Hydration power!

Our body is made up of almost 60% of water. Water is very important for many basic functions of the body such as transportation, chemical reactions, lubrication, shock absorption and temperature regulation.

Summer is a time where hydration becomes even more crucial for proper functioning of the body. The requirement of water for any individual depends on their age, gender, occupation and environmental conditions. But, in general, 3-4 litres of water on an average is vital and advisable.

Signs of dehydration-

Dehydration can occur to people of all ages but infants, children, and elders are more vulnerable to dehydration.

Some signs of dehydration:
-Headaches
-Muscle cramps
-Dark urine or no urination
-Dry nasal passage
-Cracked and dry lips
-Dry skin
-Feeling extreme thirst or parched

A simple method to identify if you are properly hydrated or not is to check for the color of your urine. Urine should be transparent to pale yellow in color, dark color urine can be a sign of dehydration. Also, try to focus on replenishing the lost fluids by sweating to prevent dehydration. Apart from water, consuming drinks containing electrolytes such tender coconuts are also great options.

Significance of electrolytes-

Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge. The electrolytes in the body are Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Chloride, Phosphate, and Bicarbonates. Your cells use electrolytes to produce energy, which is why you might feel tired if you’re low on them. They’re all connected to fluid loss! That’s why the dynamic duo of water and electrolytes is so important for hydration.

An electrolyte imbalance can happen for many reasons such as,
-Dehydration
-Sweating
-Diarrhea
-Vomiting
-Severe burns
-Heart diseases
-Kidney diseases
-Eating disorders

Signs of electrolytic imbalance-

There are many symptoms that pop up due to electrolytic imbalance but it depends on the type of electrolyte that is out of balance. Some of the signs include fatigue, mood changes, confusion, stomach pain, loss of appetite, numbness in the hands and feet, irregular heartbeat or muscle cramping. Electrolytes are also found in foods like dense leafy greens, cucumbers, water fruits and celery.

Benefits of water and electrolytes in Summer

– It helps to balance your body temperature. Hence, keeps you cool and cope with summer better.
-Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can cause brain fog as electrolytes play an essential role in supporting the neurotransmitters that your brain depends on.
-Drinking plenty of water and electrolytes may enhance physical performance during exercise sessions and especially during summer when the heat can induce further dehydration.
-Water and electrolytes help the blood carry oxygen to different parts of the body.
-Proper balance will also support digestive process.
-It will help you to keep your skin healthy!

Enjoy the summer to the fullest by ensuring to stay hydrated throughout and keeping your electrolytic balance in check!

It is peak summer in most parts of India, and the rising temperature increases the risk of dehydration, skin burn, fever and infections if there is a lack of proper food habits. Following a seasonal diet will ensure the right supply of nutritional content to your body. Nature is very powerful and it provides with the right choices of foods which are fresh and have higher nutritional content than fruits and vegetables that are out of season.

Don’t be alarmed by the hearsays about avoiding the seasonal foods such as eating mangoes might cause heat boils. It absolutely does not cause any harm and only creates great memories! We are so lucky to have the best produce in this season which will not only provide your body with all the essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants or phytochemicals but also, helps you be hydrated well and cools down your body. They can help you enjoy a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables like cucumber, mango, melon varieties, jackfruit and berries. Cherish these instead of grabbing an ice cream or a chilled packaged beverage for it not only helps enhance the natural cleansing and healing abilities of our system but cuts down a lot of empty calories too! 

Mindful food choices in Summer:Summer and Nutrition

Coping tips to deal with the stressful heat: 

– Hydrate well. Water is very important for your system especially during summer to combat dehydration issues. You can also enjoy easy summer drinks like aam panna, coriander seeds or rebel seeds water, lemon mint water, tender coconut. Avoid aerated or packaged beverages.

-Control your portions. Most people will have less appetite during summer or will feel like having light foods. So, plan and have frequent small meals to ensure right nutrition to your body. 

-Avoid trendy diets and enjoy seasonal produce that are locally available which will benefit you better. 

-Avoid excessive caffeine, tea, coffee and alcohol as these tend to promote dehydration.

-Avoid deep fried, fast foods and spicy foods. Instead add Ginger, pepper, asafoetida, cumin or fennel seeds to your dishes for the punch and these will also help with digestive issues that are common in summer. 

Also, check out some refreshing dishes from our instagram page or recipes column to Summer and Nutrition and enjoy the season’s relish. 

