Slim Is Not Always Healthy

  • How do we judge health of weight

Obesity statistics often take estimates of body fat using body mass index [BMI].Although BMI is not perfectly correlated with body fat percentage. It is a quick and easy method for collecting data using just the person’s height and weight.

  • If you’re not overweight, does a healthy lifestyle matter?

Many people think if they’re able to stay lean while eating poorly and not exercising, then that’s OK. But though you might appear healthy on the outside, you could have the same health concerns as overweight and obese individuals on the inside.

When considering risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke or cancer, we often think about health indicators such as smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, and body weight. But poor diet and physical inactivity also each increase the risk for heart disease and have a role to play in the development of some cancers.

So even if you don’t smoke and you’re not overweight, being inactive and eating badly increases your risk of developing heart disease.

  • Unhealthy diets are bad for your body, but what about your brain?

Body weight was not hugely different between the groups eating a healthy diet and those on high fat and sugar diets. So this shows negative consequences of poor dietary intake can occur even when body weight has not noticeably changed. Body weight is not always the best predictor of internal health. Relationship between body weight and cognitive functioning was present even after controlling for a range of factors including education level and existing medical conditions. Many people use low body weight to excuse unhealthy eating and physical inactivity. But body weight is not the best indicator of internal well-being. A much better indicator is your diet. When it comes to your health, it’s what’s on the inside that counts and you really are what you eat.

  • Thin doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, mind the fat inside 

“People is thin. People is fit”. This is a misconception most of us have. Being thin doesn’t necessarily mean being fit. Most of us envy that slim people next door, who hogs junk foods day in and day out but hardly gains weight. But it would be interesting to note that it could be purely because her fats are deposited around her organs and not under the skin that she doesn’t look fat. This is a lesser-known dangerous condition, referred to as Thin outside Fat inside (TOFI).
Even people who are health conscious and maintain their weight through diet, rather than exercise, are likely to have major internal fat deposits even if they look slim. Without getting clear alarming signals of visible belly fat, thin people falsely assume that they are healthy. Usually people who are fat from inside are essentially on the verge of being obese in future purely because they consume more sugary and fatty foods, doing little exercise.

  • Why being thin is not healthy
  1. FAT LEVELS: Even though on the outside it may not seem like it, but thin beings have more fat in their bodies. The visceral fat (fat layering our organs) and subcutaneous fat (fat under skin) is way higher in thin bodies than in ‘fat’ or healthier bodies. So, even though they are eating extra pani-puris, remember that it is only loading up the fat in their body. It may not seem so harmful right now, but can and will in the future!
  1. PRONE TO DIABETES: Yes, thin people are more prone to type 2 diabetes than those on the heavier side. This is purely because of their unhealthy eating habits and erratic lifestyle changes. It’s not always good to believe that ‘dieting is not for thin people’.
  2. LETHARGY ISSUES: Thin people tend to have lethargy issues more than healthy people. This happens due to bad eating habits and how this affects their health. For example, if you are thin and keep binging on street food thinking it does not hurt your body, well, it’s time you think again. Your lethargy issues are due to horrible and frequent eating habits!
  1. LOW METABOLIC RATE: Another interesting discovery in our research is that the nutrient absorption is low in thin people. This means whatever food they eat, healthy or unhealthy; their body does not absorb its nutrition. This is not a good thing as this leads to low metabolism which makes them prone to a variety of lifestyle issues like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.
  1. DEAD SKIN: One major issue with ‘naturally’ thin people is their skin. If they do not practice healthy eating and regular exercise, their skin is bound to show it. Their skin appears to be dull and dry. After all, what you put inside your body shows outside as well, right?
  1. LOWER IMMUNITY: A consequent issue is bad immunity. Thin people tend to get sick more often than their healthier friends. This is entirely dependent on their eating habits and how they live their life.
  • Fat stigma, thin privilege

Fat stigma has led us to draw a direct and exclusive connection between fatness and ill health, often disregarding the many other aspects of a person’s life that also bears on their bodies and health. There are plenty of thin people suffering from illness and all manner of health complications too. But the privileges western culture has accorded to thinness mean that these people will never be subject to the same interrogations, or faux concerns, about their health. Unhealthy diet fads hardly come under the same kind of criticism.

