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  • DIETARY CHANGES FOR PRE MENSTRUAL SYNDROME

    If you find your wife feeling low depressed and moody and ready to snap at you at the slightest of provocation then this information is for you to figure out the reasons and logically understand this uncanny behavior. This is a group of signs and symptoms which is apparent about 1-2 weeks prior to the onset of the cyclic bleeding. It was recognized and given a name in the year 1931. As the name signifies, the symptoms begin after ovulation and peak just before menstruation and disappear just at the onset of bleeding.

    Premenstrual syndrome is the name given to a set of symptoms which are part and parcel of the women’s monthly cycle, why it has come to be recognized and categorized as such is because unlike a disease state it is a transient syndrome occurring in a huge population and yet can be very debilitating to the person (many women are unable to work during this time and frequently have to take leave or suffer silently).

    The common symptoms are: Mood swings, irritability, tender breasts, bloated abdomen, food cravings, pimples, headaches, stomach upsets, appetite changes, irritability, depression, over sensitivity, crying spells. The symptoms vary from mild to severe. The hormones responsible for such a change besides changing level of estrogens are mineral corticoids (maintain the water levels) prostaglandins, serotonin (low levels may lead to depression) endorphins (the happy hormones –low levels may cause depression).

    Why Do Some Women Have a Terrible Time While Others Sail Through ?

    This depends a lot on two aspects, one is genetics and the other is your diet and lifestyle. Genetics is either a blessing or curse, if one is blessed with a strong constitution then one can sail through but if severe cranky behavior is the change which occurs every month then it is high time you improved the diet.

    Tips to Minimize Pre Menstrual Syndrome

    1. Eat no junk food like maida, aerated drinks, highly salted processed food like chips, tortillas. Such foods are high in components which convert to sugar in the body (maida,corn) or are sugar (sweet drinks) as a result the body produces large amounts of insulin to balance and digest the foods as a result the hormonal balance gets disrupted and bloating, moodiness are triggered the excessive salt also contributes to the water retention. Eat high fiber foods if you have a carbohydrate craving eat high fiber carbohydrates like whole wheat atta bread/roti, brown rice, corn on the cob.
    2. Eat frequent small meals and avoid big meals as this will help to cut down the bloating and hypoglycemia which cause major depression.
    3. Substantially reduce tea, coffee, colas as they lead to rapid heart- beat bloating and nervousness
    4. Reduce sugar and salt intake in your diet as it causes a huge amount of water retention and mood swings besides may also lead to a migraine attack.
    5. A multi-vitamin supplement with Vitamin B-6 and other B Vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C are wonderful in alleviating the symptoms.
    6. Herbal supplements like evening primrose oil are great for improving the well being of the person.
    7. Mild exercise like walking and flexibility exercises are good for toning down the severity of symptoms.
    8. Avoid alcohol or cocktails.
  • CHOLESTROL REGULATION

    Diets high in total fat, cholesterol and saturated fats contribute to high blood cholesterol. Both, the amount and the type of fat influence blood cholesterol. All fats are composed of either saturated or unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids can be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids. Food fats generally contain a mix of all these kinds of fatty acids. It is primarily the saturated fats that are linked to higher blood cholesterol levels.

    Dietary cholesterol is the cholesterol found in the food we eat. All animal food products contain some cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol seems to contribute to higher blood cholesterol when consumed in large amounts along with saturated fats. People differ in their ability to handle cholesterol in the diet because the level at which our body manufactures cholesterol also varies. Even if we do not eat any cholesterol, the liver would manufacture enough to meet the body's needs.

    The most effective way to lower blood cholesterol is to eat less saturated fat and avoid food products rich in cholesterol.

    How to Raise HDL Cholesterol (Good Cholesterol)?
    A low level of HDL (less than 35mg/dL) is considered as a risk factor, even if your total cholesterol is within limits, i.e. your risk of heart disease is elevated. You can increase the level of HDL by the following:

    1. Eat half a raw onion a day raises HDL (good) cholesterol an average of 25 percent in most people with cholesterol problems.
    2. Eat at least two servings of foods high in soluble fiber.
    3. Soluble fiber is found in whole grains, oats and oat bran, brown rice, fruits such as citrus fruits, apples, grapes etc. and legumes & lentils. The soluble fiber raises HDL levels and helps lower total cholesterol. The whole grain are also good source of linoleic acid
    4. Use oils higher in monounsaturated fats, such as canola or olive oil. It is found that monounsaturated fats raise HDL levels.
    5. Increase your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, cold pressed flaxseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, dark green vegetables, etc.
    6. Eat at least two serving of Soya (phytoestrogens) products. Tofu, tempeh, and TVP (texturized vegetables protein) may help raise HDL levels. Include at least two servings each day.
    7. Avoid Trans fatty acids i.e. hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening. Choose a liquid or semi soft variety of margarine in your diet Trans fatty acids are found in and many fast foods and French fries, baked goods such as cookies, crackers and cakes. Remember, the softer the spread, the less Trans fat it contains.
    8. Avoid redefined carbohydrates like sugar and redefined flour. These have shown to raise blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
    9. Avoid food sources of cholesterol such as egg yolk, liver, kidney, brains, etc. Fish have an abundance of omega 3 fatty acids, which provide added protection against cardio vascular diseases
    10. Avoid high fat dairy products such as regular milk, cheese and cream.
    11. Reduce alcohols intake. However, alcohol (wine or beer) in moderation may raise HDL levels. However, if you do not drink, don’t start to raise HDL, it is not a medicine.
    12. Do aerobic exercise (brisk walking, jogging, etc.) every alternate day. Take off excess weight, carrying even a few extra kilos can significantly increase total cholesterol

    Controlling your cholesterol is absolutely essential to lowering your risk of artherosclerosis, stroke and heart attacks. Though medication may be required, wise nutrition is a very effective weapon for putting cholesterol in proper balance.

  • DIET FOR SKIN

    We all eat for a great health and vitality and it is but natural that a good diet is essential for great health too besides improving the skin. But in many cases due to a previous unhealthy eating plan and stress the skin gets affected and many skin problems are noticed like acne, rash, pigmentation, dull skin, dry skin.

    Reasons for an unhealthy skin:
    1. A bad diet consisting of processed food and too many cereals, pulses and non-veg / dairy and very little fruits, vegetables and salads.
    2. Genetically very dry or very oily skin.
    3. Hormonal changes like pregnancy, menopause, irregular cycles, and ovarian hormonal pills.
    4. Iatrogenic (i.e because of medicines).
    General rules for healthy skin:
    1. Water is the best medicine as far as skin conditions are concerned as it cleanses and detoxifies the body. It of course, can vary from individual to individual and anything between 1 liter’s to 2 liters in a day is a must.
    2. Vitamin A is one of the essential vitamins which is very important for a good and healthy skin. The natural sources of vitamin A precursors (from which vitamin A is made) are papaya, oranges, melons, egg yolk etc.
    3. Vitamin C, is another skin vitamin and is good for all skin conditions. The consumption of this vitamin should be increased and the good sources include all citric fruits (sour), goose berries, guavas.
    4. Vitamin B, again one of the vitamins which is very essential to the skin; all leafy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, brewer’s yeast (different from baking yeast) are rich sources.
    5. Vitamin E is excellent for skin and especially for dry skins. It is found in nuts, oilseeds, vegetables like broccoli, egg yolk etc.

    For dry skin:
    Aloe-vera juice in fact is one herb which benefits this type of skin the maximum; taken in a capsule form or applied externally (compared to other types of skin). Oil seeds like flax seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, egg yolk, carrot and beetroot juice are good for people with dry skin. Consume Vitamin E capsules, with the recommendation of physician.

    For oily skin:
    12 glasses of water is to be consumed every day. Consume Cucumber and karela juice on an empty stomach. Cut down oils and fats from the diet absolutely. Processed and junk foods or very sugary foods are not recommended as it adversely affects oily skins more than other skin types. Diet consisting of 50% of fruits and salads should be consumed.

    Diet for acne prone skin:
    Avoid all refined foods. Cut down too much of dairy products, eggs and non-veg foods. Eat lots of salads, fruits, and vegetables. Include more fiber in the diet like wheat bran, oat bran. Eat sprouts at least 2 times a week. Hydrate oneself well by drinking 10 glasses of water a day minimum. Have 1 karela skin juiced along with tulsi and lauki juice daily.

  • HARMONISE YOUR HEALTH

    We are increasingly interested not only in what we eat and drink, but in how our diet might be affecting our general health and well-being. It has long been recognized that dietary deficiencies and imbalances can cause serious medical conditions. Remember the stories from your school days about sailors getting scurvy on long voyages, until an early nutritionist worked out that adding limes and lemons to their diet would eliminate the problem? That was nutritional therapy in action. Life span, health, immunity, energy, metabolism, complexion, strength, enthusiasm, luster, and mental and emotional clarity are all adversely affected by food.

