Important to be Healthy

Health, by definition, is a state of physical, mental, and social well-being. It implies the absence of infirmity or disease, but their mere absence does not imply being healthy. Earning and maintaining health is an active process. Good health is a result of proper nutrition, regular exercise, good health care, and hygiene. One of the most important factors that determine the mental health of an individual is his/her happiness quotient. Hence, effective stress management is a vital factor in remaining healthy.

Human beings are the most important assets of a nation. It is people who drive the world towards progress and also benefit from it. To advance in life and reap the advantages of this development, what we need first is good health. To be able to enjoy anything, we first need to be fit, both physically and mentally. The absence of health can make the world come to a standstill. Lack of health means passivity, incapacity, and unhappiness. An unhealthy living robs us of the pleasures in life. The true definition of health brings out the real essence of a healthy life. The concept of being healthy is a composition of different facets of life. It includes physical well-being, which can be brought about by a healthy diet and exercise; it constitutes the maintenance of health through proper precaution and cures for physical ailments. The conveniently ignored facet of being healthy is the mental well-being. One’s happiness and positivism are highly influential in the maintenance of one’s health.

To progress in life, one needs to receive some sort of formal or practical education and then earn one’s living. To meet one’s basic needs in life and survive; one needs to be healthy. Different streams of education involve different amounts of physical and mental activity. These activities are an integral part of every profession or field of work. To perform these activities effectively, one needs to be healthy. In order to socialize (which is required in almost every walk of life), one needs to be physically and mentally fit. That’s because, when you are a part of a group, you need to interact with one another, you need to work together; there is collaboration as well as competition. That’s the essence of being a part of the society. And to be able to stand strong in a competitive world, or in order to make collaborated efforts, one needs good health.

Basically, physical fitness gives you the energy to work, which when coupled with mental fitness, makes you more productive. In almost every walk of life, one needs to socialize. To be able to give one’s best to the work at hand (be it in education, or in one’s personal or professional life), one’s primary need is good health.

As a part of society, every human being has a set of duties to perform. There are certain family responsibilities as also some responsibilities towards the society. For an individual to be able to shoulder these responsibilities capably, it is important for him to be healthy. To make progress, to work towards the betterment of society, to contribute to overall social welfare and thus be a valuable asset of society, it is extremely important to be healthy.

As one grows from a child to an adult, one’s set of rights and responsibilities expands. In order to perform one’s duties and exercise one’s rights, it is absolutely important to be fit. To raise a family, to bring up children, and to take care of the elderly, good health is essential.

We obtain education, we work, we earn, we strive to bring comfort and luxuries to our living, we earn money to lead an easy life. Weakness, health problems, and bad habits come in the way of this enjoyment. The absence of good health does not allow us to live happily. Health and happiness go hand in hand. To live life to the fullest and enjoy every bit of it, it is extremely important for us to be healthy.

Diet for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is often associated with obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and even infertility. Nowadays, doctors recommend weight loss as a part of the treatment, and this can be achieved through exercises and a change in the diet.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition caused by imbalance of hormones in females. The symptoms of the disease include obesity, irregular menstruation or amenorrhea, insulin resistance, depression, hair loss, excess of male hormones characterized by increase in facial and body hair, and enlarged ovaries with many small cysts. PCOS may also lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, high blood cholesterol, miscarriage, and endometrial cancer. The symptoms and the associated medical conditions vary from one woman to another.

The treatment for this condition is tailored to fit individual problems, like abnormal growth of body hair and infertility; but the most important part is controlling or managing the long-term risks. Long term risks include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. As all these conditions are directly or indirectly related to obesity, doctors suggest weight loss as a part of the overall treatment plan. It is believed that, maintaining a healthy body weight can be beneficial in reducing and controlling the symptoms and conditions associated with PCOS.

Obesity and PCOS

Studies show that about 50 to 60 percent of the women affected with PCOS are obese. Such obesity is linked to the levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to break down carbohydrates, and to carry sugar from the blood to the muscles and cells. These cells convert the sugar into energy or store it as fat. It is said that 80 percent of the women affected by PCOS are insulin resistant.

In women with PCOS, cells are resistant to insulin, which affects the process of transporting sugar from the blood to the cells. This leads to an increase in production of insulin, causing hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in blood), which in turn could lead to many other problems, like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and polycystic ovaries. Hence, it is suggested that, the underlying cause of PCOS is insulin resistance; and so, apart from the conventional medication, weight loss and lifestyle changes are also necessary for tackling this disease. It would be beneficial to adopt a diet for PCOS.

Carbohydrate Intake

A diet, which is low in fats, but high in carbohydrates may not be beneficial for women with PCOS. High levels of carbohydrates can trigger overproduction of insulin, which will have a negative effect. Hence, a diet which is low in carbohydrates, is considered ideal; but avoid refined food, like breads, pastas, cookies, and ice creams. You can include more complex carbohydrates, like whole-grain breads and cereals, whole-wheat pasta, barley, brown rice, and beans. Prefer low glycemic foods, which take more time to turn into blood sugar. They have higher fiber content than the high glycemic foods (foods that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream).

