Lose belly fat with ber or jujube leaves

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

Ber or jujube is a common fruit in India and has a number of health benefits. But did you know, it’s leaves can help you lose weight too? Here’s how.

How it works
According to a study published in the Journal of Natural Remedies[1], the extract of jujube or ber leaves are great to lose weight. Not only does it help suppress hunger, but it also decreases the level of serum glucose, lipid levels and helps reduce the amount of fat around your internal organs (especially your belly). The extract is especially great for those who dine out often or have diets that are high in fat. You may also like to read about how to lose belly fat in a week!

How to use it
You will need:
Take a handful of ber leaves
Soak in water overnight
Have this water every morning, preferably on an empty stomach.

How often should you have this mixture?
Drinking a glass of this mixture once a day for a month, shows great results.

6 ways to build muscles to lose weight, look young and stay fit

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

If you think that muscle building means bulking up think again. If you want to look good and be healthy then building muscle is the way to do it. The oh-so-fit trainer Deanne Pandey, who also trains many Bollywood stars tells us why you should step into the weight room. Here is an excerpt from her book Shut Up and Train!

Muscles rev up your body’s system:
When you increase your power and strength by building muscles, you will immediately experience a boost in our energy levels. Your digestion and elimination process will improve. You will be in a happy state of mind as your body will release happy hormones or ‘endorphins’ which will make you feel good. Your brain will get a rest from the constant thoughts of work and daily life as you focus on physical exercise. Your stress levels will automatically dip. You will sleep better and you will wake up refreshed.

Muscles keep you healthy:
Your cardiovascular circulation and lung capacity increase when you strength train. Researchers think that weight-bearing exercises may include biochemical changes that improve body’s ability to form one tissue. Studies have shown that consistent strength training can increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis. In people at high risk of diabetes, strength training can decrease blood sugar levels. It also reduces arthritis pain because strong muscles help support and protect joints. Building muscles also promotes weight loss, which reduces pressure on your joints.

Muscles burn fat:
Your body fat percentage will automatically reduce once you start weight training. You already know that lean muscle mass can give your metabolic rate a big jump. It’s like putting a big bonfire on your body. The more muscle you build, the more fire you stroke. You want to keep this fire burning brightly so that you can melt away your body fat even when the body is at rest. Your blood pressure lowers just as little as 4 kilos of weight loss.

Muscles give your body the best shape: Muscle is much denser than fat. This is the reason why when you build muscles, your body gets tight and firm and your clothes look good on you. Unless you pump your body with steroids, you will not develop unnaturally large muscles. This is true especially for women who are scared to pick up weights.

Muscles keep you young:
Building muscles can literally turn back your genetic clock. By making your body work harder through weight training, you force it to stay younger. Muscle and connective tissue are our body’s supporting structure. As we age they deteriorate unless given regular stimulus. Studies have proven that regular and progressive weight training activates our body to repair and regenerate.

Muscles make you confident:
When you build muscles and develop the discipline of weight training regularly, you will gain a giant boost in confidence and self-esteem. You will walk taller, you can wear clothes you want with ease, and you will be able to use your body more effectively in daily movements. Gone will be the person who is insecure and troubled by routine aches and pains. You will notice that you will do all other daily activities with ease.

Ways to increase protein in Indian food

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

Indian diet is usually considered rich in carbs and low in protein. However, if you are a gym goer, you’ll know the important role protein plays in building and repairing your muscles. If you do not want to get protein from supplements such as whey, you can include it in your regular meals. Here are a few ways you can increase protein intake in your Indian diet.

How much protein do you need?
Firstly, you need to know how much of this nutrient you really need every day. According to nutritionist Annapurna Agrawal, you need 0.8-1g of protein per kg of your body weight. So if you are 50 kg, you need to consume between 40g to 50g of protein in a day.

Ways to eat more protein if you are a vegetarian
To get adequate protein from a vegetarian meal, you need to include some form of it in every meal. This is because vegetarian protein sources are not the best so you need to consume more of them to fulfil your requirement. Here’s what you can do.

Vegetarians should include dairy products such as cheese, milk and curd in their diet. Have a glass of milk in the morning and before bed and have buttermilk or curd after lunch. Cheese can be eaten post workout or in breakfast. She also advises eating soya bean and sprouts.