Global data suggests that almost half of the mortality rate under 5 corresponds to malnutrition. So, a healthy nutritious diet is a significant contributor in the growing and developing years of children. India is yet to meet the target for stunting and growth, but
34.7% of children under 5 years of age are still affected, which is higher than the average for the Asia region (21.8%). And this especially corresponds to the children from poor economic backgrounds. Although there is a declining trend in the malnutrition status among children in India, the socio-economic background still remains a key risk factor. The risk of malnutrition was significantly higher among
children living in joint families, children whose mother’s education was less than or equal to sixth standard and those with working mothers.

On the other hand, since most of the nutritional assessments focus on malnutrition only; the risk of overnutrition has also increased among growing children which should also be given attention as it can lead to spurting of many metabolic disorders later during adulthood.

Hence, a healthy nutritious diet is a significant contributor in the growing and developing years of children as it will help set the stage for them towards building a healthy eating practice for the rest of their lives.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT FOODS?

Childhood is the most important stage for growth and development of their brain and immune system. So, getting the right amount of energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals is very critical. Apart from this, focusing on hygiene practices while preparing the meals
is also important to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal infections. A simple and proper meal plate designed with all nutrients will enable achieving optimal growth and development.

  • Include energy providing foods – It includes carbs and fats. So, give them energy rich foods like whole grains, nuts and vegetable oils, fruits like bananas, apples and starchy vegetables like carrot, sweet potatoes.
  • Body building foods-Protein: It helps with growth, development and repair along with building antibodies. Add a good amount of eggs, meat, fish and dairy products.
  • Protective foods – Make the meal plate colourful with different varieties of vegetables and fruits. It will help the body to function properly and boost the immune system.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D are very crucial for growing children for development of bone mass. So, the inclusion of dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt) and vegetables like spinach, broccoli and celery which are rich in calcium is a must. Children get most of their Vitamin D from sunlight and a small amount from some food items like (fish oils, fatty fish, mushrooms, cheese and egg yolks).

A simple way to ensure that kids get the right amount of nutrients is to choose and offer healthy foods for them to eat. It’s also the key to a healthy and balanced plate because each food has a unique combination of nutrient supply—both macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE THEIR EATING BEHAVIOUR:

In recent days, children are more inclined towards less nutrient dense foods or fast/convenient foods or are malnourished due to their economic background who require fortified high nutrient dense foods to combat their condition. It is our responsibility as an individual/parent and as a nation to guide the children to healthy eating opportunities no matter what their background is, to make them understand what to eat and whether to eat it or not. Setting a proper eating routine will help develop better eating behaviour since childhood and many national programs like Anganwadi feeding or home rations also help towards this. We need to inspire them to have and prefer healthy foods which are prepared at home because children generally observe what we eat and offer to them which will only set their food choices for future.

Tips to set healthy eating behaviour from home

  • Make the meal plates colourful and interesting. Pack their lunch boxes mindfully and add small notes on their food choices.
  • Try to have a bowl full of fresh fruit within easy view and reach on the kitchen table or bench. You can offer fruit as a snack or if your child is still hungry after meals.
  • Avoid digital distractions
  • Involve your children in cooking. If your child has helped to make the meal, they’re more likely to eat it.
  • Read books with healthy food content for your child – for example, books with pictures of fruits and vegetables. Get your child to point out different types, colours, shapes and so on which will help them to relate during meal time and create curiosity to try them.

Mycobacterium Tuberculosis is the bacteria that are responsible for tuberculosis. While the general assumption about TB is that it affects just the lungs, the condition can affect other body parts like the spine, brain, and kidney. The key to dealing with Tuberculosis is early diagnosis, proper medication, and a clean diet that makes up for the loss of nutrition that comes with the condition. In this article, we’ll talk more about nutritional loss and how to tackle it.

What is the correlation between chronic TB and malnutrition?

There’s always a high correlation between any chronic condition and malnutrition. In people with tuberculosis, this malnutrition is the result of malabsorption or the body’s inability to absorb and properly synthesize all the nutrients in the food consumed, reduced intakes due to poor appetite, or the treatment itself, sometimes.

Studies show that people that are battling tuberculosis often have lower levels of vital vitamins and minerals. More often than not, the complications and secondary illnesses that come with tuberculosis are purely the result of this nutrition loss.

Vitamin deficiency in tuberculosis patients

Patients with Tuberculosis often show lower levels of essential vitamins. Here are a few such vitamins and the functions they help with.

