Health+Fitness

How to Choose Skin-friendly Sanitizer for your Kids?

Posted on 1 Sep 2020 13:13:04 GMT - health-fitness

Hand hygiene is extremely important, especially at a time when we are fighting a pandemic. Despite knowing that hands are the main pathways of germ transmission, it is almost impossible to resist children from touching objects. So, it's all the more crucial to keep their hands clean by washing them regularly with soap and water and sanitizing.

Rajesh Vohra, CEO, Chicco India (Artsana Group) shares a few tips to keep in mind while choosing a sanitizer for your young ones:

As recommended by health organizations, a hand sanitizer with more than 60 percent alcohol content is the next best alternative to keep your and kids hands clean when travelling or are in some place outside where soap and water are not accessible (such as park, play-ground etc.)

Choose a hand sanitizer that doesn't dry their skin - Given that the skin of children is soft, it is preferable to use a hand sanitizer that contains Glycerin which keeps their skin moisturized and protected at the same time

Should contain ingredients or extracts of natural origin such as neem seed, tulsi etc. that are known to have medicinal and anti-microbial properties i.e. anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties

Must be gentle and safe on kids' skin - children have supple and sensitive skin, hence the hand sanitizer used for them should be dermatologically tested, free from parabens, sulphates and synthetic dyes etc.

It should be non- sticky such that it easily gets dried up or evaporates after rubbing the hands for 10-15 seconds

Light and mild fragrance - Don't opt for sanitizers which have very strong fragrance for kids, always choose a hand sanitizer with a mild and fresh fragrance

Washing hands with soap and water still continues to be the best practice to ensure hand hygiene. And in case of young children, hand sanitizer should be used under adult supervision and should be kept in a secure location when not in use.

 

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National Nutrition Week: Experts Speak on Nutrient Deficiencies in Women and Kids

Posted on 1 Sep 2020 13:04:51 GMT - health-fitness

On the first day of the National Nutrition Week, observed every year from September 1 to 7 in India, various public health experts said the focus should be on the issue of under-nutrition, over-nutrition or micro-nutrient deficiencies in children and women.

The National Nutrition Week was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 1982 with the objective to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition for the human body.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, one in four adults and one in five school-going children are overweight in India, and nearly one-third of the diseases can be controlled with a proper diet.

According to a UN report in 2017, India has 190.7 million undernourished people and 38.4 percent of children under five in India are stunted.

"Despite beginning nutrition-oriented development programmes especially focused on children, like integrated child development services 45 years ago, India still has children suffering from undernutrition and malnutrition, stunting, wasting and other problems. On the other hand, children in well-to-do families are suffering due to heavy intake of refined foods and carbonated beverages," said Kamal Narayan Omer, CEO, Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council in New Delhi.

Omer said the right eating habits and eating the right kind of food can play a significant role in reducing India's burden of non-communicable diseases in adults.

"The imbalance needs to be addressed urgently and we must work to find the right alternatives to foods that are causing this nutritional imbalance in the most vulnerable section of our society."

Besides this, India is home to non-nutritious, non-balanced food either in the form of under nutrition, over nutrition or micro-nutrient deficiencies. Various other experts feel that the need of the hour is to encourage and provide balanced and nutritious food for everybody especially for women and the new-born.

"We need to ensure that the nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive schemes or interventions that benefit the bottom of the pyramid are formed so that the vulnerable population can have access to affirmative actions, services and entitlements. The community structures and service providers should be accountable enough for early identification and management of malnutrition within communities is vital for addressing malnutrition," said Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Healthcare in New Delhi.

Another doctor, Manisha Ranjan, who is a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Motherhood Hospital, quoted Oxfam which estimated that after the pandemic an additional 100 million Indians are vulnerable to food distress and those particularly hard hit are women and women-headed households.

"In the patriarchal family structure that India has, children (and the girl child in particular) and women will bear the brunt of this calamity. A woman needs nutrients right from their adolescent age because they undergo a lot of hormonal imbalance as the body prepares for menstruation," Ranjan added.

