water flosser or wooden or silicone plaque remover.

When to see the dentist

To prevent gum disease and other oral health problems, schedule regular dental cleaning and examinations. Contact your dentist if you notice any signs or symptoms that could suggest oral health problems, such as:

  • Red, tender or swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Gums that begin pulling away from your teeth
  • Loose permanent teeth
  • Changes in the way your top and bottom teeth align with each other
  • Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold foods
  • Persistent bad breath or an unusual taste in your mouth
  • Changes in the way your dentures or partial dentures fit
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Mouth ulcers or sores

Remember, early detection and treatment of problems with your gums, teeth and mouth can help ensure a lifetime of good oral health.

5 essential nutrients your body might be missing

The old age adage “You are what you eat “can’t be truer. Your body obtains and converts energy only from the food you eat. And if you don’t track or streamline your food intake, you might be missing some of the essential nutrients required to promote growth and better health to our body.

However, getting all the nutrients you need doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, by just being mindful about a few specific nutrients, eating a healthy diet full of nutrient-dense foods and breaking down between essential and non essential nutrients, you can achieve better health faster.

But what are those nutrients and why do you need them? Let’s take a look at the 5 most essential nutrients your body needs and sources where you can obtain them. But first, let’s understand what essential nutrients are.

What are essential nutrients?

An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal body functioning which cannot be synthesized by the body and which can be only obtained through food sources.

Intake of essential Nutrients is quite important to health, as it provides us with energy, promotes repair, growth and substances necessary to regulate chemical processes. Shortage of essential nutrients can cause deficiency which could lead to health related shortcomings or problems.

5 Essential nutrients your body requires for optimum health

1.Carbohydrates

carbohydrates

Though Carbohydrates are known to generate fats, they are quite critical in normal body functioning. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is the primary source of fuel for brain and body.

Even on a low-carb ketogenic diet, you are still consuming a decent amount of carbohydrates here and there. According to the Dietary guidelines of America, carbohydrates need to make up 45 to 65 percent of your daily food intake.

Healthy Sources:

The type of carbohydrates matters as some carbohydrates are healthier than the other. Opt for whole grains, beans, and fiber-rich vegetables and fruits instead of refined grains and products with added sugar.

    2. Fats

    fats

    Healthy fat is much needed for many of your body’s function such as vitamin and mineral absorption, blood clotting, building cells and muscle movement. Including healthy fats in your diet can help you to balance your blood sugar, decrease your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and improve your brain function. They’re also anti-inflammatory, and they may lower your risk of arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Healthy sources:

    You must be aware of the source of fats you are consuming.  Trans fats, for example, are a type of fat found in processed foods, baked goods has been shown to significantly increase the risk of heart disease and should be avoided at all costs.

    On the other hand, unsaturated fats can actually help protect the heart and aid in prevention of heart disease.
     Nuts, avocados, sweet potatoes, olive oil, flax seed and nut butter can be termed under healthy fat sources.

    3. Folate

    folate

    Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells. In particular, it supports healthy cell division and promotes proper fetal growth and development to reduce the risk of birth defects. To prevent folate deficiency, it’s recommended that healthy adults get at least 400 mcg of folate per day.

    Healthy sources

    Folate is one such micronutrient that is found in abundance throughout your diet.  However, folate specific food sources includes Legumes, Asparagus, Beets, Eggs, citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, bananas etc.

    4. Vitamin D

    sunlight

    Vitamin D is a very important nutrient that is difficult to obtain.

    The main job of vitamin D is to keep the right amount of calcium and phosphorus in your blood. These two nutrients work together to make your bones strong. If you don’t have enough vitamin D in your body, only a small amount of the calcium and phosphorus can be absorbed by your body, and without enough of these nutrients being absorbed in your body, your bones would become brittle and break easily. A recent study revealed that Vitamin D also reduces the risk of serious diseases like colon, prostate and breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and diabetes.

    Widespread deficiency has been deemed partially responsible for rising levels of depression and autoimmune disorders, laying the foundation for many chronic illnesses.

    Healthy sources:

    If you don’t get enough exposure to sunlight, all children and adults need about 800 to 1000 units (marked as “800 IU”) of vitamin D every day. The healthy sources of Vitamin D include Cod liver oil, Tuna canned in water, Sardines canned in oil, Milk or yogurt, Beef or calf liver, Egg yolks , Cheese etc

    5. Water

    water

    Water is a nutrient! Since the amount of water the body needs exceeds what it can actually produce, it is considered an essential nutrient. Moreover, your blood is approximately 90% water and is responsible for transporting nutrients and energy to muscles and for taking waste from tissues.

    Water is required for regulation of body temperature, digestion, and elimination of waste products. It also acts as a lubricant and allows for transportation of nutrients in the body.

