• Health
    Foods for a healthy kidney and liver

    Healthy kidneys and liver are absolutely essential for a long and fit life. Among themselves, the two organs perform and oversee innumerable functions. The brain, spinal cord, and the heart are all dependent on the kidney and liver, underlining its importance to the human body. Therefore, their normal functioning is crucial and can be easily addressed by making healthy dietary choices. Read on to know more about foods you can add to your diet to improve the condition of your kidney and liver.

    Foods essential for healthy kidneys

    • Kale

    Arguably one of the healthiest vegetables, kales are replete with antioxidants and also have anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a good source of Vitamins A and C and has large amounts of iron. They’re highly recommended to patients with kidney and cardiovascular conditions.

    • Cauliflower

    Like Kale, Cauliflower too is rich in Vitamin C. It’s packed with folate, antioxidants, and compounds that promote healthy functioning of the kidneys. Additionally, cauliflower is low in sodium and potassium, which helps maintain the fluid levels in the body. Its low protein and high fiber content help in detoxifying the kidneys.

    • Apple

    No wonder! Famed for its infinite benefits to the human body, apples are known to be great for the proper functioning of kidneys. They are high in fiber and have anti-inflammatory properties. Apples are also packed with pectin – a soluble fiber that reduces risk factors causing kidney damage.

    Foods essential for a healthy liver

    • Grapefruit

    It is filled with antioxidants, among which naringenin and naringin are the most helpful. These antioxidants are known to protect the liver from injury, reduce inflammation, and protect cells. Additionally, grapefruit helps reduce fat buildup in the liver and increases enzymes that burn fats. The antioxidants can reduce the development of hepatic fibrosis as well – a condition where excessive connective tissue builds up in the liver.

    • Nuts

    Almonds are especially good sources of Vitamin E, which helps protect against fatty liver disease. Nuts in general, have good deposits of unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. Besides reducing inflammation, they prevent NAFLD (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) – a common condition in individuals who drink little or no alcohol.

    Herbs and spices

    Just as good for the heart, herbs, and spices are a must for a fully functioning liver.

    • Cumin – Instrumental in the production of bile juice and other digestive enzymes, cumin also helps in liver detoxification and indigestion.
    • Peppermint – Rich in antioxidants, peppermint cleanses the liver and helps eliminate harmful toxins from the body. Peppermint leaf stimulates the flow of bile and supports a healthy cholesterol level.
    • Turmeric – The antioxidants in turmeric are incredibly powerful and can help prevent the liver from being damaged by toxins. Additionally, it supports the liver by releasing enzymes and reduces the risk of hepatitis.
  • Health
    4 best fitness apps you can download

    The secret to fitness and nutrition is to strike a perfect balance between diet and exercise; both aspects go hand-in-hand. So, while it is important to exercise regularly, it is also important to be aware of what you are eating and how many calories it contains. Adhering to a workout routine is easier than keeping tabs on your calorie intake. However, with the presence of several apps that can not only help you lose weight, but also act as your nutrition diary, leading a healthy life is easier. Continue reading to know some of the most useful fitness and nutrition apps that can help you stay at the top of your health routine.

    • Fooducate
      This fitness and nutrition app helps you keep a tab on your diet and exercise routine. The is replete with features such as calorie counter and exercise tracker. What makes Fooducate stand apart from other fitness apps is, it not only keeps a tab on calories, but also analyses the values of calories from different food sources such as calories from fats and calories from proteins. Both, free and paid versions are available for download on Apple as well as Android phones.
    • Lose it!
      Another popular application, Lose it! does pretty much everything you require from a fitness app. The app comes with a food database and dietary plans to suit your daily nutrition needs. It also has hardware support, which lets you connect fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone. This gives the app additional statistics to analyze your fitness goals. The app also connects to MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, and other apps to collect more data. Lose it! is available for both Apple and Android phones.
    • Lifesum
      Lifesum app is a fitness-on-demand app that allows you to count the calories of packaged foods using its barcode scanning feature. It also has progress tracking, macro (nutrients) tracking, and one-off recipes for a healthy living. Lifesum also has several diets such as Keto diet, low-carb diet, and 5:2 diets that can help you reach your fitness goals. The best part of this app is it does not have a fixed subscription period. You can cancel your subscription anytime without any cancelation costs. The app is available for free with an in-app payment subscription on both Apple and Android phones.
    • MyFitnessPal
      This is one of the most popular fitness and nutrition apps available on both the App Store and Google Play. With over 10 million downloads, MyFItnessPal app comes with features such as a database of over five million foods, calorie counter, cross-platform connection, and recipe calculator to count the number of calories in home-cooked meals. Apart from this, it also has 350 different types of exercises to facilitate both cardio and strength training. The app is available on both the App Store and Google Play.
  • Health
    5 gout triggers to avoid at all costs

