Top Super Foods of the world

All food items have some sort of nutrition index about them. But there are certain foods that are on top of the ladder amongst all the foods of the world. These foods are termed as ‘Super Foods’. These foods are nutritionally dense and are extremely good for the health. In some cases ‘Super Foods’ are even said to assist in certain medical conditions. New research is always going on for finding the next ‘Super Food’ but there are some which are tried and tested and can be truly termed ‘ Super Foods’. We have provided this list below based on nutritional value and the ease of availability of these products. We do not want you to spend a fortune of new fads in the ‘super foods’ market. So here we go –

  1. Spinach:- We want you to think of Popeye the sailor man and his super increase in strength when he eats a jar of spinach. Well it might be a little exaggeration but not too far off. Spinach is a wonder food rich in anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory and rich in vitamin A & K and calcium plus fiber. In fact most green vegetables are extremely nutritious and cheaper compared to fancy ones available in super stores. So add for spinach, broccoli, kale or Brussels sprouts for that daily kick of nutrition density.
  2. Eggs:- The staple food of body builders and athletes all over the world, this super food is rich in amino acids and is a great source of cheap and high quality protein. A medium sized egg provides 6 grams of protein but only 72 calories. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids which is beneficial for heart health. Protein is the building block of muscles and eggs sure are cheap, readily available source of food.
  3. Banana:- There are many fruits like apples, kiwi fruit and avocados which many people will tell you are super foods. But good old banana takes the top spot among fruits in our list. Bananas are easily available all year round, are damn cheap and are tasty as well. This wonder fruit is easy to digest (therefore improves gut health), provides a steady stream of energy to our body (you can watch some athletes eating bananas during their matches) and is an extremely good source of potassium. Contrary to popular beliefs, adding a banana would actually assist people in slimming down rather than gain more weight. So we recommend adding a banana to your daily diet especially if you are an active person.
  4. Almonds:- Of all the nuts available in the market, almonds are the most nutritionally dense. They offer the highest concentration of nutrients per calorie per ounce. They provide a healthy dose of potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron. They are also a rich source of fiber. Plus they are delicious. Put some almonds in your shakes or smoothies to make them even tastier and crunchy.
  5. Lentils:- This food is extremely cheap, easy to prepare, come in different varieties and readily available plus it’s a great source of protein, iron and other essential nutrients. Iron available in lentils may help fight anemia. This food is a must have in your food cabinet especially if you are a vegetarian or a vegan. This food will assist in meeting your daily protein requirement. Its low in glycemic index too, which means the energy released from lentils may not increase blood sugar as certain other foods do and may keep us energized for longer period of time.

As you can see that our list is not extensive, but is purely based on the cost and availability of the product. You do not need to spend an exuberant amount of money to stay healthy, just add these ‘Super Foods’ to your daily diet and see the difference in your health soon. Stay healthy!

Life giving water

How exactly important is water and how much of it do we really need?

Water is a ‘life-giving’ force in every true sense of the word. It’s a well researched fact that almost 3/4th of the earth’s mass comprises of water. Same could be said of our bodies. Our body contains almost 70% water by mass which is a huge statistic in itself and goes a long way in suggesting the importance that water has in our body let alone our environment.

Water not just satiates our thirst but also provides so many vital functions for our body that we cannot even comprehend. Here we will discuss the importance of water and what exactly will happen if theres shortage of water in our body.

Water acts as a transport system for nutrients to reach different parts of our body. When we eat food and it gets broken down for energy, water inside our body acts as a carrier for these nutrients to different parts of the body.

Adequate amount of water intake enables our body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. The kidneys, liver and our intestines use it to flush out waste material from our body. Water acts as a natural detoxify agent, which means it helps in flushing out harmful toxins from our body.

Water also helps in softening of the stools thereby assisting in easy removal of stools from our body. Water also aids in digestion as the first stage of digestion starts in our mouth when we chew food and saliva mixes with the food. This saliva (the base o which is water itself) helps in adding enzymes to our food which in turn help in digestion process.

Water helps in regulating our body temperature in warm or cold climates. For example, when the temperature is hot, our body releases fluids through perspiration or sweat and the evaporation of this water from our skin due to heat effectively cools down our body temperature subsequently.

Water also helps in keeping the tissues in our body moist. Keeping the body hydrated helps it retain optimum levels of moisture in some sensitive areas such as eyes, nose, mouth etc, as well as in the blood, bones, and the brain. In addition to this, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for our joints, thereby, protecting them from everyday wear and tear.