Malnutrition perpetuates the vicious cycle of intergenerational undernutrition that results in a high incidence of babies born with low birth weight, more susceptible to infections, more likely to experience growth failure, reflected in high levels of child undernutrition and anemia, said Sunil Rajpal, Associate Professor, Health Economist, IIHMR University, Jaipur.

"A recent study by researchers from the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi has estimated that spending $1 on nutritional interventions in India could generate public economic returns of $19.35 to $22.21, which is multiple times more than the global average. This indicates the huge potential we have as well as the gravity of the task since the lockdown and economic downfall due to Covid-19 is likely to push millions more to nutritional deficiency," added Rajpal.

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Nuances of Nude Makeup: Beginner's Guide

Posted on 29 Aug 2020 10:26:00 GMT - health-fitness

The nude makeup look is gaining more popularity with each passing day. Not just beauty influencers or movie stars, but women from all walks of life are developing a penchant for this makeup look. And the one aspect that seems to fascinate women is its minimalism and natural character.

A budding actress of the Malayalam film industry, a finalist of Miss Kerala 2019, and a former beauty writer, Amrutha Balakrishnan says “I opt for nude makeup because it can be natural and elegant at the same time. I think no other makeup can make you feel like that. It's as if you are not wearing any makeup at all when really you are.”

nude makeup

Miss Kerala 2019 finalist Amrutha Balakrishnan | Pic by: Jinson Abraham | MUA: Samson Lei

She adds, “The idea of makeup and fashion has tremendously changed and people are now embracing the "less is more” look.

Owing to the on-going pandemic and lockdown, more and more people are choosing mindful consumerism and a sustainable lifestyle. Therefore, a barely-there make up look is not just elegant but also practical in the current times.

And while we love a minimalist look, we do not really know what products to use and how much to use. So, to give you a better idea about the nude makeup aka the no-makeup look and what it entails, we spoke to two celebrity makeup artists who gave some expert tips which would help you nail the nude makeup look like a pro, the next time you attend an official zoom meeting or catch up with friends via video calls.

Minimalism is key

nude makeup

The idea behind the nude makeup look is to let the freshness of your skin shine. You do not want your foundation to cake up or worse, reveal that the color of your foundation does not suit your skin. Therefore, go for less. Celebrity makeup artist Seema Tabassum who has worked with the likes of Aishwarya Rajesh, Priyamani, and various other Bollywood and Tollywood celebrities says, “Nude Makeup means makeup with just right neutral colors. You go lighter or darker by understanding your skin tone.” Pick up colors that compliment your skin tone. “Beige, browns, peaches are commonly used shades for creating nude makeup. It can give you a simple to high fashion look.”

Conceal the right way

Another celebrity makeup artist who has worked with TV superstars like Hina Khan and Krystle D’Souza, Aafreen Petiwala believes concealer is absolutely necessary to achieve the perfect nude makeup look. She says, “A concealer will help you correct the dark circles and pigmentations that we all have so as to give your skin an even appearance.” Tabassum adds, “You cannot go wrong if you have the right foundation for your skin & a box of brown powder which can be used as eye shadow, contour powder & eyebrow filler.”

Keep your eyes & lips natural

nude makeup

Both Tabassum and Petiwala suggest keeping the eyes and lips as natural and less-dramatic as possible. While Tabassum believes no pop color should be applied on the lips, Petiwala says the lip color should be very close to one’s skin color. For the eyes, they both suggest a generous helping of mascara with curled up lashes and a tinge of highlighter in the inner corners of the eyes. Pro tip: Apply the lip color with your finger to give it a more natural look.

Prep your face

“Since summers are approaching, the best rituals to achieve the perfect nude look is toning and using a gel-based moisturizer,” says Petiwala. Tabassum adds that understanding your skin type is important to choose the correct cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.

The non-negotiables

Both the experts suggest not overdoing the makeup and sticking to colors that would not conceal your original skin tone. They also emphasize having a good skincare regime which includes drinking lots of water and having fruits.

Pro tip: Never forget to remove your makeup before going to bed.

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Fitness Goals: How to Stay Fit and Keep our Activity Levels up During the Pandemic

Posted on 28 Aug 2020 11:42:49 GMT - health-fitness

The unprecedented lockdown and the limited freedom of movement have left us all a little restless. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the struggle to keep ourselves motivated has been real. While some of us have taken to learning new skills, most of us are having a hard time sticking to our pre-covid routine. The closure of gyms, parks, yoga studios, sports centres, even swimming pools has left many of us without our favourite means to stay active.