The daily consumption of carbohydrates should not be less than 40 grams. A lower intake of carbohydrates can cause ketosis. Maintain proper intervals in between meals. If you consume the whole recommended level of carbohydrate in a single meal, it can cause a rapid rise in the blood sugar and insulin level. Try to drink more water and liquids, but avoid caffeinated beverages. A diet for polycystic ovarian syndrome does not contain foods with saturated and trans fats. Such foods include red meat, whole dairy products, butter, margarine, and fried and spicy foods. Foods high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3-fatty acids are good for the health of the heart.

According to some studies, dietary changes and regular exercise are found to be beneficial in restoring regular menstrual cycle and ovulation. It is also helpful in controlling health problems associated with PCOS. Above all, a healthy diet and exercise are good for the overall well-being of any human being.

Understanding Balanced Health Triangle

The term ‘health triangle’ was conceptualized in 1997 by 120 eighth-graders of the Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks, Alaska. The students were given a task of writing essays on health problems that plagued them and other eight graders in their district. The research was part of the district’s health curriculum that took approximately 10 days to finish. Everyday 1 hour of school time was dedicated to analyzing and pondering over various health issues. Finally, the study boiled down to researching on key aspects of health―physical, mental, and social―that affected overall well-being. The health triaSectionCardngle correlates all 3 aspects of health, meaning if any one aspect is not healthy, it can have a negative impact on the other two. It is elaborated below:

Consider a party person who may show good social skills, but the habit of partying late at night can disturb his sleeping pattern, in turn, affecting his physical and mental health. Now, consider a person who religiously follows his diet and exercise, but ignores attending social events and interacting with friends. This lack of social mobility can also be bad for mental health as the person may feel isolated, which may lead to depression. So, one can see how the sides of the triangle that stand for different aspects of life are interdependent on each other. Therefore, it is essential to balance all the sides of the triangle to achieve overall well-being. A balanced health triangle is an indication of high levels of well-being and life satisfaction. The following Buzzle article elaborates more on ways to have a balanced health triangle.

Balancing Health Triangle
In order to achieve a balanced health triangle, it is necessary to take care of the physical, mental, and social aspect of the health. Lifestyle changes that promotes overall well-being is the key to balancing the personal health triangle. It is discussed below.

Choose Healthy Foods

Making wise food choices is critical to balance the health triangle. Eating nutritious foods should be your top priority as it has a positive impact on your physical health and quality of life. The physical side of the health triangle depends on eating healthy foods. Follow a well-balanced diet, which means, eat healthy foods from each food group. Vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and proteins are the 5 food groups that provide ample nutrition.
Add variety to your diet by including different foods within each food group. Fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, beans, peas, nuts (almonds and walnuts), salmon, and lean meat are some of the healthy choices from dairy and protein food groups. When it comes to eating healthy, one simply cannot forget fruits and vegetables that are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Eating vegetables in the form of salads is an easy way to add nutrition to your diet. As far as grains are concerned, choose whole grain products as they are more nutritious than refined grain products.

Exercise Daily

Besides eating healthy foodstuffs, it is imperative to exercise daily to stay physically fit. Exercising for at least half an hour can go a long way in keeping you fit and fine. Simple low-impact activity, such as brisk walking for around 45 minutes, can provide high health dividends and balance the physical aspect of the triangle of health. If possible, you could go to a gym and get a good dose of cardio and weight training. In case you feel exercising at a gym is not your cup of tea, there are other ways to stay in shape. Going for swim or playing sports like soccer, basketball, and tennis, or any other activity that you enjoy along with your friends, can also help you to stay fit.

Stay Mentally Active

While physical activity is important, one should not ignore the mental aspect of life to achieve a balanced health triangle. So, to stay mentally active, one can solve crosswords, jigsaws, puzzles or any other brain teasers. These brain exercising games that boost mental activity have been proven to reduce the risk of age-related mental decline. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga, can also help improve mental health.

Avoid Unhealthy Influences

To maintain good health and to stay in the best of shape, refrain from alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Smoking and risky sexual behavior along with poor eating habits can negatively affect all 3 sides of the health triangle; hence, these need to be avoided.

Practice Good Grooming Habits

Practicing good grooming habits makes us feel good, which in turn has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. This also facilitates social interactions. So, make sure you shower everyday, wear deodorant, brush twice daily, put on clean, ironed clothes, wash your hands and shave whenever necessary, comb your hair, and most importantly, ensure that your shoes are clean and well-polished. These habits of good personal hygiene can also help increase confidence, self-esteem, and moreover, encourage positive interactions.

Take Rest

Yes, exercise and healthy diet are crucial for good health, but that does not mean you should ignore rest. Inadequate rest or sleep can lead to medical issues and ruin your health. Not taking enough sleep has been linked to obesity, behavioral problems, and weight gain. So, make sure that you get enough ‘shut eye’ (7 to 9 hours) to stay healthy and feel energetic throughout the day.