    Actually, you are what you digest and assimilate, and you become diseased by the foods that your body does not digest. People are plagued with many illnesses, primarily due to unhealthy dietary choices. Even those who have an interest in eating well are overwhelmed by the myriad of temporary popular views; these must be juggled with eating habits deeply ingrained in us from childhood. Here are some basic eating guidelines which have been tested and proved over thousands of years which we should try to cultivate in our eating habits

    • Do not confuse thirst with hunger. Drink instead of eat when hungry in between meals. It dilutes digestive gastric enzymes.
    • Try to eat at almost the same and approximate times every day.
    • Don't eat after 8 p.m. or two hour before going to sleep.
    • Sit down when eating and eat in a peaceful environment (that means no TV, reading, heated discussions, etc.).
    • Don't eat when emotionally upset.
    • Don't over eat. Overeating stretches the stomach so you'll need more to feel satisfied and creates toxins in the digestive tract.
    • Fill one-third of your stomach with food, one-third with water and one-third empty.
    • As much as possible, eat fresh foods, the best quality you can afford. Prepare the food with love on your mind and peace in your heart.

    These dietary changes may feel like sacrifices in the beginning, but your optimum health and longevity is worth it. In understanding why diet is such a factor in optimum health, we can stay inspired to make these lifelong changes and reap the many benefits, at all levels

  • EAT FOR STRONGER TEETH

    Consider these healthful dietary choices and habits to help eradication of cavity-causing bacteria attacks and keep mouths, gums and teeth healthy.

    • Vitamin C and folic acid help protect gums from cell damage and bacterial infections.. Spinach, beans (except green beans), peas and lentils are good food sources of folic acid.
    • Calcium and vitamin D may decrease the risk for tooth loss. Dairy products, cheese, fruits, vegetables, fish and tofu are rich sources of dietary calcium.
    • Drinking too many carbonated soft drinks can hasten erosion of tooth enamel surfaces. Sipping through a straw helps keep potentially damaging acids away from teeth.
    • Consuming carbohydrate-rich foods as part of a balanced meal is better than eating them alone. The body produces more saliva to digest larger meals, which washes away more food and helps neutralize harmful acids before they can attack teeth.
  • LET YOUR HEART BEAT

    Scientific evidence today supports the concept that heart diseases have their roots in our daily diets. Results of several large scale studies show that certain strategies based on dietary modification, if implemented can decrease the number of deaths associated with diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

    • A good eating habit with a well balanced exercise program for the body cycle to function effectively is the first step to make your, “heartbeat” longer.
    • Well balanced meal that includes all the basic food groups [group1-cereals and starchy foods like rice, wheat, potato; group2-pulses, meat; group3-milk and its products; group4- fats and oils; group5-fruits and vegetables], with reduction in total fats, that is visible fats [butter, ghee oil] and invisible fats [fats that is already present in foods like in flesh foods, milk products] has to be taken care while planning menu.
    • Total fat in food should be reduced. Cutting down the use of cooking oil by using non stick pans is the solution to reduce the visible fats. Adopting the smarter substitutions to high calorie foods; that is: replacing one glass of milk with skimmed milk, one glass of orange juice with an orange, pasta with whole wheat flour pasta, mayonnaise with white sauce, chicken with fish, paneer with skimmed milk paneer, fried foods with steamed and grilled foods, removing fats from chicken and meat before cooking can help to reduce the consumption of invisible fats. It is also very important to avoid the repetitive heating of oils as there is a release of free radicals which have the negative effects on health.
    • Consume natural foods as grown; like whole grain cereals, pulses vegetables, fruits as they have lot of fiber which fills you up calorie free.
    • Enough vitamins and minerals in form of fruits and vegetables is must as they are antioxidants which keeps our system clean, makes skin glow and keeps you slimmer.
    • All colors of vegetables and fruits that is; orange, green, yellow should be included in the diet.
    • Salt intake has to be restricted. This can be done by avoiding table salt, high salty foods like papad, pickle, cheese, salted butter, sauces and canned foods.
    • Processed foods are not only high in salt content but also there is loss of vitamins and minerals in these foods. So fast foods and processed foods are expensive both for pocket and heart.
    • To make sure that heart beats in a normal pace it is important to keep you relaxed and do not unduly put yourself under stress. Stress causes the heart to beat faster, B.P to go up, muscle to become tense and arteries to go in spasm.
    • One of the ways to relax is exercise. Exercise also helps to increase HDL [good CHL] and reduce the tendency of blood to form clots. It also helps to maintain the ideal weight. Exercise can be done by adopting regular walk, doing household chores by you, jogging during commercials while watching T.V, using stairs and reducing the tendency of helpers in office and home. These all activities keep your mind as well as body fit.
    • Last but not the least smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided. Alcohol increases B.P and heavy drinking weakens the heart muscles. Now a day’s people have the misconception that alcohol is good for heart and increases HDL [good CHL]. Small amounts of alcohol increases HDL but it does not increases the protective fraction [HDL-2].So it is better to avoid alcohol because of its other ill effects on blood muscle of heart. Smoking is also major risk factor leading to heart disease. Nicotine and carbon monoxide in the smoke damage the heart and blood vessels. Smoking also increases blood viscosity as well as clot formation.