  • Vitamin A – Enables normal bodily functions like vision, the immune system, and reproduction.
  • Vitamin C – Contributes to the development and repair of all body tissues. Essential for growth.
  • Vitamin D – Takes care of the immune function. Protects bone, muscle, and heart.
  • Vitamin E – Helps in vision, and reproduction, and is essential for the health of your blood, brain, and skin.

It is not a secret that the functions that these vitamins are responsible for our normal bodily functions and the loss of these vitamins can sabotage a lot of vital organs. Most of the time, people with tuberculosis do not properly compensate for the loss of vitamins, and the complications can be severe.

Mineral deficiency in tuberculosis patients

Patients with TB often also have to tackle mineral loss in their bodies. Here are a few minerals that are generally found in lower quantities/ratios in TB patients and what complications they might lead to.

  • Selenium – Myodegenerative diseases, such as muscle weakness, depression, anxiety, and confusion.
  • Iron – Anemic, tired, and short of breath.
  • Copper – Muscle weakness, anemia, low white blood cell count, neurological problems, and paleness.
  • Zinc – Hair loss, diarrhea, eye, and skin sores, and loss of appetite.

If you can take proper measures like a well-rounded diet that compensates for the loss of these essential minerals and constantly monitor symptoms, you can tackle tuberculosis and the complications that come with it effectively.

Dietary solutions

Be very informed of your dietary choices when you’re fighting tuberculosis. Do not follow a blanket diet plan that you do not fully understand. Compensate for the loss of vitamins and minerals, and eat food that’s rich in vitamins and minerals. As Yoda always insisted, a well-balanced diet with proper scientific backing is the best way to stop a chronic condition from worsening or slowing down the complications that come with it. In the case of tuberculosis, make sure that your diet contains all the vitamins and minerals that you are losing.

Get in touch with the nutritionists here at Optimal Nutrition Protocol, and we’ll help you arrive at an optimal dietary plan that’ll help you tackle tuberculosis better.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or chronic kidney failure is a result of when your kidneys have gradually lost their ability to filter out wastes and excess fluids from your body. The condition is usually progressive, and treatments include medications, dialysis and hemodialysis. Here’s a lesser discussed part of this touchy subject. How much of the excess fluids/wastes that are removed during these dialysis sessions are actually excesses or wastes? Are you losing something your body needs every time you go through a dialysis session? What are the side effects?

In this blog, we discuss the side effects of micronutrient deficiency that are very closely associated with CKD and dialysis. Read along, and keep yourself informed.

Kidney diseases and micronutrient deficiency – Where’s the correlation?

There’s always a correlation between nutrients and chronic illnesses. This correlation holds in good in both ways – You can develop complications and diseases if there’s chronic nutrient deficiency; and the nutritional balance in the body will be affected if you suffer from a chronic disease.

With respect to Chronic Kidney Disease, here are the reasons why your macronutrient balance is at risk –

  1. The dietary recommendations – There are a few dietary recommendations that people diagnosed with CKD will have to follow. These restrictions are aimed at reducing the intake of protein, phosphate, or potassium.
  2. Change in metabolism.
  3. Medications recommended for the condition.
  4. Other ailments and complications that you might be diagnosed with.
  5. The abdomen not being able to properly absorb nutrients.
  6. Excessive loss with urine and dialysate.

These are all potential reasons why people diagnosed with CKD might also have a micronutrient deficiency, and should be mindful of eating the rightful amount of everything that their body needs. This isn’t exclusive to later stages of CKD patients alone; but can pose a threat to people treating all stages of CKD.

What micronutrients are at the risk of loss?

  1. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) – Huge amounts of vitamin C are lost during dialysis. This is partly due to the process itself, and partly due to the vitamin getting oxidized to dehydro-ascorbic acid during hemodialysis.
  2. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – There’s a lot of controversy around the topic. CKD patients that received dialysis 35% drop in pyridoxine concentration. The study shows that vitamin deficiency was not observed in patients receiving 50 mg pyridoxine after each dialysis session. Conversely, in those CKD patients not receiving B6 supplementations, the B6 deficiency was found in 78%, 77%, 50%, and 34% of cases, respectively.
  3. Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) – There’s a significant loss of folic acid every time there’s a dialysis session. Folate supplementation in a dose of 1 mg/day should prevent deficiencies in hemodialysis patients.
  4. Zinc – Deficiency of Zinc in the hair and skin is observed in people with CKD. Other tissues including erythrocytes (a red blood cell) have healthy amounts.
  5. Selenium – It’s a trace mineral. While even the general population has a deficiency due to poor dietary addition, people with CKD have it worse due to malabsorption.Needless to say, these are all important micronutrients. If you have CKD and you’re treating it, you’ll have to monitor and keep your micronutrient levels at a healthy level.