Be Social

The social aspect is as important as physical and mental aspect of your health, in balancing the health triangle. Research has shown that social interaction also has a positive influence on our health. A healthy social life can go a long way in reducing stress, elevating our mood and enabling us to manage the ups and downs in life in a better way. Being surrounded by good friends is a lot more comforting, and provides social and emotional support especially in times of grief. Friends and companionship can act as an emotional healer and can have a major impact on our well-being. As simple as sharing meals can help strengthen relationships. You can improve your social health by making new friends and taking part in group games that help nurture friendships.

Healthy Eating Tips

Our overall health and well-being depends on what we eat. Food is the main source to get an adequate amount of nutrients that are essential for normal growth and functioning of the body. Hence, it is very important to develop eating habits for good health and physical fitness.

Your diet should be healthy and balanced. It should consist of adequate amounts of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibers. You should include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits as well as dairy products in your daily diet. Generally, it should be low in fats and rich in proteins and carbohydrates.

Healthy Eating Tips
A key to healthy eating is the time-tested advice of variety, balance and moderation. You should eat a variety of foods without gaining excessive calories or any of nutrients. Here are some useful tips for healthy eating:

More than 40 different nutrients are required for normal growth and functioning of the body. Our daily meals should contain whole-grain products, fresh vegetables and fruits, poultry, dairy products, fish, meat and other protein foods. Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals and low in fats, sodium and calories. Most vegetables contain and antioxidants phytochemicals, which prevent some chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancers.

Don’t skip a breakfast. After not eating anything for past 10-12 hours during night, our body requires food to boost the energy levels. Your breakfast should consist of fruits and a glassful of milk or fresh fruit juice. Avoid eating oily, high calorie snacks in breakfast.

Your lunch should be the largest meal of the day. Start every meal with a low-fat starter including soup, salad, broth or a glass of water. Your lunch should include enough quantity of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Include some raw vegetables and fruits in your lunch. Eat slowly and take care that you are not eating more than required. Your lunch should be followed by a fruit juice or fruit salad.

We all need some snacks in between two meals. So choose the snacks very carefully. Avoid eating junk foods, which lack in nutrients and contain high calories. Instead, select some healthy snacks such as vegetables, fruits, cottage cheese with applesauce, low fat yogurt, whole-wheat crackers or some trail mix. Dietary sugars can be replaced with no-calorie sweeteners.

Drink at least 8 glasses of water everyday. It keeps your body hydrated. It is also helpful for body cleanse and weight loss.

If you keep a reasonable serving size, then it’s easy to eat adequate quantity of food and stay healthy. Excess eating can give rise to a number of health problems, including obesity.

If you are trying for weight loss, then don’t go for crash diets or don’t totally eliminate certain foods. You can reduce the foods that are rich in sugar, fat or salt. You can choose skim or low fat dairy products. If you are going to do some changes in your diet, then do it gradually. Sudden changes can give rise to food allergies.

Always remember, no food is good or bad. It’s up to you how to balance the variety of foods. Adopt healthy habits for good health and physical fitness, leading to a cheerful, healthy life.

Calcium Deposits in Breasts

Mineral calcium tends to get deposited in the breast tissues and is known as breast calcifications. It is quite a common occurrence in women particularly after menopause. It has two different forms – macrocalcification and microcalcification. In macrocalcification, the calcium deposits appear as single dots which are quite large in size. In microcalcification, it looks like minute white specks of various sizes and shapes. It is only in rare cases these deposits get clustered up and turn cancerous at a later stage.

Causes
Basically, calcium deposits occur when crystals of calcium phosphate and collagen, a type of insoluble proteins present in tissues clump up together. It can be found not just in breasts but also in other parts of the body like hips, shoulders, and hands.
Calcium deposits in breast are a part of the degeneration process that may be triggered by aging, injury or inflammation in the breasts.
If there are foreign bodies like breast implants or stitches present in the breasts, deposition of calcium occur on them.
Fibroadenomas are harmless noncancerous growths in the mammary glands. It is believed that they are formed due to decrease in the levels of hormones in the menopausal phase. Calcium deposits may occur on these benign growths.
Breast cysts are round or oval-shaped fluid filled sacs which are benign in nature. These cysts develop when a woman is in her 30s or 40s and disappear after menopause. If the cysts continue to exist even after that, calcium deposits may form on them.
Mammary duct ectasia is a problem associated with milk duct where the nipple gets blocked with milk and leads to breast calcifications. In some cases, it has been found that the duct had got blocked with milk several years ago.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Usually, the deposits occupy a very small area. So, the tiny spots cannot be felt by you or even your doctor during physical examination of the breast. They are detected on breast x-rays or mammograms as small white spots. The shape, size and pattern of these spots are carefully studied by the radiologist for diagnosing the problem. It is further confirmed with the help of biopsy which involves removal of a part of the affected tissue to analyze whether the condition is malignant or not. One form of biopsy is needle core biopsy where a needle is used to collect the samples. The other one is known as surgical biopsy where a wire is inserted into the area to remove breast tissue. Both the tests are done under local anesthesia.

