Self-care i.e. taking care of yourself is important for better physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. It promotes positive health outcomes and a better ability to manage stress.
Although self-care alone cannot cure or treat any disease or illness, it can help prepare your body to deal with it in a better way and prevent future lifestyle challenges. Besides, practising self-care may help patients manage symptoms and improve emotional well-being.
Examples of self-care include:
- Maintaining a regular sleeping routine
- Eating a healthy diet
- Spending time in nature
- Doing a hobby you enjoy
Self-Care Practices for Different Areas of Your Life
Self-care is not just confined to eating healthy food and working out. There are various aspects of self-care. Let’s understand the different areas where you can practice self-care.
Your diet, eating habits, sleeping pattern, physical activity are all part of physical self-care practices. Eating a balanced nutritious diet, indulging in some physical activity and giving your body the rest it requires for better physical health are all part of self-care techniques.
Humans beings are social animals who need to maintain their social well-being. Make sure to create enough time in your schedule to have an optimal social life. Put your time and energy into building your relationships with others. Nurture your relationship with your family. Take out some time and get face-to-face friends. These are all part of self-care practices.
Having a healthy mind is as important as having a healthy body. Get involved in things that keep your mind sharp, like solving puzzles, learning about a subject of your choice. Read books, watch movies and do things that help you stay mentally healthy. Practice self-compassion and acceptance and make time for activities that stimulate you mentally.
Develop a deeper sense of understanding and connection with the world around you. Spiritual self-care can involve meditation, attending a religious service, or praying.
Indulge in activities where you can acknowledge and express your feelings regularly. Talk to a partner or close friend about how you feel or get involved in something that helps you process your emotions.
It is important to understand that the same self-care plan does not work for everyone. Self-care practice has to be customized according to an individual’s choice and lifestyle. Find out which aspects of your life need attention and create a change plan accordingly.
Start small, choose one practice each week to weave self-care into your daily routine. Note the positive changes and add in more practices when you feel ready.
Cholesterol has remained one of the most lesser-known and lesser-understood substances of the human body. For years, it has been believed that cholesterol in foods can cause heart disease. It can be a bit complicated since there is also a type called HDL cholesterol which is considered “good” because it protects against heart attack and stroke.
So, before labelling it as good or bad, let us understand what cholesterol is and how it affects our everyday health.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is required by our body to carry many metabolic processes. It is made in our liver and has many important functions. Our body needs cholesterol in the production of hormones like oestrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones etc. It is also required to produce Vitamin D and bile acids that help us digest the food.
However, the amount of cholesterol required by the body is usually produced by the body itself. And like anything in the body, too much cholesterol or cholesterol in the wrong places creates problems. High levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of many lifestyle challenges. It is therefore important to keep the cholesterol level under the required amount.
Cholesterol and Lipoproteins
Cholesterol does not dissolve and therefore cannot travel on its own through the bloodstream. The liver produces particles called lipoproteins to carry cholesterol through the bloodstream. These lipoproteins are a combination of fat (lipid) and protein. Cholesterol is also a type of lipid which gets attached to the proteins so it can move through the blood.
There are majorly two types of lipoproteins – High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL).
HDL transports cholesterol to your liver to be expelled from your body. It helps to get rid of the excess cholesterol from your body so it does not end up in the arteries.
LDL takes cholesterol to your arteries, where it may collect in artery walls and can build up plaque. This may form a clot and get stuck in the narrowed space.
For a healthy and disease-free life, your HDL should be high and LDL should be low. Factors such as inactivity, obesity and an unhealthy diet contribute to high cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol.
How to improve your cholesterol?
Certain lifestyle changes can lower your cholesterol and help prevent you from having high cholesterol in the first place.
Eating a heart-healthy diet is important to reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health. Here is how you can do it.
- Lower your consumption of saturated fats and eliminate trans fats from your diet.
- It is also advisable to eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids as they have plenty of heart-healthy benefits.
- Including soluble fibres in your diet can also reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
- Adding whey protein to your diet is also beneficial as it lowers both LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and blood pressure.
Physical activities like brisk walking, cycling etc. can help improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Extra pounds contribute to high cholesterol. Keeping your weight under control can influence the way your body absorbs and produces cholesterol.
Weight gain after pregnancy is inevitable and natural. However, it also goes away as naturally as it gets put on. One just needs to follow a few healthy lifestyle habits and watch their diet.
Besides, it is recommended to not rush and adopt a gradual approach to weight loss after pregnancy. Always adopt a gradual and effective and reliable post-pregnancy weight loss plan. Losing weight too rapidly after your pregnancy makes your body release toxins into your blood contaminating your breast milk.
Here are a few tips that can help shed those extra kilos and keep you healthy and fit in your motherhood journey.
Post-pregnancy Weight Loss Tips
It is better to keep some time aside from your daily routine for exercise. Besides helping in post-pregnancy weight loss, it also offers various other benefits. Exercise helps in reliving the new mommy stress and pep up the mood.
