More reasons to relish avocados

It is rich, creamy and one of the most exotic fruits available to humans. Avocados are one of the rare fruits containing fat and that too very healthy composition. The presence of fat increases bio-availability of the fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E present in it.

Avocados.pngAvocados are native to South Mexico but are extensively grown in United States and throughout tropical America and the larger islands of the Caribbean, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and many more countries across the world. California is the major exporter of avocados but in India, avocados mainly came from Sri Lanka and is currently cultivated to a very limited scale in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka in the south-central India and in the eastern Himalayan state of SikkimRead More »

This Diwali- Stay fit, Stay Stylish

Diwali is here and you are getting ready for the fun- last minute shopping, cleaning and grooming. But just be cautious enough to not let the celebrations ruin all your efforts towards health and fitness. In fact, aim to dazzle everyone by looking fitter and making smart food choices this Diwali ! Because Diwali is more about feeling good about yourself and rekindling hopes for a brighter future.

diwali-smart-eating

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Short naps during the day can help unwind and rejuvenate

napping-at-workDo you feel extremely sleepy post-lunch? Are you often embarrassed about dozing away during meetings or presentations?  Well, you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with needing a small nap once a day . In fact, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can improve alertness and enhance performance at work and home. But, one has to be careful about not overdoing sleep as that can be totally counterproductive.Read More »

Bottle-feeding beyond 16 months poses serious health risks

bottle-feeding-a-toddlerIf your baby is more than 16 months old and you are still using a nursing bottle for feeding milk and other beverages, then this should serve as a wake-up call! The same mother will then complain that my toddler does not eat solids well and is a fussy eater. Well, the fact of the matter is that if you haven’t still moved forward from baby bottles to cups then how will the baby understand that she/he has to graduate from liquids to solids?

Even if your pediatrician did allow you to resort to bottles for some very critical medical reason from 6 month onwards, at least do not continue the malpractice once your infant has turned into a toddler. The harmful effects of bottle feeding go beyond just tooth decay and ear infections, it increases risk of growing into obese adult with poor sense of appetite regulation.Read More »

Beware of excess hydration

excess water.pngAll this while, we have been made to believe that we need 8 glasses /2L of water daily. But, like we know that requirement for food differs from person to person, in the same way fluid requirements should also be individualized and not same for all? It is still a controversial debate but we present some science for you to rationalize and make your own decision.

Water balance: Gain and loss

Water lot each day

About 700ml water is lost each day through skin and breath. Another 100ml is lost through faeces/ stools and about 1.5 L as urine and about 200ml in normal perspiration. This totals upto 2.5 L of water lost in a day

These losses may increase or decrease depending upon:

  1. Physical activity – Exercise increases body temperature causing sweating and leads to water loss.
  2. Illness – In case of diarrhoea or vomiting , body water may be lost
  3. Old age- We can assume that with age our natural reflexes may also slow down and hence keeping an elderly well hydrated may require conscious efforts

Water replenished

Our body’s metabolic processes produce 250ml and 750ml comes from food, so another 1.5 L needs to be replenished by fluids which is only about 6 glasses.

All beverages usually have substantial amounts of water such as juices, tea, coffee, coconut water, etc. so these may also fulfill part of the requirement

So how much allowance is left for pure water?? Definitely not 8 glasses! Overloading water can have serious consequences and is termed as water intoxication.

What happens when excess water is consumed?

  • Early signs of overhydration include confusion, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting
  • Prolonged state may lead to compromised mental abilities and some psychotic symptoms as the water enters brain cells
  • Excess water in the body leads to dilution of the solutes such as sodium leading to hyponatremia. Severe hyponatraemia can lead to seizures, coma, and death

Natural mechanisms for regulating water intake

Thirst- Thirst is by far the most effective mechanism for regulating water intake. As and when your body needs water, the brain signals it in the form of thirst. If we try to override thirst for some reason then it definitely spells trouble

Color of urine– Urine colour is also great marker of hydration. If it is colourless or pale yellow , then you are well hydrated. A darker urine often indicates poor hydration

Impaired swallowing– Recent research has also shown that once water requirements have been fulfilled, swallowing water becomes difficult. It is body’s natural mechanism for telling us that we do not need more water. Effort-ful swallowing has been observed in test subjects when they were asked to drink excess water whereas when we are actually thirsty swallowing water is effortless.