  • Calcifications on fibroadenomas do not require any treatment and the spots disappear on their own.
  • If the breast cyst becomes painful due to calcification, draining out the fluid from it often provides relief to the patient.
  • For mammary duct ectasia, surgical intervention is often required.
  • Hardly, about 15-20 percent of the cases become malignant. Therefore, those of you who have this problem, should not get panicked unnecessarily. Rather, follow the instructions provided by your doctor. In malignant cases, close monitoring of the condition is advisable. In the first one year of detection, follow-up diagnostic mammogram is required after every six months. If no changes are found, then it would be monitored once a year.

There is a misconception among some people that this condition is caused due to the intake of high amount of calcium. However, it is far from the truth and there is no connection between them. It is often being said that post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy may lead to this problem. However, so far, there is no such evidence to support this concept.

Health Symptoms Women

Most people brush off minor health concerns, reasoning them to be a part of hectic lifestyles. However, these small signs and symptoms may be a warning signal for a major underlying issue. Know all about the health symptoms women shouldn’t ignore.

A woman’s body is definitely more complicated than a man’s. A small sneeze will get a man running to the doctor, perhaps for a complete checkup. But a woman will sleep or rest through her worst illness at times. Yes, we know women are more tolerant, and also have a higher threshold for pain, and in most areas, both physical and mental.

So, small issues like headaches, slight pain or discomfort in any part of the body, is usually brushed off by most women. They reason it with their hectic and busy lives. But did you know that a pain or discomfort or any other sign is perhaps a signal from your body that something is not right? Sleeping off a small cold is understandable, but there are other symptoms that women should never ignore. Women are simply designed that way – they do not have the time to get to the root of these things. There are plenty of ‘other’ issues their lives are stacked with. But is it OK to take your body and health for granted? Definitely not. Beneath that minor ache or pain may be lying a serious, or in rare cases, a potentially life-threatening condition. It is, therefore advisable to notice any symptoms which do not seem regular. It is your body, and you will know when it tells you something is just not right.

Symptoms Never to Be Ignored

♀ Unusual bleeding between periods/Unusual vaginal discharge

Bleeding between periods can indicate many underlying health issues, though not all of these are serious concerns. There may be less-serious causes like, Polycystic ovary syndrome, hormonal imbalances, and endometriosis. If bleeding takes place after menopause, during sex, and is accompanied with pelvic pain and bloating, it may be indicative of gynecological cancers. It is always advised to immediately take medical help and undergo tests in case of any of the above symptoms. Excessive vaginal discharge, foul-smelling or changes in color of the discharge, are also symptoms of health issues, like BV (Bacterial vaginosis), and in rare cases, even cervical cancer.

♀Heavy bleeding

Heavy bleeding is a common condition for most women, the cause of which can vary. Sometimes, heavy bleeding is due to minor issues like a thick uterine lining. However, other serious issues like fibroid tumors, ectopic pregnancy, and ovarian cysts, can also cause heavy bleeding. Not all these conditions are serious, but some tumors may be the cause of infertility. Do get a checkup done in any case.

♀Lump or pain in the chest

This one is perhaps the most important and serious symptom women should never ignore. A sharp or even mild pain in the chest should not be ignored. However, this may not always indicate a heart attack. But, it can definitely be a sign of other heart diseases and issues. Even with the slightest pain, and irrespective of the frequency, seek medical help.

♀Skin changes

Most women make it a point to keep a tab on the health of their skin. Keeping aside the beautification aspect, it is also important to observe any major changes in the skin, like excess pigmentation, scaly and dry skin, changes on moles, and even bleeding of the skin. In very rare cases, these indicate cancer. So a proper medical test is advised, before concluding anything.

♀Blood in stool or urine

Cancer of the rectum is the third-most common cancer in women. That being said, any unusual bleeding, like rectal bleeding or blood in the stools should be immediately reported to the doctor. All cases, however, may not be indicative of cancer. Hemorrhoids may also be a major cause of rectal bleeding. Nevertheless, blood in the urine calls for an immediate medical checkup.

♀Extreme fatigue

Feeling stressed or tired at the end of the day is a normal sign for most women. Handling a job and family may also add to the stress. But feeling tired more often than not (persistent for two weeks or more), is surely a sign of concern. It may indicate a major diet deficiency, like that of iron. Excess fatigue may also be indicative of a number of health issues, like diabetes, thyroid conditions, and even depression.

♀Breathlessness/Difficulty in breathing

Feeling breathless after a workout or climbing stairs once in a while is normal. When you feel breathless with minor activities, it is more often a common symptom of an underlying heart disease. Most women ignore this symptom, as they think it is too common and minor. But if you also have other symptoms like breathlessness, coupled with fatigue, dizziness, and nausea, get medical help. Sometimes, congestive heart failure, lung cancer, or emphysema, could be the underlying reason for shortness of breath.