    Gout, a form of arthritis, affects joints where it causes an almost unimaginable level of pain. The suffering is so nasty and awful that even the slightest of touches to the affected area can feel as if a bulldozer landed on it. Although movement remains one of the biggest triggers of gout pain, there are other factors that are just as responsible for its occurrence.

    Aspirin and other medication
    It is essential to understand the root of this illness to understand how medication and any other entity, for that matter, triggers gout pain.

    Gout is caused due to the buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is formed due to the breakdown of purine — a chemical compound found in almost all foods and drinks. The kidneys usually excrete uric acid through urine, but sometimes due to its excessive accumulation, it deposits in joints where it forms needle-like structures and causes pain and inflammation.

    Despite being good for the heart, aspirin increases the amount of uric acid in the blood. Even low doses of aspirin can trigger gout pain, which is more common in women than men.

    Diuretics can likewise have a similar effect, decreasing the kidney’s ability to remove uric acid and increasing the risk of gout. Some common diuretics drugs include hydrochlorothiazide, metolazone, and chlorothiazide, among others. Cyclosporine, ACE inhibitors and chemotherapy drugs, meanwhile, also increase the risk of gout pain.

    Besides opening the potential for so many other ailments, obesity substantially increases the risk of gout. Excess weight increases the uric acid concentration in the blood, which directly leads to gout. The presence of more fat and possible increase of insulin in the body could produce more uric acid. Kidneys, meanwhile, may find it hard to remove the excess uric acid in overweight individuals.

    Purine-rich foods and drinks
    While purines are a natural substance and aren’t all bad, its intake should be limited, given uric acid, its byproduct, is the central cause of gout. Foods such as organ meats, salmon, sardines, bacon, mutton, turkey have high purine content and should be avoided. Sugary beverages and alcohol, too, are rich in purine and must be limited.

    Never good for the system in general, dehydration also leads to gout. This happens because of an increase in blood uric acid concentration, with kidneys unable to eliminate the uric acid from the body. Drinking around six to eight ounces of water is recommended at the least to avoid the risk of gout.

    Wrong shoes
    While gouts can affect any joint, it is more common around the big toe. Hence, wearing the right shoes is key to avoiding gout pain. Even the slightest rub or pinch to the concerned area can set off the attack. Shoes that are confiding should be avoided, while women should opt for ones that have lower heels.

  • Health
    6 useful dietary tips for a healthy pregnancy

    A pregnant woman needs more folic acid, calcium, and iron than usual. However, this does not make it necessary to eat twice. It is a common misconception that a pregnant woman must eat for two people. Making smart and healthy food choices that meet the daily dietary requirement of nutrients is more than enough. All that is required is to fine-tune eating habits so that the mother and the baby get sufficient nutrition for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Here are a few essential dietary tips for pregnant women.

    Never skip breakfast
    Breakfast is what keeps one going through the day. Fortified cereal with fruits is often a good option. These cereals are packed with added nutrients, such as folic acid, iron, and calcium. It is recommended to pick cereals with less or no sugar. In case there is morning sickness, and it’s hard to have a heavy breakfast, start the day with whole-grain toast. Then eat something later in the morning.

    Pick healthy snacks
    Hunger pangs between meals can be easily managed with light, healthy snacks. Fat-free or low-fat yogurt with low or no sugar along with fruits can be a filling snack. Another great option is whole-grain crackers with low-fat or fat-free cheese. Raw veggies, such as celery or carrots, also make for healthy snacking options during pregnancy.