    It is advisable to adapt sensible and healthy food habits with a good lifestyle in order to make your ‘heart beat longer’ and have a quality life. We should work towards a goal with a clear idea of what one would like to achieve and at what cost.

  • MYTHS AND REALITY ABOUT FOOD – AN EYE OPENER

    It is interesting to observe how many food myths exist and how stubbornly people and many health professionals believe in them. Listed below are few common ones and their reality.

    Myth: “Oh -- get me sugar free as I m dieting!”
    Taking artificial sweetener for long can lead to depressions, giddiness, diabetes in long run, cancers, gastritis, tooth decay, infertility, kidney damages and many more problems. So, instead from suffering, better to have sugar but in restricted amounts.

    Myth: Cutting down fat completely from diet is important to loose weight
    This is one of the deep rooted myths. Some vitamins like A, D, E, K are fat soluble, and can be absorbed by the body only in the medium of some dietary fat. Completely avoiding fats can also results in dryness of skin and high pigmentation.

    Myth: Bananas, rice and potato are fattening
    Although a banana is sweeter than an apple or orange, it has only 85 calories. Bananas are a wonderful source of potassium and contain valuable protein. Dieters report bananas are more filling than some of the other fruits, and they are also great for reducing constipation. Similarly, rice and potatoes are also essential in food as they are source of B-complex vitamins, fiber and amino acids. All these foods should be consumed but in wiser manner.

    Myth: Want to lose weight munch like a cow—eat raw salads and sprouts.
    Many of you must be shaking your head in disbelief, wondering how this age old myth can be challenged. Eating only limited food can lead to lots of deficiencies and also eating raw salads and sprouts can also sometimes be harmful and can lead to hyperacidity and joint pains. These foods are good but only be taken if it suits your body.

    Myth: Idli-sambar, Dosa-sambar, dal rice are healthier options
    Dieters opt for these kind of combinations presuming they are low calorie but these combinations can be deadly sometimes as they get too heavy for the body to handle, does not get digested easily and get stored as fat.

    Myth: Idli-sambar, Dosa-sambar, dal rice are healthier options
    Dieters opt for these kind of combinations presuming they are low calorie but these combinations can be deadly sometimes as they get too heavy for the body to handle, does not get digested easily and get stored as fat.

    Myth: More the sweat, more the weight loss !
    Exercise is a fabulous way and meant to relax, tone body and to improve stamina and not to lose weight. Over-exercise which is done to lose weight faster in most cases lead to frustration and injuries. Exercise should be done three to four times a week in moderation.

    Myth: Stop eating- “Pop” in Calcium, Iron, B Complex tablets
    Lot of dieters restricts their food intake and instead pop in tablets thinking that they are getting deficient in certain nutrients. While losing weight, all the nutrients should be consumed in natural form instead of tablets until and unless recommended by a Physician
    Maximize your health by eating the right foods for your body. ‘One man’s food can be another man’s poison’ - it expresses the fact that the effect of food and drug upon the body differ greatly between individuals. How to eat right kind of food for your body without disrupting the regular eating habits can only be answered by the professional who can judge your body correctly and suggest you with right kind of food and their combination and not just a general low calorie diet plan as food can treat/control obesity, migraines, diabetes, high blood pressure, anemia, acidity poor concentration and other medical ailments.

    Harpreet Pasricha is a respected authority in the diet and health industry. She has been actively involved in the wellness space for years. Harpreet Eats, breathes and lives her fitness mantra, by promoting health and fitness as a way of life. Along with helping people to lose weight, she is also involved in, designing of special menus for people suffering from migraine, acidity, hypertension, diabetes, asthma and various other medical problems. Her aim is making the present day society understand the power of proper diet and regulated eating habits. She presents a holistic, integrated, set of ageless principles and timeless techniques solving various complex medical problems. Harpreet never fails to be amazed by the power of nutrition and has witnessed time and again how something as simple as understanding the importance of food can bring about huge, transformational changes in people’s lives.

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