♀Bloating and stomach discomfort

Pain and bloating in the abdomen is usually caused by indigestion. If this condition is persistent, and there is pain in one specific region of your abdomen, get a checkup done immediately. In conditions where there is frequent bloating and cramping, appendicitis, gallbladder issues, or ulcers could be the cause. It is better to get a checkup done and be wise, rather than ignore and stay worried.

♀Heart palpitations

It is alright if your heart flutters with a romantic song, movie, or with your loved one. But in all the other cases, fluttering of the heart is definitely not a healthy sign. A major reason for heart palpitations is lack of oxygen. Excess caffeine may also be the cause. In case of the former, heart fluttering may also indicate issues with the valves of the heart or hyperthyroidism. So, wait for no more fluttering, get a heart test and checkup done immediately.

♀Trouble sleeping

Here again, women blame their busy schedule to stress and lack of sleep, which is true to a certain extent. The quality of sleep too is important. If you find it difficult to sleep even after a busy day, on most days, there may be a health issue preventing you from getting good, quality sleep. It is observed that women who enter menopause are often affected by sleeplessness at night. If you also have breathing difficulties with trouble falling asleep, chances are, there is a heart condition, or even asthma that needs to be treated.

♀Pain during sex

Most women are ashamed to bring up issues related to sex. They feel this problem is with them, and feel embarrassed to discuss the same even with their partner. A woman’s gynac and sexual health is very important. Ignoring issues like painful and discomforting sex may invite many health risks. Pain during intercourse can have many reasons, like hormonal changes, infections, and other gynecological problems. So, do not ignore or self-treat this issue, and take medical help.

♀Frequent headaches

Most women would not consider something as casual as a headache to be a problem or potential health risk. We agree that most headaches are caused by stress, exertion, and hectic lifestyles. But if the headache happens almost everyday (except in case of migraines), and is severe, you might want to ditch the paracetamol and get a checkup done. Though in rare cases, there is a possibility of the headache being a sign of some underlying health issue, like a tumor, infection, or even a stroke.

♀Unexplained sudden weight loss

It may sound like good news to women, but unexplained weight loss, though a pleasant surprise, is not healthy. If you have lost a considerable amount of weight without intending to do so, make sure you schedule an appointment with a health expert. It may indicate an underlying endocrine disorder, if the weight loss is accompanied by difficulty in concentration, sweating, and increased appetite. Diabetes, gastrointestinal conditions, and also depression, may be causing you to lose weight.

♀Changes in the breast/Lump or pain in the breast

Women know how crucial it is to be screened for breast cancer regularly. If you find a lump, thickening of the skin around the breast, or if the breasts are sore and painful, get a checkup done immediately. It is, however, important to know that not all cases of pain and lumps in the breasts indicate breast cancer. However, it is advisable to get tests done regularly.

The above was the list of the symptoms that you need to be careful about. There are many things that we overlook, and this includes our health too. But, make sure that in the whole mad world of a career and balancing relationships, your health does not get affected. Take care!

Sauerkraut Health Benefits

As sauerkraut is derived from fermentation of cabbage, it is a good source of friendly bacteria, which makes it good for digestion. With vitamin C, folate, iron, and manganese present in sauerkraut, one can definitely say that sauerkraut has the goodness of nutrition.

Sauerkraut is a vegetable dish that is obtained by fermenting cabbage. The fermentation process is carried out by various strains of lactic acid bacteria, that impart it a sour flavor. The two main ingredients of this dish are grated cabbage and salt. A generous amount of salt is mixed with shredded cabbage, which is then stored in an air-tight jar. The salty environment leads to the growth of friendly bacteria that ferment the grated cabbage. As salt is a preservative, sauerkraut remains fresh and does not spoil with age or from harmful pathogens.

Sauerkraut retains all the benefits of cruciferous vegetables. However, what sets sauerkraut apart from other vegetables is that it contains naturally occurring probiotics.

Benefits of Sauerkraut

Aids Digestion
As sauerkraut is obtained through the fermentation process, it contains a great deal of friendly bacteria that help in digestion. In fact, these beneficial bacteria that reside in the colon are absolutely necessary for digestion. They help the body to absorb nutrients from digested food. These naturally occurring compounds can also help to relieve an upset stomach that often occurs due to indigestion. Moreover, adequate presence of ‘good’ bacteria in the intestine prevents proliferation of harmful bacteria that cause infection. So, adding sauerkraut to your diet will not only help to improve your digestion, but also improve your immunity against infection.

The amount of ‘beneficial’ bacteria present in sauerkraut is also higher than those found in yogurt. Also, you may not have to take probiotic supplements or drinks if sauerkraut is an integral part of your diet. Many people have a hard time digesting raw cabbage but sauerkraut is easier to digest.