Role of visceral fat and its effects on our body

Visceral fat is stored in a person’s abdominal cavity and is also known as ‘active fat’ as it influences how hormones function in the body. An excess of visceral fat can, therefore, have potentially dangerous consequences.

Because visceral fat is in the abdominal cavity, it is close to many vital organs, such as the pancreas, liver, and intestines. The higher the amount of visceral fat a person stores, the more at risk they are for certain health complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

Health risks of carrying excess visceral fat:

  • Heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • raised blood pressure
  • breast and colorectal cancer
  • stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease

High levels of visceral fat can result in increased insulin resistance which may lead to glucose intolerance and even type 2 diabetes.

ways to get rid of it:

The dangers of storing excess visceral fat can be extreme and immediate, so it is essential to make diet and lifestyle changes as soon as possible as losing weight can help a person reduce their levels of visceral fat.

  • Exercise

Exercise is an excellent way to reduce visceral fat. People should include both cardiovascular exercise, which raises a person’s heart rate, and strength training, which improves muscle size, into their routines.

Cardio exercise could include:

  • running
  • cycling
  • swimming
  • aerobics
  • circuit training

Strength training could include:

  • squats
  • weights
  • pushups
  • Reducing stress:stress can also play a role in storing excess visceral fat. This is because when someone is stressed, their body releases a hormone called cortisol, which increases how much visceral fat a person’s body stores. 

Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, and other stress management tactics, can be beneficial and help a person lose visceral fat more efficiently.

  • Diet

A healthful diet that is low in sugar laden, fatty foods will also help a person lose weight and excess visceral fat. A healthful diet should include:

  • lean proteins
  • fruit and vegetables
  • Complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, beans, and whole grains.

Bottom line:

Usually, it is possible to avoid high levels of visceral fat by leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Those who do store dangerous amounts of visceral fat can reduce their levels by making positive changes to their lifestyle. Changes include eating a nutritious, low-fat diet, increasing the amount of exercise, and lowering stress.

How Workout Helps Your Summer Even Better

Sounds interesting, YEAH! We are well aware of the fact that “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”. This simply means that without taking any break from work, a person tends to become both bored and boring. And just to keep that away, one should indulge oneself in various kinds of activities which keeps one on the right track and not let the life out of oneself. Working out is undoubtedly one of the best and apt option. And working out does not necessarily mean to go to the gym, it could be easily done at home as well. 

Well, I am sure that immediate reaction for workout signifies gym, which most of you will neglect as the scorching heat is right upon your head. Do not worry folks, as I am there to guide and support you. But that is not something one should adhere to. Working out, taking a walk, running or playing with kids outside in some park is never a bad idea. It keeps oneself in shape, energetic and has been considered one of the finest stress-buster. Well, you will not have the feel until you start with it- as it is well said that ‘only the wearer knows about the shoe bite’. 

My simple advice to you people is- 

  • Please DONOT over exert yourself and keep oneself hydrated. This is important because when one sweats, it increases the pace of the body temperature to cool down and it can be done in an organised way when the right amount of water is given to the body. This definitely gives clarity to the fact that working out in summer improves the ability of the body to cool itself down, hence improving your metabolism as well. It has also been considered beneficial as it increases the blood flow to the skin which helps the body to cool down. Eventually, the body gets used to it and becomes more responsive to the demands of workout sessions through sweating and increased blood circulations.
  • Have fresh fruits and vegetables like watermelon, peaches, plum, strawberries, star fruit, orange, cantaloupe, kiwi, grape fruits & vegetables like cucumber, leafy vegetables, lettuce, celery, mint, spinach, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, and radish.
  • Consume adequate fibers and proteins- as will help you in your work-out routine. [Protein like curd, buttermilk, yogurt & fibers like whole wheat cereals].