What should I do now?

First things first, understand the condition of chronic kidney disease, the treatment of kidney failure and their combined effect on your micronutrient levels. Do your own research and stop believing in hearsay. The ‘eight glasses’ trick does not work if you’re looking to clean your kidneys. Follow our space, talk to people from our team and keep yourself on the know about the condition and the implications.

Dietary restrictions

You will have to be regular with medications, because mostly these medications – though not completely – will provide doses of the micronutrients that are expected to be lost due to the condition or the treatment. So do not skip medications, stick to dietary instructions but make sure you get the recommended amount of nutritional intake. Avoid food with high salt and high potassium, and get a lot of your protein from sources like dairy and meat. Greens are essential too!

The next logical step would be arriving at a proper, tailor-made diet routine for you, and sticking to it. We can help you with it. The number of times we’ve heard people ask us, “I am on dialysis, can’t I have normal food anymore, at all?” gives us a rough representation of how ill-informed people are about the condition and the balanced approach they’d need towards food and diet. We can help you with that.

Get in touch, and follow ONP’s social handles for more such bite-sized updates about health, wellness, conditions and condition specific diet plans.

In our last blog, Yoda told us a lot about the thyroid gland and the condition of an overactive thyroid gland. Today, we’ll be discussing in detail the polar opposite, an underactive thyroid. From types to causes, and the different dietary measures that you should take to bring your thyroid secretions levels to optimum, here’s everything you need to know about hypothyroidism.

What is hypothyroidism?

We’ve established how important the thyroid gland and the hormones it secretes are to maintain equilibrium in our health and body composition. Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid hormone is secreting less than optimal amounts of thyroid hormones, such as TSH and T4. This can slow down the metabolism severely and can increase the risks of heart complications, myxedema, and a lot of other conditions.

There are three main types of hypothyroidism.

  1. Overt hypothyroidism – elevated serum TSH levels with low serum T4 levels
  2. Subclinical hypothyroidism – elevated serum TSH levels with serum T4 levels within the normal range (also known as mild thyroid failure)
  3. Congenital hypothyroidism – due to deficiency in TSH and T4 levels

That’s not all, though. An auto-immune condition called Hashimoto’s can also be the reason why the thyroid gland is underactive.

Why the malfunction?

There are quite a few reasons for the condition.

Any damage or disease related to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland might cause damage to the cells that secrete TSH.
Medications that contain high doses of lithium, iodine, or amiodarone can suppress hormone secretion.
Radiation therapy to treat thyroid cancers of the neck or head can affect the thyroid gland.

Apart from these, there are other reasons like autoimmune diseases (like Hashimoto’s), surgeries to remove the thyroid gland, low or no iodine in the diet and other environmental factors such as stress can be the causes of an under-active thyroid gland.

Hashimoto’s is an auto-immune condition where your body’s defense systems are attacking tissues in the thyroid gland, resulting in an under secreting gland. Possible reasons could be genetic history, viral infections, or environmental triggers like stress or exposure to radiation.

How do I know if I have hypothyroidism?

The foolproof way to do this is to get checked. To monitor levels of TSH and take other tests that can provide conclusive evidence of whether you have hypothyroidism or not. However, there are a few symptoms that you can watch out for.

  • Pervasive fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty with learning
  • Dry skin, brittle hair, and nails
  • Puffy face
  • Constipation
  • Sore muscles
  • Weight gain and fluid retention
  • Heavy and/or irregular menstrual flow
  • Increased frequency of miscarriages
  • Increased sensitivity to cold

Diagnosis

You can monitor TSH levels, yes, but that’s not the only test out there to find out if you have hypothyroid. Physicians also look for any anti-thyroid antibodies and T4 levels to find out if the thyroid gland is underactive.

What diet is the best for hyperthyroidism?

There’s no blanket diet here. It depends on a lot of other factors that are particular to your body. Other related conditions and critical health indicators should be taken into consideration to arrive at the optimal nutrition protocol for you. However, there are general rules of thumb when it comes to hypothyroidism, and here are a few things to keep in mind.

TL;DR –
Things to avoid – excessive salt, red meat, soy, and gluten.
Things to add to diet – Iodine, antioxidants, seafood.