Water boosts your metabolism and helps keep a check on your appetite by making you feel full. The best way to check if you are drinking enough fluid is to keep a watch over the transparency of your urine. Clear urine is an indication that you are drinking an adequate amount of water.
Sleep-deprivation triggers unhealthy lifestyle choices like binge eating and drinking. Besides, insufficient sleep makes your body release the cortisol hormone, which aggravates the hunger pangs.
Keep healthy snacks close at hand
Breastfeeding spikes the appetite and causes hunger pangs. This has to be dealt with healthily by stocking up on healthy snacks instead of junk.
Post-pregnancy Weight Loss
Fibre improves your digestive health. Consuming food rich in soluble fibre keeps your hunger hormones in check making you eat less.
Healthy protein can boost metabolism and bring down calorie intake by decreasing your appetite.
Complex carbohydrates provide you with energy all around the day, as they take longer to break down.
Unsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats
Do not avoid fats completely to lose weight post-pregnancy. Instead, opt for unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to keep your body healthy and improve cardiac function.
Generally, nine months is the average time to lose the baby weight. However, every woman takes a different amount of time to lose her post-pregnancy weight depending on the diet and activity level.
Along with exercise, eating a healthy diet rich in proteins, carbs and fibre, drinking enough water and getting the much-needed rest is important to get back in shape.
Nutrition and exercise are two of the most important factors that define your overall health and lifestyle struggles. Besides, there is a strong connection between these two factors. Right food consisting of proper nutrients can fuel your exercise and help the body to recover and adapt to the muscle changes.
However, before you plan your diet and exercise regime, it would be good if you learn about what to eat when – before and after your workout sessions.
What to eat before Workout?
The right balance of all the required macronutrients is important while planning your pre-workout meal. Optimal nutrient intake before you begin your workout session will maximize your performance and minimize the damage caused to the muscles.
Protein, carbohydrates and fat are the three major macronutrients that should be consumed before a workout session. All three of these are the key sources of energy but contribute differently to a pre-workout meal.
The building block is essential for maintaining and repairing muscle fibres during the workout.
Consuming the optimum amount of carbohydrates before a workout gives the body the energy to perform well.
For long-duration and moderate-to-low-intensity exercises, fat acts as a source of fuel. Besides, the nutrient also helps in maintaining blood glucose and insulin levels during a workout session.
If you have had a full meal, wait for 2–3 hours before your workout. Else, choose simpler carbohydrates or proteins as a quick meal before your workout.
What to eat after a workout?
It is important to refill your body with the right nutrients within 15 to 30 minutes of your workout sessions for the muscles to recover faster. Eat a small healthy snack shortly after exercising to restore energy levels.
Given below are the nutrients which you should consume after your workout session.
Carbohydrates recharge the body, restore its fuel supply and help to promote glycogen storage.
Protein helps the muscles to heal and prevents the loss of lean mass which contributes to a muscular and toned appearance.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids boost the synthesis of muscle proteins and increase the size of muscle cells.
Drinking a good amount of water during and after a workout promotes performance and recovery.
Talk to the fitness and health experts at 8 Fitness Tips to plan a nutritional strategy that fits your health goal.
A very common saying goes like “precaution is better than cure.” And the same goes true for your body’s defence mechanism. The function of the immune system is to defend your body against various illnesses and diseases. So a strong immunity is a precaution you take to keep your body free from diseases.
The immune system is a complex system that is made up of cells in your skin, blood, bone marrow, tissues, and organs. These all work together to protect your body against potentially harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses and limit the damage from noninfectious agents. Here every component has to perform according to the defence plan.
While there is no magic pill that makes these components function efficiently, it is important to plan your nutritional diet and lifestyle to have a strong defence mechanism.
Here’s how you can work on improving your immunity with the right diet and lifestyle.
There is no alternative to a healthy diet
The nutrients you get from food are essential to keeping your immune system functioning properly. Zinc, folate, iron, selenium, copper, and vitamins A, C, E, B6, and B12 are the nutrients your immune system needs to do its job.
Good sleep is important to prepare your body to fight against diseases
Insufficient sleep can make the body vulnerable to diseases. Besides, sleep also affects the body’s metabolism making you prone to illness. When we sleep, the body repairs itself thereby strengthening the immune system.
Exercising lowers the risk of many chronic diseases and improves immunity
Regular moderate exercising improves immunity and lowers the risk of lifestyle-related challenges. 8 Fitness Tips experts recommend 30 to 45 minutes of regular workout session followed by a good nutritious diet.
Keep yourself stress-free by practising a stress-relieving lifestyle
Besides the physical factors like nutrition, rest and exercise, your immune system also has to do with your mental wellbeing. Anxiety, stress and unhealthy habits and affects how your body reacts to these harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
Improving immunity with nutrition experts
All the above-mentioned tips will help you boost your immune system and fight against viruses. However, to ensure that you get the optimum amount of nutrients from your diet, talk to our nutrition experts to boost your immune system.