Water may also in some cases assist people in weight loss as well. Instead of drinking sugary drinks and sodas, we should replace them with simple water. Water is thirst clenching and does not add calories like these drinks do to our body. As said earlier, water removes toxins from our body and may assist in treating constipation as well, thereby making us feel lighter and chirpier. Sometimes we go for a unhealthy snack when in truth our body is just craving for some water. Water helps us feel fuller thereby reducing our hunger pangs.

Now the amount of water we need may vary from person to person and may also depend of their daily physical routine, working/living atmosphere etc. But generally it is accepted that we should aim for at least 2-2.5 liters of water in a day per person. The amount can increase if your physical activity is more and vice versa. But there are a few things that indicate shortage of water in our system. For example, if the urine is yellow or red in color, it may signal mild to serious dehydration in the body. Also when the throat and lips feel dry, chances are your body needs more water. Chances are that your body will give you some form of signal the moment its water levels are running low.

The best way to drink water is keep sipping it at regular intervals and not gulp it in one go as we mostly do. Water may also potentially assist in prevention or reducing the risk of several diseases like colon cancer, bladder infections, breast cancer and many other disorders. Plus, its cheap or virtually free. You can drink hundreds of gallons of water for the price of a six-pack of your favorite soda.

 

30 Best tips for health and longevity

We’ve done all the hard work. You just need to follow these simple steps that will make your life healthier.

  1. Drink More water.
  2. Replace sugary drinks like colas with water, green tea or coconut water.
  3. Avoid genetically engineered foods which are most likely to be found in the derivatives of the following foods in the supermarket – soy, corn, cotton seed, sugars from beet, some varieties of zucchini . Therefore try to consume organic foods as much as possible.
  4. Avoid processed sugars from your diet.
  5. Start reading and understanding food labels. All food companies are bound to mention the ingredients and quantity on their labels. If you read the label you can find a lot about the food item you are about to purchase at the store.
  6. Add healthy fats like nuts, seeds, olive and coconut oils and omega 3 fatty fishes to your diet and remove saturated fats like unhealthy oils from your diet.
  7. Maintain proper hygiene in and around your home and work.
  8. Add lots of fruits and vegetables to your diet. Especially add green veggies to your diet.
  9. Add probiotic and fermented foods to your diet like yogurt. You can even take a probiotic supplement for your gut health.
  10. Try to eat food in its raw form as much as possible or permissible.
  11. Cut back on salt.
  12. Control the portion sizes of food on your plate. Measure the portions on your plate with the size of your fist.
  13. Make sure your diet contains good mixture of protein, carbs and healthy fats.
  14. Avoid junk food like pizzas, burgers, fries. Consider them as a luxury on a cheat day rather than a necessity.
  15. Don’t skip breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day. Always start your day with a healthy breakfast.
  16. Add a daily multivitamin to your breakfast.
  17. Try to get at least 30 mins of physical exercise per day like walking, running, cycling or any other form of exercise.
  18. Try to stay active through out the day.
  19. Try to get some amount of sunlight daily. This will help to optimize vitamin D levels in your body.
  20. Add some kind of meditation to your routine. This will help you to manage stress in a better way.
  21. Limit your exposure to toxins as much as possible.
  22. Take short breaks while working long hours on your desk.
  23. Stretch as soon as you wake up. Also do regular stretching through out the day, even at work.
  24. Brush your teeth twice a day.
  25. Try to maintain your healthy weight through out the year. Its not as difficult as it may seem.
  26. Limit your alcohol intake.
  27. Quit tobacco and smoking.
  28. Get plenty of sleep. To achieve that try to avoid gadgets one hour before sleeping. This will help you to sleep better. You can also read a book. Many people feel that reading a book helps them is sleeping better.
  29. Get regular health checkups done to monitor your health.
  30. Don’t pop medicines at any chance that you get. If you may, try herbal alternatives as long as possible.

Five best Exercises to do at home

We live in a fast paced society and let’s admit that some of us are too lazy to go to the gym but then there are some people who really can’t go to the gym. It might be due to money reasons or simply lack of time or dearth of a decent gym in your vicinity. Well whichever category you fall into, here’s a list of top exercises that you can do at home which don’t require any equipment. Just follow the simple instruction given below for the exercises and start your at home fitness routine today.

1) Squats: One of the simplest and most effective exercises is squats. You don’t need heavy weights to perform squats at home. At first start with your body weight only. Squat is a compound exercise (involving more than a couple of muscles during the movement) that trains primarily the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks and quadriceps. Here’s how to perform body weight squat as per folks at bodybuilding.com:-

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. You can place your hands behind your head. This will be your starting position.
  • Begin the movement by flexing your knees and hips, sitting back with your hips.
  • Continue down to full depth if you are able,and quickly reverse the motion until you return to the starting position. As you squat, keep your head and chest up and push your knees out.