Working out in summers has proven to make you more efficient and agile. Improvements in heart rate and sweat rate are also the add-ons. And if all such things can push people to the brighter sides of their lives, then probably there is no harm in stepping out of the houses and participate oneself in some or the other activity which keeps the pace of life going. 

All I will say is just enjoy your work- out session and keep your body tuned!

Diet is a journey not a destination

Achieving good health and well being should be considered a journey of life.

Anything that influences the body both from within and from out should be addressed. These factors are key pillars of our life. They are – our rest, our diet, our physical fitness, our mental health and our attitude with which we interact with other.

Look for likeminded groups, either online or in person to connect with, seek support from health care professionals if you need help in a specific area. 

Like any other relationship, our relationship with our body and food requires compassion, trust and love. One should work every day to not only nourish our body but to be kind to it, respect it and to be grateful for all that it can do because it the only one.

Weight loss or getting fit is not about diet or program; it is about eating healthy and getting fit. Our attitude to finding health needs to be far more of a cocktail approach, rather than a single shot. There is no magic bullet, or one solution. We need to tick every box within the complex organism that is our body.

The key to making good health a journey is to enjoy the process. Rather forcing yourself to a gym or through the latest exclusion diet make changes to your lifestyle. This can be done by breaking your old habits and making new ones.

Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety and freshness. This makes it easier to make healthy choices. Also focus on finding food you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually your diet will become healthier and more delicious.

Start slow and make change to your eating habits over time. Every change you make to improve your diet matters.

Healthy eating begins with learning how to eat smart. It is not what you eat but how you eat. It supplies the body with the most important nutrients.

Healthy eating doesn’t mean eating especially chosen foods or avoiding some foods. By this a person deprives his body of important nutrients. Eat food which includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, dairy, minerals, fiber and vitamins. Limit sugar, fats and salt but not eating it all is not a good idea. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as they are source of vitamins and minerals. Never skip breakfast as this is the meal which gives us energy for the whole day. We should include healthy fats such as nuts, avocado for keeping fit. 

Always incorporate tips to shave 100 calories from diet:

  • Remove skin from chicken,
  • Use skim milk instead whole milk,
  • Use mustard instead of mayo,
  • Include nuts, beans, seeds in that is put protein in perspective
  • Limit sugar and salt,
  • Eat healthy carbohydrates or whole grains,
  • Color your plate with fruits and vegetables,
  • Add soups and salads to your diet.

When eating out, choose an appetizer instead of an entrée. Split a dish with your friend or order off the kids menu. A home use smaller plates. Serving meat, fish, or poultry should be size of a deck of cards. Bread should be size of CD and oil should be used one teaspoon only for cooking.

Practice mindful eating to counteract stress hormone cortisol. The body achieves what mind believes. Always focus on change and you will get results. Losing weight is a process and not an event. It is not a temporary fix, it is a lifestyle change. The fact is that fitness is an imperfect long distance event that requires patience and great mental discipline. Trying to make diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on new eating plan. So it is recommended to start with small changes, so that you can continue and it becomes your habit to more healthy choices of your diet.

Along with diet also focus on exercise. Think about the moderate activities you can do when you are working like walking, vacuuming, gardening, or anything that can increase breathing or heart rate.  Also include vigorous activities like running, aerobics, zumba to have a good circulation. 

Some tips to stay fit include:

  • Have a mini walk and exercises,
  • Do your work yourself, 
  • Use stairs and avoid lift,
  • Always make room for your favorite activities.

Another important factor includes sleep cycle. Sleep well and respect your natural circadian rhythms. Artificial lights interrupts these rhythms, so avoid screens an hour before your bedtime or use glasses with orange filters and ensure you get lot of light when you wake up in the morning.

Avoid Stress to lead a healthy lifestyle. Manage your overall stress levels and stay connected with others.

Healthy lifestyle habits can also help you reverse your stress response, enabling you to avoid or even reverse the negative effects of chronic stress. There will be failures when you start a healthy journey program but keep yourself motivated and also keep strong willpower. All I can say is good health is not a destination, it is journey for life.

