Archive for November, 2014

Arthritis Pain Relief Tips for Wintry Weather

Friday, November 28th, 2014

With the temperatures dropping down, it is highly essential to protect your body from various health issues, most importantly joint pain which is a common complaint during wintry weather.

In cold weather, sometimes the body circulates less blood to the peripheral areas in order to conserve warm blood around the heart. This leads to stiffening of joints, thereby resulting in aches & pains.

Also, when the skin gets cold, pain sensors start working at a faster pace which is why during this season things often hurt more than they normally would.

Another reason could be that people tend to feel lazy & lethargic to indulge in most kinds of physical activities when it’s very cold outside and this too results in the stiffening of joints which triggers pain.

If you suffer from arthritis pain during winter, you’re certainly not alone. These simple pain relief tips can surely be of some help:

If it’s cold outside, make sure to keep yourself warm at all times with adequate clothing. Cover-up your hands/feet with woolen gloves, socks and added layers over knees and legs. Warm clothes increase the body’s temperature and improve blood circulation thereby reducing aches & pains.

Take warm baths. Use water that is not too cold & not too hot. Pat the skin dry and allow your body temperature to normalize before walking out of the bathroom.

Osteoarthritis patients with Vitamin D deficiency have an extremely hard time during wintry months. Vitamin D plays an important role in the production of cartilage and helps the body absorb calcium, thereby strengthening the bones. During winter, it is less likely to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D from the natural environment which is why there are chances that your joint pain may worsen during this season. Ensure that your diet is vitamin D-rich. This may also be a good time to start taking your Vitamin D supplements.

While venturing outdoors, wear good-quality shoes that provide optimum comfort to your knees and heels while walking and try to walk on a surface.

The very prominent, Heat & Cold Therapy will also help you to ease the Arthritis pain in winter. Place hot packs or warm towels on the inflamed joints. This therapy improves blood flow and increases the tolerance for pain and flexibility whereas cold therapy that includes application of cold packs, ice massages and soothing ointments numbs the nerves around the joints, thereby giving similar results.

Tea, Coffee, Aerated Drinks & Alcoholic beverages reduce the amount of calcium you absorb which leaves a negative impact on your bones, therefore keep them at bay.

Stay active indoors with a well-planned exercise regime. Doing so will not only help you maintain a healthy body weight but also strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility.

Try to soak up the sun either in the morning or evening. It will not only keep you warm but also deliver vital nutrients to the body.

Winter Special – Health & Wellness tips

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Do you fall ill at the onset of winter season?

Do you find it difficult to get out of bed when it’s cold outside?

If yes, then let me tell you, you’re not the only one to feel this way!

Winter has long been associated with sickness. Seasonal changes are accompanied with several bacterial infections which is why necessary steps should be taken to safeguard your health. Even though you may feel like chilling out & enjoying the weather during the colder months, make sure you do not neglect your health in the process.

Breeze through this season and keep those winter health woes at bay with these simple tips:

Take good care of your Immune system – Fill-up your grocery bag with lots of fresh fruits & veggies, especially those that are rich in Vitamin A, C & E. If your immune system is strong enough, it becomes easier to combat many infection & illnesses.

Make it a point to get your daily dose of exercise but don’t go overboard – Physical exertion is known to release the stress hormone ‘Cortisol’ in the body, which is known to weaken the immune system. If you workout daily in moderation, it will not only boost your blood circulation and energy levels but also help you shed those extra kilos

Get into the habit of washing your hands frequently – This habit could easily prove to be one of the most effective ways of preventing diseases, especially the ones that are contagious. Always carry & use a hand sanitizer while visiting public places.

Wear warm clothes – Cover-up your body the moment you feel cold. Don’t wait till you start shivering. It is recommended to wear, gloves, socks, scarves, woolen hat and/or anything that keeps your body warm & comfortable.

Limit the intake of caffeinated drinks like Tea & Coffee – It is extremely common for people to prefer hot drinks when it’s cold outside. Tea & coffee may successfully give your body the required warmth but these beverages also contain caffeine which has a diuretic effect that draws water out of your body. Keep yourself hydrated at all times

Get plenty of sleep – When you are asleep, the body releases certain chemicals into your system which is known to benefit the immune system. In the absence of adequate sleep, your immune system takes a serious hit, making you more vulnerable to minor ailments like cold & flu.

Take special care of your skin – Harsh winter winds can be devastating for your skin, making it dull, dry & cracked. Always keep your skin moisturized. It is best to avoid bathing with extremely hot water as doing so can take away the natural moisturizers from the skin. A chapstick/lip-balm can keep your lips looking fresh & luscious

Do not ignore the sunscreen – Summer season is not the only time to worry about Ultra-violet rays. You might be surprised to know that skin damage could happen during the winter season too. Slather on some sunscreen before you venture outdoors and yes, do not forget to put on your sunglasses

Suicide Prevention – Reading the warning signs

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The suspected suicide of world-famous Actor/Comedian Robin Williams has once again raised the question of ‘how well our society is equipped to prevent such incidents from occurring in future’. Suicide Prevention is the need of the hour.

