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Health & Fitness

A Guide to a Healthy Living

How to live with Diabetes


If you must live with diabetes, you should be cautious about certain things to ensure the condition remains under control and is easier to deal with.

A condition triggered by the lack of production of insulin in your body, diabetes results in high blood sugar levels. If you must live with this condition, you can be cautious about certain things to ensure the condition remains under control and is easier to deal with.

1. Regular Check-up:

As a diabetes patient, you need to keep a constant check on your blood glucose levels. This is the most important step to undertake to preserve your health and check the condition from further complication. The optimum blood glucose level of 120mg/dl below, before meals and 180mg/dl after meals should be maintained.

2. Medications

Proper and timely medication is the mantra. Taking them as directed by the physician will help keep the blood sugar levels in check. Often, insulin shots help to regulate the sudden escalation of blood sugar level. But this should only be taken as per the doctor’s prescription. Taking the regular medicines at the assigned times post meal will keep your condition in check.

3. Fluid Intake

Maintaining a healthy fluid intake of approximately 2 litres of fluids, is absolutely essential to maintain proper health. These fluids can include water, juices along with any beverage free of caffeine. Consumption of alcohol and aerated drinks should be strictly avoided.

4. Proper Diet

A controlled dietary regime can make all the difference to your health. Staying away from complex sugars, starches and carbohydrates will help. A diet rich in protein is usually recommended to cope with physical energy needs. Including a multivitamin regimen will supply the body with regular nutrients. In this regard taking beta-carotene, zinc and antioxidant supplements will help turn your health around. Fresh vegetables, moderate carbohydrates, food containing monounsaturated fats and lean meat are to be included. Not only will this diet help in decreasing your blood sugar levels, but will also keep heart and circulatory ailments at bay.

5. Foot Care

A diabetes patient must learn to observe the condition of their feet during the course of this ailment. Although taking care of your feet can seem an insignificant problem, the condition of the feet can tell the intensity of your ailment. Check regularly for swelling or sores of any kind. If you have any, consult your doctor immediately. Chances of inflammation and infection may result in gangrene-like formations, which, if left untreated, can result in feet amputation.

6. Proper Sleep

Sleeping properly for at least 8 hours a night will make a lot of difference in controlling your blood sugar levels. Make sure you get uninterrupted sleep during bedtime. Sleep in a quiet and dark room, away from any striking distraction. Keep a sleep journal and make note of what time you go to bed and when you wake up. Try and maintain a regular time.

7. Exercise

Exercise is the greatest natural cure for any ailment whatsoever. Proper diet coupled with rigorous exercise is bound to treat any physical affliction. Not only will it help relieve stress and reduce depression, but also do wonders to keep your sugar levels in check. It also helps maintain a balanced weight, which must be kept in check for any diabetes patient.

By following these steps, you will be able to stop letting diabetes control your life and live comfortably without fear.

Natural remedies for Diabetes


Diabetes is among the most debilitating of lifestyle diseases, often the precursor to many other types of health disorders such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases and chronic illnesses of the eye. Most diabetics tend to depend upon taking medications, many of which include hormone supplementation injections and drugs for controlling the sugar levels. Though these aids are often critical for managing cases where diabetes seems to have turned into an incurable condition, it is always better to seek natural cures. These natural remedies don’t put forth the kind of side-effects associated with stronger medications and can be resourced from our everyday supplies.

Using Methi Seeds:
Fenugreek or Methi seeds are considered the most effective of natural cures that can help alleviate typical symptoms of diabetes. Methi seeds should be soaked in water overnight. The water concentrated with the seeds’ juices should be consumed early in the morning on an empty stomach. For making this natural concoction stronger, you can crush the seeds and sieve them through a cloth or filter paper.

Using Natural Juices:
Some juices have been found to be effective in controlling high sugar levels that can prove fatal for diabetics. These are juices of fruits and vegetables that are further enriched with antioxidants and many rare micronutrients. The most recommended variety here is the Bitter Gourd or Karela juice. Other options include grape juice or the juice-like extract made from boiling mango leaves in water.

Aloe Gel Remedy:
An effective, natural concoction for diabetes can be prepared by adding a few teaspoons of ground Bay Leaf (Tejpatra) with one teaspoon of turmeric. This mixture should be mixed with an equal amount of aloe vera gel and consumed daily, before lunch and dinner.