How does grain affect our digestive system?

Cereal grains are the world’s single biggest source of food energy. The three most commonly consumed types are wheat, rice and corn. Despite widespread consumption, the health effects of grains are quite controversial. Some think they are an essential component of a healthy diet, while others think they cause harm. Commonly Grains consist of three important parts:

  • The bran (the outermost layer), which contains fibre and B vitamins.
  • The germ which contains oils, vitamins, proteins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • The endosperm (located above the germ), which contains carbohydrates and protein.

Types of Grain:

Grain foods are typically categorized either as whole or refined.

  • Whole grains are grains that have been minimally processed to still contain the bran, germ, and endosperm, whereas refined grains only contain the endosperm. The endosperm makes up about 85 percent of a wheat grain, meaning that just 15 percent of the grain contains all of its fibre and most of its nutrients.
  • Refined grains can come from the same plant as whole grains, they’re just missing the germ, bran, and all the nutrients that go along with them. They have a longer shelf life than whole grains, since the oily germ tends to become rancid when exposed to light and heat.
  • Whole grains offer vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have many potential health benefits. For example, replacing refined grains with potassium-rich whole grains may help lower blood pressure. The dietary fibre in whole grains slows digestion, which makes them low on the glycemic index. High-glycemic-index foods (like refined grains) can be digested very quickly, causing sharp spikes in blood sugar that can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

Popular Grains and their effects:

