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Health and fitness

Keep your tummy safe this summer

April 26 2017 , Written by Ambika

Keep your tummy safe this summer

With the temperatures soaring as high as 42 degrees in the city, loss of appetite is extremely common this summer. This combined with dehydration and diarrhoea can be responsible for a host of gastric and indigestion problems. Eating anything that’s oily or spicy during the summer can further add to your woes. Nutritionists believe that your food choices during summers could be a major indicator of your health. Read on to know how often you should eat and the portion size of your meals, to avoid poor digestion this summer.

The common symptoms of summer sickness include loss of appetite, dizziness, weakness, frequent headaches and chest pains. Water and food contamination are the main reasons behind people falling sick during summer season. Therefore, it is important to focus on your diet and keep yourself hydrated to maintain adequate levels of fluid in the body.

Avoid refrigerated and cold juices to keep yourself hydrated as it may aggravate stomach and spleen problems. Instead opt for whole fruits like watermelon, guava, orange and mango as these seasonal fruits supply necessary nutrients in the body to boost immunity.

Read on some simple tips to keep your digestion working smoothly as the temperatures rise:

  • Eat Less: Avoid heavy meals as the digestive system becomes sensitive during summer. It is best to eat smaller meals at shorter intervals as it goes easy on your digestive system and keeps you from feeling hungry as well. Also, switch to green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits that are easy to digest and will help you stay hydrated for long.
  • Keep yourself hydrated: It’s very common to lose your appetite during the summer season. Therefore, make sure that you include enough fluids like water, milk, buttermilk, coconut water, mango panna to prevent dehydration. Also, include fresh fruits as they will not only provide vitamins and minerals but also regulate water content in the body.
  • Include herbs in your diet: Include herbs like coriander, fennel seeds, cilantro and ginger in food preparation as these are good for digestion. These will help you improve your digestive capabilities as well as absorb gases, reduce stress and help blood flow to the digestive system. Also, make sure you include sufficient salt in your diet, as you can lose body salt through sweating during summers.
  • Avoid Spicy and Fried Food: Stomach inflammation is a common problem during summer season. Therefore, avoid eating spicy and fried food as it makes your spleen weak, leading to stomach inflammation. You can include beans, lotus root and carrots in your diet to help strengthen the spleen and stomach

Ms. Pavithra N Raj, Dietician Executive, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur


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Take care of your Liver to live healthy

April 21 2017 , Written by Ambika

Take care of your Liver to live healthy

According to a report released by World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2014, deaths due to liver diseases in India has reached 2.44% of total deaths. NASH (Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis) being one of the most common reason behind liver diseases, has a prevalence of 5-28% in India. Since, the liver is involved in major metabolic processes in the human body, any disease related to liver can affect the overall body functions.


According to Dr. Sumana Kolar Ramachandra, Chief of Liver Transplant, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur, about 50% of people with liver complications suffer from alcohol induced liver diseases, about 25- 30 % suffer from NASH (Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis) and 10-15% suffer from viral hepatitis and other liver diseases in her practice.


Liver diseases are not only common among high alcohol consumers but many non-alcohol consumers also suffer from liver complications due to high Body Mass Index (BMI). “There is a linear relationship between BMI and non-alcoholic liver diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis (NASH). The risk of severe liver diseases increases 5-10-fold in obese patients and 10-20-fold in morbidly obese patients. Also, people with high Body Mass Index (BMI) are at an increased risk of developing diabetes which in turn can increase the risk of developing severe liver disease. As per WHO guidelines, the optimal BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9,” said Dr. Sumana Kolar.


“An abdomen ultrasound along with liver function test can diagnose Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis (NASH). The definitive test for the same would be a liver biopsy. Generally, corporate employees are more prone to developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to work stress and sedentary lifestyle,” she added.


Some of the factors that can lead to severe liver diseases include:

  • High alcohol consumption
  • Viruses like Hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis E and A
  • Some drugs like paracetamol and medications used for treatment of tuberculosis
  • Inherited metabolic diseases in children

“More than 40 gm of alcohol per day for about 10 -12 years can cause liver damage. As per American heart Association 2 drinks for men and one drink for women, where one drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of 4% alcohol is considered a standard drink,” said Dr. Sumana Kolar.


Most of the symptoms of liver diseases can be seen only when the disease has progressed. However, some of the common symptoms include weakness, pale complexion, weight loss, nausea and vomiting. If not taken care of at initial stage these problems may progress to jaundice, abdomen bloated with fluid, blood vomiting, cancer, coma and even death. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms along with important measures to prevent the disease from causing severe health concerns in the future.

