Health & Fitness Tips

7 Tips To Stay Healthy During Haze Period

Every year like clockwork, people in Singapore have to suffer from the suffocating haze surrounding the city. The haze can affect your health, especially if you’re exposed to it on a daily basis for a prolonged time. People with chronic conditions like asthma or other respiratory problems should try to stay indoors as much time as possible. Scratchy throat, skin irritations, red eyes, and breathing problems are some of the most common ailments suffered by Singaporeans during haze period.

However, these are only a few minor health issues. The real threats can include lung diseases and permanent breathing disorders. It is normal to feel annoyed, frustrated and angry at this manmade phenomenon, especially when there’s nothing much we can do about it. Playing the blame game will not save you from the consequences, but following some tips to survive these health challenging days will do:

1.Keep haze out

Before you step out of the house, make sure all the doors, windows and ventilation points are closed. It’s better to return back home and breathe still air than inhaling millions of haze particles. Until the purity level goes up to moderate, make sure to practice this tip. Check the news update constantly to keep a track of environmental conditions outside, so you know when not to open the doors at all.

2.Use indoor air purifiers

As soon as you get back to the home, do not forget to turn on the purifier to filter the indoor air. The soft haze particles can seep into your home even if the doors and windows are closed. If you don’t have an indoor purifier, try boiling water in a deep dish and let the room get filled with its steam. It will clear the air and help you breathe easily.

3.Drink 2 litters of water in a day

The key to fight off the haze is to keep your body hydrated. The toxins found in the haze are absorbed by your lungs and skin. This forces your kidneys to work harder. So it is always advised to drink water so your kidneys can excrete the toxins in a smooth manner. Keeping your body hydrated will also help other body organs to functions smoothly, without taking any stress.

4.Keep alcohol & coffee away

Since alcohol and caffeinated drinks dehydrate the system, it is always better to stay away from them as much as possible during haze period. Drinking too much alcohol or caffeinated drinks can make your kidney more stressed, which can trigger other health complications. Even if it is really hard to go coffee-less, make yourself strong for sake of well-functioning kidneys!

5.Boost your immunity power with super foods

Healthy diet is very important during hazy days. Healthy foods will give your body the required strength to fight with infections and bacteria that enter your system when you inhale hazy air. If you don’t want to suffer from a runny nose or scratchy throat , do your part and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Make sure you consume daily recommended quantity of protein, calcium, vitamins refined carbs, ‘good’ fats and other essential nutrients. With balanced diet, you should be able to get sufficient amount of the vitamin C, E, and Omega-3.

6.Put Must-have things in your bag

Make a list of must-have items and carry them whenever you go out. Face mask, water bottle, eye drops, tissue, wet wipes are a few to consider. Put the face mask whenever you step out of the house. These items can act like instant fix to problems that generally affect during hazy days. Do not forget to wipe your face and hand as soon as you get indoors.

7.Wash your face & hand regularly

As mentioned earlier, you must wash your hands, feet and face as soon as you get indoor. Any body part that was not covered should be washed immediately to prevent toxins settling on your skin. Do not be reluctant or feel shy to wash in public places. Once you get home, shower immediately to wide off all the toxin residues.

For the people with breathing and skin problems, always carry your medical remedies during haze period. If you feel any trouble, immediately see your doctor. Stay healthy with these tips and share them with your fellow Singaporeans. These tips will help you protect yourself, as well as loved ones from potential health issues.

 

 

Just 25 minutes of yoga, meditation ‘boosts brain function, energy’

Practicing Hatha yoga or mindfulness meditation for just 25 minutes can significantly improve brain function and energy levels, compared with spending 25 minutes quietly reading, according to new research from Canada.

Kimberley Luu and associate professor Peter Hall, of the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, report their study in the journal Mindfulness.

Yoga and meditation, once regarded as predominantly Eastern customs, are becoming mainstream in the West.

In the United States, for example, there are36.7 million people who practice yoga, “up from 20.4 million in 2012,” while some 18 million have used meditation.

The U.S. workforce is rapidly taking to yoga and meditation. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that yoga practice among workers in the U.S. more than doubled between 2002 and 2012, rising from 6 to 11 percent. Meditation practice also rose from 8 to 9.9 percent.

Hatha yoga and mindfulness

Of the many styles of yoga, the one most commonly practiced in the West is Hatha yoga, which combines breathing with meditation and movement and concludes with relaxation. Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga are examples of Hatha yoga.

Mindfulness meditation is an approach that emphasizes paying attention to what is going on in the mind without evaluating or judging it. While yoga often includes some aspects of mindfulness, it can also be practiced on its own.

Prof. Hall explains, “Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation both focus the brain’s conscious processing power on a limited number of targets like breathing and posing, and also reduce processing of nonessential information.”

He explains that he and Luu were interested in finding out whether the two practices might have a “positive carryover effect” that helps people to “focus more easily on what they choose to attend to in everyday life.”

Executive function

In a comprehensive review of the evidence, the two authors had already concluded that there was a need for “more good-quality studies” on the effects of Hatha yoga on executive function.

In that paper, they describe executive function as “a set of high-order cognitive processes” that allows control of behavior, emotion, and thought independently of stimuli.

Executive function operates through the prefrontal cortex of the brain and other centers that are linked to it. It typically involves working memory, mental flexibility, and inhibitory control.

Many researchers also regard executive function as inclusive of other processes such as decision-making, problem-solving, and attention control because they are closely linked to it or highly dependent on it.

For their new study, the researchers invited 31 healthy, “moderately experienced” practitioners aged 28 years, on average, to complete three sessions of Hatha yoga (including an element of mindfulness meditation), mindfulness meditation (without yoga), and quiet reading (control task).