  • Wheat: is the most widely cultivated cereal crop in the world. Wheat has come to be a firm favourite grain because of the diversity it provides in culinary applications. Relatively high in protein (11-13%) compared with other major grains and contains a protein complex which forms gluten. High in potassium and low in sodium. Contains B-group vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate and pantothenic acid. It also Contains vitamin Contains iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium (depending on the soil content of selenium). Contains small amounts of copper, manganese and calcium. Wheat contains protein called gluten which some people are sensitive to. Celiac disease is an allergy to wheat gluten that causes an abnormal immune system reaction in the intestines. Wheat allergy is when the body produces antibodies to the proteins in the wheat. Try eliminating gluten from your diet and note if your symptoms improve.
  • Rice: is the staple grain which is used all over India in different forms. White rice is a bland, low-fibre food because it is processed, like white flour and bread. White rice is easy on your digestive system, making it a suitable item on bland menus for people recovering from various digestive ailments like an upset stomach, gastroenteritis and diverticulitis. Brown rice is a high-roughage food rich in insoluble fibre on its outer part, with soluble fibre inside. The soluble fibre controls blood sugar and lowers cholesterol, but the insoluble fibre promotes good digestion. Unlike the soluble type, which changes its form into a jelly, the insoluble type retains its shape and resists digestion. This allows it to move other digestible foods along more efficiently. The insoluble fibre also absorbs water that moisturizes stool, and it bulks up your waste product into soft but solid pieces. Combining rice with dal makes a complete protein which is good if taken in limited quality in evening also.
  • Jowar (Sorghum): Sorghum is one of the most commonly used cereal grains in the world and a lot of that is thanks to the rich nutritional value it offers to the consumer. Sorghum is found to be rich in vitamins and minerals, along with providing great protein content and making up for a large portion of your dietary fibre intake. Nutritional composition of sorghum includes calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and sodium are found in the quantities of 53.8 mg, 8.4 mg, 551 mg, 672 mg and 11.5 mg respectively per 100 grams sorghum. Vitamins like thiamine, niacin and riboflavin are also found in rich quantities in sorghum. The high dietary fibre content of sorghum makes it one of the best foods in the world for improving digestion and taking care of the digestive system. A single serving of sorghum can contain up to 48% of a person’s recommended daily intake of dietary fibre, which helps the digestive system in keeping the movement of food along with the system completely smooth. Sorghum flour also prevents bloatingcramping, excess gas, constipation, diarrhoea and general stomach aches. The only risk one can probably look out for is the risk of being allergic to the grains, but even such cases are extremely rare. This grain is especially good to have in winters.
  • Bajra (Pearl Millet): It’s a widely used millet in India. Its especially popular in winters as it is supposed to keep body warm. It’s a gluten free grain which reduces glucose levels and stabilizes Cholesterol level. High Iron and Zinc content in Bajra helps in increasing haemoglobin. People with iron deficiency Anaemia must include Bajra in their diet to overcome the problem. The lignin and phytonutrients in the bajra act as strong antioxidants thus preventing heart-related diseases. This is why pearl millet is considered good for heart health. High amounts of magnesium present in pearl millet has been shown to control blood pressure and relieve heart stress. Bajra is a good source of energy. They provide protein, fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, dietary fibre, and polyphenols. Typical millet protein contains a high quantity of essential amino acids especially the sulphur-containing amino acids (methionine and cysteine). Bajra is considered the best plant-based protein source. Bajra, when combined with legumes like rajma, moong dal, urad dal, toovar dal, and chana dal, provide complete proteins, especially for vegetarians.
  • Ragi (Finger Millet): Finger millet or Ragi is a cereal crop that belongs to the grass    family, Poaceae. It is mostly grown in the Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Goa, Uttarakhand, and Tamil Nadu. Making of bread, porridge and alcoholic beverages are some ragi powder uses. It is believed to be a great laxative due to its high fibre content and prevents constipation. Even lactating mothers who cannot produce sufficient milk feed it to their babies. Ragi help in reducing weight and treating diseases like diabetes, anaemia, and osteoporosis. It digests very slowly, this makes it good for obese and diabetic patients also contains an amino acid called tryptophan, Methionine, and Lysine. Tryptophan controls your appetite and aids in weight loss. Methionine and Lysine make the skin tissue less prone to wrinkles and sagging. Due to the high content of dietary fibre and polyphenols, it has antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antioxidant properties that prevent tumours and atherosclerosis. Ragi disadvantages are also that it is a rich source of calcium. If consumed in a larger than recommended amount, it can increase the amount of oxalic acid in the body causing kidney stones. Also, Goitrogen present in ragi can interfere with the thyroid hormones and reduce iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. This reduces the levels of iodine in the body. The low iodine levels can lead to goitre. Other than these, People with lactose intolerance and those who cannot have milk can substitute it with ragi. You can have countless recipes that use ragi in delicious forms. From babies to adults, all can have ragi and reap the benefits
  •  Kuttu (Buckwheat): Kuttu belongs to the group of foods commonly called as pseudo cereals. These are seeds that are consumed as cereal grains but don’t grow on grasses.  It’s extremely warm in its potency. This is the prime reason why Kuttu ka Atta (Buckwheat Flour) is not eaten in an everyday meal. Kuttu ka Atta (Buck wheat Flour) can be eaten cooked, baked and roasted and there are many things that can be made out of it. This is the prime reason why the use of buck wheat flour is recommended in winters. In fact, in areas of severe cold, it is regularly consumed as it helps in keeping the body warm internally, thereby reducing the effects of chills and cold and also boosts the internal immunity of the body helping it to fight against external infections and viruses. This whole grain is gluten-free and packed with nutrients like dietary fibre, plant proteins, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and copper. While buckwheat doesn’t have many vitamins except vitamin B6 and K to speak of, it’s packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals like rutin, quercetin and vitexin. Studies show that if you’re already allergic to latex or rice, you may be allergic to buckwheat too. The symptoms of an allergic reaction to buckwheat include digestive issues, skin rashes and swelling.

Bottom Line is for majority whole grains are healthy and good for digestion too. One has to take care that vegetables too are eaten with the whole grains to subside the acidic nature of whole grains in general. People should introduce them to their diet slowly and observe if they have allergy to any specific grain. Wherever possible, prefer grinding the grain and make flour at home and use certain amount for cooking or making roti. Everything is eaten in a proper quantity will always be good, one should not go overboard.