Other sources of protein include oats, chickpeas, quinoa, flaxseeds and legumes. Oatmeal makes for a great breakfast or snack option. You can have chickpeas as either chana chat or chhole gravy. Flaxseeds can be added to curd or even eaten plain. You can replace rice and make quinoa kheer.

When it comes to legumes, include beans, lentils, seeds, peas, etc. in your diet. Says nutritionist Neha Chandna that it is best to combine these with a cereal such as wheat or rice so that you get complete nutrition from them.

Ways to eat more protein if you are a non-vegetarian.
Non-vegetarians have a host of options when it comes to protein as animal meat and eggs are considered the best form of this nutrient. It is best to have eggs for breakfast in any form you like.
When it comes to meat, include chicken in your diet but make sure you cook it in a way that is healthy. Downing it in excess oil or butter is not the way to go about it. Tandoori or grilled chicken is a better option. Even chicken salad or gravy is healthy. Even tuna and prawns are good sources of protein.

Avoid red meat as it is not very good for health, white meat such as chicken and turkey are healthy.

Reasons to have curd with every meal

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

Who doesn’t love curd? Be it with a yummy, steaming paratha or as chaas, curd is often quite a staple in most Indian households. But did you know this versatile dish has a number of health benefits too? Yes, here’s how curd helps you stay healthy.

Helps improve digestion.
The nutrients present in curd are easily absorbed by your digestive system. Not only that, it also helps in absorbing nutrients from other food items that you have eaten. It can also be used along with spicy food, as curd cools down and neutralises the heat that these foods create. A Taiwanese study even found that curd is helpful in curing H. Pylori infections which is known t cause peptic ulcers. You may also like to read about these home remedies for peptic ulcers.

Healthy for your heart.
In a day and age where more and more young people are falling prey to heart disease, consuming curd can go a long way in maintaining a healthy heart. It minimizes the risk of high blood pressure and helps reduce cholesterol levels by preventing the thickening of carotid arteries.

Great for those who are lactose intolerant.
Some people, who cannot consume milk because they are lactose intolerant, can safely consume curd. It converts the lactose present in milk to lactic acid, making it easier to digest. Also, you do not lose out on the nutritional boost that milk provides.

Helps boost immunity.
Curd has ‘good bacteria’ present in it which strengthens your immune system by fighting against several microorganisms that are present in the body. It is also useful in preventing vaginal yeast infections in women. These properties of curd do not diminish even when it is heated along with curry preparations to add flavour.

Good for your teeth and bones.
All dairy products are good for your bones, and curd is no different. Like milk, curd has a high amount of phosphorous and calcium. This makes it beneficial for your teeth and bones as it helps promote bone growth and makes your teeth stronger. Taking care of your bones is essential if you want to avoid painful diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis in the future.

8 Yoga asana to relieve Asthma

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

Asthma is an extremely troublesome condition, leaving the person gasping for breath and in some cases it can have dangerous consequences as well. Most people who suffer from asthma are asked to use inhalers and may be prescribed bronchodilators. But just because you are an asthmatic doesn’t mean that you need to be on medication to survive. Yoga can help beat the symptoms and make your lungs stronger. Here are eight yoga asanas that can help you overcome the challenges of asthma.

Ujayee pranayam: This is a form of pranayam that is done while lying down and while standing. It improves lung function, expands your lungs, helps you hold breath for longer and gives your body essential oxygen. If you are trying this pranayam for the first time, make sure you do ujayee pranayam first in the lying position and once you have mastered it you can move on to the standing ujayee pranayam.

Steps to do this asana:
Lie down on the floor, with your legs outstretched and arms by your side. Now, relax your entire body and breathe out through your mouth. While breathing out, make sure your lungs are emptied and you purse your lips into a pout (like you would if you were to whistle). Once your lungs are emptied, inhale air through your nose. Make sure you fill in your lungs completely. Hold your breath and stretch out your legs (by pointing your toes towards the wall in front of you). Hold this position for as long as you can hold your breath, then breathe out as you relax your body.

Ekpada uttanasana: This asana is perfect for people with asthma because it helps the lungs to open up and oxygenates the entire respiratory system. This asana also makes your hips more flexible, improves digestion, tones the muscles around your abdomen and enhances the working of the glands related to libido. Ekpada uttan asana is also known to be very effective against menstrual disorders.

