Fitness on Your Mind? Make Sure You Stay Away From These 5 Things

Fitness has become paramount today, more so with a global health crisis like covid-19 taking over our lives. But is there a hack to achieve the healthiest body and mind? Well, it’s never a one-size-fits-all approach, but yes, there are some things that one must completely avoid to derail their journey. Of course, having a nutritious meal and moving your body is important, but there’s also other stuff that’s equally important. Ready to find out? Let’s go!

1. Do not give in to waking up at odd hours

Of course, everyone wants to be a part of the 5 am club! It is being touted as the ultimate solution to achieving the perfect life, of course, fitness levels included. But are we all made the same? Our sleep patterns are all so different, so how is it even possible to wake up at the same time? If it works for you, that’s great! Else, find some time that works best for you.

2. Working out all the time won’t help

Most of us are obsessed with being thin rather than being healthy. And that’s why it is fed to us that exercising a lot will help you lose weight. The answer is a big NO! You have to work smart, and not just hard. So, if you believe that exercising for two hours will help you, there’s really no chance. You will be so fatigued that your body won’t gain anything. Instead, take out 45 minutes every day and do a mix of exercises to define your body, and lose all that unwanted fat. Oh, and please do give your body enough rest for recovery.

3. Ditch mindless eating

How many times have we gobbled our meals, while typing away that email? Well, that’s how you engage in mindless eating. Our bodies tell us when to stop when it no longer requires food, but when you do not concentrate, you are going to end up eating more than usual. No wonder, gaining those extra kilos happens real quick! It is important to connect with food to avoid overeating and snacking on junk.

4. Cheat meals are overrated

The fact is why do we need cheat meals? When you eat in moderation and mindfully, you won’t need to earn that junk. If you want to eat it, do that, instead of segregating days for junk food. This way you are not forcing your body to eat healthy, and suddenly gorging on a huge meal over the weekend. Practise moderation and you will be good to go!

5. Supplements are no good

This is not a universal statement, but the fact is supplements are overrated. We are made to believe that eating supplements fulfills our need for nutrition, but the answer is that it can be done with food. Those protein shakes and supplements won’t help at all. You are just going to burn your money!

Wall Workout: Stretching Exercises You Must Do to Build Your Flexibility

When we think of fitness, the first thing that comes to mind is strength and cardio, but have you ever realized the importance of flexibility? Well, if you are looking to make your workouts safer and efficient, it is imperative to improve your flexibility and reduce the tightness in your body. You should incorporate some stretching exercises into your daily workouts. If you are a beginner or if you are looking to get a deeper stretch, you can also try various props such as yoga blocks, straps, or the good ol’ ‘wall’.

For months, we have been mostly confined to the four walls of our homes, giving easy access to the simplest fitness prop and making stretching easier and more convenient.

So if you are struggling with your flexibility, try doing these wall stretches daily:

1. Static hamstring stretch

This stretch is good if you are looking to increase flexibility and improve the movement in the hip. Start by lying on your back with your bottoms close to a doorway or a wall divider. Now raise one leg against the wall next to the door frame or divider. Your other leg should be straight on the floor. You should feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch legs. Repeat this 3 times.

2. Calf Stretch

This stretch helps prevent injury to the ankle and the many little muscles that help stabilize the ankle. Stand facing the wall at an arm’s length away. Now bend one knee and put your foot forward, ensure your other foot is back and your knees are stretched. Use your arms to hold yourself against the wall and belly firm and lean until you feel a stretch in the calf muscle of your back leg. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds and switch sides.

3. Hip flexors stretch

Flexible hips and hip flexors are a must if you want to do a split. Start by placing your right foot against the wall and left foot on the ground in front of you. Make sure to lower your hips till you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip. Ensure your right knee is directly above your ankle. Stay like this for five breaths and then slowly release. Repeat with the other leg

4. Upper back prayer

This stretch is good for anyone looking to increase mobility in their upper back. Begin by standing straight facing a wall. Now keeping your back and legs straight, bend from your pelvis until your chest is parallel to the ground. Using your hands, push into the wall and stretch your hips backward. Do this for 30 seconds.