Using Chapattis to Your Advantage:
Another useful way of managing diabetes is increasing the daily intake of fiber in the natural form. This includes increasing the fiber content in chappatis that tend to be eaten with regularity in Indian homes. The refined flour should be mixed with a combination of flours procured from different cereals, particularly those high in soluble fiber. This includes flours of barley and lentils like Chana Dal and soya bean.

Using Jarul or Banaba:
Diabetics can use Banaba or Jarul plant extract. Banaba is among the lesser known of herbal plants in India. Along with India, it is grown in only a handful of other nations. The herbal powder of Banaba extract can be used to make herbal tea. This plant contains high concentrations of contains Corosolic acid—the most potent of biochemical compounds that stimulate faster glucose metabolism and help to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels that is very useful for combating diabetes.

Jamun is one of the rarest plants where nearly each part, the leaves, berry and seeds are known to help in controlling blood sugar levels. Neem leaves are useful in a similar manner. Amla or the Indian goose Berry is similarly effective in managing sugar levels. Instead of using only Neem leaves, you can also add leaves of Tulsi and Bel Patra. All these leaves can be boiled together for increasing the potency of the filtered extract.

Health Tips for Monsoon


When the scorching heat of summer is followed by the refreshing monsoon, it not just rejuvenates every living organism on the planet, but also brings along a host of diseases.

Diseases such as food poisoning, cholera, cold, cough, flu, poor digestion, jaundice, typhoid and dysentery are common, but undesirable companions during monsoon.

All of us, particularly kids and the elderly, are more prone to infections. Those suffering from ailments such as diabetes mellitus, heart diseases, rheumatism and lung infections/disease are more susceptible than others. Therefore, it is important to take good care of your health as well as diet during monsoon.

Here are 10 tips that would help you tide through this monsoon:

Keep yourself hydrated: You might wonder why you need to drink more water during monsoon. Here is the answer – In monsoon, sweat does not evaporate quickly as the humidity levels are high and this prevents the body from releasing heat. Therefore, keeping a bottle of water handy is always advisable. Avoid carbonated drinks as they reduce mineral levels which stop the enzymes from functioning efficiently resulting in indigestion. Instead drink warm beverages such as ginger tea. Always drink boiled and cooled water.

Have a balanced diet: As digestion during monsoon is slow, eat moderately and only when hungry. Eating when you are not hungry can lead to indigestion and sometimes to jaundice.

Vegetables such as bitter gourd, bitter herbs like neem and haldi (turmeric) are rich in antioxidants and the medicinal properties in them can help in preventing infections.

Make it a point to have fruits like cherries, bananas, apples, pomegranates, plums, litchis, pears and vegetables like carrots, radish and fenugreek a part of your regular diet. Spices such as pepper, asafoetida (hing), turmeric and coriander improve immunity and at the same time help in digestion.

Eat clean, fresh food: Make sure that you wash all your fruits and vegetables before consuming them, especially leafy vegetables. Steam the leafy vegetables and your cauliflower in order to kill the germs. Contaminated food might lead to illnesses such as jaundice.

Eating freshly cooked food is recommended. Soups and stews are helpful, as they are light and nutritious, but filling. Try and eat cooked food instead of uncooked vegetables and salads, unless they are organic.

Keep monsoon ailments at bay: Chasing away the mosquitoes during the monsoon is very important to keep malaria at bay. Stagnant water is a breeding place for mosquitoes.

Draining out those flower vases and coolers which are not in use is the first step in controlling mosquitoes from breeding. Next, use mosquito nets, repellents and creams available in the market to protect yourself from mosquito bites. You can also use camphor or cloves from you kitchen counter to keep away insects such as flies and termites during monsoon.

Eating out is a strict NO!: Eating out, especially street food should be avoided. Snacks like chaat, sandwiches, fried items, golas, juices and kulfis are very tempting during monsoon. However, they may contain bacteria which cause indigestion. Cut fruits sold on the road side are the main cause for food poisoning and should be avoided.

Avoid puddles: Avoid getting your feet wet. In case you do end up walking into one of those puddles, immediately clean and dry them with a soft, dry towel. Dampness can lead to fungal infections and athlete’s foot. These infections might affect your toes and nails and if you are diabetic, you will have to take special care of your feet. Keep your shoes, socks and raincoats clean and dry at all times.

Using the fumes of dry neem leaves to dry your clothes is said to be helpful.

Exercise and rest during monsoon: The drizzles and showers during mornings and evenings might hamper your exercise routine. However, that can be taken care of by exercising at home. You can do a few simple stretch exercises, sit-ups, waist and knee bends in your drawing room to flex your muscles. Yoga is another method of exercise which can be performed indoors and it is known to help reduce respiratory problems during monsoon.