High in Nutrition
Being a cruciferous vegetable, sauerkraut provides the same goodness of nutrition. This fermented cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, known to strengthen the immune system. It is also high in antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals, which are toxic molecules that can trigger extensive cellular damage. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, dietary fiber, and manganese. Fresh cabbage contains vitamin B5 in miniscule amounts, but sauerkraut is found to be an excellent source of this nutrient.

Maintains Healthy Acidity Levels in the Intestine
Overgrowth of harmful microbes has often been attributed to low acidity in the stomach and intestine. Well, this is unlikely to occur if sauerkraut is included in the diet. This is because fermented cabbage is a good source of lactic acid, that supports healthy intestinal acidity, thereby making it difficult for pathogens to survive. Hence, people suffering from candidiasis (yeast infection) are often recommended to eat sauerkraut regularly.

Controls Blood Sugar
Eating sauerkraut is also found to be helpful in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Thus, this fermented product may contribute in preventing drastic fluctuations in blood sugar, as well as control and reduce the risk of chronic ailments like diabetes and hypoglycemia.

Promotes Good Quality Sleep
Sauerkraut contains acetylcholine that helps to develop healthy sleep patterns. Apart from regulating the wake-sleep cycle, acetylcholine can also aid in improving memory and reducing blood pressure.

Good for the Heart
As cabbage is an important constituent of sauerkraut, it naturally contains flavonoids that exhibit cholesterol-lowering properties. Thus, sauerkraut in the diet will promote healthy cholesterol levels, helping to keep the heart function normal.

May Combat Cancer
A study reported in the 2002 edition of Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that when fermented, cabbage releases isothiocyanates such as sulforaphane. Finnish researchers observed that isothiocyanates were able to shun the growth of cancerous tumors in laboratory animals. Test tube studies also displayed cancer-fighting capabilities of these compounds. Sauerkraut also contains indoles that have shown to impair cancer growth in animals. Although it is not yet clear whether these compounds will produce the same effect on humans, animal studies show promising results and further research may confirm its anti-cancer properties. However, the National Cancer Institute does advocate intake of foods containing isothiocyanates to prevent cancer.

Choosing Sauerkraut
Making sauerkraut at home is very easy, but if you are looking for commercially prepared sauerkraut, you need to choose the right one. Sauerkraut that is available in glass jars can be either pasteurized or unpasteurized. The heating process that forms an integral part of pasteurization robs sauerkraut of its enzymes and other essential nutrients. So, one should always choose the unpasteurized version as it is full of digestive enzymes that support pancreatic function and improve digestion.

Caution
Despite being a good source of essential nutrients, sauerkraut is moderately high in salt. So, people with high blood pressure (HBP) should exercise caution when it comes to having sauerkraut. Just a cup of sauerkraut provides a whopping 939 mg of sodium, which accounts for 63% of daily salt consumption for HBP patients. Also, too much intake of sauerkraut can cause excessive growth of ‘good’ bacteria, which may lead to bloating, abdominal cramps, and gas. People with pancreatitis and gastric ulcers are also advised to restrict intake of sauerkraut.

Importance of Healthy Eating

A hectic lifestyle has made it difficult to maintain a healthy food habit, leaving the body vulnerable to health risks. Without realizing, it creates health problems which could lead to diseases. People realize the importance of healthy eating only when they suffer from diseases like malnutrition, obesity, etc.

Human body runs on food and a balanced mixture of food enables a smooth running of the body. Importance of eating healthy foods is that it helps in the body growth, improves body functions, and provides protection from sickness. Everyone, from a child to an adult, needs a healthy eating habit for a better and longer life. Though, most people are aware of the importance of healthy eating habits, only a few tend to follow them.

Why is it Important to Eat Healthy?

The normal growth of the body and its functions are impossible without nutrients. Nutrients from the food provides the cells with the fuel to run the body. A human body without proper nutrients is vulnerable to disease causing viruses and bacteria. The energy required for performing body functions, both mental and physical, comes from the fat reserves of the body.

The imbalance caused by a disrupted fat level in the body can either lead to obesity or malnutrition, both of which is dangerous for the body. A human body suffering from obesity or malnutrition has a high chance of developing many diseases such as heart dysfunction, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and many others.

A healthy diet plan can help the body to remain active for longer periods and allow a healthy living. A healthy and balanced diet helps to maintain the required body weight with increasing general well-being. A healthy diet has a balance of bread, potatoes, cereals, fruits, vegetables, milk, meat, fish or milk/meat alternatives, and minimum quantity of fat and sugar. The body cannot get all the essential nutrients from a single food. The body has to depend on a wide variety of healthy foods with adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Tips on Healthy Eating

Here are some wonderful tips that will help in maintaining a healthy food habit and ensure a healthier lifestyle.

✥ The right amount of calories to maintain a balance between the calorie intake and calorie expenditure. The average recommended daily need of a body is 2,000 calories though it may differ with age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity.

✥ There should be a wide variety of foods to make the food attractive. The diet should include leafy vegetables, whole grains, pulses, and fruits and others which is not consumed daily.