5. Doorway Pectoral Stretch

Doing this stretches regularly can help improve your posture and increase movement in your shoulders. Using an open doorway, stand raising your arm up to the side. Bend at a 90-degree angle with palms forward, resting on the door frame. Now move forward slowly with one foot. You should feel the stretch in your shoulders and chest. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then relax.

Too Much Screen Time Can Impact the Health of Your Baby. Here’s How

In today’s tech-savvy world, it is impossible for many of us to think of any entertainment that does not involve a screen. New parents enter parenthood with a strong determination of not introducing their kids to phones and screen time until they realize that playing the baby’s favourite cartoon makes the baby eat and gives you a breather. In no time, it becomes a daily routine for each meal. This can also mean that the baby is exposed to a screen for at least three to four hours a day.

What is its impact on the baby?

Screen time is the number of hours spent watching tablets, mobiles, LED screens, as well as television.

  • Excessive exposure to screens can cause headaches, eye strain, dry and irritated eyes.
  • The light emitted can affect the biological sleeping routine, which can lead to obesity, poor attention, pain, and irritability.
  • Excess exposure to this light affects the peripheral retina, which is used during the night. Moreover, the exposure to high-energy blue light leads to disproportionate enlargement, thereby causing myopia.

We now realise that the shortcuts we take to get work done for the baby can have lifelong effects. On asking some parents who have been consciously trying to reduce screen time, they came up with some tips that have helped them.

Parents share tips that helped them shield their baby from screen time

  1. There’s a famous saying ‘Be what you want your child to be’. Hence, avoid using your gadgets too often around your babies, unless it’s important.
  2. The majority of the parents mentioned that spending time with their baby helped in reducing the baby’s screen time.
  3. Maintaining a limited time frame during which the gadget can be used, is helpful. At other times. the gadgets are placed somewhere that is not reachable.
  4. Show them a few pictures of damaged eyes, and in very easy terms, explain to them how excessive watching can affect their eyesight.
  5. Involve them in activities that will help in their cognitive development. Get a nice illustrated storybook, which you can read to them. Get a game, which involves learning new colours, number games, etc.
  6. Teach them mindful eating, with a special focus on where they eat. Also, teach them how to chew properly.
  7. Always encourage them to participate in outdoor and educational activities that they are interested in. In this manner, they won’t waste their time indoors in front of the screen.
  8. It is a bad idea to let kids watch something while eating, as they do not realise how much they are eating. This can later lead to obesity.
  9. Less chewing of food can also lead to low metabolism.
  10. Watching something while eating will also take away from the quality time you would spend with your family on the table.

Here’s what the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends:

A.) Infants (less than 1 year) should:

  • Be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways, particularly through interactive floor-based play; more is better. For those not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes in prone position(tummy time) spread throughout the day, while awake.
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time(e.g. prams/strollers, high chairs, or strapped on a caregiver’s back). Screen time is not recommended. When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.
  • Have 14-17 hours (0-3 months of age) or 12-16 hours (4-11 months of age) of good quality sleep, including naps.

B.) Children 1-2 years of age should:

  • Spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of physical activities at any intensity, including moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity, spread throughout the day; more is better.
  • Not be restrained for more than an hour at a time(for example, prams/strollers, high chairs, or strapped on a caregiver’s back) or sit for extended periods of time. For 1-year-old kids , sedentary screen time (such as watching TV or videos, playing computer games) is not recommended. For those aged 2 years, sedentary screen time should be no more than one hour; less is better. When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.
  • Have 11-14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular sleep and wake-up times.

Small Changes, Big Impact: These 5 Tweaks Can Bring Your Family’s Health on Track

The World Health Organization (WHO) puts it as simply and succinctly as this: “A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition”. To cut the short story shorter, we are what we eat. And the food that we consume not just feeds our body, but also our mind. So, it becomes inherently important to eat and make your loved ones eat right for the sake of the family’s health.

The social media world is flooded with people propagating fancy diets and expensive superfoods, which may even work the kind of wonders one hopes they should, but then why must we forget the basics?