Please avoid excessive salt, red meat, soy, and soy-related products and gluten food. You’ll have to lay off the soy because genistein, a major soy isoflavone, has an estrogenic and goitrogenic activity which inhibits the activity of thyroid peroxidase. Going gluten-free helps because according to studies, there might be an overlap between celiac disease and Hashimoto’s. Gluten might also cause a leaky gut which will trigger the body to produce antibodies that might attack the thyroid gland.

You can however eat foods that are rich in iodine and antioxidants. Iodine deficiency is the major cause of hypothyroidism. Seafood is a great addition to a hypothyroid-friendly diet. Plan your diet around these do’s and don’ts!

Should I be worried?

Any chronic illness comes with its own complications and risk factors. Leaving hypothyroidism unchecked for prolonged periods can cause heart complications, depression, slowed mental functioning, loss of libido, birth defects, and myxedema.

There is a myth that hyperthyroidism is a disease for middle-aged women. It is not true. If you’re experiencing symptoms, or even if you’re not getting your thyroid levels checked periodically. Follow nutritional protocols. Get in touch with our team of nutritionists to stay on top of the hypothyroid condition!

The human body is a well-oiled machine that has a lot of different endocrine glands secreting hormones necessary for the body to maintain balance. One such gland is the thyroid gland. It is located in the lower front throat and is called the butterfly gland because of how it looks.

Hyperthyroid symptoms

 

The gland plays a very vital role and the hormones secreted from the thyroid gland influence many organs in our body. The thyroid gland produces the triiodothyronine T3 and the thyroxine T4 hormones. These hormones help in regulating blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, metabolism, and how the body reacts to other hormones. An over-active thyroid gland produces more of these hormones. More than what the body can synthesize. This condition is called hyperthyroidism.

How do I know if I have hyperthyroid?

To diagnose if the thyroid is over-secreting its hormones, the amount of iodine collected and distributed by the thyroid gland is measured. A few symptoms can indicate the risk of a hyperthyroid condition.

  • Fast heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability Trembling hands
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • hair loss
  • Change in menstrual pattern
  • Prominent “stare” of the eyes
  • Protrusion of the eyes, with or without double vision (in patients with Graves’ disease)
  • Accelerated loss of calcium from bones, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures
  • Mood swings
  • Swollen thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Sensitivity to heat.

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it would be wise to monitor the gland’s performance at regular time intervals.

Factors that influence the production of thyroid hormones.

An overactive thyroid gland could be the result of a lot of diseases. Other conditions like Grave’s disease, Plummer’s disease, and thyroiditis can cause enlargement or swell in the thyroid gland. Sometimes, overmedication can be the direct cause of the thyroid gland producing excess hormones. Improper diet can be the cause too, sometimes.

Grave’s disease: Grave’s is an autoimmune disease resulting in thyroid enlargement and hyperthyroid. The antibodies in our body affect the thyroid gland and it, in turn, produces too much T3 and T4 thyroid hormones.

Thyroid nodules: This condition is better known as Plummer’s disease. The lumps of tissue formed in the thyroid regions cause the gland to produce hormones at abnormally high rates.

Thyroiditis: An infection that usually attacks the thyroid gland. This causes the gland to swell and leak hormones into the bloodstream.

Excessive Iodine intake may cause hyperthyroidism

Overmedication: Sometimes people receiving an overdose of thyroxine medication can develop hyperthyroidism.

How does a proper, hyperthyroid-friendly diet help?

It is essential to know both what to eat and what not to. Here are a few food sources and minerals that are hyperthyroid friendly.

Cruciferous central – Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts contain compounds that decrease thyroid hormone production. Please make sure that they’re well cooked. The reason Yoda emphasizes the cooking part is because a well-cooked cruciferous diet can also help remove almost 90% of the goitrogens present.

Iron – It’s not just about lowering the secretion. It’s also important that we improve the body’s capacity to synthesize hormones. Iron deficiency impairs the synthesis of thyroid hormones.

Selenium – It’s  another essential mineral that helps with thyroid hormone synthesis. Mushrooms, garlic, onion, egg, beef, liver, shellfish, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds are sources rich in selenium.

Here are things that you’ll have to exclude from or reduce in your diet.

Iodine – Iodine is essential for the iodination of tyrosine residues, leading to the formation of thyroid hormones. Consuming iodine in excess can result in complications like hyperthyroidism, nodule formation, and other autoimmune thyroid diseases. Seafood, eggs, dairy, and iodized salt are rich sources. Please reduce intake of iodine if you have an already over-active thyroid gland.