Steps to do this asana:
Lie down on the floor with your legs stretched out and your hands by your side. Make sure your entire body is relaxed at this stage. Now, stretch out and point the toes of your right leg and tighten the muscles of the entire leg. Next, inhale and raise the leg so that it is perpendicular to your body. Do not jerk up the leg since you may end up injuring your back. Hold this position for about six seconds while holding our breath. To go back to the starting position, slowly exhale and lower your leg simultaneously. Rest for six breaths and then do the same exercise with your left leg.

Tara asana: This asana is aimed at strengthening the muscles of the chest while strengthening your lungs. Due to the movement of your hands, while performing this asana, the muscles around the chest area become toned and your bronchioles and lungs strengthens. This asana also helps in the development of chest and relieves pain around the back and the shoulders.

Steps to perform this asana:
Stand up erect and keep your feet at a 45 degree angle to each other and your hands by your side. Now tighten the muscles of your hands, inhale and raise your hands so they are at an angle of 90 degrees to your body. Make sure your palms are facing the ceiling in this position. Hold your breath and keep your hands in this position for six seconds. Now, exhale and breathe normally. Turn your palms so that they are facing each other. Inhale, hold your breath and move your hands in the front so that they are at an angle of 90 degrees to your body. Hold this position for six seconds. In the last phase of this exercise, use the same breathing technique and move your hands above you. Finally bring your hands to the starting position and then relax.

Yoga mudra:
This asana helps expand the chest and exercise the lungs. Because of the bending action of this asana, blood from the lower portions of the body rush upwards and helps massage the lower part of the lungs, bronchioles and nourishes the nerves of that area. This helps strengthen your lungs and overall respiratory system.

Steps to do this pose:
Sit comfortably in sukhasana. Now, move your hands behind your back and try to hold the wrist of one hand with the other. Make a fist with the hand that is being held at the wrist. Next, exhale slowly and simultaneously start lowering your head towards the ground. You will notice that your hands will start moving upwards. Try to touch the ground with your forehead and hold the position for a few breaths. To return to the starting position, gently raise your back upright and loosen the muscles of your hands and gently release your grip. Allow yourself to relax for a few seconds before you redo the asana.

Ushtra asana:
Also known as the camel pose, this asana is exactly what the doctors recommend for asthma patients. This asana helps open up the chest and improves breathing. It activates the facial tissues, the nasal passage, the pharynx, and stimulates the nerves of the respiratory system. This asana also helps correct disorders of the neck, shoulders, spine, and helps the sensory organs function optimally.

Simha asana:
This asana is known for its ability to help relieve throat problems, voice disruptions and tonsillitis. Simha asana also helps improve one’s respiratory system as it activates the larynx, trachea and lungs. It also activates the thyroid gland, allowing it to functions better and making your entire body healthy.

Steps to do this asana:
Start this asana by sitting in vajrasana. Relax and breath normally while in this pose. Now, bend forward while extending your back, so that it is parallel to the floor. Now start exhaling through both your nostrils and partially through your mouth while extending your tongue outwards. Making sure you exhale completely once your tongue is completely extended.
Now spread your finger tips, open your mouth wide, while keeping your tongue extended and eyes wide open. Hold this asana for a few seconds and then relax and inhale. Rest between before you try to practice the asana again.

Sarvanga asana:
This asana is known for its ability to activate and relieve thyroid problems. But apart from that it is a great for asthmatics. Sarvangasana is known to help improve the circulatory system, improves supply of blood to facial tissues, relieves constipation, gastrointestinal problems and strengthens the entire body.

Matsya asana:
Also known as the fish pose, this asana helps to improve circulation to the chest, face, neck and glands present in those areas. It also helps relieve symptoms of back pain and tones the muscles of the chest, back, neck and lengthens the spine. It also helps correct disorders of the respiratory system.

Reason why you should spend more time with nature

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

I work outside. As I type away at my laptop I’m surrounded by flowers and palm trees. In addition, the ocean is about 30 meters away from my work area. Sometimes I’ll get bitten by mosquitoes; or a couple of bees will decide that harassing me is their mission for the day; or a bird will poop on me (this last one happens more often than you’d think).

However, for the most part, I love being outside. I can hear the birds chirping; as I look out toward the ocean I can see the sun reflected on the water’s surface; at times there’s a gentle breeze blowing; and, every so often, a turquoise hummingbird whizzes by. Fortunately for me, it turns out that being outdoors and spending time in nature is good for you. Below you’ll discover 8 reasons why you, too, should spend more time in nature.