Being mindful of what we eat, even though indulgences may be allowed every now and then, can play a huge role in keeping infections at bay, boosting immunity, fighting diseases, promoting growth among children, and keeping us nourished with essential micronutrients. This has naturally assumed greater importance in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has given everyone a ‘zor ka jhatka’ about the need for stronger immunity to fight the coronavirus menace.

Amidst the pool of information on do’s and don’ts about diets, it is easy to get confused about how to really optimize diet for your own and your family’s health, especially considering how the third wave of Covid-19 remains imminent.

For the occasion of the National Nutrition Week, Dr. Smriti Sharma, Ph.D. Food and Nutrition, University of Delhi, has simplified this quandary for us a little.

Dr. Sharma has shared these pertinent points which you can inculcate at home to benefit your family’s health:

1. Choose your oils wisely:

Fats and oils have been wrongly blamed for causing chronic illnesses. With this information, you do not have to bring your fried snacks back to the table – sorry for the bummer! Include sources of omega 3 fatty acids in your diet and reduce refined vegetable oils rich in omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids are both required in equal quantities by our body from the food we eat. A high intake of refined oil disturbs the ratio in which these two fatty acids are required resulting in a detrimental impact on the body. To optimize this ratio, strive to reduce rich sources of omega 6 fatty acids such as sunflower, safflower, soybean, corn-refined oils. You can include desi ghee, olive oil, mustard oil instead for daily cooking.

2. Lower the intake of carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates, a macronutrient, make a part of almost all foods we eat, excluding fats, oils, butter. Refined or whole wheat, rice or millets, potato or spinach, carbohydrates are present in varying quantities in all. And, if chosen correctly, it brings together the benefits of fiber for the gut and vitamins and minerals. Eliminating the intake of processed simple carbohydrate-loaded foods such as bread, noodles, biscuits, and allied snacks will go a long way in maintaining your health. Furthermore, adding foxtail millets to your diet, and including ragi, bajra, in your wheat flour will help. At the same time, increasing your portion size of pulses and nuts by decreasing cereals will help balance your diet with the goodness of health.

3. Eggs, fish, dairy:

Animal foods, as the name suggests, include items that come from animals. These include milk, cream, egg, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, fish, meat, chicken. Animal source foods can provide a variety of micronutrients that are difficult to obtain in adequate quantities from plant-source foods alone. Vegetarians tend to be particularly deficient in some of the nutrients such as Vitamin B-12 and consumption of dairy products becomes essential. Those of you who enjoy animal foods should include fish and whole eggs (yes you read that right – eggs with the yolk!) in your daily diet.

4. Cut down sugar in all its forms:

We need to first keep away from sugar. While we do recognize sweets, chocolates, aerated drinks in this category easily; brown sugar, jaggery, honey, high fructose corn syrup are also different forms of sugar, which go unrecognized. They contain similar amounts of calories and have the same effect on our blood sugar levels as consuming raw sugar. The advantages advocated for some of the minerals they have, are well, in trace amounts, and can be sourced in your diet from other foods.

5. Seed your way out:

Seeds are rich in fats, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B-6, zinc, among other vitamins and minerals. Flaxseeds, chia seeds are also great sources of omega 3 for vegetarians who cannot consume fish! As you lower your intake of carbohydrates, including seeds, like flax, sesame, chia, pumpkin, melon seed, and nuts, like walnuts, peanuts, almonds, can make up for those lost calories while providing wholesome nutrition. You can soak chia seeds and drink, or you can include substantial amounts in your daily salads, and enjoy roasted seeds as snacks. And guess what? You can even make your own bread using almond flour or flaxseed flour! The floor to experiment is all yours.

It’s time to keep it simple and reinvent how you see nutrition for yourself and for your family’s health.

Pay Extra Attention to Your Sides With Yoga. Try the Gate Pose or Parighasana

Are you ignoring your sides while exercising or performing yoga? Well, doing so can lead to muscle stiffness and a weak torso. And if that is the case, trust yoga to solve your problem! Stretching sideways can activate your core muscles, expand breathing and bring a feeling of levity.

So, if you’re looking to work on your sides, the gate pose is what you should try! In fact, yoga expert Grand Master Akshar suggests parigraha asana aka gate pose for the side body, which is known to stretch the neglected muscles between your ribs.