You can increase the repetitions and the number of sets that you perform to give yourself more of a challenge and you can also add some weights in the form of dumbbells to your squats as you proceed further.

2) Push-ups: Push-ups are one of the best upper body exercises. Push-ups work  on your chest muscles called pectorals, shoulder muscles, back of biceps called triceps and the “wing” muscles directly under your armpit, called the serratus anterior. Here’s how to perform a push-up:

  • Lie on the floor face down and place your hands about 36 inches apart while holding your torso up at arms length.
  • Next, lower yourself downward until your chest almost touches the floor as you inhale.
  • Now breathe out and press your upper body back up to the starting position while squeezing your chest.
  • After a brief pause at the top contracted position, you can begin to lower yourself downward again for as many repetitions as needed.

3) Lunges: The lunge is a lower-body exercise that works several muscle groups at once. The targeted muscles include the glutes in your hips and butt along with the hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs. The calf muscles in your lower legs, your abdominal muscles and your back muscles act as stabilizers during this exercise. Start with your feet together and arms resting comfortably by your sides. Step forward with your right foot and lower your body until your front knee is at 90 degrees and your back knee is not touching the floor. Then, to complete the exercise, push off your front right foot while straightening your left leg. Keep your right foot off of the floor and balance with your right thigh parallel to the floor.

4) Plank: The plank is one of the best exercises you can do for your core (abdomen) because it builds isometric strength to help sculpt your waistline and improve your posture. And depending on the type of plank you try, you can also engage your back, arms, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. But here’s how to do a simple plank

  • Get into a prone position on the floor, supporting your weight on your toes and your forearms. Your arms are bent and directly below the shoulder.
  • Keep your body straight at all times, and hold this position as long as possible. To increase difficulty, an arm or leg can be raised.

5) Burpees: The great thing about burpees is that they combine cardio and strength into one exercise. A burpee is a complex, total-body exercise that will work your upper and lower body at the same time with a strong focus on the core.

  • Begin standing with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your hands on the floor and kick your legs back so you end up with your stomach and thighs on the floor. Your elbows should be bent.
  • From this position, press up like you’re doing a push-up and push your hips up.
  • Jump your feet under your hips and stand.
  • Finish the movement by jumping in the air and bringing your hands over your head.
  • Repeat.

Simply by following these 5 exercises you’ll see a difference in your fitness level within a week itself. We guarantee that! So what are you waiting for? Start right away.

Nutrition: All the basics

Nutrition is and should be your primary asset towards reaching your fitness goals. Someone said that the abs are not made in the gym but in the kitchen. It’s true for everything fitness related. Proper nutrition can help propel your fitness regime towards success and improper nutrition can result in failure of your goals even if you are spending multiple hours in the gym. So what should you do?

First of all understand nutrition basics and understand your fitness goals. If you are training for weight loss, you will eat a different diet than you would if you would be after muscle gain. If you are an athlete, you would take a different diet course than if you have a regular 9 to 5 job. Your body structure, level of physical activity, DNA, metabolism can play a role in designing your diet plan but the core of all the diet plans remain the same.

Often people tend to overcomplicate things while following a diet chart and that is the prime reason so many of them fail within a month of starting a diet plan. Keep your diet simple folks. That’s the key to success. Now let’s discuss Nutrition. Our body needs nutrition or food as a fuel to do its functions same way a car needs battery and gas to run. If the gas you put into your vehicle is of bad quality chances are that your car will break down at some point of time. Same principle applies on our body. If we feed our body with junk, it will start to break down sooner rather than later.

First of all, understand calories. Our food gets broken down into calories which our body utilizes for its day to day work. There are three prime sources of calories  in our food – protein, carbohydrate and fats. These nutrients are called “macro nutrients”. All other nutrients which include vitamins and minerals fall under the category of “micro nutrients”. As mentioned earlier food gets broken down into calories in our body. Lets find out the caloric value of all the macro ingredients and their specific job

