6 Ways to Beat Daily Fatigue

If you have a typical desk job, maybe these steps can help you beat daily fatigue and lethargy.

Drink Plenty Of Water: Hydrate yourself constantly. Dehydration saps out a lot of energy and affects performance. Dehydration can cause a lot of fatigue so it’s important to tank upon at least four liters (or more) of water on a daily basis.

Protein-Based Diet: Eating right is of prime importance. It boosts energy levels and balances the carb intake. The more carbs you take in, especially in the morning, the more glucose your body produces and that can lead to high blood sugar levels in the body. It can also make you very lethargic. So balance the effect out with a good solid protein-based breakfast and try and introduce at least 80% of proteins in your diet daily.

Take Screen Breaks: Sitting in front of the screen for hours together can mentally tire you more than physically. So take a break from your laptop screens every hour. Also, give yourself a screen-less hour before getting some sleep.

Have A Green Diet: Include more green leafy veggies in your diet. The way you eat can make a lot of difference in how energized you feel throughout the day. Eat plenty of spinach, broccoli, green peas. Definitely a great energy booster!

Movement Is Important: Any form of movement and exercise is important. Try yoga, which not only clears the mind but replenishes a lot of energy too. It’s a good way to tone the body and alert the mind. So get a mat and strike a pose and you’ll always be ready to face a long day.

Stretch: Stretch once in the morning. It eliminates tension and improves blood flow. Stretch in the middle of your workday too. Take breaks every 30-45 minutes and stretch your back and shoulder.

Fight Depression by Eating Right

Food packed with vitamins, rich in antioxidants, nuts, and green tea are some of the eatables that can help you fight depression, suggest experts.

Sunita Chowdhury, chief dietician at BLK Super Specialty Hospital, and Tanu Arora, Head of the department at Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Aakash Healthcare, have shared inputs:

Antioxidant-rich foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre and not only help the immune system fight diseases but also minimize cell damage and aging. These are all red, orange, yellow and green vegetables and fruits. A minimum of 750-100 gm is the recommended allowance per day. Such food includes berries, oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, pumpkin, watermelon, pomegranate and green leafy vegetables like spinach, cucumber, tomato, and beetroot. It is better to eat these fruits and vegetables than to juice them, to get the maximum benefit out of them.

Eat Nuts: All nuts, especially walnut, are thought to be good mood elevators as they contain omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers have shown that walnuts support proper brain function and reduce depression. All nuts are rich in phytochemicals such as resveratrol and also vitamin E which keep one healthy.

Try green tea as it has antioxidant properties and also has an overall calming effect on the nervous system and so helps hold off stress and depression. Avoid indulging in alcohol, caffeine, processed and high-fat foods, carbonated beverages, soda, and too many sweets.

Omega 3: Having good sources of omega 3, vitamin, Selenium, tryptophan, Beta carotene in the diet helps the body to build a strong immune system that fights depression.

Body-weight Exercises Vs Weight Lifting: Which is Better for You? Let’s Find Out

Resistance training is great. But when it comes to choosing between body-weight training and weight lifting, the going can get tough. Here’s how you can choose.

It’s funny how life makes us girls go through the ordeal of making tough choices every now and then. A classic LBD or neon coordinates? Peep toes or boots? Bold red lips or subtle nude ones? Sorbet or a hot chocolate fudge? And finally, bodyweight training or lifting free weights? While you can still let the heart decide in the former cases, when it comes to weight training-you have to think your choices through.

I am talking about having to pick the right type of workout for yourself.

Let’s just understand the options first

How can you possibly choose between a sorbet and a fudge when you don’t know how they taste in the first place? Similarly, we don’t expect you to make a monumental fitness decision without actually knowing your options well.

To begin with, both body-weight training and free-weight lifting happen to be two sides of the same coin-namely, resistance training, also known as strength training. Strength training improves muscular strength by gradually increasing your ability to resist force. This, of course, happens with the help of free weights, machines, and the person’s own body weight.

But what’s the difference between these two types of resistance training?

Body-weight training: “It involves using your own body weight as resistance to perform exercises,” says Praveshh Gaur, founder, and director of Srauta Wellness.

“Exercises like squats, push-ups, chin-ups, burpees, planks, TRX training, and stair climbing involve using your body weight against gravity and are great examples of body-weight training,” he adds.