“Parigraha asana or gate pose is usually done to ease muscle stiffness. Sometimes, we may suffer from body aches caused due to unknown reasons and at such a time, gate pose can be very beneficial to flex your muscles. Practice gate poses to reduce pain in your lumbar region or to increase flexibility in the thoracic area. For senior citizens, this asana can bring relief from any kind of stiffness in the muscles of the body. Athletes can use this pose as a relaxing technique after a strenuous workout or training session. Gate pose readies the body and prepares it for further activity,” says Grand Master Akshar.

Now. let’s see how you can perform this pose

Step 1: Kneel down on your yoga mat, facing the long side of the mat. Bring your knees and ankles together, with the tops of your feet against the mat behind you.

Step 2: Stretch out the right leg to the right side keeping it straight. Firmly place the right foot on the floor and keep the right leg tightened at the knee.

Step 3: Bend to the right over the plane of the right leg, and lay your right hand down on the shin, ankle or the floor outside the right leg. Contract the right side of the torso and stretch the left.

Step 4: Inhale and reach your left arm up next to your left ear. And remember to let your right arm come down and rest on your right leg. The side bend tends to drop the torso towards the floor. Without pushing the left hip back, turn the upper torso away from the floor.

Step 5: Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to a minute, extending your spine on your inhales and deepening the side stretch on your exhales.

Step 6: Bring your torso upright and return your right knee next to the left one. Repeat the stretch on your other side now.

Benefits of doing the gate pose:

1. Gate pose helps to stretch the pelvic region of the body. A pelvic stretch can improve bladder and bowel control.

2. This pose stretches the sides of the torso and spine. The side torso stretch strengthens the intercostal muscles. These are the muscles between the ribs, which help support them.

3. Because the gate pose stretches hamstrings, this can be good for your back as well.

4. Gate pose stretches the side of the body from the hips to the fingers, thus increasing the flexibility of the spine, building site strength, stimulating digestion, circulation, and respiration.

5. Gate pose is great for balance as well. Improving balance can prevent falls, reduce the risk of lower extremity injuries such as knee and ankle injuries, and improve proprioception.

Can you go wrong with gate pose? Well, here are some common mistakes:

1. Avoiding knee pain: If your knees are sensitive, kneel on a folded blanket.

2. Heavy hand: Do not place a lot of weight on the hand that is resting on your leg. Stay active and don’t place any pressure on the knee. Otherwise, doing so creates too much pressure on the knee joints.

3. Dropping chest or shoulder: You want your chest to be open and your torso in line with your thigh. Don’t let your chest and shoulder drop forward.

4. Overstretch: Only bend as far down as your flexibility permits. Do not try to over bend yourself, otherwise this can lead to injury. So, do not overstretch your body.

These 8 Signs and Symptoms Are Hints That You Aren’t Eating Well

Are you on a diet? If yes, are you especially avoiding calories and fats? Well, your diet has a lot to do with your overall health. If you do not eat well or enough, it can hamper your health in many ways. For instance, it can make you feel tired all day, or you could get ill more often, or face hair loss and skin problems.

Most people would find it hard to believe that many of the health problems they experience when they do not get sufficient calories and macronutrients, but it is indeed true. You are what you eat, after all! Whether you overeat or you undereat, both of these can cause different health problems. People who diet and follow a workout routine usually follow a strict set of dos and don’ts when it comes to what they consume. In that process, they miss out on even those basic nutrients which their body actually needs.

Here are the signs and symptoms that you are not eating well or enough:

1. Fatigue

If you’re low in energy for a while now, it might indicate that you’re not eating well. That happens when you inhibit yourself from getting essential nutrients, healthy fats, and protein. Not only will you miss out on essential nutrients, but it may also lead to tiredness, dizziness, low blood pressure, decreased blood flow to the brain, and might make you feel off-balance round the clock.

2. Hair loss

Losing hair can be distressing, but you may experience this when you do not eat your food well. According to a 2013 review published in National Center for Biotechnology Information, deficiencies in proteins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and vitamins can cause hair loss or other abnormalities, such as changes in hair color or structure.