    If you are not getting enough water, your body will react by pulling it from other places, including your blood. This causes the closing of some smaller vessels (capillaries), making your blood thicker, more susceptible to clotting, and harder to pump through your system. This can have serious implications in hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

    There are three ways we get water into our bodies. You can either get it by foods we eat, the fluids we drink, and as a by-product of metabolism. It is always better to drink pure water instead of soda, tea, or coffee. These products actually increase your need for fluids because most contain caffeine, which is a diuretic. Diuretics force out stored water along with certain essential nutrients.

    Takeaway:

    It’s vital to be food aware and break it down into what to eat, avoid and the amount of nutrients to be taken. If you are missing on essential nutrients your body gets prone to disease, infection, fatigue, and poor performance.

    What’s your thought on this article. Share it in the comments section.

A Beginner’s guide to Keto Diet

Keto diet is the buzzword of Today. There are almost 2 million monthly searches on keto diet in the internet. And it’s popularity is worth the fact that it’s quite an effective and proven method in losing weight and improving the overall quality of life.

In this blog, you’ll learn what a keto diet is and how ketones help your body to effectively lose weight. You’ll also find 3 easy to make recipes to help you get started on your keto mission.

What does the word ‘keto diet’ mean?

Keto diet is a low carb diet that changes the way your body converts food into energy. It carbohydrates for fuel. The shortest way to get into such a metabolic state is by intermittent fasting. But obviously, nobody can fast forever.

In the 19th century, the ketogenic diet was commonly used to help control diabetes. In 1920 it was introduced as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children and also has been tested and used in closely monitored settings for cancer, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s effectiveness is due to the fact that ketogenic diets lowers carbohydrate intake, burns fats, improves insulin levels and reduce insulin resistance — two things that would also help women with PCOS and also to people affected with type 2 diabetes.

However, the caveat with ketogenic diet is that it contributes to insulin resistance due to the restriction of carbohydrates- which is why doctors recommend keto diet with slight diet variations.

The Science behind how Keto Diet works

Ketogenic diet for weight loss works because it takes the body in such a state that it uses up fat instead of glucose as a source of energy and burns it completely. If you deprive the body of glucose—the main source of energy for all cells in the body, which is obtained by eating carbohydrate foods—an alternative fuel called ketones is produced from stored fat (thus, the term “keto”- genic ). The brain demands the most glucose in a steady supply, about 120 grams daily, because it cannot store glucose. During fasting, or when very little carbohydrate is eaten, the body first pulls stored glucose from the liver and temporarily breaks down muscle to release glucose. If this continues for 3-4 days and stored glucose is fully depleted, blood levels of a hormone called insulin decrease, and the body begins to use fat as its primary fuel. The liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which can be used in the absence of glucose.

3 Indian Keto-diet recipes you can try

Before delving straight into the recipes, you need to understand what to eat and what to avoid in a typical keto diet. If you are using Keto diet foe weight loss, you can follow this list, but if you are using keto diet for treating PCO’s, Type 2 diabetes or any other reason, it’s recommended to consult a doctor for modifications in your keto diet. As already pointed out, keto diet isn’t one size fits all.

What to eat?

Prefer low carb, high fat foods for a keto friendly diet. Here’s a basic overview from site Diet Doctor.

keto diet

Image source: Dietdoctor.com

What not to eat?

keto foods avoid

Image source : Dietdoctor

Consuming some restricted foods drains down your entire efforts. Along with the below image which covers the basic overview of what not to eat, it’s also recommended that you look into the 100+ foods to avoid in a keto diet in this link.

Recipes
1.Indian Spiced Whole Roast Chicken

recipe

Ingredients: chicken, garlic, ginger, garam marsala, ground hot chili, salt, lemon juice, tarragon, onion, ghee, cloves, black peppercorns, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, chicken broth, fresh cilantro.

This spiced whole roasted chicken takes a bit longer to cook, but it makes a super tender and delicious dish that is worth the wait. Some of these spices might not be readily available in your pantry, but they are a worthwhile investment as those spices will help to make your keto dishes so much more flavorful.

2. Baingan ka bharta

keto recipe

Ingredients: eggplants, avocado oil, cumin seeds, white onion, garlic cloves, ginger, Serrano pepper, coriander powder, salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, ground black pepper, paprika, tomatoes, cilantro.

This is a popular Indian dish with lots of different variations. Bharta means mashed vegetables and this dish contains lots of smoked eggplants mixed with tomatoes and tons of spices and seasoning. Serve with spaghetti squash or a large helping of cauliflower rice for a vegetarian (and vegan) ketogenic recipe.

 

3. Shrimp, Tilapia and Cabbage Curry

keto recipe

Ingredients: shrimp, tilapia fillets, cabbage, carrots, fresh spinach, chicken broth, extra virgin coconut oil, fresh ginger, curry powder, salt, coconut cream concentrate.

This curry is a delicious one-pan meal, with shrimp, tilapia, cabbage and spinach. It’s easy to whip up in no time and is a very creamy and filling recipe.

Some people experience health issues when they follow a keto diet. If it is so in your case, it’s required that you consult a doctor and revisit your keto plan.

What is your thoughts on this article? Share it in the comment box below.