• Health
    Ways to avoid Heartburn and GERD during pregnancy

    Indigestion is a common issue that accompanies pregnancy. Thanks to this little side effect of pregnancy, most moms-to-be suffer at least a handful of episodes of acid reflux and heartburn/GERD. Contrary to its name, the burning sensation from heartburn has little to do with the heart. However, much to all would-be moms’ relief, it has a safe cure that will relieve them of the discomforting feeling without harming the baby.

    The solution to this problem can be as simple as dietary and lifestyle changes. While there are safe treatments available, there are preventive options that won’t cause heartburn/GERD in the first place. Read on to know more about what causes heartburn/GERD during pregnancy and what dietary choices to make to prevent heartburn/GERD.

    Why is heartburn/GERD such a common occurrence in pregnancy?

    Heartburn/GERD is caused when stomach acids start rising into the esophagus. Pregnancy changes hormonal levels and helps relax muscles, which results in relaxation or leaking of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). LES is what keeps the stomach acids in place, which, in addition to the growing uterus is an invitation for indigestion symptoms.

    Here are the dietary and lifestyle measures that can help prevent heartburn/GERD during pregnancy.

    • Eat often, eat less

    A full stomach is an invitation to heartburn/GERD. Studies suggest, eating smaller meals evenly distributed throughout the day keeps you from indigestion. The key to preventing heartburn is to keep from filling your stomach to the hilt with food. While pregnant, the stomach has less space than usual to expand, eating until full only increases the pressure on other organs.

    • Trigger foods – Identify and Eliminate

    Commonly, heartburn/ GERD is triggered by a certain type of food, like acidic foods that include citrus fruits, or fried and spicy foods. The list also includes coffee and carbonated drinks and chocolate. Ideally, there is no hard and fast list to stick to; therefore, it is essential to identify what works for every individual, and what does not. The common trigger food groups also include alcohol, which is one more reason for you to eliminate alcohol from your diet.

    • Fluid fever

    Liquids or liquid-like foods pass through the digestive system quicker than solid foods, which reduces the chance of indigestion. This includes milkshakes, protein shakes, smoothies, yogurts, and soups. However, don’t chug them down all at once. Learn to incorporate food, solid or liquid, into your system with patience. There is no reason to avoid solid foods in entirety. Till you chew well and eat slowly, solid foods should need not be eliminated completely.

    • Plan your meals

    Nighttime episodes of heartburn/GERD are common and bingeing eating before bed increases its chances. Avoid eating for at least 3 hours before bed and if possible include liquids in your dinner. Additionally, don’t lie down immediately after eating, move around, sit, or stand upright to prevent heartburn/GERD.

  • Health
    3 indicators of dehydraion in kids

    Dehydration is a condition in which the body loses more fluids than normal. It can affect infants, young children, adults, and seniors. You can experience mild to severe symptoms depending on how much fluids the body loses and what is being done to replenish the supply. However, children and infants are at a higher risk of getting dehydrated due to many underlying causes.

    Herein, we explain in detail the common visual indicators of a developing condition. Upon prompt diagnosis, you can immediately contact your primary care provider. Here are a few signs to look out for;

    Dry mouth
    Saliva is a natural lubricant that the body produces to moisten and clean your mouth. It also helps digest food better and prevents the risk of contracting a fungal or bacterial infection in the mouth. The body needs to stay hydrated to produce enough saliva during the day and at night. One of the visible signs in children and infants includes parched dry lips and a dry mouth. Understand that dry mouth is a mild stage of dehydration and can be controlled early on. So you must ensure the child drinks plenty of water. You must also replenish electrolyte levels in their body after an active day. Consult with the family doctor and enquire about the safe quantity of Pedialyte (a popular children’s drink) that can be given to boost electrolyte levels.

    Dry or itchy eyes
    If the child is crying, but there are little or no tears coming out, it means the tear glands are parched due to a severe lack of fluids in the body. Understand that there are glands that also lubricate the eyeballs without which the child’s eyes can become dry and itchy, causing more discomfort. These are all visible indicators of dehydration. Also, if their eyes are sunken and visibly inside the socket, it is a clear indicator of reduced fluid levels.

    Other visible indicators
    Note that the body, be it an adult or a child, needs fluids daily to support even some of the basic functions. If the child or infant has also not urinated in a span of 8 hours, you must consult with a doctor to assess the cause of this unexpected dehydration. Among other noticeable factors, the mucous membranes are also moist and, at times, sticky, indicating they are thoroughly lubricated. However, if they are completely dry, consult with your pediatrician to assess what can be done to rehydrate the child and reduce the risk of complications.

    Changes in mood or behavior
    Apart from the visible indicators on the body, dehydration can severely affect the mood of the child or infant. If he or she is acting fussy or feels extremely lethargic despite the minimum physical activity, there might be something wrong. One of the most vital functions of fluids is to keep blood circulation up and running optimally. It is crucial for activity and lethargy can indicate a decline in metabolic activity caused due to dehydration.

  • Health
    Coping with urges that can trigger a relapse post treatment

    Addictions when left untreated can turn into crippling conditions. One can be addicted to smoking, binge drinking, or even shopping. Once addicted, one willfully submits to urges, despite having satisfied them before. However, addictions can be managed and to a great extent treated to full recovery. But, the post-recovery phase is crucial where both the mind and body are put to test and can trigger a relapse. Continue reading to know more about the most common triggers for addictions and how to deal with them.

    Stress is commonly the root cause of many problems and addictions, both physical and psychological. One can become an addict as a way to manage the stress that may stem from strained relationships or priorities. The best way to avoid a relapse during recovery is to make lifestyle changes that don’t trigger a return to addictions amidst a stressful situation. One can practice mindfulness, engage in relaxation techniques, manage one’s time to avoid stressful situations, and imbibe healthy eating habits and exercise in their daily routine.

    There is an umpteen number of triggers that invoke a positive or negative emotional response. However, the stress associated with dealing with emotions daily can trigger urges without one even realizing. Often, one turns to a glass of alcohol or relies on prescription medications to put the mind at ease. It is not a permanent solution and prolonged use of these substances can cause more harm in the long run. One must learn and explore productive ways of controlling emotions better to avoid a relapse during recovery. For example, writing and maintaining a journal that contains one’s feelings and thoughts can act as a healthy outlet. Similarly, there are other healthy ways to channel one’s energy and manage emotional responses.

    Positive conditioning
    People who have addictions such as smoking or drinking may often find themselves in situations where a lit cigarette or a glass of wine can trigger a relapse. This is understandable considering these substances were the primary source of comfort and relaxation. However, with positive reinforcement and reconditioning one can train the mind and curb such urges. Relaxation doesn’t always mean techniques like yoga or meditation, it can also be pursuing your hobby.

    Counseling for group gatherings
    Birthdays, parties, New Year’s events, and any celebration in general call for alcohol consumption and smoking. At times, these could be the very addictions one is recovering from, and in a social gathering, such temptations can be strong. However, a recovering addict should refrain from indulging in any of these as even a taste can turn into a relapse. For instance, a recovering alcoholic must avoid having a single drink as that could put him/her on a slippery slope to relapse. Here, one-on-one counseling can help prepare the mind to resist the urge. It is never healthy for a recovering addict to simply avoid socializing fearing a relapse.

  • 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
    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
    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.