Soy interferes with the iodine uptake. We advise you to reduce the consumption of foods like soy milk, soybean oil, tofu, edamame beans, and soy sauce.

Gluten – Research suggests that there are overlaps between celiac disease and disorders like Grave’s disease. Celiac disease is a condition that causes damage to the small intestine as the result of gluten ingestion. A gluten-free diet not only helps avoid this complication but also improves the absorption of thyroid medications.

Hearsay does more harm than good.

There are a lot of myths that go around, related to hyperthyroidism. One of the very common ones is statements like ‘thyroid symptoms are obvious’ and ‘it’s safer to treat a thyroid disease with iodine or salt rather than taking prescribed medicines’. These are not true. While there are symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism that can manifest physically, testing for TSH and thyroid hormones will alone lead to the proper diagnosis.

About the iodine intake, it is important to know what you’re eating and how it affects your body, especially if you have a chronic condition. So, please take the prescribed medicine, consult with the experienced nutritionists in our team and get yourself a proper diet plan that complements the medications you take. Thyroid conditions if treated right can even bring back your thyroid hormone secretion to the right levels. Otherwise, you might be doing more harm than good.

Stay informed, stay healthy.

As one of the best nutritionist avians, or the only one, Yoda cannot emphasize the importance of having optimal eating habits and patterns. However, to understand what’s optimal, we’ll have to trace our steps backward, understand our current diet from the ground up and restructure it to align it with our health goals.

Why do people eat what they eat?

Food is an integral part of our everyday lives. Rightly so, our food habits are shaped right from our childhood. Based on our cultural backgrounds, the peer pressure we go through & the choices we make with our health in mind, and a lot of other factors that influence our food habits.

Our households might influence if we’re vegetarian or non-vegetarian, our peers might influence habits like fast food, smoking, and drinking. As years progress, what we eat is also shaped by our health conditions and preferences of our own.

For instance, people with lactose intolerance eat a lot less dairy products and people who’re actively looking to reduce their cholesterol levels will eat less saturated fats and processed foods.

While it’s not exhaustive, one’s cultural background, peer pressure, health consciousness, health conditions, and other psychological factors are the reason why they eat what they eat. It is very important to know this, because to course-correct yourself, it is important to understand why you were in the course in the first place.

Healthy habits, healthy being.

“Eat healthily” is the most confusing suggestion one can give. ‘Healthy’ is very subjective, and for each individual and their body there needs to be a scientific, evidence-based, and formulaic diet plan. So, blanket diets that claim to be the ‘one size fits all solution’ are not the ideal way to approach food and health.

You’ll have to monitor your health and biomarkers that indicate risks of conditions like diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, etc., and come up with a diet plan that ensures sustainable nutrition that can reduce these risks and bring your biomarkers to their optimum levels.

Constant intervention and diet modification definitely help, but getting started in the right direction is all that matters.

While it is true that specific food habits and particular dietary practices can not be followed by everyone, there are a few habits that wouldn’t hurt if you picked them up. Consider them the very basics; healthy eating 101.

  1. Practice mindful eating.
  2. Whole foods are always friendly. Choose minimally processed veggies and fruits, and add more of them to your plate.
  3. Avoid food that’s processed or refined to a point where there are little to no natural nutrients.
  4. Pay attention to your portion sizes. Smaller, more frequent meals are better than larger meals with huge gaps in between.
  5. Snacking habits need revisiting. Nuts instead of chips, fruits instead of cakes, and soups instead of carbonated drinks!

These are all a few general practices that can take your health a long way forward. Here’s one more – eat on time!

Erratic meal timings and their effect on your body’s clock

Food habits are directly related to health and chronic conditions. One of the most common, yet most detrimental eating habits in today’s world is how irregular our meal timings have become. 3 AM snacks are romanticized and skipping breakfast for work has become a prideful habit. Here’s the ugly truth – irregular, erratic meal timings are spoiling your body’s balance!

These food habits with erratic timings also have downsides such as a drop in energy levels, fatigue, headache episodes as they interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. This will impact physical, mental, and behavioral changes.

While circadian rhythm is considered synonymous with sleeping and waking, the sleep cycle isn’t the only clock your body holds. Here’s how out-of-sync meal timings can disrupt your natural rhythm.