Free-weight lifting: On the other hand, fitness expert Juily Wagle, who is also the founder of MetaboliX, a diet, and fitness consulting firm, defines free-weight lifting as “strength training done with the use of external weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, or machines.”

Basically, both have their own set of advantages and setbacks. But you can choose the one for you based on your personal fitness goal.

A. The case for body-weight training

1. Who should do it?

“Body-weight training can be performed by anybody, no matter what their fitness level is,” says Gaur. This makes body-weight training a great idea for beginners and people getting back to their workouts after a long gap.

“For a person with a lean body, it may be hard to lift heavyweights. So starting with lifting their own weight can help,” he explains.

In fact, it can even be advantageous for people with tight schedules as he points out that it requires minimal setup and little rest time between each set.

“It is also best suited for people who are intimidated by gyms and are shy to work out in front of people,” he adds.

2. What are the advantages?

“This form of exercise can build strength, balance, flexibility, core stability, and can help you lose fat,” Gaur exclaims.

“It also builds muscle, makes you burn calories, and improves your aerobic capacity. And these exercises keep your bones and joints healthy, boost lean muscle mass, and increase athletic performance,” he adds.

Gaur is also quick to mention that it is simple and does not involve any heavy gym equipment, making it a very flexible form of workout, which can be performed anywhere at any time.

Another important point brought to light by Wagle is the fact that body-weight training has a lesser risk of injury and mishaps compared to free-weight lifting-and this can particularly work well for beginners.

Not to mention, this fitness routine is also quite pocket-friendly as you don’t need to buy any expensive equipment or pay hefty amounts for gym memberships.

B. The case for lifting free weights

1. Who should do it?

If you’re looking to tone up your body or simply build muscle, this may be the workout for you. Additionally, if you’ve hit a fitness plateau and have stopped losing weight, increasing the weight on the bar can break this plateau and give you the desired results.

2. What are the advantages?

After a point, your body may adapt to lifting its own weight and the problem is that since you can’t really increase your own weight (that’s not what you want, right?), the results will stagnate. However, in case, of free-weight training, you can always vary the weight you’re lifting and thus, the body doesn’t adapt and shows results, according to Gaur.

Moreover, unlike body-weight training, it has more variations and can be more target-specific. For instance, it is possible to focus on a single muscle via exercises like the dumb-bell curl-which isn’t exactly the case with body-weight training.

The final word?

“Although both the routines have their own benefits, personally I believe that a body-weight training regime, one hour a day is sufficient to keep your fitness on track and lead a healthy life,” says Gaur.

However, Wagle is quick to remind us of the precautions to be taken during these workouts. This is what she suggests:

Before starting or ending any exercise, make sure to warm-up and cool down properly.

Start the routine slowly and to boost your activity level, always listen to your body. Never push or be too hard on yourself or you may end up injured.

Make sure you learn the technique of performing the exercise from a qualified fitness professional.

Check for joint misalignment or injuries before performing body-weight training.

Rotate your exercises weekly so that the same body part is not stressed continuously.

Breathe correctly during exercise to avoid injury and enable progress.

Walk Can Ease Your Stress. Here’s How

Imagine a scenario – You have to submit that critical report one week early. Your pulse races and blood pressure increases. What are you going to do? Before you face a sudden breakdown due to anger, try going out for a stress-busting walk. One of the best ways to relieve stress is to simply walk them away. Yes, walking has multiple benefits including reducing stress and anxiety.

It’s now well medically and practically proven that a walk is the best stress buster we always had and it costs us nothing. Walking is really the magic talisman! But is it just some pep talk or is there really some truth?

Lodes of it! Heard of Endorphin – the cool chemical within us that soothes the brain and but keeps hiding till knocked? Walking triggers the release of endorphins and immediately helps you relieve anxiety and pain. The higher your level of endorphins, the greater your sense of calm and well-being! No wonder walking makes us feel so good and elevates our mood almost instantly. And the beauty is, one can walk anytime, anywhere.

Yes, morning walks have other important benefits too. Investing significant time to pursue walking can get your mind off stress and give you a feeling of detachment from daily pressures of life. By unwinding and giving your mind the space to meander, you may be able to see the situation in a different positive light. You may even come up with a solution to your problem.