As much as we’d like to curl up on the couch and procrastinate, staying active is essential to our wellbeing. According to WHO, long periods of physical inactivity is a leading cause for several lifestyle diseases and disability. We spoke to Mumbai-based fitness professional, Miten Kakaiya about reduced physical activity, “Both during and after the lockdown, we've seen a significant reduction in activity levels. This means that your body is burning a lot less energy than it was (earlier). You need to ensure that you maintain the optimum balance between calorie consumption and calorie burn. Apart from the obvious fitness goals, it is important to stay active and eat smart in order to maintain good physical and cardiovascular health, boost your immunity, and protect against illness.”

Miten answers a few commonly asked questions about fitness and activity levels.

1. Why do we need to stay active during the pandemic?

“During the pandemic, our movement and activity levels have reduced drastically and we aren’t going out, working out, indulging in other activities as much as we used to. It is important to stay active in order to maintain our fitness levels and overall health.”

 

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Miten Says Fitness (MSF) (@mitenkakaiya) onApr 6, 2020 at 11:58pm PDT

2. How can one stay active during the pandemic?

“The obvious option is to work out at home, this can be anything from resistance band and dumbbell workouts to bodyweight training and HIIT. The little things like getting up and walking around and helping with household chores can also aid in improving your activity levels. Just don’t sit around all day - working or watching the television.”

3. Is walking around the house enough to stay fit?

“Yes, of course. Every little bit helps when it comes to staying active. If you want to get fitter however, you will also need to follow a suitable workout routine that you can do at home, and control your diet. “

4. I can't bring myself to workout alone. Do you have any tips?

“A lot of people face this problem, this lack of motivation to work out alone. There are several ways to stay motivated including setting short term goals that you can actually achieve, monitoring your progress with before after images, listening to your favourite workout music, not being too hard on yourself on bad days and most importantly - sticking with it until it becomes a part of your routine.”

5. I don't have access to weights, how do I get in an intense workout?

“You can make your workout intense without weights by using multiple techniques such as slowing down your rep tempo, reducing your rest period in between sets, and performing a higher number of reps to increase the tension on your muscles. “

6. Should I keep consuming the same calories as before or will I gain weight/fat?

“As I mentioned earlier, your activity levels have dropped significantly during the pandemic. This means that if you continue to eat the same amount of calories as before, you will be in a calorie surplus which will make you gain fat. To avoid gaining fat, you can increase your energy burn by increasing your activity levels, reduce the calories that you consume, or follow a suitable combination of the two.”

7. I can't go to the gym for cardio, what can I do at home?

“You don’t need cardio equipment to stay active and burn fat! One of the best ways to burn fat is by performing an HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Workout. It’s an intense workout that involves short bursts of activity during which you need to push yourself to the max. HIIT is a great way to burn fat, improve your cardiovascular health, and build muscle. The best part is that you can do it anywhere, you don’t need a gym.  Check out this super easy HIIT routine that you can do at home today.”

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Miten Says Fitness (MSF) (@mitenkakaiya) onApr 23, 2020 at 3:43am PDT

8. Why do I need to perform extra activities during this period?

“You need to perform extra activities to make up for the reduction in your daily calorie-burning tasks. Just sitting around at home is going to have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health. And while we are trying to stay cautious about the novel Coronavirus, we would not want to attract other lifestyle-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, etc.”

 

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Purple Food Dethrones Green Veggies?

Posted on 28 Aug 2020 10:50:56 GMT - health-fitness

People are moving towards a healthier lifestyle which focuses on a nutritious diet. To that end one is choosing to incorporate more vegetables for their natural nutrition.

Purple coloured fruit and vegetables have been found to be rich in nutrients and thus have slowly begun to replace existing vegetables, as these are merely different variants of regular items, says Chef Prabhakar Nagaraj, Managing Partner, Elior India.

