April 19, 2011

Hypertension - A Silent Killer

Do you get headaches often? Spells of dizziness at times? Bouts of anxiety? If you've just said yes, then you may be suffering from hypertension. Hypertension, referred to as the ‘silent killer', is especially dangerous because it often has no specific warning signs or symptoms. Of those who have high blood pressure, almost 35 per cent don't even know they have it. Fortunately, it is easy to monitor blood pressure by having it regularly checked.


High blood pressure causes the heart to work too hard. It increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. It can damage the eyes, kidneys, liver and the nervous system. Although genes play a role in the occurrence of hypertension, lifestyle habits play a crucial part in controlling this condition.

Causes behind the silent killer


A high-salt diet


Alcohol consumption


High caffeine consumption

High cholesterol levels

Take charge now!

Maintain a healthy weight; lose weight if you are overweight.

Exercise regularly – a minimum of 30-minutes of a moderate intensity exercise regime such as walking is recommended.

Limit your salt intake to less than 2,400mg (about 1-teaspoon). A high intake of sodium in the diet can increase blood pressure in about 40% of individuals.

Consume fruits, vegetables and a low-fat diet.

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Relaxation and deep breathing exercises are beneficial.

Avoid too much caffeine. Several cups of coffee can mildly increase blood pressure throughout the day.

Mediterranean diet for healthy living

Mediterranean diet also has positive effects on individual risk factors such as waist size, HDL cholesterol levels, triglycerides levels, blood pressure levels and glucose metabolism, according to a new study. The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern characterized by high consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids, primarily from olives and olive oils; daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, and low-fat dairy products; weekly consumption of fish, poultry, tree nuts, and legumes; a relatively low consumption of red meat; and a moderate daily consumption of alcohol, normally with meals.

Demosthenes Panagiotakos, associate professor in Biostatistics-Epidemiology of Nutrition, Department of Science of Dietetics - Nutrition, Harokopio University of Athens, and Christina-Maria Kastorini meta-analysed the results of 50 studies on the diet, with an overall studied population of about half a million subjects.

"The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is increasing rapidly throughout the world, in parallel with the increasing incidence of diabetes and obesity, and is now considered a major public health problem,” said lead investigator Panagiotakos. "Additionally, the metabolic syndrome is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease (directly or indirectly), associated with personal and socio-economic burdens. As a result, prevention of this condition is of considerable importance,” he said.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the best-known and well-studied dietary patterns, which has been shown to be associated with decreased mortality from all causes, lower risk for cardiovascular disease, Type-2 diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer, according to the researchers. Additionally, it has a beneficial effect on abdominal obesity, lipids levels, glucose metabolism and blood pressure levels, which are also risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the Mediterranean diet as a whole, as well as the effects of the individual components of the diet, and especially olive oil, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish, also confer to the beneficial role of this pattern.

"To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first work that has systematically assessed, through a large meta-analysis, the role of the Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome and its components,” said Panagiotakos. "Our results add to the existing knowledge, and further demonstrate the protective role and the significance that lifestyle factors, and mainly dietary habits, have when it comes to the development and progression of the metabolic syndrome,” he added.

The study is published in the March 15, 2011, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Carbohydrates for a healthy diet

Every food stuff has good and bad carbohydrates. Look out for Nutritional Facts and ingredients printed on the packets of these foodstuff to know what and how much are you consuming.

Carbohydrates are often thought of as the 'bad guys' in a healthy diet plan. But not all carbs are created equal. While some diets will see you enjoy good carbs such as non-starchy vegetables and legumes, and eliminate all starchy and sugary carbs to help balance your blood-sugar levels and control cravings, with some other diets more "good" carbs, such as whole-grains, fruits, and certain starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes and winter squash, are reintroduced. The key to choosing healthy carbs is to focus on those that are high in fiber.

Good carbohydrates include those found in nutritious, high-fibre fruits and vegetables, legumes, unrefined whole grains, and certain types of rice, such as brown and wild. Unfortunately, fibre is often removed from grains during processing to produce a smoother texture and to extend the shelf life of breads and other baked goods. Without fibre, processed grains become essentially chains of glucose (sugar) molecules known as starches, which are devoid of nutrients. These bad carbs must be avoided on a healthy diet.