Here’s how walking helps beat stress besides the release of that cool chemical endorphin:

Meditate in motion: As you begin to regularly shed your daily worries through physical activity and constant movement, you might find that this enables you to focus more. The resulting energy and optimism can further help you to remain calm and clear in everything you do.

Time to introspect: “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking,” said philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Walking increases the blood flow to your brain. It gives you time to consider different aspects of your problems away from the distractions of your office or home. Creative ideas and solutions may flow more effortlessly.

Blood pressure control: Stress can be one of the factors for high blood pressure. Studies have shown that walking can lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart health risk.

Increased stress relief: Studies found that walking in a natural environment had greater effects on stress relief.

Next time you feel you are too stressed, simply go for a walk and feel re-energized. Since, it is the most simple, fun and healthy way to manage your stress levels, so lace up and start walking!

A Diabetes-Friendly Navratri Diet Plan

The Navratras aren’t just a spiritual exercise. They are also a great way of detoxing your body and having a Satvik diet. This is an opportunity to take a break from packaged and processed meals and focussing on the organic and the fresh.

For individuals with Diabetes, of course, the situation can be a little more complicated, but not unmanageable by any means. We have chalked out a Diabetes-Friendly Navratri Diet plan to eat well and stay joyous through this festive season.

Day 1

  • Early morning: Warm water with Cumin seeds
  • Breakfast: Milk with two Almonds
  • Lunch: Quinoa with coconut stew
  • Snack: Tomato lemonade
  • Dinner: Saffron infused almond milk
  • Bed-time: Vegetable soup

Day 2

  • Early morning: Warm water with Cinnamon
  • Breakfast: Rajgeera porridge with milk
  • Lunch: Two Baked sabudana cutlets with yoghurt dip
  • Snack: Curd with fenugreek powder
  • Dinner: Mix vegetable salad with pumpkin seeds
  • Bed-time: Four almonds

Day 3

  • Early morning: Warm water with lemon and mint
  • Breakfast: Mixed Vegetable sabudana Khichdi
  • Lunch: Two pieces of Kuttu paratha with cucumber mint raita
  • Snack: Masala buttermilk
  • Dinner: One Bowl of Makhana kheer with dry fruits
  • Bed-time: 2 Teaspoon of apple Kheer

Day 4

  • Early morning: Warm water with tulsi leaves
  • Breakfast: Apple milkshake with Three almonds
  • Lunch: Vegetable Khichadi
  • Snack: Roasted makhana
  • Dinner: Sabudana thaalipeth
  • Bed-time: Three dried Figs

Day 5

  • Early morning: Warm water with Cardamom
  • Breakfast: Sago porridge
  • Lunch: Singhara Halwa(Sugarless)
  • Snack: Poppy seeds and Mint Leaves in Curd/Buttermilk
  • Dinner: Quinoa porridge with pumpkin and spinach
  • Bed-time: One Coconut ladoo

Day 6

  • Early morning: Warm water with Carom seeds
  • Breakfast: Kuttu dosa with coriander Chutney
  • Lunch: Rajgeera paratha with Masala Dahi
  • Snack: Baked or Sautéed Paneer
  • Dinner: Paneer tikka with yoghurt marinate
  • Bed-time: One teaspoon Pumpkin halwa

Day 7

  • Early morning: Warm water with ginger
  • Breakfast: Apple with roasted flax seeds
  • Lunch: Singhare flour paratha and 2 Teaspoon Lauki Kheer
  • Snack: Shikanji with Sprouts Chaat
  • Dinner: Bread kuttu Samosa with green peas filling
  • Bed-time: One teaspoon of Shrikhand

Day 8

  • Early morning: Warm water with Nutmeg
  • Breakfast: One cup of Sabudana khichidi
  • Lunch: Sweet potatoes and pomegranate salad
  • Snack: Chana chaat
  • Dinner: Kuttu crepe with Apple filling
  • Bed-time: One teaspoon of Sheera

Day 9

  • Early morning: Warm water with black pepper and sea salt
  • Breakfast: Kuttu upma
  • Lunch: Mixed vegetable soup with ½ Tsp Flax seeds
  • Snack: One bowl of mixed fruit
  • Dinner: Sama rice dhokla with coconut chutney
  • Bed-time: One teaspoon of Sabudana kheer