1. Vegetation-Rich Nature.

Improves Your Vitality. In the book “Your Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality”, Eva M. Selhub, MD and Alan C. Logan, ND explain that scientific studies show that natural environments can have remarkable benefits for human health.

Among these benefits, Selhub and Logan explain that studies show that spending just 20 minutes in vegetation-rich nature improves vitality. They define vitality as emotional strength in the face of internal and external oppositions, and living life with enthusiasm. So, if you want to be more resilient and have more zest in your life, go outside.

2. If You Live Near Green Space.

You’re Less Likely to Be Depressed. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that people who lived within 1 kilometer of a park or a wooded area experienced less anxiety and depression than those who lived farther away from green space.

This means that city planners can potentially use green space as a way to improve overall mental wellness. In addition, if you’re feeling depressed, you should consider moving closer to nature.

3. Sunlight is Beneficial.

When sunlight hits the skin, it begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Studies suggest that this vitamin helps to prevent osteoporosis and cancer. In addition, one study found an increased risk of heart attacks in those with low vitamin D levels.

The amount of sunlight that you need depends on your skin tone. Light skinned individuals need about 10 minutes of sunlight a day, while darker skinned individuals may need from fifteen to twenty minutes of sunlight.

4. Taking a Break in Nature.

Improves Memory and Cognitive Function. Taking in the sights and sounds of nature is beneficial for our brains. Research done by Doctor Marc Berman and partners at the University of Michigan shows that performance on memory and attention tests improved by 20% after study subjects took a pause for a walk through an arboretum. When they paused to take a walk down a busy street, no cognitive boost was detected.

Best exercise for Asthma patients

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

Exercise is a common trigger for asthma symptoms. Many people with asthma may experience coughing, wheezing, or chest tightness during or after exercising. However, most people with asthma can successfully participate in their exercise of choice with proper guidance.

“If your asthma is under good control, you can and should exercise normally. Exercising (when you have) asthma can help reduce your symptoms, improve your breathing, and reduce your stress and anxiety,” says Rachel Taliercio, DO, a lung and allergy specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Exercising safely

Having asthma means your lungs are more sensitive to things like cold or hot temperatures, dry air, allergens, and pollution. When you’re not exercising, you probably breathe through your nose. Breathing through your nose moistens, warms, and filters the air you breathe before it gets into your lungs. But while working out, you probably breathe through your mouth. That can be tough on your lungs and can trigger asthma symptoms.

It is better to pick an exercise that is not too difficult for you because trying an exercise that you are not in shape for may also trigger asthma symptoms. Try to do the exercise you have chosen four or five days a week. Don’t push yourself if your asthma starts to flare.

Swimming is one of the best exercises for asthma because it builds up the muscles you use for breathing. It also exposes your lungs to lots of warm, moist air, which is less likely to trigger asthma symptoms. A comprehensive medical review (Cochrane Review) of eight studies of children and adolescents from 2013 showed that swimming increases lung function and cardiopulmonary fitness, without any serious side effects in patients with stable asthma.

Yoga is another good exercise for asthma. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that yoga training over 10 weeks significantly improved quality of life scores for women with mild to moderate asthma. “A low intensity beginner yoga class is a great way to start up your exercise program,” says Taliercio.

Other potential physical activities for people with asthma include

  • Walking.
  • Biking.
  • Hiking.
  • Golf.
  • Gymnastics.

Here are some good tips for exercising with asthma:

  • Warm up first.
  • Try to breathe through your nose as much as possible.
  • If you are exercising in cold weather, wear a scarf or mask over your nose and mouth.
  • If you have pollen allergies, avoid outdoor exercise when pollen counts are high.
  • Avoid exercising outdoors if air pollution is high.
  • Do not exercise when you are sick or not feeling well.
  • Include a cool-down routine after exercise.
  • Know your exercise limit, and don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Always carry your inhaler, just in case you need it.

Best exercise for older adults

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

So, you’re 55, or maybe 65, 75, or even 85. You already know all the benefits of exercise, and you’ve tried — you have really tried — to be active. You take a daily walk once a week when it’s not raining, but you know that’s not really enough. Friends, relatives, and your doctor — they all say, “Get some exercise!”

So, a little while back, you tried a class. You tried several. Different instructors even. But there is one small problem: You hate it! A lot of exercise classes are far from ideal for older adults (even when they’re supposedly for older adults!).