It can induce increased calorie intake due to impaired satiety mechanisms through leptin and ghrelin. In simpler words, your body’s confused about being full and being hungry, and we end up snacking a lot or filling ourselves up with cups of coffee.

Things like the body’s temperature, some intestinal functions, and nutrient absorption are all rhythmically regulated.

This is why people who skip breakfast have a higher body mass, and why people that work night shifts have bowel habit alterations, constipation/diarrhea, bloating, and other metabolic syndrome risks.

The human body and the rhythm it functions around is pretty complex and you’ll need to consciously stick to a routine when it comes to eating, physical activity, and dietary plans.

Sticking to a routing

Yoda read a study report that said people who had balanced meals at the right proportion regularly (6 or more meal portions in a day) showed optimal energy expenditure, nutrition absorption, and overall healthy biomarker signals. This means they were less prone to risks like cholesterol, sugar, and hormone balance than people who had a poorer diet plan and irregular meal patterns.

This empirical evidence along with the testimonies of all the clients that we interact with daily, we can confirm that regularity, some amount of self-monitoring, and the conscious food choices that we make will help improve our health and help us reach our health goals. A routine helps you realize that taking care of your health isn’t a one-time activity, but a continuous process!

Take help when you need it

Regulating habits and developing new, healthy ones are easier said than done. Avoiding triggers that make it harder to stick to the routine, to reward or rework your dietary practices based on the feedback from your body, and making constant progress towards a healthier tomorrow is an exciting journey, but a tiny bit exhausting.

So, get professionals to help you with it. Speak to our team of expert nutritionists, and give yourself the healthy lifestyle you deserve.

 

All of you folks must have come up with new year’s resolutions by now. In fact, a few of them might have dwindled a little too. No worries, Yoda’s here to help. Yoda is a big fan of health and wellbeing and encourages achieving it through a personalized clean diet. In this blog, we’ll discuss how effective health goals are set, pursued, and achieved. Follow through!

Where to start?

Start with the things you want to change. A goal isn’t a task, but a solution to your current lifestyle problems. If your problem is you not being in the shape you want, then your goal is the solution to that problem. Getting enough physical work out every day might be a goal. Eating healthy and avoiding over-processed food is a goal.

Be whatever, start with understanding and receiving signals your body’s giving you. If you are feeling exhausted all the time, if your gut is giving you troubles frequently or if you’re experiencing sleeplessness often, then it means that something’s off and you need to correct the course of your physical fitness.

That is where you start!

What should you keep in mind while arriving at a goal?

The objective of setting a goal isn’t just to set it, obviously. Achieving it and pursuing it consistently is. Realistic goals are usually easy to follow. A dream physique is achievable. However, giving yourself enough time is important. If you set unrealistic, unattainable goals, despite your best efforts you’re getting demoralized. So, set goals you can practically achieve.

That being said, not being to follow a goal mostly has to do with our lifestyle. There are a lot of triggers like past habits and peer pressure that stop us from following the course. If a late-night movie encourages binge eating, it is a trigger. Eating impulsively, eating junk, or skipping gym are all things that you can avoid if you simply figure out what triggers these responses. So, not only is it important to know what a goal must be but also to know what possible factors can stop you from achieving them.

Discipline – A route paralleled by no other shortcuts.

Any new habit that aids your goal needs some ‘fitting in’ in your current lifestyle. Only then is sustainability possible. You’d need to put in time and effort in pursuing your goal. If you’ve decided to eat healthily, then putting effort into measuring portions, counting macros, and monitoring your everyday meal patterns are all things you must do. This takes an ounce of discipline and a lot of patience.

Document your progress.

This brings us to measuring progress. The most important part of pursuing a goal is keeping track of how far you’ve come. Yoda believes self-monitoring is the biggest form of self-love. As far as health goes, self-monitoring starts with keeping track of your biomarkers that indicate risks like diabetes, hypertension, hyper cholesterol, and other conditions. Keep monitoring them, and if the diet plan that you’re following isn’t helping you improve these markers, then it’s time to revisit your goals and realign yourself to a healthier behavioral alternative. Keeping up with your goal is a great achievement, and every time you make progress you deserve a reward! What’s the reward, you ask? A healthier life and a fitter physique.

Yoda’s challenge – Mindful eating

This new year, as your friendly neighborhood owl that knows a lot about food and soul, Yoda’s giving you a challenge. Mindful eating! Mindful eating is exactly what it sounds like. Be mindful of what you eat, whenever you eat. The whole experience of mindful eating is centered around hunger, satiation, and how you perceive food.