    Keep away from raw meats and soft cheese
    Raw meat and fish often have bacteria in them. Also, soft cheese may have harmful microorganisms, which can be harmful to the baby. Stay away from raw uncooked fish, such as sushi. Additionally, avoid raw and rare meats. Lunch meats and hot dogs are also not recommended unless these have been heated to steaming hot temperature. When having soft cheese, such as Brie, goat cheese, or feta, make sure these are pasteurized.

    Lower caffeine intake
    Caffeinated beverages and drinks can do more harm than good during pregnancy. Decaffeinated tea or coffee are healthier options. Furthermore, it is recommended to pick a seltzer or water over soda. Additionally, stay away from alcohol-based drinks and beverages. Alcohol is a strict no-no during pregnancy.

    Pick fibrous foods
    During pregnancy, irregular bowel movements are bothersome. Eating fiber-rich foods will regularize bowel movements. Also, fiber-loaded foods, such as kidney beans and black beans, provide necessary nutrients. Additionally, include veggies and fruits like bananas, sweet potatoes, pears, spinach, and green peas in the diet. Whole grain-based foods, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice, are also good during pregnancy.

    Eat dark leafy greens
    Dark, leafy green vegetables contain all the nutrients necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Veggies such as broccoli, spinach, and kale are packed with potassium, folate, iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Furthermore, these veggies are rich in antioxidants that strengthen the immune system.

  • Health
    Simple ways to prevent hair loss

    Shedding of hair is a natural and common process of the body to get rid of old hair and promote growth. You may not even notice the few strands of hair that are replaced regularly by shedding and regrowth. However, sudden and excessive shedding results in hair loss. It can affect men and women of all ages and varies in terms of severity. The condition cannot be 100% cured with only treatment. But the following ways can help slow down shedding and prevent excessive hair loss.

    Don’t stress
    Stress is one of the main triggers of excessive hair loss. The body produces and releases certain hormones that regulate hair growth. Stress can cause a chemical imbalance in these vital hormones, which in turn, damages the hair follicles’ natural ability to regrow hair. Adopt practices such as eating healthy, exercising, staying hydrated, and controlling the urge to smoke or drink to manage stress. Instead, pursue healthy activities that can help you take your mind off something that bothers you and causes stress. Read, play sports, travel, and explore alternative lifestyles to manage stress better at work and home.

    Maintain a proper diet
    The food you eat plays a key role in your metabolic activity. A poor diet does not include the essential vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain and support vital body functions. Hair follicles are made of a protein called keratin, so switching to a protein-rich diet will supplement hair growth. You can incorporate more eggs, nuts, fish, low-fat dairy, chicken, and even turkey. Also, eat foods that are rich in Vitamin A as studies have shown it encourages the production of retinoid and sebum, both vital nutrients for promoting hair growth. They also nourish the follicles to gradually control hair loss.

    Change your hair care routine
    The way you wash, condition, and comb your hair can also reduce hair loss. Excessive use of hair products or harsh shampoos and even unnecessary styling can weaken hair follicles. So switch to a mild shampoo made with natural ingredients to keep the scalp and follicles clean. Oil your hair regularly to protect from external harsh elements. Coconut oil and olive oil are both excellent chemical-free choices. Avoid cornrows, tight braids, colorings, or any other hair processing treatments like perm or straightening. All of this can damage hair strands and follicles at the roots causing hair loss. Try and maintain your hair as naturally as possible. If you must get a new style or hair color, consider products that are chemical-free and feature organic colors.

    Hair supplements
    Artificial supplements help replenish the lack of essential nutrients and minerals including vitamins A, B, C, D, zinc, iron, and most importantly, selenium. Consult with your doctor to see which multivitamins are the best for countering mineral deficiency. Biotin is another vital nutrient that promotes healthy hair growth so check with a specialist to see how many milligrams of Biotin supplements you need. Note that you opt for hair supplements only in severe cases of hair loss.

  • Health
    7 tips to maintain your eye health

    Of the five senses bestowed, vision is considered to be one of the most precious. Healthy vision ensures that you do not miss out on the wonders of the world; therefore, you must not take your eye health for granted. While some eye conditions are inevitable as we grow older, there are a few things that you can do to maintain your eye health and reduce the chances of losing vision. Here are seven tips to follow for lifelong optimal eye health.

    • Eat vitamin-rich foods

    Diet plays an important role in keeping your eyes healthy. You must ensure that your meals are rich in vitamin C and E, zinc, lutein, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help prevent age-related eye problems like macular degeneration and cataract. Some healthy food options for eye health include leafy greens, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, eggs, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits.