IANSlife spoke to Nagaraj to know about the benefit of purple vegetables and fruit and this rising trend of consuming these items. Excerpts:

How can we incorporate purple food into our everyday diet?

Chef: One can replace regular cauliflower in their meals with purple cauliflower or replace regular cabbage in their salads with red cabbage. Both these replacements help raise the level of antioxidants and phytonutrients compared to their colourful counterparts. An important feature of all purple foods is the ability to help repair and heal cell damage. All these items were already in the traditional food system, but recent scientific backing has boosted it to the forefront.

The recognition of these benefits has led to a great increase in the demand for purple ingredients, which is now being met by farmers who previously only cultivated the regular versions. For example, ever since the discovery of different types of carrots, many farmers have begun to cultivate purple carrots to meet the soaring demand for the same. 

Will the power of purple replace the power of green in the coming years?

Chef: Purple food is a recent discovery, hence there is not enough of it in production to say that it will 'take over' from green foods. Only a very small part of the population even knows that purple foods are equally as good as or better than green foods. It currently runs parallel to green foods as a means of healthy food consumption and will definitely increase over time, given that proper awareness is raised. One way to explain how the growth of purple food in India has increased is by examining how the benefits are stacked up against their usage.

For example, lavender flowers are used in food as a garnish as they not only enhance the appearance of food but also add health benefits by making the skin glow when consumed. The discovery of this benefit has led to a greater demand for lavender and hence, greater cultivation of it. Purple foods follow a similar pattern of increased demand and we must ensure that the supply aspect for it is handled in a robust manner.

Local production of purple foods, in particular, must be encouraged, given its benefits for the Indian population. In terms of awareness at the local level, people must be sensitised to the fact that purple fruit and vegetables are not regular items that have gone bad. By encouraging the use these items in one's daily life, one will be convinced to cultivate these vegetables and contribute to the soaring demand.

Can you tell us a few food items that can be prepared using these purple ingredients?

Chef: As said before, purple foods do not require any special treatment while cooking. You can easily replace normal vegetables with them during the meal creation process, such as using purple potatoes instead of regular ones while making Aloo Jeera. The key here is to determine how much of it to use. Purple foods contain anti-oxidants and based on your requirement of the same, you can determine how much of purple need to be incorporated into your diet. These anti-oxidants become even more important when it comes to the ability to combat cancer. Previously, we would discard the skins of berries and grapes during preparation and use only the pulp. The discovery of the benefits the skin contains has now convinced both the public in general and us to eat them as a whole for maximum nutritional impact.

How purple rice or pomegranate can enhance the flavour of a dish?

Chef: The use of purple foods in meals is still comparatively low when compared to the population of India. We have not been exposed to their benefits. It will be gradual process of growth, but it is only a matter of time before these items like purple rice and pomegranate are incorporated into our diets. Encouraging signs such as the increased use of lettuce in salads are the first steps towards this and with time people will come to recognise how it can enhance both the flavour of the dish as well as its health benefits.

How does this help overcome nutritional deficiency and build a stronger immune system?

Chef: In the current situation, a trend has emerged where individuals have begun looking for healthy food that meets their need, in order to combat nutritional deficiencies. Foods like berries and red cabbage, which have been used as part of diets for many years, have always had the potential to meet these needs. It is only recently with the drive towards incorporating more purple food into our diets that these benefits have been discovered. As these foods have now become more attractive, we will hopefully find that they feature more prominently in menus across homes, thereby helping to meet the nutritional requirements.

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Nutrition Plays a Key Role in Achieving Fitness Goals

Posted on 28 Aug 2020 10:46:47 GMT - health-fitness

Every year, we celebrate National Day of Sports to honour and commemorate the spirit of legendary sportsperson, Major Dhyan Chand who is regarded as the nation's greatest hockey player ever. The day was instituted to educate Indian youth on the importance of being fit and healthy, by practicing sports and other physical activities.

Along with a focused approach towards one's fitness levels, it is equally important to supplement this routine with good nutrition, a balanced diet, and healthy snacking. Good nutrition paves the way to a healthy lifestyle, and is a small investment towards long-term health. This can be achieved by simply making small, yet relevant and impactful changes to the diet.