And if you are not in the mood for exercises, take up the cleaning of cupboards, shelves and your kitchen which you have been postponing. However, avoid excess physical exertion. Also, avoid sleeping during daytime.

Care for kids and elderly: Children love the rain and infections love children. Kids take maximum advantage of the evening showers on the way back from school. Hence, a hot water bath with a good dash of antiseptic is recommended. Avoid junk food which could lead to infections and repeated visits to the doctor. Homemade soups and stews will give them the required nutrition.

The other class of people who require special attention during monsoon are the elderly. Avoiding walks in the parks immediately after a downpour or in places where rainwater forms puddles is advisable. This might lead to falls on slippery areas leading to serious injuries. Also, try and stock medicines for at least a fortnight, just in case you cannot step out of the house due to rain.

Eye care during monsoon: Some of the common eye problems during monsoon are conjunctivitis, eye styes, dry eyes, corneal ulcers. Here are a few precautions with which you can avoid these infections from troubling you:

* Wash your hands after you touch your face or eyes.
* Do not share your eye medicines, contact lens solutions/containers, towels and handkerchiefs with others.
* Avoid eye makeup when you have an infection.
* Use an antibacterial lotion.
* Try not to use your contact lenses when you have an infection

Clothes and footwear: Loose, cotton clothes are the best during monsoon. It is advisable to avoid jeans as they do not dry quickly. Also, use talcum/prickly heat power in areas which are more prone to fungal infections. Do not wear wet shoes as this might lead to more infections. Invest in another pair of shoes, so that you have an alternate pair handy. Avoid walking bare footed.

The bottomline: Enjoy when it pours, but do not forget to open an umbrella of precaution too.

7 simple ways to relieve stress

Incorporating a stress relief routine in your workday requires time and effort. But here are seven quick and easy techniques that may work for you:

redarrowCount your breath: Taking deep breaths and lengthening your exhale relative to your inhale will calm your sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for triggering your fight or flight response, says Timothy McCall, author of Yoga As Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing (Bantam, 2007). Counting the length of your inhale and exhale and gradually lengthening how long you take to exhale will help counter this stress response. If you take four seconds to inhale, for example, work to lengthen your exhale so that it lasts eight seconds. While every person's breath count will be different, taking 10 breaths like this can help calm your mind and body.

redarrowSing it out: If sitting quietly and counting your breaths sounds impossible or unappealing, you can sing or hum to achieve a similar effect. When you sing or hum, you are naturally lengthening your exhale, which will slow your breathing and help calm you, McCall says. Be sure to breathe in and out of your nose as you do this. If the idea of singing or humming in the office seems silly, do it in your car on the way to work.

redarrowDrink more water: When your hydration level drops by even 2 percent, your ability to do simple math and make decisions is disrupted, says Mike Collins, founder of the Perfect Workday, a Raleigh, N.C., company that focuses on workplace effectiveness. "The more hydrated you stay, the better you think." Try keeping a pint-sized container of water by your desk that you refill three or four times a day.

redarrowDo a body scan: Redirecting your focus away from your worries and toward your physical body for a minute or two can help alleviate stress, says Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk and co-founder of Headspace, a U.K.-based company that teaches meditation and mindfulness techniques to business professionals. Close your eyes and take half a minute to do a mental scan of your body starting at the top of the head. Notice the sensation of your feet on the floor, your body in your chair and your hands on the desk. Repeat this scan two or three times. Rather than being stuck in your loop of worries, you're turning your attention to the sensations of your body. "By shifting the focus to physical senses, you are stepping out of the thinking mind and bringing the mind into the body, which immediately has a calming effect," Puddicombe says.

redarrowKeep vacation photos handy: Another way to escape from stressful thoughts is to keep vacation photos or postcards nearby. When you feel stressed, look at an image for a moment, close your eyes and try to imagine all the sensations you were feeling in that place--what you saw, smelled, felt, heard and tasted. This technique will calm you by focusing your attention on the physical sensations of your body as you visualize a particularly relaxing place. "Try to activate each of the five senses," says Margaret Wehrenberg, author of The 10 Best Ever Anxiety Management Techniques (WW Norton 2009). "It's literally the antithesis of stress for a minute."

redarrowCreate a ritual: Instead of rushing to grab a cup of coffee or scarfing a snack, make a ritual of it, says Puddicombe. Take the time to notice the sounds, feel and smells of what you're preparing--whether it's a cup of tea or fresh fruit. Such a daily ritual can be soothing, helping you focus on something other than your thoughts, Puddicombe says. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it's something you have positive associations with.

redarrowLaugh out loud: Humor is the opposite of stress, according to John Morreall, president of Williamsburg, Va.-based Humorworks, which focuses on using humor in team-building exercises and other workplace activities. "In a stressful situation, you are emotionally engaged with some problem," he says. "When you laugh at a situation, you are distanced from the problem." To find relief in humor, Collins watches a YouTube video of a flash mob in Moscow dancing to "Puttin' on the Ritz." That never fails to make him laugh.