✥ The portion of food should be moderate, especially when it comes to high-calorie foods. Eating disorders are mainly caused due to high quantity of calories, particularly in restaurants, fast food outlets, etc., can cause an imbalance in the body.

✥ The diet should have plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. The variety of foods should include those foods high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, low in fat and free of cholesterol which can be availed from fresh, local products.

✥ The body needs a lot of water as it helps the body systems flush the waste out of the body, especially the kidneys and bladder, of waste products and toxins. The body should never be allowed to get dehydrated.

✥ There should be a limit in foods which are high in sugar, salt, and refined-grain products. Sugar and salt which is added to a vast array of foods, can aid in body weight gain.

✥ There should be no complete restriction of any foods such as sweets and fried foods. These foods when consumed in moderation can be a part of the overall healthy diet.

✥ A healthy diet with regular exercises can improve energy and feelings of well-being while reducing the risk of diseases. A regular physical activity with exercise and a healthy, eating plan will work without any doubt.

✥ Good food habits will take time to establish and it will be much easier by focusing on one food type or one food at a time.

Steps to a Healthy Eating

✥ While eating make sure that the food is enjoyed by chewing well and savoring every bite slowly.

✥ Always avoid stress while eating as a stressed body leads to digestion problems, colitis, and heartburn.

✥ Always concentrate on the body needs by eating the right quantity of food, enough to satisfy the body needs, rather than stuffing yourself.

✥ Most people are not aware of the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. A heavy breakfast followed by many small healthy snack breaks throughout the day is most recommended. A heavy breakfast enables the body to burn fat much better.

The importance of incorporating healthy eating habits is not just limited to the food that’s eaten, it is also about how it is eaten. A healthy eating habit is possible by choosing and eating nourishing and enjoyable foods.

Healthy Relationship With Food and Eat Without Guilt

The primary reason people go on a diet is to manage their weight. Watching what you eat, and how much you eat are an important part of it. A lot of people start off determinedly and resolve to lose weight in a stipulated time frame. But somewhere along the way, for some reason, the diet goes for a toss, and most are back to eating what they should ideally avoid, and realize they are not losing the desired weight. It’s when they start feeling guilty about not following a healthy diet plan, that they are back to following it again. This cycle usually goes on. The trick lies in eating whatever you want, albeit in smaller quantities, without being washed over by guilt. How do you do that? Let us see in detail.

Developing a Healthy Relationship with Food As Adults
With so much emphasis being laid on healthy and unhealthy foods, it truly becomes difficult to base our choices on what we should eat, how much we should eat, and when we should eat it. A common misconception is that following a diet means eating only healthy foods, which are usually bland and tasteless. When we realize that eating a favorite food of ours will make us gain weight, we either ignore it completely, or ignore the diet, and gorge on it. Both extremes are wrong. To enjoy what we eat, without feeling guilty, and without it affecting our weight, is the main step towards developing a healthy understanding about the type of food we eat.

Start by changing your mindset towards food. It cannot and will not happen overnight. Overweight people, many a time, perceive food as their biggest enemy, which is wrong. We are humans, and we need food to survive. We must realize that we should eat food because our body requires it, and not turn to it in times of stress, trying to satisfy emotional hunger. Try to follow these simple tips which will help you enjoy what you eat, without feeling guilty in the process.

Moderation is the Key

Make a conscious effort to have a little bit of a particular food you have been asked to stay away from. Enjoy every bite. A small piece of cake, once in a while, will not do much harm. In fact, it has two benefits, firstly, your cravings might stop, and secondly, you are getting to eat what you so dearly love.

Get to Know What You Eat

Try to get your hands on the nutritional content of the food you are about to eat. It’s not just how many calories the food has, but look for elements like protein, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, etc. If a certain food is high in fat, try to substitute it with something else, or cut back on the serving size. You can also experiment with different, nutritious recipes, which will ensure that your everyday meals do not get boring, and at the same time, you are eating healthy. Spend some more time in the supermarket, and get home healthier food than what you usually buy.

Make a Note of What You Eat

It will help you to decide how much and what you have eaten, and how much should you consume in the near future. Seek variety in what you eat. Make it a point to consume three servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. You can even plan and make a list of dishes you would like to have every week, and shop accordingly. Once you know what you intend to have, preparing it in a healthier way will be much easier, and you will be able to regulate your diet.

Seek Help

Adhering to a diet will seem a simpler task if you have a friend or acquaintance along, who is also following a diet regimen just like you. This way, you have someone who can help you to get back on track, if you are erring in your diet plan in any way. Another option is to seek guidance from a nutritionist. He/she can help you make the right food choices.

Remain Positive

The most important part, I would say. Do not think of food as your enemy. This will only make matters worse. Strive to alter your attitude towards food. Do not keep thinking “I should not have this food” or “I cannot have this food.” Instead, phrase it like “I really like it. Let me have a small piece, just for today. I won’t have it again till next week.” And stick to it! This way you have conditioned your mind to eat what you most enjoy, without feeling guilty about it.