Besides being packed with vitamins and minerals, good carbs contain plenty of fibre, which takes longer to digest, thus keeping blood-sugar levels steady - and cravings at bay.

When you pick up a product, be sure to first check out the Nutrition Facts panel. This will show you the total amount of carbohydrates and how much of that total comes from fibre and sugar. The higher the fibre in a product the better it is refined flour products often have very little.

April 18, 2011

Types of skin and its Care

Taking care of your skin is very important and one of the most important things to know is what skin type you have. Not knowing this can have disastrous consequences for your skin as you might choose the wrong way to look after your skin and the wrong products to use on it. It can really damage your skin as if you don't know your skin type and you have oily skin and keep on applying oil-based cream on your skin, your skin will break into acne and pimples. 

All skin types need a different skin care regime and different kinds of cosmetics for each type. The types of skin are normal skin, oily skin, dry skin, combination skin and sensitive skin.

Normal skin: Normal skin has an even tone, soft, a smooth texture, no visible pores or blemishes, and no greasy patches or flaky areas. This type of skin has a clear, fine-textured, supple and smooth surface which is neither greasy nor dry. It glows with an inner health which stems from good blood circulation and excellent health. 

Oily skin: Oily skin is shiny, thick and dull colored. Often a chronically oily skin has coarse pores and pimples and other embarrassing blemishes. It is prone to blackheads. In this type of skin, the oil producing sebaceous glands are overactive and produce more oil than is needed. The oil oozes and gives the skin a greasy shine. The pores are enlarged and the skin has a coarse look. The great advantage of oily skin is that it ages at a slower rate than other skin types.

Dry skin: Dry skin has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. The skin has a parched look caused by its inability to retain moisture. It usually feels "tight" and uncomfortable after washing unless some type of moisturizer or skin cream is applied. Chapping and cracking are signs of extremely dry, dehydrated skin.

Combination skin: Combination skin is a combination of both oily and dry skin. There is a greasy center panel consisting of nose, forehead and chin and a dry panel consisting of cheeks, mouth and the areas around the eyes. This type of skin is very common, and it should be treated as if it were two different types of skin. 

Sensitive skin: This skin is sensitive to dirt, dust, sun and most creams, soaps and lotions. It gets itchy redness and patches on it. It breaks out easily. One has to be very careful while using anything on sensitive skin. One should use mild skin products such as face wash, moisturizers and face packs specially made for sensitive skin. One cannot use perfumed soaps and lotions on sensitive skin.

Each and every one of us has a different type of skin. Each of these different types has its own special needs that require special products. The brands will promise you results, but often the ingredients they contain hurt your skin depending on which type of skin you have. They also do not contain enough of the skin helpers to make promised differences for you. Save your money and shop for the right ingredients to benefit your skin and give you that healthy, younger look you really deserve!

5 tips to KILL your workout

Arnold Schwarzenegger knows how to have a killer workout – scene from “Pumping Iron”.
I’ve had great workouts, and I’ve had workouts that were just so-so. Sometimes it’s the sleep I had the night before, the meal – or lack thereof – that I ate before, or the routine I was doing.
There are, however, some steps you can take to ensure you have a great workout.
1. Shorten your workout
Limit your workout to a 30-45 minute session. Intensity is king whether you’re after fat loss, building lean mass, improving your athleticism, or a bit of everything. The more intense and focused your workouts are, the more successful you’re going to be.
Know what you’re doing when you get in there and don’t waste time. If you lose steam during your rest periods, try shortening them by 15 seconds.
2. Lift to failure
When I say “failure“, I mean failure within the proper form for the exercise. If you can’t finish the lift with the right form, then you fail.
Even if you’re feeling a little flat, lifting until you fail can give your muscles the boost they need. I’ve gone into the gym on ‘bad days’ and lifted for a rep count, not to failure. My muscles felt weak, drained and flat. As a result I never quite got into the workout. But I’ve had ‘bad days’ where every set was to failure and I ended up having great workouts.
That pain you experience in the last few reps can really wake you up and make a difference in your workout.
3. Get a good night’s sleep
Aim for at least 8 hours a night. Your body needs sleep in order to recover from a workout, but also to prepare for one.
If I don’t get enough sleep, no matter if I drink a cup of coffee or not, my muscles feel sluggish and not into it, if muscles can feel like that.
4. Have a plan
If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing when you get into the gym, you’re already falling a step behind. Have your workout written down, know the exercises you’re going to be doing and go at them hard.
I see people on a daily basis walking around the gym thinking what they’re going to be doing next. It sucks the intensity right out of their workouts. I’ve done it before, I actually used to do it in high school and couldn’t gain a pound – go figure?
Choose a program wisely, but once you’ve chosen it, follow it to a tee.
5. Compete against yourself

