Health6 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.
Health7 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.
HealthThis is how depression takes a toll on your body
It is alright to feel sad or anxious at times in your life, but if these feelings linger for more than two weeks, it could be a sign of depression. Although depression is a mental disorder, the effects it has on an individual’s body cannot be ignored. A person diagnosed with depression may experience physical pain, fatigue, heart problems, and other serious issues. Research has revealed how depression can affect your body.
Depression can make people binge eat or experience a significant loss of appetite. The contributing factor to weight gain can be emotional eating, in which the person eats food subconsciously, thinking that it may subside the feeling of depression. On the other hand, a person in a depressive state may lose interest in eating much, and have less motivation to prepare meals, leading to weight loss.
Persistent physical pain
People in depressive states tend to experience unexplained pains or aches on their back, joints, and limbs. It may also cause a headache and breast tenderness. Some people can even feel full-body pain, which can be chronic and extremely weakening. Plus, chronic pain can make symptoms of depression worse.
It’s common for people with depression to go through bouts of stomach or digestion problems, such as constipation, vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea. In some cases, people may also experience chronic conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome.
Insomnia or trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is quite common among people who are depressed. The lack of sleep makes people feel exhausted and invites a variety of health problems. Researches have shown that long-term sleeping problems can cause diabetes, weight problems, high blood pressure, and even some types of cancer.
Deteriorating chronic illnesses
People with depression have often reported about their chronic health condition worsening over time. Chronic diseases are stressful as it is, and depression plays a part in intensifying these feelings. People with depression may have a hard time following treatment procedures of their chronic conditions, making them more serious.
People who are depressed feel endlessly tired even after sleeping for long hours. Getting out of bed every morning is a big challenge for them, and they even struggle to do daily activities like bathing, cooking, and other chores. One can relate fatigue with lack of sleep, but research has revealed that no matter how much a person with depression sleeps, they may still feel tired throughout the day.
High blood pressure and heart conditions
A depressed person is mostly under stress, and this stressful feeling can last for a long time. Chronic stress has long been known to be a contributing factor to hypertension or high blood pressure. Furthermore, high blood pressure increases the chances of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. Researchers have claimed depression to be one of the risk factors for heart diseases.
Health5 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.
HealthWhy talking about mental health in the workplace is essential
Most people spend a huge part of their lives in their offices. If they’re suffering from some kind of mental illness, then it must be addressed in the workplace as it severely impacts their performance. Many employees with mental health issues shy away from discussing their problems with their peers and bosses out of fear of damaging their working relationships. It is equally the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees feel encouraged to talk about their mental health woes and that they seek professional intervention as well. Taking mental health seriously can significantly improve employees’ productivity. Here are a few more reasons why employers must incorporate dialogues around and tools to deal with mental health in the workplace:
- Helps employees feel comfortable and more productive
It’s important for an employer to understand how mental disorders can affect an employee’s work and behavior. For instance, if one of the employees has a history of panic attacks, it is quite likely that he suffers from attacks at work too. But if they are not comfortable talking about their mental health issues in the office, then their condition could worsen and their performance, too, may drop. On the other hand, if employees feel comfortable to discuss this issue with their bosses, then they can together find a way to cope with the problem. This ensures that the employee’s confidence is boosted and that their mental health is not a hindrance to their performance at work.
- Builds a culture of happiness and acceptance
Employers must create an environment wherein employees can talk freely about their mental health issues whenever they feel like it. Some employers do this by first talking about their own issues and how they overcame/are overcoming them. This motivates their employees to step forward and talk openly about any issue that they may be dealing with. The goal here is to make people understand that mental illness is not abnormal and encourage them to seek help.
- Eliminates the stigma surrounding mental illness
Let’s say that someone who is diagnosed with a certain kind of mental illness is seeing a therapist after work. The therapist tells them that it’s alright to be fighting the issue, and that they’re lucky enough to have those who support them. The next day, they go into the office where nobody talks about mental illness and perceives it as something non-existential. Now, if this person comes across a situation where they fail to deliver results because of their mental illness, then it is likely that colleagues or others in the office will accuse them of using mental illness as an excuse for their inability to perform well. Regardless of what therapists say, this can force them to believe that it is indeed not okay to be fighting a mental illness. This can permanently affect their personal as well as professional life.
- It is a positive way to attract good employees
If you were not already aware, many talented and valuable employees suffer from mental illnesses. These people may not consider working for an organization that does not have mechanisms to address mental health and well-being at work. Many of them are even ready to forgo a higher salary only to work for a company that can understand their needs and help them build their mental well-being.