3. Constant hunger

Constant hunger can be related to several factors like lack of sleep, medication, thyroid problem, pregnancy, etc. But one of the major causes of it is not eating enough. Studies confirm that appetite and food cravings increase in response to drastic calorie restriction due to changes in levels of hormones that control hunger and fullness.

4. Sleeping issues

Finding it difficult to sleep at night can mess up your next day’s plans, which we guess, you definitely don’t want! In fact, sleep deprivation is linked with mental health problems, weight gain, and other health issues. Also, not only overeating and strict dieting but eating close to bedtime can also disrupt your sleep. All in all, your eating habits have a big impact on your sleeping cycle.

5. Irritability

Do you get annoyed quickly on even small things? Have you heard the word ‘hangry’ before? Well, hangry is a real emotion! If you’re dealing with a busy schedule and skipping breakfast or lunch, your blood sugar and your mood can take a dip. The University of Guelph researchers have revealed that the sudden drop in glucose we experience when we are hungry can impact our mood.

6. Difficulty in getting pregnant

Calorie restriction is one of the biggest diet mistakes. Generally, people on dieting restrict their calorie consumption, which can lead to health issues like the inability to get pregnant. Researchers of the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that insufficient calorie intake in your diet can have an adverse impact on reproductive functioning. This can prevent pregnancies from occurring.

7. Constipation

Again, it comes to calories! Eating too few calories or under-eating can lead to constipation. This isn’t surprising, since consuming very little food will result in less waste in your digestive tract. Try eating enough food and include fiber-rich foods because fiber helps to relieve constipation

8. Poor mental concentration

What we eat doesn’t only affect our physical health but even our mental health. The relationship between diet and mental health is complex. Studies have even found that healthy diets can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Unhealthy diets have been linked to an increased risk of mental health problems.

Your Ready to Use Guide on Dos and Don’ts of Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common health conditions around the world, and type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle condition that a large population suffers from. Right from a healthy diet to a healthy workout routine, a diabetic has to be cautious to keep their plan on track. And if you’re a diabetes patient and are neglecting your routine, be ready to pay for it!

But don’t worry, we’re here to make things easier for you, like always! Today, we have for you certain do’s and don’ts for type 2 diabetes, so you can handle your condition like a pro!

Do’s of type 2 diabetes

1. Check your blood sugar daily

Checking your blood sugar levels regularly is the most basic rule to maintain good health with diabetes. This will help you understand your blood sugar levels, whether they are high or low. You can prepare for it accordingly, and know-how certain foods or activities are impacting your blood sugar levels. This will help you get an idea of what you should avoid, and what you can consume.

2. Stay hydrated

Hydrating properly helps dilute our blood, which in turn, helps to lower blood sugar levels. According to Dr. Neelkanth Kote, a diabetologist, “Water is a fundamental constituent in our body. It is involved in most of our biochemical reactions, either directly or indirectly. Make sure to consume an adequate amount of water daily to keep your body hydrated and boost your metabolism.”

3. Manage your weight

Not managing your weight can make things worse, especially if you are a diabetic. According to a recent study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]), there is a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes by at least 6 times in people suffering from obesity, regardless of genetic predisposition to the disease.

Now, remember managing weight can be done by following a healthy diet regime, so cut down on sugary stuff and do whatever it takes to keep your weight in check.

Don’ts of type 2 diabetes

1. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol and diabetes can definitely be termed a complicated combinations. The reason behind this is that your body essentially views alcohol as poison. This means that the liver must process it immediately. And when you drink alcohol, your liver has to work harder to remove it from your blood, instead of working to regulate blood sugar or blood glucose. Therefore, with low blood glucose, you should never drink alcohol.

But remember, if you indulge in binge drinking and high alcohol consumption, it may enhance the complication with type 2 diabetes.

2. Regular exercise

Getting regular exercise can help you shed some extra pounds and lower your blood sugar levels. A study published in the journal The Diabetes Care suggests that exercise fuels your metabolism and converts unused glucose into energy, hence lowering down the blood glucose levels in your body.

So, keep yourself active by hitting the gym or by doing some regular exercise at home.

3. Avoid junk food

Cutting oils and fats from your diet is important if you’re dealing with type 2 diabetes.

The study published by The Physiological Society has found out that consumption of a high-fat diet increases blood sugar levels. The worst part is that after a point you won’t be able to control it.