    • Wear sunglasses

    The right pair of sunglasses can protect your eyes from retinal damage, and reduce the chances of developing cataracts. It also protects your sensitive eyelid skin from wrinkles and skin cancer around the eye. To get these benefits, you must ensure that your sunglasses can provide 100% protection against UV-A rays and UV-B rays.

    • Take breaks from screens

    Exposure to blue light from a computer, tablet, or phone screen for long can cause dry eye, eyestrain, neck pain, and headache. To avoid these, you must take a break from the screen every 20 minutes, and remember to blink often when working. It’s best to use glasses or contacts that are suitable to reduce the effect of the blue light on your eyes.

    • Avoid smoking

    Smokers are at a greater risk of damaging their eye health in the long run. Tobacco smoking is directly linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It also causes cataracts, uveitis, in addition to other health problems.

    • Practice proper contact lens care

    Ensure that you take hygiene seriously if you use contact lenses. Ensure that your hands are clean before you wear lenses. If you’re out of contact lens solution, do not replace it with water or any other liquid. Make sure that you take your contacts off before sleeping, and throw away disposable lenses when they expire. Using disposable lenses past their expiry can cause eye pain, corneal ulcers, and even loss of vision.

    • Get enough sleep

    Tired eyes are natural if you’re not sleeping well. A sufficient amount of quality sleep is important for your eyes to stay well-rested and strain-free.

    • Visit your eye doctor regularly

    Visiting an ophthalmologist for regular eye checkup is a must for lasting eye health. Eye examinations help you find disorders such as glaucoma, which is an asymptomatic eye disease. Glaucoma is easier to treat if spotted early. Your doctor can also help you with other eye problems and give you the best guidance.

  • Health
    5 healthy diet tips for diabetes patients

    Leading a healthy life when suffering from diabetes can be challenging, especially with diet restrictions. Reports suggest that diabetes has now attained epidemic proportions. Some very severe consequences of uncontrolled diabetes include kidney and heart diseases and other health complications. Therefore, while it is frustrating to be watchful of everything you eat, it is also necessary.

    Considering that diabetes is associated with blood sugar and insulin levels, it’s necessary that one is always aware and takes care of their insulin and sugar levels. One of the easiest ways to do that is by following a rigid diet and eating right. However, avoiding everything is not the answer here, the simplest way of eating right is by making healthy food choices. Here are some diet tips to help you eat right and manage your diabetes.

    • Carbohydrates can be healthy

    All types of carbohydrates directly affect the levels of blood glucose in your body. Therefore, it is important to be aware of foods that are rich in carbohydrates. However, with controlled portions, and healthier carb sources, there is no reason for anyone to give up carbohydrates completely. Substitute whole grains in your meals in place of processed grains for a much healthier diet.

    • Lower salt intake

    Diabetes makes one’s body susceptible to secondary health issues. Higher salt intake can be a high-risk gateway for heart diseases, and having diabetes makes one more vulnerable. Sticking to a recommended 6-grams of salt intake a day lowers these risks. This requires checking the salt content of packaged and preserved foods as well.

    • Avoid red meat

    Swapping chunks of carbs in favor of proteins for diabetics is okay. But, swapping carbs with red and processed meat for proteins is not. Red and processed meats are linked to higher risks of cardiac diseases, which makes them a strict no-no. It is suggested to stick to white meat or veg protein sources. Fishes and other omega-3 rich foods are a healthier source of protein and have been proven to supplement health.

    • Stock on natural

    Supplying the body with the required amounts of vitamins and minerals from natural food is always a better option than supplements. Also, contrary to popular belief, fruits aren’t bad for people with diabetes. On the other hand, when eaten whole, its fiber content and vitamins are good for your health.

    • Healthier fats

    Fats aren’t bad; but similar to everything else in the list, it is bad sources of fat that should be avoided. The ill-effects of bad sources and excessive fat intake are pretty well known. Hence, substituting it with healthier sources of fat is the smart way to a healthy diet.

    The right way of making healthier diet changes is by consulting one’s doctor and dietitian. It can be a trying process, but remember that persistence is the key to a better and healthy tomorrow.

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