Read on as Dr. Sumana Kolar points out some of the ways to strengthen the liver:

  • Liver cleansing: The liver is extremely vulnerable to several metabolic, microbial, toxic, circulatory and cancerous substances which can harm it in the long run, if not taken care of at an early stage. Therefore, it is important to include foods like garlic, green leafy vegetables, apples and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower in diet to cleanse liver. People should prefer cooking food in olive oil, use turmeric while cooking and have lemon juice
  • Exercise regularly: Exercising regularly not only keeps the body weight in check but also ensures proper blood flow to different body organs including liver. Physical exercise maximises circulatory capacity of liver, leading to resist liver tissue atrophy
  • A balanced diet: Eat a balanced diet to ensure absorption of proper nutrients in the body. Include foods from all the food groups like grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, fats and dairy products. Make sure that you have foods rich in fibre such as whole grain breads, rice, cereals and fresh fruits
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol consumption and drugs: Regular consumption of alcohol, smoking or drugs can destroy liver cells. Therefore, abstain from these to protect liver cells from being damaged
  • Don’t self-medicate: Consult a doctor before starting any medication. The wrong medicine combination can often lead to liver damage
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April 4 2017 , Written by Ambika


From relationship hitches, loss of a loved one, to dire stress at work; no matter what triggers the impulses, coping with times of emotional breakdowns can be often exasperating. But if these cheerless moods span for an extended time, do not overlook as it could be a sign of something else; something serious!


Feeling gloomy and low on mood from time-to-time is a normal part of life, but if the despair and anxiety cripples you for a long period of time, it could be an indication of a severe disorder. Depression is a mood disorder which is characterised by intense feelings of sadness, grief, melancholy, emptiness, hopelessness and pessimism. Depression affects every individual in a different manner, but it can be so debilitating that it will not only avert you from enjoying things which once had much significance in your life, but will also interfere with your day-to-day life. While medication and therapy can be effective in treating depression, making little changes to ensure a healthy body and mind can be really helpful to cope with the challenges of depression.


So let’s fight depression by making small lifestyle changes! The following are some ways to improve your lifestyle; invariably consulting your doctor before making any changes.

  1. Healthy Eating

Food plays an important role in influencing your mood. Cutting on junk food and replacing it with healthy foods can help enhance your overall mood. Incorporate in your diet, foods rich in healthy fatty acids, amino acids and carbohydrates and feel invigorated for a longer term. Include healthy fatty acids like Omega – 3s and Omega – 6s in your diet which can be found in fish, fruits & vegetables, Flax Oil, Olive Oil, nuts, etc.

Neurotransmitters or in simpler terms ‘chemical messengers’ in the brain are made with amino acids. These chemical messengers play an important role in your mental health. So include amino acid - rich foods in your diet which can be found in meat, dairy products and some fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, you can pop an Aloe Vera capsule once or twice a day as Aloe Vera contains more than 20 amino acids (of course consulting your doctor first!)

Your brain runs on glucose which is derived from carbohydrates. Further, carbohydrates help stimulate the ‘feel good’ chemical messengers in your brain. But do not over- indulge as consuming carbs from foods like rice or potatoes might just make you feel lousy. Instead, opt for whole grains or cereals which are rich blends of carbohydrates, fibre and protein. So indulge in a steaming bowl of Oatmeal  or a hearty bowl of Muesli and relax those anxious nerves along with getting bursts of nutrition.

  1. Exercise

When you are low on mood, exercise seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get moved, exercise can really make a huge difference and in fact help you overcome depression. Regular exercise can help alleviate depression in a number of ways; it can help you gain confidence & self-esteem, take your mind off your worries and also provide you a restful sleep. Certainly running, walking or any physical activity that gets you off your comfy couch can help improve your mood. So indulge in 30 minutes of exercise, three to five times a week and ease those restless apprehensions!

  1. Sleep

Sleep deprivation is one complication of depression. In fact, inability to sleep or insomnia is one of the most common signs of depression. Lying awake in the bed at night with a cobweb of redundant and cluttered thoughts can not only worsen your mental state but also hamper your physical well – being. Your body needs enough sleep, in fact sound sleep in order to carry out the day-to-day activities. Make a consistent bedtime routine to improve the amount and quality of sleep you get. Before going to the bed, make for yourself a cup of Green Tea (preferably Jasmine) or Camomile Infusion which are packed with anti-oxidants that have natural stress-relieving properties.

  1. Meditation

Meditation can be really helpful in treating depression. Practice deep breathing or chanting mantras of your spiritual preference to achieve some sort of a mental peace. Aim for at least two and half hours of mindful meditation every week and try to meditate a bit every day. But do not rely solely upon meditation as meditation works differently from person to person. Always talk to your therapist about your thoughts during meditation and otherwise.

  1. Peer Relationships & Family

Staying in isolation from your family and friends will give you more time to think, in turn sullying your peace of mind. Spend quality times with your family members and the right network of friends; talk to them about your issues and take their positive advices. Loving and supportive people around you can really help you come out of your hard times.


Inputs by : Director at GAIA – Dolly Kumar, an eminent entrepreneur and a health & wellness enthusiast

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