Stressing on the need to eat right to complement one's sports schedule, Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head -Dietetics, Max Healthcare - Delhi, said: "The amount, composition and choice of food intake can profoundly affect a sports performance. Balancing nutritional needs while practicing a sport or form of exercise is very important as it helps build the foundation for success."

According to Madhuri Ruia, Pilates Expert and Diet and Nutrition Consultant: "Sports and physical exercise are very important for the body's overall growth and development. But, to optimize your physical training it's essential to consume balanced and nutritious diets including healthy snacks."

According to a recent research from King's College London, snacking on almonds everyday improved endothelial function of the arteries and also lowered "bad" LDL-cholesterol - both key indicators of heart health, she said.

Highlighting the need to snack right while engaging in physical activities, Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, said: "People in India are increasingly understanding the significance of sports and regular physical activity. More so now, as there is a greater interest around immunity especially with regard to foods and practices that can help strengthen it. Research has also suggested that regular moderate intensity exercise can also strengthen immunity. This is important more so for children, as they continue to attend online classes at home without much physical activity. Parents must ensure that they setup a routine, so that the child engages in some sort of sport/physical activity every day. Also, be sure to augment this routine by adding snacks to the child's diet."

Fueling the body with the right foods is essential while playing any sport or even maintaining a proper fitness routine. This year, take a pledge and commit to your health goals by eating well and staying fit.

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Wheatgrass: Use Nature's Finest Medicine to survive the Monsoon

Posted on 27 Aug 2020 11:48:03 GMT - health-fitness

For many of us, monsoon is probably the most-awaited season of the year. Sure enough, the first drops of rains are rejuvenating, and provide us the much-sought relief from scorching summer heat. However, the onset of monsoon also means that your risk of catching a number of seasonal infections or diseases has increased considerably.

As "prevention is always better than cure", having a robust immunity can help us stay protected against many monsoon-related infections and/or maladies. When it comes to the right diet for 'Immunity Building' or 'strengthening our body's internal defence mechanism' over the long term, one of the less-talked-about yet highly effective immunity builders is wheatgrass (popularly known as gehu ki ghaas).

Wheatgrass can be actively used as an everyday health tonic to prevent diseases, says Gurpreet Singh, Managing Director, Jivo Wellness. "One of nature's finest medicine; it is also known as 'Green Blood' due to its exceptionally high chlorophyll content of 70 per cent. This natural, high chlorophyll content makes the wheatgrass juice uniquely greener amongst other green juices with detoxifying, healing and strengthening properties. As a mocktail, wheatgrass and chlorophyll together serve as a powerful purifier and help build a healthy cardiovascular system," he says.

Here are a few more ways, deciphered by Singh about how wheatgrass can help you stay healthy and disease-free, especially during the upcoming monsoon season:

Detoxification & Liver Strengthener: Wheatgrass is 70 per cent rich in chlorophyll, which is good for cleansing the liver Gall bladder and purifying blood by eliminating various harmful toxins. One wheatgrass capsule a day can will purify each and every part of your body. Isn't that amazing?

Relieves Acidity & Aids Digestion: Wheatgrass consists of enzymes that help in digestion by breaking down the food you eat. The fibre in wheatgrass improves our gut health. Regular wheatgrass consumption can be useful in managing minor gastro-intestinal issues such as stomach ache or diarrhea. Wheatgrass also helps relieve constipation, stomach ulcers.

Anti-Infection: There is more than enough evidence that wheatgrass consumption helps to slow the growth of certain infections. It can be particularly helpful in curing antibiotic-resistant infections,or also help you to avoid harsher antibiotics for minor infections such as cold and flu.

Innumerable Health Benefits: With a gluten-free, soy-free, entirely vegan profile and low in calories, wheatgrass is a healthy 'superfood'.To name only a few health benefits- it stabilizes our blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, reduces fatigue, boosts energy and metabolism, and promotes the formation of red blood cells. Studies have also linked active wheatgrass consumption to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation, diabetes, and even various types of cancer.

As mentioned, scientific evidence shows that wheatgrass bestows vitality to our bodies and can contribute to our fight against various diseases/infections. Staring right now, it would be a good practice to begin your day with a glass of wheatgrass juice every morning.