10 ways to boost happiness

redarrowHappiness tip 1: Watch a comedy movie

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and if you’re feeling down in the dumps then this is definitely true. Laughter can not only release pent-up emotions, but it also produces endorphins to boost your mood. Furthermore, research has found that laughing burns calories and boosts heart health too. To get your happiness levels up and boost your wellbeing too, pop in a comedy DVD next time you’re feeling down.

redarrowHappiness tip 2: Eat yourself happy

While our outlook often changes based on external factors, if your mood is often low it may be that you are suffering from a nutrient deficiency. Research has found that having low levels of omega-3 fatty acids (which are essential for good brain health) increases risk of depression and negativity, while research by Kuopio University in Finland found that taking B vitamin supplements could help treat depression. Try choosing foods rich in these nutrients to eat away the blues

redarrowHappiness tip 3: Get outdoors

Research has shown that low levels of vitamin D can contribute to mood disorders and depression. While vitamin D can be found in some foods or taken as supplement, one of the best sources of the mood-boosting vitamin is sunshine, which helps the body to create vitamin D. To boost your supplies of vitamin D, try to spend 10 to 15 minutes outdoors two to three times a week during the summer months.

redarrowHappiness tip 4:Have a workout

For an instant happiness boost when you’re feeling blue, try hitting the gym or heading out for a brisk walk or run. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain such as endorphins and anandamide which can boost your mood and leave you feeling great. Not only that, exercise is also good for boosting confidence levels and increasing self-esteem.

redarrowHappiness tip 5:Try aromatherapy

While many of us think of aromatherapy as an aid to relaxation, there are also many oils you can use to boost your happiness and help alleviate depression. Good aromatherapy oils to leave you uplifted include bergamot, geranium, neroli and jasmine. To lift your mood, try adding a few drops of these oils to water and burning on an oil burner, or create or purchase a room spray containing these essential oils

redarrowHappiness tip 6: Take a risk

To get the endorphins going and give your confidence a boost, try challenging yourself on a regular basis. While we don’t advise you to put yourself in any danger, if there is something you have been putting off for a while out of fear, now is the time to bite the bullet and see it through. Whatever your fear – be it asking out that special someone, joining a gym or applying for a job abroad – conquering your fears will leave you feeling great as well as helping you achieve your dreams.

redarrowHappiness tip 7: Talk it out

If you are feeling seriously down and have been feeling low for a while, it is important to seek some help to get through this difficult phase. Seek out a friend or counsellor to listen to your problems, or visit your GP if you think you may be suffering from depression. No matter how bad you feel it is important to remember that you are not alone and there is no shame in seeking help. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved, and even talking through your issues can help them seem less overwhelming

redarrowHappiness tip 8: Schedule in regular treats

To boost your happiness and satisfaction of life, it is important to make the most of those little things that boost your mood. Make a list of the day-to-day things that make you happy – such as having a catch-up with a friend, drinking hot chocolate in bed, or listening to your favourite song –and make sure you schedule one of these treats into every day. Planning regular treats not only gives you something to look forward to, but it can also subtly improve each day

redarrowHappiness tip 9: Do something selfless

It is easy to get bogged down in our own problems, so every once in a while it is good to put our issues to one side and help someone else feel happy instead. Whether you want to take on a long-term volunteering role, make a donation to charity, or improve the happiness of someone you know with a thoughtful note or gift, making an effort to make someone else smile is a great way to get some perspective, take your mind off your problems and increase your sense of purpose and fulfillment

redarrowHappiness tip 10:Set yourself a goal

Whether you aspire to get fit, obtain that dream job or learn how to cook something other than toast, most of us have something we long to achieve during our lifetime. Rather than putting off your dreams until a perfect moment which may never come, take some positive action and make a plan of how you will achieve your goal starting today. Having something to work towards will not only distract you from your problems, it will also reignite your passion for life and increase your excitement for the future