  1. Protein: Protein is one of the three macro nutrients and probably the most important nutrient as well. Chemically, Proteins are made of small compounds called amino acids. There are hundreds of amino acids that exist in nature, but the human body only utilizes 22 of them. Protein is the major building block of the body. Its main job is to build, maintain and repair tissue. It is typically found in animal products although it is also present in other sources like nuts and legumes. 1 gram of protein gets broken into 4 calories in our body.
  2. Carbohydrate: Carbohydrates provide fuel for the central nervous system and energy for working muscles. They also prevent protein from being used as an energy source and enable fat metabolism, according to Iowa State University. Carbohydrates have several roles in living organisms, including energy transportation, as well as being structural components of plants and arthropods. Also, “carbohydrates are important for brain function,” Smathers said. They are an influence on “mood, memory, etc., as well as a quick energy source.” 1 gram of carbohydrate gets broken into 4 grams of calories in our body. Carbohydrates are generally found in grains and fibrous fruits, vegetables and starchy eatables.
  3. Fats: Fats are the most misunderstood macronutrient of all. When we hear fat we immediately go into cringe mode. But fat is very important for our body. Fat is a concentrated source of energy for our body. 1 gram of fats gets broken into 9 grams of calories. Fats are often thought of as the nutrients that cause weight gain, when in fact they are used primarily to absorb nutrients into the body, it is only when we have an excess of starch and carbohydrates in our diet that the fat cells fill with excess sugar and cause the appearance of weight. For simplicity sake, fats are divided into good fats and bad fats. As the name suggests good fats are good for you and vice versa. Good fat sources are nuts and seeds, fish, nuts and seeds oils. Junk food is the main source of bad fats in our body.

In addition to these macro nutrients, which as the name suggests you need bulk of, you also need micro nutrients which most of the foods that you eat will have them already. Together all these ingredients lead the way towards a healthy life.

A typical human body needs anything around 1500-200 calories daily for its function. It depends upon your height, weight, physical activity, your body mass index. If you are getting those calories from good sources, you will be healthy else there is going to be sickness and regular break down of the body. We hope this article helped you understand basics of nutrition and you will have a template towards your diet charts now. Keep posted to healthsblog for more tips and articles. Stay healthy!!

Obesity in today’s world

According latest research nearly 30% of the world’s population is either obese or overweight which amounts to a staggering 2.1 billion people. The researchers conducted what they called the most comprehensive assessment to date of one of the pressing public health dilemmas of our time, using data covering 188 nations from 1980 to 2013. Here are some key facts found on the website of world health organization (WHO)

  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population lives in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2014.

These are frightening facts about the direction the world is going in. Being overweight or obese not just messes with your looks or confidence, here are a few things that you should expect if you are obese

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Some cancers
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Breathing problems

And if all these reasons are not enough for you to consider being fit, than you can also know this that obesity has now been found to be hereditary. This means if you are obese you will pass it on to your children and grandchildren. This should give you all the more reason to take control of your life and start working towards removing that extra weight from your body.

Here are a few factors contributing towards this rising obesity

  1. Stress – Today’s fast paced life where everyone is in a hurry to go places and take short cuts in life plus unsatisfactory relationships and lack of sleep due to work pressures has made us lead more stressful lives than we were living some decades back.
  2. Unhealthy lifestyle – We eat so much junk food and other foods which are not good for us at all. In addition to this we are consuming sugary drinks at an alarming level now a days. Also we are continuously attaching ourselves with gadgets thereby limiting our social interaction and physical activities which is contributing to unhealthy lifestyle.
  3. Lack of physical activity: Most of us work desk jobs and the most we are walking now a days is from bedroom to living room or office desk to coffee machine. Moreover even our children are playing outside lesser compared to the previous generation. This lack of physical activity among all the age groups is playing a huge role towards obesity.
  4. Age: Age is certainly a factor in obesity. As we age our metabolism (ability to burn fat for fuel) decreases and we tend to get fat as we mature.
  5. Ethnicity: Race or ethnicity can also play a role in obesity among people. It has been found in researches, that certain races or ethnicity do tend to be overweight compared to other races as their body mass indexes may vary from other races.
  6. Unhealthy environments: Many environmental factors can also increase your risk for obesity:
    • social factors such as having a low socioeconomic status or an unhealthy social or unsafe environment in the neighborhood
    • built environment factors like easy access to junk food or no easy access to parks or play fields or recreational activities can also be a factor towards obesity among certain groups.
    • exposure to chemicals for some people in their vicinity like a chemical factory can also affect their hormones and can cause obesity.

Well as you can see most of these things are something that we can control like our lifestyle, eating habits, physical activity. Just start by taking a few extra steps every day, for example, instead of taking a lift to your office or apartment, you can climb the stairs. Also improving one’s diet should be a top most priority for everyone. It all looks very complicated – loosing weight, dieting. But you don’t need to complicate things. You just need to take some small steps. Rest everything will take care of itself. You will be amazed to find the changes that start to happen in your life with just these little changes in your life and can save a generation from migrating towards this epidemic that is Obesity.