What to do? Chances are, you’ve stopped going…or you will soon. You may not be able to say why you hate that class, but it’s likely that when you read through this list, you’ll see yourself at least once!

Reason #1: Exercise will extend years of active independent life

In health research, doctors attempt to quantify a quality-of-life measurement for an average individual.1

Through discussions with many patients of all ages, they rate on a scale of one-to-ten a person’s physical and mental well-being.

Using such a scale in an Oklahoma study, healthy older adults who participated regularly in moderate physical activity for at least an hour per week had a higher quality-of-life measurement than those who did not exercise.2

The exercisers felt that they led an independent lifestyle.

Take note: one hour per week! That’s not much commitment.

Reason #2: Exercise does not have to be hard, fast, and pounding to reap rewards

“No pain, no gain” is a myth! Don’t believe it! Today’s research is unequivocal: exercise is surprisingly efficient, even building muscle, and even moderate exercise does make a difference,. One study assessed two groups of older adults: one group participated in a low-intensity exercise program; the other group did only relaxation exercises. On all assessments, both physical and mental, the exercise group did better than the relaxation group.3

If you are concerned about the risks of starting exercise, you can begin at low intensity and gradually increase your skill level. Most studies suggest that classes for older adults should emphasize moderate-intensity aerobics, muscle-strengthening, balance, and flexibility, as well as instruction on how to avoid injury.45

Reason #3: You must use it or you will lose it

Sedentariness is unhealthy. If we aren’t active, we lose muscle strength — a minuscule amount each day. Stronger muscles mean we can lengthen independent living considerably. Simple free-weight exercises can improve the odds against muscle loss.

Researchers decided to measure just the hand-grip strength of women over 60. Some women were exercising; some were not. They discovered that non-exercising women lost grip strength at the rate of nearly 3% per year. But physically active women lost much less.6

If hand-grip strength can be improved and/or maintained by simply exercising, you can easily apply this principle to all the muscles. My husband’s grandmother decided, in her late 80’s, that she did not want to walk any more. Within weeks she was bedridden. If we do not use our muscles, they will weaken. It is inevitable.

Reason #4: Exercise may prevent a bad fall

Older adults fear falling. If they break a bone, they may be disabled, in pain, or both, for months. A fall means loss of independence.

More than 20% of participants in a recent study of older adults said they had fallen twice or more in the previous year. About one-third said it was likely they would fall during the upcoming year, yet most believed there wasn’t any way that they could prevent a fall. None of them had even heard of balance training!

Attempting to educate older adults to the advantages of physical activity in preventing falls, researchers explained to the participants of a study that the purpose of balance training was to do “physical activities every day to build up the strength in legs and body and improve balance.” Lead author of the research, Lucy Yardley, Ph.D., concluded this: “Few older people are aware of strength and balance training, or [know] that balance can be improved.”7

The ability to get up from a chair and sit down without assistance requires lower body strength, balance and coordination. Something as simple as a daily chair-stand exercise can improve balance.

Exercise Tips for People With Type 2 Diabetes

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

Exercise is safe—and highly recommended—for most people with type 2 diabetes, including those with complications. Along with diet and medication, exercise will help you lower blood sugar and lose weight.

However, the prospect of diving into a workout routine may be intimidating. If you’re like many newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics, you may not have exercised in years.

If that’s the case, don’t worry: It’s fine to start slow and work up. These tips will help you ease back into exercise and find a workout plan that works for you.

Try quick workouts
As long as you’re totaling 30 minutes of exercise each day, several brief workouts are fine, says George Griffing, MD, professor of endocrinology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“We need people with diabetes up and moving,” Dr. Griffing says. “If you can do your exercise in one 30 minute stretch, fine. But if not, break it up into increments you can manage that add up to at least 30 minutes each day.”

Focus on overall activity
Increase activity in general—such as walking or climbing stairs—rather than a particular type of exercise.

However, don’t rely on housework or other daily activity as your sole exercise. Too often, people overestimate the amount of exercise they get and underestimate the amount of calories they consume.

Get a pedometer
Stanford University researchers conducted a review of 26 studies looking at the use of pedometers as motivation for physical activity. Published in 2007, the review found that people who used a pedometer increased their activity by 27%.

Having a goal of 10,000 steps a day (about five miles) was important, even if the goal wasn’t reached. Pedometer users lost more weight, had a greater drop in blood pressure, and walked about 2,500 steps more per day than those who didn’t use a pedometer.