The best way to avoid dehydration or overhydration is to drink water whenever your body asks for it. Some individuals are in the habit of suppressing the need to drink water because they may be too busy at work or traveling and not wanting to use washrooms outside. Over time, body may becomes accustomed to this conscious avoidance. But, we must know that drinking enough fluids is important to keep cells hydrated and functioning well so thirst or dehydration signals cannot be taken casually. At the same time, there are some health enthusiasts who consciously drink lots of water in an attempt to stay fit.

Remember , moderation is the key even when it comes to water!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1770067/

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/science/humans/article/2016/10/11/how-much-water-should-you-drink-day-your-throat-will-tell-you

http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/over-drinking-may-cause-fatal-water-intoxication-study-3073613/

BABY BLUES ARE NOT COLORFUL HUES

When a newborn arrives, everybody’s focus is on the baby showering them with blessings and affection. How often have a you asked the newborn mother as to how does she feel ? Although we know that it is hard for that tiny newborn to adjust with the world around, it is equally or even more stressful for a new mother to cope with the change. Especially because her hormones are creating a havoc and preventing her from bonding with her baby the way she should or is expected to.

The new mother is often  depressed and feeling very very low. We have to admit that the perinatal period (from pregnancy to one year after  childbirth) is not very joyful but indeed a painful time for the mother. It is mentally, physically and psychologically draining experience.  The incidence of depression is higher in developing countries and in severe cases mothers can cause serious harm to themselves and their babies.

Identifying mothers at risk

If we can identify early signs of depression in women, then efforts can be made to improve mental health and ensure a smooth first year of life, both for the mother and the infant

  • Depression and/or anxiety during pregnancy
  • Difficult pregnancy due to stressful life event
  • Low levels of social support (e.g husband, family, in-laws, etc )
  • Low self-esteem which may be associated with body image , social pressures, etc
  • Stress of child care and inability to cope
  • Strained marital relationship
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • History of miscarriage
  • Knowing that it is a girl child (especially if there is no son)

Impact on newborn

It is indeed a surprising revelation that sometimes there can be a huge disconnect between mother and child because of postpartum depression in the mother which was unrecognized and untreated. The period from pregnancy to first year of life is a crucial phase of bonding between the two and it lays the foundation for life of the newborn and has implications on their emotional and physical interactions with the World as an adult.

  • Depression in pregnancy impairs growth of the foetus and can lead to low birth weights and small for gestational age babies
  • Pre‐term deliveries and shorter gestations have also been associated with depressive symptoms
  • Depression in mother hinders the bonding process and could last for a lifetime
  • There is long term emotional, cognitive and intellectual problem in the child
  • Children of depressed mothers tend to be malnourished and have overall poor physical health
  • Developmental delays are observed in such infants right from 18 months
  • Children of depressed mother could exhibit aggression or antisocial behaviour
  • Negative behavioural indicators such as more irritability, less activity, less attentiveness and fewer facial expression is seen in children of depressed mothers
  • Girl child of a depressed mother may grow up to have low self esteem and hatred towards opposite sex

The expression “motherly feeling” implies a sacred, precious and unconditional bond of love. But, this can truly materialize only when the perinatal period is made easy and pleasant for the mother. Depression in the mother can have devastating impact on the child as well as increase morbidity and mortality in the mother.

The solution to this is simply love, affection and care. We need to tell a pregnant woman that she is looking beautiful , she is doing absolutely the right things for her baby, and that she will be a great MOM! Also, post-delivery support and care from husband is most critical to the bonding of the entire family and its healthy propagation. Instead of just looking out for the baby’s physical needs, one must take time to address the mother’s fears, anxiety, apprehensions and overall mental health. Creating the right environment for nurturing the mother-child bond is vital to the building of a mentally and physically healthy Nation!

References:

http://njmr.in/uploads/2-2_194-1981.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3763048/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3083253/