A diet with low carbohydrates, moderate protein, and high fat is the perfect diet mantra to maintain your blood sugar levels without a pill.

So, don’t let type 2 diabetes take control of you!

Brew These 5 Teas to Destress After a Long, Tough Day

We are constantly surrounded by triggers that can cause us to experience stress and anxiety. Be it work, education, or even the people we live with, our day is full of stressors. To make matters more dreadful, we are also in the midst of battling the financial, health, and social impact of Covid-19.

Therefore, we owe it to ourselves to unwind on a daily basis, and one such way is to have your favourite cup of tea!

Drinking tea is associated with various health benefits, such as reducing anxiety and stress levels, protecting cells from damage, reducing the risk of heart disease, and weight management.

So, are you ready to destress after a long day at work?

Here are five tea varieties you can brew to unwind after a stressful day

1. Green Tea

It is a well-known type of tea providing many health benefits. Green tea has a high concentration of catechins, amino acids known as l-theanine, and naturally occurring antioxidants. As per a study by the Journal of Functional Foods, the nutrition profile of green tea helps to slow the absorption of caffeine, and induces a calming effect. The study also highlights that green tea helps lower anxiety levels, and inhibits ‘a-amylase activity’, a marker of stress.

Green tea can be prepared by adding the tea leaves to hot water and letting it brew for 5-10 minutes. Post that, you could strain the tea, and relish this calming drink.

2. Black Tea

Black tea is a heavily oxidized variant of tea. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that involves exposure of tea leaves to air, leading to browning and blackening of its colour. This tea has antioxidant properties, and a study by University College London, suggests that drinking black tea helps reduce stress levels, by bringing stress hormone levels back to normal.

Add tea leaves to boiling water, and let it simmer for 5 minutes. You may then strain the tea, and add lemon or sugar to taste.

3. Lavender tea

Lavender tea is a great choice to calm the mood, as lavender extracts are helpful for the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression, as per a study by Natural Medicine Journal. The study revealed that lavender extracts possess anticonvulsant, antidepressive, anxiolytic, sedative, and calming properties.

Place lavender buds into a sachet or tea ball, and use hot water to steep the tea. You can enjoy this calming drink after 10 minutes of brewing.

4. Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea is derived from the flowers of the chamomile plant, and is a perfect bedtime companion, as it helps to induce relaxation. A study by the International Journal of Phytomedicine found that chamomile tea helps decrease anxiety symptoms. This calming and stress-reducing effect is due to the presence of ‘apigenin’, an antioxidant that directly targets neurotransmitters, and helps the mind to relax.

In hot water, add chamomile flowers, and let it infuse for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the tea, and then enjoy!

5. Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea has a powerful anti-anxiety effect and can help you destress. Research by the Journal of Medicinal Plants revealed that the scent of peppermint tea can help induce relaxation. The study also highlighted that peppermint tea can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. This tea has anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate pain, and reduce cortisol levels, that can boost your mood.

Infuse leaves of peppermint plant in hot water for 5-10 minutes to prepare this tea.

Guys, pamper yourself with these relaxing tea varieties, and don’t shy away from adding honey or some sugar to taste!

5 Signs of Kidney Diseases You Should Not Ignore

Your kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located just below the rib cage, one on each side. Roughly the size of a fist, your kidneys serve many critical bodily functions. But did you know that a large number of the population is living with kidney diseases and most don’t even know it?

Unfortunately, kidney disease is progressive! Dr. Mahesh Prasad, consultant Nephrologist, from Wockhardt Hospitals, says, “Chronic kidney disease is commonly seen in people having diabetes, hypertension, or family history of kidney diseases”. The other risk factors, the expert points out, are being older, having low birth weight, using certain medications for a longer time, chronic urinary tract infections, obesity, and even kidney stones.

But how will you find out if you have any kidney issues? Well, Dr. Prasad has revealed certain signs and symptoms which can indicate chances that you may be suffering from kidney diseases!