Helping Children Develop a Healthy Relationship with Food
Teaching your children healthy food habits will go a long way and be very useful to them as adults. This is especially true in today’s ever-changing world, where we are so busy, and have little time to pay attention to what we eat.

Mealtimes should be Regulated

Make it a point to sit down together as a family to have your meal, at least once a day. Stay away from cell phones and watching TV while you eat. Engage your child in different topics, ask him about his daily routine. Make mealtimes fun, so children look forward to it.
Involve Your Children during Meal Preparation

Take them with you when you visit the supermarket, and ask them to help you choose food that is healthy. Let them select a different color of fruits and vegetables every day, this adds to the variety. When you cook, ask them to help you in the kitchen, and ask for their opinions on how to cook a particular dish. They may not have an answer to that, but they will feel involved and be a little more interested in eating what is prepared, since they have helped you out.

Take a Cue from Their Eating Habits

You will know when your child is full when you monitor their mealtimes. Do not force them to eat. Coercing them to finish every last morsel in their plate will drive them away from food.

As you can see, it is not very tough to develop and maintain healthy food habits. They key factors are self-discipline, changing your approach towards food, eating in moderation, and following a dedicated diet regime, while attending to your cravings once in a while. Another important thing to note – exercise! If you get in shape, you will love your body. And when you appreciate yourself, eating right to keep yourself that way will be much easier! And all this requires time and patience.

Healthy Thai Food

Thai food has a unique taste, and people usually end up loving it. This article explains the health related facts of Thai cuisine, and it also contains some healthy Thai recipes.

Thailand is usually known for its huge elephants and pristine beaches. Thai food has its own unique flavor. It is not only tasty, but also has a strong aroma, which makes your mouth water long before you actually start eating. Unlike the majority of other foods, it does not have a single overpowering flavor; most of the time, it is sweet, sour, spicy, salty, and bitter at the same time. It is also very healthy. You will notice the use of ingredients like lemon grass, turmeric, coconut milk, etc., in Thai food, and all these ingredients have loads of health benefits. But just like other cuisines, it also has some dishes which are loaded with butter and cheese.

Tom Yum Goong – Soup
Ingredients
3 kaffir lime leaves
5 sprigs cilantro
1-2 limes
5 mushrooms
1 lemon grass
4 cups water
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 cup shrimp
3 chili peppers

Process

Boil water in a 2-quart pot. Meanwhile, clean and devein the shrimp and set them aside. Cut lemon grass into 5 – 6-inch long pieces. To release flavor from the lemon grass, crush it a little with the back of your knife. Add the lemon grass to the water and let it boil for 5 minutes. In the serving bowls, add the juice of 1 whole lemon, fish sauce, and crushed chili pepper. Add only the leafy part of the kaffir lime to the pot. Cut the mushrooms into half and add them to the pot along with the shrimp. Now, turn off the heat immediately. Pour the soup along with the shrimp into the serving bowls. The soup will appear cloudy due to the lemon juice. Finally, season it with cilantro, and serve.

Gai Yang – Barbecued Chicken
Ingredients

1 tsp coriander (ground)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp lime juice
½ cup coriander chopped fine
4 pounds chicken drumsticks
8 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp pepper white (ground)
1 tbsp red chili flakes (red chili)
2 tsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tsp galangal, chopped
2 tbsp chopped shallots
1 tsp kaffir lime rind
1 tbsp coriander root, pounded or chopped
16 small dried red chilies
2 tbsp lemon grass, chopped
1 tsp each white pepper corns and cumin seeds, roasted and powdered
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp coriander seeds, roasted and powdered

Process

Mix garlic, ground and chopped coriander, chicken drumsticks, pepper white, 1 tsp salt, red chili flakes, lime juice, and garlic cloves, in a bowl. See to it that the drumsticks are coated thoroughly with the mixture, and marinate them overnight. Next day, barbecue the drumsticks over charcoal fire for about 30 minutes over moderate heat.

This dish is served with Nam Prik Dang, which is a red curry paste. For making the curry paste, blend the rest of the ingredients, until a fine paste is formed. Refrigerate the paste until necessary.

Kao Niaw Ma-Muang – Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango
Ingredients

3 mangoes, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp tapioca starch
2 cups water
2 cups coconut milk
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp white sugar
1½ cups uncooked short-grain white rice
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 cup white sugar

Process

Take a medium-sized saucepan and add water along with the rice in it. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Now, let it simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes. Meanwhile, add 1 cup sugar, 1½ cup coconut milk, and ½ tsp salt, to another saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then set it aside. Add the cooked rice to the coconut milk mixture. Cover and let it cool for about 1 hour. Prepare the sauce by adding 1 tbsp sugar, ½ cup coconut milk, tapioca starch, and ¼ tsp salt to a saucepan and let it boil. Serve the sticky rice on the serving dish, and arrange the mango slices on top of the rice. Lastly, pour the sauce on top and sprinkle it with sesame seeds.