Suicide has since long been a very controversial subject which is why many have refrained from speaking about it in the past. . Hectic lifestyles and mounting stress in peoples’ lives, is sufficient for many have to suicidal thoughts. A suicidal person may not necessarily ask for help on his/her own but that doesn’t mean that help is not needed.

Suicide Prevention starts by identifying the warning signs and taking them seriously. We have discussed a few potential warning signs that a suicidal person may exhibit:

Talking about dying or causing self-harm – Being extremely vocal about wanting to die is one of the most obvious warning signs of suicide. Research shows that about 50% to 75% of people who attempt suicide tell someone about it first.

Suicidal individuals may also seem very eager at times to find ways to kill themselves by seeking access to lethal weapons. Buying dangerous weapons like a gun, knife, poison, harmful medications etc. is another warning sign to watch out for

Depression can also trigger suicidal thoughts in some cases. The first stage is when people lose interest in everything around them and become withdrawn from family and friends. In time their obsession with death increases to an extent that it becomes extremely obvious. For Ex- You may find some people writing letters, stories, poems etc. about their wish to die

Negative Feelings like helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, shame, self-hatred etc. can also be some of the reasons why people may want to give up their life. You may hear such people blurt words like “There’s no hope for me’, “I just can’t take it anymore, I want to put an end to it”, the world would be a better place without me” etc.

Taking care of unfinished business or putting affairs in order can also be a sign that the person wants to make sure that all his/her responsibilities are taken care of before dying. For Ex – Talking to people about the details of their ‘Will’, giving away prized possessions, making property arrangements for family members etc.

Self destructive Behavior – Tempting fate by taking unnecessary risks that could cost their life is certainly something that suicidal person would do. This is because such people basically lose any or all interest to live and thus do not value life. Alcohol/Drug abuse, reckless driving, accepting life-threatening challenges etc. are a few activities that they indulge in

Saying untimely Goodbyes – Such people sometimes tend to make unexpected calls and visits to loved ones and behave in a manner that indicates as if it’s their last conversation or won’t be seen again.

If you know someone who is thinking about suicide, never leave him/her alone. The best option would be to help them get professional help with a counselor/therapist.

Food for the Heart

Monday, November 10th, 2014

3 of the biggest risk factors for a Heart attack or Stroke are: High blood pressure, High cholesterol and Obesity.

The Good News is… Each of these risk factors can be managed comfortably by making healthy food choices. If you pick the right food items starting from breakfast to dinner, your entire day can be heart healthy. Gone are the days when healthy foods were restricted to bland salads and soups. Today, you have a variety of food choices that can be termed as anything but flavorless.

Take a look as we give you the tastiest heart healthy foods ever

Whole grains whether its barley, millet, wheat, pulses and even beans for that matter are good for the heart because they are loaded with natural fibre and vitamins, iron, magnesium and a host of anti-oxidants. Whole grains when consumed on a daily basis are also known to reduce blood pressure.

Soy Protein in the form of Soya chunks and Soya mince can be easily accessed in the market these days. Soy chunks are also referred to as vegetarian meat because when cooked properly it can sometimes create an illusion of having red meat which is high in saturated fats and bad cholesterol.

Apples contain ‘Guercetin’, a photochemical that contains anti-inflammatory properties. It also plays an important role in prevention of blood clots. Make sure to add an apple to your Breakfast Menu. You can also use it as a snack for satisfying your untimely hunger pangs.

Salmon is an oily fish which is also a rich source of protein, B vitamins, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids which effectively reduces blood pressure and keeps clotting at bay. Aim for at least 2 servings per week, which may reduce your risk of suffering a heart attack by up to one-third.

Not a big fan of Salmon fish?

No Problem, you can always replace this fish with other oily fishes like mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines. They too possess heart healthy properties.

An excellent source of Monounsaturated fats, Olive oil reduces Bad LDL cholesterol and minimizes your risk of developing heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil contains polyphenols and gives even greater health benefits. Use olive oil for preparation of your daily meals and see the difference. If you are planning to go on a strict diet to lose weight, you can also drizzle some of it in your salad as a dressing.

Nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and peanuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and low levels of saturated fats. Research suggests that nuts when had in moderation (2 to 4 days a week) can lower the incidents of heart disease.

Researchers suggest that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate (with 70% or more cocoa content) has a blood-thinning effect, which can boost your heart health and reduce inflammation. So now, you don’t need an excuse to break off a piece of that tempting chocolate bar. Just make sure you don’t overdo it because anything in excess can have a detrimental effect on your health