They used a “within-subjects experimental design,” which meant that the participants did not complete the tasks in the same order (each was assigned the order at random).

Improved executive function, mood, energy

The researchers assessed executive function before each session and at 5 minutes and 10 minutes after each session using a standard test known as the “Stroop interference task.” This test also measures inhibitory control.

The team found that the participants significantly improved their executive function scores after the Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation sessions compared with the before and after scores of the reading session.

However, they note that the improvement only showed in the 10-minute post-session tests and not in the 5-minute post-session tests.

Using a self-reporting tool called Profile of Mood States, the researchers also found that both Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation resulted in significantly improved mood scores compared with reading.

This tool includes a “vigor-activity subscale” that measures energy levels. On this subscale, while both Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation compared favorably with reading, Hatha yoga showed “significantly greater benefits.”

Luu explains that there are “a number of theories about why physical exercises like yoga improve energy levels and cognitive test performance. These include the release of endorphins, increased blood flow to the brain, and reduced focus on ruminative thoughts. Though ultimately, it is still an open question.”

Because the participants were not representative of the general population, more studies are now needed, involving diverse groups of people, to find out whether Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation might benefit the wider public.

Although the meditative aspect might be even more important than the physical posing for improving executive functions, there are additional benefits to Hatha yoga including improvements in flexibility and strength. These benefits may make Hatha yoga superior to meditation alone, in terms of overall health benefits.”

 

What Would Be Considered As The Perfect Diet

Scientifically, What Would Be Considered The Perfect Diet?

There has long been a debate about what the one perfect diet is. Traditionally, a diet was simply the way that you ate. Over time it has evolved to mean, “restricting your current intake of food to lose weight.” Regardless of which definition you prefer, there is one perfect diet that does both.

The perfect diet is out there, but not in the way that you think. There is no one perfect diet that works for every single person on this entire planet. That’s impossible. Each person has a different set of nutritional requirements to keep them healthy. Many diets will sustain you or keep you alive. That doesn’t mean that they are good for you long term. Your perfect diet should not just keep you alive, it should help you thrive. It should give you the best possible intake of nutrients to allow your body to be as healthy as it can be.

Rather than one universal diet, there is a set of principles to determine what diet is perfect for you. A perfect diet should:

Be High in Nutrients

Move away from the food group philosophy and toward a nutrient philosophy. Eat nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. You do not specifically need to consume milk and milk alternatives, meat and meat alternatives, and grain products. Most nutrient recommendations are based on making sure that people have sufficient nutrients. They do not focus on getting optimal nutrients (especially vitamins). The recommended daily intake (RDI) does not focus on providing optimal nutrition. It also does not focus on how to improve the current state of your health. Make sure that you at least hit the RDI for each nutrient. Choose foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. Foods are the most nutrient-dense when they are fresh, so choose fresh as often as possible. Work with a dietician to determine if there are any nutrients you will benefit from in higher amounts.

Balance Blood Sugar

Balance your insulin and blood sugar because of the connection to other hormones in the body. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. When it’s too high you end up storing fat. Eating carbohydrates in moderation is important for hormonal balance. The percentage of calories from carbohydrates is far too high for many people. Eating protein or fat with carbohydrates is another way to slow the release of sugar. This can help to prevent insulin spikes.

Provide Food Security

Your diet should be financially feasible and readily available. You may overlook the ability to buy food. Not everyone has the option to eat food regularly. Contribute to food systems that support those who go hungry. Everyone deserves to eat healthy food. Our system can change if there’s enough demand for it.

Be Affordable

Eat the highest-quality food that you can afford without breaking the bank. Put a higher proportion of income into better-quality food to invest in your health. You will reduce the amount of money needed to treat chronic conditions down the line.

Be Low in Processed Foods

Processed food or a food product is a combination of foods and/or chemicals that have been subjected to some type of processing to make them more palatable or accessible to eat. There are countless studies that point to health risks related to a diet high in processed food. Instead, eat real food. Food is anything that comes naturally from the earth. It is not altered, modified, or processed. Food can be raised or grown, like animals or vegetables, and is alive before consumption.

Contain Variety

You want to eat a wide variety of foods. Most people tend to get little variety, consuming the same types of foods all year. Change your diet each quarter and eat what’s in season. Opt for different varieties of vegetables and fruits that you see in your average grocery store. Shopping at different stores will open up your options. It’s also easy to grow some of your own vegetables. Order seeds that grow well in your area and add variety to your plate.

Be Sustainable Long-term

A perfect diet will be sustainable and have a positive environmental impact. It should put nutrients back into the soil to keep it healthy for future generations. There is a direct correlation between the quality of our food and our health.

Healthy soil = healthy food = healthy people

Provide Adequate Hydration

Water is an overlooked component of health. Make sure that your intake of fluids doesn’t dilute you so much that you are losing all your electrolytes. You also don’t want to drink so little that you’re dehydrated. Find the right balance of water for you based on activity level, outside temperature, and your sweat rate.

Fuel for Your Activity Level

Eat to maintain a healthy body composition. Plan your calorie consumption based on the amount of energy you are burning. If you are gaining unwanted weight or not losing weight while trying to, you are consuming too many calories. On the other end, if you are starting to lose weight when you aren’t trying to, your calorie intake is too low.

Have a Balanced Social Component

Lack of social connection is a greater predictor of illness than any specific food choice on its own. When people go on super-strict diets or follow quirky health trends that leave them with only a few food options, their social connections suffer. I’m not advocating for eating at every social engagement. If your diet is socially isolating, you’re on the wrong diet.

If you’re looking to be even healthier, there’s so much more to the picture than just nutrition. I love sharing information about other aspects of health to help you live a richer life.