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People who eat pasta have better diet, says Study

Posted on 27 Aug 2020 08:45:15 GMT - health-fitness

Good news for pasta eaters! Pasta consumption in both children and adults is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intakes than that of those adults and children who do not eat pasta, say researchers.

When evaluating the weight parameters, no associations were observed in male adults and children. In adult women, however, pasta-eaters showed a beneficial weight-related outcome.

According to the study published in the Journal 'Frontiers in Nutrition', pasta consumption in adult females was associated with reduced waist circumference, body weight and body mass index (BMI).

"Pasta can be an effective building block for good nutrition throughout the lifecycle as it serves as a perfect delivery system for fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and legumes," said Diane Welland, Director of Nutrition Communications for the National Pasta Association in the US."

Think of pasta as a canvas from which you can add almost any nutrient-dense, fibre-rich food you and your family like, to create memorable and delicious meals," Welland added.

The study examined the association between pasta consumption, shortfall nutrient intakes as defined by the 2015 dietary guidelines and diet quality in comparison to non-pasta consumption in the US population with children aged between 2-18 years and adults above 19 years.

Pasta consumption was defined as an all-dry domestic and imported pasta/noodle varieties made with only wheat and no egg. From the analysis, researchers identified a number of key positive nutritional dietary patterns associated with those who eat pasta as part of their diet compared to those who don't eat pasta.

The analysis underscores the nutritional importance of grains such as pasta as consistent with a healthy diet. It shows that pasta-eaters have better quality diets than those who don't eat pasta.

The findings showed that no significant associations were seen with body weight, waist circumference and body mass index in children and adult males. In adult women aged between 19-50 years, pasta eating was associated with lower body weight and waist circumference.

"Pasta is a convenient, nutritious, easy-to-prepare meal for both young and the old and pleases even the pickiest of eaters," the study authors wrote.

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Toothbrush safety during COVID-19

Posted on 26 Aug 2020 10:10:15 GMT - health-fitness

The novel coronavirus has ravaged most countries worldwide. People are looking for ways to protect themselves and their loved ones from contracting the disease. Mumbai's top dentist, Dr. Namrata Jadwani Takhtani, gives us tips on maintaining toothbrush hygiene during the pandemic.

She recommends practicing proper toothbrush hygiene during this pandemic, as most patients are asymptomatic in the initial phase of the COVID-19. It's crucial to avoid spreading the disease while protecting the family members from contracting the coronavirus infection.

  • Isolate your toothbrush just like you would isolate yourself if you were infected. Avoid storing your toothbrush side-by-side in one holder with other toothbrushes, storing it separately in an individual toothbrush holder, or keeping it in your drawer. Ensure that it does not come into contact with any other toothbrushes. 
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap before and after using your toothbrush or flossing your teeth. 
  • Disinfect your toothbrush's handle after use with a good disinfectant. This can be a diluted household bleach solution or alcohol sanitizers with at least 70% alcohol. 
  • Do not share your toothbrush with anyone, as toothbrushes can still have some germs even when you think you have cleaned it well. If you have children in the house, have a different-colored toothbrush for each child to ensure they only use theirs and supervise the younger ones when brushing their teeth. 
  • Avoid sharing your toothpaste with anyone, as it can lead to contamination. If you have to share, ensure that the tube's tip does not touch your toothbrush – use a cotton swab to transfer the toothpaste from the tube to your toothbrush. 
  • If you fall sick, replace your toothbrush with a new one to reduce the risk of falling sick again.

Dr. Namrata believes that following these simple tips will reduce the probability of the COVID-19 virus spreading through toothbrushes.

A Master of Dental Surgery in Prosthodontics, Dr. Namrata started her private practice - The Smylist in 2016. She combines skill with technology, innovation, traditional procedures, and an optimal level of patient care to deliver the best care to her clients and eliminate dental phobia. A gold medalist MDS and a Women Achiever's Awardee, Dr. Namrata, has given multiple dental awareness lectures in various organizations such as the Rotary Club.