In addition, here are two important things to keep in mind-

a) Moderation is key- Fasting for long periods or over-indulging in the festive mood can cause fluctuations in the blood glucose levels that can prove to be dangerous. Avoid long fasting hours and get creative with ingredients allowed during the fasting period to have short, frequent meals. Excessively gorging on high calorie-high fat festive delicacies can shoot up your blood glucose levels.

b) Stay Hydrated- Keep guzzling fluids throughout the day to avoid dehydration. Drinking fluids throughout the day can help you detoxify, maintain optimum body temperature, balance electrolytes and reenergize. Do not consume caffeine beverages as it may cause further dehydration.

Happy Navratras!

Immunity, Digestion and More: The Many Benefits of Turmeric

Ayurveda deems turmeric as one of the most important medicinal spices. Modern studies have reiterated the knowledge that all body systems benefit from the use of turmeric. Here’s a quick breakdown of the yellow root spice:

Pungent and bitter, it has anti-inflammatory, cleansing, and detoxifying effects.

Positive effects: It benefits circulatory system, supports digestive fire, and reduces digestive toxins. Ayurveda prescribes it for the liver, blood, digestive system, joints, and immune system issues.

Bioavailability: The key element in turmeric, curcumin, is hard for the body to absorb. To facilitate curcumin’s absorption, you should consider adding black pepper as a combination of food because piperine in black pepper boosts curcumin’s absorption.

Various uses:

For asthma: Grate two inches raw turmeric and dry in the shade. Add 10 to 12 crushed black peppercorns. Cover well with honey. Take one teaspoon twice a day with warm milk.

To increase immunity: Boil half teaspoon turmeric powder or half-inch raw turmeric and three to four crushed black peppercorns in one glass of milk. Drink one hour before bedtime.

For cold and flu: Boil one teaspoon turmeric and one-inch grated ginger in two glasses of water for five minutes. When cool, mix with a little honey.

For acne: Mix one tablespoon aloe vera gel with one teaspoon turmeric, half teaspoon lemon juice and rose water. Apply on the face and wash after it dries.

For mouth ulcers and cuts: Mix three tablespoons turmeric powder with one-fourth teaspoon alum and make a paste with coconut oil. Apply with a cotton swab over mouth sores, cuts, and wounds.

For bad breath: Mix one teaspoon turmeric with one glass lukewarm water. Use as a mouthwash.

Avoid oral intake in large quantities if pregnant, or if you are taking platelet-inhibiting or blood-thinning medications.

The Secret Role of Fennel Seeds in Boosting Immunity & Shedding Weight

Besides being used extensively as a spice and condiment, fennel seeds are also used to clean and freshen the palate after a meal. They are not just tasty to chew on but are also packed with hidden health benefits.

If you’re one of those who choose to give it a miss, here are a few reasons why eating fennel seeds will help you fight infections and assist in weight loss.

Cancer protection:

Cooking and eating non-vegetarian food releases certain carcinogens in the air, which change into free radicals that may have cancer-causing agents. Fennel helps to remove these toxins from the body and gives protection from cancer.

Good for skin and hair:

Fennel seeds are rich in iron and D complex vitamins, which help improve skin health. Also, the zinc and selenium present in them prevent premature greying of hair by strengthening hair, nourishing hair follicles, and stimulating hair growth.

An eye for Fennel:

Fennel seeds are rich in Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, which help promote eye health. Also, its Vitamin C components boost immunity.

Good for breathing problems:

They give relief from asthma and other respiratory problems. Fennel seeds have phytonutrients that clear sinus and give relief to asthmatic patients.

Weight loss:

If you’re looking for an easy way to get rid of that excess fat, drinking fennel seed water in the morning can help you. Fennel improves metabolism and burns fat, making it easy to shed those extra pounds. It also acts as a suppressant of appetite.

Reduces bloating:

Fennel seeds act as a diuretic and help flush out excess fluids from the body. They also improve digestion by activating enzymes and thus is eaten commonly after meals. Fennel tea and water also help in relieving constipation and irritable bowel syndrome due to their anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Lesser-known benefits of fennel:

  • They refresh the breath because the anti-bacterial properties of fennel seeds help to give relief from bad breath.
  • They improve feeding in lactating mothers because fennel, cumin (jeera), ajwain (carom) water for lactating mothers help in milk production.