Here are the signs and symptoms of hidden kidney problems

1. Sleep problems

Insomnia or poor sleep is common in people with kidney problems. Dr. Prasad explains, “When the kidneys aren’t filtering properly, toxins tend to stay in the blood rather than leaving the body via the urine. This can make it difficult to sleep.” Also, sleep apnea is commonly seen in those with chronic kidney disease, when compared to the general population.

2. Skin problems

Healthy kidneys do many important jobs. If you are facing any issues with your skin, it can be an indication of any kidney disease. Dr. Prasad suggests, “Dry and itchy skin can indicate mineral and bone disease that is also tied to advanced kidney disease when the kidneys cannot strike a proper balance of minerals and nutrients that are there in the blood.” So, you tend to get dry and itchy skin.

3. Puffy eyes

Kidney disease can also cause periorbital edema, which involves swelling around the eyes. The puffiness around the eyes can be attributed to the leakage of a large amount of protein in the urine from the kidneys instead of keeping it in the body. The condition can develop in one or both eyes

4. Muscle cramping

Muscle cramps are common among those who have kidney diseases. Cramps are thought to be caused by imbalances in fluid and electrolytes, or by nerve damage or blood flow problems. This can be impaired kidney function, according to Dr. Prasad. Low calcium levels and poorly controlled phosphorus also invite muscle cramping.

5. Swelling issues

Are you noticing swelling in your feet and ankle? If yes, then it might also be a sign of kidney disease. You may be advised to reduce your daily salt and fluid intake, including fluids in food such as soups and yogurts, to help reduce the swelling.

When kidneys do not remove that extra fluid, it causes swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, and/or hands. One tends to notice edema due to sodium retention, which causes swelling in your shin, legs, feet, and ankles, says Dr. Prasad.

How changes in urination can be a symptom of kidney problems

Kidneys make urine, so when the kidneys are failing, the urine may change. Frequent urge to urinate will indicate kidney problems. Are you constantly making trips to the bathroom? If your answer is and if you especially urinate more at night, this can indicate kidney disease, shares Dr. Prasad. This can happen as the kidneys’ filters may be damaged, causing an increase in the urge to urinate. In this case, you need to get yourself checked for any kidney issues.

Why kidney diseases affect appetite

Is your appetite poor? Well, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the progressive decline of the glomerular filtration rate in chronic kidney disease patients is associated with a significant reduction in food intake. Among the various symptoms of poor kidney health, poor appetite and weight loss are some of them.

Tips to keep kidneys healthy, according to Dr. Prasad

Maintaining kidney health is important to your overall health and general well-being. To keep your kidneys in top shape, follow these tips:

  • Stay physically active and exercise on a daily basis. But before initiating any fitness routine just speak to your doctor.
  • You can also practice yoga and meditation.
  • Don’t forget to maintain optimum weight, so eat a balanced diet loaded with fresh fruits, veggies, whole grain, pulses, and legumes.

What you should avoid:

  • Stay away from junk, spicy, oily, and processed food.
  • Do not over hydrate yourself, as it can pressurize the kidneys.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking. Smoking tends to destroy the blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood in the kidneys. When the kidneys fail to have adequate blood flow, they can’t function properly.
  • Do not use any supplements without your doctor’s knowledge, as they can take a toll on your kidneys.

If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t stop yourself from getting examined and getting treated on time for your health’s sake.

Yoga for Eyes: 7 Must-try Asanas That Can Improve Your Eye Health

Do you often wake up with swelling under your eyes and feel concerned if it indicates any trouble for your health? While puffy eyes can be a manifestation of water retention, dehydration, certain allergies, or ageing, the condition could also simply mean that you have been putting your eyes under severe strain and not resting them enough. If you are burning the midnight oil over a college project or office presentation, it’s time to take a break and give your eyes some well-deserved rest.

Renowned Yoga Guru Grand Master Akshar says that Yoga could help in making lifestyle modifications in addition to certain yoga asanas that could help improve blood circulation around the eyes.

Stress, depression, overwork, excess screen time can be blamed for this eye condition. The current situation requires us to stay glued to the screen be it taking online classes or office meetings. Puffy eyes often indicate that your eyes are not well-rested or your lifestyle needs a change,” says Grand Master Akshar.