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Virtual Learning: Online Academics affecting Teen Health

Posted on 25 Aug 2020 11:05:26 GMT - health-fitness

2020 has indeed witnessed drastic changes due to the precedence of alterations that have occurred in societal functioning, triggered by the coronavirus. While many adults continue to work at home or remotely, one group of individuals has significantly affected-- youngsters, many of whom are still in school or college.

While Covid-19 did prompt distance learning through online classes, several students are finding it tough to cope with the onset of isolation - away from face to face interactions with teachers and peers. The otherwise tech-savvy-social media generation has found the transition to online academics daunting, leading to many experiencing anxiety, stress as well as depression.

As virtual learning has become the new norm, anxiety and confusion about online academics may be seen in many students. Dr. Parul Tank, consultant psychiatrist and therapist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund lists down some of the common problems faced by students studying online and to how to reduce anxiety as well as the stress of being socially isolated during the ongoing lockdown.

Common problems faced by students studying online:

REMAINING MOTIVATED

When home becomes a classroom students struggle to find a balance and a rhythm, or a way to stay motivated.

EASILY DISTRACTED AND MANAGEMENT OF TIME

Being at home, one is conditioned to think of the surroundings to be a relaxed setting; with family and other siblings around the attention span of students' decreases. Time management is a challenge as well; students develop erratic sleep habits with the pressure to complete a project in time. Then there is also confusion and added screen timings.

TECHNICAL ISSUES

There is a sudden irritability during the online class sessions due to poor internet connections amongst attendees; often at times systems shut down and need to be restarted; this leads to disinterest in rejoining the lecture instantaneously.

ENVIRONMENTAL TRAUMA

With the current situation, many students have had to overcome the plight of dealing with either personal loss of a family member while in isolation, have found it hard to acknowledge the global situation, unable to grasp economic adversity, or witness interruption in their regular lifestyle.

 

Ways to reduce anxiety and Stress:

To enhance one's academics online, and to reduce anxiety as well as the stress of being socially isolated during the ongoing lockdown, here are some ways, suggests the expert:

PLAN YOUR ROUTINE

On a weekly basis, list down the important activities. Work on a daily planner to accomplish goals and priorities, set a timeline for each; share these activities with your family at home, intimate them about what you're going to be doing and when, so that they are aware of your timetable and do not cause distractions.

However, even though life is challenging right now, it is okay to leave your work aside for a while to prioritize not only on your physical fatigue, but your mental health as well. Screen time should also be limited; make time out to catch up on one of your favorite shows or to play a fun game with the family.

 

CREATING A STUDY SPACE

Find a productive study space in your home, preferably at the table, and away from your bed. Make it comfortable; keep it tidy and customize it with colorful stationery.

 

ACCESSIBILITY TO ONLINE CLASSES

If you are facing a technical issue or internet concern, do not fret! Inform your professor about what's happening. Stay relaxed and wait till the matter is fixed. Teachers are flexible and will understand your hardships; ask a fellow student to record the session for you to come up to speed with the rest of the class.

 

STAYING MOTIVATED

It is definitely easy to stress out when things are not moving in the right direction, or perhaps in the way you thought things will progress. Apart from academics, this is the time to rekindle a favourite hobby. Read novels, sketch or doodle, play board games, or simply stay motivated by indulging in light exercises.

The role parents and teachers play during this period is crucial. However challenging it may seem, adults should monitor their kids carefully, watch out for distress signs, keep an open channel of communication to let them know that you are there for them, while giving them their space. Combating social and emotional isolation may be simplified by allowing kids to talk about their feelings and share their daily learnings. It is also important to watch out for online bullying or signs of trauma owing to the vulnerability of the online experience.

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Study reveals how immune system deteriorates due to COVID-19

Posted on 25 Aug 2020 07:53:41 GMT - health-fitness

In a major study, Australian researchers have identified mechanisms leading to the functional deterioration of the immune system in response to severe viral infections, such as HIV or Covid-19. It is widely known that severe viral infections and cancer cause impairments to the immune system, including to T cells, a process called immune 'exhaustion'.

According to the study, published in the journal Nature Immunology, overcoming immune exhaustion is a major goal for the development of new therapies for cancer or severe viral infections. "This is an exciting finding, particularly in the context of Covid-19 as one of the big questions is why some people get severely sick, while others experience mild disease," said study author Daniel Utzschneider from the University of Melbourne in Australia.