HealthHow to identify and combat multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system, which comprises the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It’s an unpredictable disease that disrupts the flow of information between the body and brain. The exact cause of multiple sclerosis is not fully understood yet, but experts believe that it is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that covers and protects the nerve fibers from damage.
When this protective myelin sheath is destroyed, it leaves a scar or sclerosis. Doctors often refer to these damaged areas as plaques or lesions. The damage prevents the brain from effectively sending signals to the rest of the body.
Signs and symptoms
Multiple sclerosis can lead to a variety of symptoms that can differ in each individual. The severity of symptoms can also change over time. Since it affects the central nervous system, which controls the movements in the rest of the body, the symptoms can be observed in various body parts. Some of the most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and a tingling sensation in the face, torso, arms, and legs
- Bladder and bowel problems
- Chronic pain
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Vision problems
- Mood changes and depression
There are four types of multiple sclerosis. These include:
- Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)
This involves one episode of symptoms due to myelin damage, and can last for about 24 hours. If another episode of symptoms occurs, then the individual is diagnosed with the next type of multiple sclerosis.
- Relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)
This is the most common type of multiple sclerosis observed in people. When an individual experiences the second episode of symptoms, they are diagnosed with RRMS. These new episodes can be more severe and are often followed by periods of remission, during which symptoms disappear to some extent or completely.
- Primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS)
In PPMS, the symptoms of the disease steadily become worse. In this stage, however, one can also experience bouts of stability.
- Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS)
In this type, one may experience some amount of remission or relapses, but the symptoms eventually become more severe.
There is no definite cure for multiple sclerosis, but there are treatments that are meant to slow the progression of the disease and lower the number and severity of relapses.
Many disease-modifying agents (DMA) have received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat multiple sclerosis. They modify the function of the immune system, slow disease progression, and reduce the number of relapses. Some of these medicines are taken orally, while others are injected or infused. The number of doses depends on the type of drug the doctor prescribes. Doctors suggest that taking these drugs at an early stage can be effective in controlling the progression of the disease. A list of FDA-approved medications is available on the official website of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
HealthCommon bodily changes that women experience during menopause
Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life that signals the end of her monthly period cycle. However, it does not occur overnight. Women first enter the perimenopause stage, wherein the physical and hormonal structures of their bodies undergo many changes. If there is no recurrence of the cycle for 12 consecutive months, then they are said to have entered menopause. Monthly menstrual cycles generally stop between the ages of 45 and 55; the average age at which menopause sets in is 51, when the functions of a woman’s ovaries gradually start to decline.
It is important to note that this is a perfectly natural cycle and hardly a cause for concern. However, as women near their menopausal stages, they might be faced with certain health risks that increase over time. While research attributes some triggers to genetics, there is a number of other factors that can give rise to these changes. When one starts to experience adverse symptoms, it is advisable to consult a specialist. However, with adequate care and timely changes made to one’s lifestyle, this transition can be easily managed. Here are some of the transitions that women go through during their perimenopausal and menopausal stages:
Reduced levels of estrogen in the body can cause hot flashes, one of the most common symptoms women experience during a normal menopausal transition. The shift in hormonal cycles caused due to low levels of estrogen, age, and changes in daily lifestyle can also trigger mood swings in women.
Menopause affects bone health as well—the gradual decline in estrogen levels can also lead to a loss of calcium, making the bones brittle. Women are highly susceptible to bone-related conditions such as osteoporosis during menopause. This is one of the reasons why women must adopt a healthier diet and make lifestyle changes that help promote bone health. Steps must also be taken to reduce the risk of spine, hip, and joint fractures during this time.
It is not uncommon for women to experience weight gain during and after the transition. Body weight is directly linked to certain hormones, and changes in the same can trigger weight gain. Weight gain can further lead to complications; this is why there is a strong need to create a healthy and regular diet plan and exercise routine at this stage. It is also crucial to avoid complications in heart health. Often during menopause, a severe drop in estrogen levels can cause the arteries that pump blood throughout the body to lose flexibility. This, in turn, can impact blood circulation and increase the chances of cardiac palpitations.
Severity of symptoms
Different women may experience different symptoms but the severity of these symptoms greatly varies depending on one’s age, health, and other factors.. For instance, one may experience hot flashes frequently, but may not necessarily experience mood swings at the same time; some women might experience more facial hair growth while others might not. Treatment of these symptoms, too, will vary accordingly.