What to do?

  1. Approach the food with no judgment at all. Every time you’re served a plate of food, dig into it like you’re eating it for the first time, and have an open mind towards the dish.
  2. Be patient. Take it one spoon at a time. Be in the moment, and be fully aware of the fact that you’re eating.
  3. Experience everything about the food like you’re a beginner. The consistency, the taste, the smell.
  4. Trust the process, and understand how differently your body reacts to different food.
  5. Do not expect something to happen. If you’re eating a salad or a special meal plan, do not focus on what results from you’d get from it. Be in the moment and experience food in the present.
  6. Accept the food that you’re eating for what it is and be thankful for all that has happened for it to land on your plate. Let go of your past experiences, expectations, and everything else, and simply enjoy the meal.

Avoid binge eating, and if you catch yourself reaching for a chip instinctively, stop for a moment and ask if you’re actually hungry enough. If hunger isn’t why you’re eating, avoid it. Try practicing this, and let Yoda know if it helped.

Metabolic syndrome (or MetS) is both a condition and a symptom. To start with, MetS is a group of conditions that affect the body’s normal biochemical balance. Abnormalities such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, excess abdominal fat, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol are all part of the syndrome. In this article, we’ll try and explain the syndrome in detail, what are all the possible causes and how to actually tackle it with a proper diet plan and a healthy lifestyle.

Causes and indicators – How to know if you have metabolic syndrome?

If you take the syndrome apart and look at the conditions individually, you’ll notice one thing. Most of them do not have an on-the-face symptom pallette and the only way to know for sure that you have the condition is by monitoring it and taking readings. Here are a few solid indicators.

  1. Blood pressure: systolic > 130 and/or diastolic > 85 mmHg or drug treatment
  2. Fasting glucose: >100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or drug treatment
  3. Triglycerides: >150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L) or drug treatment
  4. High-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol: <40 mg/dL (1 mmol/L) (male) or <50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) (female) or drug treatment.

Please monitor your blood pressure, glucose levels, and cholesterol levels at regular intervals. A few of the common causes for these conditions are obesity – especially an overinflated waist, physical inactivity, genetics, predisposed insulin resistance, and consuming more calories than expended for a very long time.

Complications that come with MetS

Metabolic syndrome is not simply a group of conditions put together for diagnostic or treatable simplicity. These conditions are extremely serious and their complications as individual conditions are bad enough already, but if they’re diagnosed as a cluster it puts the person at a much higher risk. Atherosclerosis or the hardening of arteries is one of the major problems with MetS. Why? Then it leads to all the complexities that are the result of a blockage in arteries, like stroke, cardiovascular illnesses, peripheral artery disease, heart attack, and a lot more.

If tackled right, the severity and the aftereffects of the metabolic syndrome-related complexities can be reduced greatly. What do we mean by tackling metabolic syndrome though?

How to handle metabolic syndrome?

As nutritionists, we’ve always believed that a well-researched diet can lay down a solid foundation to deal with any bodily anomaly. Metabolic syndrome is no different. Here are a few things that a MetS friendly diet must have, and mustn’t.
First things first, a high fiber diet has a lot of positive impacts on several metabolic disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, and colon cancer. So loading your diet up with plant-based fiber is highly recommended.

When it comes to fat, make sure to consume 30% of the total calorie intake per day in the form of fat. However, consumption of saturated fat is generally discouraged and should not make more than 10% of your total energy consumption. So, a diet low in saturated fat but high in monounsaturated fat can bring balance to your cholesterol levels.

As far as other components of your diet are concerned, a lot of complex carbohydrates from legumes, food that’s rich in Omega-3-fatty acids, and potassium are all good additions to have in your diet. Sodium and simple sugars are generally discouraged.

Sweat it out

To complement this nutrition-rich diet, you’ll also have to put yourself through moderately intense exercises, for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day for most weekdays. Monitor yourself, and how your physique reacts to different workout routines, and stick to the one that’s most effective. This combination of a sound diet and a solid workout pattern will bring your vitals to their optimal performance, and you can see the indicators that we spoke about earlier resetting towards their optimal values gradually. You’ll also have to listen to your physician and continue medications as well, whatever is appropriate.

We hope that your understanding of the metabolic syndrome and how to deal with it has become a little better. If you’re finding it difficult to find the right diet plan for you, we recommend you have a talk with our team of experts, and we’ll help you in any way we can!

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