Having a lifting partner that’s at your strength level or stronger is ideal, but if you don’t have one – heck, even if you do – compete against the number’s you posted last week.
This means you have to keep track of what you’re lifting, how heavy and the number of reps you’re pumping out with that weight. Carry a notepad around, or record your numbers on your program sheet.
It’s important to know what weights you’re lifting for each exercise, also how many reps you’re pumping out, not only so you can compete against yourself, but so you see your improvements. Improvements you see in the mirror are great, same with the scale, but it feels awesome to successfully add weight to an exercise which you’ve struggled at.
It’ also important to see if you’re beginning to plateau. If you’ve been on the same routine for more than a month, odds are you’re going to sometime soon. If your strength gains begin to dip or plateau, and there isn’t a “plateau buster” built into your program, it might be time to make some kind of change.
That change could mean:
  1. Taking a week off.
  2. Changing the exercise.
  3. Changing the reps.

April 12, 2011

Baby Skin Care Guide

Becoming a parent is a unique and happy moment for everyone. When you hold your baby for the first time you feel a flood of joy. When baby comes into your life parents worry about caring for them and the proper care of a baby plays an important part in every parent's life.

Taking proper care of a baby is always a significant affair in every mother's life. Babies are delicate, and all mothers should take extra care while handling a baby. If you are a first-time mother, you should try to inform yourself of the pros and cons of baby care before you start handling your baby. A consultation with a pediatrician is also hugely beneficial.

Baby skin is always very sensitive so mothers need to be extra cautious when choosing baby skin products for their little ones. Here are some Baby skincare tips which you can follow:
Use a good oil and massage your baby's skin in a proper manner.
Oil should not be put in the ears or nose. It can cause serious damage and infection.
Use soft baby soap while bathing your baby.
Use baby lotion or moisturizer for moisturizing your baby's skin.
Do not apply talcum or baby powder on diaper rashes. Instead apply ointment containing zinc oxide on the affected areas.

Like skin care, proper hair care is also a must for the babies. Newborns have gentle hair which needs to be kept neat and clean. Shampooing is extremely necessary for clean hair. But you need not shampoo your baby's hair every day. It has to be done at regular intervals. Take note of the following guidelines while shampooing your baby’s hair:
First and foremost you must choose a mild shampoo for your baby. Take a little shampoo and massage it gently on your baby's scalp before you wash it off.
Make sure that the shampoo does not get into the eyes of your little one.
See that no tangles are formed in the hair while washing it.

Some important things that parents should keep in mind
Choose cotton clothing for babies to avoid skin allergies. 

Never leave a young child alone with your baby; they might pick him up and drop him or give him dangerous objects to play with.

Keep a supply of first aid equipment in your house.

Babies must be kept warm and dry to prevent heat loss.

Strong smelling soaps and cosmetics should be avoided and mild non perfumed soaps should be used instead. This can help to prevent skin allergies and rashes.

Never leave the baby alone in the bath even for a second.

No home remedies should be given even for minor problems. Consult your doctor as soon as you feel something is wrong.

If the baby is bottle fed, never leave them alone with her bottle they may choke.