Sleep, The Secret Weapon for Body’s Immunity

The importance of sleep for one’s mental and physical wellbeing has been highlighted by various studies time and again. However, a new study conducted recently has established a link between sleep and the body’s immune system. The study, conducted by a team from the University of Tubingen in Germany, has found that a good night’s sleep can boost the effectiveness of certain specialized immune cells called T cells.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, tries to explain what lies at the core of the relationship between sleep and the body’s defenses against infection. These immune cells recognize pathogens, then activate integrins, which are a type of protein that allows T cells to attach to and tackle their targets. The researchers note that little is known about how T cells activate integrins, as well as what may prevent these cells from attaching to potentially compromised targets, the study says.

For the purpose of the study, Gs alpha-coupled receptor agonists (Gas-coupled receptor agonists) that are signaling molecules, many of which have the ability to block the action of the immune system, were observed. It was found that some Gas-coupled receptor agonists blocked T cells from activating integrins, thus preventing them from attaching to their targets.

“The levels of these molecules needed to inhibit integrin activation,” says the study’s co-author Stoyan Dimitrov, “are observed in many pathological conditions, such as tumor growth, malaria infection, hypoxia, and stress.”

“This pathway may, therefore, contribute to the immune suppression associated with these pathologies,” he says.

Since adrenaline and prostaglandin levels tend to drop during sleep, the scientists chose to go one step further and study this phenomenon in greater detail in human participants. They took T cells from some volunteers who slept and some who remained awake.

After analyzing these samples, Dimitrov and the team saw that the T cells of sleeping people had higher levels of integrin activation compared with the same cells taken from people in a waking state.

“Our findings show that sleep has the potential to enhance the efficiency of T cell responses, which is especially relevant in light of the high prevalence of sleep disorders and conditions characterized by impaired sleep, such as depression, chronic stress, aging, and shift work”, co-author of the study Luciana Besedovsky said.

If you’re done reading this, we suggest you get a good snooze.

Herbs and Spices to Boost Immunity

Did you know about an invisible army present in your body? The invisible army helps protect you from various illnesses and infections. This invisible army is commonly known as immunity. A strong immune system is extremely essential for the overall health of the body. Stress, unhealthy diet, lack of sleep, excessive smoking and drinking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, no physical activity, hygiene, and dehydration are some of the factors that may lead to a weak immune system.

However, if the above factors weaken your immunity then some common herbs and spices can help boost your immunity. Even better, you do not have to go out of the way to get hold of these herbs and spices. These may be found in your kitchen itself.

1. Cinnamon: The spice cinnamon helps in preventing infection and may boost the immune system. This spice could also help lower type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. You can add it to your morning oatmeal, some desserts or your morning tea.

2. Clove: Clove is widely used in dentistry to provide relief from toothache. Both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, cloves have been used to prevent gum pain and even help in dealing with dry cough.

3. Garlic: This potent and pungent cooking ingredient provides antiseptic and antioxidant activities. Allicin, a potent sulfur compound found in garlic and onions, helps in dealing with the symptoms of cold and flu. The spice also has cardiovascular, anti-microbial and antineoplastic properties. In addition, the spice helps to support people suffering from a variety of medical conditions such as high and low blood pressures, high cholesterol, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. You can add fresh garlic to your vegetables, dishes or even soups.

4. Turmeric: This spice contains curcumin and has been used for ages as it has medicinal properties. The spice helps in digestive issues by stimulating the bile flow. It has antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties that give the stomach-soothing benefits. Turmeric can also be beneficial for lungs and wound healing.

5. Ginger: Ginger is one of the most common spices found in every kitchen. Ginger offers several health benefits. A dash of ginger can enhance the taste of your tea. The spice has several therapeutic and medicinal properties that help to boost immunity, prevent cancer, heal ulcers, manage your weight and help keep digestive problems at bay. Ginger can also be used to reduce pain and inflammation, headaches and even menstrual cramps.

So, be judicious in adding immune-boosting foods and herbs to your meals to make it a powerfully effective way to stimulate healing and rejuvenation of the body.