Establish a proper sleep routine

One aspect of life that we tend to ignore is the importance of a good sleep. Going to bed late means missing out on hours of restorative sleep that could lead to our body getting stressed over time. Timely sleep and getting up in morning hours is a time-tested way to heal body cells. “If you could follow a proper sleep routine, your eyes are sufficiently rested and rejuvenated,” says the Yoga Guru.

Drink sufficient water, have nutritious diet

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration which coupled with high salt intake and lack of sleep could make your eyes look puffy. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water can help with the condition. A diet rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants can relieve the oxidative stress in the body. One must consume seasonal fruits and vegetables for best results.

Wash your eyes with cold water

This could help deal with the tiredness in eyes but make sure not to be harsh with your eyes. Gently splash your eyes with water two-three times in a day.

Yoga exercises for EYE health

Here are Yoga exercises that you can do for improving your eye health:

Makara Mudra (Crocodile Hand gesture)

  • Place one hand inside another.
  • Extend the thumb of lower hand through the little finger.
  • Take the ring finger of other hand and place it in the middle palm of your other hand
  • Make sure that the thumb and the tip of ring finger are touching each other
  • Spread the rest of the fingers as wide as possible

Bhramari Pranayama

  • Sit in any comfortable pose (such as Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana)
  • Straighten your back and close your eyes
  • Place your palms on your knees facing up (in Prapthi Mudra)
  • Place your thumbs on the ‘Tragus’, the external flap outside on your ear.
  • Place your index finger on your forehead; your middle finger on the Medial Canthus and ring finger on the corner of your nostril
  • Inhale and fill your lungs with air
  • As you exhale, slowly make a buzzing sound like that of a bee, i.e., “mmmmmmm….”
  • Keep your mouth closed the entire time and feel the vibration of the sound disseminate throughout your body

Surya Namaskar

“Surya Namaskar is a salutation to the Sun. The Sun represents energy, power, and vitality. This yogic offering of Surya Namaskar was first performed by the epitome of strength, Shree Hanuman as his salutation to the Lord Sun, who is his mentor and Master. The Surya Namaskar contains a total number of 8 asanas woven into a sequence of 12 steps for each side, right and left,” says Grand Master Akshar.

When you begin the Surya Namaskar, you must start with the right side as the sun’s energy is represented symbolically through this side. One cycle is complete when you cover both sides, and this is made up of 24 counts.

In yoga, Surya Namaskar is the best practice for eyes, mind and body. It is a very dynamic practice that gives excellent results. It has asanans that helps increase blood flow towards the face and eyes, improving eyesight and boosting overall eye health.

Padahasthasana

Padhasthasana is excellent for improving blood circulation around face and help in rejuvenating dead cells. When you hold it for a longer time, your eye power increases and helps deal with puffiness. It also helps in wrinkles.

  • Begin by standing in Samasthithi
  • Exhale and gently bend your upper body, dropping your head and keeping your shoulders and neck relaxed
  • Place palms on either side of feet
  • Try to keep the legs and knees straight throughout the practice. If you are a beginner, you may have to bend your knees slightly to accomplish this.
  • With practice, slowly straighten your knees and try to touch your chest to your thighs
  • Hold this asana for a while

Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend)

  • Begin with Dandasana
  • Ensure that your knees are slightly bent while your legs are stretched out forward
  • Extend your arms upward and keep your spine erect
  • Exhale and empty your stomach of air
  • With the exhale, bend forward at the hip and place your upper body on your lower body
  • Lower your arms and grip your big toes with your fingers
  • Try to touch your knees with your nose, and hold the posture for 10 seconds.

Halasana

  • Lie down on your back
  • Using your abdominal muscles, lift your legs up 90 degrees
  • Press palms firmly into the floor and allow your legs to fall back behind your head
  • Allow your middle and lower back to lift off the floor to touch your toes on the floor behind
  • Try to bring your chest as close to your chin as possible
  • The palms can remain flat on the floor but you can bend the arms and support the back with the palms
  • Hold the asana for a while

Padma Halasana (Lotus in Plough Pose)

  • Sit in Sukhasana and form Padmasana with your legs
  • Slowly lie on your back and allow your legs to come up
  • Press your palms into the floor to lift your Padmasana up
  • You can use your to palms support the back as per your level of comfort