For the findings, the research team focused on the question of when and how T cells lose their function and become 'exhausted'. It was previously thought that during severe infections, T cells lost their function slowly and over long periods of time. This research, however, shows that T cells can be impaired within just a few days. It also identified several new mediators of immune exhaustion that may be targeted in new therapies.

"We looked at both mild and overwhelming Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus infections in mice, which serves as a model for severe viral infections in humans, early after the onset of disease, and identified striking differences at the molecular and functional level," Utzschneider said.

In response to overwhelming infections that are difficult to eliminate and may become chronic, the team were able to show that T cells down-regulate their function within days, while T cells responding to a weaker infection remained highly functional.

T cells are at the heart of immunotherapy for cancer. Therefore, understanding how a T cell function is impaired is central to improving these therapeutic approaches and applying them to other diseases, such as viral infections, they said.

"These findings are extremely exciting. Our data show that T cells could be manipulated during early stages of severe viral infection to improve their activity," the study authors noted.

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Worried about your Blood Sugar Level this Ganesh Chaturthi? 5 Expert Tips to Keep Your Diabetes in Check

Posted on 24 Aug 2020 11:34:32 GMT - health-fitness

The festive season in India has taken off, and in spite of the pandemic, the country is preparing for celebratory mode over the next few months till the end of the year.

With Ganesh Chaturthi fast approaching, the exchange of sweets and homemade Modaks and mithais are a top priority for every household. It is one of the most prominent Hindu festivals in India. Relishing sweet treats during the 10-day celebrations will awaken the foodie in everyone; health restrictions and diets will take a backseat. However, this can be a daunting time for those suffering from Diabetes or those with high blood sugar levels.

Individuals with Diabetes need to take special care while indulging in these gastronomical celebrations, especially with all the sweet treats around. To enjoy this Ganesh Chaturthi fearlessly, Dr Tejal Lathia, Consultant Endocrinologist, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital shares five tips to help keep your sugar in check!

CONTROLLING PORTION SIZE AND TIMING

The key to effective Diabetes management is controlling the portion size, the trick works best even when it comes to indulging those delicious Modaks! Share the modak with someone. When offered sweets by someone, it may seem rude to refuse but taking half a laddoo or peda is an option.

Eating at regular intervals will ensure that cravings are kept away. It is recommended to keep a 4-hour gap between desserts to avoid any surge in blood sugars

  

OPT FOR HEALTHY SWEETS MADE OF NATURAL SUGARS OR SWEETENERS

As diabetes is now a common problem among individuals, regardless of age, sweet makers have consciously introduced the options of sugar-free Modaks or sweets made from natural sugar. Although even natural sugar is not highly recommended for people with diabetes, it is a far better alternative to processed sugar.

Hence look for sweets made of alternatives such as Jaggery, Dates or Figs; Jaggery is rich in Iron that also helps in cleansing toxins out of the body, while Dates & Figs provide the body with wholesome energy. So though alternatives still have sugar, they also have other nutrients that refined sugar does not.

 

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Sticking to your usual routine as closely as possible will help. Do not skip your workouts and you may increase the workout intensity during the festive time to burn off the excess calories and tackle the sugar levels. 

 

EAT HEALTHY AND HYDRATE

Ganesh Chaturthi is not just about sweets but also fried snacks that come as a savory treat when you visit friends and family. Opt for healthy snacks such as roasted makhana, peanuts, baked treats or grilled food, if available, instead of deep-fried ones. Similarly, drink plenty of water and other healthy liquids like buttermilk and soups instead of aerated sugary drinks.

 

MONITOR YOUR SUGAR-LEVELS REGULARLY

With celebrations at home and the constant guests, it is likely that you will forget to monitor your sugar levels. Therefore, it is advisable to always check your blood glucose levels before and after meals to monitor any fluctuations, especially in festive times. This will also give a fair idea if you must cut down on sweets altogether or reduce the quantity consumed for the next few weeks until levels are in control.

The fun and frolic of festivities shouldn't hamper your health adversely, so remember to keep your Diabetes in check regularly to enjoy a hassle-free festive season!

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